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Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye

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January 15, 2014 Tags: Christian Unity, Science & Worldviews
Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye

Today's entry was written by Deborah Haarsma. You can read more about what we believe here.

The internet is buzzing with news about the upcoming debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye. If you haven’t heard, the prominent Young Earth Creationist is hosting the Science Guy at the Creation Museum on February 4th to debate “Is creation a viable model for origins?” Predictably, most of the buzz about the event pits science vs. faith, as though we have to choose one or the other.

We at BioLogos maintain that you don’t have to choose. You don’t have to give up Christian faith in order to accept the best, most compelling science. We expect that we’ll agree with most of what Bill Nye will say about the science of evolution. Fossils, genetics, and other disciplines give compelling evidence that all life on earth is related and developed over a very long time through natural processes. But we’re also brothers and sisters in Christ with Ken Ham. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died for our sins and rose from the dead, and that the Bible is the authoritative word of God.

Unfortunately, many people accept what they’ve been told about evolution – that it is the source of all kinds of evil and a dangerous step toward atheism. Many others accept what they’ve been told about religion – that it betrays delusional thinking and a deep irrationalism in one’s worldview. Both extremes are built on the same premise – that evolution is fundamentally opposed to God. We reject this.

“Evolutionary creation” is the label we’ve used to describe our position that evolution is the means through which God created. In accepting the science of evolution, we do not reject biblical faith. In fact, many biblical scholars find that the original intent of Genesis 1 has little to do with science and has everything to do with God’s purposes in creation. And in accepting God as the ruler of the natural world, we do not reject science. In fact, core Christian beliefs give a strong motivation for using our minds to explore the world he created. Applying ourselves with diligence to both God’s world and God’s word gives the best answers to the question posed for the February 4 debate.

And we’re not alone in rejecting the extremes. A Barna survey of clergy found that over 40% of pastors do not hold to young earth creationism. And the recent Pew survey found that large numbers of Christians accept evolution. While the percentage is higher for other Christian demographics, even 27% of white evangelical Protestants accept that humans have evolved over time.

Debates like this perpetuate the misconception that you have two choices: an atheistic view of evolutionary science, or a young earth interpretation of the Bible. We wish the audience could hear about another, better way. Help us spread the word that great science and biblical faith can go hand in hand.


Deborah Haarsma serves as the President of BioLogos, a position she has held since January 2013. Previously, she served as professor and chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Gifted in interpreting complex scientific topics for lay audiences, Dr. Haarsma often speaks to churches, colleges, and schools about the relationships between science and Christian faith. She is author (along with her husband Loren Haarsma) of Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (2011, 2007), a book presenting the agreements and disagreements of Christians regarding the history of life and the universe. Haarsma is an experienced research scientist, with several publications in the Astrophysical Journal and the Astronomical Journal on extragalactic astronomy and cosmology.

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Roger A. Sawtelle - #84367

February 1st 2014


When Paul criticized the Legalists, they in turn accused him of Antinominalism.  They like you defended Legalism by trying to create a false choice between Law vs License, just as people today try to create the false choice between the Bible vs Darwin.

Both Legalism and Antinominalism are wrong and unacceptable.  Both Bibliolatry and Scientism are wrong and unacceptable. 

The New Covenant of Jesus Christ saves us from these false choices.  To defend them and compromise with them denies the work of Jesus Christ as Paul clearly states in his letters.  

Paul pointed out that the New Covenant of Jesus Christ is not about the old Law, but a new order built on Love.  It is not based on License, but a new Freedom which crosses the old boundaries of fear and hate.

He rejected the human dualism for divine reconciliation between Jews and pagansm Barbarians and Greeks. 

Your point of view seems very happy to maintain a dualistic false choice between evangelical orthodoxy and modernist heresy.  That dichotomy is just a dangerous as Ham vs Nye, if not more because it attacks the foundation of Christianity, which is faith in Jesus Christ, not faith in some theological tradition.     

Eddie - #84369

February 1st 2014

That’s “Antinomianism”—quite a different thing from “Antinominalism.”

YOU are the one who has “created the false choice,” by pitting the Gospel against the moral law.

