Comment on ‘Yes, Creation!’ at the General Conference Session by pauluc.
I am not sure you have reviewed the comments on this website recently else you may not be so convinced that there is universal support for conceptual inspiration in practice.
Take from example one of the more prolific writers here Sean Pitman who writes;
“It is very clear from the writings of Mrs. White that she claimed to have been given much more than mere conceptual inspiration by God. She claims to have been shown, very directly in vision, true historical and future events as they really did or will occur. She claims to have been shown the literal creation week as it occurred over 7 literal days â€“ the same as the days we now experience. It is very hard to get that wrong. Either she was lying about her visions or God was lying to her by giving her such clear yet false visions of reality. She also claims to have seen, in vision, Adam and Eve and their Fall and expulsion from the Garden of Eden. She claims to have been shown the Noachian Flood and the resulting world-wide devastationâ€¦ etc. ”
Couple this with his expressed view that anyone who does not believe in a scenario of 7 day 24 hours, 6000 years ago is dishonest and should be expelled from educational insitutions and from church employ if not from membership and I think any reasonable person would have to conclude that literalism if not an acceptance of inerrancy of the bible and the writings of Ellen White is well entrenched on this site.
Many the writers on this site are good honest people struggling valiantly to avoid change or standing back and taking an honest appraisal of the situation. They remind me of Walter Rea, who wrote of how astonished he was with what he found in the writings of Ellen White when he embarked on some research. What did he really expect? Inerrancy? He may have followed the party line of conceptual inspiration but in reality he expected inerrancy and was completely devastated, and accused all and sundry including EG White herself of dishonesty and deception, when he was no longer convinced it was there.
pauluc Also Commented
Well I should at least make a final parting comment on your false characterization of my position.
It is true that I do not take everything a prophet speaks as beyond question any more than I accept that the bible should be taken literally without question. Unlike you and most on this site who quarantine the bible and the writings of prophets off from any critical examination or the process of scholarship I have a view that there is nothing that should not be examined and questioned as to its authenticity or value whether that be science, history of religion or any other field of human endeavour.
Does that mean I am left all at sea with no compass. Not at all. I have a belief that there is an objective reality but we can never know but that we can approach asymptotically. I believe in Jesus as the revelation of God because I have taken Kierkegards leap of faith. I believe in a Holy Spirit as a active force in the world today. I believe it will convict of truth and compel our actions. One cannot have an understanding of scripture unless it is revealed through the Grace of God and by members of the church of God communicating that gospel message. What is the message of Acts 8:26- ? Christianity is the message of the good news of the incarnate God who has shown the very nature of a God of peace. It is communicated by people from the within the fellowship of God. Outside of that community you cannot understand. Sola scriptura was a polemic against the catholic heresy but the spirit of God is always in the Church and within that community we can understand the provenance of Holy writ and be able to receive new revelation of his will. I believe in the Church as the very body of Christ on earth. I believe that we should never hold a personal belief without subjecting it to the examination of the church community by peer review. I believe in the process of science which also is a community process that involves publication and the subjection of ones observations and views to scrutiny by ones peers. I beleive in scholarship in the bible, EG White studies and in science.
As a devout Christian in University I wrote a creationist response to an essay question on human evolution knowing it would receive a failing mark or be discarded because I did not think it was honest to give the expected answer just for the sake of the marks. In my life since then have maintained that I should be completely open and honest to the leading of God whatever the consequences and implications. Have I never failed in this? I am a sinner forgiven by God and I fail daily in both omission and commission. If I have offended or misled in anything I have said on this site I would again apologize.
I accept a dictionary definition of inerrancy. Freedom from error or untruths; infallibility.
I do not accept that either the bible or the writings of Ellen White are without error. By error I mean any point at which you resort to interpretation or explanation beyond the clear reading of the text. You do not have to read far to find such instances. This however does not at all disturb me as I believe, as in parables, truth can exist without objective fact.
Unfortunately even though I do understand your position as I have been there, you are dismiss my position as of the devil and we will forever by at an impasse in comprehension. I shall return to more spiritually nourishing fellowship and community but pray that the reality of the community of faith and the Grace of God is manifest in his people everywhere.
