Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

by Sean Pitman:

Recently, as part of Dr. Paul Giem’s lecture series at Loma Linda University Church, Drs. Fritz Guy (theologian, former president of La Sierra University, and one of the framers of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation) and Brian Bull (pathologist and well-published medical scientist) were invited to present their latest book, God, Sky & Land, (about how to read the Genesis account of creation as the original Hebrews would have heard it) and respond to various questions about their book (see video below).

In short, Drs. Guy and Bull argue that it is effectively impossible to bring the ancient mindset in line with modern concepts of empirical reality.  They conclude that both the original writer(s) and readers of the Genesis account viewed the Earth as a flat disc covered by a solid dome or vault which separated the land below from the “waters of chaos” above… and that this vault had “windows” in it that could allow, if needed, the waters above to flow down onto the Earth on occasion (as during Noah’s Flood). Obviously, such concepts are completely foreign to the modern reader – given the discoveries of modern science.  Yet, for the ancient Hebrews such concepts were accepted as facts of life.

Drs. Guy and Bull conclude that the Genesis account of origins cannot be taken to be a scientific description of empirical reality.  Rather, it is limited to the idea that God is the Creator without saying when or how He actually created the universe, this planet, or living things on this planet.  After all, Guy and Bull point out that modern science has essentially proven, beyond any real reasonable doubt, that the Earth, and life on it, is very old and that living things have gradually changed or evolved over hundreds of millions, even billions, of years.  Surely then, the Genesis account must be read through the eyes of the ancients. This sort of understanding of Genesis allows the modern reader to combine modern science with modern religion… to obtain a deeper and more intellectually satisfying view of science, religion, and even of God.

Toward the end of the video Dr. Guy makes an interesting comment.  He notes that one of the most difficult claims of Genesis for those who take the Genesis account literally is the account of the creation of the land (the Earth) and the “days” of light and dark, all before the creation of the Sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day.   Guy also argues that Genesis clearly suggests that the creation of the entire universe took place within one week – which is completely opposed to the views of many modern Christians, to include the vast majority of Adventist scientists and theologians who believe that the universe pre-existed the creation of this world.  Even Mrs. White explains that other worlds and other created intelligences pre-existed the creation of our world and that they stood in wonder of God’s creative power as He formed our world.

Before the creation of man, angels were in existence; for when the foundations of the earth were laid, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7. – GC, p 511

By the marvelous display of his love in giving “his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” the glory of God is revealed to lost humanity and to the intelligences of other worlds. – ST, April 25, 1892

 

Now, some might be surprised that I, a conservative “Bible-thumping Adventist fundamentalist”, actually agree with many if not most of the arguments that Drs. Guy and Bull present in their book (and in this particular discussion with Dr. Giem).  For example, I do not think that the author of the Genesis account (i.e., Moses) was necessarily given privileged information from the modern scientific perspective to understand the nature of the universe or even our own planet or solar system.  In other words, we might actually know a few things today about the nature of our world and universe that Moses may not have known or understood when he wrote Genesis.  I think most of us would agree on this potentiality (especially given our detailed experience with the life and inspiration of the modern prophetess, Ellen White).

Yet, to argue that Moses was shown, in a vision from God no less, a view of history that really has no useful basis in empirical reality, that God did not actually give Moses privileged information about historical events as they really took place, is a bit premature – even rationally inconsistent with the notion that any part of the Bible was actually inspired by God in any sort of privileged manner.  After all, if nothing in the Bible can be subjected to any kind of potentially falsifying empirical test, upon what basis does it gain credibility as the Word of God? – over a made-up fairy tale, moral fable, legend, or just-so story?

Now, I should point out at this point that Drs. Bull and Guy do actually argue that Genesis was inspired by God – though they don’t explain why they believe this given that they see little in Genesis as representing empirical reality or requiring privileged information from God above and beyond that of other creation legends in other cultures.

As far as the argument of limited perspectives is concerned, consider a situation where an infinite all-knowing God shows someone from a very limited perspective a movie or a “vision” of the creation week where the observer maintains his limited Earth-bound perspective.  If one assumes that the author of Genesis had such a limited perspective, the description of a very real historical event, such as the creation week described in Genesis, still makes a whole lot of sense.  The light of the Sun would become visible, penetrating the dense atmosphere, before the actual outlines of the Sun, moon, or stars would become visible – and the “evenings and mornings” would also be detectable before the outline or specific location of the Sun in the sky could be appreciated (as is the case during a cloudy day). The formation of the atmosphere would have appeared, from a limited Earth-bound perspective, as a bright and shiny crystalline-appearing blue dome above the head of the observer; replacing the darkness and the chaotic waters that were there before. It would all be a matter of perspective and appearances from that limited perspective…

Consider also that there is good reason to believe that Moses did in fact understand that the universe pre-existed the creation of our particular planet.  After all, in his writing of the Book of Job, it was Moses who pointed out that the sons of God sang together and shouted for joy at the creation of our world (Job 38:7).  Didn’t the sons of God have to live somewhere prior to the creation of our planet?

Of course, there are several other things I find troubling about God, Sky & Land.  For example, how can Drs.  Bull and Guy feel themselves free to quote Mrs. White in a way that suggests that she would actually support their efforts to promote a modern neo-Darwinian view of origins which does away with a literal 6-day creation week in favor of hundreds of millions of years of death, suffering, and evolutionary changes of sentient creatures on this planet? – before the moral Fall or even the existence of mankind?  What is most strange is that Drs. Bull and Guy fail to point out where Mrs. White claims that she was shown, directly by God in vision, that the creation week of Genesis was actually a literal week – the same as the weeks we now experience.

I was then carried back to the creation, and was shown that the first week, in which God performed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, was just like every other week.

Ellen White, Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 1, Chap. 8, “Disguised Infidelity”, p. 85

Beyond this, in her well-known book, Patriarchs and Prophets, she even has an entire chapter entitled, “The Literal Week” where she writes:

Geologists claim to find evidence from the earth itself that it is very much older than the Mosaic record teaches… Such reasoning has led many professed Bible believers to adopt the position that the days of creation were vast, indefinite periods.

But, apart from Bible history, geology can prove nothing. Those who reason so confidently upon its discoveries have no adequate conception of the size of men, animals, and trees before the Flood, or of the great changes which then took place. Relics found in the earth do give evidence of conditions differing in many respects from the present, but the time when these conditions existed can be learned only from the Inspired Record. In the history of the Flood, inspiration has explained that which geology alone could never fathom. In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the Flood–the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.

So, at minimum it seems rather inconsistent for Drs. Guy and Bull to think to quote Mrs. White in support of their views on Genesis when she was very strongly opposed to their main conclusions… in no uncertain terms.  I mean really, if you’re going to quote someone as some kind of authority to support your position, at least present his/her actual views on the topic at hand.

Brian Bull

Fritz Guy

Another interesting argument presented in their book is the notion that the Biblical authors/readers had no concept of natural law outside of a direct act of either God or man. At least part of the problem here is that the Biblical authors did seem to have a rather good concept of “chance” occurrences outside of the direct action of either God or man and they also seem to have had a concept of consistently predictable natural laws.

For example, consider the experiment described in the Bible where the Philistines put the Ark of God into a cart to send it back to Israel.


Now
then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance. – 1 Samuel 6:1-12

Notice that the concepts of random chance events as well as consistently predictable natural laws were well established in the mind of this biblical author.

Another problem with the arguments presented by Bull and Guy is in regard to the supposedly Hebrew concept of “raqi’a” as an inverted metallic or otherwise solid half dome covering a flat Earth. According to Randall Younker (Andrews University):

 

Randall Younker

“The idea that the ancient Hebrews believed the heaven(s) was a solid vault appears to emerged for the first time only during the early 19th century when introduced as part of the flat earth concept introduced by Washington Irving and Antoine-Jean Letronne. Scholars who supported this idea argued that the flat earth/vaulted heaven was held throughout the early Christian and Medieval periods, and indeed, was an idea that goes back into antiquity and was held by both ancient Mesopotamians and Hebrews. However, more recent research has shown that the idea of a flat earth was not held by either the early Christian church nor Medieval scholars. Indeed, the overwhelming evidence is that they believed in a spherical earth surrounded by celestial spheres (sometimes hard, sometimes soft) that conveyed the sun, moon, stars and planets in their orbits around the earth. Moreover, research of ancient Babylonian astronomical documents shows that they did not have the concept of a heavenly vault. Rather, this was erroneously introduced into the scholarly literature by a mistranslation of Enuma Elish by Peter Jensen.

A review of the linguistic arguments that the Hebrews believed in the idea of a flat earth and vaulted heaven shows that the arguments are unfounded. The arguments derive from passages that are clearly figurative in nature. Indeed, one of the great ironies in recreating a Hebrew cosmology is that scholars have tended to treat figurative usages as literal (e.g. Psalms and Job), while treating literal passages such as in Genesis as figurative. The noun form of raqia is never associated with hard substances in any of its usages in Biblical Hebrew; only the verbal form raqa. And even the latter cannot be definitely tied to metals, etc. Rather it is understood as a process in which a substance is ‘thinned’ – this can include pounding, but also includes stretching. The noun raqia is best translated as expanse in all of its usages.”

Randall Younker, The Myth of the Solid Heavenly Dome: Another Look at the Hebrew [raqia], pre-published version, July 2009

If the writer(s) of Genesis believed that the raqi’a was a solid structure, it seems odd to me that God would be quoted as defining it as “sky” – a place within which birds can also fly (Gen. 1:8, 20 and Deut. 4:17). Now, I know that some argue that the description is of birds flying across, not within, the raqi’a (in possible conflict with Deut. 4:17). However, everything seems to fit better, as far as I can tell, if this term is understood as an expanse – similar to the space or raqi’a that contains the sun, moon, and stars (Gen. 1:14). Consider also that the psalmist spoke of God’s “sanctuary” as being “in the raqi’a” (Psalm 150:1).

It is difficult to imagine, therefore, that the term raqi’a must always indicate some sort of metallic or solid structure as Bull and Guy argue given the usage of this word in some of these passages. After all, what sense does it make for God to be living in a sanctuary that is within some sort of solid metallic raqi’a? – even from the ancient Hebrew mindset?
.

It seems like the context in which this word is used needs to be taken into account before one automatically assumes that the author(s) were clearly talking about some solid crystalline or metallic dome-shaped structure. In context, this doesn’t seem to me to be conclusive – and was probably why the original NIV translators used the word “expanse” instead of definitively indicating something more solid.  And, even if that was in fact the understanding of the original author and/or readers, it really does nothing to undermine the idea that they were still being shown literal historical events from a limited perspective…  a perspective that may have made it a bit hard for them to understand and describe what they were seeing, but not so limited that very useful information about real historical events could not be understood by the modern reader (As would be the case for a young child trying to describe a television set.  The mistaken description of “little people in a black box” would not take away all useful meaning from the actual empirical reality of what the child was in fact describing from a limited perspective – i.e., the description itself is empirically accurate as far as appearances are concerned.  A television does look like a box with little people inside).

Now, I understand that this is an attempt by many to undermine a literal view of the Genesis account – despite the fact that the author of this account clearly intended it to be taken as describing a literal historical event shown to him by God (possibly from an Earth-bound perspective).  The core problem with the arguments presented in God, Sky & Land is that one does not have to be a modern scientists or understand all knowledge to be a good witness in reasonably describing a real historical event in the language that one understands from one’s own limited perspective. It is very difficult for anyone, even a small child, to misinterpret something as basic and easy to understand and describe as “evenings and mornings”.  In other words, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that it got light, then it got dark, then it got light again, etc. It also wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to understand God if God had said, “By the way, it took me a bit longer than one week to make everything on Earth . . .”

Really, if God doesn’t actually speak to us in a language that we can understand when he is talking about our origins, why even bother? Why say that it took a “week” when it really took hundreds of millions of years? Why even bother describing evenings and mornings in such detail and in such consistency? – so much so that the authors themselves believed in the literal interpretation of their own work? Why would God tell us that death for all sentient animal life began with the moral fall of man when it really began hundreds of millions of years before man arrived on the scene?  It would only hurt the credibility of the metaphysical claims of the Bible to find out that its descriptions of empirical realities that are most difficult to misinterpret regardless of perspective, especially those that are so easily investigated, aren’t remotely true as described.

God has to know the importance of empirical evidence when it comes to establishing the credibility of fantastic claims. In fact, he often used physical evidence to support his metaphysical claims within the Bible – just read the story of the healing of the paralytic in Mark 2:9 – “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?…” Clearly, the falsification of the physical claim says something about the validity of the metaphysical claim as well.  In other words, what would have come of Jesus’ metaphysical claim to be able to forgive sins if the paralyzed man had not actually stood up and walked at Jesus’ command?

Suffice it to say that there are plenty of scholars on both sides of most of these issues. One has to somehow weigh the evidence on a personal basis.  At this point, however, it is no wonder that with such leaders in charge of some of our schools  that our young people are more confused than ever on the topic of origins – and are leaving the SDA Church, and Christian churches in general, in droves over this very issue.

Dr. Guy was once president of La Sierra University and is still a prominent figure and guest lecturer at LSU and in the local SDA community. Dr. Bull is a leader at Loma Linda University Medical Center and is also a popular teacher, lecturer, and author on the topic of origins and mainstream science. And many who are teachers and leaders at LSU and LLU share similar views on Genesis and the eons of evolution of life, death, and untold suffering on this planet… all before humans ever came along.
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640 thoughts on “Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

  1. Sean Pitman: There is a key element here that you’re missing. You’re arguing as if God causes all events in His universe to happen – that they are the direct result of His action and will.

    See, here is a good example of how fear clouds the discussion and makes it almost impossible to arrive at truth.

    I did not say that God causes all events in His universe to happen. That is your misunderstanding of what I am saying.

    I think it is your fear that if you open your mind, and look at things from a different perspective, that Satan might get in and corrupt your thinking like He did Eve’s and cause you to be lost, that keeps you from seeing.

    The issue of God’s will is actually a pretty simple point. It mostly a matter of perspective. If we can somehow get over or around the barriers, I don’t think we actually disagree that much.

    Having said that, perspective is important. Sometimes taking a new perspective will help you see relationships and truths in a new more comprehensive way. It isn’t that the new perspective contradicts or destroys the old perspective, its just new, and it complements and enhances the old perspective. That is what I think is going on here. I am trying to express the same truth from a different perspective, and some people find it a little scary, because they are afraid of God. They are afraid, that if they somehow misunderstand, or allow an error crepe in, that they will be outside of God’s will and lost forever.

    I am saying, that you don’t have to be afraid of that. That God can handle it if you screw up. He won’t abandon you or leave you without light and understanding. If you are wrong, He will draw even closer to to you than He was before, and reveal even more truth to you, just as he did Satan, and Adam, and Eve.

    Sean Pitman: There is good reason to be fearful of rebelling against God.

    I agree. Rebellion has serious consequences. But not all rebellion is incurable, otherwise Christ’s sacrifice would have no point. Sometimes, as in the case of Adam and Eve, rebellion is only the result of ignorance and fear which has a remedy in Christ.

    Sometimes rebellion is the result of determined resistance in the full light of complete knowledge as in the case of Satan, in which case there is no remedy. This is an important distinction.

    “You’ve got to be kiddin me!”
    Nope, I am not kidding you. I am dead serious. That is the way I understand the scripture. It appears simple and straight forward to me.

    “it is not true that sin is therefore “Ok” or that God wills us to keep on sinning”

    Here it is again. I think it is your fear that makes you interpret the work “OK” as you have. I did not use the term “OK” to in anyway imply that it was OK to continue sinning. Of course God’s plan to deal with sin requires education and repentance. The point is though that even though you sin through ignorance, or just human frailty, you are STILL within the plan of God, because God has made a way for you to be reconciled. You are still “OK” in the sense that God hasn’t abandoned you. You have not exhausted God’s patience, resources or creativity in dealing with you. You haven’t committed an unpardonable sin, you have not yet reached the same place that Satan arrived at after determined rebellion. (And I think it does take determined rebellion to be lost. I don’t think God allows people to be lost casually.)

    I think it is this fear that is the root of the problem. It is fear that makes “you” (I am using the generic you now, including the church at large) react the way you do to the teachers at LSU, and the fearful response, censoring teacher’s, creates in the system even more fear, which only exacerbates the problem.

    Again, what appears to be an appropriate solution from a narrow perspective can create larger problems from a larger perspective. Perspective is important.

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    • @Ron:

      I did not say that God causes all events in His universe to happen. That is your misunderstanding of what I am saying.

      Interesting. So, what events are not the result of God’s action or will?

      I am saying, that you don’t have to be afraid of that. That God can handle it if you screw up. He won’t abandon you or leave you without light and understanding. If you are wrong, He will draw even closer to to you than He was before, and reveal even more truth to you, just as he did Satan, and Adam, and Eve.

      The problem isn’t with God. He isn’t the one to fear. The problem is with sin itself and its effects upon those who yield to its call to follow the path of evil and rebellion. The fear is that we will actually give in to the call of insanity – and actually rebel against God. God cannot do anything for those who refuse to get help. That’s the scary thing about evil.

      Sean Pitman: There is good reason to be fearful of rebelling against God.

      I agree. Rebellion has serious consequences. But not all rebellion is incurable, otherwise Christ’s sacrifice would have no point. Sometimes, as in the case of Adam and Eve, rebellion is only the result of ignorance and fear which has a remedy in Christ.

      Acting in true ignorance and/or fear is not sin. Adam and Eve did not act in ignorance or fear when they rebelled against God. They acted with plenty of knowledge of who God was to know better and to have chosen the right. There was no lack on the part of God when it came to providing them adequate knowledge to make the right decision.

      It is for this reason that their rebellion was so evil… because there was no rational cause or reason for it.

      You’re trying to explain their actions as being rational or logical. You’re trying to excuse or lighten the significance of what they did. If you were actually right, Adam and Eve would have been innocent of sin… of a conscious rebellion against that which they knew to be true and right and good.

      Sometimes rebellion is the result of determined resistance in the full light of complete knowledge as in the case of Satan, in which case there is no remedy. This is an important distinction.

      Agreed. There is hope for us given additional revelations of God’s character. However, there will still be humans who reject even these additional revelations – all because of what Adam and Eve did.

      That is why you should not say that you “affirm Eve’s decision” – as if she performed some heroic act of independence. That’s not what she did at all.

      I think it is this fear that is the root of the problem. It is fear that makes “you” (I am using the generic you now, including the church at large) react the way you do to the teachers at LSU, and the fearful response, censoring teacher’s, creates in the system even more fear, which only exacerbates the problem.

      Not true. Some of my best friends are neo-Darwinists. Some of these are agnostic and a few are atheistic. Yet, we get along great.

      The problem with LSU is not “fear” of considering opposing ideas. The problem at LSU is an organizational problem – a problem of having paid representatives of an organization attacking the primary goals and ideals of the organization while on the payroll. That is self-defeating for any viable organization.

      The SDA Church has a certain perspective on reality that it, as an organization, considers vitally important to share with the world. It would be completely impractical, therefore, to hire people who believe and promote completely opposing ideas. That would not an viable organization make…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  2. Sean Pitman: Spectrum and Adventist Today are both strongly opposed to many of the most basic and fundamental of the beliefs, goals, and ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization.

    Admittedly – they are pretty well known for that — even though they also will allow a token representation from inside the Church from time to time.

    I guess they call that sugar coating their message.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  3. Ron: Guy and Bull are responsibility discussing an issue that many people both in and out of the church have concerns about. I think our church wants to support efforts to understand how to. reconcile the Bible and science. I don’t think we should support a church that tries to suppress the search for truth. I believe what is happening here is wrong, and immoral to the point that I can not in good conscience pay tithe to the regular tithe fund. I recommend sending your tithe to the local church only, or to other charities in protest.

    There are many ways to support blind-faith-evolutionism of the style that was promoted at LSU.

    Those who “want to see more of that stuff” going on — may consider the solution you propose.

    Those who want to see less of it – may consider actively supporting the church instead of your suggestion.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  4. Sean Pitman: There is good reason to be fearful of rebelling against God. Such rebellion always leads toward self-destruction and death. If it did not, sin would not be so bad…

    Ahh yesss! This is my point in a back handed way. Fear is a strong motivator for rebellion. It is not an appropriate response to God however. Such rebellion does not ALWAYS lead toward self-destruction and death. Sometimes such rebellion leads toward Christ and repentance, and eternal life. And in such case, sin is not so bad.

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      • @Sean Pitman:
        I agree, alcoholism is always bad. But have you ever gone to an AA meeting? If you do, it won’t be long before someone will express the idea that they are grateful that their alcoholism lead them to Jesus. Even a life of alcoholism has value when in includes Jesus.

        Again, it comes down to perspective. Are you including Jesus in your calculations?

        P.S. It was you that said Sin is not so bad, that was not my idea. I always think that evil is evil and should never be diminished.

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        • @Ron:

          It was you that said Sin is not so bad, that was not my idea. I always think that evil is evil and should never be diminished.

          Pardon me, but you’re the one who said just a couple posts above:

          Sometimes such rebellion leads toward Christ and repentance, and eternal life. And in such case, sin is not so bad. [emphasis added]

          So, I repeat, just because Jesus is able to save the sinner, just because He is able to make something good come out of evil, doesn’t mean that evil or sin is therefore “not so bad”. It is bad. It is horrible. That’s the whole point…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  5. Sean, you refuse to acknowledge the paradox. And then try to back me into a corner because I do acknowledge the paradox.

    It is obvious to me, and some others as well, that “the will of God” must be viewed from various perspectives. Just an example of two perspectives…..God’s desired will is that “none should perish”, but if a person refuses to repent, then in this situation, it is God’s will that they must be destroyed.

    You can not deny this obvious reality. As well as God’s permissive will where He allows some things He does not approve of, such as multiple wives in the OT, and He allowed the people to have a king which was against His desired will, but was a part of His permissive will.

    So it is God’s will that the wicked be lost if they refuse to repent. And He specifically acts to make sure His will comes to fruition as He cleases the earth by fire and forces the wicked to be burned up by the fire that comes down out of heaven.

    Our choices alters God’s will.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      Sean, you refuse to acknowledge the paradox. And then try to back me into a corner because I do acknowledge the paradox.

      “A paradox is a statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which (if true) defies logic or reason, similar to circular reasoning.”

      There is no such situation here. You’ve been arguing that God is both good and evil. That’s not true. Just because God allows us to rebel does not mean that God caused us to rebel or that He is in any other way responsible for our choice to rebel. Allowing for free will choices to display themselves in action is not a “paradox” or a logical contradiction.

      Allowing something to happen is not the same thing as causing it, willing it, or desiring it to happen.

      It is obvious to me, and some others as well, that “the will of God” must be viewed from various perspectives. Just an example of two perspectives…..God’s desired will is that “none should perish”, but if a person refuses to repent, then in this situation, it is God’s will that they must be destroyed.

      This is not a paradox Bill. This is perfectly consistent with the concept of free will. God’s desire or will is that the free agent will choose to do good, will choose life. However, if the free agent chooses evil and death, and God honors that choice, how does it follow that God therefore willed the choice of the wicked to be wicked? He did not will the choice of the wicked to be wicked nor did He ever desire that they should choose death rather than life.

      You are equating the fact that God allows the wicked to be wicked with the notion that God actually caused or is in some way responsible for their actions… that He actually is responsible for “hardening their hearts”.

      Again, allowing actions, or willing a situation in which freedom to rebel is possible, is not the same thing as causing rebellion or willing rebellion to exist. And, this concept is not rationally inconsistent – i.e., it is not paradoxical.

      You can not deny this obvious reality. As well as God’s permissive will where He allows some things He does not approve of, such as multiple wives in the OT, and He allowed the people to have a king which was against His desired will, but was a part of His permissive will.

      I agree that God wills freedom to exist – that He wills the possibility of rebelling against His desire for us. However, I do not agree that this means that God is therefore responsible for causing or willing the actual choice of any free will agent to rebel against Him and experience the natural consequences that follow.

      That concept is rationally inconsistent with the notion of a God who is actually good. You’re making God out to be truly evil when you say such things. And, claiming that its a “paradox” doesn’t change the fact that it would make God out to be truly evil…

      Sin itself is a paradox in that there is no rational reason for its existence. The fact that sin is a paradox does not change the fact that sin is still evil. Painting God as evil, but saying, “Its Ok because its a paradox”, doesn’t change the fact that you’re painting God in a very evil light…

      So it is God’s will that the wicked be lost if they refuse to repent. And He specifically acts to make sure His will comes to fruition as He cleases the earth by fire and forces the wicked to be burned up by the fire that comes down out of heaven.

      Again, this is in line with the free will choice of the wicked. It’s an act of mercy on the part of God – in line with the desire of the wicked themselves. There is no paradox here or any other form of rational inconsistency with the concept of a good and righteous God.

      The inconsistencies come when you start arguing that God actually willed the wicked to be wicked – that God was responsible for their rebellion. If true, this would make God out to be truly wicked Himself.

      As you said before, “God’s responsibility for sin ceases where man’s responsibility begins.” This is the only way in which God can still be “good” while evil exists in His universe.

      Our choices alters God’s will.

      Our choices do not alter God’s will for us to have never made evil choices to begin with. Our choices against God will cause Him to act in ways He would rather not have ever been required to act. This is not the same thing, however, as God ever having been willing for anyone to choose the path of evil and self-destruction.

