What does it take to be a true Seventh-day Adventist?

By: Sean Pitman

 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Bible-believing Christian Church that wishes to promote a Christ-like character and lifestyle.  Does this therefore mean that all it takes to be a representative of the SDA Church is the simple recognition of Jesus as one’s personal Friend and Savior?

Some have suggested that this is in fact the case.  That nothing further is needed to gain salvation or to be an effective member of the Adventist Church as an organization – that acceptance of various doctrinal positions and other details really isn’t that important when it comes to being a “Seventh-day Adventist”.

However, consider that a great many non-Adventist individuals and organizations are committed to and take on the name of Jesus Christ – like the Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Mormons (LDS), etc. However, as surprising as it may sound to some, the simple criterion of being committed to one’s own personal view of Jesus Christ my not, by itself, qualify one as being an effective representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Now, this isn’t to say that being committed to Jesus Christ and His example, as detailed in the Bible, isn’t a good thing. It’s a very very good thing and the motive of love behind such a decision is the very basis of salvation. However, even being in a saving relationship with Jesus, by itself, is not enough to qualify an individual as an effective representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in particular.

The Adventist Church takes on basic Christianity as well as an additional mission – a mission which includes upholding before the world some 28 doctrinal beliefs which the church considers “fundamental” or crucial to its primary goal of spreading the Gospel message of a solid Hope during these last days of Earth’s history.

Now, one may be saved without being a part of the Adventist mission or church. In fact, the vast majority of people who will be saved in Heaven one day will no doubt never have even heard of Seventh-day Adventists. So, this isn’t really an issue of salvation in and of itself. It is an issue of appropriately representing the primary goals and mission of an organization as that organization defines itself.

But what if one’s own personal mission is not in line with the “fundamental” goals and ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as an organization? How can such an individual effectively represent the Adventist Church?  Of course, not being in line with the primary goals and ideals of the Adventist Church doesn’t mean that such a person is necessarily good or bad or outside of the saving love and grace of God. It just means that such an individual cannot effectively represent all that the Seventh-day Adventist Church stands for. Without first being in line with the fundamental goals of any organization, all efforts to represent or promote the organization would be counterproductive.

That is why it would be much better, and far more honest, for those who find that their own personal goals and ideals are no longer in line with those of the church to take on a label that more accurately represents their own world view… rather than trying to infiltrate and undermine the church’s primary goals and ideals from within by taking on a false appearance or false label of “Seventh-day Adventist”.

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153 thoughts on “What does it take to be a true Seventh-day Adventist?

  1. Yes, I agree.

    Luke 13:23-30 is sobering:

    23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”

    And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”

    Lord, please keep that from happening to me!




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  2. Dear Sean,
    Can a person be in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, and not believe His teachings? I do not think so.
    John chapter six is an extended discussion about the body and blood of Christ as being essential to a relationship with Him, and for salvation. This discussion concludes with this verse: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
    As a missionary in Africa, I understand that many will be saved who do not and cannot understand many of the teachings of the church, though sometimes we are surprised with the knowledge and spirit these dear people show.
    Those who have the capability to understand, and have the opportunity to know the doctrines are in a much different position. I believe that a person is expected to understand and believe the doctrines of Christ to the full extent of his capability.
    An end time issue is to show that grace is sufficient to save, and to restore in men the image of God. Th will be exemplified in the 144,000 who show in a special way that Jesus did not die in vain.




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    • I agree. The whole point of the endtime message of the Bible and reiterated by Ellen White is that there is a call to Babylon to “come out” and become one with the remnant church which we believe is the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is no longer “believe only” and be saved excepting for those, such as you pointed out, who for one reason or another are not capable of a full understanding. But we are promised that the good news of the gospel which is also a call out of Babylon will reach the whole world and leave all without excuse if they knowingly reject it. The beautiful truth is that God’s people will one day, soon I hope, become one in spirit, in truth, and in doctrine! Hasten on, glad day! Then He will come to take His beloved home to His Father’s house. He is anxious for that day, are we?




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    • @Hubert F. Sturges:

      Those who have the capability to understand, and have the opportunity to know the doctrines are in a much different position. I believe that a person is expected to understand and believe the doctrines of Christ to the full extent of his capability.

      I certainly agree with this statement. However, only God can know the state of a person’s heart or what they have or are truly capable of comprehending or understanding about the truths presented in the Bible (or even the Divine origin and authority of the Bible). I believe that there are many honestly confused people outside of Adventism, outside of Christianity, and even outside of an understanding of God’s existence.

      Such can be saved given that they are honestly living up to all of the light that they have been given to consciously appreciate and understand.

      Salvation really isn’t so much about correct knowledge, but about a love of what little truth one has been given to know. After all, the devils know the Truth, and tremble, but they do not love the Truth.

      This is why it has not been given to us to judge the true moral state or heart of a person. Such judgement is left up to God.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • Your reply brings to mind Rev. 18:1 and two statements by Ellen White in COL p.415.
        “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory”. God’s glory is His character and Ellen White states in COL, “It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth.”

        God’s “truth” is to be made known as well as His goodness and mercy. He is coming back to take to Himself a bride who has “grown up” from a child into an adult (a final generation, the 144,000) in whose hearts and minds the New Covenant promise has been fulfilled and they will not only have the “faith of Jesus” but through it will be enabled to “keep His commandments” joyfully! It is true, as a church we have gone through an evolving of truth which not only includes His goodness and mercy but the great truths or doctrines taught in Scripture. At this outpouring of the latter rain, the final generation will be truly “lightened with His glory”, in mind, body, and spirit, ready to meet Him whom they adore. May we aspire and long to be part of that group which will honor Him at His coming.




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  3. Sean, this is a wonderful article! It makes my heart cry when I think of how diluted and watered down the Seventh-day Adventist truths have become to so many in our precious church. And I agree with you 100 percent that those members who do not fully embrace our fundamental beliefs should seek their religion elsewhere. So many of our members belittle the meaning of God’s Word or try to reinterpret the meanings to suit their own agenda. Please God, give us strength in these last days to cling to Your every Word and to take it litterally. Keep us faithful, holy and pure.




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  4. Thanks for sending me this well written article. My personal observation is that if one’s simple recognition of Jesus as one’s personal Friend and Savior is genuine, they will also fully fully embrace our fundamental beliefs, including the standards that have been sadly let down by nominal SDA’s. Carroll Graybeal




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  5. “The doctrine of the Trinity which was established in the church by the council of Nice, A. D. 325. This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The infamous measures by which it was forced upon the church which appear upon the pages of ecclesiastical history might well cause every believer in that doctrine to blush.” {J. N. Andrews, Review & Herald, March 6, 1855} Can I be an SDA if I believe like J.N. Andrews? I believe in the Bible rather than a creed as now stated in the 28 fundamental beliefs. These beliefs back in 1872 did not include the trinity and they were not even called beliefs, they were called principles.




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    • @HOFFMAN:

      The Trinity and changing views over time in the SDA Church:

      It is a historical fact that the understanding of our SDA Church pioneers changed over time. For example, In 1846 James White referred to “the old unscriptural trinitarian creed, viz., that Jesus is the eternal God.” (The Day Star, Jan. 21, 1846.) But in 1876 he wrote that “S. D. Adventists hold the divinity of Christ so nearly with the Trinitarians, that we apprehend no trial here.” (Review and Herald, Oct 12, 1876). And a year later he declared his belief in the equality of the Son with the Father and condemned any view as erroneous that “makes Christ inferior to the Father.” (Review and Herald, Nov. 29, 1877, p. 72.)

      Consider also that in 1896 W. W. Prescott wrote,

      As Christ was twice born, once in eternity, the only begotten of the Father, and again in the flesh, thus uniting the divine with the human in that second birth, so we, who have been born once already in the flesh, are to have the second birth, being born again in the Spirit …” (Review and Herald, April 14, 1896, 232.)

      Twenty three years later at the 1919 Bible Conference, during a discussion on the divinity of Christ, Prescott changed his mind and admitted,

      “I was in the same place that Brother Daniells was, and was taught the same things [that Christ was the beginning of God’s creative work, that to speak of the third person of the Godhead or of the trinity was heretical] by authority, and without doing my own thinking or studying I suppose [sic] I was right. But I found out something different.” (1919 Bible Conference Transcripts, July 6, 1919, 58.)

      When Prescott raised the question, “Can we believe in the deity of Christ without believing in the eternity of Christ?” One of the participants answered, “I have done so for years.” To this Prescott replied,

      “That is my very point — that we have used terms in that accommodating sense that are not really in harmony with Scriptural teaching.

      We believed a long time that Christ was a created being, In spite of what the Scripture says. I say this, that passing over the experience I have passed over myself in this matter — this accommodating use of terms which makes the Deity without eternity, is not my conception now of the gospel of Christ. I think it falls short of the whole idea expressed in the Scriptures, and leaves us not with the kind of Savior I believe in now, but a sort of human view — a semi-human being. As I view it, the deity involves eternity. The very expression involves it. You cannot read the Scripture and have the idea of deity without eternity.” (1919 Bible Conference Transcripts, July 6, 1919, 62.)

      What about the argument that only after the death of Ellen White was the Trinitarian doctrine introduced into the SDA Church?

      The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Savior. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ. (EGW, Evangelism p. 614 615)

      This statement from Ellen White is overwhelmingly Trinitarian. Only someone who believed the Trinity doctrine would speak of “three living persons in the heavenly trio.” Anti Trinitarians would not use such language.

      Furthermore, her bold statements on the Trinity took many by surprise. M. L. Andreasen recounts,

      “I remember how astonished we were when Desire of Ages was first published, for it contained some things that we believed were unbelievable; among other things the doctrine of the trinity which was not generally accepted by Adventists then.” (Quoted in Russell Holt, “The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Seventh day Adventist Denomination” Term Paper, Andrews University, 1969, 20.)

      During 1909 Andreasen spent three months at Elmshaven where he was able to look at her hand written manuscripts. He wrote of this experience:

      Especially was I struck with the now familiar quotation in Desire of Ages, page 530:

      “In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.” This statement at that time was revolutionary and compelled a complete revision of my former view — and that of the denomination — on the deity of Christ.(Testimony of M. L. Andreasen, Oct. 15, 1953, DF 961.)

      This clearly took place long before Ellen White’s death. Thus, the charge that only after Ellen G. White’s death was the Trinity doctrine introduced into the church cannot be sustained.

      But what about the argument that the Trinitarian doctrine is of Papal or Catholic origin?

      Beyond the fact that not everything the Catholic Church stands for is wrong, the historical record does not support this argument. The Trinitarian doctrine was originally formulated as an official doctrine at the ecumenical Council of Nicaea in AD 325. The Council was assembled in Nicaea (Asia Minor) to deal with the Arian controversy. Of the 318 bishops only eight came from the West, the rest were from the Eastern churches where the bishop of Rome had very little influence. The bishop of Rome himself was not even present, he sent two priests to represent him. This clearly contradicts the claim that the Trinity is of Roman Catholic origin.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: While it is true that Ellen comments on the heavenly trio does she say there are three Gods or does she say one Father, One Son and Their Spirit? EW 55 states “Jesus would breathe upon them the Holy Ghost. In that breath was light, power, and much love, joy, and peace.” I am not so inclined to believe that J.N Andrews was wrong and that he is in conflict with Ellen. She never referred to the trinity and for good reason, because she also believed as J.N. Andrews. Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I (emphasis on I) will come to you.” and Jesus said, “we (Jesus and the Father) will come unto him, and make our abode with him. How will he (they) come to me? Through The Spirit of Truth (Jesus). “Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally.” “The Holy Spirit is Himself (Jesus) divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof. He (Jesus) would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent.” It is not appropriate to call this the Trinity. The Trinity is as JN Andrews described and is, it appears, that our church today has taken a firm and unrelenting stand on this teaching. So again I ask, should my membership in the SDA church be based on the 28 fundamental creed? I say no. Leave some room for the still small voice.




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        • @HOFFMAN:

          Mrs. White is quite clear in her description of the Holy Spirit as being one of the three “persons” of the Godhead. She explains that the Holy Spirit is not simply the spirit of Jesus divested from His human body as you seem to suggest. Rather, she constantly refers to the Holy Spirit as the, “third person of the Godhead”. Therefore, her use of the phrase “heavenly trio” is in fact a reference to three separate persons and personalities of the Godhead. Her 1901 and 1905 statements emphasize this point in that she affirmed, most explicitly, that the three “eternal heavenly dignitaries,” the “three highest powers in heaven,” the “three living persons of the heavenly trio,” are one in nature, character, and purpose, but not in person.

          E. G. White, Manuscript 130, 1901, in Manuscript Releases, 16:205, quoted in idem, Evangelism (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1946), 616 (but erroneously attributed to Ms. 145, 1901); idem, Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 7 (1905), 51, 62-63, quoted in Evangelism, 617.3, 615.1.

          Consider also the following statements of Mrs. White regarding the independent personhood and personality of the Holy Spirit:

          The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers –the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ.– Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, pp. 62, 63. (1905)

          We need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds.– Manuscript 66, 1899. (From a talk to the students at the Avondale School.)

          The Holy Spirit is a person, for He beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. When this witness is borne, it carries with it its own evidence. At such times we believe and are sure that we are the children of God. . . .

          The Holy Spirit has a personality, else He could not bear witness to our spirits and with our spirits that we are the children of God. He must also be a divine person, else He could not search out the secrets which lie hidden in the mind of God. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”– Manuscript 20, 1906.

          The prince of the power of evil can only be held in check by the power of God in the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit.– Special Testimonies, Series A, No. 10, p. 37. (1897)

          Now, you can take on your own opinion on this particular topic, independent of the views of Mrs. White and of the SDA Church. However, it would not be honest of you to claim to represent the SDA Church while promoting views that undermine a fundamental doctrinal position of the SDA Church…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  6. Excellent comment on the Trinity as it developed in Adventism, Sean. Now if you will do the same with the doctrine of original sin, you will it is an equally valid Christian doctrine held by all viable Protestant scholars as well as the Catholic party.
    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      It depends upon what you mean by “original sin”?

      Certainly we inherit a tendency to sin and a separation from God in our natural tendencies from birth – i.e., a “sinful nature”.

      In counterbalance, God has also put into each heart a hatred or “enmity” for sin and a love of the Truth – or a desire or love for God and the beauty of holiness. While we are not naturally able to make ourselves good or holy, God has given us an attraction for holiness and an ability to recognize holiness as something good if it could be obtained.

      Hence the internal struggle between good and evil in each soul. God has provided the Power to escape evil by listening to His Spirit. If we deliberately choose to listen to the call of that “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit that speaks to each heart, God will provide the Power to obey the call. However, we also have the power to resist the call of the Spirit and reject God’s gift of holiness and sanctification – despite the justifying sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for each one of us.

      So, while we have been sold into a sinful nature by our original parents, we have been redeemed from it by the Second Adam; by Jesus Christ. Through Him we have been given the option of victory over our natural selves – if we so desire to obtain victory through the Power of God.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • We all agree, Sean, that everyone is born weak and physically degenerate both morally and physically. Orignial sin means we are born guilty of sin even before the act. For two reasons in the divine context.

        1. God knows we will sin because He is sovereign. and…
        2. We should know that people are born degenerate and have no option concerning sin unless they are born again. The will is dead, unless the will is generated and informed by the bible and Holy Spirit. No one can choose to do good. They can only choose to do evil. We are not born saved nor are we born already generated by the Holy Spirit. It is a super natural act of God who “puts enmity between Satan and the human family.” And on this we agree as well.

        What you do not want to admit is that we are born condemned and guilty in our natural state. So you appeal to individual accountability in light of prevenient grace where the Holy Spirit begins to work immeadiately even on babies and little children to bring them to faith and awareness so they may “escape their heritage of sin, guilt, and condemnation.”

        Some claim the cross “cancels the guilt of original sin.” Wieland, Joe Crews, and many others hold this view. Not so. This is wrong. The cross is provisional, even in the context of original sin and original sin is not, ipso facto, canceled because Jesus died for all men. The cross is the means God uses to enlightened the mind of fallen sinners so that each individual can choose to accept Jesus. No one is saved simply because Jesus has died. All are lost, and remain lost and guilty and condemned unless and until they accept Jesus as a personal Savior. David could rightly say….

        “The wicked are estranged from the womb, the go astray speaking lies as soon as they are born.” Ps. 58

        Because David knows all are born with the spirit of sin and can not do anything but sin unless they are born again.

        And finally, no one is born in limbo. We either born saved, or, we are born lost. We are given the ability to change and alter this situation by being born again. But we are born guilty before God because of who we are, not because of what we do. What we do, is because of who we are.

        Ellen White concurs in these words….

        ” Satan’s Power May Be Broken.–Parents have a more serious charge than they imagine. The inheritance of children is that of sin. Sin has separated them from God. Jesus gave His life that He might unite the broken links to God. As related to the first Adam, men receive from him nothing but guilt and the sentence of death. But Christ steps in and passes over the ground where Adam fell, enduring every test in man’s behalf. . . . Christ’s perfect example and the grace of God are given him to enable him to train his sons and daughters to be sons and daughters of God. It is by teaching them, line upon line, precept upon precept, how to give the heart
        476
        and will up to Christ that Satan’s power is broken. {CG 475.3}”

        This statement is too clear to be misunderstood and needs no one to tell us what it means. It means exactly what it says. We are all born guilty of sin by virture of being the children of Adam. But Jesus had made a way of escape. Corporate guilt is a biblical concept.

        If you are willing to admit guilt and condemnation is what we already have by way of Adam’s sin. Then we agree. If you deny that we are born guilty of sin unless and until we actually commit sin, then in my opinion, your position is not biblical. This is no small issue as many have admitted like Dennis Priebe who has devoted his whole life ministry to deny this clear bible doctrine.

        Bill Sorensen




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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          Certainly we are born into a state of separation from God with a natural propensity toward sin. However, I fail to see how this concept is at all in conflict with any fundamental doctrinal position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

          The Adventist message is a message of hope that while we are born in a state of separation from God, we can choose to take hold of the Power of God, becoming connected with God, and be given victory over sin.

          Even the heathen can listen to the Spirit of God without knowing much of anything about the nature, character or even existence of God or of the sacrifice of Jesus which makes it possible for them to be saved through their obedience of the Royal Law of Love – a law that has been written on the hearts of all and will be the basis of the Final Judgement of all mankind.

          In any case, I really don’t see the relevance of this discussion in this particular thread?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • It is your forum, Sean. You can discuss anything you like or not. But let me ask you a question. Why is the doctrine of the Trinity more important than a clear biblical doctrine of sin?

          You refuse to admit we are born guilty. But the bible and EGW affirm it in no uncertain terms. I don’t come here often because you only post what suits yourself and I acknowledge you have this right. But it does not gender good bible discussions because you control the conversation.

          Bill Sorensen




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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          You refuse to admit we are born guilty. But the bible and EGW affirm it in no uncertain terms.

          Did I not specifically affirm the concept that all of us are born in a state of separation from God? with a fallen nature inherited from Adam?

          To be morally “guilty” of something, however, requires that one is consciously aware of what is right, but deliberately chooses to do what is wrong instead (James 4:17). Without the interplay of free will, there is no moral “guilt”. Otherwise, one could accuse a mechanical robot or an animal of “sin” – which is obviously ludicrous. Sin can only exist where free will and moral knowledge exist. And, free will can only exist where the will actually has knowledge of good and evil and is able to actually choose the good.

          It was Jesus Himself who made this point quite clear when He said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin…” John 9:41. Paul also points out that death (eternal death) has passed on all men because all have sinned (not simply because Adam sinned independent of deliberate personal sins of the rest of us) – Romans 5:12.

          I’m not sure, then, how any concept could be any more Biblical?

          As far as the position of Mrs. White is concerned, I don’t see her contradicting this idea. In fact, she seems to support the notion that God can uphold even very young children through the faith of the parents:

          Even the babe in its mother’s arms may dwell as under the shadow of the Almighty through the faith of the praying mother. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth. If we will live in communion with God, we too may expect the divine Spirit to mold our little ones, even from their earliest moments.

          More to the point, however, what doctrinal position of the SDA Church do you believe to be in error? Now, I don’t mind discussion in this forum, even among those who are opposed to my own opinions (obviously), as long as it is actually relevant to the topic at hand…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • And the topic at hand is “What does it take to be a real SDA?”

          It takes someone who is willing to follow the bible and its teaching in every particular. If you don’t believe this, you are not a “Protestant” SDA.

          You then bring up the Trinity. Which is fine. But that is certainly not the only thing that qualifies for the topic of your thread.

          So, here is what you stated to me…..”To be morally “guilty” of something, however, requires that one is consciously aware of what is right, but deliberately chooses to do what is wrong instead (James 4:17). Without the interplay of free will, there is no moral “guilt”.”

          So a person is “born” selfish, proud, coveteous, vain….etc, but not “guilty” of being, selfish, proud, coveteous, vain….etc. Your limited view of “guilt” is not biblical. Half a truth is equal to a lie. There is certainly conscience guilt. But guilt is more than awareness of right and wrong. “Sin is transgression of the law”, and the law doesn’t care what you know, or don’t know. If you break the law, you are guilty of breaking the law.

          Just admit the truth, Sean. But don’t accuse me of going outside the intent of this thread when it was not specifically stated as a thread about the Trinity.

          Just “man up” once in a while and admit you are wrong. We are all born guilty in the eyes of God. And our ignorance does not free us from this fact.

          Bill Sorensen




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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          And the topic at hand is “What does it take to be a real SDA?”

          It takes someone who is willing to follow the bible and its teaching in every particular. If you don’t believe this, you are not a “Protestant” SDA.

          Lots of people of other faiths believe that they are the ones really following the Bible. There are many different interpretations out there as to what the Bible is really saying about various topics – interpretations that are not in line with those of the SDA Church.

          You then bring up the Trinity. Which is fine. But that is certainly not the only thing that qualifies for the topic of your thread.

          The SDA Church has a clearly stated “fundamental belief” on the doctrine of the Trinity. As far as the nature of sin, I’m not sure if you agree or disagree with the doctrinal statements of the SDA Church regarding the nature of sin? Where is your disagreement with how things currently stand?

          So, here is what you stated to me…..”To be morally ‘guilty’ of something, however, requires that one is consciously aware of what is right, but deliberately chooses to do what is wrong instead (James 4:17). Without the interplay of free will, there is no moral ‘guilt’.” – Sean Pitman

          So a person is “born” selfish, proud, coveteous, vain….etc, but not “guilty” of being, selfish, proud, coveteous, vain….etc? Your limited view of “guilt” is not biblical. Half a truth is equal to a lie. There is certainly conscience guilt. But guilt is more than awareness of right and wrong. “Sin is transgression of the law”, and the law doesn’t care what you know, or don’t know. If you break the law, you are guilty of breaking the law.

