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IF GOD IS INDEED ALL POWERFUL AND GOOD, WHY IS THERE SO MUCH EVIL AND SUFFERING IN THE WORLD?

INTRODUCTION Probably the most difficult intellectual challenge to the Christian faith is the problem of evil in the world. If God is all powerful and all good, how can evil be present in the world? The Goodness and the power of God The goodness of God may be discovered in all of his relationships with his creatures. It is most effectively demonstrated in his moral attributes of purity and integrity, and in the entire complex of characteristics that are identified as his love. Omnipotence as an attribute of God connotes his power. Omnipotence is a Latin word meaning all powerful or almighty, that is, He has universal power and He is not limited by any power outside himself. The fact that God is omnipotent does not, however, mean that he can literally do anything and everything. As a power that is part and parcel of his being, it is directed and determined by his rational, creative and holy nature, purpose and will. God cannot and does not use his power to do wrong. Theodicy Theodicy as a theological problem refers to the attempt to defend the power and goodness of God in the face of or in the midst of evil and suffering in the world. The problem of theodicy is often expressed in the following dilemma :Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing: whence then is evil?

The Causes of evil in the world Humans would not be human if they did not have free will.This freedom allows mankind to make use of other gifts to explore all aspects of life to the benefits and improvement of the entire life of mankind. Life without human freedom may not be worth living since mankind will be nothing better than toys. It is as a result of the freedom that men are able to engage one another in the highest level of expression such as love and intellectual discourse. This great privilege has rather been misused and abused by mankind thereby contributing to the evil and suffering in the world. Sometimes, it is our ignorance about the good for which things are created that causes us to label certain things in the natural order as terrible and horrible or evil. According to a theological student, until he saw his father use the millipede in treating whitlow, he had always asked: "why did God create such a horrible and poisonous creature in the world?" The same can be said about many things in the world. In this case we question God's goodness out of sheer ignorance. At certain times and places, it is human carelessness and neglect which is responsible for some of the evil and suffering that come our way. As a protective or defensive mechanism, a snake, or even a dog, will bite when stepped on. What man has labelled natural disasters, like flood and volcanic action, are natural ways and means of rejuvenating the earth. It is up to man to deal wisely with the earth through our actions and attitude so that these will work for man and not against man. We might also need to reevaluate what constitutes good and evil. First, good is not to be defined in terms of what brings personal pleasure to humans in a direct fashion. Good is to be defined in relationship to the will and being of God. Secondly, some of the evils which we experience are actually very

disturbing on a short- term basis, but in the long- term work a much larger good. Scripture encourages us to evaluate our temporary suffering in the light of eternity. Thirdly, what appears to be evil may actually in some cases be the means to a greater good. Though we may not understand them, Gods plans and actions are always good and lead invariably to good consequences. Moreover, they are not made good by their consequences, but rather, what makes Gods plans and actions good is the fact that he has willed them. CONCLUSION Although the problem of evil will never be fully resolved within this earthly life, the existence of evil and suffering in the world does not and cannot, in any way, rule out the fact that God is the greatest in power and the highest in goodness. It is his goodness that led to the Christ-event. In Chrsit