@Sean who wrote: If the weight of evidence as one is …

Comment on PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood? by Inge Anderson.

@Sean who wrote:

If the weight of evidence as one is able to understand it is in fact contrary to the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood, it would be unreasonable for that person to trust the Biblical account of origins as credible. It would also be impossible for that person to actively support the SDA position on origins, to include the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood as being responsible for the fossil record.

I must disagree with you on this, Sean. You are, in fact, presenting a false dilemma. Perhaps this is why Professor Kent has been hammering you so hard.

If, as far as I can understand it, the weight of evidence does not support the biblical account, I can still choose to believe the Bible as a final arbiter of truth and make the prediction, based on (informed) faith, that better understanding/more research will eventually support the biblical record.

This is, in fact the kind of position Dr. Leonard Brand takes, and he is a strong proponent of creation by divine fiat in six literal days and a global flood at the time of Noah. And he is no light-weight in science either, having published material in peer-reviewed journals, as you know.
Usually he refers to “interpretation,” rather than evidence, as in this statement, in the context of what philosophy of science we choose to accept: “That’s why we’re considering a biblical model of short-age geology even though much of the modern geological interpretation points to millions of years of earth history.” (From Beginnings: Are Science and Scripture Partners in the Search for Origins? p. 147)

The way you have worded your statement, Sean, all the evidence of the Bible being true would go down the drain for an individual if that individual could not understand the weight of the physical evidence to be in favor of the global nature of the Noachian flood. (That is, in fact, what has happened to many, but I believe that both their faith and their scientific understanding were weak. A stronger faith can hold up even when scientific understanding is weak.)

I agree with you that our Creator God does not ask us to believe without evidence on which to base our belief. However, once He has demonstrated His trustworthiness to us, He will often ask us to step out in pure faith — a faith that is not “blind” because we know Whom we trust, but a faith that is based on absolutely no evidence other than His Word. That’s what He expected of Noah. There was no evidence whatsoever that what God said was true. It was against all the laws of nature. But Noah believed, and it was counted as righteousness. And this faith preserved him from a very real, overwhelming disaster, namely the global flood.

Insisting that only those who are convinced that the physical evidence is in favor of the biblical account are qualified teachers for our schools is an extremist position that lessens your credibility. I do hope you will clarify to say that that is not, indeed, what you mean. I also trust that your experience with our Creator God is strong enough that you can trust Him when the evidence does not seem support His Word. For you can be assured, that if you have not met that test in the past, you will meet it in the future.

I like the way Leonard Brand describes the interaction between science and faith, with each informing the other. Among other things, when the Bible speaks specifically to points where today’s science sees the weight of evidence for a contrary position, he makes scientific predictions, based on his (informed) faith, that further study will demonstrate to be true, because the predictions are necessitated by the biblical statements.

It is not either science OR faith, but science AND faith, with true science being always in harmony with an accurate interpretation of Scripture.

Inge Anderson Also Commented

PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
@ke6gwf / Ben, who wrote:

If the bible very clearly said that the earth was “round as unto a beachball”, and science sent a camera into space and it turned out that the earth looked like a waffle, that would present a problem. It would mean either we were misinterpreting the evidence, or misinterpreting the bible, or the bible was wrong.We don’t have any conflicts like that though, thank God!
We have piles and piles of data and research that can be interpreted many ways depending on how you hold your tongue, and we have the Bible that can be interpreted many ways depending on what you believe before you read it.
If we submit ourselves as little children to the Holy Spirit, He will inspire us how to understand both the Bible and Nature, otherwise we are just paddling ourselves closer to the edge of the flat earth!Ben~  

I just have to say that I enjoy your posts — not only the content, but the way you present it. (Are you by any chance a poet? Those images of bent tongues and boats paddling close to the edge of the flat earth … ;))

Carry on. 🙂

PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
@Mary Anne who wrote:

How long was our church preaching temperance before we had any solid evidence for example that smoking was detrimental to our health.

You need to rethink your extreme position.

Thanks for the excellent example, Mary Anne.

On the other hand, I do believe our science professors should make an effort to be knowledgeable on the empirical evidence in favor of the historicity of the Genesis account, rather than just relying on “peer-reviewed” papers which are mostly evidence in favor of origin by gradual evolution. But it doesn’t help the creationist side to take extreme positions that repel thinking people.

PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
@Sean Pitman:

@Inge Anderson:

Sean Pitman wrote:
If the weight of evidence as one is able to understand it is in fact contrary to the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood, it would be unreasonable for that person to trust the Biblical account of origins as credible. It would also be impossible for that person to actively support the SDA position on origins, to include the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood as being responsible for the fossil record.

I stand by what I did actually say regarding the weight of evidence. It would be unreasonable for God to expect us to believe against what we honestly understand as the vast or what seems to be the “overwhelming” weight of evidence. God never asks this of us. He always provides a sufficient weight of evidence to support a rational belief in the validity and truth of His Word before He asks us to believe and have “faith”…

It seems to me that you are emphasizing a different portion of your statement than that to which I saw myself responding. So let’s take it apart:

You wrote:

If the weight of evidence as one is able to understand it is in fact contrary to the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood

As written, it would seem to suggest that a student in a traditional science class must necessarily believe in origin by evolution, since he could not reasonably be expected to understand that the weight of evidence is not against a short age and creation by divine fiat.

