by Stephen Foster
This blog has evolved from a simple comment that I started to write in response to a statement by Stephen Ferguson on Jack Hoehn’s blog, “Must We Circumscribe Creation?” (So, am I now an evolutionist? See if you can determine where my intended comment ended and this blog begins.)
What would be good is the Church to even explore the theological implications what IF evolution were true, leaving the actual science of origins to the scientists. Simply making it a taboo subject, which in effect is the status within the SDA Church now, is hardly helpful.
It is hardly helpful to whom Stephen? Why can’t you or I “explore the theological implications what IF evolution was true”? Why should the church explore this topic?
As I may have mentioned previously, it has now become apparent to me that Adventists who, for whatever reason(s), do not believe the Seventh-day part of Adventist theology—as relates to creation week—to be (literally) correct; likewise tend not to believe the Adventist part of Adventist theology—as relates to eschatological prophecy regarding Jesus Christ’s second advent—to be (literally) correct either.
Logically, one disbelief sequentially precedes the other. When you do not ‘buy’ the premise at the beginning of practically any book, you are unlikely to ‘buy’ the conclusion. The same is clearly true with Scripture.
This is also where Jack Hoehn’s reasonable and well written blog/premise breaks down theologically.
Here is dialogue that demonstrates how:
I guess the important theological question is whether the [Seventh-day] Sabbath is merely a Jewish ceremony, like circumcision, and thus abrogated at the Cross, or a necessary part of true worship of Yahweh, like not having graven images or not worshipping other gods other than Yahweh Himself, in accordance with the historic creeds of Christianity? I would submit that Pauline Christianity, whilst abrogating circumcision, no more abrogates [the] Sabbath than it does the worship of other gods or creation of graven images. —–[Ed. Note: This appears to mean that Paul didn’t abrogate idol worship or graven images. We assume that what Stephen Ferguson meant was that Paul's abrogation of circumcision had nothing to do with the Sabbath, just as that abrogation (of circumcision) has nothing to do with the worship of other gods or creation of graven images (both of which, like the Sabbath, are referenced in the Ten Commandments).]
Paul who vigorously opposed the imposition of the external circumcision on Gentile Christians continues to meet on Sabbaths with Gentiles even when expelled from the Synagogues. He finds and worships with Gentile Lydia on a Sabbath at a riverside place of prayer in Thessalonika. He has nothing to say about Sunday worship.
Jesus who has nothing to say about His circumcision has plenty to say about proper and improper [Seventh-day] Sabbath keeping. Sabbath reform, not Sabbath abrogation is a large part of His ministry.
Circumcision is not part of the 10 commandment moral law.
It seems to me that you only equate circumcision with [Seventh-day] Sabbath keeping when you are anti-Sabbatarian?
Here Dr. Hoehn is, of course, correct. The thing is, the seventh-day Sabbath is—among other things—first and foremost a memorial of creation and of creation week. It is a weekly reminder—literally—of how, and by whose hands, we are.
This is why, somewhat further down on the thread of Dr. Hoehn’s blog, I wrote the following:
Circumcision was ordained by God for apparently a spiritual identification purpose; but it had/has hygienic benefits that are universally applicable because God understands what He he did and knows what He’s doing.
Something similar can also be said of the Sabbath’s purpose in the creation narrative. It was ordained for spiritual identification purposes (it essentially identifies the Personhood of God) but had/has memorial benefits that are universally applicable because God understands what He did in six days and knows that forgetting (not remembering) the Sabbath may result in unbelief in what He did—and how.
The reason for the Sabbath is to remind/remember what God claims to have done.
Is there any other reason for it?
Once we no longer believe what God claims to have done, and/or how He claims to have done it, then the Sabbath becomes, at best, an anachronistic irrelevance.
My admittedly limited observation has revealed that Adventists who don’t agree with the first Biblically provided reason for the Sabbath also do not agree with the prophetic eschatological implications of the Sabbath (and its observance) from an historical Protestant Seventh-day Adventist perspective. (These same individuals “agree” with Seventh-day Adventist culture but disagree with Seventh-day Adventist theology.)
If we can’t believe what God claims to have done in the beginning—or even that God claims to have done it—and this leads to disbelief in what God claims will happen in the future; why then should we believe what He has done for us in between?
This is why, in my view, it is certainly now necessary to identify creation; because if we don’t we may not believe whose we are, why we are His, or what He plans for us.
And when we do appropriately identify creation, the subsequent effects of belief are serendipitously beneficial; just as medical science has apparently demonstrated is the case with anatomical circumcision.