All the best to you in your continued search. It is hard for me to imagine though how you can take much comfort in any of the promises of the Bible or of Mrs. White regarding a bright literal future when they don’t seem to be able to get some of their direct statements regarding physical reality even close to being right…
The whole comparison to “I believe in the truth of parables” is equivalent to saying that I can believe anything I want to believe. When Jesus told parables about metaphysical truths, the reliability of the implication of these parables was based, according to Jesus Himself, on the evidence of the physical miracles he performed and on the evidence of the prophetic scriptures as they are fulfilled in a very reliable manner throughout history…
Anyway, to each his own. You can lead a horse to water…
At least be honest with the character of Walter Rea. You impune him with all manner of perceived evils, I simply believe he was an honest man that had unrealistic expectation and had an awakening that was catastrophic for his faith. In his expectation he differs little from several that have expressed their views on this site. To believe in the inerrancy of Ellen White and to see her either as a liar or infallible is setting ones self up for a similar fall.
See how he writes autobiographically in his prologue. Is this the word of a man with deep seated hatred of God?
“Almost from the first time I heard of her, early in my teens, I became a devotee of Ellen G. White and her writings. I learned to type by copying from her book Messages to Young People. In high school and college, I often went from room to room in the dormitory, gathering Ellen White quotations from others to use in my preparations for becoming a minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It was during those days that I conceived the idea of preparing an Adventist commentary by compiling from the writings of Ellen White all the statements pertaining to each book of the Bible, each doctrine, and each Bible character.
Early in my ministerial life, which began in central California in the latter 1940s, I compiled two volumes of Old and New Testament Bible biographies, incorporating with each entry the pertinent quotations found in Ellen Whiteâ€™s works. â€¦and a third volume on Daniel and the Revelation, all based on Ellen Whiteâ€™s works, and soon these books were sold in most Adventist Book and Bible houses and used in many Adventist schools and colleges in North America.”
Recent Comments by pauluc
Bob Helm: With that said, I find your views to be spiritually dangerous and often scientifically weak. I detect a lot of smoke in your posts, but very little light. I hope you will continue to ponder these issues and try to have an open mind.
You are most welcome to your opinion and I know you would like nothing better than that anyone who takes Christianity and the Bible seriously but not literally to just go away. It is much better not to know of any possible problems with one current views. It very hard to get to the science when we cannot even agree on what is science. What passes as science on this site is so completely dismissive of its methodological basis and history and is entrained in a specific supernatural world view that allows arbitrary acceptance of any observation as miraculous. I think Roger’s paper may well be relevant to Adventist that believe that Christianity has and must respond to a careful study of physical reality by reconsidering its interpretations of the word of the Lord, but as Sean has indicated you are exception to that characterization. I still do not really understand why you should be interested at all in any science. It seems a bit messy to worry about facts. It really seems an unnecessary bother to argue whether the precambrian/cambrian boundary or the upper cenzoic (is that really what you meant?) as the evidence of a divine intervention.
Dont worry I do have an open mind which is why I still peruse this site to see how more knowledgable fundamentalist Adventists think. I wont worry you further.
Sean Pitman: So, you do see the need for a police force and a military to maintain civil society, but somehow Christians should not provide what is an otherwise necessary part of that civil society? I’m with Abraham Lincoln on this one when he noted the inconsistency of such a position – like Orthodox Jews paying others to turn their lights on for them on Sabbath
On that logic you should not have any issue with working on Sabbath in any profession serving 24/7. Be that computer support, utilities firefighters. Those giving up those jobs because of inability to have sabbath observance were all deluded. They as Christians should be prepared to “provide what is otherwise a necessary part of civil society”
You cant have it both ways. You cant because of a moral postion claim that Adventists should have exception from working on Sabbath and at the same time deny me the right to consider immoral some occupations that may be very utilitarian in a world full of selfishness and the human acts of evil that comes from that.
Lets for a moment step back from lala land. Where are we and where did we come from on this thread?
1] You posted a rehash of all your usual arguments in response to an article about the more mainstream Adventist positions that may impact the way Adventism reacts to conventional science. All very straight forward.
