Comment on Academic Freedom Strikes Again! by Sean Pitman.
You get plenty of affirmation from others about your false doctrine. Any rational person can readily see there is no need to be “born again” according to you convoluted view that makes Jesus a sinner just like us, or, makes us sinless just like Him.
As previously noted, being “born again” doesn’t produce in us an unfallen natural condition in this life – without any tendencies toward evil. Even after being born again the true Christian will still struggle with fallen tendencies and strong temptations to sin – because of the fact that the fallen nature of mankind has not been removed. We simply are not given “Holy Flesh” in this life. However, we are given what Jesus was given – the Divine Power to overcome sin despite our fallen natures. It is because Jesus “condemned sin in the flesh” from our perspective (Romans 8:3) that we have no excuse. If He did it from the perspective of the fallen human condition, through the power of God, I can too – without having to first reach perfection with regard to my natural human tendencies. I can live a sinless life while still having “sinful flesh” – or evil tendencies. That’s the miracle of the “New Birth” for the Christian – or for anyone who listens to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to their conscience.
The issue is critical to a correct and clear understanding of sin and atonement. Your view genders a false motivation based on self righteousness.
How is righteousness that is based on the power of the Holy Spirit “self-righteousness”?
Jesus was born inherently sinless or He could not be our atoning sacrifice. Jesus did not need to be “born again” like every child of Adam must be to be saved.
Jesus was born with a fallen human nature – yet remained sinless. Mrs. White is very clear in this regard: “He had the same nature as the sinner although He knew no sin, in order that He might be able to condemn sin in the flesh and might be able to sympathize with those who were in the difficulties, dangers, and temptations that beset His own path while He walked with men.” (EGW, Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, p. 176)
That Jesus took our physical weakness and physical degeneration is clear from the bible and EGW. But to claim He has a sinful spiritual nature like we are born with is blasphemy. So EGW has well said, “His spiritual nature was free from every taint of sin.” This can never describe how all the children of Adam are born.
Again, Mrs. White and the Bible are very clear that Jesus took on both our physical as well as our mental condition – yet without sin. “He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature… He was made like unto his brethren, with the same susceptibilities, mental and physical… Christ did in reality unite the offending nature of man with His own sinless nature, because by this act of condescension, He would be enabled to pour out His blood in behalf of the fallen race.” (Ellen White, Manuscript 166, 1898, p. 9, 10 and Manuscript 181.3 and RH February 10, 1885 par. 7)
You simply refuse to deal with such statements…
Neither the bible nor EGW endorse your false interpretation of this subject. The doctrine of original sin is so biblical it can not be denied except at the expense of the final destruction of the SDA movement. Sin has corrupted the mind of Adam and all his children and the sinful nature is not the physical being of man, but the corrupt moral concepts and his spiritual perceptions of God and his relationship to God.
On the contrary, both the Bible and Mrs. White are quite clear regarding the post-Fall human nature of Christ and the bankrupt nature of the “Holy Flesh” notion when it comes to being born again into the Christian walk.
In the future, all who deny this clear bible doctrine will either repent or be lost at last. This doctrine is not negotiable and is the stimulation to repent and remain in a state of repentance that goes beyond outward deeds of the law.
Repentance, while certainly necessary, does not change the attraction to do certain evil things for the Christian – so that they are no longer tempted by evil in this life due to the fallen nature of mankind. What repentance does is put one in line with Divine Power to overcome one’s fallen human natural tendencies.
To claim we are sinless until and unless we commit outward sin is actually childish. It implies we are sinless until we sin and then we are sinless again if we repent and stop sinning. Your view refuses to deal with the motivation of the heart that is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”
Actually, to claim that an individual is not guilty of sin until a deliberate sin is committed only makes rational sense. Sin isn’t the same thing as being tempted to do something evil due to fallen tendencies. That’s simply not the definition of sin found in the Bible. Sin is a deliberate transgression against the Royal Law of Love – not just a temptation to transgress, but an actual deliberate transgression by a free moral agent. Otherwise, there simply is no sin – according to the Bible itself (1 John 3:4).
