Libertarianism and Universalism


Hello group, first post here.

I’m not a universalist. I’m trying to understand its best arguments and/or implications of some of the claims of its most visible defenders.

I’m posting this in the General Discussion forum since I don’t take the below to be for or against universalism.

So currently I’m reading The Evangelical Universalist (Cascade Books). On p.27 fn.41, Parry says that he thinks there is a world in which both libertarianism and compatibilism are possible. I’ll call this a Parry World

How is this to be understood? A libertarian holds the conjunction of (at least) two propositions: (1) incompatibilism is true and (2) humans are free and morally responsible agents (cf. Kane, Introduction to Free Will, 33).

However, it seems this does not allow for the possibility of a Parry World. Incompatibilism is not a contingent thesis. That is, if it is true, it is necessarily true. On libertarianism, free will and moral responsibility cannot be compatible with determinism.



Libertarian free will and determinism are mutually exclusive concepts. What else can one say?


Hey, DualCitizen! Welcome. :slight_smile:

I don’t have the book, but I’m using Amazon preview. It sounds like he’s simply saying that while some could freely choose, the free will of others could be interfered with by an omnipotent God.

I think there may be an issue of semantics, or at least labels, here. Doesn’t compatibilism assume that free will is always hemmed in by determinism? As in Schopenhauer’s quote, “Man is free to do what he wills, but he cannot will what he wills.” Or is there an even further middle ground between compatibilism and libertarianism? Is there a view that says, “Individuals have free will and are not hemmed in by determinism, although it could be possible that they are sometimes”? If not then I’d think the default for Parry to employ would just be libertarianism, sans incompatibilism of course. But I’m not a philosophy major so I don’t really know.

Of course, I’m not sure why Parry doesn’t just default to compatibilism in the first place since that would make a much easier and more streamlined argument, but then again I don’t have the book. Maybe it’s because most Arminians would probably be averse to believing compatibilism since that would imply that ultimately a decision for salvation is out of an individual’s control. I, however, as a universalist am free to take what seems to me to be the most reasonable stance! :smiley:



Thanks. Well, they’re not mutually exclusive not according to Parry, which is why I’m trying to figure out the argument for how that’s possible.

Stellar Renegade,

He actually says that he holds that it’s possible there’s a world where both libertarianism and compatibilism obtain. It’s his premise 6 against William Lane Craig, which says that “all those who don’t freely accept Christ in a libertarian sense freely do in a compatibilist sense.” Then in the note he says, “Presuming there is a world in which both are possible (and I think that they are).”

So it seems clear to me he’s saying that a world where some agents have libertarian free will and some agents have compatibilist free will is a world with compossible agents. As argued in the first post, this doesn’t seem possible.


I’m not going to try to argue the possibility of that kind of a world existing because to me pure libertarianism is nonsense. Compatibilism seems to me to be the most realistic take on things. However, if it WERE possible for some agents to will what they will, then perhaps it could be possible for others to not be able to will what they will as well. Not that the former is even logically possible, but there you have it, I suppose.


How’d I miss this?

Hi DC. Welcome to the board. Great question.

As a libertarian, I wanna jump in. But I’m out the door for a couple days. Rats.

I don’t think libertariansim and compatibilism can both be true (about the same reality or event). But I do think libertarian freedom is compatible with being confident that all will eventually choose rightly.

Gotta run,


Hi Tom, thanks for the reply. So you’d say that a Parry World is impossible?


Incidentally, I personally know DC as a fellow Christian apologist on the internet, so I can vouch for his-or-her character and intentions here.

It’s been a while since I’ve read TEU, and to be honest I don’t recall offhand what Robin meant, or even whether I agreed with it. :wink: I’ll have to look it up, and I’ll try emailing Robin, too, to see if he’ll be willing to post on it.

Edited to add: I just emailed Robin with a note you’re someone well worth having a discussion on the topic with, DC. :slight_smile:


Sorry to keep you waiting DC. This got buried.

I’d have to check out Robin’s quote in context, but I don’t think a Parry World is possible. LFW and CFW are not compossible states (i.e., attributable to the same event in the same way).

But I’m not a proponent of UR in the traditional sense either, DC. That is, I don’t think there’s a *terminus ad quem *at which point God decides that enough is enough and that he’s going to determine that people in hell accept him in compatibilist fashion. The best I’m able to say (as a libertarian) is that a) irrevocable solidification into evil is impossible (a separate metaphysical argument), b) the choice for God must be libertarian, and c) God will never stop pursuing us.



I’m not sure why he didn’t post here directly himself, but I just got an email from Robin/Gregory that I think he wanted me to post in reply to DualCitizen.