Friday, November 30, 2012

Don't forget John 3:17

John 3:16 is one of the most well known and loved passages in the bible - because it summarize the Gospel so nicely. Some Calvinists limit "world" from meaning everyone, but many Calvinists do see that John 3:16 is about everyone.1  That is to say, they agree that God has a general love for all mankind that moved Him to send His Son.  But they stop there, just short of saying God intends to apply the work of His Son to each and every person to save all.  But don't forget verse 17:

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

God's purpose in sending His Son was so that the world [each and every individual], through Christ Jesus, might be saved.  Contra Dort's claim that: "it was God’s will that Christ through the blood of the cross (by which he confirmed the new covenant) should effectively redeem from every people, tribe, nation, and language all those and only those who were chosen from eternity to salvation and given to him by the Father" (Dort 2.8), God's intent was for His Son to save the world.  

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1 For detailed arguments on why world means everyone in this context, I recommend David Allen's chapter "The Atonement: Limited or Universal?" in A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism.  B&H Publishing. 2010.  He is also quoted on John 3:16 in chapter 1.  I also recommend John Goodwin's treatment of John 3:16 starting on page 132 of Redemption Redeemed (link).   The basic arguments are that you wouldn't need whosoever (pas) if the "sense was God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that believers should not perish".  The point of the pas is to distribute the promise.  Also, the reading of God so loved believers that He gave His Son that whoever believes should not perish makes no sense.  Whoever believes has to be a subset of the world - the world being divided between believers and unbelievers.  Goodwin also makes a effective argument from NT usage of the word world or kasmos.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Working out Forgiveness


James White and Turretinfan are doing a good job responding to Jason Stellman’s interview about converting to Roman Catholicism (Response 1, Response 2), but I wanted to add my two cents on a few things. About 30 minutes in, Stellman argues if you really understand sanctification you don’t need imputation.  If the Holy Spirit makes us fulfill the law, why do you need the imputation of Christ’s righteousness?  But Stellman’s argument works equally well (or poorly) against forgiveness.  If you really understand sanctification you don’t need imputation forgiveness. If the Holy Spirit makes us fulfill the law, why do you need the imputation of Christ’s righteousness forgiveness?1  If Stellman truly understood forgiveness, he would have no need for penance, purgatory or the Roman Catholic doctrine of suffering, which confuses suffering for sin with suffering for Christ.

Likewise, when Stellman argues that God does not require perfection, so we don’t need the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, this argument applies equally to forgiveness. If God doesn't require perfection, then we don’t need forgiveness.

James White and Turretinfan note Stellman’s disagreement with his own church that God requires perfection.  But Stellman’s argument falls apart upon attempted repair.  Let’s take Stellman’s scriptural example,

Luke 1:6 Both of them [Zachariah and Elizabeth] were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly

Stellman agrees with White and TFan; this righteousness isn’t perfection, it’s just being better than our neighbors.2  Now instead of saying God lets Zachariah and Elizabeth’s into heaven because their good deeds outweigh their bad ones, let’s modify Stellman’s view towards the standard Roman Catholic view and say that their good deeds are involved in God’s forgiving their sins.  So we have works involved in justification without losing forgiveness.  Job done.

But is the text about double righteousness?  Because Zachariah and Elizabeth were fairly righteous and blameless, God forgives them, making them fully righteous and blameless. Certainly not - that goes against Stellman's own observation that the text is only talking about Zachariah and Elizabeth's obedience.  So this passage can only be used to argue there’s no such thing as forgiveness. 


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 1 Roman Catholic’s often target the imputation of Christ’s righteousness when addressing justification.  It’s the aspect of justification that’s probably least clear in scripture.  It is in scripture, but I think you probably need to first understand that justification is a legal “not guilty” verdict to see it.  But for the sake of argument, let’s strip out the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and even a not guilty verdict from justification.  Let’s consider justification just forgiveness of sins – as Romans 4:7 says of justification: “blessed is the man who’s transgressions are forgiven”.

2 As an aside, I agree with Stellman that this passage should lead us to think Zachariah and Elizabeth were saved.  But this is because we know them by their fruits.  Justification leads to good works - it doesn't pay to get that one backwards.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Were the Pharisees Molinists?

