GC Delegates Vote to Tighten Language of Fundamental #6 on Creation

On Tuesday of the 2015 GC session (July 7) the delegates overwhelmingly voted to update the language of the statement of Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation to specifically highlight the Seventh-day Adventist position on the historical and, in particular, the literal nature of the creation week described in Genesis (the changes in wording are highlighted below).

Delegates3God has revealed in Scripture the authentic and historical account of his creative activity. He created the universe and in a recent six-day creation, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the Seventh day. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of the work he performed and completed during six literal days that together with the Sabbath constituted the same unit of time that we call a week today. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1-2; 5; 11; Ex. 20:1 8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; 2 Isa. 45:12; Acts 17:24; Col. 1:16; Heb. 11:3; Rev. 10:6; 14:7.) (Link, Link)

cliff_goldsteinThe reason for this update, as highlighted by Clifford Goldstein during the discussion period just before the final vote (see video clip at the end of this article), was that some were using the original language to justify their promotion of various evolutionary theories of origins over vast eons of time – especially within Seventh-day Adventist universities like La Sierra University and, to a less blatant degree, other Adventist universities such as Pacific Union College, Avondale College, and Walla Walla University. Dr. Lawrence Geraty had specifically drafted the original wording of FB#6, as listed below, to be “more inclusive” of those who held to certain theistic, Darwinian, or other evolutionary views of origins (Link).

God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made ‘the heaven and the earth’ and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was ‘very good,’ declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3.)

According to Guy, this less specific statement regarding the nature of the “creation week” described in Genesis was felt to be necessary to be more inclusive of long-age views of origins – as he explains below:

The only ‘official position’ of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is stated in Fundamental Belief #6, where the language is deliberately Biblical, and broad enough to accommodate various views about Earth’s natural history.

In other words, as explained by Silva (2010), “This means that Fundamental Belief #6 [as it read before July, 2015] could be used to support any approach to the biblical account of Creation, including progressive Creationism, theistic evolution, etc.” (Link).  This is important to note since both Drs. Guy and Geraty refer to themselves as “progressive” in regard to their Adventist faith.  In short,  Dr. Guy is an open and unabashed theistic evolutionist who believes that life has existed and evolved on this planet for hundreds of millions of years (see Understanding Genesis, p. 53).

Likewise, Dr. Geraty is no fan of the historic fundamentals of Adventism regarding the creation story in particular. His comments, published in Spectrum in 2010, are most telling:

GeratyChrist tells us they will know us by our love, not by our commitment to a seven literal historical, consecutive, contiguous 24-hour day week of creation 6,000 years ago which is NOT in Genesis no matter how much the fundamentalist wing of the church would like to see it there.

Fundamental Belief No. 6 uses Biblical language to which we can all agree; once you start interpreting it according to anyone’s preference you begin to cut out members who have a different interpretation. I wholeheartedly affirm Scripture, but NOT the extra-Biblical interpretation of the Michigan Conference. Since when is salvation by correct knowledge anyway?

Dr. Geraty has also directly challenged the historic Adventist understanding of the world-wide nature of the Noachian Flood, arguing that the author(s) of Genesis are most likely talking about a local flood.  In the book, Understanding Genesis: Contemporary Adventist Perspectives Dr. Geraty wrote:

“Was the Genesis flood worldwide? There is no evidence for that as of now, but it certainly covered the world known to the author.  It is the opinion of most experts, and little reasonable doubt remains (although some would dispute this) that the events of Genesis 6-8 must have taken place within a limited though indeed a vast area, covering not the entire globe, but the scene of the human story of the previous chapters.”

To further clarify his position, Geraty argued on the floor of the current GC session that the language of the new fundamental statement of belief regarding creation is simply “not Biblical”.

And again, why insert the word “literal” in line 39? I personally happen to believe Moses had nothing else in mind other than literal, 24-hour days, but those words are not biblical. That was not a biblical concern so why should we make it a test of fellowship for our scientists and historians? It is not a matter of salvation. (Link)

This is a strange argument considering that the creation story in Genesis quite clearly describes a series of literal days each separated by “evenings and mornings” (Genesis 1).  Even modern secular scholars of Hebrew are in general agreement that this is the most accurate interpretation of the language of Genesis.  Take, for example, the comments of well-known Oxford Hebrew scholar James Barr:

James BarrProbably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience. (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.

Letter from Professor James Barr to David C.C. Watson of the UK, dated 23 April 1984.

It is therefore nonsensical for Dr. Geraty to argue that the door should be left open, within the statements of Adventists Fundamental Beliefs in particular, to theories that are clearly non-Biblical. For a church that wishes to remain faithful to the claims of the Bible, especially given everything that the Bible has to say regarding the nature of origins, the choice is clear as to what the Seventh-day Adventist Church should be promoting on the topic of origins.  After all, the literal nature of the creation week is part of the very name of the church itself – the basis of the meaning of the 7th-day Sabbath!  And, contrary to the suggestion of Dr. Geraty, the concept of a literal creation week by no means started with the claims of Ellen White!  The literal creation week was the nearly universal understanding of the claims of Genesis until fairly recent times.  The notion of interpreting the “days” of creation as vast indefinite periods of time didn’t begin to be in vogue until Darwinism started to become popular in the mid-1800s. As a former president of La Sierra University, and the one responsible for bringing in many professors into the school who believe in and promote various Darwinian ideas, is it any wonder that LSU has been so actively opposed to the fundamentals of the Adventist message on origins? – to the very basis of the name Seventh-day Adventist?

But what about Geraty’s argument that this issue is “not salvational”? While this is true, it is also true that no doctrinal concept is truly salvational in and of itself.  No one is saved based on any correct doctrinal understanding whatsoever. After all, even Satan himself believes and understands more points of doctrine than any Christian (James 2:19). Yet, he hates God and will not be saved despite his correct knowledge.  How can that be?  The difference is based on love (or the lack thereof). All are saved based on a love of what little truth that they have been given to know, not on a correct understanding of all doctrinal truths that may exist.  Nor is anyone lost because of an honest misunderstanding of any particular point of doctrine.  However, this does not make doctrinal truths or the Gospel message of hope unimportant or irrelevant. Doctrinal truths have the power to make our lives better and more happy and hopeful now while we struggle through this life of pain, sorrow, and death. In particular, the Adventist view on creation, to include the literal nature of the creation week, has a very important part to play in the “good news” of the Gospel message of hope regarding what God has done and will do for us to give us a solid hope in a very bright future.  In this way, it also has a part to play in the conversion process as those who have never heard the Gospel Message hear it for the first time and are strangely warmed by it and are drawn to the God who loves them.  In this sense, such hopeful doctrines have the power to aid in the salvation of souls that are looking for God – by helping people hang on to the truth that they already know and have already been following to the best of their ability.

So, what will these changes in the wording of the Adventist doctrine on creation really mean for the church?  Well, according to Dr. Ron Carter, the provost of LLU, it may not change how teachers are able to promote Darwinian ideas in our schools.  As long as the doctrinal statements aren’t enforced, teachers will be able to continue teaching ideas that are fundamentally in conflict with these new statements on the creation doctrine.

Ron CarterCarter thought that problems could be finessed with no effect on their academic program even with the passage of modifications to FB#6 because he believes the statement remains the same in concept. While there has always been tension on campus with the presence of the Geoscience Research Institute (GRI), says Carter, they have always managed to coexist peacefully, and this could be no different. Carter believes that the tensions have primarily been as a result of differences in approaches. GRI has focused on creation apologetics while most researchers at the university are trained in the health sciences, not in the earth and historical sciences, and conduct translational research in medicine.

Trouble would come, says Carter, only if the Adventist denomination would attempt to require scholars and administrators to sign statements of belief that restrict appropriate academic freedom that encourages open academic discussion or implements other enforcement tactics that would affect the actual operational decisions of the University. Carter emphasized that LLU is committed to God as creator and redeemer and being cooperative and supportive of the world church so long as it does not compromise their ability to perform their medical work faithfully with integrity and credibility. (Link)

The question is, however, why have church schools at all if the “academic freedom” of professors allows them to directly undermine the church’s clearly stated primary goals and ideals?  What if the church hired pastors who started preaching in favor of eternally burning Hell Fire? or other doctrinal ideas that are fundamentally opposed to the Seventh-day Adventist message?  Why then do teachers who are working for SDA schools think themselves at liberty to do essentially the same thing? – simply by claiming “academic freedom” to teach whatever they want regardless of the primary reason why they were hired to begin with? – to offer the unique Adventist perspective on education to the youth of the church?  Is this not being dishonest? – equivalent to stealing from one’s employer?

In short, I do hope that Dr. Carter isn’t going to be proved right.  I hope and pray that things will not continue as usual in our universities where the church allows its own professors to continue to undermine the idea of a literal creation week in favor of popular secular models of Darwinian style evolution over billions of years… implying that either God doesn’t exist at all or, if He does exist, that He’s fundamentally evil in His deliberate use of an extremely hateful method of suffering and death to create sentient life on this planet. Just before the vote was taken at this GC session, one of the delegates (Kathryn Proffitt) told a story about sending her son to one of our SDA universities as a biology major and seeing her own son lose his faith in the very existence of God because of what he was taught about the “truth” of Darwinian evolution – at one of our own schools!  I’ve personally received many letters and E-mails from desperate parents recounting to me very similar stories. This is not some trivial side issue. May the church stand up behind its historical understanding of the Biblical model of creation where God created sentient life on this planet within just one literal week of time in a way which did not depend upon the suffering or death of any sentient creature.  Only in this way would the Bible’s claim that everything was “very good” by the end of that creation week make any sense (Genesis 1:31).  This is also the basis for a rational hope in the future of the “New Earth” to once again be made “very good” without any more suffering of any kind.

