This message was delivered by Josef Urban at a conference on biblical apologetics.
The problem of evil was initially raised by the Greek philosopher Epicurus and was popularized by the skeptical philosopher David Hume. Hume put it like this: “Is [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing: whence then is evil?” His question is meant to cast doubt on the existence of God.
The problem of evil is often recognized as the greatest challenge for biblical theism. From the outset we must confess that we cannot penetrate the secret counsel of the mind of God. Scripture gives us light, but it does not give us a full answer to the “Why?” question. It gives us what we need to know, not necessarily all that we would like to know. So the answer of Scripture is not exhaustive, but it certainly is sufficient for a well-grounded, informed, and reasonable faith. Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”