Comment on Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull by Ron.
Bill Sorensen: So, they were no doubt ignorant on some level. And because of this, God chose to give them another chance.
I think this is the pivotal point that Mrs. White tried to highlight in her Great Controversy theme. There are some things that are impossible to understand without experience. For example the concept of color to a person born with only gray scale vision. The nature of death would be another as is the difference between good and evil.
It wasn’t just Adam and Eve that didn’t understand, up until Jesus death, it was the whole universe. There are still many people who don’t understand.
I agree with Sean that God chose to create freedom of choice and that He values it highly. An important nuance that I am trying to bring to the discussion is the fact that freedom of choice can only be free to the extent that the person making the choice can understand
1. that a decision is being made,
2. the full range of available choices,
3. the potential burdens, of each choice,
4. the potential benefits of each choice,
5. the decision is un-coerced.
These are the essential elements of an informed consent.
It is BECAUSE Adam and Eve were deceived and did not sin in the full knowledge of what they were doing that they have the possibility of a second chance. It is this fact of their partial ignorance that makes the plan of salvation POSSIBLE because it opens the door to the possibility of a changed mind, or repentance. It is also this that MANDATES the plan of salvation on God’s part. If God had allowed them to make a not-just-temporary-however-painful-it-is decision, but a permanently LETHAL decision without adequate informed consent, then He would have failed in His attempt to create truly, completely, freewill choice, and continuing the medical parlance, He would be NEGLIGENT for not having given informed consent.
So, I agree with Sean’s point that God is not morally bound to save man. Where we disagree is in the timing. Sean believes that God was not bound at the time of creation or at the fall, I believe that God doesn’t get completely off the hook until the end of the Great White Throne Judgement when everyone, even Satan bows to the righteousness of God’s character and judgement. It is only after every individual of the lost fully understands, and reaffirms his/her previous decisions in the full light of the knowledge of good and evil that God has the moral right to permanently end their existence.
It is this larger perspective that I am trying to address. If you look at Eve’s decision within the boundaries of time between creation and the second coming, then I agree with you, it is an unmitigated catastrophe. But if you look at it within the larger boundaries from God’s first conceptualization to the eternity after the Great White Throne Judgement, then it is not a COMPLETE unmitigated disaster. Because what comes out of it on the other side of the experience are several valuable positives.
1. Satan’s lies are exposed and God’s character is vindicated.
2. Not only man, but the whole universe now understands the difference between good and evil.
3. As a result, the Universe is secure from a recurrence while at the same time exercising perfectly free will.
4. Man attains a more intimate relationship with God than was previously possible, i.e. we become “partakers of the divine nature” 2 Pet.
5. Man moves from the innocent dependency of the Garden, to that of a “knowing good and evil” adult friendship relationship with Jesus. “I no longer call you slaves, but friend. – Jesus”
6. Many virtues are demonstrated that were previously unknown before the fall. Examples: Courage, perseverance, patience, forgiveness, repentance, mercy, integrity, faith, and faithfulness, enmity toward evil, and many more which are not possible to demonstrate in a sinless, stress free environment.
7. God’s law is revealed.
8. While we all experience death as a temporary sleep, ultimately, man will still experience the fullness of eternal life, thereby fulfilling God’s original purpose.
These are the fulfillment of the “greater good” which justifies God’s creation of free will.
Here is an example that might help some understand what I mean when I say I affirm Eve’s choice.
In my residency I worked at a V.A. hospital. It was amazing to me to watch the camaraderie of the WWII vets as they sat in the halls sharing their stories it was truly unique. I have not seen it in any other group of people in my lifetime.
Now I don’t think any of the vets would chose to go through WWII in order to gain the camaraderie of fellow veterans, but on the other hand, the camaraderie is a precious and valuable thing that can not be created in any other way. To dismiss the value of the camaraderie because the war is so painful is to devalue some of the precious gold that came out of the furnace of WWII.
At the same time, acknowledging the value of the camaraderie does not in anyway diminish the evilness of WWII. In fact, dismissing the value of the camaraderie is in a way dismissive of the true horror of the war that created it.
In the same way, you would not choose to go through the history of this sinful world to gain the blessings listed above, but having gone through the history of this world, it is disrespectful and ungrateful of Christ’s sacrifice to dismiss the blessings He died to give you. To say that your life in THIS world, the sinful one, does not have value, is to be dismissive of the life Christ came to save, and thereby is dismissive of the value of Christ’s death. That is why I affirm Eve’s decision, because to do otherwise is to dismiss the value of Christ’s death, and the blessings that come in it’s train. I am above all thankful. I believe thankfulness is the essence of Christianity.
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.