Some Universalists hold to the notion that all mankind have free will and God works with them until they finally give in. I believe this is Tom Talbot’s position. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Some Universalists hold to the notion that mankind have a will (the Bible calls it the will of the flesh) but it is not free. They believe God has already done everything through the death, entombment and resurrection of His Son to save all mankind.
For instance, let us look at a couple of passages attesting to what God and Christ have done and how that affects all mankind:
“for this is ideal and welcome in the sight of our Saviour, God, Who wills that all mankind be saved and come into a realization of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator of God and mankind, a Man, Christ Jesus, Who is giving Himself a correspondent Ransom for all (the testimony in its own eras), for which I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the nations in knowledge and truth.” (1Ti 2:3-7)
Notice the bolded “for” above. God will have all mankind to be saved FOR, or, the reason why this is so is because . . . .(and the reasons given). Notice that absent from the reasons given is “If mankind just does their part”? Rather, because all mankind have been ransomed, all mankind must be freed from bondage to sin and death and must be freed into God’s salvation.
Likewise in Romans 5:18 & 19 we have:
“Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just act for all mankind for life’s justifying.” For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just." (Rom 5:18-19)
Notice two men and two outcomes which affect all mankind solely due to one act each man did. Notice all mankind are what I like to call, neutral recipients of what Adam and Christ did. Mankind does not have to use their will to get what they get from Adam’s one act and neither does mankind have to use their will to get what they will get from Christ’s one act. They all just get what they will get. That’s Paul’s whole point.
The will of the flesh is enmity to God and cannot please God (Romans 8). Man’s will is the will of the flesh (John 1:3; Eph.2:3).
So, therefore, if man has a free will, and that will is enmity to God and cannot please God, God obviously knows this and so knows His will must overwhelm man’s will.
People don’t like to be told God is going to make them do something they don’t want to do. Tough. Too bad. Sorry you feel that way. Major hint: This isn’t your universe and you don’t make the rules.