I think both. I think an outside force has their own idea of how life will go, but we have freewill, or rather, the ability to make choices and act on our behalf, but the outside force will exert their force as needed, most especially when we go too far off track and they aren't happy with our direction. But if they're happy with the new direction, they may not interfere. There is definitely an outside force and also freewill, and that is how they both can coexist at the same time
If you go by the Bible , it's both. The first book of the Bible , Genesis. God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden and told man not to eat from it. He gave them free will to obey or disobey. Then in , I think Matthew ,John and in psalms, it talks about He knows the number of hairs on our head and when and where we will die ( it's been awhile since I studied) It's written straight out but also contradicts itself in other places. I have wondered , according to the Christian belief system , why give us a choice when he already knows what choice we are going to make ? For give me please but was he bored? It's like a board game.
I believe in reincarnation and past lives so that would be an ongoing cycle. Birth, death, birth, death. I'm not sure if there is a complete end or destination because energy doesn't die, just changes bodies and form. The circle of life. I would hope, in the end, there is a reason for all of this pain we have endured.
Then you have the illusion of time. Are we actually seeing what we think we are seeing? Or living ? Are there other dimensions with beings living there...in my opinion...yes if there wasn't then why are all these spirits wondering around in the after life .
My question is when and how did it all begin ? Or did it ? And are there an equal amount of Good and Evil? We know we can turn from good into evil and from evil into good...because of free will...
sorry about babbling on...this is my favorite subject
Babies that are killed prematurely don't choose anything. People can have varying levels of influence over their lives. The ones who have a lot are the luckiest. But also there seem to be eerily synchronistic moments that seem unavoidable no matter how much "control" someone has.
I am not suggesting some people are hopeless though, since it doesn't make sense that in all of nature everything is a cycle but after we die we "don't exist", matter is not absolutely static and I don't think our souls are either, they can vary in small or large degrees in manifestation by the second in my opinion (the matter thing is tested scientifically to be true though).
But of course this can't be proven or rather tested scientifically, though of course not everything that is true can be.
In religious books and such there is a concept of destiny and in various other epochs and even in future visions those things witnessed become reality. And if there is destiny then it means those destined for demise are arguably destined for demise for a reason, and those destined for greatness would also be destined for greatness for a reason. It is more "fair" in a sense to believe there is no destiny because that would mean people destined for bad are cursed, but this destiny would bless others. But if destiny is like a fork on a path or there are a minimal amount of destinies available to partake in, then that seems more fair than the former.
Life is only variably fair though. Fair at times unfair at others. Sometimes people get what they deserve other times they don't.
From a book I read someone said that people can only achieve "heaven" when they accept their situation at all times, or their destiny. When they have the resolve not to live but to accept their situation. A character thought resolution is heaven.
This is an interesting topic and it provokes a lot of my thought.