There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. (69-70), I do not doubt that if the Paradisal man could now appear among us, we should regard him as an utter savage, a creature to be exploited or, at best, patronized. Answering the second question, Lewis says that the Fall of Man could have brought about animal suffering. That heaven is “doubtless the continually successful, yet never complete, attempt by each soul to communicate its unique vision to all others (and that by means whereof earthly art and philosophy are but clumsy imitations) is also among the ends for which the individual was created. He gives a few illustrations of this choice then paints a picture of what he guesses actually happened when Man fell. Lewis states the Problem of Pain again in a simpler way: “If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty, He would be able to what he wished. 3) We know we’re acting for God’s sake if the material action of our choice is painful or at least contrary to our inclinations. This is God’s love. JACEK BACZ. “What is outside this self-giving is simply and solely Hell”. First, God’s omnipotence is his power to do all, but not impossibilities, since “nonsense is still nonsense even when we talk it about God” (19). The Christian explanation of pain cannot be extended to animals since they have not sinned. To forgive them? He sums up the chapter by saying “man, as a species, spoiled himself, and that good, to us in our present state, must therefore mean primarily remedial or corrective good.”. The error we must avoid is that of considering them in themselves. There will still be something like the shaking of a golden mane: and often the good Duke will say, ‘Let him roar again.’”. And when men attempt to be Christians without this preliminary consciousness of sin, the result is almost bound to be a certain resentment against God as to one who is always making impossible demands and always inexplicably angry…When we merely, We imply, and often believe, that habitual vices are exceptional single acts, and make the opposite mistake about our virtues — like the bad tennis player who calls his normal form his “bad days” and mistakes his rare successes for his normal. Then lays out the ordinary objections and his responses to them. What’s needed more than knowledge is courage, and more than courage, the love of God. 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”. The beasts are to be understood only in their relation to man and, through man, to God.” Lewis then tries to correct the notion that many people have that the ‘real’ or ‘natural’ animal is the wild one while the tame animal is unnatural. At first I am overwhelmed, and all my little happinesses look like broken toys. The Problem of Pain C.S. We are therefore at liberty—since the two conceptions, in the long run, mean the same thing—to think of this bad man’s perdition not as a sentence imposed on him but as the mere fact of being what he is…He has his wish—to live wholly in the self and to make the best of what he finds there. (78-79), Our present condition, then, is explained by the fact that we are members of a spoiled species…The thesis of this chapter is simply that man, as a species, spoiled himself, and that good, to us in our present state, must therefore mean primarily remedial or corrective good. 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”. God loves His goodness into us and our highest activity is response and not initiation; the love may cause us pain but only because the object needs alteration to become fully lovable. If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. A good God wants to make people happy. In a nutshell, this being a poor summary, Lewis addresses the limits of our understanding specifically concerning the meaning and necessity of pain and the full fruition of free will and love. He points out the phenomenon that many recognize and answer the challenge of pain and preserve their serenity and selflessness and sometimes produce brilliant work and sharpen their characters into tempered steel. Lewis furthers the illustration saying that the soul is a hollow that God continually fills in eternity followed by a constant emptying, self-dying, self-giving by the soul so as to become more truly itself. They may be senses that rhyme or correspond rather than a single sense. If the records make the first hypothesis unacceptable, you must submit to the second. While what we call “our own life” remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. 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. It is not an unimportant question though since all “plausible grounds for questioning the goodness of God is very important indeed.”. He also says that a finality of judgment must come some time and omniscience would know when. Therefore, God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.” “The thesis of this chapter is simply that man, as a species, spoiled himself, and that good, to us in our present tater, must therefore mean primarily remedial or corrective good” (85). (XII), In all developed religion we find three strands or elements, and in Christianity one more. Input your search keywords and press Enter. Lewis talks about how we’ve always been searching for heaven. He says humans are sentient but unconscious when they are sleepwalking. 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 God created: He caused things to be other than Himself that, being distinct, they might learn to love Him, and achieve union instead of mere sameness…Even within the Holy One Himself, it is not sufficient that the Word should. So the tame animal is the only natural one and any real self it has is owed entirely to its master, and if the animal does have immortality it is through their master. If He had no use for all these differences, I do not see why He should have created more souls than one. (154), If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the Church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note. (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. To someone who already accepts the views of Christianity, Lewis' explanation may be believable; however, to those who question its ideas, it is debatable. I don’t like it. “Man is to be understood only in his relation to God. The first saying God, being above good and evil, produces impartially the effects to which we call good and evil. The Problem of Pain - Official Site | CSLewis.com The Problem of Pain C.S. One weekly email is sent midweek, every Thursday evening at 8 p.m. EST. The “real” or “natural” animal to them is the wild one, and the tame animal is an artificial or unnatural thing. 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 … Lewis. But over the great picture of his life—the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child — he will take endless trouble—and would, doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. 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. Lewis says that this objection assumes that heaven and hell “co-exist in unilinear time” like the histories of two countries. (106-107), In the fallen and partially redeemed universe we may distinguish (1) the simple good descending from God, (2) the simple evil produced by rebellious creatures, and (3) the exploitation of that evil by God for His redemptive purpose, which produces (4) the complex good to which accepted; suffering and repented sin contribute. 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. He details two “sub-Christian” theories which the doctrine of the Fall guards against: Monism and Dualism. The Problem of Pain “Such a sin requires no complex social conditions, no extended experience, no great intellectual development. But what if the punishment didn’t lead there? Lewis’ beautiful picture of the powerful lion shedding tear after tear. Lewis paints the picture that there’s a signature on each soul that we’re aware of but don’t have all the details about and that we can never really possess. I am only trying to show that the old Christian doctrine of being made “perfect through suffering” is not incredible. 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. Animal nature could have also been corrupted prior to Adam by Satan because the “intrinsic evil of the animal world lies in the fact that some animals live by destroying each other.” Lewis pontificates that Man might have been brought into the World to perform a redemptive function. 3) “We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin.”. I have already noted the mysterious force of the word “in”. 3) how can animal suffering be reconciled with the justice of God? The Big Idea: A. Lewis' theodicy, The Problem of Pain, he defends God's goodness in the context of the world's evil. On another level, Lewis says that we experience a thirst for revenge. Third, how can animal suffering be reconciled with the justice of God? 3. Lewis admits that he’s only talking about a privileged case and not about wild animals or those ill-treated domestic ones. It was against this background that the Gospel appeared as good news. Lewis, The Problem of Pain … To provide an answer, Lewis delves into many areas of Christian thought—apologetics, God’s goodness, the Fall of humanity, heaven, and even animal pain. Lewis says that the problem of pain is insoluble if we attach a “trivial meaning to the word ‘love’”. 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