- God exists.
- God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good.
- Evil exists.
These are the three premises that the atheist balances on. Let us ignore how one comes to define "evil," as some Christian apologists would do (and as I did). I think there is a better way for Christians to respond to this argument. But let us not get ahead of ourselves.
If God is all-good, He would not want evil to exist. If God is all-powerful, He would be able to destory all evil. If God is all-knowing, He would know that evil exists. Yet, evil exists. Why? You could suggest God was unable to prevent evil from existing, although He knew it existed and wanted to destroy it. You could suggest God didn't know about evil, even though He has the power and would be willing to destroy it if only He knew. Or, you could suggest that God simply wanted evil to exist, but that would imply He is not all-good. And if any of these instances are the case, then all three premises cannot be true.
Alas, many Christians are not discerning Christians. Those who are, however, would be able to say, "Isn't it probable that God, being all-good, would allow evil to exist for some all-good purpose?" Yes, in my mind, that is very probable. And that is one reason I never bought the "problem of evil" argument and remained in the Christian title.
That is, until recently I discovered a rebuttal for the Christian's response. Let us go back to the attributes, or character, of God: God is generally understood as all-wise, an off-shoot from His all-knowingness. If that is the case, then the Christian is left with a problem.
If God allowed evil to exist for some morally good purpose, it must be questioned whether God is truly all-wise and/or all-powerful. Why? Because, if He wanted some morally good purpose to be the result of evil existing, why not go about it in some other way? Surely an all-wise God would be able to think of a way to do it. And surely an all-powerful God would be able to perform another way.
"Nuh, uh," says the Christian. "'His ways are not your ways, and His thoughts are not your thoughts.'" Possibly, quite possible that would solve the problem. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I referred to a verse in the Bible that means that God doesn't do thinks like we do, and He doesn't think like we do. So even though we would think God should have done it another way, He didn't because He doesn't do things the way we would.
But the Christian forgets that pesky attribute of "all-good." An all-good God, under no circumstances whatsoever, would want any form of evil to exist. If He did, He wouldn't be all-good by definition. And because He would be wise enough and powerful enough to make whatever it is He wanted made without the existence of evil, we can only conclude that He isn't all-wise, or all-powerful, or all-good, or all-knowing, or He simply doesn't exist. I have voted for the latter, because a god who is not omni-et. al. is not God.