@Bill Sorensen: The only things that are “absolutely provable” are …

Comment on Two Adventist Universities Promote Six-Day Creation by Sean Pitman.

@Bill Sorensen:

The only things that are “absolutely provable” are your own internal experiences. The blind man who could see had an internal experience of site. He knew within himself that he could see… just like I know for a fact that I like vanilla ice cream. No other evidence is needed beyond that which I have within myself. No science is needed. No further testing or investigation of any other evidence is needed.

Where science or empirical evidence come into play is when you start talking about the nature of things that exist outside of your own mind and personal experience – like the Divine origin of the Bible and the reliability of Biblical prophecies. Such things exist independent of your own personal experience. They are external realities that exist independent of you and your existence. Therefore, they can be generally experienced by all who have access to them and can evaluate them with scientific methodologies.

Any time scientific methodologies are required to investigate an external reality, there always exists the possibility for error – for being wrong. You could be wrong about Biblical prophecy since your notions are based on the empirical historical sciences… not simply your own internal experience.

It is at this point that the best we can do is go with what we perceive as the “weight of evidence” – to borrow a phrase often used by Mrs. White to describe the basis for faith in the Bible as the Word of God.

Sean Pitman

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Two Adventist Universities Promote Six-Day Creation
@Bill Sorensen:

What if God created everything in the world including Adam and Eve, but never revealed Himself to them as the Creator?

You mean, what if there was no Bible to tell us what is going on behind the scenes? Certainly the Bible gives us far more information than could be discovered by studying nature alone. However, this does not mean that the study of nature says nothing about the Creator of nature. Also, this is not to say that the credibility of the Bible is not itself based on the testability of its empirical claims.

Again, your appeal to Biblical prophecy as an evidence of its Divine origin is dependent upon the credibility of historical science.

Obviously, I don’t know the answer and neither does anyone else. But I would tend to believe they would opt for evolution by way of science. Or, perhaps, think of some ID that was beyond communication.

You evidently don’t understand the evidence against naturalistic evolution or for the recent arrival of life on this planet or the rapid degeneration of the gene pools of slowly reproducing creatures (like all mammals) on this planet.

The fact is that the best current scientific evidence is consistent with the claims of the Bible. This is why the weight of scientific information adds to the credibility of the Biblical claim to have a Divine origin.

As Mrs. White explains, true science and biblical revelation are complimentary, shedding light on each other.

Science brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation. The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. They make us acquainted with God by teaching us something of the laws through which He works. – Ellen White

So, you see, nature does in fact say something about its Author.

At any rate, I am convinced that nature itself without the divine revelation of God to man is worthless to bring anyone to a viable conclusion about origins.

Just because the conclusion one could draw from nature alone about God may be more limited than that which can be gained through a knowledge of the Bible does not mean that nature has absolutely nothing to say about any aspect of God. This concept of yours simply isn’t true. There have been those who have been led to acknowledge the existence of a God-like being through the study of nature alone – who had no access to the Bible or any other form of Divine revelation at all.

As for Paul’s statement, you must remember that all cultures had some knowledge of God. God had preserved a knowledge of Himself by way of tradition and this knowledge had been passed down from generation to generation.

This is also not true. Some cultures have in fact lost all knowledge of the existence of God or of the supernatural and are completely atheistic. And, many more cultures that recognize some form of God have a view of God that is completely degraded to the subhuman levels of morality.

So, even though a pure and true knowledge of God was unknown to the heathen, Paul claims they are still culpable for what they did know and could observe by way of nature. It was not nature alone that Paul appealed to in reigning them up before the divine tribunal. But moral accountability by way of traditional values passed from generation to generation.

The only morality that Paul claims that all people are born with is the knowledge of the royal law of love that God has placed in the hearts of all mankind. This is the only moral standard by which all will be judged since all have this component of the Law written upon their hearts.

As an example, marriage is not some “natural law” conclusion based on science and nature. Marriage was ordained by God in Eden and passed on for thousands of years in every culture from Adam’s time until today. It is moral law.

