Epicurus is generally credited with first expounding the problem of evil around 300 B.C., and it is sometimes called “the Epicurean paradox” or “the riddle of Epicurus”. It was translated by David Hume in the Dialogues concerning Natural Religion:

If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to
Then He is not omnipotent.

If He is able, but not willing
Then He is malevolent.

If He is both able and willing
Then whence cometh evil?

If He is neither able nor willing
Then why call Him God?


  1. The more correct principle is God provides the temptation and the free will to either resist that temptation or fail and fall to evil.
    The balance, more accurately the rebalancing accounts for whether those acts in life we more for good or more for evil. Those who most fear death, deeply and darkly fear it, fear it so much because the know the balance of the choices to evil makes the future grim.

    • What is the point in doing this? Why not give us the free will and the necessary tool to cope with temptation? Genetic basis for our personality keeps getting more evidence… so why curse some for being who the genetic code influenced them to be. (Note: not saying its all genetics but some people get much more advantages into being good, economic situation, genetic predisposicion ,and adequate role models in their life.)

  2. Evil isn’t anything apart from the absence of good. Just as darkness isn’t anything apart from the absence of light

    • Not really, Ben. Good and evil are choices, a deliberate decision to act a certain way. While there may be slight variations from person to person, a common deciding mechanism is the Golden Rule: “Would I be OK with someone doing this to me?” If not, then doing it to someone else is evil, and refraining from doing it is “good.” In this case, it could be posited that good is the absence of evil. Do you see?
      The fact is, neither is a “presence” or an “absence” in the same way as light and dark, or heat and cold, because those are measurable physical phenomena. Good and evil are abstracts; they are qualitative, not quantitative, in nature. They may even contain each other within themselves. For example, what if someone went back in time and killed Hitler, or Idi Amin, or Pol Pot, as a baby? That person would have saved millions of lives; but they still murdered a helpless baby.
      So good and evil do not exist as presences or absences. If they exist at all, it is in the judgements of those around us who are affected by our actions, and the basis in conscience upon which we carry out those actions.

  3. what is evil to some is good to others. Germany in WWII you mean the German citzens thought the holocast was bad?


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