I’ve avoided such false choice, by maintaining the traditional distinction, upheld by Wesley as well as Calvin, between justification and sanctification.  Obedience to commandments does not justify, but the commandments are essential guidelines for living the sanctified life, which is why the Commandments are not abrogated.

On your last point, what you call a “dualistic false choice” between orthodoxy and heresy is what Jesus, Paul, Augustine, etc. would call a necessary choice between Truth and Untruth.  You might as well speak of Americans as being foolish for making a “dualistic false choice” between dictatorship and democracy.  And I might ask you why you have made a “dualistic false choice” in favor of Christianity and against Judaism; why haven’t you joined the “Jews for Jesus”?  And maybe doctors should stop making “dualistic false choices” between sickness and health, and maybe juries should stop making “dualistic false choices” between guilty and not guilty.  I guess you think the world would be a better place if all human beings stopped making choices that required any guts.

The irony is that your Biblical hero Paul was the biggest forcer of “dualistic” choices of any Biblical writer.  It was always his way or the doorway.  He was the boss of the Churches, and anyone who thought differently from him was completely wrong and to that extent not thinking with the mind of Christ.  Peter was wrong, the various Churches he wrote to were wrong, etc.  There’s not a recorded case of his meeting anyone halfway, putting together the truth of his view with the truth of others’ views, as if he thought he could possibly make a theological mistake.  So you preach the need for a vague, muddy, nebulous middle ground in all theological and ethical matters, while citing as your authority a man who hated all such vague middle ground and who constantly drew lines in the sand.  The self-contradictions in your thought are astounding.  

It appears to me that your mental bad habits are so deeply entrenched that they are beyond correction.  So I take my leave of you.  But do read your own Church’s teaching on the moral law again.  Maybe it will eventually dawn on you that I’ve been saying the same thing.  Farewell, Roger.  

Roger A. Sawtelle - #84373

February 2nd 2014


As usual you are mistaken about Paul. 

You fail to remember that he made between those who had weak faith and did not eat meat sacrificed to idols and those who had strong faith and were free to do so.  1 Cor 8.

The strong were theologically correct if they exercised their freedom, but they were not acting in love if they offended the weak by exercising their freedom.  Both the weak and the strong are members of the Body of Christ.  

Now Evangelicals want to portray themselves as strong in the faith with a high view of scripture.  Using Paul’s typology I would say that they are closer to the weak.  Nevertheless when the strong or the weak insist that their’s is the only Christian way like you are there is a serious issue.

Paul never insisted his was the only way, only that Christ’s is the best way.  I don’t know about you, but I do believe that Christ is the only way to salvation, but there is plenty of room in our Father’s House for all who believe in Jesus as the Savior.

We are discussing theology, not who is saved.  Only God can determine who is saved and who is not. 

I am not preaching the vague middle ground, any more than Paul was.  I am preaching Gospel of Jesus Christ Who is my Lord and Savior and lived, died, and rose again.  This is my passion and I wish it were yours.   

Why do you constantly misconstruing what I am saying?  It only brings into question your ability to understand the Bible and theology.          

Eddie - #84374

February 3rd 2014

There’s nothing to misconstrue.  You have argued very plainly and unambiguously that Christians are not bound by the Ten Commandments.  Jesus disagrees with you.  Paul disagrees with you.  Your heroes Wesley and Luther disagree with you.  Your own AME Church disagrees with you.  The only person who agrees with you, apparently, is the serial adulterer Martin Luther King.  If you feel comfortable with that kind of support for your Antinomian theological position, then by all means, go and found your own new denomination.  (America already has two or three thousand denominations, so I don’t suppose one more will hurt.)

The inability of someone with the title of “Rev.” to distinguish between the ceremonial law and the moral law is nothing short of astounding.

I note that my detailed discussion of the meaning of “evangelical” went right by you, since you continue to use it to mean “fundamentalist” or “literalist-inerrantist,” thus generating utterly unnecessary misunderstandings.  But of course Jon and I do not mean any of those things when we employ the word “evangelical.”  We use the word with its broader historical significance, which is nothing so narrow; “evangelical” in the pure sense has nothing to do with literalist modes of Biblical exegesis, but is all about “remaining true to the evangel,” and hence, being “authentically Protestant” in the original sense, or even just simply “authentically Christian.”  We refuse to let fundamentalists and inerrantists take ownership of the word, whereas you simply concede it to them.

