The argument is often made that evil exists in the world because God gave humans free will and He gave humans free will so that they could truly love God, as love can only be genuine if it’s chosen. This argument is faulty on at least two points: it incorrectly defines “free will”, and it wrongly assumes love can only be real if it is chosen.
The opposite of free will is not “no will”.
The opposite of will is “no will”.
Will is defined as desire — I have a desire for such and such to happen. It is my will. To have no desires is to have no will, and thus no ability to choose. Any action by something with no will is automatic and “preprogrammed”. A heart functions, it does what it does, but it does not have a will of its own.
The opposite of free will is enslaved will. Both one whose will is free or enslaved is able to make choices. An alcoholic can choose which whiskey he will get drunk off tonight, but he is enslaved to his alcoholism.
Free will is not the ability to make choices without being influenced by an outside force, since no one makes a choice without desire, and no one’s desire exists in an arbitrary vacuum. Your choices are determined by your desire (your will) and your desire is determined by your nature.
Your nature is either free or enslaved. Free from what? Enslaved to what? Sin, evil, and corruption.
Thus, free will is the ability to never sin, and enslaved will is the inability to never sin. Indeed, free will is the inability to sin.
God is free and He cannot sin.
If God is free and there is no potential to sin within Him, then it is not a requirement to have the potential to sin in order to be free or to have free will.
God is love. Jesus loves the Father. Jesus and the Father are both God. One God — three persons. Jesus is a man. Jesus is 100% man and 100% God.
Jesus is the perfect man. What is not true for Jesus is not true for all humans, and what is true for Jesus is true for all humans.
Jesus loves the Father, and there is no potential in Jesus to hate or reject the Father. God is not divided (Mark 3:24-25). There is no darkness in God (1 John 1:5). God cannot lie or break an oath (Hebrews 6:18). Jesus does not change (Hebrews 13:8). There is no potential in God (for change).
Thus, it is not required, in order for one to love another, for there to be the potential to hate the other.
In order for humans to love God it was not required for humans to have the potential to hate God.
God did not give humans “free will” so that humans could possibly reject God thus making their love for Him “real” — as some teach: love is only real if it’s chosen.
God desires humans to never sin — God desires for humans to be free and have free will. We are made free for freedom’s sake (Galatians 5:1).
God did not risk evil entering His creation by giving humans the potential to be evil for the sake of genuine love. Humans were clearly given the potential for evil since that’s what happened. But, they were not given that potential for the sake of genuine love. Genuine love is possible without the potential for sin and evil.
A man loves his children. He does not have to chose to love them — he just loves them. He knows them and he loves them, and they love him.