A truly good God would not want evil to exist.
An all-powerful God would not allow evil to exist.
Therefore, a God who is both good and powerful cannot exist.
So goes the logic.
But there is a hidden premise buried inside the argument. The premise is: God does not have any good reasons to allow suffering and evil to exist. But suppose someone has a very strong desire for something and is able to obtain that thing, but doesn’t act on it because he has reasons for not doing so that appear to outweigh the desirability of the thing. How do we know it doesn’t work this way with God? Might God have reasons for allowing suffering and evil to exist that in his mind outweigh the desirability of their non-existence?
The problem of evil and suffering used to be a personal struggle for me until I began to realize some of that struggle comes from intellectual arrogance. Those who argue against the existence of God based on evil and suffering seem to say, “If I can’t see any reasons God might have for permitting evil, then he doesn’t have any.”
But a God who is infinitely more powerful than me would also be infinitely more knowledgeable than me. I began to realize that if God is infinitely knowledgeable, why couldn’t he have morally sufficient reasons for allowing evil that I can’t think of?
This is why, in the end, to believe that a truly good and all-powerful God exists in a world of evil and suffering requires humility.
A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride… - Proverbs 14:3
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” - Psalm 14:1