It is very hard to misinterpret the phrase “evenings and …

Comment on 2013 Annual Council Votes to Change Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 by Sean Pitman.

It is very hard to misinterpret the phrase “evenings and mornings”. Beyond this, Hebrew scholars are in general agreement that the author of Genesis intended to convey literal historical events to his readers – i.e., a literal creation week. For example, consider the thoughts of well-known Oxford Hebrew scholar James Barr:

“Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience. (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.”

Letter from Professor James Barr to David C.C. Watson of the UK, dated 23 April 1984.

Consider that Prof. Barr made this statement while personally considering the Genesis narrative to be false. He did not believe that God created life on this planet in just six literal days. He believed that life existed and evolved on this planet over billions of years just like most mainstream scientists do today. Yet, he still was quite clear that the author(s) of the Genesis narrative intended to say something about real historical events. They did not intend to be figurative in their language.

Now, it is quite a different thing to say that the Biblical authors where simply mistaken compared to the argument that suggests that they were intending to write symbolically or figuratively. The SDA Church takes the Bible at its word, as the revealed Word of God. So, in suggesting that the SDA Church not put so much stock in a literal reading of the Genesis narrative, you are suggesting that the Church back off of its position that the Bible was in fact inspired by God to give us privileged information about God and about the world in which we live. If the SDA Church were to do this, it would basically undermine the entire purpose for their being a unique Seventh-day Adventist Church. After all, if one can pick and choose what is and what is not correct in the Bible, regardless of the obvious intent of the author of a given passage or account, what’s the point?

Again, the bigger problem is that the proposed change to the wording of FB#6 could be interpreted by many as supporting a narrow view of how long it took for the Lord to make “the heavens and the earth,” and used forcefully to punish those who advocate young life creationism (the earth made many thousands or millions of years ago) instead of young earth creationism (the earth made about 6,000 years ago). The motivation to revise the wording–to punish those who interpret things differently–serves well such an unintended consequence. I think it’s a mistake.

Many reasonable people do interpret the Bible very differently from how the Seventh-day Adventist Church interprets the Bible. This is perfectly fine. All are and should be free to come to their own conclusions and form their own opinions as to what the Bible is or isn’t saying. However, the church is also free to take on its own unique position as an organization of like minds and to hire, as paid representatives, only those who will actually promote those ideas that the church considers to be its primary goals and ideals. Surely you cannot be arguing that the church should maintain teachers or pastors regardless of what they are teaching or preaching? Beyond this, the Adventist Church, as an organization, has always upheld the position that the “week” described in Genesis was a literal week and that this understanding of the message of the author of Genesis is “fundamental” to the Adventist message. It is perfectly reasonable, therefore, to reflect this position more definitively in the statement of Adventist Fundamental Beliefs.

Sean Pitman Also Commented

2013 Annual Council Votes to Change Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6
The reason why the concept of a literal week needs to be spelled out more explicitly is precisely because the current wording of FB#6 was specifically designed, by Fritz Guy and Larry Geraty, to allow for long-age interpretations for life on this planet (i.e., theistic evolution). This “loophole” has allowed both Guy and Geraty to hire and maintain ardent evolutionists at La Sierra who have long taught their students that the church’s position on a literal creation week is insane in light of the arguments of mainstream scientists. It is for this reason that it is necessary that the church take a more definitive stand on this issue in the wording of its fundamental belief statements.


2013 Annual Council Votes to Change Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6
I don’t think this is much of a concern. For one thing, many of those who proposed this type of new language for FB#6 are YLCs. For another thing, even though I favor the YLC position, I do not “absolutely reject” the possibility that the materials of the Earth were also created during this week. I do not favor this possibility, given the reading of the texts available, but I do not reject this possibility either. And, I do not consider either possibility out of line with the proposed changes to the wording of FB#6 which leaves this question open.


2013 Annual Council Votes to Change Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6
We are in full agreement with the position of the organized church on a literal creation week. Beyond this, the church is currently taking steps to clarify the language of FB#6 to reflect the church’s position on this topic – as you can see from the article.


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

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Ouch! 😉


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Naturally-acquired immunity that is gained from surviving a previous COVID-19 infection has been shown to be protective to a similar if not greater degree compared to vaccine-derived immunity – and therefore should count as having adequate immunity without having to get vaccinated.


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Again, this paper doesn’t present an actual mechanism for harming the human immune system as already explained to you. Let me know what the authors say – if they ever respond.


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