Mysterious free will of man must begin with understanding correctly that the Scriptures are clear in their proclamation that there is one source of power: God rules. One of the early followers of Jesus summarized this great truth well:
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom. 11:33-36).
His judgments, even though they are unsearchable and past finding out, produce every moment of life. The real events of life are the decisions of God. Man struggles to comprehend that truth usually because he cannot grasp what really is transpiring in those moments.
Mysterious free will of man can be understood.
For example, in the events of a football game (the same can be said of a political structure, the business world, or a religious system) is God determining the outcome of the game? Or, is the outcome of the game determined by the wit and ability of one team matched against the wit and ability of the other team? Usually, the outcome of each play and the game itself is controlled by the team that determines and executes the best.
What has to be understood is that the football game (as well as the political, business, or religious world) is the product of man’s reasoning. Man creates the game, makes the rules, and determines what will be measured as success or failure. In his mind and only in his mind, he has the freedom to create a world of which he attempts to experience life. God does not determine the outcome of a world created by man’s mind simply because it is not a real world.
Mysterious free will of man occurs only in the false illusions of life.
It is not a real world in the sense that the game does not deal with the real issues of life. It is a fantasy world created by man in the attempt to find reason and purpose for his life. If he can determine and execute better than someone else, he then has a sense of being okay and glories in his accomplishments. He has actually created a false illusion of life.
What God determines in the games people play (be it political, business, or religious) is the simple decree that if man moves into his mind (attempts to experience life in a world created by his mind) then in his mind he will live. His life will be governed by the success and the failure, the highs and the lows, and what he perceives to be the good and the bad. His life will be controlled by the actual circumstances of the games he plays.
Mysterious free will of man has nothing to do with the will of God.
God is always working out his will in the world beyond or behind that which is immediately observable. Man struggles to understand when he confuses the physical, observable circumstances of life as being the direct will of God. The individual plays of the game and the outcome of the game, as determined by the rules of the game, have nothing to do with the will of God. They are the product of the mind of man. What God has to do with the game is simply you attempt to live in it and you die in your mind to the life of God. Seeking to gain your life in it, you lose your life. You lose your life simply because God rules the real world and you are dwelling in a world of fantasy.
The good news is that God continually brings to an end the physical, observable circumstances of life. So much so that it eventually (sooner for some than others) brings to an end the hope and aspiration that the circumstances (the games people play) can produce the good life. Out of the death of the old then comes the opportunity to experience the beginning of the new. You now have been brought to the place where God’s life can be enjoyed in your life.