BEN: While, as you say, God is self-determining, at the same time he has chosen to relate to people in ways that involve a love relationship, which inherently requires some freedom on the part of both parties. Love cannot be predetermined, manipulated, coerced etc. To me this means that while God is self-determining, what he has decided to do is limit himself, and allow other beings, angels and humans to have viable choices about how they relate to Him. They have the power of contrary choice, or put another way they can commit sin and reject God’s wooing of them. Yes, responding to God requires grace for fallen human beings to ever respond positively, but still grace enables a person, it does not decide the issue. Feel free to elaborate or correct me on this!
RICHARD: Yes, I agree. One of the features of the freedom that defines personal being is that other people can surprise us. In the Bible, fresh understanding of God comes when he does surprising things.