For more than 2,000 years, men have wrestled with the so-called problem of evil. Presumed to have first been formulated by the Greek philosopher Epicurus and also known as the Epicurean Paradox, the problem concerns balancing the obvious existence of evil with belief in the existence of God. How, Epicurus wondered, could evil and an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God exist simultaneously? Centuries later, the problem was addressed by the Scottish historian and philosopher David Hume, who considered the matter in his “Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.” Hume wrote:
Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?