Walla Walla University: The Collegian Debates Evolution vs. Creation

By Sean Pitman

The Collegian, the school paper for Walla Walla University, just published an entire spread on the topic of evolution vs. creation with authors (primarily students) from multiple departments contributing.  An interesting survey was also published primarily reflecting the beliefs of WWU students on the topic of origins (a smaller percentage of faculty, staff, and alumni were also included in the survey).

While opinions both for and against the traditional Seventh-day Adventist perspective on origins were published in this issue (noting Alden Thompson’s positive article in particular), most of the articles seemed to undermine the importance of teaching the validity of a truly literal six-day creation week – despite the historical position of the Church that the literal nature of the six-day creation week is “fundamental” to the faith of Seventh-day Adventists.

For example, Katie Wittlake, a Religion Editor for the paper wrote in the lead article for this section:

To enforce a specific belief as necessary, especially one that is at odds with the general scientific community, is dangerous ground for Adventism. As I hear about the proposal to rewrite the 28 Fundamental Beliefs to include a more literal understanding of Genesis, I worry more about alienation from the larger community than I do about whether or not the belief is valid. Whether or not you take the Genesis account to be literal, figurative, or complete fiction, the message and mission of Adventism is not conveyed well if we put ourselves in a position of intolerance with disagreement (Read More).

In the lead article for the opinion pieces Jeff Ladish wrote:

I am horrified that the leaders of an Adventist conference would dramatically condemn fellow Adventists for teaching a standard scientific theory…  To the vast majority of biologists, questioning the explanatory power of evolution would be like questioning the existence of atoms…  While some Adventists believe that a literal seven-day creation week is essential to the Sabbath doctrine and Adventist belief as a whole, other Adventists don’t see the details of creation as a church-breaking issue (God can still make a day of rest even if He didn’t create the earth in 144 hours). I agree with the latter group of Adventists. The church shouldn’t dictate which precise interpretations of the Bible are “correct,” and it definitely shouldn’t decide which scientific theories are legitimate (Read More).

 

Even one of the main characters involved with actively promoting long-age evolutionism within our schools from the beginning, Erv Taylor, professor emeritus of anthropology at UCR and self-styled “Christan Agnostic“, was asked to write an article for this issue:

If we all agree that all Adventist Christians confess that God is the Creator, may I submit that the current debate within Adventism is about the details of how and when God did it? It’s about what processes were used by God in creating the world and life forms. It’s also about how long it took for God to create the world and living organisms…  Since the 2010 General Conference session, there are now a number of influential Adventist administrators who are publicly calling for the advancement of an Adventist shibboleth over this issue. This shibboleth would not be a single word, but a phrase. That phrase would be something similar to: “Creation in seven recent consecutive contiguous 24-hour days.” Regretfully, some are advocating the placement of some version of that code phrase into the statement of Adventist fundamental beliefs. If successful, this action would only create and foster even more polarization in our faith community (Read More).

In short, while the survey results did show that a small majority of students at Walla Walla still believe in the Adventist position on origins, a large number do not.   From this article it also appears that they are not getting much support from the professors at WWU when it comes to providing students with good reasons, scientifically valid and doctrinally sound reasons, in favor of the Adventist perspective on origins.

Clearly, La Sierra University is not the only Adventist school that has been challenged by the issue of origins. While LSU may have been the most blatant in attacking and undermining the Adventist position on origins, many of our other schools (with the exception of Southern Adventist University and Southwestern Adventist University where the Adventist position on origins is still strongly upheld and promoted) seem to be heading down the same path or are at least very weak in their active support of the Church on this issue.

Our Adventist Church needs to take a hard look at what it expects from our own schools.  In the mean time, both our church and our school system need to be very open and honest with students, parents, and the church membership at large as to what exactly is being taught to our young people on the topic of origins.  At the very least we should not be advertising one thing, the promotion of the official standards of Adventism, while actually undermining or even attacking certain of these basic goals and “fundamental” ideals.

More than ever it is time for the Adventist Church to take a clear stand on the importance, or non-importance, of its views on origins.  Either the Church’s “Fundamental Belief #6” on origins needs to be clarified to highlight the Church’s stand on the nature of the creation of all life on this planet in just six literal days, and hold its pastors and teachers accountable to this standard, or it needs to clearly and decidedly remove this concept from the fundamental doctrinal positions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

___________

Follow up note (2/10/2012):

Mandi, a fourth year biology student at WWU, wrote a very interesting comment in response to this article:

If they had asked me to respond I would have shared my belief, which is the same as my major professors and I believe most of my fellow students, that I believe in creation and have been encouraged by all my professors to study not only my textbooks but my Bible as well. So often I get into conversations with fellow students and professors about complexities of cellular signaling or the fine balance of our universe… (Read More).

Also, R., a biology major at WWU, wrote:

The Biology department had no part in writing the survey and the majority of biology majors were both deeply saddened and offended by the published paper. It was neither an unbiased or fair look at any of the issues covered. If you are looking for a fair, realistic look at what the students and faculty of Walla Walla believe, this was not it. The staff at WWU is very conscientious to teach in ways that are in line with Biblical teachings. The school goes out of its way to teach students like me to grow in faith and knowledge. (Read More)

2/11/2012:

However, in a post by “Student at WWU” the following disturbing comments were made:

Ya’ll are being lied here at the request of the biology department. They set off the alarm this (Friday) morning and urged their students to defend them by talking about how their having faith and belief in creation had been affirmed at WWU to “prevent another La Sierra.”… The comments over at freethoughtblogs are much more accurate in relation to what the faculty at our school teach and support. (Read More)

Here’s a comment from a physics student at WWU:

When I arrived at the school [WWU] a few years ago, I was definitely Adventist. Now, as a result of my education (and also my friends), I am agnostic trending toward atheist. Yes, there are a lot of very religious people here. Yes, I used to be one of them. Now, I think I know the majority of my fellow skeptics here. We exist underground and the group is slowly growing… No one has yet lost their job over this, but I may be speaking too soon. Apparently the General Conference (the highest power in the Adventist Church, for the uninitiated), has been in communication with the school over this issue. I don’t know what’s going to happen next. (Read More).

From another WWU student, Beemack:

Most of the biology professors there [at WWU] do actually teach straight evolution, even though they’ll offer the qualifier on the first day of class, something like “whether you believe it or not, this is what you have to know to be a scientist”… What people who’ve never been part of this denomination may not know is that there is a big difference between what the SDA scientists teach/think/believe and what the mainstream student body (or mainstream church) believes – also between what the scientist can admit to believing and what they actually think.” (Read More)

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331 thoughts on “Walla Walla University: The Collegian Debates Evolution vs. Creation

    • As a biology major here at WWU I would like to state that in my 3 and a half years here my faith has been ever strengthened by not only the academic but spiritual and personal support I have received from the biology department here on campus. I think what people need to realize is that the science departments on campus were wary of this issue and in fact quite upset at the presentation of the results of a poorly written survey. The survey and most of the responding articles were not written by science majors. Not to say those who are not of a scientific major cannot have an opinion (they most certainly should) but evolution has a wide range of meanings and also explanations which the survey and printed issue did not clearly outline. I myself has a difficult time taking the survey because of the lack of scientific information provided to explain definitions. Here on campus there is a class called Philosophy of Origins and Speciation that all biology majors are required to take. It talks about the theories of origins from a Seventh-Day Adventist perspective. If they had asked me to respond I would have shared my belief, which is the same as my major professors and I believe most of my fellow students, that I believe in creation and have been encouraged by all my professors to study not only my textbooks but my Bible as well. So often I get into conversations with fellow students and professors about complexities of cellular signaling or the fine balance of our universe and while we bring up scientific studies we always agree that God works in ways so vastly unimaginable. He is the Great Scientist. Science and the Bible can work together, I have seen it happen here on this (WWU) campus. Evolution is not merely a matter of origins. Micro and macro evolution are very different things. Even the term “macroevolution” has a multiplicity of definitions. I believe in creation. I also believe that our God is so intelligent and cares for us so deeply that He created within all of His creation the ability of adaptation and evolution so that we could survive in a world so ravaged by sin. We don’t know all the answers. The Bible is not a procedural write-up and science can sometimes be narrow minded. I believe that one day, when God tells us how He created the world and all the corresponding science, we will all be blown away by how narrow our views were because we know so little. I pray that everyones hearts and minds maybe open by Christ. Debate and questioning are not wrong. What matters is the conclusions we each reach. May God lead us to His conclusion and not our own.




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      • @Mandi from WWU:

        Thank you very much for this comment and the insight and balance it provides.

        Would you care to write a specific follow-up article for publication here in this forum? – specifically regarding what you are learning in your science classes at WWU in support of the unique SDA position on origins that goes beyond basic concepts of intelligent design? – specifically with regards to the recent creation of life on this planet and a literal 6-day creation week (concepts you didn’t specifically address in your comment)?

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Mandi from WWU:

        Thanks for your comment Mandi. I am not as far along in the Biology program as you, but it has also opened my mind the the intricacies of God’s created world! No way all this came by chance. I have also grown as a Christian reading all the perspectives in this discussion.




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  1. Looks like Dr. Taylor has some others who have been duped into giving him a platform for his heretical, anti-biblical and anti-SDA ideas.

    Are the WW staff, administration, and students supportive of guys like Taylor?
    Is he a “member in good standing” in THEIR community?




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  2. Is Katie Wittlake also in favor of having different views of the Genesis account of the Sabbath, too? That might also cause some “intolerance” within our SDA Church!




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  3. I worry about what Kate Wittlake (really? The “religion” editor?) wrote when she said:

    “I worry more about alienation from the larger community than I do about whether or not the belief is valid. Whether or not you take the Genesis account to be literal, figurative, or complete fiction, the message and mission of Adventism is not conveyed well if we put ourselves in a position of intolerance with disagreement”.

    Has she never read “The Great Controversy”? If we follow her line of reasoning, why, SDAs would be worshiping on Sunday just like the rest of the Protestant world. So much for being a “peculiar people” and “called to come out of Babylon”!




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  4. jdoe: I worry about what Kate Wittlake (really? The “religion” editor?) wrote when she said:Has she never read “The Great Controversy”? If we follow her line of reasoning, why, SDAs would be worshiping on Sunday just like the rest of the Protestant world. So much for being a “peculiar people” and “called to come out of Babylon”!

    Abolutely correct. How did she become the “Religion Editor?” Is this the type of students WW produces? Is this the real philosophy of Walla Walla?

    “Alienating the larger community” of who? The secular pagans? The atheists and agnostics? Catholics? Sunday-keeping Protestants?




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    • @Holly Pham:

      And you wonder why people hate Adventists . . . maybe if we spent more time talking about Jesus and less time fighting about rhetoric maybe people would see Jesus through us instead of a legalistic country club.




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  5. Come on, folks! What did you really expect? Surely we are aware by now that the liberal element in Adventism is the majority opinion.

    The only real question is “What are you going to do about it?”

    You can talk and “bicker” from now till dooms day. You won’t change a thing.

    We should see our colleges and universities are out of the church’s control. They do as they please, with an, “in your face” attitude.

    All we can hope for is that many more church members realize the situation so they can act accordingly. I once wrote to Goldstein in a dialogue, “Every SDA Christian will someday be forced to make a decision to either support Jesus and the bible or the church.”

    I think he didn’t believe it, and if so, was not willingly to comment about it.

    I think more people are beginning to believe it, but still hope it isn’t so.

    Again we can thank Shane and Sean for boldly informing any and all who want to know what is happening in our church.

    Remember this, liberals thrive on ignorance and keeping people ignorant of their agenda as much as possible.

    Isn’t this how Satan worked in heaven? You know it is.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  6. The fact they would even consider giving Dr. Taylor any influence in the issue should confirm clearly their agenda of forcing their ideas and teachings on Adventism.

    Like Lucifer, they are now to a point of bold and open rebellion. While Southern Calif. is the worst, it is by no means the only strong hold of liberalism.

    It is a “spiritual cancer” that has spread throughout the whole body.

    Bill Sorensen




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  7. Those who would choose to abandon the biblical position on origins (i.e. a literal 6 day creation and seventh-day Sabbath, a literal perfect Garden of Eden with a literal Adam and Eve, a literal global flood, for starters)ought to count the cost first. You lose the only reason for worship (Rev 4:11), you abandon the basis for Christ’s sacrifice for our redemption (Romans 5:17-19 – no literal Garden of Eden, no Adam, no literal fall, no need for Christ), you surrender any sense of trustworthiness of God’s word (Ex 31:16-18 – God wrote in stone with His own finger that He had created in 6 days – if that is a lie, what can we trust?) and you must relenquish the only sensible explanation for the complexity we see in living systems. What does that leave? It leaves us in willful ignorance (2 Pet 3:3-5), a pitiful condition indeed.




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    • @Art Chadwick: I think many young Adventist worship a God who does not depend on a 6 day creation for potency, power, and existence. A truly divine creator does not cower in fear of the scientific community, but welcomes the thought of those he has created. If your god and religion is scared of science, then He is not the God of the bible.




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        • @Sean Pitman: If you believe the Bible, you do so on the basis of faith.

          There is no empirical proof, that God exists or that the Bible is true. If there were strong empirical evidence then you wouldn’t need faith, and even most secular scientists (who reject faith as a means to knowledge) would accept the Bible.




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        • @Ben Roth:

          Let me ask you, did the disciples of Jesus have more faith in him and who he was before or after the empirical evidence was given to them of his Resurrection?

          You see, faith is not increased by a lack of empirical evidence. Faith, confidence, and hope are increased by such evidence. And, this evidence is abundant for those who earnestly desire to know the truth.

          While nothing is absolutely provable, not even in science, we are given the ability to recognize the weight of evidence and follow where it leads. The evidence helps us to more confidently make our leaps of faith into that which is not absolutely known. The greater the evidence provided, the more confident our leap of faith…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  8. From the opening article –

    As I hear about the proposal to rewrite the 28 Fundamental Beliefs to include a more literal understanding of Genesis, I worry more about alienation from the larger community than I do about whether or not the belief is valid.

    I can’t believe they would actually print that statement knowing how poorly it reflects on the school.

    Oh well – I am sure a number of the thought leaders at WWU were cringing when they read that line. I feel sympathy for them on that one.

    E.T of course echos that hollow sentiment to some degree when he says

    “Creation in seven recent consecutive contiguous 24-hour days.” Regretfully, some are advocating the placement of some version of that code phrase into the statement of Adventist fundamental beliefs. If successful, this action would only create and foster even more polarization in our faith community

    If the number one goal and mission of the SDA church was to be popular, to be like the world, to merge with atheist evolutionist ideas about origins and distance ourselves from both solid science and real religion – then I think that both authors above could hardly be faulted for their suggestions.

    But sadly for them – the goals and mission of this denomination are significantly higher than “sacrifice all for the junk science religion known as evolutionism”.

    I think that comes as a surprise to some folks even to this day.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  9. Our basic statements of bible truth by the SDA church should have zero tolerance of those who attack and oppose them within the church community.

    Liberals hate such an idea and work against any concept that demands accountability.

    Shouldn’t we as SDA Christians demand zero tolerance on such doctrines as….

    1. A literal 7 day creation week?

    2. The seventh day Sabbath?

    3. Our view on the state of the dead?

    4. Our view on the second coming and the 1,000 years in heaven?

    5. 1844 and the investigative judgment when Jesus went from the holy to the most holy place?

    To challenge and ask questions about any of these teachings is not heretical. But to decide they are not true and work continually against them should be treated with zero tolerance.

    It would seem that today in the SDA church, we have 100% tolerance of any and every doctrine being advocated even when it directly opposes these fundamentals we stand for.

    This shows the extent of the liberal movement in the church today. No challenge and no discipline even when you attack the fundamental belief system.

    This is not an issue of the wheat and tares in the church. This is blatant rebellion against our belief system. If they won’t leave of their own accord, the only “loving thing” we can do put them out. Not only for their sakes, but for the sake of new believers and those less informed about some of the implications of what we believe and why. And especially for our children and grandchildren.

    The shaking intensifies when…..

    ” I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people.” {CET 176.1}

    If they are not honest enough to leave on their own, then it is necessary to act and seperate them from church fellowship. Not put into high levels of influence and authority as happens in many cases in the church today.

    Zero tolerance must be the standard on basic church doctrine. Not liberal tolerance of any and all views.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • All liberals do not “hate such ideas and oppose them”. I’m a liberal & I do not hate or oppose them. You should reconsider using illogical generalizations. They greatly weaken your argument.

      Before you continue your fever writing please learn hwo to properly argue / state your case logically. Go study & properly learn the tool of logic that God gave you… or maybe didn’t give you. Either way you are Not living up to your God given potential. That might be a sin huh? You might want to read up on that.




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      • @CDV: Speaking of logical reasoning, ever heard of ad hominem? It’s not that I disagree with you, but let’s try to foster responsible, thought provoking conversation which lifts us into a better understanding of where each of us stands.




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        • @Anonymous: Are you questioning CDV on the basis of Ad hominem? because i do not think either paragraph really fails based on the ad hominem fallacy. Paragraph 1: attacks the generalization within Bill’s argument, and Paragraph 2 is an insult, not necessarily aimed at debunking Bill’s argument, since that has already been done. Ad hominem requires the argument to be attacked by attacking the person. This has not occurred from CDV.

          Been a while since my logic class so I will leave myself open to correction 🙂




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  10. Before you ever get to the Gospel – you must first cover the topic of Intelligent Design. Not I.D. in the very modest thin layer that is proposed today by Discovery Institute – but rather I.D. in the Romans 1 sense.

    In Lystra there was no Jewish synagogue, though a few Jews were living in the town. Many of the inhabitants of Lystra worshiped at a temple dedicated to Jupiter. When Paul and Barnabas appeared in the town and, gathering the Lystrians about them, explained the simple truths of the gospel, many sought to connect these doctrines with their own superstitious belief in the worship of Jupiter. {AA 180.1}

    The apostles endeavored to impart to these idolaters a knowledge of God the Creator and of His Son, the Saviour of the human race. They first directed attention to the wonderful works of God—the sun, the moon, and the stars, the beautiful order of the recurring seasons, the mighty snow-capped mountains, the lofty trees, and other varied wonders of nature, which showed a skill beyond human comprehension. Through these works of the Almighty, the apostles led the minds of the heathen to a contemplation of the great Ruler of the universe. {AA 180.2}

    Having made plain these fundamental truths concerning the Creator, the apostles told the Lystrians of the Son of God, who came from heaven to our world because He loved the children of men. They spoke of His life and ministry, His rejection by those He came to save, His trial and crucifixion, His resurrection, and His ascension to heaven, there to act as man’s advocate. Thus, in the Spirit and power of God, Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel in Lystra. {AA 180.3}

    Thus those SDAs who cannot even muster the acceptance of light and truth – to affirm the oh-so-thin layer of I.D. proposed today – could never have even reached square one – when Paul came to town with the NT Gospel.

