The Sabbath, Creation and Faith
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Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.  He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Revelation 14:6-7, NIV

Have you ever wondered why so many people are so eager to state that they cannot believe in something as silly as an earth created by God? Today, many assume that only a naive person or a fool would believe such a thing. When we look at the creation record in Genesis 1 and 2, we see things that seem to support their viewpoint.  After all if the day of “evening and morning” were defined by the sun and the moon created on the fourth day, how can there be evening and morning on the first through third days? It just doesn’t make sense. And how could science ever explain the creation of the sun and moon in a single, 24-hour day?  Surely, no rational person could claim to believe the Genesis account.

Yet, this is exactly what God has asked us to believe.  The battleground for the human heart is the battleground of faith for only faith can save us. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV

As Christians, we often speak of “righteousness by faith.” However, do we recognize the connection between that statement about salvation and the work of Creation? Paul clearly made the connection in verse 10 of Ephesians 2. Apparently, a connection exists between the creation of mankind and his redemption through faith. After all, if the Creation never took place, what would redemption restore men and women to?

God knew that this would be a problem before Jesus’ return. Because of this, the Bible tells us that the opening proclamation of the three angel’s messages in Revelation 14 would call mankind to once again worship God as Creator. The entire Bible story is about the Creation, its fall, and its ultimate restoration. It is significant that reformation is usually accompanied by a call to “remember” God as Creator.

When God through Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt to bring them to Canaan, He told them to “remember.”  The fourth commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20, 8-11, NIV  Not only did God want His people to remember Him as Creator, but He wanted them to remember the sign of that acknowledgment that He created in the beginning. He wanted them to keep the Sabbath.

But simply keeping the Sabbath as a work-free holiday was not enough. He wanted it to be a sign that they recognized that they were beings created by God. The Sabbath broke time up into seven-day weekly cycles. Why? Yearly cycles are based on the time it takes the earth to circuit the sun. Monthly cycles are based on the moon’s circuit of the earth. Weekly cycles have only one equivalent in nature. That equivalent is the week of Creation. To recognize that weekly cycle is tantamount to recognizing Creation as it is recorded in the Bible.

For thousands of years the Devil has worked ardently to eliminate that remembrance. He knows that if man chooses not to acknowledge his creation, he will cease to seek what was lost in the fall into sin of Genesis 3. After all if there was no Creation, there was no fall. If there was no fall, there is no need of a Savior.  The more people he can march into oblivion along this path, the happier he is. Because the Sabbath is a special sign that continues to tie mankind to Creation, he has given it special attention.

His arguments are clever and many. “Surely God would not be so picky about the day?” he asks. Or he flatly states, “I keep all days holy, not just one.” Or “Christians are saved by faith, not by keeping that old Jewish Sabbath.” This is perhaps the most subtle of all, because just like in his temptations of Jesus, the Devil quotes Scripture to bolster his argument. It is true that Christians are saved by faith, but it is not true that the Sabbath is Jewish. Thousands of years before there was a Jew, God created the Sabbath. Jesus himself did not say that Sabbath was made for the Jews, but that “the Sabbath was made for man.” (See Mark 2:27)

It is no accident that the proclamation of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 that called men to worship God as Creator was accompanied with the proclamation of the Sabbath, which is recognition of that special relationship between a loving Creator and His creation. Their messages open with the announcement that God is Creator and close with a call to keep the commandments of God. Within those commandments is the call to “remember the Sabbath.” But can people who are living in this scientific age do that? What about all the problems with Creation mentioned at the beginning of this article?

On this “plain of Megiddo” the fate of millions will be decided. Many stand in the valley of decision. Will they choose to worship God as Creator? Will they recognize their need of restoration from the fall into sin? Will they respond to the Holy Spirit’s pleadings with their hearts to come to repentance and restoration? Or will they instead prefer to trust only in what their senses can discern? Will they question the logical basis of the Creation account and point out its scientific inconsistencies? Will they cite the laws of probability and imaginary timetables of genetic mutation and diversification and proclaim the gospel mere foolishness? The Bible says that many will. But some will choose another path.

