Creationist Wisdom #1,005: Our Favorite Rev

Today’s letter-to-the-editor (it’s actually a column) appears in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, published three times a week in Wasilla, Alaska — of which Sarah Palin was mayor before she was elected Governor of Alaska. It’s titled The meaning of life. The newspaper has a comments feature, but there aren’t any comments yet.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today we’ve got a preacher. It’s Ethan Hansen, pastor of the Faith Bible Fellowship in Big Lake, Alaska. We’ve written about the rev’s columns before — the first time was #776: What a Face!, and after that #874: Darwinism vs. The Bible.

As we’ve done before, we call your attention to the rev’s photograph which appears above his column at the newspaper’s website. You gotta click over there to see it! Were it not for our caution about possible copyright violations, we would have copied it and placed it above this post.

Excerpts from the rev’s new column will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!

Many people today are searching for the meaning of life. They ask, “What is the purpose of life? Why do I exist? Why am I here?” The apostle Paul provides the answers in Romans 11:36. The Bible says, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Now you know the meaning of life. Skipping more bible stuff, the rev says:

Darwinian naturalism is the religion of America. [Huh?] Most people in America believe in naturalism. The culture in which we swim is naturalism. Naturalism teaches that matter is eternal. [Really?] Carl Sagan began his hit series Cosmos by saying, “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” Part of naturalism is the teaching of evolution. [Gasp!] Evolution says that time plus chance plus nothing created everything. The truth is that all things are “from Him.” You and I are created by God. God is the Source of everything. Matter is not eternal. God is eternal.

Good, huh? After skipping more bible stuff, he tells us:

A byproduct of naturalism is humanism. Humanism teaches that man’s happiness is the greatest good. When humanism began (to its credit) the goal was the happiness of mankind or humanity. People focused on philanthropy and good deeds. Unfortunately, very quickly it changed from humanity to the individual. People live today for their own happiness. The philosophy becomes, “My happiness is the greatest good.”

That can’t be right. Indeed, it’s not! The rev explains:

The best example of humanism in the Bible is King Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar built the great Babylonian Empire. In Daniel 4:30 he said, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?”

What happened to that guy? The rev’s tale continues:

Nebuchadnezzar went insane for seven years. [Egad!] He even ate grass like an ox! God was making a statement in this event. It is the height of insanity to believe that we are the center of the universe. God is the center of the universe. We must live for His glory.

Are you convinced, dear reader? No? Let’s read on:

The Christian life begins by understanding that God is the center of the universe. He is perfect and holy. Unfortunately, we have sinned against God. We fail to meet God’s standards.

What can we do? The answer is in the rev’s last paragraph:

God the Father’s love for us was so great He crushed His Son for our sins. We receive salvation as a gift. This gift of salvation should produce gratitude in our lives. The rest of our lives we serve Him thankful for what He has done for us. Let’s worship God today! Thank Him for what He has done for you!

Your path is now clear dear reader. And remember, one of the first things you must do is abandon Darwinian naturalism. After that, everything else should fall into place.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #1,005: Our Favorite Rev

  1. Dave Luckett

    Not so very far off the beaten track of theology, and hardly a stone’s throw into the thickets of creationism, SC. Read with generosity, this allows God-directed evolution. The Rev doesn’t say a word here about the age of the Earth or the processes of creation. This is entirely consistent with theistic evolution. Well, this is, anyway. What else the Rev might think I don’t know.

    There’s even a kind word for humanism. It’s materialism he doesn’t like. But the one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other. And let’s face it, humanism has its origin in the idea that human beings are uniquely important to God – did God not, as the Rev avers, send His only son to be barbarously tortured to death because we humans are so important to Him? That is, the fundamental idea behind humanism – that mankind is the measure and value of all things – is rooted in Christianity itself. The fact that this transaction – bloody and agonised death required for forgiveness – makes no sense whatsoever is beside the point. It’s what Christians have always believed.

    Thus, as the Rev says, here we have a justification for altruism itself. If humanity is the rubric, then human weal is important. The rest follows – kindness, charity, gentleness, service, generosity, care for others. Jesus threatened eternal punishment if those are not practiced, and promised eternal reward if they are. But if He died for us – I say if – then our welfare is clearly God’s concern, and therefore, should be ours, too.

    Alas, the Rev’s derailment comes soon after that: “The rest of our lives we serve Him thankful for what He has done for us. Let’s worship God today! Thank Him for what He has done for you!” See the salto mortale? God cares for humanity. It would follow that to please Him, we should also care for humanity. It does not follow that our reaction should be exclusively to worship Him. But worship is the only reaction the Rev recommends.

    Not surprising, perhaps. The Rev makes his modest living by directing worship. No wonder he wants more of it. As my Welsh grandmother remarked, “Everybody puts their finger where it hurts”. It is no doubt uncharitable of me to wonder what proportion of their resources the Rev’s church or the Rev himself devote to emulating God and caring for humanity, and less charitable still to think, on this showing, that it isn’t, shall we say, an overwhelming amount.

  2. chris schilling

    “Unfortunately, we have sinned against God.”

    So send us all mad for seven years, and make us eat grass like an ox. But don’t send another boring apologist with a face that could crack mirrors, to bang on about your crushed kid and “sins” we don’t have and salvation we don’t need anyway.

    That’s the least effective way to persuade the unbeliever.

  3. Michael Fugate

    Makes one wonder why a narcissist like the US President isn’t eating grass instead of Big Macs…

  4. Stephen Kennedy

    Actually, I think you could post that picture with no problems since I do not think the police have a copyright on the mug shots they take.