          So, are animals “guilty” of breaking the Law? No? Why not? Because, moral guilty presupposes freedom of choice. Without real freedom of choice; without knowledge of both right and wrong and the real freedom to choose the right, there is no morality or moral guilt.

          As already noted, Jesus said exactly this same thing… that without knowledge, there is no sin. I’m sorry, but I think you’re the one presenting half truths here…

          Just “man up” once in a while and admit you are wrong. We are all born guilty in the eyes of God. And our ignorance does not free us from this fact.

          No. We are all born separated from God with a very strong tendency to sin. However, the moral guilt of sin itself requires a conscious assent to that which one knows is wrong. Otherwise, robots and animals could be guilty of sin.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:
          “Even the babe in its mother’s arms may dwell as under the shadow of the Almighty through the faith of the praying mother. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth. If we will live in communion with God, we too may expect the divine Spirit to mold our little ones, even from their earliest moments.”

          Seems to me this gets right into the nature of Christ, a fascinating and important subject and since it was brought up I will comment. The above quote by you indicates how Jesus was from birth in a sinless state though born with our sinful human nature. He did not have our “propensities” to sin because He took our sinful nature upon His sinless nature and therefore had no past sinful propensities. Our nature was not His by right, He merely assumed it. He was born filled with the Holy Spirit just as we can be by accepting the new birth. To say as some believe that we are born guilty is an Augustinian theory which resulted in the Catholic doctrine of an immaculate conception.

          Although we inherited Adam’s sinful flesh we are not guilty until we deliberately, consciously choose to sin. If that were not so how could babies be saved who have not reached the age of accountability to repent and believe? But many will be. They need a Savior too, all sinful flesh needs a Savior, and praise the Lord, we have one!




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        • @Bill Sorensen:
          Regarding this quote from you:
          “The cross is provisional, even in the context of original sin and original sin is not, ipso facto, canceled because Jesus died for all men. The cross is the means God uses to enlightened the mind of fallen sinners so that each individual can choose to accept Jesus. No one is saved simply because Jesus has died. All are lost, and remain lost and guilty and condemned unless and until they accept Jesus as a personal Savior.”

          I will say this:

          Before Christ died on the cross of Calvary, it was a PROVISION. Just as us, He had to walk the path to Calvary and in His case, the world’s salvation depended on His overcoming temptation and winning the battle over sin and satan.

          However, once He bowed His head in death, it was a REALITY, a done deal so to speak, the temple veil was rent along with His heart and all sin was paid for every man, woman, and child that ever lived. It was no longer merely a provision. That is a mistaken belief far far short of what Jesus actually accomplished by tasting the second death for every man, woman, and child. This act not only gave each a title to heaven already signed and delivered but it reconciled the Father to the human race. Now the thing for us to do is to be reconciled TO GOD, and individually respond to the Holy Spirit’s wooing by convicting us of the sin of crucifying our Lord with all our sin debt placed on His precious body. When we do this we have been born again and we begin to walk in the new nature we are given and deny ourselves and crucify our sinful human nature. As He writes His beautiful laws in our hearts and minds, it becomes easy as we will then be “but carrying out our own will”. We are not saved by repenting and accepting Christ, we are already saved by His blood. But we must allow Him to apply it to our account. However, we will be lost if we “neglect so great salvation”.

          Unless we willingly reject His sacrifice, we are saved day by day and can know that eternal life is ours! We can and should have that assurance.




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  7. A favorite scripture of mine is Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God!”

    How haughty we are to suppose WE have ALL the truth. GOD is TRUTH; but how many of us know Him as we ought to know Him? A knowledge of the truth is progressive. Our founders history shows that we have had to correct our thinking in our search for truth. What makes us think that we now have a full and correct understanding of all spiritual doctrine? God has led us to the Bible, but isn’t it possible that we may fail to rightly understand some things? Even recently the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was added to. Praise God for more information.

    Jesus had to point out in His day that sin is in the mind. Sin is lack of faith. Sin is an attitude. For many years we have looked at sin strictly as behavior. In our time, we still struggle with Righteousness By Faith–which is the Third Angel’s Message “in verity.”

    At the end is it going to be “just two classes of people” — Seventh-day Adventists,–and the rest of the world? NO! At the end there will be those who are willing to follow Jesus WHEREVER He leads–whatever further light God reveals in His WORD; and those who think they know better, rejecting God and truth–because THEY KNOW BETTER. I hope those following Jesus will include many Adventist believers! It is right for us to think that we are right–to walk according to our consciences–“fully persuaded in our own mind.” AT THE SAME TIME, may we be humbly teachable, or like the Pharisees, we can be just as lost!




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    • @Shirley:

      Again, if you don’t support some “fundamental” position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, that’s fine. It’s perfectly fine to go and do your own thing or join a group that is more in line with your own personal perspective. Such a move is not inherently immoral or unethical. And, as you point out, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not immune from the potential for error nor does it have an inherent lock on “Truth”.

      However, it would be unethical of you if you were to choose to undermine the church while claiming to represent the church – especially as a paid representative. Jesus would not have such unethical or immoral behavior from anyone taking on the title of “Christian”. Such is equivalent to stealing from one’s employer – a moral wrong in anyone’s book…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  8. I just looked in my WordSearch computer Bible program and “trinity” is not a Bible Term. “Godhead” is found in three places, all in the New Testament.
    Ellen White made another comment, that we must recognize three persons in the Godhead, equal in their being divine and eternal. Beyond this, “silence is golden.”
    It is so easy to want to know more. But we are only asked to believe, trust, and love.




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  9. @ Shirley,
    “In our time, we still struggle with Righteousness By Faith–which is the Third Angel’s Message “in verity.”

    I agree with most of what you wrote, however, the above quote is the problem for our day as well as over one hundred years ago when Ellen White stated that pride of opinion and prejudice was the cause of our dear brethren in mostly rejecting Righteousness by Faith a “most precious” message which God sent from heaven. We, as yet, still struggle with the very same mindset. Now we find it easier to do so using the messengers losing their way (we need to study what she says was the reason for their downfall) and also what she says will be the result of using their later failure for our rejection today. If, according to her we would be in the kingdom today had it been “accepted as God intended”, says volumes as to whether we have the true “full-orbed” message or a watered-down version which has made it of “no effect”. The fact we are still here over 142 or so years later should resonate with us.

    Then a comment on this statement:
    “At the end is it going to be “just two classes of people” — Seventh-day Adventists,–and the rest of the world?NO!At the end there will be those who are willing to follow Jesus WHEREVER He leads–whatever further light God reveals in His WORD; and those who think they know better, rejecting God and truth–because THEY KNOW BETTER.”

    If we are unwilling to accept what the Scriptures clearly teach and Ellen White spells out concerning “one fold and one Shepherd” with God bringing the Seventh-day Adventist church and it’s end-time mission into existance i.e. the call to Babylon, there is still a veil over our eyes that God must remove so that we may “see”, a promise of the eyesalve and one of the remedies of Rev. 3:14-22 to the church of Laodicea.

    According to Scripture and Ellen White (I have read her writings for over 50 yrs. and know whereof I speak) there will most surely be only two classes of people at the end, faithful SDA’s not shaken out by “one pretext or another” and the majority of all God’s faithful Christians in Babylon who have heard the “last voice of mercy” to a doomed world and have opened their hearts to the truths that God has given to the Seventh-day Adventist Church to proclaim to “all the world”. They will gladly join with God’s church and together will make up His bride.

    We do not know what form the church will have at that time but EGW says the denominated church will “endure to the end” so in whatever form it will endure in, we know that it will still be God’s denominated church. It is the seventh and last church and it will triumph, God will not come for a bride He must gather from the streets because His church has failed her mission. He is coming for a latter-day group of faithful, truly dedicated disciples such as the first were on the day of Pentecost. When we at last are willing to humble ourselves, as you have written, and become teachable by the Holy Spirit, we will, under the latter rain power, finally take the gospel of God’s character as He sent it to a world which desperately needs to hear who God really is and what He came to earth to accomplish. Again from COL p.415, “Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, “Behold your God.” The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.” This is the “most precious” message according to Ellen White that already has come and this will be the last message to a perishing world and will have the effect of calling God’s true children together into one body.

    Many say that a knowledge of God’s love is not sufficient but Scripture says it is the “power of God unto Salvation”. We have all the truth we need, not all the truth there is by any means, and if we would seek God with all our hearts in humility, He will enlighten us so that we can spread the message of who God is, what He has done for us, and what He is now doing for us in the Sanctuary in heaven and by cooperating with Him, He can finally finish His work in us and He will come to take us home.

    Thank you for your comments! God bless. .




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  10. It would appear that Dr. Pitman aspires to be the modern Adventist version of Girolamo Aleandro.

    For those a little hazy about the history of the Reformation, Girolamo was the individual appointed as papal nuncio by the Pope to be the theological point person opposing Martin Luther and his theology at the Diet of Worms. (The Diet of Worms was an assembly of churchmen and political elites of the Holy Roman Empire in Germany which met in 1521, not a list of things to eat to reduce your weight. And Worms was not an item on the menu, it was a town).

    Girolamo argued that Luther had no right to challenge the church’s theology. That theology had been settled for hundreds of years and had been agreed upon by scores of theologians. It was the truth.

    Girolamo wrote the denunciations of Luther that were embodied in the Edict of Worms which declared Luther to be a heretic.

    After attending the Diet of Worms, Girolamo went to Brussels and was instrumental at having two monks who had adhered to the teachings of Luther burned at the stake.

    Sean, like Girolamo, appears to view his role is to root our heresy where ever he finds it in the Adventist Church.

    Fortunately for the rest of us, Sean,
    unlike Girolamo, has no power to carry out what he would to see happened to those he denounces as Adventist heretics.




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    • @Ervin Taylor:

      The Catholic Church in Luther’s day was perfectly within its rights to determine who it would and wouldn’t hire to officially represent the church. Where the Catholic church went out of bounds is when it thought to take on powers of civil authority to enforce its religious views on society at large.

      Religious liberty is key to any truly Christian society. All should be free to join or leave the church, any church, at will. However, it is not a civil right for a person to expect to get paid by any organization, not even a church organization, outside of the will of the employer. Liberty works both ways…

      Dr. Taylor should understand this concept as an obvious truism. Yet, for some reason, he thinks to compare any effort to uphold church order and government, or any suggestion that the church has a right to hire only those who will effectively represent the church (and how the church defines itself), as equivalent to the Inquisition of the Dark Ages – equivalent to a bank robber claiming that the police who arrested him have deprived him of his natural God-given liberties to steal from whomever he wishes!

      Again, this isn’t inherently about salvation or the defining of “heretics”. Not at all. As already mentioned, one does not need to be a Seventh-day Adventist to be in a saving relationship with God. However, one does have to be in full support of the primary goals and ideals of the Adventist Church before one can expect to be hired by the church as a paid representative… or an effective representative of any kind.

      The same is true for any viable organization that wishes to avoid anarchy and eventual fragmentation into chaos.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent:

      How haughty we are to suppose we deserve a paycheck from any organization when we choose to publicly undermine the primary goals and ideals of that organization – when we claim that no organization really has the right to define itself and what it stands for as an organization outside of our own personal views.

      Why not take on some honesty and integrity and work for an employer who is actually willing to pay you to promote your own personal perspective?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  11. “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isa 40:6-8.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Indeed, but what if your interpretation of what the Word of God is, and/or what it is actually trying to say, is different from someone else’s interpretation? Do you have a God-given right to expect much less demand payment from anyone else who doesn’t share your views regarding the nature or the meaning of “The Word of God”? – especially if you go around promoting your own views in direct opposition to the views of your employer? How is that honest or ethical?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  12. I have been a baptized SDA for many years and I have yet to meet an SDA who believes that the church or members have ALL the truth. It may appear that way to some who would now eschew certain beliefs and pillars on which our church was founded through much prayer, study, and even revelation by our pioneers in favor of more “enlightened progressive views”.

    But to my way of thinking and the facts certainly verify that our church has become a kalidiscope of views on almost any teaching found in Scripture. We are bombarded with SDAs both within and without our fellowship proselytizing their views often in direct opposition to the church’s interests.

    I believe with Sean that whether for good or ill people are entitled to their views even to the point of proselytizing. However, accepting payment while doing so in an institution of the church or the pulpit of the church is not “honest or ethical”.




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  13. Sean Pitman:
    @Professor Kent:

    Indeed, but what if your interpretation of what the Word of God is, and/or what it is actually trying to say, is different from someone else’s interpretation?Do you have a God-given right to expect much less demand payment from anyone else who doesn’t share your views regarding the nature or the meaning of “The Word of God”? – especially if you go around promoting your own views in direct opposition to the views of your employer?How is that honest or ethical?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    And on this, Sean and I are in perfect agreement. Simply put, if you don’t agree with the church, you have a right to “hit the road”. You do not have a “right” to advocate views in opposition to the church if and when, the church has considered your views and reject them.

    Bill Sorensen




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  14. Sean Pitman: Indeed, but what if your interpretation of what the Word of God is, and/or what it is actually trying to say, is different from someone else’s interpretation? Do you have a God-given right to expect much less demand payment from anyone else who doesn’t share your views regarding the nature or the meaning of “The Word of God”? – especially if you go around promoting your own views in direct opposition to the views of your employer?

    It depends on how divergent the views are, the level of visibility or “noise,” and their consequent impact on the organization. Perhaps you could explain how someone like you, who believes the Pope is the antichrist and a literal young life interpretation of Genesis can expect to receive a paycheck from the Catholic Church-owned hospital system in which you work.

    How is that honest or ethical?

    I’m wondering the same regarding your own hypocritical situation.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Would it be wrong for an Adventist plumber to do some plumbing for a Catholic customer? or for an Adventist mechanic to fix the car of a Catholic customer? I hope you’re not suggesting that Adventists can only do business with other Adventists?

      My pathology group, which is independent by the way, does in fact contract to perform pathology services for the local Catholic hospital. I’m not hired to represent the Catholic Church or to uphold Catholic doctrines.

      Compare this to teachers in our schools or pastors in our churches who are explicitly hired, by the Church, to promote the primary goals and ideals of Adventism. Such are misrepresenting their employer, and what their employer has specifically hired them to do, if they go about undermining what they know they are actually being paid to promote. Most people would call that stealing…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  15. Sean, perhaps you could name one organization with two or more employees for which every employee interprets every verse in “The Word of God” in exactly the same way, without disagreement. Just one.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      This isn’t about interpreting things in exactly the same way within an organization. This is about supporting and promoting certain specific primary goals and ideals that the organization itself considers to be “fundamental” to its very existence.

      If you’re not on the same page with regard to these basic concepts, these basic goals and ideals, you’re simply not going to be an effective representative nor would it be honest of you to accept a paycheck if you could not see yourself able to promote what the church is paying you to promote.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  16. It would depend on whether the employee working for a Catholic-owned hospital is there to save bodies or souls. It seems that a hospital is there for the former while the church is there for the latter. And I would believe even in an SDA hospital when one calls for a Priest, they are not sent an SDA Chaplain and vice versa. The church is the one entity that is created specifically for soul-saving so I do not think other organizations qualify for the same level of loyalty in proselytizing by it’s employees.




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  17. Professor Kent:
    Sean, perhaps you could name one organization with two or more employees for which every employee interprets every verse in “The Word of God” in exactly the same way, without disagreement. Just one.

    This is a “false dilemma” and you know it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the issue. You try to convolute the situation to create confusion in the hopes of sustaining your point. You won’t fool honest people who see what you are up to.




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  18. Sean Pitman: So, are animals “guilty” of breaking the Law? No? Why not? Because, moral guilty presupposes freedom of choice.

    Like Dr. Kent, you convolute the issue of sin and guilt as he convolutes church authority. Animals are not amenable to moral law. We are not animals.

    Jesus said, “If ye were blind, you have no sin that could not be forgiven, but now you say “we see” therefore your sin is unpardonable.”

    This is the obvious meaning in light of the whole biblical message of sin and redemption.

    Sins of ignorance are covered by the blood of Jesus. It does not mean people are not guilty of sin just because they don’t know any better.

    The real error of your view is you limit the atonement to man’s comprehension of right and wrong and man simply “judges himself” by his own knowledge of truth.

    God judges us by the objective law which doesn’t care what we know or don’t know. None the less, Jesus intercedes for the human family and pleads forgiveness for sins of ignorance. He does not say, “Well, Father, they are not sinning since they don’t know any better.”

    And by the way, Sean, “the church ” has not ‘offically’ condemned the doctrine of original sin. Like many things, they simply admit they don’t know and don’t formulate a view. But in the end, we are not judged by what the church decides, but by what does the bible teach.




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      Like Dr. Kent, you convolute the issue of sin and guilt as he convolutes church authority. Animals are not amenable to moral law. We are not animals.

      I agree that animals are not subject to moral law, but why? Isn’t it because they have not been given the mental capacity to understand the moral implications of their actions?

      This only highlights the difference between humans and lower animals. Unlike animals, humans have been given the power to know the difference between right and wrong and to freely choose to do one or the other. Animals have not been given such moral freedoms of choice. Therefore, they are not free moral agents and cannot be guilty of sin – of any kind of deliberate rebellion against something they know to be right and true.

      Sins of ignorance are covered by the blood of Jesus. It does not mean people are not guilty of sin just because they don’t know any better.

      That’s exactly what it means. It is impossible to be morally guilty of something you didn’t know. The only reason that everyone is in fact guilty of sin is because everyone has been given a degree of knowledge regarding right and wrong… and everyone, at one point or another, has deliberately, consciously, rejected that which was known to be right in favor of what was clearly known to be wrong.

      No one will have any excuse for sin because God has written the great moral Law of Love on the hearts of all mankind. Therefore, no one can honestly claim ignorance of God’s Law. Everyone has deliberately and willfully broken this Law. That is why all are guilty before the Royal Law – not because of something Adam did, but because of something each one of us did… and we all know it.

      Consider carefully that if our current condition was simply due to a lack of knowledge that Jesus would not have had to die on the cross to save us. If salvation could have been achieved simply by showing us the Truth, by giving us additional information, there would have been no need for Jesus to suffer and die for our “sins of ignorance”. Jesus had to die because sin is not the result of a lack of knowledge, but a result of deliberate rebellion against what is already known to be true by free moral agents. This is what makes sin so insane and so difficult to deal with.

      So-called “sins of ignorance” are not “insane” or inherently rebellious. Classifying such “mistakes” as the basis of true moral guilt misapprehends the true nature, the true insanity, of sin.

      The real error of your view is you limit the atonement to man’s comprehension of right and wrong and man simply “judges himself” by his own knowledge of truth.

      God is one who is truly on trial here – before the entire universe. We all judge who is right and who is wrong according to the Royal Law that has been written on the hearts of all of us. No one is going to be surprised to find out that he/she is guilty of having sinned or rebelled against God’s Royal Law and the righteousness of that Law. The consciences of everyone will convict all that all are sinners deserving of eternal death. In the end, “every knee will bow and every tongue confess that God alone is righteous”. Isaiah 45:23-24

      Consider also the following passage regarding the notion that we all will judge ourselves:

      For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. – Romans 2:13-16

      Notice where Paul points out that even the heathen, who have not had access to the written law are still free moral agents since the real Law, the Royal Law, has been written on their hearts. Because of this, their consciences bear witness, relative to this internally written Law, in the day of judgement so that none have any excuse for their thoughts and actions before God.

      God judges us by the objective law which doesn’t care what we know or don’t know.

      There is indeed an “objective Law”. However, it is not true that anyone can honestly claim ignorance of this Law. Again, God judges based on the moral or Royal Law of Love (James 2:8) – a Law that has been written on the hearts of all mankind so that none can honestly claim ignorance of its requirements.

      None the less, Jesus intercedes for the human family and pleads forgiveness for sins of ignorance. He does not say, “Well, Father, they are not sinning since they don’t know any better.”

      That’s exactly what Jesus says – “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34

      It is possible to do bad things in complete ignorance. However, for such “sins of ignorance” there is no personal guilt or moral responsibility. The guilt of such sins rests entirely upon others who did know and understand what they were doing (ultimately Satan).

      And by the way, Sean, “the church ” has not ‘offically’ condemned the doctrine of original sin. Like many things, they simply admit they don’t know and don’t formulate a view. But in the end, we are not judged by what the church decides, but by what does the bible teach.

      The Adventist church has presented a pretty fair view of the human condition as a fundamental doctrine. The lack of support for the concept of “original sin” is very wise on the part of the Adventist church since this concept has many erroneous implications that paint God to be arbitrary, unfeeling, unkind, and more concerned over actions than motive. The Church’s emphasis on motive is far more Biblical and in line with the Royal Law of Love than is the Catholic concept of original sin.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  19. Here is what Jesus said and you quoted…..”Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

    According to your theory, the Father does not need to “forgive them” since, according to your theory, they are not sinning. Why is Jesus pleading forgiveness for somewho who is not guilty?

    James While would say, “Your theory is as empty as a flour barrel with both ends out.”

    The fact you acknowledge the need of forgiveness, shows there is guilt and transgression that needs forgiving.

    Forgiveness in this context has two factors, one, ignorance, and two, the blood of Jesus.

    Come on Sean, you are wrong. Like all others who deny guilt because of original sin. If we chide Sunday keepers for inconsistency in the way the interpret law and grace, how are we any different if we deny the doctrine of original sin?




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      According to your theory, the Father does not need to “forgive them” since, according to your theory, they are not sinning. Why is Jesus pleading forgiveness for somewho who is not guilty?

      They were doing something wrong, but they were guilty of sin, of rebellion against known truth, if they were truly ignorant of what they were doing. There seems to me to be very strong support from the Bible, and the writings of Mrs. White, for the drawing of a distinct difference between honest mistakes, even very bad mistakes with horrible consequences, and the guilt of sin (John 15:22-25 and John 9:41 – for example).

      It seems quite clear from my own reading of the Bible that sin requires conscious assent to a known wrong. Otherwise, there simply is no moral guilt – no difference from animals or those who are truly mentally disabled doing the very same actions.

      It might help you if you thought a bit more about what makes us different from animals and why animals are not guilty of sin despite the fact that they also have fallen degenerative natures?

      Consider also that if Adam and Eve had eaten of the Forbidden Tree without having first been told that it was in fact Forbidden, they would not have been guilty of sin.

      Likewise, it is possible to make mistakes, like having a car accident for example, were the accident was not deliberate or the result of “drinking and driving” etc., yet someone was killed. If I were in fact the one who accidentally hit and killed the only child of some poor man, I would feel absolutely devastated. I would want to ask for forgiveness even though no sin was involved on my part. The man would also no doubt feel initial anger toward whoever killed his son – accident or no accident.

      Again, it is possible to be part of causing horrible harm in complete ignorance – and therefore in complete moral innocence regarding the guilt of sin (i.e., deliberate rebellion against God or known Truth).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  20. @Bill Sorensen:

    According to your theory, the Father does not need to “forgive them” since, according to your theory, they are not sinning. Why is Jesus pleading forgiveness for somewho who is not guilty?

