The kindness of God versus the love of God 10 Conclusion 1 1 Bibliography 12 Introduction Clive Staples Lewis was born November 29th, 1898 in Belfast, Ireland and died in Oxford, England on November 12th, 1963. Commonly known as C. S. Lewis, he is remembered mostly by his fictional and nonfunctional writings. Sews was deeply bothered by the prevalence of pain in the world because it did not reflect a loving God. This issue has raised questions challenging the belief and existence of a loving God that would allow this dilemma to exist. Lewis used his accounts with pain and argued the quandary defending the existence of God.
C. S. Lewis wrote the book The Problem of Pain in 1940 in an effort to understand and explain how a good and loving God could allow pain and suffering to be endured by His creation. Lewis states: If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty He would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both. This is the problem of pain in its simplest form. L The main purpose of this paper is to explain why a good and loving God allows pain and suffering to exist in the lives of Christians.
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Additionally, this paper will also discuss how people use pain as an objection to creation by a loving and all-powerful God. Next, this paper will explain why pain and suffering are beneficial in the lives Of Christians. Finally, if God is good, why does He not free Christians from suffering when they ask Him to? Pain as an objection to creation Pain and suffering are unavoidable and have tormented the world since the fall of man. The desire to avoid pain is a natural reaction of humans because it will cause hurt either physically or emotionally. People wonder why a good ND all powerful God allows Creation to suffer and not free them from it.
They also argue that if God is omnipotent, He can liberate this world from pain. C. S Lewis wrote, “If the universe is so bad, or even half so bad, how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good The Bible says that in the beginning God created everything good. In fact, Genesis 1:31 confirms that” . God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! “3 People may not agree with the concept of creation, but they can all agree that everything created in Genesis does exist and are good as the Bible says they are.
Light, the ocean, trees and plants are good, coordinated, and interdependent, not corrupt and evil. God also created man and woman with the innate ability of free will, to choose to obey God or not. In order to use this ability, God gave them one rule, not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and were banished from the Garden of Eden. The curse of sin entered the world through this wrongful use of freewill. All sin will carry with it pain and suffering. God said to Eve that He would sharpen her childbearing main and to Adam that he would have to struggle and sweat in order to eat. Suffering and pain emanate from the wrong choices that humanity makes. Choosing to disobey God is to choose sin and evil over the love and righteousness of our creator. Pain as a result of freewill God gave Adam and Eve freewill, to choose to obey or disobey God. Lewis wrote, “God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right… Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.
Humans, spend their lives making decisions that impact others in some way or form, whether positively or negatively. Icon explains that Lewis felt that the majority of our pain comes from the people around us; thus, it is important to understand the reason of ‘eye treat each other so badly. “6 Christianity agrees that the root of suffering comes from choosing to disobey God. Neither freewill nor God are to blame for the suffering in the world. The love for worldly things, the selfish desire of the flesh and the lies of the devil are ever so present in the lives of humans, tempting them to disobey God.
Still, the question as to why an all-powerful God does not remove suffering is unanswered. In order for suffering not to exist, He would need to remove freewill. Lewis explains, “Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of freewill involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself. “7 God cannot remove freewill, because in doing so, He would eliminate man’s capability to choose right or wrong love or hate, or choosing God or evil. Also, as Lewis states, removing freewill, in turn, will remove the existence of humanity. God’s omnipotence
Nothing demonstrates God’s omnipotence as evidently as His actions in creation. Genesis 1 describes how God orchestrated the creation of the world by speaking it into existence. Job recognized His omnipotence when he said, “l know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. “8 God created the universe and everything in it out of nothing; therefore, He is greater than creation, thus making Him all powerful. In the chapter, Divine Omnipotence, Lewis explains that omnipotence does not mean the power to do nonsense. 9 In other words, God cannot create a rock too big for Him to lift or a problem too hard to solve.
He cannot love and hate humans at the same time. For Him to attempt to create or perform, something that goes against His nature is fundamentally impossible. Harmon explains this using the law of non-contradiction, which means that God cannot grant freewill and not grant freewill at the same time. 10 Though God is omnipotent, His inability to contradict Himself is His choice. Lewis also explains the freedom God has to choose His actions are driven by Himself and no external obstacle can impede them. 11 No external factors that can persuade God’s actions due to His perfect ways.
