Friedensau University 4th International Symposium — Day 2

The Lord is coming. But when?

The second day of the symposium on the theme “The Kingdom of God Is at Hand” was more specifically dedicated to aspects that closely connect with traditional Adventist apocalyptic concerns. Whereas all speakers in yesterday’s program are connected with Friedensau University in Germany — the Adventist university hosting this symposium — today’s presenters were a much more diverse international group. Today began, and the next two days will begin, with a short spiritual message from Dr. Kendra Haloviak Valentine, who is an associate Professor and Chair of the Biblical Studies Department in the H. M. S. Richards Divinity School at La Sierra University in Riverside, CA. In this short devotional time she stressed the continuing role of apocalyptic in shaping Christian theology. This morning she focused on the characteristic of Daniel and Revelation as resistance literature, and on how the “empire” is exposed as the counterfeit force of all times. It will ultimately be clear that “the Lord God Almighty” is “the King of the nations” before whom all will worship.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11210

It is interesting that in the current edition there are two discussions which deeply impact the view that the biblical writers knew something not otherwise knowable.

Jon Johnson discusses the scientific imperative that existence reaches back into the deep past along with an arbitrary proposition that Adam and Eve were specially created in the more recent past and integrated into an already existing humanity. This is question begging, assuming the unknown writer of Genesis must have had some special insight into origins which are not otherwise evident, and moving from that prior conclusion to the “possible”, but not evident scenario, that would somehow rescue some form of authoritative revelation.

Now this symposium attempts to find a way to rescue the outlook of NT writers from 1900 years ago in order to find some way to rescue the proposition that history is moving toward a predetermined conclusion and that a man of the first century is still alive somewhere in outer space who will return to earth. The fact that they clearly expected it to occur soon, and it hasn’t has required endless attempts at reinterpretation in order to rescue the concept that they were somehow privy to some information which wouldn’t be evident otherwise and that somehow their words will come true, somehow, at some time. It seems that the presenters are more than willing to now view the early Adventists, including White, as people of their time and culture, but from whose views contemporary people must move away. They were fervent in their now evident but mistaken expectations. So too were the NT writers.

The question that isn’t addressed is why existence cannot extend into an indeterminate past and that the future will go on as it always has, without interruption?

Is it unthinkable that the biblical writers, most of whom are unknown and made no claims to having special information (others who came later imposed that concept on them), were simply writing folklore and legend and expressing their unfounded hopes?

Science tells us the universe will end at some point - either with a “whimper or a bang” ( Robert Frost). The whimper being a slow cooling as all the parts of the universe are moving away from each other as the universe expands (red shift); or, the expansion stops and it all starts to come together again. In any case, there seems to be “built in obsolescence” at work. If anyone is to survive, it has to happen before one or the other happens.

Just an observation.

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Hi Sirje

[quote=“Sirje, post:3, topic:21610”]
Science tells us the universe will end at some point - either with a “whimper or a bang”. Actually, it is more accurate to say that it will end as it currently exists, yet matter can not be destroyed, so what we are actually projecting is that there will eventually be a change of form, not a transition to non-existence.

And why is “anyone surviving” an option? Empirical evidence would indicate that we are quite impermanent.

let’s not overlook that within our solar system, things could go quite awry, although the time line for such events - 5 billion yrs - is relatively comforting:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02338-w#:~:text=Vacuum%20decay%20might%20already%20have,at%20least%20200%20billion%20years.

but the point is that climate change, which we all know and can see is happening, could very well end everything before either the whimper or the bang…up to 1 million species are facing extinction within decades…dozens are going extinct every day:

https://now.tufts.edu/articles/extinction-crisis#:~:text=We’re%20now%20losing%20species,species%20going%20extinct%20by%202050.

and there may be no way to really know what the rise in sea levels really mean (8 inches since 1880):

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-sea-level#:~:text=Global%20mean%20sea%20level%20has,of%20seawater%20as%20it%20warms.

I’m assuming all these SDAs who are trying relativize (is that a word), (or revitalize) the SDA message to the world aren’t going venture too far from the blueprints. Now, if they really want to rework eschatology they might go back before Miller et. al and really start from scratch - where the stars didn’t fall just over Maine and the dark day might be a global event - but I guess something had to be left for the missionaries to explain.

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Dear Jeremy, have you really fallen for the “green new deal”? There have been numerous climate changes and thousands, if not more, species wiped off the face of the earth without mankind having a thing to do with it.

By the way, whatever did happen to the dinosaurs?

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Back to scratch would require asking why ancient prophecies which have so evidently failed would even deserve reworking. Admitting failure is perhaps more honorable than trying to rebuild a sand castle at high tide.

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well, i don’t see it as a question of falling for anything…facts that we know are the warming of the planet through carbon emissions and a crumbling infrastructure (not just in the states)…obviously it makes sense to combine these issues into one working policy, such as the green new deal attempts to do…

i don’t think it has to be the green new deal, which the GOP has fairly successfully vilified (where do they find so many people to believe them)…it could be any number of approaches with the same objectives…don’t you want to live in a world that isn’t heating up, where you can drive over a bridge with peace of mind, and where you can drink water without being poisoned…

keep in mind that biden’s american jobs plan isn’t really the green new deal…AOC is unhappy with it…

Embarrassing translation questions: Who is GOP? Lately, I hear this word all the time. Who is AOC? I assume it’s both something North American. Thank you!

