By Educate Truth Staff:
Part A, I move that the [59th] session of the General Conference endorse the 2004 Annual Council statement, reaffirmation of creation. Part B, further, that the General Conference administration be requested to initiate a process to integrate Fundamental Belief Number 6 and the statement ‘A [Response to An Affirmation] of Creation’ as provided for in the 2005 General Conference Session protocol for amending a Fundamental Belief.
Both motions passed despite being split at the suggestion of Southern Adventist University president, Gordon Bietz.
An article by Keith Lockhart, published by Spectrum, is quite interesting concerning more details of this vote. Here are a few excerpts from his article:
[New GC President Ted] Wilson appealed to delegates to allow the General Conference to initiate a process to integrate the 2004 affirmation with the church’s current fundamental belief no. 6. This states that in “six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth and all living things upon the earth and rested on the seventh day.” But the leadership now thinks it is too ambiguous on biblical origins. The president said: “It is absolutely critical that we accept Scripture as it reads. Personally, and I know in the Seventh-day Adventist Church we believe, that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are not allegorical, not symbolic in some abstract way, but they represent an authentic, a true literal explanation of how God created this earth and also those events following creation, including a global flood of massive proportions.”
Southern Adventist University president Gordon Bietz urged that the vote be split into two sections. The first would be a vote on the reaffirmation of the affirmation of creation, and the second, which he opposed, would be opening up the doctrine for a rewrite.
Ben Clausen of the Geoscience Research Institute said that Ted Wilson’s statement put science teachers in Adventist schools in an untenable position. Quoting from the statement, Dr. Clausen said that “it is impossible,” to teach students “scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation.”
He added: “There are no available models.”…
With very little time set aside for debate and only a few delegates publicly opposing any modification of the church’s current statement on creation, the proposals easily cleared the floor…
As a participant in the International Faith and Science Conferences in Colorado in 2002-2004, Larry Geraty, president emeritus of La Sierra University… was responsible for drafting the original fundamental belief 6 when he taught at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary thirty years ago. He adds:
I fear that the proposal will result in a more literalistic interpretation that will serve to exclude members who love the church, believe in the authority of the Bible, but interpret it in harmony with accepted standards of interpretation for God’s revelation in both nature and Scripture.