Being associated with the Pharisees is normally unflattering.  But considering Paul was originally a Pharisee, it's important to understand what they believed.  And they maintained God's providential control and man's freedom in a way only Molinists today can.  Here's how Josephus described the Pharisees view:

3. Now, for the Pharisees, ... when they determine that all things are done by fate, they do not take away the freedom from men of acting as they think fit; since their notion is, that it hath pleased God to make a temperament, whereby what he wills is done, but so that the will of man can act virtuously or viciously.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/ant-18.htm

the Pharisees are those who are esteemed most skillful in the exact explication of their laws, and introduce the first sect. These ascribe all to fate [or providence], and to God, and yet allow, that to act what is right, or the contrary, is principally in the power of men, although fate does co-operate in every action.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/war-2.htm

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Purgatory on Earth

According to Roman Catholic theology, both penance and purgatory make reparations to God’s justice by satisfying the temporal punishments for sins that have already been forgiven.  Given this line of thinking, why not go for the more brutal forms of penance?  (link)

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Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pre-Molinia Molinism


Luis De Molina is often called the inventor of the idea that God knows what we would choose in any setting.  But Molina’s role is really more of a systematizer and defender of this idea, rather than inventor.  Of course, the idea is in the bible itself (link), but it’s also in some of the Church Fathers.  For example, Gregory of Nyssa uses this idea to theorize why God allows infants to die.  Now Gregory’s use is somewhat speculative and may not be all that helpful to grieving parents (“Oh great, not only is my kid dead, but he would have grown up to be a Hitler…”).  So I don’t bring this up to sign off on Gregory’s theory, but rather mealy to note the use of the idea in the Fathers, well prior to Molina’s time.  Here’s Gregory of Nyssa’s comment:

"It is a sign of the perfection of God's providence, that He not only heals maladies that have come into existence, but also provides that some should be never mixed up at all in the things which He has forbidden; it is reasonable, that is, to expect that He Who knows the future equally with the past should check the advance of an infant to complete maturity, in order that the evil may not be developed which His foreknowledge has detected in his future life, and in order that a lifetime granted to one whose evil dispositions will be lifelong may not become the actual material for his vice. We shall better explain what we are thinking of by an illustration.

Suppose a banquet of very varied abundance, prepared for a certain number of guests, and let the chair be taken by one of their number who is gifted to know accurately the peculiarities of constitution in each of them, and what food is best adapted to each temperament, what is harmful and unsuitable; in addition to this let him be entrusted with a sort of absolute authority over them, whether to allow as he pleases so and so to remain at the board or to expel so and so, and to take every precaution that each should address himself to the viands most suited to his constitution, so that the invalid should not kill himself by adding the fuel of what he was eating to his ailment, while the guest in robuster health should not make himself ill with things not good for him and fall into discomfort from over-feeding. Suppose, among these, one of those inclined to drink is conducted out in the middle of the banquet or even at the very beginning of it; or let him remain to the very end, it all depending on the way that the president can secure that perfect order shall prevail, if possible, at the board throughout, and that the evil sights of surfeiting, tippling, and tipsiness shall be absent. It is just so, then, as when that individual is not very pleased at being torn away from all the savoury dainties and deprived of his favourite liquors, but is inclined to charge the president with want of justice and judgment, as having turned him away from the feast for envy, and not for any forethought for him; but if he were to catch a sight of those who were already beginning to misbehave themselves, from the long continuance of their drinking, in the way of vomitings and putting their heads on the table and unseemly talk, he would perhaps feel grateful to him for having removed him, before he got into such a condition, from a deep debauch. If our illustration is understood, we can easily apply the rule which it contains to the question before us. What, then, was that question? Why does God, when fathers endeavour their utmost to preserve a successor to their line, often let the son and heir be snatched away in earliest infancy ? To those who ask this, we shall reply with the illustration of the banquet; namely, that Life's board is as it were crowded with a vast abundance and variety of dainties; and it must, please, be noticed that, true to the practice of gastronomy, all its dishes are not sweetened with the honey of enjoyment, but in some cases an existence has a taste of some especially harsh mischances given to it: just as experts in the arts of catering desire how they may excite the appetites of the guests with sharp, or briny, or astringent dishes. Life, I say, is not in all its circumstances as sweet as honey; there are circumstances in it in which mere brine is the only relish, or into which an astringent, or vinegary, or sharp pungent flavour has so insinuated itself, that the rich sauce becomes very difficult to taste: the cups of Temptation, too, are filled with all sorts of beverages; some by the error of pride produce the vice of inflated vanity; others lure on those who drain them to some deed of rashness; while in other cases they excite a vomiting in which all the ill-gotten acquisitions of years are with shame surrendered. Therefore, to prevent one who has indulged in the carousals to an improper extent from lingering over so profusely furnished a table, he is early taken from the number of the banqueters, and thereby secures an escape out of those evils which unmeasured indulgence procures for gluttons. This is that achievement of a perfect Providence which I spoke of; namely, not only to heal evils that have been committed, but also to forestall them before they have been committed; and this, we suspect, is the cause of the deaths of new-born infants. He Who does all things upon a Plan withdraws the materials for evil in His love to the individual, and, to a character whose marks His Foreknowledge has read, grants no time to display by a pre-eminence in actual vice what it is when its propensity to evil gets free play." (Gregory of Nyssa.  On the Untimely Death of Infants.  In Migne PG 46)

