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.
Please follow and like us:
9
251
37

640 thoughts on “Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

  1. @Sean Pitman: Certainly there is a difference between allowing a rebellion and causing one. Causing one would imply direct moral culpability. Allowing one only implies indirect culpability. Kind of like the difference between 1st degree murder and negligent homicide.




    0
    View Comment
  2. Sean said…….

    “God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being.”

    It is true Sean, that God did not create the broken condition as you have affirmed and I agree.

    None the less, it is God who creates human beings in this broken condition.

    And because of the broken condition, they are under the wrath of God. You may not like the enigma, but it is still true.

    Sinful parents have sinful children. But not without God’s participation in the process. And of course, from God’s perspective, it is with the intent that such children of wrath should be “born again” into God’s spiritual kingdom by way of the cross.

    And so at birth, the Holy Spirit begins by every means of grace available to prepare and persuade every baby to accept Jesus and be saved from the wrath to come.

    And thus, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman” is a super natural act of God’s grace in behalf of fallen man and not simply a natural part of human birth that would have taken place had Adam not sinned in the first place.

    “I Will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” [Genesis 3:15.] The divine sentence pronounced against Satan after the fall of man, was also a prophecy, embracing all the ages to the close of time, and foreshadowing the great conflict to engage all the races of men who should live upon the earth. {GC88 505.1}

    God declares, “I will put enmity.” This enmity is not naturally entertained. When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy. The apostate is never at rest, except as he obtains sympathy and support by inducing others to follow his example. For this reason, fallen angels and wicked men unite in desperate companionship. Had not God specially interposed, Satan and man would have entered into an alliance against Heaven; and instead of cherishing enmity against Satan, the whole human family would have been united in opposition to God.” {GC88 505.2}

    And notice especially…..”This enmity is not naturally entertained. When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy.”

    God creates babies in a state of sin but not without the possibility of changing that reality.

    Bill Sorensen




    0
    View Comment
    • @Bill Sorensen:

      It is true Sean, that God did not create the broken condition as you have affirmed and I agree.

      None the less, it is God who creates human beings in this broken condition.

      You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth Bill. You’re saying that God both did and did not create our broken condition?

      Allowing basic laws of nature to function on this planet, independent of His will, is not the same thing as actively creating the broken condition of a baby born with leukemia… or any other defect that is the natural result of our separation from God.

      And because of the broken condition, they are under the wrath of God. You may not like the enigma, but it is still true.

      There is no enigma here. God is only responsible for the good things that still exist in this life. He is responsible for the creation of the breath of life, but not the painful defects of life. Childhood leukemia is simply not an “act of God”. It is the result of mindless natural mechanisms that act independent of God’s desire or will for us on this planet.

      Sinful parents have sinful children. But not without God’s participation in the process.

      God’s only participation in the process is in creating that which is good. Again, all things broken and evil are “of the enemy” – Matthew 13:27-28.

      You make God out to be directly responsible, to one degree or another, for childhood leukemia and other such evils. It seems like you would call such evils, “acts of God”. I’m sorry, but you have a warped view of God and His will for us. He never desires that any child, or any adult for that matter, would suffer any form of harm or injury to mind, body, or soul. And, He does not aid in the process of random genetic mutations that do end up causing great pain and death to those that He dearly loves… or any other form of injury for that matter.

      And thus, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman” is a super natural act of God’s grace in behalf of fallen man and not simply a natural part of human birth that would have taken place had Adam not sinned in the first place.

      Indeed this is a very good supernatural gift on the part of God – the creation of our ability to recognize and hate evil. However, this is a good gift. It is not the same thing as a child getting leukemia – which would be a very very bad “gift”. The fact is that leukemia is the “natural” result of random genetic mutations that occur independent of God’s will or action for any child…

      God declares, “I will put enmity.” This enmity is not naturally entertained.

      That’s right, but leukemia is “naturally entertained”… as are all other injuries to the human race which are a natural consequence of our separation from God’s direct care and will for us.

      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.

      God creates babies in a state of sin but not without the possibility of changing that reality.

      Can you even hear what you are saying? I can’t believe you just said that it is God who creates babies in a state of brokenness. Leukemia? This is an act of God? Really?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:
        “Indeed this is a very good supernatural gift on the part of God – the creation of our ability to recognize and hate evil.”

        Sean, it seems to me that it is you who is talking out of both sides of his mouth. How can you say that the ability to recognize and hate evil is a good gift, and then not also affirm the prerequisites to recieving the gift?

        God was responsible for the creation in the beginning, and he set up the test, so if either if the choices he gave Adam and Eve were outside his plan, then He would be and evil God.

        The only way that God can allow Eve the choice without being evil himself, it to have a remedy in place. i.e. Christ was the lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world. And even though Eve’s choice resulted in a period of pain, in the long run, after God’s plan has run it’s course, Man will be actually on the throne with God, a place he never would have attained if Eve had not made the choice that she did. So, Eve’s choice was between innocence and life without pain, or to pursue wisdom through a life of pain and death, to eventually wind up on the throne knowing good from evil. I think I am OK with that. I would rather experience evil and have wisdom, and to ultimately be placed on the throne of God, than to take the easy way, and never know the truth about God’s character.




        0
        View Comment
  3. Bill&#032Sorensen: 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.




    0
    View Comment
  4. 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




    0
    View Comment
  5. 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.




    0
    View Comment
    • @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




      0
      View Comment
  6. 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




    0
    View Comment
    • @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




      0
      View Comment
  7. David&#032Read: 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.




    0
    View Comment
    • @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.




      0
      View Comment
  8. 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




    0
    View Comment
  9. 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




    0
    View Comment
  10. 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!




    0
    View Comment
  11. 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




    0
    View Comment
  12. Holly&#032Pham: 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.




    0
    View Comment
  13. 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




    0
    View Comment
    • @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.




      0
      View Comment
  14. Sean&#032Pitman: 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).




    0
    View Comment
  15. Sean&#032Pitman: 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?




    0
    View Comment
    • @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




      0
      View Comment
  16. 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




    0
    View Comment
  17. Bill&#032Sorensen: 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.




    0
    View Comment
  18. 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&#032Read:
    @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




    0
    View Comment
  19. 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?




    0
    View Comment
    • @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.




      0
      View Comment
  20. David&#032Read:
    @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.




    0
    View Comment
  21. Bill&#032Sorensen: 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.




    0
    View Comment
    • @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




      0
      View Comment
  22. Sean, what ever God allows is God’s permissive will. It is what He permits.

    God allows sin. This is His permissive will.

    If mother tells Johnny he can play with any and all of his toys but not to throw them out the window, he may throw them out the window anyway. She permitted him to do it by giving him the opportunity.

    Her will was to permit him to do it. Even though she instructed him not to. As soon as you give a self governing agent freedom to act, you also will for them to choose.

    Now your personal will may be that they will follow your instruction. But, since you gave them the power of choice, your permissive will stands above your desired will.

    So God willed that Adam should choose good or evil. And God’s will to give Adam free choice stands above what ever Adam may do one way or the other.

    So Adam chose sin. It was God’s will that Adam had a free choice. And God permitted Adam to choose evil. It was God’s permissive will. He could have stopped him. But He did not. In fact, He could not and still will for Adam to have his own free will. And in this sense, God is responsible for sin because He did not have to make free moral agents.

    None the less, the free moral agent is ultimately responsible for sin since he had not reason to sin.

    Is mother responsible for Johnny throwing his toys out the window? Yes and no.

    If Johnny understands the implications of his decision, then somewhere, mother’s responsibility ends and Johnny’s responsibility is the final one.

    So God is responsible for creating the possibility of sin. But God’s responsibility for sin ceases where man’s responsibility begins.

    God shifts the responsibility of good and evil on those who can discern and make a viable decision in favor with what God desires and even demands.

    So, sins of ignorance are forgiven by way of the cross and Jesus accepts the responsibility for the sins of His people until the are sufficiently enlightened.

    At some point, if they do not repent, sins of ignorance become sins of rebellion. And then the responsiblity rests solely on the rebel.

    Believe it or not.

    Bill Sorensen




    0
    View Comment
    • @Bill Sorensen:

      Sean, what ever God allows is God’s permissive will. It is what He permits. God allows sin. This is His permissive will.

      Allowing or permitting something to occur does not mean that God caused it or willed it or is in any other way responsible for its existence.

      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. God desires freedom more than He desires obedience. Only in this manner is it possible for true love to exist.

      Again, however, this does not mean that God therefore willed Lucifer or Pharaoh or any other wicked person to rebel. That’s simply not true. God does not tempt or will anyone to rebel (James 1:13).

      So Adam chose sin. It was God’s will that Adam had a free choice. And God permitted Adam to choose evil. It was God’s permissive will. He could have stopped him. But He did not. In fact, He could not and still will for Adam to have his own free will. And in this sense, God is responsible for sin because He did not have to make free moral agents.

      You’re logic doesn’t follow. Just because God is responsible for creating freedom of will and for allowing free choices to be made does not mean that God is therefore responsible for the choices of the freewill agents that go contrary to His own will for them. This is like Adam blaming God for making Eve or Eve blaming God for making the snake.

      Again, the choice to rebel against God is not of God’s making or responsibility. It is entirely the responsibility of the one who made the choice to rebel. God is only responsible for the good things – for the existence of free will, the option to actually choose between good and evil. God is not therefore responsible for the evil.

      So God is responsible for creating the possibility of sin. But God’s responsibility for sin ceases where man’s responsibility begins.

      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. But, God is not responsible for the actual choice to rebel. Such a choice is entirely the responsibility of the free moral agent.

      In short, I entirely agree with this statement of yours: “But God’s responsibility for sin ceases where man’s responsibility begins.”

      This means that God did not “harden Pharaoh’s heart” or cause him to rebel. Pharaoh hardened his own heart and chose, of his own free will, to rebel against the will of God.

      There is no paradox here. God is not both good and evil. God is only good. He is not responsible for the origin or action of the evil that He allows, for a time, to exist for the purposes of demonstrating exactly what evil is and does…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  23. Sean&#032Pitman: 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




    0
    View Comment
  24. Sean&#032Pitman: 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.




    0
    View Comment
      • @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.




        0
        View Comment
        • @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




          0
          View Comment
  25. 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




    0
    View Comment
    • @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




      0
      View Comment
  26. 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.”




    0
    View Comment
    • @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.




      0
      View Comment
  27. 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




    0
    View Comment
    • @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




      0
      View Comment
  28. 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.




    0
    View Comment
  29. 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




    0
    View Comment
  30. David&#032Read: 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?




    0
    View Comment
    • @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.




      0
      View Comment
  31. 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.




    0
    View Comment
  32. Stephen: why has it not been exposed as a hoax if that is what it is?

    It has been. Unfortunately, the marjority of scientists have been steeped in this error all their lives and they either don’t have the insight or the courage to question it. But there are some scientists who are publicly denouncing it and that number is growing as the scientific community slowly wakes up to the fact that they have been “led down the primrose path”. Watch the DVD “Unlocking the Mysteries of Life”. It is an eye-opener.




    0
    View Comment
  33. Ron: Remember, the epigenome-genome system that Bob references wasn’t known back in Darwin’s time. So it seems to me that when you say, as Bob just said, that the epigenome-genome system explains even a small part of the evolution described by Darwin and it is OK to believe that because God created organisms with the ability to change, you have in essence conceded the issue. Because if God created organisms with the ability to change even a little, why couldn’t he have created them with the ability to change a lot?

    You are inventing links that do not work.

    1. You argue that if any change is possible than ALL transitions are possible. Thus if an amoeba adapts its diet – or based on diet activates the smallest trait in phenotype – then it can also turn into a rabbit.

    2. You assume the salient point of your argument rather than proving it to be valid. You assume the most massive change is valid – simply because any change at all is valid. I can paint my car — but I cannot turn it into a goat.

    3. You ask “What God can do” as if the creationist argument was ever of the form “God cannot create an organism that can evolve into a higher life form”. We never argue that “God cannot create something”. Rather the argument is that God “cannot lie” and that comes from Titus 1.

    The argument is that God said he did the whole thing in 6 real days (see Ex 20:8-11) and we argue that a 6 day creation week for all life on earth – is just as opposed to evolutionism as Darwin said it was.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
    • You say that you are not arguing that “God cannot create an organism that can evolve into a higher life form”, but that is in fact exactly what you are arguing, or at least you are arguing that He didn’t.

      I think you are reading into scripture something that isn’t there. Just because God created a fully functioning world 6000 years ago, doesn’t mean that he didn’t create it with the ability to evolve further. There is no logical reason to make that inference, and there is no theological reason to that I can think of either. (I will grant Sean the possibility that there maybe probabilistic reasons, but not logical or theological reasons.) In fact the notion goes against many scriptures that speak of God’s immanence in his creation, (Think Psalms, Job, Paul, Desire of Ages for examples).

      I find it interesting that you bring up the issue of God lying. I asked a friend the other day, if God created the world 6000 years ago, why does it look like it was created millions of years ago? His answer was, “Think of it like the haunted house at Disneyland. It was make to look like it is very old, but it isn’t. It was made recently to look old.”

      There are two ways to lie. One is to make the world millions of years ago and say you made it 6000 years ago, the other way is to make it 6000 years ago and make it look like it was millions of years old. At the moment I don’t see a way out of the dilemma.

      God also says that he is the creator and that He doesn’t change. So when you deny evolution, it seems to me that you are denying that God is still creating. By denying evolution you are calling God a liar when he says he doesn’t change.

      I will anticipate your argument that God took a break from creating for the duration of the history of this world. But if you say that, then you destroy the force of the Sabbath commandment which includes the admonition to work 6 days a week, and you also destroy the argument that the creation days were 24 hrs by making the 7th day of God’s creation week last for the entire duration of human history.

      I think we can probably answer some of these issues with time and more study, but in the mean time you have committed the sin of destroying the reputation of dedicated teachers who have devoted their lives to serving our church, and put at least one of our preeminent schools, and perhaps our whole school system in jeopardy by making premature accusations with incomplete information.

      Your argument from Ex. 20:8-11 does not apply because there is no logical or Biblical reason to say that creation by fiat and Darwinian evolution are mutually exclusive. In fact there are many Biblical and scientific reasons to believe that they in fact are not.

      Your quote from Spiritual Gifts does not apply because I am not using science or geology to argue against God, nor creation by fiat.

      I am also not a theistic evolutionist in the sense that you and Mrs. White are using the term. I am in fact, arguing FOR Mrs. Whites idea that God is imminently involved in his creation even at the level the Brownian motion of individual atoms, and the hairs on your head.

      Yes, I am in fact arguing that massive change is valid. I believe that on the basis of God’s great power to create this whole world by the word of his mouth and by his promise inherent in the Sabbath commandment, to continue to be with us, and to work with us six days a week. And His promise for rebirth and recreation.

      Yes, I believe there will be a special act of recreation in the future, but I believe that God is also active in rebirth and recreation right now, and I think Darwin unwittingly provided a scientific description of God’s current activity. You may not be able to turn your car into a goat, but God can if he so chooses. Who are you to say that he can’t or won’t choose to?

      I am also arguing, as Mrs. White so eloquently states in your famous quote, that Darwin, and anyone else who uses science to deny the creative activity of God is wrong. They are simply looking in the wrong direction. Their thinking is upside down.

      I am also rejecting Sean’s modified deistic notion of a God forsaken wound up watch kind of creation. It seems to me that Mrs. White and the Bible both reject that world view. Sean in his effort to define a God free zone in the present is surely rejecting God as much as Darwin was in trying to define a God free zone in the past.




      0
      View Comment
      • @Ron:

        I am also rejecting Sean’s modified deistic notion of a God forsaken wound up watch kind of creation. It seems to me that Mrs. White and the Bible both reject that world view. Sean in his effort to define a God free zone in the present is surely rejecting God as much as Darwin was in trying to define a God free zone in the past.

        We are the one’s who stepped away from God into a more “God-free zone”… where bad things happen to good people independent of God’s will or action.

        I know you claim that it is God who is personally directing every tornado that rips through the towns and cities of the mid-West. It is God who directly causes the floods and tsunami’s that destroy lives and property. It is God who causes little children to get cancer and die painful deaths.

        Really? You really think your God is that evil? Both Mrs. White and the Bible emphatically reject this view of God and point the blame on our own rebellion against God and our choice to step away from God, as a race, into the cold hard world of a mindless mechanical nature. Even worse, at times we deliberately place ourselves into the very hands of a very intelligent Evil being who was once the Morning Star or Lucifer himself.

        If God didn’t not actually step in and directly intervene to prevent even more evil from taking place on this planet, no one would long survive in this place…

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




        0
        View Comment
        • @Ron:

          So, you think that if God is directly responsible for the death of anyone that He is therefore the direct cause of all sickness, disease, death, and destruction? Every natural disaster is God’s doing? – a miracle of Divine design and creative power?

          Do you not see the difference between the miracle of something like Lazarus being raised from the dead and a tornado wiping out an entire town the other day in the Midwest?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  34. (Followup from Walla Walla thread)

    @ David Read
    “Ron, it seems to me that where you’re going with your extraordinarily tedious line of argument is that if creationists acknowledge limited post-creation evolution, then we have no reason not to admit that evolution could account for the entire creation, without the need of a special creation.”

    @ Bob Ryan
    “Changes in phenotype can happen via the epigenome-genome system God designed without ever enabling an amoeba to turn into a horse, nor even half-horse.”

    No, I am actually arguing nearly the opposite, that as a believer in special creation, you do not have to exclude belief in evolution. Those are not mutually exclusive concepts.

    Remember, the epigenome-genome system that Bob references wasn’t known back in Darwin’s time. So it seems to me that when you say, as Bob just said, that the epigenome-genome system explains even a small part of the evolution described by Darwin and it is OK to believe that because God created organisms with the ability to change, you have in essence conceded the issue. Because if God created organisms with the ability to change even a little, why couldn’t he have created them with the ability to change a lot?

