Faculty Statement on Creation
A REAFFIRMATION OF CREATION
September 8, 2004
The Faith and Science Conferences that have taken place in the church during the past three years (2002-2004) have shown the wide range of views that exist concerning the origins of life and the early chapters of Genesis.
Despite the fact that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has had a long-held fundamental belief concerning creation, a small but vocal group has:
a. called for a reinterpretation of the longstanding Adventist understanding of creation and the flood and proposed a view that is constructed upon evolutionary presuppositions.
b. argued that the lack of specificity in Fundamental Belief #6 allows for a number of mutually exclusive views to coexist in the Church.
In response to the present focus on origins in the Church, we, the faculty of the School of Religion, Southern Adventist University, offer this reaffirmation of creation with recommendations to be considered by the organizing committee and officers of the General Conference.
According to Scripture:
1. We affirm the primacy of Scripture in all areas of inquiry whether science or other disciplines because it is the inspired Word of God (Is 40:8; 2 Pet 1:19-21; 2 Tim 3:16).
2. We affirm that Genesis 1-11 is a historical, literal, and reliable account since the description found therein is reaffirmed throughout the OT (Exod 20:11; Neh 9:6; Job 26:7,13; Psa 8:3; 33:6; 96:5; 102:25; 104:24,30; 115:15; 121:2; 124:8; 134:3; 136:5; 146:6; 148:4, 5; Prov 3:19; 8:22-30; Eccl 12:1; Isa 37:16; 40:12,26-28; 42:7; 43:7; 44:24; 45:11-18; 51:13,16; Jer 51:15; Zech 12:1); also, every NT writer and Jesus Himself, explicitly or implicitly affirm the historicity of Gen 1-11 (Matt 19:4, 5; 24:37-39; Mark 10:6; Luke 3:38; 17:26, 27; Jn 1:3; Rom 5:12; Acts 17:24-26; 1 Cor 6:16; 11:8-9, 12; 15:45-48; 2 Cor 11:3; Col 1:16; Eph 5:31; 1 Tim 2:13, 14; Heb 11: 3, 7; 1 Pet 3:20; 2 Pet 2:5; 3:5-6; James 3:9; 1 John 3:12; Jude 11, 14; Rev 14:7).
3. We affirm that by His word, God created all things out of nothing (ex nihilo) (Gen 1:3; Ps 33: 6, 9; Jn 1:3; Heb 11:3).
4. We affirm the supernatural creation of a perfect and good world in six, consecutive, contiguous, literal, 24-hour days (Gen 1; Ex 20:11) and that creation was complete at the end of creation week (Gen 2:1-2).
5. We affirm that the six-day creation of life on earth took place recently, a few thousand years ago (Gen 5, 11; 1 Chron 1:1-27).
6. We affirm that all things were created by God, both in the heavens and the earth, visible and invisible (Col 1:16).
7. We affirm that death was the result of sin (Rom 6:23), and that therefore there was no death before sin (Gen 2:16-17), and there will no longer be death in the new heaven and the new earth (Rev 21:4).
8. We affirm that death came into the world by the first man, Adam (Gen 3:6; Rom 5:14; 1 Cor 15:22), and that after introducing evil into the world there was a tremendous increase of wickedness (Gen 6:1-4).
9. We affirm that a subsequent catastrophic, global flood was sent by God as a judgment against wickedness (Gen 6:5-7) â€œso that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were coveredâ€ (Gen 7:20-21), and that this flood destroyed all flesh except that which was preserved on the ark (Gen 7:1-3; 2 Pet 2:5-7).
10. We affirm the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy as manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White to this remnant movement and her specific reaffirmation of the biblical doctrine of creation as taught by the Scriptures: specifically, a literal six-day creation; Godâ€™s rest on the seventh day; a universal, global flood; and her reaffirmation of a short chronology of â€œabout 6,000 years.â€
11. We affirm that, when properly understood, Scripture and nature are harmonious in their witness to the creation and flood.
12. We affirm the interlocking nature of the doctrine of creation with these doctrines: Scripture, nature and character of God, nature of man, Great Controversy, atonement, remnant and mission, unity of the church, gift of prophecy, law of God, Sabbath, stewardship, Christian behavior, marriage, Second Coming, death and resurrection, and the new earth.
1. We deny that the creation story is parable, saga, metaphor, myth, or any other literary category insofar as they are construed as mutually exclusive to a literal and historical account.
2. We deny any other theory of origins involving millions of years for the development of life, and the evolution of humans from non-human primates as taught in natural evolution, theistic evolution, and progressive creation.
3. We deny the view that a literal and historical account of Gen 1-11 is not essential to the belief system of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
4. We deny that death was part of Godâ€™s original creation or that it will be part of Godâ€™s new creation.
5. We deny that the biblical flood was only local or that the covering of the high mountains only involved water in a solid state.
6. We deny that Ellen G. White is to be understood only devotionally in the area of origins.
Based on these affirmations and denials, we recommend that:
1. The General Conference consider initiating an appropriate process which would enable Fundamental Belief # 6 on creation to speak with greater clarity, regarding the historicity and timing of Gen 1-11.
2. The leadership in our church employ only educators and pastors who are committed to the teachings of Scripture as understood by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and establish procedures that would encourage academic honesty, integrity, and accountability in this regard.
3. The Church continue to foster ways to educate its membership regarding the value and importance of the doctrine of creation.
Ron E. M. Clouzet, D.Min., Dean and Professor of Ministry
Stephen Bauer, M.Div., Associate Professor of Religion
Jack J. Blanco, Th.D., Former Dean and Adjunct Professor of Theology
Norman R. Gulley, Ph.D., Research Professor of Systematic Theology
Michael G. Hasel, Ph.D., Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Archaeology
Douglas Jacobs, D.Min., Associate Professor of Religion
Greg A. King, Ph.D., Professor of Biblical Studies
Judson Lake, D.Min., Th.D., Professor of Pastoral Theology
Donn W. Leatherman, Ph.D., Professor of Old Testament Studies
Carlos G. MartÃn, Ph.D., Professor of Evangelism and Missions
Edwin Reynolds, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament Studies
Phillip G. Samaan, D.Min., Professor of Applied Theology and Evangelism
Douglas A. Tilstra, M.Div., Associate Professor of Religion