LIBERTY UNIVERSITY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
C.S. Lewis on Suffering and Pain in the Christian Life
Submitted to Dr. John A. McGinn, in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the completion of the course
SEMI 500-B02 LUO
Introduction to Seminary Studies
José C. Caballero
September 14, 2014
Pain as an objection to creation
Pain as a result of freewill
Pain is necessary in the lives of Christians
Pain promotes spiritual growth
C.S Lewis’ experiences with pain
The will of God
Pain felt when God does not answer prayers
The kindness of God versus the love of God
Clive Staples Lewis was born November 29th, 1898 in Belfast, Ireland and died in Oxford, England on November 22th, 1963. Commonly known as C. S. Lewis, he is remembered mostly by his fictional and non-fictional writings. Lewis was deeply bothered by the prevalence of pain in the world because it did not reflect a loving God. This issue has raised questions challenging the belief and existence of a loving God that would allow this dilemma to exist. Lewis used his accounts with pain and argued the quandary defending the existence of God. C. S. Lewis wrote the book The Problem of Pain in 1940 in an effort to understand and explain how a good and loving God could allow pain and suffering to be endured by His creation. Lewis states: If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty He would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both. This is the problem of pain in its simplest form.1
The main purpose of this paper is to explain why a good and loving God allows pain and suffering to exist in the lives of Christians. Additionally, this paper will also discuss how people use pain as an objection to creation by a loving and all-powerful God. Next, this paper will explain why pain and suffering are beneficial in the lives of Christians. Finally, if God is good, why does He not free Christians from suffering when they ask Him to?
Pain as an objection to creation
Pain and suffering are unavoidable and have tormented the world since the fall of man. The desire to avoid pain is a natural reaction of humans because it will cause hurt either physically or emotionally. People wonder why a good and all powerful God allows Creation to suffer and not free them from it. They also argue that if God is omnipotent, He can liberate this world from pain. C.S Lewis wrote, “If the universe is so bad, or even half so bad, how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator?”2 The Bible says that in the beginning God created everything good. In fact, Genesis 1:31 confirms that “ . . . God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!”3 People may not agree with the concept of creation, but they can all agree that everything created in Genesis 1 does exist and are good as the Bible says they are. Light, the ocean, trees and plants are good, coordinated, and interdependent, not corrupt and evil. God also created man and woman with the innate ability of free will, to choose to obey God or not. In order to use this ability, God gave them one rule, not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and were banished from the Garden of Eden. The curse of sin entered the world through this wrongful use of freewill. All sin will carry with it pain and suffering. God said to Eve that He would sharpen her childbearing pain and to Adam that he would have to struggle and sweat in order to eat.4 Suffering and pain emanate from the wrong choices that humanity makes. Choosing to disobey God is to choose sin and evil over the love and righteousness of our creator.
Pain as a result...
Bibliography: Conn, Marie A. “C.S. Lewis and Human Suffering: Light Among the Shadows.” Mahwah, NJ: HiddenSpring, 2008.
Edwards, Bruce L. C.S. Lewis: Life, Works, and Legacy. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2007. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed August 27, 2014).
Harmon, Jana. “C.S. Lewis on the Problem of Pain.” Knowing & Doing, Fall 2012. 1-4.
James, Molly. "C.S. Lewis and Human Suffering: Light among the Shadows – By Marie A. Conn." Reviews In Religion & Theology 16, no. 1: 115-117. January 2009. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed August 26, 2014).
Lewis, C.S. “The Great Divorce.” In The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics, 463-542. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.
------ “A Grief Observed.” In The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics, 647-688. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.
------ “Mere Christianity.” In The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics, 1-178. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.
------ “Miracles.” In The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics, 297-462. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.
------ “The Problem of Pain.” In The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics, 543-646. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.
------ “The Screwtape Letters.” In The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics, 179-296. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.
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