2] The contention was that Adventism has accepted process for the orgin and evolution of the inanimate world. The birth and death of galaxys and stars and planets in black holes supernova and impacts of spiralling planets. This is where it gets really strange.
3] You contend that Adventism has always accepted the conclusions of that process but then expand on your view of the process which involves a little bit of order and natural law but large amounts of magic. God waited a few billions years until the interstellar material generated by the big band condensed into planets onto which God created life mature and complete. This included Heaven the place of his throne-room which he populated with physical being angels which it is implied have both mass and composition and metabolism.
4] When it was suggested that the same processes and natural law resulted in life on this planet this was claimed inconceivable and would never be done by any process involving life and death. Instead the life we see now is in reality designed to live for ever and has be chemically changed because it is deprived of a particular form of nutrient from a tree that existed on the Earth some 6000 years ago.
5] The inconguity of practicing medicine by the principles of process of natural law and the technology resulting from both the processes of the innanimate and the animate world rather than accepting the much more important process of divine intervention seems to be completely obsure.
6] When someone says that the process of life and death that gave us the physical substance of our universe is also the basis of the creation of life here he must be animal hating sadistic psychopath who cannot belieive in a God of love and grace and is lying when he says that non-violence characterizes the children of the heavenly father for one must always recognize that peace and freedom are only obtained over the bodies of 1/3 of the angels of heaven and the eternal physical and violent struggle against those who would practice violence.
I really cannot understand you Sean. Your ways are way beyond me. I am just sorry that Bob seems to be drawn into your twighlight zone.
Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Sean Pitman: sorry but your curious amalgam of magic and biology is not really comprehensible to me as a biologist or as a Christian . it. is neither logical or biologically feasible
Sean Pitman: However, according to the Bible and Ellen White, before the Fall God specifically directed nature so that all sentient life was protected in a manner that there was no suffering or death. By eating from the “Tree of Life” God provided constant renewal and regeneration that worked against what would otherwise be inevitable entropic changes, decay, and death. It was by deliberately stepping away from the true Source of eternal life that mankind stepped away from God and into the full workings of mindless natural law alone – which does in fact inevitably lead to suffering and death.
And this interpretation is precisely why you need a theodicy. Where is the justice in killing all for the sake of the sins of one woman+man? It makes no sense logically. If they were conditionally immortal because of eating of the tree of life then did all the animals in all the world congregate around this tree like beasts around a water hole on the serengeti. how exactly do you as you are wont to do translate the account into a literal reality. And which beast had to come and eat. Or was it symbolic? Oh now that’s a thought.
Sean Pitman: Come on now. Even I can imagine limitations to reproduction or the turnover of sentient carbon-based life. Surely you can at least imagine something similar? I know God can since such a world is described in the Bible and in the writings of Ellen White. Think about it…
Of course I have. This is not simply about reproduction. That is trivial. This is about metabolic process. Show me a carbon based life form that does not grow or metabolize anything and I will show you an organism in stasis as a spore “living” millions of year in amber. That is; effectively dead.
Real life cannot exist without metabolic process in a carbon based world and God has sanctified all this by a process of making good out of evil from the death of one comes life for others. Just as in the biological world so in the spiritual. By his death we have life. Just as God sanctified the practice of sacrifice of appeasement practiced by most cultures for thousands of years before and showed that in the Judeo-Christian tradition these same acts of sacrifice were emblematic of a monotheistic God that would become incarnate and bring life from death. So also he took the preceding accounts of creation derived as they were of the mesopotamian valley and recast it as an account of the monotheistic God who is above all but comes and dwells among us to become one of us. Participating in our life and death but showing us the importance of the transcendent life of the spirit that supercedes carbon based life and its inherent death. It is no fairy tale of 6 impossible things before breakfast. It is not pie in the sky by and by. It is rooted in a real world and it is about the transcendence of love and grace that is acted out in a real physical world by the incarnate God and us as we follow as His disciples.
That is the message I get from the images and visions of the Canon and EG White. But of course I read it for the message that it conveys not as a scientific text. That is where we fundamentally differ.