Bishop's Encyclopedia of Religion, Society and Philosophy


Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher who, today, is known for providing the following quote challenging belief in God:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

How does this stand in the face of a Christian conception of God? Essentially it raises an important question on the subject of evil in the world given Christianity’s belief in an all-powerful, all-loving creator God. Let’s take a look:

1. If God is willing but not able to prevent evil, then He’s not omnipotent (therefore not God).

I believe that we can question this line. Indeed, at least on what the Bible teaches, God is willing to prevent evil but that does not necessitate the…

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