@Bill Sorensen: Sean, you refuse to acknowledge the paradox. And …

Comment on Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull by Sean Pitman.

@Bill Sorensen:

Sean, you refuse to acknowledge the paradox. And then try to back me into a corner because I do acknowledge the paradox.

“A paradox is a statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which (if true) defies logic or reason, similar to circular reasoning.”

There is no such situation here. You’ve been arguing that God is both good and evil. That’s not true. Just because God allows us to rebel does not mean that God caused us to rebel or that He is in any other way responsible for our choice to rebel. Allowing for free will choices to display themselves in action is not a “paradox” or a logical contradiction.

Allowing something to happen is not the same thing as causing it, willing it, or desiring it to happen.

It is obvious to me, and some others as well, that “the will of God” must be viewed from various perspectives. Just an example of two perspectives…..God’s desired will is that “none should perish”, but if a person refuses to repent, then in this situation, it is God’s will that they must be destroyed.

This is not a paradox Bill. This is perfectly consistent with the concept of free will. God’s desire or will is that the free agent will choose to do good, will choose life. However, if the free agent chooses evil and death, and God honors that choice, how does it follow that God therefore willed the choice of the wicked to be wicked? He did not will the choice of the wicked to be wicked nor did He ever desire that they should choose death rather than life.

You are equating the fact that God allows the wicked to be wicked with the notion that God actually caused or is in some way responsible for their actions… that He actually is responsible for “hardening their hearts”.

Again, allowing actions, or willing a situation in which freedom to rebel is possible, is not the same thing as causing rebellion or willing rebellion to exist. And, this concept is not rationally inconsistent – i.e., it is not paradoxical.

You can not deny this obvious reality. As well as God’s permissive will where He allows some things He does not approve of, such as multiple wives in the OT, and He allowed the people to have a king which was against His desired will, but was a part of His permissive will.

I agree that God wills freedom to exist – that He wills the possibility of rebelling against His desire for us. However, I do not agree that this means that God is therefore responsible for causing or willing the actual choice of any free will agent to rebel against Him and experience the natural consequences that follow.

That concept is rationally inconsistent with the notion of a God who is actually good. You’re making God out to be truly evil when you say such things. And, claiming that its a “paradox” doesn’t change the fact that it would make God out to be truly evil…

Sin itself is a paradox in that there is no rational reason for its existence. The fact that sin is a paradox does not change the fact that sin is still evil. Painting God as evil, but saying, “Its Ok because its a paradox”, doesn’t change the fact that you’re painting God in a very evil light…

So it is God’s will that the wicked be lost if they refuse to repent. And He specifically acts to make sure His will comes to fruition as He cleases the earth by fire and forces the wicked to be burned up by the fire that comes down out of heaven.

Again, this is in line with the free will choice of the wicked. It’s an act of mercy on the part of God – in line with the desire of the wicked themselves. There is no paradox here or any other form of rational inconsistency with the concept of a good and righteous God.

The inconsistencies come when you start arguing that God actually willed the wicked to be wicked – that God was responsible for their rebellion. If true, this would make God out to be truly wicked Himself.

As you said before, “God’s responsibility for sin ceases where man’s responsibility begins.” This is the only way in which God can still be “good” while evil exists in His universe.

Our choices alters God’s will.

Our choices do not alter God’s will for us to have never made evil choices to begin with. Our choices against God will cause Him to act in ways He would rather not have ever been required to act. This is not the same thing, however, as God ever having been willing for anyone to choose the path of evil and self-destruction.

The real question in play here is if God is responsible for the choice to walk the path of evil – Does God cause us to rebel? Does God harden our hearts?

Read James 1:13 and tell me what you think about the real question in play here…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull
Consider the following comments from the E.G.. White Estate regarding the origin of disease, suffering and death:

Suffering, other than sickness due to neglect of physical laws, is also caused by Satan and not the deliberate intervention of God. On many occasions she reinforced the teaching of Jesus on this point…

Her teachings regarding the cause of death, as well as suffering, flowed from the big picture of the great controversy between God and Satan:

“It is true that all suffering results from the transgression of God’s law, but this truth had become perverted. Satan, the author of sin and all its results, had led men to look upon disease and death as proceeding from God—as punishment arbitrarily inflicted on account of sin… Sickness, suffering, and death are [the] work of an antagonistic power. Satan is the destroyer; God is the restorer.”

Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 471. and The Ministry of Healing, p. 113

http://www.whiteestate.org/books/mol/Chapt7.html

So, again, neither the Bible nor Mrs. White see diseases, like childhood leukemia, as being the result of a deliberate act or intervention of God…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


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

Where talking about the ability to detect the need to invoke intelligent design to explain various phenomena that exist in nature – regardless of if the intelligent agent is God or your wife or some alien from Zorg.

