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cs lewis the problem of pain meaning

(46-47), When the apostles preached, they could assume even in their Pagan hearers a real consciousness of deserving the divine anger. The Problem of Pain C.S. The claim is so shocking—a paradox, and even a horror, which we may easily be lulled into taking too lightly—that only two views of this man are possible. A portion of my talk at the Dupage County Historical Society. “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” The total organism which had been taken up into his spiritual life was allowed to fall back into the merely natural condition from which, at his making, it had been raised…It was the emergence of a new kind of man—a new species, never made by God, had sinned itself into existence. The Pagan mysteries existed to allay this consciousness, and the epicurean philosophy claimed to deliver men from the fear of eternal punishment. The tame animal is therefore, in the deepest sense, the only “natural” animal—the only one we see occupying the place it was made to occupy, and it is on the tame animal that we must base all our doctrine of beasts. Here he says we don’t fully know, but we do not that there are sentient but not conscious. Lewis: The Problem of Pain. This ”holy game” is a party led by God himself where he gives Himself eternally and receives Himself back in sacrifice. The Problem of Pain - Official Site | CSLewis.com The Problem of Pain C.S. Then Lewis says, “What is cast (or casts itself) into hell is not a man: it is ‘remains’. The Problem of Pain demonstrates a more distant, less emotional reaction to humanity’s situation, while A Grief Observed reads like a psalm of lament from within pain itself. I am a sinner saved in Christ, a husband to my beautiful wife, a dad of three, and a pastor in New Jersey. Let us here guard against one of those untransmuted lumps of atheistical thought which often survive in the minds of modern believers. Lewis says that “the curtain has been rent at one point, and at one point only, to reveal our immediate practical necessities and not to satisfy our intellectual curiosity.”. Lewis addresses each of these, and concludes that, in the end, in hell God leaves prideful man alone, just as man wants. He says humans are sentient but unconscious when they are sleepwalking. 3. An Abortion Argument to Be Aware of for Our Conversations and Prayers, I must add, too, that the only purpose of the book is to solve the intellectual problem raised by suffering; for the far higher task of teaching fortitude and patience I was never fool enough to suppose myself qualified, nor have I anything to offer my readers except my conviction that when pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all. (91), Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. In the book he seeks to reconcile God’s power and goodness with the presence of evil. “What is outside this self-giving is simply and solely Hell”. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. There’s a paradox where Christians know pain can be good but not seek it in itself. He also introduces the concept of Free Will and how that further inhibits everyone being pain-free all the time, although he does allow and say miracles do exist. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of Our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason. I’m angry at pain. The possibility of answering it depends on understanding the words ‘good’, ‘almighty’, and ‘happy’ in a bigger sense. “The mold in which a key is made would be a strange thing, if you had never seen a key: and the key itself a strange thing if you had never seen a lock.”, He continues to paint a beautiful illustration of heaven and how it would fit every real, human desire we ever had. I first read The Problem of Pain when I was an impressionable teenager in search of the meaning of life. Of all evils, pain alone I sterilized or disinfected evil; it does not proliferate. We lack the first condition for understanding what He is talking about. He begins by distinguishing between types of animals then distinguishing between sentience and consciousness. (136-137), The complete silence of Scripture and Christian tradition on animal immortality is a more serious objection; but it would be fatal only if Christian revelation showed any signs of being intended as a, If, nevertheless, the strong conviction which we have of a real, though doubtless rudimentary, selfhood in the higher animals, and specially in those we tame, is not an illusion, their destiny demands a somewhat deeper consideration. (34-35), To the puppy the whole proceeding would seem, if it were a theologian, to cast grave doubts on the “goodness” of man: but the full-grown and full-trained dog, larger, healthier, and longer-lived than the wild dog, and admitted, as it were by Grace, to a whole world of affections, loyalties, interests, and comforts entirely beyond its animal destiny, would have no such doubts…We may wish, indeed, that we were of so little account to God that He left us alone to follow our natural impulses—that He would give over trying to train us into something so unlike our natural selves: but once again, we are asking not for