Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tough Topic Tuesday: The Problem of Evil, Pt. 1

The problem of evil (POE) is considered by many to be the most potent objection to the existence of God.  The POE typically comes in three different forms: 1) the logical 2) the evidential 3) and the emotional.  

Over the next several weeks we will present each version and offer a concise response.  This week, we consider the logical version.

Logical Version: “It’s Logically Impossible for God and Suffering to Coexist.”

The argument goes something like this:

1. An all-loving, all-powerful God exists.
2. Suffering exists.

Usual assumptions…

3. If God is all powerful, He can create any world that He wants.
4. If God is all-loving, He prefers a world without suffering.

Argument: God is all-loving and all-powerful.  Therefore, He both can and wants to create a world without suffering.  Therefore, it follows that the world has no suffering.  But that contradicts 2, Suffering exists. Therefore, God must not exist. 1

How would you respond?  Sound off in the comments!  

Next Tuesday we will offer a response to assumption 3.

Courage and Godspeed,

1. William Lane Craig, On Guard, p. 154-155.

1 comment:

William Brown said...

This may be the clause that is flawed.... " Therefore, He both can and wants to create a world without suffering."

Ie: Perhaps it is a logical impossibility to create a world without suffering that is the best possible world. Reasons for this can include the necessity of truly free will, without which love is not possible. God is love. He would not create a world in which love is not possible. Many secondary reasons are commonly given for the allowance of suffering, none of which are as strong, IMO, as the above.
Also, natural evil is not really accounted for very well by my argument. Tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. could exist without any effect on free will. For this, one must go to the theology of the Fall, etc. which is problematic for most non-Christians.

And then there is the problem of the extremities of evil, for which no amount of speculation about the need for free will and love can ever suffice. This is where, I believe, no amount of reasoning or logic that can help. Examples abound - look up the Rape of Nanking, for example.