July 16, 2009 - Vol. 186, No. 20
GENEREAL COMMENTS This is an issue that Adventists of all persuasions can enjoy. There were two articles that deserve BOUQUETS along with special mention, and they are. . .
STRAIGHT FROM THE MULE’S MOUTH by Gerald A. Klingbeil in which stories about mules in the ancient Mid East confirm the Bible’s accuracy. It is a brilliant piece of historical reporting and a MUST READ.
MIRACLES “OUTSIDE THE BOX” by Eva Holdridge is her account of the way fostering children with special needs has transformed her life. Her story may well transform yours. (To find out about fostering children in your home, contact your local Child Protective Services.) _____________
July 23, 2009 - Vol. 186, No. 21
GENERAL COMMENTS I am a huge fan of ASI (Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries), and this issue is a WORKING WITNESS that’s sure to inspire many more laypersons, worldwide, to preach the Gospel with their hearts and skills and cash. This is unconditional Christian love in action, and this world is a better place because in 1904, E. A. Sutherland and Percy Magan decided that the official Adventist Church needed a self-supporting ministerial partner. Today, ASI along with ADRA and hundreds of other lay ministries are transforming the Adventist Church, It’s a MUST READ.
EDITORIAL COMMENT There are several things I admire about E. Edward Zinke’s CREATION AND THE CERTAINTY OF THE SECOND COMING. He argues that, for a Christian, theistic evolution does not solve the problem of origins. He writes with passionate conviction. And he doesn’t imply that all Adventists must be convicted as he is. However, one of his central arguments must be called to question.
Zinke asserts that the 7-day creation story and the worldwide flood as described in Genesis are historical facts. His proof is quotations from the New Testament, particularly the words of Jesus.
“Scripture Confirms the Historicity of Genesis” “When we look at the whole of Scripture, however, we find that biblical authors—and Christ Himself—took these chapters seriously as history. Paul confirms that “Adam [not some bit of slime in the water] was formed first, then Eve” (1 Tim. 2:13; cf. Luke 3:38; Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:22, 45). Christ referred to the creation of the first couple: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’?” (Matt. 19:4). The Savior uses the Genesis account rather than evolutionary theory as ground for morality based upon the original design of God: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (verse 5). Also, Christ took at face value the Genesis story of Noah and the Flood: “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away” (Matt. 24:38, 39; cf. 2 Peter 2:5).”
It is not my intention to argue about whether or not allusions to well-known stories “prove” the historicity of these stories. It is my purpose to challenge the premise of Zinke’s argument by using his argument to “prove” that a literal Hell exists. (Hell is mentioned 31 times in the Old Testament.)
Scripture Confirms the Historicity of Hell According to Jesus But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. Matthew 5:22
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5:29,30
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Matthew 16:18
If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. Matthew 18:8,9
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Matthew 23:15
You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Matthew 23:33
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. Mark 9:43
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. Mark 9:45
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. Mark 9:47
But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Luke 12:5
In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' Luke 16:23, 24
Scripture Confirms the Historicity of Hell According to James The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:6
Scripture Confirms the Historicity of Hell According to Peter For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment. 2 Peter 2:4
Scripture Confirms the Historicity of Hell According to John I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Revelation 1:18
And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name. Revelation 14:11
The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Revelation 20:13
Now, I want to state categorically that I DON’T BELIEVE IN A LITERAL HELL. In this, I am in complete agreement with Adventist Church doctrine, and that doctrine is a very important reason why I am an Adventist.* For me, the existence of a literal Hell can be discounted rationally and scientifically.**
If Adventist theologians discount the “historicity” argument for a literal Hell because it cannot be supported rationally or scientifically, it seems to me that the same reasoning used to support Zinke’s argument for the “Historicity of Genesis” can also be discounted for the same reasons.
*The idea that Jesus (“If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”) would condemn “sinners” to be tortured in a literal Hell is not only repugnant, it is inconceivable.
** In my view, “Hell” or “Hades”, as used in the New Testament, is a figure of speech and/or a literary allusion, commonly used in the world of New Testament writers, to denote a place to be avoided at all costs.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/1776