more Love, but for less. Instead Lewis's conviction that suffering can lead to humility is tied to grasping that Christians worship Jesus Christ, and as the 19th century writer George MacDonald (whom Lewis quotes in The Problem of Pain) commented, Aristotle has told us that a city is a unity of unlikes, and St. Paul that a body is a unity of different members. Others think his writing is heavy with a logic that hits the mark while sometimes going astray. He continues though by ruling out another speculation. Although admitting that we don’t know the answer to the first question he still offers his guesses. (124-125), But I notice that Our Lord while stressing the terror of hell with unsparing severity usually emphasises the idea not of duration but of, I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the, The correct description would be “Pain is taking place in this animal”; not as we commonly say, “This animal feels pain”, for the words “this” and “feels” really smuggle in the assumption that it is a “self” or “soul” or “consciousness” standing above the sensations and organising them into an “experience” as we do. Lewis acknowledges this tension in his book The Problem of Pain: [lborder] The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word “love,” and look on things as if … He finishes by saying that “all pains and pleasures we have known on earth are early initiations in the movements of that dance… it does not exist for us, but we for it.”, Lewis takes this opportunity to color in some lines using some clinical experiences from a fellow Inkling – Dr. R. Havard. ), God’s love is his giving us not what we think we need, but what we actually need. 3) how can animal suffering be reconciled with the justice of God? All matter in the neighborhood of a wicked man would be liable to undergo unpredictable alterations. Lewis presents a very readable and widely accessible solution to this problem, covering the origins of human suffering, incurred in the fall, what divine omnipotence and goodness really mean, and why they allow for the existence of pain in creation, heaven and hell, and a topic not often treated but important - the existence of pain in animals who are in every sense innocent. In The Problem of Pain, C.S. He talks about the effects of physical and mental pain, the latter of which Lewis says is the hardest to bear and less visible. He says that there was no other doctrine that he wished he could remove more, that it has the support of scripture, Jesus Christ himself, and reason. The meaning of our existence I think this book has a very unfortunate title. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home. Also, Lewis reminds the reader that in discussing Hell that we should not keep our friends and enemies before our eyes since both obscure reason, but to think of ourselves. Lewis starts off by asking why humans need so much alteration. Lewis says that Christians must believe that since they were given dominion over beasts that everything they do concerning them is either a lawful exercise or a sacrilegious abuse. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little…To be God—to be like God and to share His goodness in creaturely response—to be miserable—these are the only three alternatives. The Big Idea: A. He says this process is made easier through pain itself because 1) people would not surrender if all was well, so pain is recognizable and unmasked evil; “every man knows something is wrong when he is being hurt.” 2) Pain shatters the illusion that we have enough for ourselves. Lewis says that Christians hesitate to suppose animal immorality for two reasons 1) it would obscure the spiritual difference between beast and man and 2) would be a clumsy assertion of Divine goodness, He continues with further speculations before concluding the chapter saying, “I think the lion, when he has ceased to be dangerous, will still be awful: indeed, what we shall then first see that of which the present fangs and claws are a clumsy, and satanically perverted, imitation. To prove it palatable is beyond my design. He says that we can deduce from the doctrine that God is good that the appearance of cruelty in the animal kingdom is an illusion. To underline his point he says probably the most famous line from this 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.”. 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. Let us make no mistake; it is, I have begun with the conception of Hell as a positive retributive punishment inflicted by God because that is the form in which the doctrine is most repellent, and I wished to tackle the strongest objection. That is what the word means. 