Marriage is not an inherent “moral law”. The only inherent moral law relating to marriage is that everyone knows that it is not right to take something that doesn’t belong to you. According to this law will all be judged – not according to something that they did not know nor had any opportunity to learn.

The additional gifts of knowledge of the will and love of God are of great benefit to us, but knowledge, by itself, is not what makes anyone righteous before God. Righteousness is based on the Royal Law of Love – the Love of the Truth even if there be very little truth that was known by an individual.

The ultimate knowledge of God is not by way of nature or science, but by divine revelation as God reveals Himself in His word.

Again, the Bible does provide enhanced knowledge of God over the study of nature alone, but it certainly does not provide “ultimate knowledge of God” by any means. Only God has “ultimate knowledge” of God or anything else for that matter…

Meaning, you will need no “divine revelation” of what is good or bad, you can discern for yourselves what is true and what is not, by way of nature and science.

No. We still could not discern what is “good or bad” without the supernatural gift of God giving us this ability – i.e., “writing the law of love on our hearts”.

The ability to think rationally/scientifically is also a direct gift of God – a gift for which we should be grateful. We should use this gift to glorify God. We should not declare this gift of God to be evil. Science is a very good gift of God.

Or more clearly, “You will need no law from God to be an authority over you life, you can be your own law.” Independence in other words. Or, self government outside God’s authority.

That’s not what this text means. It means that before the Fall mankind had no direct knowledge of evil. They only knew the good because God had only given them the good. In choosing to rebel against God, they would now gain direct personal knowledge of that which God would rather have shielded them – i.e., personal knowledge of evil.

Sean Pitman

Two Adventist Universities Promote Six-Day Creation

Miracles are not natural and therefore cannot be a subject for scientific examination and can only be property understood by faith.

That depends upon how you define the concept of a “miracle”. Is human-level design “miraculous”? Is Stonehenge a miracle of design? What about an arrowhead or a highly symmetrical polished granite cube? How about your wife’s ability to make a simple chocolate cake? a miracle?

I proposed to you that the whole concept of a “miracle” is relative. It has nothing to do with the human ability to use science or a form of scientific reasoning to detect that a given phenomenon obviously required the input of a highly intelligent mind.

You yourself believe that the origin of the universe required a God-like intelligence and creative power… as so a large number of scientists. And the universe isn’t a “miracle” of creativity and design?

Consider that intelligence itself is miraculous. It’s origin cannot be explained via any known mindless mechanism of nature. Yet, science is able to detect the need for intelligence to explain various phenomena that exist in nature…

Sean Pitman

Two Adventist Universities Promote Six-Day Creation

I think you’ve misunderstood my comment. It was Mrs. White herself who recommended following the “weight of evidence” that God has given us to understand.

She was quite ahead of her time in many ways. She understood the nature of “proof”, that there is no such thing and that God would never provide absolute or otherwise overwhelming “proof” regarding the Divine origin of the Bible or of His Signature in nature. However, she argues that God does provide a significant “weight of evidence” to those who honestly and sincerely are looking for the truth of such matters.

Here are some examples of what Mrs. White said in this regard:

God never asks us to believe without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith.

The truthfulness of God’s Word is established by testimony that appeals to our reason, and God has given ample evidence for faith in His Word. The evidence God gives us must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit; and all should decide from the weight of evidence.

Since the book of nature and the book of revelation bear the impress of the same master mind, they cannot but speak in harmony.

Science brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation. The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. They make us acquainted with God by teaching us something of the laws through which He works.

Those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith…

God requires of His people faith that rests upon the weight of evidence, not upon perfect knowledge.

We should know for ourselves what constitutes Christianity, what is truth, what is the faith that we have received, what are the Bible rules–the rules given us from the highest authority. There are many who believe, without a reason on which to base their faith, without sufficient evidence as to the truth of the matter. If an idea is presented that harmonizes with their own preconceived opinions, they are all ready to accept it. They do not reason from cause to effect. Their faith has no genuine foundation, and in the time of trial they will find that they have built upon the sand.

(MR Vol. 9, No. 724; Education, chapter 14 “Science and the Bible”; Mind, Character, and Personality 536)

Sean Pitman

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