Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Problem of Pain: Chapter 10 - Heaven

For anyone new here, I am doing a series of "book club" posts going through "The Problem of Pain" by CS Lewis. The format I post in is similar to my bible posts, section headings in bold, summary in regular text, my comments in italics. The only difference here is there are no section headings in the book so I make them up.


Not Just Pie in the Sky

Heaven is the other side of the coin to the problem of pain, so a book on pain really needs to include something about heaven. Some say that Christians don't bring up heaven to avoid the jeer of pie in the sky hopes. But there is either pie in the sky or there isn't, and if there isn't Christianity is wrong. Some claim that heaven is a bribe, but heaven offers nothing a mercenary soul would want. It is safe to tell the pure at heart they get to see God, because only the pure of heart want to.

Maybe the standard view of heaven has changed a lot since this was written, but heaven is described as a lot more than simply seeing God.

Desire for Heaven is a Hidden Thread

Sometimes Lewis says he has thought that Christians don't really seek heaven, but then realized that the desire is subtly behind everything they do. It is like an indefinable quality that attracts us to our hobbies. It is like the hidden thread in the binding of books that most people are unaware of.

I am not really sure I follow his train of thought here.

Why Are Our Souls Different From One Another?

It is a mystery to us why our souls have differences, however, it is not a mystery to God. Imagine a person who had never seen a lock, how well would the understand keys? Each person's soul fits perfectly in their spot in heaven.

Interesting analogy I guess, but then what happens to that spot in heaven if you go to hell? I'm guessing that is where he is going next.

If You Go to Hell you Just Missed Heaven

You never know what heaven or hell will be like until you get there, no one has ever been able to express what it is like. If you go to hell, you will realize that you had the chance to go to heaven but you missed it.

Ideas like this are just strange to me. How can you say that something has never been expressed? If that is the case how do you know about it? The whole idea is odd.

Unions Only Exist Between Distincts

Again, why are our souls different from one another? Each person could love God in a different way, focusing on a different aspect. Also, unions can only exist between distinct entities so the idea that God is everything doesn't really work.

In Heaven We Must Give Everything Away

In heaven, we must give away everything. If you get something you must give it to someone else. Our souls are simply empty vessels that God fills.

This chapter is just a bunch of ramblings. It is just the ravings of C.S. Lewis, I don't know how much of this he has gotten from other people, what is from scripture, and what he just made up, but it seems that he just had crazy ideas and ran with them. 


Well, that was the last chapter. If you have been reading along with me I hope you found it as interesting as I did. Next week I am planning on doing one final summary post about this book. I'm going to go through all of my posts on the subject and give my final thoughts. See you next week.


  1. Are you going to move on to another book, or just stick with the Bible & "Is God Just a Human Invention"?

  2. At times I was having a bit of trouble keeping up, so I'm going to just be happy one finished and stick with the other stuff :)

    At some point I am thinking about playing around with some quantum mechanics (we talked about it here) but that won't be for a little while. I'm moving next month so things will probably be a bit hectic. But once we are settled in a new place I'll be ready to start another long term project.

    1. Ah, cool. I love me some quantum mechanics. (even though I don't really get it)

    2. Yeah, I know almost nothing about it either. It might be a bit of the blind leading the blind, but I think it will be fun and hopefully we will all learn something.

  3. You just proved this chapter right. Lewis talks about in Heaven we will have our own individual personal revelation from God that just won't fit for anyone else. The closet thing we can come to that in this life is when yourself has a passion for something that when other people look at the same way, they don't get it.

    I love this chapter and it gave me such an amazing perspective, you blew through it and didn't look at it the same way.

    1. It's been a little over a year since I read this chapter and wrote this post, so it is more than a bit dusty in my mind. I wouldn't be opposed to reading it again and seeing what I think of it now. As you can see in the sidebar, I was barely through the gospels when I read this, and now I have finished the new testament and have gone back to the old testament. I imagine my perspective could have changed quite a bit.

      You said I proved the chapter right, I'm not sure I follow, can you elaborate? If I were to go back and read this chapter, what should I keep my eyes out for. You say I blew through it, implying I missed something important. What would you say that thing is? What should I look for?

      I would be very interested in a dialog here, and I will go back and reread this if it seems there is something for me to get out of it. I do however, have a newborn in the house right now, so my response time might be quite poor :) Just FYI, if you respond and it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm just taking a while before I can find a few moments with my computer again.


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