You appear to be supporting the idea that we need to believe only if we understand “the weight of evidence” on each particular point, because God wouldn’t expect us to believe, unless we can understand.

Am I reading you correctly?

I, on the other hand, suggest that God gives us sufficient evidence of the trustworthiness of His character, and then He not infrequently asks us to act on naked faith alone — without any evidence whatsoever. That is what I believe He asked of Noah. You, by contrast, seem to argue that Noah had “empirical evidence.” I’d be interested to understand what you deem that to have been.

Likewise, I believe God asked Abraham to leave his family, his city and civilization itself in order to move to an unknown destination, keeping in mind that his ultimate destination was the kingdom of heaven itself. Yet you argue that he had “empirical evidence.” What would that have been?

You see, the way I read Hebrews, it doesn’t tell me that these men had “empirical evidence.”

Please don’t misinterpret me to be saying that it doesn’t matter what we teach our students. It does matter. But it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge that the apparent empirical support for origin by evolution is about as strong as the apparent empirical support for origin by divine fiat.

Each philosophy of origins (and it is philosophy, because there’s no way to verify either belief) requires a certain amount of faith. (I don’t have enough faith to believe in evolution.)

On your website and here you argue for certain empirical evidence that points to the historicity of the biblical record, and that is good. We need to do the same in our schools. They need to know the scientific arguments in favor of the authenticity of the biblical record, and they also need to know the challenges to those arguments, the arguments in favor of evolution, and the challenges to those arguments.

Essentially, we need to expect more of the students in Christian universities than is expected of them in secular universities. They need to be equipped to meet new evolutionary arguments as they come along. Key to this is the understanding that the differences are normally in the interpretation of the evidence, not in the evidence itself.

Recent Comments by Inge Anderson

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
Sean, while I don’t currently have time to address all the issues in your post, one thing concerns me greatly – that, as head elder, you would recommend that your church members should use their tithe as a tool of political action.

If your recommendation were followed by others, hundreds of thousands of people would be justified in not turning in tithe at all because they believe that the General Conference is out of line, being manipulated and controlled by a very small number of people. (But that’s another story.) And, really, anyone who disagrees with something done in the conference or the GC would be justified to withhold or re-direct tithe, following your reasoning. I do hope that you will decide that you “just cannot go there.”

When Jesus commended the widow who gave her last two coins, the “church” was as corrupt as it ever was or will be. Yet God recognized the gift as given to *Him,* and He blessed her and millions of people since then.

When we return our tithe to the Lord, I believe we must do it in faith, letting go of any control of how it is used. If administrators misuse it, they must answer to God. When we don’t return to God what already belongs to Him, we must answer for it. The way I see it, since the tithe already belongs to God, it is not ours to manage.

Offerings are another matter. If you feel your local conference is out of line, you are free not to send them the usual percentage for the conference budget and send it elsewhere.

God, Sky & Land – by Brian Bull and Fritz Guy
The direct URL for Cindy Tutsch’s article is http://ssnet.org/blog/2011/09/does-it-matter-how-long-it-took-to-create/

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

Lydian: There is something else I would like for someone to tell me—

Where in the world is the GRI in all of this? I have searched the internet and find virtually nothing there that would attract anybody to what it has to say–if it has anything to say.

Good question.

There are a number of Adventist sites that deal with science supportive of the biblical world view, Sean Pitman’s among them.

It seems that the only Adventist university that has a site supportive of a biblical world view in science appears to be Southwestern Adventist University.

Their Earth History Research Center features research papers as well as material quite understandable to lay persons. I recommend clicking through their links to see what is there.

Perhaps this is where we should look (and perhaps send our dollars) instead of the GRI. You will see that Ariel Roth, former director of the GRI (when it was more supportive of a biblical world view) is part of the Earth History Research Center.

May God abundantly bless the efforts of all who are connected with this project.

PS Currently http://ssnet.org is featuring an article by Cindy Tutsch entitled, “Does It Matter How Long God Took to Create?”

The Heroic Crusade Redux

Professor Kent: This is but only the faith of Sean Pitman’s straw man. This is not the faith of the Adventist who accepts God’s word at face value.

Sean is correct in his characterization, because that seems to be the kind of “faith” that has been championed here by a number of individuals who have faulted Sean for presenting evidence in favor of creation having happened just thousands of years ago.

If you accept the interpretation of evolutionists who believe (by faith) that life began on this planet some billions of years ago and then “by faith” believe that God created the world a few thousand years ago, you are essentially asserting “faith” in what you intellectually recognize as being a falsehood. That’s a good sight worse than a child’s “faith” in Santa Claus, because the child doesn’t “know from evidence” that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

I do accept God’s Word at face value, and because I accept it at face value, I know that all the evidence, rightly interpreted, will support the historical account in God’s Word. It is an intellectually consistent stance, whereas asserting belief in both evolutionism and biblical creation contravenes all rules of logic and intellectual integrity.

If you really do believe that the Genesis account is a true account of history, why do you characterize Sean’s presentation of scientific evidence to support the Genesis account as being anti-faith??

La Sierra University Granted Window to Show its Faithfulness to Church’s Creation Belief
This is encouraging, IMO.

However, the survey of students probably presents a more favorable picture than is realistic, since a significant percentage of the students may not even know what the Adventist position on creation is — considering the kinds of homes they are coming from. But even if they all knew, a 50% rate of believing that SDA views were presented is pretty dismal. That’s a failing grade, after all ..