My wife has cancer. We initially learned of her cancer just two days before our first anniversary. I am so proud of the way she has handled herself over the last four-and-a-half years as she has endured treatments, surgeries, and side effects. Our experience is not unique, of course. Today approximately 4,600 Americans will learn that they have cancer.
The reality of pain and suffering – whether caused by diseases like cancer, disasters like tsunamis, or inhumanities like murder – is a great challenge to faith. The psalmist Asaph says his faith faltered as he “saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:2-3). In the midst of his anguish, Job complained about God’s seeming indifference: “It is all one; therefore I say, He destroys both the blameless and the wicked” (Job 9:22). And even the Lord Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46, quoting Psalm 22:1).
Philosophers refer to the difficulty in reconciling the existence of suffering with the existence of God as the problem of evil. To state the argument in its classical formulation, it goes like this:
- Premise 1: Evil exists.
- Premise 2: If God was all-powerful, He could prevent the existence of evil.
- Premise 3: If God was all-good, He would prevent the existence of evil.
- Conclusion: Therefore God does not exist.
What are we to make of this argument? Continue reading