Rawlings School of Divinity


Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics (MA)


Edward Martin


C.S. Lewis, theodicy, evil, suffering, Inklings, Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, A Grief Observed




Problems, for us as humans, can be seen to as a moving target. There are two concerns that immediately come to the forefront. Those concerns are as follows: who defines the problem and how do they define the problem. Answering these two questions provides the direction for answering the next concern. And that concern then turns to how does one solve the problem? For solving a problem involves defining if there is a problem and can it be solved. Quite possibly the most confounding and complex problem to face humanity as a whole and Christianity specifically is the problem of evil. Is this a problem? Is there more than one problem of evil? Can it or they be solved? How does one solve it? These are all questions that the Christian apologist must grapple with in defending the faith. One such apologist was none other than C.S. Lewis. Lewis was an Oxford don, poet, writer, and Christian apologist. Without a doubt his most famous works are The Chronicles of Narnia children’s novels. However, Lewis was quite a prolific writer, especially in the world of apologetics. Lewis was not shy in addressing the question and problem of evil. However, it is this writer’s assertion that, even though Lewis addressed this topic from a firm foundation that the Christian faith only has the answer to all aspects of the problem of evil, his plan of attack, if you will, would evolve over the course of time and three books. Lewis would begin his apologetic, his theodicy, concerning the problem of evil with his book The Problem of Pain. This book examines the problem from a philosophical point of view. His next work concerning this problem that we will examine is Mere Christianity. This book comes at the problem from the angle of practical application of dealing with evil. The third book we will examine is his very personal book, A Grief Observed. This book handles the problem from an experiential angle. C.S. Lewis is a person, writer, thinker, and apologist, that has been written about extensively. His life and his works have all been thoroughly examined over the years, and adding one more paper to the pile seems, on the surface, to be pointless. However, it is the assertion of this writer that nowhere have these three books been laid side by side and examined as an evolutionary trilogy of C.S. Lewis’ theodicy. To give a full examination of and explanation of this writer’s assertion concerning Lewis’ theodicy, this paper will begin with Chapter One dealing with the problem of evil itself, as well as various methods of explaining a solution to the problem. Chapter Two will be a biographical sketch of Lewis’ life and career. Chapter Three will be our examination of The Problem of Pain. Chapter Four will examine Mere Christianity. Chapter Five will be looking at A Grief Observed. Chapter Six will be the synthesis of these three books to give a clearer picture of Lewis’ theodicy. It is the assertion of this paper that Lewis’ theodicy was not merely found in one or more of his books. His theodicy is found in compiling these books and overlaying them with his life. His theodicy is found in his understanding of the presence of evil in this world, some purposes for evil in this world, the participation of God in the evil of this world through the death of Christ on the cross, and the ultimate power over evil being a relationship with God through the evil that is faced in this world.

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