Comment on SDA Darwinians compromise key church doctrines by Sean Pitman.
So here is the crux of the problem: if we insist that we must use our God-given brains to decide whether God’s word is trustworthy (Sean Pitman’s position), how do we select WHICH claims of the Bible must be supported for it to be believed? Obviously, some claims can be supported, and others cannot (which also happens to be true of the Book of Mormon and other supposedly inspired books). Do we accept the Bible because of the claims that can be supported, or do we reject it because of the claims that cannot be supported?
I accept the Bible as having a Divine origin because of the weight of evidence regarding those claims that can actually be tested and evaluated. Those things that can be tested have proven themselves to be true. It is this weight of evidence that allows one to also trust those metaphysical claims of the Bible that cannot be directly tested.
This is the reason why the Bible stands out as superior to other claimed sources of Divine authority. You mention the Book of Mormon. Why do you accept the Bible over the Book of Mormon? Well, for me, I see the Bible as superior because the testable elements within both books strongly favor Bible as being far more reliable and trustworthy.
If you are honest with yourself, you do the very same thing.
Although Ken has not articulated the concern posed in this latter question, I believe it creates an enormous dilemma for those who reject the historical-grammatical approach and insist the Bible must be subject to external validition (the historical-critical hermeneutic). In relying on science, human reason, and falsifiable evidence (Sean Pitman’s clearly articulated position), the decision to accept or reject the claims of Scripture becomes an inescapably arbitary and capricious exercise. It also destroys Sola Scriptura.
What is arbitrary is your acceptance of the Bible without any appeal to rational thought or empirical evidence of any kind. You simply assert that one should pick the Bible as Divinely inspired based on an arbitrary choice, the luck of the draw so the speak, among the many competing options available.
One cannot get much more arbitrary and capricious than this. It is far more rational and non-arbitrary to defend one’s conclusion that the Bible (or particular interpretations of the Bible) is in fact trustworthy as the Word of God based on the overall weight of empirical evidence that appeals to the candid intelligent mind.
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…