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Tuesday: A Not-So-Subtle Deception — 16 Comments

  1. The dilemma of a scientist with faith is expressed in Morris West's book, "The Shoes of the Fisherman" in a conversation between two characters, Cardinal Rinaldi and priest Father Telemond. And while Morris West's book is written in a Catholic context, he understood Seventh-day Adventists very well. He was treated at the Sydney Adventist Hospital and was good friends with the chaplain there.

    ‘Your cross, my son…’ The old man’s voice took on a new warmth and compassion. ‘Your cross is to be always divided between the faith which you possess, the obedience which you have vowed, and your personal search for a deeper knowledge of God through the universe which he has made. You believe that there is no conflict between the two, and yet you are involved in the conflict every day. You cannot recant the Act of Faith without personal catastrophe. You cannot abandon the search without a ruinous disloyalty to your own integrity. Am I right, Father?’
    ‘Yes Eminence, you’re right; but it isn’t enough. You show me the cross, but you do not show me how to carry it.’
    "The Shoes of The Fisherman", West, p168

    • Just a little side note on the quotation from the book: I just listened to a sermon by Dwight Nelson in which he pointed out that our trials, tribulations and doubts do not constitute a cross. A cross is an instrument of death and leads to crucifixion. Anything that does not result in death is not a cross.

      I think he's right. Food for thought!

    • Maurice – I appreciate your sharing the excerpt to highlight that it is the 'faith-component' of our acceptance of the Gospel when carrying our cross. May I suggest to consider there to be no additional acts which can 'show us how to carry it'; we carry it stricly by maintaining our faith. Carrying the cross by FAITH is the act of how to carry it.

      The moment we step into the ‘shoes of the fisherman’, we start to live our life by faith; carrying this life’s cross - all that we are and experience - all the way to ‘Calvary’. ”I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Tim.4:7.

  2. Counterfeit

    made in exact imitation of something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or defraud.

    a fraudulent imitation of something else; a forgery.

    imitate fraudulently.

    What's authentic or counterfeit in my life? How much do I value what's phony or genuine?

    When it comes to real things, for example, the food we eat, the money we get paid, and the pleasure we want, we don't like any counterfeit!

    But regarding faith (noun; complete trust or confidence in someone or something; a strong belief in God or the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof), we seem to accept imitations. We try to match faith to what suits us most.

    I hope that all of us choose nothing but the truth today and open our minds to everlasting Knowledge.

  3. In Genesis 1:1,2, the Bible says that, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void..." The phrase "without form and void" could be looked at as an object being gaseous. Indeed, this is the case with some planets. The sun for example is gaseous. So, is the Bible saying that earth was gaseous and God transformed it into a solid (soil, trees, animals, etc.), with liquid (water, oil, etc.) and gaseous (oxygen, nitrogen, flavors, etc.) parts? Isn't this what the Bible is saying that took place on different days of the creation week, since everything, except Eve, was transformed from the solid earth or liquid water? Certainly, we can transform water from a solid (ice) to a liquid (fluid) to a gas (stream). The point is that it is still water, but existing in a different state. Thus, if there is evidence of rocks being millions of years old, is it logical to believe that Genesis 1:1,2 is saying that the earth was in existence as a gas, and God created (transformed) it during the creation week into what we see today?

    • I think it's logical to believe that the matter of the earth existed as an amorphous mass of minerals, water and gases before Day 1 of creation week. That could be somewhat in line with some of today's dating methods, but then the dating methods are based on the presupposition of uniformity of natural laws, processes and change - but this presupposition is demonstrably unreliable based on both historic and current observational data. Thus, since God is all-powerful and created by divine fiat, it is also quite logical to believe that He also created the matter of this planet on Day 1. After all, He was not obligated to create in harmony with currently deduced scientific laws.

      On the other hand scientists with an evangelical background tend to believe that God created the whole universe on Day 1. The Bible does not say this, and, in fact, in both Job and Revelation, there is evidence that previously created beings could observe the creation of this planet and and the playing out of life on this planet ever since. That's why Seventh-day Adventists generally believe that Genesis tells the story of the creation or organization of our solar system.

  4. God + evolution also has implications on creation itself, as evolution starts with the premise that nothing was perfect. Imperfection somehow yields perfection. What does that say about our creator God? Why should I worship a God who can’t get it right the first time?

    (To my dismay, about 20 years ago, I began seeing this evolutionary approach very, very subtly inserted into the youngest children’s Sabbath School lessons on creation.)

  5. God's own very words not only teach us about His Son's cross, but they also tell us how to carry our cross too. 2 Peter 1:4 and 2 Corinthians 7:1 and Luke 11:13 are the tools for us, as to how we are to carry "our cross," not Jesus' cross.

