The problem of evil (POE) is probably the most serious challenge to the rationality of Christian theism. At its core, the POE claims that there is a fundamental contradiction within Christian belief. Christians believe that there exists an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly good God. This belief is a necessary component of Christianity such that if proven false would prove Christian theism false. Christians also believe that the state of affairs that has obtained involves evil. This belief is also a necessary component of Christianity such that if proven false would prove Christian theism false. Hence, if Christianity is true, then it is also true that an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly good God created a world that includes evil. Every Christian should be able to reconcile these beliefs in a way that they do not lead to contradiction, but more importantly in a way that is also consistent with Christian Scripture. Some Christians attempt to solve the contradiction but end up compromising Christians beliefs about the nature of God. Others attempt to solve the contradiction but end up with a view of man is also quite out of step with Scripture. Such extremes must be avoided, and it is the purpose of this post to help you do just that.
The critic claims that the kind of God that Christians believe exists is not the kind of being that would create a world like this. An all-powerful God is powerful enough to create a world in which evil does not exist. An all-knowing God would know how to create a world in which evil does not exist. Finally, a perfectly good God would not create a world in which evil exists. There is good reason to examine these claims. The argument continues; since evil exists, the Christian claim that an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly good God exists is contradicted by the fact that evil exists. Therefore, Christianity holds to beliefs that contradict one another. Either Christianity must deny that evil exists, or it must relinquish its claim that the sort of God it believes in actually exists. Either way, Christianity is irrational for holding to the belief that this sort of God exists, and evil exists at the same time. It seems then, if this argument is sound, that the Christian religion is doomed because without evil Christianity collapses and without it’s God revealed in the Bible, it collapses. As you can see, the argument is really quite powerful and has caused many professing Christians to give up their Christian beliefs. How do you answer the charge?