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The Problem of Pain Paperback – Apr 28 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Revised ed. edition (April 28 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060652969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060652968
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 263 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #39,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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The Problem of Pain answers the universal question, "Why would an all-loving, all-knowing God allow people to experience pain and suffering?" Master Christian apologist C.S. Lewis asserts that pain is a problem because our finite, human minds selfishly believe that pain-free lives would prove that God loves us. In truth, by asking for this, we want God to love us less, not more than he does. "Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved; that the mere 'kindness' which tolerates anything except suffering in its object is, in that respect at the opposite pole from Love." In addressing "Divine Omnipotence," "Human Wickedness," "Human Pain," and "Heaven," Lewis succeeds in lifting the reader from his frame of reference by artfully capitulating these topics into a conversational tone, which makes his assertions easy to swallow and even easier to digest. Lewis is straightforward in aim as well as honest about his impediments, saying, "I am not arguing that pain is not painful. Pain hurts. I am only trying to show that the old Christian doctrine that being made perfect through suffering is not incredible. To prove it palatable is beyond my design." The mind is expanded, God is magnified, and the reader is reminded that he is not the center of the universe as Lewis carefully rolls through the dissertation that suffering is God's will in preparing the believer for heaven and for the full weight of glory that awaits him there. While many of us naively wish that God had designed a "less glorious and less arduous destiny" for his children, the fortune lies in Lewis's inclination to set us straight with his charming wit and pious mind. --Jill Heatherly


“It is really a pleasure to be able to praise a book unreservedly, and that is just what I can do with The Problem of Pain .” (Guardian)

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Format: Paperback
When reading the works of C.S Lewis it is often hard not to stop reading for a second and ponder how someone can think at such a high level.
A word of warning, for probably any devout Christian, the thesis of this book,(If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?) will sound compelling and certainly invoke a desire to read this book. Just be forewarned, it's a complicated issue, and Mr. Lewis has a complicated solution. While this book is probably accessible for anybody, Be aware that this isn't light reading, it , as it says on the quote on the front, "demands the entire energy of the mind".
Over 159 pages, C.S Lewis builds a convincing case for why pain exists. His main(but certainly not his entire) argument for this is that our own ideas and presuppositions about "love" are not God's same ideas. Not that ours and God's are totally different, as black-and-white, but that ours is "like that of a three year old trying to draw his first wheel" in comparison to God's "perfect circle". Also key in Lewis's case are his ideas about free will and how that relates to suffering.

There are also chapters about Heaven and Hell. The chapter on Hell might have been the best chapter in the book and may even solitarily warrant a purchase. It was certainly the most convincing work I've ever read by a Christian apologist attempting to justify the existence of hell. In fact, after reading it you may find that the existence of hell is more just than if it did NOT exist. Very well done.
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By A Customer on Nov. 26 2001
Format: Paperback
Though Lewis's exposition of the problem of suffering is heartfelt, and he obviously gave it a good deal of thought, I find his account ultimately unconvincing. If we assume that suffering is deliberately designed to develop godly character leading to salvation, we are immediately faced with a vast number of devastating counterexamples. I want to mention just one that should cause even the most unfeeling and dogmatic to shudder. Consider the hymn-writer Thomas Cowper(Lewis mentions him in passing in "The Great Divorce"). Chances are at least a few of his hymns are in your hymnbook. This poor man wanted nothing more than to follow and love God, but he suffered from a manic-depressive psychosis. When he was manic, he wrote great hymns. When he was depressed, he believed (with a horrible fixitude incomprehensible to modern man) that he was damned for all eternity. Once, he had a dream during a time of deep depression that he had been saved and was in heaven, but when he awoke, he realized it was just a dream and he was damned after all. He called this one of God's cruelest arrows. How hard would it have been for God to reach out and heal this poor man's mind? How can anybody claim to have received "peace of mind" from a loving God and not mourn for poor Cowper?
We moderns have so many man-made conveniences that spare us from the suffering our anscestors had to endure. We take anaesthetics and good dental care for granted. We know much more about the mind and can heal mental diseases. Did God love the people whose teeth rotted away in their heads more than he loves us now? He sent them so much more suffering...
After years of mulling over the problem of evil, I think I have found an incomparably better answer in the writings of Benedict de Spinoza.
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By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 100 REVIEWER on Jan. 28 2014
Format: Paperback
The problem of evil – and the problem of human pain and suffering in particular – is one of the oldest and most persistent theological questions. Under its technical term “theodicy” theologians and philosophers have explored it at least since the eighteenth century. In “The Problem of Pain” C. S. Lewis, one of the best renowned twentieth century Christian apologists, uses his own considerable erudition and literary talent to explore this age-old issue.

From the very outset of this book Lewis makes it clear that he is no theologian or a philosopher, and makes an apology of sorts for his possibly naïve views of some of the deep and enduring intellectual questions that he tackles. Nonetheless, this book is anything but naïve and intellectually unsophisticated in its treatment of the problem of pain, and some of the treatment of these deep issues is on par or even well ahead of what I’ve read by some of the best and most erudite Christian theologians throughout the ages. Lewis is very probing and sophisticated in his insights, to the point that this book can be pretty challenging to read at times. This is a work of someone who is not satisfied with cheap and facile answers to the most difficult and challenging questions that can confront faith, and Christian faith in particular. His treatment is also very contemporary and addressed to the modern audience. So much so in fact, that it was hard for me to believe that this book was written over a century ago. Many of the problems and issues that Lewis had to contends with are still relevant, and, according to him, were well over a century old even at the time of the writing of this book.
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