Comment on Academic Freedom Strikes Again! by Sean Pitman.
You are wrong, period.
Saying it over and over again doesn’t make it true. Your arguments aren’t convincing because they appear to me to be self-defeating, inconsistent, and do not address the very clear biblical statements and comments from Ellen White that directly counter your claims.
Babies are not born “in Christ” and that alone makes them sinners.
No, it doesn’t. There is no sin without the pre-existence of a free moral agent. And, there is no sin until this free moral agent actually deliberately chooses to do something that he/she knows is wrong. That’s the definition of sin – a deliberate action against the Royal Law of Love. There is absolutely nothing in the writings of the Bible or Ellen White that defines sin as anything other than a transgression of the Law of Love – nothing.
As for you comment about Jesus being “born in sinful flesh” this is also bogus. Jesus was born in the likeness of sinful flesh” and this is light years from your false idea.
No it isn’t. What Paul is saying here is that Jesus was made exactly like me and you. According to Greek scholars like Vincent Branick, the Greek term that is usually translated as “likeness” in this passage would be best translated as a “perceptible expression of a reality”. He was not made just to look “like” fallen humanity. Instead, He amazingly took on actual fallen humanity, with all of its natural tendencies, and merged it with His own Divinity.
As Mrs. White explains, “Christ did not make believe take human nature; He did verily take it. He did in reality possess human nature. ‘As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.’ He was the Son of Mary; He was of the seed of David according to human descent.” (EGW, The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906.)
“He condescended to connect our fallen human nature with his divinity. By thus taking humanity, He honored humanity. Having taken our fallen nature, He showed what it might become by accepting the ample provision He has made for it, and by becoming [a] partaker of the divine nature.” (EGW, Letter 81, 1896)
He was therefore made with the very same “fallen” flesh, mental and physical, exactly like His “brothers” had – yet He never sinned. He was made fully like fallen humanity in every possible way – yet without sin (Hebrews 2:17).
Again and again Ellen White very clearly backs up this point – though you continually fail to even consider her commentary along these lines:
“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 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)
But the fact that you are wrong is incidental to the fact the majority of the church is wrong as many embrace your false doctrine and try to defend it. The sinful nature means you have a spiritual nature “full of sin”. And this makes you and everyone else a sinner even if they never participate in a single sin outwardly. People commit sin because they are sinners. They don’t become sinners by committing sin.
No. A fallen or sinful nature isn’t the same thing as being a “sinner”. That’s your fundamental mistake – to think that one’s nature is the same thing as one’s decisions and actions. Adam originally had a perfect sinless nature without any naturally cultivated evil tendencies, yet he sinned anyway because he still deliberately and consciously chose to rebel against a command of God. In contrast, Jesus took on a fallen sinful nature, the same as His brothers, yet He never sinned. It is for this reason that we can overcome sin while still having “sinful flesh”. We need not first get rid of our fallen natures before we can stop sinning – through the power of God. Being “born again” does not remove from us our fallen natures – yet we can still stop sinning. If Jesus did not overcome from the position of fallen human nature, then there is absolutely no reason to think that I can overcome either.
I know this might seem like a paradox, but it really isn’t if you think about it just a bit.
You can close your mind and harden your heart. You can “wrest the scriptures to your own destruction”. But as Gerald Wolfe has well said, “Just because you won’t accept it, won’t change it.”
You should at least consider that these words might apply to you and your position.
You don’t have to know that you are breaking any law, to be breaking the law, and this applies to the moral law as well as any other law. And just because you “run and hide” won’t clear you or anyone else in the final judgment.
It is impossible to break the Royal Law of Love without knowing it because it is written on the heart. It is for this reason that no one has a valid excuse for sinning. Yet, everyone has actually knowingly broken the Royal Law of Love. That is why everyone stands guilty before God. It isn’t what Adam did that makes us guilty. It is what we have done ourselves, deliberately, that makes us guilty before God.
The subject is “academic freedom” so you are already off the subject of creation. When people are wrong, they tend to hide behind a self imposed barrier for protection.
You have a tendency to direct every topic of every article back toward your favorite topic of original sin. I simply won’t keep on allowing this to happen – especially after so many extensive discussions in this forum where nothing has been resolved.
In the end, I wish you well. But I will never patronize blatant ignorance and neither will God.
God overlooks honest ignorance all of the time (John 9:41, John 15:22, John 15:24, James 4:17, Luke 23:34). And, I dare say that in heaven mistakes of honest ignorance among the angels are also overlooked with a smile and shrug…
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.