The problem of evil is usually considered one of the strongest arguments for atheism. In this short post we’ll consider it and possible responses available to the classical theist. The argument goes something like this:
- If God exists, then he is all-powerful (omnipotent) and all-good (omnibenevolent) and all-knowing (omniscient).
- If God is all-powerful, then he is able to prevent all evil from occurring
- If God is all-good, then he wants to prevent all evil from occurring.
- Evil exists.
- Therefore God does not exist.
The argument is certainly valid, but is it sound? Classical theists won’t deny premise 1, and premise 4 is unimpeachable, so if we’re to deny any of the premises it must be premise 2 or 3. In this post we’ll talk mainly about objections to premise 3.
Morally Sufficient Reasons
Often, something like following claim is given in response to premise 3:
SR. God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing the evils in the world
What morally sufficient reasons could God have for allowing the evils we see in the world? A number of different answers can be given to this question.