_______________________________

Clifford Goldstein’s statement regarding the need for modifying the wording of FB#6:

The final vote:

Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Share on LinkedIn0Tweet about this on TwitterDigg thisShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Print this pageEmail this to someone

61 thoughts on “GC Delegates Vote to Tighten Language of Fundamental #6 on Creation

  1. How does anyone draw the line between sentient and non-sentient living organisms? Nervous “systems” span the continuous and very gradual range of non-existent in single-celled creatures all the way up to that of Homo sapiens. There is no clear demarcation for this question.

    It is very clear, if one desires to take the Book of Genesis quite literally, that death was present in the world BEFORE the Fall of Man. Far too often, SDA’s, including theology professors, have taken the precise and literal wording of Ellen G White’s writings as always reflecting the intended precise and literal meaning of the writers of Scripture. This is a prostitution of priorities. The purpose of her writings was to lead us to the Holy Scriptures — not to be used as a club or as an infallible interpretation of them.

    Although EGW’s writings were not specifically mentioned until my above replies, it is fairly obvious from where much of the interpretive wording of the above original article originates — Spiritual Gifts and Patriarchs and Prophets. I love Ms. White’s writings, and that is why I am very much against their misuse and abuse.




    0
    View Comment
    • Please, arguing that it may be difficult in some cases for us humans to determine the sentient or non-sentient nature of a particular organism (which is not hard for God of course) completely ignores the fact that there are many cases of sentient animal life that are overwhelmingly clear. For example, no one would candidly argue that a dog or a cat is non-sentient – incapable of experiencing true pain and/or suffering. Such animals are clearly sentient in that they can obviously experience both pain and suffering. Given this reality, no good God would deliberately create via a mechanism that actually requires the suffering of any sentient creature – and then think to call such a situation “very good”. This concept should be self-evident to anyone who has even a molecule of empathy for the suffering of those animals that are obviously sentient.

      And, thankfully, those who study the Bible will find that the Bible describes no suffering or no death before the Fall for any sentient creature on this planet. We aren’t talking about bananas or organ peals or other non-sentient “biomachines” here. We are talking about the suffering of sentient life… something that was not in God’s original “ideal” plan for this world (according to the Bible).

      Again, none of the writers of Bible (nor Ellen White) describe or mention anything that might even suggest the existence of the suffering or death of sentient life before the Fall. There simply is no such reference. Beyond this, there are numerous references within the pages of Bible and the writings of Ellen White to the world made new, as it was originally intended to be, as a place were there will be no pain, suffering, crying, or any other form of suffering for any sentient creature.




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman: Wow, you are implying or inferring that I have not even one molecule of empathy for clearly sentient creatures? Do you have one for my very rational question?
        @Sean Pitman: And, again, the rationality of my original question remains as there is, nor can there ever be, any clear demarcation between sentient and non-sentient creatures.




        0
        View Comment
        • I’ve already addressed this question of yours.

          Again, knowing the specific demarcation between all sentient and non-sentient animals is completely irrelevant to the fact that there are many clear and obvious cases of sentient animals that can in fact feel pain and experience real mental suffering. I’ve already given you a couple non-arguable examples of this. There is therefore no question that many such animals exist. It follows then that any God who wishes to be viewed as “good” would not create using any method that would require the suffering and death of such sentient creatures. And, clearly, God knows the suffering that all sentient animals experience in this fallen world (and He also knows which life forms are and are not sentient).

          The fact is that the God of the Bible is described as being concerned for the suffering of sentient animals – even small seemingly insignificant animals. He takes note even when a small sparrow falls wounded to the ground (Matthew 10:29). Such a situation is not, in God’s eyes, “very good” at all. Surely such a situation was not in his original plan for this planet nor will it be the case for the New Earth. It was all the result of the rebellion and Fall of mankind. The writers of the Bible (and Ellen White) describe no cases of any creature that is clearly sentient suffering or dying before the Fall or after the New Earth is created.

          I will say, then, that if you are in fact arguing for the existence of suffering and death for sentient life before the Fall, that you are indeed trivializing the suffering of animal life… and painting God to be more of a monster than a one who feels sorrow for anything that suffers.




          0
          View Comment
        • Whether animals are or are not “sentient” is a human description/definition, not God’s. God allowed massive multitudes of innocent animals to die in “The Worldwide Flood” that He brought upon the earth mentioned in the article, if we are to take all of Genesis quite literally. God allowed many innocent animals to be destroyed when Israel was ordered by God to kill all of their enemies . . . men, women, innocent children/infants and innocent animals. God allowed and expected innocent animals to be killed for thousands of years in sacrifice to Him. Knowing all of this, I still do not look at God as a monster as you seem to think He should be so considered by anyone who believes that the death of sentient creatures could have occurred before the Fall of Man. God knows what He is doing in how he creates matter, space, energy, time, galactic clusters, galaxies, supernovae, stars, planets and living things. We are arrogant creatures if we think we know all that there is to know about how He did and continues to do it.




          0
          View Comment
        • All the situations you mention of the suffering and death of sentient animals are post-Fall examples of suffering and death in a non-ideal world that was not “very good” as it was originally intended to be – according to the Bible. Animal sacrifices, for example, were instituted after the Fall in order to point to the seriousness of the death of Jesus for the sins of mankind. However, this was by no means part of God’s original ideal world. It was simply to illustrate or remind those asked to sacrifice innocent sentient animals of the seriousness and evilness of sin – that it causes the suffering and death of the innocent and ultimately the Son of God Himself. Why do you think God asked for the sacrifice of a lamb to remind Adam and Eve and their descendants the future death of Jesus, instead of some vegetables that Cain wanted to offer? Obviously, it’s because the death of a sentient animal is a much bigger deal and much more serious in the sight of God – something not to be taken lightly. Ellen White describes Adam as being greatly pained in having to take the life of an innocent lamb as a sacrificial reminder of what it would cost The Father to sacrifice Jesus to redeem fallen humanity from the evils of sin. The fact is that throughout the Bible were God is consistently described as being empathetic toward the suffering of sentient animals. Sometimes it is a necessarily evil in an evil world. However, it is never described as being “very good” within the pages of the Bible.

          Tell me, would you really be completely happy in a world in which innocent sentient animals continued to suffer and die? Really? Would you call such a place “very good”? Why then do you think a good God would call such a place “very good” – if you wouldn’t?

          Yet, you seem to suggest that it’s no big deal if sentient animals (like dogs, cats, elephants, dolphins, cows, sheep, birds, and the like) suffer and die. It really doesn’t bother you? Really? Do you really feel no empathy at all for animal suffering and death?




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman: I am not suggesting anything of the kind. But, you seem to suggest that I feel no empathy for the suffering and death of sentient animals. I am a vegetarian, and at least half of the reason I am is because I AM empathetic. Why are we getting personal and insinuating such things all of a sudden? Have you no empathy for the feelings of other humans? Nevertheless, if it were a “big deal” with God, don’t you think that He would know that animals that would never die would eventually reproduce and populate every square foot of the earth leaving no breathing room for themselves let alone humans? I think that would be a bit uncomfortable, don’t you? Additionally, Genesis 1:24 mentions that God created both domestic and “wild” animals. See translations other than just the KJV. I think it might be telling to do a statistical study on the meaning of the Hebrew phrase, “chayetho ‘eres” translated “wild animal” as it is used in the OT, and it clearly is referring to “wild animals” as admitted in the SDA Bible Commentary. Now just what do you think a “wild animal” is according to Moses? Was it the lion or wolf or asp that is going to be so docile in the world made new? Aren’t “wild animals” those that fear other animals and/or man or predators seeking other animals for food? Just asking! I am looking for an amicable discussion, not a battle or a war.




          0
          View Comment
        • Have you not read in Isaiah where lions, lambs, calves, wolves, vipers and little children will all get along just fine together in the New Earth? and that lions will not eat meat or be predatory, but will be vegetarian and “eat straw like an ox”? (Isaiah 65:25 and 11:6). You see, there simply were no “wild animals”, in the predatory sense of the term, before the Fall. The predatory situation arose after the Fall… and there’s nothing in the Bible to suggest otherwise. Also, Moses’ descriptions of the animals that got on the Ark are descriptions of post-Fall animals, some of which where predatory.

          Now, I’m glad that you do in fact care about the suffering of animals. Yet, you keep arguing for the necessity of a limited life span and predatory behavior for all animals with the resulting suffering and death of sentient animals – as a kind of “necessary evil” perhaps. However, there is no such requirement for these “necessary evils”. Even I can think of numerous ways to avoid the suffering and death of animals if I were God. Reproduction, for example, can be modified without resorting the the suffering and death of sentient creatures. In fact, even today animal populations can control their own reproductive rates based on various environmental factors. This simply isn’t the issue you imagine it to be.

