Problem: If God is good and all-powerful, why does he not prevent evil, suffering and hell?

tumblr_m2y99iXTVp1r8bkolo1_500-300x217My thoughts on the solution:

1. Unconditional love is impossible if suffering and evil are impossible. God, like a good father, allows us to learn from our mistakes, rather than dysfunctionally protecting us from them by a) preventing us from making them, or b) preventing us from experiencing the consequences. If all suffering were made impossible, we would never learn what it means to love and be loved unconditionally.  It would be worse to make a world where unconditional love is impossible, than to allow all evil and suffering.  Love covers over a multitude of things.  Better off are those who love and lose, than those who never love at all.  Love is worth it.  That’s what Jesus died to show.
2. Similar to 1, Heaven (ultimate love) is impossible if it is not a choice.  If there is no alternative choice–hell–then heaven is not a choice, it is a prison.  “On the question of a loving God sending people to hell, Keller writes that God gives people free choice in the matter. ‘In short, hell is simply one’s freely chosen identity apart from God on a trajectory into infinity’ (p.78). In other words, those who end up in hell chose that destination by rejecting God.” (Penguin) Heaven wouldn’t be heaven if we had no choice but to be there.
3. If there is no God making the idea of “good” true to reality, there is no “problem” of evil, suffering, or hell. That one senses a problem is a clue to there being a God–an always good being to which the idea of “good” is true.  Without a real “good” there is no real departure from good, and thus no problem of evil.  “Paraphrasing C.S. Lewis, the author states: ‘… modern objections to God are based on a sense of fair-play and justice. People, we believe, ought not to suffer, be excluded, die of hunger or oppression. But the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection depends on death, destruction, and violence of the strong against the weak – these things are all perfectly natural. On what basis, then, does the atheist judge the natural world to be horribly wrong, unfair, and unjust’? (p.26)” (Penguin).  The naturalist has their own “problem of evil” to answer, since the only being to which the idea of “good” can be real is God.
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About Maryann

Maryann Spikes is the past President of the Christian Apologetics Alliance. She blogs at Ichthus77, and loves apologetics and philosophy. In particular she loves to study all things Euthyphro Dilemma and Golden Rule. A para-educator (autism) for five years, she holds a Certificate in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, an AA in Humanities via Modesto Junior College, and moonlights as a freelancer. You can follow her on Twitter @Ichthus77, connect with the Ichthus77 community on Facebook, or look her up on Google+.
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Apologetics Toolbox, Problem of Evil & Hell. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Problem: If God is good and all-powerful, why does he not prevent evil, suffering and hell?

  1. Newton says:

    Just probing around here. I have yet to witness a miracle that I was able to attribute to God. Im sure though that others have. From their experience, what type of interventions, that youve heard of, have been witnessed?
    Im hugely curious about the variable of miracles, which is definitely a significance to be considered in the study of the Lord.

    Kindly,
    Chris

  2. Chris, are we not Facebook friends? If we are, I'm fairly certain you don't consider Jesus to be “the Lord”–have you converted? :0)

    If you have something to say relevant to the thread to which you are replying, go for it. I recommend checking out this thread: http://ichthus77.blogspot.com/2008/01/signs.html Might also search the term “miracle” in C.A.S.E.: http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=005436962526459497738%3Anktistqgjuw

  3. Newton says:

    Hi facebook buddy,

    I just saw this.

    No, not converted. Im just trying to speak in a lnguage that can be understood. : )

    Any chance you can repost me that link? It didnt make itself clickable.

  4. C.A.S.E.: http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=005436962526459497738%3Anktistqgjuw

    If it still isn't clickable just paste into your address bar.

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