    I cannot answer this question even though I understand it but I know someone who can. Type Bible Study Materials by Jack Sequeira in your search engine, then click on same and scroll down to Beyond Belief and click on The Two Adams: Romans 5.

    I am praying that you will do so. This is truth, not heresy as some claim. And he has the Scriptural texts to back it up!




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    • @M. Shelton:

      In my opinion, no one convolutes the bible more than Jack Sequeria. Did you actually read “Beyond Belief”. The most confused double talk I have ever read about salvation, sin and the atonement.




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      • @Bill Sorensen:

        Yes, I have not only read it but in our church chapel for two hours every Sabbath afternoon about 30 to 40 of us studied that book for five years without missing a Sabbath. I have heard such criticism of his book before but many see it much differently.

        Paul says in 1 Cor. 2:2-5 “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
        I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
        And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

        Paul’s preaching was also considered “foolishness” to many but to some it was “the power of God” unto salvation.




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  21. We agree that ignorance is a part of the basis for forgiveness. But ignorance does not mean you are not guilty. You seem to confuse guilt with ignorance. And conclude if there is no awareness of doing anything wrong, then there is no guilt. Just because you do not experience guilt, does not mean there is none.

    One final quote by EGW and anyone who has an interest can decide for themselves.

    “The third angel closes his message thus: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all those for whom mercy still lingers and for those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. It includes all who died trusting in Christ, but who, not having received the light upon God’s commandments, had sinned ignorantly in transgressing its precepts.” {EW 254.1}

    You can not harmonize this statement and biblical teaching with your present theory and understanding. The main problem is this, you limit the atonement and demean its full value and application.




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      There are “sins of ignorance”, and I suppose there always will be – even in Heaven. I’m sure even the angels make mistakes, on occasion, due to their ignorance (like accidentally stepping on another angel’s foot during choir practice). While one will naturally apologize for such “sins” once they are consciously realized, there is no moral guilt involved for the “sin” itself since it was the result of honest ignorance and was not the result of any deliberate rebellion against God or the Royal Law of Love.

      You quote Ellen White to suggest that Jesus had to die for “sins of ignorance” as well as deliberate sins of rebellion against known truth. You take her statements out of context of all that she has to say on this topic.

      The fact of the matter is that if sin were only the result of ignorance on our part, Jesus need not have died. All He would have had to do is say, “By the way, your stepping on my foot.” And, we would say, “Oh, do forgive me.” He would say, “Ok.” And, that would be the end of it. There would have been absolutely no reason for Jesus to need to go to the cross in such a situation – to die for mere ignorance.

      The reason Jesus had to die for our sins is because our problem isn’t mere ignorance. Our problem is deliberate and willful transgression of what we consciously know is right and good. Deliberate rebellion in the light of truth is a whole different ball of wax altogether!

      To obtain a more balanced view of Mrs. White’s position, consider the following comments regarding sin, truth, honest ignorance and guilt (in her discussion of John 9:41):

      If God had made it impossible for you to see the truth, your ignorance would involve no guilt. “But now ye say, We see.” You believe yourselves able to see, and reject the means through which alone you could receive sight. To all who realized their need, Christ came with infinite help. But the Pharisees would confess no need; they refused to come to Christ, and hence they were left in blindness,–a blindness for which they were themselves guilty. Jesus said, “Your sin remaineth.” – EGW, DA, p. 475

      Ignorance is no excuse for error or sin, when there is every opportunity to know the will of God. – EGW, GC, p. 597

      You see, the reason why the guilt of the Pharisees remained is not because of their ignorance. As Mrs. White points out, ignorance would be a valid excuse for sin and a means to free one of moral guilt for sin, if the ignorance was honest ignorance. If the Pharisees had been honestly ignorant both Jesus and Mrs. White declare that they would not have been morally responsible or guilty for their sins of ignorance. Their problem was due to willful ignorance. They refused to investigate what they knew was true – and were therefore left in their self-imposed ignorance. This isn’t the same thing as honest ignorance – which most definitely is recognized, by God, as a valid reason for not being morally responsible for any and all sins committed while in the state of honest ignorance.

      Along these lines, Mrs. White makes numerous other statements:

      My brethren, if we were blind, we would not sin, but we have been privileged to look upon great light. The treasures of truth and knowledge have been bestowed upon us without limit, and we are guilty in proportion to our failure to live up to the truth that has been placed within our reach. – EGW, RH, Feb 25, 1890

      Also, you continually avoid my question to you about the difference between animals and humans? Why is it that animals are not guilty of the sins of their fallen nature? – if completely ignorant humans would be morally guilty for the same acts?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Beware, Sean. Her statements may well fit you and me to a “t”. If we refuse instruction and deny and ignore clear statements that expose our misunderstanding, we may find that our sins of ignorance that were pardonable, are now sins that remain.

        Once enlightenment comes, sins of ignorance are now sins of rebellion. I have given you scripture as well as quotes from EGW. God will judge us not only for what we know, but what we had an opportunity to know, and refused to be instructed. The bible teaches that we are born guilty and condemned, and EGW concurs.




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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          I could say the same thing about you and your position – that you refuse to appropriately consider the weight of evidence or that perhaps you might be wrong (which I really cannot say since I cannot read minds or motives – but perhaps you can?).

          In any case, it’s Ok to believe, honestly believe, that you’re in the right. Consider, however, that those equally as honest and sincere and devoted to Jesus and learning as much truth as you are may strongly disagree with you (as does the Adventist Church on this particular topic).

          In any case, we obviously disagree – I think honestly so. I have carefully considered your position to the best of my ability, but I still remain remain unconvinced, honestly and sincerely so, by your arguments and your interpretations of various passages. If you won’t substantively address the ideas and questions I’ve posed to you (beyond your non-helpful personal jabs to “man up”, etc.), I don’t think we have a serious conversation going here – nor can I think of anything further to say on this topic that might be of general interest…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          Well, Sean, I was not as confrontational as Wesley who said, “Those who deny the doctrine of original sin are heathen still.” … [deleted]

          [Oh please…

          If you want to have a real conversation, great. However, unless you actually respond substantively to the questions and counter arguments posed to you, without your needless pejoratives, I’m not going to continue posting your repetitive comments on this topic in this forum…]
          -sdp




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        “Also, you continually avoid my question to you about the difference between animals and humans?”

        I answered this comment earlier. Animals are not human beings and not culpable in the context of moral law. Your parallel is a “false dilemma” based on an apples to oranges parallel.

        Even if human beings are ignorant, they are still culpable and will be judged by the moral law. Jesus does not plead His merits for dumb animals and ask pardon for their sins of ignorance. Re-read our whole dialogue. I have commented on every issue and shown both bible and EGW quotes to support the truth of the matter.

        And I am still grateful that you and others have exposed the duplicity of La Sierra and other educational institutions in the SDA church. We see no resolving of the problem. And this is only one problem the church has gendered in the last few decades. The liberals claim the church has no right to discipline. And this is why they have so much control of the church today, simply because no one has disciplined for years.




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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          I answered this comment earlier. Animals are not human beings and not culpable in the context of moral law. Your parallel is a “false dilemma” based on an apples to oranges parallel.

          That’s not an answer to my question as to why animals are not morally responsible while humans are? You’ve simply stated that they aren’t. You’ve not explained why they are not.

          Even if human beings are ignorant, they are still culpable and will be judged by the moral law.

          Again, this is just a blanket statement. It is not an explanation as to why this would be so if ignorant animals or robots are not judged as morally culpable. This also doesn’t address my question as to humans who are mentally insane or otherwise mentally deficient.

          Jesus does not plead His merits for dumb animals and ask pardon for their sins of ignorance.

          Why not? You call animals “dumb” animals. Does that mean that morality requires a certain degree of intelligence before any living thing can be held morally accountable? Yes, or no?

          Re-read our whole dialogue. I have commented on every issue and shown both bible and EGW quotes to support the truth of the matter.

          That’s simply not true. You’ve make blanket statements, but have not attempted to seriously address my counter questions. You’ve just claimed they are irrelevant, but have not even tried to explain why this might be so? Also, you’ve not seriously addressed the many statements from both the Bible and Mrs. White that are counter to your position of guilt prior thought or action or conscious assent to any known sin or rebellion against known truth.

          Here’s another interesting dialogue along these lines:

          http://www.greatcontroversy.org/reportandreview/pau-sinners.php3

          And I am still grateful that you and others have exposed the duplicity of La Sierra and other educational institutions in the SDA church. We see no resolving of the problem. And this is only one problem the church has gendered in the last few decades. The liberals claim the church has no right to discipline. And this is why they have so much control of the church today, simply because no one has disciplined for years.

          On this we are agreed. Everyone is scared that drawing a definite line in the sand will cause the church to split. This may be true, but it will only get worse the longer such decisions regarding church order and government are delayed.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          I read Kevin Paulson’s article and he “double talks” around the obvious to deny and/or ignore the reality of what the bible teaches and EGW confirms.

          Babies are born guilty of sin because they are born with the spirit of sin. They have no power to do anything but sin unless and until by the special grace of God, they are given the ability to “choose”.

          If you add God’s grace to the bible definition of original sin, you can make man free to act all you want. Original sin has to do with the fall of Adam and the results. It is not about God’s grace that has been added by way of the cross. So EGW has stated clearly in support of the fall and its effects on Adam’s children.

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

          Those who deny original sin and its effects on the children of Adam always appeal to the atonement and the grace of God. But we see that God “put” enmity between Satan and the human family.

          As Luther said to Erasmus in their discussion on this matter when Erasmus claimed the will was free by way of grace,
          “Once you add grace you can make the will as free as you like.”

          Original sin is not about grace nor what man can do once grace is implied and involved. Original sin is about what man is after the fall apart from grace and/or God’s special action super-imposed in the situation. So, if there is no original sin, neither is there any need for grace.

          Kevin Paulson convolutes the issue just like other SDA scholars by making no distinction between how man is after the fall with or without grace.

          So, in light of original sin, David says, “The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.” Ps. 58

          David knows apart from God’s grace, no one can do anything but sin. Original sin highlights the necessity and value of the atonement and what it truly means to be “born again.”

          Hear the words of Jesus, “That which is flesh is flesh and that which is spirit is spirit, ye must be born again.”

          Original sin is exactly why Jesus made this comment. No one can read and understand the bible who denies the reality of original sin and its effects on all the children of Adam. We are all born guilty of sin, even before we act. So Isaiah says, “Write the vision and make it plain, that wayfareing men, though fools, need not err therein.”

          In closing, original sin is not about the atonement nor its meaning and application to humanity. It is about man as he comes from Adam lost and without hope, power, choice or any ability to do anything about his situation.




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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          First off, yet again, you did not respond to my question about why animals are not morally responsible while humans are? Until you respond to this question, which I’ve asked you many times now, we have no discussion here.

          As far as the rest of your argument, we are in agreement that Adam’s original sin resulted in an tendency toward sin and inherently selfish natures in all of his descendents that, without the interposition of God’s power and grace, would inevitably result in the personal guilt of sin – of deliberate rebellion against known truth.

          We also agree that all are born with an inherently selfish or evil nature (as David points out in the Bible). However, being born evil isn’t quite the same thing as being born guilty of being evil or being guilty of sin itself. The inevitability of evil actions or the inherently selfish nature we all are born with outside of God’s grace isn’t the same thing as being morally responsible for “evil actions” before one is able to make a free moral choice to rebel against what is known to be right (as with a robot programmed to be evil not being personally responsible or guilty for being evil).

          Without freewill choice involved, what you have are robots, not free moral agents who can be “guilty” of anything on a moral level – even if they are evil. Being evil isn’t the same thing as being guilty of being evil. In fact, this is the reason why no one, not even Satan, can completely escape or exist outside of God’s grace. It is by God’s grace that all free moral agents are given the ability to freely choose to do good or evil. This ability, in and of itself, is a gift – a gift that is even now extended to Satan and all of his rebellious angels (they are still free moral agents responsible for all of their actions).

          So, again, this brings us back to the difference between humans and animals or robots when it comes to moral responsibility and/or the basis for moral culpability. We humans, unlike animals or robots, are all personally guilty of being sinners because we have deliberately chosen to do what we know is wrong (for whatever reason) – not because Adam sinned, not because we were born selfish or evil, but because we have used our God-given freedom to choose between right and wrong to deliberately sin – by our own choice (at the age of accountability).

          In short, you take the concept of “original sin” too far, as does the Catholic Church. There is certainly a great deal of truth to the concept of Adam’s original sin and its devastating results on the entire world that followed – the cause of the existence of evil entering every person from the earliest moments of conscious life. However, it is not true that freewill choices are no longer The basis of the guilt of sin on an individual basis. Freedom of will is what makes it possible to be personally responsible for sin or the evil that we do from childhood. Without freedom of will, without a deliberate choice being made against known truth, there is no personal guilt for sin. There may be error or mistakes or even actions that would be classified by all as evil, but there is no personal moral responsibility without the freedom of choice (since even a robot can be programmed to be “evil”, but would not itself be morally responsible for its own evil actions). – Deuteronomy 24:16 and Jeremiah 31:30.

          Again, you need to address my original question as to why humans are free moral agents while animals or robots are not? Otherwise, you’re not going to understand my main problem with the Catholic concept of “original sin”.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          ” First off, yet again, you did not respond to my question about why animals are not morally responsible while humans are? Until you respond to this question, which I’ve asked you many times now, we have no discussion here.”

          It’s an inane question, Sean. Animals were never meant to be moral beings nor amenable to moral law. Man does not lose his culpability to the moral law simply because he is ignorant. This is your argument. In the end, your whole problem as I see it, is you limit guilt to awareness. So you claim no one can be “guilty” unless they know they are guilty.

          This does not even make sense in the secular world. If the speed limit is 35 and some is going 50 because they don’t know the limit is 35, they are still “guilty” of breaking to law. I don’t care if they know it or not. Their personal awareness and/or knowledge of the law is no factor.

          It may well be a factor in how the judge will determine their punishment for violating the law. But it has nothing to do with whether they are guilty or not.

          Yet, you and others try to build a theology concerning guilt based on awareness and not on the objective reality.

          If you refuse to see the difference, you could never understand guilt in the context of original sin. And so you made this comment….”…..being born evil isn’t quite the same thing as being born guilty of being evil……”

          This is the most convoluted statement I have ever read. When you read Kevin’s article on the subject, you become increasingly aware that he has to double talk on and on and explain, and then re-explain what he means until it is obvious, he does not know what he means.

          As long as you refuse to acknowledge objective guilt, you can not go beyond the limited view you have of sin, nor can you understand the bible and those who support the doctrine of original sin and guilt.

          The doctrine of the Trinity is not more clear than the doctrine of original sin. The bible and EGW support and teach both.




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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          [Regarding the question of why humans are moral beings while animals are not]

          It’s an inane question, Sean. Animals were never meant to be moral beings nor amenable to moral law.

          You keep making this statement, but I’m asking you to explain why. Why aren’t animals moral beings? What makes them amoral while humans are moral beings? What’s the basic difference here? Can you explain it?

          This is the question you keep avoiding. Yet, it is key to your misunderstanding of “original sin”.

          Man does not lose his culpability to the moral law simply because he is ignorant.

          What then is it that makes man, and not animals or robots, morally responsible?

          This is your argument. In the end, your whole problem as I see it, is you limit guilt to awareness. So you claim no one can be “guilty” unless they know they are guilty.

          That’s right. It is possible to be evil without being morally guilty of being evil… as would be the case for an evil robot or an evil animal.

          This does not even make sense in the secular world. If the speed limit is 35 and some is going 50 because they don’t know the limit is 35, they are still “guilty” of breaking to law.

          Yes, but they are not morally guilty because the moral law is a law regarding knowledge of the Royal Law of Love. The moral law is the Royal Law of Love. Love requires knowledge that the loving action is the right action and love requires freedom of will and freedom of choice to decide if one is or is not going to act according to the Law of Love.

          I don’t care if they know it or not. Their personal awareness and/or knowledge of the law is no factor.

          When you’re talking morality, it is a factor because the moral law is based on knowledge that the Law of Love is right and that all actions that go contrary to what one thinks would be the loving thing to do is wrong. That is why only God can definitively determine the true moral state of a person… because only God can accurately read the heart or motives of a person.

          You seem to be confusing empirically objective actions with morality. They aren’t the same thing. While sin is indeed the “Transgression of the Law”, the law being spoken of here is the Royal Law – a Law that deals strictly with motive to do or not to do what one believes is the loving thing to do in a given situation. If you don’t have knowledge of the Royal Law, then you’re not a moral being. If you do have knowledge of this law, then you are a moral being. It’s as simple as that.

          It may well be a factor in how the judge will determine their punishment for violating the law. But it has nothing to do with whether they are guilty or not.

          One may be guilty of breaking many types of laws without knowledge that one is breaking any law. However, it is impossible to break the moral law without knowledge of it since it is written on the hearts of all morally accountable human beings. Until one reaches the level of consciousness to be morally accountable, one may break all kinds of laws ignorantly. However, one is not morally guilty for breaking any of these laws until one understands the implications of what one is doing relative to the only moral law – i.e., the Royal Law of Love.

          Yet, you and others try to build a theology concerning guilt based on awareness and not on the objective reality.

          Again, you seem to be trying to base guilt on something that is empirically objective. That is why you think you can accurately judge the moral state of a person simply by looking at the things that he does. But, as the Bible explains, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7. The Ten Commandments aren’t really The Moral Law. They are only reflections of the real, underlying, moral Code – i.e., the Royal Law of Love.

          Guilt, therefore, is based on a conscious awareness of the moral implications of what one is doing. This is what separates humans from all other animals or robots. An animal or robot could do the very same “evil” things and be morally guiltless. Why? Because, the animal or robot does not understand the moral implications of its actions (are you really going to write an animal or a robot or even a little baby a speeding ticket? – just because “it’s the law”?).

          You and I, on the other hand, do understand the moral implications of our thoughts and actions because we understand the Royal Law. That is why we are moral beings and animals/robots are not. It’s really quite simple…

          If you refuse to see the difference, you could never understand guilt in the context of original sin. And so you made this comment….”…..being born evil isn’t quite the same thing as being born guilty of being evil……”

          This is the most convoluted statement I have ever read.

          It’s not convoluted at all once you understand why animals and/or robots are not moral beings and why humans are…

          The doctrine of the Trinity is not more clear than the doctrine of original sin. The bible and EGW support and teach both.

          The Bible and Mrs. White do teach about a type of “original sin”, to be sure, but they do not promote the Catholic concept of original sin that you’re trying to promote.

          Now, there’s a lot of things the Catholics got right – to include their concept of the Trinity. However, there’s a lot of things the Catholics got wrong – to include their concept of “original sin”.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @ Sean:

          I like this:
          “One may be guilty of breaking many types of laws without knowledge that one is breaking any law. However, it is impossible to break the moral law without knowledge of it since it is written on the hearts of all morally accountable human beings. Until one reaches the level of consciousness to be morally accountable, one may break all kinds of laws ignorantly. However, one is not morally guilty for breaking any of these laws until one understands the implications of what one is doing relative to the only moral law – the Royal Law of Love.”

          And it agrees totally with the statement EGW makes that even a savage who has never heard the name of Christ nor religion may be eternally saved because of the moral law written in their mind and heart. This is the New Covenant promised by Jesus. So when his heart is softened as the Holy Spirit speaks to him and does accordingly, he is living up to all the light he has and therefore is acceptable in the sight of God. And if that is all he will ever know until Jesus comes, he will have the privilege of being raised in the first resurrection and learning and living with the saints in glory.”




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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          I can’t believe you would say this, Sean. Surely you do not really believe it….

          “The Ten Commandments aren’t really The Moral Law. They are only reflections of the real, underlying, moral Code – i.e., the Royal Law of Love.”

          Here, like many, you seperate the motive to obey the objective law of 10 commandments and claim the 10 commandments are not the moral law.

          I don’t know who would read our dialogue and draw any conclusion of what is true or not. But I can say, concerning myself, there is nothing you have stated that would change my mind of how I understand the bible.

          You claim ignorance eliminates guilt. This means when we are judged, Jesus does not plead forgiveness for sins of ignorance, He claims innocence. No need for pardon if we are not guilty.

          At any rate, I appreciate the dialogue as I think you represent a considerable group of people in Adventism including some well know teachers and theologians.

          In my opinion, such superficial theology will never be adequate for “the church” to finish the work and present a true comprehensive bible view of sin and salvation.

          If people don’t see that what I have presented is bible truth, they will have to answer to God like all of us on every level. If they are wrong, I believe God will forgive their “sins of ignorance” by way of the blood of Jesus.

          If I am honestly wrong, I don’t need forgiveness according to your theory. I trust we will both continue to examine and re-examine our position until we all come into a “unity of the faith” as Paul seeks for all church members.

          I think we have pretty well exhausted the basic differences and we can let it rest, and I assume you would probably agree at least on this.

          Maybe it will eventually become a SDA church issue like WO and/or other differences. I personally hope so. And I hope you continue to support the church’s right to discipline false doctrine. You and others have done a service for the church in general even though some don’t think so.

          Bill Sorensen




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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          I can’t believe you would say this, Sean. Surely you do not really believe it….

          “The Ten Commandments aren’t really The Moral Law. They are only reflections of the real, underlying, moral Code – i.e., the Royal Law of Love.”

          Here, like many, you seperate the motive to obey the objective law of 10 commandments and claim the 10 commandments are not the moral law.

          I don’t understand your suprise? Have you not read where Jesus made this very same observation? The Ten Commandments are simply reflections of the real underlying moral law – the Royal Law of Love.

          It is because of this fact that the angels in heaven were surprised to discover that there was any kind of moral law at all. They didn’t need a written law because they naturally obeyed the Royal Law. If one naturally obeys the Royal Law, the written law is pointless. The purpose of the written law is to quicken the conscience regarding the fact that one isn’t obeying the Royal Law (even though one already knows this deep down since the Royal Law is still written on the hearts of all).

          In this regard, consider the following passage:

          And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live” Luke 10:25-29

          Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:34-40

          Notice that Jesus explains that the Law of Love is the basis of every other law – to include the Ten Commandments. Notice also that the lawyer did not reference the Ten Commandments when Jesus asked him what was written in the Law.

          The Ten Commandments simply put into words general rules of thumb on how one should love one’s neighbor and one’s God. There are, of course, situations where the most loving thing to do would be to break one of the written commandments… as Jesus explains:

          At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.” But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice’ you would not have condemned the innocent. – Matthew 12:1-7

          You see, the Royal Law trumps written laws every time. God desires a pure motive of love and compassion, not simply cold adherence to the written law – i.e., the Ten Commandments. Cold adherence to the written law is a Pharisaical approach to salvation – which won’t save anyone. Salvation and true goodness is based on a loving relationship with God.

