This is from a discussion I was involved with, largely with Keith Parsons, on the Secular Outpost.
I'd like to start by raising a question about the claim that God has to have a justifying reason for all the evils he permits. How do you know that? Maybe a being can be worthy of worship even if he permits some gratuitous evil, or even a lot of it.
This is an interesting essay, by Trakakis, who criticizes one attempt to deny that theism entails that there is no gratuitous evil.
If a woman has the right to do as he chooses with her own body, then maybe God has the right to do as he chooses with his own universe???? I once, in a bad mood, said this:
"We have to assume that a perfectly good God would want to minimize suffering. Sometimes I think there ought to be more suffering in the world than there really is. But whatever God has chosen to dish out, so long as it doesn't result in anyone being unjustly damned, accords with my conception of perfect goodness."
I don't actually believe this, but I would still be interested in seeing how someone refuted it.
Of course, how far can we push this? Could we embrace the view by going to a very different theory of the good, a theory in which what is good is the glory of God, not human well-being, and that glory is defined in terms of the number of attributes God is able to express. On this view, if God predestines some for salvation and some for damnation, and then in the case of the redeemed, God's glory is his gracious redemption of sinners who deserve eternal damnation, and in the case of the lost, God's glory is the exercise of wrath against sinners. So, while God may command us not to run a hell for people, he is under no obligation to run one himself, if that brings greater glory to himself.
I bring this up because this was a position I spent a lot of time arguing against a few years back, when I was arguing against Calvinists. They argue that the only problem with their position was that it was counterintuitive to me, whereas if indeed it was taught by the Bible, (as they claim that it is), then I ought to set my intuitions aside and accept it.