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If God exists, how can there be suffering and evil in the world? Doesn't evil disprove God?

Key Points:

  • The “logical problem of evil” is framed this way: (1) If God is willing to prevent evil but not able, he is not all-powerful. (2) If God is able to prevent evil but is not willing, he is not good. (3) If God is both willing and able yet evil exists, how can God exist? (4) If he is neither able nor willing, why call him “God?”
  • It is not impossible for evil to exist and for an all-loving, all-powerful God to exist. There are two hidden assumptions behind this objection: (1) An all-powerful God can create any kind of world he wants. (2) If God is all-loving, he prefers a world without suffering. (See excursus 1 below for more.)
  • For this objection to truly hold water, objectors would have to demonstrate: (1) That it’s logically impossible for free will to exist. (2) That it’s logically impossible for an all-loving God to have loving reasons for permitting suffering. (See excursus 2 below for more.)
  • As the Bible itself tells us as early as Genesis 3, it is entirely possible for an all-powerful, all-loving God and evil & suffering to both exist. This objection does not disprove God.

Quote This:

Job 42:2 (ESV) I know that you [God] can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

John 3:16 (ESV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

See Also:  Apologetics, Evil, New BelieversSkeptics

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Have you struggled with belief in God due to evil and suffering either in your own life or in the world at large? Explain.
  3. Read John 10:17-18. How does this verse from Jesus prove that an all-loving God does at times ordain that suffering must occur to achieve a greater good?
  4. What are some reasons you think God might allow suffering?
  5. How can we help other people understand that evil does not contradict God?
  6. How is God working to counteract evil and suffering in the world? What do you think is the ultimate destiny of evil and suffering?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.