There have been many attempts through the centuries to address this dilemma, ranging from denial of the logical problem that seems apparent when trying to hold to all three assertions, to giving reasons for God allowing evil for some larger goods: because love requires free will, which opens the door to the possibility of us choosing evil, or because the presence of evil creates ideal conditions for “soul making,” our proving ourselves through how we respond to it.
One of the most prominent and difficult issues in philosophy of religion addresses the dilemma that arises when one asserts the existence of an all-powerful God who is also perfectly loving, while also asserting the presence of genuine evil in the world. As David Hume puts the case: “Either God would remove evil out of this world, and cannot; or He can, and will not; or, He has not the power nor will; or, lastly He has both the power and will. If He has the will, and not the power, this shows weakness, which is contrary to the nature of God. If He has the power, and not the will it is malignity, and this is no less contrary to His nature. If He is neither able nor willing, He is both impotent and malignant, and consequently cannot be God. If he is both willing and able (which alone is consonant to the nature of God), whence comes evil, or why does he not prevent it?”
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