Comment on Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe by Sean Pitman.
â€œIf Eve had been completely ignorant, she would not have been guilty of sin.â€ and â€œSo, it is an error on your part to equate honest ignorance with sin of any kind.â€ – Sean Pitman
And, of course, Sean, this is where we disagree completely.
Ignorance is no excuse according to the law. â€œThe lawâ€ doesnâ€™t care what you know, or donâ€™t know. So. â€œSin is transgression of the lawâ€ period.
Sin is the known or deliberate transgression of the Royal Law only (the Law upon which the 10 Commandments are based as an expansion of the Royal Law). There is no sin, no moral fall, when there is no deliberate transgression of this primary or underlying Royal Law. Breaking the moral law is not the same thing as breaking a human law against speeding. Breaking the moral law requires a conscious rebellion against that which is known to be true; morally true.
Again, if God had not told Adam and Eve that they couldn’t eat from a particular tree, they would not have been guilty of sin had they eaten of it. It is only because God did tell them that they became guilty of taking that which wasn’t theirs when they ate the fruit – of stealing from God and breaking the Royal Law of Love. Otherwise, if God had convicted them of sin for eating of the forbidden fruit, without having ever told them that it was forbidden first, God would rightly have been seen as unfair and unjust, and therefore unlovable. Satan’s charge that God’s commands and actions are unfair would have been supported before the eyes of the universe.
You have to admit, if you are honest with yourself, that no one could love a God like this – one who punishes a person for honest ignorance. If God had punished Adam and Eve for eating forbidden fruit without first warning them that it was in fact forbidden, Satan would have won the day before the universe of candid intelligent minds in his claims for the arbitrary capricious nature of God and his laws.
If you break the speed limit and are stopped, you may plead, â€œI didnâ€™t see the sign regulating the proscribed speed allowed.â€
And then you may say, â€œBecause of this, I did not break the law.â€
How impressed will the cop be with your supposed claim of innocence?
No one can make the claim of honest ignorance when it comes to breaking the Royal Law because this Law has been written on the hearts of all mankind. What people can honestly claim ignorance of are particular commands that were not intuitively known or knowable. Honest ignorance in such cases is a very good excuse indeed and is not counted as sin.
This is why Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: â€˜They hated me without reason'”… “If you were blind, you would have no sin…” – John 15:22-25 NIV and John 9:41 NIV
Notice that Jesus specifically ties in sin with conscious rebellion against a known Law. He specifically argues that ignorance does not equate to sin. I’ve presented these texts before for your consideration, but beyond these texts, the concept is intuitively true. One cannot be held morally accountable for what one honestly doesn’t know and could not have known…
Mrs. White explains this a bit by noting that, “Ignorance is no excuse for error or sin, when there is every opportunity to know the will of God.” (GC, 597-598)
This implies, of course, that when there is no real opportunity to know the will of God on any particular doctrinal point, there is no sin for honest ignorance on that point.
Sean Pitman Also Commented
Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe
In any case, any further comments concerning the morality or lack thereof of those involved with the LSU situation will no longer be posted here on Educate Truth. However, You are free to send me a personal E-mail if you wish (my E-mail can be obtained by visiting my website listed below).
Well, Sean, atheists have written books explaining what, why, and how they have rejected Godâ€™s Truth. Those at LSU have explained what they believe and why they have accepted Manâ€™s word and rejected Godâ€™s Truth. You say we can never know anything about this, and they must not really â€œunderstandâ€ what they are doing.
I don’t know if they do or do not really understand what they are doing; and neither do you. Only God knows for sure…
Not only would I and others here disagree with you, but I believe the atheists would disagree. The idea that church members cannot be â€œjudgedâ€ by their words and actions is simply not biblical.
And the soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross would have claimed at the time that they knew exactly what they were doing too… but did they really? Jesus prayed for them saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34 NIV
It is quite possible that even if a person is very adamant that he/she knows exactly what he/she is doing, that this person may not really know. This is a possibility that only God knows for sure. You simply cannot make this particular type of moral judgment with complete accuracy. You and I can judge the rightness or wrongness of the word or act (specifically regarding a doctrine like the literal 6-day creation week), but we cannot judge the rightness or wrongness of the heart; the motive.
There is a difference between being mistaken and sinning. Sinning requires a deliberate rebellion against known truth – something that you cannot tell for sure in cases of doctrinal disagreements on such things as the literal creation week or the true origin of the Sabbath or any other such commandment that deals specifically with man’s relationship with his or her God and God alone.
Sean says Moses and the Prophets are â€œempiricalâ€ evidence then says they are not!
Moses and the prophets are only “empirical evidence” in support of the Bible’s credibility if they actually say something true regarding the real world in which we all live (which I think they clearly do).
However, if Moses and the prophets did in fact clearly contradicted the real world (i.e., real history), the hypothesis that the Bible’s credibility is supported by them would be effectively falsified (as is the case for the Book of Mormon, for example) in such a situation.