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14, NIV  This is salvation by faith with all its pretense stripped away, for it is an invitation to walk not based on what this world considers knowledge, but by faith in God.  After all, if we as Christians were to walk only by what we can see and understand, why would it be called “faith?”

God calls us to worship Him as Creator, and a sign of that worship is to recognize all of His creation, including the Sabbath. We are to remember that day, and by remembering that day, we are to acknowledge Him as our Creator. He does not argue the point with us, but asks us to accept it and live by faith. That faith will deliver us from the Gordian Knot of confusing arguments. Rather than remain in a Babylonian confusion of ideas that take us nowhere, we can choose to walk with our hand in that of our heavenly Father as we faithfully trust Him to guide us safely home. I like that idea. Don’t you?

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The Sabbath, Creation and Faith — 26 Comments

  1. Amazing God! How not to acknowledge Him and His handiworks! He deserves glory and worship forever!!! Amazed by His love! :)

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    • That was a good article.Those who fail to observe the Sabbath over one spurious excuse or another is doing so at their own peril.As Ezekie 20:20 says,it is a sign between God and His people.It is a travesty of sort that most Christain denominations believe that the Ten Commandments are abiding on all christains but still welsh on keeping the Fourth Commandment.They try to justify the non-observance of the seventh-day Sabbath by subterfuge ;claiming that Sabbath day is Sunday for christains and Saturday for Jews.My King James version of the Bible has 'Dictionary-Concordance' which defines Sabbath as ''The day of rest ordained by God.Among Jews,the seventh day(Saturday);among Christains,the first day of the week is the day of divine worship(1 Cor 16:2)." Quoting I Cor.16:2 by many to justify Sunday as the 'Christain' Sabbath day has become a mantra.But I don't think 1 Cor.16:2 supports Sunday as a "day of rest ordained by God." Does it?

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  2. I wish to attach one comment from one of my class members and would appreciate comments from fellow Adventists for discussion this Sabbath.
    He says:
    "The Sabbath message for us is really preaching to the converted. The
    real issue for SDAs is how to keep the Sabbath in a way that does not
    make us legalists or Jews, thereby discrediting a pivotal commandment
    that identifies the true God who is our Creator. I believe our
    difficulty lies in the fact that the way the Sabbath was observed in
    the agrarian society of old Testament Israel does not give us much
    help in our modern urban industrial and information age of the new
    Testament Israel.

    In the new Testament the only example we have is that of Jesus healing
    on the Sabbath which I believe is the basis for the Church officially
    recognising the need for health workers to work and save lives on the
    Sabbath but does not recognise the same need for those who work in
    support services such as electricity, telecommunication, water and
    transport. What would Jesus have said about working in the operation
    and maintenance, control and emergency repair centres for such
    essential services?

    When I used to work for Zesa (the national electricity supply parastatal) I always used to have problems from SDAs
    refusing to be put on standby on the Sabbath - is it fair to refuse to
    do essential service work on the Sabbath and yet benefit from the
    same? I will reserve my opinion and wait for others to comment. I
    particularly want to hear from all serving and non-serving elders in
    the class, and from the silent majority. Your silence is not golden
    this time. Who knows our contributions could make it to the next
    General Conference and bless the whole church at large."

    Comments on this will be greatly appreciated.

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    • Interesting comments Brian. I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis. My approach to whether Sabbath work would be appropriate is to consider if we lived in a religious state where Sabbath-observance was mandated. What services would still need to be operational?

      Hospitals - I agree that not only the medical staff but all of the support personnel to keep the hospital functional would be necessary. It includes maintenance, security, tech support and others. At the same token, I wouldn't find that unnecessary medical treatments like dermal abrasions or lap band surgeries would be appropriate.