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2912.htm

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dekker on Middle Knowledge in Arminius’ Theology


All quotes from Eef Dekker’s Was Arminius a Molinist? The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Summer, 1996), pp. 337-352. 

Arminius: The knowledge of God is a faculty of his life, which is the first in nature and order, by which he distinctly understands each and every thing, whatever entity they have, will have, have had, can have, or might hypothetically have, and of each and every thing their order, connection, and various aspects that they have or can have; not even excluded that entity which belongs to reason, and which only in the mind, imagination or enunciation exists or can exist. (Public Disputation IV.30)

Dekker: … "Hypothetical entity" may sound just the same as "possible entity." There is, however, a weighty reason not to regard it as such. It is one of the characteristic features of Molinism to distinguish that which is possible from that which can hypothetically exist. In the first case it is about things that can exist, in the second it is about things that would exist, certain circumstances presupposed, as an effect of creaturely free will. In other words, the separation of categories (2) and (3) can be taken to be a first sign of Molinism.

Arminius: 2. [He knows] all possibilia, which may refer as it were to three genera: [a]The first is [knowledge of those things, to which the power of God may immediately extend itself, or which may exist by an act performed by him alone. [b]The second is [knowledge] of those things which, by God's conservation, motion, aid, concursuso, permission, can exist [as performed] by the creatures, whether these creatures will themselves exist or not, and whether they be placed in this or in that, or in infinitely many orders of things, [he knows] even those things which would exist by creatures, if this or that hypothesis were made. [c]The third is [knowledge] of those things which concerning the acts of creatures God can do-convenient for himself or for those acts. (Public Disputation IV.34)

Dekker:  In category 2[b] formulations are used which bear close resemblance to those which Molina used in his Concordia The first formulation is "whether they be placed in this or in that, or in infinitely many orders of things." Molina formulates in his definition of scientia media: "were it [free choice] to be placed in this or in that or, indeed, in infinitely many orders of things.", The resemblance is striking, and I suggest that Arminius borrowed it from Molina. Still, it does not follow that Arminius has middle knowledge in mind. In fact, what Arminius says by the mouth of Molina has no connection with scientia media. Rather, it is about what creatures can do in specific situations, and not about the relation between a certain possible situation and human choice in such a situation. However, we actually do find middle knowledge in what follows on our quotation (2[b] at the end):"[He knows] even those things which would exist by creatures, if this or that hypothesis were made." Here again we have middle knowledge formulated.

Dekker:  Middle knowledge, we now see, is right at the heart of Arminius' doctrine of divine knowledge.  This conclusion is still reinforced by the fact that the traditional "middle knowledge" quotations from scripture, 1 Sam. 23:11-12 and Matt. 11:21, are not in the margin of thesis 43 (Public Disputation IV.43), but precisely next to our text: in the margin of category 2[b] of thesis 34 (Public Disputation IV.34).

