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C. S. Lewis and His CircleEssays and Memoirs from the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society$
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Roger White, Judith Wolfe, and Brendan Wolfe

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190214340

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190214340.001.0001

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Charles Williams and the Problem of Evil

Charles Williams and the Problem of Evil

Chapter:
(p.65) 5 Charles Williams and the Problem of Evil
Source:
C. S. Lewis and His Circle
Author(s):

Paul Fiddes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190214340.003.0005

Charles Williams’s various genres of writing all show an unusual working out of the Augustinian concept of evil as privatio boni, a negation and absence of the good, and this chapter suggests that here he has both made an original contribution to Christian thought and stumbled into some theological problems. In several places, a comparison is made with the imaginative work of C. S. Lewis. The first section of the chapter traces Williams’s handling of the concept of evil through the stages of alteration of consciousness, divided consciousness, and transformation of consciousness. The second section identifies the danger of justifying the presence of evil in the world, worked out through Williams’s presentation of the force of necessity, the role of the ‘Accuser’, and the absolute decree of God. However, Williams constantly undermines any logical necessity of evil, and the ambiguous status of evil prompts us to deconstruct absolute binary oppositions with which we interpret the world, and to remake the image of God.

Keywords:   Charles Williams, C. S. Lewis, evil, privatio boni, image of God

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