In 1940, C.S. Lewis penned The Problem of Pain, addressing the intellectual issues surrounding evil. A little more than 20 years later, Lewis wrote A Grief Observed,
journaling his experience of pain and suffering after the death of his
wife, Joy. In the first half of the latter book, Lewis seems to
indicate that his intellectual reasons offered no help with his
"Not that I am (I
think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is
of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I
dread is not 'So there's no God after all,' but 'So this is what God's
really like...it's easy enough to say that God seems absent at our
greatest need because He is absent--non-existent...she was in
God's hands all the time, and I have seen what they did to her here.
Do they suddenly become gentler to us the moment we are out of the
body? And if so, why? If God's goodness is inconsistent with his
hurting us, then either God is not good or there is no God: for in the
only life we know He hurts us beyond our worst fears and beyond all we
can imagine. If it is consistent with hurting us, then He may hurt us
after death as unendurably as before it."
have cited Lewis' experience as evidence that our intellectual reasons
are unhelpful and therefore, not needed in the existential struggle of
pain, suffering, and evil. I have three responses.