@Professor Kent: You’re wrong [about the “value” of blind-faith]. Give …

Comment on Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation by Sean Pitman.

@Professor Kent:

You’re wrong [about the “value” of blind-faith]. Give it up.

If so, what is the value of evidence when it comes to faith? Do you actually believe that evidence is required for faith? That it has a necessary part to play in establishing faith?

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. You and I agree that God exists, so there’s no point arguing that or why.

There is a point to understanding why you believe that God exists. For me it has to do with the weight of evidence for His existence – vs. the “evidence” for Santa Claus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Is faith in God’s existence and personal interest in us just a form of wishful thinking or not?

This question is key to this entire discussion. Why do you think I’m constantly asking you why you actually believe in God’s existence and the Bible as the true Word of God? How do you know that you’re not praying to a figment of your own imagination? – without using evidence to support your faith as a basic requirement of your faith?

Where we appear to disagree the most is (1) why we accept Young Life Creationism (YLC);

You, because of your faith in the Bible as the Word of God despite any and all evidence that might be presented to the contrary. That is why I ask you, over and over again, why do you believe the Bible is in fact the true Word of God among so many competing claims? Why choose the Bible? – without some basis in empirical evidence?

You do not like to respond to this question for some reason…

(2) what our differing approaches mean regarding our belief in God; (3) how the evidence stacks up;

You, along with the vast majority of mainstream scientists, have been taken in by the claims of neo-Darwinism. You actually believe that there is a huge mountain of evidence in opposition to the claims of the Bible. You are in very good company here. But, for many people, such a position rationally undermines the credibility of the Bible’s claim to be the true Word of God…

I would agree with this logic if I actually saw that the weight of evidence really did oppose the claims of the Bible. Rationally, the Bible could not be the true Word of God if many of its key statements regarding historical realities could be effectively falsified…

(4) which of our approaches SDAs officially subscribe to;

The SDA Church, as an organization, expects and has requested that all science teachers in our schools actively support and promote the empirical evidence favoring the SDA position on origins. They have taken this stand, obviously, because they see the evidentiary basis for faith…

and (5) how authoritative Ellen White is on matters of science.

So, now you can pick and choose what was and what was not inspired in the writings of someone you admit was a prophet of God based on empirical evidence? Why not do the same thing with the writings of the Biblical prophets? After all, that’s all that those like Brian Bull, Fritz Guy, and many at La Sierra University are suggesting…

Your problem is that you lump all of Mrs. White’s statements together. You do not make a distinction between statements of her own opinion and those where she claims she was either shown something directly in a vision from God or told something directly by God. When it comes to origins, she claims to have been directly shown certain key elements regarding the origin of life on this Earth and the nature of the Noachian Flood. These are key elements in this discussion. Likewise, if these key elements can be shown to be effectively falsified by the empirical evidence, the credibility of her claim to have been directly inspired by God in such a privileged manner is effectively undermined.

So, what you’re doing in your constantly bringing up supposed challenged to the Biblical view of creation, without highlighting the many many features of the planet that support the Biblical perspective, is undermining people’s faith in the credibility of both the Bible as the true Word of God and in the writings of Mrs. White where she claims to have been directly inspired by God with privileged information.

I know you are sincere in your efforts and beliefs. However, regardless of your own personal sincerity, your efforts are misguided and will result in harm to others and even to yourself. Your sincerity will save you in the end, but your influence may influence others to reject God and His Word.

I accept YLC (or most elements of it) largely because I believe the Genesis account is what God communicated to us, and I find Exodus 20:11 especially compelling. The fossils and modern day biogeography are irrelevant to me. In essence, I accept YLC on God’s word.

Which is fine as long as you have some other rational basis in empirical evidence to accept the claims of the Bible to truly be from God. What is your “weight of evidence”?

Beyond this, consider carefully that your own personal “weight of evidence” may not do it for someone else. Others, who do not have your experience and background, will often be strongly influenced by claims for the supposed weight of empirical evidence against the claims of the Bible… since most do not have a sufficient background to understand that the weight of evidence strongly supports the Biblical perspective.

It is wise, at this point, to ask yourself if the disciples of Christ had more or less faith in Him as the Son of God before or after the empirical evidence of His Resurrection from the dead was given to them? Consider that the entire theme of the New Testament hinges on the clearly understood reality of the witness of the Resurrection…

The same is true for us today. Arguably, we have far more empirical evidence for the Bible, through fulfilled prophecy and archeological discoveries and the evidence of the amazing irreducible complexities of the universe and of living things, and other such evidence, than the disciples of Christ had. Such evidences are vital to supporting a rational faith in the Bible as the true Word of God – just as vital as the empirical evidence given to the disciples of Christ were to establishing their faith in Him.

Sean Pitman

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation
@Wesley Kime:

Thanks Wes. 🙂

Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation

I actually agree with you here…

Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation
@Professor Kent:

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.

Sean Pitman

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…

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

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.

Sean Pitman

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull
@Bill Sorensen:

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.

Sean Pitman

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

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.

Sean Pitman

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…

Sean Pitman