Wednesday, March 06, 2013

C. S. Lewis and the Crisis of Suffering

 Nequaquam nobis divinitatis esse paratam
Naturam rerum; tanta stat praedita culpa
(Had God designed the world, it would not be a world so frail and faulty as we see)
Lucretius, Lewis considered this the strongest argument against God[1]

(This post is excerpted from my book C.S. Lewis and the Crisis of a Christian.)
In November 1908, the nine year-old “Jack” Lewis experienced the first major crisis of his life when his beloved mother died of cancer. Though the young Jack was conventionally religious and a member of a Church of Ireland family, this trauma would lead him gradually to atheism. As he describes it, the path to unbelief began with prayer. He asked God for something very specific for his mother (as he later wrote in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy), “When her case was pronounced hopeless I remembered what I had been taught; that prayers offered in faith would be granted.” Despite these prayers, on August 23, his mother died. “The thing hadn’t worked, but I was used to things not working….”[2] God—it appeared to this young, brilliant boy—was irrelevant to the crisis of suffering in life. If irrelevant to suffering, then God probably did not exist.
Lewis, writing on suffering, or at least writing
In less than one month after his wife’s death, Lewis’s distraught father sent him and his brother to a series of boarding schools. He arrived at the first of these, Wynyrd School in Watford, Hertfordshire, in 1908 just a month after his mother's death from cancer. Lewis' brother had enrolled there three years previously. There Lewis was under the thumb of a sadistic headmaster, who was shortly thereafter committed to a psychiatric hospital. (Due to a lack of students, Wynyrd was closed not long afterwards.) Later in life, Lewis summarized his experience at these schools in a letter to a child who wrote him about his Narnia tales, “I was a three schools (all boarding schools) of which two were very horrible. I never hated anything so much, not even the front line trenches in World War I. Indeed the story is far too horrid to tell anyone of your age”[3] That is quite a comparison and perhaps the reason that Lewis invested three chapters in Surprised by Joy, with his experiences in boarding school.
As noted in above, Lewis served in World War One, having enlisted, and returned home wounded in April 1918. Jack’s later the war wasn’t free from suffering and pain, to be sure, but the crises were significantly abated by the time he took up the request by Ashley Sampson to write a book on suffering in a series of popular theology, Christian Challenge. Lewis had learned a great deal after his bombastic and heavy-handed Pilgrim’s Regress, which appeared seven years earlier in 1933. The Problem of Pain is really his first apologetic work and demonstrates a lighter touch, part of which is Lewis’s honesty and humility. For example, Lewis writes that he could not begin the book without writing a disclaimer: “If any man is safe from the danger of under-estimating this adversary [of serious pain], I am that man.”[4]
      The experience of a mother dying of cancer with two young boys hit him again in 1956 when he met Joy Davidman, an American divorcée, who was also mother or two young sons and who shortly was diagnosed with cancer. Undoubtedly, he saw his own life being replayed. There was, however, more about Joy: Lewis respected her mind and, for her part, she devoured and cherished his writings. He felt the crisis of Joy’s deportation imminent enough that he married her first in a civil ceremony (and told few of his friends) simply in order for Joy not to be deported. Gradually, they fell in love, and he was married by her hospital bed in a Christian ceremony. After a prayer for healing by an Anglican priest, Peter Bide, she recovered briefly, and they enjoyed a honeymoon, including a trip to Greece (Lewis had only traveled between Ireland and Oxford to that point), but within eighteen months she succumbed to bone cancer. She died on 13 July 1960. In response, he wrote the piercingly honest reflection on this trauma, A Grief Observed. This book displayed what he wrote twenty years earlier (about not underestimating pain) because here Lewis expresses a profound doubt in the face of this emotional pain.
      The resolution of these crises—and the wider concern about why there is suffering—demonstrate why his writings still speak today—five decades after his death. Lewis did not write these as detached speculation but as resolutions to his own traumas. (And just to review the major crises, they are his mother’s death, the boarding schools, WWI and his wounding, and the death of Joy.) His insights into suffering are also resources for us, to help us through our crises of faith and doubt. And to repeat: They have been forged in fires of crisis. That fact makes their wisdom durable.
      In fact, this is the question I hear most often in my pastoral work, the problem of pain and suffering: the parents who son has turned away from Christian faith, the young dad diagnosed with cancer, the wife whose husband left one day reason with just a note on the dresser. I talked recently with a mother whose son was going through a difficult experience, and yet an experience that seemed to bring his son, after some years of meandering, back to God. She appreciated Lewis’s insights into the purpose of pain, which she found in my blog posts, because Lewis made sense of why God might use suffering to help her son come to know God. Lewis’s were tough, but true words. Or to use Lewis’s own phrase—which he wrote to a student Sheldon Vanauken at the death of his wife—suffering present a “severe mercy.”
      In fact, Vanauken offers a beautiful eulogy to Lewis’s companionship in suffering:

