C. S. Lewis and the Problem of Evil

Got a problem with evil? So did C. S. Lewis. In fact, for years it prevented him from believing in God.

If God is both good and powerful, why is there so much suffering in the world? Why do good people suffer? Why do animals suffer? What can be done to ameliorate the problem?

As a student, you can take the course as a major or as a minor. If you take it as a minor, you will write on the first four topics. If you take it as a major course, you will write on all eight topics.

Paper Topics:

1. Lewis on moral evil
2. Lewis on natural evil (and animal suffering)
3. Lewis on diabolical evil
4. Lewis’s understanding of hell
5. Lewis and belief in purgatory (major only)
6. Lewis a prophet? Lewis vs. John Hick (major only)
7. Lewis’s mistake? Lewis vs. Thomas Oord (major only)
8. Evil in The Chronicles of Narnia (major only)

Jason will direct you towards initial research materials for each topic. From there, you can branch out and explore the world of your topic! For more information, or for a more detailed syllabus, contact Jason.

Some of the primary sources you will explore include: C. S. Lewis’s books The Problem of PainA Grief Observed, The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce; and C. S. Lewis’s essays, poems, and sermons ‘The Pains of Animals’, ‘Vivisection’, and ‘A Reply to Professor Haldane’.

Some of the secondary sources you will explore include: Nature Red in Tooth and Claw by Michael Murray; The Uncontrolling Love of God by Thomas Jay Oord; ‘A Hell of a Choice’ by Jerry Walls; and ‘Williams’ Descent Into Hell’ by Holly Ordway.