      Oil Refineries - I have a friend who is an engineer and once worked at a refinery. Not too long ago, they had to shut down the refinery for a short while and bring it back up. The entire process took a couple of months. My friend and one other engineer were the only ones trained to do a major portion of the work, thus, they had to work alternate 12-hour shifts for the first time. When he asked me about it, I asked him what would happen if he didn't show up to work. He replied with this long list of cataclysmic proportions. I said, "please, go to work."

      Also, even in a religious state, one would still need firefighters to be ready to work, policemen on duty (because not everyone would be on one accord, I would imagine), pharmacists ready to prescribe medicine, people monitoring wastewater facilities and so on.

      We have to be practical. We are instructed to "reason together." So, Brian, keep up the good fight man. God bless.

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      • We have to be careful not to make excuses for doing what God clearly says not to do. He knows how to handle all of those unforeseen situations.
        How many essential personnel volunteers without pay for their services? And how do you witness to others if you are in the mix?
        Let's remember, God means what he says.

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    • Brian, what you raised is not as easy to answer as it first seems because each situation is different and needs to be handled on an individual basis. There are some general things that can be said, however, and I will tell you how I have dealt with the issue in my own life.
      First of all everyone needs to know that I have been single all my life so I didn't have other people depending on me for support which takes a lot of pressure off ones shoulders.
      When I decided to become a Seventh-day Adventist jobs weren't very easy to find yet I put the problem in God's hands and told my employer that I would no longer work on Saturday because of the fourth commandment. The job was not an essential service so I felt that I could be quite firm on the issue. My employer didn't like that very much but accepted it anyway so I was able to keep the job.
      Some years later I moved on to other jobs and was faced with Sabbath issues again. I decided early on that I would be up front with a perspective employer about my beliefs so that if he/she accepted me with the understanding that I would not work on the Sabbath that would form a sort of employment contract. I really feel that one of the most galling things that irritate non SDA people is when we accept a job that we know involves Sabbath work then go about trying to force an employer to comply with our scruples after we start working for them. I also feel that doing things such as that is not honest and certainly not what Jesus would do.
      There have been many rather lucrative jobs that I have passed up because of Sabbath problems but the Lord always seemed to bring me through those difficulties. There were times when I accepted a job that was completely out of character with me that I eventually fiercely hated but it was the only one where I could get my Sabbaths off so I took it anyway.
      Generally speaking, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Mat 5:16 NKJ) That means that we should be first and foremost real Christians rather than hypocrites in name only. If you are a real asset to a company often your employer will choose to put up with your insistence on Sabbath observance in order to keep you.
      As for necessary services, it is my humble opinion that many things that are done on Sabbath in service industries are nothing more than same old, same old - what you would do during any other day of the week and that are anything but necessary. Jesus sometimes healed conditions that weren't life threatening on the Sabbath but many, if not all of those times were serious, desperate spiritual situations for those who He healed (for instance the man by the pool John 5:1-9 Ref. Desire of Ages 202.1).
      In some cases where people are scheduled to work on Sabbath or are called in "emergency" situations there doesn't seem to be much thought given to the Sabbath but rather are glad to earn some extra money instead. Others at times cave in to intimidation and comply with unnecessary demands by gloating employers that feel that they gained a victory and reveal in their power over those under them.
      In all cases we should use wisdom from God to know when and how to deal with these cases. Furthermore, I can honestly say that if we are truly on the side of Jesus He will be with us even through the worst of circumstances. Even though at times I have been in tough straights without food or income God pulled me through and I have seen His working in my life and feel greatly blessed above other people that have rejected Him and His requirements.
      I hope that this, at least, partially answers your question, may God bless.