      The real question in play here is if God is responsible for the choice to walk the path of evil – Does God cause us to rebel? Does God harden our hearts?

      Read James 1:13 and tell me what you think about the real question in play here…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  6. Ron: I think it is your fear that if you open your mind, and look at things from a different perspective, that Satan might get in and corrupt your thinking like He did Eve’s and cause you to be lost, that keeps you from seeing.

    There is a good reason to fear this, Ron. If you already have the truth, anything other than that is a lie–and we do need to fear that we will believe Satan’s lies. I don’t mean to be insulting, Ron, but it appears in your postings that you have gone this way yourself. You see things in such an erroneous light.

    We have been counseled by SOP to guard the avenues to the soul. We are not ever to open our minds to error. That, in my mind, is fair warning. One we should all heed.

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  7. Ron: Fear is a strong motivator for rebellion. It is not an appropriate response to God however. Such rebellion does not ALWAYS lead toward self-destruction and death. Sometimes such rebellion leads toward Christ and repentance, and eternal life. And in such case, sin is not so bad.

    This belief you hold that sin is not bad is so opposite to what God was teaching in the sacrificial system. He was trying to show how heinous sin is. It should be so revolting to us that we will avoid it at all costs. We are never to regard sin lightly–and your statement above not only regards it lightly, it embraces it! Can you not see this, Ron?

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  8. Bill Sorensen: God’s desired will is that “none should perish”, but if a person refuses to repent, then in this situation, it is God’s will that they must be destroyed.

    Bill, while the above is true, you did not point out that this destruction of the wicked is a strange act for God. He must finally cleanse the Universe from sin for the greater good and happiness of the major part of His Universe. He could have annihilated the entire planet when Adam and Eve sinned in the first place–but then the rest of the universe would not have understood the nature of sin and its consequences. In ways, just the act of allowing sin to come to fruition is a strange act for God. He doesn’t enjoy watching the results play out here on earth any more than we on earth enjoy participating in the results. But He knew, in His infinite wisdom, that if this scenario was not allowed to play out, there would always be questions. The earth is answering these questions for all time. When God sees that every question has been answered, He will put an end to all the misery we have had to endure. Then He will cleanse His universe for once and for all with the final strange act of the destruction of sin and sinners. When you think about it, this is a brilliant solution to the sin problem, isn’t it? Painful though it may be for earth and for God Himself…it works.

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  9. I appreciate your comments, Faith, and I agree with them.

    The question under discussion was “God’s will”.

    Regardless of how this final outcome brings pain, not only to God, but also all the redeemed and unfallen angels, it is still God’s will.

    Sean does not acknowledge the paradox, and so he apparently denies some things that I think are very biblical.

    Such as, the bible says God hardened Pharoah’s heart. So, did God really harden his heart, or did he harden his own heart?

    The is not an “either/or” situation. God was active in hardening Pharoah’s heart by a revelation of truth, and Pharoah was active in hardening his own heart by resisting it.

    And “God’s will” is also based on “both/and” concepts. And God’s will can be changed by how the human factor responds. We can change God’s mind.

    If a person does not repent, God “will” destroy them in the end. But if they do repent, so will God. God will change His mind if we change ours.

    This was the issue in our discussion about Pharoah.

    And there are many other paradoxical concepts dealt with in the bible. Simply put, for every point, there is a counter-point.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      Sean does not acknowledge the paradox, and so he apparently denies some things that I think are very biblical.

      Such as, the bible says God hardened Pharoah’s heart. So, did God really harden his heart, or did he harden his own heart?

      The is not an “either/or” situation. God was active in hardening Pharoah’s heart by a revelation of truth, and Pharoah was active in hardening his own heart by resisting it.

      All God did was to present Pharaoh with a choice. God did not cause or will or desire Pharaoh to rebel against what God asked him to do. Pharaoh chose, all by himself, to rebel against God. God did not cause or “will” or in any way desire that Pharaoh would rebel – that his heart would be “hardened” against the truth. In fact, God provided every reasonable option and numerous attempts to break through to Pharaoh. God did not cause Pharaoh to be so hard headed. It was Pharaoh who deliberately chose to resist what he knew was the truth – because of his own pride and reluctance to admit error.

      This is the same problem Lucifer had when he rebelled in heaven. His own pride prevented him from admitting error and surrendering to the express will of God. It wasn’t God who forced his hand or willed him to rebel against what he knew to be true. God never wills such rebellion against the truth. God only wills that all would follow the truth. So, when rebels choose to follow a different path, they are in fact acting outside of God’s will for them. The fact that God permits them to act contrary to His own will for them in no way implicates God in their actions – actions which are entirely of their own devising…

      In other words, God does not control free will decisions – i.e., they are truly free. Contrary to your previous arguments, God’s foreknowledge has nothing to do with causing or willing the decisions of anyone who rebels against His will. These decisions are entirely the responsibility of those who freely chose to rebel against God. Also, those who rebel against God are in fact acting outside of the will and desire of God for their lives.

      If anything is Biblical, this is it – that the choice to sin is not God’s fault or will for anyone.

      When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. – James 1:13-14

      Again, there is no “paradox” here – given the existence of true freedom to rebel against the will of God.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  10. Bill&#032Sorensen: Such as, the bible says God hardened Pharoah’s heart. So, did God really harden his heart, or did he harden his own heart?

    Bill, I cannot lay my hands on it at this moment, but I remember reading in SOP (I believe it was in Patriarchs and Prophets) that God did not perform any supernatural action to harden Pharaoh’s heart. It was all Pharaoh’s choice. God just knew, by Pharaoh’s character, that he would make such a choice; and then the whole plagues and miracles thing would show people that God did exist, He was ruler over all the earth, and was more powerful than all Egypt’s false gods. I will see if I can find it for you this weekend. I won’t promise, but I will try.

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  11. Bill Sorensen: Such as, the bible says God hardened Pharoah’s heart. So, did God really harden his heart, or did he harden his own heart?

    Bill, I cannot lay my hands on it at this moment, but I remember reading in SOP (I believe it was in Patriarchs and Prophets) that God did not perform any supernatural action to harden Pharaoh’s heart. It was all Pharaoh’s choice. God just knew, by Pharaoh’s character, that he would make such a choice; and then the whole plagues and miracles thing would show people that God did exist, He was ruler over all the earth, and was more powerful than all Egypt’s false gods. I will see if I can find it for you this weekend. I won’t promise, but I will try.

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  12. Ron: “Fear is a strong motivator for rebellion. It is not an appropriate response to God however. Such rebellion does not ALWAYS lead toward self-destruction and death. Sometimes such rebellion leads toward Christ and repentance, and eternal life. And in such case, sin is not so bad.”

    I would not personally state things in the way that Ron does. But he does see the paradox of some aspects of good and evil.

    Even though sin is evil and not commendable, none the less, God uses sin and its results to demonstrate its meaning and what it leads to.

    “The wages of sin is death.”

    So God uses the negative aspects of sin to expose it and to assure that it will never happen again. God can turn a negative into a positive.

    The devil would claim this justifies sin as a learning tool, and therefore, he should be commended for introducing it.

    And this is how Satan wrests and twists every concept by creature logic to convolute the final reality.

    Paul affirms, “We can do nothing against the gospel, only for it.”

    Is this a “tongue in cheek” idea? Or, can we see the paradox? Because God can use evil to His own advantage, does this then justify evil?

    For a Christian, the answer is “no”. But for an unbeliever, the answer could be “yes”. It depends on our preception, doesn’t it?

    The Mormon church even teaches that sin was necessary for pro-creation. In which case, even if two people are married, they are sinning in the intimate experience.

    So, while God has some participation in everything, His responsibility in sin ends where creature responsibility begins.

    Thus, we can not blame God because He created the possibility of sin. He delegates authority to each individual in this matter, and each individual must answer for their decision. And even if God can use a negative in a positive way, it does not justify the negative in and of itself as being positive.

    You may fall down and skin your knee. If you learn a lesson and are more careful in the future, it is commendable that you learned a lesson. But skinning your knee is not a positive experience in and of itself.

    The paradox remains.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      Paul affirms, “We can do nothing against the gospel, only for it.”

      Is this a “tongue in cheek” idea? Or, can we see the paradox? Because God can use evil to His own advantage, does this then justify evil?

      For a Christian, the answer is “no”. But for an unbeliever, the answer could be “yes”. It depends on our preception, doesn’t it?

      One might argue that evil may be justified by the good that God is able to bring out of it. However, this would be wrong. Sin is never justified. Just because God can bring some good results out of the rebellion doesn’t mean that the rebellion is therefore justified or that God ever desired it as a means to bring good to His universe. That’s a mistaken notion which, again, paints God as evil.

      Thus, we can not blame God because He created the possibility of sin. He delegates authority to each individual in this matter, and each individual must answer for their decision. And even if God can use a negative in a positive way, it does not justify the negative in and of itself as being positive.

      Do I hear an echo in the room? Again, this is what I’ve been saying all along. Why then have you been arguing with me? – just because I do not see this situation as a “paradox”?

      You may fall down and skin your knee. If you learn a lesson and are more careful in the future, it is commendable that you learned a lesson. But skinning your knee is not a positive experience in and of itself.

      Again, this is what I’ve been trying to explain all along…

      The paradox remains.

      How is learning a lesson from skinning your knee irrational or in any other way a “paradox”? How is God’s creation of the ability for freedom to exist, yet not being responsible for our rebellious actions, an inherently irrational idea or a “paradox”?

      I think the only real disagreement we have here is over the understood definition of the term “paradox”…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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    • Bill, You are saying it a little differently, but I think we are in basic agreement regarding man and God’s responsibility, and I am not sure I am really much different than Sean if you take into acount the difference in perspective.

      The main reason I state it the way I do is that I think people tend to discount the value of their current lives in favor of a future life, as a result they fail to live as fully as they could today and they fail to learn the lessons this life is intended to teach. Given the cost, that is tragic.

      Also, the traditional Pauline interpretation of the cross as a substitutionary atonement only makes sense from the perspective of an abuser. It doesn’t work for those who have been vicitms. It makes God look like the ultimate abuser. So looking at it from the perspective of God and his choices and responsibility really helps. I think God intended to the gospel to be relevant

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  13. Sean&#032Pitman: God for the existence of evil, why do you claim that God is responsible for the evolution of life over billions of years on this planet via a very painful mechanism of “survival of the fittest”? – that God deliberately and directly creates all genetic mutations and uses natural selection to produce untold suffering and death for countless sentient creatures?

    First of all, I never said that God was responsible for evolution over billions of years. Remember in our ground rules for discussion we stipulated belief in a special creation about 10,000 years ago. So we are only talking about what happened since then.

    I don’t see “survival of the fittest” as painful at all. First of all, that was first used to describe social/cultural evolution, not biological evolution. I don’t think it needs to have the connotations that have been given it. For one, the process never requires pain and death. Any and every individual can life out a full and complete life. It only requires that there be two different environments bridged either geographically, or over time by two different populations. One population does better on one environment, while the second does better in the second environment.

    I see the development of variation in a population to be very consistent with God’s character. Just look around, He obviously loves variety. I also see a changing environment as natural/consistent with God’s character and not sinister.

    So, how is the fact that some humans are better suited to live well in the arctic, while other humans are better suited to live at the equator, and still others are adapted to live at high altitudes evil? To me those seem to be very positive adaptations made possible by a loving God who loves diversity. I don’t see those as being harmful at all.

    If humanity gets to the point that they can live and reproduce in space, I will expect to see their bodies adapt to life in space over time. That seems to me to be very positive, not negative, and no astronauts have to die prematurely or live an incomplete life to make that happen. They can all live full, happy lives.

    As far as any death, related to any genetic abnormality that develops, I don’t see that it increases in any way our concern, or God’s culpability for pain in any way that can’t be explained by standard theology.

    Tell me. How do you justify God instigating the murder of Job’s children and servants? How do you justify God ordering genocide? How do you justify God, the Father, permitting His Son to be tortured and killed? What ever answer you give to these questions, just apply it to the pain and death caused by genetic defects as well.

    Personally, considering the evidence in the Bible, it appears to me that death weighs very lightly in God’s scale of pain. It seems that for God, death is appropriate for even the smallest and most remote of transgressions. For example He gave Eve the death penalty for stealing a piece of fruit while He only gave Cain banishment for murder. That would imply that in God’s mind, a piece of fruit is of more value than the life of a man.

    If it doesn’t bother God to inflict the death penalty for stealing a piece of fruit, while only banishing Cain for murder, and he is willing to order the death of his own son, then why would He worry about death from cancer or any other reason? Death is death. If he allows ANY kind of death, then what does if matter if he allows MANY kinds of deaths?

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    • @Ron:

      First of all, I never said that God was responsible for evolution over billions of years. Remember in our ground rules for discussion we stipulated belief in a special creation about 10,000 years ago. So we are only talking about what happened since then.

      We are having this discussion because you have been arguing in favor of LSU science professors continuing to promote the neo-Darwinian perspective on origins while actively undermining the Adventist position on origins – in our own schools. That’s the entire point of this discussion…

      Given the acceptance of a literal 6-day creation week within recent history, there is no neo-Darwinism. You see the point?

      I don’t see “survival of the fittest” as painful at all. First of all, that was first used to describe social/cultural evolution, not biological evolution. I don’t think it needs to have the connotations that have been given it. For one, the process never requires pain and death. Any and every individual can life out a full and complete life. It only requires that there be two different environments bridged either geographically, or over time by two different populations. One population does better on one environment, while the second does better in the second environment.

      In that case, you don’t understand the evolutionary mechanism – you don’t understand how natural selection works. It’s all based on death. There is no natural environment-based selection without preferential death within a population.

      I see the development of variation in a population to be very consistent with God’s character. Just look around, He obviously loves variety. I also see a changing environment as natural/consistent with God’s character and not sinister.

      Phenotypic changes that aren’t based on changes to the underlying gene pool, that aren’t based on death, are not evolutionary changes. What you’re describing is not Darwinian-style evolution. Darwinian-style evolution where novel information is added or subtracted from the gene pool is always based on death.

      Tell me. How do you justify God instigating the murder of Job’s children and servants? How do you justify God ordering genocide? How do you justify God, the Father, permitting His Son to be tortured and killed? What ever answer you give to these questions, just apply it to the pain and death caused by genetic defects as well.

      God did not instigate the murder of Job’s children or anyone else. God allows murderers, like Satan, to commit murder for a time, to demonstrate their true character. However, God did not instigate or in any other way cause their acts of murderous rebellion against His will.

      Personally, considering the evidence in the Bible, it appears to me that death weighs very lightly in God’s scale of pain. It seems that for God, death is appropriate for even the smallest and most remote of transgressions. For example He gave Eve the death penalty for stealing a piece of fruit while He only gave Cain banishment for murder. That would imply that in God’s mind, a piece of fruit is of more value than the life of a man.

      Oh please. It was because the test placed on Adam and Eve was so easy to resist (there was no inherent need for Eve to desire the fruit that was specifically forbidden since she had plenty of good food to eat elsewhere). This is why this test was so symbolic of their allegiance to God. Taking the fruit against God’s direct command was a statement of open rebellion against God.

      As far as Cain is concerned, he was also living under the penalty of death just like Adam and Eve. Just because Cain was not instantly killed does not mean that he was not punished or that he ultimately escaped anything for what he did. Cain’s fate will be far worse, because of his impenitence, than the fate of Adam and Eve who did seek repentance and forgiveness.

      If it doesn’t bother God to inflict the death penalty for stealing a piece of fruit, while only banishing Cain for murder, and he is willing to order the death of his own son, then why would He worry about death from cancer or any other reason? Death is death. If he allows ANY kind of death, then what does if matter if he allows MANY kinds of deaths?

      Again, it is not the matter of allowing pain and death in a sinful rebellious world. The issue is over a God who originally chose to use mechanisms that require suffering and death when He originally created this world and called it “good”…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  14. Sean&#032Pitman: The real question in play here is if God is responsible for the choice to walk the path of evil – Does God cause us to rebel? Does God harden our hearts?

    No, of course not. God is never responsible for evil. Human’s are responsible for evil. God is only responsible for creating human’s whom He knows will choose to be evil.

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    • @Ron:

      Exactly…

      So, why then do you use language that paints God as evil? – as being responsible for rape, murder, genocide, etc? You’ve actually described God, in this thread, as a “murderer” – someone who really isn’t concerned at all with human death or suffering.

      Such language appears to equate God’s allowance for evil to express itself with personal responsibility on the part of God for the existence of evil.

      Such is not the language of the Bible when taken as a whole. The Bible describes a God who is deeply touched by our sufferings – who suffers with us. The Bible describes a God who takes notice and is pained when even a little sparrow falls wounded to the ground. – Luke 12:6

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  15. Holly&#032Pham: It sounds like, from your reasoning, that Jesus SHOULD have been killed on the Cross, since He “allowed” us to sin. It was really HIS fault, and He deserved all the suffering and death.

    Not at all. From my perspective sin is always sin, and evil is truly evil, and man it truly responsible for what he does, and God is responsible for what He does.

    I do believe that God, knowing what was going to happen, could not have created this world and remained “Good” without the cross. I think that is why the Father refused to proceed with the creation of this world until Christ committed to the cross as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

    Again, it is a matter of perspective. We are used to thinking of God as being good, and He is, but then we have never experienced what the world would have been like without Jesus either.

    Mrs. White has some vivid descriptions how hopeless the world would have been without Jesus. I can’t imagine a good God creating our world and leaving it in that condition even for the sake of freedom of will.

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  16. Ron: “Fear is a strong motivator for rebellion. It is not an appropriate response to God however. Such rebellion does not ALWAYS lead toward self-destruction and death. Sometimes such rebellion leads toward Christ and repentance, and eternal life. And in such case, sin is not so bad.”

    I would not personally state things in the way that Ron does. But he does see the paradox of some aspects of good and evil.

    Even though sin is evil and not commendable, none the less, God uses sin and its results to demonstrate its meaning and what it leads to.

    “The wages of sin is death.”

    So God uses the negative aspects of sin to expose it and to assure that it will never happen again. God can turn a negative into a positive.

    The devil would claim this justifies sin as a learning tool, and therefore, he should be commended for introducing it.

    And this is how Satan wrests and twists every concept by creature logic to convolute the final reality.

    Paul affirms, “We can do nothing against the gospel, only for it.”

    Is this a “tongue in cheek” idea? Or, can we see the paradox? Because God can use evil to His own advantage, does this then justify evil?

    For a Christian, the answer is “no”. But for an unbeliever, the answer could be “yes”. It depends on our preception, doesn’t it?

    The Mormon church even teaches that sin was necessary for pro-creation. In which case, even if two people are married, they are sinning in the intimate experience.

    So, while God has some participation in everything, His responsibility in sin ends where creature responsibility begins.

    Thus, we can not blame God because He created the possibility of sin. He delegates authority to each individual in this matter, and each individual must answer for their decision. And even if God can use a negative in a positive way, it does not justify the negative in and of itself as being positive.

    You may fall down and skin your knee. If you learn a lesson and are more careful in the future, it is commendable that you learned a lesson. But skinning your knee is not a positive experience in and of itself.

    The paradox remains.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      Paul affirms, “We can do nothing against the gospel, only for it.”

      Is this a “tongue in cheek” idea? Or, can we see the paradox? Because God can use evil to His own advantage, does this then justify evil?

      For a Christian, the answer is “no”. But for an unbeliever, the answer could be “yes”. It depends on our preception, doesn’t it?

      One might argue that evil may be justified by the good that God is able to bring out of it. However, this would be wrong. Sin is never justified. Just because God can bring some good results out of the rebellion doesn’t mean that the rebellion is therefore justified or that God ever desired it as a means to bring good to His universe. That’s a mistaken notion which, again, paints God as evil.

      Thus, we can not blame God because He created the possibility of sin. He delegates authority to each individual in this matter, and each individual must answer for their decision. And even if God can use a negative in a positive way, it does not justify the negative in and of itself as being positive.

      Do I hear an echo in the room? Again, this is what I’ve been saying all along. Why then have you been arguing with me? – just because I do not see this situation as a “paradox”?

      You may fall down and skin your knee. If you learn a lesson and are more careful in the future, it is commendable that you learned a lesson. But skinning your knee is not a positive experience in and of itself.

      Again, this is what I’ve been trying to explain all along…

      The paradox remains.

      How is learning a lesson from skinning your knee irrational or in any other way a “paradox”? How is God’s creation of the ability for freedom to exist, yet not being responsible for our rebellious actions, an inherently irrational idea or a “paradox”?

      I think the only real disagreement we have here is over the understood definition of the term “paradox”…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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    • Bill, You are saying it a little differently, but I think we are in basic agreement regarding man and God’s responsibility, and I am not sure I am really much different than Sean if you take into acount the difference in perspective.

      The main reason I state it the way I do is that I think people tend to discount the value of their current lives in favor of a future life, as a result they fail to live as fully as they could today and they fail to learn the lessons this life is intended to teach. Given the cost, that is tragic.

      Also, the traditional Pauline interpretation of the cross as a substitutionary atonement only makes sense from the perspective of an abuser. It doesn’t work for those who have been vicitms. It makes God look like the ultimate abuser. So looking at it from the perspective of God and his choices and responsibility really helps. I think God intended to the gospel to be relevant

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  17. Sean Pitman: God for the existence of evil, why do you claim that God is responsible for the evolution of life over billions of years on this planet via a very painful mechanism of “survival of the fittest”? – that God deliberately and directly creates all genetic mutations and uses natural selection to produce untold suffering and death for countless sentient creatures?

    First of all, I never said that God was responsible for evolution over billions of years. Remember in our ground rules for discussion we stipulated belief in a special creation about 10,000 years ago. So we are only talking about what happened since then.

    I don’t see “survival of the fittest” as painful at all. First of all, that was first used to describe social/cultural evolution, not biological evolution. I don’t think it needs to have the connotations that have been given it. For one, the process never requires pain and death. Any and every individual can life out a full and complete life. It only requires that there be two different environments bridged either geographically, or over time by two different populations. One population does better on one environment, while the second does better in the second environment.

    I see the development of variation in a population to be very consistent with God’s character. Just look around, He obviously loves variety. I also see a changing environment as natural/consistent with God’s character and not sinister.

    So, how is the fact that some humans are better suited to live well in the arctic, while other humans are better suited to live at the equator, and still others are adapted to live at high altitudes evil? To me those seem to be very positive adaptations made possible by a loving God who loves diversity. I don’t see those as being harmful at all.

    If humanity gets to the point that they can live and reproduce in space, I will expect to see their bodies adapt to life in space over time. That seems to me to be very positive, not negative, and no astronauts have to die prematurely or live an incomplete life to make that happen. They can all live full, happy lives.

    As far as any death, related to any genetic abnormality that develops, I don’t see that it increases in any way our concern, or God’s culpability for pain in any way that can’t be explained by standard theology.

    Tell me. How do you justify God instigating the murder of Job’s children and servants? How do you justify God ordering genocide? How do you justify God, the Father, permitting His Son to be tortured and killed? What ever answer you give to these questions, just apply it to the pain and death caused by genetic defects as well.

    Personally, considering the evidence in the Bible, it appears to me that death weighs very lightly in God’s scale of pain. It seems that for God, death is appropriate for even the smallest and most remote of transgressions. For example He gave Eve the death penalty for stealing a piece of fruit while He only gave Cain banishment for murder. That would imply that in God’s mind, a piece of fruit is of more value than the life of a man.

    If it doesn’t bother God to inflict the death penalty for stealing a piece of fruit, while only banishing Cain for murder, and he is willing to order the death of his own son, then why would He worry about death from cancer or any other reason? Death is death. If he allows ANY kind of death, then what does if matter if he allows MANY kinds of deaths?

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    • @Ron:

      First of all, I never said that God was responsible for evolution over billions of years. Remember in our ground rules for discussion we stipulated belief in a special creation about 10,000 years ago. So we are only talking about what happened since then.

      We are having this discussion because you have been arguing in favor of LSU science professors continuing to promote the neo-Darwinian perspective on origins while actively undermining the Adventist position on origins – in our own schools. That’s the entire point of this discussion…

      Given the acceptance of a literal 6-day creation week within recent history, there is no neo-Darwinism. You see the point?

      I don’t see “survival of the fittest” as painful at all. First of all, that was first used to describe social/cultural evolution, not biological evolution. I don’t think it needs to have the connotations that have been given it. For one, the process never requires pain and death. Any and every individual can life out a full and complete life. It only requires that there be two different environments bridged either geographically, or over time by two different populations. One population does better on one environment, while the second does better in the second environment.

      In that case, you don’t understand the evolutionary mechanism – you don’t understand how natural selection works. It’s all based on death. There is no natural environment-based selection without preferential death within a population.

      I see the development of variation in a population to be very consistent with God’s character. Just look around, He obviously loves variety. I also see a changing environment as natural/consistent with God’s character and not sinister.

      Phenotypic changes that aren’t based on changes to the underlying gene pool, that aren’t based on death, are not evolutionary changes. What you’re describing is not Darwinian-style evolution. Darwinian-style evolution where novel information is added or subtracted from the gene pool is always based on death.

      Tell me. How do you justify God instigating the murder of Job’s children and servants? How do you justify God ordering genocide? How do you justify God, the Father, permitting His Son to be tortured and killed? What ever answer you give to these questions, just apply it to the pain and death caused by genetic defects as well.