    Thankfully the pagans in those towns were able to master the “observations in nature’ needed to “see the point”.

    So that part is “good news”. The sad news is that some of our contemporaries today appear to struggle at that very point no matter that Romans 1 declares them to be “without excuse” when they fail to see I.D. in nature.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  11. Bill Sorensen: straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans

    I couldn’t help noticing that it is the “straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans” that causes the shaking, not anything to do with creation, FB#6, or even the third angel’s message.

    The message to the church of Laodicea is a call to fellowship. Jesus wants us to come TO him, He is not trying to drive people away. He is calling people to come in and dine with Him. And notice from Mark 2:17 that it is only sinners that Jesus calls. He does not call the righteous conservatives.

    I think the “straight testimony” is about the coldness of heart that would so callously demand orthodoxy over freedom and fellowship, and would propose driving people out of the church.

    I believe it is the liberals who have chosen the HOT side of the relationship. The Laodicean message is aimed squarely at the cold heart of conservatism.




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  12. Sean:

    Either the Church’s “Fundamental Belief #6” on origins needs to be clarified to highlight the Church’s stand on the nature of the creation of all life on this planet in just six literal days, and hold its pastors and teachers accountable to this standard, or it needs to clearly and decidedly remove this concept from the fundamental doctrinal positions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

    Well, there is a third option: Stick with the Bible. Stop trying to make the wording of our FB6 more specific than the Bible is. Keep it the way it reads now, and be tolerant of divergent views until we find a sensible way to harmonize the Bible and Science.




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    • @Ron:

      If you “stick with the Bible”, you must accept the truth of the literal six-day creation week since the Bible couldn’t be more clear in this regard. Even liberal Hebrew scholars agree that the authors of the Genesis account obviously intended to convey a real historical account of a creation week in which all life on this planet was created by God in just six literal days. There really isn’t any significant disagreement here on the intended meaning of what was written. 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.

      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.

      Now, it is quite a different thing to say that the Biblical authors where simply mistaken compared to the argument that suggests that they were intending to write symbolically or figuratively. The SDA Church takes the Bible at its word, as the revealed Word of God. So, in suggesting that the SDA Church not put so much stock in a literal reading of the Genesis narrative, you are suggesting that the Church back off of its position that the Bible was in fact inspired by God to give us privileged information about God and about the world in which we live. If the SDA Church were to do this, it would basically undermine the entire purpose for their being a unique Seventh-day Adventist Church. After all, if one can pick and choose what is and what is not correct in the Bible, what’s the point?

      The only argument left for those who believe the Darwinian claims of popular scientists is to simply say, as Prof. Barr did, that the Biblical authors simply got it wrong; that they simply didn’t know what they were talking about with regard to origins. They had no privileged information via some kind of Divine revelation!

      This position has implications, of course, in that it reduces the overall credibility of the Bible when it comes to its metaphysical claims as well as its claims regarding past, present, and future physical “realities” – to include any solid hope of life after death, that heaven actually exists and will be any better than this place, and that Jesus was anything more than a crazy man who made a bunch of grandiose claims to impress his very impressionable disciples…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  13. BobRyan: The sad news is that some of our contemporaries today appear to struggle at that very point no matter that Romans 1 declares them to be “without excuse” when they fail to see I.D. in nature.

    And Bob, what is your excuse?
    I have asked you many times, how do you interpret the evolution of nylonase in bacteria, or the evolution of antibiotic resistance, or the evolution of high altitude tolerance in the Tibetans which happened about the time of Christ.

    You make lots of snide remarks about “junk science” and theistic-evolutionists, but how do you interpret these evolutionary events? Are they they intelligently designed, i.e. theistic evolution? Or are they the result of natural “a-theistic evolution”?




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    • @Ron:

      I’ve already explained to you in another thread that low level or “micro” evolution cannot be extrapolated beyond very low levels of functional complexity due to an exponential decline of evolutionary potential at higher and higher levels.

      There is no argument here over nylonase or other such low levels of functional complexity – which can and do happen, rapidly and commonly, in observable time without the need to invoke intelligent design (not to mention your examples of Mendelian variation which don’t actually involve the evolution of anything new at all or most forms of antibiotic resistance which are based on a loss, not a gain, of novel information and functionality). The real problem for evolutionists is when they try to explain the origin of higher levels of functional or meaningful informational complexity.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Sean:

      Sean I find your thought processes and rigidity most fascinating. You manifest a tenacity and ability for highly selective cognition and certainty that might be commendable in the militia but is deprecated in the academe

      You are a well educated person but you seem oblivious to the fact that you like most literalists have already done what you fear others might do. You say

      “Now, it is quite a different thing to say that the Biblical authors where simply mistaken compared to the argument that suggests that they were intending to write symbolically or figuratively. The SDA Church takes the Bible at its word, as the revealed Word of God. So, in suggesting that the SDA Church not put so much stock in a literal reading of the Genesis narrative, you are suggesting that the Church back off of its position that the Bible was in fact inspired by God to give us privileged information about God and about the world in which we live. If the SDA Church were to do this, it would basically undermine the entire purpose for their being a unique Seventh-day Adventist Church. After all, if one can pick and choose what is and what is not correct in the Bible, what’s the point? accuses others of doing.”

      According to this logic of the bible conveying privileged information on the natural world or as the fundamentals would say inerrant in it original text) I presume that you accept the clear cosmology expressed in Genesis 1:6-7 and in Genesis 7:11 with the dome of heaven separating the water below from the water above. The waters above being released on the earth when the “windows of heaven” were opened. Do you understand the rakia of these verses? I cannot find any reference to James Barrs thoughts on this but I suspect that he would agree with Adventist theologians such as Lawrence Turner and Fritz Guy and would suggest it referred to a dome like structure that separated the water above from the waters below and reflected their simpler cosmology. If you accept some more nebulous concept of the firmament and the water above as being some sort of vapour rather than the proper translation of the seperating dome of heaven with real liquid phase water above then you are accepting the impingement of newer scientific understanding and cosmology on to the clear understanding of the verses or saying that the orginal writers had it wrong.

      I would expect on your premise of literal understanding that you would also accept that the universe that created in its entirity around 6000 years ago for that is what genesis 1:16 literally says. Any other interpretion in back translating or reinterpreting their word and concept from a modern cosmology.

      I would also expect as I have stated previously that if you reject a natural mechanism for the origin of species because of a literal understanding of the bible you must also according to Matthew 17 reject naturalistic mechanisms for your health-care and your practice of medicine. You have not yet clarified this.

      Yet when it comes to evolution of species and new function you take an each way bet and articulate that yes evolution of simple things happens naturally but not big things which takes God. I havent seen such a clear espousal of a God of the gaps for some time. I dont see where you decide where natural explanation ends and God begins in this scenario? Over the span of history it is clear that looking for God in the unkown and inexplicable condemns him to a ever decreasing role and is has not been a winning strategy.

      I personally preform the neo orthodox position that sees in Christ the revelation of God and natural theology as a non-sequitor.

      I think you must accept that none accepts the bible literally or takes it as it was intended. To pretend we do and then castigate others for going further than you have gone demonstrates little charity or self awareness.




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      • @pauluc:

        The concept of the solid dome or “raqia” is not as clear cut as you imagine. I’ve actually reviewed the book God, Sky, and Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull on this topic if you care to read it (Link).

        Also, the Bible does not say that the entire universe was created in six days. In fact, stories like Job suggest just the opposite noting that the “Sons of God” or angels “sang together” at the creation of our world (Job 38:7). Where did the sons of God live? You see, you have to take Biblical statements in the context of the entire Bible. In any case, the description of the creation week is quite clear, in context, when it comes to the origin of life on this planet. With this point, there is no real argument – not even among liberal scholars of Hebrew.

        As far as your disdain for the “god of the gaps” argument, how do you think forensic scientists, anthropologists, or even SETI scientists hope to identify the need to invoke deliberate, intelligent design to explain various artifacts found in nature? After all, mindless nature can explain so many things? Why not everything?

        You see, the evidence for intelligent design is found when the limits of what nature can reasonable do in a given span of time are determined to a useful degree of predictive value. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between an arrowhead carved by an Indian and a jagged piece of rock carved by wind, ice, and rain…

        It is just that in your limited understanding of biological evolution you think you can extrapolate low-levels of evolution, in a linear manner, to explain higher levels of functional complexity evolving in geologic time. What you don’t yet understand is that the relationship is not linear. There is an exponential decline in evolutionary potential with each step up the ladder of functional informational complexity. That, in a nutshell, is the fundamental problem with mainstream evolutionary science. It isn’t statistically tenable and is therefore unscientific beyond very low levels of functional informational complexity…

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          Sean. Thanks for your comments although I am disappointed that you were so dismissive. I always do take seriously the bible and scientific research.

          Yes I have read your comments on Guy and Bulls book and the book itself. Sorry I am obtuse but I still do not understand what you are saying when you say

          “The concept of the solid dome or “raqia” is not as clear cut as you imagine.”

          When to me the texts seem quite clear what is intended.

          Genesis 1:6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse (raqia) in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 God made the expanse (raqia), and separated the waters which were below the expanse (raqia) from the waters which were above the expanse (raqia); and it was so. 8 God called the expanse (raqia) heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

          Genesis 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates (windows of the heavens) of the sky were opened. 12 The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights.

          Genesis 8:2 Also the fountains of the deep and the floodgates (windows of the heaven) of the sky were closed, and the rain from the sky was restrained;

          How does the open space of an expanse or a firmament keep the water above from the water below on the earth (which was then divided into sea) and how do you have a “window” within open space that opens to allow in the water from above? Does the firmament (raqia) keep the water above the earth on not? Do you read this as it is written or not?

          “Also, the Bible does not say that the entire universe was created in six days.”

          Genesis 1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse (raqia) of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the expanse (raqia) of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. 17 God placed them in the expanse (raqia) of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

          It seems fairly plain to me that these texts indicate that God created on the fourth day the moon and sun in the raqia and the stars too. It does not seem to me there is any indications that there is an understanding of stars being millions of light years away or that the stars were created at any time other than at the same time as the sun and moon. This would clearly place them in a literal time frame of 6000 years.

          You go on to critique evolution on a statistical basis;

          “That, in a nutshell, is the fundamental problem with mainstream evolutionary science. It isn’t statistically tenable and is therefore unscientific beyond very low levels of functional informational complexity…”

          I simply ask you why you still have not published your critique of current darwinian evolutionary models in the scientific literature yet? What is the problem? Do you doubt the scientific value of your model and its ability to withstand scrutiny by peer review? Do you think there is some conspiracy against you? Would not this conspiracy have more credence if you can publish the substance of a rejection letter on this site. I would repeat my suggestion that you send your manuscript to PLOS one.




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        • @pauluc:

          There was an expanse or “raqia” created that God called the “heavens” in which birds fly and where rain clouds may exist. The solid or metallic dome concept was not necessarily the default view of the raqia by the Biblical authors (contrary to the claims of Bull and Guy) this the term is used to cover a very wide variety of meanings in the Bible – to include non-solid expanses or spaces within which living things live and move.

          Also, according to several scholars of Hebrew, the Bible suggests that the Sun, moon, and stars became visible on the fourth day from the perspective of the Earth-bound observer who was witnessing the creation events. The fact that God created the stars is mentioned almost as an aside – like, “By the way, in case you were wondering, God is the one who made the stars”, but not during the creation week of this little planet (referring back to Job 38:7 – also thought to have been written by Moses by the way). In short, the Bible doesn’t say that the entire universe was created in six days. The Bible actually claims pre-existence of the universe before the Earth’s creation week as already noted several times. The first couple chapters of Genesis are only clearly talking about the formation of the Earth during the creation week to make the Earth habitable for complex life.

          None of this is to suggest that God revealed all the details of what happened to the authors of the Bible. God did not dictate the wording of the Biblical texts. What happened is that God showed the author of the Genesis account (Moses) what happened from a limited perspective. Moses saw the “movie”, if you will, of creation and simply wrote down what he saw as best as he could explain it from his limited perspective.

          It’s like a young child being show a television set and asking the child to explain it. The child might describe it as a box with little people inside. This is a valid empirical observation despite the fact that the child doesn’t really understand the complete nature of the TV.

          In the same way, the description of creation week is still valid even though the perspective of the observer was limited. It doesn’t matter that the observer didn’t understand everything that was happening. The observations that were recorded of a real event are still valid. For example, its very hard for anyone, even a young child, to get the concept of “evenings and mornings” wrong. The observation that “It got light and then it got dark and then it got light again.” is very hard to get wrong.

          As far as basic concepts of biological intelligent design are concerned in literature, you can’t do much better than Signature in the Cell by Steven Meyer or his 2004 paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington entitled, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories”.

          My own ideas add only slightly to those already published in literature. This isn’t a problem of the basic ideas in play not being published. This is a problem of mainstream science not wanting to recognize the implications of these ideas because the consequences are so devastating to NeoDarwinism and naturalism in general.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  14. Sean Pitman: This of course, reduces the overall credibility of the Bible when it comes to its metaphysical claims as well as its claims regarding past, present, and future physical “realities”

    I don’t see how denying current observable physical realities because they don’t happen to agree with our interpretation of Genesis enhances the credibility of the Bible. If the Bible isn’t credible enough to stand in it’s own right, how is enforcing orthodoxy by a creed going to help? Do you think the church has more authority than the Bible? Did the inquisition change anybodies mind about the truth of Catholic creeds? How can you use Satan’s methods to enforce belief in Jesus?

    The only way I know to convince people is through rational exploration and discussion in an atmosphere of safety.




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    • @Ron:

      No one is forced to join the Adventist Church or to accept what the vast majority of Hebrew scholars, even secular scholars, understand about the intended meaning of the Genesis account of origins. Don’t join the church to begin with if you’re not convinced in the truth of the Adventist position on its fundamental ideals. If you think that SDAs are crazy, just don’t join the SDA Church. It’s as simple as that. There’s no pressure or threats of any kind. This is a free country and all are free to join or to leave at will without any fear of civil reprisals of any kind.

      Your problem is that you think everyone deserves a paycheck from the Church regardless of if they happen to support the Church’s primary goals and ideals or not. You don’t recognize the obvious need of a viable organization to put limits on who it hires as a paid representative. You think the Church should pay anyone and everyone to teach or preach regardless of anyone’s position on anything. That’s simply not a rational position for any viable organization to take.

      There really is no comparison to the inquisition here despite your repeated attempts to do so. You are free to join or leave and the church is free not to hire those that will not effectively represent it.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  15. Sean Pitman: So, in suggesting that the SDA Church not put so much stock in a literal reading of the Genesis narrative, you are suggesting that the Church back off of its position that the Bible was in fact inspired by God to give us privileged information about God and about the world in which we live.

    Well, maybe that isn’t such a bad idea. I am sure the blue birds and other elements in the story of Snow White were considered by the story tellers to be literal. And yet, the fact that we all take the story of Snow White to be a fairy tale, allows us to see the spiritual truth that the fairy tale is teaching. It is the spiritual truth within the fairy tale that is important. The story is only the vehicle through which the message is transmitted.

    It is entirely possible, in fact quite probable that Moses wrote down a legend that had been passed down verbally for generations. The story survived all those generations because it taught something valuable. Even if Moses thought it was literal, but it wasn’t, the spiritual truth taught by the story is still true and is still valuable.

    If the Adventist church were to hold it’s claim that the story is literal in limbo, and focus on teaching the spiritual truth in the story, it is quite probable that the credibility of the church would be enhanced. It is quite probable that by focusing on the spiritual message, which is the Word of God, instead of arguing over the words of man through which the message is conveyed, that the message would be clearer, and the benefit to believers would be even greater. We could be focusing on the message God is trying to convey rather than bickering over the language used by the messenger.




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    • @Ron:

      In that case, how do you know what is and isn’t real in the Bible? How do you know that the life of Jesus, to include all the miracles that he supposedly performed, weren’t just made up to impress the masses? Why read the Bible as anything more than a moral fable from beginning to end?

      You see, such arguments as you are presenting here undermine the credibility of the entire Bible, not just the Genesis account, when it comes to its claim to be “The Word of God” or in any other way Divinely inspired more than any other work of fiction.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  16. Sean Pitman:

    Your problem is that you think everyone deserves a paycheck from the Church regardless of if they happen to support the Church’s primary goals and ideals or not.

    That is not true. I expect everyone in the church, the teachers most of all, to participate in an open and rational discussion of truth. I would expect the teachers to argue for their perception of truth, even if it is different than the majority of the church. I expect every member of the church to have compassion and tolerance for those who don’t see things the same way. It is the depth of the search, and the quality of the discussion that is most important. I see the teachers and guarding the process of seeking truth. In order to explore and find truth there must be a safe forum for discussion. For me, that is the most fundamental reason for the existence of the Adventist church. If I just wanted to believe what had already been revealed in ages past, and established in creeds, then any old church would do. It is the Adventist church which was founded on the idea of seeking Present Truth, and our founding fathers explicitly rejected for formulation of creeds for this very reason.

    You want uniformity and orthodoxy. The trouble is that you can’t get true agreement through force. True understanding and agreement only come from doing the hard work of reason with a free will.

    The drive for orthodoxy was the driving principle of the inquisition. It is orthodoxy that is the motivation behind enforcing the “Fundamental Beliefs”. You have abandoned the search for truth in favor of coercion and force.

    I do not believe that teaching about creation, the Sabbath, faith in Jesus, the tree angel’s message or any other fundamental belief is the primary purpose of the Seventh-day Adventist church. The primary purpose of the church is to help sinners to understand the truth and thereby develop a relationship with Jesus. You can’t do that if you are driving away everyone who believes differently. Exploring ideas that are not true is part of the process. If you prohibit discussion of beliefs you don’t agree with, you are the one that is undermining the primary function of the church. Which is to “draw all men unto me”.




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    • @Ron:

      You just highlighted my point. You actually expect people to be paid by the SDA Church for teaching or preaching their own ideas regardless of if those ideas reflect those of the church as an organization. You just said:

      I would expect the teachers to argue for their perception of truth, even if it is different than the majority of the church.

      In other words, you put no limits on who should expect a paycheck from the church. You don’t see the church as being free to pick and choose who it will and will not hire as a representative. You are arguing that the church should pay people regardless of if they do or do not agree with the church on what it considers to be its own fundamental goals and ideals. Beyond this, if the church doesn’t choose to hire those who are in fundamental disagreement with its own goals and ideals, you accuse the church of persecution along the lines of the inquisition.

