Comment on Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull by Ron.
Yes, Holly, I believe Jesus was compelled to make the sacrifice He did by His love for us. In fact that His decision to proceed with creation in light of His full knowledge of the sin that would happen morally obligated Him to rescue us. But the compelling and obligation arose from within His own nature and the nature of love. For example, I don’t see how a loving person could choose to create a situation that they absolutely knew with absolute certainty would result in innocent people being thrown into the Holocaust and still remain loving if they did not have a way to rescue the holocaust victims.
The fact that Jesus did create, and that He did find a way to rescue the holocaust victims (and I mean at the time of, and during the holocaust, not in some abstract future heavenly life, see Betsy’s testimony just before she died in “The Hiding Place”, and Dr. Fankl’s book) proves that He is loving. If He had not done so, I think humanity would have concluded rightly that God was not loving. Had Jesus not come to die, Satan would have won his argument, but Jesus DID come and die.
But those statements I just made only refer to God and His nature, and His responsibility. It says nothing about the responsibility of Adam and Eve, Hitler, or you and I.
Everyone, Satan, Adam and Eve, Hitler, you and I, are all individually responsible for our own decisions. It is OUR decisions that define our character and it is OUR decisions for which we are responsible. So, the only way to hold sinners accountable, and say that Sin is truly sinful, is to uphold the meaning of the word “responsible” by affirming that God Himself is responsible.
You can’t hold sinner’s or Satan responsible if you gut the meaning of “responsible” by denying that God is responsible. God IS responsible, and it is the cross that proves that He is in fact, responsible. (If you can find a text in the Bible where God denies responsibility for anything, please let me know.)
See Job 42:8. Note that God claims responsibility for Satan’s work in Job’s life. Job’s whole argument in the preceding book was that God was treating Him unfairly, while Job’s friend’s were defending God. Here God confesses that Job was infact treated unfairly, and God claims responsibility for it. If God, by His own confession is guilty of treating Job unfairly, or even as a sovereign allowing Job to be treated unfairly by Satan, then God IS guilty, and deserves the same punishment that is inflicted on any other guilty person. But note that God incurred guilt in the process of trying to save us, and the rest of the universe, from the lies of Satan. God had to do some unseemly things in order to unmask Satan. So that is the meaning of the phrase, “He became sin for us”. In order to save us, He had to take our sin upon Himself, and He had to suffer our death.
If He did not take responsibility for our sin, then His death had no meaning. You cannot satisfy the demands of justice by punishing an innocent victim, even if that victim is God. Punishing an innocent victim only adds more guilt to the crime. The only way we can be Justified through Christ, is if Christ takes responsibility for us.
In effect, Jesus is saying to the rest of the universe, “Yes, I know they sinned, and yes, that makes them truly evil, but they sinned ignorantly, with incomplete knowledge. Don’t worry about it. I will take responsibility for them. If they do any harm to anyone else in the universe, credit it to my account, I pledge myself to make it right.” And He does. And that I think is the essence of the Investigative Judgement. The Universe is asking the question, did He do it? Did He live up to His promise and “make it right”? Have all claims against God and humanity been satisfied?
To use the scientific analogy we have used previously, Satan made a claim about God’s character. Basically He asked the question, “If someone sins, how will God react? Will God still act in Love with the best interest of the OTHER at heart, or will He act against the SELFish-interest of the OTHER by removing or destroying the freedom of the OTHER in order to maintain His own integrity?” You see how this sets a trap for God? In order to answer the question SOMEONE has to chose to sin which means that SOMEONE would suffer the consequences of sin, something that God’s love would find intolerable. So, rather than letting His creatures do the experiment and suffer the consequences, God, in love, decided to spring the trap Himself. He gave man freedom. He allowed man and the rest of creation to ask the question, which Eve did when she took the apple, but then He took the responsibility for it Himself, and He, Himself paid the penalty. The only way Justice and Mercy can kiss, is if God takes responsibility and bears the punishment Himself.
Now what about what Mrs. White says about Eve denying responsibility for her actions? Yes denial of her sin is itself evil. I won’t argue that. But there is another way to interpret that transaction.
By looking at what motivates Eve’s denial, you can see fear. In essence she is saying “I am afraid. This punishment is too great for me, I can’t bear it.” And in unjustified hope, she says, “You take it.”
And God, recognizing the fear that motivates the denial says, “Yes, my dear, of course I will. I will take the responsibility for it myself. I will be the one to bear the eternal consequences. You must only bear the temporary consequences.
