The Problem of Evil and Suffering
Evil and suffering are basic realities in everyday life. Human beings witness suffering within themselves and others, and this serves as proof that evil exists in this world. Evil and suffering do not discriminate whether a person is “rich or poor, young or old.” The problem of evil and suffering comes about because God is known to represent only goodness. Consequently, “persons are trying to dig to understand why evil exists if a completely good God is indeed the source of all life and reality.” Understanding God as eternally good categorizes evil and suffering as things that God is opposed to but ones that still exist. One school of thought argues that God does not have the power to eliminate the forces of evil and suffering.
‘Hiddenness’ of God is one of the aspects that can be used to explain evil and suffering. Consequently, there is a need for Christians to understand that the problem cannot be explained through philosophical reasoning only. On the other hand, ‘pastoral’ responses to evil and suffering are often placed back in the Old Testament of Job. Quite a number of chapters in the Book of Job address this problem through debates with his friends. Finally, it turns out that Job’s faith was just being tested by God. Overall, the main issue in the problem of evil and suffering is that God’s position and ability among human beings appear to be contradictory. Many people have questioned, “how there can be a deity that is all good and all-knowing and all-powerful at the same time that evil exists….how there can be a caring and benevolent God when there exists evil in the world.”