Holly&#032Pham: It sounds like, from your reasoning, that Jesus SHOULD …

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

Holly&#032Pham: It sounds like, from your reasoning, that Jesus SHOULD have been killed on the Cross, since He “allowed” us to sin.

Well, almost, but not quite. It isn’t that Jesus SHOULD have been killed on the Cross, it is rather, if he had He KNOWINGLY allowed man to make a lethal decision without adequate warning or foundation, then He would not have been a good God. He would at best have been irresponsible, and at worst evil.

My contention is that in spite of the warnings given in Eden, the universe still being untainted, there is no possible way for anyone in the universe to have an adequate warning or foundation without someone first experiencing, or observing the consequences of sin in answer to Satan’s challenge. If no one has ever seen sin, or even anything bad, how is anyone going to know if sin is good or evil, since neither word has an experiential definition?

For example, if the water has always been one exact and perfect temperature and you had never felt anything else, how would you know whether the water was hot or cold? If someone said, don’t turn that nob or the water will get hot, you would have no way of knowing if “hot” was desirable, or undesirable, especially if the desirability of Hot was what was in contention. In the same way, even in spite of God’s warning, Adam and Eve had no reference points. They had no way to know the meaning of the words.

Perhaps it is a subtle distinction, but I think “SHOULD” puts Man in the place of telling God what He must do, which is wrong. By contrast, saying that God could not have morally given Man freedom of choice without Himself bearing the cost of that choice, leaves God in charge of His own decisions and describes a gracious loving God.

I believe that God gave man a legitimate decision, with real consequences. Good is truly good, and evil is truly evil, but like any loving parent, teaching their toddler not to touch the hot stove, God had to find a way that man could learn the needed lessons without sustaining permanent injury. Sure, the experience of sin has been painful, and God was right to warn us against it. But if man, just like a toddler reaches out and touches sin anyway, then God is still good, because He has set the situation up in such a way that Man ultimately achieves a benefit from the experience that justifies the pain.

In the case of our toddler, it learns a lesson that will prevent a catastrophic injury in the future, and in the case of the Universe, Man provides the one and only experiential definition of what is good or evil, and the doubt introduced by Satan is addressed in a way that assures everyone of God’s goodness thereby preventing Universe from ever experiencing evil again.

In my opinion, that is a very noble end that justifies the pain of the experiment. (Not that anyone would really WANT to do the experiment if it were possible to know the result before doing it.)

Now I suppose if a toddler were perfectly obedient to it mother, and it’s mother were ever present and eternally vigilant, then the toddler could go through life never touching anything hot. And I suppose, . . . maybe ??? you could say that the toddler would be exercising free choice if it always obeyed it’s mother and never in it’s life touched anything hot, but I don’t think it is the kind of free choice that has much value because the toddler would somehow remain diminished from it’s true potential. It would always remain dependent on it’s mother to tell it if something is hot and whether it can be touched. It is not the kind of free choice that leads to a full independent life as an adult.

By analogy, the toddler/Man can choose to forever remain ignorant of Sin/Hot and remain dependent on it’s mother/God forever, or the toddler/Man can take the risk of reaching out to gain an independent experience so that it can enjoy a new and different relationship with it’s mother/God. That of adult to adult, or as Jesus put it, Friend to friend.

Again, I think that is a noble end, and therefore I approve of Eve’s decision, even though it was the wrong thing to do. Just as a mother is even more proud of her child who has just disobeyed her to touch the hot stove, but in doing so, has demonstrated independence and learned a valuable lesson that takes it one step closer to being an adult.

Ron Also Commented

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

“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 Sorensen:
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.

Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case

Bill&#032Sorensen: 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&#032Sorensen: 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.

Creeds and Fundamental Beliefs

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.