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Well put article. Another point: " save us from himself" seems to imply that God is the punishment or curse from which we are saved. This is untrue. God is good only, only good comes from God, and all good comes from God. It is thorough separation from God and his goodness in itself that is the punishment or the curse of sin. This separation is initiated and persisted by us, and its end is so abject, it meets the description of wrath and Hell. It would be more precise to say, " save us FOR himself" or " save us TO himself" because to " save us FROM himself" suggests separating from God—a situation from which we were already suffering.
A couple things are missing here. First, for "bad conduct", those who "do wrong", and the "wrongdoer" Paul prescribes terror, the sword (death), wrath, and vengeance. Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Now one might argue, "Those are rulers responses, not Christian responses." Yes, except in the case where a Christian is free to advise a ruler, should they advise the ruler anything other than what Paul declared as the responsibility of every ruler? And yet that is the the freedom, responsibility, and birthright of every citizen in a democratic country—at least in those that claim to have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Quite the dilemma for a Christian in a democratic country, who is called to wear two hats: 1. The selfless, generous, long-suffering forgiver. 2. The protective, frugal, prudent, expedient avenger. Nevertheless, democracies would do better if their Christians would remember when to wear each hat.
Someone countered the "privileged planet" with examples from life at volcanic and methane vents. My response: Although the existence of anaerobic bacteria ecosystems that seem to thrive under the harshest temperatures on Earth completely independent of photosynthesis is fascinating, we shouldn't overlook that those bacteria are dependent on the same global conditions as seen in one of those videos. When we live in a world that is abundant in life from desert to ocean depths, it's easy to take for granted those finely tuned conditions (mentioned in the video) that make it all possible (like living in the U.S.A.). The most conspicuous requirement is water—vast and very deep bodies of liquid water. All that water is also dependent on globally ideal conditions: not to hot or it will all vaporize, not to cold or it will mostly freeze. It has to be very deep or organisms wouldn't survive their isolated 235ºF temperatures (which might seem very hot to you and me, but still falls within a very narrow temperature range by solar-system standards). It also has to be a very vast and a mostly liquid body of water to dilute all the exhaust from those vents; otherwise even anaerobic bacteria will choke on their chemical food. In turn, that vast, deep body of liquid water is also dependent on an abundant and protective atmosphere, because: no atmosphere, no liquid water. And that atmosphere is also completely dependent on most of the other factors mentioned in the video. Besides, if we want life that's more advanced than a bacteria, we still need all the conditions necessary for photosynthesis; otherwise all those other organism that live by the vents will suffocate. Ultimately, volcanic and methane vents are not life's best friends; a privileged planet earth is.
I think there are more obvious answers in Scripture why we shouldn't have a more obvious God right now. Look what happens when God is more obvious: Two obvious signs, ten plagues, a split sea, a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night day after day, mannah and water in the desert, etc., etc. What was the human response except griping and complaining against God? And here we see that eye witnesses are accountable for the revelation they've received. They all died in the desert for rebellion against God, particularly after having received so much obvious revelation. "The man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth," but even he was held accountable in the same way for not trusting God when he of all people should have known better. In Scripture people are held accountable for what they see and what they know and will be judged by it. Also Pharaoh, the Pharisees who knew of Christ's miracles, Judas Iscariot, Ananias and Sapphira during the move of the Holy Spirit, etc. For some people, God's obviousness does more harm than good. And what we've heard of those angels who have fallen into a sudden, permanent, unrepentant, and unredeemable state of reprobation. Isn't the permanence of their state at least partly due to the obviousness of God before they sinned? And will not mankind's appearance at the throne of God be too late to repent and to change? Don't wish for God to make himself known before you're ready! We know that God is love and does all things in love. His hiddenness and obviousness all come at the right time and place for all his rational creatures according to their ability to respond appropriately. Therefore, all rational creatures will only be accountable for as much as they were given and will be judged accordingly. Be sure, however, that every person who hears the Gospel will be held accountable to it. "And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." Luke 12
This response is even better:
Greg, Even dogs from wolves are no evidence of Darwin's macro-evolution; dogs are merely artificially selected canines from wolves. (A process that even Jacob understood with sheep.) In the domestication process, we have not created new genetic information; we have have only expressed very specific genes that were already available in their ancestors. If anything, dogs breed gene pools are so narrow, that they have lost the genetic variety that was available in the ancestral populations. The loss of genetic information in gene pools we see in artificial selection should be no different than what we observe in natural selection. So selection is not evolution. I agree that it's silly to ask for ‎"THE Missing Link"? But it isn't the Darwin-doubters who who trying to find them. Between apes and humans it would be at least 30,000 distinct and often interdependent "links" (assuming a process based on chaos could even approximate the straight line of the minimum 30,000 mutations). If it takes someone over 100 years to find one of them, they better get hopping. It will be Planet of the Apes before before they've even started. As the article indicates, one varied specimen does not make a species or a link, just as one or even one-hundred stones in the dirt don't make the Appian Way. More fun with evolution: Oh no, we've all been spliced!
So, ultimately, no explanation is better than any. Should have told people that before they bothered buying his books.
Then why go through all the trouble telling anyone all this, Bill?
I'm afraid this is a straw-man attack article. Only these comments, showing as mere afterthoughts, hint what a real YEC defender and a fair debate even sounds like.
I think AIG's point about the lack of scriptural reference was to point out the unguided conclusion of Wartick's reasoning, for quite many things can be assumed by reason alone. I also think the conclusions based on scripture and observation are this: Creatures (including humans) on earth can and do suffer pain and death not merely by their own sin, but also by the sin of those to whom they are subjects, as in the children of Adam, and as in the plants and animals. And, yes, this law of death was immediately demonstrated by God himself in the first slaughter of animals, and in millennia of prescribed slaughter. Genesis also states quite plainly that that all these animals and people were originally plant eaters, with no need for any to kill or any to die. Again, the prescribed order of subjugation is this: animals to people, people to God. Keep also in mind that the idea that creatures suffer pain and death is not necessarily punishment of the sin of those that suffer, for Christ did not sin. Nevertheless, the suffering of pain and death are consistently presented as consequences of sin. In fact, I might argue that what what we observe as suffering on earth is not THE punishment, but the foreshadowing of the punishment we deserve. In any case, AIG is not making up the rules. But to say that animals might as well have been dying before the fall as they now die after the fall is scripturally baseless. I think AIG is making good scriptural points, and that they are frequently able to back these up with observation.
Criticizing the literal interpretation of a vision or revelation of Jesus Christ is really not the best example of "why you can’t take the Bible literally word for word." If it's a vision—especially a vision of the Creator of the Universe by someone who "was in the Spirit"—there's no limit to how literal one can safely interpret it. Imagine someone (literally) going to these great lengths to assure a crowd with all certainty how John really didn't see stars, then, after a short pause, John standing up and saying "Well, actually, I did see him holding seven 'stars', and Jesus even said 'the seven stars that you saw in my right hand', and they looked every bit like your 'hot balls of gas which shine by way of nuclear fusion and exists x number of light years from planet earth', if not somewhat shinier. And I have no idea how many light years he was standing from me, but I'm sure any distance was possible and yet somehow irrelevant." Considering those seven stars will outlast and outshine our nuclear ones, perhaps in this case, I'd wonder more about having definitions too narrow than interpretations too literal.
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Nov 4, 2011