C. S. Lewis was to be the friend in my loss and grief, the one hand in mine as I walked through a dark and desolate night. Other friends gave me love, and it was a fire to warm me. But Lewis was the friend I needed, the friend who would go with me down to the bedrock of meaning… he gave me not only love but wisdom and understanding and, when necessary, severity.[5]

Vanauken’s words could summarize Lewis’s companionship to his readers. He offers not only wisdom and understanding, but also severity. This combination brings me to his approach to suffering, or as he phrases it, “the problem of pain.” Lewis sought not primarily a speculative response, but a soul-shaping, or perhaps spiritual, one. The answer to the problem of pain depends to a larger degree on how we pose the question.
      What then is “the problem of pain” (also called “the problem of evil”)? Most of often this is phrased in a why question: Why is there pain and suffering in the world when a good and all-powerful God exists? And this is an important question. Although Lewis willing takes up the question of why, he emphasizes more vigorously the how question: How do we respond to a world of suffering? This chapter seeks to respond to series of questions: How do I make sense of the massive evil in the world and affirm that good can still exist? What to do when we suffer and simultaneously seek to believe in a good and powerful God? Is there any good to be found in a world of pain? Lewis worked at these themes most directly in his early, more philosophical book, The Problem of Pain, throughout his later writings, and finally, poignantly, and personally in A Grief Observed. In Lewis’s writing, pain to means both the hurts, usually physical, brought on by the world around us, and the suffering or affliction that comes with psychological traumas that pain causes us.[6]

      Two necessary things first
      In order to grasp Lewis’s resolution to the problem of suffering, two preliminary notes are necessary: one on human suffering and God’s love, the second on human love and suffering.
      Frequently, the “problem of evil” is solved through the necessities of freedom. If human beings are given the freedom to choose God’s love or not, they can say no; they can blaspheme or simply ignore God. If they are offered the possibility of caring for others, they can also become cruel. Similarly with natural evil: the same fire that brings warmth can burn the innocent faun trapped in a forest fire. Both moral and human evil—and the pain caused—result from misusing freedom.
      I think this defense has merit; otherwise I wouldn’t have made it myself in Creation and Last Things.[7] Lewis also presents some of these arguments in his chapter on the “Fall of Man” in The Problem of Pain.[8] And yet, it has telling failings and therefore must be incomplete. For one thing, freedom cannot be solely defined as the ability to do evil. In fact, the biblical traditions tell us that true freedom is the capacity to do the right.[9] Moreover, as Lewis himself realized—probably most poignantly in his analysis of the fall, Adam’s sin is not entirely comprehensible.[10] I would even assert that Adam’s rebellion is “absurd,” by which I mean that we cannot fully understand why a perfect human being would rebel against the good God who created him. There is unreasonableness at the heart of evil that we can never understand.
      Therefore, along freedom provides some insights into the problem of evil, this is a minor theme. Primarily, Lewis takes another tact. He reminded his readers that God’s love desires to make us better. It is our suffering that is intended to make us surrender more and more to God. In that sense, Lewis’s response to human suffering is that God uses pain to develop us, thus a “soul-shaping” approach to suffering.[11] Lewis writes that we must remember “that the soul is but a hollow which God fills. Its union with God is, almost by definition, a continual self-abandonment—an opening, an unveiling, a surrender, or itself.”[12]
      The first topic Lewis clarifies is the nature of divine love. Here is one of the key sections, which—in order to understand the full import of his argument—needs to be cited at length: “When Christianity says that God loves man, it means that God loves man: not that He has some ‘disinterested,’ because really indifferent, concern for our welfare, but that, in awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of His love.”[13] For God to love us implies that God wants to change us. We tend to think of love as being accepting and nonjudgmental, as essentially hands off. Trading on the range biblical images for God’s relationship with us, Lewis argues that we don’t really grasp what we have requested,

You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the ‘lord of terrible,’ is present: 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 responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as 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.[14]

The classic question is bringing together two statements: that an all-powerful, truly good God exists and that human beings (and the rest of creation) suffer. Couldn’t that God simply unilaterally decided to remove suffering from the world? Isn’t that the nature of love to take away pain? The resolution of these dilemmas, Lewis offers, exists in a proper understanding of love.

