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December 15, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

CS Lewis’ Theodicy on Pain and Suffering–Aka Lewis’ best quotes on the Problem of Pain and Suffering

“Love may, indeed, love the beloved when her beauty is lost: but not because it is lost. Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal. Love is more sensitive than hatred itself to every blemish in the beloved… Of all powers he forgives most, but he condones least: he is pleased with little, but demands all.”

CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it. Now error and sin both have this property, that the deeper they are the less their victim suspects their existence; they are masked evil. Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows that something is wrong when he is being hurt.”

CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“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 man were the centre of them. Man is not the centre. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake. “Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the divine love may rest “well pleased”.”

CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”

CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Bonus Quote on Suffering, but not from CS Lewis:

“The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (link)

5 Comments

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  1. alancaster3 / Dec 15 2014 4:53 am

    One of my favorite authors, both fiction and non-fiction.

  2. compassioninpolitics / Jun 22 2016 1:00 am

    Agreed.

    The love of God, Lewis thus argues,

    … is not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels himself responsible for the comfort of his guest, but the consuming fire itself, the love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and vener­able as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes. [24]

    http://www.bethinking.org/suffering/suffering-problem

  3. compassioninpolitics / Dec 8 2016 6:08 am

    Specifically, Lewis emphasizes that we are “bidden to ‘put on Christ’, to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want” (Pain 390).

  4. compassioninpolitics / Dec 8 2016 6:11 am

    “Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love of goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata-of creatures that worked like machines-would hardly be worth creating.”

    C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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