Thus, you see all evangelicals, qua evangelicals, as foes to be defeated in theological battle, whereas Jon and I would distinguish between evangelicals of broader and deeper understanding, and evangelicals of narrower and shallower understanding.  “Evangelical” needs to be reaffirmed as a good word with which to describe a Christian.

Indeed, even the BioLogos folks generally come closer to my usage than to yours.  They generally describe themselves as “evangelicals,” and by that they do not mean that they uphold the Chicago Statement, etc.  You are the odd man out here, with your narrow usage of the term.  At least you could qualify it with something, e.g., “conservative evangelical,” as opposed to “mainstream evangelical.”  But I don’t expect you will ever change your vocabulary on this, any more than you will change it regarding “dualism”; when it comes to the meaning of words, you are clearly of “the Humpty Dumpty view.”

Roger A. Sawtelle - #84376

February 3rd 2014

Luther is quoted as saying, “Love God and do what you want.” 

Eddie - #84380

February 3rd 2014

Anyone who loves God will also love the Moral Law which God has revealed, and hence will revere and obey the Commandments.  Anyone who claims to love God but not to be bound by the commandments is no lover of God, but a hypocrite looking for an excuse for disobedience.

In the nineteen-sixties, the hippies spoke of “free love,” i.e., promiscuity, animated by the “love is higher than law” sentiment that you are here promulgating.  This shows the foolishness of taking Luther’s remark out of context.  But then, maybe you are an old hippie.  Possibly you think Woodstock was a high-water mark of American folk and spiritual culture.  That would explain a lot.

Eddie - #84381

February 3rd 2014

I have already showed that you were wrong about the doctrine of your own church (the AME) when it comes to the Commandments.  I provided you with irrefutable direct quotations from your own founding document.  Anyone with intellectual honor would have said “I stand corrected”; you continue to argue, presumably out of pride.

Since you are animated my pride rather than by love of the truth, I don’t suppose it will do much good to give you another textual disproof, this time a disproof of what you are saying about Luther, but here it is, a very brief excerpt (I could provide much more like it) from the extensive section on the Ten Commandments in the Larger Catechism:


        Thus we have the Ten Commandments, a compend of divine

        doctrine, as to what we are to do in order that our whole

        life may be pleasing to God, and the true fountain and

        channel from and in which everything must arise and flow

        that is to be a good work, so that outside of the Ten

        Commandments no work or thing can be good or pleasing to

        God, however great or precious it be in the eyes of the

        world. Let us see now what our great saints can boast of

        their spiritual orders and their great and grievous works

        which they have invented and set up, while they let these

        pass, as though they were far too insignificant, or had

        long ago been perfectly fulfilled.



        From this it again appears how highly these Ten         Commandments are to be exalted and extolled above all         estates, commandments, and works which are taught and         practised aside from them. For here we can boast and say:         Let all the wise and saints step forth and produce, if         they can, a [single] work like these commandments, upon         which God insists with such earnestness, and which He         enjoins with His greatest wrath and punishment, and,         besides, adds such glorious promises that He will pour         out upon us all good things and blessings. Therefore they         should be taught above all others, and be esteemed         precious and dear, as the highest treasure given by God.
Roger A. Sawtelle - #84377

February 3rd 2014


If you thank that the New Covenant of Jesus Christ is not sufficient to govern the lives of Christians so that it needs to be supplemented by the Mosaic Covenant, that is your problem and not mine. 

Do not say that I believe in no covenant and no law, when I have made it clear that I and all other real Christians are governed by the New Covenant of Jesus Christ and the laws which accompany it, which are superior to the Decalogue just as He is superior to Moses. 

Eddie - #84382

February 3rd 2014

What you are “governed by” is a post-Enlightenment liberal reading of the distinction between Law and Gospel, a reading which was never intended by Paul or Jesus, and was never adopted by Luther, Calvin, or Wesley.  The sad thing is that you have been so propagandized by this “we don’t need any moral law because we have love” nonsense that you equate it with Biblical and Reformation Christianity.