          Beyond this, if you really do care about and are pained over the suffering of sentient creatures of various kinds, why on Earth do you think God wouldn’t be? I’ve asked you before and I’m asking you again, how could you or a truly good God call a situation where sentient animals suffer and die “very good”? How? Such a situation simply isn’t good, much less “very good” for anyone who cares about animal suffering. Even if you call the suffering and death of sentient animals a “necessarily evil” how does that make it “very good”?




          0
          View Comment
        • @Rhonda Dinwiddie: I am apparently having to reply to my own previous reply to yours, since it seems I was left no option to reply to yours re: mine. Yes, I have read all of the texts you refer to, many times in fact, and that is why I brought up the idea hoping that you would refer to them. These texts open up many questions. And, yes, since reproduction could be modified by an all-wise, all-powerful God, as the earth is filled to capacity, the fact that he could have and hasn’t is somewhat telling. There are many things God could have done that \He did not do that are very interesting to me. For example, instead of bringing a world-wide flood upon the earth to destroy evil people and innocent “sentient” animals along with them, God could have sent a destroying angel to slay only the evil people, as he did in the Exodus, and left the animals unharmed. Or, He could have opened up cracks in the earth to swallow up only the pre-diluvian rebels against God as He did with Korah and his followers, leaving ALL of the innocent “sentient” and “non-sentient” animals and Noah and his family unharmed. I have not used the words “necessary evil.” They are your words, not mine. All I am doing is saying that to speculate that there were no predators or death of “sentient” creatures before the Fall is un-biblical. There is nothing that states this as a fact in the entire Book of Genesis let alone chapters 1 and 2. And, after the Fall, the Bible specifically states, for example, that God feeds predators like ravens and their young, with their prey! Oh, and you still haven’t really given a good explanation for the distinction made in Genesis 1:24 between domestic and “wild” animals. “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”




          0
          View Comment
        • Again, you’re dealing with a post-Fall world in every argument that you make. When the Bible talks about the pre-Fall world or the New Earth things are very very different. There are no predatory animals. Even the “wild” animals that you think must require predatory behavior the Bible claims are vegetarian in the New Earth.

          In short, both the Bible and Ellen White make it quite clear that no suffering or death for sentient creatures existed before the Fall, nor will it exist in the New Earth. And, it is quite easy for an omnipotent God to accomplish this.

          After the Fall, of course, God did allow for animal suffering and death – occasionally at His own hand and command to accomplish certain goals for the salvation of fallen mankind. The animal world also fell into suffering and decay when humans fell into sin. That’s what sin does. It hurts the innocent and God wants us to realize this fact. However, this was never His original intent for this world.

          Apparently, however, you have no problem with a God creating using a mechanism dependent upon suffering and death and calling it all “very good”. I just don’t believe you – someone who claims to be a vegetarian out of concern for animal suffering not caring that God doesn’t care?! Again, such a God who deliberately creates in such a way would be fundamentally evil. Forget the whole “blessed be the name of the Lord” regardless of what He does nonsense. It is God who is on trial here to see if His claims to be fundamentally good are really true. I’m sorry, but I could not love a God who deliberately created using a mechanism of suffering and death for sentient creatures of any kind and then called it “very good”. Such a God would be sadistic… equivalent to the sadism of anyone who enjoys torturing animals.




          0
          View Comment
        • The Bible makes no distinction between “sentient” and “non-sentient” creatures or any type of similar comparison in Genesis 1 and 2, and likely most of the rest of the Bible. And you speak to me of being un-Biblical? It is you, not the Bible, making this distinction. It does not use these words or anything in Hebrew in the first chapters of Genesis that could be translated into these English words. The distinction is a human one and is of recent origin; the derivation is from a Latin word first used in 1632, and its meaning is not related to anything in these two chapters. But, GENESIS CHAPTER 1 does, in fact, distinguish between “domestic” and “wild” animals which God is related to have created as such. God CREATED wild animals in Genesis 1:24-25 (see multiple versions). Does the Hebrew word translated as “wild” mean docile or tame or herbivorous? No. Genesis 16:12, in multiple translations, in speaking of Ishmael, well describes “wild” as “against,” “fighter,” and “being at odds with.” I have no question about what Isaiah and other Bible writers indicate about the new earth. But, they ARE talking about the NEW EARTH, not the original. Besides, much of such wording appears to be more prophetic poetry, just as much of Genesis 1 appears to be more historical poetry, rather than literal events. Snakes do not literally eat dust for nourishment now, and they won’t then either. Genesis paints a picture of a powerful, intelligent and loving Creator. How God loves and creates may be far different than we are capable of imagining and is likely far different than we DO imagine. God is capable of creating creatures that cannot experience pain as “suffering,” no matter what they experience, even though pain, to a degree, is actually needed by “sentient” animals as you refer to them. I do not look at God as a torturer as you imply that I do. That is not the nature of God, and it is not mine. But, you seem to limit the power of God in asserting what He must or must not have done. Besides, EGW says very plainly that it is not the words of the Bible that were inspired. She says only that it was the writers who were inspired just as the Bible says for itself. God’s words are not represented in Scripture. They are ALL men’s words and modes of expression that are used. Hebrew poetry is, indeed, descriptive, but it is often not literal or intended to be literal at all. Nevertheless, to me, these words of men paint a “very good” BIG PICTURE of the WORD of God. God is Love!




          0
          View Comment
        • The Bible is consistent here (as is Ellen White). You cannot cite Ellen White as an authority on the one hand and dismiss her on the other. Like the Bible, she clearly describes the pre-Fall world as a place were there was no suffering or death for sentient creatures of any kind. The Bible does the same thing.

          Your argument that the Bible is only talking about the New Earth when it speaks of vegetarian lions, with no reasonable parallel to the pre-Fall world, is nonsense – and you know it. The New Earth is going to be remade just like the original as it was originally intended to be – and the use of poetry to describe such a place does not in any way take away from the intended reality of the statements made. And, yet again, your argument that “wild” animals must be predatory is just nonsense from a Biblical perspective since the Bible itself describes these very same animals as being vegetarian in an ideal world. I also have absolutely no idea why you’re trying to use a description of Ishmael to argue that the pre-Fall animals were “predatory” meat eaters? That’s also nonsense. Again, the Bible is quite clear that these animals were in fact vegetarian in the pre-Fall world and will be vegetarian again in the “world made new”.

          There really is no argument here – even among secular scholars of Hebrew. You simply have no Biblical basis for your position. In particular, the Hebrew word, “behemah” refers to domestic animals or grazing hoofed animals while the Hebrew word “chayyah” refers no non-domesticated animals. However, this term “chayyah” or “chay” does not require predatory behavior – which is quite clear from numerous other passages in the Bible.

          In fact, Genesis itself very clearly says that all animals with the breath of life in their nostrils were originally vegetarian.

          See I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food; and it was so (Genesis 1:29,30).

          There simply is no wiggle room, in this Biblical claim… every sentient animal was originally a vegetarian, according to the Bible.

          Also, the Bible does in fact draw a distinction between sentient and non-sentient life. Throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testiment God is described as being concerned for the suffering of sentient animal life. He is not concerned about non-sentient life – as in plant life for example. The term “nephesh chayyāh” (i.e., animals with the breath of life in their “nostrils”) is never used to describe plants or non-sentient life in general. While plants do experience tissue damage (wherein individual cells may ‘die’ in a biological sense—to cease functioning), a plant has no brain to interpret that damage as pain or suffering. There’s really no way around this fact and it is for good reason that God is concerned for animal suffering – just as you claim to be. Yet, for some strange reason, you argue that we shouldn’t care if God did in fact create using a very painful mechanism of suffering and death for untold billions of sentient creatures over hundreds of millions of years of time. I’m sorry, but that’s a ridiculous argument… and is clearly non-Biblical.




          0
          View Comment
        • I was not using Ellen White as an authority but rather to show that she, herself, does not accept the idea of the “word inspiration” of the Bible that so many extremely conservative “fundamentalists” do. It is only in about the last 150 years of Christianity that fundamental Biblical literalists have been so prevalent in Christendom. And, yes, I am well aware of the verses you quoted referring to the beasts of the earth, as well as humans, being given the plants of the earth for food AND of Ellen White’s interpretation of them and the rest of Genesis 1 and 2. However, What if the entire story is just that, a story . . .a highly stylistic poetic story not intended to be taken literally in the first place? That seems more than obvious to me since the order in which different aspects of the creation WERE created is quite different in Genesis 2 than they were in the 6 “days” of creation in Genesis 1. If Genesis 1 is a poetic account rather than a literal account of creation, then all of these arguments about the meanings of every detail and every specific word are only so much beating of the wind. I have only mentioned certain Bible passages to show that others related to them display inconsistency IF interpreted literally. Internal consistency is required for anything to be taken literally.




          0
          View Comment
        • However, What if the entire story is just that, a story . . .a highly stylistic poetic story not intended to be taken literally in the first place?

          This is not a reasonable suggestion – not even among secular scholars of Hebrew. The vast majority of world-class Hebrew scholars believe that the author of Genesis intended to convey a literal historical account of creation. Those who argue otherwise, like you, are simply imposing their own personal ideas onto Scripture – contrary to its intended meaning.

          Take, for example, the comments of well-known Oxford Hebrew scholar James Barr:

          “Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience. (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.”

          Letter from Professor James Barr to David C.C. Watson of the UK, dated 23 April 1984.