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.”[15]

Lewis will not dwell on the abstract why question: Why does a good and powerful God allow for evil; instead he looks at how God uses suffering for a purpose—to make us better.
      As I mentioned above, some call this a soul-shaping approach to evil. The friend of Lewis and distinguished philosopher and Anglican priest, Austin Farrer, made an early criticism—that this form of responding to evil banks on a certain “moralism”—not petty moralism or legalism, but one that underlines how our souls find moral development. When Lewis, Farrer writes, “considered man in relation to God he viewed him too narrowly as a moral will, and that relation too narrowly as a moral relation.”[16] He concluded that Lewis play this card too often. Naturally Farrer has a point—all this pain cannot be simply about our moral development—in world of non-human pain and suffering. It may even add to our pains to think that God is behind all the suffering we experience. Lewis similarly doesn’t try to soften the blow by saying that God suffers with us. Although God is compassionate, it is not in this book that God comes alongside, that concept would have to wait for A Horse and His Boy, where Aslan, the Lion and Christ-figure, becomes a cat to offer comfort to the main character Shasta.[17]
      With Farrer’s contention still in mind, Lewis has more to say that mere moralism, and the best use of evil is to help us to grow into the image of Christ. As Michael Ward, co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to C. S. Lewis, notes: Lewis’s most commonly cited verse was “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”[18] The crucifixion cannot be neatly summarized as something moral—in fact, the travesty of justice that brought Jesus to the cross is profoundly immoral.[19] Only God could use the immorality of evil to develop our moral character… or (as I have phrased it), our souls. Evil, in other words, is the way God can develop and transform us.
      Secondly, suffering is essential to human love, at least in Lewis’s definition. “Love,” Lewis wrote, “is not an affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained."[20] Lewis’s definition of love opens us to suffering. And so another way to understand pain is that it is implied in the nature of love itself. When Lewis reflected on the different Greek words for love in The Four Loves, he reminds us that the nature of loving someone is that it opens us up to pain, but that the pain is worth the greater good of love. (This comes from the section on charity, or gift-love.) Lewis reminds us of both the importance, and cost, of love; that, if we want to love, we will have pain. Formed by his loss early in life, Lewis admits he would like to avoid this conclusion.

Of all arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as ‘Careful! This might lead to suffering."

But Lewis realizes that a soft, “comfortable,” pain-free life, hardly corresponds to the biblical definition and demands of love.

To my nature, my temperament, yes. Not to my conscience. When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ. If I am sure of anything I am sure that His teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities. I doubt whether there is anything in me that pleases Him less. And who could conceivably begin to love God on such prudential ground—because the security (so to speak) is better? Who could even include it among the grounds for loving?... One must be outside the world of love, of all loves, before one thus calculates….

Lewis is just getting going. Ever the rhetorician (a characteristic of Lewis that Jim Como reminded me of[21] and which one does well to remember), he challenges the reader to play out the implications of this kind of safety. To navigate purely via safety is to move in an orbit away from God.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.[22]

Since pain is part of loving—and since God is love—God uses pain to help us grow. God helps us to grow because God loves us. Pain therefore has several purposes—and purpose answers a certain “why,” the why of intention. As Friedrich Nietzsche put it, “He who has a why can endure any how.”[23] For that reason, Lewis’s reflections on suffering can offer hope and insight. They are “pastoral” even more than they are purely philosophical.
      So, how does Lewis see God using suffering for the purpose of our growth in faith? In Lewis’s writings, I have found five key purposes, but another might categorize him differently. At any rate, below are mine.

      Five purposes for suffering
      Suffering can lead us to cling to God
      As I mentioned above, Lewis’s favorite verse was Jesus’s cry of dereliction, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [24] When we are in moments of hurt sometimes God seems to have abandoned us. The promises of God’s companionship can see distant, or even non-existent. And here Lewis does not play the card that “God suffers with us” (which is a popular theological today). He faces the brutal reality of these moments; in them we experience abandonment. He says they are hellish. Nonetheless, when we turn to God in those moments—as Christ did—we realize a central purpose for suffering, and God deepens our relationship with him. (Worth noticing in this citation is the allusion to Jesus on the cross. This reflection is not mere monotheism, but soaked in the particular revelation in Christ.) According the Lewis, this turning to God in suffering remains so central to our growth that the devil shudders. As the senior tempter, Screwtape, writes to the junior devil, Wormwood, in the imagined correspondence, The Screwtape Letters.

Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.[25]

Once again we turn to Lewis’s insights on soul shaping—pain, for those who see it through, trains our wills to stay fixed on God. (Or maybe I should say, suffering can train our wills, much like hill-climbing trains bikers to race more effectively and strengthens them. They might find this painful training worthwhile. They might also decide to stop training because biking isn’t worth it.) Once we have learned that side of faith, we learn faithfulness in our relationship with God.

