Comment on Creeds and Fundamental Beliefs by Ron.
I apologize if I don’t respond to some points. I am finding it hard to navigate back and forth.
Re: evolution: If you admit “micro” evolution, you admit “macro” evolution. There is no biological or functional boundary between the two. The time is really immaterial. I can’t see that it matters much whether God created organisms with the capacity to evolve 6000 years ago or 6 billion years ago, evolution is still a scientific fact. That is true and needs to be acknowledged as true by Seventh-day Adventists. Our theologians need to get busy and show the rank and file how evolution is compatible with our beliefs, because frankly, it is, and denying the truth doesn’t help.
Sean Pitman: I fail to see how it makes any sense to you that any organization would deliberately hire those who fundamentally opposed the clearly stated basic goals and ideals of the organization?
I think part of the issue here is that you and I have a fundamentally different views of what the church’s “goals and ideals” are. It appears to me that for you it is to define orthodoxy and promulgate doctrinal purity. That would be why you support the “Fundamental Beliefs”
For me, the most fundamental goal and ideal of the church is to facilitate the searching for truth. The reason Adventists exist as a denomination in the first place is that we didn’t agree with the orthodox views of the day. It used to be that Adventists were distinguished by their unwavering commitment to truth as they understood it, even when it disagreed with traditional “fundamental beliefs”.
Don’t miss understand me. I honor the scholarship and leading of the Holy Spirit that I have inherited, and from that perspective I accept the “Fundamental Beliefs” as a limited statement of understanding for a particular time. I value it as I would an anchor on a ship. Something stable to help us weather a storm, but not something to slow down or prohibit progress.
I don’t remember who it was, but someone once said, I don’t give a whit for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give the world for the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity. To simply deny the evidence for evolution is not honest, and that is the simplicity on this side of complexity. To acknowledge the truth of evolution and do the hard theological work to harmonize the Bible and science gets us to the simplicity on the other side of complexity. Or, do the hard scientific work needed to convince people that there is some alternative, ANY alternative. I watched a documentary on the Dover trial last night. Michael Behe himself, under oath, stated that Intelligent Design is not a theory and by the criteria he himself proposed, it was scientifically refuted.
You asked, how do you resolve this? You resolve it by being tolerant until you can do the hard scientific and theological work needed to convince people rationally without coercion.
Orthodoxy by dent of “Fundamental Belief” and coercion is on this side of complexity. Orthodoxy based in respectful dialog, reason with hard scientific and theological effort is the simplicity on the other side of complexity.
The complexity between here and there is messy and painful, but it cannot be short circuited without doing violence to people and conscience.
Ron Also Commented
BobRyan: If this attribute of design, as observed in nature, is so blatantly obvious that even our evolutionist friends cannot help themselves when speaking about it – who are Bible believing Creationists to deny Intelligent Design?
So Bob, am I to conclude from your comment that you are becoming a theistic evolutionist, since you seem to equate evolution and ID?
Sean Pitman: In no meaningful sense of the word can this sort of expectation be called a “persecution”
I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this point. I think that threatening one’s employment is pretty coercive. As far as I am aware, none of the teachers took the position that the churches theology was wrong. It seems the church is persecuting them for simply teaching science to the best of their ability.
I don’t think it is an individual teacher’s responsibility to reconcile the whole churches theology to the science. I think that leadership really needs to come from the theology department. It probably makes more sense to fire the theology department for negligence.
BobRyan: Instead of that Darwin, Provine, Meyers and Dawkins all claim that evolution is what destroys christian faith.
At this point – I only state the obvious.
I think that is one of the problems. Both sides in the debate have jumped to the obvious conclusions which just happen to be wrong. They are then so invested in defending themselves that they refuse to see the obvious truth that there is no inherent conflict. There is no rational reason why God can’t create organisms with the capacity to adapt to new environments (another way to say “evolve”).
Bob, I know you will deny it, but I think you really are a theistic evolutionist, you are just afraid to acknowledge your own reason.
Recent Comments by Ron
Sean Pitman: No one is demanding that they “get out of the church”. . . . . anti-Adventist views on such a fundamental level.
You don’t see how characterizing a dedicated believer’s understanding of truth as “fundamentally anti-Adventist” would drive them out of the church?
I guess that explains why you don’t see that what you are doing here is fundamentally wrong.
Professor Kent: Nothing saddens me more than the droves who leave the Church when they learn that many of their cherished beliefs regarding this evidence don’t hold up so well to scrutiny.
I agree. I am sure that Sean and Bob don’t mean to undermine faith in God, but every time they say that it is impossible to believe in God and in science at the same time, I feel like they are telling me that any rational person must give up their belief in God, because belief in God and rationality can’t exist in the same space. Who would want to belong to that kind of a church?
Sean Pitman: and have little if anything to do with the main point of their prophetic claims
And by analogy, this appears to be a weak point in the creation argument. Who is to decide what the main point is?
It seems entirely possible that in trying to make Gen. 1 too literal, that we are missing the whole point of the story.
Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation
Regarding falsifying the existence of God through the miraculous:
While it is true that one can’t falsify the existance of God and the Biblical miracles at a philosophical level, it seems to me that it is possible to falsify it at a practical level. For instance prayer for healing. How many families who pray for a miracle for a loved one in the Intensive Care Unit receive a miracle?
While the answer to that question doesn’t answer the question of the existence of God at a philosophical level, it does answer the question at a practical level. After 36 years of medical practice I can say definitively that at a practical level when it comes to miracles in the ICU, God does not exist. Even if a miracle happens latter today, it wouldn’t be enough to establish an expectation for the future. So at a practicle level it seems it is possible level to falsify the existence od God, or at least prove His nonintervention which seems to me to be pretty much the same thing at a functional level.
Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation
Sean, what is your definition of “Neo-darwinism” as opposed to “Darwinism” as opposed to “evolution”?