In this life, you will have to bear temporary pain and sorrow and death. But these will only be temporary, like the pain of childbirth. The pain and sorrow of this life will give birth to a new, eternal life with me. Don’t be afraid. I will be with you. Always. We will do this together.”
Ron Also Commented
Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull
I think what you say could only be true if God were not a loving God.
Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull
Can you think of any metafore for God in the Bible where God would not in some way be responsible for our actions? The ones that come to mind for me are: sovereign, Lord, father, shepherd, a male lover. In all of these metafores God is responsible for either instigating the relationship as in the Song of Songs, or being an advocate, protector, or supervisor. I can’t think of anywhere in the Bible where God denies responsibility. I can think of lots of places where he claims responsibility and oundard explanation is, “Oh, he didn’t really mean that, He really just allowed some one else to do it,” Satan, Pharaoh, evil king etc.
“I’m not sure how many more times I have to explain this concept to you? Natural laws, created by God, work independent of God’s need for direct deliberate action.”
Sean, where do you get this idea that there is a natural law apart from God’s action? I don’t see that being taught in the Bible anywhere.
Recent Comments by Ron
La Sierra University Looking for New Biology Professor
Wesley, Please forgive me if I don’t follow what seems to me to be very tortured logic.
Truth is truth regardless of whether you believe it or not. In fact I once heard someone define reality as that which remains after you no longer believe in it.
I think you go astray in your logic when you assert that coercing belief in truth makes it no longer true. Coercion does not alter what is true, it just makes it impossible to independently verify truth. That in turn leaves us very vulnerable to the risk of deception.
For me, I would much rather take the risk of questioning and doubting truth, than the risk of believing in presumably true dogma because I believe truth will stand the test, whereas if I fail to question the truth because it has become dogma, I run the risk of unwittingly believing in the error of a well meaning clergy with no mechanism to identify the error. It is the intellectual equivalent of committing the unpardonable sin because there is no remedy.
Questioning truth has a remedy. Believing in a false dogma doesn’t. Turning truth into a true dogma doesn’t accomplish anything other than to increase the risk.
To quote Christ, “You study the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life”. It is possible that the Bible isn’t saying exactly what you think it is. The only way to know the truth of it is through questioning. Coercion prevents the questioning.
Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation
Bill, Science is only a formalized extension of your own logic and senses. If your own senses and logic are not at least equal to the Bible, then ultimately you have no way of knowing what is truth. See my comment to Kent below.
“they will see that their scientific reasoning can never bring them to a correct understanding of origins.” — This seems to me to be an unfounded assertion. Why do you believe such a thing? If this were true, your proverbial rocket would never be able to find it’s way back to earth.
Bill Sorensen: Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan
Bill, It is Satan who is the “accuser of the brethren”. You might want to re-read your post with that in mind.
Bill Sorensen: And so they point out how “loving and tolerant” Jesus was, and refuse to acknowledge His direct challenge to the false doctrine and theology the religious leaders taught in His day.
Hmm . . . The only time I recall Jesus challenging doctrine, is when he explicitly contradicted the clear teaching of the Bible on how to observe the Sabbath. (Something to think about.)
The only time he really got angry was when the people were being robbed in the temple, when they were plotting his murder, and when they were condemning sinners.
I see the spirit of Jesus as being in direct opposition to the spirit of conservativism.
An apology to PUC
“If the goal of the course is “to prepare future pastors for dilemmas they may face in ministry while strengthening the students’ faith in the Adventist Church and its core beliefs,” we would think that there would be evidence within the lecture to demonstrate this was actually happening.”
The course did exactly what it was advertised to do. The fact is that the pastors are going to have to meet the scientific evidence as it stands. Dr. Ness nor any other biology professor can give evidence for our belief in a short creation and a world wide flood because there is no evidence.
If there is evidence we could stop with the polemics and discuss the evidence.
BobRyan: Is it your claim that if we reject atheism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Mormonism, etc and insist that our own voted body of doctrines be promoted “instead” that we have a “creed”?
Bob, The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that we should not reject Catholicism, Hinduism, Mormonism or any other “ism” out right. Certainly not on the basis of an extra-Biblical creed, but we should always listen to everyone with courtesy and respect remembering that Jesus was the light that lights “every man” who comes into the world, and Jesus has sheep who are “not of this fold”. So we should approach every “ism” with an open mind to find the truth that Jesus has especially revealed to the that community. We don’t have to accept everything they say, and we certainly don’t have to give up what we believe without reason, but we need to be open to what God might be trying to teach us through his other children. Light shines in both directions.