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The Problem Of Pain

Pastor’s Bookshelf - Welcome to my bookshelf!

Each month I will discuss a recent book that I’ve finished.

This time I’d like to talk about

The Problem Of Pain

By CS Lewis

A few months back I found a gem of a deal on Audible, and downloaded a massive Audio library of CS Lewis books (for only ONE credit!!) - so you may notice a theme of CS Lewis books in the pipeline of my recommendations. I have always been a Lewis fanboy, and this book did not change that one bit.

I’ve appreciated Lewis’ non-fiction work for decades, and his fiction work even before that. It’s hard for me to NOT recommend CS Lewis’ work - because I love just about everything he writes. But this book was not my favorite. (It was still VERY good, and I do recommend it). It reads a bit like a philosophical paper on an intellectual concept. While there’s nothing wrong with that - it lacks the personal application and casual “everyman’s voice” that Lewis is so well known for.

Please don’t get me wrong - it’s still brilliant. He handles many of the arguments against the existence of pain in our world - and he brought several creative insights to the question that I had never considered before. I’m still very grateful the work exists, and if you ever find yourself struggling with questions about “why does pain exist in our world?” Or “how can this be the way the world is?” - this work is an excellent response.

When I was in college, I got a degree in religion and philosophy, and so I used to read intellectual arguments put forward by theologians and philosophers all the time. But what always set CS Lewis apart was that he could explore theological topics without anybody realizing that’s what he was doing. He had such an amazing way of explaining complicated things in a simple fashion - which as many of you know, it’s a method near and dear to my heart.

In this book, if you know it’s an intellectual effort from the start - you won’t be disappointed. It’s very well done, and very complete. (Even throwing in a chapter discussing the fact that animals themselves feel pain, and how we can understand that from a Christian perspective). I learned a lot, and I truly did enjoy it. However, it is not the most exciting read, and it lacks any creative structure. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it’s a great book, but I probably shouldn’t have read it right after I read The Screwtape Letters.


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