      How is this a recipe for anything but chaos and fragmentation? What you are arguing for is not a unique organizational structure, but for what we already have in free civil society at large. You’re simply not arguing for the production of anything new here beyond what is already available under civil law in this country.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Ron: “I do not believe that teaching about creation, the Sabbath, faith in Jesus, the three angel’s message or any other fundamental belief is the primary purpose of the Seventh-day Adventist church. The primary purpose of the church is to help sinners to understand the truth and thereby develop a relationship with Jesus.”

      Sounds exciting. Sounds refreshing, bodes well for our lethargic legalistic church, And your way is saying it is exceptionally articulate and magnetizing, kind of poetic, the version I always clip for reference. That’s a compliment.

      And excited and glowing is how I felt walking into the new academically oriented Contemporary Issues Sabbath School class at one of our largest SDA medical centers 15 or 20 years ago when the new message was pretty much what you are giving now, though, as I remember it, not as endearingly presented, nor, being new, as polished.

      But, alas, I’ve seen what came of it, that now familiar message, and it isn’t exciting and does not bode well.

      At first, 20 years ago, the message of loving tolerance and nicer priorities was for debate. To be vibrant and vivified the church must debate its beliefs, not just swallow them, gulp. Debate is crucial.

      Somehow in the process it emerged that the old priorities needed to be reinterpreted through hermeneutics, that unfamiliar but superior approach, and reconsidered in the light of unimpeachable new science. And thus restudied, questioned. And thus questioned, doubted. And thus questioned and doubted, inevitably disproven. Then there is no recourse but to frankly disown those old dubious, disproven, disreputable priorities. Drop them.

      For (at first it was presented as questions, for debate) is it not true that literal Creation, legalistic Sabbath, phantasmagorical angelic messages, are repressive and stifling, downright embarrassing? Is it not true they do not appeal to educated people? Is not this why Adventism is not growing? Is this not why our youth are leaving the church in droves? [Or, which may be worse, not leaving, and emerging as loving, liberated thought leaders transforming the church?] Would not discarding it all be good riddance? What’s to debate?

      Like T.S. Eliot’s Tiresias who had foresuffered it all, enacted on this same diven or bed (“The Wasteland”), I’ve seen how it plays out. Not well.

      Why does it work that way? Whatever the answer, work that way it has.




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  17. Sean Pitman: There is no argument here over nylonase or other such low levels of functional complexity – which can and do happen, rapidly and commonly, in observable time

    I agree, there is no reason to argue over such a simple form of evolution, but you still side stepped my question. What is God’s role in the process?

    I will grant you that this little change might not add up to the grand scheme of evolution. But it is still and example of Darwinian evolution, so the question remains, what is God’s role? Is this an example of Intelligent Design and theistic evolution, or did it happen by a natural process of “a-theistic evolution”?




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    • @Ron:

      What did you not understand when I explained that an intelligent designer, God, is not required to explain the origin of low level level or “micro” evolution? Intelligent design is only required to explain higher levels of informational complexity within living things (beyond the 1000aa level of specifically arranged residues).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  18. Ron: I will grant you that this little change might not add up to the grand scheme of evolution. But it is still and example of Darwinian evolution

    Not according to Darwin.

    Darwin argued that his idea of evolution was totally inconsistent with a 7 day creation week. This went far beyond “resistance to the flue” or prokayrotes “adjusting their diet”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  19. Ron: I would expect the teachers to argue for their perception of truth, even if it is different than the majority of the church. I expect every member of the church to have compassion and tolerance for those who don’t see things the same way.

    So your highest goal and objective for the SDA church is that our schools become the best public university environment that SDA tithe and tuition dollars can buy?

    We already have public universities. If we seek out teachers that are just as clueless on origins as Dawkins and Darwin – we stand for nothing.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • @BobRyan: I’m sorry, Bob, but I am appalled that you would claim that “teachers arguing for their perception of truth” is only a characteristic of public universities. It is not – or at least it shouldn’t be. Our Adventist institutions have a reputation of training individuals to be intellectually and ethically sound. In my mind, the only way this can be achieved is if one is honest about the evidence which he or she has witnessed and uses the rules of logic to come to an honest conclusion.

      This means that when we witness the overwhelming amount of evidence which blows a few holes in our imperfect theology, (which, I hope you will agree is imperfect, despite its incredible validity and truth when applied to our lives) we don’t freak out and throw it away, but perhaps we admit that there are a few things which we don’t know for certain. We continue to have faith and love the Jesus who is real in our lives and died to save us, but we realize that we don’t have a monopoly on truth. Strict creationism has theoretical flaws. Strict Evolutionism has theoretical flaws. If any man claims to know everything, he is a fool. We are called to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” I’m far from this, but I know their is a God who loves me, and that humbles me.




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  20. BobRyan: Thus those SDAs who cannot even muster the acceptance of light and truth – to affirm the oh-so-thin layer of I.D. proposed today – could never have even reached square one – when Paul came to town with the NT Gospel.

    Thankfully the pagans in those towns were able to master the “observations in nature’ needed to “see the point”.

    So that part is “good news”. The sad news is that some of our contemporaries today appear to struggle at that very point no matter that Romans 1 declares them to be “without excuse” when they fail to see I.D. in nature.

    To which we get this non sequiter.

    Ron:
    And Bob, what is your excuse?
    I have asked you many times, how do you interpret the evolution of nylonase in bacteria, or the evolution of antibiotic resistance

    As I keep pointing out – Darwinian evolution goes far beyond “prokaryotes adjusting diet from time to time” and far beyond humans acquiring resistance to some strain of the flu.

    That does not even remotely address the salient mechanism imagined for evolutionism. Evolutionist story telling is about prokaryotes “acquiring a nucleus”, it is about an amoeba eventually becoming a horse — given the mantra “billions and billions” said over it a proper amount of times.

    You seem content to focus on that which does not show change at the level that evolutionism “needs” to be observable or validated.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • @BobRyan:
      It is true that the mechanisms bacteria use to evolve are not as complex as the mechanisms humans use to evolve, but it happens faster and it gives us something concrete to discuss. Since you refuse to answer the question, and you believe that theistic evolution is the worst heresy, I conclude that you believe that the evolution of bacteria, and Tibetans are examples of a-theistic evolution, but you are just afraid to admit it. So, why is that so threatening? It is something concrete that happened, that doesn’t fit your theology. You need to go back to your Bible and figure out how to make this event fit into your theology, or your theology becomes incredible, and not in the good sense of the word.




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  21. Ron: Stick with the Bible. Stop trying to make the wording of our FB6 more specific than the Bible is. Keep it the way it reads now, and be tolerant of divergent views until we find a sensible way to harmonize the Bible and Science.

    The Bible “The Way it is” says “SIX days you shall labor … for in SIX Days the Lord MADE the heavens and the earth the seas and all that are in them and rested the seventh-day”

    Thus the Bible says that the design we see in nature happened in a 7 real days just as our week days today and our 7th day observance reminds us.

    1. So why all the whining about the proposed language as if the Bible had not already addressed that point?

    2. Why pretend that we even want to bend the Bible to meet the usages of blind faith devotees to evolutionism? That is not our goal — never was. You are proposing to eisegete the text in service to those who have rejected both science and the Bible in favor of belief in evolutionism? But you do so with no argument to support your suggestion.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  22. With all this depressing news about our collages turning away from God’s word, I think its important to highlight the faithful schools.

    I’m happy to say that as someone who knows most of the science department professors at Southwestern Adventist University (including Art Chadwick, who commented above), SWAU is solidly in line with the Bible and the literal 6 day creation (They recently got rid of some professors who were found to have strayed from those beliefs). In the science classes I’ve taken at SWAU the evolutionary point of view is fairly represented then solid answers are given for their claims. I think that’s the perfect balance.

    If all the people on this site who oppose the promotion of evolution in Adventist schools would step forward and support those schools who are remaining true, think of the impact we could have.




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  23. Some of these students haven’t mastered English, so it is not surprising that their opinion pieces betray that they do not understand how the Seventh-day Adventist faith fits together to form a harmonious system of truth.

    It isn’t the students from whom I expect spiritual maturity and understanding, however, but their teachers. I wonder the extent to which the students’ apparent ignorance of theAdventist faith reflects their teachers attitudes.




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  24. BobRyan:: Thankfully the pagans in those towns were able to master the “observations in nature’ needed to “see the point”.

    So that part is “good news”. The sad news is that some of our contemporaries today appear to struggle at that very point no matter that Romans 1 declares them to be “without excuse” when they fail to see I.D. in nature

    Ron:
    I have asked you many times, how do you interpret the evolution of nylonase …

    You make lots of snide remarks about “junk science” and theistic-evolutionists, but how do you interpret these evolutionary events? Are they they intelligently designed, i.e. theistic evolution? Or are they the result of natural “a-theistic evolution”?

    You have “settled” for something far short of evolutionism if your case is just about prokaryotes adjusting diet from time to time via a plasmid mechanism.

    Eukaryotes in the amoeba to horse example do not rely on plasmids to adjust DNA at that level. By definition the nucleus architecture for the eukaryote makes the plasmid mechanism far more difficult to implement than in the prokaryote example you are so fond of citing.

    Even so — adjusting diet from time to time is exactly what the Bible demonstrates in history and it is what we observe in nature.

    Your gross equivocation between these minor, less interesting changes – and the sweeping “all about morphing” anthologies that comprise the new-phyla stories of evolutionists is hard to overlook.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  25. David Read: Some of these students haven’t mastered English, so it is not surprising that their opinion pieces betray that they do not understand how the Seventh-day Adventist faith fits together to form a harmonious system of truth.

    It isn’t the students from whom I expect spiritual maturity and understanding, however, but their teachers. I wonder the extent to which the students’ apparent ignorance of theAdventist faith reflects their teachers attitudes.

    I will grant you that Erv Taylor’s comments and some of the student’s comments (as they appear in that paper ) do not reflect the depth of understanding one would expect from well educated students at one of our universities.

    And arguably we could assume that the students at least will become better educated over time – as they attend WWU.

    Perhaps the students writing are so new to the school they have not yet had the Bible classes the demonstrate the importance on the topic nor the science classes that help them sift through evolutionist propaganda and distill it down to actual observations in nature “by contrast”.

    We can all hope that is the case.

    One thing that has held up in other examples from other universities so far – is that the biology department does not go rogue on this subject without first getting buy-in and backup from the religion department.

    Hopefully that level of misdirection is not at work at WWU.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  26. Wayne: I’m happy to say that as someone who knows most of the science department professors at Southwestern Adventist University (including Art Chadwick, who commented above), SWAU is solidly in line with the Bible and the literal 6 day creation (They recently got rid of some professors who were found to have strayed from those beliefs). In the science classes I’ve taken at SWAU the evolutionary point of view is fairly represented then solid answers are given for their claims. I think that’s the perfect balance.

    I too applaud the work at SWAU and at SAU. Both of those schools are actively involved in projects that address both the science and the theology that pertains to this topic. And I have seen some positive results from Andrews as well. (I am sure there are others)

    We should not forget that.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  27. Ron said’
    “Even if Moses thought it was literal, but it wasn’t, the spiritual truth taught by the story is still true and is still valuable.”

    I’m confused–What was the “spiritual truth taught by the story (that) is still true and is still valuable” ?

    As I understand Genesis 1, 2 the only “spiritual truth” I see in it is that God not only created humans but everything else He said He did and He did it in six literal
    days–just as the text says He did. If you don’t believe that, what is left that is “true and valuable”?




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        • @Sean Pitman@Sean Pitman: As an adult, when a child asks you to explain how children come about, do you detail the process and act of sex? The sperm and egg joining and the formation of the zygote? No of course you do not do that, you explain to the child in terms they understand, “a mommy and daddy love each other very much.” The people of God like children do not stagnate, and have not always full understood God. We continue to grow in our understanding. At one point slavery was considered acceptable, Christians have come to believe differently. We are constantly being raised as children to see the bigger picture of God and his ways. I feel this explanation leaves room for a more evolutionary view of creation, as well as explaining the contents of the bible and our history as humanity.




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        • @importance: @Sean Pitman:

          The concepts in play here aren’t very difficult. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the difference between seven “evenings and mornings” and “millions of years”. Even a young child can grasp that much.

          I dare say that Moses was also adult enough and intelligent enough to understand the difference between the concepts of “seven literal days” and “hundreds of millions of years”. If God had really created life on this planet via the Darwinian mechanism of survival of the fittest over hundreds of millions of years, why didn’t he just say so? Why didn’t he just tell Moses, “Oh, by the way, it took a long time and a great deal of suffering and death for billions of creatures for me to create life on this planet.”?

          You know, I hear the argument you’ve just presented time and again. It just amazes me how so many otherwise intelligent people keep falling for it.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @ron:
          Why do people keep falling for it? That’s easy. The Bible story doesn’t fit the evidence, so they keep trying to figure it out.

          If you want them to quit falling for it, come up with an explanation that makes sense.




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  28. Sadly, we have young students who are developing a mindset against Creation as taught Scripture and then, as teachers and ministers, go into our schools at all levels and into our churches teaching and preaching concepts contrary to Scripture.

    There must be a concerted effort by the laity and church officials to “purify” the educational system.




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  29. Sad but true. I think what’s a greater problem is how impervious many are on how serious this is. Anyone who reads those surveys will see that a huge swath of SDA young people are confused about how the Bible relates to life and our knowledge of what it true. This has implications on many things other than origins. I know several people, who are leaders in their local churches, educated at SDA universities, who “wrestle” with whether of not the church should accept homosexuality as normative. This is the fruit of an educational environment that is divided on the place of Scripture in determining what is truth. And instead of being upset about it, many in the church would rather rail against the conservatism of Ted Wilson. As CS Lewis said, the devil loves to have us run around with fire extinguishers in the middle of a rain storm.




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  30. Do you feel the “shaking”? God told Elijah there were still 7000 that had not bowed the knee to Baal. We need no make sure we are part of those 7k.

    As for the liberals infiltrating our schools, churches, hospitals, and other institutions; it is my opinion that the leaders at the GC level and downward need to stop the “Spiritual Formation” process by themselves adhering to the Bible and its teaching. Stop letting the Vatican control what God has established. Then again, we are in the anti-typical day just prior to entering Caanan land. Look at how many of the original Isrealites entered the promised land. You know the story…only two. They were the minority. I think that only the minority will still enter the promised land. No matter how much we capitulate to the “mainstream” religions and scientific world, only those who stand for unadulterated truth will receive that crown of life. We as Bible beleiving Seventh-day Adventists should welcome being in the minority. We would be in good company. Jesus, the apostles, the reformers of the reformation times, the Waldenses, and many others who have stood for the “truth” have been the minority. I welcome being in the minority, no matter how difficult it may be at times.

    We as Seventh-day Adventists have been “called OUT of her”. Why in the world would we want to go back in? To be part of the group who loses their salvation? God forbid!




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  31. Bill Sorensen: The fact they would even consider giving Dr. Taylor any influence in the issue should confirm clearly their agenda of forcing their ideas and teachings on Adventism.Like Lucifer, they are now to a point of bold and open rebellion. While Southern Calif. is the worst, it is by no means the only strong hold of liberalism.It is a “spiritual cancer” that has spread throughout the whole body.Bill Sorensen

    This “spiritual cancer” is spreading, especially at La Sierra, PUC, and Walla Walla. Will the administrations stand up for God’s Truth? Looks like they are all AWOL.




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  32. Who could have guessed, when we were young, that we would lose our schools, not by exterior attack but internal decay? I will not respond to individual comments. Everything of a specific nature has been said on other blogs. I will only pen my grief. I know enough young people to already be aware of problems in most of our NAD schools, but I did not fathom how deep and wide the cancer has become. My brothers and sisters, those who believe in Gen 1-11 and Rev 14, watch and pray. Let none steal your faith or witness. Maranatha, -Shining




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  33. Ervin Taylor: Every few months, some of us have to drop by the EducateTruth (sic) web site to check on what new conspiracy theories are circulating on the HRWAN, the Hyper-Right Wing Adventist Network.

    At the GC2010 session – the Adventist denomination itself decided that the origins debate “mattered” and that the literal 7 day creation week was far more in line with “what actually happened in nature” than wild stories about amoebas turning into horses – over billions of years of time.

    Erv Taylor apparently views Adventists who care enough to hold on to the truth of the matter in this regard to be Hyper-Right Wing.

    No wonder some of our T.E. friends out there value his denunciations of the SDA denominational position so highly.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  34. GMF: Sadly, we have young students who are developing a mindset against Creation as taught Scripture and then, as teachers and ministers, go into our schools at all levels and into our churches teaching and preaching concepts contrary to Scripture.There must be a concerted effort by the laity and church officials to “purify” the educational system.

    I can’t think of even one “church official” who has the backbone to even start taking on this effort. Does anyone else have a name?

    The Pacific Union Conference, North Pacific Union Conference, and even the General Conference is full of “talking heads” who have no ability to actually DO anything or even seem to WANT to do anything!




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  35. The liberals like Ron, won’t admit a church has a right to define its doctrine and teaching and demand accountability of any who would attack the stated church position on doctrine.

    It is the only way they can win. Of course, such a position is absurd. But apparently they suppose if the repeat it enough times, it will become rational somehow.

    At least from one perspective, it doesn’t matter if the church is right or wrong about any stated biblical position. Even if the church has totally mis-interpreted every part of the bible, any denomination has a right to state its confession of faith and discipline anyone who is a member who attacks the church’s position.

    We acknowledge this for Rome and all Protestant confessions of faith as well as Jews, Hindu, Muslim, or any other religious sect.

    How ridiculously absurd is the position of Ron and those who agree with him? By all that is rational, who has a right to demand their freedom to teach anything they please even when it is clearly contrary to the stated church position?

    To claim such freedom is the total denial of religious freedom. It forces the will of any individual on the church while claiming no one can “force” the will of the church on them.

    Study carefully the rebellion in heaven and you will see the mind of Lucifer reflected again and again by the liberal element in modern Adventism.

    Hopefully, it is not our goal to force anyone out of the church without first reasoning with them on the issues. But once it is transparently clear that a person has opted to deny and attack any church doctrine, if they will not freely leave on their own, they must be put out.

    And I personally am willing for the church to put me out if it considers my teaching is contrary to historic SDA doctrine. I welcome the challenge. And even if I am right in what I believe and teach, I still acknowledge that the church has the right to put me out if that is their decision.

    I would never deny the right of any church fellowship to define its teaching and discipline any member who they felt was contrary to it. It is simply common sense to affirm this reality.

    Bill Sorensen




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  36. And once again, if the issues have been clearly defined and stated, then it is zero tolerance for those who oppose it.

    It is a free country. Go and teach what you please in the world. But it is not a “free church” because a church has a right to state its positions and discipline opposition.

    Zero tolerance means just that. None. Period.

