by Ronald Spencer, August 25, 2014
As our denomination struggles to tighten up its embrace of a literal, six-day, recent creation, I am appalled that so little is being said about the unapologetic erosion of the literal position over the long haul, even as early as the 1930s.
A Six-day Universal Creation
Early Adventists (including Ellen White) believed without a scintilla of doubt that not only the solar system, but the entire universe was created within the confines of one week of time—this was our Church’s original position, and should be our position still. But with the arrival of Einstein’s theories and a host of other faith-eroding hypotheses, this position was allowed to slowly change to something more “acceptable” to the speculative, academic community. Today, even self-declared “conservative” creationists accept with a shrug the proposition that a universe of matter (in fact, matter in organized form, whose light supposedly had already been traveling for immense numbers of light years) existed “out there,” even as the Earth was undergoing miraculous, creative transformations by the word of the Lord a few thousand years ago.
Sanctioning a belief in the existence of stars in the Cosmos prior to Creation Week is, in fact, a massive, liberal step toward acceptance of creedal evolution, and must be addressed in our denomination’s current conservative reformation program.
To make such pivotal changes back to biblical literalism in our Fundamental Beliefs will undoubtedly upset theistic evolutionists, such as my good friend Ervin Taylor. But it will come as a welcome return to orthodoxy among the less-educated, who have really never stopped believing that the universe itself was literally created in six actual days. It takes considerably more faith today to accept the literal teachings of Scripture, but no one said it would be easy to stand true to the word of God in these End Times.
Do the Right Thing
We must simply do the right thing, regardless of the consequences—regardless of how patently difficult we make it for our scientists and teachers to recognize that today we may not be seeing matter in the skies whose images are reaching us, perhaps at millions of times the speed of light. With God all things are possible.
I would further suggest that liberalizing changes in the Fundamental Beliefs of the Church throughout the 20th Century were made primarily to allow our beliefs to become more widely popular among America’s scientifically trained middle class and the emerging middle classes in places like Brazil. This fanatical pursuit of numbers is one of the fundamental reasons we have let the pure strain of our beliefs become watered down, intentionally and by liberal attrition.
For example, it is now accepted, even by conservative creationists, that the huge mass of the sun preexisted the organizing creation of one of its smaller satellites.The sun, we are now told, was allowed to exist as a gravitational force to stabilize the solar system, but simply did not put out any light until the fourth day, or perhaps was effectively covered by clouds, and was invisible until that day. Okay, but that’s not what Genesis says! If we’re returning to the blessedness of literal truth, let’s not go only part way! Let’s complete the process; let’s go all the way!
It would seem that if our Fundamental Belief on Creation is to be reconfigured with iron-clad literal qualities acceptable to men and women of simple faith, we must also make sure that the redrafted prose clearly sets forth that the entirety of the cosmos was created in six days and that the sun, itself, did not preexist the fourth day of creation. If our purpose is to insist on a consistent literalism in the Creation account, we cannot afford to do things half way. And it’s also high time we revisit the long day of Joshua and accept that the sun literally stood still (not the earth) during that compelling miracle. The Bible has it right, and by faith we must accept what it says, as it says it, and not allow ourselves to be swayed by revisionists.
Let us remember that our beloved Adventist people of simple faith throughout the world are very discerning and will not be taken in by something written with half-measures. Let the drafters of this revised Fundamental Belief keep this ever before their eyes. The World Church will not accept “half-literal” propositions on this matter. As in all things in the spiritual world of True Believers, either we accept it all or we reject it all. We can’t cherry-pick and just accept the things we like, allegorizing or explaining away the harder sayings. Let’s remember this truth when we come to vote in San Antonio next year. Let us not allow the forces of evil to tempt us to half-measures.
The historic Adventist way can be summarized coherently as “all or nothing.” Either we accept the entirety of Scripture as essentially literal (with the broad exception of the apocalyptic, which was written in code to disguise powerful political and religious forces, and which the Pen of Inspiration has explained to us fully) or we don’t. The historical parts of Scripture were written literally as God dictated those passages through the Holy Spirit. Certainly, God as Creator understands science to a far deeper degree than any of us on earth, and knew exactly what he was saying when he claims to have created all things in a finite week of time, including the sun, the moon, and all the stars. God says it in Exodus 20:11, I believe it, and that settles it.