By Jack Hoehn
(The Last of a series of five articles on how we can know the age of the earth and when life was created. Part 4, on radioactive clocks, can be found here.)
The pre-supposition of these five articles is scriptural:
“A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” Deuteronomy 19:6
If you want to know what time it is, it is better if several independent clocks tell you the time. The more clocks that agree, the more likely it is that you will know the true time.
So in studying the chronology of the creation of the universe, the sun and earth, and life on earth, we have suggested that there are multiple ways to ascertain the time of their formation and creation.
Natural Clocks–Part 1, Tree Rings and Pollen.
Natural Clocks–Part 2, Ash Clocks.
Natural Clocks–Part 3, DNA Clocks.
Natural Clocks–Part 4, Radioactive Clocks.
From tree rings to DNA to volcanic layers, and then to the immutable radioactive elements that drive life on earth and are part of all matter we have various witnesses to the age of the earth and life on it. When multiple witnesses agree, reason suggests their testimony is more likely to be true. So there is a scientific consensus that has nothing to do with the Bible and is theologically neutral, not depending on whether the science is from a Catholic, Protestant, agnostic, or atheistic university.
The Natural Clocks we have all more or less agree on one thing very important to Adventists:
The creation of the Universe,
the creation of the Solar System and Earth,
the creation of life on Earth
did NOT happen 6,000 years ago,
not even close.
Giant Satanic Hoax?
The testimony of Nature is so overwhelming that some Adventists are sure that this is a gigantic hoax by Satan to put all kinds of false clocks into operation, tinkering with tree rings, misinterpreting DNA, faking layers formed in Noah’s flood with fossils to make it look like evolution happened, and speeding up or slowing down radiation decay rates in some impossible-to-conceive manner.
Somehow they think the Bible has revealed to us that creation was 6,000 years ago, and the millennium, or 7,000th cycle, is almost upon us.
And if they aren’t sure this is true from the Bible alone they have the valued writings of Mrs. Ellen G. White, writing in the 19th century, to solidify that.
So on July 30, 2015, in a world General Conference a majority of SDA delegates accepted the leadership of GC president Ted N.C. Wilson and voted that all the Natural Clocks are wrong. Elder Wilson was clearly pleased in his Sabbath sermon following the vote announcing to the assembled delegates:
Ted N.C. Wilson, August 3, 2015:
“Just this week we have affirmed in an overwhelming manner, the Seventh-day Adventist church both teaches and believes in the biblical record of Creation which took place recently; in six literal, consecutive, contiguous, 24-hour days. The Seventh-day Adventist Church will never change its stand or belief in that foundational doctrine…”
Can We Vote Away Reality?
The question remains if the “Giant Satanic Hoax” is in manipulation of all the natural evidence found in God’s creation, or in the imposition of one unlikely chronology of creation upon the delegates at a church council by the manipulations of their leaders?
It is amazing to find that the foundational doctrine (God is the Creator) has been morphed by Ted N.C. Wilson and company into the astounding assertion that one particular chronology of creation has suddenly now become a “foundational doctrine.” The sleight of hand to confuse the importance of who created, with one opinion on when He created must amaze or outrage watching intelligences. What do the angels who watched God create, think of our church voting restrictions on the time God is permitted to create in?
Sad Record of Church Councils.
I’ll let Ellen White say it for me:
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy
Page 53. “The arch-deceiver had not completed his work. He was resolved to gather the Christian world under his banner and to exercise his power through… churchmen he accomplished his purpose. Vast councils were held from time to time, in which the dignitaries of the church were convened from all the world. In nearly every council the Sabbath which God had instituted was pressed down a little lower, while the Sunday was correspondingly exalted.”
Page 38. “The advancing centuries witnessed a constant increase of error in the doctrines put forth…serious errors were thus introduced into the Christian faith. Prominent among these was the belief in man’s natural immortality and his consciousness in death… From this sprang also the heresy of eternal torment for the finally impenitent, which was early incorporated into the papal faith.”
Page 60. “The condition…presented a fearful and striking fulfillment of the words of the prophet Hosea: ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.’ Hosea 4:6.”
“The Adventist Church Will Never Change”?
As for Ted N.C. Wilson’s presidential assertion that the chronology of creation is now a “doctrine” and not an opinion, and that the Seventh-day Adventist church will “never change its stand and belief” in that chronology, I only hope his boast is as empty as was the one I once heard from Rhodesia’s white minority President Ian Smith.
In 1976 I was working as a Seventh-day Adventist mission doctor preparing to soon drive through Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to what had been Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), when Ian Smith was proudly proclaiming the permanence of his white majority government in Southern Rhodesia in words reported by news outlets all over the world March 20, 1976: “Let me say it again. I don’t believe in black majority rule ever in Rhodesia—not in a thousand years!”
Black Majority Rule in Zimbabwe started just three years later.
Can Adventists look at the evidence from the very real and quietly authoritative “clocks” in nature and return the chronology of when creation happened back to being an opinion, and not a doctrine?
This is not an acceptance of godless evolution, or even of “godly” evolution. This is an acceptance of the time of God’s creation being much longer than we thought in our innocence and ignorance. Our first angel’s message has always been to “worship Who” created, and never before was it to “worship when” things were created.
Can we make the boast of President Ted N.C. Wilson as misspoken as the statement of Rhodesia’s President? Will it take three years or longer for Reason and Revelation to begin talking to each other again in this church?
(This is the last in a series of five articles on how we can know the age of the earth and the creation of life on the earth.)
“Faith must go beyond Reason, but never against Reason.” Pastor Gregory A. Boyd
Featured Illustration from Pixabay, CC 0.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Seven Days that Divide the World—the beginning according to Genesis and Science, John C. Lennox