    Bill Sorensen




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  37. Bill Sorensen:
    I would never deny the right of any church fellowship to define its teaching and discipline any member who they felt was contrary to it. It is simply common sense to affirm this reality.

    This is true. You can definitely come to church and say, “this is how it is you like like it or leave”. But what you’re talking about is a matter of church law, not god’s law and church law can be changed easily. And this isn’t the only monumentally idiotic thing that our church does. The NAD just got hammered for trying to let women be conference presidents. That’s not biblical, that’s political. So is the kerfuffle regarding science at La Sierra. It has nothing to do with science, or even religion. If this was an issue of science, then people would be content to let scientists speak for them just like on any other non-controversial (by SDA standards) scientific subject. If it was religious then we’d be more focused on the spiritual and emotional message that the bible has than trying to recreate a literal and historical narrative from the bible since the spiritual and religious value of a literal reconstruction is nil. However, more importantly there is no way that the Bible can be used a legal notarized mandate from God to let you run the church how you see fit. You have obvious and firm opinions, but no matter how well justified you think those opinions are, they are not themselves an indication of truth. In this one issue your in the minority on this issue, at least among walla walla college students (and probably college students everywhere). You’re only recourse is to cry “Conspiracy!” and make trouble for honest people trying to understand the universe in good faith. You’re so quick to kick anyone out that doesn’t subscribe to you narrow and rigid beliefs. This church makes plenty of mistakes, and continues to do so. Eventually the outdated and absurd notion of YEC, and non-evolution theories will be seen as one of them even by hard core conservatives. Much the same way as geo-centrism is now considered a laughable idea, even by the most intransigent and hostile to science believers. Let me put it another way. There is not a single major scientific discovery or technological advance that wasn’t resisted by religious conservatives and yet progress marches forward and conservatives die out. A generation from now you’ll be waiting for jesus and legions of young idealistic Adventists will come to power and formally change this doctrine, and many others that are short sighted and out dated. Assuming of course Conservatives haven’t ripped the church to shreds in unrelenting purges.




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  38. Mack Ramsey: This church makes plenty of mistakes, and continues to do so. Eventually the outdated and absurd notion of YEC, and non-evolution theories will be seen as one of them even by hard core conservatives.

    3SG 90-91 calls Theistic evolutionism the worst form of infidelity.

    In Romans 1 God Himself states that those who “pretend” that they do not see Intelligent Design in nature are “without excuse”.

    The Gospel begins in John 1 with the right view of God as creator.

    So also the entire Bible begins with that “context” in a literal 7 day week that God Himself summarizes in the non-poetic form of legal code – saying “SIX DAYS you shall labor…but the seventh DAY is the Sabbath..for in SIX DAYS the Lord MADE the heavens and the earth the seas and all that is in them and rested the seventh DAY”

    Those who like to “pretend” that they did not actually see “DAY” as in “Six days you shall labor but the seventh DAY is the Sabbath” — actually meaning “real day” when they read that text – are living in their own world of imagination and fluff.

    In the mean time both Christians and even non-Christians like Dawkins see the point clearly. No way you can bend the Bible to the point of making it teach evolutionism in any form. As Darwin himself admitted – the Bible is only contradictory to evolutionism’s doctrines on origins.

    The idea you suggest in your comment above is that we will one day lose enough attention to detail – that we will simply overlook these inconvenient facts and embrace blind faith devotion to evolutionism “instead”.

    Well – I believe our statements about how things go in the future – refute your guess at that point.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • @BobRyan: Have you read the bible in the original languages? Your use of the English translation is just as meaningless as the faith you have held for however long your miserable life has gone on. May God come quick to save you from your foolishness.

      Psalms 137:9




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  39. One thing for our Church leaders to consider. While it may be true that the paper at WWU does not always represent the views or teaching of WWU itself — it does show that there groups at other universities besides LSU – watching to see how effectively the problem at LSU is dealt with.

    The more the leadership waffles, shuffles, and seeks to back to turning a blind eye or deaf ear – the more they encourage slippage and eventually waterfall at other schools.

    A painful ounce of well grounded follow-through-enhanced prevention is worth a pound of hand-wringing why-didn’t-we-act-sooner this-really-hurts how-many-will-we-lose-this-time cure.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  40. To Ron and Bob and Bill. Simply a hypothetical question. Could you be wrong? Is there any possibility that your beliefs are well-intended but misguided?

    You clearly believe you are correct, but could you allow for the possibility that you are simply not seeing the whole picture?




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  41. Sean Pitman: There is no argument here over nylonase or other such low levels of functional complexity – which can and do happen, rapidly and commonly, in observable time without the need to invoke intelligent design

    Ok Sean, I just want to be clear. Please correct me if I am wrong. So you believe bacteria developing new genetic material that has never existed before, is an example of atheistic evolution. Correct? (I happen to disagree, I think God was involved in the process, and I believe in theistic evolution, but for now, we will put that aside and I will accept your position.)

    Sure, this is a very minor change. It is not the full blown species change,described by the full evolutionary theory, but in this one, tiny event we have an example of Darwinian principles at work. i.e. through random changes in the DNA by mechanisms you explained so nicely in your article, the bacteria developed a new characteristic (nylonase) that gave certain bacteria a survival advantage, and the resulting selection bias (survival of the fittest) resulted in the development of a whole new population of bacteria with the new and improved capacity. Am I correct so far?

    So I think we can agree that at least in this one small example, Darwinian principles are correct. Agreed?

    I would also note that this event did not require any immoral event. i.e. there was no unnatural death or extinction of any single bacteria. Every bacteria involved in the process lived a full, prosperous and as contented a life as possible on the bacterial scale. Are we still in agreement? By analogy, this would be like our kids doing better and being more prosperous that we were. This is the dream of every parent. We would not think that is a bad thing, and we would not cast dispersion on God as a result. Am I still correct?

    Is there anything in the process I have just described that is incompatible with Genesis?




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    • @Ron:

      You bring up two topics here. One is a question of mechanism and the other is a question of morality.

      Regarding the mechanism of evolution (RM/NS) it is an established observable fact of science that this mechanism does indeed work to produce novel functionality at low levels of functional complexity in very short periods of time. It is also an observed fact of science that this mechanism does not do anything beyond very low levels of functional complexity in observable time (i.e., beyond the 1000aa level to be precise).

      Is there a moral problem for Darwinian-style evolution to be in play even at very low levels of functional complexity? – Since Darwinian evolution is based on the death of “less fit” individuals in favor of those who are “more fit” and therefore preferentially pass on their genes to the next generation? Is death always evil?

      Not when it comes to what I like to call “biomachines” like bacteria and the like – creatures that cannot sense or appreciate suffering or pain or the fear of death. No one would shed a tear if billions of bacteria were destroyed as I waved them over a Bunsen burner. No one would accuse me of murder or of the torture of helpless living things.

      The same is not true for humans or for other sentient creatures that can appreciate suffering, pain, and the fear of death. Any God who would deliberately design a creative process that employs death and destruction of sentient creatures as a key element in their “improvement” would not be wise or good. Such a Creator would be evil – by any reasonable definition of the word.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  42. Honest question: You clearly believe you are correct, but could you allow for the possibility that you are simply not seeing the whole picture?

    From my perspective the answer is a whole hearted YES. It is quite probable that I am not seeing the whole picture. That is precisely why I am arguing for the need to be tolerant. There are areas where we can have a high degree of agreement, and certainty. There are other areas where the data seem to be contradictory, and we do not have really good explanations. I am arguing that tolerance is a virtue, until the evidence is reconciled satisfactorily on and individual basis.




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  43. BobRyan: 3SG 90-91 calls Theistic evolutionism the worst form of infidelity

    Bob, This quote is meaningless until you answer the question about the nylonase. It is clearly an example of Darwinian evolution. Sean has written a very nice article explaining the mechanisms. How do you interpret the role of God in this event? I think Sean has decided that it represents A-thestic evolution. I believe it represents theistic evolution. What do you think? Do you have some other explanation?




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  44. Honest question: To Ron and Bob and Bill. Simply a hypothetical question. Could you be wrong? Is there any possibility that your beliefs are well-intended but misguided?

    You clearly believe you are correct, but could you allow for the possibility that you are simply not seeing the whole picture?

    I know for my part the answer is Absolutely. There’s always the potential to be misguided or misinformed. And if there’s a shred of tangible evidence to support what the bible says about literal history then I’ll believe it. But Biblical history doesn’t even begin to make sense until well after the exodus. This is only my guess and contains zero scholarship outside of my casual reading of history and archaeology, but it probably wasn’t until the age of the prophets that the Hebrews began to keep accurate chronicles of their history. Simply but my training as a biologist and simple logic doesn’t permit me to cast away 150 years of science and history and call it a massive global conspiracy. If God really did make the world in 6 literal days 6000 years ago, then he did a perfect job of making it look like it evolved over a long period of time.

    @Bob

    You and others quoted the 10 commandments numerous times. IF, and let me stress “IF” the writer of exodus genuinely believed that God made the world is 6 literal days some 2 and a half odd thousand years prior that doesn’t mean that I’m going to believe that as literal history. There are numerous instances in the bible that we don’t take literally but instead understand this to be part of their cultural and historical context. As a great example the ceremonial laws (just one of many many examples) aren’t seen as binding. ANd why should we understand the creation story as literal? It’s not as if the rest of the bible is any better when it comes to history. Every major historical event in the bible is either fiction or fictionalized (In the sense that there may have been some true story at one point that in the retelling of it became exaggerated to the point of legend). As odd as it may be to admit, the writers of the bible were prolific plagerists. So much of bible is based on the myths, legends, and philosophies of other more powerful cultures. But in a way that’s affirmational. If more powerful and accomplished nations found some metaphysical truth, then the veracity of that truth not only has stood the test of time from the bible but has a wider authenticity than a single backwards little country in the dustbin of history.




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  45. BobRyan: No way you can bend the Bible to the point of making it teach evolutionism in any form.

    I don’t need to bend the Bible. Evolution is already in the Bible. We see it in the development of obligatory predators from the time of Eden to the flood. We see an evolutionary change in humans between the “son’s of God” (presumably homosapians)and the “son’s of men” (presumably neanderthals, or some other primitive race). Goliath was the last of a superior race known as the “son’s of Anak, when compared to homosapians. We even see in Abraham the father of evolutionary changes which resulted in increased intelligence, craftsmanship and spiritual sensitivity which gave his decedents a survival advantage compared to the rest of mankind.




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    • @Ron:

      You mean de-evolution is in the Bible – decay and degeneration of the ideal form to something less than it was originally intended to be. It takes more informational complexity to be a vegetarian than to degenerate toward a meat diet. Also, the overall health and longevity of man and beast has declined, not improved, over time (according to the Bible). According to the Bible, things are falling apart and growing old and less and less fit.

      This is completely contrary to the assumptions of Darwinian evolutionists where things have improved over time and novel high-level systems have evolved which were never in existence before. It is the Bible, not Darwinists, that is in line with observed reality…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  46. Bill Sorensen: But it is not a “free church” because a church has a right to state its positions and discipline opposition.

    Zero tolerance means just that. None. Period.

    Ok, What I am about to say is against all of my principles, but taking up your own argument against you, and consistent with Jesus statement that “with the same judgment by which you judge, so shall you be judged.” I hereby invoke the Zero tolerance standard against you. Your bigotry and intolerance are against the principles of the church and are harmful to true believers. I therefore invite you to leave the church.




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  47. Bill Sorensen: Study carefully the rebellion in heaven and you will see the mind of Lucifer reflected again and again by the liberal element in modern Adventism

    Bill, I strongly disagree. I see the mind of Satan reflected in the rigid intolerance of the conservatives. Remember, it was Satan that opposed the creation of this world due to his fears of spreading sin. It is Satan that is the accuser of the brethren and is trying to get people kicked out of heaven, and it is Satan that crucified Christ because Christ refused to bow the the orthodoxy of his time.




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  48. Ron: BobRyan: 3SG 90-91 calls Theistic evolutionism the worst form of infidelity

    Bob, This quote is meaningless until you answer the question about the nylonase. It is clearly an example of Darwinian evolution

    If Darwinian evolutionism was confined to “plasmids in bacteria” resulting in “more bacteria” only with an adjustment in diet — we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    As has been pointed out – the plasmid pathway that you place so much faith in – has never turned a prokaryote into a eukaryote and does not meet amoeba to horse storytelling requirements as a mechanism that could ever produce such a result.

    What part of this point is hard to get?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • Or did it use natural darwint@BobRyan:This is a very simple form of Darwinian evolutin that happened jest a few years ago. Hoe did it happen? Was ita direct act of Gods creationor was this direct Darwinian evolution?

      The fact that you cannot answer such a simple question means that you have no right to question our teachers, becauseyou don’t believe biblical creation either.




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  49. For context –

    Mack said:

    Mack Ramsey: This church makes plenty of mistakes, and continues to do so. Eventually the outdated and absurd notion of YEC, and non-evolution theories will be seen as one of them even by hard core conservatives.

    And so – came the obvious response –

    BobRyan:
    3SG 90-91 calls Theistic evolutionism the worst form of infidelity.

    In Romans 1 God Himself states that those who “pretend” that they do not see Intelligent Design in nature are “without excuse”.

    The Gospel begins in John 1 with the right view of God as creator.

    So also the entire Bible begins with that “context” in a literal 7 day week that God Himself summarizes in the non-poetic form of legal code – saying “SIX DAYS you shall labor…but the seventh DAY is the Sabbath..for in SIX DAYS the Lord MADE the heavens and the earth the seas and all that is in them and rested the seventh DAY”

    Those who like to “pretend” that they did not actually see “DAY” as in “Six days you shall labor but the seventh DAY is the Sabbath” — actually meaning “real day” when they read that text – are living in their own world of imagination and fluff.

    Followed by this non sequitur

    Ron: I don’t need to bend the Bible. Evolution is already in the Bible

    And this one –

    Ron: Bob, This quote is meaningless until you answer the question about the nylonase

    Answered a dozen times so far — it is like saying that the Bible cannot be true until you explain digestion – is it of God or is it A-Theist.

    The answer is that the plasmid architecture is of God – but like “digestion” it does not get you to the point of bacteria (prokaryotes) turning into amoeba (eukaryotes) or to amoeba turning into horses (with the proper mantra of “billions and billions” said over them).

    And finally — this one

    Honest question: To Ron and Bob and Bill. Simply a hypothetical question. Could you be wrong? Is there any possibility that your beliefs are well-intended but misguided?

    That last one was the icing on the cake – because it simply sweeps all the details aside (which of course evolutionism needs to do to survive) and asks “yes but is it not possible that you are wrong anyway”). Kind of a “no matter the evidence in favor — could you still be wrong”?

    Question – what false religion, junk-science paradigm could not survive under such such “sweeping all details aside” thinking??

    What does that line of reasoning accomplish except a last ditch by faith alone appeal on behalf of evolutionism?

    in Christ,

    Bob

    questioning: Your use of the English translation is just as meaningless as the faith you have held

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  50. Ron: We see an evolutionary change in humans between the “son’s of God” (presumably homosapians)and the “son’s of men” (presumably neanderthals, or some other primitive race). Goliath was the last of a superior race known as the “son’s of Anak, when compared to homosapians.

    Total nonsense.

    Goliath was technically “Homo Sapien” Latin for “wise man” or “knowing man”.

    There is no connection at all in the Bible between the Gen 6 statement “sons of men” and evolutionists concept of neanderthals as if the “Sons of men” were some other order of being.

    Again your appeal is to non-interesting features like “digestion” and meat eating as the “mechanism” that is supposed to explain how amoebas turn into horses over time.

    Why keep going there?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  51. Dear Wes

    I think I’ll just sit in the cyber bleachers with you for a while and watch while the rest go at each other hammer and tong. What a Christian shame. 🙁

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken: Hi, Ken. May I join you in the bleachers, strange bleacher-fellows if not exactly mind-mates, thrown by circumstances together as refugees from, and spectators of, the recent deluge of posts, of Gilgameshian if not Noachian proportions? Beware of the sharks, undertows, and giant jellyfish.

      The good old Reformation thing, indisputable but too mutable — justification vs faith vs grace vs justification by faith through grace, vs the just shall live by faith by grace — and the supremely incontrovertible premise and appended inevitable if questionable payoff, that Jesus, not doctrine, must be central (indisputable), best forget the doctrines altogether because Jesus is so central nothing else counts, even if Jesus Himself, after proclaiming the first part, affirmed and reaffirmed His having come to fulfill all doctrine nee “law”, and who understands all that anyway? Whew! Move over, Ken. Have some popcorn.

      How often, over so many years, I’ve suffered all that in several of the odd enclaves educated Adventists find themselves in, and now it’s clogging our blogs. The Postadventist super-PAC, like Romney’s, and Obama’s, seems possessed of endless resources, running the same ads ad nauseum. Having heard it for so long, having become so weary of it, so disillusioned by the actual consequences thereof, and by nature, once having spouted off in rebuttal, averse to blithely and obliviously interminably repeating myself interminably, blithely and obliviously, I’m not up to the repetition-repetition that seems the soul and formula of political and theological debating nowadays. Don’t give up the fight, brother, I hear shouted from the arena. Never! But I need a breather – in the bleachers.

      Hmmm… I think I feel less discombobulated here with you, gentle, friendly, steadfast agnostic, than with the adulterous Christian kind. Let the others do the posting and riposting. I apologize for our Christian agnostics’ stealing all your lines, to wit, more or less: “how can you know?” “How do you know you’re right?” “Buddha, Jesus, EGW are wonderful teachers, equally wonderful, and just teachers. I’m not so sure about EGW.” “What is your ultimate authority?” “Nobody believes that!” “The best scholars question that.” But now there’s Sean, always so admirably adequate and reassuring. He says it so well. And David Read. Let’s sit this one out, except for maybe a discrete peep or two, now and then, as, say, the spirit moves us, as it just did you, I see. I’ll keep your seat warm.

      Heard any good hermeneutics lately?

      Your ahermeneutical bleacher-bound friend, W




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  52. Ron: I don’t need to bend the Bible. Evolution is already in the Bible. We see it in the development of obligatory predators from the time of Eden to the flood. We see an evolutionary change in humans between the “son’s of God” (presumably homosapians)and the “son’s of men” (presumably neanderthals, or some other primitive race). Goliath was the last of a superior race known as the “son’s of Anak, when compared to homosapians. We even see in Abraham the father of evolutionary changes which resulted in increased intelligence, craftsmanship and spiritual sensitivity which gave his decedents a survival advantage compared to the rest of mankind.

    Ron, any chapter/verse references from God’s word to support your statement?




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    • @jdoe:

      There was the rapid evolution of predators from the time of the garden of Eden, where there were no predators, to the end of the flood when there were:

      Gen. 9:2 “And the fear of you and the terror of you shall be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.

