Comment on Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull by Ron.
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.
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.
“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.
I think it comes down to semantics and perspective.
I think that you are still looking at the problem from a human perspective rather than God’s perspective. Move your point of reference up one level.
It is not God’s will that we sin, but the fact that we sin is not outside God’s will.
It is much like when my teenagers started driving. It was not my will that they have an accident, but I knew that it was almost certain that they eventually would, so I got them an older SUV to drive instead of my Lexus, and I bought insurance, sent them to driver’s school, and did my best to make them defensive drivers. My will and desire that they learn to drive, included the possibility that they would have an accident, so when they had an accident, it was not outside my will, or you might say, planning. I was prepared for it.
I think, this is an important perspective to have, because it takes a huge burden off of people when they sin. They know that they are still within God’s will, that he has a plan and can take care of it, that he still loves them, and that it is OK. They don’t have to go away and hide from God, because it is OK. God still loves them. They are still OK with God. He has a plan. He can take care of it. They are still within His will.
I don’t want my kids to run away and stop talking to me when they have an accident, because they are afraid of me. In fact, when they have their accident is exactly when I want them to talk to me the most. There isn’t any kind of accident that they can have, that I can’t deal with.
And I don’t want them to be afraid of driving, just because there is a risk of death, either. Yes, if they were killed, that would be tragic, but to be afraid of dying would be even more tragic. So, yes, I warn them, and I nag them about their defensive driving, and if they are killed, I will grieve terribly, but even their death is within my will. I would rather them live life to the fullest, and take the risk of death, than to not live, or to live fearful, timid, “safe” lives.
In the same way, the problem in the Garden of Eden wan’t so much eating the apple, God already had an insurance plan in place. Christ was the “Lamb That Was Slain From The Foundation Of The World”. God could fix it. They were still within His will.
Notice in the quote you quoted above about Satan. God could have restored Satan to his ORIGINAL position if, when he understood the nature of his action, he had been just willing to accept God’s forgiveness and take his position back again. There was no death penalty at that point, and Christ would NOT have had to die. It wasn’t until Satan completely understood the true consequences of his action and STILL refused to return to his original position, that his position was finally removed from him.
So, applying the same principles to Adam and Eve’s case shows us that it wasn’t the eating of the apple, or sin, per se’ that necessitated Christ’s death, it was their fear that caused them to run away and to try to justify themselves that necessitated Christ’s death.
Just like with Satan, the only reason God couldn’t restore them to their original position is the fear that made them run away from Him. It was their FEAR of His judgement. That is what made it impossible for God to fix it. That is what truly resulted in the death penalty. It was just as if my kid’s had runaway from home after their first accident. I would not have been able to help them.
Truthfully, when my kid’s had their accidents, I wasn’t even that upset. I pretty much expected it, and I was prepared. In the same way, I believe God pretty much expected it and was prepared.
God knew the fear that Satan had raised in the minds of the universe. He knew that the fear is the primary motivator for rebellion, and that it would eventually bear fruit in rebellion. But what could He do? This isn’t something you can resolve with words, and coercion or punishment would only make things worse. (Back to the main topic, Coercion is EVIL). Only a demonstration of God’s loving self sacrifice in response to sin could resolve the fear. (It is really hard to rebel against someone you believe truly has your best interest at heart. Think about it.)
So what did He do? He put the trees on all of the worlds and waited. He gave a warning of the consequences of eating of the tree, which is really the consequence of the fear that generated the rebellious act.
He was right to give the warning, but it was impossible for the warning to be effective. The word “death” has no meaning to someone who has never seen it. It would be like naming colors to a person born blind.
So was it God’s will that Adam and Eve be afraid of Him? No, of course not. But, being afraid, because of Satan’s deception, was it God’s will that they live forever in fear and doubt? No, of course not. So, what alternative is there?
The ONLY alternative that affirms a full and vibrant life without fear, is to confront the fear itself. At some point, someone in the Universe has to have the courage (remember courage can not exist without fear) to act on, or in spite of, their fear. And at some point God has to demonstrate that even in the face of rebellion, He loves us, forgives us, and invites us back to His heart and home. The only way for Him to abolish fear is to demonstrate that He has OUR best interest at heart, even above His own. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.” That is the true healing power of the cross. It abolishes fear.
So that is why I affirm Eve’s action. It confronts the fear, and affirms that life is worth living in spite of the risk and pain of death, in the same way that I affirm my child’s learning to drive in spite of the risk of pain and death. I affirm it because a full life, free from fear is worth it. It was through Eve’s action that God was able to remove fear from the heart of the Universe forever. It was also through Eve’s action, that God came to dwell within the heart of man. 2 Peter 1:3,4. A far more exalted position, and intimate relationship than is possible for any other being in the Universe.
It is only when we remain afraid of God, after all He has sacrificed for us that we are outside His will. What more can He do?
It is only when we are afraid to embrace life for fear of pain and death that we are outside his will. What more can He do?
So it is for these reasons that being punitive toward member’s and employee’s who are embracing all of the challenges of a vigorous, lively discussion of religion and science, especially evolution is wrong. The punitive action arises out of fear, and misrepresents God to the Universe as a God of fear and coercion.
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.