Epicurus, the most important thing in life was pleasure. He had a nuanced approach that was more than basic hedonism. By focusing on the life of the mind, the end goal of Epicurus was to lead people to “a transformative experience that altered one’s daily life and led to genuine satisfaction and happiness.” But this was Epicurus’ mistake: his entire Quadrilemma and preceding philosophy presupposes that the point of man’s existence is his own happiness.
William Lane Craig disputes this philosophy entirely. In commenting on the modern objections to evil and suffering in the world, he writes,
One reason that the problem of evil seems so puzzling is that we tend to think that if God exists, then His goal for human life is happiness in this world. God’s role is to provide [a] comfortable environment for His human pets. But on the Christian view this is false. We are not God’s pets, and man’s end is not happiness in this world, but the knowledge of God, which will ultimately bring true and everlasting human fulfillment. Many evils occur in life which maybe [sic] utterly pointless with respect to the goal of producing human happiness in this world, but they may not be unjustified with respect to producing the knowledge of God.
Thus, there is a great good to be had in creating free creatures capable of entering into love relationships with God. While there may be other versions of the problem of evil, LPE as applied by Epicurus’ Quadrilemma fails. This is because God may be willing to eliminate evil, but given his instantiation of free creatures, such a thing is not feasible, nor does it count against his omnipotence due to logical concerns. It may also be that God is able and willing (given he could force creatures never to do evil), but that given the point of free creatures existing and the possibility of TWD affecting all non-divine beings, evil nonetheless exists, as solely the fault of mankind. 1
The free will argument is as follows: God's creation of persons with morally significant free will is something of tremendous value. God could not eliminate evil and suffering without thereby eliminating the greater good of having created persons with free will and who can make moral choices. Christian apologist Gregory A. Boyd claims that God's all-powerful nature does not mean that God exercises all power, and instead allows free agents to act against his own wishes. He argues that since love must be chosen, love cannot exist without true free will.
Gregory Boyd also maintains that God does not plan or will evil in people's lives, but that evil is a result of a combination of free choices and the interconnectedness and complexity of life in a sinful and fallen world.
C. S. Lewis writes in his book The Problem of Pain:
“We can, perhaps, conceive of a world in which God corrected the results of this abuse of free will by His creatures at every moment: so that a wooden beam became soft as grass when it was used as a weapon, and the air refused to obey me if I attempted to set up in it the sound waves that carry lies or insults. But such a world would be one in which wrong actions were impossible, and in which, therefore, freedom of the will would be void; nay, if the principle were carried out to its logical conclusion, evil thoughts would be impossible, for the cerebral matter which we use in thinking would refuse its task when we attempted to frame them.
Consequences of sin
Another possible answer is that the world is corrupted due to the sin of mankind. Some answer that because of sin, the world has fallen from the grace of God, and is not perfect. Therefore, evils and imperfections persist because the world is fallen.
While free will deals with humanity as a whole, the afterlife theodicy deals with individual justice. It is argued that each and every individual is brought to justice in the afterlife, and that all evils will be defeated. One criticism is that this afterlife would seem to imply that even the greatest evil becomes relatively trivial. An answer is that this theodicy does not imply that any evil becomes trivial in any absolute sense, and that the afterlife does not change the horrors of evil.
Evil is complementary to good
Concepts such as yin and yang argue that evil and good are complementary opposites within a greater whole. If one disappears, the other must disappear as well, leaving emptiness. Compassion, a valuable virtue, can only exist if there is suffering. Bravery only exists if we sometimes face danger. Self-sacrifice is another great good, but can only exist if there is inter-dependence, if some people find themselves in situations where they need help from others.