      God did not instigate the murder of Job’s children or anyone else. God allows murderers, like Satan, to commit murder for a time, to demonstrate their true character. However, God did not instigate or in any other way cause their acts of murderous rebellion against His will.

      Personally, considering the evidence in the Bible, it appears to me that death weighs very lightly in God’s scale of pain. It seems that for God, death is appropriate for even the smallest and most remote of transgressions. For example He gave Eve the death penalty for stealing a piece of fruit while He only gave Cain banishment for murder. That would imply that in God’s mind, a piece of fruit is of more value than the life of a man.

      Oh please. It was because the test placed on Adam and Eve was so easy to resist (there was no inherent need for Eve to desire the fruit that was specifically forbidden since she had plenty of good food to eat elsewhere). This is why this test was so symbolic of their allegiance to God. Taking the fruit against God’s direct command was a statement of open rebellion against God.

      As far as Cain is concerned, he was also living under the penalty of death just like Adam and Eve. Just because Cain was not instantly killed does not mean that he was not punished or that he ultimately escaped anything for what he did. Cain’s fate will be far worse, because of his impenitence, than the fate of Adam and Eve who did seek repentance and forgiveness.

      If it doesn’t bother God to inflict the death penalty for stealing a piece of fruit, while only banishing Cain for murder, and he is willing to order the death of his own son, then why would He worry about death from cancer or any other reason? Death is death. If he allows ANY kind of death, then what does if matter if he allows MANY kinds of deaths?

      Again, it is not the matter of allowing pain and death in a sinful rebellious world. The issue is over a God who originally chose to use mechanisms that require suffering and death when He originally created this world and called it “good”…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  18. Sean Pitman: The real question in play here is if God is responsible for the choice to walk the path of evil – Does God cause us to rebel? Does God harden our hearts?

    No, of course not. God is never responsible for evil. Human’s are responsible for evil. God is only responsible for creating human’s whom He knows will choose to be evil.

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    • @Ron:

      Exactly…

      So, why then do you use language that paints God as evil? – as being responsible for rape, murder, genocide, etc? You’ve actually described God, in this thread, as a “murderer” – someone who really isn’t concerned at all with human death or suffering.

      Such language appears to equate God’s allowance for evil to express itself with personal responsibility on the part of God for the existence of evil.

      Such is not the language of the Bible when taken as a whole. The Bible describes a God who is deeply touched by our sufferings – who suffers with us. The Bible describes a God who takes notice and is pained when even a little sparrow falls wounded to the ground. – Luke 12:6

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  19. Holly Pham: It sounds like, from your reasoning, that Jesus SHOULD have been killed on the Cross, since He “allowed” us to sin. It was really HIS fault, and He deserved all the suffering and death.

    Not at all. From my perspective sin is always sin, and evil is truly evil, and man it truly responsible for what he does, and God is responsible for what He does.

    I do believe that God, knowing what was going to happen, could not have created this world and remained “Good” without the cross. I think that is why the Father refused to proceed with the creation of this world until Christ committed to the cross as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

    Again, it is a matter of perspective. We are used to thinking of God as being good, and He is, but then we have never experienced what the world would have been like without Jesus either.

    Mrs. White has some vivid descriptions how hopeless the world would have been without Jesus. I can’t imagine a good God creating our world and leaving it in that condition even for the sake of freedom of will.

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  20. I am not sure if it was Faith or Holly that asked the question, but I wanted to respond to it. One of them asked if I would still approve of Eve’s decision even in light of my father’s death.

    The short answer is yes.
    Because before Eve took the apple, the whole universe was at risk, and there was a cloud of doubt hanging over God’s character. It was only a matter of time before someone somewhere in the Universe acted on that doubt. If it hadn’t been Eve, it would have been someone else. And we would still have to go through the painful process. If not first hand, then a least second hand.

    So, as painful as the process has been, we are almost through it now.
    Satan has been overcome, and God’s character has been revealed.
    The outcome is no longer in doubt.
    The Holy Spirit has been given and I enjoy a more intimate relationship with God now than would ever have been possible without the experience of redemption.
    I am actually a partaker of the Divine Nature, having wisdom and knowing good from evil.

    And my Dad and I still have eternal life to look forward to. We have really lost nothing and gained everything, so the answer is Yes. I still affirm Eve’s decision. I am far better off now than I would have been had she not done what she did so it works for me.

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    • @Ron:

      One of them asked if I would still approve of Eve’s decision even in light of my father’s death.

      The short answer is yes.

      Because before Eve took the apple, the whole universe was at risk, and there was a cloud of doubt hanging over God’s character.

      There was never any reason to doubt God’s character before Eve ate the apple. Again, you’re suggesting that there was some kind of rational reason for sin to enter God’s universe, that God had not provided enough information for the goodness of His ways to be clearly seen.

      Such arguments are an attempt to rationalize the rebellion of Lucifer, Adam, and Eve – to try and make it make sense by casting some degree of blame upon God for its existence.

      It’s like arguing that we all need to try out murdering so that we can personally understand how bad it really is. Without such personal experience, we could never trust God that it really is bad…

      This argument is very similar to that of the Latter-day Saints who claim that evil is necessary to demonstrate the goodness of God – like Ying and Yang. This is simply not true. Such concepts are based on heretical philosophies.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  21. Hi Ron,

    It was me that asked that question.

    I must admit that I am absolutely mind-boggled at your reply. I totally agree with what Sean has posted above.

    Frankly, Ron, I don’t understand your reasoning. You post more than one comment regarding your father’s death which seems to be bitter and blaming toward God for allowing such a thing to happen. Yet, you affirm Eve’s choice that brought the entire world into sin. Without that sin, there would have been no death in this world. We would have been born into a perfect world where happiness reigns supreme (because, of course, God reigns supreme).

    A world where perfect children would be born painlessly and never be sick or hurt themselves; where father’s and sons (or anyone else, for that matter) would never be parted by death; a place without war or accidents or anything that would hurt or maim; a place where you could trust your fellow man to be honest with you; a world without fear; a world where we could communicate with God and the angels face-to-face. I’m sorry–I don’t understand how that is not the most desirable of existences.

    Let’s look at this for just a moment. What did we gain by acquiring the knowledge of evil? We learned what it is to be sick–to see little babies born with cancer live short, little lives of suffering. We see pain and death everywhere we look–horrific accidents, natural disasters, young mothers dying in childbirth, young fathers dying in war. We see cruelty, poverty, selfishness, immorality, dishonesty, and fear. In short, it is a dog-eat-dog existence.

    And not only man has paid for that original sin; the rest of creation has not escaped the marks of it either. We see one animal hunt and kill another for food. We see the earth being literally destroyed by pollution. And this is just the tip of the iceberg–I can’t possibly list here all the “benefits” of the knowledge of evil.

    So you think that the knowledge of sin is so desirable? I can’t see why. I wish I had never heard of it, and I am deeply sorry Adam and Eve did what they did.

    Ron: I am actually a partaker of the Divine Nature, having wisdom and knowing good from evil.

    So are you trying to say here that Satan was right, that we do become like gods by knowing evil? Perish the thought!

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  22. I think the only real disagreement we have here is over the understood definition of the term “paradox”…

    Sean Pitman

    The paradox, Sean, is concerning God’s will. God’s permissive will is that sin is present. So sin is God’s will in this context. Not because He caused it. Not even because it was necessary. But because He allows it.

    And He allowed it for a purpose. To demonstrate that He was not responsible for it. Neither was it necessary.

    If we understand that God did not have to allow sin, but could have destroyed Lucifer at the outset, and still be a just God, then we must also recognize that its continued existence is God’s permissive will based on a given situation.

    God wills that sin should continue until its meaning and final outcome is clearly preceived. And in this way, God uses a negative reality, namely sin, for a positive purpose and outcome.

    It is His permissive will that sin should continue. And in the end, it will be shown that God was not responsible for sin.

    If this is not a paradox, what would you call it?

    Bill Sorensen

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  23. By the way, if you look up the word “paradox” you will find a rather interesting parallel and contrast.

    So, a paradox can be defined in two ways…

    1. Two concepts that seem to be non-negotiable but can truly be harmonized.

    2. Two concepts that seem to be in perfect harmony, but are not.

    Lucifer’s rebellion is based on his conclusion that God can not be both just and merciful at one and the same time. And so he claims the paradox is non-negotiable.

    But the bible tells us how these two non-negotiable concepts concluded by way of carnal and creature reasoning, are clearly in harmony by way of the cross.

    The comprehensive sovereignty of God is clearly maintained in all things, and relative sovereignty of man is maintained as well. Man is a sovereign as God chooses for him to be. God can maintain it, or take it away.

    God’s purpose is for self government by the human factor under God’s ultimate rule.

    And since man can choose to accept it or not, we are individually responsible for our final outcome. And this is God’s will as expressed in His word.

    If we don’t like the arrangement, God will honor our decision and return us to our non-existence that was the reality in the beginning.

    But before the final destruction, the wicked must be punished for the lies and sins they did in rebellion to undermine and destroy God’s kingdom and those who advocated loyalty to God.

    Responsible freedom is God’s will for His children. Irresponsible freedom is what Satan advocates. And sad to say, more people interpret the cross to support Satan’s kingdom than those who interpret the cross to support God’s truth. Even many in the SDA church.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      There are claimed paradoxes which are not actually true paradoxes – i.e., they do have rational explanations given enough information.

      The “paradox” of truth and mercy existing together really isn’t a paradox since this concept is solved in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

      The same thing can be said for God’s creation of true freedom while not being responsible for what people choose to do with their freedom. This is not a true paradox or rational contradiction either… despite the efforts of some to make it appear that way.

      In any case, I really don’t see why you’re arguing with me here? – except over your wish for me to accept the application of the term “paradox” to God’s allowance of evil to exist for a time…

      Surely you understand the implications of what Ron has been trying to claim in this thread all along – that God is directly responsible for everything that happens. He is responsible for good and bad genetic mutations. He is the one who drives Darwinian-style evolution. It is His active will that things function as they do. It is by His deliberate design that gene pools change over time via genetic mutations and natural selection (a death-dependent mechanism).

      I know you don’t agree with this line of reasoning, so why pick a bone with me?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  24. I know you don’t agree with this line of reasoning, so why pick a bone with me?

    Sean Pitman

    I guess we disagreed on how the word “paradox” was used and what it means in light of God’s kingdom and government.

    The whole controversy between Christ and Satan is over the issue of justice and mercy and who is responsible for sin.

    Satan’s claim is this, because God is the creator, He alone should hold the final responsibility for who we are and how we act. So, if we do anything wrong, it must be God fault, based on two possible reasons.

    1. He created us wrong.

    2. He did not give us enough viable information so we could make a responsible choice.

    or, possibily both of the above. At any rate, we know Satan has accused God of being held accountable for the final responsibility of sin.

    As Christians, we deny both claims of Lucifer and God has demonstrated in the incarnation of His Son that both claims are false.

    We agree that it was ethical for God to create moral beings and hold them accountable for their actions if they rebeled against Him because they have/had enough information to make the right choice and the ability to do so.

    We understand that “sin is transgression of the law”, and “whatsoever is not of faith is sin”.

    So, Lucifer understood that if there was no “law” (meaning moral law) there would be no need of grace. And he solved the paradox by doing away with the idea of moral law. We can’t sin if there is no law to transgress.

    So, Lucifer was opting for natural law and reasoned that by the simple rule of trial and error, all could and would eventually do what is right without commandments by an authority that would define right and wrong. God’s authority was not necessary, nor the threat of punishment for transgression.

    Neither would anyone need the mediation of Christ as the mediator of creation so Christ could simply be eliminated from the equation.

    But sinless angels are not sinless in themselves as all created beings “come short of the glory of God.” They all approach God by way of Christ.

    Sin then is not simply an attack on justice, but an attack on grace as well. So the word “law” as used in the bible includes grace, just as the word “grace” includes law. They stand and/or fall together.

    Christ stands in the middle of the paradox of justice and mercy, and thus the paradox is workable and viable. And so the paradox can be explained, but it is still a paradox.

    None the less, since God creates something from nothing, and our existence is not primarily at the outset based on any law or justice from our perspective, it is pure grace and nothing more as the reason God created us.

    Any reason for God to create us is found solely in Himself. Since we had no choice or decision in the creation scenario, it is Satan’s contention that we should have no choice in our on going existence.

    God is ultimately and solely responsible for existence. And according to Satan, should be held solely accountable for our on going existence as well.

    His logic is beyond challenge. But we can not discern all the implications of the kingdom of God by human logic. The bible has a spiritual sense of “logic” that goes beyond finite reasoning. And it is only by revelation by way of the bible that man can discern the reasonableness of God’s kingdom. Even though it is paradoxical, it can be understood as “spiritual things, are spiritually discerned.”

    The meaning and value of our existence is bound up in the way God has created us and the “responsible freedom” He has ordained to give value to our being.

    So, while God alone by His own freewill created us, He has ordained that our continued existence is dependent on our own choices and decisions. And in this way, value is attached to our choices and the more both of penalty and reward results from our decisions, the more value we can discern in making a correct decision.

    If we agree with Satan who contends for “irresponsible freedom” then our decisions have no value at all and our quality of life is zero.

    So man must be informed that all his actions and decisions will determine his own going existence, and without this motivation, he will never obey the law of God nor see any need to.

    Any implication that we can be “saved” without obeying God’s law is Satanic in its origin and final meaning. It ultimately destroys the value of man and his existence. It is the ultimate false idea of “entitlement” philosophy that claims God owes us eternal life, even if we do nothing to sustain it.

    If a political entitlement philosophy is bad and destroys the motivation for humans to better themselves by effort and responsibility, it is nothing compared to a spiritual entitlement where God is held solely responsibility for our ongoing existence.

    Only if and when the paradox is maintain and sustained can people comprehend, appreciate, and participate in the responsible freedom God has ordained for all His created beings.

    Bill Sorensen

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  25. If you have any comprehension of what I have related in my last post, you will also see clearly why the final deception is “Universalism”.

    Universalism is based on the idea that eventually, if not in this life, then in the next, God can and will persuade all created beings that He is right and all will agree and unity and harmony will be the final result.

    So, we can ask, “What’s wrong with this reasoning?” It sounds like a viable conclusion.

    It might be a viable conclusion if sin were only based on ignorance. God could certainly “enlighten” every created being and in fact will so that even the wicked acknowledge the justice of God’s kingdom.

    But as we study the bible and even examine our own life experience, we should soon see that sin is more than ignorance, but even more importantly, sin is the spirit of rebellion. So, even enlightenment does not automatically cure rebellion.

    Even in heaven, Lucifer eventually understood that he was wrong. But this did not stop him in his rebellion.

    And this rebellion is what Sean would call a kind of spiritual insanity. And I think we can all agree with this conclusion. But it can not be cured by simple enlightenment. As we recognize the problem in ourselves and others, we become aware that it will take considerable effort on our part in cooperation with the Holy Spirit to “expel sin from the soul” as EGW has put it.

    ” In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve. In the change that takes place when the soul surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom. The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.” {DA 466.4}

    While God influences and even empowers the will, it is not God who expels sin from the soul. We can not even abandon our responsibility to God in the hopes that “He will do it.”

    It is the human agent that wills and does the will of God. Many, if not most people, even Christians, have difficulty in accepting this reality and hope that somehow if they “give themselves to Jesus” He will do it for them. So some will say, “If I do anything good, it is because Christ does it in me.”

    I would suspect in many if not most cases, they don’t really have a clue of what they mean. They can not distinguish what God does, and what they do and run the two together in some spiritual concept that has no viable meaning or explanation.

    And thus, we can see how Spiritualism works in harmony with the final error of Universalism and God is credited, not only with the moral influence of the cross and all it implies, but the actual doing of the believer’s actions.

    The bible and EGW know nothing of this mystical spiritualism that destroys the moral accountability of man and attributes everything to God in all that is comprehended in salvation.

    It is the human agent that believes, repents, and obeys the law of God in the context of sanctification and a fitness for heaven. Can you do this without the Holy Spirit and a revelation of the cross and all that God has done? NO. But Paul clearly says, “I can do all things…..”

    And he means, “himself”. Not Christ.

    The world, and modern Adventism is so shot through and through with many non-biblical and mystical interpretations and concepts, it is no mystery there is so much confusion in the church on every level.

    Unless we know the bible and understand the concepts it presents, both parallel and contrast, we have no defense against deception and the final delusions of spiritualism and Universalism.

    Have a good week.

    Bill Sorensen

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  26. Holly Pham: 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.

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  27. Ron, with your explanation, we must assume God did not give man adequate knowledge to make a good decision.

    I don’t accept this conclusion. In fact, it would deny the meaning and value of free will or choice. Neither could Adam and Eve be culpable for their actions.

    While I would agree that Adam and Eve could not possibly discern all the implications of sin and its results, I think we must concur that they had adequate knowledge to make the right choice and not sin.

    So, they were no doubt ignorant on some level. And because of this, God chose to give them another chance.

    While Eve did not know exactly what God meant when He said, “In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shall surely die”, she had enough awareness of the negative consequences to know it was sin.

    She was disobeying God. Partly by way of ignorance, and partly by rebellion. And rebellion in sin is the main factor, even if it is not the only factor.

    I think your view would make the atonement the responsibility of God to the human family instead of a gift. And this would lead to a concept of entitlement instead of gratitude that God would do this even though He was not required to do so.

    Bill Sorensen

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  28. David Read: When Lee Greer agreed to teach creation (even though he personally is not a creationist) he was fired for it. Yup, that’s right. For moving just a little bit in the direction of compromise with the SDA Church, Lee Greer was fired. That’s how entrenched is LSU’s rebellion against, and hatred for, the SDA Church.

    What is the evidence for this statement? It is a very strong allegation–and slanderous if it happens to be untrue.

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    • @Eddie: It’s true, Eddie.

      Sean Pitman and others have known for several years that La Sierra’s biology faculty was largely Darwinist and has been teaching Darwinism as truth. By 2009, this site had publicized the situation enough so that many people in the church wanted to do something about it. When Ted Wilson was elected GC president in 2010, he immediately started thinking about how to correct the problem. But really the only leverage the GC has over La Sierra, aside from some committee members and constituency members, is denominational accreditation through AAA. And when AAA found that La Sierra had “deviated from the Adventist philosophy of education,” that really got their attention.

      Randal Wisbey was still thinking that he could control the situation. His way of controlling the situation was to cut off all channels of communication except through him. The biology faculty was not to talk to anyone except him, and the Board of Trustees was not to talk to anyone but him, including the NAD and the biology faculty. He was hoping to just ride out the storm without really doing anything about the problem. He’s never taken one positive, concrete step to address the problem.

      But that wasn’t good enough for Lee Greer, so Greer actually spearheaded an attempt to solve the problem by talking to the relevant NAD officials, particularly Blackmer. Greer opened channels of communication that had not previously existed. After years of complete gridlock there was finally movement. What Lee Greer did was heroic. The administration of the church at large was thrilled with the Joint Proposal that Lee Greer drafted, and that 5 other LSU biology faculty signed.

      Read the Joint Proposal:

      http://www.adventistreview.org/site/1/2011-1527/Joint%20Proposal%20of%20….

      Then read the church’s response:

      http://www.adventistreview.org/article/4769/archives/issue-2011-1527/27c….

      http://www.adventistreview.org/site/1/2011-1527/Response%20to%20Joint%20….

      The church was so relieved and gratified that the biology faculty (six of them signed the Joint Statement) was willing to yield to church concerns even in the slightest degree.

      (This is in contrast, to me, Sean Pitman, and other Educate Truth people who want creation science to be taught as science, in a scientifically rigorous manner, not merely as faith. I was very critical of the Joint Proposal when it came out, but unlike Larry Blackmer, I had not been banging my head against the Chinese wall Randal Wisbey had tried to build between the LSU biology faculty and rest of the world.)

      The NAD, Dan Jackson, and Larry Blackmer were ecstatic with the Joint Statement, but Randal Wisbey was not. He was incensed, because was Greer did was totally contrary to his own strategy of trying to clamp down on the flow of information and ride out the storm, hoping that Educate Truth would just tire out and go away. So the fact that someone–one of his own faculty members–actually DID SOMETHING about the problem enraged him. Dr. Greer, in his press release, tells what happened next:

      “The Administration insisted that the biology faculty sign a hastily-written, official apology memo over the release of the informal proposal. Because of the memo’s mischaracterizations and errors of fact, Dr. Greer refused to sign giving his reasons in summary—despite several warnings communicated to him that failure to sign would place his faculty position in jeopardy.”

      The other biology faculty knuckled under to Wisbey’s rage and signed the apology memo, repudiating the Joint Proposal, but Lee Greer had too much integrity, too much character. So Wisbey fired him.

      In addition, Wisbey went to the extraordinary lengths of having three of the four Trustees who had also signed the Joint Proposal–Kathryn Proffitt, Carla Lidner-Baum, and Marta Tooma–voted off the Board of Trustees. Obviously, Wisbey was absolutely incensed at the Joint Proposal and everything about it. But because the church had already embraced the substance of it, he could not publicly repudiate its substance.

      I believe that Lee Greer is telling the truth in his press release for several reasons. First, it accords with what I’ve independently learned about the situation. Second, it accords with what other, better informed people have told me about the situation. Third, the press release was made in consultation with the attorney who will be representing Greer in a lawsuit with LSU, and I’m confident that the attorney would not have consented to make any factual assertions that will not be provable at trial.

      I’m very confident that the facts as I’ve reported them are true.

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  29. Eddie: What is the evidence for this statement? It is a very strong allegation–and slanderous if it happens to be untrue.

    Well, why was Greer fired? Does anyone know? What was the underlying reason?

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  30. David Read, who has impeccable skills of discernment, needs to make up his mind. Is it:

    “For moving just a little bit in the direction of compromise with the SDA Church, Lee Greer was fired. That’s how entrenched is LSU’s rebellion against, and hatred for, the SDA Church.”

    or is it:

    “The other biology faculty knuckled under to Wisbey’s rage and signed the apology memo, repudiating the Joint Proposal, but Lee Greer had too much integrity, too much character. So Wisbey fired him.”

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    • @Trudy: It is both, Trudy. Lee Greer was fired for forging the “Joint Proposal” AND for refusing to repudiate it, or, more precisely, for refusing to repudiate the process by which it came about when Randal Wisbey demanded that he do so.

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  31. David, good luck on Spectrum. Remember what I said, “They will use lies and mis-representation and malign anything they can to support and/or cover their duplicity.”

    They have an ongoing and unrelenting attack on bible Adentism, and still claim to be a “supporting ministry”.

    Is that duplicity or what?

    Hang in there.

    Bill Sorensen

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  32. David Read: Randal Wisbey was still thinking that he could control the situation. His way of controlling the situation was to cut off all channels of communication except through him. The biology faculty was not to talk to anyone except him, and the Board of Trustees was not to talk to anyone but him, including the NAD and the biology faculty. He was hoping to just ride out the storm without really doing anything about the problem. He’s never taken one positive, concrete step to address the problem.

    So you’ve heard Lee Greer’s side of the story, but these are not Lee’s words. What is your source of information for Wisbey’s thoughts?

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    • @Eddie: Eddie, Randal Wisbey is a full grown man. He can tell his side of the story any time he wants. I’m guessing he hasn’t thought about it enough, or consulted with counsel long enough, to decide what his side of the story is.

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  33. Sean Pitman: What God wills is that freedom of choice exist – which means that free moral agents are free to act against the will of God for their lives.

    True, however, for God to be a good God there are some conditions that have to be met.

    1. There has to be a reason to create a creature with free will that is strong enough to justify the burden of evil caused by those who exercise their will poorly. If there isn’t a net positive to the equation, then giving free will could not be considered good.

    What is that reason? That is the part I think is missing from most people’s theology. I think if they could keep that reason in mind, the “problem of sin” would become just a temporary nuisance on the way to a greater good.

    2. God must provide adequate instruction and training to allow for responsible decision making. The need for instruction and training implies that there has to be some middle ground between failure and perfection.

    3. The authority must provide supervision, it must protect those it is responsible for. For example, a good parent will not let a child do something that will cause severe and permanent harm, such as running out into the street in front of a speeding car.

    4. The authority must protect others from the decisions of those who choose to do active harm. (a police action).

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  34. http://www.adventistreview.org/site/1/2011-1527/Joint%20Proposal%20of%20individual%20La%20Sierra%20University%20Faculty%20and%20Trustees_05oct2011.pdf

    ==================

    In our dialogue, we found a solution to be the teaching of Creation as a faith conviction, rather
    than as science. Creation is not a scientific construct. It is a faith construct. The conviction of
    Divine Creation lies beyond the purview of the methods of empirical science, and cannot be
    subjected to them. Nevertheless, faith and science can and should constructively interact.

    This approach is based on two core principles:

    I. Affirmation and incorporation of the Biblical concept of creation, including the Seventhday
    Adventist understanding of Genesis 1 and 2, as a faith position at the classroom level,
    when questions of origins are discussed.

    II. Continued teaching and research in the various disciplines of the modern sciences
    according to the most up-to-date and rigorous standards of the published science, to
    which we contribute as practicing scientists and active faculty, including the data which
    highlight the strengths and weaknesses of various models.

