Thank you all for positive and helpful responses to my original question. After some careful consideration and with your help, I have come to realise that the particular issue that I have been wrestling with - namely predestination - is something more of a philosophical problem than an exegetical one.
Yes. I can fully see your point that human free will must exist in order to make any sense of our accountability before a holy God as well as help explain the existence of evil in a universe created wholy good.
But what - in simple terms please - does this free will consist of?
Of course, I am free right now to continue typing this letter, or else opt to abruptly stop - I can opt to look left instead of right YES! - but is this REALLY FREE WILL?
Is not all of our volition conditioned, when all is said and done, by one's upbringing, one's environment, present state of mind, as well as one's digestive system? Are we not free to choose ONLY from what 'cards' have been dealt out to us?
Let me offer you an illustration. Suppose one were to meet a humanised cow and one was to invite this cow to a restaurant and offer her the free choice of anything on the menu - what would she freely choose? I'm pretty sure that her free will would opt for the salad bar every time! You see in this (admittedly ridiculous) illustration suggests that acting according to one's nature, and freedom of choice are really the same thing!
I think that the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination takes this into consideration. We are, according to Calvin, controled by our fallen nature and therefore only able to turn to God if RECREATED in nature by grace. This to Calvin is what is means by being one becoming 'born again'.
How would Orthodoxy define free will in the light of this?
Sorry, I know that this is an issue that may be foreign to your approach to Divinity, but is anybody is able to offer me any help here it would be greatly appreciated.
God Bless you all