Dr. Geraty Affirms the Literal Creation Week?

By Sean Pitman (7/19/11)

In a recent comment posted to this website, Dr. Lawrence Geraty, retired president of La Sierra University, has affirmed his own belief in the Adventist position on creation ( Link ).

For the record, 1) I am NOT a theistic evolutionist nor have I ever suggested it to be “the true model of origins.” 2) I have NEVER suggested anything like the view that conservative Adventists (of whom I count myself) are “the type that fly planes into buildings.” (Hopefully that denial will make less “scary” the fact that I have been the president of an Adventist institution.)

Why would Dr. Geraty feel the need to clarify his position on origins with the use of such strong and dramatic language? Could it be that his position has been less than clear given many of his past statements and actions as president of LSU?  Consider, for example, Dr. Geraty’s comments published in Spectrum in 2010:

Christ tells us they will know us by our love, not by our commitment to a seven literal historical, consecutive, contiguous 24-hour day week of creation 6,000 years ago which is NOT in Genesis no matter how much the fundamentalist wing of the church would like to see it there.

Fundamental Belief No. 6 uses Biblical language to which we can all agree; once you start interpreting it according to anyone’s preference you begin to cut out members who have a different interpretation. I wholeheartedly affirm Scripture, but NOT the extra-Biblical interpretation of the Michigan Conference. Since when is salvation by correct knowledge anyway?

Consider also that Dr. Geraty, during his term as president of LSU, hired science professors (Larry McCloskey and Lee Grismer in particular) who were known supporters of mainstream evolutionary theories and who had a history of undermining the Adventist position on a literal six-day creation week.  While Dr. Geraty is correct in saying that he was not directly responsible, it was Dr. Grismer, the “Reptile King“, who told students that those who believe in the literal creation week are, “The ones who fly airplanes into buildings”  ( Link ).  Students also warned Dr. Geraty of Dr. McCloskey’s attack on the Adventist view of origins yet Dr. Geraty did nothing to help these students or to counter the influence of those who were actively promoting mainstream evolution at LSU during his term as president ( Link ).  Instead, he told everyone who would listen that all of the professors at LSU are “creationists” in full support of the fundamentals of Adventism.

Dr. Geraty had to know that such claims were very deceptive if not outright lies.  He could only have seen himself clear to make such claims based on the current wording of FB#6 that Dr. Geraty and Dr. Fritz Guy helped to draft. Drs. Geraty and Guy interpret the current wording of FB#6 as allowing for non-literal views of the creation week.

Also during Dr. Geraty’s term, theologians like Dr. Webster and Dr. Guy (also a former president of LSU from 90′-93′) gave lectures to LSU students telling them, “Nobody takes the Genesis account of creation literally.” ( Link ).

It is somewhat difficult, therefore, to take Dr. Geraty’s claims of support for the Adventist perspective on origins seriously given his support for those who are most active in attacking the fundamentals of the church – especially when Dr. Geraty himself refers to those who do hold to the importance a literal creation week as view as radical right-wing tea-party fundamentalists  ( Link ) one could hardly be blamed for misunderstanding Dr. Geraty’s true position.

The confusion only increases when one considers things like Dr. Geraty’s statements in apparent support of Prof. Ervin Taylor who argues for the reliability of mainstream radiocarbon dating interpretations (which Dr. Taylor presents as clearly falsifying the SDA notion of a literal creation week in recent history; Link ) Dr. Geraty has also personally challenges the world-wide nature of the Noachian Flood, arguing that the author(s) of Genesis are most likely talking about a local flood.  In the book, Understanding Genesis: Contemporary Adventist Perspectives Dr. Geraty personally wrote:

“Was the Genesis flood worldwide? There is no evidence for that as of now, but it certainly covered the world known to the author.  It is the opinion of most experts, and little reasonable doubt remains (although some would dispute this) that the events of Genesis 6-8 must have taken place within a limited though indeed a vast area, covering not the entire globe, but the scene of the human story of the previous chapters.”

Dr. Geraty stands here in direct and very open opposition to the historical position of the SDA Church on this issue.  He also, at the same time, challenges the SDA understanding of the inspiration of Mrs. White who clearly claims that she was shown by God that the Noachian Flood was indeed world-wide in nature and was responsible for the formation of much of the geologic an fossil records.

It is also rather difficult to ignore the impression that Dr. Geraty strongly favors the “progressive” movement within the Church given his public support for the actions of those like Elder Hammill. When former General Conference Vice-President Richard Hammill became a “progressive creationist”, turning his back on the fundamental SDA doctrine of a literal 6-day creation week, Dr. Geraty seemed to be very pleased indeed as he introduced Hammill with the following words of praise:  “I could hardly have imagined inviting our speaker to share his testimony on his journey as a progressive believer.  But to his credit, he is one of the few converts to Adventism that I know who, after his retirement, has truly made a transition to a progressive faith.” ( Link )

Given such public statements and actions in favor of those attacking the church from within, together with his own published comments on the topic of origins, it is very difficult for me to accept the sincerity of Dr. Geraty’s support for the Adventist position – to include the literal nature of the creation week and the Genesis narrative as a whole.  While Dr. Geraty has been rather emphatic in his denial of “theistic evolutionism” I’ve yet to see him clearly state his support for the historical reality of the literal creation week, the worldwide Noachian Flood, or the relatively recent creation of all forms of life on this planet (i.e., within the last 10,000 years).  As always, Dr. Geraty is less than transparent in the language that he uses.  He redefines terms for himself and uses words in ways he knows many people will misunderstand what he’s really saying.  He continues to describe the professors at LSU as “creationists”, in full support of Adventism, knowing full well what this term means for most people, while also knowing that many of LSU’s professors do not support the Adventist concept of a literal creation week much less a recent arrival of all life on this planet or a worldwide Noachian Flood.

