The Problem of Evil

The classic problem of evil is an issue only in certain monotheistic religions like Judaism and Christianity which assume the existence of a perfectly good (benign), all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient) creator God. In short, the question posed is, "If God is benign, omnipotent, and omniscient, why is there evil in the world?

In religions where God is not necessarily perfectly good, or all-powerful, or all-knowing, the problem does not arise. In early Judaism, for instance, God is sometimes said to cause evils (hardening Pharoah's heart, tempting David to conduct a sinful census), and even to repent (the Flood). But Judaism eventually evolved to insist on a perfectly good God. Then it was argued that evil stemmed from some rival being, like Satan. However, if Satan can exercise his power independently of God's will, then God is not all-powerful. If Satan acts merely as an agent for God's will, the problem of evil remains: how does God want Satan to commit evils that he himself would not be willing to commit? If God is perfectly good, he should be unable to commit or create evil. Evil is contrary to his nature.

The problem has two branches: physical and moral.

Logical answers to the problem of evil.

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