How does God’s freedom relate to our freedom? Here’s what John Webster had to say when asked about it at the end of a lecture:
The clue, it seems to me, basically, is getting our heads out of the idea that God’s freedom and our freedom are antithetical. They’re not inversely proportional; they’re directly proportional. Therefore, the more that God acts upon us, the more we ourselves are enabled to act. God’s acting upon us is not the suppression of our agency, but it’s the creation of our agency.
Now, the difficulty we have is that most of the time when we think about freedom, we think in terms of spontaneity. So my freedom has to be the absence of external causality upon my acts. But the Christian tradition just doesn’t think like that (or at least it didn’t until the late 17th century). For Augustine, God causes all that is, and that’s why we’re free. That’s not in opposition to our freedom; it’s precisely the cause of our freedom. What we find difficult to get our minds around is the idea that there could be a freedom which is caused or given to us, because we think that the only kind of freedom that we can have is either pure spontaneity, or what’s sometimes called contra-causal freedom, in other words, our freedom to act against a cause acting upon us. And that picture is not, it seems to me, part of the way that Scripture and the Christian tradition has thought. And it’s that, it seems to me, which is often at play in debates about open theism, or whatever: the fear that, if we talk about God’s sovereignty, we must therefore be talking about something which is a subtraction from creaturely freedom, to which the answer is, no, it isn’t. …
The simple distinction in the medievals between primary and secondary causality is a good way of handling it. I am the cause of my moving from here to here; God is the cause of my moving from here to here. They are two ways of talking about the same act, and they’re not contradictory.