Comment on Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull by Ron.
You say that you are not arguing that “God cannot create an organism that can evolve into a higher life form”, but that is in fact exactly what you are arguing, or at least you are arguing that He didn’t.
I think you are reading into scripture something that isn’t there. Just because God created a fully functioning world 6000 years ago, doesn’t mean that he didn’t create it with the ability to evolve further. There is no logical reason to make that inference, and there is no theological reason to that I can think of either. (I will grant Sean the possibility that there maybe probabilistic reasons, but not logical or theological reasons.) In fact the notion goes against many scriptures that speak of God’s immanence in his creation, (Think Psalms, Job, Paul, Desire of Ages for examples).
I find it interesting that you bring up the issue of God lying. I asked a friend the other day, if God created the world 6000 years ago, why does it look like it was created millions of years ago? His answer was, “Think of it like the haunted house at Disneyland. It was make to look like it is very old, but it isn’t. It was made recently to look old.”
There are two ways to lie. One is to make the world millions of years ago and say you made it 6000 years ago, the other way is to make it 6000 years ago and make it look like it was millions of years old. At the moment I don’t see a way out of the dilemma.
God also says that he is the creator and that He doesn’t change. So when you deny evolution, it seems to me that you are denying that God is still creating. By denying evolution you are calling God a liar when he says he doesn’t change.
I will anticipate your argument that God took a break from creating for the duration of the history of this world. But if you say that, then you destroy the force of the Sabbath commandment which includes the admonition to work 6 days a week, and you also destroy the argument that the creation days were 24 hrs by making the 7th day of God’s creation week last for the entire duration of human history.
I think we can probably answer some of these issues with time and more study, but in the mean time you have committed the sin of destroying the reputation of dedicated teachers who have devoted their lives to serving our church, and put at least one of our preeminent schools, and perhaps our whole school system in jeopardy by making premature accusations with incomplete information.
Your argument from Ex. 20:8-11 does not apply because there is no logical or Biblical reason to say that creation by fiat and Darwinian evolution are mutually exclusive. In fact there are many Biblical and scientific reasons to believe that they in fact are not.
Your quote from Spiritual Gifts does not apply because I am not using science or geology to argue against God, nor creation by fiat.
I am also not a theistic evolutionist in the sense that you and Mrs. White are using the term. I am in fact, arguing FOR Mrs. Whites idea that God is imminently involved in his creation even at the level the Brownian motion of individual atoms, and the hairs on your head.
Yes, I am in fact arguing that massive change is valid. I believe that on the basis of God’s great power to create this whole world by the word of his mouth and by his promise inherent in the Sabbath commandment, to continue to be with us, and to work with us six days a week. And His promise for rebirth and recreation.
Yes, I believe there will be a special act of recreation in the future, but I believe that God is also active in rebirth and recreation right now, and I think Darwin unwittingly provided a scientific description of God’s current activity. You may not be able to turn your car into a goat, but God can if he so chooses. Who are you to say that he can’t or won’t choose to?
I am also arguing, as Mrs. White so eloquently states in your famous quote, that Darwin, and anyone else who uses science to deny the creative activity of God is wrong. They are simply looking in the wrong direction. Their thinking is upside down.
I am also rejecting Sean’s modified deistic notion of a God forsaken wound up watch kind of creation. It seems to me that Mrs. White and the Bible both reject that world view. Sean in his effort to define a God free zone in the present is surely rejecting God as much as Darwin was in trying to define a God free zone in the past.
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.