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Problem of suffering


In the current century, there exist different perceptions as to whether there is the existence of God or not. This has brought up very heated debates in both learning institutions and social media. There is a section of people who are said to be atheists and therefore, they question the existence of God with some challenges and evidence that they bring forward. On the other hand, there is a majority of people who believe in the existence and have pieces of evidence towards this. They are ready to defend what they believe in as far as religion is concerned.

In arguments, there exists a premise. In this paper, I am going to state which premise is strong and which one can be said to be weak. After this, I am required to come up with a solid stand on whether I support the premise or not. After declaring my support or declining it to a certain premise, reasons as to why I choose my stand are going to be given.

 The above-stated part can be said to be the argument of the premise. Things that are going to make other people react to my argument are going to be highlighted together with the way they react. After this, there shall be a section on how I am going to reply to these people and finally my solid stand and conclusion is going to be given.

   The main focus is on the problem of suffering. It is well known that the problem that is very much influential to a person who believes in ‘the existence of God’ is ‘the problem of suffering’. It can also be said to be the problem of evil. This is because evil and suffering always go hand in hand. To some people, evil brings about suffering. Others believe that it is suffering that brings evil.

   This problem of suffering goes like this: “There is clearly suffering in the world. So either the omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent being does not know about it, knows about it but does not care, or cares but is unable to stop it. In the first case, the being is not omniscient. In the second, the being is not omnibenevolent. And in the third, the being is not omnipotent. Either way, at least one attribute is missing. Therefore, there is no omniscient, omnibenevolent and omnipotent being”

 This is a very interesting problem. Over the past years, philosophers and some theologians have come up with a lot of answers that are meant to bring a solution to this problem. These attempts are always referred to as theodicies (Ashton, & Westacott, 2006). They are generally broken down into the necessary evil theodicy, anti-interventionist theodicy, the free will theodicy, the mysterian theodicy as well as all the best possible world’s theodicy.

There are six premises under the problem of suffering. The first premise is an ‘omnipotent God would be able to prevent all evil/suffering, this is a weak premise’. The second one is an omnipotent God would try to prevent evil/suffering; this is also a weak premise. The third premise is an ‘omniscient God would know’ about ‘all evil/suffering’, which is also a weak premise (Ashton, & Westacott, 2006). The fourth premise is if there is an omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent God, it would prevent all evil/suffering. (from 1, 2, 3). The fifth premise which is not all evil/suffering can be prevented is the only strong premise. The last premise is there is no omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent God, this premise is a weak one also.



Under the problem of suffering, we have the following premises:

1)    An ‘omnipotent God would be able to prevent all evil/suffering’.


Premise 1

 I argue against the first premise that states that an ‘omnipotent God would be able to prevent all evil/suffering’. I am very much against this because omnipotence means the quality that enables one to have a power that is unlimited. The omnipotent nature of God only suggests that he can do anything that is possible (Maritain, & Watkin, 2005). On the other hand, it is very well known that this problem of suffering is an evil that is very necessary in the world. This, therefore, means that it is not possible ‘to prevent all the evil’ ‘or suffering that exists in the world’. This is a very good and non-objectionable reasons as to why though the omnipotent nature of God, he cannot be able to prevent all the evil or suffering that exists in the world. Therefore, this is the reason as to why I classify this premise to be a weak one.

  The reply that I am most likely to get from this kind of argument is going to be in the form of a question trying to interrogate me on why I think that suffering is a necessary evil. Some of them might be of the view that it is very unnecessary and therefore it should not be in existence.

  My reply to them would be that it is very unreasonable to think of a world which is not characterized by any form of suffering or evil. Suffering is responsible for making people be human (Maritain, & Watkin, 2005). When a human being undergoes suffering, he or she is connected to the same fate that the people before him or her and the people who are again going to come after. This evil or suffering also presents as a very great appreciation of those moments of comfort. Assuming that the world had all comfort moments, it would mean that we would not be able to appreciate these moments. This would then bring about less effort in people making them not attain their set goals.