The loaves of bread that Jesus made by Divine power were the obvious result of intelligent design. They looked like regular loaves of bread that your wife might make. No one could tell the difference by looking at them if they were placed side-by-side. Yet, one loaf would have been made by God and the other by your wife. The fact is that God can make what humans can make. What would be obvious, however, is that both loaves of bread required intelligence to produce. In other words, they weren’t the product of mindless process of nature or natural laws that had no access to deliberate intelligence.

In short, just because your wife’s intelligence is “natural” doesn’t mean that all natural processes have access to intelligence or that every natural phenomena requires intelligence to explain beyond the basic non-intelligent laws of nature.

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


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

So, you think that if God is directly responsible for the death of anyone that He is therefore the direct cause of all sickness, disease, death, and destruction? Every natural disaster is God’s doing? – a miracle of Divine design and creative power?

Do you not see the difference between the miracle of something like Lazarus being raised from the dead and a tornado wiping out an entire town the other day in the Midwest?

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Again, most people, including most non-Christians, consider late-term abortions (abortions within the third trimester of otherwise healthy viable babies) to be murder. There is relatively little argument about this. One doesn’t have to know the “precise point” to know that, after a certain point, abortion is clearly murder. The argument that a baby isn’t alive or really human until the moment that it is born is nonsense in my opinion.

Of course, before the third trimester, things start to get a bit more grey and unclear. Some define the beginnings of human life with the full activity of the brain’s cortex. Others define it with the earliest activity of the brain stem. Others define it as the beginnings of fetal movement or the fetal heartbeat. I might have my own opinions here, but the question I ask myself is at what point would I be willing to convict someone else of murder? – and be willing to put them in prison for it? For me, I wouldn’t be willing to do this until things are overwhelmingly clear that the baby is functioning as a full human being and is viable (which would include full brain activity).

As far as rape or incest is concerned, the resulting pregnancy should be terminated as soon as possible within the first trimester. Waiting for the third trimester is simply not an option because, at this point, it would still be murder to kill a fully-formed baby regardless of its origin…


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I agree with you up until your last sentence. It seems very very clear to me that a baby becomes human before it takes its first breath. A baby born at 40 weeks gestation is not somehow inherently “more human” than a baby that is still inside its mother at 39 weeks gestation. At 39 weeks, such a baby is indistinguishable from a baby that has already been born. The location inside or outside of the mother makes absolutely no difference at this point in time and development.

I think, therefore, that we as Christians should avoid both obvious extremes here in this discussion. There are two very clear ditches on both sides of the road here. We should avoid claiming that a baby is not really human until it is actually born at full term, and, at the same time, we should also avoid claiming that full humanity and moral worth is instantly realized at the moment of conception…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Most would agree with you that the baby John the Baptist, before he was born, was, at some point, a real human being who could “leap for joy” (Luke 1:44). Even most non-Christians would agree that a third-trimester abortion is murder. However, this isn’t the real problem here. We are talking about if a single cell or a simple ball of cells is fully “human” and if ending a pregnancy at such an early stage of development is truly a “murder” of a real human being. After all, when conception first takes place a single cell cannot “leap for joy” – or for any other reason. It’s just a single fertilized cell that cannot think or feel or move and has no brain or mind or intelligence of any kind. The same is true of an embryo that consists of no more than an unformed ball of cells for quite some time. Upon what basis, then, is it “murder” to end a pregnancy at this early point in embryological development?


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Then you have several different questions to explain. 1) How can a 6 month developed (but dead?), non-human being (from a human mother and father?) , being carried in it’s human mother’s womb, leap for joy because he (it?) recognized the mother of the World’s Savior? ”The dead know nothing, neither have they any more knowledge under the sun.” 2) How can anything dead even move? The opposite of alive is dead. Everything alive has life from God. Dead things don’t grow and they don’t move. Every SDA should know this. The Laws of God are not altered in order to justify killing unborn human beings that He has given life to.


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That’s just it. You say that, “The unborn think and feel”. However, an embryo in the earliest stages of development is just a single cell or an unformed ball of cells – with no apparent functional difference than a cluster of cells in my appendix. Such an embryo cannot think or feel or understand anything. There is no mind or intelligence at this point. If it isn’t murder to take out someone’s appendix, how then call it be truly “murder” to end a pregnancy at this point in time? How can you be so sure of yourself here? Based on what moral principle?

Also, people who are clearly “brain dead” need not be maintained indefinitely on life support. They’re just a shell of a body at this point and it is not “murder” to simply take them off the mechanical support of the empty shell of their body. This happens all the time in hospitals – and it is not considered to be “murder” at all… by most medical professionals (even most Christian ones).