Arminius: God's knowledge which ... is called "of simple intelligence" and natural or necessary is the cause of all things, by way of prescription and direction, to which is added the action of will and power, although it is necessary that middle knowledge intervenes in things which depend on freedom of created choice.(Public Disputation IV.45)

Dekker:  …Natural knowledge apparently cannot prescribe to the divine will how to proceed in case of human free will. The divine will needs middle knowledge in order to know which free human act can be realized, given certain circumstances. It needs no further comment when I say that this rationale was precisely that which Molina had in mind when he "invented" middle knowledge.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Muller on Middle Knowledge in Arminius’ Theology

All quotes from Richard Muller’s God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius: Sources and Directions of Scholastic Protestantism in the Era of Early Orthodoxy. Baker Book House, 1991.

By way of repudiating the Reformed view, Arminius would not only adopt a concept of scientia media, he would also argue an alternative view of concurrence…. Walaeus notes, however, that this hypothetical knowing is not necessarily to be understood as a third kind of knowledge separate from the scientia simplicis intelligentiae.  Arminius argues precisely the point that the definitions offered by his Reformed contemporaries have purposely excluded.  After his basic set of definitions, Arminius presents the thesis that:

The Scholastics say besides, that one kind of God’s knowledge is natural and necessary, another free, and a third intermediate (mediam).  (1) Natural or necessary knowledge is that by which God understands himself and all possibilities; (2) free knowledge is that by which he knows all other beings; (3) middle knowledge is that by which he knows that “if this occurs, that will happen.”  The first precedes every free act of the divine will.  The second follows the free act of the divine will.  This latter act indeed is preceded by the free will, but sees any future thing as a consequence of it… middle [knowledge] must intervene in things that depend on the freedom of creaturely choice.   (Disp. Pub. Iv.xliii) (in Muller p.155-156)

Molina refers specifically to the statement of Origen that “a thing will happen not because God knows it as future; but because it is future, it is on that account known by God before it exists,” as cited by Aquinas, and specifically disagrees with Aquinas’ interpretation.  Aquinas has categorically refused to view the future event as the cause of something in God or as standing outside of the divine causality… Arminius nowhere cites Dreiedo, Molina, Suarez, or Origen and nowhere notes the contemporary Roman Catholic debate over middle knowledge.  His only citation of Aquinas stands in no direct relation to the question of scientia media, but it is hard to rule out the influence of Molina and Suarez on his doctrine.  There is even a hint of the famous Thomistic citation of Origen and its Molinst interpretation  in Arminius’ remark that “a thing does not come to pass (non sit) because it is foreknown or foretold; but it is foreknown or foretold because it is yet to be (future est).” (private disputation XXVIII.xiv) It is also the case that Arminius’ motivation in arguing the scientia media is identical with Molina’s: “the middle knowledge,” argues Arminius, “ought to intervene [i.e., between natural and free knowledge] in things which depend on the freedom of creaturely choice.”   (private disputation XVII.xii) Thus the scientia media must precede the act of will that grounds the scientia libera or scientia visionis, and must know future events, not because they have been willed but on the hypothesis of their future occurrence.  God will, therefore, be able to ordain the means of salvation on the basis of a hypothetical or consequent knowledge of the creature’s fee choice in a context of grace.  (p. 160-161)

In its detail, Arminius’ language of the divine decrees veers away from the Suarezian view of predestination ante preavisa merita and evidences some affinity for both the teachings of Driedro and Molina and the formulation of Aquavia… Not only, moreover, can we assume that Arminius was aware of the general outlines of the Roman Catholic debate over grace, free will, and predestination, we can also infer from the catalogue of his library that he had a detailed, first-hand knowledge of the positions of Driedo and Molina and, probably of Suarez: he owned copies of Dreido’s De concorida liberi arbitrii et praedstinatioinis divinae (Louvain, 1537), Molina’s Concorida liberi arbitrii cum gratiae donis (Antwerp, 1595) and Suarez Opuscula theological. (Auction Catalogue)  (p. 163)

