I once went to visit a friend at university. At the time she was sharing a house with four male students. I will never forget walking into the kitchen and being greeted by a scene of utter devastation – the sink was piled high with dirty crockery, and on every counter were plates with the remains of previous meals in various states of decay. We were hard pressed to find even one clean mug for a coffee. Given the evidence in front of me the only conclusion to draw was that either the residents of the house didn’t care about the mess, or didn’t have the ability to sort it out!
In the same way many people observe the state of the world, with all its pain, suffering and cruelty, and draw the conclusion that there either can’t be a God or, that if there is one, then that God doesn’t care about suffering, or is impotent to do anything about it. In fact in the face of the evidence it would be difficult to draw any other conclusion; but that of course begs the question that if the world has always been this way, then where did the idea that there might be a God who is both loving and powerful come from?