The Problem of Pain
by Paul Hazelden


'Real life is about the way people are hurt and how they cope with their hurting.' Wanda Nash, Turning the Downside Up, Harper and Collins, 1995.

1.   The Problem Stated

In simple terms, we have a problem because we believe in...

And it is not immediately obvious how they can all be true.   On the other hand, it is not obvious how or why they conflict.   (Ref. Alvin Plantinga)

Background: a passage from 'Catch 22' by Joseph Heller.

2.   Perspectives on Pain

2a.   A Modern Problem

2b.   Choosing Pain

Is Pain always something we avoid?

2c.   Uses of Pain

Pain informs us something needs to change.   The problem with leprosy is that you cannot feel pain, so your body gets damaged

Pain was created by God, so it must be good.   He created the nerve cells which respond to pressure, damage and heat.   He created the neural network to transmit this information to the brain.

Pain was present in Eden.   When Adam pricked his finger or stubbed his toe, it hurt.   If you work through the implications of believing the opposite, it means that Adam would not have been human in any sense we recognise.

2d.   The Training Ground

Preparing for eternity

No pain in heaven

3.   Towards an Answer

3a.   Clarifying the objectives

Why do we end up talking about the problem of pain?   There are two basic situations.

3b.   The Cross

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Copyright © 1999 Paul Hazelden was last updated 29 August 2006
Page content last modified: 4 November 1999
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