    Ok, as Sean has pointed out, we don’t yet have all the mechanisms worked out that can take an “amoeba to a horse”, but back when Darwin did his study we didn’t have any explanations for any of it. Who’s to say we aren’t going to discover more mechanisms as time progresses?

    Even just this week, I heard about the discovery of self aggregating, non-living “cells” without even any DNA that can act in non-random, seemingly goal driven behavior and replicate themselves, and we already know that DNA exists in stellar nebula even before the sun is formed, so it seems like a pretty simple step for the DNA to find it’s way into one of those non-living cells to create a bacterium.

    I also heard they discovered in a lab a single celled yeast that turned itself into a true multi-celled organism with tissue differentiation, multiple differentiated organs even with programmed cell death as part of its development. So how do you incorporate those findings into a creation model?

    It seems to me that creationists are being beaten back, little by little. At what point do you give up the idea of ONLY a special creation and allow that Darwin was correct in his observations and that God may have created organisms with the ability to evolve? It seems to me that even Bob has already crossed that threshold and that the only thing left now is to argue, as Sean is doing, over how much evolution is possible.

    I just want us to be honest with ourselves. Sean and Bob already believe in evolution. They are just afraid to admit it. And I think it is their fear that is driving the attack on the science teachers.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ron:

      Ron,

      It seems to me that creationists are being beaten back, little by little. ”

      I believe it is the other way around, as the Darwinians are forced to outlendish excues when the data does not match their dogma.

      “Disclaimer about limitations of evolutionary research,” the trade secret is explained:

      While we would certainly agree with the statement that “nothing in glycobiology makes sense, except in the light of evolution”, we must also realize that evolution only occurred once and that evolution does not follow well-defined rules.

      There you have it. The obligatory, utterly non scientific, secret handshake (“nothing makes sense except evolution … blah, blah, blah”) is always needed before any disclosure of the embarrassing, contradictory facts.

      Evolution doesn’t make sense, therefore it simply “does not follow well-defined rules.” In other words, anything goes. Evolution must be true, no evolutionist can deny the prime directive. But they haven’t the slightest idea, beyond endless tautologies and speculation, how that could be.

      http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/




      0
      View Comment
      • I don’t really care to defend evolutionists, and I agree they make errors in logic and theology. I think for the most part scientists like everyone else are trying to do the best they can most of the time. I am more interested in developing our own theories. I think there is likely a mixture of truth with error on both sides of the issue and hopefully we can take the truth and leave the rest.

        I happen to think that the PRINCIPLES Darwin illucidated are correct even though I disagree with his conclusion that they somehow exclude God as the creator. I don’t think evolution and creation by fiat are logically incompatible and that is the idea I am exploring here. I know I am in the minority, perhaps even unique. We’ll see where the idea leads. I also think that Darwinian principles are generalizable to nonbiological systems.

        As far as I can tell, Sean and perhaps even Bob agree that the principles of Darwinian evolution are correct, but only in an extremely limited sphere. Bob wants to limit it to Mendelian genetic variability within population groups. Sean wants to allow for some gene development, but not beyond the 1000aa level of complexity. It seems that at least for Sean it is the size of the sphere that is the primary issue.

        Sean and I appear to disagree in our theology about how or whether God has any ongoing sustaining role in the current creation and that may account for much of our differences at the philosophical level. (Please correct me if I am wrong in representing your views)




        0
        View Comment
    • @Ron:

      You wrote:

      Even just this week, I heard about the discovery of self aggregating, non-living “cells” without even any DNA that can act in non-random, seemingly goal driven behavior and replicate themselves, and we already know that DNA exists in stellar nebula even before the sun is formed, so it seems like a pretty simple step for the DNA to find it’s way into one of those non-living cells to create a bacterium.

      Care to provide a reference for self-replicating non-living cells? – without DNA or RNA? There is a limited ability for pre-formed RNA molecules to self-replicate portions of themselves. There is also the ability of certain polar molecules to form little spheres with open central areas. But, this isn’t really self-replication based on coded information.

      Also, while various amino acids have been detected in nebula, neither proteins nor DNA have been detected. It is simply hypothesized that individual amino acid building blocks would have to give rise to proteins and the basic ingredients for DNA would have to give rise to the informational complexity of DNA itself (Link)…

      These imaginative just-so stories do not take into account the statistical odds against the mindless formation of high levels of functional informational complexity. There is no such demonstration known to modern science. Period.

      You ask when creationists will given up and simply accept the reality of neo-Darwinism given that certain abilities for change within living things have in fact been discovered. I ask you the same question: When will you given up on the notion that any mindless mechanism can produce much of anything beyond very very low levels of functional complexity? – given that its never been observed and the statistical odds that it will ever been observed suggest effective impossibility?

      I also heard they discovered in a lab a single celled yeast that turned itself into a true multi-celled organism with tissue differentiation, multiple differentiated organs even with programmed cell death as part of its development. So how do you incorporate those findings into a creation model?

      All that happened here is that yeast that was able to aggregate were positivity selected. No novel genetic information which was not already present within the gene pool was evolved – to include the ability for pre-programmed cell death. There was no new “tissue differentiation” nor where “multiple differentiated organs” evolved.

      http://www.pnas.org/content/109/5/1595

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        Ok, In the first article, it was ribose sugar that was found in the nebulae, not deoxy-ribose, the DNA references as so often happens in these kinds of articles was speculation of potential future findings, I admit to sloppy reading. (Nobody ever accused me of being a good reader.) I stand corrected.

        The second article, I can’t get access to because it is on a protected site, but the abstract strongly implies that there were genomically distinct population groups within the organism. But really you are only arguing over the degree of specialization, not the fact of specialization itself. All that is really beside the point. I think there is a bigger issue here.

        The issue is, that in every scientific discipline, there appears to be a natural progression from simple to complex and random variation with natural selection seems to describe attributes of the process.

        For example: In high energy particle physics we see that out of energy, emerges a myriad of complex sub nuclear particles.

        Out of sub nuclear particles emerge the larger atomic nuclear particles.

        Out of nuclear particles emerges the periodic table of elements. (All those above iron require the explosion of a star)

        Out of the table of elements emerges chemistry, inorganic, then organic.

        Out of organic chemistry emerges a whole host of complex molecules.

        Out of the molecules emerges cellular systems and life forms.

        Out of life forms emerges intelligence.

        Out of higher levels of intelligence emerges social structure and spirituality.
        And most of human history is a description of the development of more complex social structures and more complex spirituality.

        At each emergent stage there is a vast increase in informational complexity. Each stage emerges out of and is dependent on the previous stage. As each stage develops, there is a huge increase in variety which is subsequently decreased as the emergence of the next level uses up resources from the previous level and exerts a selection bias.

        This emergent quality seems to be a pervasive feature of our universe. And aside from his work in biology, Darwin deserves to be recognized as the first to give a scientific description of this feature of the universe. It is probably unfortunate that he happened to be a biologist because his discovery got tangled up in the creation debate. If he had made his description as a nuclear physicist we probably wouldn’t be having this debate.

        So, part of the problem with the debate on evolution in biology is that we haven’t created the intellectual and theological foundation yet for the debate.

        Before you can address the question of evolution in biology, you have to define your terms within the larger context. For example, it makes no sense to use the beauty and complexity of the basic physical laws to show evidence of God, and then, when you are talking in biology to refer to those same physical laws as “natural”. The laws can’t be evidence of intelligent design in physics, and the somehow be a natural cause in biology. Which is it?

        I take the term “creation” to define an activity of God. Where specifically within the process of emergence is God’s creative act? When the Large Hadron Collider creates a new, never before seen particle, was that a creative act of God, or was that a “natural event”?

        At each stage of emergence there is higher, more complex informational coding. You argue that information complexity beyond 1000aa (I am not sure what that means) requires intelligent design. The trouble is that, while I am not sure how you measure informational complexity, I suspect that if you could add up all the informational complexity required to get from pure energy to even the beginning of genetic encoding, that it would require more than the 1000aa worth of information which you use to define the boundary between “natural” and “intelligent” design.

        So when you say that biology can evolve “naturally” with informational encoding of less that 1000aa but that God has to intelligently intervene at anything above 1000aa, what does that mean? How do you account for all the intelligence required even to get to your starting point? Why is it that you have this narrow window from 0-1000aa that doesn’t require God and can happen naturally, but everything before and after does?

        And then again, there seems to be another God gap when it comes to human intelligence. How is it that the product of human intelligence is suddenly outside the pervue of God’s creation? I am sure that the accumulation of all human intelligence developed since the fall requires an informational complexity greater that that of 1000aa. So biochemical information density greater than 1000aa requires a creative act of God, but all of the human intellectual development that has occurred since the fall of Adam somehow doesn’t require God? That doesn’t make sense.

        So, you see, before we can even start an intelligent conversation about evolutionary biology, our theologians have to get busy and help us develop basic scientific definitions of theological terms.

        What exactly do you mean when you say “God created”? Where in this process is his creation required and where is it not?

        What is the difference between natural and supernatural? When a new particle is created, is that the result of God’s creative act, or is that the result of “natural” law? How do you tell the difference?

        When a human creates something that never previously existed in nature. Was the activity of God somehow excluded from that creation event?

        If something happens “naturally”, how do you know God didn’t do it?
        If something happens “supernaturally”, i.e. a miracle, how do you know it is a miracle, and not just a natural event that we don’t understand?

        So see, until we get some basic scientific/theological definitions, we can’t talk intelligently about evolution. When you say that anything below 1000aa is “random genetic variation” how do you know it is really random, maybe it is really directed by God.

        When you say that anything above 1000aa requires direct intelligent creation by God, how do you know that? Maybe God has previously created “natural” mechanisms that we just haven’t discovered yet.

        When someone says, “I prayed and God told me ????” What does that mean? Was that God creating human intelligence? Was that low grade schizophrenia? Is it someone not wanting to take responsibility for their own desires and actions? I don’t know, but the answer to these questions has a direct impact on where and how you see God’s hand in creation, particularly when it comes to what ever might be happening since the special creation event.

        I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. And I will be surprised if anyone does. But I have to think that every biology teacher in the SDA church struggles with these issues everyday, and it is NOT THEIR FAULT. Until the theologians do their work and give us definitions it is impossible. It is morally wrong for theologians to hold biology teachers accountable for explaining science in theological terms when the theologians haven’t provided the relevant theological definitions. I am sure there is plenty of blame to go around if you are looking to blame, but the primary reason for failure at LSU does not lie in the Biology department. It lies in the theology department. This is primarily a failure in theology. You would be on stronger moral ground to fire the theology departments.




        0
        View Comment
        • @Ron:

          DNA never self-assembles in or outside of a Nebula – even when all the basic building blocks are available. Take all the deoxy-ribose sugars you want, put them in the same place and what happens? DNA self-assembly? Nope. No DNA molecules are formed, much less those with any meaning to the sequences of nucleotides.

          The issue is, that in every scientific discipline, there appears to be a natural progression from simple to complex and random variation with natural selection seems to describe attributes of the process.

          Not significantly beyond the originally programming of the system in question – the originally meaningful/functional informational complexity.

          For example: In high energy particle physics we see that out of energy, emerges a myriad of complex sub nuclear particles.

          Or starting with a high energy massless photon and turning it into an electron and a positron. Note, however, that because momentum has to be conserved, a photon can’t turn into an electron and a positron out in empty space. The photon must collide with an atomic nucleus in order to produce the electron and positron.

          In short, raw energy does not turn into particles with mass outside of interaction with pre-existing particles with mass.

          Out of sub nuclear particles emerge the larger atomic nuclear particles.

          Not true. Newly generated particles have never been shown to self-assemble into larger atomic nuclear particles. Such an event is probably very close to impossible outside of very intelligent manipulation. The reason for this lack of self-assembly on this level is partly because there are various ‘conservation laws’ of electric charges, the number of leptons (electron-like particles) etc., which means that one can only create matter / anti-matter pairs out of energy. Anti-matter, however, has the unfortunate tendency to combine with matter and turn itself back into energy.

          Out of nuclear particles emerges the periodic table of elements. (All those above iron require the explosion of a star).

          Certain types of atoms can self-assemble under the appropriate conditions, but the laws and informational complexity needed for this assembly process were already pre-existent in this universe. These “universal constants” that govern the nature and action of energy in this universe, and the ability for a certain degree of self-assembly, do not have to be like they are. Yet, without them being exactly like they are, to within a degree of precision of 1 part in 1e500, complex molecules could not self-assemble.

          Out of the table of elements emerges chemistry, inorganic, then organic.

          Not without the fundamental constants of the universe being precisely defined…

          Out of organic chemistry emerges a whole host of complex molecules.

          Again, there is no “organic chemistry” without the pre-existing structure and functional informational complexity of DNA, RNA, proteins, and overall cellular structure. Without this structural and coded information existing preformed, DNA, proteins, and life itself does not self-assemble. The statistical odds are too far against such a self-assembly process.

          Out of the molecules emerges cellular systems and life forms.

          Nope, not without pre-existing life forms that already have the very high levels of functional complexity pre-established from an outside source of this information. There is no such thing as cellular systems or any kind of life form “emerging” or self-assembling themselves from non-living molecules of any kind in any environment.

          Out of life forms emerges intelligence.

          Nope. Living things that are not already intelligent or don’t already have the pre-programmed genetic information to grow an intelligent brain, do not spontaneously gain or evolve this information. The origin of access to intelligence is always based on pre-existing intelligence passing on the required genetic information.

          Out of higher levels of intelligence emerges social structure and spirituality.
          And most of human history is a description of the development of more complex social structures and more complex spirituality.

          Complex social structures and spirituality are dependent upon the level of underlying intelligence within the community. In other words, they are creations of intelligent design. Intelligence, by definition, can create novel things.

          At each emergent stage there is a vast increase in informational complexity. Each stage emerges out of and is dependent on the previous stage. As each stage develops, there is a huge increase in variety which is subsequently decreased as the emergence of the next level uses up resources from the previous level and exerts a selection bias.

          Yes, but what gets you to the next level? – not spontaneous self-assembly outside of deliberate intelligent design…

          You just don’t understand that emergence does not equate to automatic self assembly outside of pre-existing informational complexity at the same or greater levels to the next higher level of emergence.

          It makes no sense to use the beauty and complexity of the basic physical laws to show evidence of God, and then, when you are talking in biology to refer to those same physical laws as “natural”. The laws can’t be evidence of intelligent design in physics, and the somehow be a natural cause in biology. Which is it?

          It’s both. God designed natural laws – such as the universal constants of nature without which complex molecules and living things could not exist. These laws were designed to function without the evident need of constant conscious intervention. In other words, they appear to function like a mechanical device, like a watch for example, where the watch is able to function independently after the watch maker has put all the parts into their proper place. It is only “natural” for the watch to work by itself as it was designed to work.

          However, the natural laws that govern the function of the watch are limited. They cannot explain the existence of some emergent system of function for which the watch might form a part – like a time bomb. Such a system requires additional assembly instructions outside of those accessible to the watch itself. Therefore, the existence of the bomb would necessitate additional information from an intelligent source.

          In contrast, a broken watch does not require an appeal to an intelligent source to explain since such decay is already “natural” to the system in question.

          I take the term “creation” to define an activity of God. Where specifically within the process of emergence is God’s creative act? When the Large Hadron Collider creates a new, never before seen particle, was that a creative act of God, or was that a “natural event”?

          The underlying universal constants that allowed for the operation and success of such an experiment were created by God. However, the particular observation was not outside of the “natural” programming of the universe acting on its own. In other words, there is no evident need for an additional deliberate act of God or any other form of intelligent design here.

          At each stage of emergence there is higher, more complex informational coding. You argue that information complexity beyond 1000aa (I am not sure what that means) requires intelligent design. The trouble is that, while I am not sure how you measure informational complexity, I suspect that if you could add up all the informational complexity required to get from pure energy to even the beginning of genetic encoding, that it would require more than the 1000aa worth of information which you use to define the boundary between “natural” and “intelligent” design.

          As already noted, different “emergent” stages require the additional input of intelligent design to achieve the next level of functional complexity. When you want to go from low level biological systems to higher level biological systems, beyond those that require a minimum of 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues, you won’t be able to do it outside of the input of additional information from a pre-existing source of intelligence.

          So when you say that biology can evolve “naturally” with informational encoding of less that 1000aa but that God has to intelligently intervene at anything above 1000aa, what does that mean?

          It means that additional direct intelligent involvement is not required for lower-level evolution – which is entirely within the realm of the system that was already created at that level. However, when you’re talking about moving up a level, the needed information simply does not exist in the system that God created – outside of additional help from a pre-existing intelligent source of information (which may only require human-level intelligence – which itself was created by God).

          How do you account for all the intelligence required even to get to your starting point? Why is it that you have this narrow window from 0-1000aa that doesn’t require God and can happen naturally, but everything before and after does?

          Not everything else before does, but everything after certainly requires additional intelligent input. That’s simply how the universe in which we live was designed to operate – limitations were built into our universe. These limitations cannot be traversed without intelligent input. Otherwise, there would be nothing special about intelligence – if non-intelligent things could do the same stuff we can do…

          And then again, there seems to be another God gap when it comes to human intelligence. How is it that the product of human intelligence is suddenly outside the pervue of God’s creation?

          Like the watch set up to run by itself, human intelligence was designed, by God, to function independent of God’s direct interaction and manipulation. That is why we can actually have freedom of will and action – why we are actually responsible, morally responsible, for what we do with our intelligence. If we were non-intelligent robots, God would be directly responsible for our actions.

          I am sure that the accumulation of all human intelligence developed since the fall requires an informational complexity greater that that of 1000aa. So biochemical information density greater than 1000aa requires a creative act of God, but all of the human intellectual development that has occurred since the fall of Adam somehow doesn’t require God? That doesn’t make sense.

          Intelligence is creative by its very nature. Non-intelligent mechanisms, like random mutations combined with natural selection, are not intelligent and are therefore far more limited in what they can create at higher levels of functional complexity.

          In other words, human-level intelligence is in fact perfectly capable of creating at levels of functional complexity that go far beyond the level of 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues.