    In essence Greer put together a proposal that let them continue with an evolutionist agenda in the science class room – and only at the point of “origins” (abiogenesis) having to give lip service to Bible creation (something many T.E.s are happy to do anyway)

    David Read:
    @Eddie: It’s true, Eddie.

    Sean Pitman and others have known for several years that La Sierra’s biology faculty was largely Darwinist and has been teaching Darwinism as truth….

    The church was so relieved and gratified that the biology faculty (six of them signed the Joint Statement) was willing to yield to church concerns even in the slightest degree.

    (This is in contrast, to me, Sean Pitman, and other Educate Truth people who want creation science to be taught as science, in a scientifically rigorous manner, not merely as faith. I was very critical of the Joint Proposal when it came out, but unlike Larry Blackmer, I had not been banging my head against the Chinese wall Randal Wisbey had tried to build between the LSU biology faculty and rest of the world.)

    The NAD, Dan Jackson, and Larry Blackmer were ecstatic with the Joint Statement, but Randal Wisbey was not. He was incensed, because was Greer did was totally contrary to his own strategy of trying to clamp down on the flow of information and ride out the storm, hoping that Educate Truth would just tire out and go away.

    interesting – but given the fact that the proposal was in fact a trap for the NAD to fall in – it is helpful that PUC cut it off leaving themselves exposed on the point of “anything for evolution” rather than adopting “the mere appearance” of compromise.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  35. 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.

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  36. On the subject of the article at the top of this thread, I finally viewed the tape of the presentation in Paul Giem’s Sabbath School class.

    It is sad that Bull and Guy are trotting out the old “raqia-as-solid-dome” nonsense. That has been thoroughly debunked by Randall Younker and many others. It was invented by 19th Century German higher critics and has only ever functioned as a way to discredit the Genesis narrative.

    Over at Spectrum, some are reporting that, at the constituency meeting of one week ago, Randal Wisbey tried to put Brian Bull on the Board of Trustees at La Sierra. But even the semi-comatose constituency of La Sierra balked at putting another confirmed and very public Seventh-day Darwinian on the Board. That’s good news. All hope is not lost if the constituency cared enough to block that nomination.

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  37. I would add that it is time to pronounce “ichabod” on the ongoing translation of the NIV, which now translates raqia as “vault” after many years of translating it as “expanse.” It is clear that the liberals have gotten control of the NIV translation committee, not just from this instance but from many others.

    I love the NIV; it is my favorite translation. But at this point I cannot recommend that anyone buy a version later than 1984.

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  38. Ron said…..

    “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.”

    And this is the crux of the matter, Ron.

    Did God give Adam and Eve ADEQUATE knowledge to make a right decision. You claim He did not.

    But a bible believing Christian believes that He did.

    Full knowledge of anything is not possible, and thus, Adam and Eve as well as the rest of the redeemed will always have only an ADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE for all eternity.

    Your view would make God responsible to do something about their dilemma. He was not. And thus, what He did was solely grace.

    But I think your view will eventually be the majority view of mankind. It is the mother and father of Universalism.

    That God can and will use sin to His own advantage is no reason to assume it was an absolute necessity and that Satan did God a favor by introducing sin.

    I don’t see any other conclusion to your theory.

    Bill Sorensen

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  39. Ron said…..

    “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.”

    And this is the crux of the matter, Ron.

    Did God give Adam and Eve ADEQUATE knowledge to make a right decision. You claim He did not.

    But a bible believing Christian believes that He did.

    Full knowledge of anything is not possible, and thus, Adam and Eve as well as the rest of the redeemed will always have only an ADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE for all eternity.

    Your view would make God responsible to do something about their dilemma. He was not. And thus, what He did was solely grace.

    But I think your view will eventually be the majority view of mankind. It is the mother and father of Universalism.

    That God can and will use sin to His own advantage is no reason to assume it was an absolute necessity and that Satan did God a favor by introducing sin.

    I don’t see any other conclusion to your theory.

    Bill Sorensen

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  40. David Read said…..

    “I love the NIV; it is my favorite translation. But at this point I cannot recommend that anyone buy a version later than 1984.”

    David, the NIV has been anti-SDA from its inception.

    In Heb. 9 it presents the idea that Jesus entered the Most Holy Place at His ascension and not in 1844.

    As well as many other questionable interpretations that smack more of interpretations and not a translation. It is a bible commentary, not a bible translation.

    Bill Sorensen

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  41. Eddie: So you’ve heard Lee Greer’s side of the story, but these are not Lee’s words. What is your source of information for Wisbey’s thoughts?

    Shane, Why don’t you invite Lee Greer on t ET to explain his side of the story?

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    • @Holly Pham: Holly, Lee is contemplating a lawsuit against LSU and is not able to comment freely. The press release was written in consultation with Lee’s attorney, who has probably insisted that Lee not make any public comments not drafted by the attorney.

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  42. I know that at least some of you read the Spectrum articles and comments. And I am not so well informed as David Read on the subject he comments on. But here is a warning to him by the moderators…..

    “David, some of what you have written here is slanderous. Behave more responsibly or we will be deleting your posts.” – website editor

    I think in the future, they not only would delete his posts, but delete him as well if and when the opportunity arrives.

    What I do know about is EGW and her writings. Not everything, of course. But I doubt there is much that could be quoted that I have not read.

    What I find interesting is this, people can come on the Spectrum forum and all but curse and damn EGW with no comment like the one made to David.

    They love to “hate” EGW and affirm each other in their assumed higher enlightenment and spirituality than EGW. They also “hate” the SDA church and what we stand for. And do everything they can to undermine our bible message.

    They give massive support to LSU for teaching evolution. []

    They would love to have Goldstein post on their forum to give some air of credibility to their ministry. I think he has probably figured out his posting was more counter-productive to bible Adventism than helpful.

    I would hope that sometime in the near future, there would be an “official” statement by our church leaders letting people know that Spectrum and A-today do not represent bible Adventism nor are they in any way a “supporting ministry”.

    We need to see some responsible discipline in many areas of the church. LSU is certainly one area. But more should be done to define our church and its teachings and mission.

    We have, as a church, simply become a “clearing house” for every Tom, Dick, and Harry’s opinion with no responsible leadership to define what is true and what is not.

    Maybe it is too late. But if not, it soon will be if something objective is not done in the near future.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen: Bill, there is a double standard, but I take it as a compliment that they thought that what I posted about Wisbey was defamatory. It shows that they know that what I write is taken more seriously than what others write.

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  43. David Read:
    @Holly Pham: Holly, Lee is contemplating a lawsuit against LSU and is not able to comment freely.The press release was written in consultation with Lee’s attorney, who has probably insisted that Lee not make any public comments not drafted by the attorney.

    How about getting his attorney to come on and comment. They do this all the time on TV.

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  44. Sean Pitman: Now you’re making my argument! God is responsible for making it possible for freedom to exist, for people to choose to rebel against His will.

    When you say that God is responsible for making freedom possible, you are also saying that God is responsible for making possible whatever happens in the exercise of that freedom. God made it possible for children to have leukemia, and tornado’s to destroy towns as the result of the freedom he gave Adam and Eve. What is it that is so wonderful that God would take that risk?

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    • @Ron:

      As I’ve explained before, making freedom possible does not mean that God is therefore responsible for the acts of the freewill agents who rebel against His will. God is not responsible for causing leukemia in children just because He makes such things possible. Such things are against His will. He does not will or desire little children to get leukemia and die just as He did not desire Lucifer to rebel and take a third of all the angels with him, all God’s children, into eternal loss and eventual death.

      Yes, God desires freedom more than He desires control. Freedom is ultimately important to God because true freedom allows for true love to exist. However, just because God allows for rebels to exist and to act against His will does not therefore mean that God causes children to get leukemia or that He drives Darwinian evolution or apparently random mutations – almost all of which are detrimental over time.

      You continue to confuse what God allows with what God causes to happen – with true miracles of His intelligent design. Leukemia is not a Divine miracle. Raising Lazarus from the dead – miracle. Someone getting hit tornado and dying – not a miracle. Surely you can see the difference?

      Consider the following comments from the E.G.. White Estate regarding the origin of disease, suffering and death:

      Suffering, other than sickness due to neglect of physical laws, is also caused by Satan and not the deliberate intervention of God. On many occasions she reinforced the teaching of Jesus on this point…

      Her teachings regarding the cause of death, as well as suffering, flowed from the big picture of the great controversy between God and Satan:

      “It is true that all suffering results from the transgression of God’s law, but this truth had become perverted. Satan, the author of sin and all its results, had led men to look upon disease and death as proceeding from God—as punishment arbitrarily inflicted on account of sin.”

      Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 471.

      http://www.whiteestate.org/books/mol/Chapt7.html

      So, again, neither the Bible nor Mrs. White see diseases, like childhood leukemia, as being the result of a deliberate act or intervention of God…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  45. Bill Sorensen: Did God give Adam and Eve ADEQUATE knowledge to make a right decision. You claim He did not.

    But a bible believing Christian believes that He did.

    Maybe, but that would not be considered Adventist. Read Mrs. White. According to Mrs. White Eve was deceived. The word deceived, by definition means that God did not give adequate knowledge to prevent the deception. In fact Mrs. White is crystal clear that the whole universe did not understand the true nature of Satan’s claims until the cross.

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    • @Ron:

      This is a false argument. Just because Eve really did believe the lies of the Serpent doesn’t mean that God didn’t give her adequate evidence to know right from wrong in this case. If your argument were true, Eve would not have been guilty of deliberate rebellion against what she knew was right – i.e., she would not have been guilty of sin.

      The lack of full knowledge as to the consequences of a sinful act does not remove the fact that one knows, consciously understands, that the sinful act is in fact morally wrong.

      This is why those who do what they know is wrong try to hide the fact when they think they might get caught. If Eve had not known that what she did was wrong, she would not have tried to hide from God. She would not have acted as if she was guilty of something… if she didn’t already know that she was guilty.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  46. Bill Sorensen: Adam and Eve as well as the rest of the redeemed will always have only an ADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE for all eternity

    Agreed, but it will be ADEQUATE. After the cross the knowledge is adequate for most, but not all. It doesn’t become adequate for all until the investigative judgement is finished. That was the whole point of the Great Controversy, to give the Universe adequate knowledge of Good and Evil, i.e. the difference between God and Satan.

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    • @Ron:

      No. The universe had enough knowledge before the Fall of Lucifer, and mankind, to trust God. There was never any rational reason for anyone to rebel against God.

      Just because God has and continues to provide even more evidence of the goodness of His character and His laws does not therefore mean that knowledge was originally inadequate to trust Him. If this argument were actually true, none of rebellious angels could reasonable be accused of sin or any kind of evil. Sin only exists when the one in rebellion consciously knows, on at least some level, that what is being done is morally wrong… that there really is no rational excuse for the rebellion.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  47. Bill Sorensen: Your view would make God responsible to do something about their dilemma. He was not. And thus, what He did was solely grace.

    And what kind of a gracious person would not feel obligated to help someone in need? That is the definition of gracious. You can’t be gracious if you don’t feel obligated by the goodness of your own heart. God is obligated because His own nature obligates Him.

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    • @Ron:

      The point is that God was not morally obliged to save the human race. No one would have thought the less of Him if He chose not to sacrifice Himself, at infinite cost, to save humanity. In fact, the cost of our salvation was so extravagant that the rest of the universe stood amazed, even shocked, that God would actually stoop so low, and pay such a high price, for what seemed to be of so little value in comparison.

      Your argument that His own character obliged Him to act on our behalf does not remove the fact that this was not a moral obligation due to any original fault in providing adequate knowledge to Adam and Eve to begin with. God was always clearly in the right, morally speaking. Adam and Eve were clearly in the wrong without any rational argument for what they did or any reasonable plea for their own redemption.

      In fact, the lack of any apparently rational reason for God to do what He did makes what He did in saving us so utterly remarkable and mysterious… the reason it will be our “science and song” throughout eternity…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  48. Bill Sorensen: That God can and will use sin to His own advantage is no reason to assume it was an absolute necessity and that Satan did God a favor by introducing sin

    No, I agree with you. What Satan did was and is evil. There is no excuse for it.

    And remember that there is a difference between Satan who sinned in the full light of God’s presence and refused to repent even when He was CONVINCED of his error, and Adam and Eve who were deceived. I think a good God would have an obligation to help someone who was deceived that he wouldn’t have for someone who was acting premeditated in full knowledge.

    If I deceived you into doing something that resulted in the death of someone, you would still be guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but you would not be guilty of premeditated murder. Some juries might even find you innocent.

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    • @Ron:

      If I deceived you into doing something that resulted in the death of someone, you would still be guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but you would not be guilty of premeditated murder.

      Adam and Eve were not deceived with regard to what they knew was right. They knew that God had told them not to eat of the Forbidden Tree. They knew that God was their Creator and that He had given then abundant evidences of His love and care for them. God had provided far far more evidence of His trustworthiness and love than had the Serpent.

      Therefore, it wasn’t due to a lack of evidence on God’s part that Eve was deceived and Adam, though not deceived as to the true identity of the Serpent, was also lost.

      This is what makes their rebellion so evil – they deliberately rebelled against what they knew was true and right because of their own selfish desires. Where Eve was deceived is in thinking that she might actually get away with doing what she knew was wrong. Because of her selfish desire to “be like God”, which she really believed she could be and that God was trying to prevent her from gaining such elevated status, she acted against God.

      The argument that additional revelations of God’s character, together with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, has the potential to restore the broken relationship between God and man, while true, does not take away from the fact that there was no original fault on God’s part, or lack of evidence provided, that makes what Eve did rational or “good” in any sense of the word. Although ignorant of the full consequences of her act, Eve was not ignorant of the fact that what she was doing was hateful against God and all that He had done for her. This is what made what she did so evil… not at all an act to be commended as you have done. Adam and Eve were not heroes stepping out boldly and bravely for some noble purpose. They were acting selfishly for their own benefit against the interests of God – and they knew it.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  49. Consider the following comments from the E.G.. White Estate regarding the origin of disease, suffering and death:

    Suffering, other than sickness due to neglect of physical laws, is also caused by Satan and not the deliberate intervention of God. On many occasions she reinforced the teaching of Jesus on this point…

    Her teachings regarding the cause of death, as well as suffering, flowed from the big picture of the great controversy between God and Satan:

    “It is true that all suffering results from the transgression of God’s law, but this truth had become perverted. Satan, the author of sin and all its results, had led men to look upon disease and death as proceeding from God—as punishment arbitrarily inflicted on account of sin… Sickness, suffering, and death are [the] work of an antagonistic power. Satan is the destroyer; God is the restorer.”

    Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 471. and The Ministry of Healing, p. 113

    http://www.whiteestate.org/books/mol/Chapt7.html

    So, again, neither the Bible nor Mrs. White see diseases, like childhood leukemia, as being the result of a deliberate act or intervention of God…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  50. Ron, in our discussion, along with Sean’s comments, we should at least see that sin has two factors.

    1. Rebellion.
    2. Ignorance.

    Your view is that ignorance is the major factor in sin and thus, in the end, God is responsible for Eve’s actions.

    I personally would agree with you if ignorance were the major factor. But it is not. Rebellion is the major factor, and rebellion is what you do, even when you know it is wrong.

    Samuel said, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft….” It is often equated with self deception. Sometimes, it is equated with willing deception. It is never a necesssary and unavoidable deception.

    But this is how you would describe the sin of Eve. And the bible does not support your conclusion.

    While there is always some aspects of ignorance in every sin, and thus some sins are called “sins of ignorance” because the major factor is not rebellion, the damning sin of eternal loss is not ignorance, but rebellion.

    And rebellion in the case of Adam and Eve was beyond the elements of ignorance. They deliberately disobeyed (especially Adam) even when he was fully aware of what he was doing.

    The devil will never admit that his sin or anyone elses is blatant rebellion. He may even acknowledge ignorance as a factor, and in so doing, like yourself, claims the ultimate blame is on God.

    “To the very close of the controversy in heaven, the great usurper continued to justify himself. When it was announced that with all his sympathizers he must be expelled from the abode of bliss, then the rebel leader boldly avowed his contempt for the Creator’s law. He denounced the divine statutes as a restriction of their liberty, and declared that it was his purpose to secure the abolition of law. With one accord, Satan and his host threw the blame of their rebellion wholly upon Christ, declaring that if they had not been reproved, they would never have rebelled.” {CTr 16.3}

    Sin originated when Lucifer conceived a false view of himself, who he was, and the self value he preceived of his own importance.

    If you read the whole chapter in the GC on how sin came into being, you will see that she states there was a point when Lucifer knew he was wrong, but still refused to repent. Just as the religious leaders at the time of Christ knew they were wrong.

    So, was there still some element of ignorance in their sin? Yes. But it was not the primary element.

    Ron, if you continue to hold your position, you will eventally side with Satan and blame God, not only for allowing sin, but creating the scenario where sin was necessary.

    God’s permissive will is not God’s desired will. Neither can we appeal to God’s permissive will to accuse Him of being responsible for sin.

    Only if we do not have adequate information and enlightenment to make the right decision, could we accuse God of originating sin. Adam and Eve both had adequate information, and thus, there was not need for them to sin. Their sin was more akin to rebellion than ignorance, even if some elements of ignorance were present.

    Bill Sorensen

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  51. Since the official church and leaders are not going to actually act on this issue, it seems useless to keep expecting them to do anything about it.

    Bible truth has lost its intensity in the SDA community. The devil knows how to “wear out the saints of the most high” until a generic Christanity is embraced for the sake of convenience and thus avoid confrontation.

    People eventually get tired of the incessant “bickering” in every area of life from politics to religion. This is how the devil won in the early church in changing the day of worship from Sabbath to Sunday. And for many, as it is now, the response is “What makes the difference one way or the other?”

    Generation after generation eventually pass away and the young people know less and less the dynamic of the original movement. People embrace a false spirituality little by little and assume they are still on the right road.

    We can be happy that Jay Galimore has actually acted in defense of bible Christanity and we see how the liberal agenda attacks his decisions. We are hopeful more influencial leaders will act in a simular way in defense of the faith.

    Bill Sorensen

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  52. Genesis 1 and 2 plainly says the earth and all that’s in [it] was created in 6 literal days–adding up genealogies in Scripture also reveal the earth is about 6000 years old.

    The place for the above mentioned book is the trash can. Perhaps these so-called learned doctors may also want to find another church more in line with their beliefs-or shall we say lack of beliefs? [edit]

    Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

    We have 6 evenings and mornings here for creation not counting the 7th Day Sabbath. How can anyone possibly read anything else into this? So these two men are above and know more than God does? How very, very sad indeed.

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  53. Ellen White wrote: “Bones of men and animals, as well as instruments of warfare, petrified trees, etcetera, much larger than any that now exist, or that have existed for thousands of years, HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED [emphasis supplied]… In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus PRESERVED AS AN EVIDENCE TO LATER GENERATIONS [emphasis supplied] that the antediluvians perished by a flood.”

    Is there any physical evidence that much larger antediluvian humans once existed and “have been discovered”?

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    • @Eddie:

      Not beyond legends (which were prominent in Mrs. White’s day and which she may have mistakenly taken as referencing true discoveries of antediluvian humans and human artifacts), as far as I’m aware. Of course, Neandertals were larger and stronger and had bigger brains, on average, than modern humans – but not dramatically so. Neandertals were simply an early ethnic variation within the human race right after the Flood. They subsequently merged with other European ethnic groups and eventually lost their own distinctiveness.

      Sean

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  54. Ron is attempting to reason with generally unreasonable individuals. He is to be lauded for his attempts despite the likelyhood to essential certainty that his efforts will be disregarded. His comments would be well received at Adventist Today and Spectrum.

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    • Erwin, I haven’t seen any viable response from either you or Ron to Sean’s arguments. I am an open-minded graduate student, but I’m having a really hard time buying your approach.

      Would you expect Bill Gates to promote Apple products? Or Steve Jobs, before his death, to promote the MacBook Pro? Ought Zuckerburg to promote Google+? or Sergey and Larry (the founders of Google) to promote Facebook? Should Romney PACs fund ads promoting Obama, or Obama PACs promote Romney?

      Isn’t yours the unreasonable position?

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    • @Ervin Taylor: Thanks Ervin for the encouragement. But what would be the point of arguing at Spectrum? If they all agreed with me I wouldn’t learn anything. As it turns out, this has done quite a lot to help my ideas to mature. To quote my very insightful wife after reading a recent post, “You’re making progress”. (In reference to my spiritual growth, not that I am convincing anybody here.)

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    • @Ervin Taylor:

      Ervin&#032Taylor: Ron is attempting to reason with generally unreasonable individuals.

      Ahh the “tolerant liberal” is seen once again in the level of his discourse.

      How “unexpected”.

      Ervin&#032Taylor:
      His (Ron’s) comments would be well received at Adventist Today and Spectrum.

      And at Pharyngula.

      Well finally Erv says something that Nobody questions.

      Ron’s idea represent some segment within the church today. On this board that does not amount to the most popular one – but this is a good place to have that view presented.

      This board is not going to ban conservatives simply because their posts are too effective at exposing the weakness in the liberal methods, agenda and argument.

      in Christ,

      Bob

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  55. Sean&#032Pitman: As with any viable organization, the SDA Church has certain basic organizational goals and ideals that it hopes to share with the world.

    Why would anyone want to join an organization that enforces it’s ideals through coercion rather than persuasion?

    If your ideals are not persuasive, then coercion only undermines your ideals further. If your ideals are persuasive, you have no need for coercion.

    Besides, what you are proposing is morally wrong.

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    • @Ron:

      No one is being “coerced” to join the SDA Church or be hired as a paid representative. All are free to leave at will. However, not all are free to expect a paycheck from the SDA Church for teaching or preaching whatever they want.

      What about the rights of the employer who wishes to hire only those who accurately and effectively uphold the employer’s primary goals and ideals? You think it “immoral” for an employer to be selective? – not hiring those who do not support the employer’s goals and ideals?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Of course not, I am arguing that in this case the employer’s response to the problem is doing far more damage to the employer’s primary goals and ideals than the employee is.

        The church can’t uphold the ideals of freedom and intellectual honesty while at the same time sanctioning those within the church who are engaged in the process.

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        • @Ron:

          The SDA Church upholds ideals of civil freedoms for society at large – i.e., the Separation of Church and State. However, the Church does not uphold the idea that a paid representative of the Church is therefore free to preach or teach anything one wants and continue to expect a paycheck from the Church. That’s an untenable idea. All are free to leave the Church without any fear of civil reprisals of any kind. However, not all are free or qualified to be a paid representative of the Church organization.

          Paychecks are given to those who actively support the primary goals and ideals of the organizations that hire them. Viable organizations simply cannot afford to pay people who go around attacking the primary goals and ideals of the organization…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  56. Sean&#032Pitman: The SDA Church does support the search for truth – just not the denial of truth once it is revealed to us by God.

    Amen, Sean, Amen.

    To Ron:

    If I was searching for my black handbag and I found it, how dumb would I be to continue to search for it? Anything else I found after that would be an error. Just be satisfied with the truth as revealed by God and don’t keep looking for you will not find truth, but lies.

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    • @Faith:
      I am not sure how to respond using your analogy. I just wish it were that easy. The problem is the confusion. Maybe it is like you finding your purse and someone else claiming it was theirs. It would take some investigation to prove your point.

      A wise man once told me if you are confused, it is most likely that someone is lying.

      So maybe you are satisfied with the simple Bible description of creation, and that is OK. Nobody wants to unsettle your faith. In that case the evolution discussion isn’t addressing your needs.

      But there are others, particularly those who examine nature closely, who have questions. They are confused, and it takes some investigation to figure out who is lying.

      I wish it were as simple as saying, just take the Bible at it’s word. It obviously means ____________. But the problem with that is that the Bible is often, and easily misunderstood. The very existence of the Seventh-day Adventist church is predicated on the idea that we have a new understanding of Bible truth that either hadn’t been discovered before, or had been previously misunderstood.

      You can’t go around preaching that people have misunderstood the Bible for hundreds of years, and then all of a sudden say, just believe the Bible the way it reads. The very fact that you claim many people have misunderstood the Bible in other areas, raises suspicion that we might not understand the Bible in this area also.

      So it takes investigation to figure it out. Do we really understand the Bible properly?
      Do we really understand Science properly?
      Is there some third way to harmonize what appears to be discrepancies that we have just not discovered yet?

      In order to have that discussion, we need people to take various positions and argue them out so that everyone can eventually be convinced. It is a necessity that a believer will argue an opposing side, just to clarify their reasoning and strengthen the argument for Truth. But if you sanction anyone who tries to do that, then it is impossible to have the discussion and confusion and doubt remain.

      You may say, “Well, the church already had these Creation Conferences, and we already have a consensus, so now it is OK to enforce our beliefs.” But this actually reinforces the points I am making.

      There is a widely held opinion among the participants and observers of the Creation Conferences that it was not a free and open discussion, but that the outcome was pre-determined and enforced by the church clergy. The result is that people remain unconvinced.

      This is a problem as I see it. To the extent that the discussion is contaminated by prejudice, fear, and coercion, or lacks transparency, the outcome is suspect and unconvincing. The outcome could be absolutely true, and it could be exactly the same as what would result from a free and transparent process, but the fact that the process is contaminated, makes it impossible to have faith in the outcome.
      You will never achieve the desired result of having a group of people who are truly convinced and convincing.

