OK, so this is my LAST disclaimer. After this, is anyone joins the party late and doesn't take the time to read the previous posts . . . tough luck. Please don't attack my “beliefs”. Attack my model.
Before I respond to the previous posts I want to clarify something. I am attempting to build a model for the universe that incorporates what I was taught about God while simultaneously offering a plausible explanation for the apparent paradoxes those beliefs seem to create. I don't need ALL the answers to do this. I do need a workable model that can be expanded to incorporate new data as it is presented. The failure of this model would be evidence (EVIDENCE, not theory) that would directly refute my model. I am trying to build a falsifiable model of theist thinking. A falsifiable model that has not been disproven can be considered a working theory.
Foxyfreedom – Perhaps it was too early in this discussion to raise the specter of free will. The model of the universe I am proposing does not need to be completely deterministic to be correct. We know, for example, that water cooled to 0 degrees Celsius will freeze. We know what type of actions to apply to water and what tools to use to achieve this result. In that respect the universe is deterministic. We do not need to know how each atom reacts independently. I am proposing an omniscience of results. An “omniscient” God is defined, by my model, as a God who knows what has happened in the past, what is happening now, and what will happen (based on the current state of the universe) in the future. More of a “Harry Seldon” omniscience.
Actually, I quite like that. Lets call it “Functional Omniscience”.
Old Church Guy Superfly - I would define “Maximum Possible Good” or “Maximum Happiness” as the maximum amount of happiness for the maximum number of living organisms within the constraints of the laws of this universe. Yes, I would include all life everywhere. The fact that I cannot measure “happiness” or “good” does not mean that it is not quantifiable. Burning alive is much lower on the happiness scale and is much worse than an orgasm. Wouldn't you agree?
Xero-Kill – You attributed Tero's post to me. I never said that suffering was needed to appreciate happiness. I cannot defend other people's posts. My response to Tero's post was meant to convey the theory that, given the laws of the universe we live in, there may be a balance between good and bad, pain and pleasure, etc.
As to your main point . . . I will admit that it is a puzzle. I do not, however, agree that your three questions and answers represent all possible questions and answers. The universe exists, as it is, because that is how this universe was created by God. The questions you are asking make no sense in the absence of this universe.
Let me ask you something . . . Have you ever been happy in this universe? Have you ever been sad? Are you suggesting that, because you have been sad it would have been better for you not to exist? Are you mad that you were created? Why is God a dick for creating you? It would not be possible to have created “you” in your present form anywhere else. Shouldn't you thank God that you are alive to ask these questions?
The point to Xero-Kill also covers “why not create heaven first?”. The answer, but simply, is that it wasn't. Anthropic Principle again. This discussion has no merit in Heaven. As to the “Free Will” questions, I introduced that too early in the discussion. Lets nail that down if my model holds up under the net set of questions. Theists, how am I doing?