January 2010 Exam Question with Answer

2(a) (i) What may the problem of suffering signify to a religious believer. Examine one solution to this problem. [21]

The problem of evil and suffering is a major stumbling block to any person of faith but particularly to a member of the Abrahamic faiths. Since a key belief is that God has three main characteristics: omnipotence, omniscience and omnibenevolence it would seem illogical that this kind of God and evil could both exist. Indeed even Aquinas regarded it as completely logical that ‘there is evil in the world; therefore God does not exist,’ even though he didn’t believe this conclusion he could see how others could. Or as David Hume suggested: ‘either God is not omnipotent or he is not omnibenevolent or evil does not exist’; evil does exist therefore God cannot, in his opinion. To put it simply the problem is this: how if God is good can he possibly allow suffering to occur?

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