Steve Billiter: By the aid of the Holy Spirit, which is …

Comment on Back to Square One… by Ron.

Steve Billiter: By the aid of the Holy Spirit, which is promised to all who seek it in sincerity, every man may understand these truths for himself. God has granted to men a strong foundation upon which to rest their faith.

Here again, how is man convinced? Is it by appeal to God’s “Divine Authority”; God said it so I believe it? No, It is by the aid of the Holy Spirit when man seeks (trough the process of argument and reason) for truth in sincerity (with a heart and mind open to influence) based on a “strong foundation” which again, is an appeal to human reason and objective/scientific evidence. God seeks to win people’s hearts and minds, never to coerce them.

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Back to Square One…

Steve Billiter: 2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

Here again I believe you make my point for me, or at least I would claim this scripture as supporting my position.
The very act of making a creed creates a “private interpretation”. True, it might be a private interpretation that is held in common with millions of believers, but the whole purpose of a creed is to privatize an interpretation. The creed defines a boundary that says, “we are in, you are out. We hold this belief against all reason and authority and we will no longer accept or risk influence from external sources (even Biblical)”. An interpretation is only public as long as it remains open to persuasion by the public through force of convincing reason and a free conscience.

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Steve Billiter: You seem to advocating an “anything goes” type of theology which does away with solid doctrines and Adventist pillars of faith. This will never work.

No, you misunderstand me. I am advocating almost the opposite. I am advocating that our theology is a consensus created through a process of respectful and disciplined reason and persuasive argument.

My point is that appeals to the authority of a creed and the use of coercion undermines the very process by which we discern truth and develop consensus. True argument is at its root, a cooperative and respectful process where each participant presents the reasons for their belief to a critical participant who in turn presents their reasons for their opposing beliefs. The outcome matters, and each participant wants to bring the opponent to their side, and in turn risks being themselves convinced. This process of critical evaluation gradually builds consensus.

The minute one closes them self off from the possibility of being persuaded (e.g. creates a creed), or attempts to coerce the opponent into acceptance, the process fails. Force may get acquiescence, but it will never produce faith and commitment.

God’s appeal is “come let us reason together”. Note, where does the authority lie within this statement? Is this God asserting “the truth” by his own authority? No, God is here, respecting, and in fact, appealing to the authority of man’s own personal reason. There can be no true shortcut to this process. To do anything else is to remove from man the very thing that makes him human, and for which Jesus died – rational thought and moral responsibility.

I will note that God enters into the process in good faith. We have at least two instances of man arguing with God, and convincing God to change his mind. Once on Mt. Sinai when God proposed destroying Israel in favor of Moses descendants, and again with Abraham arguing with God over Sodom. In both cases the arguer appeals to human reason and humanities sense justice and God changes his mind.

Back to Square One…

BobRyan: Our historic biblical view of the final judgment is precisely about how we are “justified by keeping the law”. And if you don’t believe that, you are not really a SDA in harmony with our historic teaching and EGW.

Bob, here is good example as to why the church should not have a creed, because I happen to believe almost the opposite, that you can not really be an SDA and believe that we are “justified by keeping the law”. At least not since 1888.

Recent Comments by Ron

Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation

Sean Pitman: No one is demanding that they “get out of the church”. . . . . anti-Adventist views on such a fundamental level.

You don’t see how characterizing a dedicated believer’s understanding of truth as “fundamentally anti-Adventist” would drive them out of the church?

I guess that explains why you don’t see that what you are doing here is fundamentally wrong.

Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation

Professor Kent: Nothing saddens me more than the droves who leave the Church when they learn that many of their cherished beliefs regarding this evidence don’t hold up so well to scrutiny.

I agree. I am sure that Sean and Bob don’t mean to undermine faith in God, but every time they say that it is impossible to believe in God and in science at the same time, I feel like they are telling me that any rational person must give up their belief in God, because belief in God and rationality can’t exist in the same space. Who would want to belong to that kind of a church?

Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation

Sean Pitman: and have little if anything to do with the main point of their prophetic claims

And by analogy, this appears to be a weak point in the creation argument. Who is to decide what the main point is?

It seems entirely possible that in trying to make Gen. 1 too literal, that we are missing the whole point of the story.

Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation
Regarding falsifying the existence of God through the miraculous:

While it is true that one can’t falsify the existance of God and the Biblical miracles at a philosophical level, it seems to me that it is possible to falsify it at a practical level. For instance prayer for healing. How many families who pray for a miracle for a loved one in the Intensive Care Unit receive a miracle?

While the answer to that question doesn’t answer the question of the existence of God at a philosophical level, it does answer the question at a practical level. After 36 years of medical practice I can say definitively that at a practical level when it comes to miracles in the ICU, God does not exist. Even if a miracle happens latter today, it wouldn’t be enough to establish an expectation for the future. So at a practicle level it seems it is possible level to falsify the existence od God, or at least prove His nonintervention which seems to me to be pretty much the same thing at a functional level.

Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation
@Sean Pitman:
Sean, what is your definition of “Neo-darwinism” as opposed to “Darwinism” as opposed to “evolution”?