Comment on Academic Freedom Strikes Again! by Sean Pitman.
Neither the bible or EGW agree with your evaluation. The objective definition of sin just what you stated and quoted, “Sin is transgression of the law” and it does not require that we know we are transgressing to be a transgressor. This is the foundation of all your error. The law is objective and doesn’t care if you know what the law states or not.
The moral law, the Royal Law of Love in particular, is not like state laws since it is written on the hearts of everyone – even those who have never read the Bible (Romans 2:15).
Beyond this, you claim that sin exists before the Law is even transgressed! You claim that sin exists simply when someone with a fallen nature exists – before a single transgression is committed! This is like your police officer giving a ticket to someone for speeding just for being tempted to speed – even before the law is actually broken.
That’s your position and it is this position of yours that makes no sense whatsoever, paints God as arbitrary and capricious, makes it look like Jesus didn’t really live as I have to live and is not a valid representative, and goes against what both the Bible and Ellen White have to say about this issue:
“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)
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)
“It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon himself the form and nature of fallen man, that he might be made perfect through suffering, and himself endure the strength of Satan’s fierce temptations, that he might understand how to succor those who should be tempted.” (EGW, RH December 31, 1872)
“He would take man’s fallen nature and engage to cope with the strong foe who triumphed over Adam. He would overcome Satan, and in thus doing he would open the way for the redemption of those who would believe on him from the disgrace of Adam’s failure and fall.” (EGW, RH, February 24, 1874)
Why does Jesus make atonement for sins of ignorance if there is no guilt to make atonement for? You convolute objective guilt with subjective guilt and then claim there is no objective guilt, period. Any rational person can see that your view is not only non-biblical, but nonsense. But all this to defend a false and bogus view and claim we are not born sinners.
That’s just it. Jesus did not die for sins of ignorance. Jesus died because of a deliberate rebellion against the Royal Law. Did Adam and Eve sin because of ignorance? No. They knew that what they were doing was against the will of God. If they had not known this, then they would not have been guilty of sin (John 9:41). It’s as simple as that. God does not accuse anyone of sin because of honest ignorance. It was the deliberate rebellion against God that required the death of Jesus as atonement.
Gen. 3:15 is an act of grace by way of the atonement because we are born in sin and God says, “I will put enmity between Satan and the sinful children of Adam.”
Of course! It was the promised sacrifice of Jesus that allowed God to put enmity for sin within the hearts of mankind – all of mankind. And, it is for this reason that everyone with a rational mind has also been given freedom of will. One does not need to have ever read the Bible or hear the story of Jesus in order to have freedom of will – in order to be able to choose right from wrong. One need not be a “born again” Christian to have freedom of will either – contrary to your claims. The heathen individual who chooses to listen to his/her conscience and act in line with the Law of Love will be saved.
You might do well to plead grace and leniency based on the circumstances, just like Jesus does for us in the final judgment for sins we have committed in ignorance. He would never plead innocence. He will plead pardon by His blood for the guilt of the sins of ignorance.
You just don’t get it. If the Law is written on your heart, there is no such thing as a “sin of ignorance”. You might make “mistakes of ignorance”, but these mistakes are not the same thing as “sins” if they do not break the Royal Law that was written on the heart. Your mistake is to believe that all mistakes are “sins” that require the blood of Christ. That’s simply not true. As previously discussed, even the angels in heaven make “mistakes of ignorance”, yet are not guilty of sin.
Give it up, Sean. You are so wrong, no rational thinking person would agree that a person is not guilty of breaking a law just because they don’t know what the law is.
Come on Bill, carefully consider that not all mistakes are in the same category and not all laws are “written on the heart.” The Royal Law is written on the heart and this is the basis of morality and the very definition of “sin”. It would simply and very clearly be unfair and arbitrary for God to define the sin of rebellion against the Law of Love as someone making an honest mistake. That’s just nonsense Bill. It makes God look petty and evil. And, this concept of yours is specifically spoken against by the Bible. Nowhere does God accuse anyone of sin when one honestly didn’t know any better. Such mistakes of ignorance are overlooked by God as being a simple matter of additional education – not requiring the blood of Jesus since the Law of Love was not broken.
As for Georges comment below about Mother Teresa. If she kept Sunday in her ignorance she is still breaking the law, but Jesus may plead pardon by way of His atonement if she did not know the truth of the matter. Jesus will never say she is innocent and if so, she would need no atonement nor the blood of Jesus to apply pardon for her guilt in breaking God’s law.
This is like arguing that if Jesus has been born in a culture that didn’t know about Sabbath observance that Jesus Himself would have been sinning if He was brought up as a Sunday-keeper. That’s a mistaken view of the Law. Mistakes of ignorance simply are not the same thing as deliberate rebellion, or sin, against the Royal Law of Love.
Original sin is so clearly biblical that you have to “song and dance” around the obvious to deny it. All the fancy footwork in the world will not support any false idea that some one is not breaking the law if they don’t know it.
Again, Jesus specifically and repeatedly said that not knowing means not being guilty of sin. You simply re-word what Jesus actually said so that it fits better with your theology. However, the words that Jesus actually said are quite clear.
In the end, it is a blatant attack on the gospel of forgiveness of sin. And the way you butcher up the nature of Christ is tragic and despicable. We are born sinners. Get over it and follow the format God has ordained for the salvation of humanity.
Again, you fail to address the numerous statements in the Bible and Ellen White where it says that Jesus Himself was born with “sinful flesh” – yet without sin. As Mrs. White very clearly explains, “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)
How do you get around such clear statements that undermine your own claims? You simply don’t address such statements . . .
Again, we are born with a fallen nature, but that’s not the same thing as sinning – as actually breaking the Law. Such requires an actual action, an actual choice of the free moral agent, before actual sin can spring into existence.
Well, you are still better than other forums who are bigots who refuse to even dialogue on this issue and think they will “save the church” from all apostates when they are apostates themselves. What a mess the church is in with no evidence of any real desire to know the truth that Jesus said, “Will set you free.”
Your defense of creation is reasonably commendable. But in this subject of sin and atonement, your view is far from biblical teaching.
You have a long way to go in your understanding of the nature of God and the nature of true sin and rebellion – the reason why we are here and why Jesus had to die to save us. May God continue to lead you toward the greater light on such things as I do believe that they are important to understand – though not vital to salvation.
Beyond this, however, this really isn’t the topic of this forum and I don’t think I will allow future comments along these lines under future articles. Lots of people try to post comments that are completely off-topic and generally I do not allow it. I’ve been lenient with you because of your past history of generally being on topic in this forum. However, I think you’ve pretty much presented what you have to say a great many times without presenting anything new or substantively addressing the main counterarguments against your position. So, I really see no need to continue to address the very same claims over and over again.
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…
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
After the Flood
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…
Pacific Union College Encouraging Homosexual Marriage?
Where did I “gloss over it”?
Review of “The Naked Emperor” by Pastor Conrad Vine
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.