Comment on GC Votes to Revise SDA Fundamental #6 on Creation by J. Knight.
By the way, a great deal of presenting God as an ordered and powerful Creator is based on the literal interpretation of the creation week. Without this literal interpretation and the scientific support that goes with it, you really have no logical basis with which to defend your own argument that God is obviously a powerful and orderly Creator.
My argument through this whole thread has been consistent, but I fear you’ve assigned me to a “camp” and have brought in other ideas from this group.
1. I’m not arguing for evolution – I agree that death as a selector is incompatible with our idea of sin it’s origins on earth and it’s consequences as far as I understand it.
2. I agree that the first 34 versus (including through Sabbath creation) of Genesis are intended to describe what happened and are not a made-up story.
3. I believe the story is intended to show God’s ordered intent in creation. That He did it on purpose.
My point is this: by insisting that creation happened in a week identical to those we experience now you’re adding a detail that’s not written into the story explicitly – the story leaves more room than you’re offering. This is a seemingly small addition, and as I said before if you read Genesis with the pre-conceived idea that it is a literal week, it reads fine. But also if you think any of several other things when approaching the story, it reads fine under those preconceptions as well. So if you have a support other than “that’s exactly what it says”, I’d be interested to hear that. Specifically scriptural support – as we claim to be people of the book, not scientists, and as technical people you and I both accept that science is constantly revisionary. My point is that it doesn’t say, specifically and exclusively that creation happened in a week as we experience it now. Charged with a monumental task -explaining one of the biggest actions ever, to all humans to follow him- he is doing his best to show that this happened in an order.
Consider some of the effects of adding this small addition to our church Fundamental Beliefs:
– To the less scientifically-interested members: This doesn’t add anything to their salvation, their reason for remaining in the church, their ability to fellowship, or their ability to witness. They gain nothing that I can see.
– Those in the Science community: This is not consistent with anything they observe. We are putting up a rigid wall and essentially destroying our chance to witness to them. I know that “even the very elect” will be fooled, but it shouldn’t be for our lack of trying.
– Potential members or those without a strong commitment – see all this as a big whiney fight over nothing, and can’t believe all the name calling and extremism being thrown around. This debate, and the insistence on increasing level of exclusion in our principles threatens to shake many of them out of a position where they could strengthen their faith.
So what IS the benefit of this change?
You argue from the perspective that this has always been what people believe, but I would challenge that. I know a large set of elderly Adventists that entertain other ideas – and though their ideas vary, most of them site the reason for not being more vocal as fear of the losses the debate would cause. It has been better for them to quietly live with their own conviction, but do not allow this to fool you into thinking that anything longer than 166 hours of God’s work is a new or fringe idea.
#6 is good.. it already says what you believe – just as the Bible does (to you). But it also says what I believe, and what the Bible says to me. In adding what you read into the story, you are unnecessarily excluding other believers.
I know your argument rightly centers around the search for the truth and to define it. But take a step back and consider what you are saying by taking it to the GC to codify it. What does that say to those of us that hold very close but slightly different views of the words of Genesis? Are you telling us to go away; that we can have no part in the SDA church? Whether that’s your intention or not, the volume and fervor with which this argument is being waged makes it seem that way. If this is your intent, please clarify so directly or address your actual intent.
As I have laid out, I do not believe in many of the things you are arguing against (any?), but I stop short of accepting the full measure of your interpretation. Still your position makes me unwelcome in the church I have worked to build. If there are parts of it that must be accepted – God’s power, God’s personal involvement and intent in creation – please Yes! let’s emphasize those. But to require extra divides us.
J. Knight Also Commented
I’ve re-read my post above, and would like to amend it. My intent is not to challenge you (challenge, in the sense of a dual). I fell as though many in this debate, here and elsewhere have been talking past each other, blending people who believe differently into a single group of dissenters or “conservatives”. Things have been busy lately – as you can see by Sean Pittman answering a host of questions and challenges on a WIDE variety of topics. So, to make a clarification, and give myself (and others) the chance to hear you as you intend to be heard I’d like an explanation:
– Of the position you’re supporting
– ignoring the positions you’re refuting
– a Biblical-based support or two for said position
– an explanation of the importance for holding this view (ramifications or consequences essentially
Again, it would be helpful if you could focus on positions you support, as detractors from your view come in many forms, and addressing them tends to muddy the waters.
Thank you Dr. Pittman. Perhaps a Blog post would be a better place to reply than the Comment section. If you choose this, please comment a link in here.
How does the story leave more room than Iâ€™m offering when you yourself admit that the author of the story very clearly intended to convey the idea of a literal creation week? â€“ and that this idea was supported by other biblical authors â€“ even Jesus Himself?
Beyond this, do you not understand that it is this literal understanding of the creation week that backs up the very idea that God exists and is a powerful Creator? Allowing room for other interpretations of the creation â€œweekâ€, which are contrary to the clear intent of the author of Genesis, only opens the door to weaken the very basis for belief in the creative powers and even Divine character of God.
Clearly we just disagree about what the words actually say. As I’ve said several times now, if you read the text without your preconceived idea, it could equally say several things. Despite my direct request, you still haven’t offered any support of your position other than restating you’re use that’s what the text says. This is proof enough for personal conviction, but not for church doctrine. You’ve made a couple vague references -in the quote above, to Jesus- please flesh them out and support your position that creation MUST have happened in a week AS WE EXPERIENCE it now.
Also, I’d like to ask why this is so important? I have my own reasons, but I’d like to hear where you are coming from, to better understand your perspective. Clearly this is an issue you feel passionate about as you have devoted a lot of yourself to it’s support here and elsewhere. To clarify, I’m not asking what you’re arguing AGAINST, as I’m not positing a specific take on the text. I’d like to know what you’re arguing FOR and it’s support. Feel free to link me to somewhere you’ve made this argument succinctly in the past.
My position throughout this forum has not been to propose an alternative view, but to ask for open-mindedness in biblical interpretation. Thus far we disagree as to whether or not you’re even doing any interpretation, and I don’t think either of us want’s go round and round about that, so please tell me, Biblicly, why you support the view of a short-term-only creation.
Recent Comments by J. Knight
A big reason why so many people are leaving the church
I believe we should be using the origin of Sin to challenge Evolution.
If it’s Evolution specifically that the Adventist Church is currently trying to oust, we should use the fact that death is an abnormal addition to our experience. Death is introduced to Adam and Eve as a new concept -along with working the land for food, and pain in childbirth- as part of the curse. Evolution relies on death as a selector, but sin relies on choice. If Sin did not exist until the pair in the garden choose something outside God’s plan, and death is a result of sin, then we’d need humans before death, which doesn’t fit with evolution. The debate about:
-how long a “day” is
-if adding up a chronology is a cogent dating technique
-interpretation of observed geology etc.
seem to be much murkier arguments than this. Sin is decidedly the purview of the church, yet we’re not using it to make this argument. Is there a reason why? (honest question)
Am I mistaken, and we do believe in pre-sin death of non-human life?
Do Adventists who believe in Evolution have a different view of the origin of sin?
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