I touch on this a little in something I posted yesterday called “another theory of everything.”
Essentially, I believe God has provided freedom of choice in an environment with certain controls. We read in 2 Thess 2 about “He who restrains will restrain until He is taken out of the way” in relationship to the rise of the spirit of anti-christ which is already in the world, as John tells us, but at some point will increase in influence in the world towrd the end of the age preceding the ephiphanea/parousia/erchomai of the Lord Jesus. There is a lot of debate about that verse in detail but in principle it shows a precedent for God having a hand upon the mystery of iniquity to moderate it, and (I think)some of His restraint involves the “righteous acts of the saints”.
I see “free will” as a stone cast into a spinning pot to keep the elements within from stratifying. Always churning up chaos in every generation and providing the necessity of “discernment in the moment”, being aware and awake(watch and pray) in the “Now” of God (walking in the Spirit- Enoch walked with God) who says “I AM”. For those who choose chaos, evil and self, futility will eventually consume their energy, their substance, their “life” until they are broken as a natural consequence within the parameters and working principles of the Creation Centrifuge (Romans 8:12 and 20; Acts 17:26,27)
But the awe and reverence of God in His might and in His “eternal power and divine nature” is the beginning of wisdom. So the harder one kicks against the pricks the more forcefully one brings oneself agaisnt the superior cohesiveness of His love and truth, and eventually every rock will receive the Word that will crack it and allow water to come forth(Nmbers 20). God “speaks” to the rock- He does not strike it, and so we see Moses was corrected for “not believing”- and that unbelief is the reason for a spirit of anger and condemnation(hellism). God believes and knows the result of His speaking (“I believe therefore I have spoken”)… “Let there be Light”----- transforming chaos into order, harmony, love and life.
So I don’t see the tension between Calvinism and Arminianism(general reference to points of view) as being resolved in view of absolute conditions such as "How can God grant freedom if He thwarts that freedom and coerces it through inevitability to bend to His sovereign will.
I see it more like, “Come, let us reason together” from an intricately involved parent.
In the creation God has set in motion certain continuing foundational principles that cannot be mitigated, like…
As a man sows so shall he reap
Sow the wind reap the whirlwind
He that exalts himself will be abased (and its inverse)
Forgive and you will be forgiven (and its inverse)
etc… So you have freedom, discernment, correction and mercy all implanted operationally in the “theosphere” plus the continuing moment to moment personal involvement of the Creator who sees every sparrow fall and knows the hairs upon each head.
Along with this God reserves His freedom to choose and make exceptions and insert influencing factors…“I will harden whom I will harden and have mercy on whom I will have mercy”…“It is not to Him who runs or to Him who wills but upon whom God has mercy”.
Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved…but when from what? IMO from the result of the breaking of the fundamental principles of life and the tendency to do so because of choices driven by appetite… in other words, conversion followed by progressive transformation(Christ in you the hope of glory). To me this is a process thatt is ongoing in the cosmos on an individual to individual basis and on a progressive time to generation to age basis and on a “corporate mankind as one” basis. (chemical, organic, spiritual…the kingdom of heaven is like a measure of yeast hidden in three measures of dough till all was leavened)
In the Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis deals a lot with “gates” and “portals” and the consequences of transformation and the power of selfish and selfless persons and the effects of their attitudes and acts upon the surrounding world.
Winter comes because the Ice Queen is risen and she rises because creatures choose her delights rather than the warmth and trueness of Aslan’s Way.
In Perelandra Ransom battles with Weston’s “unman”, allegorically, to save his heart from the dominion of his mind(tree of life versus tree of knowledge of good and evil) and a bitter battle it is. (“the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit lusts agianst the flesh so you cannot do as you wish…the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak…walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh…if you do by the spirit put to death the deeds of the flesh you shall live”)
In That Hideous Strength he dealt even more clearly(imo) with the whole concept of intelligence without faith and love and the struggle within mankind as a whole to deliver the community from that hideous power through direct action, trueness of heart and laying down ones life for a friend.
I personally think the Great Divorce is a s good an illustration of how God is working with people “behind the veil” as there could be… and a good picture of what the LOF is, and I think that if Lewis did not fully conceive the reconciliation of all things, it was because he gave a little to much credit to the power of chaos and evil, which, as we have seen in the history of the world- as well as in our own lives- must always fall to the degradation of its own entropy and inertia.
Man’s will simply cannot sustain resistance to God indefinitely and his arguments can only recycle as long as his appetites drive them and God is independently eternal but man is not, so a breaking point must come and that is when the revelation of Christ crucified will break through the veil and the soul will be redeemed. In every soul where this has occured a new portal is opened. Another gate lifted up.
“Lift up ye gates and be lifted up ye everlasting doors that the king of glory may come in”.
“The veil of the heavens will be rolled back like a scroll and the sign of the son of man will appear in the heavens and He will come in the clouds with ten thousands of ten thousands of His holy ones and every eye will see Him even those who have pierced Him.”
I never claim to possess any resolution of the tension between predestination and free will because I believe that is a mystery that can only be “seen through a glass darkly” For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has been His counselor"
I generally believe that predestination is fulfilled in both the foreknowledge of God and in the fact that He has caused all things to work together for good, and that His “kind intention” is the reconciliation of all things and the gathering together of all things into one in Christ and that he tinkers with the machine and its individual parts all along the way to accomplish a pre-determined purpose(causes all things to work according to the counsel of His will).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.** In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ**, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. (Eph 1)
An extemporaneous response that may or may not resolve the tensions you defined - but at perhaps enlarges perspective(or perhaps not! ). I am not trying to make an emphatic statement against the possibility of pre-existence either, I just feel the creation record and its language cause me to lean heavily towards the creation of a living soul when the breath of life enters the clay, and that creative act and its uniqueness kind of thrills me, knowing that every single one will eventually find its place in Him as sparks rising from the fire.