          That’s it. That’s what makes one holy. The rest will come naturally once one learns to obey the Royal Law.

          Again, if it could be possible, mere obedience, even perfect obedience, to the Ten Commandments wouldn’t save anyone or make anyone truly good. What is required by God to be “good” is a change of heart, a change of motive. The lack of correct knowledge or even action isn’t our problem. Our sin problem is based on a lack of a correct motive.

          I don’t know who would read our dialogue and draw any conclusion of what is true or not. But I can say, concerning myself, there is nothing you have stated that would change my mind of how I understand the bible.

          That’s because you refuse to seriously consider the simple question I’ve posed to you many times now – i.e., What is the key element that makes humans moral beings while animals or robots are not moral beings? What’s they key difference?

          You claim ignorance eliminates guilt. This means when we are judged, Jesus does not plead forgiveness for sins of ignorance, He claims innocence. No need for pardon if we are not guilty.

          That would be the case if we truly were completely ignorant of the Royal Law of Love. If such were the case, we would be like animals, not knowing good from evil. Jesus would not have had to die in such a situation.

          If all that was lacking on our part was knowledge, we would not be needing new hearts. We would only be needing a bit of head knowledge is all. Such would not have require the blood of Jesus to obtain.

          Head knowledge is very very easy for God to provide – if that was all that was needed to correct aberrant actions on our part. A change of heart, a creation of a new heart, on the other hand, is much much more difficult for God to provide. It cost Him everything. He had to empty all of heaven to pay the price for such an infinite Gift…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  22. Bill Sorensen: Well, Dr. Kent, do you believe the church has a right, duty, and obligation to discipline those who attack church doctrine?

    If they are employees, the church has a right to do so, but whether it should be a duty or obligation depends on the severity of “attack.” The church, for example, has not disciplined the dozens, if not hundreds, of employees who disagree with the church’s position on women’s ordination (which you might view as an attack, since your position is steadfastly anti-women’s ordination).

    I haven’t voiced this because I side fundamentally with the position that the Church may not currently possess 100% truth. Frankly, there is no way the Church would be where it is today if it wasn’t tolerant of divergent views in the past, and there is no way the Church could ever progress closer to possession of truth if it disciplines all “attacks” on Church doctrine.

    If the Church’s doctrines are all truly sound, they can withstand critical scrutiny. By “disciplining” every individual who expresses doubt or alternative views, the Church makes itself look rigid, uninviting, and hypocritical in that it has claimed to be open to “progressive truth.” I wish you and others could appreciate these considerations.

    By the way, I have ALWAYS maintained that employees must be respectful of the organization’s beliefs and policies. One can disagree in a respectful way, and I see room for that. Even so, I have not condoned all of the happenings at LSU.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Professor Kent, Educate Truth has been mainly about the doctrine of creation vs. evolution. I doubt you could find 1% of the church members who do not embrace the creation week as explained in Gen. 1.

      So I suggest the “church” has the duty and obligation to defend the concensus faith of all church believers. We have a clearly defined doctrine on the matter.

      And yes, the church is “rigid” on this as well as other biblical confessions of faith that are considered non-negotiable.

      The Sabbath, state of the dead, issues concerning the 2nd coming, 1844 and the IJ……etc. There is no “wiggle room” on the basic ideas.

      Certainly questions and discussion is profitable. But not in the context of a challenge to the basic validity of these doctrines. So, what is your objection to Sean’s position on these things?

      PS. There is no basic concensus agreement on WO. Hopefully, there will be soon.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      This is all fine and good when it comes to notions of the church that are not thought to be “fundamental” to its basic existence. When it comes to the church’s primary goals and ideals, its reason for existence, the church simply cannot afford to maintain the employment of those who wish to openly attack the church on such key points. No viable organization could or would hire employees who would not publicly uphold the primary goals and missions of the organization. Such a concept does not a viable organization make.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  23. Bill Sorensen: PS. There is no basic concensus agreement on WO. Hopefully, there will be soon.

    What? The GC has several times voted down women’s ordination, with theology being the only justification. I’m pleased, though, that you tolerate those who continue advocating it, and do not throw them under the bus.

    Sean Pitman: When it comes to the church’s primary goals and ideals, its reason for existence, the church simply cannot afford to maintain the employment of those who wish to openly attack the church on such key points.

    And here is the crux of the problem: what are the “primary goals and ideals,” and what constitutes “openly attack?” Who gets to decide these? From your response, I take it that women’s ordination is “not thought to be ‘fundamental’.” So I’m pleased that you, too, do not object to individuals, conferences, and unions who very openly disagree with the Church’s official position on women’s ordination. I agree that they are not openly attacking the Church. But I do find it curious that one who privately tells students in a classroom, “the church might be wrong with its position on Genesis 1,” is openly attacking the Church, whereas one who attends a constituency meeting and casts a vote against women’s ordination–for which the Church clearly has an official position–is not openly attacking the Church. Very curious.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      And here is the crux of the problem: what are the “primary goals and ideals,”

      These include order and structure of the church government (which the church believes is Divinely inspired) as well as the stated fundamental doctrinal beliefs of the church.

      and what constitutes “openly attack?”

      Teaching or preaching, in public, anything that undermines the church’s perspective on one of its stated “fundamentals”.

      Who gets to decide these?

      The church.

      From your response, I take it that women’s ordination is “not thought to be ‘fundamental’.”

      Womens’ ordination is not, in and of itself, a fundamental doctrinal issue (Do you see it listed anywhere in the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the SDA Church?). However, church order and government is a fundamental issue. Any effort to fragment the church or to work outside of the governmental structure of the church tends toward fragmentation and disrupts the primary goals and mission of the church.

      I also recognize that the church is a worldwide church and, because of this, there are rational reason why the church, as an organization, may wish to proceed more slowly on some of these issues. In any case, the organization of the church is itself a more vital issue (Similar to the perspective of Abraham Lincoln on the issue of slavery vs. maintaining the Union of the States – the Union was more important to him. Once the union was solidly established, the other issues that needed to be addressed could be undertaken).

      So I’m pleased that you, too, do not object to individuals, conferences, and unions who very openly disagree with the Church’s official position on women’s ordination.

      But I do object to conferences and unions doing their own thing independent of the united worldwide church government. That’s a big problem for the church and sets a very bad and dangerous precedent – the beginnings of fragmentation and the very real possibility of a major split in the church.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  24. Sean Pitman: No viable organization could or would hire employees who would not publicly uphold the primary goals and missions of the organization. Such a concept does not a viable organization make.

    Interesting wording, considering your position that a scientist employed by an SDA institution is unfit for employment and should be terminated unless they declare that the weight of evidence favors a literal 6-day creation 6,000 years ago. Should the same scientist be fired if they do not explain to students the 2300-day prophecy, righteousness by faith, last-generation theology, latter-day Church identity, doctrine of baptism, and doctrine of death? Should the same scientist be fired if they do not explain that the weight of evidence favors a parthenogenetic birth and bodily resurrection of Jesus?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      A scientist hired by the SDA Church to promote the Adventist perspective cannot be going around attacking any fundamental doctrinal position of the Adventist Church – to include Adventist position on origins or any other fundamental doctrinal position of the church (and expect to maintain his/her job). It is fine to be silent on a particular topic that is not directly related to what you’re specifically hired to teach. But, its a very different thing if one feels compelled to openly attack the church’s position on this or that doctrinal position that is fundamental to the church.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  25. Sean Pitman: Womens’ ordination is not, in and of itself, a fundamental doctrinal issue… However, church order and government is a fundamental issue…I do object to conferences and unions doing their own thing independent of the united worldwide church government. That’s a big problem for the church and sets a very bad and dangerous precedent – the beginnings of fragmentation and the very real possibility of a major split in the church.

    Ahh…so women’s ordination is not a fundamental issue, but you view it important enough that you see agitation by proponents as causing disorder in the Church. Shouldn’t individuals who openly attack the church’s position on women’s ordination be silenced or fired? Yes or No?




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  26. Sean Pitman: A scientist hired by the SDA Church to promote the Adventist perspective cannot be going around attacking any fundamental doctrinal position of the Adventist Church – to include Adventist position on origins or any other fundamental doctrinal position of the church (and expect to maintain his/her job). It is fine to be silent on a particular topic that is not directly related to what you’re specifically hired to teach. But, its a very different thing if one feels compelled to openly attack the church’s position on this or that doctrinal position that is fundamental to the church.

    Okay…so a music, history, or religion professor should not be required to speak out on doctrines like origins, since they are not hired to do so. But you have maintained that a scientist must speak out on origins, declaring it to be upheld by scientific evidence, presumably because you believe they are hired to do so. And this remains the case even if they personally believe the Church’s position on origins is based on theology rather than science. In other words, you insist that all SDA scientists must believe the Church’s doctrine on origins is scientific, and therefore they are required to teach it as such, and refusal to teach as such renders them unfit for employment. Do I understand you correctly?




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    • If these “scientists” do not agree with the Bible inpsired by the One who created all things, if they only have belief in what they presumably can “prove” by brains diminished by 6,000 years of de-evolution, then they are unfit to teach in SDA schools, yes. I doubt de-evolution is a word but the Bible also teaches than man is on a downward trend, physically, mentally, and morally, not an upward trend.
      “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”, and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise that they are futile.” 1 Cor. 3:18-20

      Worldly scientists are trying their best to claim a “natural” cause for every miraculous work of God written in the Bible. After all, how can a bush burn without being devoured (this is the latest one I heard explained scientifically), or a whale swallow a man who lives and is spit out intact three days later, or lions disdain a tasty meal though practically starving, or the Red Sea parting to dry ground (another scientific explanation I recently heard that “wise” men felt compelled to try to rationalize their unbelief), etc. etc. The list goes on and on. And how about God becoming man, that’s a big one. . .

      And speaking of unbelief, this is the evil inherent in this teaching. It is the unbelief of the professor who then instills it into the hearts of some students. We’re not asked to scientifically explain if these things are possible, we are asked to believe God’s Word, not judge it by man’s wisdom which is “foolishness” with God.




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  27. M. Shelton: And speaking of unbelief, this is the evil inherent in this teaching. It is the unbelief of the professor who then instills it into the hearts of some students. We’re not asked to scientifically explain if these things are possible, we are asked to believe God’s Word, not judge it by man’s wisdom which is “foolishness” with God.

    I was referring to those who do believe, but base their belief on scripture rather than science. Dr. Pitman has stated repeatedly that those who refuse to teach that the weight of scientific evidence favors the Church’s position are unfit to be employed.

    M. Shelton: We’re not asked to scientifically explain if these things are possible, we are asked to believe God’s Word, not judge it by man’s wisdom which is “foolishness” with God.

    I completely agree with you, Shelton, but you’re at the wrong website to promote this position. Dr. Pitman and all true supporters of Educate Truth (i.e., “true Seventh-day Adventists”) argue vehemently against this position. They insist that your position is equivalent to and as useless as belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I suggest you rethink your position if you wish to remain a true Seventh-day Adventist.




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    • The Adventist Church, as an organization, has asked all science professors, in particular, to be able to give a scientifically rigorous defense of the church’s position on origins.

      Now, you may disagree with this request, or think it impossible, but this is in fact the church’s position. If you disagree with it, fine. You are perfectly free to work elsewhere. The fact is, however, it wouldn’t be honest for anyone who feels this way to expect a paycheck from the church while telling his/her students that the church doesn’t know what it’s talking about – that there simply is no reasonable empirical evidence to support the Biblical view of a literal 6-day creation of all life on this planet in recent history…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • Professor Kent:
      I am posting my earlier reply to you that I did not post because I had to leave for an appt. and I wanted to reread first.

      “Professor Kent:

      “I was referring to those who do believe, but base their belief on scripture rather than science. Dr. Pitman has stated repeatedly that those who refuse to teach that the weight of scientific evidence favors the Church’s position are unfit to be employed.”

      Where in Scripture are we asked to prove God’s Word scientifically. However, I believe that in order to be credible in today’s world, we need to teach what we have discovered as to creation according to Genesis. I have not an understanding of Dr. Pitman’s teachings or beliefs but I would believe from what I have read on this site that he does not equate belief in God and His miraculous doings in Scripture unless proved by man’s scientific reasoning to be likened to fairy stories. I would believe he has some sound reasoning for a young earth as do I. However, mine is not very scientific but surely makes sense to me. Evolution is a very far-fetched theory whose main supposition is not fact but plain old unbelief!

      However, I could very well believe that Dr. Pitman believes that the weight of evidence “suggests” the creation story is true. I do myself. I think so-called scientific evidence of evolution is a satanically-derived bunch of phooey regardless of how many he has deceived. If it were not so serious a deception, I think even angels would laugh at it. But since not many are laughing at it, there is a need to put forth the evidence we have for a young earth according to the Bible at least in our schools where young people are forming their beliefs.

      Since some of our schools employ professors who are proselytizing our young people with evolution, I am thankful that there are also some who are not only objecting to that but are putting forth scientific evidence for creation according to Genesis.

      I would believe that Dr. Pitman and myself would agree on this subject.




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  28. Sean Pitman: Now, you may disagree with this request, or think it impossible, but this is in fact the church’s position. If you disagree with it, fine. You are perfectly free to work elsewhere.

    At one time many years ago I was employed by the SDA Church, but I am not currently and don’t ever expect to be again. However, if I was employed, I’d be perfectly comfortable telling students that our core belief on origins is based 100% on scripture–God’s word–regardless of where the evidence is today or where it will be 20 years down the road. And I would be at zero risk of losing my job because the Church’s leadership would strongly support my position, your wrath and efforts to publicly humiliate me notwithstanding.

    Your militant fanaticism is dangerous to the Church.




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    • You would not be in line with the church’s position on what it expects from its own educators if you were to go around say, “The empirical evidence, science, is overwhelmingly contrary to the church’s position on origins. All the church really has to stand on is amazing ‘faith’ in the truly fantastic, otherwise unsupported, essentially irrational, claims of the Bible alone.”

      Such a position is in direct conflict with the very clear goal of the church to present its young people with the very strong empirical evidence supporting its position on origins. The church has in fact requested that all of its educators in the area of science be able to present their students with a rigorous defense of church’s position on origins. If you do not feel like you can do this, in good conscience, then it really isn’t honest of you to expect a paycheck from the church for acting contrary to the church’s very specific direction on this issue.

      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.

      http://adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat55.html

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  29. Sean Pitman: The fact is, however, it wouldn’t be honest for anyone who feels this way to expect a paycheck from the church while telling his/her students that the church doesn’t know what it’s talking about – that there simply is no reasonable empirical evidence to support the Biblical view of a literal 6-day creation of all life on this planet in recent history…

    This is a VERY different issue. It’s interesting that you portray anyone’s position that differs from yours in the most extreme. The position of virtually all SDA scientists is that SOME evidence supports the SDA position, but that SOME or MUCH evidence points a different direction and we believe regardless.

    You paint a false dilemma: our scientists either believe and teach that the weight of evidence supports our position (which is merely an interpretation, which you fail to appreciate), or they teach there is no evidence. There may be a small handful who take either extreme, but the vast majority are in-between.

    I think your lengthy efforts at propagandizing have put you out of touch with reality.




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  30. M. Shelton: I would believe he has some sound reasoning for a young earth as do I

    Pitman does not believe in a young earth.

    M. Shelton: Since some of our schools employ professors who are proselytizing our young people with evolution, I am thankful that there are also some who are not only objecting to that but are putting forth scientific evidence for creation according to Genesis.

    I agree with you. But let’s distinguish between interpretation and fact, and put our trust first in God’s sure word–not our own frail mind subject to Satan’s deceptions.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      The concept that the Bible is the “sure Word of God” is also based on interpretation – picking between various competing options all making this very same claim. Without an evidentiary basis, what you have is a faith based on wishful thinking – which is not the type of faith that the Bible itself promotes (i.e., not the fideistic type of faith that you and others have been trying to promote in this forum).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean Pitman:
        The concept that the Bible is the “sure Word of God” is also based on interpretation – picking between various competing options all making this very same claim. Without an evidentiary basis, what you have is a faith based on wishful thinking – which is not the type of faith that the Bible itself promotes.

        I think I just became out of step with you, my friend. I have a hard time believing what this paragraph seems to be saying. For one thing, the Bible is not based on “interpretation” but on “spiritual discernment” from the Holy Spirit given only to those whose hearts are free from preconceived opinions and prejudice and open to Him. So many are not and that is the reason for “various competing options”. Why is it that the theory of creation as given in Genesis (without interpretation) necessarily must have an “evidentiary basis” when Scripture is stock full of the miraculous which in no way have an evidentiary basis try as the puny mind of man would try to do so, only making himself look desperate and ridiculous. Again, why just the subject of the earth’s creation, does that not make one suspect?? It sure does me! And I would believe that the master of deception is behind this because if he suceeds here (which with most he has) the Sabbath day is done away with along with anything one wishes to interpret according to their own perception and God’s Word does indeed then become “wishful thinking”. If one does not have enough faith to believe the Word as written, then the problem isn’t with lack of “proof” but with lack of belief. We do not need “evidentiary basis” for anything written in the Word of God. What we desperately in these end days need is BELIEF! Belief in God and belief in His Word! Is there a need to prove to our young people evolution in any form, young earth/old earth? If yes, then we have a big job ahead of us proving much of the rest of Scripture.

        “Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

        I am not basing my belief nor faith on how even the best of the scholars of the SDA church “interpret” them. I love this church as is but I believe it will be cleansed by God’s own hand and there will yet be unity and the thought of allowing dissension to cause me to “abandon ship” is unthinkable. God still has his 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

        I believe the verse in Scripture that states we must “prove all things” is in regard to spiritual things, not the physical. If so, we need minds “evolved” far ahead of the present because this would indeed be an impossible task today.




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        • So, you determine that the Bible is true based on the Holy Spirit telling you that the Bible is true? You know, my Latter-day Saints friends use the very same argument for how they determine that the Book of Mormon is superior to the Bible – because the Holy Spirit told them so via a “burning in the bosom” deep down inside of themselves.

          Really then, the ultimate basis of your faith in some kind of feeling or impression that you think came from the Holy Spirit. Such a faith really isn’t based on an intelligent understanding of the Bible and it’s claims as being rationally valid or invalid from the available “weight of evidence”.

          The Bible itself points to various forms of empirical evidence as a basis for its own credibility. Your arguments for empirically blind belief simply isn’t Biblical. Jesus didn’t chastise Thomas for wanting evidence. God always provides the weight of evidence for the candid mind to perceive and understand the truth. Jesus chastised Thomas for refusing to believe without first being given conclusive evidence (well beyond the weight of evidence he already had been given). Thomas had the testimony of Scripture concerning the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He also had his own past experience with Jesus as someone who could raise the dead with the use of Divine Power – as well as Jesus’ own claim regarding His own resurrection. He also had the personal testimony of a great many of his closest friends in the world. Yet, despite all of this evidence, the weight of evidence, he refused to believe without conclusive evidence.

          God wishes faith to be based not on demonstration, but upon the weight of evidence – to include the origin and credibility of the Bible. Otherwise, what you really have is wishful thinking, not a Biblical faith in the as yet unseen. What you have is a fideistic form of faith – a type of faith which is not the type of faith promoted by the Bible itself.

          And, Genesis isn’t the only part of the Bible open various forms of empirical testing. Many of the passages of the Bible make claims about the empirical world, to include empirically testable historical events, that can be investigated as a basis to establish Biblical credibility. The same is true of the Book of Mormon and other such books that claim to be the true Word of God. The problem for these other books is that only the Bible is able to establish a very high degree of credibility regarding those claims that are actually open to empirical investigation and the potential for falsification…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman.
          No, I do not believe in feelings versus what EGW calls “living faith”. Even the devils believe and tremble. And they have the greatest imperical evidence but it does them no good. Why, because it is not mixed with faith. And I would suggest that there are more scientists, biologists, geologists, etc. who lack living faith and are essentially non-believers. I had a teacher once who taught that “believing is seeing” not “seeing is believing”.

          But I do believe there is plenty of “imperical evidence” in the Word of God and life itself for the humble seekers of truth. Pride and prejudice, however, bar any true faith to take hold in the heart and if evidence were enough the scientific world would be preachers of righteousness instead of teachers of a godless evolution theory, big bang theory, etc. Nature itself, our miraculous bodies that produce life are all evidence for believing in the God of Scripture. The older I get, the more I am overwhelmed with imperical evidence and the truths of God’s Word. And I am not a scientist on any level and I believe the same evidence is available for anyone. So if that is what you seem to be referring to, I agree wholeheartedly. If you are referring to faith based on the imperical evidence of an earth billions of years old and man evolving from something in the ocean or whatever, then I do not agree because I take the Word of God as it reads and I don’t need a scientist proving what the Bible does not plainly teach. Faith comes first and without it, no amount of imperical evidence will lead to the belief of the Bible which leads to everlasting life. And that is based on the acceptance of the Holy Spirit to guide us into “all truth”. Those who believe and are deceived such as you described are no argument against those who believe unto salvation. They just prove the Bible true because it plainly teaches, sadly, that the majority of earth’s population both deceived believers and unbelievers for whom Jesus died will not be saved. All because of unbelief, not a lack of proof of imperical evidence.




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        • Sean Pitman:
          I went back and read what you were saying about the teaching of creationism in our schools. Should have done this first as I see where I am not on track with your argument for empirical (got sp. right lol) evidence in our schools. That is, of course, the right thing to be done. I guess my difference with you would be that I find that much of Bible truths are faith-based, not proof-based. Much of the Bible seems like a fairytale without faith to believe, which is God-given. The difference between say believing in the Book of Mormon and the Bible alone is deep within the heart that no one but God can see and understand. It would not be sin to believe a lie if the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, were not available to every man to bring us into “all truth”. Anyway, thanks for your patience and courtesy.




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        • I went back and read what you were saying about the teaching of creationism in our schools. Should have done this first as I see where I am not on track with your argument for empirical (got sp. right lol) evidence in our schools. That is, of course, the right thing to be done. I guess my difference with you would be that I find that much of Bible truths are faith-based, not proof-based.

          Biblical faith isn’t based on absolute proof or demonstration, but on the weight of evidence.

          Much of the Bible seems like a fairytale without faith to believe, which is God-given. The difference between say believing in the Book of Mormon and the Bible alone is deep within the heart that no one but God can see and understand. It would not be sin to believe a lie if the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, were not available to every man to bring us into “all truth”. Anyway, thanks for your patience and courtesy.

          This is the very same argument my LDS friends tell me – that they know that the Book of Mormon is the true or superior Word of God because the Holy Spirit has spoken to them “deep within their hearts” revealing this truth to them.

