A conversation between a man and a priest:
Man: I don't understand the omnipotent-benevolent thing.
Priest: You are confused because the bible describes God as an ominipotent and benevolent diety.
Priest: Omnipotent-benevolent simply means God is all-powerful and well-meaning.
Man: I understnd the concept. It's just ... there seems to be a contradiction.
Priest: Yes. The contradiction is pain. Man's starvation, war, sickness ...
Man: Exactly! Terrible things happen in this world. Human tragedy seems like proof that God could not possibly be both all-powerful and well-meaning. If He loves us and has the power to change our situation, He would prevent our pain, wouldn't He?
Priest: Would He?
Man: Well if God loves us and He can protect us, He would have to. It seems He is either omnipotent and uncaring or benevolent and powerless to help.
Priest: Do you have children?
Man: No ...
Priest: Imagine you had an eight-year-old son. Would you love him?
Man: Of course.
Priest: Would you do everything in your power to prevent pain in his life?
Man: Of course.
Priest: Would you let him skateboard?
Man: Yeah, I guess... Sure I'd let him skateboard but I will tell him to be careful.
Priest: So as this child's father, you would give him some advice, good advice, and then you let him go off and make his own mistakes?
Man: I wouldn't run behind him and mollycoddle him if that's what you mean.
Priest: But what if he fell and skinned his knee.
Man: He would learn to be more careful.
Priest: So although you have the power to interfere and prevent your child's pain, you would choose to show your love by letting him learn his own lessons?
Man: Of course. Pain is part of growing up. It's how we learn.
Extract from Angels & Demons - By Dan Brown - Page 400