Does the “Einstein and the professor” story prove that God exists?
The story is basically an attempt to solve the problem of theodicy: the coexistence of God and evil in the world. “Theodicy” comes from a Greek expression meaning the “justification of God.” It is an attempt to explain how an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibeneficient, and omnipresent God could have created a world with so much suffering and evil present.
One example of the conflict is the hypothetical case of a child running onto a street into the path of an oncoming truck that is unable to stop in time to prevent the child’s death. If an adult observes the scene and does nothing to try to stop the child, we would consider them profoundly evil. But the historical concept of God is that he is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all present. Yet in this scenario, God would do nothing to prevent the death of the child. He is either not all powerful, or not all present, or not all loving, or not all knowing. Rabbi Harold Kushner tackled this problem in his very popular book: “When bad things happen to good people.” 7 He concluded that God cannot possess all four attributes simultaneously. He felt that we should drop God’s omnipotence in order to retain the other three attributes. That is, God didn’t save the life of the child because he cannot do so.
Theologians and philosophers have attempted to harmonize the presence of evil and the historical attributes of God for centuries without success. So it is doubtful that this story will accomplish that goal.