Comment on Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation by Sean Pitman.
So if the story of the floating axehead is effectively proven impossible (and you KNOW that it is), then the question becomes, “which other stories might be fiction as well?” Let’s see: the vigin birth? The resurrection of Lazarus? The resurrection of Jesus? Again, these fail the test of science. Badly.
You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say something is beyond science and then say that science has falsified it. If something is actually testable in a falsifiable manner, that means that it is within the realm of scientific investigation.
As I’ve explained many many times now, to you in particular, there are many stories in the Bible that are not directly testable in a falsifiable manner, or even reproducible – to include the Virgin Birth, the resurrection of Lazarus or Jesus, or many of the other by-design miracles described in the Bible.
While the floating axehead story is not directly testable in a falsifiable manner (no historical account of a unique event is), it is at least reproducible in that metal can be made to appear to float by human-level intelligent design. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. But, many of the other miracles described in the Bible do indeed go well beyond modern human level intelligence and creative power.
Their credibility, therefore, is based on the credibility of the storyteller regarding those things that are actually subject to testing and potential falsification.
So where do we put our faith: in what science tells us is possible, or what God tells us happened?
Science doesn’t tell us that these things are impossible – given the existence of high enough levels of intelligence and creative power. All science tells us is that some of these miracles of intelligent design were obviously well beyond human-level intelligence and intelligent design of the day. That is why we know it required a God or God-like power to produce these miracles of design.
It is also for this reason that we also know that a God or God-like intelligence was responsible for many features of the universe and for living things. Science does not falsify the existence of a living cell just because modern humans cannot produce living things. Science also does not falsify the need to invoke higher levels of intelligence design to explain such things. Science actually points toward a God or God-like creative power to explain such things…
Out of curiousity, would a book with 99% empirically verifiable claims be rubbish if just one single claim–like North American indians were derived from Jews–was proven to be empirically wrong? After all, you’ve basically said that the Book of Mormon is all rubbish because this one claim alone fails your holy grail of truth–science.
There are many falsifiable claims in the Book of Mormon that have been falsified. However, yes, if someone who claims to be speaking for God, to have been shown a specific feature by God, can be shown to be wrong in that claim, even once, then it can be concluded that he/she does not speak for God. God is never wrong – by definition.
If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. – Deuteronomy 18:22
Sean Pitman Also Commented
Thanks Wes. 🙂
I actually agree with you here…
Of course God can produce miracles such as an axe floating on water, the virgin birth of Jesus, and the resurrection of a human body several days after death. I never said they were impossible, for God can perform miracles which defy all understanding and simply cannot be explained.
God can also perform miracles that can be explained and understood – as easily as we can understand how to make a chocolate cake or a space ship. Such things might seem miraculous from the perspective of those who don’t know how to make such things – like striking a match in front of people living in the dark jungles of Africa.
Miracles are a matter of perspective. What seems perfectly natural to God might seem quite amazing and miraculous to us. It’s only different in degree or level of knowledge and creative power – that’s all.
That is why such miracles are not beyond the power of science to detect as requiring the input of very high levels of creative power and intelligent design.
Even someone who can’t make a match or a chocolate cake knows that such things require creative intelligence to produce when they see them…
If you want to insist that science can explain these claims from the Bible as readily as my claim that Mrs. Kent can make a chocolate cake, you’re not only delusional, but you have every one of your readers wincing about such a ridiculous claim.
As I’ve explained many times, these things are all relative. I never said that they were all on the same level of creativity or design. What I said is that science can detect the need for intelligence, at various levels, to explain such things.
Beyond this, the notion that these stories really happened as described, that they aren’t just “cleverly invented stories” (2 Peter 1:16), isn’t based on faith alone if you want your faith to be something more than mere wishful thinking. You need some kind of evidence to support the credibility of the story teller. A fantastic story demands fantastic evidence that God not only exists but that He really did act in the manner described.
There’s no comparison between God’s remarkable miracles and the human accomplishment of making a cake. You are denigrating your creator.
Hardly. I’m pointing out that God’s creations, while often vastly superior to our own, are detectable in nature and in the written Word (using scientific methodologies for detecting design on various levels of creative power) as requiring very very high levels of deliberate design and creative power.
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…
Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.
The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.
God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.
The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.
For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”
That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.
Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.
God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28
Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.
Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.
This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…
Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.
Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.
Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…