Why I Resist a Single Adventist Hermeneutic

Sure, but what is your point? My statement to Matt is not less valid as it relates to his three objections to Allen, which incidentally claimed to be more “objective”.

You are correct in your expectation, but incorrect in the reasons. I personally don’t like to “argue” unless there is some hope for better understanding, which demands mutual respect, a lacking prerequisite in some of your past posts. Secondly your noted presumption above makes it exquisitely clear that unless you make a radical change in your approach to biblical interpretation, it is hopeless to even try. I understand your postmodern positions but also recognize that discussion of Bible hermeneutics with you would be like trying to diagnose and fix a Ferrari using a manual from Mario Batali. 1 Corinthians 2:14

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I don’t have a defective crystal ball.

You said in a previous comment that you wouldn’t comment on my comments.

In other words, I was not wrong about that just as it is not wrong to agree or disagree with any particular idea just because it has been given a derogatory appellation like postmodern.

I’m sure Hitler would have advised everyone that it’s best to look both ways before crossing the street.

So this concept should be disavowed because it is part of Nazi philosophy?

Good luck with that!:rofl:

(Oh, and as to my “point” it was there in my comment, as well, but you obviously weren’t impressed and I see no point in repeating myself.)

I’m getting older and simplifying my thinking. I’ve stopped being certain that I understand everything about God, doctrine, sin, grace, redemption; not to mention our individual and corporate cherished interpretations of everything. I’ve observed that God (yes, the triune God) is infinitely patient and allows us to grow daily in our relationship(s) with Them. We grow throughout life and become more and more like Christ if we choose to study Him.

Assuming and insisting that everyone should be in the same place and understand things in exactly the same way at the same time leads to inappropriate attitudes and behaviors. God knows who we are, what our experiences have been, how they have affected us, and how They have used them to help us grow in our understanding of all things. We have simple guidelines for interacting with people: act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. We don’t have to expect everyone to agree with us immediately.

Why do we think we have to persuade everyone to our own precise way of thinking instead of letting God lead each of us as individuals and share with each other how wonderful that is? I don’t even read some comments, since the same points are made ad infinitum, and no one changes his/her views.


Age has nothing to do with anything.

You can be certain of some things at any age.

For example, a child knows for certain which of the people in his life are deserving of mutual respect.

And a slave is unlikely, perhaps unable to, to give any respect to a system that holds him subjugated

Admittedly, it took me some time-longer than it should have, perhaps-to realize that I had been being gaslighted by Bible thumpers from the first day of my life; according to them, me and my originally sinful nature were the reasons why Jesus had to die.

However, at this late date, I see no reason to accept the criticism of those who insist that I must accept their accusations about my lack of character as a given in order to show them and their unsubstantiated beliefs the proper level of deference.


Another thought regarding respect.

If a primary tenet of one’s theology is that his “god is no respecter of persons”, I see no logical reason to respect or accept the opinions of that person, either.

Come to me with stories about a creator who cannot wait to hear what his creatures have come up with next.

Then we can have an interesting, and perhaps even consequential, conversation….:crossed_fingers:t3:

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I take it you believe in a soul? I have spent many words trying to explain my position here, apparently in vain. Sorry about that. But I’ll ask you some questions if you don’t mind. What do you think you are made of? And how do you think you find “meaning” in things?

I feel like many folks here are not familiar with the concept of emergence. New behavior and properties emerge at different levels of reality. Individual molecules of H2O are not “wet.” And yet, we do not scratch our heads and declare the concept of fluid dynamics impossible. I do not go up to sailors and declare their lives “unlivable” because obviously they cannot float their boats on freaking leptons and up quarks. This is beyond silly. When many water molecules get together in certain contexts, we see NEW properties emerge. This kind of weak emergence is trivially common throughout all of our reality. All this deflationary talk about chemicals is naive nonsense. Seriously, to those who have been saying this to me, what do you think we are made of if not chemicals?

The Bible is a collection of writings offering concordance, but also contradiction in its views of God. To assume that all of it harmonizes as one is to impose a lens upon the scriptures that can not be found within its text. It also creates interpretive gymnastics to then make it all come into focus within that lens.

Better to join in the tussle and conversation around the table that raises as many questions as it gives answers. It’s what the Bible has offered throughout history.

Apparently God is ok with that.



I, too, reviewed our conversation. (BTW, I enjoyed your link, exhaustive on physicalism which seems to be synonymous with materialism, at least in general use.).

You mentioned a response to your responses to my belief in inspiration. I will give them:

  1. Differences in beliefs by Christins after reading the Bible. I belevie there are many reasons for the variety. Different ways of thinking, and insights. God is too big for one viewpoint. Failure of men to submit to God’s will (Pharisees are a Biblical example, not meaning that they were wrong on all things). Personal preference. And many others, good and bad. Is there one right way? I am convinced Adventism is the best way. But I allow for God gifts of insight to all. Ellen says this,

Every association of life calls for the exercise of self-control, forbearance, and sympathy. We differ so widely in disposition, habits, education, that our ways of looking at things vary. We judge differently. Our understanding of truth, our ideas in regard to the conduct of life, are not in all respects the same. There are no two whose experience is alike in every particular. The trials of one are not the trials of another. The duties that one finds light are to another most difficult and perplexing. So frail, so ignorant, so liable to misconception is human nature, that each should be careful in the estimate he places upon another. Ministry of Healing, 483.