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    • Actually Jesus gave more than healing as an example. We have a tendency to overlook the rest because we are too literal and are not looking for principles. Jesus spoke of 1. getting an animal out of a ditch on Sabbath, and 2. men are more important than animals. If you apply the two principles involved, it becomes much easier to determine what actions are correct. The principles are further illustrated in the incident where the disciples plucked heads of grain on the Sabbath.

      Some would like to use the principle that only necessary work should be performed on the Sabbath, but Jesus refuted that. The Pharisees felt that the people who came for healing could come every other day and not the Sabbath, and they were right. They could have been healed on other days. But Jesus demonstrated that Sabbathkeeping is not based on what is necessary but on what is compassionate. Rather than ask what services are necessary to be performed on Sabbath, I would ask what services does compassion require on Sabbath?

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    • I am responding to the comment about the next G C and the possible presentation of a question pertaining to working on the Sabbath to share the load of providing public services consumed by those requesting the Sabbath off. Let me say that the unfortunate situation of being posed with the question of whether one should work on the Sabbath in general is a result of sin. If sin had not entered by the transgression of Adam and Eve this pseudo-dilemma would not exist. The tendency to think a passage in time and the presentation of new and contemporary circumstances change the importance of obedience to all of God’s requirements needless to say needs a reality check. Here's a thought that may help...how would we handle this question of working on the Sabbath if it was posed to us after the passage of the Sunday Law?

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  3. Here's my question:

    Since time was created for man, we know when the Sabbath begins and ends. How will we know Sabbath in eternity? Will time still be in effect so that Day #136 trillion-to-the-nth power is Friday, so Sabbath is coming?

    If time will be inconsequential on the other hand, what will be the significance of the Sabbath?

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    • Not to worry. God will not leave us in any doubt as to when the Sabbath will begin an end in an environment of eternity. That is the least of my worries. I just want to get there. i will leave my blessed Lord to work out the details!

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    • By definition, time is inconsequential for God. That does not mean it is inconsequential for man. We do know that the Sabbath was created for man before the fall. The Bible also tells us that Sabbath will be observed in the New Earth (See Isaiah 66:23). However, the Bible is silent on the exact parameters of those heavenly Sabbaths. For instance if there is no need of the sun, how will the days be measured? (See Revelation 21:23-25)

      God never expected us to fully understand how everything will be. But we should have faith that He will fully provide for our needs. The Sabbath is a part of that.

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    • I agree with both Lana and Stephen. There are things I don't understand about the Sabbath now so it doesn't make much sense to worry about what is going to happen in Heaven a million years in the future. What I do know is that God commanded us to set a particular day aside as His time and if I am going to sacrifice like Abel did then I am going to obey Him, otherwise, I would be a rebel like Cain. That also means that I am not going to worry about things like the international date line that usually ends up in an academic discussion that goes nowhere.

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    • Cecile, I think you've raised an interesting question. Without disagreeing with the other answers, I have another angle from which to answer. The Ten Commandments are an adaptation, for man, of God's eternal, immutable law. One way we can see this is the difference in the Sabbath commandment, between the Exodus version and the Deuteronomy version of the Ten Commandments. Clearly, the Deuteronomy version is more of an adaptation for the Jews, while in Exodus we have more of an adaptation for all mankind. So, in the New Earth, shall we not expect God's law to be perfectly adapted for us in those new circumstances? We know that this will include the Sabbath, much as we presently know it. Beyond that, I am happy to trust the details with God.

      As for significance, how could we ever tire of acknowledging God (and Christ) as our Creator and Redeemer?

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  4. Concerning the timeline of the Sabbath in eternity should not be an issue. The issue should be will you be THERE, because if not....it matters not when it begins or ends.

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    • Time will not be of any importance to God at that time. God will call His children at the appointed time for that day of worship. After all; He is God he need not keep any record of time but He knows when the sabbath begins and when it ends. Let not your heart be troubled, the important thing to think about is "Will I be there to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords". May God bless you.

