Comment on GC Delegates Vote to Tighten Language of Fundamental #6 on Creation by Sean Pitman.
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.
Sean Pitman Also Commented
GC Delegates Vote to Tighten Language of Fundamental #6 on Creation
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.
GC Delegates Vote to Tighten Language of Fundamental #6 on Creation
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.
GC Delegates Vote to Tighten Language of Fundamental #6 on Creation
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.
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…
Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.
The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.
God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.
The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.
For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”
That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.
Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.
God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28
Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.
Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.
This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…
Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.
Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.
Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…