Chapters 9 & 10
Chapters 9 & 10 E-mail

The Problem of Pain

Chapters 9 & 10

Chapter 9 - Animal Pain

In this chapter, Lewis admittedly is in the area of speculation.  Because the Bible has so little to say about animal pain or animal immortality, anyone's guess is as good as another. 

Lewis was fond of his pets.  At age 4, he abandoned his given name "Clive" and announced that he wanted to be called "Jack."  This occurred after his dog, Jacksie, was hit by one of the earliest motorcars in Belfast.  Also as a child, he along with his brother created a make-believe world, Boxen, inhabited by talking animals.  Lewis loved nature and long walks in the woods.  His letters are full of observations about birds, the seasons, and the antics of his dog and cats.  Lewis made amusing observations on the behavior of animals.  In Letters to an American Lady, he likened the dog to the repentant sinner and the cat to the Pharisee who thanked God that he was not like dogs or even other cats. 

From Letters to an American Lady, 26 November 1962, pp. 110-111:
My stuff about animals came long ago in The Problem of Pain.  I ventured the supposal - it could be nothing more - that as we are raised in Christ, so at least some animals are raised in us.  Who knows, indeed, but that a great deal even of the inanimate creation is raised in the redeemed souls who have, during this life, taken its beauty into themselves?  That may be the way in which the "new heaven and the new earth" are formed.  Of course we can only guess and wonder.  But these particular guesses arise in me, I trust, from taking seriously the resurrection of the body: a doctrine which now-a-days is very soft pedalled by nearly all the faithful - to our great impoverishment. 

1.  Why do Lewis's earlier thoughts about the redemptive aspects of human pain not apply to the animal kingdom?

2.  How does Lewis view an animal's lack of consciousness or soul/self when it comes to experiencing pain?  Immortality?

3.  Why does Lewis contend that domesticated animals, rather than wild animals, are in their true "natural" state? 

4.  Why might Christians hesitate to believe in animal immortality?

5.  Explain Lewis's idea of "derivative immortality" for domesticated animals.  Do you agree/disagree?

6.  Why do you think Lewis included this chapter?  Is it a distraction?  Does it help with issues you may have wondered about?

7.  Some Scripture references about God's relationship to the animal kingdom: 

Genesis 1:20-25 - Pronounced "good"
Genesis 9:16 - God made an everlasting covenant with Noah, his descendants and the animals.  (Query: why "everlasting" if animals are for this world only?)
Jonah 4:11 - God is concerned about Israel's enemy, even their animals.
Psalm 50:10, 11
Psalm 104:21, 27-30
Matthew 6:26 and 10:29
Isaiah 43:20 - The wild animals honor me.
Romans 8:19-23

Chapter 10 - Heaven

Other Thoughts from Lewis on Heaven

From The Last Battle:
When Aslan's creatures leave Narnia for heaven, they proclaim:

"I have come home at last!  This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.  The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this."
                                         * * *
"The further up and the further in you go, the bigger everything gets.  The inside is larger than the outside."

Mere Christianity:

     "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."

From The Great Divorce:

            "Then those people are right who say that Heaven and Hell are only states of mind?"

            "Hush," said he sternly.  "Do not blaspheme.  Hell is a state of mind-ye never said a truer word.  And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind-is, in the end, Hell.  But Heaven is not a state of mind.  Heaven is reality itself.  All that is fully real is Heavenly.  For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakable remains."

From The Problem of Pain:

            "Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it-made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand." 
Cf. John 14:2    "I go to prepare a place for you."

8.  How many sermons on heaven have you heard?  Why might people be silent on the subject of heaven?

9.  In the second paragraph of chapter 10, Lewis says he is merely stating an opinion, without the slightest authority.  His opinion is that within each soul is a longing for heaven.  Do you agree/disagree?  How does the desire for heaven differ from a mercenary desire?

10.  Why does God make each soul unique?  What use does God have for all these differences? 

11.  What does Lewis term "the ultimate law"?

12.  Lewis believes that there will be no ownership in heaven.  What are the ramifications of this?

13.  What distinctions exist between "union" and "sameness"?

14.  What happens to the self in Heaven, according to Lewis?

15.  Does the promise heaven affect your thinking about pain?


Docetism:  an early church heresy stating that Jesus only seemed to have a real human body.  He was actually a phantom.

John Wesley's sermon mentioned in a footnote comes from Sermon 60, "The General Deliverance" on Romans 8:19-22 (1782).  Wesley preached that the brute beasts would be restored along with all creation.  He speculated that God might enhance the status and glory of the animals beyond that which they enjoyed in the garden. 

 "And whatever affections they had in the garden of God will be restored with vast increase, being exalted and refined in a manner which we ourselves are not now able to comprehend.  The liberty they then had will be completely restored, . . . They will be delivered from all irregular appetites, from all unruly passions, . . . No rage will be found in any creature, no fierceness, no cruelty or thirst for blood."

". . . all the deformity of their aspect, will vanish away, and be exchanged for their primeval beauty. . . .  In the new earth, as well as in the new heavens, there will be nothing to give pain, but everything that the wisdom and goodness of God can create to give happiness.  As a recompense for what they once suffered while under ‘the bondage of corruption', when God has ‘renewed the face of the earth', and their corruptible body has put on incorruption, they shall enjoy happiness suited to their state, without alloy, without interruption, and without end."

Wesley concludes, "God regards his meanest creatures, much" and rhetorically asks, "How much more does your heavenly Father care for you!"

Amende:  monetary punishment or fine; a reparation or recantation

Brocken spectre:  a gigantic shadow of the viewer, which falls on the upper surface of clouds opposite the sun.  The phenomenon appears in literature and legend.

© 2012 by Allyson Wieland