Comment on SDA Darwinians compromise key church doctrines by Sean Pitman.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
– as quoted by Shane Hilde.
You’ve gotta be kidding. You’re going to tell us now that God’s word can be trusted ahead of empirical evidence and human reason? That sounds a lot like believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Monster, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Sorry, but that’s not good enough. Every SDA knows that God wants us to use our God-given brains rather than accept God’s word at face value.
You’re not answering how one can recognize the Bible as truly being “God’s Word” to begin with, out of all the competing options, without using one’s own brain? – without the use of human reason to which the Bible appeals? without any appeal to the candid intelligent mind as the Word of God?
Certainly once the candid intelligent mind is convinced, by the weight of evidence (as described by Mrs. White), then one can take the Bible as a Source of Divine Authority regarding those various points of which one might originally have thought differently than the Bible makes clear.
Those who teach uncritical acceptance of God’s word ahead of our own understanding (the historical-grammatical hermeneutic), like Dr. Ben Clauson at the Geoscience Research Institute, are unfit for employment in the Church. EducateTruth has already established this, and quite forcefully I might add.
The SDA Church has asked for teachers to fill teaching positions in the Church who can actively promote the Church’s position on origins from a position of scientific credibility. Consider, yet again, the very clear request of the SDA Church in this matter:
We call on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins. We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation, even as they are educated to understand and assess competing philosophies of origins that dominate scientific discussion in the contemporary world.
If an individual cannot provide “a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation” then that individual would not be someone who could effectively fulfill the mission of the SDA Church in the capacity of a science teacher within the Church’s employ.
Not everyone is qualified to fulfill such positions within the Church. This doesn’t mean that those who are unqualified are therefore bad people. On the contrary, they may be very good people indeed who are sincerely honest in their respective positions. It is just that not all honest people can be effectively employed to do certain specific tasks within the SDA Church organization.
Sean Pitman Also Commented
Then I have question for you: In Daniel 8:14, the tern “evenings and mornings” are also used for the 2,300 days, that is in the literal Hebrew wording since the Hebrew words “boqer” and “ereb” are used; the very same words used in Genesis. Are the 2,300 evenings and mornings in that particular verse therefore literal days?
I realize you may want to make the claim that in prophesy, a “day” is equal to a “year.” But then we will run into an inconsistency that the “day” with “evening and morning” only means one thing verses another only when it fits into someone’s theology.
Daniel is largely a prophetic book and the passage you reference is clearly a prophetic passage. Prophecies clearly use symbolic language throughout the Bible. Both Daniel and Revelation are filled with symbols that are clearly not intended to be taken literally. Jesus himself often used obvious symbols and parables in this teaching of the people.
In contrast, Genesis is not a book of prophecy and is not written in a style that obviously lends itself to be taken in a non-literal, allegorical, or parabolic manner. It is written in the style of a historical narrative and the same style is used throughout Genesis. If you claim that the first chapters are obviously non-literal, you have to say that the rest of the book, to include the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph were intended to be non-literal parables as well…
You’re too kind 😉
He [Professor James Barr] makes it clear he thinks that the literal reading is accurate, but he also makes it clear that that is just an opinion, not a fact! He also adds that most experts in the field would not take sides on this topic.
James Barr made it quite clear that this “opinion”, as you call it, was just a bit more one man’s mere personal opinion since it was an opinion shared by all, or nearly all, world-class Hebrew scholars of which he was aware.
“The apologetic arguments which suppose the ‘days’ of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know…
You might find one or two people who would take the contrary point of view and are competent in the languages, in Assyriology, and so on: it’s really not so much a matter of technical linguistic competence, as of appreciation of
the sort of text that Genesis is.”
I dare say that such near universal agreement on the intent of the author of Genesis, by the significant majority of “world-class” Hebrew scholars (secular scholars to be sure), is based on more than a vague hunch or personal opinion… wouldn’t you say?
A significant part of interpreting the intended meaning of a given text is the ability to “appreciate the sort of text” that is before you. Is the text poetic in style or intentionally allegorical in form? Or is there a seeming effort on the part of the author to relay a literal historical narrative? The significant majority of Hebrew scholars, according to Barr, have taken this second point of view.
The vast majority of Hebrew scholars today have recognized that the book of Genesis is historical narrative. There are sub-genres, verses that are poetic, but most of it is straightforward historical narrative. If you say that Genesis 1 is poetic, allegorical or metaphorical or some kind of parable, you have to say the same about the stories of Abraham and Joseph; because there is no break in genre within the Genesis narrative.
Or do you need a poll? 😉
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…