C.S. Lewis ends The Great Divorce by tackling the paradox of human freedom versus predestination. (He was nothing if not ambitious.)
Part of his answer — if you can call it that (and I’m not sure Lewis would have) — is that we, as created beings, exist within time. God, on the other hand, exists outside of time. Which, if true, means he experiences past, present, and future simultaneously and not at all. (Is it getting weird yet?)
Lewis insisted that our choices, when viewed through the lens of time, are real. The future is open. We are free to choose or reject God. And of course, time is the only lens we have:
Time is the very lens through which ye see something that would otherwise be too big for ye to see at all. That thing is Freedom: the gift whereby ye most resemble your Maker and are yourselves part of eternal reality. But ye can see it only through the lens of time.
So… we can only see freedom through the lens of time, yet freedom is the very thing that connects us to a reality beyond time. Huh.
The problem, for Lewis, is that when we try to look beyond the lens of time, we get right out of our depth. Our finite minds can’t handle it. Freedom and predestination — both of which Lewis accepts as true in some form — become irreconcilable enemies.
For Lewis, that’s because we are trying to wrap our minds around something far bigger (“big” isn’t even the right word for it) than we can handle.
What’s really interesting is what motivates Lewis to wander into this theological quagmire:
Every attempt to see the shape of eternity except through the lens of Time destroys your knowledge of Freedom. Witness the doctrine of Predestination which shows (truly enough) that eternal reality is not waiting for a future in which to be real; but at the price of removing Freedom which is the deeper truth of the two.
Translation: Lewis is adamant that predestination should not be allowed to ride roughshod over freedom. He accepts both freedom and predestination as true, but he regards freedom as “the deeper truth of the two.”
The price of destroying (or rejecting) freedom is simply too high to pay; doing so severs the connection between us and our Creator. God cannot be understood apart from love, and love cannot be understood apart from freedom — for love never, ever coerces.