          Consider that Prof. Barr made this statement while personally considering the Genesis narrative to be false. He did not believe that God created life on this planet in just six literal days. He believed that life existed and evolved on this planet over billions of years just like most mainstream scientists do today. Yet, he still was quite clear that the author(s) of the Genesis narrative intended to say something about real historical events. They did not intend to be figurative in their language.

          Now, it is quite a different thing to say that the Biblical authors where simply mistaken compared to the argument that suggests that they were intending to write symbolically or figuratively. The SDA Church takes the Bible at its word, as the revealed Word of God. So, in suggesting that the SDA Church not put so much stock in a literal reading of the Genesis narrative (despite the clear intent of the authors to write a literal historical account of creation), you are suggesting that the Church back off of its position that the Bible was in fact inspired by God to give us privileged information about God and about the world in which we live. If the SDA Church were to do this, it would basically undermine the entire purpose for their being a unique Seventh-day Adventist Church. After all, if one can pick and choose what is and what is not correct in the Bible, what’s the point?

          In short, your arguments are based on your own pre-conceived ideas of reality – not on what the Biblical authors intended to tell us about historical reality and their claims to have received this privileged information directly from God Himself.




          0
          View Comment
    • @Rhonda Dinwiddie: You said,”It is very clear, if one desires to take the Book of Genesis quite literally, that death was present in the world BEFORE the Fall of Man.” Please, yes, please show me from scripture where you get this idea.




      0
      View Comment
  2. I would take issue with Geraty’s statement, “since when is salvation by correct knowledge anyway?”.
    Correct knowledge determines how we view God. In evolution we have eons of death and decay before man emerged, versus the Genesis 1 account, which has man being formed by God and made in His image and likeness.
    One view shows essentially a very cruel, disinterested God, and the Biblical view shows a very loving, compassionate God. This is precisely why “correct knowledge” is so important, and potentially salvational.
    In addition accepting the evolutionary account of man’s eventual emergence over untold eons of time is incompatible with God’s hand written fourth commandment. How can man possibly work six days and rest on the seventh in the evolutionary model? Therefore, I propose that it is impossible to be an evolutionist, theistic or otherwise, and be a Seventh Day Adventist Christian.




    0
    View Comment
    • “I would take issue with Geraty’s statement, “since when is salvation by correct knowledge anyway?”.
      Correct knowledge determines how we view God.”

      Absolutely, how would anyone know what God was without “correct knowledge.” How could any rational person claim correct knowledge has no value in salvation? Oh well, people will believe anything to avoid accountability.




      0
      View Comment
      • As mentioned in the article, there’s a difference between correct doctrinal knowledge and correct knowledge regarding the Royal Law of Love (i.e., the Golden Rule). The Law of Love is written on the hearts of all mankind by the finger of God so that no one is without excuse regarding the requirements of this Law to love our neighbors as ourselves. All are judged according to this Law and therefore selfless Love is the basis of salvation. However, doctrinal knowledge must be learned over time and is not the basis of salvation. We are judged on the love of what we know to be true, not upon doctrinal knowledge that we did not know or never honestly understood.




        0
        View Comment
  3. ” We are judged on the love of what we know to be true, not upon doctrinal knowledge that we did not know or never honestly understood.”

    You added a factor that qualifies how much “knowledge” is necessary. Absolute knowledge can not be known, but adequate knowledge is necessary for salvation. And we must factor in one more component. Willful ignorance is considered by God as equal to knowing and rejecting.

    Sins of ignorance where no opportunity was presented are forgiven by way of the atonement of Christ.

    “The third angel closes his message thus: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all those for whom mercy still lingers and for those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. It includes all who died trusting in Christ, but who, not having received the light upon God’s commandments, had sinned ignorantly in transgressing its precepts.” Early Writings p. 254

    If we factor in all the components of sin and atonement, we find that even if we sin ignorantly, it is still sin, but forgiven by way of the atonement and Christ’s intercession for His people. Thus, Luther broke the Sabbath and sinned in doing so, none the less, we can assume his ignorance of this issue and its importance was not dynamic to him and Jesus will plead His blood for Luther and millions of others who have not understood various aspects of truth.




    0
    View Comment
    • “Sins of ignorance” are not really moral failures or true “sins” against God. No less than Jesus explains that those who are truly ignorant of the right (like the true Sabbath day) are in fact not guilty of a sin against God.

      Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. – John 9:41

      There you have it. According to Jesus, those who are truly ignorant, or blind to the truth, are not guilty of sin. For example, if Adam and Eve had eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil without having first been warned not to do it by God, they would not have been guilty of sin – of a deliberate rebellion against God. However, this text, of course, gets into the concept of “willful ignorance” – which is in fact a sin against God. It’s just that only God can judge if someone is or is not willfully ignorant of the truth…




      0
      View Comment
      • “Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. – John 9:41

        There you have it. According to Jesus, those who are truly ignorant, or blind to the truth, are not guilty of sin. ”

        Then they don’t need any atonement and EGW is mistaken when she says the final atonement is for sins of ignorance.

        As for the words of Jesus, this is what He means in the obvious context.

        “If ye were blind, ye would have no sin that could not be pardoned, but now you say, ‘we see’, therefore, your sin is unpardonable.”

        Nothing is written in a vacuum. The context will give us the meaning as we compare scripture with scripture. You limit sin to man’s own self judgment and leave God’s objective law out of the picture. Law is objective, and any law doesn’t care what you know or don’t know. You violate a law, and you are guilty. Knowledge has nothing to do with objective guilt.

        But surely you can see that your view flies directly in face of a clear statement of EGW, and her view is in harmony with the bible.




        0
        View Comment
        • “If ye were blind, ye would have no sin that could not be pardoned, but now you say, ‘we see’, therefore, your sin is unpardonable.”

          Now you’re just changing what Jesus actually said in an effort to justify your claims. The context of Jesus’ statement is quite clear as it reads and is consistent with the underlying problem of sin. The fact is that all sins are pardonable except for the one sin of refusing to admit error once an error is recognized as such. Pardon is not limited to “sins of ignorance” as you suggest here. I really don’t think you understand the basic problem with sin. That is why you don’t seem to want to address the reason why Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden (Hint: It wasn’t because they were blind to what they were doing – that they hadn’t been told not to do what they did.).

          You see, sin is and always has been a conscious rebellion against what is known to be true due to a lack of love for the truth. It’s all based on the motive of selfless love. Sin is selfishness at the expense of others. That’s it. Otherwise, there simply is no moral failure and therefore no sin. And, contrary to your claim, “sins of ignorance” would not have required the blood of Jesus – and Mrs. White doesn’t say otherwise. Such an idea goes against every sense of fairness and justice. Again, according to your claim Adam and Eve would have “sinned” by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil even if God had not told them not to do it – and Jesus would have had to die given such a situation?! Of course, that’s a ridiculous argument.

          The real reason why Adam and Eve sinned (and why Jesus had to die to save them – and us) is because God told them not to do something and, in the full light of this knowledge, they did it anyway for selfish reasons. Again, this is why Jesus had to die to save the fallen race. Because we all have deliberately rebelled against what we knew was right for selfish reasons – contrary to the Royal Law of Love which forms the very foundation of all Divine Law. When the Bible says that, “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4) the transgression here is fundamentally against the Law of Love. Where there is no transgression against the Royal Law of Love, toward God or man, there is no sin.

          In short, it seems to me that you’re misreading both Mrs. White and the Bible here. But, we’ve been through this many times before I don’t care to rehash all this yet again…




          0
          View Comment
        • Thanks for publishing our conversation. People can decide for themselves what EGW said and whether my comments fits the biblical norm or not.

          You might want to consider the word “amoral” that has to do with morality and defines people who are not moral, but ignorant.




          0
          View Comment
        • There’s no such thing as being “amoral” (unless one is born mentally handicapped) since all intelligent humans are given an inherent knowledge, as a Divine gift, of the Royal Law written on the heart (Hebrews 10:16 and Romans 2:14-16).

          This is a key difference between humans and animals since animals are indeed amoral creatures. It is for this reason that all humans will be judged on a moral basis according to the Royal Law. This is not true for animals. Unlike humans, animals with not face a “Judgement Day”. Why not? Because, unlike humans, they are not morally responsible for the things that they do.




          0
          View Comment
  4. “There’s no such thing as being “amoral” (unless one is born mentally handicapped) since all intelligent humans are given an inherent knowledge, as a Divine gift, of the Royal Law written on the heart (Hebrews 10:16 and Romans 2:14-16).”

    So everyone born knows the 7th day is the Sabbath? The moral law is God’s will for the human family. And Adam and Eve knew without any instruction about the tree of knowledge of good and evil?

    And people automatically know they should be baptized into Christ to be saved?

    By the way, when we went to Junior Camp when I was a kid, we closed the day around the camp fire and one of the songs went like this.
    “If I have wounded any soul today,
    if I have caused one foot to go astray,
    if I have walked in my own wilful way,
    Dear Lord, forgive.

    The song ended, “Forgive these sins I have confessed to thee,
    Forgive the secret sins I do not see.”

    You could not sing this song, because there is no need to “forgive the secret sin I do not see.”

    Your theory denies any need for forgiveness if you are ignorant and don’t see if and/or how you may have sinned. If you don’t know you have sinned, in your theory, you are not a sinner and don’t need forgiveness.

