A couple of points that come to mind…
Both Calvin and Arminius were surely influenced by the Martin Luther’s recent reformation; and perhaps going to far as to say that God grants saving faith was because they wanted to make sure there was nothing works about salvation?? I stumbled across this video on the ‘American Gospel’ youtube channel. (I’m not sure if this a fair representation of Catholicism either pre Reformation or after the counter-Reformation ??)
I like little diagrams (this one isn’t to scale), if we are talking about knowledge and understanding…
I am the blue dot in the diagram, the green circle shows all human knowledge inside it (past, present and future will still be finite in size), and God’s knowledge encompasses all human knowledge and also outside that as well.
Could part of the issue be: we (humans) understand free will fairly well because we are ‘inside it’. Could the problem start to arise when we read of God’s sovereignty in the Bible, and then we try to step into God’s sphere of knowledge and figure it all out and construct air-tight systematic theology?
For me, it’s not possible for me to completely understand these things, and to quote David in Psalm 139:6 (read the whole Psalm as it’s quite a good worship Psalm) “Such knowledge is too high for me, I cannot attain it.”. If you approach this area humbly, God promises to give grace to the humble, but God does resist the proud.
There is a balance between free-will and God’s sovereignty. I like to think simply the same as I am a finite human and subject to certain restraints both mentally and physically (I can’t just fly like a bird if I feel like it).
I think that an infinite sovereign God has created a finite human moral space, in which I can freely choose within the boundaries of my knowledge and human ‘finiteness’.
I did like the mathematical explanation posed by @anthony.costello here
Free Will, Determinism, and Foreknowledge (Philosophy Heavy Question), where (from what I could understand of it), God in his love and sovereignty keeps the world in such a way that each individual human has the most possible genuine chances to freely choose to respond to the Holy Spirit’s call. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”. Rev 3:20
I do think that one of the largest issues I have with determinism is it calls into question God’s character: and it contradicts (at least in my mind) the love demonstrated by action on the cross by Jesus Christ. Jesus love on the cross wasn’t some systematic theology, it was pure love. if you what to know what God is like, look at Jesus fully!
Interestingly, Lennox also mentions in his recent book on Joseph this balance also in about 3 chapters and refers to this book in the footnotes/bibliography… (very good book, with main themes about forgiveness)
just a few thoughts… I do think there comes a stage at which you wrestle with it to the limits of your own human mind, and then have to just let it rest…