It is, in a lesser sense, similar to a two-party governmental system, you have only two choices in some countries as to who you will vote for, who you will side with. We are to use our cognitive abilities to discern which side we believe would be the most beneficial for us, and after making our decision, stand by that particular party in complete obedience.
There is, in all reality, only one party, so to speak, “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Eze. 18:4) But we are still given the free will to choose our side.
Why man, why this continuous desire for the souls of man, why not something material, why not a fight, which would not be anymore of a battle to the Almighty than the one we suppose is occurring at this time, for the planets, or entire solar systems? “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:4)
Free will necessitates a choice, it cannot exist where there is no choice, without free will and the choices that must ensue because of it, man, in fact all of creation to a degree, would be nothing more than a puppet show controlled by a puppet master. I still contend, although I am sure that eventually the Lord will be merciful to me and show me where I am wrong, that Satan was not necessary for Adam to decide to rebel, perhaps the answer is in Genesis 3:17, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” Perhaps without the woman being deceived the man would have continued in obedience. But therein lies conjecture, not Scriptural truths, and that path leads to religious organizations, to cults, and away from the Lord.
Suffice it to say that love demanded that our first parents, and all who have come after them, required the ability of free will and the choices that must come with it. It is why we will be held accountable for the party we decide to follow. “For he that is not against us is on our part.” (Mark 9:40) Our choice though, in the totality of things, is extremely limited, we can give our lives to Christ, or we can give them to the Father of Lies, Satan, (John 8:44) there is no third option, if you choose to follow only yourself, if pride is your freely chosen path, then you have decided on Satan, if it is anything but the Lord Jesus, then you have chosen the losing side. This God has determined, and His unquestionable authority, His Sovereignty as Creator of all that is gives Him this right.
It is love that determined that free will must exist in man, for love cannot be forced on another, it must be offered freely and received freely, anything else would be forced servitude, and man would be no more than everything else in creation that obeys the will of God. Animals have in a sense, a modicum of free will, they can choose to go right or left, but their lives are driven by instinct, and thereby by the Lord’s command, the planets revolve in their places, the wind is not a free entity, the grass of the field does not make a conscience decision as to where it wants to grow, only man has been blessed with the ability to choose, yet he is offered only two choices.
Here is Satan’s one and only deceit, all others are a subset of this, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5) He said the same thing to himself, and to a third of all the angels, who also had free will, in heaven on that fateful day, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:14) As he was proven wrong, all who believe his lie, all who live their lives in pride will also be shown the error of their ways.
Love calls us, love says I do not want you to be punished for all eternity, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” (Heb. 10:38) But love also offers this commandment, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matt. 22:37) The rational thinking man can do no less than contemplate these two choices, he must weigh the facts, he must of his own free will make a decision, the Lord God has left that in our hands, we are accountable for the choice that we make, and it should be simple enough, there are only two available options.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)