  6. I consider the debate between evolution and creation a cunning distraction by the adversary of the Creator. Instead of debating issues we cannot proof, we ought to learn how to converse with the skeptic to explain the reason/purpose of Jesus Christ’s presenting the Plan of Salvation to mankind. Should they accept the Son, the person will come to terms with the authority of Him as Lord and Savior, and eventually as God – mankind’s understanding of the highest authority one can accept as having more authority over man's purpose of him than man himself.

    Possibly, a scientist of the field of natural sciences or a mathematician could have a conversation partner if the Christian could define what it means when ’God spoke’; but we, nor they, have a definition of this creative 'speaking' by the Creators. How then can we talk about how long it took if we cannot even define the how? It is a matter of faith.

    Even as a Christian, I still consider the very Beginning, the time before the process of creation commenced, as unanswerable. That which the scientists try to describe as the ‘Big Bang’, had a causal source. This 'source' is as elusive to being defined by the scientist as it is by the theologian. Only the Scripture speaks to the resulting physical and spiritual make-up of the creation as having been established by the Tritnity - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Everything else is speculation.

    I have decided to avoid talking about the process of Creation, except to share that I believe the universes to have been created. This position requires a Creator, though I do not have to speculate how He went about His creating act or how long it took. I rather talk about that God sent His Son that we, by faith, accept Him as His Son which brings Salvation to mankind – this is His Will’s desire.

    The believer has accepted that mankind has a heavenly Father which designed the worlds and life with a specific, spiritual component and purpose in mind; nothing is random or superfluous. The Truth that the Creator’s design is in the process of being restored to its origin is a matter of faith. So, how could one believe this unless it is revealed to them by the Creator of all life? – John 6:37-40.

    • You may consider "the debate between evolution and creation a cunning distraction by the adversary of the Creator," but it is the very core of our lesson, and the question concerns the basis of worship.

      If God did not personally create us as the Bible says, then He is no more worthy of our worship than is the scientist who manipulates genes in a test tube. Some evolutionary "creationists" who do not believe in the timeline of the Genesis account do give God about as much credit as a current geneticist. (Evolutionary scientists give Him no credit at all.)

      God Himself pointed to His creation as the basis for worship. See Psalm 96:4-6,10; Ps. 115: 1-4, 15; Ps. 135: 5-6, Jere 10:10-12; Rev. 14:7.

      Without accepting Genesis 1 - 11 as historical, we have no basis for a "perfect" creation, a fall into sin and the need for a Savior. Any reference to "salvation" is nonsensical without that basis.

      That said, it is wise to avoid getting into a discussion regarding creation and evolution with someone who accepts the current "scientific" explanation if you do not understand the subject yourself. But diminishing the importance of the subject is not wise.

      According to statistics, less than 40% of North Americans still believe in creation by God. Thus it is becoming more and more important to be able to demonstrate both by logical reasoning and our way of interacting that there is a God in heaven who created us and still cares for us.

      Just last night, I watched Lee Strobel's testimony in The Case for Christ. (It is currently free to watch on ROKU.) It made me realize that, even when our lives testify for Christ, there is still a case for giving the reasons for our belief. (His wife's example made him willing to examine "the case for Christ.") God created our minds to reason, and He believes in reasoning. Isa 1:18. (That said, just as in biblical reasoning, it is probably best to give a short, good answer, rather than a long detailed one. Then pray for the Holy Spirit to do His work.)

  7. I think it helps to realize that there are many models of "theistic evolution" or "evolutionary creation" that give lip service to God as Creator but do not necessarily embrace the points the author mentioned.

    It seems to me that people proposing an "old earth" model of creation have largely given up on harmonizing a literal reading of Genesis 1 with an evolutionary approach because each day being millions of years long just doesn't work.

    Instead, it appears to me that the "gap" theory is fairly popular among those putting absolute faith in current dating methods. According to it, God created the heavens and the earth a vary long time ago, Lucifer was banished to this earth, the earth was judged and destroyed, and then God re-created the earth, according to the account in Genesis 1. The fossils then represent creatures that populated the earth in the original creation.

    Some models postulate a number of creations and destructions of this planet before Genesis 1.

    Can you see any problems with these models in light of Bible teachings beyond Genesis?

    Usually, believers in an "old earth" with life originating millions of years ago see the early chapters of Genesis as "myth" that teaches us that God is Creator. They see Noah's Flood as a local event, rather than a violent world-wide deluge that is responsible for most of the fossils we see today.

    What problems do you see with this theory, as demonstrated in the rest of the Bible?

    Some believe that God kick-started evolution by providing the first cellular life (a necessary belief because scientists have yet to create life in a lab even with the most favorable circumstances) and then left the process alone to gradually develop into the world we see today.

    Is that a "glorious" view of God as Creator? What does this say about the character of God?

    Others believe in a "progressive" creation in which God intervened at various times to create new forms of life. (Makes sense in view of the fact that there are essentially no "transitional" fossils between so-called primitive life and more advanced forms of life.)