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  5. The Sabbath was meant to be a delight. Several years ago there was an entire Sabbath School Lesson on the Sabbath. That lesson made it clear that we are to observe Sabbath today because God asked us to remember it, keep it holy, and as a memorial of creation. The Bible is clear that Sabbath is His day, appointed as the day He wants us to set aside and worship Him. Mark 2:27 states "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." So why is it so hard for others to worship on Sabbath? The reason is, traditionally Sunday is kept and most people do not find it convenient to worship on any other day. I have also been told, "If Sunday is not the day of worship, do you really believe that so many people have gotten it wrong." I guess for some, it is much easier just to follow after what the crowd is doing.

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  6. I think part of the problem others experience with the Sabbath is the fact that Sunday is a more convenient religious exercise. I mean if you want to do as you absolutely please and still carry a veneer of religiosity, Sunday is the day for you. You don't have to stop shopping, working or going to car-racing meets - just go to church in the morning first. It's so much more "convenient".

    In my country, though, even Sunday churches are getting wary (and weary) of this more convenient day of worship. They want to see more church-goers consider Sunday "special" enough to curb the sight of members walking out of church to go buy snacks and drinks! i.e. they want them to consider the day "holy".

    Our stores are normally closed on Sundays, but some persons have openly lobbied Government to desist from allowing stores to open on the Sunday that cruise ships arrive. (You can imagine what fun our business community has with that one!)

    It's when we, who profess the Way, start treating the Sabbath like Sunday that people get confused.

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  7. The article, especially in the introduction, speaks of the Bible's account of creation as something that does not make sense. I respectfully take issue with that. There may indeed be certain aspects of the Biblical account that may not seem to some people to make sense, but how in the world could we call it unscientific? Science is based on observation. How many people, alive today, have observed the origin of a world, or even the true origin of a species? And, if these things are not observable, then what does science have to do with such questions?

    Also, I've noticed that those who reject the Bible's account of our origins seem to find it necessary to find some other explanation in which to believe. Talk about things that don't make sense! It's incredible what people will accept, just to put guesswork ahead of believing God's word.

    I don't mean to criticise the writer. I understand the device of constructing a problem in order to engage the reader. But, for my two cents, this "problem" has generally been greatly exaggerated. The real problem is our unbelief and intellectual arrogance, I'm afraid, along with our natural love of sin. As the writer pointed out, it's a spiritual issue. Once you've been born again, by the power of God, you have no problem believing what else He can do.

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  8. R. G. I certainly understand what you are saying but I also understand what the writer of the article said.
    There are things that to me really don't seem to make sense in the Creation account. That is further complicated by the interpretation different people have concerning some terms and general structure of Genesis 1. Some believe that "In the beginning" (Gen 1:1 NKJ) means in the far recesses of time while others believe it refers to the week of creation. Some theologians (within Adventist circles) believe that the creation account should be viewed from the standpoint of theology as a sort of genealogical list while others prefer to view it as literal history.
    And, all of that is muddied because science has changed its basic assumptions so that there seems to be no real connection between science and religion. James Gibson has a excellent article in the Perspective Digest titled, "Contributions to Creation Theory" which can be accessed through a link in the left column of this website. He makes a very valid point that everyone interested in Creationism should understand when it comes to the relationship between science and the Bible.
    As far as I am concerned, God has given us more than enough evidence to convince any honest person that He actually did create everything. As for the finer points, we can argue endlessly about them but probably will never know for sure what is correct until we are in Heaven. So, in faith I choose to believe that God created in six literal days and established the Sabbath on the seventh. I accept nothing more and nothing less than that simple statement of faith which I may or may not be able to prove.

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    • Tyler, I'm sorry if I'm missing something. I just take the Bible as it reads, ignore the theologians (and the so-called scientists) to the extent that they have their own theories and ideas, and I really don't see the problem. Sorry!