God is also omniscient which allows Him to know how His actions will affect the lives of Christians. Knowing that there is a purpose and meaning behind every decision He makes will provide a better understanding as to why He allows pain and suffering. Hence, pain and suffering are useful for God to achieve His purpose. Pain is necessary in the lives of Christians Humanity instinctively avoids pain and suffering. All humans suffer pain, including Christians. The book of Job demonstrates how an upright man who follows God’s commands, lost all material possessions, family, and his health. Joking at the example of Job, it is clear that following God and His amendments cannot deliver Christians from trials and painful situations. It is hard to accept that there is a good side to pain, but Christianity looks at pain and suffering differently. Lewis explains that God whispers to His followers when everything is going well in life, but He shouts through pain: it is His megaphone to get our attention. 12 Christians would agree that pain is not their preferred method of communication, but in a hectic world with so many distractions, the all-knowing God uses pain as a last resort.
The arrival of pain in our lives guides our attention back to God. Christians find peppiness in pleasing and engaging God, but when the demands of the flesh become their focus, then their joy becomes pleasing themselves. However, pain not only brings the attention of Believers back to Him, it also allows Him to reveal His power, love and glory. In 1 Peter 4:13, Peter encourages Chrism’s followers to rejoice in their trials and sufferings for they will bring joy when His glory is revealed to the world. 13 Job remained faithful to God while enduring his sufferings.
The same God, who allowed Job to suffer, is the same one who blessed him with a double portion of what he had. He was always there, but God’s infinite wisdom allowed all the sufferings Job endured for His reasons and His purpose. Pain promotes spiritual growth As discussed earlier, God can use pain to redirect the attention of believers back to Him when they loose focus of Him. Another way God uses pain is to promote spiritual growth by testing their faith and love for Him. In Christianity, spiritual growth is not an option; it becomes a part of life.
Lewis wrote, “That is why we must not be surprised if we are in for a rough time. ” 14 He continues to explain that when trouble comes, either in the form of illness, uncial struggles, or temptations that go against God, it is because God is moving them to a higher level to develop more patience, more love, or more faith in Him. 1 Peter says: These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-?though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.
So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 15 Through trials and tribulations God will shape and mold the lives of Christians o grow closer to Him and become perfect in the Fathers eyes. Another way to view spiritual growth resulting from pain is to view it like growing pains in children. Followers of Christ will endure spiritual growing pains that will stretch their love and faith in Christ. Therefore, pain and suffering will be present in their lives until God finishes the work He intended for their lives.
Lewis explains this further by saying that the moment Christians place themselves in God’s hands, He will make them perfect and whatever the suffering may cost, He will not rest until the work is done. 16 CSS Lewis’ experiences with pain Lewis endured pain and sorrow throughout most of his life. His first encounter with suffering was the death of his mother when he was only nine years old. Later that same year, his grandfather died. He also dealt with anguish during the war and then suffered the agonizing death of his wife Joy.
In his book A Grief Observed, which was written after his wife passed away, Lewis discusses how he began to question the love of God, including God’s ability to listen to prayers. He shares in chapter one how he felt God was not present during his time of mourning for his wife. He wrote, “But go to Him hen your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence”1 7 Lewis describes in detail his loneliness and compares it to the loneliness felt by Jesus on the cross when He asked God why He forsook Him.
Even though pain challenged Lewis’ belief in God, he never lost his faith in Him. He wrote, “The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all’, but ‘So this is what God is really like. Deceive yourself no longer. ‘” 18 Experiences of mourning and suffering like the ones Lewis endured can challenge a Christian’s foundation of faith in God. The will of God Followers of Christ believe in the perfect will of God, because, due to His omniscience He knows what to take to achieve His plans in the lives of Christians.
Lewis states, “God’s will is determined by His wisdom which always perceives, and His goodness which always embraces, the intrinsically good. ” 1 9 God’s will cannot be explained in the human context, but His actions are always for the good, even if it causes pain. God allowed Josephs brothers to turn on him in order to bring his family to Egypt, which blessed and formed onto a great nation. God also allowed Paul to endure great sufferings throughout his life, which led him to preach the Gospel to non-Jewish people. God’s permissive will allows for events to occur in the lives of Christians to accomplish His perfect will for His purposes.
