Comment on Dr. Geraty Affirms the Literal Creation Week? by Sean Pitman.
Dr. Pitman, you have promoted the prejudice that a person who has strong doubts that the universe was created in six literal, consecutive, and contiguous 24-hour days 6000 years is a theistic evolutionist. What you fail to disclose to your followers is that there are sincere Seventh-day Adventists who reject theistic evolution but suggest that the traditional interpretation of the biblical account of creation may not be as airtight as some argue.
I myself don’t believe that the entire universe was necessarily created 6,000 years ago. I do beleive that the Bible is quite clear, however, that all life on this planet was in fact created within very recent history (i.e., less than 10,000 years ago) during the course of a literal 6-day creation week.
Those who support the theory that features of the geologic column and/or fossil record required vast periods of time to explain directly undermine the biblical concept of a literal creation week and support, quite directly, the evolutionary model of common descent over billions of years of time.
Throwing God into the mix at this point, producing a theistic model of evolution, really does nothing to support the Adventist model of origins. In fact, the theistic model is, in many ways, much more dangerous to Adventism and Christianity at large than is the atheistic evolutionary model of origins.
In any case, I see nothing wrong or “mentally imballanced” about asking for and actually expecting open honest transparency from those who are leaders in our church and schools – especially from those who are in charge of teaching our children in a truly “Adventist” setting. In fact, if find it very dishonest for anyone to suggest, as you seem to be suggesting, that it is perfectly fine for the leadership of our schools to be less than forthright with the church membership at large as to what is really being taught to our sons and daughters in our own schools.
Clearly Dr. Geraty has been less than forthright in this regard. I therefore consider your support of such evasive and misleading comments and actions on the part of Dr. Geraty to be more than a little imballanced and disheartening. How can a problematic situation be resolved if those responsible in various ways for the problem refuse to admit that there is or ever was a problem?
Sean Pitman Also Commented
My point is that Genesis 1:16 is unequivocal in stating God created the stars on the fourth day. Iâ€™m not trying to interpret what I think â€œthe author of Genesis was trying to get across to his readers.â€ Iâ€™m looking at what Genesis actually says. It says the stars were created on the fourth day, and now youâ€™re telling me this is not so?
Everything must be interpreted in an effort to understand what the author was trying to tell his readers. This is called the science of hermeneutics.
In context of the Bible as a whole, it is fairly clear that the author’s parenthetical phrase, “he made the stars also” does not require that God created the stars ex nihilo on the fourth day of the creation of this particular planet into a state able to support life. That doesn’t make much sense in context.
Of course, some creationists have held that the entire universe, or at least the visible portion, was created on the fourth day. The text arguably permits this interpretation, but does not require it. “The stars also” is merely a parenthetical phrase in which God is identified as the creator of the stars without identifying when this was accomplished. The text appears to permit the interpretation that the stars were already in existence, perhaps with planets inhabited by other created intelligences.
For example, Clyde Webster, former associate director of the Geo-Science Research Institute, in his book The Earth writes, â€œThere is no reference in Scripture within creation week that addresses the creation of water or the mineral content of dry land. . . . The only reference made to their creation is â€˜in the beginning.â€™ It seems possible then that the elementary inorganic matter is not bound by a limited age as is the living matter.â€
Early Adventist pioneers also seemed to favor this view. M. C. Wilcox, in 1898 wrote, â€œWhen did God create, or bring into existence, the heaven and the earth? â€˜In the beginning.â€™ When this â€˜beginningâ€™ was, how long a period it covered, it is idle to conjecture; for it is not revealed. That it was a period which antedated the six daysâ€™ work is evident.â€
More recently, at the 2002 General Conference-sponsored Faith and Science Conference, Richard Davidson from Andrews University stated that â€œ[T]he biblical text of Genesis 1 leaves room for either (a) young pre-fossil rock, created as part of the seven days of creation (with apparent old age), or (b) much older pre-fossil earth rock, with a long interval between the creation of the inanimate â€˜raw materialsâ€™ on earth described in Genesis 1:1,2 and the seven days of Creation week described in Genesis 1:3ff (which I find the preferable interpretation).â€
After all, the Bible itself indicates the pre-existence of the universe before the creation of this planet to a state that could support life. For example, consider, yet again, that the author of Job claims that the sons of God sang together and that the angels shouted for joy at the creation of our world (Job 38:7). Mrs. White also tells us that the angels and other intelligences on other planets pre-existed the creation of our planet and that our creation had something to do with the jealousy that began in the heart of Lucifer. So, what do such Biblical claims indicate about the pre-existence of the universe? Where did the angels and sons of God live?