In short, I would ask that Dr. Geraty at least be forthright about what is being taught at LSU and his own personal responsibility for the current situation in play – the current creation/evolution controversy within and beyond the walls of LSU.

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148 thoughts on “Dr. Geraty Affirms the Literal Creation Week?

  1. @Bob Orrick:
    You make my point for me. The statement that they “became one” really means that they became “one unit” is an interpretation. It is not taking the text literally. My point is that there is no possible way to take Genesis 1-3 literally. The story is designed in such away that no matter what you say about it there is some other part of the story that, if taken literally, doesn’t fit.

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  2. @Holly Pham:
    Well, for apple trees, there is a mutation in one of the cells that grows into a branch which bears apples that are different from the parent tree. The orchardist cuts off the branch and grafts it onto root stock, and voila, you have a new variety of apple.

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  3. Ron,

    I believe you misread Genesis 2:5-9. Notice that man became a living soul in verse 7. Then in verse 8 God planted a “garden”. This was a special creation to be man’s “home”. And God put man “whom He HAD formed” into the garden. God did not form man in the garden. The garden was created after the general creation that is recorded in chapter 1. Apparently the garden was also created on day six after the general creation. Eve seems to be the very last of God’s creative work, except for the defining of the Sabbath as the seventh day.

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  4. Ron: @Holly Pham:Well, for apple trees, there is a mutation in one of the cells that grows into a branch which bears apples that are different from the parent tree. The orchardist cuts off the branch and grafts it onto root stock, and voila, you have a new variety of apple.

    Ron, How does that fit the definition of evolution? That seems different than what Darwin and others teach. Is man purposeley selecting something he likes considered evolution?

    If I like a certain colored dog, and I purposely breed many of them, is that evolution?

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  5. Ron,

    How can you argue with a definition given by God (one flesh)? One may find it difficult to understand, but who says we have perfect understanding?

    Genesis chapters 1-3 are to be taken literally, using God’s definitions and symbolisms.

    The serpent tempted Eve. Did a common snake tempt Eve? In Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 Satan is called “that old serpent” along with other names or titles. Again God is doing the naming and calling. To determine what is literal and what is figurative often requires a reasonable grasp of the whole Bible and even then there may be uncertainties. The point is, do the interpretations “fit”, do they make sense, is there some logic to it? But even with all this an element of faith may still be required, but it is definitely not blind faith and the main thrust and focus should be discernible.

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  6. Faith: During creation, the days began with the darkness–they pretty well had to because that’s all there was until, on the 4th day, the darkness was divided by the light. That means that God would have had to create the sun first, because if He didn’t, the moon would have had no light to reflect. When Moses was watching this God-given video replay and recording a written account of it, he wouldn’t have been able to see the moon was created until the sun came into existence and light was able to reach the moon and the earth–unless God made the moon and the sun together and supernaturally brought the light to the earth at the same instance. Could He not have brought the starlight to the earth at the same time? Remember, when Ellen White had visions she also had an angel guide that spoke to her–perhaps the same thing happened to Moses and the angel guide told him that the stars were created a long time ago, so he included a statement that says God created the stars also.
    It is only a thought, but would fit the scenario. In any case, all three of us believe that God created the stars, the moon and the sun and we believe the sun and moon were created on the 4th day of creation as the Bible states. We are free to conjecture about the stars a little, but we probably won’t get all the actual details until we are with Christ Jesus

    Faith – I see you are thinking about this seriously and I am happy that you are enjoying the discussion.

    You make some good points above – but consider this; on day 1 “evening and morning were the first day”.

    That statements tells us that on day 1 the earth is already rotating on its axis and that the light that God created on day 1 with “let there be light” – resulted in something like a single side of earth having light – so there is a day side and a night side with the earth in a rotation that is pretty much the same as it is today.

    By the time we get to he sun on moon on day 4, there is already 3 rotations through the day and night side, and plants and dry land and an atmosphere.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  7. Bob Orrick: I believe you misread Genesis 2:5-9.

    No, I didn’t miss read the text. In fact I agree with your interpretation. My point though is that it is an interpretation. If you read the text literally, that is not what the text says. The text is in fact very explicit in verse 5 that there were no plants, and it even gives as the reason there were no plants the fact that God had not yet created man to take care of the plants.
    Then, in verse 7 God creates man, and then only in verse 9, did God create the trees and the garden.

