Dear Friends,

Below are some resources that I have found helpful in thinking about the beginning of sin and evil in our world and the problem of evil.

I know that lots of people do not like reading fiction but, if you like to read novels, you should read C.S. Lewis’ brilliant retelling of Genesis 3 in Voyage to Venus. This novel is the second book in a trilogy, but I think you can read it without reading the first book. By the way, all three novels in the trilogy are really worth reading. In Voyage to Venus Lewis imagines a new Garden of Eden with a new Eve. This time the role of the serpent is taken by Weston, a scientist from earth. Lewis also adds a good man, Ransom, who knows of the disaster in Genesis 3, and who tries to urge the new Eve to not fall for the message of the new serpent. Profound and moving novel!

If you are bothered by the presence of the serpent in Genesis 3, a really excellent short essay to read is Horrid Red Things by C.S. Lewis. It was originally a chapter in his book, Miracles, but it can be found on the web quite easily. This essay is very helpful in understanding the role of symbolism and metaphor in the Bible and Christian thought.

One more Lewis recommendation. His book, The Problem of Pain, is a modern classic on the Christian understanding of the problem of evil. If you do not already know, C.S. Lewis has been, and continues to be, a huge influence in my life. I have probably read all of his works, many of them more than once. If you have not read him yet, I encourage you to begin.

A simple but helpful discussion of the problem of evil is Peter Kreeft’s Making Sense out of Suffering.

Finally, Tim Keller has written a superb book on the problem of evil. It is called, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering. In his book, Keller deals with both the intellectual issues around suffering and God. He also deals with the personal issues in helpful ways.

In closing, remember to pray for people who are suffering. As well, remember to invite them to invite Jesus into their life to be their Saviour and Lord. I must confess that it is easy to give “practical” advice and “practical” help. It is easy to pray for healing. It is easy to think that a person needs to be “well” to receive Jesus. It is easy to believe that someone’s pain will mean they will not consider Jesus. This thinking is easy because the world, the flesh and the devil want us to be silent about the Saviour! So, I encourage you to be compassionate and practical and prayerful and most of all, to tell people about Jesus, the “man of sorrows” whose “yoke is easy” and who “gives rest”. Prayerfully share the Gospel with those who suffer.