It is in this sense that things like biblical prophecy must be held up for testing before biblical prophecy can be rationally accepted as credible (at least any more credible than the Book of Mormon).
In other words, biblical credibility is dependent upon the empirical evidence. Without the empirical evidence, there would simply be no greater rational reason to believe the Bible as any more credible than some moral fable that someone simply made up as a “cleverly invented story”. – 2 Peter 1:16 NIV
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Dr. Aseem Malhotra: From Pro-Vax to Anti-Vax
The strong anti-vaxx stance of many Adventists has been a big surprise to me as well! I just don’t get it. We’re supposed to be strong supporters of good cutting-edge advances in medical science…
Dr. Aseem Malhotra: From Pro-Vax to Anti-Vax
I think it’s even less common than that. However, when my boys were vaccinated, we did have the techs pull back on the syringe both times (Link). Myocarditis occurs about twice after every 100,000 injections. On top of that, research shows it’s typically mild and resolves quickly (Link).
Dr. Aseem Malhotra: From Pro-Vax to Anti-Vax
Natural vs. Vaccine-derived Immunity
Toby Rogers is a political economist who is also strongly anti-vax. He is not a medical scientist or physician.
In any case, this particular article, by Rogers, distorts the data regarding vaccines and the position of Dr. Peter Aaby – who is a strong supporter of vaccines in general (although, when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, he seems to favor the adenovirus-based vaccines, such as Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca/Oxford or the one produced by China’s CanSino Biologics, over the mRNA-based vaccines – since the adenovirus-based vaccines may have more benefit on reducing “overall mortality – Link). Note, however, that this study found that of the 31 deaths that occured in mRNA-vaccinated individuals, only two were from COVID-19. The rest were due to other causes. For the adenovirus-vaccinated group, two of the 16 deaths were from COVID-19. It’s very difficult, then, to determine a clear relationship here between the different types of vaccines and deaths not related to COVID-19.
“The study isn’t about the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines against COVID,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health and Security. “The study is aimed to determine if COVID vaccines have non-specific mortality impacts that extend beyond the incontrovertible mortality benefit they confer with COVID-19. Certain vaccines have effects that extend beyond the target infection and decrease mortality from other causes (e.g. measles vaccine).”
Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, also said the question of the paper isn’t about COVID-19, but whether the vaccines had a beneficial effect on other causes of mortality. The research reinforced that both types of vaccines significantly prevented COVID-19 deaths, “which is not surprising as both types of vaccines generate cellular immunity against SARS-CoV-2, protecting us against severe disease.”
“However, to be fair,” Gandhi said, “the number of non-COVID and COVID deaths were rare in all of the pooled analyses and the causes of non-COVID deaths not well adjudicated, so this analysis needs to be taken as preliminary and hypothesis generating at best.”
What’s interesting here is that studies have shown that the “all cause” mortality rate is also reduced for those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 – to include those who’ve been vaccinated via the mRNA-based vaccines (Link).
Anyway, here’s a more balanced view of Dr. Aaby’s position on vaccines (Link). Note also that Dr. Aaby supported the vaccines against COVID-19 for adults (Link), but not necessarily for children since children have significantly reduced risk (compared to adults) for COVID-19 infections (Link). Dr. Aaby did publish some interesting results, however, suggesting that the polio vaccine, as well as the BCG and MMR vaccines, may also reduce childhood risk from COVID-19 as well (Link, Link).
“We would not be surprised if MMR could provide some protection against severe COVID-19,” said researcher Peter Aaby, of Bandim Health Project in Guinea-Bissau and Research Centre for Vitamins and Vaccines (CVIVA), Statens Serum Institut, a governmental public health and research institution under the Danish Ministry of Health in Copenhagen, Denmark and a pioneer in the field. “Together with my partner Dr. Christine Stabell Benn, we’ve been reporting on mortality reductions from live-attenuated vaccines such as polio, BCG and measles vaccine/MMR for multiple decades now, and arguing for optimized vaccine schedules. With the COVID-19 crisis adding urgency, it’s good to see the potential of non-specific immune effects being taken seriously.” (Link)
Overall, I do find Dr. Aaby’s main concern to be well-supported that vaccines may produce unforseen beneficial as well as detrimental side effects. In the case of COVID-19, however, it was very clear to me that the potential unknown risks were clearly outweighed when compared to the known risks of getting infected by COVID-19 as well as the very clear known benefits of being vaccinated – particularly for adults over the age of 50 and those with various medical conditions that put them at great risk. Even healthy children seemed to be far more at risk from a live COVID-19 infection than from the vaccines – particularly regarding long-term effects. Of course, this was all before the current less severe Omicron variant took over and the predominant variant worldwide. At this current point in time, vaccines against COVID-19 don’t seem to me to have as significant of an advantage compared to earlier on in the pandemic.
Hope this helps,
Back to Square One…
I’m not sure what “teachings” you have in mind here that need amending?