The Logical Problem of Evil

by Randy Everist

We must never forget that there are people who are new to apologetics (whether they be new believers, unbelievers, or longtime believers who are coming to the arguments). When they come, they may bring up arguments, objections, or other questions/concerns that we have heard before. We must always be willing to answer these with patience and clarity. Today we have another one of those situations. I enjoy these!

This is the age-old logical problem of evil. The quote is as follows:

Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?
– Epicurus

The premises are really quite simple.

1. Either God wants to abolish evil and cannot or he can but does not want to.

2. If God wants to and cannot, then he is not omnipotent.

3. If God can and does not want to, then he is not omnibenevolent.

Assuming the truth of the premises, then regardless of which way the theist moves, he gets a God who is somewhat less than maximally excellent. This is an unacceptable scenario for the Christian…

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Possible Worlds: The Logical Problem of Evil

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RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:  If God, Why Evil?: A New Way to Think About the Question / Unspeakable: Facing Up to the Challenge of Evil / Contending with Christianity’s Critics: Answering New Atheists and Other Objectors / More apologetics resources >>>