You mean well, Roger, but you are unwilling to learn what you need to learn in order that your ideas can be properly incorporated within a genuinely Christian theological framework.  To be a Christian theologian or pastor, it is not enough merely to love Jesus.  One must understand the teachings of Christianity.  And one cannot do that as an autodidact, a theological lone wolf.  One must learn from the wise Christians who lived before.  It would be good if you could humble yourself to sit at the feet of Calvin and Luther and Wesley for a while, and suspend offering your free-lance opinions until such time as you have truly absorbed what those men have to teach.  I would suggest a few months away from the internet, spent in the theological section of a large university or seminary library.  A few months where the pose of teacher is dropped, and the stance of a learner is adopted.  You would be a different man at the end.  Best wishes.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #84383

February 3rd 2014


You Say that you believe in the Bible and yet you do not teach the Bible.  You teach tradition.

I have nothing against tradition, but please believe what Paul says.  Love Never Fails!

Everything else might fail, the Bible might fail, but Love Never Fails. 

Read your Bible and believe in Jesus and His Love.

13:1  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10  but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

12  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Eddie - #84384

February 3rd 2014

A beautiful passage from Corinthians!  It has nothing to do with what we were talking about, but it’s a beautiful passage.

As for believing in the Bible, I guess we both do that, but apparently your Bible is shorter than mine.  Yours seems to have virtually the whole Old Testament torn out of it.  Odd, that.  Does anyone smell burnt Marcion?

And at the end of 9 innings, the final score is:  Calvinists, 36; Wesleyans, 0.

Live long and prosper, Roger.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #84385

February 4th 2014


Corinthians 13 has everything to do with what we are talking about.  That you don’t see this says volumes about your theology and understanding of the New Testament.

Of course the Decalogue is far superior to any human invention or work, but is it superior to Jesus Christ and the the New Covenant in His Body and Blood?  Is that what you believe and are trying to justify?

Stop trying to justify your theology, Look to Jesus Christ, Listen to His words as found in the Bible.

I gave you a quote from Martin Luther, but I did not endorse that quote.  You are the one what claimed that Luther and the rest of the reformers upheld the validity of the Decalogue.  I gave you an example of where Luther did not.  You interpreted his words in such a way that you say that he did.

I would not make the statement that Luther made, because it is too open to misunderstanding.  However I can see that he was making an important point.  When we love God, we will seek to do what God would have us do.  

The question is What would God have us do, Follow the Old Covenant of the Law, or follow the New Covenant of Jesus Christ?  That is where we differ.

The OT is important because it prepares us for the NT.  It is not the end destination.  It is good, but the NT is better.  It becomes bad when it becomes the end destination and the good is made into the enemy of the better.

That is what the Pharisees and the Judaizers did, and if you are not careful you and Evangelicals might do the same.    


Eddie - #84388

February 4th 2014

Roger, footnotes to your last:
1. “Of course the Decalogue is far superior to any human invention or work, but is it superior to Jesus Christ and the the New Covenant in His Body and Blood? Is that what you believe and are trying to justify?”
NO. And no one with even high-school-level reading comprehension could have thought that to be my meaning.
I have argued, repeatedly (and with copious explanation for the small minority of readers who did not find my meaning transparent) that Christians are still obligated to obey the Ten Commandments. I did not say the Ten Commandments were superior to Jesus or superior to anything else. I simply said that Christians were still bound to obey them. You have steadily denied that. I have shown that you are wrong to deny it, as Jesus himself, and all the historical figures he has claimed to admire (Luther, Wesley, etc.), treated the Ten Commandments as still binding.
2. “I gave you a quote from Martin Luther, but I did not endorse that quote.”
This is disingenuous. You introduced the quotation in the context of your defense of the position that the Ten Commandments have been superseded. Any English reader would naturally understand your appeal to those words of Luther as (1) a claim that Luther thought the moral law had been replaced by the notion of “loving God”; (2) an indication of your belief that Luther was right to think so.
3. “I would not make the statement that Luther made, because it is too open to misunderstanding.”
The time to offer that qualification was the moment you first introduced the statement, not after I expended time and energy refuting your misuse of it.
4. “However I can see that he was making an important point. When we love God, we will seek to do what God would have us do.”
YES—and “what God would have us do” is obey his moral law, and hence the Commandments. Loving God does not supersede obligation to the Commandments; quite the opposite, it entails that obligation. And that is not just my opinion, but Martin Luther’s, as I showed by presenting substantial passages from his Catechism. Either declare that the statements on the Ten Commandments in Luther’s Catechism are false, or accept them as true, and stop misusing Luther by quoting him out of context.
5. “The question is What would God have us do, Follow the Old Covenant of the Law, or follow the New Covenant of Jesus Christ? That is where we differ.”
No, that is not where we differ. Where we differ is over your repeated claim that Christians are no longer obligated to obey the Ten Commandments. It has nothing to do with “Law” in general versus “Christ” in general. It has to do with a particular part of the Law, the Ten Commandments, which identify core religious and ethical obligations still binding upon Christians, though the ceremonial and dietary laws etc. are no longer binding. Most churchgoing Christians, relatively untutored in theology, understand the distinction between the other laws and the moral law without a problem; yet you, while claiming great expertise in theology, cannot grasp this elementary distinction.
6. “The OT is important because it prepares us for the NT. It is not the end destination. It is good, but the NT is better. It becomes bad when it becomes the end destination and the good is made into the enemy of the better.”

