@Bill Sorensen: Paul affirms, “We can do nothing against the …

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

@Bill Sorensen:

Paul affirms, “We can do nothing against the gospel, only for it.”

Is this a “tongue in cheek” idea? Or, can we see the paradox? Because God can use evil to His own advantage, does this then justify evil?

For a Christian, the answer is “no”. But for an unbeliever, the answer could be “yes”. It depends on our preception, doesn’t it?

One might argue that evil may be justified by the good that God is able to bring out of it. However, this would be wrong. Sin is never justified. Just because God can bring some good results out of the rebellion doesn’t mean that the rebellion is therefore justified or that God ever desired it as a means to bring good to His universe. That’s a mistaken notion which, again, paints God as evil.

Thus, we can not blame God because He created the possibility of sin. He delegates authority to each individual in this matter, and each individual must answer for their decision. And even if God can use a negative in a positive way, it does not justify the negative in and of itself as being positive.

Do I hear an echo in the room? Again, this is what I’ve been saying all along. Why then have you been arguing with me? – just because I do not see this situation as a “paradox”?

You may fall down and skin your knee. If you learn a lesson and are more careful in the future, it is commendable that you learned a lesson. But skinning your knee is not a positive experience in and of itself.

Again, this is what I’ve been trying to explain all along…

The paradox remains.

How is learning a lesson from skinning your knee irrational or in any other way a “paradox”? How is God’s creation of the ability for freedom to exist, yet not being responsible for our rebellious actions, an inherently irrational idea or a “paradox”?

I think the only real disagreement we have here is over the understood definition of the term “paradox”…

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…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
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.


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
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).