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lol…yes, they’re totally n. american - actually they’re american, but canada has a fixation with american news…

GOP = Grande Ole Party, or the Republican Party…

AOC = Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 31-yr old progressive Democratic Representative from New York who really gets under the GOP’s skin…they’re constantly focusing on all her latest pronouncements…

america has two political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats…the Dems now hold congress, the senate and the white house by slim majorities…

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Somehow I managed to miss these abbreviations although knowing about the two parties. Many thanks, Jeremy. Please continue your discussion.

Aren’t you missing something…we’re living in the close of earth’s history. Haven’t you heard - earthquakes all over there place, and nature rebelling. You think if we plug our cars into electrical sockets every couple hundred miles instead of using gas from tanks we’re going to save nature? Where do you think electricity comes from (in places other than Churchill Falls). The answer is - COAL - and there goes the “green new deal”.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Ultimately it’s all about who makes the big bucks - shifting wealth - nothing to do with clean air and water.

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i agree that AOC’s green new deal does redistribute wealth in addition to tackling climate change, and that earthquakes and other natural phenomena are prophesied to increase, but none of these things represent either/or situations…in fact they’re all part of the true picture we should be looking at…

personally, i think it’s too late to save the world, either spiritually or physically…but both are the right thing to do, and still worth doing…it’s a question of doing what’s right because it’s right…we’re long past the possibility of imagining that anything we can do can affect ultimate outcomes…but we’re still in a position to gather satisfaction and blessing from doing our individual best while we can…

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I agree. But these issues have become political football. It’s all a slight of hand -" look at this shiny object here, so you don’t see what’s really going on there". The whole time restrictive laws are being made, eroding personal freedom.

You neglected to mention to Kate that AOC heads the Marxist contingent of the Democrat party. For those of us who have left that ideology, radar picks up any semblance of what we fled from - and the red flags are up.

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my view is that AOC is young yet…she’s still living in an idealist world, where she believes she can effect the good without the baggage…she’s looking at marxism in terms of what she sees as its potential for equality for all, and thinking she can avoid its personal freedoms constriction…

it’s a fact that successful politicians do tend to have an idealist streak, and we probably need at least some of them to be a bit oblivious to the real world…you have to admit that she does have personality…almost 13 million twitter followers hang on her every word…i love the way she glowers at ted cruz, and puts on her intellectual glasses, with tightly pulled back hair, to make a point…she really does have a lot of hutzpah…

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So did Lenin and Marx. And they killed thousands and placed thousands into gulags where they died with rags for shoes and potato peels in water for soup. Ok, ok, AOC can’t pull that off - different times. But that was the beginning of equal everything for all, except Lenin directed the Russian Revolution from a Roll Royce. Like Orwell says, “some are more equal than others”. AOC likes to fly from NY to DC because Amtrack takes too long, but the rest of everybody else needs cut emissions.

You’re right she is young, but her sidekick Sanders had had a love affair with Marx for decades and should know better.

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sanders may not be the best demonstration of the ideals of the Democratic Party…in fact he isn’t a democrat, and has called himself a socialist…as a millionaire, owning three homes, it’s a bit difficult for him to portray himself as a fighter for the little guy, although it is true he grew up in a brooklyn home of poor polish immigrants, and his wealth, modest by congressional standards, rests on relatively recent books deals…if he has any affiliation with AOC, it may be due to their common NY background…

i see AOC, on the other hand, as a real force in american politics…not only does she have her own signature acronym, but she really can deliver very clear defences for what she champions…she’s a gifted linguist…my sense is that she’s intelligent, and may very well be Speaker, if not President, some day…

her use of air travel is, i think, irrelevant…i don’t think she needs to demonstrate an amish horse and buggy lifestyle in order to advocate for saving the planet, which i think she genuinely believes in…i was impressed with her energy in raising almost $5 million for texas residents during their blackout, far more than ted cruz, who flew to cancun and back, attempted…

we don’t really know too much about other causes she may be helping or supporting behind the scenes…

That’s your prerogative, but the trajectory of what you have laid out leads to centralized control of the lives of the American people as the Constitution is ignored and the basic freedoms it guarantees are diminished and eventually will be taken away. Freedom of speech is already being attacked, as are many basic rights.

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i know what you describe is the basic conservative mantra, expressed over and over again…but if you look at what conservatives actually embraced, fervently, over the past 4 yrs, it was nothing less than fascism in embryonic form: one leader above the law, manipulating the law and everyone around him for his own benefit, and lying about it absolutely non-stop…this is total demolition of the constitution and any hope of the rule of law…

i frankly don’t see this same threat from progressives…and today’s progressives have a penchant for biting and devouring one another when the chips are down…they don’t have it in them to centralize control, let alone maintain it…

i think the conservative fear of progressive excess is formed from their own self-inflicted inability to separate fact from conspiratory fantasy and fiction - and it really does represent an inability now…it isn’t a reflection of what the Dems are actually proposing any more than the nothing burger of a 1 burger per week limit has been…

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