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not trying to deny our common understanding. I just want us to be careful and realize what we are doing. You cannot get to the Adventist understanding of creation and the garden of Eden from a literal reading of the scripture. You can only get there through interpretation. And the take home message I am trying to get to, is that the instant, you have to interpret a text to make sense of it, you are subject to fallacy. One of the fallacies you might fall into is thinking that you actually understand the text, and that there is only one way to understand it, when in fact God might have more than one message hidden in the text, and there might be more than one legitimate way to understand it. So, when Charles, two Bobs and Faith can’t agree on what was created on day 4, maybe we ought not get too dogmatic and try to leave a little wiggle room in our doctrinal formulation.

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  8. Bob Orrick: How can you argue with a definition given by God (one flesh)? One may find it difficult to understand, but who says we have perfect understanding?

    Genesis chapters 1-3 are to be taken literally, using God’s definitions and symbolisms.

    Thank you. You are here again making my point by agreeing that there are “symbolisms”. A symbol by definition is not to be taken literally. A symbol stands for something else.

    I agree, our understanding most likely isn’t perfect. E.g. the above discussion about day 4. So, because our understanding is not perfect, and we do not have universal agreement on how to understand Genesis, we need to allow for a range of understandings in our Fundamental belief statement. If we don’t then we will have exactly what is happening here. There will be a group of people who will get very dogmatic and try to get teachers and anyone else who doesn’t agree with their narrow interpretation, run out of the church.

    I guess that would be OK if we could be certain our belief were true, but . . . what if we are wrong?

    Besides, there is no harm in letting truth come to the fore naturally. Do you remember the vision Mrs. White had of the gems of truth trampled in the pig sty? They came out of it even more glorious. Truth is truth. We don’t have to be afraid and drive everybody out who doesn’t happen to agree with us.

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  9. BobRyan: on day 1 with “let there be light” – resulted in something like a single side of earth having light – so there is a day side and a night side with the earth in a rotation that is pretty much the same as it is today.

    Ok, here is another problem with literal interpretation. Haven’t we always said that a day started in the evening and then the morning? But here Bob says that when God said “let there be light” there was instantly a light side and a dark side. So the statement that the “evening and the morning were the first day” is only half true. On the opposite side of the earth, the light came first, then the evening.

    So, if I may be so bold, Bob here is asserting an interpretation that destroys the Sabbath, because on half the earth, the Sabbath actually started with the day. I ( facetiously) believe that Bob is wrong. He is teaching heresy, and ought to loose his job as a teacher and be thrown out of the church. Can’t you see how destructive that attitude is?

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  10. Holly Pham: Ron, How is your apple tree example related to organisms having sex? I still don’t see how sex results in evolution.

    Actually, my tree example was in response to your question about evolution in the case of asexual reproduction. The point being that even in something as complex as a tree, it is possible for there to be evolution even without sex.

    As for sexual reproduction, there are mechanisms in the cell that facilitate change in the DNA, thereby causing evolution. If the word evolution didn’t have so much emotional baggage behind it, I think it would be appropriate to say that God created the process of evolution. I think God specifically designed earthly organisms with the capacity to evolve. Perhaps he knew that man’s sin would result in changes in the planet and that organisms would have to change to be successful. I think evolution is a sign of a loving God who likes variety, and anticipates the needs of his creatures. Why else would he create sex? If he didn’t want man to evolve, he could have made us like the angels.

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  11. Faith said to Sean Pitman “However, I totally agree with you that the universe was created before the earth came into existance and that it could be very old.”

    This is what frustrates me about Sean. he is too immersed in science and lets his presuppositions hold sway over the bible. We will hold him accountable for this as will God in the final judgment.

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  12. Al Scott: No matter how many versions of the Bible you quote, none of them says that God created the stars at a different time from the two great lights.
    So my choices appear to believe what the Bible says, or believe what you think it means.

    Al is correct about this. Why are we having this argument? The bible is very clear on what was created on the fourth day the stars included. Those who disagree are on a slippery slope to heresy in beleivig birds to reptiles fiction.

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  13. James: Al is correct about this. Why are we having this argument? The bible is very clear on what was created on the fourth day the stars included. Those who disagree are on a slippery slope to heresy in believig birds to reptiles fiction.

    Exactly. How can one say in good faith that they accept what the Bible says if they can’t accept this simple literal statement?

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  14. James: Al is correct about this. Why are we having this argument?

    Typically we get into this because we are SDAs and believe that the unfallen worlds, heaven, Angels, God all existed before day 4 and because the Bible says God created “two” lights on Day 4 – not a zillion and two.

    The other reason we get into this is that bey adopting extreme nonsense positions and then claiming the conservative POV is just “another way” to discredit the conservative “trust the bible” argument. Our atheist friends will make this same argument against Creationists by claiming that the Bible says the entire universe is only 6000 years old with that same lack of attention to detail when it comes to day 4.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  15. Ron: Actually, my tree example was in response to your question about evolution in the case of asexual reproduction. The point being that even in something as complex as a tree, it is possible for there to be evolution even without sex.

    Where your idea dies is in the “observations in nature” arena. Because in nature there are no rocks, gas and liquids combining to form living cells.