          The fact is that the Holy Spirit doesn’t work this way. God doesn’t expect anyone to believe or have faith without first providing the weight of evidence to the candid intelligent God-given mind. Otherwise, what you haven’t really isn’t faith. It’s wishful thinking. God gives one the power to correctly perceive and interpret evidence and the power to follow where the evidence leaves (for the honest seeker for truth), but God does not generally provide privileged information via some form of faith outside of what He has already given through the weight of empirical evidence. Otherwise, you really wouldn’t need to study or read or investigate anything. The Holy Spirit would just given you all the answers without any need for you to exert any effort of your own to study or read or learn. Again, that’s not how the Holy Spirit works.

          Consider also the following comments of Mrs. White in this regard:

          [God] appeals to reason and waits for each person to decide on the basis of the weight of evidence and the constraint of love. – Steps to Christ, pp. 43-47; The Desire of Ages, p. 458; Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 255; vol. 4, pp. 583, 584.

          “God designs that men shall not decide from impulse, but from weight of evidence… Had the Jews laid by their prejudice and compared written prophecy with the facts characterizing the life of Jesus, they would have perceived a beautiful harmony between the prophecies and their fulfillment in the life and ministry of the lowly Galilean.” – Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 458

          “Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room. God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit, and all should decide from the weight of evidence.” —Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 255.

          “God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding, will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith.” —Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 232, 233.

          Notice that while there remains room for doubt, God has intended that we make our decisions and form our faith in Him and His Word, the Bible, based on the “weight of evidence”. There are no examples, none, where God has asked anyone to take a leap of faith without first providing the weight of evidence in order for any rational intelligent person to realize the reasonableness of taking such a leap of faith.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • Sean Pitman

          I was going to bow out of this discussion but now you have gotten my attention and I am seeing that up to this point I have never had any real clarity on this issue. Nor did “weight of evidence” as an issue ever hold any “weight” with me (smile) as I have never really thought about it nor have had occasion to “weigh” the “evidence”. Scuse the puns but they fit here. You have given some very convincing quotes from EGW and I am really excited to consider this, for me, new line of thinking. I can even see where it would be necessary for our schools to “weigh the evidence” for creation versus evolution. I am glad that I did come on here because it strikes me this a.m. that God is indeed speaking to “rational intelligent persons” and this being so, would appeal to evidence on which we could base our “faith”. I will think on this.




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        • No, I do not believe in feelings versus what EGW calls “living faith”. Even the devils believe and tremble. And they have the greatest imperical evidence but it does them no good. Why, because it is not mixed with faith. And I would suggest that there are more scientists, biologists, geologists, etc. who lack living faith and are essentially non-believers. I had a teacher once who taught that “believing is seeing” not “seeing is believing”.

          The difference between belief and faith is that faith includes a desire for what one knows is true. Faith includes motive – a love of the truth. That is why the devils believe but do not have faith. They know the truth, but they do not love the truth.

          The problem with the notion of “believing is seeing” is that anything can be believed regardless of the presence or lack of evidence. This isn’t faith either. This is wishful thinking. A solid Biblical type of faith must be based on the weight of evidence and one’s God-given ability to think and reason based on the evidence provided.

          “Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room. God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit, and all should decide from the weight of evidence.”—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 255. 2

          “But there are some things that are not explained.” Well, what if everything is not explained? Where is the weight of evidence? God will balance the mind if it is susceptible to the influence of the Spirit of God; if it is not, then it will decide on the other side. 1SAT 145.3

          God never asks us to believe anything without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word, are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith. – Ellen White, SC, p. 105

          Do not seek to redefine words as some have tried to do in this forum – arguing that Mrs. White and even the Biblical authors were really just talking about belief when they used the word “faith”.

          @Professor Kent:
          Sean Pitman: So, there you have it. According to Ellen White, the discovery of empirical evidences, outside of the Bible itself, was designed, by God, to establish the faith of those considering these evidences in the credibility of the Scriptures…

          Obviously, she is referring to “belief” when she writes of faith. Again, faith has several meanings that you seem unwilling to acknowledge.

          The fact is that the Bible is consistent in this regard. Biblical faith is always backed up by the weight of evidence in its favor…

          Consider also that, “perfect assurance . . . is not compatible with faith. Faith rests not on certainty, but upon evidence.” – Ellen White, Letter 19d, 1892, cited in The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 1029, 1030.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  31. Dr. Pitman and others have criticized La Sierra for what they insist is a naturalism approach to teaching science–purportedly telling students to follow the evidence rather than God’s word in scripture. Yet he advocates for the very same thing. He argues that if scripture and evidence diverge, one must follow the evidence. He has frequently stated that he would leave the SDA Church and Christianity if the evidence led him to believe our position on origins was wrong. Human reason trumps God’s word.

    Is this what the GC had in mind when it implored “all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins?”

    I don’t think so. But Dr. Pitman’s sympathizers here are pretty much willing to go to war, splitting the Church, to ensure their view–the only one a “true Adventist” should adhere to–is upheld.




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    • Professor Kent

      I agree, Jesus did gently chide Thomas but it is also true that Thomas had had plenty of “evidence” beforehand on which to base his faith in a sacrificial Christ but he, and the other disciples, did not base their faith on the evidence given. They not only had the Scriptures but the words spoken by Jesus himself. It doesn’t appear to me that “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” necessarily mean there was no previous evidence does it?




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  32. I think we dishonor our God when we try to put Him into boxes of our own understanding. He has revealed to us, those things that are important for us to know about Him.

    The God (all Three in One) Who made the great expanses of the universe that extend beyond what we can detect, is also the God Who put the electrons into motion around the nucleus of the atoms. He is in control of it all.

    How can we attempt to understand such a Being as God – beyond what He has told us? I have heard arguments all of my life (as an SDA) about whether God is One or Three? Scripture makes it clear that God is beyond the limitations of our comprehension and thus there is an element of faith for us in knowing God.

    Yet faith does not have to be without evidence. Clearly, prayer is rewarded with understanding. The Holy Spirit is at work here as well. They are Three but they are One. Those who have cultivated a relationship through study and prayer will (and do) understand – and thus have no need to argue.

    John 14
    5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

    6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

    8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

    9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

    (WOW!)

    10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

    11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

    12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

    14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

    15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

    16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

    17 Even the Spirit of truth; !whom! the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

    18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

    19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

    20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.




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  33. Sean Pitman: The concept that the Bible is the “sure Word of God” is also based on interpretation – picking between various competing options all making this very same claim. Without an evidentiary basis, what you have is a faith based on wishful thinking – which is not the type of faith that the Bible itself promotes (i.e., not the fideistic type of faith that you and others have been trying to promote in this forum).

    Sure, faith can have a foundation in evidence, but by definition it goes beyond it. Call it “wishful thinking” if you will, but God lavished praise upon those who exercised it. Stop belittling those who appreciate and trust God’s word, especially the claims for which there is no factual or empirically testable support.




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    • Sure, faith can have a foundation in evidence, but by definition it goes beyond it. Call it “wishful thinking” if you will, but God lavished praise upon those who exercised it. Stop belittling those who appreciate and trust God’s word, especially the claims for which there is no factual or empirically testable support.

      If a rational faith must have a foundation in the weight of evidence, then there really is no real faith, beyond mere wishful thinking, without such evidence. God knows this. That is why God never ever asks anyone to believe or have faith without first providing the weight of evidence in an appeal to the rational candid intelligent mind.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • It’s not that faith can have a foundation in evidence, but that faith must have a foundation in evidence. Only once this foundational evidence is established can one move on to rationally take a leap of faith beyond what the evidence can absolutely prove or support (as is true for any scientific or otherwise rational conclusion).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  34. So, those who accept the bible alone as their only creed should call themselves what… “Loughborough Adventists”? The 28 Fundamentals are not a creed by which to measure the validity of fellow believers. Please don’t try to make it such. J.N. Loughborough once wrote, “”The first step of apostasy is to get up a creed, telling us what we shall believe. The second is, to make that creed a test of fellowship. The third is to try members by that creed. The fourth to denounce as heretics those who do not believe that creed. And fifth, to commence persecution against such.”




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    • The problem, of course, is that those who reference the founding fathers of the church with regard to church order and government fail to reference Loughborough’s 1907 work, The Church, Its Organization, Order and Discipline. Although originally opposed to such constraints, it was John Loughborough, together with James White, who first started to realize the need for some sort of internal enforcement of Church order and discipline – i.e., an actual Church government.

      As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization, there would be great confusion, and the work could not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying on the work in new fields, for protecting both the church and ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for other objects, organization was indispensable.4

      Of course, those who were not considered to accurately represent the views of the early Adventist Church did not receive “cards of commendation.” And what was the attitude of such persons? According to Loughborough:

      Of course those who claimed “liberty to do as they pleased,” to “preach what they pleased,” and to “go when and where they pleased,” without “consultation with any one,” failed to get cards of commendation. They, with their sympathizers, drew off and commenced a warfare against those whom they claimed were “depriving them of their liberty.” Knowing that it was the Testimonies that had prompted us as a people to act, to establish “order,” these opponents soon turned their warfare against instruction from that source, claiming that “when they got that gift out of the way, the message would go unrestrained to its `loud cry.’ ”

      One of the principal claims made by those who warred against organization was that it “abridged their liberty and independence, and that if one stood clear before the Lord that was all the organization needed,” etc… Upon this point, when church order was contested, we read:

      “Satan well knows that success only attend order and harmonious action. He well knows that everything connected with heaven is in perfect order, that subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. . . . He deceives even the professed people of God, and makes them believe that order and discipline are enemies to spirituality; that the only safety for them is to let each pursue his own course. . . . All the efforts made to establish order are considered dangerous, a restriction of rightful liberty, and hence are feared as popery.”5

      When those who back in the “sixties” [1860s] witnessed the battle of establishing church order now hear persons, as conscientious no doubt as those back there, utter almost the identical words that were then used by those opposing order, it need not be wondered that they fear the result of such statements as the following:

      “Perfect unity means absolute independence, – each one knowing for himself. Why, we could not have outward disorganization if we all believed in the Lord. . . . This question of organization is a simple thing. All there is to it is for each individual to give himself to the Lord, and then the Lord will do with him just what he wants to, and that all the time. . . . Our only safety, under God, is to go back to the place where God is able to take a multitude of people and make them one, without parliamentary rules, without committee work, without legislation of any kind.” – General Conference Bulletin of 1899.

      Superficially considered, this might seem to be a blessed state, a heaven indeed; but, as already noted on a preceding page, we read of heaven itself and its leadings that “the god of heaven is a god of order, and he requires all his followers to have rules and regulations to preserve order.”

      For further discussion along these lines see:

      http://ssnet.org/blog/2012/03/creeds-and-fundamental-beliefs/

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  35. Sean Pitman: If a rational faith must have a foundation in the weight of evidence, then there really is no real faith, beyond mere wishful thinking, without such evidence…

    I have a suggestion for you, Dr. Pitman. The vast majority of SDAs disagree with your deeply cherished but heterodox views on faith and evidence. Some of your most ardent supporters have disagreed with you, including Shane Hilde and David Read.

    If you think your views are at all important, I suggest you create a movement to add a 29th SDA Fundamental Belief, one which clearly articulates your understanding of what faith is and is not.

    I don’t think you’re up to the challenge, but I’d be curious to learn how theologians and other SDA leaders respond to your efforts–vanishingly few of whom either read your views here or care enough to defend them.




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    • I have a suggestion for you, Dr. Pitman. The vast majority of SDAs disagree with your deeply cherished but heterodox views on faith and evidence. Some of your most ardent supporters have disagreed with you, including Shane Hilde and David Read.

      I would say that the majority of SDAs, or members of any other church group for that matter, haven’t really considered why they believe what they believe or have faith in this or that. Most of the time it is simply a matter of how they were raised from childhood. They’ve never really been brought to the point of seriously questioning their faith. It’s been more a matter of culture rather than a real solid conviction that provides a rational assurance in times of intense stress or direct challenges to one’s faith.

      Some, after thinking about it for the first time, change their minds and are no longer so fideistic in their views. This is true of Shane Hilde who started out arguing very much like you, but now sees the fundamental importance of the weight of evidence as a basis for true Biblical faith.

      If you think your views are at all important, I suggest you create a movement to add a 29th SDA Fundamental Belief, one which clearly articulates your understanding of what faith is and is not.

      I don’t think you’re up to the challenge, but I’d be curious to learn how theologians and other SDA leaders respond to your efforts–vanishingly few of whom either read your views here or care enough to defend them.

      The current position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as an organization, is very much in line with what I’ve been presenting here in this forum. The church recognizes the need for the weight of evidence as a basis for Biblical faith – as did Mrs. White. This fact is so clear that you feel the need to argue that she and the Biblical authors weren’t really talking about real “faith” when they used the actual word “faith” (which is quite telling I might add). You say that they were really talking about “belief” when they use the word “faith” on occasion. I’m sorry, but your fideistic arguments and efforts to redefine what the Biblical authors and Mrs. White were actually trying to say are what are outside of the current perspective of the Adventist Church as an organization. The SDA Church simply does not support your fideistic or “faithism” views.

      One of the empirical evidences to which Ellen White referred was Biblical prophecies as they compared to historical evidence outside of the Bible – i.e., the historical sciences.

      Also, Ellen White presented numerous other forms of empirical evidence as a basis for faith in the Bible’s claims:

      “Science is ever discovering new wonders; but she brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation. The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other…

      Inferences erroneously drawn from facts observed in nature have, however, led to supposed conflict between science and revelation; and in the effort to restore harmony, interpretations of Scripture have been adopted that undermine and destroy the force of the word of God. Geology has been thought to contradict the literal interpretation of the Mosaic record of the creation. Millions of years, it is claimed, were required for the evolution of the earth from chaos; and in order to accommodate the Bible to this supposed revelation of science, the days of creation are assumed to have been vast, indefinite periods, covering thousands or even millions of years…

      The vast forests buried in the earth at the time of the Flood, and since changed to coal, form the extensive coal fields, and yield the supplies of oil that minister to our comfort and convenience today. These things, as they are brought to light, are so many witnesses mutely testifying to the truth of the word of God.” – Ellen White, Education, p. 128

      “God designed that the discovery of these things in the earth, should establish the faith of men in inspired history. But men, with their vain reasoning, make a wrong use of these things which GOD designed should lead them to exalt him. They fall into the same error as did the people before the flood—those things which GOD gave them as a benefit, they turned into a curse, by making a wrong use of them.” —Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts 3:90-96

      So, there you have it. According to Ellen White, the discovery of empirical evidences, outside of the Bible itself, was designed, by God, to establish the faith of those considering these evidences in the credibility of the Scriptures…

      I highly doubt that very many church leaders at the GC level would disagree with these statements of Ellen White. The only qualification, of course, is that the correct understanding of scientific evidence and passages in the Bible requires that one have a sincere desire to know the truth (i.e., a love of the truth). God has promised to guide the minds of those who are sincerely seeking to find Truth, to find Him.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  36. M. Shelton: I can even see where it would be necessary for our schools to “weigh the evidence” for creation versus evolution.

    And what will you do, Shelton, if the “evidence” and the SDA interpretation of Genesis diverge? Will you, like Dr. Pitman, go with the evidence rather than God’s word and abandon your beliefs in God and the Bible?




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  37. M. Shelton: It doesn’t appear to me that “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” necessarily mean there was no previous evidence does it?

    Of course there was prior evidence to believe. But again, faith by definition takes one beyond the evidence. Jesus praises those who make leaps of faith beyond the limited evidence–those who accept his claims even the face of contradictory evidence.

    Take anyone Jesus healed, for instance. There was substantial evidence based on the natural history of disease that their illness could not be miraculously cured. Did those individuals, to whom Jesus declared “Your faith has made you whole,” elevate their faith ahead of this substantial body of evidence? Of course they did.

    Jesus’ statement makes sense only when acknowledging the marked contrast between evidence (“have not seen”) and faith (“yet believe”). Again, Jesus lavishes praise on those who believe beyond that which evidence alone supports or may even contradict. (And yes, all available evidence in Christ’s time, and today, tells us that an axe head that floats, a human child resulting from parthenogenetic birth, and a body restored to life after several days of decomposition are physically impossible events. Yet we believe these events in spite of the overwhelming evidence rather than reject them because of the overwhelming evidence.)




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    • Those healed by Jesus because of their faith had put their faith in Jesus because of the evidence of His Divine connection. Theirs was not mere wishful thinking. Theirs was a faith based on the weight of evidence in favor of Jesus being who He claimed to be. Without this evidence, there would be no real faith beyond mere wishful thinking…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  38. Ellen White wrote that “Science is ever discovering new wonders; but she brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation.”

    To be blunt, you yourself do not take this statement literally. Do you think that science, “rightly understood,” supports the possibility of human virgin birth? Of a human body returning to life three days after death? Which do you think science has established more firmly?

    1 – That a human body–or any other living animal species–can be restored to life after being deceased for three days.

    2 – That sasquatch exists today in North America.

    3 – That a simple voice or thought command can move Mount Everest into the Pacific Ocean.

    Frankly, there is vastly far more evidence debunking item #1 than item #2. There are millions upon millions of independently conducted observations (experiments) which confirm that animals dead for three days do not ever come back to life. And all laws of physics as we know them debunk #3. Yet you believe in item #1 (contrary to overwhelming empirical evidence), reject item #2 (in spite of limited empirical evidence), and accept #3 (contrary to overwhelming empirical evidence). You accept items #1 and #3 only because you believe the evidence established by God’s word outweighs all empirical evidence established by human scientific endeavors.

    You should stop boasting about the way you prioritize your own intelligence and reliance on evidence ahead of God’s word. To believe as you do, you clearly and unambiguously prioritize faith ahead of empirical evidence. Ellen White’s statement at face value simply cannot accommodate the vast gulf between many claims of scripture and the overwhelming accumulation of contradictory empirical evidence.

    True SDAs and the Church’s leadership always have and always will find your claim of prioritizing human reason and empirical evidence ahead of simple trust in God’s word repugnant.




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  39. And I’ll say it again: True SDAs and the Church’s leadership always have and always will find your claim of prioritizing human reason and empirical evidence ahead of simple trust in God’s word repugnant.




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    • It is our God-given ability to think and reason, together with an honest desire to know the truth, that brings honest hearts toward God. God does not act in a manner to trump our ability to think and reason. Rather, He acts in a manner calculated to appeal to our intelligent minds and our reasoning capabilities. Otherwise, He could simply overwhelm us and turn us into robots incapable of thinking or reasoning outside of His direct control.

      The problem here is that God doesn’t want robots who follow the dictates of blind faith without the need for rational thought and understanding – without conscious intelligent consent to follow what is intellectually known to be true out of a love of truth. Those who act blindly or from emotion alone cannot truly love. Those who act without an intelligent rational basis in real knowledge cannot truly love. True love requires an intelligent understanding of the other shared between lovers and freedom to choose between options. True love is not based on empirically-blind faith, but exists in the light of the weight of empirical evidence.

      In short, God does not expect us to love Him without first revealing Himself to us in the form of the weight of empirical evidences – evidences that demonstrate His love for us. Otherwise, it would be just as rational for us to place our ultimate faith and love in anyone and everyone who happened to come along… including Satan himself.

      Why pick God over Satan? Because of the weight of evidence in God’s favor. That’s why. And, that’s what the “Great Controversy” is all about…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  40. A Challenge

    Again, Ellen White makes this comment, which Sean Pitman deems inspired, literally correct, and unimpeachable: “Science is ever discovering new wonders; but she brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation.

    If this statement is indeed correct, then there must be some scientific data “rightly understood” which indicates that a human body dead for three days can come back to life. I challenge Sean Pitman or anyone else to provide us this “rightly understood” empirical evidence.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Science has also shown that a broken down car that has sat rusting in a field for 10 years won’t get fixed via any known naturalistic mechanism. However, science has also shown that someone who knows how to fix cars is able to restore such a vehicle to its original fully functional glory – via the creativity of intelligent design.

      The same is reasonably true for the mechanisms of living things. Science is not at all in conflict with the idea that the original Designer and Creator of all living things could easily fix what is broken in a dead body and bring it back to life – via very high level creativity and intelligent design. Such a concept is not at all inconsistent with any known discoveries of science.

      Therefore, your challenge of Mrs. White is misplaced. It should be an obvious truism that scientific discoveries, rightly understood, cannot but be in harmony with the original Author of science – that science does indeed bring nothing from her research that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation (the key phrase being “rightly understood”). Your position, in comparison, seems to be that God is in conflict with Himself…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  41. Sean Pitman: Science has also shown that a broken down car that has sat rusting in a field for 10 years won’t get fixed via any known naturalistic mechanism. However, science has also shown that someone who knows how to fix cars is able to restore such a vehicle to its original fully functional glory – via the creativity of intelligent design.
    The same is reasonably true for the mechanisms of living things. Science is not at all in conflict with the idea that the original Designer and Creator of all living things could easily fix what is broken in a dead body and bring it back to life – via very high level creativity and intelligent design. Such a concept is not at all inconsistent with any known discoveries of science.

    By your reasoning, it would be consistent with Ellen White’s statement and your heterodox philosophy to accommodate one’s belief that a literal Tooth Fairy could place a tooth beneath a child’s pillow; that a literal Santa could deliver presents to every single home on the planet in a 24-hour period; that a Flying Spaghetti Monster could appear above a stadium and steal the show at a football game; and that a Mormon could experience a genuine warming of the gut caused by the Holy Spirit.

    As you yourself put it, “science is not at all in conflict with the idea that the original Designer and Creator of all living things could easily” engineer these remarkable beings and feats, which you have gleefully ridiculed on multiple occasions. Nor is science at all in conflict with the idea that these could be supreme beings in addition to God himself. After all, there is no science to show that these entities and feats do not exist.

    Your very selective set of beliefs betrays your obvious confirmation bias that originates from faith and trust in God’s word, not from evidence.




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    • As you yourself put it, “science is not at all in conflict with the idea that the original Designer and Creator of all living things could easily” engineer these remarkable beings and feats, which you have gleefully ridiculed on multiple occasions. Nor is science at all in conflict with the idea that these could be supreme beings in addition to God himself. After all, there is no science to show that these entities and feats do not exist.

      So, outside of wishful thinking, is there a way to rationally determine, empirically, if God likely exists vs. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? If not, a choice to have faith in God (or the Bible that talks about God) really isn’t faith. It’s wishful thinking…

      Science is based on hypotheses that are testable in a potentially falsifiable manner. How then can any hypothesis that any one of these fantastic beings exists be rationally or empirically tested? How can any useful predictive value be established?

      Well, one would have to propose a hypothesis that could be tested and potentially falsified where only the entity in question, or something indistinguishable from such, could actually produce the phenomenon in question. You could call it the God-only hypothesis or the Santa-only hypothesis, etc. In other words, what would it take to convince you that God or Santa or the Flying Spaghetti Monster really does exist? – outside of wishful thinking that is?