  5. @David Luckett
    Yes, but I suggest that God’s concern is for the individual, not the group. Jesus died for me, for thee, and for him and her. There is a special relationship that I have with my Creator and Savior.
    To observe this distinction is to make irrelevant much of the Christian complaint against that science of populations and taxa, evolution.

  6. “You gotta click over there to see it!”
    I’d love to, Alas the dictature of the EU thinks protecting regular data (GDPR) important, while many American sites don’t. Hence you’re European fandom doesn’t have access to online quality papers like the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. Hence we’ll never know how attractive Rev. Ethan is.

    “The apostle Paul provides the answers in Romans 11:36.”
    Well, he didn’t exactly do so yesterday, so Rev. Ethan apparently has done a bad job spreading those answers all over the world.

    “Naturalism teaches that matter is eternal.”
    Ah, Rev. Ethan has a firm grasp of the Law of Energy/Matter containment.

    “Humanism teaches that man’s happiness is the greatest good.”
    Doesn’t sound bad in my ears.

    “The best example of humanism in the Bible is King Nebuchadnezzar.”
    And that’s an example of “People live today for their own happiness”?

    “It is the height of insanity to believe that we are the center of the universe.”
    Good thing then that according to naturalism we aren’t.

  7. @DaveL: “Read with generosity, this allows God-directed evolution.”
    I’d like you to explain, with all the generosity within you, how Rev. Ethan’s rejection of naturalism allows for theistic evolution.

    “humanism has its origin in the idea that human beings are uniquely important to God”
    Yes, the irony is that humanism was developed by some devout catholics.

  8. Dave Luckett

    Why, FrankB, if one believes in theistic evolution, then one believes that evolution is directed by God. If one believes that, then one has necessarily rejected naturalism as sufficient to account for the origin of the species.

  9. @DaveLuckett
    One can believe in God, and accept that God allows chance to work in the natural world. This, I believe, was the position of as orthodox a theist as Thomas Aquinas.
    If biological taxa are merely human concepts, then theee is no need for they to be “things” created by God.

  10. Dave Luckett

    Even so, TomS. But one might also take the position that God directed evolution – there being no way to prove He didn’t, and only Occam to say that it’s an added hypothesis – and hence reject perfect naturalism. God is, in all cases, an added hypothesis, anyway.

    This is perhaps the Rev’s position. I’m not sure of that, mind. He might, on the basis of what he doesn’t say in this encyclical, be a complete six-days-six-thousand-years-ago creationist. But I’ll do him the courtesy of ascribing to him an opinion that is somewhat defensible.

  11. @DaveL: “If one believes that, then one has necessarily rejected naturalism as sufficient to account for the origin of the species.”
    It seems to me that Rev. Ethan also rejects naturalism as necessary. But I’m no more sure than you are.

  12. @DaveLuckett
    Yes, one can say that God directed evolution. Yes, any naturalistic explanation for any naturalistic phenomenon could be God’s work. God is compatible with any outcome. He is omnipotent, and inscrutable.

  13. FrankB, If you can’t visit the rev’s newspaper from your location, you might try to do a Google image search on the rev’s name. Other people have the same name, so add “pastor” to your search string.

  14. Laurette McGovern

    So, let me get this straight: Adam and Eve failed to meet god’s standards, so they were kicked out of the Garden. Folks of Noah’s time failed to meet god’s standards, so 99.999% were drowned. People of Jesus’ time failed to meet god’s standards, so he was sacrificed to put us on the right path. Now, 2000 years later, humanity has failed to meet god’s standards.

    Perhaps god is simply incompetant as a creator. Just wondering.

  15. Read the Wikipedia article on the “Logical order of God’s decrees”. There you will learn about the dispute about the divine decree for the Fall of Man – that was no mistake in creation, but something whch God decreed. And about the divine decrees about who is to be saved and who is to be damned. Once again, there is no mistake. It’s all part of the divine plan.
    The only queston is about the order of the decrees. Is it antelapsarianism or postlapsarianism?

  16. @SC: Is this the guy?

    https:// www. biglakefaithbible. org/ people/ ethan-hansen/

    Given “mugshot” that picture in the local newspaper must be something special.

    @TomS: the simple answer to your only question is as usual: there is no god.

  17. That’s him, but it’s not the picture in the newspaper.

  18. Michael Fugate

    I don’t think theistic evolution necessarily rejects the sufficiency of naturalism. Evolution still could happen completely naturalistically, but doesn’t because a supernatural entity intervenes. A fence on a hill before a highway doesn’t stop the rock from rolling down, it only changes the path so it doesn’t hit the cars passing by.

  19. Dave Luckett

    True, Michael Fugate. I should have said that theistic evolution rejects the sufficiency of naturalism for this biosphere, these lifeforms, ourselves among them.

  20. What about theistic reproduction, genetics, metabolism, etc?

  21. Michael Fugate

    A theistic evolutionist believes there is a plan for the universe and a big part of that plan is humanity – a theistic reproductionist believes there is a plan and a big part of that plan is the individual TR. Out of the possible combinations of ancestors, parents, and eggs and sperm, God picked the one that produced the individual TR – indeed very special.

  22. @Laurette McGovern: “So, let me get this straight: Adam and Eve failed to meet god’s standards, so they were kicked out of the Garden.”
    That’s not why they were kicked out of the garden:
    Gen 3:22 ff: And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden