(Extracted from Peter Tan's book starting at Chapter 3 page 75 "The Spiritual World" freely downloadable from: http://petertan.net/newsite/books-spiritualworld.html)
Almost all of the things that happen to a human life are through their own free will no matter how many external causes or currents are taking place in the environment into which they are born. It is not necessarily caused by free will action but can also be caused by free will of thought. Not just in the sense of a fleeting thought which impinges upon a mind but rather a thought that is accepted and becomes part of the soul life and thought pattern of the individual life.
Predestination and Free Will
All actions have a cause and effect – a sowing and reaping for its doer (besides affecting the lives of those around them). All thoughts that are accepted into one’s thought pattern and character attract forces that control the circumstances around the individual life. Dark thoughts attract dark forces and bright thoughts attract good forces. Thus the real battle in life is to choose both the right actions and the right thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). Both actions and thoughts have a cause and effect in this life and in the next life.
The spiritual forces of God cannot help us by replacing our need to take responsibility and do the best we can in our circumstances. People who think that they do not have to do anything but rely on God and angelic help alone do not receive the help they need from the Spirit World. They expect all the work to be done for them. Angels distance themselves from such individuals until they realise that they are responsible to exercise their free will and put in the best effort they can before help is given from the Spirit World.
It is when an individual has done the best he knows how with the little strength and knowledge that God has provided that angelic help is given to help them further. The Holy Spirit was sent as our Helper and not as our servant (John 14:16). Angels are sent to minister to us when we have used our best efforts with a pure heart of reliance on God (Mark 1:13; Luke 22:43).
Man must keep exercising the force of his free will to do God’s will even when he has a destiny to fulfil. The forward motion of the planet earth causes a centrifugal force and the gravitational pull of the sun causes a centripetal force. Both these forces work in harmony to produce a stable orbit of the earth around the sun. The free will of man exercises a centrifugal force while predestination exercises a centripetal force over a human life. If there is no centrifugal force the earth will crash into the sun; similarly, if man does not exercise his free will, predestination is of no benefit to his life. If there is no centripetal force, the earth would be thrown into the darkness of space; similarly, without walking in the path of his predestination, a man’s life would be thrown into darkness.
Foresight and Precognition
The Spiritual World is able to see the end result of every action and thought. The lowest sphere of light is able to see less into the future than those of the higher spheres. Ultimately, only God who is above all sees all and knows all things past, present and future. Spirits of the higher spheres can see some of the possible culmination of actions and thoughts upon the earth and are directed by God to guide and influence the world towards the right path without violating the free will of man.
Angels and spirits serving God are directed in advance through the foreknowledge of God into positions and places ready for the occurrence of the event months or years before they occur to direct the human lives towards their destinies against adversity and unfavourable circumstances. Sometimes these events are revealed to humans on earth through visions, dreams or a revelation in their spirits.
Pre-existence of our spirits
In Ephesians 1:4, Paul speaks about God choosing us before the foundation of the world. There are two possible extreme interpretations without contradicting the Bible: that we existed in the mind of God before we were created at conception via the union of sperm and ovum or that we had some sort of conscious existence before our earthly existence. There could be other explanations in between these two by differing the timing of our creation.
Psalms 139:6 implies that we had some form of “substance” before we had an earthly “form.” God told Jeremiah that before he was formed in the womb that He knew him (Jeremiah 1:5). Traditional understanding has always given us the “idea” that we were created at conception but Scriptures seem to point to a type of pre-existence before we were formed in the womb. The quality or type of existence that we have before our formation in the womb is open for theological discussion – without contradicting the Bible. It would not be wrong if one were to interpret it as a full-fledged existence as spirits in the Spiritual Universe of God.
For those who do accept the pre-existence of our spirits before coming to this earth, there are interesting lines of thoughts to pursue. One of which is that before coming to this earth we had some knowledge or choice in coming to this earth being made aware of our mission and tasks for this earth. God would, of course, first reveal to us His perfect will, destiny and plan for our lives (Ephesians 1:4; Romans 8:29-30). We would then have free choice within the realm of His destiny in mapping out the personal choices and routes that we would like to take under the guidance of God and His angels.
There is a twofold goal: one is to take on the challenge of living this life with all its trials and challenges to further our spiritual growth in the Spiritual Universe of God and secondly, to take on a mission or task to help fulfil the Will of God for the people we encounter – making a positive contribution to mankind and society.
In coming to this earth, all knowledge of our pre-existence was taken away except for some events that we had foreseen that will take place and bring a sense of “recognition” (déjà vu) – like we have been there before. (This is not the only cause of déjà vu, there are many other causes; for example, the picking up of another spirit or person’s thoughts from a different time or dimension, etc.). These precognition events are locked in our spirits and come to the surface of consciousness when the events occur like milestone markers telling us that we are on track.
No matter how tough times seem to be or how hard the road, we need to remember that we have chosen the road to travel for our own spiritual growth. And God has provided sufficient strength and grace for every mountain that confronts us (1 Corinthians 10:13). Do not envy others who seem to have it easy in life – they might have chosen an easier road with less spiritual growth benefits than you. Also remember that God has guided you in your choice and will never allow or permit you to choose that which He knows you are not capable to perform. If you search on the inside of your spirit, you will always find the grace and strength that God gives you to overcome every mountain. The reason that you do not seem to receive help is because there is too much noise on your inside (in your soul). Meditate and be still on your inside. Let the peace of God fill you and you will receive clearly in your spirit (not necessarily in words or thoughts) the strength and grace to proceed further.