    But in fact Sean, your whole theory is not biblical and the bible affirms again and again in no uncertain obscurity that we have sins of ignorance, and they must be forgiven. The old and new testament both affirm this reality. And the ceremonial law tells a sinner what he must do about sins of ignorance. The morning and evening sacrifice was for the specific purpose of covering the people and their sins of ignorance as well as their sinful nature.

    Original sin is so completely and throughly biblical that John Wesley stated that anyone who would deny it is not even a Christian. It is a basic denial of the atonement and its far reaching application for those who accept their culpablity in Adam’s sin, even though they didn ‘t actually do it themselves.

    You are like Cain who refused to admit he was a sinner, and would not offer a lamb. He eventually killed his brother Abel and so will everyone else who denies original sin. It is the divide between Christanity and heathenism. We are born lost, condemned and guilty at birth. Even if we never commit a single sin in the first hour. We will sin, because we are born sinners. And the need to be “born again” is imperative as Jesus clearly stated.

    You may not post this, but hopefully, you will at least read it for yourself.




    0
    View Comment
    • So everyone born knows the 7th day is the Sabbath? The moral law is God’s will for the human family. And Adam and Eve knew without any instruction about the tree of knowledge of good and evil?

      The Ten Commandments, especially the first four, are not the “Royal Law”. The Royal Law is more fundamental. Everyone is given to know, via it being written on the heart, the Royal Law of Love – which Jesus says is the basis of everything else, of all other laws including those of the Ten Commandments (Galatians 5:14 and Matthew 22:37-40). The “Ten Commandments” are simply a practical guide on how to apply the Royal Law of Love for those who are in such bad shape that love doesn’t come naturally to them. However, the Ten Commandments are themselves based on the underlying Law of Love – the “Royal Law”. If the entire law is fulfilled in keeping the one command, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, as the Bible clearly claims, how then can one be accused of being a “sinner” if one is in line with this Royal Law? – even if one has never heard of other commands like the Sabbath command or the “don’t eat from that tree” command? – commands which have not been “written on the heart” like the Royal Law has been? You see, if the Royal Law is followed, all other known commands that are in line with the Royal Law will also be followed.

      You see, I could hardly be accused of not showing love toward my wife if I was in the habit of doing something that she didn’t like – like putting on a particular type of aftershave that she hates. However, once she tells me that she hates my aftershave, and wouldn’t I please try a different one, then it would be hateful of me, against the Law of Love, to continue to use the one that I now know she doesn’t like. The same is true with God and commands like the Sabbath commands that are not inherently known or knowable, but must be taught and learned over time.

      Consider again that if one is honestly unaware of the Sabbath command (or that some tree is “forbidden”) how can one be guilty of breaking a command of God when God has never given a particular person such a command? – or be guilty of breaking the all-important Royal Law? It just doesn’t follow. That is why sin simply isn’t a matter of a lack of information. If that’s all it is, as you seem to suggest, then Jesus didn’t need to die on the cross. All He needed to do was provide the necessary information regarding the existence of this or that command. The problem with sin, you see, is that it is not a problem of a lack of information – not at all! It is a problem of rebelling against that which is already known to be true. Did Lucifer sin because of ignorance? If he did, he would have had a very good excuse for his rebellion. However, if he rebelled against what he knew was right and good, where is his excuse for what he did? Sin is therefore a form of insanity since there is no rational excuse for rebelling against what one knows to be right and good. Even Ellen White argues that if a good excuse could be found for sin, it would cease to be sin:

      “[Sin] is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it, is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin. Our only definition of sin is that given in the Word of God; it is “the transgression of the law;” it is the outworking of a principle at war with the great law of love which is the foundation of the divine government.”

      – Ellen White, GC, p. 493

      How can one be ignorantly “at war” against the “great law of love”? That’s impossible. One can only be “at war” against something that is known…

      Again, you’ve repeatedly failed to answer my question: Would Adam and Eve have been guilty of sin if God had not directly told them not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? If you will not answer this question, I don’t feel the need to continue this conversation…

      Original sin is so completely and throughly biblical that John Wesley stated that anyone who would deny it is not even a Christian. It is a basic denial of the atonement and its far reaching application for those who accept their culpablity in Adam’s sin, even though they didn ‘t actually do it themselves.

      You are like Cain who refused to admit he was a sinner, and would not offer a lamb.

      On please, your Augustinian/Calvinistic view of “original sin” is not an Adventist concept (or even the Wesleyan concept). We are all sinners because we all have rebelled against that which we knew was true. We’ve all deliberately done things knowing, ahead of time, that they were wrong. That’s why we are all guilty of sin. We are not guilty of sin because we do things ignorantly, but because we’ve done bad things deliberately.

      Seventh-day Adventists have historically preached a doctrine of inherited weakness, not a doctrine of inherited guilt. Adventists believe that humans are sinful primarily due to the fall of Adam and Eve and the resulting separation from God, which is inherited, but Adventists do not accept the Augustinian/Calvinistic understanding of original sin, taught in terms of original guilt. According to Augustine and Calvin, humanity inherits not only Adam’s depraved nature but also the actual guilt of his transgression. Adventists, on the other hand, look more toward the Wesleyan model (which you don’t seem to understand). John Wesley taught that no person was condemned because of “Original Sin”. It was only for “actual sins” that a person would be judged. Given our corrupted nature it happens that everyone does consciously sin. This situation is inevitable without Divine help. However, it is for sins a person deliberately commits, not a corrupt nature that we inherit from Adam and Eve, that we are personally judged (Link).

      The Adventist view is similar since most Adventists leaders (and founding fathers as well) view the Fall as causing a “separation from God”. This separation is what removes from us the Power to effectively resist the temptation to sin. Sin, however, remains a deliberate act of rebellion against that which is known to be true – a rebellion against the Royal Law that is written on our hearts. Sin is not and has never been something done in ignorance. This is why Adventists generally deny that we inherit Adam’s guilt, only his fallen nature or “separation” from God (Link). This is also why Adventists do not perform infant baptisms like the Catholics. As Ellen White puts it, “It is inevitable that children should suffer from the consequences of parental wrong-doing, but they are not punished for the parent’s guilt, except as they participate in their sins.”

      Again, the concept of individual responsibility for sin as the result of deliberate acts against known truth is highlighted here… while maintaining that all are born “separated” from God and therefore require the intervention of Jesus to re-establish that connection which gives all of us who do so the Power to resist temptation. However, Adam and Eve would never have become “separated” from God if they had eaten from the “forbidden tree” unknowingly. It is because they knew ahead of time that the fruit of the “forbidden tree” was in fact “forbidden” by God Himself, that their eating of it created a separation between themselves and God. And this, in an nutshell, is the fundamental problem of sin and evil – it creates a separation between the sinner and God.

      Again, traditionally, Adventists look at sin in terms of willful transgressions. This position is based on texts such as “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4) And, it is impossible to transgress the Royal Law of Love while in ignorance. Such a transgression must be a conscious deliberate transgression.

      We are therefore “sinners” because we have all knowingly broken the law. And, not just any law, but the Royal Law of Love… deliberately. Sin isn’t the result of some accidental trespass against some unknown law or rule. It is a deliberate rebellion against that which is known to be true. And, it is because of our tendency to deliberately rebel against the Royal Law that we must be “born again” – to obtain the power of God to be able to truly fulfill the Royal Law of Love toward others.




      0
      View Comment
      • The Bible says that we are born into a depraved nature (Psalms 51:5), but that does not appear to be the same thing as sinning… only that we are born in such a fallen and broken state, separated from God in our natural inclinations, that deliberate rebellion against the Royal Law is inevitable. It is doubtless true, as Professor Cheyne says, that “the Old Testament contains no theory of the origin of sin” – no formulated doctrine on the subject. But the fact of congenital depravity is stated, not only here, but also in Job 14:4; Psalm 58:3; it is also implied in Isaiah 43:27 and Hosea 6:7.




        0
        View Comment
      • Well, Gene, to be born is not sin. But to be born in sin makes everyone a sinner.

        This is so simply “that wayfaring men, though fools, need not err therein.” Isa.

        How inane would it be to claim an apple tree is not an apple tree unless and until it has apples on it?
        The bible is so clear and plain on this issue, that we have to either pervert or ignore huge amounts of scripture to deny the reality.

        ‘An evil tree can not bring forth good fruit.” It does not say an evil tree will not, but can not. In other words, it is impossible. Just so, it is impossible for a person who is born in sin to do anything but sin, unless and until they are born again.

        To be born outside Christ is to be born a sinner. And no one is born “in Christ”. If they were, to be baptized into Christ would be vain and fruitless. We must move from a state of sin and condemnation to a state of forgiveness and obedience. Or, we must “opt in” to the kingdom of God, and if not, we are out. Adam opted us out by his choice and we had nothing to do with it. None the less, God has provided an atonement where each one can choose to “opt in”.

        This is so basic to bible Christanity and affirmed again and again in both the old and new testament we could wonder how anyone who honestly reads the bible could think otherwise. Especially when it has been pointed out. I guess in some cases, people choose to believe whatever they want to, and no amount of biblical evidence will convince them otherwise.

        The same spirit that controls this spirituality, is the one that controls a Sunday keeper who doesn’t want to believe the Sabbath, and chooses to twist scripture to their own destruction.

        We are born sinners, lost, guilty and condemned by way of Adam’s choice, not ours. None the less, God has provided a way that “whoever will may come.”




