At the end of the story, after the student defeats his professor in the debate, it is revealed that the student is Albert Einstein. In actuality, there was probably no such debate, and this certainly isn’t a true story about Albert Einstein.
While it is an interesting tale, I don’t think this is the best answer Christians can offer to the problem of evil.
The objection the professor presented is sometimes known as Epicurean paradox.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God
To answer the objection above by saying that evil doesn’t really exist rubs me the wrong way. To look in the face of someone who has suffered something terrible and tell them it wasn’t evil—only a lack of good—is something I couldn’t do.
Rather, I would agree with the angry atheist presenting this paradox that evil truly exists. (Note that he didn’t merely state that he dislikes acts such as rape and murder, or that a majority of society dislikes those things, but that there really is evil.)
Next, I would point out that evil cannot exist in his worldview. The existence of evil can only be accounted for if there are moral absolutes—and moral absolutes can only be established by God. If, as an atheist would say, we are merely evolved apes, there shouldn’t be any moral absolutes. Therefore, evil wouldn’t exist if there were no God.
When the atheist presents this objection, he is revealing that he can’t be consistent with his worldview. If he were consistent, all the atheist has to go on is personal taste. But in admitting a firm belief in evil, he is acknowledging that he knows moral absolutes exist and there is a God. He is giving himself away.
Atheists claim the existence of evil all the time. One young lady I spoke with said Christians are evil. I explained to her that in order for evil to exist that God had to have established moral absolutes. She said she believes morality is relative, and each of us can establish our own morality. I think she was being consistent with her atheism at this point. I specifically asked her if it was a sin for someone to violate her moral code, and she said it wasn’t. Mere moments later, she said that the Bible has been translated. (I assume she didn’t mean translated from Greek to English, but some type of malicious tampering with the manuscripts.) I asked her if it was a sin to “translate” the Bible. At that point she made it abundantly clear she was no longer interested in talking to me.
Ultimately, the solution to the Epicurean paradox is that God has an adequate, moral reason for allowing evil. He may not reveal His reasoning for a specific situation, but ultimately it is for His glory.