BobRyan: Did Moses misinterpret God? I think not. @ Bob, Moses …

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

BobRyan: Did Moses misinterpret God? I think not.

@ Bob,
Moses probably did not misinterpret God, but are we misinterpreting Moses?

We have a New Testament Biblical precedent, for wholesale rejection of the law and teachings of Moses in Acts 15. The laws and traditions Peter is referring to were developed by a long tradition of careful Bible students, studying diligently to understand God’s true desire and intent for our lives. They came from a good place, from people diligently trying to follow God’s will, and yet, Peter dismisses them out of hand, with no Biblical reference or support, clearly against the express command of God in scripture, simply because “they don’t work for us. They just made our life miserable, and so we should stop following them, and we shouldn’t make the gentiles follow them either”.

It is possible that the Bible is the Word of God and yet we have misinterpreted how He expected us to use it. If we were to take it’s statements literally, without ever reinterpreting them, then Peter would have been totally out of line. Perhaps the Bible was intended to give us a language so that we could develop our own spirituality.

I don’t think God ever intended for human spirituality to remain static. I think God’s plan for human spiritual growth is actually working. There are many areas where Biblical morality falls far short of even today’s secular morality.

Here are a few examples:
Numbers 15. Killing the man picking up sticks would be considered murder.

The prologue to Job: In today’s legal environment, God would be considered an instigator, and accomplice to the murder of Job’s children and servants. God is guilty of murder and Jesus, as God, only got what he deserved as an appropriate punishment for a murderer. (In other words, “He became sin for us.” 2 Cor 5:21)

God, telling the Israelites to commit genocide is a crime against humanity. There is not a wit of difference between what the Israelites were attempting to do and what Hitler was attempting to do. I think part of the lesson from the Bible is not, that we are justified in committing genocide at God’s command, but that genocide doesn’t work. God tried it and it was a failed experiment that we should NOT repeat.

Far from being an upstanding role model, Abraham would be a horrible criminal. He committed incest in marrying his half sister, and polygamy by marrying two wives. Then he abandoned one wife and child. Anyone who woke up in the morning and believed God had told them to take their son to a mountain top and kill him, would be considered psychotic, and the action would be considered horrible child abuse.

I don’t accept the notion that scripture is intended to validate these examples as being true to the character of God and that we should go backward to Old Testament morality. I think these examples speak more to the history of human spirituality, and are evidence that God’s efforts, and te efforts of Jesus specifically, on our behalf are in fact effective, and that we truly are morally superior today than we were in Abraham’s day even as a secular society.

So, if Peter can dismiss centuries of dedicated Biblical scholarship just because “It didn’t work for us”. I think we are justified at taking a second look at other areas of Biblical scholarship where things “aren’t working”. I.e. Genesis 1. And we can do it from the perspective of faith, we don’t have to reject our SDA heritage and belief in God if we revise our views any more than Peter did. And I don’t think we risk God’s displeasure. I think He will guide us just as much as He did the Jerusalem council, and our early SDA church fathers when they revised their beliefs about the Second Coming, the Sabbath, Hell and the State of the Dead, the Investigative Judgement. God isn’t dead, and asking questions isn’t treason.

Ron Also Commented

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:
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’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.