JACEK BACZ. Lewis, one of the most renowned Christian authors and thinkers, examines a universally applicable question within the human condition: “If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?”. He finishes his response to this objection by saying “to condone an evil is simply to ignore it, to treat it as if it were good.”. A good God wants to make people happy. In the end, we must “believe that we actually are, at present, creatures whose character must be, in some respects, a horror to God…when the saints say that they—even they—are vile, they are recording truth with scientific accuracy.” (62). 1) We are deceived by looking on the outside of things: we should not mistake our inevitably limited utterances for a full account of the worst that is inside. Lewis starts off by asking why humans need so much alteration. (119-120), As things are, however, this doctrine is one of the chief grounds on which Christianity is attacked as barbarous, and the goodness of God impugned. Lewis says that his explanation is shallow for he has said nothing about the trees of life and knowledge of good and evil, and nothing about what the apostle Paul has said on the subject. 2) While there is a social conscious and corporate guilt, don’t let the idea distract you from your own “old-fashioned guilts” that have nothing to do with the ‘system’. Lewis’ weekly letters to his brother, Warnie, away serving in the army during World War II, lead him to begin writing his first spiritual work, The Problem of Pain. After his illustration, Lewis says, “the act of self-will on the part of the creature, which constitutes an utter falseness to its creaturely position, is the only sin that can be conceived as the Fall.” God then began “ruling” Man not by the laws of the spirit but by the laws of nature. “God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love.” He goes on “The world is like a picture with a golden background, and we the figures in that picture. For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you, you, the individual reader, John Stubbs or Janet Smith. No: Learning from a 17th Century Brother in Christ. (12), The fourth strand or element is a historical event. In addition to Hell being like a sentence given at a tribunal, Christ says that men prefer darkness to light and that men choose Hell as a final act of cutting themselves off from all things that are not themselves. 2) The second objection Lewis responds to is the disproportion between eternal damnation and transitory sin: if hell is for eternity then it as a punishment far outweighs anything we could do on earth. Lewis says that the problem of pain is insoluble if we attach a “trivial meaning to the word ‘love’”. At first I am overwhelmed, and all my little happinesses look like broken toys. They may be senses that rhyme or correspond rather than a single sense. The first edition of the novel was published in 1940, and was written by C.S. It was his first major Christian work. And it is, indeed, natural to humanity. That the idea of sin presupposes a law to sin against and the first man could not commit the first sin. If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. Two parts to the chapter. In this elegant and thoughtful work, C. S. Lewis questions the pain and suffering that occur everyday and how this contrasts with the notion of a God that is both omnipotent and good. Second, In a world where choice is possible, there must be a neutral field, we can use it for good or ill. (This is one of my favorite chapters from Lewis’ works. It is not an unimportant question though since all “plausible grounds for questioning the goodness of God is very important indeed.”. He then goes on to discuss the nature of “impossible” with the conclusion that anything that is self-contradictory is not under the auspice of God’s omnipotence because they are non-entities; anything is possible with God. This creates the problem of pain. There is no middle way. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” What’s needed more than knowledge is courage, and more than courage, the love of God. He says that our present condition is because we are a part of a spoiled species, not that we’re suffering for the rebellion of remote ancestors. C.S. He blames misattributing kindness to ourselves and the effect of psychoanalysis on the public mind for driving out a healthy sense of shame from our collective minds. To prove it palatable is beyond my design. He says that we don’t need to be afraid that heaven is a bribe because heaven offers us nothing that “a mercenary soul can desire”, that the pure in heart will see God because they are the only ones who want to. He says that sentience is experiencing a “succession of perceptions” where consciousness sees the experiences a part of a larger whole. (113), The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. There is Pain on the earth 1. Thank you for subscribing! From the moment a creature becomes aware of God as God and of itself as self, the terrible alternative of choosing God or self for the centre is opened to it…We try, when we wake, to lay the new day at God’s feet; before we have finished shaving, it becomes our day and God’s share in it is felt as a tribute which we must pay out of “our own” pocket, a deduction from the time which ought, we feel, to be “our own”. Let us here guard against one of those untransmuted lumps of atheistical thought which often survive in the minds of modern believers. The “real” or “natural” animal to them is the wild one, and the tame animal is an artificial or unnatural thing. 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