From the Wikipedia article on the subject:

The problem of evil refers to the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with an omnibenevolent, omniscient and omnipotent God (see theism). …

The problem of evil is often formulated in two forms: the logical problem of evil and the evidential problem of evil.

Originating with Greek philosopher Epicurus, the logical argument from evil is as follows:

My question is, what is the biblical basis that such a logical problem exists? More specifically, what is the biblical basis that God has unlimited power, has the capacity to know everything that there is to know, and has unlimited or infinite good will or disposition to do good?

Edit: I had hoped for answers that would have taken a more holistic view of the Bible (that is, that these attributes are always with God and have always been with God).

  • If a verse states is that God is Omnipotent and maintains the universe in its order, then how and why does God rest? (cf. Genesis 2:2–3)
  • If a verse states that God is Omniscient, then why does God ask men questions? (cf. Genesis 3:9, 11, 13; Genesis 4:6, 10; Acts 9:4) or why does God change his mind? (cf. Amos 7:6)
  • If a verse states God is Omnibenevolent, then why does God have evil plans or do evil things? (cf. Jeremiah 26:13; Jonah 3:9–10; 1 Chronicles 21:15)

Note: this is not asking for a discussion of how to answer or defend against the problem of evil such as these questions:

How to answer "Why do evil and suffering exist?"

How can we defend our faith against the "Argument from Evil" or "Problem of Evil"?

The following question is different because: (1) does not contain all three requirements of my question and (2) is only bounded by the general understanding of the term and not by the philosopher's meaning of the terms as framed by their question.

What is the biblical evidence for God's omnipotence and omniscience?

  • 2
  • 2
    Clear Biblical bases exist for the parts of the problem of evil, but not for the whole problem because it is not logically well formed.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 11, 2017 at 5:47
  • 1
    You should ask your three bullet point questions as new questions. Asking them here makes it way too broad.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 11, 2017 at 22:38
  • 2
    The central difficulty, as I see it, of reducing theodicy to a logical issue is simply this: 1) evil, sin, and suffering are in essence illogical; and 2) any attempt to reconcile the attributes of God with the problem of evil is bound to fail. Isaiah tells us from God's perspective: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts (57:8-9 NASB). Evil simply is; so is God. That they coexist in the same universe is, well, a mystery. Jan 12, 2017 at 22:01
  • 2
    In classes I've taught on theodicy, I liken the various answers to the problem as "slices of a pie." Let's say you come up with 9 substantial--albeit partial and perhaps even unsatisfying--answers to the question "Why is there evil in God's good universe?" There is bound to be, I suggest, a tenth piece of the puzzle that will never (this side of eternity) be explained. That piece of the pie will remain a question mark. Moreover, logic is humanity's puny effort to put the infinite God into a box. Can't be done. It's not that God can't be logical; his logic is ineffable to us finite critters. Jan 12, 2017 at 22:09

2 Answers 2


Good evening, I have broken your question down and cited the relevant scriptural response.

What is the biblical basis that such a logical problem exists?

The bible acknowledges that the world is currently under the power of the evil one thus raising the question of why is evil granted any power?:

19 We know that we are God’s children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one. 1 John 5:19

More specifically, what is the biblical basis that God has unlimited power?

Psalm 147:4-5 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

What is the biblical basis that God has the capacity to know everything that there is to know?

1 John 3:20 For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

Psalm 147:5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

What is the biblical basis that God has unlimited or infinite good will or disposition to do good?

Job 34:10 ‘Therefore, hear me, you who have sense,     far be it from God that he should do wickedness,     and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.

“The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He," (Deut. 32:4).

"Thine eyes are too pure to approve evil, and Thou canst not look on wickedness with favor," (Hab. 1:13).

  • What do we do with Jonah 3:10 and the other places where God repented?
    – Tavrock
    Jan 11, 2017 at 0:06
  • @Tavrock a very good question. I don't know to be honest. I am currently studying catharism and marcionism which utilizes a similar train of thought to explain God in the OT. Best of luck.
    – David
    Jan 11, 2017 at 0:15
  • @Tavrock I believe repentance means 'change', so if the wicked city did not repent God was planning on destroying them, but if they did repent (like they did) then God would not destroy them. So God changed from about to destroy them to not destroying them
    – depperm
    Jan 11, 2017 at 14:35
  • @depperm, I apologize for the conciseness of my comment as I feel the full import of that verse related to this discussion is in the full verse: "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not." (KJV). Maybe it is a mistranslated phrase, but God repenting of His evil plans seems to be at odds with an omnibenevolent being (and more so than if God repented of His discipline).
    – Tavrock
    Jan 11, 2017 at 16:00
  • @Tavrock God has laws, for our benefit, and disobeying laws has consequences; in this case the consequence, of continuing to disobey God, was destruction but the people repented so God didn't need to punish the people
    – depperm
    Jan 11, 2017 at 16:42

God's Omniscience, Psalm 147:5 states:

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

God's Omnipotence, Jeremiah 32:17 states:

‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

God's Omnipresence,

The whole of Psalm 139 is a great testament to God's Omnipresence and Omnipotence.

Of course there are numerous other verses also.

God's Omnibenevolence is a little trickier. It is a word that is primarily used in reference to the problem of evil. (see Wikipedia: Omnibenevolence).

But generally it can be taken to mean that God is perfectly good, rather than the more ambiguous 'infinitely good', which is also accepted and justified biblically in passages referring to his Grace and Mercy etc. (Romans 3:23-24, Peter 1:3-4 and others).

However, as Alvin Plantinga has shown, being perfectly good does not entail that only good should exist.

Some of the drivers for the problem of evil seem to assert that a perfectly good God should seek to prevent evil in all cases. But this would be a logical argument based on the acceptance of God's attributes described above.

Biblically, it is simply true that God and evil coexist. Hence, the problem of evil is a logical argument. It's only biblical basis would be the affirmation of God's attributes described above.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .