Hebrews 11:1–3 (ESV) 11 Now faith is the assurance of things …

Comment on The Credibility of Faith by George Hilton.

Hebrews 11:1–3 (ESV)
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

The deepest students of science are constrained to recognize in nature the working of infinite power. But to man’s unaided reason, nature’s teaching cannot but be contradictory and disappointing. Only in the light of revelation can it be read aright. “Through faith we understand.” Hebrews 11:3. {Ed 134.1}

The most difficult and humiliating lesson which man has to learn, if he is kept by the power of God, is his own inefficiency in depending upon human wisdom, and the sure failure of his own efforts to read nature correctly. Sin has obscured his vision, and he cannot interpret nature without placing it above God.–U. T., July 3, 1898.

I don’t read all these threads every day. I must say reading this whole thread at once was a bit discouraging. Why do we all seem to feel such a great need to be “right?”

Before proceeding I should make it clear that I believe the Bible’s version of origins. The dead horse this thread is beating is one’s reason(s) for belief. Is it only me, or does someone else see the possibility of having multiple reasons for believing something? The truth is that very little if anything that any of us believe can be proven (or disproven). We can’t even prove that the sun will come up tomorrow. The assumption that the laws of physics will be the same tomorrow as they are today is just that, an assumption. It is said that nothing is sure but death and taxes, but I personally know at least one tax evader, and I believe that Enoch and Elijah did not see death (but I can’t prove it).

As I’ve stated before, I have no doubt that faith absolutely must be a component of my choice to believe in the Bible’s version of origins. The marks of sin so mar the creation that it cannot alone be seen as a safe guide to correct conclusions. However, it was God Himself who gave the invitation “come, let us reason together.” I don’t for even a second believe that God is calling us to faith without evidence.

E.G. White said it best:
God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word, are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith. {CSA 46.1}

How could it be more plainly stated? Our faith must rest on evidence, not demonstration. In this life we are not blessed with intellectual certainty on much of anything.

When it comes to macro-evolution vs. special creation it is clear to me that there is tremendous difficulty with Darwin’s original conclusions. Nothing points more clearly to this than Francis Crick’s “directed panspermia” theory. Talk about pseudoscience! I have a PhD in Statistics. No way that I can look at the genome gives me any inkling that something so beautifully complex could have “just happened.” Apparently, the atheist Crick agrees with me at least on that!

How then do I decide where to put my faith? For me the following points are crucial.

Scripture presents the accurate view of the sinful nature of man.

Scripture presents a considerable number of fulfilled prophecies.

In those instances where archeological evidence exists at all, it corroberates the scriptural account.

The complexity and beauty of nature, even in its degenerate state loudly speak to me of a Creator.

By far the most important of all: I have known Jesus Christ personally for many years. He has been to me all that He claimed to be, including Creator and Redeemer. He confirmed the Genesis account while He lived on earth. He said He was there when Lucifer fell from heaven. He must have been there when the earth was created. Either He is God or a liar. I believe He is God. This is why I believe the specifics of history as presented in the book of Genesis.

Of course I can’t prove any of this. The important thing is that while I can’t prove anything, I still have to believe something. And, even if I can’t prove it, I can believe it 100%. It is everyone else’s right to choose their own way of believing. I appeal to all participating in this forum to share your faith, and to share the evidences upon which your faith is based. But, at the same time, faith by its very nature does not rest on “demonstration” (read proof). Therefore, let us believe passionately and share our faith in the same spirit. And, let us expect nothing less than passionate faith from those who teach our children. But, let us not argue endlessly on subtle issues of epistomology.

Blessings to all in Christ,

Pastor George Hilton

George Hilton Also Commented

The Credibility of Faith
@Sean Pitman: Sean,

It looks like we agree.


George Hilton

The Credibility of Faith
@Sean Pitman:


If we restrict our discussion to origins, we have little or nothing to disagree with Muslims about. Whatever evidence supports our beliefs supports theirs, and vice-versa. I do not for one millisecond take the position that I believe without evidence. However, a large amount of my evidence is not based on what most scientists would consider “scientific data.” My faith is based on a consortium of evidence. Some of it is scientific, some of it is metaphysical, some of it is prophetic, and some of it is experiential. The truth is, I have no proof whatsoever that my source of authority is superior to that of Muslims. There is plenty of reason in my mind to believe that there is, but that is unlikely to be sufficient to convince many of them.

Frankly, I don’t think it is my job to convince them. I believe it is the Holy Spirit’s job. I have preached several evangelistic series where I gave all I had to convince listeners that they should share the passionate belief in Scripture that has led me to be a SDA. Many have been baptized, but never for one second should I allow myself to believe that I “convinced” them. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and it takes the Spirit to open them to those of us who spend most of our time fixated on the physical realm. Our understanding of origins is as much spiritual as it is physical.

The truth is that there always have been and always will be a variety of persuasions all claiming to hear God’s voice. A maximum of one of the many contradictory viewpoints can be true. It is up to me to give everything I have by study and prayer to approach the true God. It is up to me to share what I’ve found as a profound gift, not as dominant dogma.

I have had the profound privilege of a very good education. I have many friends who have not had that privilege. They are precluded from much of this discussion because they do not have the tools to understand it. Not for one moment am I willing to believe that their faith is inferior to mine because I understand critical thinking, mathematics (particularly probability theory), physics, and a bit of biology that they don’t. In fact, the best examples I know of faith are found in the childlike faith of simple believers. Christ referred to these when He said “of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Indeed, speaking of statistics, my personal observation is that some forms of learning appear to be negatively correlated with the quality of spiritual choices. How else do we account for the fact that these ideas always spin out from centers of learning?

Your web site indicates that you are dedicated to the detection of design in nature. I heartily agree with this endeavor. It is a tribute to the success of materialist dogma that anyone still denies design. You also vigorously defend a young earth model. I heartily agree with this conclusion and see much evidence in its support. I don’t know of any scientific evidence that would nail down what “young” means even to an order of magnitude. But, when I see design, along with Scripture I find a compelling team. Scripture has behind it the weight of prophecy. Scripture is the only source that I know of that describes human nature accurately. Scripture records the words of a Man who was either God or history’s greatest imposter. All the evidence leads me to believe He was and is God. Having made this decision, I know with a high degree of precision what “young earth” means. Without Scripture I would have far fewer details. I don’t see this as blind faith. Neither do I see it as proof.

Finally, I don’t think anything that you or anyone else can discover in the natural world will ever allow one to distinguish between the correctness of the Christian or the Muslim faiths. Since both faiths accept the Old Testament, they aren’t going to argue with Genesis either. In some sense I suppose there is a degree of “blindness” in both faiths from your point of view, since neither can be proven.

The important thing for us to remember is that we agree on the important things. We believe in a recent creation that was perfect and then became flawed by sin. We believe that there is a Redeemer, and that “the heavens declare His glory.” We believe that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We believe that “He spoke and it stood fast.” Let’s minimize the argument over why we both believe and recognize that our rest on faith supported, but not demonstrated, by several kinds of evidence.

George Hilton

Recent Comments by George Hilton

Strumming the Attached Strings
At this point I can’t help commenting. I have long feared that there aren’t many minds being changed by this and its opposing blog sites. Nonetheless, I think it’s appropriate to say a few things that might at least clarify the debate.

First, I think this web site needs to rethink its fundamental argument: “employees need to espouse what their employer has hired them to represent.” Let me say that I fervently agree with this point of view. However, the question is “who hires the faculty of LSU?” Unfortunately, the world SDA church does NOT do the hiring. After following this for years (I taught at LSU in the 80s) I think the sad fact is that the professors in question ARE for the most part representing their employers.

The first point brings up a second. Our church may not be officially split, but it is in all actuality split. All you have to do is compare the Conferences in Michigan and Ohio to know that. Or the West Coast to the heartland. Or Europe and North America to the “third world.”

