Comment on Sean Pitman to speak at Loma Linda University by Paul Giem.
Yes it will be taped (assuming the equipment doesn’t fail). All of our Sabbath School presentations are taped, and are available at http://blip.tv/second-look-seminars-faith-and-science-sabbath-school . Enjoy.
Recent Comments by Paul Giem
Beyond the Creation Story – Why the Controversy Matters
I find myself almost agreeing with you. Romans 1:20 seems to indicate that God’s eternal power and Godhood can be seen by the things that are made, so that people who choose to deny those two attributes are not playing fair with the evidence. That is, as I understand it, if one does not use reason (1), the use of reason (3) will inexorably lead to an all-powerful God. One can avoid that conclusion, but only by special pleading.
That said, there is a lot of special pleading that tries to pass itself off as reason (3), and I agree that we should avoid it. I also agree that “The creationist also figures it out by his biblical worldview. So while we need reason we also need the Bible to lighten up our reasoning process as we seek to interpret data.”
I also agree that “And therefore we cannot allow any teacher to be a Darwinist and teach our children that they are right and the Bible wrong.” I am not advocating firing teachers for their beliefs, although I do believe that such inquiries are appropriate for new teachers. But I strongly believe that any teacher that belittles Adventist beliefs or those holding them has no place in an Adventist institution.
Some may argue that only those fully committed to all Adventist beliefs should be allowed to teach. For new hires, I would agree. For older hires, it is more complicated. How much doubt should any teacher be allowed to have on any doctrine before he quits or is fired? Do we allow for redemption for teachers? I also agree that it cannot be simply left up to the teacher alone, as it is evident that some who are willing to call the traditional Adventist position “the lunatic fringe” and yet seem to have no compunctions about being paid by “the lunatic fringe”. So self-discipline is not the total answer.
But for those who think we are probably wrong, but are still willing to be respectful, I think our best course is to work with them, while still warning those who might take their classes what they are getting into.
In other words, the line in the sand should be work output, integrity and consideration, not heresy.
I speak as one who knows something of internal problems with various places, including the GRI in the past.
Beyond the Creation Story – Why the Controversy Matters
We have some saying that reason can lead us to God. They appeal to their own experience, and to such texts as Romans 1. We have others saying that you can’t trust reason. They cite their own experience, and appeal to such texts as 1 Corinthians 3.
At least part of the problem has to do with what we call reason. There is something styled reason that starts by refusing to look at holy books, or perhaps even decides that they are wrong. That kind of reason can only lead to effectively atheist conclusions, as it has effective atheism built in from the start. No surprise there. I seriously doubt that this is the kind of reason that Sean recommends.
There is another kind of reason which tries to make sense of the Bible both in terms of its internal consistency and in terms of its relationship to the rest of the universe, with a constant surrender to the will of God. I think almost all of us would approve this use of reason (I believe this is what EGW was talking about when she used the term “sanctified reason”).
There is a third use of the term which is intermediate with the other two. It is looking at the universe without asserting that the Bible is either true or false, and trying to determine whether the Bible is more likely than not to be accurate. Here I believe is where the conflict lies.
I actually agree with Sean that if the first question one asks is, “Is there a God?”, the evidence is at present pretty strong that there is one. We then have to ask “Is the Bible reliable?”. In the not too distant past, the evidence was somewhat more equivocal, although enough to persuade most of us.
The problem is that it is far too easy for us to slip into reason in the first sense while thinking that we are reasoning (3). The easiest way to do so is to follow the reasoning of others who are using reason (3), while thinking that we are using reason (1). Thus, while agreeing with Sean, I have to be very careful to discourage people from using disguised reason (3). At the same time, I do not want to discourage the use of reason (2) for any reason. 🙂
If the Creation Account Isn’t True…
Abe Yonder (and Erv),
This is interesting. Now the creation account has moved from the Priestly Code to the Deuteronomist literature. Is it that hard to keep your story straight?
For the rest,
Note that the “reasonable and rational voice” basically denies the Mosaic authorship of anything in the Pentateuch. This illustrates one point of the original article. If one goes this route, one finds it very difficult to believe anything else in the Bible, as the method used to discredit the creation account is used to discredit anything else in the history of the Pentateuch, and thereby discredit the knowledge of Jesus and the New Testament writers. That is why, if one wishes to maintain the Bible as having any authority (besides “I like it”), one must find an alternative to the standard Higher Critical method.
Let the discussion begin.
PS. Note the poisoning of the well. Abe claims, “any reasonable person knows the creation story is not literal, but fundamentalists are not reasonable, they believe everything the Bible says no matter how absurd.” That is an interesting definition of the word “reasonable”, or else an interesting claim. Is Abe willing to back this up, or is this just another unsupported claim?
Thanks for your vote of confidence.
I think that one point may be fairly made. If we use reason (3) and come to the conclusion that God “is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”, and further come to the conclusion that the Bible is one means that He has to communicate with us, then we are entitled to use reason (2). In fact, it would be foolish not to.
So the ultimate result of our using reason (3) may not be simply the idealization of reason (3) as the best, but rather reason (3) may (IMO should) lead to reason (2). It’s just that I can’t expect you to start with reason (2) unless you have already conceded, by whatever means, that God and the Bible are trustworthy.
Yours in Christ,