          When a human creates something that never previously existed in nature. Was the activity of God somehow excluded from that creation event?

          That’s correct. No additional act of God was required. God created the human with intelligence enough to produce novel creations of his/her own at will – without the need for the direct involvement of God in the creative act of the human.

          If something happens “naturally”, how do you know God didn’t do it?

          If something happens “supernaturally”, i.e. a miracle, how do you know it is a miracle, and not just a natural event that we don’t understand?

          This requires scientific investigation, which never produces absolute certainty for answers like this… only “predictive value” for the design hypothesis.

          If the phenomenon in question 1) goes significantly beyond anything that mindless nature is known to be able to produce and 2) is well within the range of what at least human-level intelligence can produce, most likely the phenomenon in question required at least human level intelligence to produce.

          Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to tell a deliberately carved arrowhead from the amorphous rock on the ground next to it. You won’t be able to tell the difference between a deliberate murder and an a natural death. You wouldn’t be able to tell a work of Shakespeare from an explosion in a print factory… etc.

          When you say that anything above 1000aa requires direct intelligent creation by God, how do you know that? Maybe God has previously created “natural” mechanisms that we just haven’t discovered yet.

          That’s always possible, but it isn’t science. Science isn’t based on what might one day be known. Science is based on what little is known right now. That is why intelligent design hypotheses are always subject to the theoretical potential of falsification given additional discoveries.

          Again, there is no absolute certainty in science.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  35. Stephen: Who says it is talking about one human-day and not a God-day?

    Who says? The SOP plainly says–as has oft been quoted on this site in many places. This is just an example of how God sent EGW messages to clarify and fortify Bible truth. These were 24 hour days–evening and morning. In the face of the SOP statements, you would have to willfully and actively refuse to believe–which I have noticed happening in several cases on this site.




    0
    View Comment
  36. Ervin&#032Taylor:
    It would seem that Dr. Pitman would like us to focus on a few percent of the scientific data and ignore the other 98-99%. I trust that he does not do that in his pathology practice.

    I would hope that Sean actually practices 100% real science, not the pseudoscience of speculation, guesses, and possibilities that are common in evolution. Am I correct, Sean?

    When doing an autopsy, Sean might say, “Gunshot wound to the head.” Instead of, “Gunshot wound, possibly shot by a red-headed young man wearing a plaid jacket and Docker pants. Oh, and I think he was smoking a Marlboro cigarette, which he purchased from the local 7-11 market, from money he stole from his aunt.”




    0
    View Comment
  37. Stephen: @Holly Pham: Who decides what ‘real science is’? One could make a similar analogy, where Ervin might say, ‘Gunshot wound to the head’; whereas, Sean might say, ‘Gunshot, what gunshot?’

    So, are you saying Sean, as a trained Pathologist, would not recognize a gunshot wound to the head? And, Erv Taylor, an academic Anthropologist, would?




    0
    View Comment
  38. I had a question for Sean that came up on a different thread before I left on an extended vacation, and now the thread seems to be gone.
    So I will ask it here, you can re-direct it to a more appropriate thread if you like.

    You argued on behalf of Intelligent design based on the fact that many non-religious scientists, particularly physicists and astronomers have come see intelligent design in the basic laws and physics of the universe, i.e. things like the gravitational constant, nuclear forces, the expansion rate of the universe etc.

    So, if the laws that govern gravity, nuclear fusion in a star, and basic chemistry are evidence of Intelligent design in physics, then how is it that those same laws are considered “natural” or “random” in the biologic sciences? What exactly is your definition of “Intelligence” in the term “Intelligent design”?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ron:

      So, if the laws that govern gravity, nuclear fusion in a star, and basic chemistry are evidence of Intelligent design in physics, then how is it that those same laws are considered “natural” or “random” in the biologic sciences? What exactly is your definition of “Intelligence” in the term “Intelligent design”?

      God created natural laws as mechanical tools to operate in His universe. There is very good evidence that these laws could not have made themselves out of nothing. This is the basis of what is known as the “Anthropic Principle”.

      Now, the tools themselves have known limitations. They are finite. They are not infinite like God. When phenomena go significantly beyond the known limitations of these tools, these natural laws, additional information is required to explain these phenomena which the limitations of the natural laws themselves cannot explain.

      For example, the existence of a chocolate cake on your kitchen table in the morning cannot be rationally explained by the laws of chemistry and physics alone – outside of any additional intelligent manipulation of these laws by some intelligent agent of some kind – like your wife…

      The same thing is true of highly symmetrical polished granite cubes, the mechanical complexity of your wrist watch or the silicon chip in your computer, or the bio-machines in living things (beyond the level of 1000 saaa).

      All these things require intelligent design to explain them over and above the intelligence that is required to explain the basic fundamental constants and laws of the universe, physics, and chemistry.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • One of the problems with this line of reasoning ia that while my wife is very intelligent indeed, she is also completely natural. So any thing she does happens naturally. If I find a cake that she baked, I might consider it unusual, but not unnatural. Nothing about the cake would imply the intervention of God.

        @Sean Pitman:




        0
        View Comment
        • @Ron:

          Where talking about the ability to detect the need to invoke intelligent design to explain various phenomena that exist in nature – regardless of if the intelligent agent is God or your wife or some alien from Zorg.

          The loaves of bread that Jesus made by Divine power were the obvious result of intelligent design. They looked like regular loaves of bread that your wife might make. No one could tell the difference by looking at them if they were placed side-by-side. Yet, one loaf would have been made by God and the other by your wife. The fact is that God can make what humans can make. What would be obvious, however, is that both loaves of bread required intelligence to produce. In other words, they weren’t the product of mindless process of nature or natural laws that had no access to deliberate intelligence.

          In short, just because your wife’s intelligence is “natural” doesn’t mean that all natural processes have access to intelligence or that every natural phenomena requires intelligence to explain beyond the basic non-intelligent laws of nature.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  39. BobRyan: Did Moses misinterpret God? I think not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




    0
    View Comment
  40. I don’t really know what to believe about the scientific truth or falsehood of evolution (because I am no scientist). However, can someone please explain to me why if evolution is a bunch of hog wash, some 98% of scientists believe in it, with that number going up further for scientists in an evolution-related field (geology, paleontology, biology, physics etc.)? After some 150-plus years, why has it not been exposed as a hoax if that is what it is?

    What also concerns me, is if you look at the history of the SDA Church’s own Geoscience Research Institute, which the Church has poured millions of dollars into, not only have they not down anything significant to refute evolution, many of its own scientists have gone on to accept evolution!

    Moreover, for those who say it is all a conspiracy or peer pressure from the academic community, why would Christian scientists, especially professors at Adventist universities, risk they jobs, reputations, families and place in the Church by accepting evolution? Surely the strong peer pressure is to keep quiet about evolution and just teach creationism at Adventist universities – not the opposite! Why would someone risk all unless they felt very strongly about it being true?

    I only ask, because again I am not a scientist, so I have to based my own judgments on the best evidence out there. I have never been to the moon but I believe Neil Armstrong walked there (and was not a Hollywood studio) based on the overwhelming number of scientists who say it happened. How then am I meant to consider the issue of evolution if the vast, vast number of scientists say it has merit?




    0
    View Comment
  41. Ron: There are two ways to lie. One is to make the world millions of years ago and say you made it 6000 years ago, the other way is to make it 6000 years ago and make it look like it was millions of years old. At the moment I don’t see a way out of the dilemma.

    God makes Adam and Eve fully formed on Day 6 – capable of walking around, talking and eating food as adults – left on their own.

    You argue that if God did not make them as “zygotes” then God is lying.

    God made mature plants, animals and mankind on their first day of life so that the entire ecosystem would “work”.

    You argue that this is somehow deceptive of God since they do not appear to be “1 day old”.

    I find your argument difficult to support.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
    • @BobRyan:
      Hmm. . . How did you get THAT out of what I said??? Never mind. I am talking about stars that are calculated to burn for millions of years, exploding only 10000 yrs after their creation, within yours and my lifetime, and human’s living in North America with centuries long histories, and fossils that appear to be hundreds of thousands of years old, and continents that have moved thousands of miles, on, and on, and on. Evidence that even Adventist Scientists PAID to find evidence to the contrary find convincing. It seems to me that it would take deliberate intent to create evidence that would convince so many very clever people of a false hood.




      0
      View Comment
  42. No, I am no more pantheistic than Mrs. White. It was her idea that God controls every atom, not mine. Pantheism believes that the atoms are of the substance of God, not just controlled be God.

    God is the first cause. If He knew the consequences of his actions before he did them and he chose to do them anyway, then at some point God is responsible for His decision. Someone who enables a crime still has responsibility for their enabling even if they aren’t the one who pulled the trigger. God has ultimate authority and resposibility unless you are willing to say he had no choice. The playground bully has responsibility, but so does the teacher monitor.

    The only way out of this is to say that God had a reason big enough to justify the cost. The long term gain justifies the short term pain. Kind of like going through surgery.

    Actually, evolution isn’t responsible for cancer. Evolution selects against cancer. Evolution is a way to cleanse the genome of the degredation caused by sin.

    Hmmm… I have had hundreds of people ask me to keep the ventilator on because they believed God would work a miracle. In my entire career I have never seen that prayer answered. Or if it was I didn’t recognize it. I am not sure I really can distinguish the difference between a natural healing and a miraculous one. On the other hand, I was hopefully never a party to a healing that didn’t happen by Intelligent design. I like to think that God used me in some way.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ron:

      God sustains, He does not control the actions of free moral agents. There’s a significant difference. If He did control things as you suggest, God would Himself be evil.

      Actually, evolution isn’t responsible for cancer. Evolution selects against cancer. Evolution is a way to cleanse the genome of the degredation caused by sin.

      Oh really? So, why do people get cancer if not via the evolutionary mechanism of random mutations and function-based selection on a cellular level?

      If Darwinian-style evolution is a way to “cleanse the genome of degradation” as you claim, you would never get old and die as a result of accumulating tens of thousands of detrimental mutations over your lifetime. Evolution would just wipe them all out for you.

      You really don’t seem to draw a distinction between natural processes and those that require active intelligent intervention. Disease and death do not require active intelligent intervention on the part of God or anyone else. They are part of the way the machine naturally decays over time when not constantly repaired by intelligent manipulation.

      Cancer is not the result of intelligent design any more than your car breaking down and wearing out is the result of God deciding to slowly destroy your vehicle. It is just the way things are when when they are not constantly maintained. It’s a form of informational entropy over time. Things naturally wear out and degenerate when God is not constantly involved in maintaining them. That is why Adam and Eve grew old and died after they decided to separate themselves from God’s constant care.

      Let me ask you one more question: Let’s say you had before you an highly symmetrical polished granite cube and an amorphous granite rock. Would you be able to tell which one was most likely the result of deliberate design? If so, upon what basis did you make your deduction?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  43. Ron: You say that you are not arguing that “God cannot create an organism that can evolve into a higher life form”, but that is in fact exactly what you are arguing, or at least you are arguing that He didn’t.

    I think you are reading into scripture something that isn’t there. Just because God created a fully functioning world 6000 years ago, doesn’t mean that he didn’t create it with the ability to evolve further.

    In the text itself we see everything from every green plant “food for animals and man” made on day 3 and we see fish, birds, cattle, land animals and mankind – all in place by day 6 end of day.

    You say you believe all of that happened in 6 real days, 6000 years ago. That alone kills entirely the Darwin story where higher phyla emerge from single celled lower phyla.

    There is no evolutionist on the planet that would refer to that 6 day “result” as evolution.

    Surely you agree with that point.

    And whatever changes happen to the cattle and to mankind after that perfect, faultless sinless, deathless starting point – do not being to encompass the full scope of darwinian mythologies.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
    • @BobRyan: “There is no evolutionist on the planet that would refer to that 6 day “result” as evolution.

      Surely you agree with that point.

      And whatever changes happen to the cattle and to mankind after that perfect, faultless sinless, deathless starting point – do not being to encompass the full scope of darwinian mythologies.”

      Yes, we can agree on this point. I never claimed to agree with or to be defending evolutionists. I am, at least for the moment, defending evolution and I reserve the right to change my mind.

      Evolution can begin operating from whatever starting point you choose to start. My guess it probably started on Creation day 8. Some evolutionists think it started Creation day T-1×10^14. What day do you think it started on?




      0
      View Comment
  44. Faith: It is just the way things are when when they are not constantly maintained.

    Well, you can view evolution as God’s way of doing maintenance. Evolution selects against defective genes and would thereby minimize the pain inflicted by sin.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ron:

      Sin, Evolution, and Cancer

      The “maintenance” of a system in its original functional state would mean that it is not changing or “evolving” beyond its original genetic programming. Natural selection is actually a pretty good “preserving” force of nature. You are correct in noting that NS is in fact able to reduce the rate of degeneration and decay in living things. However, the force of natural selection is not a very good creative force. It doesn’t make anything new that wasn’t already there before…

      Of course, evolutionists argue that the new stuff is created by random genetic mutations which create novel genetic options for natural selection to pick from. However, these new genetic options are almost always functionally detrimental to one degree or another. Natural selection primarily selects to get rid of all the new options it can in favor of the original starting point.

      Very rarely, of course, random mutations will actually hit upon something that is both new and beneficial. The problem is that these rare beneficial discoveries are always at a very low level of functional complexity (well below the level of 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues).

      The other problem is that natural selection isn’t perfect at weeding out all detrimental mutations as they enter the gene pools of all individuals in all slowly reproducing species (like all mammals for instance). In every generation every single individual sustains dozens of detrimental mutations that were not present in the parental generation. Natural selection simply cannot get rid of all of these detrimental mutations as fast as they are entering the gene pool. So, all mammals are headed for an eventual genetic meltdown and extinction…

      Another problem with the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS is that it doesn’t have the big picture in mind… since it hasn’t been given a mind. This mindless evolutionary mechanism gives an advantage to the individual that sustains a reproductive advantage regardless of what this advantage might do to the overall system or environment within which the individual lives. In other words, this evolutionary mechanism is what is responsible for various forms of cancer which end up destabilizing the higher level environment, causing eventual death to the system as well as all of the offspring of the individual that originally sustained a personally “beneficial” mutation… a mutation which is actually very detrimental from the perspective of the host. After all, the host now has a rogue population of cancer cells with improved survival and reproductive fitness… which will end up taking over the entire system and kill the host – and themselves as well.

      So, your evolutionary mechanism is actually part of the sin problem. It causes cancers. It is responsible for parasites and viruses and bacterial diseases and carnivores that plague humanity… all of which are based on random mutations that enhance the survivability of the individual cell or bug or virus or animal that sustained the mutation – at the expense and suffering of humans…

      I’d say that these are some pretty big problems for your evolutionary perspective – don’t you think?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:
        “Natural selection is actually a pretty good “preserving” force of nature.”

        OK, so why can’t we accept this as a valid example of Darwinism? This does not seem to threaten creationism or justify the wholesale rejection of Darwinism, or teachers of Darwinism.




        0
        View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:
        “Another problem with the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS is that it doesn’t have the big picture in mind… since it hasn’t been given a mind.”

        No, but you are arguing that nature was created by an Intelligent Designer are you not? God certainly has the big picture in mind.

        If I (the royal I representing all humans) can make a supercomputer out of very simple inorganic mater that is capable of calculating solutions to questions with greater than 1000aa specificity, then why can’t God do the same thing with organic chemistry that allows for far more complexity than inorganic chemistry. My super computer doesn’t have the big picture in mind, and it can generate answers with greater that 1000aa specificity.

        It seems to me that you are arguing that God either CAN’T, which is a theological assertion, or HASN’T, which is at least in my opinion an unproven scientific assertion, created an ecosystem capable of generating genetic solutions to ecological questions requiring genetic specificity greater than 1000aa. You may turn out to be right. But it seems like a long stretch. I am very leery of underestimating the power and cleverness of God.




        0
        View Comment
        • @Ron:

          God could have made things however He wanted. However, it is indeed my argument that He did not make things able to evolve as neo-Darwinists envision. Evolution beyond very low levels of functional complexity (i.e., 1000saaa) has never been observed in real time and statistically is very unlikely to happen this side of trillions of years of time.

          You say that this is an “unproven scientific assertion”, but it seems like you’re asking for absolute proof here – something that is not part of science. As I’ve pointed out to you before, nothing is absolutely provable in science. However, my theory has very very high predictive value.

          If you think I’m more likely wrong, well, go ahead and present the falsifying evidence. After all, my position, like any valid scientific hypothesis, can be definitively falsified quite easily. All you have to do is find an example of RM/NS producing anything that requires a minimum of at least 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues to work. If you can do this, my ID hypothesis will be falsified.

          You may turn out to be right. But it seems like a long stretch. I am very leery of underestimating the power and cleverness of God.

          I do not underestimate the power and/or cleverness of God. However, this does not mean that I cannot therefore figure out the difference between an amorphous rock and a highly symmetrical polished granite cube – that one was most likely the direct result of deliberate design while the other was not.

          From your position, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference because God could always have been clever enough to program some mindless natural process that produces highly symmetrical polished granite cubes, or jetliners, or the works of Shakespeare, etc. From your perspective there would be no basis for anthropology, forensic pathology, or SETI. You simply would not be able to detect deliberate design behind someone carving the letters “Hi there” into the paint on your car vs. God programming the tree beside your car to do it…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        “You are correct in noting that NS is in fact able to reduce the rate of degeneration and decay in living things.”

        So wouldn’t this be a good reason for a loving God to use Darwinistic principles?




        0
        View Comment
        • @Ron:

          Natural selection works both ways. It can reduce the speed of decay and it can also increase the speed of decay. It is a mindless process that is dependent upon death and suffering. Natural selection does in fact cause cancer and contributes to numerous other degenerative features (such as the TTSS toxin injector system described elsewhere in this thread).