      And yes, there are potential evidences that would convince even the most hardened scientists that a God or God-like being does in fact exist – if such evidences could actually be produced (given that the scientists in question are honest seekers for truth). If not, what you have is a blind faith that is in fact equivalent to wishful thinking. If God had not provided us with any more evidence of Himself than that which exists for Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, then He could not, in any seriousness, expect rational people to believe or have faith in Him, His existence, His love, or the validity of the Bible – vs. any other fairytale story. What separates the Biblical accounts of the existence and acts of God from other fairytale accounts must be evidence – empirically verifiable evidence.

      If such evidences could be demonstrated, it would no longer be irrational, or contrary to scientific forms of thinking, to conclude that the claims associated with the sources of such evidences for the existence and activity of God in human history are actually credible.

      Again, it all has to do with the degree of demonstrated credibility of the source of various fantastic claims… which can be determined in a scientific manner – via the weight of evidence regarding those elements that can be empirically tested.

      In short, without a basis in the weight of evidence, there is no faith beyond wishful thinking. Faith and evidence walk hand in hand. Faith does not exist without evidence and evidence is almost meaningless without the ability to make leaps of faith beyond that which can be absolutely known (i.e., the basis of science). One does not really function well, if at all, without the other.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean

        I am beginning to think you are all hat and no cattle. You say of science and hypotheses testing;

        “Well, one would have to propose a hypothesis that could be tested and potentially falsified where only the entity in question, or something indistinguishable from such, could actually produce the phenomenon in question. You could call it the God-only hypothesis or the Santa-only hypothesis, etc. In other words, what would it take to convince you that God or Santa or the Flying Spaghetti Monster really does exist? – outside of wishful thinking that is?”

        So now you seem to be wanting to test some overarching hypothesis in some scientific Toure de force.
        Lets start with something a little more modest and tractable. It is now 2013 and we discussed on this site in 2010 a need to subject your ideas on preloading of genetics and 1000 fsaar limits to experimental testing. You have not done so in any way so proposals to test more expansive hypotheses completely lacks credibility and are just so narratives.

        Similarly coming from a soldiers mouth the words
        “saved through their obedience of the Royal Law of Love” have a very hollow ring and for me at least conjure up images of a holy warrior dressed in fatigues with an M16 in one hand and a scalpel in the other triaging justice and mercy by the sword of God; healing to our friends and a bullet to the head of the infidel.

        I am assuming that an armed forces scholarship and rank of Major are not available to a conscientious objector. But maybe that image is restricted to people like me and Leo Tolstoy who takes Matthew 5 far too literally. Or maybe it is just melancholy that the Swiss are going the way of any country where everyone has a weapon and peace and safety is assured by the knowledge that the good will always shoot first.




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        • I am beginning to think you are all hat and no cattle.

          Oooh Ouch! 😉

          So now you seem to be wanting to test some overarching hypothesis in some scientific Toure de force. Lets start with something a little more modest and tractable. It is now 2013 and we discussed on this site in 2010 a need to subject your ideas on preloading of genetics and 1000 fsaar limits to experimental testing. You have not done so in any way so proposals to test more expansive hypotheses completely lacks credibility and are just so narratives.

          As I’ve already explained to you, numerous times, my hypotheses seem to me to be testable in a potentially falsifiable manner. For example, all you have to do to falsify my hypothesis regarding the creative limits of RM/NS is to show this mechanism actually producing any qualitatively novel functional system that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues – or how it would likely be done in a reasonable amount of time. Simple as that – to include any type of information system that is based on the meaningful functionality of character sequences (as in any kind of language system) or any kind of system that is based on specific functionality of specifically arranged parts in three dimensional space (to include automobiles, airplanes, spaceships, computers, cell phones, etc).

          The problem, of course, is that there are no such examples detailed in literature – nor are there even theoretical calculations as to how such a feat might even be possible in any kind of population this side of trillions of years of time. You’ve tried a few times before to come up with something to falsify this hypothesis. By doing so, you have already admitted, despite yourself, that this hypothesis is in fact potentially falsifiable and therefore a valid scientific proposal.

          So, you see, my hypothesis is in fact tested on a daily basis without falsification thus far. Every day it gains more and more predictive power. You yourself have admitted that you don’t really understand how the proposed Darwinian mechanism does what you believe it did. Your a Darwinist, not because you understand the mechanism, but because you see evidence that things have changed over time – regardless of any real understanding of the mechanism.

          You also seem to confuse science with the concept of absolute demonstration. That’s not part of science. Science isn’t about absolute proof, but about producing useful predictive value. No scientific hypothesis can be absolutely proven to be true. Yet, it can still be a valid scientific hypothesis as long as it is open to testing and at least the potential for falsification.

          Similarly coming from a soldiers mouth the words “saved through their obedience of the Royal Law of Love” have a very hollow ring and for me at least conjure up images of a holy warrior dressed in fatigues with an M16 in one hand and a scalpel in the other triaging justice and mercy by the sword of God; healing to our friends and a bullet to the head of the infidel.

          I am assuming that an armed forces scholarship and rank of Major are not available to a conscientious objector. But maybe that image is restricted to people like me and Leo Tolstoy who takes Matthew 5 far too literally. Or maybe it is just melancholy that the Swiss are going the way of any country where everyone has a weapon and peace and safety is assured by the knowledge that the good will always shoot first.

          I know you are anti-military and anti-police and therefore like to make fun of and deride my military service as a medical officer in the United States Army (an experience for which I am grateful and proud). Now, you tell me, without a military, without a police force that carries the threat of civil punishment, how long would civil society survive in your country? Living according to the Royal Law does not mean that civil law and order should not be defended, with the threat of lethal force, against those who would think to destroy innocent life and the peace of civil society for their own personal gain. Nothing could be more Biblical (Romans 13:4).

          In this line, you confuse the maintenance of civil law with the maintenance of religious or philosophical beliefs. As I’ve already explained to you before, I’m a very strong believer in the separation of church and state. Religious beliefs are personal – a part of a personal relationship with God. Therefore, these should never be dictated with the use of civil power (in line with your reference to Matthew 5). All should be completely free to join or leave any religious organization without the threat of any kind of civil penalty.

          So please, do try and keep these concepts separate in the future. Do not accuse me of trying to enforce religious views on anyone with civil force just because I believe in the need for upholding civil society and civil government at large against those who would desire to tear it down if the threat of lethal force were ever removed. Also, do not confuse the natural right for religious freedom with the desire of some to get paid by the church while attacking the church’s goals and ideals from within. These are not the same. There is no natural right for anyone to expect to get paid by any organization while going around attacking the primary goals and ideals of the organization. Freedom works both ways. Organizations are also free to hire and maintain only those individuals who would most effectively represent the organization’s goals and ideals.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  42. Let’s face it: evidence can be construed to support whatever one would like it to support. It’s all subject to personal interpretation, and one can “weigh” the evidence as one desires. And because science can’t falsify or prove a negative, it can be consistent with essentially anything one imagines, as Sean Pitman’s cleverly reasoned evidentiary basis for Christ’s resurrection makes clear. Thus, one can construct an elaborate rationalization for any belief by declaring that evidence supports it and/or does not refute it.

    Accordingly, a faithful Adventist can “rationally” accept any claim that Ellen White, Sean Pitman, or Walter Veith puts forth as having a foundation in evidence rather than wishful thinking. We should be so proud!




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    • Only God knows if a person is being honest with the evidence provided and comprehended – according to one’s own God-given powers to rationally think and reason. The ability to be rationally-minded, the ability to think in a scientific manner, is a gift of God.

      Otherwise, you’re correct. The same thing is true of any scientific hypothesis or theory. As Thomas Kuhn famously pointed out, science itself involves a great deal of subjectivity when it comes to making conclusions as to what the evidence really supports. One’s own background experience, mental capabilities, social influences, and overall personal biases definitively come into play when interpreting evidence.

      When scientists must choose between competing theories, two men fully committed to the same list of criteria for choice may nevertheless reach different conclusions… I am suggesting, of course, that the criteria of choice with which I began function not as rules, which determine choice, but as values, which influence it.

      Thomas Kuhn (1977), The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change. University of Chicago Press. pp. 320-339.

      This is also why empirically-derived knowledge is not the basis of salvation. Empirically-derived knowledge is the basis of rational faith and hope, but not of love or salvation. The basis of salvation must be something that is generally accessible by all to the same degree. That is why the Royal Law has been written on the hearts of all mankind and why only the Royal Law will be used as a basis for the Final Judgement. This is why others, besides Adventists or Christians or even those who believe in a God of some kind, can be saved…

      Regardless, it is a mistake to argue that it doesn’t matter if one’s faith is based on one’s own understanding of the weight of evidence. It does matter. We should not be telling people that God is unable or unwilling to provide them with any more evidence than what could support wishful thinking or belief in the reality of any fairytale story. That paints the Christian religion and Biblical faith as inherently irrational – which is contrary to how the Bible depicts the equal link between faith and evidence. It also paints God as arbitrary, willing to judge and condemn (or praise) people regardless of if they understood what they did or not. I, for one, could not love such a God.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  43. Sean Pitman: The ability to be rationally-minded, the ability to think in a scientific manner, is a gift of God.

    Agreed.

    Sean Pitman: Empirically-derived knowledge is the basis of rational faith and hope, but not of love or salvation.

    Agreed.

    Sean Pitman: We should not be telling people that God is unable or unwilling to provide them with any more evidence than what could support wishful thinking or belief in the reality of any fairytale story.

    Agreed.

    And a good year to all.




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  44. Sean Pitman: Oooh Ouch!

    As I’ve already explained to you, numerous times, my hypotheses seem to me to be testable in a potentially falsifiable manner.For example, all you have to do to falsify my hypothesis regarding the creative limits of RM/NS is to show this mechanism actually producing any qualitatively novel functional system that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues – or how it would likely be done in a reasonable amount of time….

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    Inability or failure to falsify a hypothesis does not validate or constitute support for it. One could hypothesis that Ted Wilson is psychologically, spiritually, or physically incapable of robbing a bank, and the failure to show it actually happening (“in a reasonable amount of time”), or showing how it might happen, does not mean the hypothesis is valid or even scientific.

    One could also hypothesize that a three-day deceased human body can never come back to life, and the failure to show it actually happening (“in a reasonable amount of time”), or showing how it might happen, does not mean it actually cannot happen–as you wish to believe.

    If you think your “potentially falsifiable” hypothesis gives you a rational rather than faith-derived basis for your beliefs, then you can make that claim for essentially any of your beliefs.




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    • Inability or failure to falsify a hypothesis does not validate or constitute support for it.

      If a hypothesis is tested in a potentially falsifiable manner, and it passes all tests thus far, it gains a corresponding degree of predictive value. If a hypothesis is not testable in such a manner, it cannot gain predictive value and therefore cannot be classified as a scientific hypothesis.

      One could hypothesis that Ted Wilson is psychologically, spiritually, or physically incapable of robbing a bank, and the failure to show it actually happening (“in a reasonable amount of time”), or showing how it might happen, does not mean the hypothesis is valid or even scientific.

      Actually, it does – given that Ted Wilson is put into various situations were he would have an opportunity to rob a bank while thinking he probably wouldn’t get caught (such as a bank with nobody inside and the vault doors wide open… etc.). If the hypothesis can be tested, and it passes the tests, it does in fact gain a degree of useful scientific predictive value.

      What you seem to be talking about here is absolute proof. Well, as you should know, science isn’t about generating absolute proof. No scientific hypothesis or theory can be absolutely proven to be true – this side of eternity. Science is about taking what little information is currently available and extrapolating, based on that little bit of information, into the future.

      One could also hypothesize that a three-day deceased human body can never come back to life, and the failure to show it actually happening (“in a reasonable amount of time”), or showing how it might happen, does not mean it actually cannot happen–as you wish to believe.

      Again, you misunderstand science. The observation that dead bodies do not come back to life via any known naturalistic means is indeed very good scientific evidence, with a very very high degree of predictive value, that no dead body will ever come back to life throughout all eternity via such naturalistic mechanisms.

      It is perfectly reasonable and rational, on the other hand, to expect that the Designer of Life could revitalize any dead thing – if evidence could be presented for the likely existence of such a God-like Designer.

      If you think your “potentially falsifiable” hypothesis gives you a rational rather than faith-derived basis for your beliefs, then you can make that claim for essentially any of your beliefs.

      The potential for falsifiability simply adds an element of rationality to faith. It doesn’t remove the need for taking a leap of faith – it simply gives a rational direction to the leap (compared to blind faith where the direction of the leap is entirely subjective). Again, science and a Biblical form of faith walk hand-in-hand as equals. One does not exist without the other.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.Detectingdesign.com




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  45. Jas 4:17 Therefore to him who knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin.

    To “know” you have to have mature enough moral awareness of right & wrong. You have to have actual knowledge & comprehension of facts about what is right & wrong & why. Clearly God Himself is the only adequate Judge of this “knowing”. Therefore we leave all salvation judgments to Him alone.

    While it is entirely true that a baby “conceived in sin” is not knowingly guilty of sin. Nevertheless, that child (all of us) was born sin-separated from God and therefore in need of a Savior from conception on. And that Savior HAS BEEN PROVIDED for all children and all who are living up to the light that they “know” and are capable of “knowing”.

    We’ve got to allow our merciful & loving Heavenly Father latitude here to perform as Judge Advocate General — who will also by no means “clear the guilty!”

    Perfect Justice! Righteousness and Peace have “Kissed each other” in Jesus Christ our Savior / Advocate.




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  46. Sean Pitman: Again, you misunderstand science. The observation that dead bodies do not come back to life via any known naturalistic means is indeed very good scientific evidence, with a very very high degree of predictive value, that no dead body will ever come back to life throughout all eternity via such naturalistic mechanisms.
    It is perfectly reasonable and rational, on the other hand, to expect that the Designer of Life could revitalize any dead thing – if evidence could be presented for the likely existence of such a God-like Designer.

    So something that science shows to be impossible is evidence not only that it is possible, but that it also happened.

    And you people really think I’m the one who misunderstands science?




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    • So something science shows to be impossible is evidence not only that it is possible, but that it also happened.

      Do you really not grasp the difference between demonstrating the science for the potential and limits of non-intelligent naturalistic mechanisms vs. demonstrating the science for the potential and limits of intelligent design at various levels of intelligence? Let’s not be deliberately obtuse here. This concept isn’t that difficult.

      So, let’s try this one more time…

      What science has shown to be highly unlikely is that a dead person will not be brought back to life by mindless naturalistic mechanisms. I fully agree with this conclusion. I don’t believe this is possible – for even the simplest forms of life. I think that the weight of scientific evidence is pretty overwhelmingly in favor of this theory – despite the argument of naturalists to the contrary.

      Now, consider that this isn’t the same thing as hypothesizing that life could be produced by someone with access to very high levels of intelligence – to include god-like intelligence. This second hypothesis is not the same as the first hypothesis. I think most reasonable people can grasp this much.

      Of course, the demonstration that the first hypothesis is true isn’t the same thing as demonstrating that the second hypothesis is also true. The second hypothesis must also be based on testable evidence that can then be extrapolated to lend the second hypothesis some useful predictive value.

      Support for the second hypothesis comes in the form of studying the origin of complex machines and other functionally complex systems (such as language or functional information-based systems). Where do they come from? Beyond very low levels of functional complexity, they all come from either pre-existing systems or machines that are just as functionally complex, or more so, than those functionally complex systems that are produced. Or, they are produced by intelligent design. They are never produced by non-intelligent natural processes that exist at lower levels of functional complexity. And, the higher the level of functional complexity, the greater functional complexity, and/or intelligence, of its source (or Source).

      So, you see, a pattern emerges. This pattern can rationally be used to extrapolate regarding the origin of higher and higher level systems of function – to include the origin of living things, all of which exist at very high levels of functional and meaningful informational complexity. And, the hypothesis that is based on the reality of this pattern can be tested in a falsifiable manner. All it would take to falsify the ID-only hypothesis is to show some non-intelligent mechanism producing the artifact in question – or at least how it could likely be done in a reasonable amount of time.

      As with all forms of science that are involved in the detection of the need to invoke high levels of intelligent design, the hypothesis of ID requires two questions:

      1) Can the artifact in question be produced, in a given span of time, by any known mindless naturalistic mechanism?

      2) Can the artifact in question be produced by intelligent design or at least can known intelligent agents get closer to producing the artifact in question compared to any known mindless naturalistic mechanism?

      If the answer to question #1 is “No”, while the answer to question #2 is “Yes”, then the most rational scientific conclusion is that intelligent design was most likely involved in the origin of the artifact in question. The higher the level of functional complexity of the artifact, the higher the level of intelligence that would have to be hypothesized to explain its origin.

      And you people really think I’m the one who misunderstands science?

      When it comes to people who actually do understand the potential and limits of science, yes. I’m sorry, but you don’t seem to have a good grasp on what science is or isn’t; nor do you seem to understand the difference between faith and wishful thinking…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  47. Sean Pitman: When it comes to people who actually do understand the potential and limits of science, yes. I’m sorry, but you don’t seem to have a good grasp on what science is or isn’t; nor do you seem to understand the difference between faith and wishful thinking…

    Wow…you really do have a knack for putting yourself on a pedestal. By your reasoning, not a single naturalistic scientist among the many tens of thousands who publish routinely–or even a faith-acknowledging scientist like myself and Pauluc–has a clue what real science is about.

    Humility must be exceedingly elusive to the very few creation scientists who think as you do (if any others exist, which I seriously question).




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    • Wow… you really do have a knack for putting yourself on a pedestal. By your reasoning, not a single naturalistic scientist among the many tens of thousands who publish routinely–or even a faith-acknowledging scientist like myself and Pauluc–has a clue what real science is about.

      Perhaps then you can give me your definition of science and tell me how it is that intelligent design hypotheses, by definition, fall outside of the realm of science?

      Otherwise, no, I don’t believe that the exclusion of intelligent design theories by Darwinian naturalists is based on real science, regardless of their popularity, but on their own personal beliefs and philosophies that are independent of true scientific methodologies – or a rational Biblical faith that is superior to wishful thinking.

      Now, you can call me arrogant if you want for being out of step with the status quo, but I’m not a fan of believing something that makes no sense to me personally. Of course, it does take a bit of arrogance, a bit of chutzpah if you will, to stand on one’s own two feet in the face of peer pressure. The fact is though, I don’t really care who disagrees with me. I don’t care what degrees you have or what school you attended or how many Nobel Prizes you’ve won. Such attainments are interesting to be sure, and they catch one’s attention, even mine. However, if your argument doesn’t make sense to me, then it doesn’t make sense to me – and I’m not going to say otherwise. And, I don’t really care if I’m all alone in the world. Real science isn’t a popularity contest. Truth is truth regardless of who may or may not recognize it. I don’t have to answer for you. I only have to answer for me.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean

        I agree with Jeff Kent

        It is commendable that you see yourself as a crusading iconoclast that has no truck with consensus or acceptance that others may have better insight and understanding than yourself. However I would make a couple of points

        1] You can speculate as much as you want about hypotheses and science but until you do the experiment and publish the result you are not a scientist.

        2] If proposing an hypothesis makes you a scientist then everyone is a scientist. There is no end of “I thinks” about the place.

        3] What makes a scientist is the testing of an hypothesis by experimental comparison to reality and publishing the resulting data

        4] You keep saying someone else can test your hypotheses. No, a real scientist proposes his own hypothesis and tests it himself. No real scientist is interested in testing your hypothesis particularly when you are not at all engaging in the process of science.

        5] And no, having a publication does not necessarily make you a scientist. As I have said before your publications are stamp collecting not hypothesis driven and you have not even tried to pursue the only publication you have that may be construed as hypothesis driven. Why is that?

        6] You paint yourself as a rugged individualist and iconoclast but in really the evidence suggests that you are simply a hired gun for a highly conservative agenda.

        a] You are a militarist who cannot see that there is anything beyond lethal force or the threat thereof to bring about a peaceful society. Do you really see the Kingdom of Heaven as based on the threat of lethal force? By your words you make the royal law of love nothing but a meaningless platitude and you certainly would have nothing to do with kenosis.

        b] You criticize science but only extremely selectively; only the science that would conflict with your preconceived religious views.

        c] When it comes to an iconoclastic approach to religion or the supernatural you certainly do not offer any except for a critique of those who would actually think a little more deeply about their religion.

        d] Like others accepting a fundamentalist view of EG White and the canonical writings as inerrant you construct a robust critique of science manifesting extreme confirmation bias that is really predicated on an unwillingness to confront the reality of the scientific data found in the canonical source for science the peer-reviewed literature.

        e] There is a flip side to your certainty and your naive assumption that you can understand and evaluate all of science. You imagine that you have won an argument when your opponent no longer replies but seem to dismiss the possibility that they are simply fatigued and stunned. I would suggest anyone who wants to see the trajectory of such a discussion google Pitman and Morton, Pitman and Pharyngula, Pitman and talkorigins

        “The defining characteristic of all arguments with creationists is how damned ignorant they are. I’m sure many scientists have been stupefied into stunned silence when they first encounter these people; these advocated of creationism are typically loud and certain and have invested much time and effort into apologetics, but when you sit down and try to have a serious discussion with them, you quickly discover that their knowledge of basic biology is nonexistent.” PZ Myers

        Anyway I welcome you expression of your views and hope you will eventually appreciate that Grace and love can overcome evil and that you do not need to use evil to overcome evil.




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        • I agree with Jeff Kent

          What a surprise. 😉

          It is commendable that you see yourself as a crusading iconoclast that has no truck with consensus or acceptance that others may have better insight and understanding than yourself.

          That’s not what I said. What I said is that if something doesn’t make sense to me I’m not going to accept it just because that is the consensus view. You seem to be arguing that anyone who goes against the consensus view is insane and/or hopelessly arrogant and self absorbed. Well, my friend, that’s what many famous scientists have done throughout history – gone against the popular opinions and “wisdom” of the day when it didn’t make sense to them personally.

          However I would make a couple of points

          1] You can speculate as much as you want about hypotheses and science but until you do the experiment and publish the result you are not a scientist.

          Oh please. Then only those whom mainstream scientists allow to publish are scientists? Really?

          As I’ve mentioned before, you’re naive to believe that there is no bias in publishing against the IDist perspective. Just look what happens to those who dare to publish anything supporting ID in mainstream journals…

          2] If proposing an hypothesis makes you a scientist then everyone is a scientist. There is no end of “I thinks” about the place.

          Everyone can be a scientist or think scientifically – even children are able to use forms of scientific reasoning and thinking to solve problems or invent new things. Hypothesis formation and testing is innate to humanity at large – pretty much from infancy.

          Truly then, as long as the hypothesis is testable in a potentially falsifiable manner, why isn’t it a valid scientific hypothesis? Because it goes against mainstream thinking? Because no one will publish it in their mainstream journals for fear of the repercussions?

