How can theists reply to the problem of evil and suffering?

There are a number of theodicies used to defend the existence of God against the problem of evil and suffering. One such argument is called the free will defence and is advocated by Alvin Plantinga. He argues that the existence of evil is justified in order to allow us free will: a world with free agents is more valuable than a world where God prevents us from acting in morally bad ways. So the existence of evil and suffering is our responsibility and this preserves the nature of God. However it could be argued that we could preserve free will to an extent while having less evil in the world. For example, we could have the freedom to choose but not the freedom to act, or we could be necessarily good beings. But the theist could repond that this is not genuine freedom and argue that real freedom requires the ability to act. 

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