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

tumblr_m2y99iXTVp1r8bkolo1_500The problem:  If God is good and all-powerful, why would he allow evil and suffering, and send people to hell?  Here are 3 things to consider.

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, then 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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DISCLAIMER: Blog entries made by individual authors reflect the views of the author and not necessarily the view of other CAA authors, or the official position of the group at large.
About Maryann Spikes

Maryann Spikes is the original admin of the Christian Apologetics Alliance blog. She also blogs at Ichthus77. Maryann loves apologetics and philosophy, particularly all things Euthyphro Dilemma and Golden Rule. A para-educator (autism) for five years, she holds a Certificate in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, is a very part-time undergraduate student, and moonlights as a freelancer at Ichthus77.com.  You can follow her on Twitter @Ichthus77, connect with the Ichthus77 community on Facebook, or look her up on Google+.

  • Arthur Khachatryan

    Great post!