Comment on GC Delegates Vote to Tighten Language of Fundamental #6 on Creation by Sean Pitman.
The scenario is less than perfect. This is a hypothetical situation that could never happen. This makes God less than perfect, because He “failed” to tell them about a law that He had established.
Exactly! And the same thing would be true if God “failed” to inform someone about the “Law” today – and then punished them for doing something against the “Law” when they honestly had no idea. That notion paints God as arbitrary and capricious – a most distasteful view of God.
The bottom line is that if there is an established law, it can be broken, whether you are aware of it or not.
Not when it comes to morality. When it comes to a person’s morality, the moral code must be known by that person before it can be broken by that person – just as it would have been impossible for Adam and Eve to “sin” by eating from the forbidden fruit had they not first been told that the fruit was in fact “forbidden”. Sin is a deliberate rebellion against that which is known to be true – which is also why animals, though “fallen” and depraved since the Fall of Adam and Eve, are not guilty of “sin” since they were not created with an ability to intelligently appreciate the difference between good and evil on a moral level. Without this knowledge, there simply is no sin or moral failure. If sin were simply a matter of a lack of knowledge, then Jesus need not have died. All that God would have had to do in such a situation is supply the necessary knowledge and all would have been well. The problem, of course, is that sin is not due to a lack of knowledge regarding the Law. Sin is a result of a deliberate decision to go against what is consciously known to be right and good. That’s the real difficulty with sin…
Unlike human civil law, God does not hold us accountable if we are unaware of the transgression of His law.
That’s right – because there is no moral failure in such a situation – no sin. Of course, all are aware of transgression against the primary Royal Law of Love (James 2:8) – the Law upon which all other moral laws are based. So, there is really no excuse before the Law – not even for the heathen who have never read the Bible or heard of the “Ten Commandments”. How so? Because, God has written the Royal Law on everyone’s heart. It is therefore given to us as an internally-derived moral compass (Hebrews 10:16, Romans 2:14-16, Romans 13:9).
Let’s look at the life of Paul as found in 1 Timothy 1:12-13. “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” In verse 15 Paul refers to himself as the chief of sinners, referring back to his “old” life. One cannot be a “sinner” unless one breaks one of God’s laws. Obviously, Paul was breaking God’s laws, but he believed he was doing what was good…but God was merciful to him, because he did it “ignorantly in unbelief”.
Paul may have been ignorant to a certain degree, but no “sinner” is completely ignorant regarding transgressions against the Royal Law – according to Paul himself. Again, the reason for this is because of the fact that God has written the Royal Law on the hearts of everyone so that no one is without excuse before God. “The requirements of the law are written on their hearts.” (Romans 2:15). It is for this reason that Paul himself was confused in his attacks against the Christians – see that they appeared to be honored by God when his own heart was in conflict. Paul also noted that according to the written laws of Moses, he was a “perfect man” – until he considered the tenth commandment, the only commandment dealing with the internally-written Royal Law, and then he knew that he was a sinner.
Paul uses as a personal example the tenth commandment against coveting. This shows that by “the law” Paul mainly had in mind the Ten Commandments as the embodiment of God’s requirements for holy living. Probably he picked the tenth commandment in particular because it is the only command that explicitly condemns evil on the heart level. Jesus pointed out that the commands against murder and adultery (and, by implication, all of the commands) go deeper than the outward action. If you’re angry at your brother you have violated the command against murder – even without any external action on your part. If you lust in your heart over a woman, you have in fact committed adultery in God’s sight (Matt. 5:21-30). But the command against coveting explicitly goes right to the heart of the problem of “sin”. Coveting concerns your heart’s desires, whether you ever act on those desires or not.
So, when Paul says, “I would not have come to know sin except through the Law,” he does not mean that he (or others) do not know sin at all apart from the written law. He has already said (Romans 2:14-15) that Gentiles who do not have the written law have the “work of the Law written in their hearts.” People deliberately sinned against the law within their hearts from Adam until Moses, even though they did not have the written law (Romans 5:12-14).
What Paul means is that the law, especially the tenth commandment focusing on the inward desires, convicted him so clearly that he came to understand sin in a new light – as dealing with the Royal Law written on the heart. Sin is a heart problem, and Paul finally figured that out. Before his conversion, outwardly Paul was a self-righteous “perfect” Pharisee. He thought that all of his external deeds commended him to God. With regard to the law dealing with external actions, he saw himself as “blameless” (Phil. 3:6). However, when the Holy Spirit brought the tenth commandment about coveting home to his conscience, Paul finally realized that he had violated God’s holy law – the Royal Law. At that point, he came to understand sin in a whole new light.
Like Paul before his conversion, most people think that they are basically good. Sure, they know they have their faults. Who doesn’t? They’re not perfect, but they are good. They excuse even their sins, just as Paul excused his violent persecution of the church. However, again, no one is truly ignorant of their sins against the Royal Law of Love – because it is written on their hearts.
Sean Pitman Also Commented
GC Delegates Vote to Tighten Language of Fundamental #6 on Creation
There’s no such thing as being “amoral” (unless one is born mentally handicapped) since all intelligent humans are given an inherent knowledge, as a Divine gift, of the Royal Law written on the heart (Hebrews 10:16 and Romans 2:14-16).
This is a key difference between humans and animals since animals are indeed amoral creatures. It is for this reason that all humans will be judged on a moral basis according to the Royal Law. This is not true for animals. Unlike humans, animals with not face a “Judgement Day”. Why not? Because, unlike humans, they are not morally responsible for the things that they do.
GC Delegates Vote to Tighten Language of Fundamental #6 on Creation
I disagree. This hypothetical situation speaks to your argument that “sins” can be and are committed in complete ignorance – which is nonsense. Being born in a state of separation from God isn’t the same thing as “sinning” against God. Such a condition may be the result of sin, but it isn’t the same thing as sinning – according to both the Bible and according to every sense of justice and fair play.
In any case, I do not care to rehash all this, yet again, with you. This ends our discussion on this topic – at least in this forum.
GC Delegates Vote to Tighten Language of Fundamental #6 on Creation
Obviously we disagree – as I’ve explained regarding this quote and many others like it from both the Bible and Ellen White in some detail already.
You erroneously equate simple “errors” (due to honest ignorance) with things like the deliberate rebellion of Adam and Eve – which did in fact require the blood of Christ as an atonement. Your view of “sin” here would make anyone who is not omniscient (and who is therefore inevitably bound to fall into various errors from time to time) a “sinner” – even the angels in Heaven! That’s simply a mistaken view of why Jesus had to die – an error that causes you to modify the actual words of Jesus Himself on this topic (John 9:41; John 15:22-24). Honest errors, which are not against the fundamental moral code or “Royal Law” of love, would simply require additional information to correct – not the blood of Jesus.
Again, I suggest that you move on and start your own blog on this topic. This forum simply isn’t the place for it.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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…