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The Problem of Pain (C.S. Lewis Classics) Paperback – 1 Jun 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (1 Jun. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684823837
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684823836
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 14 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,328,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a fellow and tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954 when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics, the Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.


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Review

"A really remarkable book…It will help many people to revise what they had taken for granted and face possibilities which had not occurred to them." The Spectator

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

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 hungering for a true understanding of human nature.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Not many years ago when I was an atheist, if anyone had asked me, 'Why do you not believe in God?' Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Jun. 2006
Format: Paperback
This beautiful little book is on a par with the author's well-known classic Mere Christianity, as it addresses many profound questions that those in search of truth must have grappled with. Lewis was not an academic theologian so he writes for the ordinary person, which makes his words easy to understand.

The introduction deals with the 3 elements found in all developed religions: The experience of the Numinous (A sense of awe), the Sense of Morality, and the Numinous as the Guardian of Morality. Christianity contains a fourth element: A Redeemer who reconciles fallen mankind to the Righteous God.

The chapter Divine Omnipotence places the problem in context: God's goodness against the problem of suffering. How can a loving God allow this? Here Lewis discusses the implications of free will and co-existence in a common medium or external world. The next chapter, Divine Goodness, deals with the nature of divine love. Love is sterner and more splendid than mere kindness. Simple happiness in the here and now is not what God has in mind. Love may cause pain but only in order to alter and improve the object of love.

The chapter Human Wickedness looks at the state of the human psyche. Our character is, in its current state, not well. Lewis discusses our problems by examining a set of 8 very prevalent illusions. Following from this, The Fall Of Man investigates the abuse of free will while at the same time refuting Monism and Dualism. He suggests that the fall represented humanity's loss of status as a species, and that a new species had then willed itself into existence. But remedial or corrective good exists even in our present debased condition.

The next two chapters deal with Human Pain. When souls become wicked they will use free will to harm one another.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By William Fross VINE VOICE on 27 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
Another Lewis classic- I would recommend this to everyone: it offers a compassionate and well-thought through approach to, as Lewis calls it, the Problem of Pain. However, the Problem of Pain being the huge philosophical and emotional maze that it is, I doubt that everyone will be entirely satisfied by it: and for that reason, though I would offer it to someone suffering, I'd recommend people read it before 'bad stuff happens', if they can.
I'd also highly recommend CS Lewis' book Grief Observed- an incredibly powerful, emotional book. Lewis writes after his wife's death, and is forced to face up to the reality of suffering in relation to his beliefs. While this book, the Problem of Pain, offers a more rational answer, a Grief Observed shows how Lewis coped with suffering emotionally.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Aug. 1998
Format: Paperback
This is for me one of Lewis's greatest and most challenging works. The questions he tackles are among the most profound that human beings face, and Lewis approaches them with characteristic logic, sensitivity, and humility. I found myself nodding in agreement time and again, and I marveled at Lewis's ability to get straight down to the heart of the matter. His "solutions" (and he would not call them solutions) are not easy but they are very sensible and true to his faith. I continue to grapple with the issues he raises and find that this book makes more and more sense with the passing of time. That such a little book can contain so much wisdom is testimony to Lewis's genius. No other modern religious writer can come close to him in my estimation. He has helped me more than I can say.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
"The Problem of Pain" contains such extraordinary spiritual nourishment. Through the process of wrestling with the role of pain, Lewis gives a truly inspirational explanation of the interaction between God and humans (while also giving wonderfully realistic descriptions of most Christians' struggles!) That said, I would agree with reviewers who said that this book in *not* particularly comforting for those suffering from great grief (Lewis himself said much the same, late in his life.)
This book has given me so much encouragement and, at the same time, challenged me greatly. I am a better Christian for having read it. My copy is underlined, often quoted, and much loved.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 22 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
C.S. Lewis was a rare individual. One of the few non-clerics to be recognised as a theologian by the Anglican church, he put forth the case for Christianity in general in ways that many Christians beyond the Anglican world can accept, and a clear description for non-Christians of what Christian faith and practice should be. Indeed, Lewis says in his introduction that this text (or indeed, hardly any other he produced) will help in deciding between Christian denominations. While he describes himself as a 'very ordinary layman' in the Church of England, he looks to the broader picture of Christianity, particularly for those who have little or no background. The discussion of division points rarely wins a convert, Lewis observed, and so he leaves the issues of ecclesiology and high theology differences to 'experts'. Lewis is of course selling himself short in this regard, but it helps to reinforce his point.
Lewis sees pain as an inevitable part of the human experience, given our condition of being estranged from God. He does not pain and suffering as being caused by God. 'The possibility of pain in inherent in the very existence of a world where souls can meet,' Lewis writes. 'When souls become wicked they will certainly use this possibility to hurt one another; and this, perhaps, accounts for four-fifths of the sufferings of men.' God has a role in that God is the creator of all things, and set things in motion, but God is not responsible in Lewis' view for the individual or corporate acts of humankind in contradiction of God's will. In this, Lewis does go against the Calvinist strain that goes through Anglican and other theologies.
Lewis highlights part of the problem with pain in that it cannot be easily ignored.
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