The first time I heard this position I was 5 years old. It stuck to me because it seemed so silly–if god is all powerful, he can do anything he wants, and clearly would be beyond our comprehension. Of course there’s a reason for pain and suffering, and that I don’t know that reason does not suggest that there isn’t a good one.
It wasn’t untill my late 30’s that I actualy understood the argument, and the undeniable certainty of it. If there were a god, it would be impossible for him to be both omnipotent and good.
But if he’s omnipotent, he can do anything, including be all powerful and good, right?
The anwser to this lays in another logical conundrum I learned at 13 and found very intuitive. Can God slice a piece of bread thinner than he himself could cut it?
The anwser is clearly yes.
Now the anwser creates a logical conundrum–how could he do that? But if God truely is all powerful, logical conundrms are no problem to him. That my finite brain registers this as a logical impossibility does not change the fact that God is omnipotent, and therefore can cut a slice of bread thinner than even he could slice.
But this begs the question…. Why is there suffering in the world?
If God is all powerfull, there is no possible benifite to suffering, none whatseover, that can not be acchieved without suffering.
But suffering tests us, theists will say. It helps us grow. Sure, but he doesn’t need suffering to help us grow. There is no growth, none whatsoever, that can be had through suffering that can not be had equily without suffering. But I’ve a limited mortal mind, so how do I know that?
Because God can do anything.
If god truely can slice a pice of bread thinner than he could slice it, then he can also teach a lesson requiring suffering without the involvement of suffering. That this is logicaly impossible has no bearing–an omnipotent being is not bound by logic.
If he can do absolutly anything, then he needs nothing to acomplish his goal, any goal. There is no goal, lesson, or learning, which places demands on him of how to acomplish it because he’s omnipotent. If he chooses to employ suffering as a means to teach, there can be only two reasons: Either he can’t teach the lesson without suffering (ergo he’s not all powerful), or he chooses to use suffering as a means of teaching (which, if he can teach any way he wants, means he’s not good).
Suffering exists either because god wants it (making him cruel) or he needs it for some end (and being unable to work without it is a limitation).