What of the free will of the victim? When a child is murdered, God chooses to allow the murderer to exercise his free will without restraint. The child, not so much. Why does God favour the free will of bad people?The better twist on the free will defense would be to start from a different position. We should start with the basis for creation, in so far as we can understand it, and then to show how the logical and non self contradictory requirements of the logic of creation require free will. What is usually missing or not pointed out is the necessity of free will in the making of moral choices. This is the step that atheists and Christian apologists alike sometimes overlook; that it is absolutely essential in a non-self contradictory way, that humanity have free will. Thus, free will must out weight any other value. At that point, since it is a matter of self contradiction, omnipotence cannot be played off against free will, because God's omnipotence does not allow God to dispense with Free will!
And what of natural evil? What of al the people that suffered during the Boxing Day Tsunami? How does free will excuse God allowing all that pain, misery and death?
Love was the motivation, then reducing suffering would be a priority.... I assume that love is the background of the moral universe (this is also an Augustinian view). I also assume that there is a deeply ontological connection between love and Being. Axiomatically, in my view point, love is the basic impitus of Being itself. Thus, it seems reasonable to me that, if morality is an upshot of love, or if love motivates moral behavior, then the creation of a moral universe is essential.
Unless the motivation is a selfish need to receive love from people, rather than a love of them.
This is the crux of it. The only way God could come up with for people to achieve some perfect moral state is if they have to struggle through suffering.(2) that internal "seeking" leads to greater internalization of values than forced compliance or complaisance that would be the result of intimidation.
That's a pretty fair assumption. We all know that people will a lot more to achieve a goal they truly beileve in than one they merely feel forced or obligated to follow but couldn't care less about.
(3)the the drama or the big mystery is the only way to accomplish that end.
The pursuit of the value system becomes a search of the heart for ultimate meaning,that ensures that people continue to seek it until it has been fully internalized.
How many people achieve this "fully internalized"? Certainly not the girl who was murdered, and to be honest, I am doubtful the murderer will either. Look around you, and think how many people have achieved fully internalised love morality. What do you think God's success rate is here? I mean, forget it if you live in the Western world, your life is way to easy, with your fancy machines to clean the house, and cars to get you everywhere and fast food and leisure time.
And there it is. We suffer, billions of people feel pain and misery, to stroke God's ego. At the end of the day, all this misery is so some people will choose to love God.(1)God's purpose in creation: to create a Moral Universe, that is one in which free moral agents willingly choose the Good.
Oh, and none of this actually says why God did not intervene to save the girl from being murdered. He could still have free will in the universe even if he stops murders and rapes before they are committed.