        0
        View Comment
        • Being born separated from God isn’t the same thing as “sinning”. Again, sin requires a deliberate choice of a free moral agent to act against that which is known to be right and good. Otherwise, there simply is no sin. Nothing is more clearly spelled out in the Bible than this. Sin is deliberate rebellion against the Royal Law. Of course, being born with a fallen nature certainly leads to sin. However, being born with a fallen nature isn’t sin in and of itself.

          In short, we are not born guilty of Adam’s particular sin. We are born with his fallen nature and a propensity to sin. However, the Catholic notion that guilt itself can be inherited is mistaken. Everyone is judged based on his or her own personal decisions as a free moral agent. This concept is spelled out very clearly throughout the Bible (Ezekiel 18:20, 2Kings 14:6, Deuteronomy 24:16, Jeremiah 31:29-30).




          0
          View Comment
        • “In short, we are not born guilty of Adam’s particular sin.”

          As far as God is concerned, we are born “guilty of every particular sin.” No sin excepted. A sinful nature means a nature full of sin. And it means a nature guilty of every particular sin with none excepted. There is no sin that anyone has committed that you are not guilty of.

          Gene asks, “If it is a sin to possess a fallen nature then there must be a law against it. Has God given a law forbidding anyone from being conceived with a fallen human nature? If there ever was a law that was impossible to keep, this would be it, for how could one choose not to violate it before one existed?!

          It is not possible to keep any law of God without being “born again.” You are born a violator of the law by nature and you are born guilty of violating every law, whether you ever subjectively participate in any given sin or not.

          You can try to justify your rejection of original sin, but all you do is condemn yourself. If babies are not born guilty of sin even before the subjectively do anything, why were the children of Israel commanded to put the blood on the door post to keep the destroying angel from killing their babies?

          Why were the babies of the Egyptians killed, if and when they were actually innocent? We are born sinners, condemned by God because we are born guilty of every sin anyone has ever committed, or ever could commit. Not by our choice, but by Adam’s choice. And what need is there to be “born again” if we are already born spiritually innocent?

          Small wonder Jesus says, “Poor, blind, wretched, naked and miserable.”

          “An evil tree can not bring forth good fruit.” Neither can a person born in sin do anything but sin. They have no choice in the matter until and unless they are “born again” in Christ who liberates the will to choose another master. We are of our father the devil, and the lust of our father we will do.

          “Sold in sin” is how Paul states it. Quit denying the obvious teaching of the bible to justify a superficial definition of sin, as being only what a person knows and does. Millions transgress the law and don’t even know it. You don’t have to know you are sinning to be sinning. Such a view devalues the atonement and limits it solely to human knowledge. God defines sin, not you and me. The curse and wrath of God is on every baby born in the family of Adam. But He has provided an atonement, and whosoever will may come.

          Why do you deny the clear teaching of the bible to advocate a superficial explanation of sin and atonement?




          0
          View Comment
        • As already mentioned, the Bible never teaches that anyone is guilty and deserves condemnation or death because of the sins or crimes committed by someone else (Ezekiel 18:2-4, 20; Jeremiah 31:29, 30; Romans 2:5, 6; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Galatians 6:7, 8; Revelation 20:12, 13; 21:8). This would be a monstrous and unjust portrayal of God since it goes against every sense of justice and fair play.

          Beyond this, even Jesus took on the fallen nature of humanity, yet without sin. Therefore, it isn’t the fallen nature that is sinful, but the actual transgressions against the Royal Law that an individual commits that make him/her guilty of sin. Jesus “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men . . . in fashion as a man” (Philippians 2:7, 8), “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3); thus, “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16).

          “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:14-18)

          Christ lived a life of sinlessness in our fallen human nature and thereby condemned sin in the flesh, in our fallen condition with all of our natural fallen propensities and weaknesses. Christ proved that our nature, fallen and corrupted though it may be, is no excuse for sinning and that obedience to God’s law is possible in our fallen condition – thus exposing Satan’s lie and charge against God. It was Satan who declared that no man could keep the law of God after the disobedience of Adam. He claimed that the whole race is under his control and could not escape. Jesus disproved this claim showing how even a man with a fallen nature could, with God’s power, live a sinless life.

          Ellen White, stresses this fundamental truth:

          “Christ’s overcoming and obedience is that of a true human being. In our conclusions, we make many mistakes because of our erroneous views of the human nature of our Lord. When we give to His human nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the completeness of His humanity.” – Ellen White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (Washington, D.C.: Review & Herald Publishing Association, 1953-1957, 929).

          “In our humanity, Christ was to redeem Adam’s failure. But when Adam was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He stood in the strength of perfect manhood, possessing the full vigor of mind and body. He was surrounded with the glories of Eden, and was in daily communion with heavenly beings. It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and the moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation.” — Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, 117.

          “The King of glory proposed to humble Himself to fallen humanity! He would place His feet in Adam’s steps. He would take man’s fallen nature, and engage to cope with the strong foe who triumphed over Adam. He would overcome Satan, and in thus doing He would open the way for the redemption from the disgrace of Adam’s failure and fall, of all those who would believe on Him” (Ellen White, Redemption; or the Temptation of Christ in The Wilderness, 15).

          Though He had no taint of sin upon His character, yet He condescended to connect our fallen human nature with His divinity. By thus taking humanity, He honored humanity. Having taken our fallen nature, He showed what it might become, by accepting the ample provision He has made for it, and by becoming partaker of the divine nature. – Ellen White, Special Instruction Relating to the Review and Herald Office, and the Work in Battle Creek, 13 (May 26, 1896).

          Clearly then, the fallen nature of humanity is not in and of itself “sin”. Otherwise, Jesus could not have taken on our fallen nature and still have been guiltless of sin. Likewise, when we are born into this world, we are born with a fallen nature that inevitably leads to sin (i.e., transgression of the Law, the Royal Law in particular), outside of the power of God, but is not sin in and of itself. We are simply not guilty of Adam’s sin simply by being born. We become guilty for our own sins once we deliberately break the Royal Law.




          0
          View Comment
        • Bill “How inane would it be to claim an apple tree is not an apple tree unless and until it has apples on it?”

          Bill,

          Comparing babies and apple trees is a bit more inane than comparing apples and oranges.

          BTW,

          “The ONLY DEFINITION FOR SIN that we have in the Bible is that it is the transgression of the law… IT CONDEMNS EVERY SIN, AND REQUIRES EVERY VIRTUE.” E.G. White, ST, March 3, 1890 par. 3.

          If it is a sin to possess a fallen nature then there must be a law against it. Has God given a law forbidding anyone from being conceived with a fallen human nature? If there ever was a law that was impossible to keep, this would be it, for how could one choose not to violate it before one existed?!




          0
          View Comment
  5. Regarding the question: “Would Adam and Eve have been guilty of sin if God had not directly told them not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?”. Without the/a law there can be no sin. By telling Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of that tree, He was establishing a law. From that point on it became a sin to partake of that tree. Breaking the law is always sin, regardless of our knowledge or lack of knowledge of a paticular law. But untill we are brought to an awareness of the law we are not held accountable for transgressing it. And yes, one who is unaware of the Sabbath commandment, and is breaking it, is guilty of transgressing the fourth commandment. But he is not held accountable until he is brought to a full knowledge of the law. This is the beauty of the Holy Spirit and the process we call sanctification.




    0
    View Comment
    • Let’s say God told the angels about the “forbidden tree” to establish the law, but failed to tell Adam and Eve about this newly established law. According to you, however, Adam and Eve would still have been “sinners” (morally corrupt) even if God hadn’t told them that the tree was “forbidden”? And Jesus would have had to die to save them? – even if they were ignorant of the new law? Really?




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman: The scenario is less than perfect. This is a hypothetical situation that could never happen. This makes God less than perfect, because He “failed” to tell them about a law that He had established. The bottom line is that if there is an established law, it can be broken, whether you are aware of it or not. Unlike human civil law, God does not hold us accountable if we are unaware of the transgression of His law. Let’s look at the life of Paul as found in 1Timothy 1:12-13. “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” In verse 15 Paul refers to himself as the chief of sinners, referring back to his “old” life. One cannot be a “sinner” unless one breaks one of God’s laws. Obviously, Paul was breaking God’s laws, but he believed he was doing what was good…but God was merciful to him, because he did it “ignorantly in unbelief”.




        0
        View Comment
        • The scenario is less than perfect. This is a hypothetical situation that could never happen. This makes God less than perfect, because He “failed” to tell them about a law that He had established.

          Exactly! And the same thing would be true if God “failed” to inform someone about the “Law” today – and then punished them for doing something against the “Law” when they honestly had no idea. That notion paints God as arbitrary and capricious – a most distasteful view of God.

          The bottom line is that if there is an established law, it can be broken, whether you are aware of it or not.

          Not when it comes to morality. When it comes to a person’s morality, the moral code must be known by that person before it can be broken by that person – just as it would have been impossible for Adam and Eve to “sin” by eating from the forbidden fruit had they not first been told that the fruit was in fact “forbidden”. Sin is a deliberate rebellion against that which is known to be true – which is also why animals, though “fallen” and depraved since the Fall of Adam and Eve, are not guilty of “sin” since they were not created with an ability to intelligently appreciate the difference between good and evil on a moral level. Without this knowledge, there simply is no sin or moral failure. If sin were simply a matter of a lack of knowledge, then Jesus need not have died. All that God would have had to do in such a situation is supply the necessary knowledge and all would have been well. The problem, of course, is that sin is not due to a lack of knowledge regarding the Law. Sin is a result of a deliberate decision to go against what is consciously known to be right and good. That’s the real difficulty with sin…

          Unlike human civil law, God does not hold us accountable if we are unaware of the transgression of His law.

