Oh, yeah, the “Gaussian curve”.
I showed my husband and he thought it “kinda rang a bell”.
Thank you for taking time to answer.
I can be argumentative at times and I apologize to those who feel that way.Your answer is highly valued.
Years ago when my wife’s brother was being paroled the first time we sat with him in his therapists office. The therapist said the exact same thing but threw Jehovah’s Witnesses into the pot as well.
I think a lot of Adventists suffer from this, based on my years of being one and interacting in such places as lesson study, prayer meeting, church services, and even church socials, not to mention in members homes. We seem to have his idea that WE are God’s chosen people. How does the text go? “I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing.”
Frankly, I don’t believe this problem is limited to Adventism, if the current state of affairs within Evangelical Christianity is any indication at all.
My pleasure. Believe me, on this site being “arguementative” is entirely “normal”.
It’s normal? It’s expected
I guess it isn’t a coincidence.
No, I wouldn’t say that it is just relegated to Adventism either. But both of us are most familiar with it.
What do you see in Evangelicalism?
I would like to pick up on something Kim said in comment #21 - the idea that Judas carrying out his role in the crucifixion was a prophetic event.
Peter, in his sermon recorded in Acts 2, when speaking of Jesus says, ‘…this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to the cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.’
Later, Peter, some say alluding to Ps 2 says, ‘For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles, and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.’
In the first four chapters of Acts, we find direct quotes from at least eight Psalms as well as several other books of the Tanakh.
The message is unmistakeable - what happened to Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s plan and OT prophecy. How then, are we to understand the role of Judas?
In Acts 3, after Peter heals a lame beggar, he says that his own power and piety did not accomplish this but rather ‘…the God whose Son Jesus you delivered and disowned, and asked instead for a murderer to be pardoned’. Peter then says, ‘And now brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.’
So, God carried out what He had previously made known by His prophets. Peter goes further and tells us that ‘Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David, concerning Judas…’. Peter was given the insight that David actually spoke about Judas Iscariot, a man who lived a thousand years after him. How was that possible and where was it spoken or written?
A current Christian commentator advances this answer: King David had a friend and advisor named Ahithophel. He eventually allied himself with David’s rebellious son Absalom and betrayed David. In Ps 41, David laments of Ahithophel, ‘Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.’ Ahithophel ended up hanging himself.
In hindsight, the parallels to Judas are striking. So, God’s plan (the promise spoken by the prophets) was ‘announced’ but hidden in another story.
Had God set out the role of Judas a thousand years before his birth? Or, did God know someone would have to play this part and let the characters of the disciples determine who? We don’t know but we do know someone was to fill the role because the events as prophesied had to happen.
Is Judas to be included amongst those who ‘acted in ignorance’? Did Jesus understand that Judas’ actions were the direct result of the will of God? Is that why Jesus called him ‘friend’ at the moment of betrayal? Didn’t Judas repent and so shouldn’t he be forgiven?
This idea of the sovereignty of God, that God can and does overrule man’s will to carry out His plan and serve His purposes is alien to Adventist thought and theology. Despite Peter’s Biblical analysis explaining God’s responsibility, this belief that Judas was totally responsible for what he did appears to be the unquestioned Adventist view. It’s really the unexamined, underlying assumption made in an essay such as this. To this understanding, psychoanalysis of the mind of Judas is the critical factor in trying to explain his actions. We can speculate about his character and attribute all sorts of thoughts and emotions to him, but that only avoids coming to grips with the Biblical account which to me clearly speaks of God’s responsibility in what happened.
I have mentioned in some comments on various threads other examples of this Adventist disagreement with the Bible (including in Ellen White’s writings) but no one takes any note. I guess that is to be expected; if you are schooled in only one point of view, it is difficult to perceive any other, especially if doing so would challenge your belief system and the writings of your prophet. To acknowledge it would strike at the heart of Adventist theology - this belief that each of us has completely unfettered free will in everything we do. (On a pragmatic level, I don’t know how one can accept this total free will idea and so limit God’s influence and still think God is able to carry out His plans simultaneously for each of 7.7 billion people.)
To me, the real question is this: is there any harm in this (to me, misguided) belief, that man is sovereign, that man has absolute power over himself, that every thought and act are his alone?
Barry mentions that we have grown up, we have moved past the idea of believing in ‘the Fates’. If one takes that to mean the will of God, I believe he is only partly right. Of course, knowing that God can and sometimes does generate thoughts (and subsequent acts) we think are ours doesn’t absolve us from our level of responsibility for those that truly are ours, and we will be judged accordingly.
