Two levels of description
1st level: When considering reality at the most fundamental level, there clearly is no room for free will. Atoms and particles, whether or not they happen to be part of our bodies, just flow and interact according to the laws of physics. From this perspective, free will is an incongruity. A will free from what? From determinism, that is, from the laws that govern the behavior of atoms and particles? If so, the only logical alternative is that our choosing stems from some random process, but to suggest that randomness could somehow confer freedom to our will is senseless, as then it would be free from determinism, but slave to randomness. Therefore, whether random or predetermined (or some combination thereof), our decision-making process, i.e., our will, is not “free”.
God himself (herself? itself?), if he existed, wouldn’t have free will at this level. His wishes and preferences would have to have a pre-existing source, would have to be preconfigured in his nature. Any entity with a conscious purpose, with likes and dislikes, with preferences and goals, can be no different than an algorithmic program following preset guidelines — however complex the execution of those guidelines may be.
2nd level: However, in normal, day-to-day speech, people are presumed to have free will when they are aware of what they’re doing, are doing it deliberately, and are unencumbered by any overwhelming force, whether physical or psychological, that might be dictating their actions.
But how often does what a person experiences or feels, as described above, reflect what is actually going on? How often do we really have even this type of free will?
Scientific experiments in recent years, as well as callosal syndrome tests, have challenged our intuitions regarding what constitutes free will. It’s clear now that many of our actions are not always the result of deliberate and conscious consideration (even when it feels that way), but rather of unconscious mechanisms, and that we simply rationalize our actions and views afterwards — wholly unaware of our doing so.
Even so, it seems undeniable that our intuition that we’re in control and make decisions consciously and deliberately does indeed reflect, at least some of the time, what is happening (not at the fundamental level of physics, but at the higher level suitable for describing human behavior).