“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” (Lewis, 1994, p. 91). Throughout history man has had to struggle with the problem of evil. It is one of the greatest problems of the world. Unquestionably, there is no greater challenge to man’s faith then the existence of evil and a suffering world. The problem can be stated simply: If God is an all-knowing and all-loving God, how can He allow evil? If God is so good, how can He allow such bad things to happen?Why does He allow bad things to happen to good people? These are fundamental questions that many Christians and non-Christians set out to answer.
It is perhaps the most difficult intellectual challenge to a Christian how God and evil can both exist. Many of the greatest minds of the Christian church and intellects such as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas spent their entire lives trying to solve this problem, and were unsuccessful (Erickson, 2009, p.439). However, this dilemma is not only an intellectual challenge, but it is emotional. Man feels it, lives it. Failing to identify the religious form of the problem of evil will appear insensitive; failure to address the theological form will seem intellectually insulting. This conundrum will never be completely met during our earthly life, but there are many biblical and philosophical resources that help mitigate it.
There are two general types of evil. There is natural evil and moral evil (Erickson, 2000, p.437). Natural evil does not involve the willingness or actions of man. It is simply a part of nature that seems to create an obstacle against the well-being of man. Examples of natural evil would be tsunamis, hurricanes, cancer, and diseases. All of these occurrences impose suffering on humanity. Moral evil, on the other hand, is caused by the decisions and actions of free moral agents (man). Examples of moral evil are crime, war, and cruelty. While moral evil can be explained by man having free will, and the choices they make, natural evil seems to simply be there in the creation that God has made (Erickson, 2000, p.438). With this in mind, man has come up with three conclusions about the problem of evil. God does exist and He has the power to prevent evil, in turn giving Him the power to permit evil. God exist and He does not have the power to stop evil, meaning He is not all-powerful or all-knowing, or God simply does not exist (Cowan & Spiegel, 2009, p. 297). If God is willing to stop evil but is not able, He is impotent. If God is able to prevent evil but is not willing, He is malicious.
There is no single argument for the problem of evil. Actually, there are numerous arguments that can be classified into three categories. The members of the first group will believe that the theistic God does not exist. The second group members will spend their time attempting to show that the existence of such a being as...