  1. Prophecy. I will give you an example of my study of this. I was taught that the 70 week prophecy (Daniel 9) ran form 457 BC to 27 AD (483 yrs, 69 weeks, with a final 70th week to follow). But I did not know how others viewed it. I had an opportunity to read several commentaries at Butler University one summer. There were myriad ways of looking at it with different starting points and differing ways of interpreting “weeks”. Evangelicals used a 360 day year and started at 444 BC, and reduced the years to days, making for a very complicated affair, Others ignored the numbers altogether, going for an “idealist” view. But the Adventist position was simple and accurate. 457 BC to the baptism of Jesus, 27 AD (Mark 1:15 where Jesus says, "The time is fulfilled.). Why do it any other way? One commentary, noting its simplicity, while holding to another view, said simply, it did work. You could say if was utilitarian even. Inference to the best explanation. I was convinced.

  2. Adventism has been the most positive force in my life, and I thank God I came into this place. Just keeping me from smoking has added years to my life. And I have seen the problems in my family from addictive behaviors. I was spared. You are a vocal example of one with a very different experience. I am sorry you have had that experience. I know of others with similar stories. I sense you did take some good from Adventism, as I sense you live a relatively healthy life style. But perhaps I am wrong.

I guess I can’t let this go (sigh). Your meaning is not fake or unreal. You have real meaning that makes life livable for you, even happy and fruitful. Not so? That meaning is personal meaning, and not ultimate meaning, is that not what you are saying? This meaning comes from “emergent properties”

But you seem to agree with (that bore) Dawkins when he says, At bottom, (ultimately) there is no design, purpose, evil good or justice, nothing but pitiless indifference (paraphrase). (Sc.Am. Nov. 1995, vol 273 No 5). Ultimately there is no meaning, nevertheless meaning emerges from it.

How do you explain that? The sexual union with the woman you love is deeply and profoundly meaningful. So is the birth of a child to a new mother. That experience marks her for a lifetime. How can such meaning “emerge” from such meaninglessness? It is almost miraculous.

That is why I think your personal meaning cannot be explained by your materialism.

I do not mean to beat a dead horse, and there is little time to answer. You do not need to if you do not wish to.

Well, yes chemicals. Dust to dust. I do not beleive in a soul. Not a dualist. But not a materialist either. Since I think that I do not have a conscious existence when I am dead, I am somewhere between a materialist and a dualist. I am a totality of body and breath, life. I do believer in the resurrection.

Can’t really explain it, and the mind body problem is a true mystery, You would say emergence, I imagine. But that does not really explain anything either, it is just a moniker. How does that happen?

Here’s my take on the “hard problem” of physics.


We are made of chemicals which are comprised of subatomic particles.

Those particles emerge when pure consciousness crystallizes into a solid form much as water comes together as it cools to form snowflakes.

In this scenario, matter is an emergent property of mind-or “soul” if preferable-which, once it has started on it’s evolvotionary path, makes conscious decisions (as opposed to random selections) at every turn, constantly trying to opt for higher and higher levels of self awareness.

The latest results of this ongoing process have lead to the miraculous nature of our current level of existence but it’s important to remember that neither humans, nor any other life form, are necessarily the “end product”. Where, or to what, this symbiotic collaboration of mind and matter will ultimately lead is any one’s guess.

Even more importantly, the odds of us being able to create a machine capable observing this process seem absolutely insurmountable so it will almost certainly always be a leap of faith to accept that this is what’s going on, at the most basic and elemental level.

In other words, while there are countless conscious beings which seemingly serve as evidence to support the case for this concept, if one is looking for absolute proof of it, or any other “ism” for that matter, it seems probable humanity will be waiting at least another few more eons.

See also:

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I’m getting that, thanks. It’s pretty frustrating to spend so long trying to explain one’s position only to find out your conversation partner hasn’t thought through their own. This has been a monumental waste of time, I’m afraid.


Thanks, I at least can put your views in a rough category. Would you be comfortable with the label “panpsychism?” I don’t think we have any evidence for your view, but I do think it’s at least coherent.

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No I don’t, at least not in the way most people refer to it, which is mostly a combination of Aristotelian speculation modified by the RCC, which has become Western Thought. The Bible does speak of the “living soul” in at least 16 different combinations and uses the single word “soul” 461 times (depending on translation) to generally describe humas as “living beings”, but also land animals, birds and even fish, and so the common element seems to be that all organic creatures have the miracle of life in them (plants not explicitly included, they are different).

The primary difference between all the living creatures and Adam is that he is the only who is written to have received the breath of life in his nostrils directly from God, who is the Spirit. So in his case it is more than mere life, in this description man is partly animal (chemicals) and partly spiritual (in the image of God). The Bible is replete with examples that describe this Spirit as being wisdom and understanding. It is this Spirit who provides our notions of right and wrong (conscience), and the fruits of it are love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faith (Gal. 5:22).

The study of quarks, leptons, bosons, and photons is all commendable but before you or others can use “weak emergence” to describe what love is, I would say go back and first confirm with scientific proofs how you can produce the first prebiotic (primordial) soup to successfully develop even a one-cell organism.

I’m intersted in hearing an explanation of how emergent characteristics come to be. the snowflake example is clear from the physics of water. Meaning is more difficult.

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We all assume to know the mind of God–a most futile endeavor. Interesting as it is, it is a shame that so much time and expression has arrived at no firm conclusion. and the controversy continues…