          That’s right – because there is no moral failure in such a situation – no sin. Of course, all are aware of transgression against the primary Royal Law of Love (James 2:8) – the Law upon which all other moral laws are based. So, there is really no excuse before the Law – not even for the heathen who have never read the Bible or heard of the “Ten Commandments”. How so? Because, God has written the Royal Law on everyone’s heart. It is therefore given to us as an internally-derived moral compass (Hebrews 10:16, Romans 2:14-16, Romans 13:9).

          Let’s look at the life of Paul as found in 1 Timothy 1:12-13. “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” In verse 15 Paul refers to himself as the chief of sinners, referring back to his “old” life. One cannot be a “sinner” unless one breaks one of God’s laws. Obviously, Paul was breaking God’s laws, but he believed he was doing what was good…but God was merciful to him, because he did it “ignorantly in unbelief”.

          Paul may have been ignorant to a certain degree, but no “sinner” is completely ignorant regarding transgressions against the Royal Law – according to Paul himself. Again, the reason for this is because of the fact that God has written the Royal Law on the hearts of everyone so that no one is without excuse before God. “The requirements of the law are written on their hearts.” (Romans 2:15). It is for this reason that Paul himself was confused in his attacks against the Christians – see that they appeared to be honored by God when his own heart was in conflict. Paul also noted that according to the written laws of Moses, he was a “perfect man” – until he considered the tenth commandment, the only commandment dealing with the internally-written Royal Law, and then he knew that he was a sinner.

          Paul uses as a personal example the tenth commandment against coveting. This shows that by “the law” Paul mainly had in mind the Ten Commandments as the embodiment of God’s requirements for holy living. Probably he picked the tenth commandment in particular because it is the only command that explicitly condemns evil on the heart level. Jesus pointed out that the commands against murder and adultery (and, by implication, all of the commands) go deeper than the outward action. If you’re angry at your brother you have violated the command against murder – even without any external action on your part. If you lust in your heart over a woman, you have in fact committed adultery in God’s sight (Matt. 5:21-30). But the command against coveting explicitly goes right to the heart of the problem of “sin”. Coveting concerns your heart’s desires, whether you ever act on those desires or not.

          So, when Paul says, “I would not have come to know sin except through the Law,” he does not mean that he (or others) do not know sin at all apart from the written law. He has already said (Romans 2:14-15) that Gentiles who do not have the written law have the “work of the Law written in their hearts.” People deliberately sinned against the law within their hearts from Adam until Moses, even though they did not have the written law (Romans 5:12-14).

          What Paul means is that the law, especially the tenth commandment focusing on the inward desires, convicted him so clearly that he came to understand sin in a new light – as dealing with the Royal Law written on the heart. Sin is a heart problem, and Paul finally figured that out. Before his conversion, outwardly Paul was a self-righteous “perfect” Pharisee. He thought that all of his external deeds commended him to God. With regard to the law dealing with external actions, he saw himself as “blameless” (Phil. 3:6). However, when the Holy Spirit brought the tenth commandment about coveting home to his conscience, Paul finally realized that he had violated God’s holy law – the Royal Law. At that point, he came to understand sin in a whole new light.

          Like Paul before his conversion, most people think that they are basically good. Sure, they know they have their faults. Who doesn’t? They’re not perfect, but they are good. They excuse even their sins, just as Paul excused his violent persecution of the church. However, again, no one is truly ignorant of their sins against the Royal Law of Love – because it is written on their hearts.




          0
          View Comment
  6. I’ll leave this quote by EGW that is totally contrary to your explanation.

    “Satan’s Power May Be Broken—Parents have a more serious charge than they imagine. The inheritance of children is that of sin. Sin has separated them from God. Jesus gave His life that He might unite the broken links to God. As related to the first Adam, men receive from him nothing but guilt and the sentence of death. But Christ steps in and passes over the ground where Adam fell, enduring every test in man’s behalf…. Christ’s perfect example and the grace of God are given him to enable him to train his sons and daughters to be sons and daughters of God.” CG 475

    She states that we “inherit” guilt. What you inherit is not what you obtain by your own action. And I have already quoted what she said about sins of ignorance that you either ignore or deny. Her statement are too clear to be misunderstood.

    ” The third angel closes his message thus: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all those for whom mercy still lingers and for those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. It includes all who died trusting in Christ, but who, not having received the light upon God’s commandments, had sinned ignorantly in transgressing its precepts.” EW 254

    These quotes need no explanation. Either you accept them or deny them. Sins of ignorance must be atoned for and forgiveness is a necessity for reconciliation. Your limited view of sin and atonement will not harmonize with clear bible teaching, nor will you find affirmation by EGW.




    0
    View Comment
    • I’ll ask you yet again, would Adam and Eve have been guilty of sin if they had eaten from the “forbidden tree” without first having been told by God that it was forbidden? Would Jesus have had to die to save humanity given such a situation? It’s a simple question…

      You see, the Bible also talks about “sins of ignorance”, especially in the Mosaic Laws like in Leviticus 5:17-19. There are even punishments for those who commit “sins of ignorance”. However, this implies, does it not, that the ignorance among the Israelites was itself deliberate ignorance since the opportunity for knowledge for all regarding God’s commands to Israel was clearly available. If God had not made His commands easily available to all, it would have been completely unfair for God to punish anyone who happened to be ignorant of His commands. This is not consistent with the character of God.

      The same is true of Mrs. White’s statements on “sins of ignorance”. Such sins only exist if there was opportunity to know but such an opportunity was deliberately rejected. Again, Adam and Eve would not have been guilty of a sin if God had not first told them about the “forbidden fruit”.

      “We shall not be held accountable for the light that has not reached our perception, but for that which we have resisted and refused. A man could not apprehend the truth which had never been presented to him, and therefore could not be condemned for light he had never had.” – Ellen White, R&H, April 25, 1893.

      Also, contrary to your position on the concept of “original sin”, the Bible specifically speaks against children being held responsible for the sins of the parents. According to the Bible children may inherit the parent’s weaknesses or tendencies, but they do not inherit the moral guilt of the parents (Deuteronomy 24:16, Jeremiah 31:29-30, Ezekiel 18:20). We are therefore born in a state of separation from God, which would inevitably lead to our own deliberate rebellion against the Royal Law if not for the atonement of Jesus. However, the guilt of such a rebellion against the Royal Law would be our own entirely – the result of our own deliberate freewill choices to rebel against the Law. The guilt is not inherited from our parents or from their parents all the way back to Adam and Eve. Each member of the human race can only point the finger of responsibility for the guilt of sin right back at his or her own self. That is why there is no good excuse for sin – for anyone. All have deliberately rebelled against the Law of Love. There can be no claim to the argument that “I didn’t know any better.” Everyone who sins knows better… and all have deliberately sinned. No one can claim honest ignorance here. Otherwise, there would be a good excuse for sin and, according to Ellen White, this would mean that there was no sin. True sin has no valid excuse or reason for its existence.

      “Could excuse for [sin] be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin.”

      – Ellen White, GC, p. 493

      What better excuse than honest ignorance of a command of God?




      0
      View Comment
      • What it comes down to Sean, is this. If we are innocent, then we need no forgiveness. And this is how you perceive the sin situation. But it is not the biblical view. The biblical view is this. When we sin in ignorance, we are not innocent, but since ignorance is a factor, we are forgiven. Thus, the atonement is not only for willful disobedience, but it also covers the elements of ignorance that all Christ’s are afflicted with. Not the mention that we have a sinful nature that must be covered by the blood of the atonement.

        And even new born babies are in need of the covering because they are born in sin and are guilty of selfishness, pride, and all other sins, even if they don’t know it. Notice how EGW deals with this reality.

        ” The question is asked, “How can little children have this test and trial?” I answer that the faith of the believing parents covers the children, as when God sent His judgments upon the first-born of the Egyptians.
        The word of God came to the Israelites in bondage to gather their children into their houses and to mark the doorposts of their houses with blood from a lamb, slain. This prefigured the slaying of the Son of God and the efficacy of His blood, which was shed for the salvation of the sinner. It was a sign that the household accepted Christ as the promised Redeemer. It was shielded from the destroyer’s power. The parents evidenced their faith in implicitly obeying the directions given them, and the faith of the parents covered themselves and their children. They showed their faith in Jesus, the great Sacrifice, whose blood was prefigured in the slain lamb. The destroying angel passed over every house that had this mark upon it. This is a symbol to show that the faith of the parents extends to their children and covers them from the destroying angel.” 3SM 314

        EGW has a more comprehensive view of sin and atonement than most SDA teachers accept or teach. Children are born lost, condemned and guilty by Adam’s choice, not their own. This truth is clearly stated in scripture and affirmed by EGW.




        0
        View Comment
        • You didn’t answer my question:

          Would Adam and Eve have been guilty of sin if they had eaten from the “forbidden tree” without first having been told by God that it was forbidden? Would Jesus have had to die to save humanity given such a situation?

          Unless you wish to address this question, I’m not interested in rehashing what we’ve already gone over several times now and in previous threads. I’m sorry, but your arguments simply aren’t convincing to me.




