Ssandra - I'm glad English isn't your first language, because it forces me to be even more direct and precise!
When I'm tired I don't feel like it's my first language either! I'm getting a better feel for what you're asking about. I'll try to cover this in a different way.
You said "If life isn't pre-determined, then time is logically linear". Why are you connecting one with the other? Time is an invented construct, it is an illusion, a collective agreement that we abide by when we want to, when we have a reason to. Immutable events in each of our lives is pre-determined by us, the order of our lifetimes can zip back and forth across time/space (like going to a different ride on the other side of the amusement park - we don't necessarily choose every ride right next to each other). And once we're in one lifetime we choose to experience linear time. But we perceive time as linear if that's what we want
to do - we can also exist beyond
time and space. What do you think happens in-between lifetimes? There is a sense of timelessness, being beyond time.
Once we come into a certain lifetime, then we "agree" to experience time in a linear fashion, just like we have other collective agreements that we abide by like gravity. But there are any number of real mystics that have moved beyond the collective agreements - can appear in more than one place at the same time, can show up at different times in history (past, future), can physically disappear, can manifest things instantly, can levitate themselves, can levitate other objects, and can move through seemingly solid material - the list goes on. The book series "Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East" by Baird Spalding, and "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda have examples of this. I personally have met people who have done some things that would be considered outside the normal experience.
And if even one mystic can do any of those things, that means it's possible for others too, and that what we consider as 'scientific' fact about time/space/energy/matter might not be the whole picture.
One famous magician really knows how to do this, and he just presents it as if it's theatrical magic, when in fact he is more like a yogi, demonstrating a greater understanding of the illusion that we call reality. Sai Baba in India is another. I'm sure you know of people like this in Mexico and other places.
You say "If time isn't linear, then free will is an illusion". Why does linear time have anything to do with this? You always have a choice as to how you will respond, in any life. I'm saying that no one feels like a victim unless they want to feel like one - no matter what happens to them. This should be positive, empowering news. If you want to talk about time, know that your response ripples out across time - backwards and forwards - like a pebble thrown into a pond.
You're right - the body (and the ego), is all about here and now, and how to protect us. Our soul is all about the bigger picture of life and how to integrate now into it's ongoing journey - but it's not about being a victim either. It's not about "Ok, I'll stay poor and helpless now and let myself get raped because there is a growing moment for a later incarnation". That is a victim mentality and it's a conflicted reaction, not a clear body-soul response. Life is about how to be fully present now and respond so that there is no conflict that needs to get resolved in any other moment, not postponing the moment. If we feel an urge to study something now, to learn something, it can then be used in any moment, in any lifetime. So preparing for a difficult task in our next life, is not the same as being a victim now.
Having said that, there are some people who want to experience being poor, helpless, getting raped, etc, just like there are people who want to experience the opposite! I'm not saying that every experience we have is an immutable event, bound to happen (i.e. not every person who is raped wants it to happen). We can attract things to us based on our clarity/conflict, and there are accidents of fate (ie. being in the wrong place at the wrong time) that can happen. I am saying that no matter what we attract to ourselves, we are either reacting or responding. When we react, we get more of the same, and we keep incarnating till we respond. When we respond, life changes and transforms into a blessing. Linear time has nothing to do with it other than it happens to be a parameter we want to use, when we like to express.