Why must we suffer?
"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.
©1940 C. S. Lewis Ptd. Ltd. (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
The discussion about Abraham and the probable reasoning behind his trial.
All of it, really.
All of it, really.
Understanding Pain Spelled Out
I've listened numerous times, it is deep and comforting. I want to memorize the points so I'll have them in my head and heart when needed.
This book is an exploration of why a good God would allow for pain and suffering. It is not an easy book to listen to because Lewis explores the merits and fallacies of various theological ideas about the topic, which requires some foreknowledge of theological terminology and concepts. Because of this, I don't know that I would recommend this book for a new Christian. It is not that a new Christian could not benefit from it, but the vocabulary may cause a great deal of frustration.
This is one of the few books where I can say that I thought the first half was better than the second half. In the first half, the reality of pain is discussed as it relates to the nature of God. In the second half, Lewis begins exploring various beliefs on the subject of pain, and I thought he tended to wander a bit off topic at times and contradict himself. For example, in chapter nine, he discusses pain as animals experience it. One second, he says we can't really know about their pain or their immortality and the next he conjectures that the reference to the lion and the lamb lying down together in heaven was probably a common analogy of the time and shouldn't be taken literally, implying that animals probably do not possess immortal souls. I believe he overlooked quite a few verses in the Bible that imply otherwise. I deducted an "overall" star for that.
The narrator would have been a good narrator for a Shakesperean play but not for a C.S. Lewis book. Lewis had an off-the-cuff style and most narrators of his books reflect that. James Simmons' style was anything but off-the-cuff. He made it sound more like a lecture than like Lewis reading his own work. It's not that he's a poor narrator, it's just that a narrator with a more relaxed tone should have been chosen.
Overall, there are certain ideas that I will take with me from this book that I believe will help me in my moments of pain. I knew intellectually that God does not allow pain without reason, but the explanations of God's character relative to reasons he might allow for suffering will be something that will help me to emotionally understand Him. I would listen to this book again (or at least the first half) and I would recommend it to anyone who wonders why a good God allows bad things to happen to good people.
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