Peace, Child; You Don’t Understand: Theodicy in the Writings of C. S. Lewis -- By: Eamon McGraw

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 80:1 (Spring 2018)
Article: Peace, Child; You Don’t Understand: Theodicy in the Writings of C. S. Lewis
Author: Eamon McGraw

Peace, Child; You Don’t Understand:
Theodicy in the Writings of C. S. Lewis

Eamon McGraw

Eamon McGraw is serving overseas as a Chaplain in the United States Navy. He holds the rank of lieutenant and is ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America.


C. S. Lewis’s works, though diverse in both content and style, consistently contain reflection on the problem of evil. Lewis wrote both apologetic works as well as a variety of essays, poems, and imaginative fiction, and it is this diversity of material that makes his theodicy so valuable. Whether we intend to examine the logical problem of evil or address the far more personal religious problem of evil, Lewis gives insight from multiple perspectives by tying together theology, logic, aesthetics, emotion, and experience into a robust and unique theodicy. Drawing on the major apologetic works (The Problem of Pain and A Grief Observed) and numerous letters, essays, and poems, as well as several imaginative works (Chronicles of Narnia, Space Trilogy), this article will offer a critical analysis of his theodicy and suggest relevant aspects for apologetics and pastoral ministry.

I cried out for the pain of man,

I cried out for my bitter wrath

Against the hopeless life that ran

For ever in a circling path

From death to death…1

All things are full of weariness: a man cannot utter it;

the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done,

and there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:8–9)

Since man’s first acceptance of the serpent’s lies, humanity has wondered over the problem of evil. Whether it is Job and his friends’ confusion, Paul’s potter and clay, or the martyrs’ impatient cry, Scripture itself is

full of the confused, and occasionally indignant, cry of the oppressed. Perhaps the grieving parents of murdered Abel understood something of their own complicity in the advent of evil, and perhaps too they felt anticipation for the one whose blood would speak a better word, but it was not long before the weight of the curse prompted questions about the God who is and the evil which should not be. The first logical formulation of the problem of evil is attributed to Epicurus some 2200 years ago (though we might justly ask if the groans of enslaved ...

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