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?” With his signature wealth of compassion and insight, C.S. 6) All the virtues need to control one another, if not then the virtue which stands above others will tumble all into vice. If the records make the first hypothesis unacceptable, you must submit to the second. What then can God do in our interests but make “our own life” less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness? Though written 50 years ago, The Problem of Pain remains a fresh and relevant Christian response to this most perplexing aspect of the human condition. It is no use turning up our noses at this feeling, as if it were wholly base. (24-25), By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively His lovingness; and in this we may be right. Such sentience without consciousness, I admit, we cannot imagine: not because it never occurs in us, but because, when it does, we describe ourselves as being “unconscious”. He classifies pain into two senses 1) a physical sensation and 2) any experience, physical or mental, that person dislikes. It is already done. Lewis concludes the chapter by saying that all answers to objections of hell are themselves a question: “What are you asking God to do?” Whatever it is you would like God has already done. Thank you for subscribing! He says though, assuming that their selfhood is not an illusion, animals cannot be considered in and of themselves. Pain gives the only opportunity for bad men to amend. Let Him but sheathe that sword for a moment and I behave like a puppy when the hated bath is over — I shake myself as dry as I can and race off to reacquire my comfortable dirtiness, if not in the nearest manure heap, at least in the nearest flower bed. Lewis points to Christ who emphasizes not the point of duration but that of finality. And what of the suffering of animals, who neither deserve pain nor can be improved by it? (I will be citing the copy of The Problem of Pain printed by Harper Collins.). (81, 85), We are not merely imperfect creatures who must be improved: we are, as Newman said, rebels who must lay down our arms. Lewis starts off the last chapter of the book by stating that not mentioning heaven is “leaving out almost the whole of one side of the account” and would not be a Christian one. C.S. Then lays out the ordinary objections and his responses to them. Only one or two, and those the holiest among us, would glance a second time at the naked, shaggy-bearded, slow-spoken creature: but they, after a few minutes, would fall at his feet. For example, a sentient being would have the experience of thing A then thing B then thing C where consciousness sees it as having the experience of ABC. Some will not be redeemed. There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. Or does it reveal the conflict between Justice and Mercy? 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.”. It brought news of possible healing to men who knew that they were mortally ill. Third, how can animal suffering be reconciled with the justice of God? Lewis distinguishes between pain and evil. C.S. The first edition of the novel was published in 1940, and was written by C.S. In this chapter Lewis discusses six propositions that are not connected but need saying for a complete view of human pain, 1) ‘There is a paradox about tribulation in Christianity”, 2) “If tribulation is a necessary element in redemption we must anticipate that it will never cease till God sees the world to be either redeemed or no further redeemable.”, 3) The Christian doctrine of self-surrender and obedience is purely theological and not political, 4) “We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy… Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”, 5) “We must never make the problem of pain worse than it is by vague talk about ‘unimaginable sum of human misery”. and that is why tribulations cannot cease until God either sees us remade or sees that our remaking is now hopeless. Lewis agrees that it does. 1. 5) Different ages excelled in different virtues. It is not hard to see why. 2. Lewis puts his wages on a God who holds goodness and pain in a paradox. "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." But I’ll limit myself to five). The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. If God uses pain to redeem and remedy, this implies some aren’t to be redeemed who won’t have it. Christ takes it for granted that men are bad. The Cosmic Significance of Jesus’s Day in the Tomb, Perish or Paradise: “Today You Will Be With Me In Paradise”, Christian, You Must Seek Your Glory (From God, Not From Others), You and I Are Part of the “Them”: Curbing Our Judging of the Culture, During Coronavirus Christ Is Being Proclaimed—And In That We Rejoice, Have God’s Promises about Pestilence Failed? (155), Once, before creation, it would have been true to say that everything was God. Lewis soberly ends by reminding: “in all discussion of Hell we should keep steadily before our eyes the possible damnation, not of our enemies nor our friends (since both these disturb the reason) but of ourselves. (53), We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. How I got to C.S. For union exists only between distincts.” Lewis shows how this is even demonstrated in the Trinity: “The Father eternally begets the Son and the Holy Ghost proceeds: deity introduces distinction within itself so that the union of reciprocal loves may transcend mere arithmetical unity or self-identity.”. (113), The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. Therefore, God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.” Lewis says, “We must look for the great sin on a deeper and more timeless level than that of social morality.”. 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