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman: No, what it comes down to is this: If God, by some failure of memory, had not informed Adam and Eve of the consequences of not eating the apple, and they ate it, would it have been the original Sean or the Sean of ignorance? You may not want to publish this. Which would be a un-venial Sean. Now then, and meanwhile, back to doctrine 6.




          0
          View Comment
        • “Would Adam and Eve have been guilty of sin if they had eaten from the “forbidden tree” without first having been told by God that it was forbidden? Would Jesus have had to die to save humanity given such a situation?”

          The question is not relevant to the issue. Adam and Eve were grown mature individuals and in Adam’s case, He was the first man. God would never make some rule or law and not tell them what it was, and then condemn them for not doing it. But this is not the situation we are dealing with in this world.

          We are dealing with the human family who are the children of Adam and are born without knowledge. Adam was responsible for his children and their morality concerning issues they were not aware of. So, to equate your question with the present issue of sin creates a false dilemma that does not apply to the situation the world is in today.

          The quote by EGW is clear about the necessity of the children being covered by the blood of atonement. Because they are born in sin. Adam was not created in a sinful state like his children are after his fall and rebellion.




          0
          View Comment
        • I disagree. This hypothetical situation speaks to your argument that “sins” can be and are committed in complete ignorance – which is nonsense. Being born in a state of separation from God isn’t the same thing as “sinning” against God. Such a condition may be the result of sin, but it isn’t the same thing as sinning – according to both the Bible and according to every sense of justice and fair play.

          In any case, I do not care to rehash all this, yet again, with you. This ends our discussion on this topic – at least in this forum.




          0
          View Comment
        • I’m sorry you feel that way, but I’m still not convinced and this forum really isn’t about the topic of “original sin” or the overall nature of sin. This conversation, while perhaps interesting for a while (at least to me), is really off topic and I’m no longer interested in going around in circles with you on this topic, yet again, in this forum. Otherwise, I wish you all the best…




          0
          View Comment
  7. I agree Sean. Only with the one rider. This issue transcends all the other issues being discussed in the SDA church today. We can bicker from now until dooms day about the fingers and toes of truth. But if we can not define sin and atonement at its basic meaning and application, everything else is meaningless.

    Important biblical concepts that are ignored by the church, have a way of rising to high levels of intensity eventually. This issue must be resolved at some point, no doubt.




    0
    View Comment
  8. But seriously, whether by original-mindless-sin or by mindful-sin — the matter is everlastingly discussed and so familiar but I always forget the latest technical terms employed — is this truly THE “overriding” endtime issue? Is it not true that in “Adam all have sinned,” knowingly or unknowingly? And anyway is it not true that every last person reading THIS blog and hearing this issue, again, is among those who indeed have known the law and the prophets and the gospel and the Word, plus some proprietary embellishments, having heard and having grown up knowing and being taught all that? Can anybody reading this really claim “ignorant sin”? (There are ignorant sinners on this planet, but they don’t read this blog, do they?) And is it not true that the redeemer is Christ, through the Holy Spirit, through the Father? And does it not follow that the proof of His office is creation, which is what He did in the beginning, as well as in what He did when incarnated? And therefore would it not follow that how our belief in creation is worded – to represent the true Word of God – be an overriding issue? An overriding endtime issue? When that gospel, the gospel of redemption and only Christ as redeemer, is given to all the world, then, and only then – is it not true? Is not that an issue? – the end shall come. And maybe even the end of this particular back-and-forth. Well, what IS true is that it’s tough for me to write this without resorting to italics or (not knowing HTML) caps.




    0
    View Comment
    • @wesley kime:

      We find “the gospel” as articulated in scripture, is very comprehensive. So, Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

      And the bible does not leave it up to the reader to decide what is important in the gospel, and what is not.




      0
      View Comment
    • 😉

      It seems like there are much bigger issues in play regarding these last days. However, the nature of sin and how God deals with it is a surprisingly important concept that paints a picture of what we think of the very nature of God. Some people think that God views any error of any kind as a form of “sin”. If so, even the angels, who aren’t omniscient and therefore are bound to make honest mistakes from time to time, are “sinners”. This is a sad view of sin because it paints God in an unfair and unjust light. Of course, this entire “Great Controversy” struggle is over this very concept – the character of God. Is God lovable or not? Can He really be trusted? Is He someone to be feared rather than loved?

      It is for this reason that I personally consider it of significant importance to understand the nature of sin and how God deals with it. And, as far as I understand the nature of sin from my study of the Bible and the writings of Ellen White, it seems to me that there is a very clear and helpful distinction between errors that are due to a lack of knowledge (which anyone but God Himself would be subject to – even heavenly angels) vs. errors that are due to a deliberate rebellion against what is clearly known to be right and good. These types of deliberate errors, I believe, are what the Bible defines as “sin” in the sense of an error due to an underlying moral failure or deficiency. Such an error, or “sin”, is what caused the downfall of humanity in the Garden of Eden. And, the very same errors have taken each one of us captive so that no one on this planet can claim to be without a history of such errors or deliberate sins. We’ve all fallen short of the kingdom of God, not accidentally, but quite deliberately – so that none of us has a valid excuse of any kind, not even one of honest ignorance, before God for the bad things that we’ve all done in our lives.

      That means, of course, that there is only one hope for us – the lavish mercy of God extended to us through the life and death of Jesus on our behalf. Basically, it is our extremely desperate need and hopeless state alone that recommends wretches like us to God. We have absolutely nothing within ourselves or our past history that can make us look any better before God than filthy rags. And, it is only in our humble recognition of our true state before God that we can find hope. Because, it is only when we come to this realization that we feel our extreme need to take on the righteous life of Jesus and cover ourselves with His robes and His strength, falling to our knees in gratitude for such a gift to those of us who don’t remotely deserve it.

      So, it is not that we are born to make ignorant mistakes that’s the real problem here. It is that we are born in such a state where we end up in deliberately rebelling against what we do know is right and good that’s the real problem. It’s a form of insanity – or there would be an excuse for the bad things that we’ve all deliberately done. There simply is no excuse for it. And, the only way out of our insanity is through the grace of God made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus. Without this saving sacrificial grace, we are all destined to become more and more insane and more and more despicable, even in our own eyes. That is why the lost, at the end of time, will actually prefer death to the torture of eternal life – and they will therefore view their own pending death as a act of mercy on the part of God.

      And, for me, that’s what it’s all about… recognizing the goodness and selfless love of God in His dealing with the sin problem and being given the privilege to choose life and a sound mind over personal insanity and death.




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean, I know you have stated this position several times. But it is still faulty. You deny sins of ignorance that are dealt with all through the bible and affirmed clearly by EGW. You challenged me to deal with your concept. Now let me challenge you to deal with this one singular quote by EGW.

        “. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all those for whom mercy still lingers and for those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. It includes all who died trusting in Christ, but who, not having received the light upon God’s commandments, had sinned ignorantly in transgressing its precepts.” Early Writing p. 254




        0
        View Comment
        • I’ve already discussed quotes like this with you extensively and have given you many other quotes from both the Bible and Ellen White that deal with the deeper issues of sin and rebellion. I simply don’t see the need to continue to go around in circles with you on this topic any further. This just isn’t the forum for it. I suggest you start your own blog if you wish to further promote your ideas on this particular topic…




          0
          View Comment
        • Obviously we disagree – as I’ve explained regarding this quote and many others like it from both the Bible and Ellen White in some detail already.

          You erroneously equate simple “errors” (due to honest ignorance) with things like the deliberate rebellion of Adam and Eve – which did in fact require the blood of Christ as an atonement. Your view of “sin” here would make anyone who is not omniscient (and who is therefore inevitably bound to fall into various errors from time to time) a “sinner” – even the angels in Heaven! That’s simply a mistaken view of why Jesus had to die – an error that causes you to modify the actual words of Jesus Himself on this topic (John 9:41; John 15:22-24). Honest errors, which are not against the fundamental moral code or “Royal Law” of love, would simply require additional information to correct – not the blood of Jesus.

          Again, I suggest that you move on and start your own blog on this topic. This forum simply isn’t the place for it.




          0
          View Comment
  9. “Carter emphasized that LLU is committed to God as creator and redeemer and being cooperative and supportive of the world church so long as it does not compromise their ability to perform their medical work faithfully with integrity and credibility.”

    Something is extremely wrong about that statement. Should it not instead read as follows?

    “Carter emphasized that LLU is committed to performing medical work faithfully with integrity and credibility so long as it does not compromise their ability to worship God as creator and redeemer.”




    0
    View Comment
    • Ethan,

      IMHO,

      No statement was necessary.

      In fact I consider it thoughtless.

      FB#6 should have absolutely no effect on their ability to support the world church and perform work faithfully and with integrity.




      0
      View Comment
  10. I stumbled across the terrible site just now researching the fall of Adventist theology away from the Bible. This one change to this church’s belief is keeping me from engaging with Adventism now. This new wording of creation creed is not Biblical. It adds concepts that don’t exist in the Bible with a plain reading. I will move on looking for truth now.




    0
    View Comment
    • I hope you re-read the Bible with more care regarding all of its statements regarding the creation week and its literal nature. After all, even secular scholars of Hebrew (as already mentioned above) recognize that the author of the Genesis account of creation clearly intended to write a literal historical narrative including the literal nature of the 7-day creation week.




      0
      View Comment

Comments are closed.