          Again, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t have God using natural selection to both protect us and kill us… right? The whole concept of the “survival of the fittest” is antithetical to how the Bible pictures God – as someone who suffers when even a little sparrow falls wounded to the ground.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        “This mindless evolutionary mechanism gives an advantage to the individual that sustains a reproductive advantage regardless of what this advantage might do to the overall system or environment within which the individual lives. In other words, this evolutionary mechanism is what is responsible for various forms of cancer which end up destabilizing the higher level environment,”

        This statement seems illogical to me. Evolution doesn’t cause cancer, things like radiation damage cause cancer. I don’t see how a population that gets cancer has a selection bias over a population that does not get cancer. It seems to me that the population that doesn’t get cancer will very soon out perform the population that gets cancer and those with cancer will very shortly become a small percentage of the overall population.

        PS. I know the phrase “Survival of the fittest” has a bad connotation and I don’t like it, but here is a good example of it in a positive context. Let’s say we have an environment that is subject to high radiation exposure. The off spring of those individuals that are more resistant to getting cancer from radiation are going to survive better than those who are more susceptible to radiation damage. To me this represents a positive adaptive response that a loving creator would be likely to build into his creation.




        0
        View Comment
        • @Ron:

          This statement seems illogical to me. Evolution doesn’t cause cancer, things like radiation damage cause cancer.

          Things like radiation cause increased numbers of mutations. Mutations are part of the evolutionary mechanism of random mutations and function-based natural selection. Cancer is the result of random mutations. Random mutations occur spontaneously for any number of reasons – to include the DNA copy error rate when cells undergo mitotic or meiotic division (not just as a result of external factors such as radiation exposure).

          In any case, if there are no random mutations, there is no genetic evolution. On a cellular level, cancer is the result of random mutations that cause the cell in question to experience unsuppressed reproductive potential. In other words, the mutation(s) allow to cell to produces far more “offspring” than its peers. It’s offspring, in turn, produced more and more offspring, very rapidly. These offspring eventually take over the entire environment via “survival of the fittest”.

          And, there you have it, cancer via random mutations and function-based natural selection – i.e., evolution. Cancer is caused by the very same evolutionary mechanism.

          I don’t see how a population that gets cancer has a selection bias over a population that does not get cancer.

          It depends upon what population you’re talking about. If you’re talking about the cellular population, its quite clear (as explained above).

          If you’re talking about the human population, then there is a selective advantage for those who don’t get cancer – of course. But, this selective advantage is not based on genetic change or “evolution” but upon working against genetic change – i.e., working against evolution.

          When you’re talking about actual changes over time, these changes tend toward degeneration – of which cancer is just one example.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  45. BobRyan: God makes Adam and Eve fully formed on Day 6 – capable of walking around, talking and eating food as adults – left on their own.

    You argue that if God did not make them as “zygotes” then God is lying.

    God made mature plants, animals and mankind on their first day of life so that the entire ecosystem would “work”.

    You argue that this is somehow deceptive of God since they do not appear to be “1 day old”.

    I find your argument difficult to support.

    in Christ,

    Bob

    You are so right, Bob. When Jesus brought Lazarua back to life, did Lazarus “stink” or have any deterioration? The idea that God has to gradually let material “evolve” to form life or to change life is a direct insult to Him.

    If He did, Lazarus would have had to slowly “heal” back from all the cellular deterioration that would have taken place. How long would that take? Well, maybe Sean would know.




    0
    View Comment
  46. Here is something that has been bothering me for awhile.

    We believe the world was created by Intelligent Design right?
    And then we claim to be able to distinguish between something “natural”, and something “intelligently designed”.
    But we just got done claiming that the thing we are calling natural was intelligently designed.
    So by defining it as natural we are implicitly denying that it was Intelligently designed.
    Any Ideas?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ron:

      Take a mechanical wrist watch… clearly designed. However, it cannot do beyond what it was designed to do – beyond what is “natural” to it by design.

      A robot with a supercomputer brain might be designed to be able to do quite a few more things than a simple wrist watch. It other words, it would be “natural”, by design, for such a robot to be able to do more informationally complex tasks than a wrist watch.

      The same thing is true of this universe. It cannot do beyond what it was designed to do – beyond what is “natural” to it by design.

      Given what we know about the nature of the universe we happen to live in, we know that intelligent minds are able to do things that mindless natural processes were not designed to do. No known mindless natural process was designed to be creative or “intelligent” or to be goal-oriented in a consciously deliberate manner – as in the ability to make a jetliner, a sky scrapper, or a mechanical wrist watch – – or a living thing. No known mindless mechanism was given access to the needed informational complexity.

      That is how we can tell the difference between what mindless nature has been designed to do and what intelligent minds have been designed to be able to achieve. We know the designed limits of one (mindless nature) and designed the potential of the other (intelligent minds).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • Sean&#032Pitman: We know the designed limits of one (mindless nature) and designed the potential of the other (intelligent minds).

        So, If I am understanding you right, your definition of whether something is “natural” or “intelligent” depends on knowing the design limits, which with regard to nature can only be determined by experimentation and experience. Correct?

        The trouble with that definition is that a small tree in a sunny field, a watch, and a supercomputer can all do the same thing, tell time. The tree has a small design cost, but is very difficult to obtain accuracy with, the supercomputer has a large design cost, but it is easier to obtain accuracy with, the watch is somewhere in between. All three were designed by intelligent design. The tree was designed primarily by God with a small input from man, mostly measuring the length of the tree and the position of the shadow. The watch and supercomputer were still designed by both God and humans, but with more human involvement. All three are operational withing their design limits, so I don’t think I can categorize them accurately using your definition. In fact I am curious to see how you will define them.

        I think you are going to define the tree as natural and the supercomputer as intelligently designed. But the tree in many ways is far more complex than the supercomputer in its basic design. Infact it is alive and the supercomputer is not.

        Also, the supercomputer can act very intelligently, even besting humans at Chess and Jeopardy. But it does that “naturally” within its design limits. It’s output is responsive to the input and is not random.

        I can say the same thing about an Evolutionary process. It was intelligently designed by God to respond to complex environmental conditions. It is responsive to it’s environment, and the output is not random and highly adaptive.

        In fact, the issue of randomness is one of the concerns I have about your theory of genetic evolution. I don’t think the process is at all random. Almost by definition evolution is not random. It highly goal driven to provide the best adaptation to the current environment.

        As I said before, I am not enough of a statistician to second guess your paper on the 1000aa principle, but the premise seems shaky to me. I guess I am not convinced we know enough to know if the system is truly random. I doubt that it is.




        0
        View Comment
        • @Ron:

          Yes. It is impossible to know what mindless nature has or has not been designed to do without some actual study and investigation of nature – or, as you put it, “by experimentation and experience.”

          The trouble with that definition is that a small tree in a sunny field, a watch, and a supercomputer can all do the same thing, tell time… All three were designed by intelligent design. The tree was designed primarily by God with a small input from man, mostly measuring the length of the tree and the position of the shadow. The watch and supercomputer were still designed by both God and humans, but with more human involvement. All three are operational withing their design limits, so I don’t think I can categorize them accurately using your definition. In fact I am curious to see how you will define them.

          You seem to forget that we’re asking if any apparently mindless process of nature can produce a functionally complex machine like a watch, a supercomputer, or a living thing like a tree. That’s the question here. Given our experience with mindless natural processes, the answer to that question is no. It’s never been observed at such levels of functional complexity…

          I think you are going to define the tree as natural and the supercomputer as intelligently designed. But the tree in many ways is far more complex than the supercomputer in its basic design. Infact it is alive and the supercomputer is not.

          Of course a living thing, like a tree, is vastly more functionally complex than the best supercomputer in existence. That is why a tree is even more difficult to explain via any mindless mechanism than a supercomputer. Yet, for some strange reason, when people see a supercomputer than automatically know that it was produced by deliberate high-level intelligence and technological know-how. They should come to the very same conclusion when they’re considering the origin of the functional complexity of a tree… something that is vastly more functionally complex and beyond the abilities of any mindless natural process to produce.

          Also, the supercomputer can act very intelligently, even besting humans at Chess and Jeopardy. But it does that “naturally” within its design limits. It’s output is responsive to the input and is not random.

          That’s right. A computer can only act “naturally” according to its programming…

          I can say the same thing about an Evolutionary process. It was intelligently designed by God to respond to complex environmental conditions. It is responsive to it’s environment, and the output is not random and highly adaptive.

          That’s true, but not without limit. While God evidently did design living things with a fantastic ability to adapt to new environments, this ability is not without clearly detectable limitations… limitations that are much more restrictive than what God gave to intelligent human beings.

          In fact, the issue of randomness is one of the concerns I have about your theory of genetic evolution. I don’t think the process is at all random. Almost by definition evolution is not random. It highly goal driven to provide the best adaptation to the current environment.

          Evolution is based on truly random genetic mutations that are not goal driven. And, natural selection, while a real biasing force of nature, does not actually have the power to preferentially select between random mutations, in a positive manner, until a random mutation happens to hit upon a novel genetic sequence that actually produces some new functionally beneficial reproductive advantage for the organism…

          This is a significant limitation vs. what intelligence offers. Intelligence can imagine goals that are not yet realized and consciously work toward them with the use of a memory that actually remembers past mistakes, insight, intuition, induction, abduction, etc… all of which the evolutionary mechanism cannot do.

          This is how you can tell that a highly symmetrical polished granite cube must have been deliberately designed while the amorphous rock next to it did not require the direct input of intelligence to produce – beyond the mindless abilities that have already been given to natural processes.

          As I said before, I am not enough of a statistician to second guess your paper on the 1000aa principle, but the premise seems shaky to me. I guess I am not convinced we know enough to know if the system is truly random. I doubt that it is.

          That means that God directly causes cancer and the like… because cancer is also based on the very same kinds of apparently random genetic mutations and function-based natural selection on a cellular level. It’s the very same mechanism. You simply can’t have your cake and eat it too…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • Sean&#032Pitman: You seem to forget that we’re asking if any apparently mindless process of nature can produce a functionally complex machine like a watch, a supercomputer, or a living thing like a tree. That’s the question here.

          Well, this might be part of our communication problem, because I am actually asking a different question. I am asking, “Can I find Darwinian principles of variation and natural selection function in any legitimate natural way that still leaves room for creation by fiat”.

          So far my answer has been yes, when I look around, I see it happening all over the place in every kind of setting. Another example I just though of last night. My wife likes to watch Dancing with the Stars. That whole program is built on an evolutionary process with the contestants providing the variability and the judges providing the selection criteria.

          Here is another example. We are in an election year. Most of the presidential candidates don’t just start by running for president. They start out as local politicians with a huge variation in issues and abilities, which are gradually selected for or against based on how well they meed the needs of the electorate.

          Here is an example of a natural process that produces high level intelligence. I live in Washington where the presence of wet lands is a huge issue for developers. There are certain plants that seek out and identify wet lands with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity.

          Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.




          0
          View Comment
        • @Ron:

          Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.

          The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.

          God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.

          The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.

          For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”

          That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  47. BobRyan: please show us 1 darwinian evolutionist

    See, Bob, you are missing the whole point (at least mine). The point isn’t to attack other people’s beliefs, it is to clarify my own belief. What other evolutionists believe is totally irrelevant except as to be informative and to provide a broader perspective on the question of origins. I can use their ideas, I am not bound by them. Their theory explains some, but not all of the data. Likewise creationism explains some, but not all the data. My goal is to come up with something that is not simply dismissive, but deals seriously with all the data, both theological and scientific. It is not an easy task, and I probably am not doing a very good job of it myself. I would appreciate it if instead of being antagonistic, you would help. I honor and appreciate your conservative position, help me understand how you interpret the scientific data within your paradigm.




    0
    View Comment
  48. Ron: Your argument from Ex. 20:8-11 does not apply because there is no logical or Biblical reason to say that creation by fiat and Darwinian evolution are mutually exclusive. In fact there are many Biblical and scientific reasons to believe that they in fact are not.

    Totally wrong. The fact that Darwinism excludes the Creator makes Creation and evolution opposed to one another.[] The fact that Darwin started out believing in God but then ended by not believing in His existence is a pretty good indication which spirit was his guide…and it wasn’t God. No matter how hard you try, Ron, you cannot make evolution and Creation compatible. I really don’t understand why you would even want to.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Faith:
      Well, there are some Darwinist’s who exclude God as the creator. There is nothing about Darwinian principles that requires the exclusion of a creator. I know, Darwin didn’t see it that way, but we have had 100+ years to think about it differently and I do.

      “No matter how hard you try, Ron, you cannot make evolution and Creation compatible”

      Actually, I just did, and so far no one has given a cogent reason as to why they are incompatible. In fact, as Sean pointed out with regard to cancer, sin causes cancer, but evolution selects against the cancer genes and thereby provides a mechanism to purge those defects from the genome. I have every reason to believe that the evolutionary processes are a loving response by God to minimize the burden of sin.

      “I really don’t understand why you would even want to.”

      There are many reasons I will list only a few.
      1. As I have said before, I see evolutionary principles operating around me all the time every day. Trying to prove evolution seems a little like trying to prove that the sky is blue, the grass is green (or brown), and that gravity holds things down. How can you deny it? If you can’t see it, then I have to assume that you are blind to how things work. How do you describe colors to a man born blind?

      2. I probably wouldn’t enter the discussion except that I have seen many people in the SDA church over the years hurt by religious bigotry and fanaticism and I just felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to speak out. I couldn’t not speak out. I think that the attack on La Sierra is morally wrong, and extremely damaging on many levels.

      3. I believe what Sean is doing to engage in the origins discussion is good. I think the attack on the church is wrong.




      0
      View Comment
  49. Faith: Who says?The SOP plainly says–as has oft been quoted on this site in many places.This is just an example of how God sent EGW messages to clarify and fortify Bible truth.These were 24 hour days–evening and morning.In the face of the SOP statements, you would have to willfully and actively refuse to believe–which I have noticed happening in several cases on this site.

    The idea that the Genesis “days” were not really the same days as we see has been rehashed several times on this website. One person said, there was no “sun” so no “day.”

    Now we have the idea that the first six days were 24 hours, but the seventh was not. Are there any more rationales to try to explain away the Truth?




    0
    View Comment
  50. My Bible teaches me that Moses was not an ignoramus. He was taught by God!
    “He (God) made known His way unto Moses.” Psalms 103:7.
    The idea that Moses believed in a flat earth with a metallic dome is a primordial dream of some confused want-to-be evolutionist.
    The Bible teaches the earth is a sphere: —“Are you so ignorant? Are you so deaf to the words of God…It is God who sits above the circle of the earth.” Isaiah 40:21-22
    Jesus Christ said that if people “hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31. [Please read the next 10 verses which is Jesus’ loving appeal to teachers of every age.]
    It was Jesus who taught Moses how to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Moses had been a powerful Egyptian Prince but Jesus taught Moses to be a shepherd and a mountain climber. He taught Moses astronomy, history and architecture. It was Jesus who gave Moses good health and civil laws. And above all else it was Jesus that wrote with his finger the Ten Commandments as the great moral rule for all eternity. That law asks us to “REMEMBER…IN SIX DAYS I THE LORD MADE THE EARTH, THE SKY, THE SEAS, AND EVERYTHING IN THEM.”… Ex.20:8 KJ;,11.TEV




    0
    View Comment
    • @Edward Graves: Did Moses know everything? Did God instruct Moses about DNA, airplanes and automobiles, gunpowder, antibiotics – because there is no evidence in the Bible and it sure would have been a handy advantage for the Jewish nation. Jesus makes clear on the case of divorce that not only did He not instruct Moses about everything, Moses didn’t even perfectly replicate God’s perfect will in the Torah, only God’s permissive will.

      A flat disk doesn’t mean a circular sphere floating in space as we understand today. There are other texts that talk about the earth on an immovable pillar (Psalms 104:5; Psalms 93:1; Job 9:6, Job 38:4) and having four corners (Rev 7:1). Or are you suggesting we not read these texts ‘literally and plainly’ but perhaps figuratively – if so, then why not read Gen 1 the same way?

      Prophets are just human. The vision is from God, but the words spoke and written are from men. God doesn’t tell men everything, but revelation is progressive, as Ellen White noted on several occasions. The ancients no better understood their world than we do of heaven before us.




      0
      View Comment
  51. when, in my teens, I first read Genesis, it never occurred to me that the writer could have been limited in scientific knowledge and that he thus believed that the earth was flat or that the sky was a solid bowl. Instead, I saw those terms as poetic descriptions of nature.

    I suppose when Shelley wrote, “In the golden lightning of the sunken sun…” today’s scientists should also conclude that Shelley did not understand that the sun does not go down. Or to a description of crystalline waters one should conclude that the person using that term must actually think that water can never be anything but solid.

    I don’t think there is any need to abandon common sense when reading Scripture. If it reads as history, it is history. If as poetry, it is poetry, and so on. Genesis, to my teenaged mind — and still today — reads as history couched in sometimes poetic terms. The forms of expression do not, to my mind, denigrate the writer’s intelligence.




    0
    View Comment
  52. @Bill Sorensen, Great summary of the problems we face. President Gallimore has indeed stepped up. Where are the others? I don’t see many or even any more “official” (Conference) leaders taking a stand. Have they?

    The ones I see are those unofficial leaders, such as Doug Batchelor, John Lomecang, Stephen Bohr, Dave Assherick, Walter Veith, Lyle Albrecht, John Bradshaw, Gary Gibbs, etc.

    All are taking public stands for God Word, especially in the area of Creation vs. Evolution.




    0
    View Comment
  53. Part of what is happening in this ongoing discussion on creation/evolution/etc. is also going on within the SDA church on a macro level. It seems that so much of our fellow SDA brethren want the world to like us. We want to be accepted and embraced by not only mainstream Protestantism but the scientific community, as well.

    In short, it seems that many in the Adventist faith want to serve two masters… and this, according to Christ, is impossible! True Christianity means being hated and despised for Christ’s sake. We are asked to be a “peculiar people”.