      That is why we are losing the battle over evolution in the minds of our young people. It isn’t because teachers teach evolution, it is because they see that the church is afraid to allow the discussion. The natural conclusion is that if the church is afraid to allow the discussion, the church’s arguments must be weak. Because a strong argument, doesn’t need outside coercion. It can stand on it’s own. Truth always outs in the end.

      So, again, going back to the idea that if you are confused, someone must be lying, one of the ways you detect lying, is by an effort to hide. To restrict discussion. To enforce belief through threat or coercion. So when the students see that the church is afraid to engage in discussion and is using force or intimidation to enforce belief, then the natural conclusion is that the church must be lying.

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      • @Ron: The problem is confusion, Ron, but you’re the only one who is confused. The church isn’t afraid of the discussion; to the contrary, the church would love it if the professors at La Sierra would have a discussion of creation vs. evolution, or the strengths and weaknesses of both theories. But that isn’t happening. In fact, when Lee Greer agreed with the creationist Trustees and Larry Blackmer at AAA that the LSU biology faculty would teach creationism not as science but as the Adventist faith position, he was commended by LSU and praised, and offered tenure.

        . . . oh, wait a minute. That’s not what happened. When Lee Greer agreed to teach creation (even though he personally is not a creationist) he was fired for it. Yup, that’s right. For moving just a little bit in the direction of compromise with the SDA Church, Lee Greer was fired. That’s how entrenched is LSU’s rebellion against, and hatred for, the SDA Church.

        Frankly, at this point I’m more in favor of LSU being cut off from the SDA Church than in favor of continued efforts to redeem it. Cut off the tithe subsidy, take the (largely useless) church officials off the board, and make it clear to the SDA world that LSU is no longer affiliated with the Adventist Church. That’s what Fritz Guy and Larry Garity and Randal Wisbey and many other conspirators have been working for all these years (and decades) and it is long past time for them to have their way. Ichabod.

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  57. You may not like the paradox but you can not deny it or its implications.

    We agree that God gives His moral beings free will. He also expresses by way of commandments how the free will must choose if on going eternal life is to be maintained.

    If you choose to rebel and be lost, then it is God’s will that you will be lost. God honors your freedom to choose and will not over turn it.

    Yet, the bible says, “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

    Is God willing that any should perish? Yes, those who refuse to repent will surely perish and God is not only willing that they should perish, but participates in the execution of the sinner.

    So, God’s “will” must be understood from more than one perspective. God’s best and desired will is that a sinner would repent. None the less, if the sinner does not repent, it is God’s will that they should perish. Because God has willed that the sinner’s will can trump God’s desired will and in such a case, God wills that they should perish. Even though, He could keep them alive forever.

    This is not so difficult to comprehend if you are “willing” to carefully consider the issue and its implications.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      You may not like the paradox but you can not deny it or its implications.

      But I do deny your artificial paradox where God is somehow responsible for causing both good and evil. That God caused the rebellion of Lucifer and Pharaoh, and all others who follow the path of evil.

      We agree that God gives His moral beings free will. He also expresses by way of commandments how the free will must choose if on going eternal life is to be maintained.

      That’s right. But this does not mean that God causes or is in any other way responsible for the actual choice of the freewill agent.

      If you choose to rebel and be lost, then it is God’s will that you will be lost. God honors your freedom to choose and will not over turn it.

      Yes, but it was not God’s will that anyone would actually choose to be lost or to rebel against His will in the first place.

      Yet, the bible says, “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

      That’s right. God wills that all should choose the path of life, not death. The fact that there are those who will freely choose to walk the path of death is contrary to God’s will for them. The fact that He also wills to uphold the choices that free will agents choose, even if they deliberately choose self-destruction, does not change the fact that He never willed anyone to make this choice.

      Is God willing that any should perish? Yes, those who refuse to repent will surely perish and God is not only willing that they should perish, but participates in the execution of the sinner.

      You’re confused. God is not willing that anyone should choose to perish. However, there are those who choose contrary to God’s will – who actually choose to perish. In honoring their choice, in letting the wicked choose death instead of life, God is not somehow happy about their choice. He is never willing that anyone should make such a choice… though He is, ultimately, willing to honor the free will choices that are made – even those that go against His will.

      So, God’s “will” must be understood from more than one perspective. God’s best and desired will is that a sinner would repent.

      That’s right. That is always His will.

      None the less, if the sinner does not repent, it is God’s will that they should perish. Because God has willed that the sinner’s will can trump God’s desired will and in such a case, God wills that they should perish. Even though, He could keep them alive forever.

      Just because God wills to uphold the final will and decision of the wicked does not mean that God also willed them to have rebelled to begin with or to have refused His repeated offers for pardon. God never wills nor is He in any way responsible for the rebellion of the sinner or any of the acts of those who are acting contrary to His desire for all to turn to the path of light and life.

      Also, ironically, it is the sinner’s will to perish rather than continue on in a life of suffering and pain – a life that is borrowed from the one he/she hates. It is an act of mercy, on the part of God, to allow the sinner to die. It is not a willful act for God. He does not desire or take pleasure in the death of the wicked. Again, He never willed their rebellion or the final condition to which such rebellion will eventually lead.

      This is not so difficult to comprehend if you are “willing” to carefully consider the issue and its implications.

      I have considered this issue long and hard for many years. I’m sorry, but I don’t think you’re understanding the implications of what you’re saying – of a God who is both good and evil, of a God who causes rebellion and then punishes people for doing what He caused them to do. That’s evil Bill. There is no getting around this conclusion by claiming that a “paradox” somehow makes it Ok…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean, I don’t think Bill is saying that God causes evil, and I certainly am not saying that. What I am trying to say, I think can be encapsulated in your phrase: “Just because God wills to uphold the final will and decision of the wicked. . . . ”

        Again, it is a matter of perspective. Take the perspective you have just expressed up one notch. You have to ask, “Why did God choose to uphold the final will of the wicked?” Presumably God had a choice, He didn’t have to do that. My contention is that He did it for a very good reason. That, that outcome, the result of the decisions of the wicked, was one, only one of the many contingencies included in God’s overall plan to deal with sin.

        When I say that Adam’s sin was within the bounds of God’s will, I am not trying to excuse Adam, or blame God. I am trying to say that, sin, or no sin, Adam is still in a relationship with God. God did not abandon Adam when Adam sinned. Instead God became “Emmanuel”, God with us. God had a plan for dealing with Adam’s sin, and it was a good plan, not an evil plan, and that THIS life, the one you and I are living now, is still a GOOD life that has meaning and value.

        It does not only have value as a stepping stone to the next life. It has meaning and value NOW, as it is.

        And here is where I think I am going to stretch your beliefs a little; I think life would have meaning and value even if there were no after life. In fact, I believe even the worst sinner’s life has meaning and value. If for no other reason than to provide a negative example of what not to do.

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        • @Ron:

          Sean, I don’t think Bill is saying that God causes evil, and I certainly am not saying that.

          Why then do you seem to argue that God is the one who is responsible for all forms of evolution? – to include genetic mutations that cause childhood leukemia? That’s evil Ron. Yet, God is the one who came up with it? Hmmmm?

          You see, we’re back to square one. You claim that Darwinian evolution is simply a tool that God created that allows for change over time so that animals could adapt to new environments. While Mendelian variation is certainly based on a pre-programmed ability to change over time (without the underlying gene pool changing), Darwinian evolution is based on novel genetic mutations to the genome – the vast majority of which are harmful to the gene pool. Yet, God is responsible for it all?

          Again, it is a matter of perspective. Take the perspective you have just expressed up one notch. You have to ask, “Why did God choose to uphold the final will of the wicked?” Presumably God had a choice, He didn’t have to do that. My contention is that He did it for a very good reason. That, that outcome, the result of the decisions of the wicked, was one, only one of the many contingencies included in God’s overall plan to deal with sin.

          Again, as I’ve explained many many times now, just because God has a plan does not mean that He caused or is in any other way responsible for the existence of sin. Foreknowledge of sin is not the same thing as causing or willing sin to exist… like leukemia in children.

          Also, Eve was not some brave heroin stepping out to explore the unknown according to the will of God. Her act was an act of selfishness; an attack on God. Sure, God had a plan to save both Adam and Eve all ready to go. However, this does not mean that God wanted to have to use His plan. He did not want to have to use His plan.

          When I say that Adam’s sin was within the bounds of God’s will, I am not trying to excuse Adam, or blame God.

          Again, you should not say that the rebellion of Adam and Eve was “within the bounds of God’s will”. This gives the impression that God wanted it to happen. While it is true that God does in fact will freedom to exist, it is not true that God wills or desires anyone to rebel against His will. That’s not true at all.

          Also, if you’re not trying to blame God for the existence of evil, why do you claim that God is responsible for the evolution of life over billions of years on this planet via a very painful mechanism of “survival of the fittest”? – that God deliberately and directly creates all genetic mutations and uses natural selection to produce untold suffering and death for countless sentient creatures? How is this not blaming God for the evil that exists on this planet?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  58. BobRyan: Do we really want to promote evolutionism as a denomination – and pay for it?

    No, but we do want to promote the DISCUSSION of evolution, and that is what they are doing. Discussing evolution and promoting evolution are not necessarily the same thing.

    You can’t have a discussion under threat of coercion, so threatening discussion participants is against the church’s primary interest.

    Besides, it is morally wrong.

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    • @Ron:

      This isn’t about the discussion of evolution. Neo-Darwinism should be discussed in our schools. The problem is that the neo-Darwinian perspective is being promoted as “true” in our schools while the Adventist perspective is being actively undermined…

      No organization can long withstand such active subversive activity from paid representatives…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  59. Ron: Guy and Bull are responsibility discussing an issue that many people both in and out of the church have concerns about. I think our church wants to support efforts to understand how to. reconcile the Bible and science. I don’t think we should support a church that tries to suppress the search for truth. I believe what is happening here is wrong, and immoral to the point that I can not in good conscience pay tithe to the regular tithe fund. I recommend sending your tithe to the local church only, or to other charities in protest.

    There are many ways to support blind-faith-evolutionism of the style that was promoted at LSU.

    Those who “want to see more of that stuff” going on — may consider the solution you propose.

    Those who want to see less of it – may consider actively supporting the church instead of your suggestion.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  60. Ervin&#032Taylor:
    Ron is attempting to reason with generally unreasonable individuals.He is to be lauded for his attempts despite the likelyhood to essential certainty that his efforts will be disregarded. His comments would be well received at Adventist Today and Spectrum.

    I agree. Ron would fit in very well over on Spectrum and AT and he would be very well received.

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  61. Ron:
    @Faith:

    I am perplexed thatin the same paragraphyou try to absolveGod of responsibility for evil events,and in the sameparagraph, as part of your explanationyou say that “God allowed”.Don’t you see that in order someoneto “allow ” anything, that person first has to have the ability,as well as the authority to stop it.You even gave a reason for God to allow evil,”so we could see the evil consequences and be convinced”.How is that differentthan what I have been saying?We are describing the same proverbial elephantfrom just slightly different perspectives,useing slightly different words.

    It sounds like, from your reasoning, that Jesus SHOULD have been killed on the Cross, since He “allowed” us to sin. It was really HIS fault, and He deserved all the suffering and death. Maybe we don’t really “need” Him at all?

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    • @Holly Pham:
      Yes, Holly, I believe Jesus was compelled to make the sacrifice He did by His love for us. In fact that His decision to proceed with creation in light of His full knowledge of the sin that would happen morally obligated Him to rescue us. But the compelling and obligation arose from within His own nature and the nature of love. For example, I don’t see how a loving person could choose to create a situation that they absolutely knew with absolute certainty would result in innocent people being thrown into the Holocaust and still remain loving if they did not have a way to rescue the holocaust victims.

      The fact that Jesus did create, and that He did find a way to rescue the holocaust victims (and I mean at the time of, and during the holocaust, not in some abstract future heavenly life, see Betsy’s testimony just before she died in “The Hiding Place”, and Dr. Fankl’s book) proves that He is loving. If He had not done so, I think humanity would have concluded rightly that God was not loving. Had Jesus not come to die, Satan would have won his argument, but Jesus DID come and die.

      But those statements I just made only refer to God and His nature, and His responsibility. It says nothing about the responsibility of Adam and Eve, Hitler, or you and I.

      Everyone, Satan, Adam and Eve, Hitler, you and I, are all individually responsible for our own decisions. It is OUR decisions that define our character and it is OUR decisions for which we are responsible. So, the only way to hold sinners accountable, and say that Sin is truly sinful, is to uphold the meaning of the word “responsible” by affirming that God Himself is responsible.

      You can’t hold sinner’s or Satan responsible if you gut the meaning of “responsible” by denying that God is responsible. God IS responsible, and it is the cross that proves that He is in fact, responsible. (If you can find a text in the Bible where God denies responsibility for anything, please let me know.)

      See Job 42:8. Note that God claims responsibility for Satan’s work in Job’s life. Job’s whole argument in the preceding book was that God was treating Him unfairly, while Job’s friend’s were defending God. Here God confesses that Job was infact treated unfairly, and God claims responsibility for it. If God, by His own confession is guilty of treating Job unfairly, or even as a sovereign allowing Job to be treated unfairly by Satan, then God IS guilty, and deserves the same punishment that is inflicted on any other guilty person. But note that God incurred guilt in the process of trying to save us, and the rest of the universe, from the lies of Satan. God had to do some unseemly things in order to unmask Satan. So that is the meaning of the phrase, “He became sin for us”. In order to save us, He had to take our sin upon Himself, and He had to suffer our death.

      If He did not take responsibility for our sin, then His death had no meaning. You cannot satisfy the demands of justice by punishing an innocent victim, even if that victim is God. Punishing an innocent victim only adds more guilt to the crime. The only way we can be Justified through Christ, is if Christ takes responsibility for us.

      In effect, Jesus is saying to the rest of the universe, “Yes, I know they sinned, and yes, that makes them truly evil, but they sinned ignorantly, with incomplete knowledge. Don’t worry about it. I will take responsibility for them. If they do any harm to anyone else in the universe, credit it to my account, I pledge myself to make it right.” And He does. And that I think is the essence of the Investigative Judgement. The Universe is asking the question, did He do it? Did He live up to His promise and “make it right”? Have all claims against God and humanity been satisfied?

      To use the scientific analogy we have used previously, Satan made a claim about God’s character. Basically He asked the question, “If someone sins, how will God react? Will God still act in Love with the best interest of the OTHER at heart, or will He act against the SELFish-interest of the OTHER by removing or destroying the freedom of the OTHER in order to maintain His own integrity?” You see how this sets a trap for God? In order to answer the question SOMEONE has to chose to sin which means that SOMEONE would suffer the consequences of sin, something that God’s love would find intolerable. So, rather than letting His creatures do the experiment and suffer the consequences, God, in love, decided to spring the trap Himself. He gave man freedom. He allowed man and the rest of creation to ask the question, which Eve did when she took the apple, but then He took the responsibility for it Himself, and He, Himself paid the penalty. The only way Justice and Mercy can kiss, is if God takes responsibility and bears the punishment Himself.

      Now what about what Mrs. White says about Eve denying responsibility for her actions? Yes denial of her sin is itself evil. I won’t argue that. But there is another way to interpret that transaction.

      By looking at what motivates Eve’s denial, you can see fear. In essence she is saying “I am afraid. This punishment is too great for me, I can’t bear it.” And in unjustified hope, she says, “You take it.”

      And God, recognizing the fear that motivates the denial says, “Yes, my dear, of course I will. I will take the responsibility for it myself. I will be the one to bear the eternal consequences. You must only bear the temporary consequences.

      In this life, you will have to bear temporary pain and sorrow and death. But these will only be temporary, like the pain of childbirth. The pain and sorrow of this life will give birth to a new, eternal life with me. Don’t be afraid. I will be with you. Always. We will do this together.”

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  62. Ron: God created free will. Are you saying god is not responsible for His own decisions?

    I am saying that there is a level of indirection created by free will. The idea that God cannot come up with anything above a biochemical robot is very close to Calvinism but it is not the Arminian model that Adventists follow.

    The more robot the person – the more direct responsibility God has for what they do.

    The more “free will” the agent – (and correspondingly the more “free will” God intends to promote in His universe) the LESS direct control God can dictate.

    In a Godless free will universe – all bad choices would simply “play themselves out over time” no matter how slow and agonizing the demise of the system.

    Thank God – that is not the one we live in either.

    God has instead chosen to create and maintain a free will system “that has limits” — checks and balances on bad decisions, where He does not allow those bad decisions to ultimately ruin the peace and harmony in His Creation, but He DOES let them play themselves out for a very long time before amputating them.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  63. Here is what you said, Sean….

    “This is part of the reason why God’s choice to actually help us is so amazing – primarily because He was in no way obliged to do so… outside of His amazing love for us.”

    Notice, you added this rider…..”outside of His amazing love for us.”

    So, once again, I agree. God was under no “legal” obligation to save mankind, nor even to offer a way out of our dilemma.

    None the less, love has its own reasons and obligations that goes beyond what is “legal”.

    So, we may say to a mis-guided apartment owner who is about to evict a poor widow lady who is late on her rent.

    “You can’t do that.”

    Meaning, it would be immoral and less than ethical to do such a thing, especially if she could pay her rent in a few days.

    But the fact is, legally he can do that and still be within the law if it is in her lease.

    So, my final point is this, don’t try to over simplify a paradoxical problem with a limited application of some aspect of truth and then deny the paradox.

    I am not suggesting that truth is so complicated it is beyond all comprehension. I am suggesting that truth must be carefully examined and studied for the clearest meaning and application possible.

    And finally, most, if not all error, comes by way of limiting some biblical concept for the sake of trying to simplify so there is no possibility of mis-understanding. This is not possible. For no matter what is said or stated, there is always a counter-point that would seem to deny the original proposition.

    Only those who come with an open mind and willing heart will see the flowing continuity of bible truth. All the rest will always see contridiction that they feel can not be harmonized and thus deny the bible. Parallel and contrast is the secret of understanding most biblical concepts.

    By the way, the OT generally attributes everything to God both positive and negative. And this is not a false perception. But it must also be understood in light of God ordaining freedom in human choices and accountability.

    Thus, we are only as free, as God chooses for us to be. He is sovereign in the ultimate sense, and we are as sovereign as God ordains and controls the boundries.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:
      Bill, you spoke of ordaining and controlling the boundaries, and I agree with you on that. If that is true, then is it really possible for Man to leave the boundary of God’s will? If so, then it would seem that God is no longer truly in control, and the he is no longer truly God.

      The second question, thinking of the boundaries of God’s will like the fence around a playground, can God really be a good God if the choices available within the fence are not all good?

      If the choices are not all good, then either God is evil or he is an incompetent guardian.

      Without Christ’s atonement, I don’t see how God could be considered good, or man’s choice to be free. With Christ’s atonement, then it seem like in the end, both choices turn out to have OK endings.

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      I agree. God was under no “legal” obligation to save mankind, nor even to offer a way out of our dilemma.

      He was under no moral obligation to save us either. And, this is only possible if God is not at all responsible for our actions. If He were found to be responsible in any way for our actions, morally or legally, He would then be bound to “fix” them or in some other way make restoration.

      This wasn’t the case. God was not legally or morally obliged to save us. He only did it because He wanted to save us of His own free will – independent of any legal or moral obligation to us. He just loved and still loves us with a crazy sort of love.

      None the less, love has its own reasons and obligations that goes beyond what is “legal”.

      The very definition of love means that it is not obligated to do what it does. Love is often irrational from any other perspective. The same can be said for what God did to save us – completely irrational and way way over the top outside of the perspective of crazy love.

      So, we may say to a mis-guided apartment owner who is about to evict a poor widow lady who is late on her rent.

      “You can’t do that.”

      Meaning, it would be immoral and less than ethical to do such a thing, especially if she could pay her rent in a few days. But the fact is, legally he can do that and still be within the law if it is in her lease.

      You forget that this situation is not the situation that God was in. God was under no obligation of any kind to save us – not even a moral obligation.

      The situation is more like the parable that Jesus told where the people who had rented God’s land tried to steal God’s property. They abused the land and the people on it. They abused the rent collectors and messengers sent by God. Then, they even killed God’s only Son in an effort to steal the land from God. – Matthew 21:37

      Where is the moral obligation on the part of God here? God is not faced with evicting some poor innocent widow who is a bit behind on her rent. God is faced with sacrificing Himself for rebels who are out to steal and murder for what is rightfully His.

      What is amazing here is that, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. – Romans 5:8.

      So, my final point is this, don’t try to over simplify a paradoxical problem with a limited application of some aspect of truth and then deny the paradox.

      The only possible paradox here is God’s love for us scoundrels. That’s it. The rest of it is straightforward and logical – perfectly rational.

      By the way, the OT generally attributes everything to God both positive and negative. And this is not a false perception. But it must also be understood in light of God ordaining freedom in human choices and accountability.

      It is a false perception. To understand God in the best light possible, you must take the Bible as a whole – especially to include the New Testament view of God once God was more directly revealed to us in the life of Jesus.

      For example, consider the following account written in the Bible:

      But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses. – Exodus 9:12

      Then, in apparent contradiction, here’s a different perspective of the same event:

      Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When he treated them harshly, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way? – 1 Samuel 6:6

      This passage suggest that Pharaoh hardened his own heart while the first passage suggests that it was God who was actually responsible. Which one is correct?

      Here’s another similar example:

      Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.” – 2 Samuel 24:1

      It seems like God is the one who incited David to number his people. However, compare this with a different perspective of the very same event:

      Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. – 1 Chronicles 21:1

      So, who did the inciting? – Satan or God?

      Consider a few possibilities here. One possible solution is suggested by Bullinger, a Hebrew scholar, in his fourth list of idiomatic verbs dealing with active verbs that “were used by the Hebrews to express, not the doing of the thing, but the permission of the thing which the agent is said to do” (p. 823, emp. in orig.).

      To illustrate, in commenting on Exodus 4:21, Bullinger stated: ” ‘I will harden his heart (i.e., I will permit or suffer his heart to be hardened), that he shall not let the people go.’ So in all the passages which speak of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. As is clear from the common use of the same Idiom in the following passages” (1968, p. 823). He then listed Jeremiah 4:10, ” ‘Lord God, surely thou hast greatly deceived this people’: i.e., thou hast suffered this People to be greatly deceived, by the false prophets….’ ” Ezekiel 14:9 is also given as an example of this type of usage: ” ‘If the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet’: i.e., I have permitted him to deceive himself.”

      James MacKnight, in a lengthy section on biblical idioms, agrees with Bullinger’s assessment that in Hebrew active verbs can express permission and not direct action. This explanation unquestionably clarifies the question of God hardening Pharaoh’s heart. When the text says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, it means that God would permit or allow Pharaoh’s heart to be hardened.

      Of course, in the case of Pharaoh, it could reasonably be argued that “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart” in the sense that God provided the circumstances and the occasion for Pharaoh to be forced to make a decision. God sent Moses to place His demands before Pharaoh. Moses merely announced God’s instructions. God even accompanied His Word with miracles—to confirm the divine origin of the message (cf. Mark 16:20). Pharaoh made up his own mind to resist God’s demands. Of his own accord, he stubbornly refused to comply. Of course, God provided the occasion for Pharaoh to demonstrate his unyielding attitude. If God had not sent Moses, Pharaoh would not have been faced with the dilemma of whether to release the Israelites. So God was certainly the instigator and initiator. But He was not the author of Pharaoh’s defiance.

      http://www.apologeticspress.org

      Yet, you go on to write:

      Thus, we are only as free, as God chooses for us to be. He is sovereign in the ultimate sense, and we are as sovereign as God ordains and controls the boundries.

      The boundaries are indeed God’s responsibility. However, those actions that we are given liberty to freely choose are in fact our own responsibility. God has removed all responsibility for these actions from Himself to us. We are actually truly free to make certain kinds of decisions – choices and decisions that are completely our own to make. We cannot therefore blame God, in any sense, when we deliberately choose to go against Him and His express will for us.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  64. You see, sin is a form of insanity based on selfishness and personal pride. Don’t try to make it rational. Why would someone who knew better deliberately walk away from the path of truth? – knowing for a fact that their choice will cause terrible pain to themselves and others? There simply is no rational explanation for this sort of action. It makes no sense. It’s insane.

    Sean Pitman

    I don’t see all sin as a type of insanity at all. Many people commit sinful acts because they receive some type of personal pleasure, at least temporarily, from it.

    Pleasure, in the present, may be very “sane” if you’re really not sure of the future “reward” (pleasure) for not sinning. Sinning NOW may be very “rational” for many people.

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    • @Holly Pham:

      It is true that sin is not without its short term rewards – which often appear very attractive indeed. However, this does not mean that sin is perfectly rational either. If any rational excuse could be found for it, it would cease to be sin:

      Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin.

      – EGW, GC, p. 493

      Also, there is no “sin” where there is true and complete ignorance that the act in question is “wrong”. The act may in fact be wrong, but the person committing the act is not sinning if in a state of honest ignorance regarding the harmful consequences of the act. Personal sin is defined as an conscious rebellion against that which is known to be right, true, and good.

      Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. – John 9:41

      While there is certainly “the pleasure of sin for season”, the insanity of sin is in knowing, ahead of time, that the act is wrong and ultimately harmful to one’s self and to others – yet doing it anyway.

