The Theological Dilemma of Pain and Suffering

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The existence of pain and suffering in a world created by a good and almighty God is a fundamental theological dilemma and may be the most serious objection to the Christian religion. In the book, The Problem Of Pain , author C.S. Lewis addresses the issue of pain as a mere problem that demands a solution; he formulates it and goes about solving it. "If God were good, He would make His creatures perfectly happy, and if He 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" (p. 16). According to Lewis, this is the problem of pain in its simplest form. In his attempt to solve the problem of pain Lewis evaluates the past and the origin of religion, he offers his interpretation of the various justifications for why pain exists in today's society, and explains how one should deal with pain in order to live out God's will in the future. This essay will examine these rationales and will conclude with an analysis on how Lewis handles the four foundational sources for understanding the will of God through scripture, tradition, history, and modern context.

Lewis evaluates the past in order to explain the problem of pain. He does this by examining the origin of religion and discussing the three elements associated with all developed religions, in addition to an added one in Christianity. The first element is the experiences of the Numinous. Humans are capable of sensing the divine and spiritual presence through the Numinous. The Numinous is a mixed feeling of awe and dread and distinct from fear. Lewis states that there are two possible views of Numinous. The first is that it is simply in the mind and serves no biological function; yet will not disa...

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...ainst the traditional and historical interpretations of the scriptures in the Bible. In addition, in becomes apparent early on in his book that Lewis does not believe the Adam and Eve story can be taken seriously by his audience at a literal level in a Darwinian age.

In conclusion, Lewis relies heavily on scripture, tradition, and history to explain evilness in terms of the Fall of man, to reject theories of Monism and Dualism, to justify how a good Creator could make a bad creature, and to convey the concept of hell. Conversely, Lewis relies on modern context when questioning God's omnipotence. All in all, Lewis relies to some extent on all four foundational sources in order to understand the will of God and attempt to solve the problem of pain. Works Cited

Lewis, C. S. The Problem of Pain. New York: Macmillan, 1962. Print.
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