Thus, the divine will to save particular persons rests on the divine knowledge of future contingent acts – scientia media.  Indeed, it is only by the device of scientia meida that Arminius can argue a genuinely universal will to save, resting on a knowledge of possibility and also argue, subsequently, a genuinely specific will to save believers only.  (p. 164)

Whereas the Reformed insisted upon the almost paradoxical point that an eternal and all-powerful God can in fact predetermine that some events will occur as a result of contingent or free acts of creatures and can therefore know such events according to his scientia libera seu visionis, Amrinius follows Suarez in placing the divine foreknowledge or scientia meida prior to the divine intervention, with the result that God can and does offer inducements to his creatures on the basis of his knowledge of their disposition towards or against certain acts.  (p. 260-261)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why Episcopius held to Middle Knowledge

Simon Episcopius led the Remonstants at Dort, after Arminius’ death. (link for background on Episcopius) Like Arminius, he held to middle knowledge. (link) Here’s what he had to say about middle knowledge:

This order to be rightly understood, has come to be observed, by usually attributing to God threefold knowledge. One which is necessary and practical and is called simple intelligence, which by its nature is prior to all free acts of [the divine] will, which God has of himself and knows all possibilities. The other free, which is called vision, and is after the free act of the [divine] will, by which God has decreed to do or permit all things, knows the same order, when it decided to make or permit to be done. Third,

Middle, by which God knows what men or angels would do by their own freedom, under conditions, if with these or those circumstances, in this or that state, or established order. Whether this distinction is rightly said of the divine knowledge, we do not consider. But that it is convenient and that the doctrine of grace becomes possible, no one doubts. And this is why we set the second distinction, in the order of the objects of divine knowledge.


Ordo hic ut recte intelligatur, observandum venit, triplicem Deo scientiam tribui solere. Vnam, quae necessaria est, and practica atque simplicas intelligentia dicitur, quae ex natura sua omni voluntatis liberae actu prior est, qua Deus se ipsum & alia omnia possibilia intelligit. Alteram liberam, quae visionie dicitur, & actu voluntatis liberae posterior est, qua Deus omnia, quae facere aut permittere decrevit, eodem ordine novit, quo ea decrevit facere aut permittere ut fiant. Tertiam,

Mediam, qua Deus novit quid homines aut Angeli pro sua libertate facturi essent, sub conditione, si cum his aut illis circumstantiis, in hoc vel in illo statu aut ordine constituerentur. An haec divinae scientiae distinctio recte fait, nos non expendimus. Quin ea commode & doctrinae gratia fieri poffit, neutiquam dubitamus. Quare secundum hane distinctionem, hunc in objectis divinae scientiae ordinem constituimus. (Works of Simon Episcopius. Page 303)

I like his practical approach. He doesn't try to crawl behind middle knowledge to discover it’s source. Rather, he accepts middle knowledge because of its benefits.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Prescience Prophecy Problem

Genesis 15:5-6: He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be. Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

What a monumental event. Did God foreknow Abram’s belief? Most Christians say yes. The question I would like to ask is, is such a belief consistent with simple foreknowledge?

Simple foreknowledge is the view that God simply knows the future. Those who hold to simple foreknowledge are not divine determinists; they hold to libertarian freedom. Likewise they are not Molinists, God does not have middle knowledge (the idea that God knows what people would choose in various settings). Also they are not open theists, they believe God has exhaustive foreknowledge. They say God simply knows the future. 

But simple foreknowledge is providentially useless. Consider the grandfather paradox (i.e. you go back in time an kill your own grandfather). Similarly, on simple foreknowledge, God cannot change the future He foreknows. It’s logically “too late” to do anything about it. This is because on simple foreknowledge, God foreknows the future because it is future.

I argue that by extension, on simple foreknowledge, God cannot foreknow the results of what will happen based on a prophecy. Imagine, on hearing he will become a great nation, Abram says, “this ain’t for me” and does not do the things needed to become the father of a great nation. God’s statement about the future would turn out to be wrong. Simple foreknowledge cannot account for this prophecy because the prophecy shapes the past of the foreknown event.