Today, the world finds itself in an ever worsening downward spiral of disease, and racial, financial and political trouble most of us thought unimaginable a year ago. (The US appears to be the poster child and the very fabric of American society seems to be at the point of tearing apart.) We don’t appear to have any answers, and perhaps worse, many refuse to even talk to others of differing opinions about these problems.
Do we need to remind ourselves that, as in the case of Judas, God knew, in fact planned this story long ago, and He alone is in ultimate control? There is no person and no power that can make Him deviate from His plan. In fact, He uses us in ways we cannot comprehend to carry out His plan. That even ‘The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.’
I guess, to many, this idea is simply too far removed from their theology, from what they have been taught, to be acknowledged as possible. I don’t think it can be reconciled with Adventist theology.
For me, it can only be accepted when combined with the beliefs that, as Creator, God is ultimately responsible for all of us, and the agapé love of God covers all of us, so ‘that He may show mercy to all’. So, this view encourages me to remember to place my faith in God, rather then man, rather than myself.
Or further-pre-natal nutrition, gestational or developmental environmental factors (emotional, toxins etc). How many generations do these unknown trauma and other factor issues present their sequelae?
But-did he salivate metaphorically?
I read this as sniveling rivalry!
"I don’t think it can be reconciled with Adventist theology."
Probably not…there is no need for another “perspective” because what is accepted is “enough”.
There’s a thin line between “plan” and “foreknowledge” or even “logic”. It’s obvious to any adult that if you allow a toddler to wander onto the RR tracks, it’s inevitable he’s going to die. God came to live among us, and it was inevitable that a “Judas” was going to sell Him out.
Kim, to be honest about it I have come to the conclusion that Adventism is wrong about what God is in the process of doing. I no longer think His plan for humanity will wind up with Him having to incinerate most of us (and all of nature - perhaps 500 billion animals who had nothing to do with the sin problem). The great controversy idea is built on the assumption that we each have a perfectly free will to make an informed decision about God and God never interferes with that. There are many Biblical examples which contradict this (hence the millions of Calvinists who believe God long ago made the decision about who is to be saved and nothing we think or do can change that. I believe, in a way, they are right about the power of God but don’t realize the purpose He has chosen an ‘elect’ group in this age is to assist the rest of us to return to Him in an age to come. As one commentator put it, the Calvinists understand His sovereignty but not His love, while the Arminians (free will folks) have it the other way around).
I’ll never forget a sermon (I watched the video of it here on Spectrum some six years ago) of a greatly respected Adventist pastor/ leader (whose name you all know) who preached that God did everything He could at the time of the Exodus to try to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go and thus avoid the plagues. But God’s plan failed - He could not change Pharaoh’s mind. Ellen White agreed, saying, “There was no exercise of supernatural power to harden the heart of the king.” When you read Exodus ch 7- 13 and get the Biblical account, you realize they are completely wrong. Several times (at least five) God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (i.e., ‘changed’ Pharaoh’s mind) in order to have all 10 plagues occur, just as He said He would. But to someone who does not believe Pharaoh and the Egyptians who suffered the plagues will one day be reconciled to God, this ‘plain reading of Scripture’ is unacceptable, it makes God out to be a cruel tyrant, and so must be rejected. Hence it was more acceptable for the pastor to believe that God’s plan at the time failed than to accept the words of the Bible.
Initially, when I first came to my current understanding, I think I felt it was incumbent upon me to share what I had found. I was quite excited about it and tried sharing at my local Adventist church but found I was just causing confusion and so realized it best to step away - I am no longer an Adventist. I guess I have retained the idea that there are some who struggle with reconciling unending torment or annihilation for most of humanity with the agapé love of God and so I continue to comment here - to offer a different vision which I strongly believe more clearly reflects the nature of God.
The question I have asked myself is why was Judas needed?
The Temple leaders knew very well who Jesus was and so didn’t need someone to identify Him to them. Perhaps Judas is an archetype. He, and Ahithophel, represent those down through history who have embraced the truth and have had a certain level of faith but it was not deep enough to overcome the weakness of their human nature. Maybe they represent ‘the worst case scenario’; they didn’t just walk away, they betrayed. Since the Bible states that Judas repented, perhaps the message is that there is hope for all.
Timo, I’m pretty sure I understand little of that, thus the questions.
I’d certainly benefit from further expansion.
Thank you, Dave for sharing these many well thought out posts.
They are a blessing to me.
I agree, it is surprising that for the sake of power and exclusivity we maintain the authoritarian view of God. It seems so obvious that for Love to abound freedom and diversity must be protected. And free unconditional acceptance (grace) is God’s character, however some may not be able to accept that type of God. Sad really when freedom is offered some would rather go back to bondage.