      Baalam’s life is a good example of this sort of insanity. He wrote:

      Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my end be like theirs! – Numbers 23:10

      He was shown in vision the Second Coming of Jesus and the reward of the righteous. He knew for a fact that what he was doing what wrong, but he chose to act contrary to what he knew was right for what he knew would be a very short-term gain in acting against the interests of God. This is insanity.

      This is the same thing that happened to Satan. He knew for a fact that what he was doing was wrong and what would be the final result. All of it was shown to him in detail. Yet, because of his pride, he chose what he knew was wrong and what would be the end result…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • @Sean Pitman:

        “or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin.”

        And herein lies the hope for fallen man. There IS a cause for Man’s sin that originates outside of man. Namely fear and confusion engendered by Satan’s lies. As a result, man has hope. Through Christ’s death on the cross, man is taught about the true nature of God, and his fears are allayed, and through the path of repentance and forgiveness, his sin changes from an act of rebellion to only an act of ignorance and fear.

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        • @Ron:

          Yes, the hope for man is that additional revelations of the nature and character of God will be attractive to man and the offer of salvation will then be accepted.

          This is not the case for Satan, the fallen angels, and the wicked at the end of time, however. No additional evidence of the goodness of God would bring them to their senses. They reject the light in the full knowledge that God’s way is the only right and good way. There is nothing further that God can do to save them…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  65. All the wicked are at some point convicted of their wrong at least on some points. Adam and Eve also were confronted with conviction – but they also “imagine” that they can get away with it. It is one thing to be convicted that having that extra piece of cake “is wrong” it is another thing to add “yes – but this one slice won’t kill me”.

    The “free will” aspect comes in to the degree that it “appears” you can make the choice without having a gun to your head telling you “oh no you can’t”.

    God is all knowing – that means He knows every decision , ever action He will take in the future. If I handed you a script for even ONE day and said you cannot do anything but what is on this page, you can not stray in the smallest detail from what is written here — you would argue that for that day – you had no free will.

    I agree that God has free will – but HOW He manages it in the context of “knowing it all ahead of time” is impossible to imagine, because that context allows for the least free will of all.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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    • @BobRyan:

      I agree that there are certain forms of force that would make rebellion against the will of God impossible. If sin were made completely repulsive, if it in no way appeared pleasurable to commit acts of rebellion (i.e., there were always immediate painful reprisals without any experience of pleasure), no one would sin.

      However, what is very strange about sin is that, eventually, the sinner comes to a point in sin where death seems more attractive than life. It is like the drug addict who desires another hit from the drug – even at the expense of family, fortune, personal health, and life itself. Ultimate self-destruction is consciously chosen rather than to accept God and the good life that God offers…

      The wicked will, ultimately, choose to remain wicked with a “gun to their head”. Knowing that the result of their choice is eminent death, at the end of time, they will still get up off of their knees, after just having acknowledged the righteousness of God, and choose death rather than life.

      The insanity of it all is that one will end up hating God, despite knowing that He is in the right, hating life, and loving death. They will choose to pull the trigger of the God and end it all rather than to keep on living…

      Satan also knew, ahead of time, in great detail, just where he was wrong. He knew the outcome of his actions. He knew for a fact that he would not “get away with it.” yet, because of his pride, he chose the path of sin anyway… knowing the final outcome.

      To argue that sin would only exist in ignorance is to try to excuse sin – to make it less insane than it really is. Sin is possible in the full light of the knowledge that it will result in great injury to one’s self and to others. That is was makes it so insane.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  66. Sean&#032Pitman:
    @Ron:

    There is a big difference between God allowing people to rebel against His will and God causing people to rebel against His will.

    Allowing rebellion is the only way to allow for freedom of choice.

    So then… if we bring this back around to the subject of this thread – God “allows” Guy and Bull to choose whatever they like. But God also holds the denomination responsible for how it spends its tithe dollars and who it chooses to employ.

    Do we really want to promote evolutionism as a denomination – and pay for it?

    Based on the GC2010 vote – I would say the answer is a resounding “no”.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  67. Sean comment on my post……


    But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses. – Exodus 9:12

    Then, in apparent contradiction, here’s a different perspective of the same event:

    Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When he treated them harshly, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way? – 1 Samuel 6:6

    This passage suggest that Pharaoh hardened his own heart while the first passage suggests that it was God who was actually responsible. Which one is correct?”

    They are both correct, Sean. And because you choose not to understand the paradox, you will never see scripture clearly.

    There are so many paradoxes in bible truth, I am somewhat amazed and even shocked you do not recognize them.

    Let me ask you….

    How is Jesus both God and man?

    God can’t sin. But man can. How then can we define Jesus from both perspectives?

    We can’t. We simply acknowledge the paradox by saying, “As a man, Jesus could sin, but as God, He could not.”

    Luther was converted when he grasped the paradox of truth and concluded, “We are both righteous and sinful at one and the same time.”

    How do you explain this concept Luther articualted? I understand it clearly. For EGW has well said, “In ourselves we are sinners, but in Christ we are righteous.”

    So, while God is responsible for sin in a secondary sense, all created beings are responsible for sin in the final sense.

    So, did God harden Pharoah’s heart? Absolutely. And how did He do this? By continually revealing the truth that Pharoah was rejecting. The more God revealed, the more Pharoah rejected it.

    Did God harden Pharoahs heart, or did Pharoah harden his own heart? The answer is both. None the less, Pharoah will be ultimately responsible for rejecting truth because he had no reason to reject it.

    And then you suggest the bible writers of the OT did not have a correct preception of God when they attributed everything to God both good and bad.

    You are backing yourself into a corner that you will find difficult to get out of.

    I suggest you take your time and re-think what you are saying and defending.

    God is ultimately sovereign and responsible for everything. Man is relatively sovereign and responsible for what God ordains man to be responsible for. And man is accountable for his own sin because God has created him in such a way that he can be held accountable. This Lucifer denied and still denies as well as all the lost who side with him.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      I’m sorry Bill, but God is not both good and evil. There is no paradox here. The Bible, taken as a whole, could not be more clear in explaining that God is in no way responsible for the origin or current activity of evil within those who have rebelled against His will. I don’t know why you reject very clear statements from both the Bible and Mrs. White in this regard?

      When Pharaoh hardened his heart on the first exhibition of God’s power, he made himself more capable of a second rejection of God’s power…

      In simplicity and truth we would speak to the impenitent in regard to the way in which men destroy their own souls. You are not to say that God is to blame, that he has made a decree against you. No, he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth, and to the haven of eternal bliss. No soul is ever finally deserted of God, given up to his own ways, so long as there is any hope of his salvation. God follows men with appeals and warnings and assurances of compassion, until further opportunities and privileges would be wholly in vain. The responsibility rests upon the sinner.

      Ellen White, R&H, February 1891 (Link)

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  68. Guy and Bull are responsibility discussing an issue that many people both in and out of the church have concerns about. I think our church wants to support efforts to understand how to. reconcile the Bible and science. I don’t think we should support a church that tries to suppress the search for truth. I believe what is happening here is wrong, and immoral to the point that I can not in good conscience pay tithe to the regular tithe fund. I recommend sending your tithe to the local church only, or to other charities in protest.

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    • @Ron:

      The SDA Church does support the search for truth – just not the denial of truth once it is revealed to us by God.

      Again, the Church simply cannot afford to pay everyone for every idea that may become popular outside of the Church’s primary goals and ideals. As with any viable organization, the SDA Church has certain basic organizational goals and ideals that it hopes to share with the world. If you are not in line with this basic ideals, that’s Ok… just don’t expect to get a paycheck from the Church when you go about trying to undermine these ideals.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  69. As a reminder this is relevant to the discussion because our differing views on evolution seem to arise out of our differing understanding of God’s immanence in sustaining His creation, and our differing views of God’s immanence inform how we view freedom of choice.

    Sean sees the universe functioning by natural law independent of God’s ongoing support. Therefore any significant evolution is unacceptable because it would discredit God as the Creator. God’s distance from His creation allows for Man to be freely evil without God having any responsibility.

    I on the other hand see God as being immanent in upholding His creation. As a result, for me evolution is OK, because it is the logical observation one would expect to see if God is still actively creating. Evolution for me is a way of affirming God as the creator whereas Sean’s position seems to deny God’s creative activity in our current world.

    The immanence of God in upholding His creation seems to place a greater moral and ethical burden on God by the presence of sin. I resolve this dilema through the atonement of Christ. God remains good even though he gives man a choice that causes pain and death in the short run because the burden of the choice ultimately falls on Christ, while to speak crudely, man is in a sense compensated for the pain God allows by ultimately attaining a higher status, and a closer union with God than would have been otherwise possible. Within this framework both choices remain valid choices given by a good and loving God from which Man can truly an honestly and freely chose. Both choices are within the boundaries and will of a good and loving God. Evil is truly evil, sin is truly sin, man is truly responsible for his choices, his choices are real choices, with real consequences, either good or bad, and God remains truly good, and truly sovereign.

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    • @Ron:

      Sean sees the universe functioning by natural law independent of God’s ongoing support. Therefore any significant evolution is unacceptable because it would discredit God as the Creator. God’s distance from His creation allows for Man to be freely evil without God having any responsibility.

      God is not “distant” from His creation just because He allows humans and other free will agents to choose to act contrary to His will. All of nature is dependent upon Him for existence. This does not mean, however, that everything that happens in nature is God’s will or under God’s direction.

      I on the other hand see God as being immanent in upholding His creation. As a result, for me evolution is OK, because it is the logical observation one would expect to see if God is still actively creating. Evolution for me is a way of affirming God as the creator whereas Sean’s position seems to deny God’s creative activity in our current world.

      Theistic evolution would be perfectly fine if it were not for certain facts of reality. One is that, as previously discussed, evolution produces far more harm than good. Even the very rare “good” mutations are limited in effect to very very low levels of functional complexity.

      Your perspective means that God is directly responsible for and actually causes all the bad “evolutionary” changes – like the mutations that result in cancer in children and the like. It is God who is the ultimate cause of evil itself.

      The immanence of God in upholding His creation seems to place a greater moral and ethical burden on God by the presence of sin.

      It makes God out to be a sort of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde character – completely schizophrenic. God simply does not work at odds with Himself like you’re suggesting.

      I resolve this dilema through the atonement of Christ. God remains good even though he gives man a choice that causes pain and death in the short run because the burden of the choice ultimately falls on Christ, while to speak crudely, man is in a sense compensated for the pain God allows by ultimately attaining a higher status, and a closer union with God than would have been otherwise possible. Within this framework both choices remain valid choices given by a good and loving God from which Man can truly an honestly and freely chose. Both choices are within the boundaries and will of a good and loving God. Evil is truly evil, sin is truly sin, man is truly responsible for his choices, his choices are real choices, with real consequences, either good or bad, and God remains truly good, and truly sovereign.

      Evil choices are never “within the boundary and will” of God. God never wills for anyone to do evil – never. It is always the will of God that we do that which is just and right. Those who choose an evil path are always walking outside of God’s desire and will for them. God allows for this because He has created us free moral agents with the ability to actually choose to reject Him and His will for us.

      Also, Jesus was not morally or legally bound to save humanity. He was in no way responsible for our moral Fall and therefore did not have to come and die for our sins in order to maintain His own goodness and moral standing.

      God also is not in any way required to “compensate” us for the pain we inflicted upon ourselves. We gain the gift of a closer walk with God, not because we deserve it or because somehow God is trying to compensate us for something that He did to us, but because of His completely unmerited grace and love for us…

      Such love is a mystery. That God would love those who in no way deserve His love, who are in active rebellion against Him and His will, is absolutely amazing. Not even the angels quite understand it. Yet, we are in fact beneficiaries of His crazy love for us, however mysterious, and for that I am deeply grateful…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  70. Ron: As I said before. I love God,

    Really?

    Ron: At a minimum, in today’s legal environment, God is guilty of aiding and abetting sin just by His act of creating this world.
    Beyond that, God is guilty of many “sins” by our standards. Killing Uzzah was 1st degree murder. The flood was genocide on a massive scale. As Israel’s ruler, He is guilty of crimes against humanity by instigating genocide, with many examples of His personal involvement. In Job He is responsible for inciting, Satan to kill Job’s children and servants, and He didn’t even apologize! At least after the flood, He had the decency to say He was sorry and that He would never do that again, but then He DID do it again, albeit on a smaller scale with the Egyptian army during the exodus. But “never mind, that is only a small lie, a minimization of the truth at worst. He didn’t really destroy the whole world again.”
    The most horrible thing to me actually, is what he did to Issac when God told Abraham to go sacrifice Issac on the mountain top. That is just unimaginable child abuse. I am horrified to even think about it. It used to give me nightmares as a kid. The second most horrible thing that He did, was to consent to the murder of His own son. What kind of a father. . . . . ?

    Here you accuse God of murder and child abuse etc.–that’s love?

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    • @Faith:

      Yes. Perhaps I am as insane as most children are who still love an abusive parent. But I don’t think so. If you consider everything I wrote, you will see that it is in the context of a God who is responding constructively to our human condition. I think that the fact that the people of the Old Testament accepted this behavior as acceptable, and we consider it criminal to be evidence that Christ has been successful in putting enmity against evil into our hearts, that Jesus did in fact overcome the devil at the cross, and that his continued ministry in heaven on our behalf, and the instruction of the Holy Spirit is in fact being effective. Here is the evidence.

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      • @Ron:

        Again, Ron, you see things as getting progressively better instead of progressively worse–the same as with evolution. How is that possible? Can’t you see how everything is going from bad to worse in this planet? Don’t you see the polution, crime, violence, and evil growing? If we were not going to be rescued from all this by the Second Coming, we would eventually destroy all life on this planet. That is just the natural consequence of sin.

        Business men (whether knowingly or not) kill thousands of people every year (not to mention the earth itself) by producing toxic products. The military is constantly plotting death and destruction to its enemies. Rulers routinely make decisions that negatively affect their subjects. These are the results of sinful, selfish man making decisions that produce baleful results. Nothing is getting better.

        And just to point out, yet again, that you consider God an “abusive parent” yet you claim to love Him? It just doesn’t add up.

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      • @Ron:

        If God were in fact guilty of the things you accuse Him of, there would be no rational justification. If God directly caused cancer in children, or the murder of untold millions of innocent victims at the wave of His hand; if God where the bloodthirsty villain that you describe, He would be, by His very nature, irredeemably schizophrenic and evil. How can it be remotely “good” to directly cause such evil and then to place hatred against such evil in our hearts? This would be the height of evil manipulation and game playing by a very twisted mind…

        If such were in fact the case, you would indeed be like an abused child or spouse who refuses the leave the abuser.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  71. Sean&#032Pitman: You mean God does not cease to create good things just because evil is present. However, just because God makes good things to appear within Satan’s realm does not therefore mean that God is the one who created all the bad things as well. He simply allows them to exist for a time, to function according to the basic laws of nature, while He works to resolve the sin problem once and for all.

    I agree with you here, Sean. EGW talks about how God is blamed for natural disasters as well as personal ones, but it is really Satan who is behind it all. As I have stated before, God allows the fruits of sin to show themselves, otherwise the universe (and especially earthlings) would not be able to see what sin is really all about.

    In my opinion, babies born with leukemia, as well as other cancers, are not specifically targeted by God. The reality is that the sinful habits of the parents are often passed on to the children (how many mothers smoke and drink and do pot and other drugs–even prescription drugs–while pregnant?)–not to mention that even before birth children are exposed to environmental toxins.

    For example, I have relatives that own large farms (11.5 sections with each section being 640 acres)on the prairies. There seems to be a higher than average incidence of leukemia and other cancers in that area. I would be willing to bet that it is due to exposure to the sprays they are putting on the fields–the fields that provide our food as well.

    Then there are all the chemicals that go into the production of things we use everyday. Look at the BPA that was present in a lot of plastics–including baby products like baby bottles. These tiny little beings can’t absorb the amount of toxins an adult can without serious problems. When the pregnant mom ingests BPA in her food, the baby gets it as well.

    Coffee, a commonly used drug, especially effects infants. There was a time about 30 years ago when women were going on a coffee diet to lose weight after the birth of their children, which meant they pretty well ate nothing but drank lots of coffee. Many of these moms were nursing their infants on this diet. Since it takes a baby about 3 days to get rid of the caffeine from it’s system, while it takes adults a few hours, babies died of apparent crib death, when in actual fact I think you will find they died of caffeine poisoning. Not God’s fault–just the sad consequences of sin.

    And, too, there is a certain amount of inherited weakness that gets greater as the generations go on, which, I believe, is what Bill is referring to.

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    • @Faith:

      I am perplexed that in the same paragraph you try to absolve God of responsibility for evil events, and in the same paragraph, as part of your explanation you say that “God allowed”. Don’t you see that in order someone to “allow ” anything, that person first has to have the ability, as well as the authority to stop it. You even gave a reason for God to allow evil, “so we could see the evil consequences and be convinced”. How is that different than what I have been saying? We are describing the same proverbial elephant from just slightly different perspectives, useing slightly different words.

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      • @Ron:

        There is a big difference between God allowing people to rebel against His will and God causing people to rebel against His will.

        Allowing rebellion is the only way to allow for freedom of choice. Preventing all rebellion would be equivalent to the removal of the option for free will.

        If God were responsible for directly causing the act(s) of rebellion against Himself, that would simply be schizophrenic on the part of God – like making His toys fight against each other for personal entertainment. That’s not a view of human freedom. That’s a perverted view of God’s nature and character.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • @Ron:

        Sorry, Ron, I don’t see our positions as even close.

        You align yourself with Satan, who is an accuser of the brethren, and go one step further in accusing God of evil actions. I would never do that. I know God as a just and merciful parent.

        Sometimes a parent will stand back and allow his child to take the natural consequences of their actions to teach them that the wrong choice leads to unpleasant results. That is precisely the same as God is doing right now. He is not interfering because if He did the lesson would not be learned.

        The point is, if God had played interference every time Satan wanted to destroy, hurt, or injure, we would never see the natural consequences of sin or the wicked nature of Satan.

        As much as it hurts God to see His creation suffer, He has to step back and let sin come to maturity, so that no one will ever want it to arise again. That is His chosen solution to the sin problem because He knows infinitely more than we do, and He knows that it is the best possible solution. He tenderly deals with all Creation, in that He allows us to see for ourselves the revolting results of sin. This will be a lesson for the entire Universe forever and ever.

        I long for the time that sin will be purged from the Universe. I long for heaven with its perfect peace. I have no desire to know sin and I know that God will not let it arise again, once this horrible experiment is over. Praise His name.

        Frankly, Ron, I don’t understand your way of thinking. You affirm Eve’s choice–yet it led to the very thing that you hold against God–the death of your father. Without Eve’s disobedience that never would have happened; we would not be subject to death at all on this planet. Do you think the knowledge of sin was worth that?

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  72. A free will system thrives to the extent that those in it are not “all knowing”.

    Imagine for a minute you are walking from one room to the next in your home and your pathway is lined by red-hot stove eyes all along the path and the walls so that you only have one very narrow path in which to walk. You would complain that you “have no choice” in the path that you choose to take – because every deviation from the narrow path brings you instant pain.

    The only reason you do not see your choices in life that way – is because you are not all-knowing and so you do not know the true consequence of every decision you might make. So it “appears” to you that you can make a great many decisions with no ill-consequences at all.

    You can’t see far enough in the future nor follow the chain of cause-and-effect carefully enough to even be aware of all the choices/options that are in fact non-options.

    Those who suggest that God should jump in and chop off someone’s finger each time they make a wrong move – are not thinking it through. He is working on a free will system – and willing to pay a high price for it.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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    • @BobRyan:

      Free will is not dependent upon limited knowledge. God is omniscient, yet He also has free will.

      What is strange about the rebellion of Lucifer is that he rebelled in the full light and knowledge that he was in fact wrong. He knew that he was wrong. He knew the eternal consequences to himself and others. Yet, he chose to continue in his rebellion anyway.

      His disaffection was proved to be without cause, and he was made to see what would be the result of persisting in revolt. Lucifer was convinced that he was in the wrong. He saw that “the Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works” (Psalm 145:17); that the divine statutes are just, and that he ought to acknowledge them as such before all heaven. Had he done this, he might have saved himself and many angels. He had not at that time fully cast off his allegiance to God. Though he had left his position as covering cherub, yet if he had been willing to return to God, acknowledging the Creator’s wisdom, and satisfied to fill the place appointed him in God’s great plan, he would have been reinstated in his office. The time had come for a final decision; he must fully yield to the divine sovereignty or place himself in open rebellion. He nearly reached the decision to return, but pride forbade him. It was too great a sacrifice for one who had been so highly honored to confess that he had been in error, that his imaginings were false, and to yield to the authority which he had been working to prove unjust.

      EGW, PP, p. 39

      You see, sin is a form of insanity based on selfishness and personal pride. Don’t try to make it rational. Why would someone who knew better deliberately walk away from the path of truth? – knowing for a fact that their choice will cause terrible pain to themselves and others? There simply is no rational explanation for this sort of action. It makes no sense. It’s insane.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean , this view of free will seems to make god an incompetent Creator since His creation is insane, or an incompetent physician /psychiatrist because he can’t administer the correct dose of Haldol, or an incompetent policeman who can’t protect innocent civilians from the crazy person. There has to be a better explanation somewhere.

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        • @Ron:

          For free will to exist, there has to be at least the potential for the created free will agent to choose that which is contrary to the Will of God – that which is actually insane. If you limited the actions of the free will agent to only those things which are “sane” that would make sin an impossible decision. That would remove both freedom and the potential for true love…

          True freedom is risky… it caries with it the risk of those given freedom will misuse it. They may actually chose to be insane.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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    • @BobRyan:

      Bob, it seems like this view of free will only turns God into an incompetent teacher at best, and an evil, malicious teacher at worst. How can you trust either a God, or a teacher that would put an innocent in such a dangerous situation ?

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      • @Ron:

        Free will by definition has to be able to incur risk – or you simply are stalled at “glorified robot level”.

        Are you upset that they were given the free will to make a choice that had risk – or are you thinking that the command “eat from these trees – and not from that tree” was too complex at that early stage?

        Are you thinking that they did not have the skills – not to eat from the wrong tree?

        in Christ,

        Bob

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  73. Bill&#032Sorensen: Your view would make God responsible to do something about their dilemma. He was not. And thus, what He did was solely grace.

    And what kind of a gracious person would not feel obligated to help someone in need? That is the definition of gracious. You can’t be gracious if you don’t feel obligated by the goodness of your own heart. God is obligated because His own nature obligates Him.

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    • @Ron:

      The point is that God was not morally obliged to save the human race. No one would have thought the less of Him if He chose not to sacrifice Himself, at infinite cost, to save humanity. In fact, the cost of our salvation was so extravagant that the rest of the universe stood amazed, even shocked, that God would actually stoop so low, and pay such a high price, for what seemed to be of so little value in comparison.

      Your argument that His own character obliged Him to act on our behalf does not remove the fact that this was not a moral obligation due to any original fault in providing adequate knowledge to Adam and Eve to begin with. God was always clearly in the right, morally speaking. Adam and Eve were clearly in the wrong without any rational argument for what they did or any reasonable plea for their own redemption.

      In fact, the lack of any apparently rational reason for God to do what He did makes what He did in saving us so utterly remarkable and mysterious… the reason it will be our “science and song” throughout eternity…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  74. Bill&#032Sorensen: That God can and will use sin to His own advantage is no reason to assume it was an absolute necessity and that Satan did God a favor by introducing sin

    No, I agree with you. What Satan did was and is evil. There is no excuse for it.

    And remember that there is a difference between Satan who sinned in the full light of God’s presence and refused to repent even when He was CONVINCED of his error, and Adam and Eve who were deceived. I think a good God would have an obligation to help someone who was deceived that he wouldn’t have for someone who was acting premeditated in full knowledge.

    If I deceived you into doing something that resulted in the death of someone, you would still be guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but you would not be guilty of premeditated murder. Some juries might even find you innocent.

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    • @Ron:

      If I deceived you into doing something that resulted in the death of someone, you would still be guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but you would not be guilty of premeditated murder.

      Adam and Eve were not deceived with regard to what they knew was right. They knew that God had told them not to eat of the Forbidden Tree. They knew that God was their Creator and that He had given then abundant evidences of His love and care for them. God had provided far far more evidence of His trustworthiness and love than had the Serpent.

      Therefore, it wasn’t due to a lack of evidence on God’s part that Eve was deceived and Adam, though not deceived as to the true identity of the Serpent, was also lost.

      This is what makes their rebellion so evil – they deliberately rebelled against what they knew was true and right because of their own selfish desires. Where Eve was deceived is in thinking that she might actually get away with doing what she knew was wrong. Because of her selfish desire to “be like God”, which she really believed she could be and that God was trying to prevent her from gaining such elevated status, she acted against God.

      The argument that additional revelations of God’s character, together with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, has the potential to restore the broken relationship between God and man, while true, does not take away from the fact that there was no original fault on God’s part, or lack of evidence provided, that makes what Eve did rational or “good” in any sense of the word. Although ignorant of the full consequences of her act, Eve was not ignorant of the fact that what she was doing was hateful against God and all that He had done for her. This is what made what she did so evil… not at all an act to be commended as you have done. Adam and Eve were not heroes stepping out boldly and bravely for some noble purpose. They were acting selfishly for their own benefit against the interests of God – and they knew it.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  75. Bill&#032Sorensen: Adam and Eve as well as the rest of the redeemed will always have only an ADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE for all eternity

    Agreed, but it will be ADEQUATE. After the cross the knowledge is adequate for most, but not all. It doesn’t become adequate for all until the investigative judgement is finished. That was the whole point of the Great Controversy, to give the Universe adequate knowledge of Good and Evil, i.e. the difference between God and Satan.

