Five responses to the ‘Problem of (Natural) Evil’

Question 181, from Emma

I am doing a talk on suffering. I want to focus on WHY there is suffering if God is a loving, omnipotent, omniscient God and in particular why God would plan a world where earthquakes etc. would be necessary (yet cause deaths and pain)? I understand to a certain extent how man-made suffering comes about as a result of free will but please explain a bit more about natural suffering.

The issue of evil that appears to be naturally occurring is a taxing one. It seems arbitrary and inconsistent with the Christian assertion that God is good and created the world as a ‘good’ world for humans to live in.

There have been a number of attempts to provide an explanation for ‘natural evil’. Some are more convincing than others, and there is no definitive answer that conclusively answers the question. Here is a brief introduction to five approaches that have been used. (more…)