 A second reason is that virtues are brought about by evil. Therefore, there can exist no good without the existence of bad (Maritain, & Watkin, 2005). Therefore, God had to permit evil because he created good. Other people would ask why I think so and they would try to say that this reason has no solid facts behind it and therefore is unmotivated. My response to them would be that, in order for an individual to understand the aspects of good, he or she must also be able to understand the aspects that exist where good does not exist. By understanding this aspect, then one is able to understand the aspect of evil or suffering.

The most common aspects of God portray him as a deity who is authoritative and at the same time, gives people the free will to choose for themselves. The free will given to humans permits them to operate, as they want (Maritain, & Watkin, 2005). For this reason, human beings have the free will to choose between adhering to their own laws or committing evil. If god automated humans according to his will, then man would not enjoy life. It is through strife that human beings become better versions of themselves. For instance, natural disasters are unpreventable and the only thing man can do is seat back as the extreme weather wreak havoc on their land.

Another response to this premise is occurrence of evil events is a necessity for human beings and the manifestation of good or modest deeds can only take place after evil. Some human traits only exist after evil manifests. For instance, the compassion dominates after one suffers and success comes after failure (Ashton, & Westacott, 2006). Hence with opposite of evil is good. Furthermore, liberty can only come from bondage and so on and so forth. In addition, God gave each one of us a functioning brain for problem solving and helping each other get out of problems. Therefore, humans beings are self-sufficient and well equipped to handle predicaments and evil that may come their way.

 Humans were not meant to be safe and sound away from the jaws of death. From birth to death, humans pass through pain and anguish as they try to go about their lives (Moser, 2009). God is only a helper and cannot solve all the challenges and man goes through and even sometimes creates for himself. Suffering on earth has its own place, it is justifiable, and the earth is a better place due to the existence of suffering. Furthermore, sufferings helps man shape character and strength.

 The focus should not be on the existence of god when discussing issues pertaining evil. Evil comes from dark hearted man who are willing to sacrifice anything in order to destroy the lives of other people (Moser, 2009). For instance, a thief can decide to rob the hard-earned money of someone else. The illustration above demonstrates man’s role in creating evil himself and even perpetuating it from time immemorial. In the end, the life of another man is dependent of another human being than an omnipresent God who already played his part and is waiting for man to fulfill his or hers.

God can only do so much since he operates based on human being emotions, actions and will. Some people say that evil exits due to the absence of god while others would rather blame god for every death experienced on earth (Moser, 2009). Give and take, the world may be a better place due to the existence of man’s free will to do as he or she pleases. In the event of a disaster, humans have a role to play rather heaping blame to a deity who gave the authority and ability to safeguard their lives.

There is a sharp contrast between communities that have faith in God and societies, which have faith in themselves or put faith in other things (Moser, 2009). Without faith in God, then humanity is not any different from a coconut tree or amoeba bacteria. The confidence in God puts things into a correct perspective rather than give rational reasons and arguments. Belief in God improves makes humans more valuable. Theories and concepts such as natural selection pair humans with animals. Furthermore, the theory claims that humans exist for survival only thus rendering laws, morals, and ethics of humans useless or without a benefit. Human are not just beings that survived evolution.

 My conclusion to this premise is that it is true that God is omnipotent but this does not mean that he is ‘able to prevent all the evil and suffering in the world’. This conclusion is based on the argument that I have presented above. The manifestation of evil and grief within the globe seems to pose a great predicament to the certainty of the ‘existence of a God’. If god was aware of all the evil, he would somehow prevent them from taking place. However, this is not the case. God gave human beings power to choose between good and evil.















Maritain, J., & Watkin, E. I. (2005). An introduction to philosophy. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Ashton, J. F., & Westacott, M. (2006). The big argument: does God exist: Twenty-four scholars explore how science, archaeology, and philosophy have not disproved God. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.

Moser, P. K. (2009). The evidence for God: Religious knowledge reexamined. Cambridge: Cambridge University





1854 Words  6 Pages
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