    In nature – birds do not come from reptiles.

    In nature genomes are static in terms of the coding genes present for group level genomes.

    And this is sooo blatantly obvious that even blindly committed atheist evolutionists like Dawkins are stumped for words when it comes to a simply evol-101 request to provide just one example of new genetic information being added to a genome (which is the very heart and soul of the doctrines for eovlutionism).

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  16. BobRyan: The other reason we get into this is that bey adopting extreme nonsense positions and then claiming the conservative POV is just “another way” to discredit the conservative “trust the bible” argument. Our atheist friends will make this same argument against Creationists by claiming that the Bible says the entire universe is only 6000 years old with that same lack of attention to detail when it comes to day 4.

    So those who believe the Bible literally could be atheists, and those who don’t take the Bible literally could be conservatives? I think that many who take the Bible literally will have a problem with that.

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  17. @BobRyan:

    Bob,

    If they don’t understand by now, I don’t think they will.

    What is sad is what we know to be true. We are on the threshold of eternity as proven by prophetic fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The day comes soon when the earth will be visited by its Creator. Those who have worshiped Him as their Creator will be taken to Heaven.

    Those who deny Him will spend the 1000 years on this earth – dead – unaware of the passage of time. When they are rasised, they will not realize that 1000 years have passed and they will have a final opportunity to continue this battle.

    Read about it. It is quite clear for those who prayerfully want to understand.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+20&version=KJV

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  18. Bob:
    Thanks for your kind comment. I really am enjoying thinking about Creation. Not that I think everyone has to accept what I am thinking if it isn’t specifically said in the Bible.

    “You make some good points above – but consider this; on day 1 “evening and morning were the first day”.”

    I have thought of that, just never addressed it.

    I am not sure what “light” was created on the first day. I have heard some people say it was the light from the Lord Himself as He was near to the earth while He created it. I have also thought about how the New Jerusalem is going to be lighted up by the glory of God. Could that be what the light was on the earth at that time? It would also provide an evening and a morning depending on the relation between the planet as it rotated and the glorious light.

    Another thought is that the light was Created on the first day, according to the bible. Or, perhaps the Lord made a temporary light that He used until He saw fit to create the sun, and moon. I would need to review the part about Creation in EGW as well as the Bible to add anything more sensible to these thoughts.

    What do you think, Bob?

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  19. “This is what frustrates me about Sean. he is too immersed in science and lets his presuppositions hold sway over the bible. We will hold him accountable for this as will God in the final judgment.”

    So even Sean Pitman is not orthodox enough for Uber-orthodox Adventists.

    Facinating!

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  20. Faith: Another thought is that the light was Created on the first day, according to the bible. Or, perhaps the Lord made a temporary light that He used until He saw fit to create the sun, and moon. I would need to review the part about Creation in EGW as well as the Bible to add anything more sensible to these thoughts.
    What do you think, Bob?

    I am all for not going beyond what is written – so in this case I just say that I do not know what light is being referred to.

    But I do know this – the result of that “let there be light” statement was that one side of earth had light and the other side did not. God did not say “Let the earth exist” or “Let the earth start to rotate” or “let the surface of the deep exist” or “let the waters exist”.

    Which tells me that God created all of that prior to day 1… maybe 1 day before day 1… or 1 week, or 1 month or ?…

    Suppose for example there was a cloud of dust and gas that was condensing and would one day be the sun – suppose that on day 1 it ignites and there is a glow from the direction where one day we would have a sun? Or maybe God used something else – who knows without actually seeing it?

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  21. Charles: Bob,
    If they don’t understand by now, I don’t think they will.
    What is sad is what we know to be true. We are on the threshold of eternity as proven by prophetic fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The day comes soon when the earth will be visited by its Creator. Those who have worshiped Him as their Creator will be taken to Heaven.
    Those who deny Him will spend the 1000 years on this earth – dead

    That is all true. So also is the statement about the Alpha of apostasy – the “Living Temple” (in Battle Creek in the 1800’s) containing some doctrine undermining ideas under the guise of science and philospophy.

    And so also the prediction that the Omega would also surely come to SDAs. How can we be certain that this is not the “meet it head on” Omega problem so long predicted?

    Perhaps it is. And if so — “All hands on deck”

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  22. Charles: Bob,
    If they don’t understand by now, I don’t think they will.

    Well I can testify to having been banned from sites like RevivalSermonsOnline for insisting that the conservatives not box themselves into a position that does more harm than good to our 28 Fundamental Beliefs.

    So I consider this minor dispute with Al to be very mild by comparison. And I affirm the right of each person to exercise their free will and ignore details in the text if they so choose.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  23. BobRyan: So I consider this minor dispute with Al to be very mild by comparison.

    On the contrary, I think this “minor” dispute goes to the very heart of the discussions on this site. If you get to pick and choose what you take literally, it is (as someone else said earlier) the start of the slippery slope. If God had the power to create the sun and moon on the fourth day, He certainly had the power to create the stars. I appreciate you allowing me the free will to believe what is explicitly set forth in Genesis. I don’t understand, however, how I am ignoring anything. You seem to insist on limiting God’s creative powers when you box him into how you think he created the stars.

