The familiar argument against free will really proves that only the universe acts – the attempt to isolate any smaller system as a source of action would, so the argument goes, would remove it from the laws of nature. But what would it mean to say that only the universe acts? Leaving aside the implausible idea that the universe is an organism, all this could mean is that it acts because there is nothing else to act upon it. But this is no more reason to act than not to act; and to get action out of this would be to try to get something out of nothing.
We can make the universe infinite in time and so deny that there was ever a set of initial conditions with nothing before it. But all this would be is to respond to the question “what does it mean to say the universe acts?” by saying that it has always done so.
This is not a critique but an argument that we seem to have reasons to think that the universe both must act and that there can be no coherent account of what it would mean for it to do so.