The Problem of Evil

Best Essays
“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.

The Basics

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, hurric...

... middle of paper ...

...em of Evil. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved (2009, October 16) from

Cowan, S.B., & Spiegel, J.S. (2009). The Love of Wisdom: A Christian Introduction to Philosophy . Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group.

Erickson, M.J. (2000). Christian Theology, Second Edition. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books.

Kreeft, Peter. (1988).“The Problem of Evil.” Chapter 7 in Fundamentals of the Faith. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Lewis, C.S. (1994). The Problem of Pain. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc.

Tattersall, N. (1998, November 30). The Evidential Argument from Evil. Retrieved from

Tooley, M. (2002). The Problem of Evil. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved (2009, October 16) from
Get Access