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    • @Ron:

      No. The universe had enough knowledge before the Fall of Lucifer, and mankind, to trust God. There was never any rational reason for anyone to rebel against God.

      Just because God has and continues to provide even more evidence of the goodness of His character and His laws does not therefore mean that knowledge was originally inadequate to trust Him. If this argument were actually true, none of rebellious angels could reasonable be accused of sin or any kind of evil. Sin only exists when the one in rebellion consciously knows, on at least some level, that what is being done is morally wrong… that there really is no rational excuse for the rebellion.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  76. Consider the following comments from the E.G.. White Estate regarding the origin of disease, suffering and death:

    Suffering, other than sickness due to neglect of physical laws, is also caused by Satan and not the deliberate intervention of God. On many occasions she reinforced the teaching of Jesus on this point…

    Her teachings regarding the cause of death, as well as suffering, flowed from the big picture of the great controversy between God and Satan:

    “It is true that all suffering results from the transgression of God’s law, but this truth had become perverted. Satan, the author of sin and all its results, had led men to look upon disease and death as proceeding from God—as punishment arbitrarily inflicted on account of sin… Sickness, suffering, and death are [the] work of an antagonistic power. Satan is the destroyer; God is the restorer.”

    Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 471. and The Ministry of Healing, p. 113

    http://www.whiteestate.org/books/mol/Chapt7.html

    So, again, neither the Bible nor Mrs. White see diseases, like childhood leukemia, as being the result of a deliberate act or intervention of God…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  77. Ron, in our discussion, along with Sean’s comments, we should at least see that sin has two factors.

    1. Rebellion.
    2. Ignorance.

    Your view is that ignorance is the major factor in sin and thus, in the end, God is responsible for Eve’s actions.

    I personally would agree with you if ignorance were the major factor. But it is not. Rebellion is the major factor, and rebellion is what you do, even when you know it is wrong.

    Samuel said, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft….” It is often equated with self deception. Sometimes, it is equated with willing deception. It is never a necesssary and unavoidable deception.

    But this is how you would describe the sin of Eve. And the bible does not support your conclusion.

    While there is always some aspects of ignorance in every sin, and thus some sins are called “sins of ignorance” because the major factor is not rebellion, the damning sin of eternal loss is not ignorance, but rebellion.

    And rebellion in the case of Adam and Eve was beyond the elements of ignorance. They deliberately disobeyed (especially Adam) even when he was fully aware of what he was doing.

    The devil will never admit that his sin or anyone elses is blatant rebellion. He may even acknowledge ignorance as a factor, and in so doing, like yourself, claims the ultimate blame is on God.

    “To the very close of the controversy in heaven, the great usurper continued to justify himself. When it was announced that with all his sympathizers he must be expelled from the abode of bliss, then the rebel leader boldly avowed his contempt for the Creator’s law. He denounced the divine statutes as a restriction of their liberty, and declared that it was his purpose to secure the abolition of law. With one accord, Satan and his host threw the blame of their rebellion wholly upon Christ, declaring that if they had not been reproved, they would never have rebelled.” {CTr 16.3}

    Sin originated when Lucifer conceived a false view of himself, who he was, and the self value he preceived of his own importance.

    If you read the whole chapter in the GC on how sin came into being, you will see that she states there was a point when Lucifer knew he was wrong, but still refused to repent. Just as the religious leaders at the time of Christ knew they were wrong.

    So, was there still some element of ignorance in their sin? Yes. But it was not the primary element.

    Ron, if you continue to hold your position, you will eventally side with Satan and blame God, not only for allowing sin, but creating the scenario where sin was necessary.

    God’s permissive will is not God’s desired will. Neither can we appeal to God’s permissive will to accuse Him of being responsible for sin.

    Only if we do not have adequate information and enlightenment to make the right decision, could we accuse God of originating sin. Adam and Eve both had adequate information, and thus, there was not need for them to sin. Their sin was more akin to rebellion than ignorance, even if some elements of ignorance were present.

    Bill Sorensen

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  78. Sean&#032Pitman: It is responsible for parasites and viruses and bacterial diseases and carnivores that plague humanity…

    Wait a minute. I am pretty sure viruses, parasites, and carnivores have genes that are greater than 1000aa. If God didn’t create them, and evolution can’t create them, how did they come to exist? You either have to find a reason for a loving God to even allow, let alone create such things, or find a way for them to develop “naturally” whatever that means. You are blaming evolution for something you have spent a lot of energy trying to prove it can’t do.

    And the fact that you acknowledge the existence of these organisms and blame evolution for their existence proves that you infact do believe in evolution despite your denials.

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    • @Ron:

      Wait a minute. I am pretty sure viruses, parasites, and carnivores have genes that are greater than 1000aa.

      That’s right.

      If God didn’t create them, and evolution can’t create them, how did they come to exist?

      If the maker of your car didn’t create the hole in your radiator, how did it get there?

      God’s original creation was perfect. There were no parasites or harmful viruses or carnivores. However, as with any complex mechanical system that is not constantly maintained, degenerative, or devolutionary changes, takes place over time.

      For example, the bacteria that is responsible for Bubonic Plague (or the Black Death) is Yersinia pestis. The cause of its virulence is a toxin injector known as the Type III Secretory System (TTSS). Did God make the TTSS? Nope. It has recently been discovered that the TTSS system devolved from the fully formed rotary bacterial flagellar motility system. The TTSS system requires only 10 of the 40 or so parts used by the bacterial flagellum.

      It is very easy to loose parts via RM/NS. It is another thing entirely to produce parts that were not there to begin with…

      You either have to find a reason for a loving God to even allow, let alone create such things, or find a way for them to develop “naturally” whatever that means. You are blaming evolution for something you have spent a lot of energy trying to prove it can’t do.

      Not at all. It’s called devolution – a loss of informational complexity from the original idealic state created by God.

      And the fact that you acknowledge the existence of these organisms and blame evolution for their existence proves that you infact do believe in evolution despite your denials.

      Good try, but de-evolution isn’t quite the same thing as evolution. Devolution is based on the loss of pre-existing functional complexity as originally designed in its perfectly functional state by God. Evolution is based on the gain of novel functional complexity that was never there to begin with.

      Devolution is very very common. It is the reason why we all grown old and die. It is the reason why cancer is so common… etc.

      Evolution, on the other hand, is relatively uncommon and is limited, when it does occasionally happen, to very very low levels of novel functional complexity.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  79. Sean&#032Pitman: natural selection isn’t perfect at weeding out all detrimental mutations

    Nobody ever said evolution had to be perfect. To be compatible with the action of a loving God, it only has to be beneficial. The Bible does point to a future re-creation does it not?

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    • @Ron:

      That’s the problem. Most of the time when the genome changes or “evolves” as the result of the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS the changes are detrimental – i.e., devolutionary changes resulting in cancers, parasites, carnivores, and the like. The rare times when it actually does something good do not remotely overcome all the bad stuff that this mechanism produces. A few grains of sugar doesn’t reverse the fact that you just swallowed a gallon of lethal poison…

      This is why God, when He created life the first time on this planet (and when He will recreate it again as it was originally intended to be), does not rely on a very slow and very painful mechanism that is dependent upon suffering and death. God uses His power and intelligence to create the final product in one fell swoop. There is no need for trial and error when God creates. He does it right the first time…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  80. In fact, it seems to me that your argument that nature cannot produce genetic material with a specificity of greater than 1000aa is really a back handed denial of God as a creator. That is a pretty severe limitation to put on the creative power of God when you stop to think about it. That using the power of organic chemistry He can’t create something as powerful as humans easily create with simple inorganic chemistry. You are in essence saying that whatever god created our current biology was less intelligent than humans.

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    • @Ron:

      I’m not the one putting limitations on what God can do any more than you are putting limits on what God can create with detectable limitations. As far as I am able to tell, God has evidently created very clear limitations on what mindless mechanisms can produce. We are simply able to discover these limitations is all – with the use of our God-given intelligence.

      If you think there are no such limitations, well, then show me. Prove me wrong. And, explain to me how you can tell the difference between the origin of your car and an amorphous rock…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  81. Sean&#032Pitman: raw energy does not turn into particles with mass outside of interaction with pre-existing particles with mass

    That’s not my understanding. I understand that due to quantum mechanics, energy is being turned into transient particles all the time in space, kind of like rouge waves developing in the ocean. It is called dark energy and dark mass and accounts for more energy and mass than what we actually see.

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    • @Ron:

      When it comes to dark matter, this is a non-testable theory, outside of the realm of science. It has never been observed as far as I’m aware. No one really knows what “dark matter” really is…

      There have been some interesting experiments regarding quantum mass. But, as far as I’m aware, no actual particles have ever been identified, subatomic or otherwise.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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    • ref=”#comment-38408″>Holly Pham:
      The comment about Adam and Eve by Bob was non-resonsive to the discussion because we had already stipulated in our ground rules the six day creation week. I don’t see how your comment about Lazarus says anything about evolution, and no one here is questioning God’s ability to work miracles. So it seemed to me that you were just mocking the discussion . I apologize if I misinterpreted your comment.

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  82. Ron: 5. The principle of natural selection would have the effect of selecting against detrimental genes, and would help in removing defective genes from the gene pool.
    As such I believe Darwinian process is consistent with the action of a loving God that wants to prolong the viability of His creation in the face of sin.

    Then how do you account for the fact that disease is increasing and getting harder and harder to combat because of resistant strains? Not exactly a positive change, in my opinion. How do you reconcile what SOP said about every generation becoming weaker as we get progressively further from the Tree of Life with this theory of yours?

    Ron: think it is morally wrong to censor teachers because they are not teaching concepts that
    1. are not accepted by the main stream

    Do you hear yourself, Ron? You don’t argue that the teachers shouldn’t be censored because they are teaching SDA truth, you are all up in arms because they shouldn’t be censored for teaching what mainstream (worldly) scientists are teaching. You set your standard of truth on the shifting sand of man’s theories instead of the Rock of Truth. You accept man’s theories and reject God’s Word that clearly states God created the world in 6 days. The SDA church is founded on the Bible and takes her doctrine from it. You apparently don’t believe the Bible; that is inconsistant with the SDA church.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t understand anyone who questions the Bible and/or SOP. To me, God said it, and it is so. Period. Full stop.

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  83. Sean said…….

    “I’ve been very clear in explaining that I do not think something like an amorphous rock requires the input of intelligent design. I do not think that God intentionally sits down and consciously carves out out each amorphous rock that exists on this planet or in the universe at large. God created the natural laws that then created the amorphous rocks, and snow flakes, and weather patterns, etc. God is not directly manipulating these things on our planet.”

    Let me say Sean, that God is active in every process of every detail of every created thing. There is not a blade of grass that grows that God is not active in causing it to develop and grow.

    Nature is not self sustaining by some inherent power, nor does it reproduce with out the active work of God in every detail.

    Some of your statements are why some doubt whether you actually support the real biblical position on how God created and continues to sustain the universe.

    God has an awareness that transcends human comprehension. Meaning, He is aware continually of every detail of all He has created all the time. And He is actively preserving its ongoing existence momentarily.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      God has an awareness that transcends human comprehension. Meaning, He is aware continually of every detail of all He has created all the time. And He is actively preserving its ongoing existence momentarily.

      So, why do innocent children get leukemia and other forms of cancer and die painful deaths? Why do innocent families get hit by tornadoes and die? Acts of God? Hardly. These are the acts of nature acting blindly according to basic laws that govern matter without any personal concern for humanity – without the direct involvement of God.

      As I’ve already explained in this thread, awareness isn’t the same thing as direct causation. Of course God is at all times aware of everything – past, present, and future. He is all knowing. Yet, this omniscience isn’t the same thing as being directly responsible for every event that takes place. God is not the cause of sin or the actions of the sinner – or the results of such actions that naturally follow. Such are the result of the free-will actions of free moral agents. God created free moral agents with the ability to act independent of His own will.

      It is for this reason that children get cancer and die painful deaths. Such events are the result of God stepping back from as much personal and direct involvement with His creation as He would like. He allows the basic natural laws, that He has created, to act independent of His will on this planet because of the choice of the human race. He has knowledge of their painful results. He personally feels the pain of these things. He tells us that He feels pain even when a little sparrow falls wounded to the ground! That’s pretty amazing for the God of the Universe to take notice of the suffering of the little sparrows. Surely, then, he notices when each one of us gets sick or suffers for any reason.

      So, while God does indeed sustain His natural laws (nothing can exist independent of His sustaining power and knowledge), He is also able to step back from these laws to some degree and let them function on their own without His own intelligent intervention when they might cause suffering and pain – as in the case of this sinful planet.

      When anyone asks God to step back from direct involvement with nature, with his/her life, what is the natural result? What is the result of mindless nature working according to the basic mindless laws of nature? – independent of God’s direct guidance? This is what the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan is all about – a demonstration of what happens when God is not involved, in a direct manner, with our lives or with the laws of nature that govern our world. The result is an increase in entropy/decay on every level – thermodynamic, genetic/informational, and moral. Everything starts to decay and die without God’s active involvement above and beyond the mindless natural laws that He has set in place to govern the repetitive mechanistic processes of the universe.

      As you get older, you suffer more and more random genetic mutations, around 60,000 of them by the time you’re 60. This is why we humans age and eventually die. Our genome wears out like old clothes. Is God directly causing each one of these mutations? Does God say to Himself, “Which areas of Sean’s genome am I going to mutate today – in an apparently random way”? Surely not! These degenerative random genetic mutations are simply the result of God stepping back from nature and allowing natural laws of entropy to act independent of His sustaining creative power… because of the moral fall of humanity.

      Of course, even when Adam and Eve stepped away from God during their moral fall, God did not step completely away from them. If He had, they would have instantly ceased to exist – and we would never have been born. However, God did step far enough away, as requested, to give the universe an example of what naturally happens when God steps away from anything in nature and allows basic mindless natural laws to act on their own… decay, suffering and death.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • @Sean Pitman:
        “So, why do innocent children get leukemia and other forms of cancer and die painful deaths?”

        To answer this question, I think you have to go back to the beginning and ask, “what was so wonderful that it would entice God to go ahead with creation even knowing what it would do to Jesus? Once you answer that question, then the problem of sin really ceases to be a problem, and it doesn’t really matter where you draw the line of responsibility, because in the end when it is all said and done, God has already been reconciled to the evil. Whatever it is, it makes children having leukemia OK, otherwise He would never have created in the first place.

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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean said…..

        “God is not the cause of sin or the actions of the sinner – or the results of such actions that naturally follow. Such are the result of the free-will actions of free moral agents. God created free moral agents with the ability to act independent of His own will.”

        Your explanation affirms that there is a sense in which God is responsible for sin. He did not have to create free moral agents.

        But it also explains why God is not responsible for sin. As long as He gives every moral being the ability to comprehend the results of their actions, and the information to make the right choice, then God is not responsible for the choice.

        And this is the whole issue of the Great Controversy, isn’t it? Who is responsible for sin?

        Lucifer’s argument is this, if God has made us correctly and given us all the right information to make a correct determination, it would be impossible to sin. So, either we were not make correctly, or, we do not have enough information to make the right decision.

        More than a few of the angels followed his reasoning and agreed with him. And by far the majority of humanity agrees with Lucifer as well. Sinner always impute sin to God and God alone.

        Those of us who believe the bible take a biblical view. God created us and has given us enough viable information in the word and by His Spirit to agree with God that He is not ultimately responsible for sin.

        While we don’t know everything there is to know about God or anything else for that matter, we do know enough to be held accountable for our decisions and actions.

        And thus the Great Controversy is being played out on this earth and will be culminated in the end with everyone who agrees with God inside the city and everyone who agrees with Lucifer outside.

        Let’s not charge God with being responsible for sin by continuing in rebellion against His kingdom and will for His created beings. We have enough information to make the right decision and the Holy Spirit to confirm and affirm us in doing it.

        Keep the faith

        Bill Sorensen

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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          Your explanation affirms that there is a sense in which God is responsible for sin. He did not have to create free moral agents.

          The creation of free moral agents in no way means that God is at all responsible for sin. Just because God created the potential for sin does not mean He is therefore responsible for it in any way, shape, or form. The very definition of sin suggests this truth – that sin is in fact the result of a free-will choice of a free moral agent choosing to act against the will of God. Such a choice was/is completely irrational and mysterious – beyond any and all attempts to explain or provide any rational reason for its existence.

          Consider the words of Mrs. White in this regard:

          Nothing is more plainly taught in Scripture than that God was in no wise responsible for the entrance of sin; that there was no arbitrary withdrawal of divine grace, no deficiency in the divine government, that gave occasion for the uprising of rebellion. Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin.

          – EGW, GC, p. 493

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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        • @Sean Pitman:

          Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.

          Paul says, “Sold in in.” and “Children of wrath just like everyone else.”

          You may not like this biblical reality, but it is true none the less.

          And yes, God has also provided a way of escape so that all who He has created “in sin” can be “born again” spiritually and escape their heritage of sin and shame.

          I know a lot of people don’t like this idea, but it is true anyway. We are born lost with the potential to be saved if we accept Jesus and His atonement that is provisional for “whosoever will may come.”

          Cain didn’t like it either and resisted the exhortation of his brother, Abel, to offer a sin offering because he was a sinner. Cain says, “No, I’ll bring a thank offering, but no sin offering. Sin is not my fault. God created me this way.”

          Most people will be outside looking in because they agree with Cain but a few will be inside looking out because they agree with Abel.

          Bill Sorensen

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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.

          God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.

          “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28

          Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.

          Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.

          This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…

          Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  84. Ron: It seems to you are arguing that God does not have access, (or chooses not to use) the keyboard. It also seems to me your world view runs afoul of Bob’s quote where Mrs. White condemns scientists who use scientific findings to exclude God as the creator. It seems that is what you are doing. You are saying that just because genetics account for small changes naturally, God as the creator is not involved in the process for these small changes.

    Your summation of 3SG 90-91 is totally without support in the text itself.

    Ellen White never argued anything of the form ” life came about on this planet over billions of years – but how dare anyone try to use that fact to discredit the Gospel”. No such 3SG, no such Ellen White and no such 3SG 90-91.

    You are misrepresenting the position that we find in 3SG 90-91 when we take the text at face value.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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    • Bob, you are being purposfully obtuse and irrelivant. We stipulated the 6 days of cretion in the ground rules. No one here is arguing agaist creation. We are talking about Gods current involvement with his creation.

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  85. I said…..

    “Sinful parents have sinful children. But not without God’s participation in the process…. It is God who creates human beings in this broken condition. ”

    And Sean replied…..

    “God’s only participation in the process is in creating that which is good [and allowing evil people to exist, which includes all of us, to demonstrate the natural consequences of evil].”

    I don’t think anyone who takes the bible seriously could agree with your conclusion, Sean.

    As I said earlier, God sustains evil men and women and to deny it would be difficult to do in light of the biblical information on this subject.

    I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that [there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things]. – Isaiah 45:5-7

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      I don’t think anyone who takes the bible seriously could agree with your conclusion, Sean.

      What? that something like childhood leukemia is not an “act of God”? contrary to your claim that, “It is God who creates human beings in this broken condition”?

      I don’t think anyone who reads about the how God is grieved when He sees the suffering of even a little sparrow would be able to conclude that something like childhood leukemia is really an “act of God”. Such a conclusion is opposed to the Biblical view of God – and Mrs. White also speaks strongly against this view (as noted above).

      As I said earlier, God sustains evil men and women and to deny it would be difficult to do in light of the biblical information on this subject.

      You mean God makes it possible for evil, and therefore freedom of choice, to exist? Of course He does. It does not follow, however, that God is therefore responsible for evil in any way. He does not cause people to rebel against His will nor does He cause the natural consequences that result when people separate themselves from His own will and desire for their lives.

      God also does not “sustain” evil over and above the natural laws that He originally set up to govern the basic features of the universe. Evil people suffer random mutations and degenerative changes over time just like everyone else. They get old and die. They get cancer and suffer with disease and sickness – as do the righteous on this planet… all according to natural law consequences.

      As a general rule of thumb, God does not interfere with the natural law consequences of cause and effect in this world. On special occasions He can and does step in an intervene above and beyond that which natural law would otherwise allow. However, by in large, we are all subject to the degenerative consequences of natural law – both the righteous and wicked. This will be the case until, “The old order of things is done away with.” – Revelation 21:4

      God is not responsible for the choice of humanity to step away from Him and His will into the hands of cold, hard, mindless, natural law without a Divine mechanic on hand to fix all of the degenerative changes that hurt us on a daily basis. Just because He allows those who have made this choice to exist doesn’t mean He directly causes the degenerative effects that naturally follow…

      Let me ask you one more time. Is something like childhood leukemia an “act of God”? Did God cause such a child to get leukemia? Did God, in your words, “create this broken condition”? Or, did He simply allow natural law to produce such degenerative changes against His will? – because of the evil choices of free moral agents?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  86. Sean&#032Pitman: You confuse the supernatural gifts of God, which are always good gifts, with the natural consequences of our separation from God, which are not “gifts” of God at all.

    So, can you define the difference between natural and supernatural? If God is doing anything supernatural in the world to day, I can’t see it.

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  87. Sean&#032Pitman: There is a key element here that you’re missing. You’re arguing as if God causes all events in His universe to happen – that they are the direct result of His action and will.

    See, here is a good example of how fear clouds the discussion and makes it almost impossible to arrive at truth.

    I did not say that God causes all events in His universe to happen. That is your misunderstanding of what I am saying.

    I think it is your fear that if you open your mind, and look at things from a different perspective, that Satan might get in and corrupt your thinking like He did Eve’s and cause you to be lost, that keeps you from seeing.

    The issue of God’s will is actually a pretty simple point. It mostly a matter of perspective. If we can somehow get over or around the barriers, I don’t think we actually disagree that much.

    Having said that, perspective is important. Sometimes taking a new perspective will help you see relationships and truths in a new more comprehensive way. It isn’t that the new perspective contradicts or destroys the old perspective, its just new, and it complements and enhances the old perspective. That is what I think is going on here. I am trying to express the same truth from a different perspective, and some people find it a little scary, because they are afraid of God. They are afraid, that if they somehow misunderstand, or allow an error crepe in, that they will be outside of God’s will and lost forever.

    I am saying, that you don’t have to be afraid of that. That God can handle it if you screw up. He won’t abandon you or leave you without light and understanding. If you are wrong, He will draw even closer to to you than He was before, and reveal even more truth to you, just as he did Satan, and Adam, and Eve.

    Sean&#032Pitman: There is good reason to be fearful of rebelling against God.

    I agree. Rebellion has serious consequences. But not all rebellion is incurable, otherwise Christ’s sacrifice would have no point. Sometimes, as in the case of Adam and Eve, rebellion is only the result of ignorance and fear which has a remedy in Christ.

    Sometimes rebellion is the result of determined resistance in the full light of complete knowledge as in the case of Satan, in which case there is no remedy. This is an important distinction.

    “You’ve got to be kiddin me!”
    Nope, I am not kidding you. I am dead serious. That is the way I understand the scripture. It appears simple and straight forward to me.

    “it is not true that sin is therefore “Ok” or that God wills us to keep on sinning”

    Here it is again. I think it is your fear that makes you interpret the work “OK” as you have. I did not use the term “OK” to in anyway imply that it was OK to continue sinning. Of course God’s plan to deal with sin requires education and repentance. The point is though that even though you sin through ignorance, or just human frailty, you are STILL within the plan of God, because God has made a way for you to be reconciled. You are still “OK” in the sense that God hasn’t abandoned you. You have not exhausted God’s patience, resources or creativity in dealing with you. You haven’t committed an unpardonable sin, you have not yet reached the same place that Satan arrived at after determined rebellion. (And I think it does take determined rebellion to be lost. I don’t think God allows people to be lost casually.)

    I think it is this fear that is the root of the problem. It is fear that makes “you” (I am using the generic you now, including the church at large) react the way you do to the teachers at LSU, and the fearful response, censoring teacher’s, creates in the system even more fear, which only exacerbates the problem.

    Again, what appears to be an appropriate solution from a narrow perspective can create larger problems from a larger perspective. Perspective is important.

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    • @Ron:

      I did not say that God causes all events in His universe to happen. That is your misunderstanding of what I am saying.

      Interesting. So, what events are not the result of God’s action or will?

      I am saying, that you don’t have to be afraid of that. That God can handle it if you screw up. He won’t abandon you or leave you without light and understanding. If you are wrong, He will draw even closer to to you than He was before, and reveal even more truth to you, just as he did Satan, and Adam, and Eve.

      The problem isn’t with God. He isn’t the one to fear. The problem is with sin itself and its effects upon those who yield to its call to follow the path of evil and rebellion. The fear is that we will actually give in to the call of insanity – and actually rebel against God. God cannot do anything for those who refuse to get help. That’s the scary thing about evil.

      Sean Pitman: There is good reason to be fearful of rebelling against God.

      I agree. Rebellion has serious consequences. But not all rebellion is incurable, otherwise Christ’s sacrifice would have no point. Sometimes, as in the case of Adam and Eve, rebellion is only the result of ignorance and fear which has a remedy in Christ.

