Now that Craig has established his positive case for God, he pulls back and begins to attack some of the counter claims of atheists. One of the main issues opponents to God bring up is that of evil. If God were all powerful, certainly he would be able to stop evil. If God were all loving, certainly he would want to stop evil. And if God were all knowing, certainly he would know when evil would arise, by whom, etc. It seems, then, that an omnipotent, omniscent, omnibenevolent god would be incompatible with a world that contains evil.
Before countering the notion that a world where evil exists is incompatible with God, Craig puts
If God is omnibenevolent (all loving) and omnipotent (all powerful), then a world with evil disproves God. This argument against God has two major flaws. First, it assumes that omnipotence means God can create any world he wants - including a world that is logically impossible. But omnipotence does not mean God can do the logically impossible, as those are absurdities. So just as God cannot create a married bachelor or a square circle, it may be that a world containing creatures with free will is logically incompatible with a world where evil does not exist. While we may not know for sure if this is a logical impossibility, the burden of proof lies on the atheist to prove that the deductive argument they make follows.
The second problem with this argument is that an all loving God desires a world where no suffering exists. The assumption here is that love equates to immediate, constant, momentary happiness. But what if suffering were important to building our souls for an eternal existence in heaven (soul building theodicy)? What if suffering were necessary for our perseverance in heaven? What if suffering allowed us to know God more fully? On Christianity, the point of life is not momentary happiness, but knowing God.
The evidential problem of evil takes a more humble approach. It does not attempt to disprove God deductively, but rather attempts to prove that the weight of evil tips the scales against the probability of God's existence. There is SO much evil in the world, God is highly unlikely. The evil that is present is SO gratuitous, God is highly improbable.
This is the argument against God that I find most compelling. It allows me to maintain my human limitations while accessing my anecdotal experience. I can't be so arrogant as to say that the logical argument of evil is true and absoltuely disproves God, but I sure do see a lot of evil in the world, and some evil seems absolutely gratuitous. That makes it awfully hard to understand how an all powerful and all loving God is more likely than not. Yet this line of reasoning is still very arrogant, and it assumes too much. The argument presumes too much knowledge on our part. There is no way we can reasonably assert that too much evil exists for God not to. Ravi Zacharias does a great job in highlighting this here. As Colonel Schultz said, "I know nothing!" We have no idea of the interworkings of all events in our lives. Timothy Keller has a great sermon where he explains how he came to be a pastor - all because of two inches. Our limited knowledge provides no reasonable cumulative case against God.
Ultimately, any argument from evil will end up being self-refuting. To decry the existence of evil is to acknowledge the moral argument, which concludes that God exists.
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist
2. Evil exists
3. Therefore, objective moral values exist (some things are evil!)
4. Therefore, God exists
Getting rid of God does not get rid of what we call evil, but rather gets rid of our acknowledgement of anything as being evil. The abdication of God's throne would mean our inability to bemoan anything as being truly evil.
While evil is difficult to swallow, it is best understood as a Christian. Evil is something God has ordained and works through, and will one day do away with. We can detest evil now and call it what it truly is, while at the same time, hope for justice to be brought about and everything to be made right.