Also, it is impossible for someone who is not a free moral agent to sin. This is why robots, even if they do “bad things” cannot be accused of sin or evil since they are not free moral agents had had no choice in their actions. You see, the concept of sin and morality requires that there be free choice already in existence.
You have stated your view, Sean. You are wrong will remain wrong as you wrest the bible totally outside its meaning and application. Sin is what you are long before what you do. And what you do is simply a reflection of what you are. Namely, a born sinner.
Nope. Sin is what you actually choose to do against the Royal Law of Love – not what you may be tempted to do contrary to this Law.
“Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” The human heart is “full of sin” and this is all that is required to define anyone as a sinner.
Again, guilt for sin does not come before an actual act of deliberate rebellion against the Royal Law. Sin is not a pre-existing condition that is inherited before one is even able to make a free-will decision. That’s simply not what sin is. You’re simply misguided in this regard.
But, as you have suggested, there is nothing more to be said. People who know the bible will side with me and EGW who knows full well that we are all born sinners.
Great. So, stop repeating the very same arguments over and over again without substantively addressing the counterpoints that I’ve presented to you.
Sean Pitman Also Commented
Academic Freedom Strikes Again!
No one actually believes that intelligent design is not rationally detectable behind various artifacts and phenomena that are clearly the result of deliberate design and intelligent intent. It is only in an effort to avoid acknowledging “God” that secular scientists who have taken on philosophical naturalism put forth superhuman effort to avoid admitting what is otherwise obvious.
Academic Freedom Strikes Again!
Now, I like you George, but I must say that restating the very same claim over and over again, without even addressing the counterarguments or questions presented to you regarding your claim, is not helpful to me, at all convincing, or even part of what I would call an interesting, much less, a productive conversation. I mean, you keep repeating, without substantive argument as far as I can tell, your simple claim that science (or any other form of rational thought for that matter) is not able to even detect a “miracle” if one happened to happen before your very eyes – like this claim of yours should simply be taken at face value as an incontestable self-evident fact.
“As I said science cannot detect miracles, by the very definition of same.” – george
Then, you go on to claim that miracles do not exist? But, how can you make this claim when, at the same time, you also claim that it is impossible to even recognize a miracle if one were to happen? Do you not recognize the self-defeating internal inconsistency of your position here?
Note that I’m not asking you to explain how a miracle happens, but only to be able to detect one if and/or when one does happen to occur. However, you simply ignore the comments of scientists who claim that science is, in fact, able to detect the miraculous when it happens (and has, in fact, done so – according to a fair number of very well-known scientists). You’ve also consistently ignored the questions I’ve asked you that seem to me to undermine this oft-repeated claim of yours. Why is that?
I’m sorry, but I just don’t see that you’re actually open to a genuine conversation here – which begs the question as to why you even bother to be here at all if you’re not a troll (although a fairly benign friendly sort of troll)?
Now, if I’m somehow misreading you and you are actually open to a real conversation on this topic, why not begin by substantively responding to at least one of the simple questions that I’ve repeatedly asked you in this forum?
Would you recognized a highly symmetrical granite cube measuring, say, 10 x 10 x 10 cm, as miraculous from the perspective of non-intelligent natural mechanisms? – and therefore rationally/scientifically conclude that it is a clear artifact of intelligent design? – even if found on an alien planet like Mars? Why or why not?
As I said science cannot detect miracles, by the very definition of same.
How is that? Science, while not able to determine the cause or mechanism of miracles, is indeed able, according to numerous very well-known scientists, to detect “miracles” if and/or when they may occur – according to your definition of the term. Please review my last post along these lines and explain to me how a highly symmetrical granite cube is not a miracle from the perspective of natural mindless mechanisms? – or the appearance, out of nothing, of a finely tuned universe that is miraculously predictable and understandable to us through the language of mathematics? – or the origin and diversity of life from a mindless natural perspective where there is no known mindless mechanism? Please do tell me, how are these things any less “miraculous” than any of the “miracles” described in the Bible?