I said nothing at all about the relative merits of the two Testaments. Once again, you put words in my mouth. I speak about the obligation to obey the Ten Commandments, and you turn that into a claim that the Old Testament is the end destination. Can you not read?

I certainly agree that it is bad when “the good is made into the enemy of the better.” The irony of this complaint is that this is exactly what you are doing. You pit Christ against the Ten Commandments, and “loving God” against the Ten Commandments. You are in fact pitting the good (the Ten Commandments) against the better (God, Christ). And so you argue that Christians are no longer obligated to obey the Ten Commandments. But good is not invalidated because of the better, and the Ten Commandments are not invalidated by our love of God or our obedience to Christ. We are still bound to obey them. This was the view of all the great Christian theologians. Only a virtually unknown Christian minister at an AME church in Boston thinks differently. I’ll go with the majority view.

I guess the scorekeeper miscounted the runs. It now looks like Calvinists 40, Wesleyans 0. Something like this year’s Super Bowl. But has any Calvinist-Wesleyan debate in history ever produced any other result?   

Eddie - #84389

February 4th 2014

Correction to the above:

At the end of Point 1, the words

“I have shown that you are wrong to deny it, as Jesus himself, and all the historical figures he has claimed to admire (Luther, Wesley, etc.), treated the Ten Commandments as still binding.”

should read:

“I have shown that you are wrong to deny it, as Jesus himself, and all the historical figures you have claimed to admire (Luther, Wesley, etc.), treated the Ten Commandments as still binding.”

Kimberly Bjugstad - #84390

February 4th 2014

It seems that Ken has been arguing on two fronts- science and theology.  My guess is that if Ken debated against a theistic evolutionist, it would have put the debate on a single front- science, because then he could not fall back on Biblical justification.  The counter argument.. “Because God made it that way” no longer becomes a counter argument.  They would have been forced to deal with what is science… 

And by the way, how does Ken define “death” as I’m sure there was plenty of death before the fall every time any one (man or animal) ate a plant or fungi or anything!  So, Ken, what is death?

Jon Garvey - #84391

February 5th 2014


Being in the UK I’ve not seen the debate (and haven’t really the interest to YouTube an atheist versus a Fundamentalist). But surely your first point depends on which theistic evolutionist he might debate - in some cases the basic theology would be further apart than the science.

For example, I assume (a safe bet, I think) that Ham says non-human death is an evil caused by human sin in a recent primordial state. Some TEs would say death is an evil because of the way God was cosntrained to make the earth for it to work. Some would say he left the earth free to make itself, and death was a result of that freedom that it would be blasphemous to attribute to God.

Yet the historic Christian view (also held by early TEs like Kingsley and modern ones like me) is that the whole thrust of biblical creation doctrine is that God created the natural world he wanted entirely according to his good will, that it remains in that state (except where damaged by God) and that he is immanent within it in such a way that it all reflects his glory - even the death built into it (and we would cite Psalm 104.29 as evidence).