God’s telling Abram he will be the father of a great nation motivated Abram to believe and to try to become one. Abram’s actions result from and are logically dependent on God’s telling him the future. So the prophecy logically precedes and helps explain the foretold events. But on simple foreknowledge, God knows the future because it is future. Foreknown events logically precede and help explain God’s foreknowledge. The simple foreknowledge view is in trouble - God’s foreknowledge of Abram’s actions is logically before and after Abram’s actions. That’s a contradiction.

This rends a huge hole in God’s foreknowledge, under the simple foreknowledge view. The downstream consequences of Abram’s faith are history shaping. Any events resulting from any prophecy could not be foreknown, under a simple foreknowledge view.

The answer is of course that God knew that His prophecy would motivate Abram to believe and obey. But that’s beyond simple foreknowledge, and gets into middle knowledge.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Heartbreak

This election was heartbreaking.   It’s heartbreaking that our best choices were a heretic and an apostate.   It’s heartbreaking to see most Americans vote against biblical morals on abortion and homosexuality.  It’s heartbreaking for me to realize that the “liberal media” is not some loud minority view, but in some cases represents the majority view.   It’s heartbreaking that my kids will inherit socialism and massive debt.  My hope is in Christ alone.  He alone can bring good out of this.  He alone can save America.  He alone makes all things new. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Habemus Papam

The election of a new Coptic Pope is a good reminder that Rome isn't the only ancient church claiming to be the one true church.  (link) Rome and Alexandria split over a bit of theology that would by today's standards look trivial.  Same with Rome and the East.  Makes you wonder, did they take theology more seriously back then?  Or were the theological issues only the pretext and the political autonomy was the real goal?  Probably both.  In any case,  the ancient church was not perfectly united in the idea that the Pope in Rome was the boss. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tertullian - Freedom of Religion a Fundamental Human Right

You think that others, too, are gods, whom we know to be devils. However, it is a fundamental human right, a privilege of nature, that every man should worship according to his own convictions: one man’s religion neither harms nor helps another man. It is assuredly no part of religion to compel religion—to which free-will and not force should lead us—the sacrificial victims even being required of a willing mind. You will render no real service to your gods by compelling us to sacrifice. For they can have no desire of offerings from the unwilling, unless they are animated by a spirit of contention, which is a thing altogether undivine. (link)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Survey Showing Most People are Determinists?

Eddy Nahmias, Stephen Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer, and Jason Turner conducted a survey on free will.[i]  They argue these studies suggest that ordinary people’s pre-theoretical intuitions about free will and responsibility do not support incompatibilism.  It appears to be false—or certainly too hasty—to claim that ‘‘most ordinary persons. . . believe there is some kind of conflict between freedom and determinism’’ (Kane, 1999, p. 218).  In this post, I am going to dispute their interpretations of the results of their study. 

The surveyors only present the results of a doubly revamped survey in their paper.  Of the first round they say: “In some initial surveys we found that people do not understand the concept ‘determinism’ in the technical way philosophers use it. Rather, they tend to define ‘determinism’ in contrast with free will.” (565)  Likewise they report “Examples of participants’ definitions of ‘determinism’ include: ‘‘Being unable to choose’’, ‘‘That people have a set fate’’, and ‘‘The lack of free will’’. Many others thought it meant ‘determined’, as in ‘resolute’. (579)   Here’s how they interpret these results: “It does not suggest that people consider ‘determinism’, as defined in (one of ) the technical ways philosophers define it, to be incompatible with free will or moral responsibility. Rather, it seems that many people think ‘determinism’ means the opposite of free will, as suggested by the phrase ‘the problem of free will and determinism’.
Seeing what questions they asked and the numbers on the responses would have been helpful.  But even based on what has been given, their interpretation looks highly doubtful.  The understanding of determinism and it’s relation to free will is exactly what’s in question.  Do most people believe determinism result in us not having choices, having a fate, lacking free will?  According to the first survey, yes they do.  But that undermines the surveyors conclusion. 