In sum, a biased biblical account of a miraculous resurrection is not scientific and not proof on the balance of probabilities that it occured. The evidence that you have cited is unreliable and not corroborated by unbiased accounts.
As far as historical evidence, you seem to demand 100% reliably or proof. However, that’s not how science works – especially the historical sciences. Again, it’s all based on the weight of evidence – not absolute proof.
Also is it possible Jesus did not die on the cross but removed before he was medically dead? Did some of his followers remove his body from the cave to make it appear he was resurrected?
It is not possible given the description of Jesus’ death – where a spear was thrust through his side and into his heart, causing blood mixed with water to pour out (John 19:34). Also, His followers could not have stolen the body from the tomb because it was sealed with a Roman seal so that no one could get in or out without breaking the seal and it was guarded by a large number of Roman soldiers – specifically put in place in order to avoid having the body stolen by the disciples of Jesus (Matthew 27:62-66).
If a multitude of people saw him resurrected why are there only biblical accounts?
There are extra-biblical accounts of Jesus’ life and death – and even the empty tomb. Both Josephus and Lucian indicate that Jesus was regarded as wise. Pliny, the Talmud, and Lucian imply He was a powerful and revered teacher.Both Josephus and the Talmud indicate that He performed miraculous feats. Tacitus, Josephus, the Talmud, and Lucian all mention that He was crucified. Tacitus and Josephus say that this occurred under Pontius Pilate. And, the Talmud declares it happened on the eve of Passover. There are also possible references to the Christian belief in Jesus’ resurrection in both Tacitus and Josephus. Josephus records that Jesus’ followers believed He was the Christ, or Messiah – which wouldn’t be true if He was known to be dead. And, both Pliny and Lucian indicate that Christians worshiped Jesus as God.
With regard to the reality of the empty tomb, even the very antagonistic Toledot Yeshu, a compilation of early Jewish writings from the 11th century, acknowledges that the tomb was empty – though it is argued that the body was somehow removed from the tomb. Add to this the historical fact that Jesus’ tomb was never venerated as a shrine. This is striking because it was the 1st century custom to set up a shrine at the site of a holy man’s bones. Since there was no such shrine for Jesus, it suggests that his bones weren’t there. In this historical context, an interesting archaeological discovery lends early support to the biblical accounts of the Resurrection. The “Nazareth Inscription” is a marble tablet with Greek writing that has been dated to approximately AD 41. The inscription is likely an abbreviated form of an edict (called a rescript) from Emperor Claudius making taking body from a tomb a capital crime. (Link)
Also, the tomb was discovered to be empty by women – not men. Why is this important? Because the testimony of women in 1st century Jewish culture was considered worthless. If the empty tomb story were a legend, then it is most likely that the male disciples would have been made the first to discover the empty tomb. The fact that despised women, whose testimony was deemed worthless, were the chief witnesses to the fact of the empty tomb can only be plausibly explained if, like it or not, they actually were the discoverers of the empty tomb.
Beyond this, as previously mentioned, it is very very unlikely for a dozen fishermen to dream up this story and then be willing to die for what they knew was a lie. That’s just not a credible or otherwise reasonable conclusion. It simply is not plausible to suggest that each of these men would face continual persecution and horrifying deaths for something they knew to be a lie. After all, liars don’t make good martyrs.
