One says to me, “Could a “perfect world” be fashioned in which children don’t have to be raised and without compulsions or obligations? I challenge anyone to imagine one.”
I’ve got one: heaven.
There is no such thing as a perfect world. And it’s impossible for anyone to be morally flawless. Yes there is: heaven!
The problem with all theodicies is that they speak on behalf of God. But just as atheists are forbidden to use the argument from evil to disprove the existence of God in that God has a plan which is beyond our understanding, theodicy also claim something that allegedly goes beyond understanding.
At any rate, you should ask yourself this, is it really the case that a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, and omnipresent God fashioned the world as we know it with suffering and evil? He allegedly creates all rules. And theodicy tells me that such a God could not have created heaven in the first place? Such a God let millions of years go by with incredible amount of suffering? Such a God needed slavery? Such a God really needed beings other than himself at all?
I appreciate all arguments and theodicies. They have merit on logical grounds. But I rest unpersuaded by them because they a) claim to justify something beyond human understanding, and b) if God is infinitely good and powerful, by definition he can create a world without evil, as allegedly did with heaven. But of course, another problem is to accept the idea that a “perfect” God needs to create anything at all and, if he does, why create life such that it is subject to suffering?