    As someone who grew up an SDA in California (and an alumni of LLU/LSC, as it was then known), I myself have been guilty as charged of wanting to “fit in”, not stand apart. This, my brothers and sisters in Christ, we cannot do! We will never “fit in” or be “accepted”– our charge given us by Christ is to speak the truth, HIS truth, but always in love.

    So what are we afraid of? Not being liked by the scientific community or the rest of academia? If Christ is for us, who can be against us?




    0
    View Comment
  54. Drs. Guy and Bull are to be commended for the thoughtful book they have written. They are entitled to respect.

    Their thesis faces significant headwinds:

    1. It is an open question whether their view of ancient Israelite cosmology is correct. In the 2011 spring edition of the Andrews University Seminar Studies journal, Drs. Richard Davidson and Randall Younker have an essay that elaborates on Dr. Younker’s quote above. A fuller treatment of what they wrote is promised. I anticipate that Hebrew cosmology will be rigorously studied rather than assumed in future scholarship. Future scholarship is necessary, because all of these authors’ writings on this matter are at present thin.

    2. I spoke to Dr. Walton in Texas last fall when he shared with me his scholarly version of his book The Lost World of Genesis 1. I asked him if there were any refinements. He mentioned a couple, including his view of Raquia. In Chicago, he offered that he was not sure whether Raquia was like the air in the balloon or the solid membrane on the perimeter. In Texas, he stated that he now believes that Raquia is the air in the balloon but finds one verse in Job (I don’t have the specific cite off hand) that depicts the solid dome. I find it risky to base one aspect of Hebrew cosmology on one verse in Scripture. But I find it interesting he has abandoned the view that Raquia is a solid dome.

    3. Drs. Guy and Bull were smart to limit their focus to Genesis 1. But the problem remains: how does their thesis accord with the rest of Scripture?

    4. There is a hermeneutical problem as well. The innocent reader may be shocked to learn that how the author and his contemporaries understood the text is not dispositive concerning what the text means. 1 Peter 1:10-12 reflects that the ancient rabbis did not always understand the meaning of what they wrote. We see here that Peter introduces a hermeneutical principle that to ascertain the meaning of the text, original intent is insufficient.




    0
    View Comment
  55. Phillip&#032Brantley: Drs. Guy and Bull are to be commended for the thoughtful book they have written. They are entitled to respect.

    I agree that they are entitled to respect by virtue of their position.

    I do not agree that they have done something commendable in what they are promoting – including the book.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  56. Some folks are going to have a lot to answer for…….

    For these guys to (mis)use EGW in the way that they do….when they don’t actually accept what she says unless they think it supports what they think…..makes me cross. And to leave out the contrary evidence isn’t honest.

    Talk about “beating people with the club of EGW”!!




    0
    View Comment
  57. Deliss&#032Charo:
    There is an interesting article at ADvindicate about Michigan and LSU. I would have posted this on an appropriate thread but it was closed for commenting.

    http://advindicate.com/?p=1125

    I support President Gallimore. He is correct in his assessment that La Sierra is actively supporting a belief that is not only Biblically incorrect, but has been VOTED in the General Conference as such. [edit]

    Why do we even have “votes” at the General Conference if Divisions, Unions, Conferences, and even individual SDA Churches can just ignore the votes and do whatever they want! Does anyone have an answer?




    0
    View Comment
  58. Ervin&#032Taylor: It would seem that Dr. Pitman would like us to focus on a few percent of the scientific data and ignore the other 98-99%. I trust that he does not do that in his pathology practice.

    Sadly for our evolutionist friends — there is “NO” 99% science in favor of single celled animals turning into horses “given enough time”.

    Sadly for our evolutionist friends – there is NO 99% “science” in favor of prokaryote bacteria turning into eukaryotes “given enough time”.

    Sadly for our evolutionist friends – we observe the “creationist mechanism” of a “designer that can design things” every day – while the “everything comes from nothing” model of atheists does not seem to have ever been demonstrated outside of pure storytelling.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  59. Ervin&#032Taylor: Dr. Chadwick excavations has provided another piece of scientific data explaining what happened at the time paleontologists call the world-wide Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event which occurred about 65.5 million years ago. At this time, an asteroid as large as 10-15 km (6-90 miles) in diameter impacted the earth at a point where the Yucatan peninsula is now located. The impact released massive amounts of dust and ash into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight, and in thereby reducing photosynthesis which in turn eliminated large amounts of biomass required to sustain the dinosaurs.

    There may be other factors involved in the extinction of dinosaurs but there is a general agreement about what would result from an asteroid collision. Such a collision landing in an ocean basin would also perhaps create a wall of water hundreds of feet high which would have caused massive flooding of coastal areas.

    Those are stories that our atheist friends like to rehearse — and it is fine for them because they have no other explanation for massive amounts of dust and ash. Whereas Christians have the answer in a global flood with massive geologic activity all taking place rapidly over a very short period of time.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  60. I note Dr. Chadwick’s comments on this topic. He should be very much congratulated for undertaking excavations which uncovered additional scientific evidence for a catastrophic event which seems to have been the major factor which killed off the dinosaurs. His institution, Southwestern Adventist University, has received funds to build a dinosaur museum to display his collections.

    Dr. Chadwick excavations has provided another piece of scientific data explaining what happened at the time paleontologists call the world-wide Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event which occurred about 65.5 million years ago. At this time, an asteroid as large as 10-15 km (6-90 miles) in diameter impacted the earth at a point where the Yucatan peninsula is now located. The impact released massive amounts of dust and ash into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight, and in thereby reducing photosynthesis which in turn eliminated large amounts of biomass required to sustain the dinosaurs.

    There may be other factors involved in the extinction of dinosaurs but there is a general agreement about what would result from an asteroid collision. Such a collision landing in an ocean basin would also perhaps create a wall of water hundreds of feet high which would have caused massive flooding of coastal areas.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ervin Taylor:

      The problem here is not with the evidence for impact craters or the concept of large meteors hitting the Earth in the past; so large that they would have caused far more damage than “coastal flooding” – more like flooding over entire continents which were very “flat” and devoid of mountain chains during this time, even according to mainstream geologists. The problem is with the notion that such events happened 65 million years ago. There is strong evidence to suggest that these events occurred in recent history (such as the preservation of elastic soft tissues and sequencable proteins within pretty much all large dinosaur bones – a finding that is markedly inconsistent with long ages according to degeneration experiments based on kinetic chemistry; Link).

      Also, while it is true that the geologic column contains evidence of meteorites or meteorite impacts (Link), it seems like these meteorites are far far more difficult to find than would be expected if the geologic column really had formed over hundreds of millions of years of elapsed time. The current rate of meteoric impacts over the entire globe (for meteorites greater than 100g in size) is about 14 per 10 km^2 per year (link). That’s 1,400 million meteorites per 100 million years (i.e., 140 million kilograms or about 280 million pounds) per 10 km^2. You’d think, therefore, that they’d be a bit more common than they actually are within the geologic record.

      For example, if one considers the layers in the Grand Canyon from the mainstream perspective it would take an average of 100 million years to deposit about 100 feet (~30 meters) of sediment. Sandstone weighs about 2,323 Kg/m^3. There are 3 billion cubic meters in a 30 meter layer of sediment covering 10 km^2. That’s a total weight of almost 7 trillion Kg. Of this, 140 million Kg should be made up of meteoric material ( 0.002%). Another way to look at the same problem is that there should be enough meteoric material to make up about 60,000 cubic meters of sediment in 100 million years (0.002%).

      Now, this might not seem like a significant percentage, but it is quite significant given that only a handful of meteoric rock fragments have ever been found in the layers of the entire geologic column on a global scale. There should be literally tons of them. Yet, geologist Davis Young (1988, p.127) writes that,

      “The chances of finding a fossil meteorite in sedimentary rocks are remote. It is not to be expected.”

      G. J. McCall, in Meteorites and Their Origins (1973, p.270), said,

      “The lack of fossil record of true meteorites is puzzling, but can be explained by the lack of very diagnostic shapes and the chemical nature of meteorites, which allows rapid decay…”

      It seems like rapid decay would have to be very rapid indeed – especially since far more delicate fossils are discovered far more commonly than are meteorites within the geologic column. Ironically, the evidence of meteoric impacts in the geologic column actually favors a catastrophic/rapid depositional model for the formation of the geologic record – i.e., this evidence strongly conflicts with your model for hundreds of millions of years of formation of the geologic record…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  61. @Bill Sorensen, President Gallimore is indeed being attacked viciously for his Bible-based stand on Truth, as have many others who have and are doing the same.




    0
    View Comment
  62. It would seem that Dr. Pitman would like us to focus on a few percent of the scientific data and ignore the other 98-99%. I trust that he does not do that in his pathology practice.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ervin Taylor:

      As I’ve mentioned before, I dare say that I can produce more novel points of evidence for the recent arrival of life on this planet than you can produce in favor of the ancient arrival and evolution of life. Your assertion that “98-99%” of the evidence is on your side is nothing but a baseless bluff to impress the ignorant, nothing but a bunch of hot air. The fact that you share the majority opinion with more than 99% of scientists (certainly the overwhelming majority of scientists do in fact share your opinion on the ancient origin and evolution of life), isn’t the same thing as having the weight of the actual empirical evidence on your side…

      It seems to me like you have little more than tenuous radiometric dating evidence on your side with little else to go on. As far as I’ve been able to tell, the weight of the totality of the spectrum of empirical evidence strongly supports a recent arrival of life on this planet… to include the rapid and inevitable degeneration of genomic quality of slowly reproducing animals due to very high detrimental mutation rates in all individuals in every generation, rapid erosion rates, the relative lack of erosion within the layers of the geologic column, the lack of ocean sediments, pure thick coal beds, minimal bioturbation, worldwide paleocurrents, and on and on and on… (Link).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
    • @Ervin Taylor: Erv “Odds” Taylor is back, this time with 100% on the 99% who Occupy Mainstream Science against the 1% of 1 Genesis. Last time it was a mere 97% +/- 1.6814%, as I recall, allowing for mean accuracy of memory of my age group.

      But darn, I lost my bet: I had given 80.88% odds he’d work the Tea Party into it. That Dr. Pitman’s practice of pathology would be worked in wasn’t even in the running. But seriously, Dr. Taylor would do very well, would be extraordinary lucky, would beat the odds, if Dr. Pitman read out his cervical lymph node biopsy.




      0
      View Comment
  63. Propaganda methods in the preface reading by Bull.

    1. The Bible is presented as “a hymn” – and science arguments used to undermine the Bible are termed “modern science — created by God”. The idea is that God is the author of both “the hymn” in Genesis 1:2-2:4a and also “modern science” and that this might justify eisegetical bible-bending to edit the hymn to fit the usages of “modern science”.

    2. The mere existence of opposition to the Bible by atheist evolutionists – is sufficient in the preface of the book to justify the claim that “modern science” really does oppose “the hymn” as usually read.

    3. The term “suggests” is used to claim that the reading of the Bible “hymn” merely “suggests” 6 real days of creation — when in fact the Bible states it plainly. What is “suggested” by the text but not stated – is that Moses was somehow given divine revelation of an event that took place before he lived — rather than merely telling a story handed down to him.

    And so at the outset the bent of these two authors (Guy and Bull) is demonstrated.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
    • @BobRyan: I agree the Bible plainly says the world was made in 6 days. But what is a ‘day’ exactly? Who says a day is a 24 hour period? The Hebrew word ‘yom’ can mean different things depending on the context.

      For example, Gen 1:5 suggests ‘day’ is only a 12-hour period. If it is based one day-night period following the rotation of the world on its axis, well there is a problem because there was no sun until ‘day’ 4 (Gen 1:14). If day is based on ‘evening and morning’, there is another problem because the seventh-day has no such phrase (Gen 2:3).

      I agree we should read the BIble literally and plainly – but who says you are actually reading it literally and plainly? You are just reading it based on a tradition that says the word ‘day’ should read as one 24-hour period, when the text doesn’t necessarily say that at all. Who says it is talking about one human-day and not a God-day?

      Besides, I am sure you don’t really read all of Gen literally anyway. For example when God said the serpent would eat dust (Gen 3:14), do you think He literally meant it or was being figuratively? Because serpents don’t literally eat dust they eat mice and other small animals. If you are prepared to read this part figuratively, then how do you pick and choose?




      0
      View Comment
      • @Stephen:

        I agree the Bible plainly says the world was made in 6 days. But what is a ‘day’ exactly? Who says a day is a 24 hour period? The Hebrew word ‘yom’ can mean different things depending on the context.

        For example, Gen 1:5 suggests ‘day’ is only a 12-hour period. If it is based one day-night period following the rotation of the world on its axis, well there is a problem because there was no sun until ‘day’ 4 (Gen 1:14).

        As far as the intent of the author(s) of Genesis, he quite clearly intended to convey a literal historical account of events – to include a literal 6-day creation week. There really is no argument here among even liberal scholars of Hebrew. Take, for example, the comments of well-known Oxford Hebrew scholar James Barr:

        “Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience. (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.”

        Letter from Professor James Barr to David C.C. Watson of the UK, dated 23 April 1984.

        Now, consider that Prof. Barr made this statement while personally considering the Genesis narrative to be false. He did not believe that God created life on this planet in just six literal days. He believed that life existed and evolved on this planet over billions of years just like most mainstream scientists do today. Yet, he still was quite clear that the author(s) of the Genesis narrative intended to say something about real historical events. They did not intend to be figurative in their language.

        If day is based on ‘evening and morning’, there is another problem because the seventh-day has no such phrase (Gen 2:3).

        It is a natural logical progression as the definition of a “day”, in context, had already been made abundantly clear in the previous passages. None of the Hebrews were confused regarding the length of the Sabbath day or its reference to a literal creation week.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




        0
        View Comment
  64. I like Paul Giam’s quote of the book where the authors admit that they are in opposition to the world view that they find in Genesis 1.

    That alone should speak volumes to anyone wishing to credit them with an actual SDA POV.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  65. Ron:
    @Sean Pitman:
    “Such a find, say of a 2 x 2 x 2 meter highly symmetrical polished granite cube on the surface of Mars, would hit the front pages of every news paper in the world as clear evidence of intelligent design at work.”

    Actually, life on Mars has already made the front page news.Remember the intelligently made canals, and the carved face on Mars?Both of those were confused with signs of intelligent life and turned out to be only amorphous rocks.

    If the difference is so clear, then why the confusion.You have not yet defined the specific characteristics that distinguish intelligent design from natural. You are basically saying it is an “aunt Minnie”, i.e.”I know it when I see it”. And I agree, that most of the time, it probably is obvious, but some times it isn’t, so we need a definition.

    One of the major reasons these scientist discover these possible signs of life or intelligent design is that they WANT to think that Mars, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, etc. have or had some type of life, either in the past or presently.

    Look at all the work going into the search for “ice” “water vapor” “canals” etc. on Mars or anywhere else. The scientist already WANT to “see” something, even though it may not be there. The search for some type of “life” on other planets, worlds and galaxies goes on and on.

    SETI was a typical example of this type of constant,chronic, endless searching. However, try as they might, they were honest enough (so far) to say, “Nope, nothing out there. YET!”




    0
    View Comment
    • @Holly Pham:

      Holly, I agree with you about motivation influencing perseption, that is why I think it is always safer to take an opponent’s outlook seriously, and maybe even argue the side you don’t believe in for awhile, because you may see something you were previously blind to.




      0
      View Comment
  66. Sean, I need you to be very careful in how you use words in order for me to understand you.
    You said that everything is dependent on God, but that not everything is within His will. That is nonsensical. Something can’t be dependent on God and be outside His will. Only those things that are not dependent on God could be outside His will. Even the existence of Satan is within God’s will.

    If free choice is within God’s will, then everything that results from free choice must find a place somewhere within God’s will as well. The burden on you is to define how the results of freewill are ultimately OK with God.

    If free will isGod’s highest value and death is the result of free will, then death must be OK with God. If death is not within the will of God, then what is the meaning of Christ’s prayer, “Thy will be done? “




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ron:

      The existence of true freedom of choice is indeed God’s will for us. However, it is not God’s will that we use our freedom to choose contrary to His will for us. We have this freedom, but it is not God’s will if we choose to act in a way that is ultimately harmful to us.

      Satan has and will ultimately choose to reject God in favor of eternal annihilation. This choice was not the will of God. It is entirely Satan’s choice for himself – outside of the will of God. God did not force Satan to make this choice. Satan is simply a free moral agent who is able to choose and act contrary to God’s will.

      It is strange to me that you can’t seem to recognize the difference. Jesus prayed that God’s will be done when it came to His own sacrifice for humanity, to His own death on the cross, because only through the death of Jesus could God be merciful to mankind.

      It is not, however, the will of God that we should choose to rebel against Him and His will for us. The wicked, at the end of time, will make a final decision against God’s will and God will have no choice but to give them what they want as free moral agents – eternal separation from Himself.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:
        Again,Sean I think it comes down to being careful with semantics. Of course it is not Gos’s will that we choose sin, but our choosing sin does not take us outside the boundaries of His will. His will encompases any contngency our sin creates. It is not like God doesn’t know what to do when we sin. He still has a plan.




        0
        View Comment
        • @Ron:

          If it is God’s will that we not sin, how does our choice to sin anyway keep us within the will of God for us not to sin?

          You see, you’re statement is not logically consistent…

          You’re confusing God’s knowledge with His will. They aren’t the same thing. God always knew that sin would come, and made plans to deal with it. However, this does not mean that it was ever His will for sin to exist – for anyone to actually choose to rebel against His will. Also, making plans to deal with the eventuality of sin isn’t the same thing as willing sin to exist.

          Again, it is not God’s will that anyone rebel against His will – that would be insane. The fact that He allows for such freedom of choice is not evidence that it is actually His will that we are where we are.

          Also, the fact that He puts limitations on the freedom of rebels does not mean that He therefore wills the level of rebellion that He allows – – not at all. Allowing a certain degree of evil to exist is not at all the same thing as causing that evil to exist. It is also not the same thing has “negligent homicide” – as you described it earlier. It is simply God allowing free will agents to be free – even if that means allowing them to rebel against Him and His will for them…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman:

          “If it is God’s will that we not sin, how does our choice to sin anyway keep us within the will of God for us not to sin?”