The Bible is quite clear that God made everything – including the stars. However, the Bible also suggests that the universe existed before the special creation week that took place on this particular planet. Read in Job were the “sons of God shouted for joy” at the creation of our own world. – Job 38:7
Where did the “sons of God” live?
You see, the Genesis account of creation deals specifically with the special creation of our own world and the features of our world necessary to support complex life. However, this account also makes plain that God is the creator of all things that exist in the entire universe. The comment, “He made the stars also” is as an aside, not necessarily indicating that the stars were made during the creation week of our planet, but that God created everything – in case anyone was wondering.
In short, it is quite clear that the author of Genesis was trying to get across to his readers that God is the creator of all that exists and that He created all life and the features necessary to support that life, on this particular planet, in just six literal days…
To quote Mrs. White:
Many who profess to believe the Bible record are at a loss to account for wonderful things which are found in the earth, with the view that creation week was only seven literal days, and that the world is now only about six thousand years old. These, to free themselves of difficulties thrown in their way by infidel geologists, adopt the view that the six days of creation were six vast, indefinite periods, and the day of Godâ€™s rest was another indefinite period; making senseless the fourth commandment of Godâ€™s holy law. Some eagerly receive this position, for it destroys the force of the fourth commandment, and they feel a freedom from its claims upon them. They have limited ideas of the size of men, animals and trees before the flood, and of the great changes which then took place in the earth. – EGW, SG, Vol. 3, p. 92
I am fully in line with this statement. I believe that all life on Earth was created within just six literal days within recent history. Both the Bible and Mrs. White support this position. The literal nature of creation week is of prime importance to Adventism – despite the claims of Dr. Geraty and others within the church to the contrary.
Now, Mrs. White does use the phrase “about six thousand years old” which some may aruge allows for some uncertainty as to the precise time of creation. However, the Bible does not allow for anything remotely close to what those like Dr. Geraty would need to interpret the fossil record as forming as the result of anything other than a rather sudden watery catastrophe… consistent with a recent Noachian Flood of worldwide proportions.
Dr. Geraty’s notion of a local Mesopotamian flood as being the Noachian Flood described in the Bible is simply not supported by the Biblical text, the writings of Mrs. White, or the fossil/geologic records themselves.
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I fail to see where you have convincingly supported your claim that the GC leadership contributed to the harm of anyone’s personal religious liberties? – given that the GC leadership does not and could not override personal religious liberties in this country, nor substantively change the outcome of those who lost their jobs over various vaccine mandates. That’s just not how it works here in this country. Religious liberties are personally derived. Again, they simply are not based on a corporate or church position, but rely solely upon individual convictions – regardless of what the church may or may not say or do.
Yet, you say, “Who cares if it is written into law”? You should care. Everyone should care. It’s a very important law in this country. The idea that the organized church could have changed vaccine mandates simply isn’t true – particularly given the nature of certain types of jobs dealing with the most vulnerable in society (such as health care workers for example).
Beyond this, the GC Leadership did, in fact, write in support of personal religious convictions on this topic – and there are GC lawyers who have and continue to write personal letters in support of personal religious convictions (even if these personal convictions are at odds with the position of the church on a given topic). Just because the GC leadership also supports the advances of modern medicine doesn’t mean that the GC leadership cannot support individual convictions at the same time. Both are possible. This is not an inconsistency.