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  24. Sean,
    Early on this sites creation you responded to criticism stating it was a concern just a few teachers, specifically 3-4 teachers in biology.

    Now in this post you state it is “while also knowing that many of LSU’s professors do not support the Adventist concept of a literal creation”

    Which is it? Just a few or many?

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  25. Sean,
    Early upon this sites creation you responded to criticism stating it was a concern about just a few teachers, specifically 3-4 teachers in biology.

    Now in this post you state it is “while also knowing that many of LSU’s professors do not support the Adventist concept of a literal creation”

    Which is it? Just a few or many?

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  26. Ron: Actually, my tree example was in response to your question about evolution in the case of asexual reproduction. The point being that even in something as complex as a tree, it is possible for there to be evolution even without sex. As for sexual reproduction, there are mechanisms in the cell that facilitate change in the DNA, thereby causing evolution. If the word evolution didn’t have so much emotional baggage behind it, I think it would be appropriate to say that God created the process of evolution. I think God specifically designed earthly organisms with the capacity to evolve. Perhaps he knew that man’s sin would result in changes in the planet and that organisms would have to change to be successful. I think evolution is a sign of a loving God who likes variety, and anticipates the needs of his creatures. Why else would he create sex? If he didn’t want man to evolve, he could have made us like the angels.

    I still don’t understand how sex itself results in evolution. It does cause what I believe is called meiosis, but rearrangment of genes isn’t evolution, is it?

    Is grafting a tree branch of form of evolution? Breeding different characteristics, by humans, into animals such as dogs?

    Changing different characteristics already found in organisms would never result in any new types of organisms, only their presentable forms.

    Can anyone explain how sex itself results in evolution?

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  27. John: Sean,Early upon this sites creation you responded to criticism stating it was a concern about just a few teachers, specifically 3-4 teachers in biology.Now in this post you state it is “while also knowing that many of LSU’s professors do not support the Adventist concept of a literal creation”Which is it? Just a few or many?

    We seem to have a few in the biology department, but what about the religion dept? The administration? The LSU Board? The other departments? Has anyone actually taken a reliable survey of the La Sierra staff?

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  28. SAU published a seven-principle statement affirming the University’s stand on Creation. This was published in the June, 2011 Southern Tidings.

    http://www.southernunion.com/site/1/docs/Tidings/2011/jun11.pdf
    (see page 15)

    Here are the seven principles:

    1. We affirm the primacy,
    authority, and trustworthiness of the
    Bible in all areas of inquiry it addresses,
    including the origin of the natural
    world and the various kinds of life
    created therein.
    2. We affirm that Genesis 1-11 is
    an accurate and historical account of
    the events it presents. The description
    found therein is reaffirmed throughout
    the Old Testament, and every New
    Testament writer and Jesus Himself
    explicitly or implicitly affirms the historicity
    of Genesis 1-11.
    3. We affirm the supernatural
    Creation of a beautiful and perfect
    world in one literal week of six consecutive,
    contiguous, 24-hour days of
    creative activity, followed by the Sabbath
    of rest.
    4. We affirm that the Creation
    week and the origin of life on Earth
    took place recently, a few thousand
    years ago, and that there was no life
    on Earth prior to that time.
    5. We affirm that death came
    about as the result of human sin,
    that there was no death in the world
    as originally created, and that there
    will be no death in the new Earth as
    restored by God.
    6. We affirm the value of Ellen
    G. White’s endorsement of the biblical
    teaching on the early history of Earth,
    specifically a literal six-day creation,
    God’s rest on the literal seventh day,
    a short chronology for life on Earth
    of a few thousand years, and a global
    Flood.
    7. We affirm that the doctrine
    of Creation is foundational for and
    interconnected with other important
    biblical doctrines, including the inspiration
    of Scripture, the Sabbath, the
    character of God, the plan of salvation,
    marriage, resurrection, and the
    new earth.

    I notice in principle #4 the statement, “Creation
    week and the origin of life on Earth
    took place recently, a few thousand
    years ago, and that there was no life
    on Earth prior to that time.”

    Does that statement allow for an earth “without form and void” being in place prior to the creation week? How would that idea compare with what scripture says and what is written by EG White?

    The Bible (KJV) says:

    Genesis 1

    1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    So, was the earth (as an un-created mineral ball) here prior to our creation week – possibly as part of an earlier creative act by God? The two verses above seem to possibly allow for that.

    What does EGW say?

    “In the creation of the earth, God was not indebted to preexisting matter. “He spoke, and it was …; He commanded, and it stood fast.” 237Psalm 33:9. All things, material or spiritual, stood up before the Lord God at His voice and were created for His own purpose. The heavens and all the host of them, the earth and everything in it, came into existence by the breath of His mouth.” {MHH 236.6}

    Her statement above does not seem to preclude that God may have created the material of this earth at an earlier time. But it is clear that it was created by God and it was created from nothing but His own power.

    For me, it does not matter on that point. I believe what scripture says about it and I believe that Ellen White was inspired and correct in what she wrote.