          Christ is the Lamb that was slain from before the foundation of the world. When we sin, we are still within God’s plan to save us.




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman:

          I think it comes down to semantics and perspective.

          I think that you are still looking at the problem from a human perspective rather than God’s perspective. Move your point of reference up one level.

          It is not God’s will that we sin, but the fact that we sin is not outside God’s will.

          It is much like when my teenagers started driving. It was not my will that they have an accident, but I knew that it was almost certain that they eventually would, so I got them an older SUV to drive instead of my Lexus, and I bought insurance, sent them to driver’s school, and did my best to make them defensive drivers. My will and desire that they learn to drive, included the possibility that they would have an accident, so when they had an accident, it was not outside my will, or you might say, planning. I was prepared for it.

          I think, this is an important perspective to have, because it takes a huge burden off of people when they sin. They know that they are still within God’s will, that he has a plan and can take care of it, that he still loves them, and that it is OK. They don’t have to go away and hide from God, because it is OK. God still loves them. They are still OK with God. He has a plan. He can take care of it. They are still within His will.

          I don’t want my kids to run away and stop talking to me when they have an accident, because they are afraid of me. In fact, when they have their accident is exactly when I want them to talk to me the most. There isn’t any kind of accident that they can have, that I can’t deal with.

          And I don’t want them to be afraid of driving, just because there is a risk of death, either. Yes, if they were killed, that would be tragic, but to be afraid of dying would be even more tragic. So, yes, I warn them, and I nag them about their defensive driving, and if they are killed, I will grieve terribly, but even their death is within my will. I would rather them live life to the fullest, and take the risk of death, than to not live, or to live fearful, timid, “safe” lives.

          In the same way, the problem in the Garden of Eden wan’t so much eating the apple, God already had an insurance plan in place. Christ was the “Lamb That Was Slain From The Foundation Of The World”. God could fix it. They were still within His will.

          Notice in the quote you quoted above about Satan. God could have restored Satan to his ORIGINAL position if, when he understood the nature of his action, he had been just willing to accept God’s forgiveness and take his position back again. There was no death penalty at that point, and Christ would NOT have had to die. It wasn’t until Satan completely understood the true consequences of his action and STILL refused to return to his original position, that his position was finally removed from him.

          So, applying the same principles to Adam and Eve’s case shows us that it wasn’t the eating of the apple, or sin, per se’ that necessitated Christ’s death, it was their fear that caused them to run away and to try to justify themselves that necessitated Christ’s death.

          Just like with Satan, the only reason God couldn’t restore them to their original position is the fear that made them run away from Him. It was their FEAR of His judgement. That is what made it impossible for God to fix it. That is what truly resulted in the death penalty. It was just as if my kid’s had runaway from home after their first accident. I would not have been able to help them.

          Truthfully, when my kid’s had their accidents, I wasn’t even that upset. I pretty much expected it, and I was prepared. In the same way, I believe God pretty much expected it and was prepared.

          God knew the fear that Satan had raised in the minds of the universe. He knew that the fear is the primary motivator for rebellion, and that it would eventually bear fruit in rebellion. But what could He do? This isn’t something you can resolve with words, and coercion or punishment would only make things worse. (Back to the main topic, Coercion is EVIL). Only a demonstration of God’s loving self sacrifice in response to sin could resolve the fear. (It is really hard to rebel against someone you believe truly has your best interest at heart. Think about it.)

          So what did He do? He put the trees on all of the worlds and waited. He gave a warning of the consequences of eating of the tree, which is really the consequence of the fear that generated the rebellious act.

          He was right to give the warning, but it was impossible for the warning to be effective. The word “death” has no meaning to someone who has never seen it. It would be like naming colors to a person born blind.

          So was it God’s will that Adam and Eve be afraid of Him? No, of course not. But, being afraid, because of Satan’s deception, was it God’s will that they live forever in fear and doubt? No, of course not. So, what alternative is there?

          The ONLY alternative that affirms a full and vibrant life without fear, is to confront the fear itself. At some point, someone in the Universe has to have the courage (remember courage can not exist without fear) to act on, or in spite of, their fear. And at some point God has to demonstrate that even in the face of rebellion, He loves us, forgives us, and invites us back to His heart and home. The only way for Him to abolish fear is to demonstrate that He has OUR best interest at heart, even above His own. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.” That is the true healing power of the cross. It abolishes fear.

          So that is why I affirm Eve’s action. It confronts the fear, and affirms that life is worth living in spite of the risk and pain of death, in the same way that I affirm my child’s learning to drive in spite of the risk of pain and death. I affirm it because a full life, free from fear is worth it. It was through Eve’s action that God was able to remove fear from the heart of the Universe forever. It was also through Eve’s action, that God came to dwell within the heart of man. 2 Peter 1:3,4. A far more exalted position, and intimate relationship than is possible for any other being in the Universe.

          It is only when we remain afraid of God, after all He has sacrificed for us that we are outside His will. What more can He do?

          It is only when we are afraid to embrace life for fear of pain and death that we are outside his will. What more can He do?

          So it is for these reasons that being punitive toward member’s and employee’s who are embracing all of the challenges of a vigorous, lively discussion of religion and science, especially evolution is wrong. The punitive action arises out of fear, and misrepresents God to the Universe as a God of fear and coercion.




          0
          View Comment
  67. Here is another comment apropos the “rock” discussion:

    “Boucher de Perthes tried to publish his findings in 1838. They were rejected by all important scientists and scientific journals. The prehistoric stone tools usually were dismissed as being only “lightning stones” (i.e., the remnants of lightning bolts). ”
    “http://anthro.palomar.edu/evolve/evolve_2.htm”

    So it is not always possible to identify intelligent design. Here is a case where intelligent design was attributed to natural causes.

    Also, here is a natural stone that meets your definition of one that would require intelligent design to exist. i.e. a polished cube.

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2309/1933848366_b2886e9029.jpg

    And here is one that is even more complex, more polished, and more perfect.

    http://www.crystalquarry.com/templatebase/crystalquarry/current/mycontent/Natural%20Crystals.jpg

    And, just in case those aren’t big enough: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/photogalleries/giant-crystals-cave/images/primary/crystal-cave-2b.jpg

    The only point I am trying to make here is that it can be difficult to define intelligence in the term intelligent design.

    Using the supercomputer analogy. If the supercomputer represents nature. Does nature appear to operate intelligently because God designed to to provide intelligent output like a watch, or does it provide intelligent appearing output because God is still providing intelligent input through the keyboard?

    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.

    (Isn’t it a little weird that in the process of arguing for evolution, I wind up arguing for God functioning as a creator, and when you argue against evolution, you wind up arguing against God functioning as a creator? I’m not sure I saw that coming.)




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ron:

      Why do you think I specified the material as a granite cube? – when I talk about a highly symmetrical polished granite cube requiring the input of intelligent design to explain?

      Many different types of highly symmetrical crystals (pyrite, salt, quartz snow flakes, etc) can be produced by mindless natural mechanisms without the need for intelligent manipulation over and above what these natural laws can achieve all by themselves. However, this is not true for the material of granite.

      In short, you have to have at least some experience with the material in question as it relates to various known mindless forces of nature before you will be able to detect true artifactual manipulation of this material via intelligent design over and above mindless natural mechanisms.

      The only point I am trying to make here is that it can be difficult to define intelligence in the term intelligent design.

      For some phenomena, yes. For others, no. There is no question as to the intelligent origin of a highly symmetrical polished granite cube measuring 2 meters on each side – even if found on the surface of an alien planet like Mars. This is because anyone with any prior experience with the material of granite knows that granite does not spontaneously form such highly symmetrical structures.

      Again, the detection of a deliberately designed artifact requires some scientific investigation and development of predictive value. Such determinations are not intuitive without such background experience and investigation.

      Using the supercomputer analogy. If the supercomputer represents nature. Does nature appear to operate intelligently because God designed to to provide intelligent output like a watch, or does it provide intelligent appearing output because God is still providing intelligent input through the keyboard?

      If God were still providing intelligent input through the keyboard above and beyond the detectable limits of the laws of nature that He has already set in place, then we wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the actions of mindless laws of nature and those of deliberate design. Such a situation would make forensic science, anthropology, and SETI theoretically impossible. The fact that these sciences are at all feasible means that your theory that God is still manipulating everything behind the scenes outside of the limitations of His natural laws is not valid. Generally speaking, God does not appear to work above and beyond the natural laws, and their limitations, that He has created. On the rare occasions when He does do so, we call these events “Miracles” of intelligent design.

      It’s like the basic programming for the operating system of your computer. This operating system can do some amazing things, but it is still limited in what it can do. It cannot create the software to do word processing or photo editing, etc. These software packages have to be independently created, by intelligent design, and uploaded onto your computer system.

      In the same way, the operating system for the universe is limited. Additional software programs, like the genetic programming necessary for a novel highly complex biosystem in a living organism, requires additional intelligent programming that goes well beyond the known limitations of the general operating system for the mindless universe…

      It seems to you are arguing that God does not have access, (or chooses not to use) the keyboard… 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.

      That’s right. God chooses not to block the natural results of our choice to separate ourselves from Him – to step away from His direct and constant care into the realm of mindless natural laws that do not personally care about us. This is why God allows random mutations to produce diseases in the human genome – such as cancers, sickle cell anemia, Down syndrome, cru-de-chat syndrome, etc., all of which are the result of random genetic mutations which God did not directly type into the universal supercomputer. These are simply the natural results of the decay of any mechanical system that does not undergo regular repairs by the Mechanic… all such complex functional systems experience various forms of entropy, or degeneration, over time.

      (Isn’t it a little weird that in the process of arguing for evolution, I wind up arguing for God functioning as a creator, and when you argue against evolution, you wind up arguing against God functioning as a creator? I’m not sure I saw that coming.)

      You are arguing for a type of creator who cannot be recognized as doing anything above and beyond the basic natural laws that he has created. My argument is different in that I am arguing for a Creator who can be recognized as creating above and beyond the basic laws of mindless nature… creating stuff that these laws, that the basic operating system of the universe, simply cannot explain without the additional input of very very high levels of intelligence and creative power (as in the production of additional software programs for your computer). It is for this reason that we can actually detect the Signature of God, not only behind the basic laws of nature, behind the origin of the basic operating system, but behind various features of nature that go well beyond the known limits that these basic laws have been programmed to achieve… to include the origin of living things and the origin of the written Word – the Bible (i.e., additional programs within the operating system).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        “The fact that these sciences are at all feasible means that your theory that God is still manipulating everything behind the scenes outside of the limitations of His natural laws is not valid.”

        It is not my theory that God still manipulates anything behind the scenes outside of natural law.
        It is my theory that natural law describes God’s actions and that he works within natural law.




        0
        View Comment
  68. 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?




    0
    View Comment
  69. Sean said…..

    “You mean God does not cease to create good things just because evil is present.”

    That’s what I said, Sean. “God does not cease to create just because sin is present. So babies are born in sin.”

    But the final point is this, if you know something can happen or will happen when you do something, there is accountability on some level.

    On the other hand, since what God created were free moral agents, the only question is whether what He created had enough understanding and ability to make the right choice and not sin.

    As Christians, we believe they did. And in this conclusion, each being is held responsible for their own actions. Even if God knew they would sin before He created them.

    This enigma is not resolved by human reasoning but by divine revelation. For human reasoning alone must necessarily conclude that since God knew they would sin, He is in some way responsible for their doing it. By virtue of the fact that He did not have to create them.

    But we see that God’s foreknowledge can not be considered a factor, and only the element of their ability to make a right choice can be considered in the end.

    So, we conclude that God is not responsible for sin when there was no viable reason for any to do so. In fact, we must conclude that apart from God’s foreknowledge, He has no way of discerning that any would ever sin, since as you agree, sin is a kind of spiritual insanity.

    In which case, sin can not and will not happen because there is no viable cause. Even the possibility of sin is not a viable cause since their is no legitimate motivation for its existence.

    Thus, the plan of salvation was formulated by God before sin was a fact based solely on His foreknowledge. He had no reason to assume it would ever exist. There was no fault in the way He had created moral beings. And there was no viable cause for sin and rebellion.

    None the less, the wicked still accuse God of sin since He created the possibility of it. We see that God created moral beings in the framework of responsible freedom. As long as they continue to act accordingly, in harmony with God’s will, they will continue in responsible freedom.

    The wicked opted for irresponsible freedom like the “entitlement” society in our world today. Such a concept is impossible and have people remain what God created them to be. Ultimately, they want no quality of life based on the responsible freedom God has ordained. And God grants them their wish by their final destruction.

    Bill Sorensen




    0
    View Comment
    • @Bill Sorensen:

      One last comment on this off-topic diversion we’ve created:

      When the woman was asked, “What is this that thou hast done?” she answered, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” “Why didst Thou create the serpent? Why didst Thou suffer him to enter Eden?”–these were the questions implied in her excuse for her sin. Thus, like Adam, she charged God with the responsibility of their fall. The spirit of self-justification originated in the father of lies; it was indulged by our first parents as soon as they yielded to the influence of Satan, and has been exhibited by all the sons and daughters of Adam. Instead of humbly confessing their sins, they try to shield themselves by casting the blame upon others, upon circumstances, or upon God–making even His blessings an occasion of murmuring against Him.

      – EGW, PP, p. 58

      In any case, though, this is really off from the main topic. The question that is really in play here is if it is possible to detect God’s signature in nature over and above the activities of the basic laws of nature that God created?

      I’ve been arguing that it is possible to detect phenomena that go well beyond the known limits of what the mindless laws of nature can achieve… phenomena which can only be rationally explained by high level intelligence and creative power.

      On the other hand, Ron has been arguing that there are no recognizable “miracles” of design in nature since everything in nature is equally designed by God. In other words, Ron doesn’t seem to recognize the concept of levels of design… that each higher level requires the additional input of intelligent design since lower-level systems cannot, by themselves, explain the existence of higher level systems.

      Ron thinks that lower-level systems can evolve into higher level systems without the need to invoke any additional “miracle” of design – beyond what God originally created. In other words, Ron believes that neo-Darwinism is compatible with Christianity because evolutionary mechanisms where simply designed by God as tools in the creative process. Ron, as with all neo-Darwinists, sees no clear limits to the creative potential of the Darwinian mechanisms – given enough time. Therefore, he sees no special “miracle” for the origin or diversity of life at any level of functional complexity…

      So, the question is, do you agree with Ron, that no “miracles” are evident in nature today? beyond the basic laws of nature to which we are all daily subjected?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  70. Ron:

    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.

    The model you seem to be recommending is “robots” — your objection seems to be an objection to “free will”.

    God sovereignly chose “free will”. He did not have to create that kind of universe. There is a huge difference between God warning Adam and Eve of danger – and then their decision to “jump off the cliff anyway”. The fact that Adam and Eve got to float in the air a few minutes like a bird before going “splat” on the rocks below – is not really enough to justify their less-than-wise choice at that point. The “blame god for it all” solution is not all that compelling.

    In the end God removes the “cancer of sin” in the Lake of Fire. And, had he not pressed the “reset button” at the flood mankind would have corrupted itself beyond repair – not making it much father beyond the life of Noah.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
    • @BobRyan:

      The model you seem to be recommending is “robots” — your objection seems to be an objection to “free will”.

      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.

      Therefore, if God has in fact succeeded in creating truly free moral agents, He is not in any way responsible for the origin of any rebellion against His own will, nor is He responsible for the natural consequences of such a rebellion – as long as no valid reason for rebellion also exists. Given such a scenario, God is only responsible for whatever good continues to exist, for the blessings that are still given, in abundance, to the rebels – to us. He is not responsible for the cancer that exists. While He is responsible for that which is still good in us, to include the Divine spark of life within each one of us, He does not create evils such as childhood leukemia and the like.

      Such things are not an “act of God”, but are simply the natural result of living in a world that has separated itself from God to a certain degree. The choice to finally separate one’s self completely from God will result, of course, in eternal death. God is the source of all life. If a free moral agent deliberately chooses to leave God, despite all efforts of God to win the heart of the rebel, God is eventually left with no further option than to honor the request of the free moral agent – to give the oblivion that is requested.

      It is a very strange request, is it not? Why would any free moral agent request death when life is offered? It is because death is preferable to life when one hates the very Source of Life – when one hates all that is truly Good. This is why, ultimately, sin, when deliberately and persistently engaged without ultimate surrender to God, always leads to eternal death – upon the freewill request of the rebel. Very strange… a bit scary to even think about on a personal level.

      Could I ever get to such a point? Yes indeed! If I do not daily choose to walk with God, I will most certainly end up in this final state of insanity. Very sobering.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
        • @Ron:

          The problem with your arguments, as presented so far, is that you’re trying to make God responsible for our actions as well as His own actions…

          The fact is that our actions are not also His actions. He simply is not responsible for the things that we do contrary to His own will for us. We are truly free moral agents…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman:
          Can you think of any metafore for God in the Bible where God would not in some way be responsible for our actions? The ones that come to mind for me are: sovereign, Lord, father, shepherd, a male lover. In all of these metafores God is responsible for either instigating the relationship as in the Song of Songs, or being an advocate, protector, or supervisor. I can’t think of anywhere in the Bible where God denies responsibility. I can think of lots of places where he claims responsibility and oundard explanation is, “Oh, he didn’t really mean that, He really just allowed some one else to do it,” Satan, Pharaoh, evil king etc.




          0
          View Comment
  71. 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?




    0
    View Comment
  72. Here is a summary of our discussion so far.

    I think we have agreement

    1. that Seventh-day Adventist’s can, and that most in fact do believe that the processes that Darwin described are true, and valid, and demonstrable in our world today.

