The philosopher Mackie, expressed the problem of evil in the form of the inconsistent triad. Mackie argued that the three corners of the triangle (God is all-loving, God is all-powerful, and evil exists) cannot all be true. For him, it is logically impossible that an all-powerful and all-loving God and evil can all exist. If God was all-powerful he would have the power to remove evil and could have created a universe where there is no evil, if he were all-loving he would want to remove evil so his creations did not suffer. However, the existence of evil is so obvious that it cannot be denied. For Mackie there could be three solutions:
Firstly, evil exists, so if God is all-loving he can’t be all-powerful. We can, therefore, understand why evil exists, because whilst God loves his creation and wants to prevent evil he does not have the power to do so.
Secondly, evil exists, so if God is all-powerful, he can’t be all-loving. Maybe God doesn’t care about his creations suffering, maybe he is malicious and even enjoys seeing them suffer.
(the first two explanations are unthinkable to the classical theistic religions.)
Finally, If God is all-loving and all-powerful, evil would not exist but maybe it doesn’t, maybe it is just our perception of the world that is at fault. Maybe the evil and suffering that we see isn’t what God sees. Maybe is has a purpose and shouldn’t be classed as evil at all.
However, for Mackie, these solutions are not solutions to the problem of evil for a classical theist (they wouldn’t accept these as solutions).