Evil

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The Problem of Evil
William Lane Craig
Examines both the logical and probabilistic arguments against God from suffering and evil.

The problem of evil is certainly the greatest obstacle to belief in the existence of God. When I ponder both the extent and depth of suffering in the world, whether due to man’s inhumanity to man or to natural disasters, then I must confess that I find it hard to believe that God exists. No doubt many of you have felt the same way. Perhaps we should all become atheists.

But that’s a pretty big step to take. How can we be sure that God does not exist? Perhaps there’s a reason why God permits all the evil in the world. Perhaps it somehow all fits into the grand scheme of things, which we can only dimly discern, if at all. How do we know?

As a Christian theist, I’m persuaded that the problem of evil, terrible as it is, does not in the end constitute a disproof of the existence of God. On the contrary, in fact, I think that Christian theism is man’s last best hope of solving the problem of evil.

In order to explain why I feel this way, it will be helpful to draw some distinctions to keep our thinking clear. First, we must distinguish between the intellectual problem of evil and the emotional problem of evil. The intellectual problem of evil concerns how to give a rational explanation of how God and evil can co-exist. The emotional problem of evil concerns how to dissolve people’s emotional dislike of a God who would permit suffering.

Now let’s look first at the intellectual problem of evil. There are two versions of this problem: first, the logical problem of evil, and second, the probabilistic problem of evil.

According to the logical problem of evil, it is logically impossible for God and evil to co-exist. If God exists, then evil cannot exist. If evil exists, then God cannot exist. Since evil exists, it follows that God…...

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