      After Noah had come forth from the ark, he looked around upon the powerful and ferocious beasts which he brought out of the ark, and then upon his family numbering eight, and was greatly afraid that they would be destroyed by the beasts. But the Lord sent his angel to say to Noah, “The fear of you, and the dread of you, shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hands are they delivered. {1SP 78.3}

      There were at least two, perhaps three races of humans. Sticking to a young earth scenario, they obviously had to evolve between Eden and the time of the flood. How else do you account for Australopithecus and Neanderthals?

      Gen 6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

      Numbers 13:33 “And there we saw the giants [Heb. nephilim], the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

      I have run out of time to do the research, but I believe there is evidence that Goliath was a descendant of the Nephilum, and was a distant relative of David dating from Naomi’s trip to Moab. He had a brother who was killed in 1 Chronicles 20:5 bringing that last of that race to an end.

      I have also run out of time to find the reference for Abraham. I believe it is in Patriarch’s and Prophets or one of the predecessors to PP that Mrs. White states that God gave special powers of craftsmanship to the workers of the first temple. Then in discussing the building of Solomon’s temple she says that Hiram the chief builder was a descendant of the Israelites that God blessed and he inherited their skill with the result that he was able to command higher wages from king Solomon. You can look it up.

      So, we see Mrs. White describing the fundamental principles of Darwinism even though she did not recognize it. God created an genetic advantage in a few individuals that gave a survival advantage to their off spring which we see persisting in the Jewish population even to this day. God predicted this in his promise to Abraham.




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      • @Ron:

        “Rapid evolution”???? Or the effects of sin taking hold? Predatory behavior began the minute that Adam ate the apple, setting in motion a chain of events that has more to do with sin taking effect. The incredible evil in the Antideluvian world must surely have included predatory behavior.

        While I commend the use of references, Ron, I disagree with your conclusions. Your logic makes sense if one assumes Evolution is true. But this is where we differ.

        Once we began down the path of introducing our own opinions, views, etc. into the Scripture, our conclusions can only be faulty. We must go back to “In the beginning God….” This is what God’s word says, this is what He wrote on the 10 Commandments, and regardless of how I think or feel about it, I take God at His word.




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        • @jdoe:
          Well, if you don’t believe evolution is true, then you need to study genetics. Everyone, even Sean believes in evolution if you read his papers or even read this blog. He calls it “micro-evolution”.

          But for Sean, it is enough for God only to be the God of the margins. I.e. He believes there is some statistical boundary below which evolution occurs “a-theistically” and above which God must intervene with Intelligent Design. This doesn’t work on two fronts. Scientifically, there is no distinct boundary between species, and theologically, the Bible does not exlicitly address micro-evolution.




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        • @ron: said:

          Well, if you don’t believe evolution is true, then you need to study genetics. Everyone, even Sean believes in evolution if you read his papers or even read this blog. He calls it “micro-evolution”.

          Classic “shell game” again.

          Pretend that evolution is just “change” and that “any ol change will do” but then insert into the discussion “hey I imagine that amoebas turn into horses — that is also change”.

          This is why we are happy to talk about mutations within a specific genetic gene pool that is overall static. But not evolution which claims to produce new phyla via some yet to be observed mechanism.

          No wonder our atheist evolutionist friends like Patterson lament the religious nature of the argument for evolutionism.

          in Christ,

          Bob




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  53. Mack Ramsey:

    And if there’s a shred of tangible evidence to support what the bible says about literal history then I’ll believe it. But Biblical history doesn’t even begin to make sense until well after the exodus. This is only my guess and contains zero scholarship outside of my casual reading of history and archaeology, but it probably wasn’t until the age of the prophets that the Hebrews began to keep accurate chronicles of their history. Simply but my training as a biologist and simple logic doesn’t permit me to cast away 150 years of science and history and call it a massive global conspiracy.

    Mack,

    Have YOU any chapter/verse references from God’s word to support your statement?

    And by the way, remember that Thomas didn’t believe that Jesus was risen from the dead until he saw for himself, and touched His hands and side. Does that mean that Jesus wasn’t risen? Evidence not evident is still evidence…




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  54. Lydian: As I understand Genesis 1, 2 the only “spiritual truth” I see in it is that God not only created humans but everything else He said He did and He did it in six literal
    days–just as the text says He did. If you don’t believe that, what is left that is “true and valuable”?

    There are many spiritual lessons in Genesis 1-3 that have nothing to do with 6 literal days of creation. Here are only a few:

    1. God created you, and loved you enough to create a special garden just for your pleasure.
    2. God is interested in you personally and wants you to spend the 7th day of the week resting and enjoying the garden with him. (Note that from Adam’s perspective, how God created the world, and how long it took is really irrelevant. If God wants to spend every 7th day with Adam celebrating what God has created, then for Adam, that is a good thing to do.) It is good to be thankful. It will make your life richer.
    3. God created the Earth and put man in charge to take care of it, not to rape and destroy it.
    4. There are boundaries to to rightful acquisition and ownership. Stealing is wrong and will lead to destruction.
    5. Self control is good. You don’t need to have or do everything, just because it is good to eat, or will make one wise.
    6. The proper response to abuse i.e. someone stealing from you, is to first confront the person. If the person does not understand the harm in what they did and repent (as Adam and Eve did not repent), then you must separate yourself from them.
    7. Blaming others for your own actions is not taking responsibility, is not true repentance, and will not result in restoration of your relationship.
    8. When there is repentance, then it is good to forgive, and make a way for those who have wronged you to restore their relationship with you.
    9. Forgiving will cost you. It is the one who was wronged that must bear the cost. It may feel like you are slitting the throat of your own son, but you must still do it, and in the end it is worth the cost.
    10. Some actions have evil consequences. One of our tasks in this life at least, is learning what those consequences are and developing wisdom to discern the difference between good and evil.
    11. It is good to use that wisdom to avoid evil.
    12. You can have innocence, or wisdom. You must choose, and you cannot have both.
    13. Things, like the serpent, may not always be what they appear to be. People can lie to you, or you may draw wrong conclusions from what you see.
    14. God has a work for man. Man has a purpose. That work is to study what God has created and to name what he finds. Note that to the Hebrew mind, to name something was to define its purpose or character. So man was to explore and determine how to use what God has created to care for himself and the rest of creation.
    15. Man and woman are of the same flesh, and are to be equal partners. Sexual discrimination is wrong.
    16. Be careful of your passions. Your love for your spouse can cause you to do things that are destructive.
    17. Be careful of anger (Cain). It can lead to murder.
    18. Pain and suffering are only temporary. There is a better day coming.
    19. With the exception of the tree of life, everything that was in Eden originally is still here in the world today. Don’t be so grief stricken over evil that you fail to enjoy the Eden that is still here today.

    I could go on, but this is probably enough for now. I think many of these lessons are more important than the argument over exactly when and how long it took God to create the world. I also think the lessens in the story would be valuable even if the entire story were absolutely and completely fictional.




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        The same way I know if any other story is true. If I think the story makes sense, I take the lesson I think it is teaching and test it out in my life. Sometimes I find out that it works well, sometimes it doesn’t. That is at least one of the points in the Gen. Story. There really, is no way to know what is good or bad, right or wrong until somebody does the experiment. Humans are the only ones in the universe to do the experiment. Before God created the world, He and Jesus agreed that if man chose to do the experiment, that Jesus would die to make it safe for us.

        In the end, all history is only the story about all the experiments people have done and how they turned out. We know the difference between good and evil, that God is good, the Devil is evil through our cumulitive experience.

        I believe God thought that in the end it will be better for the universe to know than to not know or he would never have created our world or given man a choice.




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  55. -Shining: Who could have guessed, when we were young, that we would lose our schools, not by exterior attack but internal decay? I will not respond to individual comments. Everything of a specific nature has been said on other blogs. I will only pen my grief. I know enough young people to already be aware of problems in most of our NAD schools, but I did not fathom how deep and wide the cancer has become. My brothers and sisters, those who believe in Gen 1-11 and Rev 14, watch and pray. Let none steal your faith or witness. Maranatha, -Shining

    You are so correct. Our educational institutions are being destroyed, not by external forces, but by the very “leaders” we have placed there. The very same thing holds true for some of our Conferences and even some SDA Churches.

    And, the most embarrassing thing is that it falls upon people like Sean, Shane, and others to actually point this out, as we see virtually no “leaders” (except for a few like Doug Bathchelor, Stephen Bohr, Walter Veith, etc.) speaking up on acting on these matters.




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  56. jdoe: Evidence not evident is still evidence

    actually a lack of evidence is, well… a lack of evidence. Take BobRyan for a minute. He doesn’t believe the evidence for evolution. That of course doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Unfortunately like most on this forum he lacks the pre-requiste knowledge to truly understand the evidence and he doesn’t want to anyway. All he needs to do is pick up a biology textbook from his local university library and a couple of genetics, paleobiology, and a few others and he’d be set. The evidence for evolution is there. If you comment is a statement about Jesus not being in his tomb. That’s fine, I totally concede the point that there may have been a historical figure. I’m even willing to accept his divinity on faith. Doesn’t mean that the world was created 6000 years ago. But “evidence not evident is still evidence” is an idiotic and meaningless mantra of the kind of intellectual worth that I’ve come to expect from conservatives. By definition evidence is “evident”. If it wasn’t, then it wouldn’t be evidence.




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    • @Mack Ramsey:

      Mack, why start with the “conservative” and “liberal” labels? I don’t even know what those mean in regards to this discussion. “Creationist” is a more apt description…

      There’s Seventh-Day Adventism and there is NOT Seventh-Day Adventism. This isn’t a cafeteria… we can’t choose to believe whatever and use the name. We either take what’s on our plate or come up with another name.




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  57. jdoe:

    Have YOU any chapter/verse references from God’s word to support your statement?

    Seriously!? you want me to site chapter and verse to support my lack of faith in a literal interpretation of the bible? I must say, I’m amused




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  58. “To Ron and Bob and Bill. Simply a hypothetical question. Could you be wrong? Is there any possibility that your beliefs are well-intended but misguided?

    You clearly believe you are correct, but could you allow for the possibility that you are simply not seeing the whole picture?”

    Honest question(Quote)

    The debate is no longer evolution vs. biblical creation. The debate is whether a church has the right to define itself and defend its teaching against opposers who want to be members while attacking stated beliefs.

    Whether the church is right or wrong on the issue of origins is not even relevant at this point.

    According to Ron and his supporters, a church has no right to define its doctrine and teaching and discipline those who oppose it.

    And yes, Ron, I am more than willing for the church to examine my belief system and decide if I am “worthy” to be retained as a member. And as I said, I am also free to examine the church to determine if the church is “worthy” of my support.

    So far, the church and me have threated to censure (thanks David) each other and so we are on probation both ways. This principle is never a dead principle. It is part of God’s government in heaven and earth.

    Historically, “the church” like to intimidate its members into submission and subjection by claiming they are the only gate to heaven based on unconditional election. Hog Wash!!!

    Listen carefully and learn……

    ” In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the
    60
    sentence: “Found wanting.” By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. . . .” {LDE 59.3}

    The phrase “found wanting” obviously means, cast out, abandon, rejected…..etc.

    So, like some others, I wait to see how this plays out before I make a decision to remain a church member or not. Never make a hasty decision one way or the other. Carefully consider all the implications of any and all decisions.

    I must confess, I see the liberals still hold the “bully pulpit” and have the deciding influence at the present time. I am hopeful this will eventually change. If not, God can create another instrumentality to do His will and He will.

    I suspect the name “Seventh-day Adventist” will remain the name of offense to a rebellious world and the name will remain until Jesus comes. It would seem logical that those who oppose it and what it stands for will eventually abandon it.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen: It seems that the issue of correctness is at the core of this issue. To willfully ignore truth is a dangerous road to take (whatever form truth takes). If you are not seeking truth, you are not seeking God’s will. Truth does not reside in our doctrine or tenants, but within Christ. To elevate church doctrine to a level equal to that, is simply idolatrous.




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    • @Bill Sorensen: ref=”#comment-36925″>Bill Sorensen:
      I guess one of our differences is that I think Jesus and Mrs. White were both liberals and that being a liberal is following the path set before us by our forefathers.

      I was impressed today with 1 Cor. 13 how love never gives up.




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    • I @Bill Sorensen: nt-36925″>Bill Sorensen:
      According to Mrs. Whites Great Controversy scenario, there is a death penalty in place, so all true believers will no longer be in the official church. To remain, the official church would have had to make compromises to avoid the death penalty. Maybe it is better to leave the church if you think it is making too many compromizes.




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  59. Mack Ramsey: Seriously!? you want me to site chapter and verse to support my lack of faith in a literal interpretation of the bible? I must say, I’m amused

    Hmmm… fallible man’s word or the infallible, eternal (even more than 150 yrs old!) Word of God. Which would you choose?

    With all due respect to your opninions, Mack, I choose the latter.




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  60. Mack Ramsey: Seriously!? you want me to site chapter and verse to support my lack of faith in a literal interpretation of the bible? I must say, I’m amused

    Yes, we do want you to do this. Can you? Will you? Please actually respond, instead of answering in a question.




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  61. “And, the most embarrassing thing is that it falls upon people like Sean, Shane, and others to actually point this out, as we see virtually no “leaders” (except for a few like Doug Bathchelor, Stephen Bohr, Walter Veith, etc.) speaking up on acting on these matters.”

    And these people “tread lightly” and do not demand confrontation and accountability.

    I think we know why….at least in part, (they get paid by the church.)

    Historically, truth advances by challenge and confrontation. Today, we hope we can impress others more by way of infilteration with the hope they will “see our love” as we advance some social gospel.

    Confrontation will create a “terrible ordeal” (the shaking) but is absolutely necessary if we ever hope to defend the faith and finish the work.

    We are well aware the liberals want no such agenda as it will expose their duplicity and hopefully, destroy their influence on the unwary who don’t really comprehend what is happening.

    If it happened in the church of heaven, you can know it will happen in the church on earth before it is all over. We should also be aware that the devil wants no confrontation. Why would he? He is winning at least for now.

    If you study the rebellion in heaven, you will see many parallels to the present agenda being played out in the church today.

    Have a great Sabbath and defend the faith,

    Bill Sorensen




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  62. Mandi from WWU: I think what people need to realize is that the science departments on campus were wary of this issue and in fact quite upset at the presentation of the results of a poorly written survey. The survey and most of the responding articles were not written by science majors. Not to say those who are not of a scientific major cannot have an opinion (they most certainly should) but evolution has a wide range of meanings and also explanations which the survey and printed issue did not clearly outline. I myself had a difficult time taking the survey because of the lack of scientific information provided to explain definitions. Here on campus there is a class called Philosophy of Origins and Speciation that all biology majors are required to take. It talks about the theories of origins from a Seventh-Day Adventist perspective.

    Thank you for posting that comment. It is very helpful in getting to a broader understanding of the context for that issue of the student paper.

    It appears from your comments that the general perspective in the paper did not reflect the science department’s view on the subject.

    As for the “fine tuned universe” – here is a link you might enjoy.

    http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=4773590301316220374#docid=-7044753105944203252

    If you watch about ten minutes from the 10:00 to 20:00 point on the video you will see world renowned atheist cosmologist Martin Reese and physicist Leonard Susskind discussing the religious need of the atheist scientist to reject intelligent design no matter how glaring the observations in nature pointing in favor of I.D.

    I hope the science department will consider showing the film as these atheists give their own POV – and in so doing expose a serious flaw in their own argument.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • Bottom line; If you believe otherwise than a literal recent 6-day creation week, then you are not really an SDA. So why would want to CLAIM to be?

      This discussion is a distraction from the important issues of our time. Jesus is about to come and there is a relationship for us to cement with Him.

      Happy Sabbath, everyone.




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      • @Charles: Simply because you say “Bottom line” does not make it the bottom line. The premium overriding, all encompassing SDA tradition is Jesus. To boil a faith tradition down to interpretation of 1 tangential text is preposterous. Almost as preposterous as people to blindly accept the words of scientists OR theologians.




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        • honest question: The premium overriding, all encompassing SDA tradition is Jesus. To boil a faith tradition down to interpretation of 1 tangential text is preposterous

          This is the “Seventh-day” Adventist church. The text of Ex 20:11 is hardly “tangental” to the doctrine of the Sabbath.

          In that legal code we find “For in SIX DAYS the Lord MADE the heavens and the earth the seas and all that is in them”.

          Your argument appears to be that we should not be so worried about whether or not we accept blind-faith evolutionism or whether we go with the text of scripture so central to this topic and to our very name.

          Are you serious? Surely you do not expect to dismiss the text as “tangential” as if that conclusion can be “assumed” rather than proven.

          In John 1 Christ “is the WORD made flesh” that is also true in Rev 19 at the second coming. The attempt to divorce “the Word” of God – from Christ who is God seems ill advised.

          in Christ,

          Bob




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        • @BobRyan: “Christ is the WORD made flesh” This clearly states that Christ now is the primary, tangible incarnation of God. Every other event, text, or moment in history must be illuminated and viewed through light of Christ’s birth, life, and resurrection. Simply because something is less important, does not make it unimportant. The Sabbath tradition is quite important, the idea that God has set aside time to worship him and for our own rest is one of the things SDA’s can hold on to as a cherished tradition. That tradition, while valuable is not in the same league as Christ. I would submit that ever text is tangential to Christ.




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  63. Ron: There was the rapid evolution of predators from the time of the garden of Eden, where there were no predators, to the end of the flood when there were:

    Former atheist zoologist professor – (and former evolution Christian creationist basher) – Walter Veith, did a study on the change from fruit-eating to meat-eating and then back-again in case of parrots when deprived of their primary source of food.

    Fascinating study – leaves nothing at all for evolutionists to hang their hopes on.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  64. Mack Ramsey: jdoe:

    Have YOU any chapter/verse references from God’s word to support your statement?

    Seriously!? you want me to site chapter and verse to support my lack of faith in a literal interpretation of the bible? I must say, I’m amused

    Mack makes a good point here. Why would someone taking his “bible held at a proper distance” POV rely on the Bible to support his view on something?

    In fact this is an area where both bible believing Christians and T.E’s can agree. Mack’s current point is on the logical course for the T.E. POV.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  65. Like Mandi, I am a biology major at WWU. As she said, the survey was horribly written and then mangled even more in the interpretation published in the Collegian.

    The Biology department had no part in writing the survey and the majority of biology majors were both deeply saddened and offended by the published paper. It was neither an unbiased or fair look at any of the issues covered. If you are looking for a fair, realistic look at what the students and faculty of Walla Walla believe, this was not it.

    The staff at WWU is very conscientious to teach in ways that are in line with BIblical teachings. THe school goes out of its way to teach students like me to grow in faith and knowledge.