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    • [Comment edited for size and content - Moderator]

      R. G. you have raised an important issue here that lies at the heart of how we as Adventist arrive at an understanding of our beliefs.
      Many years ago when I was still young in the church and bubbling over with uncontrolled enthusiasm I attempted to show a business associate of mine why I was a Sabbath worshipper. Out of pure frustration he finally exploded and charged me with picking the Bible apart then ended by saying, “I just take the Bible as it is.” That bothered me because I was doing what all Adventist do, comparing scripture with scripture and line upon line.
      So you can see here that I’m not sure exactly what you mean when you say, “I just take the Bible as it reads.” For instance, how do you interpret the passage, “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Mat 5:30 NKJ).
      I once read about a woman who read that text and believed it with all her heart and decided one day that one of her hands was causing her to sin so she took a cleaver and with one great swing lopped off her hand. Didn’t she do what Jesus told her to do? I mean she just took the Bible as it reads didn’t she? In a way the same thing happened in Jesus time when He gave His discourse on the bread of life (John 6:48-58). “Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it" (John 6:60 NKJ)? “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66 NKJ). Then Jesus had to explain, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63 NKJ).
      So, just how do we go about understanding what the Bible says? Is it enough to always just take what is said on an absolute literal basis?
      Besides all of that, here is a quote from Ellen White, “Christ is the truth. His words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these sayings. They will discern the precious gems of truth, though these may be buried treasures” {COL 110.1}. Now, you need to also read the paragraph following that quote for in it she essentially says what you have said.
      Here is one more which was a letter to Sister H, whoever that is:
      “The Bible is not studied as it should be... The Bible requires thought and prayerful research. It is not enough to skim over the surface. While some passages are too plain to be misunderstood, others are more intricate, demanding careful and patient study. Like the precious metal concealed in the hills and mountains, its gems of truth are to be searched out and stored in the mind for future use. Oh, that all would exercise their minds as constantly in searching for celestial gold as for the gold that perishes!” {4T 498.3}
      Have I now muddied the waters sufficiently?

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      • Tyler, I believe that you hit the essence of the matter when you quoted the part about "minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit." There is a fatal self-reliance into which we dare not fall. It can lead us to question the authority of the Scriptures, and thus (without realizing it) substitute our own ideas and opinions. We need far more humility and dependence on God when approaching the Scriptures.

        What I mean by taking the Bible just as it reads is that, relying on the Holy Spirit and comparing Scripture with Scripture, I take the plain and obvious intent of the writer. In some cases, this may a literal intent, and in other cases not. I do not demand perfection of the writer, in terms of exactness of expression, or even in logic. However, acknowleging the authority of the Spirit who inspired the ideas, I seek to give every word its proper weight, in accordance with its context, and in accordance with the rest of Scripture.

        Once I believe that I have a proper understanding of the ideas that have been conveyed, I hold myself bound to believe and/or obey what was written, whether I can fully understand it or not. This approach has (thank God) yielded me wonderful results, in terms of being able to see the beautiful harmony in the system of Bible truth, until I can say with the psalmist, "I understand more than all my teachers."

        Neither do the false claims of pseudo-science present me with any real problems. When their ideas fail to harmonize with the Bible, I can clearly see (thanks partly to the help of Adventist scientists) that those so-called scientists are merely guessing. And then they (or others) have the nerve to teach their guesswork as scientific fact! I'd far rather accept everything the Bible teaches as fact, thank you, and I thus find myself having a consistent and harmonious worldview, with which all TRUE science naturally agrees.

        In short, the Bible doesn't have to fit into my ideas. I don't sit in judgement on whether or not it makes sense. My ideas must conform to its teachings, and then I find that it all makes perfect sense. I believe that's the key to understanding.

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      • Tyler you do make solid points that I appreciate but something bothers me. All my excuses because my question is ajacent to the subject. I am compelled to ask you what you meant explicitly when you qualify yourself as a "Sabbath worshipper"?

        Ginger, France

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