    I am not a qualified expositor on the original languages but there is indication in the SDA Bible Commentary that the form of the earth described in Gen 1:2 may be similar to the form of the earth as prophesied in Rev 20:3. We understand that condition (abussos) to be desolate of life.

    I believe that this world was created by God about 6,000 years ago in a literal 6-day week followed by the first Sabbath day. It was a miraculous work and in no way depended on the notions of “science” as we know it here on earth. If the earth was hanging here (in space) prior to that creation, I know that He put it there at some previous time in preparation for what He was planning relative to the creation.

    He is so totally in control. We even have a Biblical example of Him “making the sun stand still”. It would be speculation as to how He did that one. Did He stop the whole world from turning for those few hours? It does not matter. God is not bound by the laws of science, physics, or any other constraint that we are bound by. He is Almighty God. Who can know His ways?

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  29. Holly Pham: We seem to have a few in the biology department, but what about the religion dept? The administration? The LSU Board? The other departments? Has anyone actually taken a reliable survey of the La Sierra staff?

    Fritz Guy has been leading the religion department at LSU for decades and he has come out solidly in favor of T.E.

    It seems that you will never find an SDA biology department running rogue on the issue of origins without first having the full support of the religion department.

    The truth is – if LSU admin really wanted to control the biology department – all they had to do was maintain the quality and integrity of the religion department. Failing that – everything else was pretty much innevitable. A case could be made that the religion department has left the biology department “holding the bag”.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  30. “Genesis 1

    1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

    We have no viable reason to conjecture some kind of break in time between vs. one and two. There is no reason to assume there is.

    To speculate that perhaps millions of years ago God created “the heavens and the earth” in a state that was without form and void, and then on the first day of our time reckoning is when He began to form the earth as we know it today.

    And we not speculate about any details that are not specifically stated in the biblical record.

    The bible is a “need to know” book. And all we “need to know” is clearly revealed in such a way that it can be clearly discerned.

    To go outside this principle can easily pave the way for doubt and misunderstanding. It implies that what is clearly revealed is ambiguous and thus not a reliable revelation of the truth of the matter.

    Satan’s work in the deception of Adam and Eve was built on this same principle of ambiguity. So he begins, “Didn’t God say you can not eat of any of the trees of the garden?”

    Eventually, he created confusion and doubt in the mind of Eve. And his question implied, “Are you sure you know and understand exactly what God said, and what He meant?”

    “Maybe you misunderstood the truth of the matter.” “Let me tell you what the real truth of the matter is.”

    It is not spiritually healthy to “bicker” continually with the devil’s advocates who have embraced his theories and ideas.

    When Canright left the faith, he wrote a letter to EGW. She refused to read it. Her son Willie asked her why.

    “Because”, she said, “I don’t need to hear is doubt, skepticism and unbelief pressed into my mind, that may in the future try my own faith.”

    She was always willing to dialogue with anyone if she could be redemptive in some way. But she was also aware, that in some cases, it would not be either helpful to the other person, or herself to enter into controversy on any given subject.

    She also said to Kellogg, “I would help you if I could.” She couldn’t. So, we need spiritual discernment to know when to dialogue, and when not to.

    We never want to leave a sincere honest person seeking for truth without a clear testimony of the scriptural presentation. But in some cases, it should be obvious when our testimony will only be mocked and derided.

    If people are truly honest, time and life experience will eventually make obvious many bible truths. The Holy Spirit uses many means of grace to accomplish His goal of enlightenment.

    I simply say, “Beware of allowing the devil to challenge and damage your own faith and commitment.” And don’t think you are beyond this possibility, because none of us are.

    “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” and “He that hath an ear, let him hear.”

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen

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  31. BobRyan: Fritz Guy has been leading the religion department at LSU for decades and he has come out solidly in favor of T.E.It seems that you will never find an SDA biology department running rogue on the issue of origins without first having the full support of the religion department.The truth is – if LSU admin really wanted to control the biology department – all they had to do was maintain the quality and integrity of the religion department. Failing that – everything else was pretty much innevitable. A case could be made that the religion department has left the biology department “holding the bag”.in Christ,Bob

    Thank you Bob. I know several people who work at La Sierra,and they tell me a very similar story.

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  32. @Bill Sorensen:

    I do not wish to “conjecture” anything and am quite willing to wait until the kingdom to understand better.

    Hebrews 11:6
    But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

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  33. Holly Pham: John

    Holly,

    When this topic came up 2+ years ago I shared on a blog (not this one or the other two often referenced) that this campaign was to familiar with what our church dealt with years ago. I continue to see it play out as such.

    As I shared 2 years ago ~ I still believe today ~ I don’t believe for one minute that at the core this has anything to do with creation vs. evolution. That’s just the smoke screen!

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  34. Many don’t know how “the church” has arrived at its present spirituality. The modern apostacy began with the book Questions on Doctrine. The book has a lot of truth and defends much of basic Adventism. None the less, it began the process of obscuring certain basic truths and left false implications of what we teach and why.

    The Brinsmead awakening challenged some of the false ideas coming into the church. And was opposed and labeled a Shepherd’s Rod type ministry by church leaders to undermine the ministry and the truths it presented.