Folks, we have a much bigger problem here than LSU. We have a significant number of leaders who themselves question the historicity of Scripture, the role of E. G. White, the notion of the remnant, the importance of Sabbath observance, great chunks of our health message, and our historicist prophetic interpretation. Strangely, I believe almost exactly as my parents did, not just because they did, but because my own research has led me to believe as they did. Again strangely, they were pretty mainstream Adventists back then. I now seem to be a
“right wing extremist” in the eyes of many of my former colleagues. Sad.
The Adventism of many of our “intelligencia” has moved. I haven’t.

I think it’s time we stood back, took a deep breath, and realized this has all been foretold. The sky may seem to be falling, but it is really echoes of a coming Lord. It’s up to each one of us personally to be ready. We can’t trust any leader, or any institution to be the ark of safety. It’s between me and my Lord.

Meanwhile, let’s keep up the good fight — kindly, but firmly speaking the truth as revealed by God. Let us expect to receive the same response that Christ received long ago. Let us treat others with respect and dignity, but never, ever let that come to mean that we accept any picture of Christ that makes Him anything less than the omnipotent Word that took six days to create.

Finally, I want to encourage you that there are MANY pastors in North America who are still faithful. I am proud to sign my name to my belief in Christ as the God who created me, and has redeemed me, and will one day place me in a new heaven and new earth that did not take five billion years to make.

George Hilton

Ted Wilson: “We will not flinch. We will not be deterred.”
@Bobbie Vedvick:


I think you’ve asked a very important question. I will begin with a bit of background. I have a masters degree in Mathematics, and a PhD in Statistics. I have taught for 25 years in SDA colleges and universities, including LSU, LLU, PUC, and SWAU. I have been a statistical consultant on quite a number of research projects in fields such as medicine, dentistry, agronomy, entomology, animal science, nutrition, education, psychology, nursing, and others. Statistics is the backbone of modern science. It is the embodiment of the scientific method. With this background I have several observations.

First, my views about origins have never had ANYTHING to do with the experiments on which I have collaborated. I have worked with believers and non-believers, and no one has ever cared what I believed, nor has it ever been even remotely relevant. Great science can be and is done by both evolutionists and creationists every day. That part of science that concerns itself with the practical issues of how we understand life as it currently is, and how we interact with our current environment, is completely independent of the practitioner’s views regarding origins. It is my opinion that a lot of energy has been wasted in speculation as to how we got where we are that could have been used to better our current condition. It is not Bible thumpers who have set back science, it is good scientists spending an inordinate amount of time speculating on origins. Time that could have been used to advance our understanding of where we actually are now.

Second, I don’t see this as a scientific argument. True science involves the scientific method of hypothesis followed by the design of experiments to lend evidence one way or the other regarding the hypothesis in question. It is necessary that these experiments can be repeated. It is very rare, if ever, in the study of origins that this method can be strictly followed. History only happens once. It is circular reasoning to conclude that we can repeat even small aspects of history in the lab, because it assumes that we know what to repeat!

Instead I see the models of the law as representing the debate over origins much more accurately. To be very specific, I see this debate as being very similar to civil law (as opposed to criminal law) because understanding origins scientifically “beyond reasonable doubt” is a joke. History is self-destructive of the vast majority of “evidence” that might be available. What we can observe in the earth at present are only tiny remnants of what was once here.

I find an excellent analogy to this debate in the novel “The Brothers Karamazov.” It is a story about a father who is murdered. One of his sons is found with blood on his hands and many other bits of incriminating “evidence” and is found guilty. All the while, the reader knows that it is another son who did it. Any good lawyer will tell you that there is no amount of circumstantial evidence that will truly prove a case. There are many ways that a relatively few discrete points of evidence could come to be. This, I believe is exactly the type of evidence that “supports” both views of origins.

All this being said, where do I stand? I believe absolutely in the Bible’s obvious commitment to a literal, recent, six-day creation. I believe this because I have personally met the God who says He did it. So, in a since I agree with your daughter’s professor — it is a matter of faith. However, I do not agree with the notion that the preponderance of evidence is in favor of evolution and that my faith must stand alone in a vacuum. The view of modern science is actually based on a considerable amount of circular reasoning. It is actually assumed that there has been no outside intervention by God. Small wonder then that the conclusions drawn don’t include the outside intervention of God.

Mrs. White said it best.

Many, especially those who are young in the Christian life, are at times troubled with the suggestions of skepticism. There are in the Bible many things which they cannot explain, or even understand, and Satan employs these to shake their faith in the Scriptures as a revelation from God. They ask, “How shall I know the right way? If the Bible is indeed the word of God, how can I be freed from these doubts and perplexities?”{CSA 45.1}

God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word, are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith. {CSA 46.1}

In its human wisdom the world knows not God. Its wise men gather an imperfect knowledge of God through his created works, and then in their foolishness exalt nature and the laws of nature above nature’s God. Nature is an open book which reveals God. All who are attracted to nature may behold in it the God that created them. But those who have not a knowledge of God, in their acceptance of the revelation God has made of himself in Christ, will obtain only an imperfect knowledge of God in nature. This knowledge, so far from giving elevated conceptions of God, so far from elevating the mind, the soul, the heart, and bringing the whole being into conformity to the will of God, will make men idolaters. Professing to be wise, they become as fools.– U. T., July 3, 1898. {HL 293.3}

Keep the faith!

George Hilton

GC Votes to Revise SDA Fundamental #6 on Creation
I have followed this site with great interest, and occasionally posted. The discussion regarding the basis for our belief is one of special interest to me. As a mathematician/statistician (taught at La Sierra, PUC, and Southwestern) and a pastor I have thought about these things a great deal. Long ago in graduate school I faced strong questions from a variety of very smart people about my beliefs. I praise God that I came out of those conversations a stronger Christian than I had been before, and with the respect of the other conversants.

I base my belief in Scripture on several things.

1. It correctly states the condition of mankind, even though acknowledging that condition never has been, and never will be popular.

2. Prophecy. The prophecies of scripture are amazing — enough so that skeptics have done all they can to post date some of them.

3. Jesus Christ clearly laid out the only correct “rules” on how people should live. Unselfishness is the only basis for governing intelligent life that makes any sense.

4. The marvelous complexity of life belies chance origins. Even if one is not a biologist or even educated, the beauty of life even in its damaged state speaks of a Creator.

5. A personal friendship with Jesus Christ is the ultimate evidence. It is largely non-transferable and scoffed at by infidels, but it is the bottom line.

6. Jesus Christ claimed to be God. Either He was, or He was the greatest fraud ever.

Faced with these facts, I must make a decision. I choose to believe that Jesus Christ was who He said He was. Whether or not a “complete” model for how we got from the creation to the present is ever put together I will stay with Jesus and believe He is who He said He is.

I respect all who work toward a better understanding of how the world has arrived at its current state in 6,000 or so years since creation. However, it is not necessary to achieve anything near a perfect explanation to have faith. There are many other springs from which to draw. It also strikes me that most of the arguments about the evidence are fruitless. Most people will either find God or lose Him as the result of a private, personal journey. This is not to say that we should not do all we can to defend our positions, but we needn’t have high expectations of the numbers we will “convince.” In the end I don’t think this is about science anyway. It’s about ways of knowing. The physical world and the spiritual world (according to Paul) don’t have much intersection. The things of the Spirit are truly spiritually discerned. I believe that just as certainly as “the Spirit moved on the face of the waters,” our belief in the creation will find its highest evidence in the gentle prompting of that same Spirit.

Aside from issues of evidence there is one thing that I totally can’t understand (and I’ve tried). I don’t understand how so many of my brilliant and distinguished colleagues can’t see the impossibility of having their cake and eating it too. Over and over Jesus healed, raised the dead, created bread and fish from nothing, walked on water, referenced the creation, referenced the flood, and ultimately rose from the dead. In all that He did He operated by the principle that the Strong must die so that the weak might live. How can anyone deny biblical creation and believe Jesus was the Word through whom all was created? How can the God who notices with pain the fall of every sparrow be the one who used eons of death and pain to create? And who could possibly think of a system of thought more antithetical to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ than any form of long ages macro evolution? While we are accused of denying evidence, those who embrace theistic evolution deny logic.

I just don’t get it!

Pastor George Hilton