    2. Darwinian processes do not have to preclude the presence of God or the existence of a six day creation week.

    (I am going to coin a new term. For me, Darwinian processes are pretty much the same as evolution, but evolution to most people has the connotation of a process that excludes God. So when I use the term Darwinian process, I am specifically referring to a process that was described by Darwin, but does not assume that God is absent from the process. I am hoping we can leave the historic baggage behind.)

    3. The outcome of Darwinian process may be positive or negative. It is possible that it is positive at one level and negative at a higher lever such as in cancer. It may also be negative at one level and positive at a higher level such as with programmed cell death. (Actually, I am not sure programmed cell death is a good example, but you get the idea. Maybe you can think of a better example.)

    4. Darwinian processes are generalizable to disciplines other than biology.

    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.

    Sean is concerned that Darwinian processes may create more problems than they solve and may contribute to the burden of sin.

    Issues remaining:

    1. How immanent is God in his creation? Is his direct action required, as Mrs. White seems to indicate, for the continued existence of every atom, or is that really a poetic statement, and once God created, he left the universe to operate independently?

    My position is that what we call natural law is only a scientific description of God’s ongoing activity.

    I understand Sean’s position to be that the natural law functions independently of God.

    2. When we talk about Intelligent Design, what exactly do we mean by intelligence and how do we distinguish it from natural processes.

    Examples:
    an amorphous rock: We claim that it was intelligently designed by God, but where is the stamp of intelligence that is somehow distinct from a natural process?

    A watch: has a level of design and informational complexity that we generally accept as requiring intelligent design, and the out put from the watch is intelligent, i.e. it tells the time. But if we define natural as anything operating within its design limits, then the intelligent output from the watch becomes defined as natural, not intelligent. How can we clarify the boundaries between an intelligent process and a natural process?

    Humans: Sean has defined as “natural”, the output of any intelligently designed object operating within it’s design limits, then presumably human’s are intelligently designed objects working within their design limits (for the purposes of this discussion we will ignore any effects of sin). Does that mean that their output is natural, and not intelligent?

    Complex biologic systems: If we consider the output of humans as being intelligent, then why not consider the output of other complex biologic systems as intelligent?

    Supercomputers? Are supercomputers intelligent? They beat humans an Jeopardy and Chess.

    3. What is the significance of intermediaries? God created humans, human’s created supercomputers. Does that imply that God had NO role in creating supercomputers, or did God create supercomputers, using humans as an intermediary step in the process?

    4. What are the operational parameters for Darwinian processes?

    Sean’s position is that Darwinian processes are incapable of generating a new gene greater than 1000aa.

    My position is that this is outside the disciplines of theology/philosophy, and that while I have some knowledge, and I am willing to discuss it, I don’t think that I am a strong enough opponent to really bring the level of clarity to the issue that is needed.

    I think Sean needs to prove his case in the peer reviewed literature, and that until he does, and his view is generally accepted by the larger scientific community, it is premature for the Seventh-day Adventist church to sanction science teachers for not teaching it. I don’t mind them promoting the ideas, and encouraging science teachers to teach them, but sanctions for not teaching it are something else. That goes too far.

    I also do not think that any church committee, even the General Conference can define what is or isn’t scientific truth. They can define theology. And while I don’t think it is wise, I guess it is OK for them to enforce their theology on theology teachers, but they cannot define scientific truth, and it is immoral for them to censor science teachers for teaching science just because the current science seems to contradict their theology.

    Having said that, I have my doubts about the 1000aa limit. We know a lot about genetics and biology, but I am not sure we know enough to safely say that biology can’t do something. And just like the supercomputer, I am pretty sure God could, and perhaps did build a super smart biology that can develop genes with greater than 1000aa limits.

    I am concerned that anytime you say something can’t happen, you run the risk of simply being ignorant. Kind of like at the beginning of the evolutionary argument. Traditionalists argued that everything from creation was fixed, or limited to Mendelian variation, and then Watson and Crick discovered DNA, and we now know that there are incredibly complex systems that seem to be designed specifically to control and modify DNA. It’s like DNA was designed to change.

    So I am not saying I necessarily disagree with Sean, but I am not really convinced either. I am anxious to hear arguments on both sides of this issue.

    5. I would be interested in exploring the boundary between nature and supernatural. Sometimes the difference is obvious, sometimes it isn’t. For example, someone is in the Intensive Care Unit. The doctor believes that they are at high risk of dying. The whole church prays for them, maybe they are even anointed. If they continue to struggle for several weeks, but eventually survive, is that a miracle, or is that natural?

    Is it possible for us to have any expectation of a supernatural intervention?

    When I was nine, my father died of a broken neck. When he was in surgery I prayed for him, and as a child, I had perfect faith that God would answer my prayers. In fact, I went out and played with my friends, because I knew God would heal him.

    In 30 plus years of medial practice I have never, even once seen any prayer from any family of any faith answered in what appeared to me to be a miraculous way. It seems obvious to me that our faith is completely irrelevant to whether God will chose to perform a miracle. Perhaps it is a necessary prerequisite to a miracle, but it surely isn’t sufficient to establish an expectation.

    We often pray for safety, but we recently had one of the young leaders in our church killed by a drunk running a stop sign. Only a fraction of a second in either direction would have saved his life. What does it mean when we pray? When we pray for safety, should we have an expectation that something will be different?

    Now I will hasten to say, I have seen spiritual healing in the sense that the patient and family is more reconciled to death, and sometimes when I pray for wisdom, God will direct my thoughts to a solution, and perhaps praying for safety reminds us to be careful. These are all in the spiritual realm, but I have never seen anything that looked like a supernatural intervention in the physical realm.

    Does prayer only function in the spiritual realm, or can we have some expectation of results in the physical realm as well?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ron:

      I think we have agreement

      1. that Seventh-day Adventist’s can, and that most in fact do believe that the processes that Darwin described are true, and valid, and demonstrable in our world today.

      2. Darwinian processes do not have to preclude the presence of God or the existence of a six day creation week.

      We do not have agreement. The neo-Darwinian perspective is fundamentally at odds with Adventism in that it draws no limits between so-called “micro” and “macro” evolution. Only “Darwinian processes” on the micro-level, below the 1000saaa threshold level of functional complexity, are consistent with Adventism.

      Also, the claims of macro-evolutionists (most mainstream scientists), are diametrically opposed to the idea of all life on Earth being produced during a truly literal six-day creation week. These ideas cannot rationally co-exist. One of them is clearly wrong. If there was in fact a literal six-day creation week, neo-Darwinism is a fantastic hoax. If the neo-Darwinian story of macro-evolution is true, the story of all life being created during just six literal days is a nothing more than a silly fairytale for children…

      Both stories cannot be true. There is no way to rationally merge them either because of the fact that they are so very diametrically opposed to each other. One of them is very very very wrong – dead wrong.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean, Here is a direct quote from you:
        “I don’t know how many times I have to explain to you that we all believe in a limited form of neo-Darwinism. As I’ve explained to you before, Darwinian evolution does happen. It is a real force of nature. However, it is a very very limited force of nature – limited to very very low levels of functional complexity.

        Sean Pitman”

        I am trying to AGREE with you. So, I guess you have to explain it to me as many times as you change you mind. Do you, or do you not believe in the evolutionary principles of variation (random or otherwise), and natural selection?

        How is it that all Adventists believe in Neo-Darwinism, but you still can’t agree with statement 1? What is it you dont’ agree with?




        0
        View Comment
  73. Sean&#032Pitman: They aren’t teaching the limits of the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS.

    I for one am not sure there are any limits. You think you can define limits, and I am not second guessing you, but your ideas have not become main stream, and they really don’t seem to hold water from a philosophical/theological perspective.

    I think it is morally wrong to censor teachers because they are not teaching concepts that
    1. are not accepted by the main stream, and 2. are so recent or obscure that they might not even be aware of them.
    3. especially when you yourself agree with the principles that they are teaching, you just disagree on the extent to which those principles are operationalized.

    @Sean Pitman:

    I am not sure I always can, when it comes to design intelligence. Certain rocks contain a lot of very complicated information about their history, chemistry, and some of them, like fossils, for instance, can be pretty complicated, and certain rocks, like my supercomputer processor are highly designed. And unfortunately, my car is often poorly designed.

    But you are missing the point. You are the one claiming that God created the earth, as opposed to it developing naturally. You are trying to use Intelligent Design as proof of God’s creation. So you tell me. How does the amorphous rock show enough intelligent design to prove that it was created by God? The burden of proof is really with you.

    @Sean Pitman:

    I am doubtful of the quality of these websites, but they at least talk about particles spontaneously forming in space. If I had more time and access to academic web sites, I could probably find the supporting articles. But this is really beside the point when discussing evolution, so I am going to drop it.

    http://www.supraconsciousnessnetwork.org/DPSpacetimesuperstring.htm
    “Atomic particles such as electrons can spontaneously form within space and then dissolve back into space being annihilated by anti electrons (positrons).”

    http://harunyahya.com/en/Makaleler/5357/Quantum_physics:_The_Discovery_that_scientifically_demolished_materialism
    “In quantum physics, it is to be observed that subatomic particles appear and disappear spontaneously in a vacuum.”

    @Sean Pitman:
    “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”

    For living organisms, doing it right the first time would include the ability to change in response to changing environments.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ron:

      I for one am not sure there are any limits. You think you can define limits, and I am not second guessing you, but your ideas have not become main stream, and they really don’t seem to hold water from a philosophical/theological perspective.

      Of course the Adventist perspective on many different concepts isn’t “mainstream”. That’s why we have our own schools instead of just sending our kids to much cheaper public schools. You are also mistaken to suggest that creationists have not long accepted various forms of “micro-evolution” while rejecting “macro-evolution”.

      Very limited forms of genetic “change over time” or evolution do happen. However, these changes are very limited to very low levels of functional complexity. If you or someone else does not recognize the creative limitations to the evolutionary mechanism, then you simply cannot adequately represent the Adventist perspective on origins… and shouldn’t be hired to teach contrary to the Adventist perspective in our own schools…

      I think it is morally wrong to censor teachers because they are not teaching concepts that
      1. are not accepted by the main stream, and 2. are so recent or obscure that they might not even be aware of them.
      3. especially when you yourself agree with the principles that they are teaching, you just disagree on the extent to which those principles are operationalized.

      Again, this has always been an issue over the “extent to which evolutionary principles are operational”. It has never been an all or nothing issue – never. Everyone involved with this debate over the creative potential of evolutionary mechanisms recognizes the reality of limited forms of evolution. The only difference is over degree – i.e., over the question of if there are or are not limitations to the degree of functional complexity that can be produced by the evolutionary mechanism of random mutations and functional-based natural selection.

      The Adventist position is that there are very clear limits along these lines. The position of secular scientists is that there are no such limits – that given enough time the statistically improbable becomes inevitable.

      The problem, of course, is that mainstream scientists just don’t do the math…

      [Regarding the origin of highly symmetrical polished granite cubes vs. amorphous rocks vs. automobiles] I am not sure I always can [tell the origin], when it comes to design intelligence. Certain rocks contain a lot of very complicated information about their history, chemistry, and some of them, like fossils, for instance, can be pretty complicated, and certain rocks, like my supercomputer processor are highly designed. And unfortunately, my car is often poorly designed.

      There you go, you can tell the difference between your computer processor and an amorphous rock. You know that your processor required intelligent design over and above that of the shape of an amorphous rock. I dare say that even mainstream scientists would be able to tell the difference between a highly symmetrical granite cube, if found on an alien planet like Mars, and an amorphous rock. Such a find, say of a 2 x 2 x 2 meter highly symmetrical polished granite cube on the surface of Mars, would hit the front pages of every news paper in the world as clear evidence of intelligent design at work.

      But you are missing the point. You are the one claiming that God created the earth, as opposed to it developing naturally. You are trying to use Intelligent Design as proof of God’s creation. So you tell me. How does the amorphous rock show enough intelligent design to prove that it was created by God? The burden of proof is really with you.

      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.

      I’m not sure how many more times I have to explain this concept to you? Natural laws, created by God, work independent of God’s need for direct deliberate action. That’s why He created these natural laws instead of doing everything directly by Himself all the time. These laws are tools that He has made. The have their detectable limits as tools. While God is not limited in His creative ability, the natural laws that He has made, the tools, are limited. They are not themselves God.

      For example, let’s say I make a hammer. This hammer is a tool that is made for a specific job. The hammer is not me. It has limitations that I do not have. These limitations can be investigated and defined. The very same thing is true of the tools that God has made – the natural laws of the universe.

      As another example, God made you. Yet, you are not God. You have limitations that God does not have. You are just a tool of God’s creation. Your limitations can be investigated and defined…

      I am doubtful of the quality of these websites, but they at least talk about particles spontaneously forming in space.

      As far as I’m aware, the claims of these websites are mistaken. No one has actually observed electrons or any other subatomic particle popping into existence from nothing… never.

      “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

      For living organisms, doing it right the first time would include the ability to change in response to changing environments.

      Yes, but like with my hammer, there are limitations to how much change can be realized via mindless mechanisms – like random mutations and natural selection. Nature is not God nor is it intelligent like God. Nature is not infinite. It is finite. Nature’s limitations can be investigated and determined to a very useful degree of predictive value.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectignDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:
        “Such a find, say of a 2 x 2 x 2 meter highly symmetrical polished granite cube on the surface of Mars, would hit the front pages of every news paper in the world as clear evidence of intelligent design at work.”

        Actually, life on Mars has already made the front page news. Remember the intelligently made canals, and the carved face on Mars? Both of those were confused with signs of intelligent life and turned out to be only amorphous rocks.

        If the difference is so clear, then why the confusion. You have not yet defined the specific characteristics that distinguish intelligent design from natural. You are basically saying it is an “aunt Minnie”, i.e.”I know it when I see it”. And I agree, that most of the time, it probably is obvious, but some times it isn’t, so we need a definition.

        I just read today of a study done on children, with robots where most children thought it wasn’t fair to interrupt the robot’s game and put it into the closet. Here children are assigning moral value to an electronic object. If the output from a computer can be intelligent enough to make people think it is a moral being, then tell me how I am supposed to distinguish the intelligent output from God’s creation from the intelligent output from God himself? I believe the genetic output from God’s creation is far more intelligent than the computer that fooled the children. This gets back to distinguishing natural vs. supernatural outcomes.




        0
        View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        “I’ve been very clear in explaining that I do not think something like [the shape of] an amorphous rock requires the input of intelligent design.” – Sean Pitman

        That is true, but then you, well maybe it was Bob who claimed that the entire earth was created in 6 days about 6000 years ago, and you were using astronomers, and physicists admiration for the order of the basic laws of nature as proof that the earth was Intelligently designed by God 6000 years ago, but then when it comes to biology, you define those same laws as being “natural”. So pardon my confusion.

        When I look at the amorphous rock am I supposed to see in the physical laws that created it an intelligence that would compel me to believe its existence requires the presence of a supernatural creation 6000 years ago or not? If I am supposed to, I don’t.

        With the possible exception that if you believe the natural laws are a manifestation of the ongoing activity of God, then I see evidence of God’s creation in the rock. But if the natural laws operate independent of God, then I don’t.

        Another problem I have with this line of reasoning is that you use the admiration of the physicists to prove the existence of God, but then when it comes to scientifically dating the rock, you dismiss them as insane.




        0
        View Comment
        • @Ron:

          As I’ve mentioned several times before, I’m a young life creationist, not a young Earth creationist. The material of the Earth, and the universe itself, may be very old indeed. However, life on Earth, to include the fossil record of life, is very young.

          With the possible exception that if you believe the natural laws are a manifestation of the ongoing activity of God, then I see evidence of God’s creation in the rock. But if the natural laws operate independent of God, then I don’t.

          Again, I’m not talking about the fundamental laws of nature that make it possible for an amorphous rock to exist and to develop its amorphous shape. I’m talking about the origin of the shape itself. Is the shape of an amorphous piece of granite a sign of deliberate intelligence? as compared to the shape of a highly symmetrical polished granite cube measuring 2 meters on each side?

          In short, why do you think such a granite cube, if discovered on the surface of Mars by one of our rovers, would cause a news story sensation around the world, while an amorphous granite rock would not?

          Another problem I have with this line of reasoning is that you use the admiration of the physicists to prove the existence of God, but then when it comes to scientifically dating the rock, you dismiss them as insane.

          Not everything scientists say is true, and not everything they say is false. You have to do some thinking for yourself to know when they are drifting off base because of their own philosophical biases or misconceptions. Scientists are people too, prone to personal and even collective bias, and able to make glaring mistakes because of it…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • ref=”#comment-38438″>Sean Pitman:
          OK, but your argument that non-believing scientists see evidence of intelligent design in the basic laws of the universe carries force only if you give credence to the non-believing scientists. I think if you dismiss their dating methods and all of the rest of their work, then the fact that they see intelligent design doesn’t have much credibility either.




          0
          View Comment
        • @Ron:

          Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.

          Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman:

          “I’m not sure how many more times I have to explain this concept to you? Natural laws, created by God, work independent of God’s need for direct deliberate action.”

          Sean, where do you get this idea that there is a natural law apart from God’s action? I don’t see that being taught in the Bible anywhere.




          0
          View Comment
  74. Sean&#032Pitman: 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.

    Amen, Sean. This entire post is right on.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Faith:
      So explain to me how we have ever had free will, if there is no legitimate choice?
      To have only one choice that is considered good, and only one choice where the consequence is utter annihilation seems to me to be a lot like an election in a corrupt dictatorial country. There really is no free choice.




      0
      View Comment
      • @Ron:

        There are lots of choices that are good. Just because the option also exist for making choices that are in fact bad, that would result in eventual self-annihilation, does not therefore mean that true freedom does not exist. The option to actually choose to do bad things is what makes freedom possible and very real. One is free to choose the path of death if one so desires. Without freedom to act against the will of God, such a choice would be impossible since God’s will is that we always choose the path of life.

        But, because God loves freedom above all things, He sets out before us the path to life and glory as well as the path to pain, suffering and death. He then counsels us to “choose life”. – Deuteronomy 30:19

        Yet, you again accuse God of evil by actually opening up the potential for evil choices and self destruction. You blame God when people actually choose this insane path. You accuse God of evil by allowing for evil – by allowing for choices that result in self-annihilation. You compare such a situation to a corrupt government where there is only one real choice – God’s way or death.