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      • Sean Pitman:
        @R. (Biology Major, WWU):

        This is also very good to hear.Would you care to write an article on your experience as a biology major at WWU? – specifically with regard to your education on the topic of origins?

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com

        I would like to share that the biology professors at Walla Walla taught us very responsibly. When we learned evolution in General Biology, for instance, our professor presented the information because we really do need to know it (there is a strong academic force clamoring for including it on the MCAT!) but we also learned all the many holes that evolution cannot fill. When I presented some of this with an evolutionist with a doctorate and a job at a government research lab, she closed the door and admitted that evolution was only a “current interpretation” that had serious flaws. She also sadly admitted that to advance in the scientific world, she believed she had to be a proponent of the flawed theory.

        Just sharing my experience from an excellent university that prepared me excellently to discuss these issues.

        But the only way to convert an evolutionist is to show them Jesus; not show them the flaws with their theory.




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  66. Mack Ramsey: Take BobRyan for a minute. He doesn’t believe the evidence for evolution. That of course doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Unfortunately like most on this forum he lacks the pre-requiste knowledge to truly understand the evidenc

    One of the classic logical fallacies is the appeal to “secret knowledge” argument as presented for us in its traditional style above.

    Well demonstrated sir.

    But even more so – you are to be applauded for doing it by “arguing from the vacuum of data you do not have”. In this case – data on my science background.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  67. R. (Biology Major, WWU): Like Mandi, I am a biology major at WWU. As she said, the survey was horribly written and then mangled even more in the interpretation published in the Collegian.

    The Biology department had no part in writing the survey and the majority of biology majors were both deeply saddened and offended by the published paper. It was neither an unbiased or fair look at any of the issues covered. If you are looking for a fair, realistic look at what the students and faculty of Walla Walla believe, this was not it.

    I am glad to see the WWU science department well represented on this thread.

    Kudos to that department! What a bright welcomed contrast to the way this discussion was treated when a question first arose about the LSU biology sciences department.

    This might explain why contributors to the school paper edition on evolution vs creation merely assumed their points in favor of evolution (- or at least in favor of the need to compromise with worldly fables about origins so as to make more friends) when stating their case.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  68. I would like my comment to be read in the quiet, respectful tone that I intend. I read all these comments and I hope each commentator could imagine Jesus saying his words. I can’t wish any less for myself.

    There is a Cult of Science that is popular; the headlines prove that if a “study” says it it must be true. It’s frightening to think that people blindly follow such things as graphs and error bars (although most don’t get that far into the research).

    On the flip side, there are also people who follow the Cult of Tradition. Traditions usually stem from solid reasoning, but sometimes there is new information, new framework to interpret old information, or maybe the old meaning is just lost! It is also frightening to think that people blindly follow their ancestors’ lead; sometimes the flag of our fathers was a bloody one.

    C.S. Lewis talked of a Christian phenomena called “God of the Gaps.” In it, he shows how in the past God (or gods) were used to fill in the gaps in science (Think: lightning, center of the universe, etc.)

    I grew up conservatively, and I straddle two cultures (or cults, depending on which side you’re on). How does my young generation deal with the very real accusations of science, and the very real truths of the Bible?

    A comment that was anonymous above was well thought. “I think many young Adventist worship a God who does not depend on a 6 day creation for potency, power, and existence.” For better or for worse, that’s the position many young Adventists are in. I also happen to know that, beneath the surface, this is happening all over young Western Adventism. Some universities just don’t publish their internal dialogues on full-page spreads.

    Bill and Holly, and other sincere Christians reading this, I would submit to you that these issues are not going to go away. There will always be teenagers questioning the status quo. We can push the questions beneath the surface, or we can bring them out in the open where we can discuss them.

    And I hope Jesus guides our minds as we talk with each other. We all agree on some really big stuff, such as that we believe the Lord Jesus died to save us from our sins.

    If Jesus is not guiding us in our discussions, I think we’re missing the point of why we were created.

    By the way, I am a student at Walla Walla University majoring in Bioengineering. I post my full name because I have nothing to hide; I am not ashamed of my beliefs nor am I ashamed of my struggles. I am currently serving for a year at an orphanage in Honduras, which has completely revolutionized my perspectives. I applaud those standing up for their beliefs, also applaud those sitting down to respectfully listen to others’ beliefs. May the grace of Jesus Christ be with you.




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  69. Logan – I will grant you this — C.S. Lewis is probably my favorite Theistic Evolutionist. I don’t fault him for what he did not know.

    But as SDAs we have not only science and the Bible telling us that Evolution is false – we also have Ellen White getting messages from God about theistic evolutionism being the worst form of infidelity – because it is in her words “infidelity in disguise” – 3SG 90-91.

    Thus it is not only a matter of ignoring good science – to choose faith in evolutionism “anyway” – it is also a rejection of the inspired text of scripture in the Sabbath Commandment itself – and it is a flat out rejection of the work of the Holy Spirit in the gift of prophecy in more recent times.

    Theistic evolution does not work on sooooo many levels.

    Even Darwin himself had to dump it.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  70. Logan Villarreal: A comment that was anonymous above was well thought. “I think many young Adventist worship a God who does not depend on a 6 day creation for potency, power, and existence.” For better or for worse, that’s the position many young Adventists are in. I also happen to know that, beneath the surface, this is happening all over young Western Adventism. Some universities just don’t publish their internal dialogues on full-page spreads.

    Bill and Holly, and other sincere Christians reading this, I would submit to you that these issues are not going to go away. There will always be teenagers questioning the status quo. We can push the questions beneath the surface, or we can bring them out in the open where we can discuss them.

    Questions are not being ignored – rather by faith-alone belief in evolutionism is being challenged.

    We show that even the authors and framers of evolutionism admit that Theistic Evolution is nonsense. Darwin admitted it – so also do Dawkins, Provine and Meyers.

    So also does Ellen White admit that same glaringly obvious truth.

    It is one thing to say that you are open to facts – observations in nature and then list what you find that works for the Genesis account and what does not appear to work – and leaves questions.

    It is quote another to claim that all the framers of evolutionism did not know anything about evolutionism therefore they are not correct to say it is not compatible with Christianity.

    This is where at least some degree of critical thinking is needed to weigh options.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  71. Logan said…..

    “Bill and Holly, and other sincere Christians reading this, I would submit to you that these issues are not going to go away. There will always be teenagers questioning the status quo. We can push the questions beneath the surface, or we can bring them out in the open where we can discuss them.”

    Logan, there is nothing wrong in asking questions. But something drastically wrong when the teacher can not give them clear biblical answers. But confuses them with information that is not even viable to many scientists, but blatantly contradicts the fundamental beliefs of the church that pays them to teach.

    So, it is one thing to teach “about evolution” to expose its non-scientific conclusions and point someone to the sure revelations of the bible, and, “teaching evolution” as a viable or even certain reality of origins.

    In religion it is our goal to show how many false religions distort the truth about God. And so we expose what we think is a false “system of theology”.

    We don’t present that system of theology as an equal or viable way of thinking about God and His kingdom.

    Hopefully, most people can see the difference.

    Bill Sorensen




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  72. Some interesting comments from the freethoughtblogs.com posting on the survey

    oh, and most of the biology professors there do actually teach straight evolution, even though they’ll offer the qualifier on the first day of class, something like “whether you believe it or not, this is what you have to know to be a scientist…”

    beemack

    I also attend WWU as an Electrical Engineering major. When I first came here I had my doubts about religion, but I had professors that encouraged careful thought and analysis, which helped set me on the path to becoming the atheist I am today.
    robin

    The first graph (how the earth came into existence) is improperly scaled. They only had 640-odd responses, and the axes indicate something closer to 800.

    When I arrived at the school a few years ago, I was definitely Adventist. Now, as a result of my education (and also my friends), I am agnostic trending toward atheist. Yes, there are a lot of very religious people here. Yes, I used to be one of them. Now, I think I know the majority of my fellow skeptics here. We exist underground and the group is slowly growing. There is still hope for the people here trapped in religion. If I broke free, others can, too.

    daniiren

    Ya’ll are being lied here at the request of the biology department. They set off the alarm this (Friday) morning and urged their students to defend them by talking about how their having faith and belief in creation had been affirmed at WWU to “prevent another La Sierra.” Why do you think these students are posting in such a way so they can be identified, they want their profs in their department to know. Students at WWU don’t just show up on Educate Truth to comment without being asked.

    The comments over at freethoughtblogs are much more accurate in relation to what the faculty at our school teach and support.




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  73. Honest question stated…..

    “Truth does not reside in our doctrine or tenants, but within Christ. To elevate church doctrine to a level equal to that, is simply idolatrous.”

    Do you claim anyone can “know” Christ without doctrine?

    I would consider this idea as rather foolish in light of the fact you don’t know and can’t know who Jesus is without doctrine.

    So, hopefully, we consider our church doctrine as an explanation of who Jesus is and what He means to us in light of bible doctrine.

    Explain to me who Jesus is without doctrine. Impossible, of course, because doctrine is simply an explanation of who Jesus is.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen: Bill I think you are backward, it is not Doctrine that explains Christ, but the other way around! Did the disciples of Christ have “doctrine”, not in the way you mean it. If Doctrine is your mediator, haven’t you made the same mistake as the Roman Catholic Church? We need no mediator between us our Savior. There is a far greater challenge than to:

      “Explain to me who Jesus is without doctrine. Impossible, of course, because doctrine is simply an explanation of who Jesus is.”

      It is to explain Doctrine without Christ. At least I think we can agree that doctrine is simply a tool for the illumination of Christ, but like any man made object, it should be evaluated and fixed when it appears to ignore relevant information. We build our faith on solid ground (Christ), not shifting sand (Doctrine).




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  74. Sean Pitman: If you “stick with the Bible”, you must accept the truth of the literal six-day creation week since the Bible couldn’t be more clear in this regard. Even liberal Hebrew scholars agree that the authors of the Genesis account obviously intended to convey a real historical account of a creation week in which all life on this planet was created by God in just six literal days. There really isn’t any significant disagreement here on the intended meaning of what was written. 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.

    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.

    I have to admit – that letter from James Barr is an excellent reference given the anti-Bible POV that Barr has to start with. This is why I like atheist and anti-Bible sources that admit to the flaws in the T.E. and evolutionist argument.

    They are practically iconic figures among evolutionists – very difficult for them to turn on their own thought leaders.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  75. Student at WWU: Ya’ll are being lied here at the request of the biology department. They set off the alarm this (Friday) morning and urged their students to defend them by talking about how their having faith and belief in creation had been affirmed at WWU to “prevent another La Sierra.”

    The impression given by the two WWU students posting here is that in the classic evolution vs Bible creation debate
    the WWU biology sciences department is unquestionably Bible creation.

    If they were to post again – specifying the “basics” in writing:

    1. That they have been told by their SDA professors in both the sciences and religion classes that the Bible actually teaches a literal 7 day creation week as the origin point for all phyla on earth.

    2. That this is the position of the Seventh-day Adventist church.

    3. That a recent 7 day creation week and a recent world wide flood are both unambiguously supported in classes by both of those departments.

    4. That both departments address the task of working with students to find real answers to the difficult questions faced by creationists today, instead of simply engaging in slash-and-burn LSU style abandonment of the Bible Creation POV held by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

    Would that serve to add clarity – or is your post really saying that there is some WWU directive to factually mislead or misdirect the readers of this web site?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  76. freethoughtblog is a section of pro-atheist pro-evolutionist pharyngula web site now discussing the WWU issue.

    An interesting post

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/02/10/what-are-colleges-good-for-then/comment-page-1/#comment-264177

    3) I know for a fact that four years of college DOES in fact make students more likely to believe in mainstream science. You see this play-out regularly when you compare the views of seniors and freshmen in college. If you were to do a survey seeing the change in views each year of college, you would see a significant shift towards mainstream science. In fact, when this survey was done at WWU, I know on background that the newspaper wanted to split responses up by class year, but the administration did not want to provide proof that the university was making students more likely to accept mainstream science.

    There is no doubt that you will find students who are in fact agnostics tending towards atheism in many schools – so getting a comment from one or two of them at WWU does not necessarily tell the whole story.

    Pharyngula specializes in prizing the Christian turned agnostic –goes atheist – style contributor. So as bad as some of those WWU-Student testimonies appear over there – one wonders how much they reflect their own views and the views of their friends – vs the actual teaching of the school. I am very reluctant to throw WWU “under the bus” so to speak on the say so of pharyngula.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  77. pauluc: You are a well educated person but you seem oblivious to the fact that you like most literalists have already done what you fear others might do. You say

    “Now, it is quite a different thing to say that the Biblical authors where simply mistaken compared to the argument that suggests that they were intending to write symbolically or figuratively. The SDA Church takes the Bible at its word, as the revealed Word of God. So, in suggesting that the SDA Church not put so much stock in a literal reading of the Genesis narrative, you are suggesting that the Church back off of its position that the Bible was in fact inspired by God to give us privileged information about God and about the world in which we live. If the SDA Church were to do this, it would basically undermine the entire purpose for their being a unique Seventh-day Adventist Church. After all, if one can pick and choose what is and what is not correct in the Bible, what’s the point? accuses others of doing.”

    According to this logic of the bible conveying privileged information on the natural world or as the fundamentals would say inerrant in it original text) I presume that you accept the clear cosmology expressed in Genesis 1:6-7 and in Genesis 7:11 with the dome of heaven separating the water below from the water above

    Your approach does not make sense.

    You argue that if Christians do not have infinite understanding of all acts of God and all phrases in scripture – then no scripture opposed to evolutionism should be allowed to stand – no matter how blatantly obvious that text is.

    So when we find the bible saying “SIX DAYS you shall labor..for in SIX DAYS the Lord MADE the heavens and the earth the seas and ALL that in them is” we should just “dismiss the details” since – the “dome ” issue is outstanding regarding water canopy or who knows what in the details of day 2 of creation week.

    Is that kind of disconnected logic on your part really supposed to be persuasive when it comes to someone who does not already reject the 7 day creation week Bible account the way you do?

    Where is the objectivity in your proposal?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • @BobRyan:

      1] I do not all reject that the biblical writers intended that they convey the creation account in terms of a world wide creation that included the sun moon and starts in 7 literal days in recent times. Moreover I do not reject that the biblical writers cosmology of waters above separated from waters below by a “firmament” across which the birds fly and in which the sun moon and stars are located. Beyond this firmament is the water which periodically fall to the earth as the “windows of Heaven” are opened.
      Further I believe the writers of genesis fully intended that the principle reason for the flood covering the whole world was because of the cosmic events associated with the sons of Gods [angels] mating with the daughters of men which was risking polluting the world with beings that would intentions God had for his creation.

      2] like James Barr I accept a literal interpretation as by far the most likely intention of the authors but then rather than follow the position that followers of the fundamentals tend to do in pretending this is not what the author intended and try to meld it with some more modern sensitivities, I accept the Adventist understanding of scripture as being the writings of holy men and they were moved by the spirit of God. They were not verbally inspired and scripture is not inerrant (something the 28 fundamentals does not support although it clearly does not explicitly reject it). I do not at all accept that the bible is authoritative on history and science. To do so creates tremendous problems for adventist position on for example healthcare. Scripture is intended to deliver the message of salvation not a catalog of scientific observations, a method that post-dated the writing of scripture by many 100’s of years.

      I obviously believe that my understanding is more logical and consistent with reality than yours or I would not consistently or honestly hold to it.

      I obviously think your understanding has a certain logic as long as you do not examine science by hypothesis testing and scripture by the best scholarship that is extant.

      3] I would add in closing that the fruits of your approach is clearly evident in the comments above from students as WWU who have been confronted by your simplistic either or statements. Fundamentalism leads to very brittle disciples of Jesus.
      “If you dont believe like me get out of my church and be an honest atheist”

      Is this the faithful witness of a Christian?




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      • @pauluc:

        If I thought the Bible actually said what you think it says, I’d think the whole thing was bunk too!

        You seem to have real difficulty reading passages in context. Do you not realize that the Bible isn’t talking about angels mating with humans? The Bible specifically claims that angels cannot reproduce (Matthew 22:30).

        In Genesis 6:4 where it talks about the “sons of God” having children with the “daughters of men” it is clearly talking about a mixing of those who still served God with those who did not. It is the same thing that happened to the Israelites when they started intermarrying with the Canaanites. Such marriages between believers and unbelievers results in the moral decline of the believers. This is what happened before the Flood. And, this is the reason for the rapid decline in the moral condition of all the people before the Flood till only one man and his family remained loyal to God.

        The meaning is quite clear in context… if you care to actually study the Bible in the context of the whole book…

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman: Sean

          You say
          “The meaning is quite clear in context… if you care to actually study the Bible in the context of the whole book…”

          Then do you or do you not accept that the same word for “sons of God” is used in Genesis 6:2 as in Job 1:6, job 2:1 Job 38:7 psalms 89:6 and in Daniel 3:25 and that it is in each case meant to indicate a supernatural being rather than a man.

          This may indeed offend your reason or sensibilities and your alternative interpretation of the sons of Seth and the unglodly caanites based on your acceptance of EGW as canonical but which is the more consistent with scripture itself.

          To sustain your interpretation you have to disregard the usual accepted exegetical practices and the term as defined in the old testament and take the sons of God from the new testament and impose it back on the old.

          Do you accept that fallen angels or angels can appear as men?
          Did Satan or the Devil, a fallen angel, appear as a serpent”? Was this real or simply imagined”?
          What do you make of Heb 13:2? Were the angels entering Sodom simply mistaken for men Gen 19:1
          What does 2 Pet 2:4 and Jude 6 say of these interventions of fallen angels into the affairs of man.

          I am beginning to wonder who is the one committed to scientism of which I am accused? For you say

          “If I thought the Bible actually said what you think it says, I’d think the whole thing was bunk too!”

          I am a Christian because of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. I am happy to accept that the old testament reveals an incomplete understanding of God and a history of the people of God stumbling along trying to comprehend the incomprehensible, eternal and transcendent. I can accept a narrative that tries to convey aspects of God as true even if it did not happen precisely as described. It does not at all make it “bunk”. To imagine that I must reject a narrative from God just because it is couched in terms I cannot fully comprehend and offends my modern sensibilities to me suggests a shallow and brittle faith.




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        • @pauluc:

          You wrote:

          What do you make of Heb 13:2? Were the angels entering Sodom simply mistaken for men Gen 19:1

          Angels can take on other forms, to include the appearance of humans, but this appearance is just that, an appearance. Taking on the form of a human doesn’t make the angels actually human. They are still angels in their essential nature… unable to reproduce amongst themselves or with humans (according to the Bible that is – Matthew 22:30).

          Then do you or do you not accept that the same word for “sons of God” is used in Genesis 6:2 as in Job 1:6, job 2:1 Job 38:7 psalms 89:6 and in Daniel 3:25 and that it is in each case meant to indicate a supernatural being rather than a man.

