Thanks for these follow up questions. The easiest thing might be for me to paste quotes from questions then try to address the points you raise.
“In order for free will to be meaningful, it must be possible for us to make choices which hurt/help people.” Yes, I very much agree with this. God could have given us trivial free will - for instance, the freedom to choose what colour food to eat - but this wouldn’t be a particularly valuable thing. Rather, in order for us to have a serious degree of freedom, we need to bear a significant amount of responsibility for one another’s wellbeing, a corollary of which is that if we do a poor job of taking care of one another and especially if we actively go out of our way to harm one another, people will be seriously hurt. But the possibility of such hurt is a prerequisite for the possibility of our using our freedom to greatly benefit one another, even at cost to ourselves, which seems clearly to be a very valuable thing.
“Leibniz stated that there are many different ways God, being omniscient and all good, could have created the world but He chose to create this one. It entails that this must be the one with the maximum amount of goodness, and thus we live in the best of all possible worlds.” I would beg to differ with Leibniz here, and in fact, most philosophers now think that there isn’t any such thing the best possible world. The reason is simply that there are many good-making features of the world which are such that there could always have been a bit more of that feature. For instance, the existence of happy people is a good feature of a world. But there could always be one more happy person in existence. There isn’t, logically speaking, a maximum number of happy people who can exist. So in short, the reason that the idea of a single best of all possible worlds is incoherent is that there are many features of the world that simply don’t have a maximum value. God, being omniscient and all good can only create what’s logically possible to create, and a best possible world isn’t logically possible for the aforementioned reasons, and so it seems to me that the most that God is obliged to do is to create a world that contains more goodness than evil overall.
“does evil serve a purpose since it contributes to a greater good? As you said, evil is working to point us to the devastation our bad choices make and our responsibility towards one another. Is it, in a way, driving us to the imperative of love as a solution to extricate us from the outworkings of evil?” Yes, I think that that’s certainly part of the answer to why God allows evil to continue to exist. As Lewis suggested in The Problem of Pain, pain can serve to make us aware, in a way that nothing else could, that we are not in fact masters of our own destinies but rather are utterly dependent upon God.
“I am not clear as to what “goods” are present in our world that are not present in heaven.” Ah yes, I didn’t make that very clear. Roughly, the thought is that since heaven won’t contain any pain or suffering of any sort, neither will it contain any of the goods that arise in this world when we are confronted with great adversity. For instance, in heaven there won’t be any opportunities to exercise courage or bravery, because there won’t be any situations of danger which could call for courage or bravery. So in short, heaven won’t contain any of the goods that are made possible in a world of adversity like the present one. But on the other hand, heaven will contain infinitely great goods such as perfect communion between God and human beings, unending bliss, and so on, none of which are possible in our present world of brokenness and adversity.