@Professor Kent: Good God. I know you are frustrated, but …

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

@Professor Kent:

Good God.

I know you are frustrated, but there is no need to take God’s name in vain here.

I’ve responded to this question DOZENS of times. I’ve written at length, and am tired of doing so repeatedly, so I’ll summarize it very briefly once more: (1) fulfilled Bible prophecy;

Which is based on empirical evidence – evidence which you claim is nice to have, but is not required for faith.

(2) the personal testimony of 12 disciples, all of whom stuck with the story of their experience upon threat of death;

Again, this is based on empirical evidence as well, such as the historical sciences.

(3) the self-validating nature of scripture;

There is no such thing as self-validation. That’s called circular reasoning. If Scripture is not validated by external points of reference, then it cannot be distinguished from a novel or a moral fable.

(4) the changes I see in the lives of others as a result of reading scripture and accepting God;

Again, a form of empirical evidence… which is a soft call in this case since such changes can be seen in many different religions – to include those that do not recognize the Bible as the true Word of God.

and (4) the evidence I see in my own personal life as I commune with God.

Again, the same thing can be said of those in other religions who commune with God, but have yet to recognize the Bible as the true Word of God.

You, along with the vast majority of mainstream scientists, have been taken in by the claims of neo-Darwinism. – Sean Pitman

Not true; I reject much of neo-Darwinism, and probably accept no more of it than you.

Oh really? Why then have you spent essentially no time at all on this website pointing out the limitations you see with the neo-Darwinian perspective? You spend essentially all of your time presenting classic neo-Darwinian arguments and strawmen. Why is that if you actually accept no more if it than I do as scientifically valid?

You actually believe that there is a huge mountain of evidence in opposition to the claims of the Bible. – Sean Pitman

Yes, I do. It would be easy to take the position that every little piece of contradictory evidence actually supports the Biblical position on origins, but then I would be doing faith-based apologetics–like you. I’d rather be honest, concede the difficulties, and base my belief on something other than so-called origins science.

No one here is saying that there are no difficulties or that all potential questions and problems have been solved from the Biblical perspective. However, what I am saying is that the weight of evidence strongly favors the Biblical perspective. This is very very different from what you’re claiming. You arguing very strongly that the evidence strongly favors the neo-Darwinian perspective contrary to the fundamental claims of the Bible and Mrs. White when it comes to origins.

That’s the problem here. You’re arguments have the effect of undermining Biblical credibility in the minds of those who are not well informed far more than they have the effect of establishing Biblical credibility.

I don’t arrive at my position based on the need to avoid undermining the Bible’s credibility. I arrive at it because I look at the data honestly.

Honesty is a fine thing. However, honesty does not keep one from undermining Biblical credibility. There are many very honest and very sincere neo-Darwinists and atheists. They really believe that the Bible has been effectively falsified. The arguments they present, very similar to yours, do in fact tend to undermine the Bible’s credibility in the minds of their students and associates.

This is a fact. The vast majority of students educated to believe the arguments you’re presenting will end up viewing the Bible as untrustworthy in its empirical as well as its metaphysical claims. And, for those who remain, most will only have a form of religion without acknowledging its power or the reality of the Gospel message of hope. Such a “feel-good” religion just doesn’t cut it when the going gets tough…

I totally agree with the position of the SDA Church. All science teachers must support the Church’s position. However, there is no official position that science teachers must promote the favorable evidence and declare the weight of it superior to the unfavorable evidence. Moreover, the Church sees it as a matter of faith more so than evidence for one simple reason: we belief the Genesis account only because we believe God inspired it. The evidence from fossils and DNA is irrelevant.

If the evidence from fossils and DNA is “irrelevant” to the Adventist Church as an organization, why then did the members of the General Conference Executive Committee at the 2004 Annual Council write that the Adventist Church expects its students to “receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation?


What do you think the phrase “scientifically rigorous affirmation of” means? Hmmmm?

You see, contrary to your position, the Adventist Church recognizes that the evidence from fossils and DNA is not at all “irrelevant” to the faith of many many people.

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. – Sean Pitman

I have spent decades getting intimately acquainted with my parents. I’m convinced they love me. If someone challenges my understanding that I am a product of their genes, why would it undermine my conviction that they love me dearly? Or that they consider me their son? I have my evidence from a personal relationship with them. I don’t give a rat’s hairy behind what any “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” has to say. I wish you had the comfort and sureness of God’s existence from a personal relationship. I pray that you will find this one day.

Would it influence you at all to find out that your parents had been lying to you all along on important issues? What if they had been telling you that you were really their natural-born child, only to find out that you really weren’t born to them at all. Rather, they had stolen you from another family, taking you from the hospital at birth? That wouldn’t cause you to question their morality and what else they may have been lying to you about?

This is what happens to people when they think that what God has been telling them in the Bible regarding important matters is really just a lie. They rationally start to question what else God might be lying about or even if God is real at all…

It’s a shame that others would put their faith in what I have to say, or what you have to say, or what silent baleen teeth have to say. A tragegy. And if these people one day disagree with you, I hope they simply change their view on the evidence but continue to cling to God (even as the “loyal” SDAs demand them to get out of their Church).

No one is demanding that they “get out of the church”. What has always been at issue here is paid representation. Such are and should be perfectly free to attend our churches, but they simply cannot be effective paid representatives of the Church while holding on to such anti-Adventist views on such a fundamental level.

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… – Sean Pitman

I agree. If this is truly important to you, then why don’t you create a website to promote the Good News of the Resurrection rather than Believe as I Do or I Publicly Excoriate You?

The reality of the Good News of the Resurrection and the Gospel Message of Hope is intimately tied up with empirical evidence – with the credibility of the Biblical storytellers. So, I do in fact have a website that promotes this evidence, evidence which is rapidly expanding all the time. I teach and preach about the evidence for the reality of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus, and the rest of the Bible all over the place. I’ve been asked to preach in church on this topic here in a few weeks in fact.

This website, however, has a unique purpose – to educate the Adventist leadership and constituency at large as to what is really being taught to our students in some of our own schools. Many are simply not aware that neo-Darwinism is being promoted as the only rational scientific theory of origins – which actively undermines the Biblical perspective on origins within our own schools!

You might not think this is a big deal, but many within the Adventist Church obviously still do think it is a big deal…

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