      Suffering is God’s “megaphone” to rouse us
      True faith implies full surrender to God. Sometimes the only way to get us there is through suffering. This is a tough truth, but Lewis, at least, was willing to say that we are often asleep, or at least, deadened to God’s voice. We can become complacent. So God uses pain in our lives to rouse us. (I have to concede that this sort of conclusion contrasts with much of contemporary “feel good” Christian writing. Ttherefore I trust it.) Lewis estimates that our desire for self-will is an intoxicating addiction: “The human spirit will not even try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it….” And he knows that, if we are satisfied with our lives, we will take whatever gift comes our way—whether food, or wealth, or sex, or good fortune—and forget the Giver. “But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”[26]
      Lewis is frank and admits that this “megaphone” may turn us to God. It might also turn us away: “No doubt Pain as God’s megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead us to final and unrepented rebellion.”[27] Pain is no guarantee; it may cause considerable growth in faith or its abandonment. I am thinking of the various pastoral conversations I’ve had where the disappointment with God turns the former believer away. One of the most poignant, contemporary examples is the New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, who describes his own story of leaving the faith while he served as a pastor of Princeton Baptist Church. He simply could not come to terms with the existence of God and the reality of pain:

I finally admitted defeat, came to realize that I could no longer believe in the God on my tradition, and acknowledged that I was an agnostic: I don’t “know” if there is a God; but I think that if there is one, he certainly isn’t the one proclaimed by the Judeo-Christian tradition, the one who is actively and powerfully involved in this world. And so I stopped going to church.[28]

Ehrman has created a bit of a cottage industry of writing books about his disappointment, and even anger, with God and his disdain for the mistakes in the Bible and the authors that penned them. He stands as a brilliant exponent of the way that God’s megaphone can simply make some go deaf.
      But not all do. And my encounters with people of faith demonstrate that right in the midst of suffering, many find God, that God’s “megaphone” of pain can slow down in order to find God because so often we rush on with life and give little heed to God, who is the Source of life itself. There is nothing like a physical injury or an emotional wound to bring the pace of life to a crawl.
      The need to slow down is fundamental to our return to God. When I looked back over my life as I was writing Say Yes to No (on the importance of nos, as well as yeses, in finding happiness), I realized that I couldn’t go forward simply by pressing on faster. Instead I needed “to turn around” and slow down. For me, this realization came with a small modicum of physical and psychological pain—it involved a wake-up call of potential stress-related health issues.[29] Once again the wisdom of Lewis: To frame the book properly, I began with this insight from Lewis,

We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.

Progress is the result of “turning around” around fast. Helpful here is the New Testament Greek word for repentance, which means “to turn around.” Sometimes we need to slow down and get on the right track. Sometimes suffering does just that.

      Suffering can lead us to humility
      Another way that God gets our attention through pain is that we become humbled and less self-sufficient. No longer is everything going right because of our own efforts. And we come to a place where we can find contentment in God. The opposite of humility is pride, the self-sufficiency that says we don’t need God. Lewis helps us understand why humility is important to God:

We must not think Pride is something God forbids because He is offended at it, or that Humility is something He demands as due to his own dignity—as if God Himself was proud… He wants you to know Him: wants to give you Himself. And He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble—delightfully humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life.[30]

The reality of humility sounds like a pyrrhic victory to the skeptic: “If that’s the remedy for human rebellion, then what kind of God is this?” The point is not this terrible remedy, but how much more pernicious our pride and self-centeredness are. When I go to the dermatologist and she deadens pre-cancerous spots on my skin by spraying liquid nitrogen, which—if it’s not obvious—causes a stinging pain. I don’t respond with, “What kind of sadistic doctor are you?” But “Skin cancer is much worse. I’ll go through this if I have to.” The recompense for pain is truly freeing self-forgetful humility. This only makes sense if God, and relationship with that God, is truly the greatest good.

      Suffering breaks down our idea of God
      One of the great and painful discoveries that Lewis makes in suffering is that God is the great “iconoclast” who breaks down our overly simplistic images. We would like to believe God wants our constant pleasure, what a friend of mine once called a world of “bubbles and kittens.” As Lewis writes after the death of his wife, Joy:

My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence? The Incarnation is the supreme example; it leaves all previous ideas of the Messiah in ruins. And most are ‘offended’ by the iconoclasm; and blessed are those who are not.[31]

Suffering is never something that human beings look forward to. As Lewis phrased it succinctly in The Problem of Pain, “Pain hurts.”[32] And Lewis, in his searing Grief Observed even called God the “divine Sadist” for the pain he suffered. We do not naturally seek it. Nonetheless, the resources Lewis offers can give us some strength when we go through times of suffering and pain.

