Chapter 1
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The Problem of Pain

Preface and Chapter 1




1. According to the Preface, what was Lewis's only purpose for writing the book?

2.  What helps one bear pain according to Lewis?  What has helped you?

Chapter 1 - Introductory

3.  The chapter opens with the response Lewis would have given to the question, "Why do you not believe in God?" prior to his conversion.  What part (if any) of his reply creates the most trouble for you?

4.  According to Lewis, if you look at the natural world around you, what would you conclude about its Creator?  Consider the epigraph from Pascal as well as Job 12:7-9; Psalm 19:1-6 and Romans 1:20.  Does nature reveal anything about God?  If so, what?

5.  List the three elements that developed in all religions and the fourth element, which is unique to Christianity.

6.  How does Lewis distinguish the numinous from "danger" and "uncanny"?

7.  What are the consequences of ignoring the Numinous?  Ignoring the moral law?

8.  Why is the problem of pain more of an issue for the Christian?


Ashley Sampson (1900-1947):  was the owner of Centenary Press who invited C. S. Lewis to write The Problem of Pain after reading the "smuggled-in theology" in Out of the Silent Planet.  Geoffrey Bles Ltd., another publisher of Lewis, later bought the Centenary Press.

Rudolf Otto (1869-1937):  a Lutheran theologian from Germany who taught at the University of Marburg Divinity School.  His most famous work is The Idea of the Holy, which has not been out of print since its publication in 1917.  Otto coined the term "numinous" to signify the non-rational experience of the divine that is simultaneously terrifying and fascinating.  He died of complications after a fall from a tower.  There is some debate over whether his fall was a suicide attempt or precipitated by members of the Nazi Party, which opposed his views. 

Numinous:  a term coined by German theologian Rudolf Otto to describe a sense of the mysterious, supernatural and holy.  Incorporates both awe and dread.

Anfractuous:  full of windings and turnings

© 2012 by Allyson Wieland