Finally, due to the remarkable circumstances in first-century Jerusalem, Christianity would have never been able to get started if Jesus had not risen from the dead. Recall that the Resurrection of Jesus was central to the disciples’ preaching. Even if they had the courage to preach without having seen the risen Lord, what message would they have proclaimed? They certainly could not repeatedly claim to have been eyewitnesses of His Resurrection, as they did (Acts 2:32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39; 13:31). Without this bold proclamation of the Resurrection, and if His body was rotting in the grave, people would not be converted and the memory of Jesus and His disciples would quickly fade. In fact, it may be safely said that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, very few people living today, if any, would have ever heard of Him.
In summary, there are “minimal facts” that are accepted by nearly all New Testament scholars which include:
1. Jesus died by crucifixion.
2. Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them.
3. The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed.
4. The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed.
5. The tomb was empty.
These facts are nearly universally accepted by New Testament scholars, including liberal scholars.
I haven’t seen a resurrection or a perfect granite cube, Santa Claus, ghosts, demons, fairies, haunted houses, prophets or anything of a miraculous nature that I am aware of. So it is specious for you to ask me hypotheticals in this regard. It’s like me asking you if your head could swivel 360 degrees could you see the world better.
How would you know if you had? – given that you don’t seem to know how you would be able to rationally detect a “miracle” if you ever did see one? Even if you did see a definitively dead and decaying corps brought back to life before your very eyes, would that actually do it for you? – since you claim that such things are not detectable as miracles “by definition”?
The fact of the matter is that you have seen highly symmetrical granite cubes (and drift wood horses and the like) that are obvious artifacts of intelligent design – true “miracles” from the perspective of non-intelligent natural mechanisms. You also believe in the “big bang” where something came from nothing producing an extremely fine-tuned universe – which is “miraculous” from the perspective of natural law alone. You also believe that living things were produced from non-living things – which is also “miraculous” from the perspective of natural law alone since there is no known natural mechanism that can do this over a reasonable amount of time.
“It sounds startling, but science can’t explain ordinary experiences, much less supernatural experiences. No one knows how thoughts arise, why intuition exists, where creativity comes form, or most important of all, how the porridgy gray matter of the brain, which is totally dark and silent, produces the sights and sounds of the three-dimensional world. The simplest and most profound miracle that everyone encounters every day is this miracle.”
“There is the obvious fact that we need to know something about what normally occurs in the world to recognize when something marvelous happens. So, the better we understand the natural order, the easier it is to identify the truly miraculous. On the other hand, the existence of miracles, by definition, makes necessary a limit to the power of science to fully explain all of reality.”
Clearly then, even though science can’t explain things that are call “miracles” with the use of purely naturalistic mechanisms (because knowledge is limited), science can in fact detect the existence and reality of true miracles when they do happen in our world…
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Thank you Ariel. Hope you are doing well these days. Miss seeing you down at Loma Linda. Hope you had a Great Thanksgiving!
Thank you Colin. Just trying to save lives any way I can. Not everything that the government does or leaders do is “evil” BTW…
Only someone who knows the future can make such decisions without being a monster…
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I fail to see where you have convincingly supported your claim that the GC leadership contributed to the harm of anyone’s personal religious liberties? – given that the GC leadership does not and could not override personal religious liberties in this country, nor substantively change the outcome of those who lost their jobs over various vaccine mandates. That’s just not how it works here in this country. Religious liberties are personally derived. Again, they simply are not based on a corporate or church position, but rely solely upon individual convictions – regardless of what the church may or may not say or do.
Yet, you say, “Who cares if it is written into law”? You should care. Everyone should care. It’s a very important law in this country. The idea that the organized church could have changed vaccine mandates simply isn’t true – particularly given the nature of certain types of jobs dealing with the most vulnerable in society (such as health care workers for example).
Beyond this, the GC Leadership did, in fact, write in support of personal religious convictions on this topic – and there are GC lawyers who have and continue to write personal letters in support of personal religious convictions (even if these personal convictions are at odds with the position of the church on a given topic). Just because the GC leadership also supports the advances of modern medicine doesn’t mean that the GC leadership cannot support individual convictions at the same time. Both are possible. This is not an inconsistency.