The Problem of Evil

A problem for religious believers

Simply put

Premise 1
God is omnipotent (all-powerful)

Premise 2
God is omnibenevolent (all-loving)

Premise 3
There is evil in the world

Either God does not exist or there is no evil in the world

This is known as the inconsistent triad - three things which cannot all be true at the same time, because:

If God is omnipotent, then he has the ability to prevent evil, so why doesn't he?

If God is omnibenevolent, then he must want to prevent evil, so why doesn't he?

If God is not omnipotent and omnibenevolent, then he is not really God

Evil clearly exists - we can all think of examples.


To solve the problem of evil, religious people have to provide an explanation of how the three premises on the left can all be true at the same time. Such a solution is called a Theodicy.

If God and evil are to exist at the same time, then God must have a very good reason for permitting evil to exist. What might that reason be?

Some possible arguments

Evil exists:
  • as a punishment from God
  • as the work of the Devil
  • to preserve our Free Will
  • as a Test from God
  • as a means of Perfecting us
  • as the result of bad Karma
  • as the result of Desire

  • These arguments are not perfect solutions for believers, but do go some way to solving the problem.

    Which of these suggestions is addressed in the Spring extract of the film Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring ?

     Guardian Review

    To research & explore:
     The Problem of Evil in World Religions

     The Journal of Religion & Film
       at the university of Nebraska
       no review of Spring yet, but plenty of others to research

    © Mr.B at Woodford County High School