I think I want to self-publish a little booklet from an Arminian perspective on evil and suffering. Here is a little something I started a while back to kick it off.
As I start writing this booklet, the United States is ending the worst week of tornados in over sixty years. On Sunday, a powerful EF-5 tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri, and devastated the town, leaving some 150 people dead. At the end of last month, over 170 tornados ripped through the South, killing over 300 people.
The stories that emerge after these events are surreal. A family is coming home from a high school graduation in two cars. Those in the first car make it to the basement. The graduate in the second does not make it. A group at a convenience store hides in a freezer as the tornado passes overhead, and someone records their terror. The same scenario played itself out in the bathtubs and closets of countless homes in Joplin but with a different result. One moment everything is normal. Ten minutes later hundreds of people are dead.
In the course of a human life, many events of this sort happen. In just the ten years prior to writing this booklet, tsunamis devastated Indonesia and Japan, with a nuclear crisis following the latter. A hurricane destroyed New Orleans. The United States has engaged in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with thousands of soldiers and over a million Iraqis and Afghanis killed. These wars were sparked by the downing of the twin towers in New York City on September 11, 2001 by terrorists, who have attacked several other locations, resulting in hundreds of deaths. As I write, a wave of protests is sweeping the Middle East, with the governments of Egypt and Tunisia already overturned, and the leaders of Libya and Syria killing scores of their own people in an attempt to retain power.
Some of these events are the result of human choices and human evil. Other events come from nature. Most of us wish we could have done something to prevent such suffering, to stop such evil. This attitude especially applies to the type of people that we would call “good” people. The overwhelming majority of people we consider virtuous would do something to prevent such suffering and loss of life if they could.
So why doesn’t God stop them? Don’t Christians believe that God is good--indeed, supremely good? In a play about Job, Satan taunts, “If God is God, he is not good. If God is good, he is not God.”  The play writer, Archibald MacLeish, poetically captures here what is often called the problem of evil. If God is God—that is, if he is all powerful—then how is it that he allows so much evil to go on in the world, not to mention pain in general. On the other hand, if God is good, then you would think he would want to put an end to evil and suffering. Perhaps he is just not powerful enough to do away with it.
It is not a new question. It is a question that comes up whenever some group dares to think that their gods love them. It is implied in Old Testament stories like the one where Israel loses in battle to the city of Ai in Joshua 7. How could they lose when Yahweh was powerful enough for them to win? The Greek philosopher Epicurus raised the question in Greece, hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth.
It is a question that knocks on the door of the modern world more than ever before, because individuals are more empowered than ever before. In the ancient world, in the two-thirds world, powerlessness in the face of the wicked is such a given that it is often easier to accept. A sense of fatalism—that the world is just what it is—often is the name of the game. Death is an ever present reality you just accept.
But the democratic, Western world—at least in theory—has given everyone a voice. And science has allowed us to beat death far more than ever before. Never before has so much seemed possible. Never before have we seemed more empowered to say “no” to evil and suffering.
So perhaps never before have the impossibilities of this world seemed more anomalous, more angering. When we are so motivated to change the world, why does God seem to let “the nations rage” (Ps. 2:1)? When we are now noticing the forgotten of the world, why does God continue to let them suffer? When we now pass laws that look out for those with disabilities and provide health care for the impoverished, why does God not put an end to such things? These are the problems of evil and suffering.
 Archibald MacLeish, JB