    The liberals were on the move and gaining influence and authority year by year.

    Dr. Ford was supposedly the champion of the church in theology and would “save the church” from the Brinsmead awakening. He was endorsed and published continually as others were as well, to save the church.

    In the end, Ford revealed himself as an anti EGW influence and attack the Investigative judgment and much of basic bible Adventism.

    From there, our leaders decided on Pluralism to avoid being exposed as ignorant and less than qualifed to lead the church in doctrine and bible teaching.

    On the heals of this decision came the endorsement of the celebration movement and all that it implies.

    From that time to this, we have been fragmenting and polarizing and our identity has been obscured or even lost in the shuffle.

    In 2005 the Review published an article by Kevin Ferris on the judgment which endorsed the liberal interpretation of scripture. Bible Adventism was denied and it was claimed that Jesus went into the Most Holy Place at His ascension and began the service typified by the High Priest on the day of atonement on Yom Kippur.

    Never has church leadership ever admitted or acknowledged at any time that they have ever made a mistake except in some generic less than meaningful incident.

    In spirit, the church becomes more and more like Rome every day. Andreason opposed the printing of Questions on Doctrine, and they did all in their power to destroy his influence in the church when he demanded accountability for their actions.

    So, Shane and Sean’s ministry is not likely to be well received. Not because they support the biblical account of creation, but because they are challenging the church leaders with accountability to act and do something to “stop the bleeding” in the false doctrine being presented continually at LSU and other institutions of learning.

    Don’t be surprised at the outcome. It may not be what we have hoped.

    Now you know, at least in part, the how and why of the present spirituality in the SDA church of today.

    Bill Sorensen

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  35. Bill Sorensen: John

    There has been many struggles the SDA church has gone through, including the beginning, 1888, the 1919 bible conference, and many others.

    Most os the struggles are outlined in the first chapter of 1Cor. The problem with many of the struggles and this effort is clearly laid out in the second chapter of the book of Acts.

    So do I understand correctly? You believe the church is in apostasy and is spiritually is/like Babylon?

    I will never be surprised of an outcome. I read the last of the book ~ I know how it ends!!

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  36. John: Holly,When this topic came up 2+ years ago I shared on a blog (not this one or the other two often referenced) that this campaign was to familiar with what our church dealt with years ago. I continue to see it play out as such.As I shared 2 years ago ~ I still believe today ~ I don’t believe for one minute that at the core this has anything to do with creation vs. evolution. That’s just the smoke screen!

    What do you mean by smokescreen? Are Shane and Sean blowing smoke up someones skirt?What do you believe is the real reason behind this website. So are Shane and Sean liars? Please explain your interpretation.

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  37. Greg said…..

    “I don’t understand the contempt this website promotes toward church leadership. Talk about undermining the church! It’s sad, really.”

    I Greg, I assume most church members throughout history have generally taken your view of the church. It is a very comfortable view and let’s everyone sleep as negative forces move in and take control.

    Shane and Sean have endeavored to bring out to the public what would never be known generally if they did nothing. Even when they, and others, were aware of a situation that demanded attention.

    If church members don’t demand accountability of church leaders, who will?

    The “Tea Party” in civil politics came about precisely for this same reason. And now at least some politicians are trying to deal with a less then acceptable situation in our civil government today.

    Are these not loyal Americans simply because they protest and demand accountability? And are we not faithful SDA’s because we also demand some responsible action by a leadership that would simply do nothing unless these issues were being agitated in the church today?

    We would like to preserve the great fundamental bible principles of faith that our founding fathers worked earnestly to discover and defend.

    Pluralism and business as usual will not get the job done. Sin will not heal itself. If the church is to be preserved as a viable means of grace that God has ordained, we can not simply sit by as Satan and his principles are being advocated more and more and generally without protest.

    I am sorry you see little to be concerned about and think we should all, “get in, sit down, shut up, and hang on.”

    We think God can and will use various instrumentalities to challenge His people and thus the shaking will surely intensify more and more as we near the end.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen

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  38. BobRyan said: Fritz Guy has been leading the religion department at LSU for decades and he has come out solidly in favor of T.E.It seems that you will never find an SDA biology department running rogue on the issue of origins without first having the full support of the religion department.The truth is – if LSU admin really wanted to control the biology department – all they had to do was maintain the quality and integrity of the religion department. Failing that – everything else was pretty much innevitable. A case could be made that the religion department has left the biology department “holding the bag”.in Christ,Bob

    Surely someone is noticing that the biology department did not act alone.

    Holly Pham:

    Thank you Bob. I know several people who work at La Sierra,and they tell me a very similar story.

    Indeed – it is hard to ignore given that the religion department leadership was out there publishing and promoting in favor of evolutionism as well as promoting a few other really wrong-headed ideas.

    It it interesting that they do not appear to be willing to step into the light along with the biology department now that the eyes of the church are turned in their direction.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  39. Bill, I’m not going to argue with you about the wrong of LSU professors teaching theistic evolution. It’s just plain wrong (if true).

