Comment on Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull by Ron.
Sean Pitman: God for the existence of evil, why do you claim that God is responsible for the evolution of life over billions of years on this planet via a very painful mechanism of “survival of the fittest”? – that God deliberately and directly creates all genetic mutations and uses natural selection to produce untold suffering and death for countless sentient creatures?
First of all, I never said that God was responsible for evolution over billions of years. Remember in our ground rules for discussion we stipulated belief in a special creation about 10,000 years ago. So we are only talking about what happened since then.
I don’t see “survival of the fittest” as painful at all. First of all, that was first used to describe social/cultural evolution, not biological evolution. I don’t think it needs to have the connotations that have been given it. For one, the process never requires pain and death. Any and every individual can life out a full and complete life. It only requires that there be two different environments bridged either geographically, or over time by two different populations. One population does better on one environment, while the second does better in the second environment.
I see the development of variation in a population to be very consistent with God’s character. Just look around, He obviously loves variety. I also see a changing environment as natural/consistent with God’s character and not sinister.
So, how is the fact that some humans are better suited to live well in the arctic, while other humans are better suited to live at the equator, and still others are adapted to live at high altitudes evil? To me those seem to be very positive adaptations made possible by a loving God who loves diversity. I don’t see those as being harmful at all.
If humanity gets to the point that they can live and reproduce in space, I will expect to see their bodies adapt to life in space over time. That seems to me to be very positive, not negative, and no astronauts have to die prematurely or live an incomplete life to make that happen. They can all live full, happy lives.
As far as any death, related to any genetic abnormality that develops, I don’t see that it increases in any way our concern, or God’s culpability for pain in any way that can’t be explained by standard theology.
Tell me. How do you justify God instigating the murder of Job’s children and servants? How do you justify God ordering genocide? How do you justify God, the Father, permitting His Son to be tortured and killed? What ever answer you give to these questions, just apply it to the pain and death caused by genetic defects as well.
Personally, considering the evidence in the Bible, it appears to me that death weighs very lightly in God’s scale of pain. It seems that for God, death is appropriate for even the smallest and most remote of transgressions. For example He gave Eve the death penalty for stealing a piece of fruit while He only gave Cain banishment for murder. That would imply that in God’s mind, a piece of fruit is of more value than the life of a man.
If it doesn’t bother God to inflict the death penalty for stealing a piece of fruit, while only banishing Cain for murder, and he is willing to order the death of his own son, then why would He worry about death from cancer or any other reason? Death is death. If he allows ANY kind of death, then what does if matter if he allows MANY kinds of deaths?
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.