          Now, I know that some wives like to think of their husbands as “supernatural” or “Divine”, but do you really not understand that in the Bible the term “sons of God” can refer to both humans and angels?

          Have you not read in the Bible were Adam was called a “son of God” (Luke 3:38)? Or where those in line with the government of heaven are called “sons of God” (Matthew 5:9, Romans 8:14, Galatians 3:26, Luke 20:36, Hebrews 12:7, John 1:12 and 1 John 3:1)?

          Of course, you mention the story of Job where the “sons of God” came together at a heavenly conference (Job 2:1). This story notes that Satan came as the representative of this Earth since he took over the position when Adam fell. Otherwise, Adam would have been at the conference as prince of this world. However, Adam lost this position to Satan when he turned over his sovereignty to Satan at the Fall. Jesus himself comments on Satan’s usurped position several times, calling Satan the “Prince of this world” (John 14:30). In fact, it was one of the purposes of Jesus’ life and death to win back Adam’s original position for him. That is why Jesus is also called the “Second Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45-47).

          In short, all created intelligences who love and obey God, humans or angels, are “sons of God” according to the Bible. This term does not necessarily indicate a supernatural being. Therefore, if you wish to properly interpret this term when it is used in the Bible, you must consider its context and everything else the Bible says about both men and angels…

          Perhaps a bit more Bible study couldn’t hurt? But, then again, why study a book where you pick and choose what is or isn’t really from God? You believe that Jesus was the Son of God, born of a virgin woman by the Holy Spirit, performed a host of miracles, was killed and was then raised from the dead – based on the authority of a book that can’t even get the creation story right? You believe that naturalistic science trumps the witness of the Bible on the one hand, but not on the other? Are you schizophrenic?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  78. WWU Student: And you wonder why people hate Adventists . . . maybe if we spent more time talking about Jesus and less time fighting about rhetoric maybe people would see Jesus through us instead of a legalistic country club.

    The 1844 Investigative Judgment message resulted in a similar “cool reception” by those who say “give me Jesus – just not the Word that goes against my preferences”.

    In Evangelism 101 – you will find that the all-fluff nothing-can-go-wrong style gospel is popular but will not save. It is the Word of God that tells us about the 7th day Sabbath being anchored in the 7 day creation week. God is the source of that teaching. Turn out – Christ IS God.

    As I am sure you will agree – some people want a Christ that is not the Christ of the Bible. So Adventist have always avoided the preaching style that demands that we “only tickle the ears of the listener” when talking about origins, or law, or judgment, or the Sabbath or the state of the dead, or the need of our teaching institutions to have integrity when it comes to their mission.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  79. If you fellowship here and there in various SDA churches, you will soon see that very few church members even know of any creation/evolution conflict in our schools.

    The church deliberately keeps them “dumb down” so there will be no challenge to leadership and their duty to discipline such activity as teachers advocate evolution in our schools.

    And this is why they “shut up” Asscherick and other well know people in the spot light who comment on this subject.

    On all the SDA channels their much affirmation of creation, but no discussion on what is happening at LSU or anywhere else.

    The saying goes….”Don’t feed it, maybe it will go away.” is a hopeful tactic, but not likely to solve the problem.

    If you ignore this problem, then like any disease, it will simply spread. It must be treated, and the sooner, the better.

    And the church public should be well informed so they can be involved in and with the problem. This is the honorable approach. If you keep deceiving the laity, when they find out, they lose confidence more and more in church administration.

    In another area, when Luther was informed that “the church interprets scripture”, he replied, “The task of interpreting scripture belongs to the whole Christian community.”

    While we need not, as church members, know every detail of every situation our leaders must deal with, it is necessary that issues of this comprehensive influence and spectrum should be known by all.

    Have a good week.

    Bill Sorensen




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  80. pauluc: I do not at all reject that the biblical writers intended that they convey the creation account in terms of a world wide creation that included the sun moon and stars in 7 literal days in recent times

    Excellent. That is the kind of exegesis we are talking about. Admitting to the context and intent of the text – when viewed from the POV of the authors and their intended readers.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  81. pauluc: Further I believe the writers of genesis fully intended that the principle reason for the flood covering the whole world was because of the cosmic events associated with the sons of Gods [angels] mating with the daughters of men which was risking polluting the world with beings that would intentions God had for his creation.

    Turns out – not text in the Bible says that the angels mated with humans. In fact in Matt 22 Christ said that angels do not even mate with each other – they do not form families. (this is a point admitted by both SDA and nonSDA Bible scholars – not just Ellen White.).

    But I suppose you might want to make that up to provide evidence for your idea that the Bible writers cannot be trusted.

    so be it.

    But I am glad that the SDA and non-SDA Bible scholars are at least objective enough to get this point.

    As John 1 points out – the sons of God are humans who have accepted the Gospel.

    in Christ,

    Bob
    in Christ,

    Bob




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  82. pauluc: I obviously think your understanding has a certain logic as long as you do not examine science by hypothesis testing and scripture by the best scholarship that is extant.

    3] I would add in closing that the fruits of your approach is clearly evident in the comments above from students as WWU who have been confronted by your simplistic either or statements. Fundamentalism leads to very brittle disciples of Jesus.
    “If you dont believe like me get out of my church and be an honest atheist”

    you can’t possibly be serious.

    (Amoebas turn into horses) is your idea of “reality” that trumps the Bible and all of observed science?

    You claim that the WWU biology sciences students who came here saying that SDA consistent creation paradigms for origins are being promoted by the science department and saying that they were ashamed of the WWU articles favoring evolutionism is an example of “how bad things go” – when students are confronted by people like me insisting on observations in nature over myths in evolutionism?

    So far – the most consistent evolutionist response has been to wildly suggest that prokaryote plasmid mechanisms for producing nylonase would be the kind of mechanism to save evolutionism’s bacon when it comes to storytelling about single celled eukaryotes turning into horses one day.

    The other argument for consistency in the evolutionist arguments here so far – has come from you. You claim that having taken the evolutionist position – you do not trust the Bible and then you provide several examples where you think you are justified in taking that Dawkins-compatible solution toward the Bible.

    Surely even Darwin would agree that once you decide the Bible is not true – and evolutionism is true – then distrusting the text is very logical. I too would agree that you are taking a logic step at that point.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  83. pauluc: I accept the Adventist understanding of scripture as being the writings of holy men and they were moved by the spirit of God. They were not verbally inspired and scripture is not inerrant (something the 28 fundamentals does not support although it clearly does not explicitly reject it). I do not at all accept that the bible is authoritative on history and science.

    Having deleted FB #6 from your list of beliefs you now go after FB #1??!!

    As Darwin said of all of this – once you start down that road – tossing Christianity out the window entirely is the only logical course of action. Apparently our friend over there running pharyngula agrees with Darwin on that point.

    You end up at best agnostic and at worst atheist.

    Surely you have to give Darwin some credit for figuring that one out.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  84. I thought this was an interesting and revealing Blog, by someone at “free thought blog”:

    “I am a student at an Adventist college in California. I’d like to make a few observations…”

    “1) These results should be viewed with the knowledge that the vast majority of students at Walla Walla University and other Adventist colleges come through the Adventist “education” system. To put this in perspective, at the two Adventist high schools I attended, I was the only student I knew who questioned young earth creationism to any degree.”

    “2) Considering that an overwhelming majority of incoming students at Adventist colleges are already brainwashed to a large degree against mainstream science, the science faculty at our schools face the daunting task of undoing the works of 12 years of so-called “education.” Speaking to some of the faculty at my school, its a wonder they don’t give up in frustration seeing the impossible task they face.”

    [So the science faculty at “our schools” see their task as “undoing the work of 12 years” of Adventist education!? But, hey, you have to admire their determination to destroy the vestiges of Adventism in their charges. “They don’t give up,” says this student.]

    “3) I know for a fact that four years of college DOES in fact make students more likely to believe in mainstream science. You see this play-out regularly when you compare the views of seniors and freshmen in college. If you were to do a survey seeing the change in views each year of college, you would see a significant shift towards mainstream science. In fact, when this survey was done at WWU, I know on background that the newspaper wanted to split responses up by class year, but the administration did not want to provide proof that the university was making students more likely to accept mainstream science.”

    [You also have to admire the administrators at our colleges; they’re remarkably clever at covering up how anti-Adventist “Adventist” higher education has become.]

    And this, from a different blogger, is also interesting:

    “I used to be a seventh day adventist, so glad I am out of that delusion. The odd thing is that many “sevvies” actually know much of the science that the earth is old etc, that there really is evidence for Evolution etc, but they just can’t believe it. Their entire worldview, their raïson d’etré is based on a literal six day creation. Once you realize the literal Adam and eve, garden, snake , fall story is factually incorrect, mere myth the whole house of cards collapses. ie, Jesus, if he ever existed , could not “redeem” a non existent fall, etc.”

    You seldom have to worry about the ex-Adventists who are openly ex-Adventist. They don’t need to lie and so they usually just go ahead and tell the truth. It is those who still have their noses in the Adventist trough who lie and pretend that Darwinism is somehow compatible with Adventism.




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  85. Honest question said…..

    “It is to explain Doctrine without Christ. At least I think we can agree that doctrine is simply a tool for the illumination of Christ, but like any man made object, it should be evaluated and fixed when it appears to ignore relevant information. We build our faith on solid ground (Christ), not shifting sand (Doctrine).”

    Well, I guess I consider this a convoluted reasoning. I don’t consider bible doctrine as “shifting sand” as you apparently do.

    And it seems Jesus did not either when He began to explain about Himself to two disciples on their way home….

    “Beginning at Moses and the prophets, He explained all the scriptures concerning Himself…..”

    So, in my understanding, no one knows who Jesus is without bible doctrine and Jesus appealed to this system as well.

    So, I guess I would ask again, “How do you know who Jesus is without bible doctrine?”

    Your so-called foundation could easily be your immagination.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen: In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says that he came to fulfill the law and prophets. Who do you worship? Is it the Bible, or the God of the Bible. The 6 day creation week or the creator.

      The bible is not all equal in content and import. Christ and Him crucified is the core message for us as Christians. The ancillary material found elsewhere is important, but not of such import to lose sight of Christ.

      If a foundation of Christ is imaginary. I guess my faith fails. Should not yours?

      A technique used in finding cause/effect is asking 5 whys. If you can ask yourself 5 whys about the bible or the church or doctrine without ending up and Jesus you have lost sight of what is important.

      Honest believers can have differences of opinion, as you and I clearly do. Your call for ex-communication is dangerous for the development and growth of the church. How can you be so confident in your interpretation of scripture when the roots of our church were based on incorrect interpretation (1844)?




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  86. For Bill et al I think the central issue is the ability for the church to define it’s doctrine. With a healthy dose (in my opinion) of the paranoia that “evil liberals” are out to forbid the church that ability. I think for what most here are calling “liberals” the issue is the desire to connect with larger community despite ideological differences. like conservatives, “Liberals” do not want other people defining religion and spirituality for them. Most here see teh bible as a signed and notarized text directly from God and an infallible prescription for life and spirituality. I see things differently, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find value in the book, or in fellowship. Believe it or not, I don’t believe that others who believe in the book are patently ridiculous. I think they’re doing the best they can and it’s a worthy struggle. I do however find that squabbling for the moral high ground to be a little silly. Naturally this squabbling is something that I myself maybe guilty of. Conservatives like to point out the “in 6 days god made heaven and earth” bit of the 10 commandments, but this is far less important to me than the simple moral precepts inherent to the texts. It doesn’t matter to me if it 6 days or 6 billion years (this is older than the age of the earth just in case anyone was counting), god still created it. It still has moral authority. Does it bother me that the 10 commandments were based on the code of Hammurabi and other Mesopotamian powers in the area as opposed to divine inspiration on mount Sinai? Nope. However, it probably bothers conservatives who value the myth over the substance. to a “liberal” such as myself these codes have guided human behavior for literally thousands of years and deserve the respect and admiration of such an important and useful code in culture, history, and contemporary life. If you want to teach your kids a code for behavior it’s hard to go wrong with the Decalogue. Don’t kill, steal, lie, covet, or break marriage vows. Respect parents, honor god, etc etc. Everything else is the prattle of philosophy and hardly worthy of a jihad.




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  87. Re honest question’s quote

    “At least I think we can agree that doctrine is simply a tool for the illumination of Christ, but like any man made object, it should be evaluated and fixed when it appears to ignore relevant information.”

    Re Bill’s Quote

    “So, I guess I would ask again, “How do you know who Jesus is without bible doctrine?”

    Re The Holy Spirit

    “Galatians 5:22-23

    New International Version (NIV)

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

    Hello Bill and honest question

    Hypothetical: Let’s say all the bibles and commentary on same were destroyed (evil secular bookburner comes to power). Would the presence of the Holy Spirit still inform Man’s heart about Jesus?

    Second question: does the Holy Spirit influence non Adventists?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  88. honest question: Who do you worship? Is it the Bible, or the God of the Bible. The 6 day creation week or the creator.

    I love this set of questions. I think there is a very real threat of turning the bible into an idol to be worshiped rather than a guide. We are trying to understand the human journey, to that end the bible is useful, and useless to any other. (I’m using 2 Tim 3:16,17 as my backup on this)




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  89. Sean
    It seems maybe we are not so far apart. At least we agree on the nature of inspiration and that the Bible is not inerrant. I can entirely endorse your statements;

    ” None of this is to suggest that God revealed all the details of what happened to the authors of the Bible. God did not dictate the wording of the Biblical texts. What happened is that God showed the author of the Genesis account (Moses) what happened from a limited perspective. Moses saw the “movie”, if you will, of creation and simply wrote down what he saw as best as he could explain it from his limited perspective.” …………..

    “In the same way, the description of creation week is still valid even though the perspective of the observer was limited. It doesn’t matter that the observer didn’t understand everything that was happening. The observations that were recorded of a real event are still valid. For example, its very hard for anyone, even a young child, to get the concept of “evenings and mornings” wrong. The observation that “It got light and then it got dark and then it got light again.” is very hard to get wrong.”

    Where we appear to differ is that I do not think that the writer of Genesis was working in a vaccum. If it was Moses then I think he did have an oral tradition perhaps derived or at least influenced by his ancestors migrating from mesopotamia and an education in the courts of Egypt.
    Further he did not have the framework to even conceive of a natural science for understanding the world based on experiment and hypothesis testing or a mechanism of natural biological creation discovered as it was in the 19th century. To pretend that history or culture does not matter is to go back to a prescientific view of God. This was the entire point of my original post. No-one, fundamentalist or christian with understanding of scientific process really does this. We all interpret. At least be honest is saying we do not understand the way the original writers or hearers did.

    “As far as basic concepts of biological intelligent design are concerned in literature, you can’t do much better than Signature in the Cell by Steven Meyer or his 2004 paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington entitled, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories”.

    My own ideas add only slightly to those already published in literature. This isn’t a problem of the basic ideas in play not being published. This is a problem of mainstream science not wanting to recognize the implications of these ideas because the consequences are so devastating to NeoDarwinism and naturalism in general.”

    I am really staggered that you think that Stephen Myers book or the paper were exhaustive of thought and application of intelligent design and am concerned after all you have written in the lay press you do not seem to understand the real nature of science or knowledge derived therefrom.

    I have not read the book but I have been through the paper in some detail and as a frequent reviewer of scientific manuscripts I can only concurr with those that have questioned the quality or nature of the peer review that allowed this poorly written chatty paper to be published as a scientific contribution. Richard Sternberg’s lack of appreciation of conflict of interest was clearly a factor in this process but the peer reviewers have never been identified and their decision justified. How often is the memoirs of a robber baron like Bill Gates cited in a real peer reviewed publication in a scientific journal? Anecdote and poorly drawn analogies have no place in a scientific “review”. What journal will accept a citation of an unpublished thesis? Of the 148 references 39% are from the peer reviewed literature and only 15.5% are primary literature the rest almost 25% of the citations are reviews. Thus 85% of the citations in the paper are from books or reviews. Creating metadata predominantly from metadata has very little role in the scientific literature.

    The argument from ignorance, the premise that if I do not have a mechanistic explanation for a phenomena therefore it must have arisen by miracle is really the antithesis of science and understanding the physical world. That is the God of the gaps argument. The explanation of a currently inexplicable observation. How much of the physical world and how many therapeutic interventions in medicine would we understand if we made this a core premise of science. Evidently you do not work this way either for if you did you would in your publications in pathology say that the probability of the rare tumour in one particular patient is so unlikely that it could only be explained by non-natural mechanisms or supernatural perhaps a judgement from the Gods and there is no point looking for some mechanism underlying the process. Of course that is preposterous for any study of the physical world. Despite our protestations and claims our own practices as evidence based physicians eviscerates the intelligent design concept as science.

    In accepting that you do not think you can add anything to what Stephen Meyer has written are you saying that you agree with him on the timing of the cambian explosion? If not surely you can critique his interpretation with data of your own. Once again I can only suggest that if you want scientific credibility you need to submit to the peer reviewed literature.




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    • @pauluc:

      You’re certainly welcome to your opinion that Moses didn’t not actually get his vision directly from God, but from the legends of cultures around him. Yet, he claims to have spoken face to face with God in a very direct manner. On top of this, he wrote Genesis in a manner suggesting Divine authority or the Divine origin of the information written – an account that he intended his readers to take literally as true history inspired by God Himself. Now, Either Moses was a liar, or insane, or honestly deluded, or he was who he said he was – a prophet directly inspired by God as few have ever been. The same goes for Mrs. White. She also says that she was shown, in a vision from God, that the creation week of Genesis was the same as any other week since that time – i.e., seven literal days.

      Let’s suppose that these “prophets” were really no more inspired by God than anyone else who’s written a good novel or moral fable. Ok, so why give the Bible or Christianity any more credibility than agnosticism or atheism? Why believe in the existence of God at all? I know, you have your own personal metaphysical experiences with God. If so, why do you read the Bible at all to gain any knowledge of God? – since you have your own personal experience to depend on, what more does a book filled with nothing but moral fables give you?

      As far as a “God of the Gaps” argument goes and my understanding of science in general, please, by all means, do tell me how sciences like forensic science, anthropology, and SETI hope to distinguish true artifact from the products of mindless natural processes? I’ve asked you this very simple question several times before, but you keep avoiding it. Why is that? Do you really think that the detection of deliberately designed artifacts is beyond the realm of scientific detection? Really? Please… who’s the one who doesn’t understand scientific methodologies here?

