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Problem Of Pain [Paperback]

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Item Description...
The well-known author of the Chronicles of Narnia contemplates the issue of pain and human suffering and how they raise difficult intellectual questions about why an omnipotent and benevolent God allows suffering to occur. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.

Publishers Description

For centuries people have been tormented by one question above all: If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain? And what of the suffering of animals, who neither deserve pain nor can be improved by it?

The greatest Christian thinker of our time sets out to disentangle this knotty issue. With his signature wealth of compassion and insight, C. S. Lewis offers answers to these crucial questions and shares his hope and wisdom to help heal a world hungry for a true understanding of human nature.

Item Specifications...

Pages   162
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.14" Width: 5.32" Height: 0.43"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 28, 2015
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0060652969  
EAN  9780060652968  
UPC  025986652968  

Availability  5 units.
Availability accurate as of Mar 22, 2018 09:18.
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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General   [31520  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General   [8607  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Excellent  Mar 26, 2007
In this classic by C.S. Lewis, the writer's brilliance really shows. Aside from his somewhat speculative approach to applying Eden to evolution and the way he treated Heaven and Hell as the final destinations rather than resurrection with New Heavens/New Earth, this book is excellent. I was inspired, challenged and strengthened by the reading, and will certainly read it again sometime down the road.
More great insight by a brilliant man  Mar 21, 2007
According to the Author, Lewis took up the daunting task of trying to understand why pain exists if a good God exists too on a suggestion from a colleague. He notes in the book that figuring the problem of pain out started out as a duty, then quickly became an immense pleasure. Reading the book may give the reader the same progression of feelings. One may feel the urge to confront the deep question of pain and how that impacts one's faith is an obligation to be met grudgingly against one's will. However, while delving into the work, one will find it extremely pleasurable as the author reveals that there really isn't a problem of pain. The question eventually evolves from why, in a world created by a good and all-powerful God, is there pain and suffering to why, in some instances, is there a lack of pain.

Lewis illustrates his resolution of this problem eloquently and sufficiently, though concisely. The book could be much longer and still not fulfill every but, though, or what if created by these major life concepts.

I recommend "Mere Christianity" over this book, but suggest that this is a great supplement. While some ideas overlap, there is much to be learned by each book.
"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" - p. 91.

The problem of pain or our objection to its existence as CS Lewis emphasized, in parallel, can be summarized by the word of Epicurus, a first century philosopher, "Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to; or he cannot and does not want to. If he wants to, but he cannot, he is impotent. If he can, and does not want to, he is wicked. But, if God both can and wants to abolish evil, then how comes evil in the world?" The problem statement seem to bring a contradiction in God's attribute of Omnipotence and Love in solving the problem of pain/evil (there is a reason I use pain/evil term correspondingly) which is CS Lewis first tackled in this book.

The trick question which is often brought up regarding God's omnipotence is going like this, `Can God create a stone that He can not lift?' is like asking, `Can God be a No-God or un-Godlike?' As CS Lewis put it, "This is no limit to His power. If you choose to say God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it', you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combination of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them to other words `God can'" (p. 18). In the end, "not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God". (p.18)

And then came the second problem (or so it seem we make a fuss and problem about it), any consideration of the goodness of God at once threatened us with the following dilemma. "On the one hand, if God is wiser than we His judgment must differ from ours on many things, and not least on good and evil. What seems to us good may therefore not be good in His eyes, and what seems to us evil may not be evil. On the other hand, if God's moral judgment differs from ours so that our `black' may be His `white', we can mean nothing by calling Him good". (p. 28). The point is our conceptions of the Divine goodness which tend to dominate our thought though seldom expressed, are open to criticism. Or is it what we thought of God's goodness is like we want the heaven but we do not want God in it, if God comply with that demand then He is a good God.

If we can come to term with....well the above terms then we can talk the problem of pain/evil reasonably and objectively (as objective as a human can be) as CS Lewis proceeded with the rest of the book. The book does not present an essay of problem of pain for practical application. It is in the realm of our mind that we perceive pain as a problem and it is in this realm CS Lewis quenching our intellectual curiosity of such perceived problem. For practical application (as in emotionally), I suggest Where is God when it Hurts? by Philip Yancey.

`What are you asking God to do? To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But he has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does. - p. 130
A Big Question Encapsulated in a Manageable Portion   Feb 24, 2007
What is truly amazing is the timeless nature of C.S. Lewis' work. The Problem of Pain was written decades ago yet is still just as pertinent as the day it was written. The Problem of Pain, not unlike Mere Christianity, reveals concepts that are not always the easiest to wrap one's mind around in such a light as to allow the reader to feel as if they have been studying the issue for years. With a little help from some poignant imagery, Lewis manages to depict unfathomable concepts in a very human manner. It is with his literary gift that C.S. Lewis, once again, passes on a glimpse of deeper understanding to the laypeople of the world.

The Problem of Pain is written about exactly what the title suggests. How could a loving and merciful God allow so much pain to occur in a world that He created? This, of course, is not an unfamiliar topic of debate for Christians and atheists alike. It appears that Lewis realized the popularity of this question and, as such, touched on questions that are raised from both sides of the fence. As exquisitely as Lewis transfers his logical reasoning onto paper he still, throughout the book, maintains his humble demeanor by giving credit to what, he considers, true theologians.

I have seen it written that this book is only relevant to Christian believers, yet as a recent convert, I would have to disagree. While it would certainly provide some bearing to have done some reading on similar topics before reading The Problem of Pain, the manner in which Lewis vividly explains his thoughts creates relevance for any reader who has ever wondered why pain exists and if there is a God, what sort of being would establish such a thing. In my opinion, Lewis has created another beautiful masterpiece in The Problem of Pain and has provided me with, at least, a general idea to answer one of the hardest questions I have ever asked. This book is a must for any Christian and just might offer some insight for those who have not quite made up their minds yet.
Less rounded, more troublesome book by Lewis, which still works beautifully in places  Jan 25, 2007
Probably less appealing (than, say, Mere Christianity) because Lewis is needing to be more "lateral" here, more horizontal, more earthbound. There is nothing merely inspirational about his book, in other words, since it is taking as its subject a pretty serious philosophical problem.

I'm not a hundred percent on board with reviewers who insist that one must be a Christian to appreciate this book. But an openmindedness to thoughts about a deity, and some grasp that humility and submission can be good things, that one can learn from them, are probably essential qualities to bring to this reading. No proud atheist will be satisfied by these arguments.

For my money, Lewis is at his best here when speculating about the afterlife. His subjective version of heaven, as a place where personal joys are extended and sustained, is so much more appealing than centuries of talk about streets of gold, or harps and clouds. He has a way of making heaven meaningful, a place you'd like to be.

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