    I’ve read enough at this website to believe that the administrators are doing something about the situation. And now the situation is much worse because the administrators apparently overstepped reasonable bounds in doing something (looks like you folks goaded them into this) and now the church is being sued and the public is seeing all our dirty laundry. Are you now praising or condemning the recent firings and the current lawsuit? I get the feeling there is nothing administrators can do to win your approval.

    At some point we have to ask whether we have gone too far at this website.

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  40. Greg said…..

    “At some point we have to ask whether we have gone too far at this website.”

    Most people who post on the various threads will not agree with you, Greg.

    I could not know if the leaders acted in less than a perfect way in dealing with the issue. It is not likely anyone who posts here could know if this were so or not.

    In my opinion, and maybe some others as well, it is better to take some action and even make some mistakes in doing so, than to do nothing.

    The leaders allowed a major problem to develop and now to deal with it is far more difficult than if they had been more careful in the beginning to avoid it.

    This website has been highly instrumental in stimulating some responsible action and should continue to inform concerning past, present and future.

    So, no, this website has not gone too far in the opinion of the majority who post here.

    Let me explain the liberal mentality in discipline. Like indulgent parents who refuse to discipline their children with the hope that somehow they will turn out all right is how our church deals with rebels against the church doctrine and teaching.

    Parents who refuse the responsibility in disciplining their children shouldn’t have any. Just so, leaders who refuse to accept their job in discipline shouldn’t take the job in the first place.

    If you accept a position of responsibility and influence, then by all means, do your job. In a Christian way? Yes. But it is not “Christian” to do nothing when it is more than apparent that some disciplinary action is needful.

    And finally Greg, when the leaders refuse to discipline evil and unrighteousness, it is inevitable that in the future, they will surely discipline honesty and truth. The Jews hated the prophets and finally Christ Himself based on this principle. So, Just as Cain will always kill Abel, even so, the liberals will “kill” anyone who reproves their sins and lack of self disciple.

    We honor those who are at least putting forth some effort to deal with the situation.

    I think you will find people who agree with your view on web pages like Spectrum and A-today. They tend to be the “I’m OK, you’re Ok” crowd. Anything goes as long as you say you believe in Jesus. With one big “swish” they throw the bible and standards out the window all in the name of love and the so-called “gospel”.

    How everyone has a great and blessed Sabbath.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen

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  41. Greg: At some point we have to ask whether we have gone too far at this website.

    Greg, I don’t understand your comment. How have Shane, Sean, and all the other posters gone too far? As far as I can see, nobody on this website has any administrative position or power position at La Sierra or within the church, at least at any high level.

    How did we goad anyone to do anything? If anyone did do anything because this website’s position on the issue, it was because the NAD or GC believed Shane is correct.
    So, how could we have

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  42. Pingback: LSU Resignation Saga Continues « Adventist Voice

  43. Faith: Our very institutions that were established to teach truth are now teaching error–the error of evolution–

    I don’t think that “TRUTH” is the subject to teach in our institutions, but they should rather provide reliable KNOWLEDGE to the students, and help them to mature becoming able to discern truth.

    First, because the definition of “truth” is completely subjective. “Truth” according to whom? Look on this discussion and see how difficult it is to define truth! There are so many different “truths” being verbalized here. Each one of us has our own truth and there are no two people that believe in the exactly same truth. Though there are many people who try to impose on others what they define as “THE truth” – usually being just their own biases about certain beliefs, which is not truth.

    Schools and Universities should provide KNOWLEDGE to the students. Knowledge about everything possible. Religious FACTS, scientific FACTS, and so many other facts. Then encouraging each student to interpret the facts (knowledge) by themselves. This involves open, unbiased discussion of the issues in an atmosphere of respect and freedom of thought/expression. (University environment!)

    Nobody should be subjected to ANY imposition of ANY kind of truth. Everyone has the right to access ALL knowledge available.

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  44. George Tichy: I don’t think that “TRUTH” is the subject to teach in our institutions, but they should rather provide reliable KNOWLEDGE to the students, and help them to mature becoming able to discern truth.First, because the definition of “truth” is completely subjective. “Truth” according to whom? Look on this discussion and see how difficult it is to define truth! There are so many different “truths” being verbalized here. Each one of us has our own truth and there are no two people that believe in the exactly same truth. Though there are many people who try to impose on others what they define as “THE truth” – usually being just their own biases about certain beliefs, which is not truth. Schools and Universities should provide KNOWLEDGE to the students. Knowledge about everything possible. Religious FACTS, scientific FACTS, and so many other facts. Then encouraging each student to interpret the facts (knowledge) by themselves. This involves open, unbiased discussion of the issues in an atmosphere of respect and freedom of thought/expression. (University environment!) Nobody should be subjected to ANY imposition of ANY kind of truth. Everyone has the right to access ALL knowledge available.

    Your philosophy of “truth” does not seem to agree with the Biblical definition of truth. How did you come to believe your definition?
    Your philosophy sounds like secular humanism. Is this what you believe we should be teaching our SDA students?

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  45. Pingback: Lawrence Geraty, Fritz Guy, and the framing of Fundamental Beleif #6 | Educate Truth

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