Chapters 2 & 3
Chapters 2 & 3 E-mail

The Problem of Pain

Chapters 2 & 3


Chapter 2 - Divine Omnipotence

1.  What do you think of Lewis's summary of the problem of pain at the beginning of chapter two?  Might factors other than God's goodness and power play a part in the human experience of pain?

2.  Scripture teaches and Christianity holds that God is omnipotent.  See for example:  Jeremiah 32:17, Matthew 19:26, Mark 14:36, and Luke 1:37.  Nevertheless, God cannot do what is intrinsically impossible.  Why is this an important clarification?

3.  Why is it necessary for matter to have a fixed nature?

4.  What would happen if God intervened every time someone abused his free will?

5.  Do you agree with Lewis's statement:  "Try to exclude the possibility of suffering . . . and you find that you have excluded life itself"?  Why or why not?

6.  How does God's freedom differ from human freedom?

Chapter 3 - Divine Goodness

7.  What does Lewis mean when he says we want "not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven"?  Why do we prefer the grandfather?

8.  Contrast "love" and "kindness" as used in this chapter.

9.  Lewis uses four analogies to try to understand God's love for humanity.  Select one of them.  What insights and observations do glean from it?

10.  What does Lewis mean by the "intolerable compliment"?  How might we sometimes settle for less of God's love rather than more?  Why?

11.  How does Lewis address the objection that God's love for humans is selfish or possessive?


Impassible:  incapable of experiencing emotion or pain; theologians have debated whether this is an attribute of God

Ephraim:  the second of Joseph's sons; when used in the Old Testament prophetic books, it refers to the last piece of the northern kingdom of Israel to be carried into Assyrian captivity.

King Cophetua:  a painting by Sir Edward Burne-Jones as well as a poem by Tennyson, based on the legend of an African king who had no interest in women until he saw a beggar maid, fell instantly in love with her, and made her his queen.

© 2012 by Allyson Wieland