      By the way, I’ve published a few papers in medical journals and know a little bit about how publishing works. For those who read a lot of medical and science papers, it’s quite clear that a paper doesn’t have to be stellar or even all that Earth-shattering to be published in most science journals. So, you’d think it would be relatively easy to get something published in at least some science journals regarding the obvious limits of the Darwinian mechanism. After all, many scientists know of the serious creative limitations of RM/NS. It’s no secret. However, after what happened to Sternberg, do you honestly think any paper even hinting at supporting ID for any biological system is going to get published? – anywhere? You have your head in the sand my friend… and I suggest you at least read Meyers book. A short paper isn’t enough to do justice to the history and concepts behind the science of intelligent design regarding certain features of biosystems – specifically the high levels of functional complexity that exist in all living things…

      If you won’t read his book or even my own arguments which I’ve published in my website and in my own little book, then please at least try and respond to my simple question: How do sciences that do in fact strive to distinguish intelligently produced artifacts from the products of mindless nature actually hope to achieve this feat? How do forensic scientists, anthropologists, and even SETI scientists hope to be successful? What scientific argument do they employ? And, can this argument be universally applied?

      It’s a simple question…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  90. Mack Ramsey: We are trying to understand the human journey, to that end the bible is useful, and useless to any other.

    I suppose there are a number of atheists and agnostics that could sign up for that idea as well. But not many SDAs.

    Because the Bible is the “Word of God” not merely the “best efforts of well-intentioned men living in pre-science cultures” the way you seem to imagine.

    This point is made beyond dispute in 2Tim 3:16-17 and 2Peter 1:20-21.

    And for those who like to make sure that Ellen White received messages on a given topic in harmony with with the Word of God – we have –

    The Scriptures are to be received as God’s word to us, not written merely, but spoken. When the afflicted ones came to Christ, He beheld not only those who asked for help, but all who throughout the ages should come to Him in like need and with like faith. When He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee”; when He said to the woman of Capernaum, “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace,” He spoke to other afflicted, sin-burdened ones who should seek His help. {FLB 9.4}
    So with all the promises of God’s Word. In them He is speaking to us individually, speaking as directly as if we could listen to His voice. It is in these promises that Christ communicates to us His grace and power. They are leaves from that tree which is “for the healing of the nations.” Received, assimilated, they are to be the strength of the character, the inspiration and sustenance of the life.
    {FLB 9.5}

    Does the path dictated by apostasy tend to downgrade/downsize/dismiss the Word of God?

    Possibly so –

    It is Satan’s plan to weaken the faith of God’s people in the Testimonies. Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position, then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and then the downward march to perdition. When the Testimonies, which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction.–4T 211. {LDE 178.2}

    So fine – it is one thing for Bible believing Christians to say this about the T.E. line of thinking – but what is that much more impressive is that apparently the T.E’s themselves are more than happy to post on this board – and demonstrate the veracity of the predictions found in that quote above.

    Hats off to them for doing so.

    See? Who says we must always differ!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  91. Dear Sean and Wes

    Perhaps we are using different radios but ‘tuned’ to the same timeless channel?

    Working on filtering out the static, I remain….

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  92. Sean Pitman: Now, Either Moses was a liar, or insane, or honestly deluded, or he was who he said he was – a prophet directly inspired by God as few have ever been

    Or whatever was originally said has been lost to time and history and what remains are copies of copies that have been passed through the generations, added and expounded upon, filtered by each succeeding culture until they passed into myth and legend. There was almost certainly a Moses as there was almost certainly a king Arthur. But what remains bears little resemblance to historical fact. There doesn’t have to be only three options. Something C.S. Lewis should definitely had known if he was half the scholar that christiandom thinks he was.

    BobRyan: Does the path dictated by apostasy tend to downgrade/downsize/dismiss the Word of God?

    Who’s downgrading or dismissing the Word of God? By seeking a true understanding of the historical and cultural journey the book has taken through the eons and the multiplicity of understandings it’s gone through by definition elevates it to a place of unique value. Otherwise how does the bible differ from any other religious tome blindly followed by ignorant masses. By the logic of many here the Quran and many others are just as valid. Or are you suggesting that Muhammad and others are just as evil, insane, or truthful as the bible writers? If the bible doesn’t teach you more about the world then it is useless. If you use it as an excuse to remain in ignorance then you have done yourself and the religion you purport to follow an extreme disservice. Only those with extreme skepticism can honor their religion.




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    • @Mack Ramsey:

      Ah yes, the “copies of copies” argument. It’s funny how this argument is not used to discredit the existence and adventures of someone like Alexander the Great – even though the earliest written records of his life were not produced until three centuries after he died. In this light, C.S. Lewis was right on target since the earliest written records we have of the life of Jesus were written by those who personally knew him within a few decades of his death. We have manuscripts from within 100 years of his death.

      Note also that archeological evidence has shown that the Hebrew Scriptures have not changed in any appreciable way in thousands of years despite being copied over and over again. Very special care and ceremony was taken in their transcription and preservation.

      And, for SDAs in particular, we have the modern testimony of Mrs. White who also claims to have been directly inspired by God regarding the Genesis account… claiming that it was in fact a literal six-day creation week just as Moses claimed.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: That is probably true, but then I would encourage you to develop the same sort of healthy skepticism that historians and archaeologists have even when it comes to alexandre the great. And yes New Testament has roughly contemporary sources, old testament isn’t even close roughly 500-600BCE give or take 100 years depending on who’s theory you like best. The oldest intact scriptures we have only date from the first or second century BCE. Further the eye witness accounts of the new testament don’t speak to the issue. They obviously never witnessed creation and I’m perfectly willing to accept the premise the author’s of the new testament conveyed their experiences to the best of their ability. But I’d like to challenge this idea that you want to use eye witness sources as the backbone for your belief. We know today that eye witness have atrocious reliability. But not only that but you must then give equal weight to all the miracles that we may not believe in. The Catholic church is replete with eye witness miracles that support their doctrine. By your logic, their saints and martyrs are then just as valid as Ellen White. And you have the eye witness accounts of all the other major (and minor) religions. Relying solely on eye witness accounts creates parity between our religion with theirs.




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        • @Mack Ramsey:

          The point is that archeology has demonstrated that Scripture has not changed, over thousands of years, because of repeated copying (contrary to your original claim and jab at C.S. Lewis).

          Also, archeology has shown that the Bible is the most reliable ancient text around when it comes to a correct description of ancient peoples, times, places, dates, and events. No other record is nearly as reliable and consistent as the Bible has proven to be. It is the Bible that has proven true, time and again, in the face of the theories of “higher critics” that have consistently proven false over time…

          These facts add a significant degree of credibility to the Bible regarding those claims that cannot be directly tested.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Mack Ramsey:
      Mack Ramsey: I think there is a very real threat of turning the bible into an idol to be worshiped rather than a guide. We are trying to understand the human journey, to that end the bible is useful, and useless to any other. (I’m using 2 Tim 3:16,17 as my backup on this)

      That is a far cry from 2Tim 3 which says that “ALL scripture is given by inspiration from God” — so not at all limited to something like “the best efforts of well-intended men living in prescience cultures”.

      3Tim3 says the Bible is to be used for Doctrine and Correction. in Act 17:11 it even judges the veracity of the teaching of Paul.

      It is “The Word of God” according to the quotes I provided and Peter says “Holy men of old moved by the Holy Spirit – spoke from GOD”. 2Peter 1:20-21

      Mac said:
      Who’s downgrading or dismissing the Word of God? By seeking a true understanding of the historical and cultural journey the book has taken through the eons and the multiplicity of understandings it’s gone through by definition elevates it to a place of unique value. Otherwise how does the bible differ from any other religious tome blindly followed by ignorant masses.

      Your statement was that the Bible is only to be used as some kind of data telling us about mankind in the past – and that using it for anything else is wrong.

      But God says that it is the bread of life – that we live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. And the quotes I provided show that this is considered “God speaking to you”.

      The Bible claims its statements are “The Word of God” – living and active and sharper than a two edged sword.

      This goes wayyyy beyond your minimalist We are trying to understand the human journey, to that end the bible is useful, and useless to any other

      in Christ,

      Bob




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  93. “How can you be so confident in your interpretation of scripture when the roots of our church were based on incorrect interpretation (1844)?”

    You liberals just don’t get it, do you?

    Any church has a right to decide what to teach and discipline anyone who does not agree and support that teaching. It simply does not matter a single whit if what they teach is right or wrong.

    The church can teach everyone must stand on their head to be saved.

    The church can teach we must worship EGW.

    The church can teach the bible is not valid as you liberals do.

    In short, the church can define anything it pleases, right or wrong, and demand that any and all who want to be members must adhere to that teaching.

    Hello!!!!! Are you awake???? If so, is your brain functioning?

    The issue is not whether any church is right or wrong. The issue is whether a church has the right to define itself.

    You liberals say, “NO”. “The church must teach whatever we decide is true, and if the church does not agree, it must still allow us to teach as we please.”

    I personally don’t see how any sane individual could demand such a blatant denial of religious freedom for the church.
    You simply have the spirit of Rome that claims no one can teach anything unless Rome says so.

    This is the liberal position. It is not the SDA position. It is not the bible position, it is not the position of any sane individual who lives in the USA.

    I would paraphrase Goldstein who would say “Hit the road if you don’t like what we believe and teach.”

    You are free to get out, before we put you out. And no SDA has a desire that anyone would leave the church. But this principle is non-negotiable. If you don’t believe in us…..leave. We have a right to teach as we please, and you have no right to demand freedom to oppose it and stay a member.

    How thick can you get?

    Bill Sorensen




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  94. Hello Bill and honest question

    Hypothetical: Let’s say all the bibles and commentary on same were destroyed (evil secular bookburner comes to power). Would the presence of the Holy Spirit still inform Man’s heart about Jesus?

    Second question: does the Holy Spirit influence non Adventists?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    For your first question, the answer is “no”, we would have way of determining if “the spirit” was of the devil, or, of God.

    And the second question is “yes”, God works through nature and human experience as well as society and some aspects of God and His kingdom are retained down through history, even by heathen nations.

    As time goes along, without the bible and its continual influence on society, even these secondary means of grace would eventually have no viable meaning as they are constantly changing by way of satanic influences on society.

    If true Christanity is eventually blotted out, then satan will eventually have complete and total control of what ever is left of humanity. Will this happen? No. God Himself has preserved His word and will continue to preserve it as a testimony against sin and satan’s kingdom.

    Of course, if he can get people like the liberals to claim it is not valid and everyone believes it, then satan can accomplish the same goal.

    God raised up bible Adventism to preserve His word and at least some will do so and continue to do so until Jesus comes.

    Bill Sorensen




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  95. Bill Sorensen: The issue is not whether any church is right or wrong. The issue is whether a church has the right to define itself.

    Actually if the church is wrong about something, as it often is, then it IS an issue. I’m sure we can all recall instances when that has happened and continues to happen. And it is only yourself that is calling free discussion a “blatant denial of religious freedom”. Weak ad hominem attacks will not strengthen your conservative principles. You’re forgetting this is not “us and them” it’s just us. We’re family. We don’t always agree or get along, but we don’t dissolve the family just because others don’t live up to your narrow definition of purity. For a healthy group, or a healthy church there MUST be room for discussion. I don’t agree or even like everything you say, but I’m not going to tell you to shut up and do it my way because I believe that there is room for mutual understanding, even on a forum designed to attack fully one half the church if not more. How can you say the correctness of a church teaching is not an issue, it absolutely is an issue. Ellen White, a woman we respect and admire, grew in her spiritual beliefs and understandings. She admitted her faults and she NEVER attained a state of perfection. She was inspired not holy. The church has a long way to go but we’re not going to get there by attacking each other.




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    • @Mack Ramsey:

      The church is both a family and a government. All are welcome to worship with the church body who wish to come. However, not all are capable of effectively representing the primary goals and ideals of the church as an organization. Therefore, the church must be most selective in who it does and does not hire as a paid representative.

      For example, I dearly love my mother, but I wouldn’t hire her to do heart surgery in my hospital. Loving each other as a family does not mean that all are therefore equipped to represent the family in all capacities where the family may be involved.

      As another example, all Christians, Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, etc., are part of the larger Christian family who recognize Jesus as the Savior of mankind. However, this does not mean that I can effectively represent the interests of the Catholic Church or that the Pope could effectively represent all of the primary interests of the Adventist Church.

      It’s nothing personal. It’s not necessarily and issue of salvation. It is, however, an issue of church order, organization, and government. Without some rules of government by which all hired representatives must abide, there simply would be no unique organization. It would all fragment into unrecognizable chaos and dissolve into non-existence.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean Pitman: It is, however, an issue of church order, organization, and government. Without some rules of government by which all hired representatives must abide, there simply would be no unique organization.

        Rules can easily change when they no longer serve the constituent body when they become antithetical to order. And it’s the worst sort of bad faith to fire someone for doing the job you’ve hired them to do. To use your example, if you paid your heart surgeon many thousands of dollars you wouldn’t then fire him because his advice contradicted your mother’s. If your students, teachers, and professionals are telling you one thing, it is irresponsible not to listen.




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        • @Mack Ramsey:

          You’d be right on the money if everyone was in fact doing what they were hired to do. The fact is that they aren’t doing what they were hired to do. They were specifically instructed to teach and/or preach in line with the fundamental goals and ideals of their employer. The General Conference Executive Committee at the 2004 Annual Council had asked all professors in SDA schools to also present the SDA perspective on origins in all classrooms:

          “We call on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins. We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation, even as they are educated to understand and assess competing philosophies of origins that dominate scientific discussion in the contemporary world.”

          If certain employees cannot do this, they are the ones who are acting in bad faith against their employer’s clearly stated wishes. And, since they aren’t doing what they were hired to do, the employer is on both the legal and moral high ground to remove them from their employment.

          The same is true of a heart surgeon who is discovered, after being hired by the hospital, to be doing surgeries contrary to hospital-established protocols. If that surgeon refuses to abide by hospital rules, it doesn’t matter if that surgeon is or is not my mother or any other member of my family, that surgeon must be removed from employment by the hospital.

          That’s how the real world works. Real viable organizations must maintain internal order and government.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  96. Sean: For example, its very hard for anyone, even a young child, to get the concept of “evenings and mornings” wrong. The observation that “It got light and then it got dark and then it got light again.” is very hard to get wrong.”

    pauluc:
    Where we appear to differ is that I do not think that the writer of Genesis was working in a vaccum. If it was Moses then I think he did have an oral tradition perhaps derived or at least influenced by his ancestors

    No – where you two “appear to differ” is that one person claims that God divinely shows Moses – the 7 day week of creation week that He also chose again to show 1000’s of years later as we find it in 3SG90-91. So in the one model – it is God making these people eye witnesses to the event – and in your model all they are doing is sifting through babylonian myths to come up with something that they like – as best they can.

    Moses presents an anti-Babylonian monotheistic message about one God who created the stars, the sun, the moon, the earth and all of life. A literal 7 day week where mankind is directly created by that one God in a sinless deathless environment – and the 7th is made holy.

    And Moses, the Babylonians and the Egyptians are all descendants of Noah. A scant 900 years prior to his writing. Which is another point that Moses brings out.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  97. Mack said…..

    “Actually if the church is wrong about something, as it often is, then it IS an issue. I’m sure we can all recall instances when that has happened and continues to happen. And it is only yourself that is calling free discussion a “blatant denial of religious freedom”. Weak ad hominem attacks will not strengthen your conservative principles. You’re forgetting this is not “us and them” it’s just us. We’re family.”

    I am sorry, Mack. There comes a point when we are not “family” and it is “us and them”. And that is when the “family” must decide to act to discipline what it may consider rebellion.

    Luther understood this clearly. He soon saw it was “me or them” and the church felt the same way about Luther.

    Just so, Mack, both you and “the church” must decide at some point when this is a reality. If the church decides you are advocating errors outside the churches’ stated beliefs, then they have an obligation to deal with you accordingly.

    This is why we elect leaders who we consider qualifed to deal with such an issue. So, a local church will bring your name, or mine, or anyone elses up for consideration and if there is no harmony, the person must either leave on their own accord, or, the church must act to disfellowship you, or me, or anyone else they consider does not represent the body.

    Traditionally, most individuals who held your views against the stated church doctrine simply left of their own accord.
    Kellogg, Canright, Conradi, and even A.T. Jones all eventually left, knowing they did not and could not embrace historic SDA positions.

    After EGW’s death, the liberal element began to come in more and more and since the Dr. Ford fiasco, no one generally leaves and no one is disciplined either.

    Some do leave. They are the honest Christian people who have some integrity and don’t want to mis-represent the church, and they don’t want people to think the church represents them. You will find more than a few of these individuals over on Spectrum and/or A-today.

    Now I confess, the church is in a major identity crisis. And no one knows exactly how it will all play out. Every wind of doctrine is blowing in the church. Had responsible individuals been in positions of administration, we would not even be discussing the creation/evolution issues as well as many other issues that are non-negotiable and should have been dealt with, with zero tolerance.

    And the liberals don’t want to “discuss” issues, they want to attack fundamental doctrines and change them. The only discussion is whether the church will continue to allow it.

    I’m not sure it can be stopped at this point, since it has been going on so long and those who were responsible to do something about it, didn’t. It may be too late. “The family” as you explain it will split. I guess the only question now is this, “Who is going to go, and who is going to stay?” In other words, who will eventually control the church.

    Finally, Mack, make no mistake, we are not just “going to get along” because the issues are non-negotiable and not subject to change for some of us.

    We conservatives don’t think the liberals are a “Martin Luther” movement to correct the church. We think you are a bunch of rebels who think they will reform the church, but are actually destroying it by false doctrine.

    In which case, there can only be a split. We hold the bible as infallible. You hold the bible is less than fully authoritive. And this will make the difference in the end.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen: Just to be clear, you’ve equated me and all other so called liberals with the Devil, implying of course that you and your ilk are what? God? Holy Angels? Infallible saints? I am not a devil and you are not infallible. To even claim such even in metaphor is blasphemy. To reject compassion and tolerance toward your neighbors is apostasy and a far greater apostasy than puerile accusations of apostasy liberals may suffer. To seek a purge in the ranks of everyone who’s opinion differs from yours is self-destructive. To ignore the advise and wisdom of experts is childish. To retain an inflexible, stagnant philosophy is a choice you can not force onto others. With one breath you accuse the minority of subjecting it’s beliefs onto you, the next you claim a special mandate to make the church conform to your image of what it should be regardless of the wishes of the majority. I believe you are right in one respect who will control the church is an important question. Personally I think God controls the church and the changes we are seeing are divinely inspired. I certianly don’t see sputtering hatred and intolerance reflected in the fruits of the spirit. Unless of course you think the church is run by the devil in which case you should leave for the sake of your own soul. I mean either god is in control, or the devil and if the devil is in control then it’s no place for godly men. If god is in control then you should submit to his divine will. And this is beside the point but I’m really very amused that you consider any discussion of change to be an aggressive “attack”.




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