      Suffering can lead us to hope
      Suffering is a sign that this world is not ultimately satisfying, and why we hope for a new world. The new world is indeed a fulfillment of this world, which means there is continuity and discontinuity—continuity, because we will understand the experiences, but discontinuity, since the new world will not have the decay and death that is implicit in our experience. The final book of the Bible, Revelation states that most clearly that, in the new heavens and new earth, God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-3). For human happiness, we need to grasp that that the world is fallen and flawed. Putting hope in this world is therefore bound to disappoint. Put hope in the fulfillment of creation for which Lewis employs “heaven” as shorthand, allows us to properly enjoy our current experience. “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”[33]
      Below is an excerpt that ranks as one of the finest in Lewis’s writing, a blend of spiritual insight and philosophical-theological reflection that I find so overwhelming that sometimes it’s hard for me to keep reading. I find myself putting the book down and reflecting on the stunning mixture of wisdom, poignant emotion, and piercing insight that Lewis evokes. These are not abstruse reflections—they have been forged in the fires of experience.

The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.[34]

As I described above, Lewis desired “joy” (an intense longing that this world cannot fulfill) throughout his life. It is part of his apologetic for God. In Surprised by Joy, when he discovered that no source in the world satisfied this desire, he ultimately came to faith in God by realizing that this world is not our home and that joy can only be realized fully in heaven. This final reflection brings us to the fulfillment of the story of God’s creation.
      As I type this chapter, a good friend is going through a four-year bout with cancer and thus the rigorous hazing of chemotherapy. He wrote in a recent Facebook post, paraphrasing Lewis, “We shall be true persons when we have suffered ourselves to be fitted into our places. We are marble waiting to be shaped.” His response? “Still being fitted, I suppose.” Lewis’s version of “why evil?”—or better, “of what use is evil?”—tells us that his soul shaping takes place now, and that is good and happens at the hand of a good God. Lewis also insists that we know that the fit will find its fulfillment in the final chapter according to Lewis’s—and may I say the Bible’s?—understanding of the suffering. It brings us to the final chapter of this book as well as the last word of the Bible.

[1] From De rerum natura 5.198-9; in Surprised by Joy, 65.
[2] Surprised by Joy, 24.
[3] Alan Jacobs, The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis (HarperOne, 2005), 22.
[4] The Problem of Pain (New York: MacMillan, 1962), 10.
[5] A Severe Mercy (New York: Bantam, 1977), 185.
[6] The Problem of Pain, 90.
[7] Creation and Last Things: At the Intersection of Theology and Science (Geneva, 2002), 64-66.
[8] The Problem of Pain, 69ff.
[9] For example, Jesus’s words in John 8:32, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And later (vv. 34-36), “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
[10] The Problem of Pain, 79-86.
[11] Here I am alluding the “soul-making” approaches of the Church Father, Irenaeus, and more recently, John Hick.
[12] The Problem of Pain, 151.
[13] The Problem of Pain, 46.
[14] The Problem of Pain, 47.
[15] C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 46-48.
[16] Light on Lewis, ed. Jocelyn Gibb (Geoffrey Bles, 1965), 40.
[17] A Horse and His Boy.
[18] Michael Ward, “On Suffering,” The Cambridge Companion to C. S. Lewis, Robert MacSwain and Michael Ward, eds. (Cambridge, 2010), 210.
[19] Ward, “On Suffering,” 209.
[20] Mere Christianity.
[21]See Como’s Branches to Heaven: The Geniuses of C. S. Lewis (Spence, 1998).
[22] The Four Loves, 121.
[23] Citation not yet located.
[24] Cf. Michael Ward, op cit.
[25] The Screwtape Letters and Screwtape Proposes a Toast (New Jersey: Barbour, 1961), 47.
[26] The Problem of Pain, 93.
[27] The Problem of Pain, 95.
[28] Bart Ehrman, God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question—Why We Suffer (HarperOne, 2008), 4.
[29] Say Yes to No: Creating the Best in Life, Work, and Love (Doubleday, 2009), ch. 1.
[30] Mere Christianity, 113-14, italics added.
[31] Grief Observed, 78.
[32] The Problem of Pain, 105.
[33] Mere Christianity, 18.
[34] The Problem of Pain, 115, italics added.

1 comment:

LG Williams said...

What an excellent commentary and analysis. Thank you so much!