Saving the spirit of humans is God’s ultimate concern due to His love for them, hence the reason Jesus died on the cross. The Bible states, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 20 Christians believe and recognize that their sufferings are temporary; therefore they understand the promise of spending eternity in heaven with God. God desires for the world to know Him and give Him the glory that He alone deserves.
Hence the reason why followers of Christ focus on spreading the Gospel around the world, even if it is painful. Jesus endured sufferings by spreading the true Word of God. Consequently, Christians, like missionaries, endure pain and suffering willingly, to spread the Good News around the world, without regard of the cost to their lives. Pain felt when God does not answer prayers As discussed earlier, God is all powerful and all knowing. Christians bring forth their petitions to God due to their belief that only He can answer their requests.
Since God is all knowing, He understands how the answer to such prayers will impact the live of the petitioner. Therefore, when God does not answer the petitions of Christians, there is unhappiness and at times pain. Icon states that after Lewis the experiences of his mother’s and grandfather’s death, ” .. Combined with his father’s changed manner, caused the boy to experience pessimism and depression; he was also bitter about he unanswered prayers for his mother’s recovery. “21 Lewis’ unanswered prayer brought pain and suffering. Christians experience the same pain when prayers for the recovery of a loved one are unanswered.
God’s will and purpose for the life of His followers is beyond any pain felt in their lives. Unanswered prayers can also challenge the faith and belief in prayer. Christians can pray for specific requests believing God will grant what they request, which they believe is good for their lives. Lewis writes, If the thing he prays for doesn’t happen, then that is one more proof that petitioners racers don’t work; if it does happen, he will, of course, be able to see some physical causes which led up to it, ‘therefore it would have happened anyway, and thus a granted prayer becomes just as good a proof as a denied one that prayers are ineffective. 2 An unanswered prayer can test a believer to think that prayers are ineffective. Although, Christians find assurance in the Bible where it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. “23 Believers recognize that an unanswered prayer can hurt, but they know that it s God’s will and they should rejoice in all situations. Paul said, “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ.
For when am weak, then am strong. “24 Paul understands that during his weakness, he is strong because God provides him the strength to endure sufferings. The kindness of God versus the love of God The Bible establishes God is love. Humanity believes that God is kind and good; therefore, they can’t understand why there is suffering in the world. There is a misconception between God’s kindness or goodness and God’s eve. Lewis explains this when he wrote, “By goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively His lovingness; and in this we may be right.
And by Love, in this context, most of us mean kindness the desire to see others than the self happy; not happy in this way or in that, but just happy. “25 Christianity looks at God as a kind and loving God, both views are correct, but there is a difference between the two. For example, parents love their children and are good to them, but when the child wants something the parent does not believe they should have, for his well being, the child is no longer happy. God’s love is no different. He listens to the petitions of the heart, but He decides what to grant for the well being of the spirit.
Harmon writes, Lewis insists that the idea God has for goodness is different from ours, in that it is far better and greater, but not too different. 26 Kindness and love are both very similar. The difference is that kindness temporarily pleases without regards to the future and love demands correction to build a solid foundation for the future. Lewis says love is “more stern and splendid than mere kindness. ” 27 Understanding this misconception between God’s undines and God’s love is important to better understand some of the reasons why God allows pain.
His love for humanity goes beyond suffering and pain. Jesus said, it is better to enter heaven missing a body part, than for the entire body to spend eternity in heehaw Conclusion Pain and suffering are evident in the lives of Christians and non-Christians alike. God cannot remove pain from this world, because in doing so He would have to remove human kind. That is not to say that human kind is pain, but that their actions, due to freewill, can inflict pain and suffering on those around them. Although pain exists, it cannot disprove God’s ability to love and be all-powerful.
Pain itself is not evil. It was discussed that God uses pain and suffering to redirect the attention of humanity in His direction. His omniscience allows Him to use pain to mold His followers into vessels for His use, thus reflecting His love and glory. Self-surrender to God’s perfect will is painful due to the selfish nature of humans, however, this is necessary to enjoy the comfort and love God provides during painful situations. Pain as a result of self-surrender to God allows for spiritual growth in the Father, ringing His creation closer to Him, which is ultimately His purpose.