Comment on Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull by Ron.
Sean Pitman: These examples of yours (Uzzah) where God acts beyond natural law are Red Herrings in this discussion. We aren’t talking about miraculous acts of God that clearly go above and beyond His natural laws…
Actually, they aren’t red herrings. They go to the question of God’s relationship to sin. They show that what happens under “natural” law is not inconsistent with the character of God. Allowing a child to get leukemia is of the same character as killing Uzzah.
You are claiming that God must be able to separate Himself from the laws He established, because if He can’t, then He is somehow guilty of the evil events caused by sin. But defining something “natural” apart from God, doesn’t help. He knew sin was going to occur, (that is why Christ is the Lamb that was slain BEFORE the foundation of the world) therefore He is responsible for any act which enabled sin. At a minimum, in today’s legal environment, God is guilty of aiding and abetting sin just by His act of creating this world.
Beyond that, God is guilty of many “sins” by our standards. Killing Uzzah was 1st degree murder. The flood was genocide on a massive scale. As Israel’s ruler, He is guilty of crimes against humanity by instigating genocide, with many examples of His personal involvement. In Job He is responsible for inciting, Satan to kill Job’s children and servants, and He didn’t even apologize! At least after the flood, He had the decency to say He was sorry and that He would never do that again, but then He DID do it again, albeit on a smaller scale with the Egyptian army during the exodus. But “never mind, that is only a small lie, a minimization of the truth at worst. He didn’t really destroy the whole world again.”
The most horrible thing to me actually, is what he did to Issac when God told Abraham to go sacrifice Issac on the mountain top. That is just unimaginable child abuse. I am horrified to even think about it. It used to give me nightmares as a kid. The second most horrible thing that He did, was to consent to the murder of His own son. What kind of a father. . . . . ?
Mrs. White’s answer to all of this is that even though it appears evil to us, in reality God was acting in love and she wrote the Conflict of the Ages series in an attempt to explain it. The answer to this dilemma is not to deny God’s responsibility, it is to find out what it is in His creation that was so wonderful, that it justified these actions.
I my opinion, what was so wonderful, was life itself. In other words, God wanted to live life with us. He wanted to vicariously experience our lives as a friend, partner, counselor, God, you name it. He left the choice of what kind of life, to Eve. There was a choice between a safe, sheltered, innocent life, or a life of spiritual exploration. A search for the true nature of God, and an answer to the question posed by Satan, “What is God’s true character?”
God was right to warn Adam and Eve that the path of exploration would lead to pain and death, but He was also right to allow the choice because a. He would be there with us, experiencing it Himself right along with us, and b. He knew that in the end, when sin is finally eradicated, that humanity will achieve an even higher spiritual state than they could ever have attained if they had taken the safer path.
In the end, God will not just meet with us and walk through the garden with us at the end of the day, but even now, since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, God actually dwells within us, and He is there with us throughout the day, every day, experiencing everything, even the death a child with Leukemia, with us. The cost of Eve’s decision is that a child dies with Leukemia. The benefit of Eve’s decision is the intimacy with God that we have as we go through that experience with Him.
And when all is said and done and sin has been eradicated, Man will have attained a higher spiritual state than would have been possible if we had taken the safer path. We will have answered the question raised by Satan that has plagued the universe. “What is the true character of God?”
We will be the only race of creatures in the Universe who will have wisdom. We will be the only ones to truly, from personal experience, understand the difference between Good and Evil. We will share an intimacy with God that no other creature shares, God indwelling us. And as a result, we will sit with God and Jesus on the throne (Revelation). And everyone will bow down and praise God because everyone will agree that the burden was small compared to the “eternal weight of Glory” (Paul).
As I said before. I love God, and I affirm the decision Eve made. If she had made the other one, I am sure I would have enjoyed that too, but I would rather know than to not know so I am glad she made the one she did. By God’s grace, I am up for the adventure.
Ron Also Commented
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.
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.
“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.