There is no doubt that God and the problem of evil contradict each other. In today’s blog, I am going to explore why the existence of evil and suffering in the world causes such a big problem for a belief in the Judeo-Christian God. With such evils happening in the world, such as the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, how can God exist?
God and the Problem of Evil: The Epicurean Trilema
The traditional Judeo-Christian God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent. Omnipotent means that God is all powerful (remember ‘p’ in it for powerful!). Omnibenevolent means that God is all loving.
There is a trilema here (three possible options). Either God does not love us, so evil exists in the world. Or, God is not omnipotent – he does not have the power to stop evil, so evil exists. Or, God does not exist. This was originally asserted by Epicurus, hence the name Epicurean hypothesis. It is also sometimes known as the inconsistent triad, because of the inconsistencies surrounding God and his existence with reference to evil and suffering.
God and the Problem of Evil: Ways forward for Christians
Indeed, this is a big problem for the Christian believer, as it challenges the essence of God, or the existence of God himself. However, many Christians believe that there are reasons for evil existing in the world. Perhaps this is all part of God’s plan and beyond human understanding.
Indeed, if evil and suffering did not exist, we would not learn and develop as human beings. Nor would we have the opportunity to do good and help others. Another key argument is that it is man who causes evil and suffering, not God. If God did not give us freewill, we would not be individuals, but simply robots.
There are several theories have been put forward by Christian philosophers to try to overcome the problem of evil. If you are interested in finding out more, I recommend that you read about the Augustinian and Irenean theodicies. Follow this link to find out more about God and Suffering: Augustine on Evil.
What do you think about God and the Problem of Evil?
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on God and the Problem of Evil, so please feel free to comment on this blog.