          3] What makes a scientist is the testing of an hypothesis by experimental comparison to reality and publishing the resulting data

          The first part I agree with. The second part no. Publishing the results in mainstream journals does not make a hypothesis right or wrong or anything. The fact that a hypothesis can be and has been tested in a potentially falsifiable manner is completely unrelated to if it has or has not been published in this or that particular journal.

          4] You keep saying someone else can test your hypotheses. No, a real scientist proposes his own hypothesis and tests it himself. No real scientist is interested in testing your hypothesis particularly when you are not at all engaging in the process of science.

          I’m not saying that someone else can test my hypothesis. I’m saying that many people already have tested my hypothesis many times – and published the results. It’s been confirmed over and over again. There’s simply no point repeating what’s already been done. The implications should already be overwhelming to the scientific community at large – if it were not for their deep seated philosophical antagonism to the obvious implications.

          5] And no, having a publication does not necessarily make you a scientist. As I have said before your publications are stamp collecting not hypothesis driven and you have not even tried to pursue the only publication you have that may be construed as hypothesis driven. Why is that?

          Again, publication or no publication. It’s entirely irrelevant to the question of if a hypothesis is testable in a potentially falsifiable manner.

          6] You paint yourself as a rugged individualist and iconoclast but in really the evidence suggests that you are simply a hired gun for a highly conservative agenda.

          I’m not being paid for this, if that’s what you’re suggesting. Any expenses incurred have come out of my own pocket. I don’t even ask for donations.

          a] You are a militarist who cannot see that there is anything beyond lethal force or the threat thereof to bring about a peaceful society. Do you really see the Kingdom of Heaven as based on the threat of lethal force? By your words you make the royal law of love nothing but a meaningless platitude and you certainly would have nothing to do with kenosis.

          Note that the Kingdom of Heaven only functions without the threat of lethal force because all the bad guys are excluded – by force. All those who would wish to harm or hurt anyone for personal gain are forcefully blocked from entry into Heaven – against their wishes to harm those who live there. Consider also that when a bad guy and his angels did rebel in heaven, that there was a physical war and he and his rebellious angels were forced out.

          The Royal Law of Love is not opposed to a police force in this world to uphold civil society. The Bible itself supports this concept. If you don’t believe me, try living in any state in this world that has no police force to enforce civil law and order.

          What you are promoting here is not the Law of Love, but a state of anarchy in this world.

          b] You criticize science but only extremely selectively; only the science that would conflict with your preconceived religious views.

          You mean I only criticize what doesn’t make sense to me? You think one has to be all or nothing? That one has to either accept everything or deny everything? Come on now. No scientist acts like this.

          c] When it comes to an iconoclastic approach to religion or the supernatural you certainly do not offer any except for a critique of those who would actually think a little more deeply about their religion.

          Some find my “critiques” and the evidences that are most convincing to me helpful. Others do not.

          d] Like others accepting a fundamentalist view of EG White and the canonical writings as inerrant you construct a robust critique of science manifesting extreme confirmation bias that is really predicated on an unwillingness to confront the reality of the scientific data found in the canonical source for science the peer-reviewed literature.

          And you are obviously free from any degree of confirmation bias – extreme or otherwise.

          But no, I do not believe in the inerrant of Mrs. White or the Bible. I believe that Mrs. White and the Biblical prophets were given privileged visions of actual realities, past, present and future, which they described and tried to explain in their own words with their own limited knowledge and educational background. I just believe it is very hard to get some things wrong. For example, it doesn’t take a rocket scientists to recognize, “It got dark, then it got light, then it got dark again…”

          e] There is a flip side to your certainty and your naive assumption that you can understand and evaluate all of science. You imagine that you have won an argument when your opponent no longer replies but seem to dismiss the possibility that they are simply fatigued and stunned. I would suggest anyone who wants to see the trajectory of such a discussion google Pitman and Morton, Pitman and Pharyngula, Pitman and talkorigins

          Not at all. I rarely if ever think I’ve “won” a discussion with an ardent evolutionist – like you. I don’t have these discussions because I think I’m going to convince those who strongly oppose me. I have them for those who read along who have yet to make up their minds – as well as for my own benefit. I’ve learned a lot from discussions like these over the years.

          Also, I find it interesting that you think you know me and my motivations so well. Why would you suggest that I would think that if someone leaves a discussion that I’ve somehow “won” it or that I “dismiss the possibility that they are simply fatigued and stunned”? Of course you’re right here. Where have I even suggested anything to the contrary? Of course most who disagree with me stop replying, not because they are convinced, not at all, but because they are, as you say, simply fatigued or tired or find further discussion with me pointless. I’m sure you feel the same way. Take hope then in the knowledge that if you stop posting to this forum that I’ll still believe you feel exactly the same way until you actually say otherwise. No victories here I’m afraid…

          You guys should look at these discussions like I do. Your goal should not be to convince me – since I’m very hard headed and all and pretty much hopeless. Your goal should also be to appeal to those who read along, but rarely comment, or, perhaps, on rare occasion, learn something you didn’t already know…

          Another thing, why do you think I actually post comments like yours and Jeff Kent’s on my own forum? Do you think I’d post them if I felt that my position was actually substantively threatened by you guys and your obvious “genius” and the authority of the majority you bring to the table? if I didn’t actually think that your comments would end up helping out my own position? – like any good foil?

          “The defining characteristic of all arguments with creationists is how damned ignorant they are. I’m sure many scientists have been stupefied into stunned silence when they first encounter these people; these advocated of creationism are typically loud and certain and have invested much time and effort into apologetics, but when you sit down and try to have a serious discussion with them, you quickly discover that their knowledge of basic biology is nonexistent.” PZ Myers

          It’s so classic for PZ and others like Richard Dawkins to paint all those who would challenge them as “ignorant, stupid, or insane… or evil.” You’ve accused me of all four of these yourself. So what? Call me what you will, but I’ve studied biology and genetics and information theories just enough, for many years now, to smell a very large rat when it comes to the creative potential of random mutations and function-based selection. It just doesn’t get the job done and no one, not PZ or any Nobel Prize winner, has been able to produce anything explaining how it possibly could be done beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. This is without even getting into the overwhelming evidence for the informational decay of all slowly-reproducing gene pools… which you simply dismiss out of hand based, not on knowledge or empirical evidence, but on blind faith that somehow some way it just can’t be true. Talk about extreme conformational bias…

          All this aside, what’s really interesting to me is that none of you guys are willing to substantively address simple questions regarding certain fundamental claims of neo-Darwinism – such as how the mechanism of RM/NS really works or how natural selection deals with the high detrimental mutation rate in slowly reproducing gene pools. If these questions are so simple and easy to resolve, it should be no problem for you to find some reasonable answer in some journal somewhere – right? Where’s the science for the mechanism behind your claims? Hmmmmm?

          Anyway I welcome you expression of your views and hope you will eventually appreciate that Grace and love can overcome evil and that you do not need to use evil to overcome evil.

          Well, if promoting the idea that an employee should not expect a paycheck for undermining the employer, then I guess I’m evil . . . or at least promoting the use of evil tactics? Or, what about calling the police if someone with a gun was trying to break into my house and threaten the lives of my wife and children? You’d never do that now, would you? Call the police to come help you with their evil guns and all if your family were being threatened? Because that would be using evil to overcome evil? Perhaps I’ll just ask the gunman if he wants a glass of cool water or some lemonade instead of calling the police? I’m sure that would have stopped the guy who attacked and killed so many at Sandy Hook Elementary too. Why didn’t someone think of that? All he needed was a bit of love and he would have stopped in his tracks – right? Why on Earth did anyone call the police at a time like? They must have been evil to think to stop his murderous rampage with force rather than love! right? The children themselves are expendable at times like this? – how could I forget? Our love is reserved for those killing the children? Have you forgotten about the ones being killed? What about them?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman: Sean

          Once more my sanity can be questioned in responding with a perspective on what science is. I will try to respond to your specific comments You say

          1] “..if something doesn’t make sense to me I’m not going to accept it just because that is the consensus view. You seem to be arguing that anyone who goes against the consensus view is insane and/or hopelessly arrogant and self absorbed. Well, my friend, that’s what many famous scientists have done throughout history – gone against the popular opinions and “wisdom” of the day when it didn’t make sense to them personally.”

          I really question the consistency of this approach. Do you run OSS on your computer so you can scrutinize every algorithm and piece of code or do you know what each gate and component on the CPU does? I suspect not and that you trust the manufacturer to produce a device that performs as specified. Why is science different to engineering? Why in a small corner of the vast ocean of scientific knowledge do you think you do not have to act in good faith just because the conclusions do not align with your presupposition of a young earth, a position which most scientists would think was tested and rejected in the mid 19th century?

          2] Further do you imagine you are the equivalent to a famous scientist? And how do these scientists who go against the consensus actually publish their work if it is as you suggest;

          “Oh please. Then only those whom mainstream scientists allow to publish are scientists? Really?”

          “As I’ve mentioned before, you’re naive to believe that there is no bias in publishing against the IDist perspective. Just look what happens to those who dare to publish anything supporting ID in mainstream journals…”

          Indeed tell us once again about the poster child for honesty and integrity in ID; Richard Sternberg who still hasn’t revealed to the journal board the mysterious or perhaps non-existent reviewers of Myers recycled pap.

          3] “Everyone can be a scientist or think scientifically – even children are able to use forms of scientific reasoning and thinking to solve problems or invent new things. Hypothesis formation and testing is innate to humanity at large – pretty much from infancy.”

          Hypothesis testing is indeed innate and part of our thinking process and has been shown to be the way a medical expert approaches a problem. Rather than ask a random battery of questions he asks specific directed questions sequentially trying to determine the the likelihood of specific hypotheses that might explain the symptoms. This expert approach however is not science unless it contributes to the accumulated knowledge. And that requires contribution to the canonical literature of science.

          4] “Truly then, as long as the hypothesis is testable in a potentially falsifiable manner, why isn’t it a valid scientific hypothesis? Because it goes against mainstream thinking? Because no one will publish it in their mainstream journals for fear of the repercussions?”

          Lets see the evidence for this claim; could you please publish here the rejection letters for the papers on 1000 fsaar limit or other experiments you have performed and that you have submitted to PLOS one or some other journal as I suggested. Thought so. Its a vacuous claim or hearsay and you havent actually tried, have you?

          5] “Publishing the results in mainstream journals does not make a hypothesis right or wrong or anything. The fact that a hypothesis can be and has been tested in a potentially falsifiable manner is completely unrelated to if it has or has not been published in this or that particular journal.”

          No or course it doesnt but publishing in the peer reviewed literature (the canonical data of science) or presenting the data to ones peers in a conference does provide the scrutinty to verify that the data is as stated. Something that is not at all done in direct appeals to the naive masses in cyberspace.

          6] “I’m not saying that someone else can test my hypothesis. I’m saying that many people already have tested my hypothesis many times – and published the results.”

          No Sean they have not. You have not articulated the hypothesis in a rigourous testable form and done any experiments to test it. You have simply appealed to the published data and claimed that data supports your hypothesis that anything about 1000 fsaars cannot evolve and you twist this to mean your hypothesis has been tested. That you cannot see that this is not hypothesis testing science is what PZ Neyers was alluding to with his comment about serious discussions.

          7] “It’s been confirmed over and over again. There’s simply no point repeating what’s already been done. The implications should already be overwhelming to the scientific community at large – if it were not for their deep seated philosophical antagonism to the obvious implications.”

          A real scientist with whom I did my post-doc published his first paper in 1973 on dendritic cells and his findings were largely dismissed by the “scientific establishment”. He continued to work on his hypothesis and publish his finding for the next 20 years before they were accepted into the “mainstream” and became a basis for therapy. He did get recognition and a Nobel prize for his work but only 2 days after his death in 2011. In science one does not rail against the prejudice but overwhelms by the data and the testing of that specific hypothesis. His adage that the experiment hasn’t been done until it is published is sound advice to anyone aspiring to be a scientist.

          8] “Again, publication or no publication. It’s entirely irrelevant to the question of if a hypothesis is testable in a potentially falsifiable manner.”

          No Sean, again publication of the data testing an hypothesis not the hypothesis per se is the basis for scientific advancement.

          8] “I’m not being paid for this, if that’s what you’re suggesting. Any expenses incurred have come out of my own pocket. I don’t even ask for donations.”

          Sorry I forgot you were wedded to literalism and assumed you would understand the term “hired gun” for what it was.

          9] “Note that the Kingdom of Heaven only functions without the threat of lethal force because all the bad guys are excluded – by force. All those who would wish to harm or hurt anyone for personal gain are forcefully blocked from entry into Heaven – against their wishes to harm those who live there. Consider also that when a bad guy and his angels did rebel in heaven, that there was a physical war and he and his rebellious angels were forced out.”

          Lots of room for extended comment here. You are suggesting that Jesus comments in Matthew 5 were actually not at all directed to his hearers at the time but to the people who would be resurrected to the new earth. Up to then it was go in all guns blazing with holy zeal and the good will triumph.

          A “physical war” in heaven. What do you suppose were the weapons? Light sabers, lightning, mind control, firearms, bows and arrows? Were they lethal? Or were the participants immortal which would of course preclude lethal force? Do you suppose there were thermonuclear devices? Apropos of that conflict, where do you think it happened. Through that space in orion?

          “Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. The atmosphere parted and rolled back; then we could look up through the open space in Orion, whence came the voice of God. The Holy City will come down through that open space.” Early Writings, p. 42,

          Perhaps if we direct radiotelescopes in that direction we can see the signature of what intelligent conflict and physical war between supernatural beings is like? I presume this happened more than 6000 years ago so the peak of the disturbance if it came directly from the nebula would have passed since it only takes 1344 years for the emmission from those events at that site to get to earth. Do you think the Hubble telescope could see it? Maybe God is going to reveal his love for lethal force after all. Perhaps it happened some distance beyond that nebula in which case we may well not have seen it yet. Perhaps you can suggest a time?

          10] “What you are promoting here is not the Law of Love, but a state of anarchy in this world.”

          Not really Sean I am just suggesting that Matthew 5 should be taken literally and is the statement of morality for Christians here and now not in the bye and bye. Ghandi did take it seriously and acted on it. He was very attracted to Jesus and grace but did not at all like the behaviour of Christs claimed followers.

          11] “You mean I only criticize what doesn’t make sense to me? You think one has to be all or nothing? That one has to either accept everything or deny everything? Come on now. No scientist acts like this”

          Not at all I am simply suggesting one must have a consistent hermeneutic. If you manifest trust in one area of science you should at least have a consistent approach to all areas. If you disagree you should simply say it doesnt make sense to me and conflicts with my faith position rather than pretending you know enough to consider that those experts in the field are all uniformly deluded.

          12] “Some find my “critiques” and the evidences that are most convincing to me helpful. Others do not.”

          You are quite welcome to your faith based critiques but you must be honest and say that your critique is based on on a presupposition and is not derived from the data. You do not do this and are hostile to people like Jeff Kent who do acknowledge their dependence on faith.

          13] “And you are obviously free from any degree of confirmation bias – extreme or otherwise.”

          I do of course read selectively outside my area of expertise but I have a consistent approach in assuming that the consensus is probably closer to the truth than my biased perspective. I use this approach in science and in religion. Both are done by communities which have established criteria for acceptance of variant positions.

          14] “But no, I do not believe in the inerrant of Mrs. White or the Bible. I believe that Mrs. White and the Biblical prophets were given privileged visions of actual realities, past, present and future, which they described and tried to explain in their own words with their own limited knowledge and educational background. I just believe it is very hard to get some things wrong. For example, it doesn’t take a rocket scientists to recognize, “It got dark, then it got light, then it got dark again…””

          As I said you consider her inerrant in the original autograph; ie the “vision”

          15] “Not at all. I rarely if ever think I’ve “won” a discussion with an ardent evolutionist – like you. I don’t have these discussions because I think I’m going to convince those who strongly oppose me. I have them for those who read along who have yet to make up their minds – as well as for my own benefit. I’ve learned a lot from discussions like these over the years.”

          To reiterate I am not an ardent evolutionist I simply accept that scientifically the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of long ages and common ancestory. I am however a creationist who believes in a creator God and does not think the mechanism of creation overwhelms the importance of accepting by faith a doctrine of creation that posits that there is a creator God who revealed himself in the incarnation of Jesus.

          16] “You guys should look at these discussions like I do. Your goal should not be to convince me – since I’m very hard headed and all and pretty much hopeless. Your goal should also be to appeal to those who read along, but rarely comment, or, perhaps, on rare occasion, learn something you didn’t already know…”

          “Another thing, why do you think I actually post comments like yours and Jeff Kent’s on my own forum? Do you think I’d post them if I felt that my position was actually substantively threatened by you guys and your obvious “genius” and the authority of the majority you bring to the table? if I didn’t actually think that your comments would end up helping out my own position? – like any good foil?”

          Indeed Sean it is commendable that you do not overly censor comment. This does however give us the illusion that you may actually be interested in understanding why increasing scientfic knowledge is associated with increasing acceptance of evolutionary models and accept that it is perhaps not because scientists are all in the clutches of the Devil.

          17] “Call me what you will, but I’ve studied biology and genetics and information theories just enough, for many years now, to smell a very large rat when it comes to the creative potential of random mutations and function-based selection. It just doesn’t get the job done and no one, not PZ or any Nobel Prize winner, has been able to produce anything explaining how it possibly could be done beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. This is without even getting into the overwhelming evidence for the informational decay of all slowly-reproducing gene pools… which you simply dismiss out of hand based, not on knowledge or empirical evidence, but on blind faith that somehow some way it just can’t be true. Talk about extreme conformational bias…”

          And then we hear you saying these things and hope fades that you are at all interested in what the data is showing rather than mining data to support your conclusions.

          18] “All this aside, what’s really interesting to me is that none of you guys are willing to substantively address simple questions regarding certain fundamental claims of neo-Darwinism – such as how the mechanism of RM/NS really works or how natural selection deals with the high detrimental mutation rate in slowly reproducing gene pools. If these questions are so simple and easy to resolve, it should be no problem for you to find some reasonable answer in some journal somewhere – right? Where’s the science for the mechanism behind your claims? Hmmmmm?”

          As Stuart Firestein says in his lovely book “Ignorance: How it drives science” http://www.amazon.com/Ignorance-Drives-Science-Stuart-Firestein/dp/0199828075
          it is easy to ask questions for which there is no adequate answer but that is where the stuff of science is. In celebrating our ignorance we are celebrating the way science is a process for pushing forward the frontier of questions, of discovering new questions. Defining the scope of ignorance helps define the direction of science.

          We feel sympathy that you do not wish to join this endeavour but sit on the sidelines carping about things we of course recognize as not adequately addressed. Scientists do not sit there and lament we do not have answers, we do experiments and publish the results. Why else were there in 2012, 6642 papers recovered with a pubmed search on “evolution AND mutation AND mammal AND genome”
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=evolution%20AND%20mutation%20NOT%20review%20AND%20mammal%20AND%20genome

          You and others who would have a faith based rejection of particular science and scientists would look at these and say; “Ah but they are mostly irrelevant looking at cancer, HIV other simple organisms etc not really the very specific question I am asking. What idiots these scientists must be to not be interested in my questions.
          I look at them and say how fascinating I wonder…

          On the first page of the 333 pages there are at least 4 of the 20 publications that are relevant to your question.
          Look at this neat paper that looks at sequencing total genomic DNA from a single cell and comparing genomes between individual cancer cells.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23258894
          All using a new amplification technique. Wouldnt this be neat for archaic DNA?

          Look at this comparison of 1092 human genomes.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23128226
          It is freely available so you can read it in its entirety including the 15 supplementary figures and 15 supplementary tables. I admit I do not have time to read it all and accept the conclusions of the abstract and the scrutiny of the peer reviewers and the conclusions about the SNPs and local restricted vs more frequent and increasingly generic variations.

          Look at this paper on selection and biased gene conversion in mammals
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23024185
          It suggests there is a complexity in selection and mutation not captured in your naive question on the adequacy of RM/NS

          Look a this paper on DNA methylation and evolutionary rates of mammalian coding exons.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23019368
          Of course you can dismiss it as comparing human and mouse and human and macaques assuming these species have lineage relationships but in doing so you miss some potentially interesting information on distribution of mutations by site and epigenetics that does have implications for your assumptions about RM/NS

          Another paper on the chromatin lanscape and epigenetics for the human genome
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22955617
          It uses DNase I hypersensitive sites to map against the encode data and concludes that the DHS landscape shows signatures of recent functional evolutionary constraint.
          Have I read this in its entirety and do I complete understand the paper and every technique? Of course not, but I trust the peer review process and that the paper has a reasonable likely of being true.

          Have you read these papers and are you able to critique them all and the additional 6638 papers that come up on this search?

          Your statement

          “If these questions are so simple and easy to resolve, it should be no problem for you to find some reasonable answer in some journal somewhere – right? Where’s the science for the mechanism behind your claims? Hmmmmm?”

          really reflect the ignorance that PZ Meyers was talking about. Mainly ignorance on the depth of knowledge and colossal amount of data that you are dismissing with such nonchalance.

          19] As for the rest of you typically patriotic American responses to pacifism I would only pause for a moment and ask has enshrining firearms in the constitution and arming every citizen really brought peace? I would ask too that you actually read a book on pacificism as a moral and practical stance. I would suggest as a primer “What would you do?” edited by John Yoder. http://www.amazon.com/What-Would-John-Howard-Yoder/dp/0836136039




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        • Let me try to summarize here. You freely admit that no one really knows how the Darwinian mechanism of RM/NS really works beyond very low levels of functional complexity. You then go on to praise this as a strength of the Darwinian position and science at large – that, “In celebrating our ignorance we are celebrating the way science is a process for pushing forward the frontier of questions, of discovering new questions. Defining the scope of ignorance helps define the direction of science.”

          I’m sorry, but after looking for an adequate mechanism for so long, and not finding one, perhaps you Darwinists should at least consider the possibility that there just isn’t one – that no mindless naturalistic mechanism exists to explain highly complex biomachines arising without the input of intelligent design. It’s like being determined to find a mindless naturalistic process that can explain the origin of a supercomputer or the space shuttle or even just a simple highly symmetrical granite cube that measures one meter no each side.

          As with all sciences involved with the detection of ID (like anthropology, forensics, and even SETI), you deal with the information in hand regarding the potential and limits of naturalistic mechanisms vs. what intelligent agents are known to be able to create. It simply isn’t scientific to sit back and say, “Well, someday we’re bound to discover a mindless mechanism that could do the job.” That’s wishful thinking my man. That’s not science. It’s not testable in a potentially falsifiable manner…

          We feel sympathy that you do not wish to join this endeavour but sit on the sidelines carping about things we of course recognize as not adequately addressed. Scientists do not sit there and lament we do not have answers, we do experiments and publish the results. Why else were there in 2012, 6642 papers recovered with a pubmed search on “evolution AND mutation AND mammal AND genome”
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=evolution%20AND%20mutation%20NOT%20review%20AND%20mammal%20AND%20genome

          As I’ve mentioned to you before, don’t just list off a bunch of irrelevant references and links. Present one paper, just one, which deals specifically with evolution beyond very low levels of functional complexity and show me where, in that paper (a specific quote) any novel system of function, requiring more than 1000 specifically arranged residues, has been shown to either 1) evolve in real time or 2) could have evolved in a reasonable amount of time based on relevant statistical calculations and extrapolations based on a real understanding of the odds involved of moving around in the vastness of sequence space via random mutations.

