Liberty theological Seminary
the Problem of evil
A research paper submitted to
DR Malcom Hester
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THEO 525
department of religion
tension of evil 5
THE ESSENTIAL ISSUE AND POSSIBLE ANSWERS 8
The “problem of evil” can be stated in the following terms: How can evil exist in a universe created and governed by an all–powerful, benevolent, perfectly good God? This paper seeks to introduce and examine this issue from the perspective of Scripture; and, reasoning from the Bible, give an intelligent, coherent defense of the biblical position.
Why? Why did daddy leave? Why did that family get hurt so badly when that drunk driver crashed into them? Why are people dying in Iraq? Why does grandpa have cancer? Why did those innocent kids at Virginia Tech have to die? Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why do the wicked prosper? Why…?
Since the early Greek philosophers, many thinkers have concerned themselves with what has become known as the “problem of evil.” There have been many questions how the god of theism-- usually a god thought to be omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good, could allow undeserved, physical suffering or perhaps permit the death of thousands of individuals in a single natural disaster. For the Christian, it is the same: How could a loving, benevolent God allow these bad things to happen?
Philosophers and theologians alike have attempted to solve this divine tension. The problem recognized in philosophical discussions usually includes a statement from eighteenth century philosopher, David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion: “Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?”1
The argument generally comes to...