Forget the semantics. It’s not just meaningless “semantics” here. Words …

Comment on Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution? by Sean Pitman.

Forget the semantics.

It’s not just meaningless “semantics” here. Words and phrases mean different things to different people. It is only honest to present your ideas in a way that you know they will be properly interpreted by those with whom you are trying to communicate. You are not doing that. You are using words and phrases that have specific meanings associated with them that simply do not apply to those to whom you apply the label – without any qualifiers.

You are arguing that the earth is billions of year old.

As you know, it’s a bit more subtle than that. What I’m arguing is that I don’t know how old the basic material of the Earth is. I believe the question remains open and that it is certainly possible that the basic material of the Earth may be billions of years old – which is an important distinction. I simply don’t believe radiometric dating methods (which are used to argue for an old age for the Earth) are remotely reliable. However, it is true that I do not believe that the layers of sedimentary rock that make up most of the geologic column and contain the fossil record are more than a few thousand years old. I believe that the weight of evidence that I think I understand clearly indicates that they were producing rapidly and catastrophically.

You accept a gap creationism which was developed within a particular historical context in response to geological evidence that the earth was very old. That is not the position of EG White nor of Martin Luther or early protestants who accepted a plain reading of scripture before the 19th century.

The concept of an old universe, or a “gap in time” between the creation of the universe and the Creation Week of Genesis dealing with this little planet has been around a very long time – far before any “geological evidence” as interpreted as the Earth being “very old”. And, Ellen White certainly did not hold to the view that the universe, with all of its stars and galaxies and other inhabited worlds, was created during our particular creation week. She specifically denied that notion – as did many others (for reasons having nothing to do with radiometric dating or geological arguments for the old age of the Earth). She also never said how old the basic material of the Earth might be or if it did or didn’t pre-exist Creation Week. She simply left that question open.

That most YEC are Young Universe creationists is beside the point.

No, it isn’t. The fact that the term “YEC” is so strongly and generally associated with the concept of a young universe means that you need to use qualifiers when you use the “YEC” term. Otherwise, you’re simply being deliberately misleading.

That you may pretend that your position of gap creationism is completely determined by your reading of scripture and does not at all reflect the science of Geology in the 18 and 19th century I find extraordinary.

Oh come on. M.C. Wilcox, Uriah Smith, and Ellen White all believed in an older universe without any appeal to geology for this conclusion. The same is true for many others who understand from the Bible itself that this world was created after the universe and other intelligences and worlds were created. (Job 38:7 and Hebrews 11:3)

The reality is that most gap creationists adopt this position because they are interpreting the bible according to a paradigm that is based on empirical evidence or science.

So what? Just because some people make this argument doesn’t mean that everyone has or does. You simply cannot paint everyone who holds to any version of a gap in time between the creation of the universe and the creation of our world with the same brush. That’s simply not honest or reasonable.

Whether you are capable of admitting it or not that is precisely the context of the Rogers article. If we take science as the guide to our biblical interpretation and accept a billion year old earth where is the logic for then discarding the evidences for old life.

Rogers’ article creates a false dichotomy – a false choice between two and only two options that he sets up as the only “consistent” options available.

1) Young universe with young life
2) Old universe with old life

According to Rogers, there is no other valid option. So, clearly, if one has to pick between these two options the obvious choice is going to be to go with #2 and reject any semblance of reading the Bible literally – which is what you and Rogers have obviously chosen to do. The problem here, of course, is that Rogers is wrong in arguing for only two consistent options. The old universe/young life position is perfectly consistent with all of the claims of the Bible regarding the creation of the universe and of life on this planet. And, there is absolutely no need to appeal to “geology” to come to this conclusion. Geology need have nothing to do with it.

It is a critical question which in all your blathering about what EG White really believed has not been properly addressed particularly when you say
“I, personally, would have to go with what I saw as the weight of empirical evidence. This is why if I ever honestly became convinced that the weight of empirical evidence was on the side of life existing on this planet for hundreds of millions of years, I would leave not only the SDA Church, but Christianity as well” (

That’s absolute right. You yourself have obviously left everything about Christianity behind except for certain of its ethical claims. You don’t believe that God created Adam and Eve with His own hands out of the dust of the ground. You believe that humans evolved through a natural “process” of evolution over a couple billion years or so, with much suffering, pain and death, from single-celled organisms. You don’t necessarily believe, then, in a moral Fall or the literal story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. You don’t necessarily believe in a literal virgin birth or resurrection of Jesus. You don’t believe in a literal carbon-based life after death where sentient animals will no longer suffer and die. You don’t believe many of the statements attributed to Jesus in the Bible. You think they were added in later on. You don’t seem to believe in the Biblical prophecies. Everything in the Bible is just a good moral fable to you – “like Moby Dick” as you explained a while back.

In fact, if I accepted neo-Darwinism like you have, I’d probably think very much like you think. I might still believe in a God of some kind – but certainly not the Christian-style God described in the Bible or my current views of the nature of God. You see God very differently from how I see God – in line with your views of empirical reality. So, it only follows then that as one views the empirical evidence differently, it usually does have a very dramatic effect on one’s views of God as well.

You claim to be an “Adventist”, but that’s really in name only. You keep the title for social reasons perhaps, but you really believe very few of the doctrinal claims of the church. You’ve really defined your own religion independent of anything the church has to say – but still like to use the same name. Not me. If I ended up seeing the world like you see it, I would be honest enough to drop the title “Seventh-day Adventist” and even “Christian” and simply move on to something else. I wouldn’t even pretend to be something that I don’t really represent or use a title that only causes confusion for those who think I believe something very different from what I truly believe when I use a particular title – without any qualifiers.

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
I think she was most likely trying to address the idea that God couldn’t make something out of absolutely nothing… that God had to start with something. I don’t think she was addressing Wilcox’s ideas at all. I think she was simply explaining that God doesn’t have to start with anything – that He can and did in fact ultimately make everything out of absolutely nothing – by the speaking things into existence.

The entire universe seems to be, ultimately, based on information from the Mind of God – i.e., “The Word”. What we see, feel, touch, smell, and taste really has no independent existence outside of the Mind of God and His constant care so that everything exists and moves and has its being “in Him.” – like a mental projection.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Mike Manea:

It matters to me too, and I wish you all the best in your own efforts along these lines…

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
Because, “as they read” must be interpreted by all that the Bible has to say about creation week. It is never wise to take any Biblical statement out of context. And, in this case, I think the context clearly supports a pre-existing universe (despite the “stars” not being mentioned until Day 4 of creation) and does not clearly exclude the possibility of pre-existing basic material for the Earth. Even Peter appears to argue that water pre-existed the creation week since he says that the Earth was made or brought “out of water” (2 Peter 3:5). Taking everything into account, I just don’t think it possible to be dogmatic against the possibility of pre-exiting basic material prior to the creation week.

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.

The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.

God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.

The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.

For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”

That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.

Sean Pitman

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull
@Bill Sorensen:

Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.

God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28

Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.

Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.

This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…

Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.

Sean Pitman

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.

Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.

Sean Pitman

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…

Sean Pitman