          On the first page of the 333 pages there are at least 4 of the 20 publications that are relevant to your question. Look at this neat paper that looks at sequencing total genomic DNA from a single cell and comparing genomes between individual cancer cells.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23258894

          All using a new amplification technique. Wouldnt this be neat for archaic DNA?

          Tell me, how is this at all relevant to my hypothesis? It doesn’t show the evolution of anything beyond very low levels of functional complexity and it doesn’t deal with the statistical problems of evolving something new in high level sequence space.

          Look at this comparison of 1092 human genomes.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23128226

          It is freely available so you can read it in its entirety including the 15 supplementary figures and 15 supplementary tables. I admit I do not have time to read it all and accept the conclusions of the abstract and the scrutiny of the peer reviewers and the conclusions about the SNPs and local restricted vs more frequent and increasingly generic variations.

          Again, this is all based on sequence similarities. As with all other papers in literature on this topic, none deal with the minimum required differences to reach higher levels of functional complexity via RM/NS.

          Look at this paper on selection and biased gene conversion in mammals

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23024185

          It suggests there is a complexity in selection and mutation not captured in your naive question on the adequacy of RM/NS

          Oh really? Please do detail the particular argument listed in the paper that explains how RM/NS is statistically likely to find any qualitatively novel system of function in higher level sequence space this side of a practical eternity of time. It’s just not there… sorry.

          And, as far as your arguments for Matthew 5, they’re completely misplaced. Gandhi and all of his followers would have been sent to the gas chambers if he had been dealing with someone truly evil – like Hitler or Stalin. Even you, I dare say, have or would call on the police for protection in certain scenarios (like someone threatening the lives of your wife and children, or someone trying to shoot up a grade school). And, if you actually read your Bible, there was a war in heaven and Satan and his angels were physically thrown out of heaven (Revelation 12:7-12). Jesus himself describes this war and noted that He witnessed Satan fall from heaven like lightening (Luke 10:18).

          I know you don’t think that Jesus would ever use force to restrict the actions of anyone, but this isn’t a Biblical concept. The wicked will, according to the Bible, be forever barred from entrance into heaven – by force. Of course, you don’t really believe what the Bible says beyond what you want it to say…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  48. Sean Pitman: Perhaps then you can give me your definition of science and tell me how it is that intelligent design hypotheses, by definition, fall outside of the realm of science?

    My knowledge and background in science have no bearing on how science works. Science can be defined in various ways, and having hashed this out before, there is no reason to slug it out again. Therefore, I’m going to reiterate just one key element of science.

    In my view and that of virtually all practicing scientists, science is limited to the natural world and cannot validate the supernatural. Your endless philosophical gloating nothwithstanding, God is supernatural, his creative acts are supernatural, his plan of salvation is supernatural, and his continuing interactions with life on this planet are supernatural. It takes a humble mind to concede that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined” the fullness of God’s existence. God transcends the limits of science and human reason (including your reason, in my humble opinion).

    Any further discussion of “science” on my part can end here. As you stated yourself, you show no regard for what others think science encompasses, including those who engage it as their livelihood and write treatises about it. You live in a world of your own making. Nothing I can write will convince you that anyone else could possibly possess a better understanding of science than you do, which apparently gives you the authority to persecute others who disagree.




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    • My knowledge and background in science have no bearing on how science works. Science can be defined in various ways, and having hashed this out before, there is no reason to slug it out again.

      So, which one of these definitions of science exclude intelligent design hypotheses from the realm of science? It seems to me like intelligent design hypotheses are only excluded, a priori, by mainstream scientists as valid hypotheses for philosophical reasons in certain situations (like investigating the likely origin of life or the origin of the universe or even the origin of Biblical prophecies) – not because of any definition of science.

      Also, if you actually believe that God is the creator of everything, to include our human brains and the human ability to think scientifically, how can you not but conclude that any correct understanding and application of scientific methodologies would be calculated, by God, to lead the intelligent candid mind toward Himself? Certainly the Bible and Mrs. White argue along these lines:

      “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalms 19:1

      “God is the foundation of everything. All true science is in harmony with His works; all true education leads to obedience to His government. Science opens new wonders to our view; she soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation. Ignorance may seek to support false views of God by appeals to science, but the book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. We are thus led to adore the Creator and to have an intelligent trust in His word.” – Ellen White, PP, p. 115

      How then is any kind of true science, by definition, excluded from any kind of investigation regarding the existence or nature of God?

      Therefore, I’m going to reiterate just one key element of science.

      In my view and that of virtually all practicing scientists, science is limited to the natural world and cannot validate the supernatural. Your endless philosophical gloating nothwithstanding, God is supernatural, his creative acts are supernatural, his plan of salvation is supernatural, and his continuing interactions with life on this planet are supernatural. It takes a humble mind to concede that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined” the fullness of God’s existence. God transcends the limits of science and human reason (including your reason, in my humble opinion).

      The obvious truism that the finite cannot definitively demonstrate or prove or validate anything, much less the Infinite, in no way removes one from using scientific methodologies to produce useful predictive value for many kinds of hypotheses and theories (since science isn’t about absolute proof) – to include intelligent design theories to the level of a rational invocation of a God or a god-like intelligence. Such an ability is not at all removed from the realm of science – that is if such a being so chose to reveal himself in such a manner as could be detected, to a useful degree of predictive value, by empirical means.

      Even famous atheists, like Richard Dawkins, admit this much. Dawkins often goes around saying that if God exists, why is he so hard to detect? Why is his signature so obscure? Why hasn’t he revealed himself more clearly? Dawkins doesn’t argue, as you do here, that it would be impossible to detect God’s existence regardless of the empirical evidence provided – given that God were actually willing to provide the required evidence needed for scientists to determine his existence.

      I’ve reiterated this point endless times with you and you continually ignore it like you’ve never heard it before or like no well-known or famous modern scientist has ever presented this concept before. Yet, it is because of this very point that many scientists, to include numerous famous mainstream scientists and Nobel Laureates, have concluded that the empirical evidence favoring the existence of a God or God-like being at play in our universe is overwhelming. This is not because science is unable to detect evidence strongly suggesting the need to invoke intelligent design on the level of a God or god-like being, or a being indistinguishable by us from having god-like powers. On the contrary, for many of these men it is precisely because the empirical scientific evidence is so compelling that they feel forced to recognize such a Signature of design in nature.

      For example, consider the following comments from the well-known mathematical physicist Chandra Wickramasinghe:

      “It is quite a shock. From my earliest training as a scientist I was very strongly brainwashed to believe that science cannot be consistent with any kind of deliberate creation. That notion has had to be very painfully shed. I am quite uncomfortable in the situation, the state of mind I now find myself in. But there is no logical way out of it. I now find myself driven to this position by logic. There is no other way in which we can understand the precise ordering of the chemicals of life except to invoke the creations on a cosmic scale. . . . We were hoping as scientists that there would be a way round our conclusion, but there isn’t.

      Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, as quoted in “There Must Be A God,” Daily Express, Aug. 14, 1981 and Hoyle on Evolution, Nature, Nov. 12, 1981, p. 105

      Or, consider the following thoughts along these lines from the Australian astrophysicist Paul Davies:

      The temptation to believe that the Universe is the product of some sort of design, a manifestation of subtle aesthetic and mathematical judgment, is overwhelming. The belief that there is “something behind it all” is one that I personally share with, I suspect, a majority of physicists…

      The force of gravity must be fine-tuned to allow the universe to expand at precisely the right rate. The fact that the force of gravity just happens to be the right number with stunning accuracy is surely one of the great mysteries of cosmology…

      The equations of physics have in them incredible simplicity, elegance and beauty. That in itself is sufficient to prove to me that there must be a God who is responsible for these laws and responsible for the universe.

      Davies, Paul C.W. [Physicist and Professor of Natural Philosophy, University of Adelaide],“The Christian perspective of a scientist,” Review of “The way the world is,” by John Polkinghorne, New Scientist, Vol. 98, No. 1354, pp.638-639, 2 June 1983, p.638

      And, there are many more who argue along these lines – based on the weight of empirical evidence for the existence of some magnificent superhuman intelligence at play.

      http://www.educatetruth.com/featured/the-god-of-the-gaps/

      Any further discussion of “science” on my part can end here. As you stated yourself, you show no regard for what others think science encompasses, including those who engage it as their livelihood and write treatises about it. You live in a world of your own making. Nothing I can write will convince you that anyone else could possibly possess a better understanding of science than you do, which apparently gives you the authority to persecute others who disagree.

      What I said that if something doesn’t make sense to me then it doesn’t make sense to me. If you have an argument that you think is actually reasonable, present it in your own words. If it makes sense to me, I’ll accept it. If not, how can I? – just because you said so?

      So far, you haven’t even tried to address the main points I’ve presented. You’ve simply repeated yourself, over and over again, that science cannot, by definition, detect God – even if God tried to reveal Himself through empirically detectable means. Come on now. It makes no sense that it would be impossible for God to allow Himself to be detected by scientific methodologies if these very same methodologies can detect intelligent activity on the human level or even alien levels of intelligence (i.e., SETI). Certainly then, any God worth His salt would be able to mimic at least human-level intelligence – and thereby become detectable as at least intelligent to some degree. Right? What’s so hard about admitting at least this much?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  49. It’s simply AMAZING to see how often God’s perspective gets validated by the evolutionists and those who align with such:

    Because the thing which may be known of God is clearly revealed within them, for God revealed it to them. For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse. Because, knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were thankful. But they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves. For they changed the truth of God into a lie, and they worshiped and served the created thing more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. – Romans 1:19-25

    Professed wise guys who are actually total fools! Evolutionists have validated the Creator God’s pronouncement over & over & over. Ironically enough – reading this sort of foolishness, even here on this site can provide true faith & loving trust in one’s Creator God! Some words from EGW reminds us as the “foolishness of this world” intensifies towards the end – we must gather warmth from the coldness of others! Amen to that! Doing it with each evolutionary foolishness post!

    Last point: If a bad guy busts into liberal evolutionists home intent on evil & mahem, there’s exactly TWO things that liberal evolutionist is going to do: 1) Call a guy with a gun to come & save them; and 2) PRAY to the Creator God that the guy with a gun gets there in time…END OF STORY!




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  50. You can’t falsify hypotheses that comprise supernatural explanations for events such as the creation, the virgin birth, and the resurrection of Jesus. Ever.

    Even if you showed that it was possible for a voice command to transform a lump of dirt into a living, breathing human, or that a human virgin could give birth to a child without participation of sperm, or that a three-day deceased human body could come back to life, you STILL have no support that would could happen actually did happen as hypothesized.

    If your hypothesis cannot be falsified, it’s beyond the purview of science. No one–not even Sean Pitman–can contain God within the walls erected by finite human minds.




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    • While such things cannot be directly investigated, empirically, their credibility is tied into that which can be empirically investigated and tested about the source of such fantastic claims – the Bible and its authors. Is there anything upon which to establish the degree of credibility necessary to rationally conclude that what they claimed to have witnessed is in fact true historical reality? If not, what you have isn’t really faith, at least not a biblical form of faith. It’s just a form of wishful thinking that is not any different from believing in the reality of Santa Claus or anything other fairytale you care to name.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  51. Im sorry Sean but you are acting like a 4 year old child.

    We have played long enough and have to go home now…. Why
    Its late and its getting dark…. Why
    Because the sun is setting so it will get dark…. Why
    Because the earth rotates and orbits the sun… Why
    Because it is moving, gravity and the conservation of angular momentum… why
    ……

    You are not at all interested in the response. You want a sound bite not an answer.
    You are being completely disingenious. You claim you as an MD are highly educated in genetics and “…looking for an adequate mechanism for so long, and not finding one …”

    I assumed that you understood that science moves in small steps and would be prepared to actually read some part of the canonical literature that addresses these questions since you claim only to accept what makes sense to you personally and are happy to declare with authority the scientific consensus wrong on many points. As is my want I made too many assumptions based on what a conventional scientist or well educated MD would do. I indicated there was no simple sound bite answer that there was huge amount of unanswered questions and pointed you to how these questions are being tackled by scientists publishing in the canonical literature. I suggest that in 2012 there are over 6000 papers containing primary data addressing the question of evolution, mutation and the genome.

    Your response.

    “As I’ve mentioned to you before, don’t just list off a bunch of irrelevant references and links. Present one paper, just one, which deals specifically with evolution beyond very low levels of functional complexity”
    “… and show me where, in that paper (a specific quote) any novel system of function, requiring more than 1000 specifically arranged residues, has been shown to either 1) evolve in real time or 2) could have evolved in a reasonable amount of time based on relevant statistical calculations and extrapolations based on a real understanding of the odds involved of moving around in the vastness of sequence space via random mutations.”

    This illustrates your approach to science and its canonical literature. You want a proof text answer to a very complex problem. The superficial and infantile repetitive why.

    Sorry Sean but I have to conclude that for you the primary literature is like a planned holiday destination. You know it is there and but you dont actually go there. You only go to the places vetted and flagged by some ID or creation science body. Just as the content of your latest entry on this site on science and faith hand in hand is familiar to anyone who has frequented this site, read your book, or visited your website you are great at self plagarizing and recycling. Since you do not actually have anything new to say, do not want to actually consult the primary literature for new ideas and want nothing beyond a proof text or two I must wish you the best and yet again depart. I was expecting and hoping for something more.

    Grace to you.




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    • I’ve only really asked one simple question of you – a question which you’ve never substantively addressed.

      All I did was ask how your mechanism is likely to work beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. You responded by telling me that its too complex to understand, and reference me 6000 papers that deal with mutations and natural selection (not one of which substantively addresses the question of how to calculate the likely time required to find any novel system of function within sequence space beyond the level of systems requiring a minimum of 1000 specifically arranged resides).

      The evolutionary mechanism is fundamental to neo-Darwinism – is it not? If no one really understands it, “because of its complexity” how do you know that this mechanism actually did or is capable of doing what you claim it did? If your theory regarding the creative potential of RM/NS is too complex to test in a falsifiable manner, where is the science?

      Call me a child, but I just don’t get it – despite having read the primary literature on this topic quite extensively. I’m sorry, but I’ve learned to expect such vacuous responses from neo-Darwinists who try to impress with volume rather than substance. Thanks for being a great foil though…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  52. I cannot let you get away with your assumptions about exegesis in revelations.
    You didnt actually respond to my questions on physical war but go on to say;

    “And, if you actually read your Bible, there was a war in heaven and Satan and his angels were physically thrown out of heaven (Revelation 12:7). Jesus himself describes this war and noted that He witnessed Satan fall from heaven like lightening (Luke 10:18)”.

    Indeed there was war according to this account in revelation but in the next few chapters we have much more detail about Johns view of God revealed in astonishing events. Are these physical realities as you ascribe to the account of the fall of satan?
    Right after the 3 angels message we have this description of judgement;

    Rev 14
    14 I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man[b] with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

    17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” 19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia (180 miles).

    Does this refer to real physical people and real events? Is it about blood or grapes? Is it literal or apocolyptic?

    Rev 15
    5 After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple—that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law—and it was opened. 6 Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. 8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

    Rev 16 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”

    2 The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.

    3 The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died.

    4 The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:

    “You are just in these judgments, O Holy One,
    you who are and who were;
    6 for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets,
    and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.”

    7 And I heard the altar respond:

    “Yes, Lord God Almighty,
    true and just are your judgments.”

    8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

    10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.

    12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. 13 Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.

    15 “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

    16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

    17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds,[a] fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.

    Rev 19
    11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”[a] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.

    17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”

    19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

    I must confess I cannot reconcile Johns writing here with his gospel if I image they are of the same genera. I can however fully appreciate it if revelation is as intended apocalyptic. A very pointed story written about the Roman empire and the powers of this world beneath their very eyes. But to then assume that it is historical narrative and image it supports a physical war in heaven Im afraid seems to be a little inconsistent.




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    • John’s “Revelation” has very little to do with the Roman Empire. It is a prophetic book that deals with past, present, and future realities. Jesus himself is also quoted as having Himself witnessed the war in Heaven and described Lucifer / Satan being cast out “like lightening” (Luke 10:18) – as already noted. Other passages in the Bible also describe Satan and his angels being removed from their original home in Heaven (Such as Jude 1:6, Isaiah 14:12-15, or Ezekiel 28:1-26). And, Mrs. White also describes the same:

      Satan grew bold in his rebellion, and expressed his contempt of the Creator’s law. This Satan could not bear. He claimed that angels needed no law; but should be left free to follow their own will, which would ever guide them right; that law was a restriction of their liberty, and that to abolish law was one great object of his standing as he did. The condition of the angels he thought needed improvement. Not so the mind of God, who had made laws and exalted them equal to himself. The happiness of the angelic host consisted in their perfect obedience to law. Each had his special work assigned him; and until Satan rebelled, there had been perfect order and harmonious action in Heaven. Then there was war in Heaven. The Son of God, the Prince of Heaven, and his loyal angels, engaged in conflict with the arch rebel and those who united with him. The Son of God and true, loyal angels prevailed; and Satan and his sympathizers were expelled from Heaven. All the heavenly host acknowledged and adored the God of justice. Not a taint of rebellion was left in Heaven. All was again peaceful and harmonious as before.

      Ellen White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume 1, Page 23

      In any case, I don’t suppose you believe that God will destroy the wicked at the end of time either? That God is too loving to put such a final end to rebellion? That all will eventually “see the light” and choose to follow God? It sounds like you’re a universalist. Do you believe that all will one day be saved? What do you do with a verse like:

      Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ – Matthew 25:41

      In modern day practical terms, why not tell me what you would do if you had been at Sandy Hook Elementary when the gunman stormed the building. Would you have called the police? Would you yourself have tried to stop the gunman with force, lethal or otherwise? Do you really believe that governments in this world can function without any kind of police force (Romans 13:1-14)? If so, you need to get out more. Such a Heaven on Earth would be rapidly overwhelmed and destroyed on this planet…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        I find it ironic that Australia one of the most secular societies on earth and one established as a home for criminals should have in 1996, after a massacre of 35 people by a lonely simpleton with a cache of automatic weapons, stopped any further massacres by the simple expediency of banning automatic weapons and giving a substantial cash-back to get large numbers of weapons out of the population and into furnaces. And the consequence; No massacres in the last 20 years. I don’t have to worry that my children or grand children will be massacred at school because the churches as Gods people of peace at a time of crisis did act as the salt of the earth and articulated even for a very brief time what the Kingdom of heaven is like.

        Meanwhile the most Christian country in the world continues to naively accept as inevitable regular massacre of children and adults as the inevitable by product of freedom and continues to export to the rest of the world its Hollywood myth that violence is the solution to any and every problem. Individually and corporately the US and you included, articulate the anti-christian message “Send in the troops”.

        I am a rational person; why should I not be disdainful of your patriotic nonsense and passion for power and violence and ask hows it working out for you?

        Read the book. “what would you do?” I am sanguine enough to think that you are an intillegent man who may actually change his mind. After all I think you as a MD may have had some modicum of training in conflict resolution that I am sure even in the US falls short of shooting the patient.




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        • You didn’t answer my question as to what you would do if you happened to have been in a place like Sandy Hook Elementary School when a shooter entered the building. Or, what you would do if someone threatened the lives of your own family. Also, don’t tell me that Australia has no police force or that the police there don’t carry guns…




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  53. Sean Pitman: While such things cannot be directly investigated, empirically, their credibility is tied into that which can be empirically investigated and tested about the source of such fantastic claims – the Bible and its authors. Is there anything upon which to establish the degree of credibility necessary to rationally conclude that what they claimed to have witnessed is in fact true historical reality?

    Ahem…you’re putting Scripture on par with a historical novel. If part of the story is true, then all of its claims are true. And you want to believe this is science!

    You show utmost disrespect to scripture and God’s word when you continue to defend the position that we interpret it and believe it only within the confines of human reason. How utterly un-Adventist!




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  54. Sean Pitman: Jesus himself is also quoted as having Himself witnessed the war in Heaven and described Lucifer / Satan being cast out “like lightening” (Luke 10:18) – as already noted. Other passages in the Bible also describe Satan and his angels being removed from their original home in Heaven (Such as Jude 1:6, Isaiah 14:12-15, or Ezekiel 28:1-26). And, Mrs. White also describes the same…

    Sean, I think you’re seriously pushing the boundaries of word usage in both scripture and in Ellen White.

    Years ago, there was “war” in my home, too. Among my kids, I witnessed “rebellion,” “contempt,” and “conflict,” and eventually I “expelled” my kids from home. “Not a taint of rebellion was left in” my home. “All was again peaceful and harmonious as before.”

    These words were all used by EGW to describe the “war in heaven.” But I can assure you there were no physical fights or brandishing of weapons in my home.

    Of course, language and human reason are what you want them to be.




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    • The Bible and Ellen White are very clear that Satan and his angels were forced to leave heaven just as Adam and Eve were forced to leave Eden after they fell to Satan’s charms. They are also very clear that the wicked will one day be excluded, by force, from the New Jerusalem and will, eventually, be completely destroyed from existence. I don’t think that’s how it worked with you and your family…




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    • Generally agree. The thinking Adventist knows that an honest review of evidence demands that one seriously question the creation tradition.

      This dedicated attact-dog site is evidence that these folks have an agenda and are not serious thought leaders.




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  55. I just noticed Sean’s comment some time ago that “John’s “Revelation” has very little to do with the Roman Empire.”

    Perhaps Sean was just trying to be funny or something. If he was serious, then I guess I will have to revise my assumption about his knowledge of the Bible. That was the entire context of the Book of Revelation. But I guess someone who rejects evolution must also have some problems with history.




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  56. The church is in apostasy. Please read this sermon.

    If I don’t practice entirely the three angels’ messages then my claim that I am in the church, my record on church’s roll means nothing towards God. God will say, ‘he says he is a Seventh-day Adventist but he is lying. He is not. He is actually of the church of the devil. That is how it would translate if we’d put it from the Jewish system into the Adventists system which is extremely similar.

    If someone claims to be an Adventist and they are not on the roll of the Seventh-day Adventist church are they an Adventist? Most people say they are not. How could you say you are a Seventh-day Adventist if you are not on the church roll? Does being on the church roll make you a Seventh-day Adventist is the question.

    http://sabbathsermons.com/2013/04/06/adventists-in-apostasy/




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