        Just because God’s way is the only rational way doesn’t mean that it’s the only real choice. One can really choose to be irrational and act against God’s will… That’s called true freedom.

        While it is true that God’s way encompasses all the ways of life and that anything outside of God’s way results in ultimate self-destruction and death, it is not true that this reality limits freedom. God only wants us to take the ways that are for our own eternal good. He wants us to always choose the paths of life, never of death. But, He leaves us free to choose to be insane…

        If God did not allow for paths of death to exist as viable options, we would not be truly free to truly love Him. We would be robots without any option but to obey His will… which would make true love impossible.

        That is why we have and will always have two paths to choose from… the way of Life or God’s way vs. the way of self destruction.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




        0
        View Comment
  75. art&#032chadwick: I think it is safe to conclude neither you nor I nor anybody else is in a position to exposit the answer to the question of what Moses did or did not know. To write a whole book on the premise that they can know is nothing short of presumption. Let’s not lose sight of the issue here. Did Moses misinterpret God? I think not.

    Good point. What Guy and Bull are in fact demonstrating is that it is “possible to imagine what Moses knew and then bend that imagination against the written text itself”.

    Certainly we have to agree that they demonstrate that point well.

    But as you point out – their ability to “imagine” is not quite the same thing as proving that Moses was not shown what he claimed. They ignore the summary of the Genesis 1-2:3 event that we find in Ex 20:11 because it totally refutes the story that Guy and Bull would have us believe.

    And what is also interesting is the fact that we have an even more recent claim in 3SG 90 to someone “being shown” that very same thing over again.

    Not a point Guy and Bull are going to want to deal with in their carefully-sifted not-at-all-exhaustive presentation of the subject.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  76. Ron: Your argument from Ex. 20:8-11 does not apply because there is no logical or Biblical reason to say that creation by fiat and Darwinian evolution are mutually exclusive. In fact there are many Biblical and scientific reasons to believe that they in fact are not.

    That is quite a claim on your part – please show us 1 darwinian evolutionist that frames evolutionism in the words “in Six (literal 24 hour) days (less than 10,000 years ago) God created the heavens and the earth the seas and all that is in them”.

    That language does not fit anything Darwin, Dawkins, William Provine, P.Z Meyers or our own Erv Taylor insider ever proclaimed as evolution.

    Your quote from Spiritual Gifts does not apply because I am not using science or geology to argue against God, nor creation by fiat.

    If you read 3SG 90-91 you will find that at no point does the text say “evolution is a great idea that fits perfectly with the Bible and is only a problem if one happens to imagine that it contradicts the Word of God, creation or the Sabbath”.

    In fact – the opposite point is made on that page.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  77. “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?” – Sean Pitman

    Where is the word ‘week’ used in Genesis? I only read about ‘days’, which don’t necessarily mean 1 x 24 hour period in Hebrew. Also, where is the evening and morning for the seventh day?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Stephen:

      You wrote:

      Where is the word ‘week’ used in Genesis? I only read about ‘days’, which don’t necessarily mean 1 x 24 hour period in Hebrew. Also, where is the evening and morning for the seventh day?

      As far as the intent of the author(s) of Genesis, he quite clearly intended to convey a literal historical account of events – to include a literal 6-day creation week. There really is no argument here among even liberal scholars of Hebrew. Take, for example, the comments of well-known Oxford Hebrew scholar James Barr:

      “Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience. (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.”

      Letter from Professor James Barr to David C.C. Watson of the UK, dated 23 April 1984.

      Now, consider that Prof. Barr made this statement while personally considering the Genesis narrative to be false. He did not believe that God created life on this planet in just six literal days. He believed that life existed and evolved on this planet over billions of years just like most mainstream scientists do today. Yet, he still was quite clear that the author(s) of the Genesis narrative intended to say something about real historical events. They did not intend to be figurative in their language.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  78. I know that Brian Bull and Fritz Guy are intelligent, articulate people. I also know that neither of them have any professional experience or special training in old testament theology or Hebrew. Therefore the scholarship of their book is no better than it would be if any lay person had written it. Thus they are trading on their reputations in promoting this as a scholarly work. And as far as the “translation” of Genesis is concerned, please tell me this was done in gest, and was not intended to be taken seriously.

    And as far as Bull and Guy knowing what Moses knew, that stance reveals a whole lot more about their own ignorance, I suspect, than it does about the state of Moses’ knowledge. Had they spent 40 years communing with God in the wilderness, I suspect they might have more than a passing knowledge of the so-called science of today.

    And for that matter, just how good is today’s science, that “Moses didn’t know?” Consider this: during a decade as head of global cancer research at Amgen, C. Glenn Begley identified 53 “landmark” publications — papers in top journals, from reputable labs — for his team to reproduce. Begley sought to double-check the findings before trying to build on them for drug development. Result: 47 of the 53 could not be replicated. Note this is not a random sampling. It represents what the head of Amgen research thought was “the best of the best” in cancer research.

    “….part way through his project to reproduce promising studies, Begley met for breakfast at a cancer conference with the lead scientist of one of the problematic studies. “We went through the paper line by line, figure by figure,” said Begley. “I explained that we re-did their experiment 50 times and never got their result. He said they’d done it six times and got this result once, but put it in the paper because it made the best story. It’s very disillusioning.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/cancer-science-many-discoveries-dont-hold-174216262.html




    0
    View Comment
    • @Art Chadwick:

      Hi Art,

      It seems to me that we’re not talking about the subtleties of scientific theories here, especially when it comes to medical science. We’re talking about the observations of modern science that are uncontroversial, even among creationists.

      For example, do you think God revealed to Moses the structure of our universe or solar system in detail? – like the “66 confirmed moons of Jupiter” or the structure of the bacterial rotary flagellum or other sub-cellular structures – like ATPsynthase, etc? I think it very unlikely that God revealed to Moses all the details of empirical knowledge that are actually known to modern scientists.

      Did God reveal certain empirical truths to Moses, some of which are still not known to modern science? – absolutely! This does not mean, however, that God revealed all information or even all of what modern scientists know to Moses. In other words, there are most certainly empirical truths that are currently known to modern science that Moses did not know… despite the fact that Moses had a closer association and walk with God than any other prophet.

      Either way, the argument of “limited perspective” is irrelevant to the fact that God can and often has reveal privileged empirical information to various humans throughout history without revealing to them all empirical truths. In other words, all prophets that we know of were given limited privileged information which they were left to describe from their own limited perspective with their own limited vocabulary and background experiences and understanding. No human, not even among the greatest of human prophets, was made omniscient by God nor was anyone that we know of given access to all of what modern human scientific investigation currently knows or might one day discover about God’s empirical universe.

      This means that access to all knowledge is not a necessary requirement before a particular revelation about empirical reality can be recognized as having been inspired, in a very special way, by God – and therefore become an aid to establishing faith or trust in the associated metaphysical claims of such inspired statements.

      Also, I don’t think one has to be an acknowledged expert in Hebrew before one can form rational opinions about what the original Hebrew authors were trying to get across (let’s give Brian and Fritz the benefit of the doubt to at least this degree when it comes to their potential or theoretical ability to perform valid research outside of their primary fields of formal training). The same thing is true of empirical/scientific concepts. I don’t think one has to be an acknowledged expert in mainstream science before one can be well-read and well-able to form useful opinions, hypotheses, and theories about the validity of the claims of modern scientists. Some pretty spectacular scientific discoveries have been made by laypeople you know. After all, if this were not possible, no lay person would be able to have any rational basis to doubt the validity of neo-Darwinism – a position claimed to be the only rational scientific conclusion on origins by the vast majority of mainstream scientists today.

      Therefore, it seems to me best to base one’s conclusions primary on the argument presented rather than on the formal educational background of the one(s) presenting the argument.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  79. Is this another enigma, or what? No use trying to resolve these biblical enigmas and riddles.

    Bill, Given some of your previous positions, I am surprised to find that I agree with pretty much everything you said here, except for the part about it being an enigma. It is an enigma if you ony consider the history of this world linearly from creation to second coming, but if you consider the whole, as God would do from an eternal perspective, with the assumptions that God is 1. Good, and 2. Responsible for his own free will just as we are responsible for our own free will, then it makes perfect sence. The paradox and the enigma are resolved.




    0
    View Comment
  80. Yes, I do believe that God foresaw and planned for Satan, the fall, cancer, tornados, starving children, and even the torture and death of His own son, Jesus. I believe that His plan is so wonderful that He chose to proceed with creation anyway. I believe that even now, Satan only exists because God is actively sustaining his existence. If you believe that that somehow makes God guilty of unspeakable atrocities, then maybe that is what is meant when it says that Jesus as made to be sin for us.

    I choose to forgive God His role in sustaining evil because it is that same action which brought me into the world and sustains me and I find life so wonderful that even with the trauma of the death of my father, and all the suffering I have wittnesed as a physician, and all I have heard in books about the Holocaust and Fox’s book of martyrs, and even if the resurection and afterlife turn out to be myths, or I am somehow lost and don’t get an afterlife, I would still chose life and I am thankful to God for every conscious moment, even the painful ones. (Sometimes I am thankful and angry at the same time.)

    I guess, unlike most people, I afirm the choice Eve made. I prefer knowledge and wisdom over ignorance and innocence. I
    believe God was right to warn Eve about the dangers of independence, kind of like a parent warning a teenager about the risk in driving a car, but I believe the consequences of the choice still fell within the bounds of a loving God’s plan, and at the end, when it is all said and done, it will have been worth it.

    I think that is part of the conversation God and Jesus had before they chose to make the world. Maybe that is why they chose to go ahead anyway. Maybe they saw that somewhere down the line, after thousands of years of suffering someone like me would still feel that way.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ron:

      I also believe that God knows the future in every detail; that He foresaw Satan and the evil that would follow. However, there is a difference between God knowing the future and causing the future. There is also a difference between sustaining or allowing evil people to exist, or harmful natural events to exist, and directly causing their actions.

      Your arguments appear to make God directly responsible for harmful mutations that cause cancer in children or the direct cause of tornadoes that kill people and destroy property.

      Your arguments appear pantheistic – as in “God is in everything”. That’s simply not true – according to the Bible or Mrs. White.

      God’s creations are not themselves God nor does God personally direct or cause every action that occurs in His universe. Natural events and human actions can and do occur outside of His desire and will. He may know that they will happen before they happen, but He did not desire nor will them or the evil that they produce. He also has the power to prevent all evils, but that would also prevent freedom of choice…

      In short, do you not see the difference between a child getting cancer and a Biblical story where Jesus raised a child from the dead? One is a direct act of God; the other is not. It should be pretty easy to tell which one is a miracle of intelligent design on a Divine level, and which one is simply a result of the natural decay of a mechanical system that isn’t being constantly fixed by its Creator any more…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  81. Sean&#032Pitman: Cancer is not the result of intelligent design any more than your car breaking down and wearing out is the result of God deciding to slowly destroy your vehicle. It is just the way things are when when they are not constantly maintained. It’s a form of informational entropy over time. Things naturally wear out and degenerate when God is not constantly involved in maintaining them. That is why Adam and Eve grew old and died after they decided to separate themselves from God’s constant care.

    Perfect example, Sean. One of the most obvious reasons the evolutionary theory does not work is that, as as whole, everything on earth is degenerating. That is opposite of what the evolutionary theory proposes. It says that everything is getting better…the one-celled amoeba is growing into something better than itself. This, in itself, blows the doors off evolution, as far as I am concerned.




    0
    View Comment
  82. Ron: I guess, unlike most people, I afirm the choice Eve made. I prefer knowledge and wisdom over ignorance and innocence. I
    believe God was right to warn Eve about the dangers of independence, kind of like a parent warning a teenager about the risk in driving a car, but I believe the consequences of the choice still fell within the bounds of a loving God’s plan, and at the end, when it is all said and done, it will have been worth it.

    That speaks volumes my friend.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  83. This article well titled “revisiting God” – this edit, revisionism, downsizing is exactly the point of Guy and Bull’s agenda.

    Like the classic tired worn-out methods of the atheist antagonist they strive to wrench and construe any handy detail in the Bible account so that it becomes unreliable and demonstrably false. Thus they build a platform of supposed Bible “falsehoods” as a basis for undermining trust in the details of the text.

    How odd then that we find both OT and NT writers appealing to the “very details” that Guy and Bull (along with our atheist antagonist friends) would argue are the “most to be distrusted”.

    For example in the Ex 20:8-11 summary of the Genesis account – the details of the 7 day timeline and the details of all life on earth created in that time line are placed central to the legal code itself. The imperative given there is based on the reliability of the details it sites for proof and motivation.

    Paul says that it was Adam that was made first.

    Christ said that it is God that performs the first marriage of one man and one woman.

    Paul says that it is by one man that sin entered (not a band of rogue predator hominids killing for food in the wild and wiping out competitors).

    Peter says the entire world was destroyed by Water at the flood.

    Even Guy’s effort to foist the flat earth teaching into the thinking of Moses is not working as he had hoped.

    At every turn it is Guy+Bull against the Word of God.

    Which side is winning at LSU?

    One thing is consistent – no SDA biology sciences department has left the fold without first having the religion department lead and clear the way for them.

    We need more accountability in our religion departments.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  84. 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.




    0
    View Comment
  85. “For example, I do not think that the author of the Genesis account (i.e., Moses) was given privileged information from the modern scientific perspective to understand the nature of the universe or even our own planet or solar system. We actually know things today about the nature of our world and universe that Moses simply did not know or understand. I think most of us would agree on at least this much.” (Sean Pitman, above article quoted)

    Mr. Pitman, usually I agree with you… but on this point we differ. I don’t agree with your above statement, simply because we really “don’t know what we don’t know”, i.e. we really don’t know what Moses did or didn’t know. We know what we wrote, and we can hypothesize what he might have known from that, but we really don’t know what he didn’t know. In fact, maybe he knew more than we know!

    But what we do know is that God has protected and guided His holy word to be a message to us, for OUR time, as well. I take it just as it says, “six days”. I don’t see anything in the Bible about a flat earth theory, either. In fact, I don’t remember the passage, but there is a verse that implies that the earth is round (maybe you know of the verse I am speaking).

    I would also like to add that Moses, although born a Hebrew, was also raised as an Egyptian prince. With all of Egypt’s vast scientific knowledge for such a “primitive” society, he also was privy to what they knew of the universe, of their mathematical and architectural skills, etc. My point being, probably Moses was a whole lot smarter than we give him credit for!




    0
    View Comment
    • @jdoe:

      We in the Adventist Church have the good fortune to have very detailed access to the life and experiences of a modern prophetess (Mrs. White). She isn’t just “our friend”, as Dr. Guy refers to her. God directly spoke to her and showed her things in a privileged manner far beyond anything most of us have or will ever experience in this life (if in fact she was telling the truth).

      Through her experience we gain insight into the nature of such special forms of Divine inspiration. And, it turns out, that God did not given Mrs. White access to all information regarding the nature of our world, solar system, or universe. She was given very limited “privileged” information on an “as needed” basis – so to speak.

      In other words, there is much that God simply didn’t tell Mrs. White regarding that which modern science has since discovered. And, God usually did not dictate His revelations word-for-word, but showed Mrs. White past, present, and future events as if she were a personal eye witness within a 3D movie of these real events. She was then asked to write down what she saw in her own words – all from her own limited human perspective without access to modern scientific knowledge to interpret what she saw. She was not given the words to speak or the educational background to help her better describe what she was shown. She had to try to describe what she saw from her most limited perspective and background experiences.

      I dare say the same thing was true for Moses and all the other Biblical authors who were so directly inspired by God and given such special revelations of very privileged information. They weren’t told what to say or how, exactly, to describe what they were shown. God left it up the the individual, with his limited background, knowledge, and understanding, to describe what God had shown him.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  86. Fritz Guy’s claim that before 1960 Adventists believed that the universe was created about 6000 year ago is false.

    Since 1945 I have preached the Sabbath was made for the created beings of this world. This world was created about 6000 years ago. But I knew from Job, Psalms, and the writings of Ellen White that other worlds in the universe existed long before this world was created.




    0
    View Comment
  87. When I was a student at La Sierra in the 1960s, there was a very different atmosphere on campus. Professors of religion — and of other subjects, such as history, physics, and even biology — all defended the authority of both the Bible and the writings of Ellen White. Dr. Fritz Guy was a professor at the time. I took one class from him — Christian Ethics. I also heard him speak on various occasions. Dr. Guy never gave any impression that he had doubts regarding the Bible. Maybe he had the type of thoughts he has now, but was afraid to state them publicly. I don’t know. However, I am quite disappointed that a man whose scholarship and opinions I respected is now promoting the evolutionary origins of this earth.




    0
    View Comment
  88. It’s a book I’ll never buy nor read. Why take time to read concoctions of a couple who have apparently rejected Genesis 1 and 2.

    Thanks for making us aware of error.




    0
    View Comment
    • @GMF:

      I personally think it important to read and address such challenges to fundamental Adventist positions coming from within the church itself – especially when coming from those who are or seem to be in a position of significant authority and responsibility within the church. Otherwise, many who do read these challenges, and find no rational counter arguments, will no doubt be convinced that the historic position of the Adventist Church on origins and other fundamental issues has been effectively falsified and that the Church itself has given up on many of its original foundational principles.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  89. Sean&#032Pitman:
    @GMF:

    I personally think it important to read and address such challenges to fundamental Adventist positions coming from within the church itself – especially when coming from those who are or seem to be in a position of significant authority and responsibility within the church.Otherwise, many who do read these challenges, and find no rational counter arguments, will no doubt be convinced that the historic position of the Adventist Church on origins and other fundamental issues has been effectively falsified and that the Church itself has given up on many of its original foundational principles.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    True, but just how many rabbits do we have time to chase?




    0
    View Comment

Comments are closed.