      Acting in true ignorance and/or fear is not sin. Adam and Eve did not act in ignorance or fear when they rebelled against God. They acted with plenty of knowledge of who God was to know better and to have chosen the right. There was no lack on the part of God when it came to providing them adequate knowledge to make the right decision.

      It is for this reason that their rebellion was so evil… because there was no rational cause or reason for it.

      You’re trying to explain their actions as being rational or logical. You’re trying to excuse or lighten the significance of what they did. If you were actually right, Adam and Eve would have been innocent of sin… of a conscious rebellion against that which they knew to be true and right and good.

      Sometimes rebellion is the result of determined resistance in the full light of complete knowledge as in the case of Satan, in which case there is no remedy. This is an important distinction.

      Agreed. There is hope for us given additional revelations of God’s character. However, there will still be humans who reject even these additional revelations – all because of what Adam and Eve did.

      That is why you should not say that you “affirm Eve’s decision” – as if she performed some heroic act of independence. That’s not what she did at all.

      I think it is this fear that is the root of the problem. It is fear that makes “you” (I am using the generic you now, including the church at large) react the way you do to the teachers at LSU, and the fearful response, censoring teacher’s, creates in the system even more fear, which only exacerbates the problem.

      Not true. Some of my best friends are neo-Darwinists. Some of these are agnostic and a few are atheistic. Yet, we get along great.

      The problem with LSU is not “fear” of considering opposing ideas. The problem at LSU is an organizational problem – a problem of having paid representatives of an organization attacking the primary goals and ideals of the organization while on the payroll. That is self-defeating for any viable organization.

      The SDA Church has a certain perspective on reality that it, as an organization, considers vitally important to share with the world. It would be completely impractical, therefore, to hire people who believe and promote completely opposing ideas. That would not an viable organization make…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  88. Let me ask you one more time. Is something like childhood leukemia an “act of God”? Did God cause such a child to get leukemia? Did God, in your words, “create this broken condition”? Or, did He simply allow natural law to produce such degenerative changes against His will? – because of the evil choices of free moral agents?

    Sean Pitman

    For one thing, Sean, you are mixing natural law with moral law. There is a natural law degeneracy and a moral law degeneracy. And while they are closely related, they are not one and the same thing.

    As far as natural law degeneracy is concerned, yes, God ordained it, for He said, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake.”

    This is not some natural consequence of sin. God could have easily sustained the physical being of man even while he was a moral degenerate. But to illustrate by way of nature some parallel of the two laws, God cursed the ground.

    And yes, in some cases, God actually caused physical sickness and even death as in the case of Uzzah who touched the Ark. Uzzah did not die from some natural law degeneracy.

    This is not to deny that there is a natural law degeneracy that is followed by sickness and physical afflictions. If a person smokes, they may get cancer. And cancer is part of the physical natural law punishment that follows disobedience to the laws of nature.

    But if you consider a number of biblical examples of how God acted against sin by a physical curse you will see a different scenario. Elisha’s servant was cursed with leprosy, as was Mariam, and others who were punished by God. God specifically caused these afflictions.

    All the plagues of Egypt God ordained. As well as many other instances where God not only allowed sin by way of natural law to take its course, but acted directly to bring about the curse.

    Parallel and contrast is how we best see and understand the bible. Jesus had no moral degeneracy. His moral (spiritual) nature was free from every and any taint of sin. But Jesus did suffer the physical degeneracy that we all share in.

    The physical degeneracy is not what makes us sinners. It is the spiritual corruption of the mind.

    God did not create moral corruption. But He did create us in it. If a baby is born with cancer, wasn’t God active in the creation process? We see two parts in the creation of a new human life. The parents, the human part, and God, the divine part.

    God does not cease to create just because sin is present. So babies are born in sin. Not just physically degenerate, but morally corrupt as well.

    Jesus took the physical degeneracy of humanity, but not the moral corruption. This distinction is imperative to maintain a true understanding of the parallel and contrast between us and Christ. So, Jesus was not born in sin nor did He have a sinful nature. He had no “carnal mind that was at enmity with God.”

    So, yes, God does bring sickness at times that goes beyond the natural law curse of sin.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      In response to my question about God’s role in childhood leukemia, you said:

      So, yes, God does bring sickness at times that goes beyond the natural law curse of sin.

      I’m not asking about an additional supernatural act of God above and beyond natural law. This isn’t a question of if God may, at times, work beyond the basic laws of nature. As I explained above, these special acts of God are called “miracles” in that they go well beyond what mindless natural laws of nature can produce.

      What I’m asking is if you are charging God with responsibility for all evil in this world? such as all the thousands of cases of childhood leukemia that strike every year? or the hundreds of tornadoes that destroy lives and property every year? Are these tragedies all “acts of God”? – above and beyond natural law? Do you stick by your claim that, “It is God who creates human beings in this broken condition.”

      For one thing, Sean, you are mixing natural law with moral law. There is a natural law degeneracy and a moral law degeneracy. And while they are closely related, they are not one and the same thing.

      I’m not mixing these concepts beyond their natural relationship. The fact is that there would be no physical degeneracy on this planet if it were not for the moral Fall of mankind. There would be no separation from God on either the physical or moral levels.

      As far as natural law degeneracy is concerned, yes, God ordained it, for He said, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake.”

      You’re confusing the natural consequence of stepping farther away from God into natural law with a deliberate act of God against the choice of a free moral agent. God simply allowed Cain to experience the natural consequences of his choices. He didn’t intervene and protect Cain from the physical results of his moral choice to move even farther away from God’s will…

      This is not some natural consequence of sin. God could have easily sustained the physical being of man even while he was a moral degenerate.

      Physical decay and ultimate death is a natural consequence of sin… of a choice to separate one’s self from God on any level. Certainly God could have prevented the physical degeneracy of mankind (as He has done so far with Satan and his evil angels), but this would not be a true reflection of the natural consequences of sin. After all, we are told that, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) – not just moral death, but physical death as well. It is only natural that if one chooses to separate one’s self from the Source of Life that the physical life of the individual will decay and eventually die.

      Is it possible for God to prevent the natural decline and eventual death of the wicked? Could He force the wicked to live on forever? Absolutely. But, would this be in line with natural law and the free moral choice of the wicked? No. Not at all.

      And yes, in some cases, God actually caused physical sickness and even death as in the case of Uzzah who touched the Ark. Uzzah did not die from some natural law degeneracy.

      These examples of yours where God acts beyond natural law are Red Herrings in this discussion. We aren’t talking about miraculous acts of God that clearly go above and beyond His natural laws…

      This is not to deny that there is a natural law degeneracy that is followed by sickness and physical afflictions. If a person smokes, they may get cancer. And cancer is part of the physical natural law punishment that follows disobedience to the laws of nature.

      Young children who get leukemia didn’t smoke or do anything themselves that would merit “punishment”. Why then do they get leukemia? – sometimes before they are even born? “Acts of God”? – please…

      God did not create moral corruption. But He did create us in it. If a baby is born with cancer, wasn’t God active in the creation process? We see two parts in the creation of a new human life. The parents, the human part, and God, the divine part.

      As I’ve explained before, God is active in providing the breath of life and in sustaining His natural laws. However, He is not active in producing the broken condition of the child on any level. He is only directly responsible for that which is good within the child. He is not responsible in any way shape or form for that which is broken within the child. God does not create that which He is actually working to fix. Such would be counterproductive on the part of God – not to mention evil.

      God does not cease to create just because sin is present. So babies are born in sin. Not just physically degenerate, but morally corrupt as well.

      You mean God does not cease to create good things just because evil is present. However, just because God makes good things to appear within Satan’s realm does not therefore mean that God is the one who created all the bad things as well. He simply allows them to exist for a time, to function according to the basic laws of nature, while He works to resolve the sin problem once and for all.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  89. I agree with Sean in this, to a large extent. To put it another way, God is allowing sin to take its natural course. God allows Satan to stir up tornadoes resulting in a large number of deaths, loss and suffering; to tempt people to drink and drive, causing accidents that sometimes wipe out whole, innocent families, etc. God doesn’t cause the storms or the crashes, but if He interfered with the results of sin, how would it ever be demonstrated to earthlings or the beings in the universe what sin was really about. Of course it hurts God to see His creation so perverted and His people suffering. But He agreed to let Satan show how his way was better than God’s, and if He doesn’t allow suffering to take place, that won’t ever be seen. By Adam and Eve’s downfall, we became the experimental planet; we became the battleground for the Great Controversy. I look forward to the day when God comes and puts an end to it all. But until that day, we are suffering from Satan’s actions, not God’s.

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  90. I found an interesting quote:
    “Unlike Lamarck, Darwin did not believe that evolution inevitably produces more complex life forms and that the ultimate result of this process is humans.”
    http://anthro.palomar.edu/evolve/evolve_2.htm

    If this is true, Darwin is getting a bad rap for something he didn’t believe. Perhaps we should refer to the evolution that Adventist’s object to as “Lamarckian Evolution”, and the evolution that Adventist’s accept, historically called “micro-evolution” in Adventist circles, as “Darwinian evolution”

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    • @Ron:

      This isn’t true. Darwin did in fact believe that the mindless naturalistic mechanisms of slight random variations and natural selection was in fact responsible for the origin and diversity of all features of all living things.

      This is why he became an atheist altogether – and a rather depressed atheist at that. He gave up on the idea of God as the Creator because he thought mindless natural processes could explain all that he saw.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Well, I am looking forward to heaven, where I can explain to him how his principles are still compatible with a belief in God. I can imagine Jesus telling Darwin, “I know you couldn’t see it at the time, and it shook your faith, but I knew your heart. I am sorry it was so hard for you. Go talk to Ron, he can explain it to you.”

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      • @Sean Pitman:
        “This is why he became an atheist altogether – and a rather depressed atheist at that.”

        Depression is usually caused by something you don’t like, but which you can’t change. The fact that Darwin had such a hard time publishing his findings, and the fact that he was a “depressed atheist at that” implies that he had a good heart and really wanted to believe in God, but he just couldn’t see through the fog that Lamark created.

        “He gave up on the idea of God as the Creator because he thought mindless natural processes could explain all that he saw.”

        So this is a logical error that we can reject. But that doesn’t mean that everything he said was wrong. We don’t have to throw out the baby with the bath water. When you are dealing with a mixture of truth and error, it is important not to deny the truth in the process of denying the error.

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  91. Sean said……

    “Indeed. Ron and Bill would have a very good point if God had created robots rather than free moral agents. In that case He, rather than they, would have been responsible for evil and the resulting decay, suffering and pain that we all experience in this world. However, the creation of free will removes the moral responsibility from God.

    Also, the existence of God’s foreknowledge does not change this situation. If God had chosen to act differently than He otherwise would, based on His foreknowledge, that would have removed the possibility of true freedom from the universe. In other words, if God had not made Lucifer simply because He knew that Lucifer would one day rebel against Him, that would have artificially blocked what He knew would otherwise be a free moral choice that would have taken place had His foreknowledge not existed. Therefore, if He wished to create truly free moral agents, He could not use His power of foreknowledge to preemptively block the actions of free moral agents that may happen to be contrary to His will for them.

    Therefore, the only responsibility that is God’s is the act of creating a free universe where free moral agents are truly free to act – even if they happen to choose to act against the will of God.”

    Let me say up front that I don’t necessarily agree with Ron or all his conclusions. But this response by Sean is typical.

    You are suggesting that if God used His foreknowledge and did not choose to create, then all we have are robots.

    Wrong.

    In conclusion, we can not resolve this paradox anymore than we can resolve law and grace. Luther once said this, “When I comprehend the full extent and application of the law, I don’t see how anyone can be saved.”

    But he went on to say, “And when I comprehend the full extent and meaning of grace, I don’t see how anyone can be lost.”

    Like free will and the sovereignty of God, we can not fully comprehend nor resolve the paradox.

    We must necessarily accept the biblical revelation that God created free moral agents with the possibility of sin, and yet, He is not ultimately responsible for sin if such beings do it. This paradox can not be resolved by human reason.

    Certain aspects can be understood like law and grace. But a pure flowing concept based on reason alone will always come to a faulty conclusion.

    Like our acceptance of law and grace, a Christian also accepts the biblical explanation of sin and accountability as ultimately placed on each individual.

    Thus, we can not blame Satan, a friend, an enemy, circumstances, or any other reason if we are lost. Even though all these influences may have been a factor in our final and ultimate decision.

    If I am lost, it is nobody’s fault but my own. None the less, God charges all of us with some responsibility in the salvation of those around us and reminds us of our accountability in such cases.

    So, if we warn the wicked, and they don’t repent, we are free from their blood. But if we don’t warn the wicked, God will require their blood at our hand.

    Is this another enigma, or what? No use trying to resolve these biblical enigmas and riddles. Just accept them and gain lessons about God and His kingdom and how each one can be saved by faith in His word.

    Let’s not speculate like the medival theologians who debated whether God could create a rock so big that He couldn’t lift it.

    Some of this, Sean, is because it seems you want to claim we can “prove” God is the creator by science and nature. I accept, as do others, that nature and science are “evidence” to help support the biblical revelation. But in the end, the biblical revelation must necessarily trump any and all scientific evidence.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      I don’t see this issue as a paradox. While I freely admit that I don’t understand how God could make a truly free moral agent (I certainly can’t do it nor can I imagine how it even might be done), the basic concept of a free moral agent seems quite clear to me. Such an agent, by definition, is able to act against the will of God. If someone is acting against God’s will, and there is no rational reason to be found for this action, how can God be held responsible in any way, shape, or form?

      Your appeal to God’s foreknowledge as a basis for your accusation that God is in fact ultimately responsible for evil makes no sense to me… as I’ve already explained. Knowing what will happen is not the same thing as causing it to happen. I know what happened in the past. That doesn’t mean I’m responsible for it. For example, if I were somehow transported back in time to the Battle of Waterloo, my knowledge that Napoleon is about the lose would not be the cause of the outcome.

      Oh, but you will not doubt argue that if I had the opportunity to change events for the better, but decided not to, then I would be responsible for the outcome – to at least some degree. This is not necessarily true if by choosing to change events I would also remove the potential for true freedom of choice for the players involved. If I am responsible for freedom of choice, I’m not responsible for the actions of the free agents. If I do take on responsibility for the free agents, they are no longer free.

      Sound like a paradox? Well, it’s not. It only means that God has to pick His poison. Does He want truly free moral agents? – in which case He takes on the risk of their rebellion against Him. Does He want responsibility for their actions? – in which case He has robots.

      What this means is that there was no moral obligation for God to send Jesus to die to save us. It would not have been morally wrong of God to leave us to our own demise without any hope of a future. The only reason this is true is because God was in no way responsible for the origin or subsequent consequences of evil action on the part of human beings – not even a little bit. If He had been at all responsible, in the eyes of anyone (even His own), He would have been morally obligated to help us.

      This is part of the reason why God’s choice to actually help us is so amazing – primarily because He was in no way obliged to do so… outside of His amazing love for us.

      As far as your “the Bible trumps empirical evidence” arguments, I’m sorry, but God gave us brains to use – not to put on a shelf. He does not expect us to believe in Him and love Him based on fundamentally irrational or paradoxical “faith” arguments that make no sense to the candid mind searching for truth. It is impossible for “biblical revelation” to rationally “trump” anything without at least some basis in empirical reality. And, I’m not talking about absolute “proof” here (which is impossible as I’ve explained many times). I’m just talking about the rational need for empirical evidence of some kind. Again, your own appeal to the evidence of Biblical prophecy is rooted in empirical evidence – i.e., the historical sciences.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • @Sean Pitman:
        I agree with you about empirical evidence. For me science and revelation are equally validating. If they disagree, then it is a sign we don’t understand something. I don’t think it is safe to assume that we understand revelation better than science.

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      • @Sean Pitman
        I agree with most of your Napoleon analogy, but God was in the position of deciding whether to create Napoleon in the first place. Knowing what Napoleon would do, He had to have decided that something about Napolean’s existence was worth creating. Something that outweighed the bad things Napoleon did. Find what that was, and I think you begin to understand the meaning of life.

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        • @Ron:

          The only reason why God made Lucifer (and Napoleon), knowing the pain and suffering he would eventually inflict on the universe, is because there was no other way to create true freedom, independent of His own direct will being imposed.

          The most important thing to God is that we really love Him. True love is not possible without true freedom of choice – without at lest the potential to choose not to love Him.

          On the other side of the coin, the fact that God was able to create truly free moral agents does not therefore mean that He is still responsible if they happen to choose to act against His will. He is not responsible – by the very definition of what it means to be a truly free moral agent. Such freedom means that the agent, not God, is responsible for his/her own actions.

          That’s the mystery of freedom – that God could and did actually create something with the power to act in a truly independent manner from His own will and actions.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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        • ref=”#comment-38545″>Sean Pitman:

          I am having a little trouble with your definition of “truly independent freedom “. Perhaps it is freedom, but it doesn’t seem to be truly independent if the exercise of it results in death. There has to be a better way to interpret the story.

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  92. Sean&#032Pitman: These examples of yours (Uzzah) where God acts beyond natural law are Red Herrings in this discussion. We aren’t talking about miraculous acts of God that clearly go above and beyond His natural laws…

    Actually, they aren’t red herrings. They go to the question of God’s relationship to sin. They show that what happens under “natural” law is not inconsistent with the character of God. Allowing a child to get leukemia is of the same character as killing Uzzah.

    You are claiming that God must be able to separate Himself from the laws He established, because if He can’t, then He is somehow guilty of the evil events caused by sin. But defining something “natural” apart from God, doesn’t help. He knew sin was going to occur, (that is why Christ is the Lamb that was slain BEFORE the foundation of the world) therefore He is responsible for any act which enabled sin. At a minimum, in today’s legal environment, God is guilty of aiding and abetting sin just by His act of creating this world.

    Beyond that, God is guilty of many “sins” by our standards. Killing Uzzah was 1st degree murder. The flood was genocide on a massive scale. As Israel’s ruler, He is guilty of crimes against humanity by instigating genocide, with many examples of His personal involvement. In Job He is responsible for inciting, Satan to kill Job’s children and servants, and He didn’t even apologize! At least after the flood, He had the decency to say He was sorry and that He would never do that again, but then He DID do it again, albeit on a smaller scale with the Egyptian army during the exodus. But “never mind, that is only a small lie, a minimization of the truth at worst. He didn’t really destroy the whole world again.”

    The most horrible thing to me actually, is what he did to Issac when God told Abraham to go sacrifice Issac on the mountain top. That is just unimaginable child abuse. I am horrified to even think about it. It used to give me nightmares as a kid. The second most horrible thing that He did, was to consent to the murder of His own son. What kind of a father. . . . . ?

    Mrs. White’s answer to all of this is that even though it appears evil to us, in reality God was acting in love and she wrote the Conflict of the Ages series in an attempt to explain it. The answer to this dilemma is not to deny God’s responsibility, it is to find out what it is in His creation that was so wonderful, that it justified these actions.

    I my opinion, what was so wonderful, was life itself. In other words, God wanted to live life with us. He wanted to vicariously experience our lives as a friend, partner, counselor, God, you name it. He left the choice of what kind of life, to Eve. There was a choice between a safe, sheltered, innocent life, or a life of spiritual exploration. A search for the true nature of God, and an answer to the question posed by Satan, “What is God’s true character?”

    God was right to warn Adam and Eve that the path of exploration would lead to pain and death, but He was also right to allow the choice because a. He would be there with us, experiencing it Himself right along with us, and b. He knew that in the end, when sin is finally eradicated, that humanity will achieve an even higher spiritual state than they could ever have attained if they had taken the safer path.

    In the end, God will not just meet with us and walk through the garden with us at the end of the day, but even now, since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, God actually dwells within us, and He is there with us throughout the day, every day, experiencing everything, even the death a child with Leukemia, with us. The cost of Eve’s decision is that a child dies with Leukemia. The benefit of Eve’s decision is the intimacy with God that we have as we go through that experience with Him.

    And when all is said and done and sin has been eradicated, Man will have attained a higher spiritual state than would have been possible if we had taken the safer path. We will have answered the question raised by Satan that has plagued the universe. “What is the true character of God?”

    We will be the only race of creatures in the Universe who will have wisdom. We will be the only ones to truly, from personal experience, understand the difference between Good and Evil. We will share an intimacy with God that no other creature shares, God indwelling us. And as a result, we will sit with God and Jesus on the throne (Revelation). And everyone will bow down and praise God because everyone will agree that the burden was small compared to the “eternal weight of Glory” (Paul).

    As I said before. I love God, and I affirm the decision Eve made. If she had made the other one, I am sure I would have enjoyed that too, but I would rather know than to not know so I am glad she made the one she did. By God’s grace, I am up for the adventure.

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    • @Ron:

      You accuse God of genocide and murder and praise Eve for her rebellion against God? This is like accusing those who fought Hitler and the Nazi’s during WWII of murder. You have the thing flipped on its head.

      Say you have an entire race of evil cutthroat murderers who only find joy it is to causing and witnessing the suffering of others. To remove such a group of people from existence is not murder or genocide, but a gesture of mercy on the part of anyone involved with such an effort. The execution of murderers is not itself murder…

      Also, to rebel against the goodness of God is not noble, but evil – an act of selfishness without regard to the injury caused to one’s Father and Friend. Eve’s act, and Adam’s as well, opened the flood gates of evil. All Hell broke lose, literally. The universe suffered irreparable damage as a result of the rebellion of both Lucifer and Adam/Eve. Souls will be permanently lost because of their rebellion. Friends and family will be gone forever from all of us. God will lose sons and daughters for all time.

      Just because God was able, through the infinite sacrifice of His Son, to salvage some good from this horrible rebellion, does not mean that it was somehow good or “worth it” or that the rebels were in any way heroes for allowing God to reveal His goodness on an even deeper level.

      Perhaps you’ve yet to see evil up close and personal or recognize the permanent loss that will be realized because of it. It would have been far far better had the universe remained in its innocence – ignorant of any personal experience with the horrible tragedy of evil. That is why God tried to shield the universe from having to go through this experience. God constantly worked against it – desperately warning Lucifer and his followers, to include Adam and Eve, not to take the path of evil. The permanent loss that would be theirs, and His, simply would not be worth it.

      It is for this reason, for the reason that evil will in fact prove itself so utterly horrible and completely repulsive, that the unfallen universe and the redeemed will forever realize that it is never good or “worth it”, not even in the long run, to rebel against God or to choose a path of our own making contrary to His express will for us.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • @Sean Pitman:

        I have seen evil up close and personal. My father was killed when I was 9 and I have worked as a hospice physician.

        I agree with you that evil is truly evil, and never worth it, but you missunerstand me. I am not saying evil is worth it. I am saying that life is worth it

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        • @Ron:

          If you’re not saying, “evil is worth it” (I’m very sorry to hear about your father; my dad also lost his father when he was just six years old and it still affects him deeply), why then have you seemed to be be suggesting that Eve’s rebellion against God was some kind of heroic act? – a good decision that you “affirm”? You wrote:

          I affirm the decision Eve made. If she had made the other one, I am sure I would have enjoyed that too, but I would rather know than to not know so I am glad she made the one she did.

          You’re “glad” she made the decision she made? – despite the eternal loss of family and friends and the children of God who will not be saved? Certainly God would very much have had it the other way. He never wanted this experience for us.

          I’m with God on this one. I would much rather have had it where the human race never rebelled against God. I’m very glad God was able to make something good out of this horrible mess, but that doesn’t mean that this experiment was therefore a “good move” on the part of Adam and Eve.

          Of course, I do agree that the existence of life itself is worth the cost of the rebellion (vs. God never having created intelligent beings with true freedom of will). However, it would have been far far better if we, as a human race, had actually chosen to stay true to God.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • ref=”#comment-38518″>Sean Pitman:

        For the most part , I agree with you, except that when the state kills a murderer, you don’t absolve the state of murder by denying that the state is responsible for its actions, as most people seem to want to do with God. You absolve the state of murder by putting the action of the state in the larger context of its duty to protect the innocent. Infact, that is the only way to truly explain the states actions. If you try to deny that the state is responsible for it’s own actions, then you wind up with Bill’s enigma.

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    • @Ron: If God reached down and smote Uzzah, he thus with leukemia smites little girls. Good-N-E-S-S! I cannot but be awestruck by the rhetorical symmetry, the syntactical balance of it, the syllogistic zing. Good show, if totally, and whimsically, and pathetically, and fatally, missing the point and off the subject, not even tangential to it, dancing around it as around the maypole until it spins and collapses in dust.

      Christ bore our sins, and by familiar figure of speech became sin for us, therefore he is our sin, therefore he is sin, but create it? Watch it! — those are successive figures of speech, nor progressive logic to put Satan off the hook if even still in the book. Satan off the hook is not the story of the Great Controversy.

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    • @Ron:

      They aren’t teaching the limits of the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS. They are teaching the standard neo-Darwinian perspective on origins which claims that life and all of its diversity was created via the mindless mechanism of RM/NS over eons of time. They do not show their students where high level intelligent design is required to explain various features of living things beyond what God has given any mindless mechanism to be able to explain. They do not show their students how to detect the signature of God in nature. They also tell their students that life has existed and evolved on this planet for hundreds of millions of years when in reality life was created in just six literal days within recent history.

      That’s the problem here…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectignDesign.com

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