In any case, the study was changed.  But again, libertarian looking results led to a revision.  In pilot studies we found that some participants seemed to fail to reason conditionally (e.g., given their explanations on the back of the survey, some seemed to assume that the scenario is impossible because Jeremy has free will, rather than making judgments about Jeremy’s freedom on the assumption that the scenario is actual). To correct for this problem, Question 1 asked participants whether they think the scenario is possible (the majority responded ‘‘no’’, offering various reasons on the back of the survey).”  The survey question assumed determinism, so most of the participants objected to the question.   So the survey was changed to allow the respondents to say the scenario involving determinism was impossible.  Most people said no. 
That’s three strikes against the conclusion.  Now let’s look at the questions in their final form:
Scenario: Imagine that in the next century we discover all the laws of nature, and we build a supercomputer which can deduce from these laws of nature and from the current state of everything in the world exactly what will be happening in the world at any future time. It can look at everything about the way the world is and predict everything about how it will be with 100% accuracy. Suppose that such a supercomputer existed, and it looks at the state of the universe at a certain time on March 25, 2150 AD, 20 years before Jeremy Hall is born. The computer then deduces from this information and the laws of nature that Jeremy will definitely rob Fidelity Bank at 6:00 pm on January 26, 2195. As always, the supercomputer’s prediction is correct; Jeremy robs Fidelity Bank at 6:00 pm on January 26, 2195.
Timeline
Computer Makes Prediction (2150) ------->  Jeremy is Born  (2170) ------>  Jeremy robs a bank (2195)
Figure 1 Jeremy Case 1: Bank Robbing Scenario.
When asked to “suspend disbelief” about the scenario, 76% said Jeremy had free will, 68% said Jeremy was blameworthy and 67% said Jeremy could have chosen otherwise.
It’s reasonably clear the scenario implies determinism (that’s why most objected to it).  One problem is I would have answered the questions the same way.  I am a libertarian, but if God told me libertarianism is false and determinism is true, I would become a compatibilist rather than a hyper-Calvinist.  So these survey results do not support the surveyors conclusion.  They don’t even measure if people believe in libertarian free will or not.  Rather, they test that if people learned they were wrong about libertarianism, would they become compatibilists or hard determinists. 
Let’s look at the second survey scenario.
Scenario. Imagine there is a world where the beliefs and values of every person are caused completely by the combination of one’s genes and one’s environment. For instance, one day in this world, two identical twins, named Fred and Barney, are born to a mother who puts them up for adoption. Fred is adopted by the Jerksons and Barney is adopted by the Kindersons. In Fred’s case, his genes and his upbringing by the selfish Jerkson family have caused him to value money above all else and to believe it is OK to acquire money however you can. In Barney’s case, his (identical) genes and his upbringing by the kindly Kinderson family have caused him to value honesty above all else and to believe one should always respect others’ property. Both Fred and Barney are intelligent individuals who are capable of deliberating about what they do. One day Fred and Barney each happen to find a wallet containing $1000 and the identification of the owner (neither man knows the owner). Each man is sure there is nobody else around. After deliberation, Fred Jerkson, because of his beliefs and values, keeps the money. After deliberation, Barney Kinderson, because of his beliefs and values, returns the wallet to its owner. Given that, in this world, one’s genes and environment completely cause one’s beliefs and values, it is true that if Fred had been adopted by the Kindersons, he would have had the beliefs and values that would have caused him to return the wallet; and if Barney had been adopted by the Jerksons, he would have had the beliefs and values that would have caused him to keep the wallet.
When asked about this scenario, 76% said Fred and Barney had free will, 60% said Fred is blameworthy and 76% said Fred and Barney could have done otherwise. 
The problem with this scenario is that determinism accounts for who we are but not what we do.  Only on a weakened counterfactual theory of causation does this scenario present causal determinism.  So the results do not support the authors conclusion.  They run the risk of backfiring.  Given who we are is determined, what we do is not determined in that we still have free will, still are morally responsible and still are able to do otherwise than we do. 
I have no doubt that developing an unbiased survey would be difficult.  Maybe other surveys do a better job.  But this one provides evidence that the common man view is libertarian rather than determinist.


[i] Eddy Nahmias, Stephen Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer, and Jason Turner. Surveying Freedom: Folk Intuitions about Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Philosophical Psychology. Vol. 18, No. 5, October 2005, pp. 561–584.