I can’t decide whether Ham would be more upset to think that creation is not ruined despite animal death, as in the last scenario, or that even the pre-human creation does not fully reflect God’s wisdom and goodness. Either way I suspect the science issues might end up taking a back seat, because in the end the nature of God’s creation is more central than the scientific mechanisms he used to do it.

Jon Garvey - #84392

February 5th 2014

Erratum: for “except where damaged by God” read “except where damaged by mankind”.

Jon Garvey - #84393

February 5th 2014

 few words on the interminable debate above. The “christ unites, doctrine divides” idea should have been discredited a century ago, but still seems to live on in the idea that one can somehow have Jesus apart from his teaching (the Word apart from the words) - contrary to his teaching in Matt 7.24-27 (cf 5 17-20).

It seems to presuppose a kind of mysticism: that having Christ automatically brings us into line with him.

Yet who is to arbitrate between the Charismatic Revivalist claiming to speak new doctrine by the Holy Spirit and the Higher Critic progressively dissolving away his teaching to find a “reliable core” - which happens to be purely human?

Yet the Holy Spirit was given to remind us of what he said (Jn 14.26), and to “take from what is mine and make it known to you.”

And as Peter reminds us in 1 Pet 1.10, “what is mine” includes his self revelation, through his Spirit, in the torah, prophets and writings.

So the false opposition of the decalogue and the gospel entirely ignores (as some Jews of his own time did) how it was given as the covenant stipulation after God had delivered them by grace from Egypt, just as Jesus’s law of love for God and neighbour (“for these sum up the law and the prophets”) is the outcome of our salvation by grace.

There is no conflict or the Holy Spirit of Jesus huimself would be divided. The Reformers knew this, and Wesley too, of course.

But I really want, in the thread context, to comment on some few words above to the effect that we’re not saved by believing in a Young Earth creation, but in Christ.

This is a truism, but though it may be true of a particular interpretation of Genesis as history, it is not true of the doctrine of creation itself, on which the gospel depends - which is why the Spirit of Jesus out it first both in the Torah and in John’s gospel.

If we do not understand creation aright, we do not understand who Christ is as Creator (and therefore as our Lord before he is our Saviour), nor who we are as the image of God (and so what it means for the Creator to become man), nor how appalling our sin is for ourselves and for the whole cosmos, and the purposes of God - so that we know our need.

And that’s why both Creationists and evolutionists need to get beyond their fixation with mechanisms to recover the full-orbed doctrine of creation: and that comes prinicplally through the Old Testament.

Jon Garvey - #84394

February 5th 2014

Case study: the Gnostics rejected much of the New Testament and all the Old as being inauthentic. But they put Christ and his salvation right at the centre - only they first had to retrieve his “true” teaching, of course: they selected various OK bits of the Bible (ier the bits they liked), but majored on what their leaders knew directly from Christ (sometimes reading that back to what he’d supposedly told his disciples secretly).

One particular thing was that, like many TEs now, they couldn’t stomach the Genesis (and Job, and Psalms) teaching that God had created a good and divinely-governed cosmos through which we can perceive his glory. They instead saw nasty, evil things, so they invented a Demiurge as an incompetent intermediate creator - much as Francisco Ayala, or Ken Miller, and many others, posit an automous evolutionary process to distance “natural evil” from God - and they went on from there to the rest of their theology.

It was that misconceived foundation of creation on which they build their whole heretical edifice. That edifice, in turn, was systematically demolished by Irenaeus - using the Holy Scripture, Old and New Testaments, to establish the true teaching of Christ.

Incidentally, Irenaeus believed that the words of Moses and the other prophets were the very words of Christ (Adv Haer. IV.2.3.)

Roger A. Sawtelle - #84396

February 5th 2014

Well, Eddie, your farewell was false.

I hope that someday you will learn not to make implied promised that you cannot keep.

Well, since you do not understand the Bible, I will try to appeal to simple logic, however as Legalist it well might not help.

If I were under the Old Covenant, which is the Ten Commandments, then certainly I am bound to obey the commandment not to murder.  Under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ I am still not free to murder others, because this is part of the New Covenant, but I am also not free to hate others, which is not prohibited by the Old Covenant/Ten Commandments.

