Chauncey C. Riddle
Can you tell what the problem of evil is?
Why it is a problem?
If it is true that God is all good and omnipotent how come the world is so evil?
It’s important to understand this problem. Why is this an important problem? But you see the question is, does it have to be this evil? Is it necessary that the world be this evil to accomplish its objective? For instance, during the millennium everyone will have just as much agency as they do now but the evil will be reduced on the order of 90%. So one wonders, we have to put the problem just right. It’s true that it’s related to agency and we must understand that.
Is God good?
Yes, he is. What do you mean by that? What does good mean? But if you say God is good and you don’t know what it means, what are you saying? What do you mean when you say God is good? OK, but what is evil? So God never promotes anything that hurts you? So God is mostly good. No he’s metaphysical to you. But you have an image of him in your mind. Is your image that he is all good or mostly good? All good. Then you have some explaining to do, don’t you?
Can he control the rocks?
Can he make a rock so big that he can’t lift it?
No. So there are some things that he can’t do. That’s an old catch question. You see that’s what you ask people when they say God is omnipotent, that he can do anything. Then you say can he make a rock so big that he can’t lift it? Which is what you see involving in something which he can’t do. Either he can’t make a rock so big that he can’t lift it. So there’s something he can’t do. So he’s not all powerful. How do you get out of that? You just point out that it’s a contradiction to start with. That’s just a bad question.
Don’t try to answer all questions. Only answer good questions, that’s a bad question. But anyway we have to come to some sense of how much power God has. So would you say that God could do everything or anything? Or is there something he can’t do? He can do everything but violate agency? It’s impossible for a human being to lose his agency? Is that what you’re saying? So you don’t want to say that. So the question comes back, are there any limitations on God’s power? Is there something he can’t do?