The Problem of Evil

  • Created by: Pip Dan
  • Created on: 05-06-16 13:42

The Problem of Evil

The problem of evil is a real challenge for those who uphold the idea of the omnibenevolent, omnipotent God of classical theism e.g. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The three are collectively known as the largest of the Abrahamic religions.

God has created the universe out of nothing and is totally responsible for it.  If He is all-powerful, then He can do anything that is logically possible.  This means He could create a world that is free from evil and suffering. 

  • As He is omnibenevolent He would want all evil and suffering to end
  • As He is omniscient He knows how to stop all evil and suffering
  • As He is omnipotent He is able to stop evil and suffering

However since most agree that evil exists it is logical to then argue that God does not exist as He would have stopped evil.

Inconsistent triad

Australian philosopher (Atheist) J.L. Mackie put forward his inconsistent triad in his article

'Evil and Omnipotence' in 1955. He argued that these three statements cannot be simultaneously true:

  • God is omnipotent
  • God is Omnibenevolent
  • There is evil

If God is omnipotent, he is aware of the existing evil and suffering and knows how to put a stop to it. If God is omnibenevolent he will want to put a stop to it. The effects and scope of evil is so tangible that it seems nonsensical to refuse its existence. Therefore to resolve the inconsistent triad then one of the statements must be removed.

God is not omnipotent - If God


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