    It seems to me that the only "reason" not to believe in the historicity of Genesis is a total acceptance of current dating methods. What is forgotten is that these dating methods generally rest on a theory of uniformity and have been shown to be highly unreliable from one lab to another and even with artifacts from the same site. Dating of artifacts with *known* dates can be millions of years off! (Yet this is not what scientific journals publish.) Often the labs want to know *where* the artifact was found, so they know the date range they are supposed to find. "Wrong" dates are discarded because they "know" they are wrong. (I am not calling scientists dishonest. They simply act according to what they believe to be right.)

    Even if you doubt my words (a good thing. Do your own research!), it comes down to where we put our faith - in God or in humanity and its accomplishments.

    I have always thought that the three angels' messages obligate us to be students of creation so that we can give an answer for our belief. That's why I have given attention to the subject of creation vs evolutionary origins over the last 60 years or so, kickstarted by a course of "Philosophy of Science" course by Leonard Hare at Andrews University in 1963. That was my introduction to "creation science" as contrasted with "evolutionary science." It has been an interesting journey. But in my view, Moses' account still wins!

  8. In my personal devotions, this morning, I was reading about Jesus being tempted by the devil, in Matthew 4:1-11. I notice that Satan did not use much craft and subtlety like he did with Eve. Then I observed Jesus did not engage in conversation with Satan as Eve did, thus eliminating Satan’s opportunity to use craft and subtlety. Jesus answered with an “It is Written” and nothing more. All Eve had to say was “God said if we eat from the tree we will die.” She should have walked away right then, instead of engaging in conversation.

    It reminds me of what a co-worker told me, many years ago, regarding a conflict resolution conversation I was about to have. She said, “The fewer words you use, the better.”

  9. There are two principles here being applied.
    1) Let's apply the current science or the world's thinking to the Bible.
    2) Let's apply the Bible's principles or teachings to the world.

    When we say the science must form our thinking about the Bible, we are on shaky ground. God's word is the ultimate authority, and if it disagrees with the current science, then His word is what I will follow. Just food for thought: "How do you define science" is where I would start with someone that is not a Bible believing Christian. I agree with the author, there was a literal 6 day (24 hr) creation. I would ask everyone on this forum: Would the church be stronger if we followed principle 2? Thank you for everyone's input; I learn from all of you. As Maurice said the other day, we need a place to share our ideas and thoughts to help us grow. These are my ideas, and God bless all of you.

    • I take a little different approach to this. Science attempts to learn about God through his "second book" - nature. Theologians attempt to learn about God through the Bible. Both are doing their best to interpret what they see. Both make mistakes. Both can be dogmatic about believing their mistakes.
      It was the theologians who started the "battle" by saying things like "the Bible proves that the earth is flat", or "the universe revolves around the earth". At least most of us now recognize those to be false statements involving taking things literally that were intended metaphorically, or not taking into account the cultural context in which they were written. Rightly understood, the Bible and natural science are in perfect agreement. But each side believes that only they rightly understand it. And the scientific side has some evidence from history to make them know that at least some of the time they might be correct.

  10. Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    No time frame is given at this point.
    The chapter isn't outlining God's acts before He began the six-day creation.

    At this point, we shouldn't be dogmatic. God existed from all eternity. Judging from the absolute vastness of the universe, it doesn't even make sense to think God created all of that in one day, while using six days to create things on this one planet.
    Ellen White seemed to believe there were many other inhabited worlds, already in existence when Lucifer repelled in heaven.

    Lucifer, as the anointed cherub, had been highly exalted; he was greatly loved by the heavenly beings, and his influence over them was strong. God's government included not only the inhabitants of Heaven, but of all the worlds that he had created; and Satan thought that if he could carry the angels of Heaven with him in rebellion, he could carry also the other worlds GC88 497

    Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    Again, no time frame has yet been given. But the actual globe was already there, lifeless and as yet uninhabitable.

    It isn't until verse 3 that God speaks.
    "Let there be light: and there was light."
    His concluding speech for that first day says nothing about creating a globe. It speak only of the light, and names light "day," and darkness "night."

    That was the first day.
    Six more follow, each specifically announcing an evening and morning of the day, and the creative activity that went on in those hours.

    2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

    Then we turn to the fourth commandment, where God commands keeping the 7th day holy. So why would God tell the Israelites to keep every 7th day because He created in six days, if He really didn't create everything in six days???

  11. The Bible gives many scientific explanations for things around us. Individuals who have studied science may recognize these explanations. For example, Job chapter 38 uses scientific examples of physics to explain how God "hangs" the earth in its place, and even to explain the frequencies of energy that are emitted from planets, galaxies and other stellar bodies. However, we might read these as simple words, if we are not positioned to understand their deeper meanings. If these are not important, then why did God put them in the Bible? Didn't the Bible say that the Holy Ghost gives gifts to the church for the edification of the saints? As a church, are we using the Spirit-given gifts to edify the church?


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