So how am I bound by and subject to the Law of the Old Covenant, which brings judgment and condemnation, when I am subject to the New Covenant which gives right relationship with God and Eternal life?  

John 1:17  For the Law was given through Moses; Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ.

I apologize for letting that scripture slip in there.  Grace and Truth trump the Law.

Eddie - #84404

February 5th 2014


Once again, you’ve shown by your comments that you haven’t paid even minimal attention to what I’ve actually written, and are determined to impute to me a position I’ve never held.  You can keep attacking a straw man if you wish, scoring victory after victory in your own mind with your Pauline rhetoric (Pauline rhetoric which masks a Marcionite substance), but from here on in you will be speaking to an empty chair.

In the meantime, I would urge you to pay attention to the comments of Jon Garvey above, who has taken the time to learn what the Bible and the tradition actually say on the subject at hand.  It is always much better to write out of knowledge than out of zeal.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #84406

February 5th 2014


Thank you for your comments. 

However the issue is not subjectivism in our faith or the Old vs the New Testament.  The question is which Covenant are Christians under, the Mosaic Covenant or the Covenant of Christ?

Maybe people aren’t into covenant theology today, but I am and I don’t think that one can understand the thinking of Paul without taking covenants seriously.

As we know Paul grew up taking the Mosaic covenant very seriously.  That is why he rejected Christianity.  God must have loved him, because God knocked him over the head to get his attention and let Paul, then Saul, know that Jesus is the Messiah.

When some Christians taught that it was necesary the two covenants to be a Christian, Paul said, NO, because to make the Mosaic covenant binding on Christians is to deny that Jesus is the Savior. The new covenant is new, not a revision of the old, as Paul clearly understood.

This is the way Paul saw God’s salvation history works.

Gal 3:23-26  Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24  So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25  Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. 26  You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27  for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Then Paul refutes the charges of Licentiousness, while denying being bound by the Mosaic Law.

6b The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.   13  You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.  16  So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 

I am in no way Gnostic or mystic.  Please stop looking for a way to dismiss what I am saying when it is precisely what Paul wrote long ago. 

Jon wrote we need “to recover the full-orbed doctrine of creation: and that comes prinicplally through the Old Testament.” 

I regret that you still do not recognize the power and importance of Jesus Christ as the LOGOS/Word in understanding God’s Creation of the universe, which for a Christian can only be Trinitarian and Christ centered and thus not based principally on the OT.     

Jon Garvey - #84419

February 6th 2014

So you’ve not noted the Trinitarian teaching in the Old Testament Roger? Funny, because both Jesus and the early Church used the OT Scriptures as their main tool for convincing the Jews that Jesus was truly the Messiah, and what his life and death meant. So too their teaching on the Spirit.

And of course it was the prophets (especially Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel) who first introduced the new covenant, and related it in their revelations to the foundational covenants with Noah, with Abraham and with David, and showed how it relates to the Mosaic covenant, superceding but not overturning it. Even Deuteronomy teaches the new covenant with Israel, foreseeing their failure to comply with Moses’ covenant, on the basis of the earlier covenant of grace with Abraham (which Paul calls “the gospel announced in advance”).

That interconnection and unfolding plan is at the heart of covenant theology, it seems to me. So much richer than a simplistic dichotomy between “Old” and “New”.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #84425

February 6th 2014


There is no New Covenant without Jesus the Messiah.  If the New Covenant was in the Old, then we would not need Jesus to be born, live, die, and be risen from the grave.

We know about Jesus Christ in the OT only because God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. The Messiah is prefigured in the OT, but nowhere in my knowledge does it state the Gospel, the New Covenant in the way we know it through the NT.

History is like that.  We might expect things to happen, like the coming of the Messiah, but do not clearly forsee how events will take place.  After they do, we can see the reasons why they did and we understand the past in a different way. 

That is why Jesus and the New Covenant are superior to the Old Testament and the Mosaic Covenant.  We understand the OT clearly only through the Christ event. 

The danger is when we try to make Jesus Christ conform to an OT view of God.  Jesus Christ as the NT clearly says is the A to Z of our faith.        

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