Eugene Prewitt, Editor
Sin leads to death and is the root cause of death. And when sin is expunged from the universe, death will, as a result, be no more. Add a definition and you have “transgression of the law is the root cause of death.” And that makes obedience a fundamental condition of continuing life. Adventism carries within its doctrines a profound answer to the “why” questions, an explanation of how the Law is related to bliss.
Theistic evolution confuses this picture. With predation happening prior to the emergence of intelligence, death becomes the result of Divine will. The weight of guilt and horror that should fall squarely on transgressors is shifted. Sin loses its place as the cause of death. The law loses its luster as a means of preserving the peace. God appears guilty of causing senseless misery.
Indeed, confusion regarding God’s part in causing senseless misery moved Darwin.
ADVENTISTS AFFIRM is no science journal. Our denominational scientists have produced excellent treatments of the question of origins from a scientific perspective. 1But in this issue, the first to be published since I became editor, the Biblical data regarding origins gets more attention.
Sean Pitman, a vocal critic of theistic evolution, has come to the fore in the recent discussions regarding the teaching of evolution at La Sierra University. In “Turtles All the Way Up” he discusses how cosmologists have found abundant evidence for design even in the calibrated nature of the laws of physics. What they lack, he points out, is the side of the story provided by scripture. They do not know that the Super-Intelligence has the heart of a loving Father.
Ellen White’s article in this issue, in the typical succinct approach that characterizes prophets of all ages, speaks on the topic of creation:
Inferences erroneously drawn from facts observed in nature have, however, led to supposed conflict between science and revelation; and in the effort to restore harmony, interpretations of Scripture have been adopted that undermine and destroy the force of the word of God.
The passage reminds me of 2 Peter 3 where one may find a two thousand year old prophecy that in the end of time persons would be “willingly” “ignorant” of a six-day creation and world-wide flood. This prophecy of the timing of theistic evolution astounds me. I say “theistic” because the scoffers of the chapter say “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2Peter 3:3-7.
Christina Harris has authored a thought provoking article on the impossibilities of chemical evolution. She proposes that we keep asking questions that will remind the world that the scientific question of origins is not yet adequately resolved. She suggests, “Which came first, DNA or the proteins needed by DNA—which can only be produced by DNA?” and “Is it possible that similarities in design between different animals prove a common Creator instead of a common ancestor?”
How well can Adventism blend with evolutionary theory is both a Biblical question and a philosophical one. Fernando Canale shows that long ages philosophically undermine the core concepts of the Adventist people.
And that is the truth.
The first angel’s message, timed to coincide with the 1844 opening of the judgment, draws the attention of the world to the facts of creation.
The second angel’s message announced Babylon’s crime of intoxicating the world with falsehoods. And it is mystic Babylon today that leads the religious world in promoting a theory of theistic evolution that denies the creation story of the first angel’s message.
The message of the sealing writes the creation story into the hearts of believers with the weekly memorial of the Sabbath.
And our Advent hope rests in the creative power of God to change our vile bodies in a moment.
Indeed, the everlasting gospel leads men to depends on God’s creative power. “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature.”
Our message regarding the state of man in death is based on a literal reading of the Genesis story where man becomes a living soul by receiving the breath of life.
The moral absolutes that govern mankind take the Genesis story as history. A spiritualizing of that story mitigates the absolute nature of the Ten Commandments.
And what about evangelism? The articles in this edition have a common thread. Three of them are written by persons who grew up with an interest in science and without a knowledge of Adventism. This is the class that we think to win through science savvy. But none of these three were won that way. They became creationists through the study of scripture.
Pastor Mike Taylor brings out how, in reading Genesis 1, he was struck with the simple thought that beauty in nature matches the predictions one would make from Genesis 1. (For beauty in nature, though often useful in a biological sense, generally outstrips its biological usefulness. And so Darwin was sickened at the sight of a peacock’s plume.)
Dr. Plaisted shares results of his research into how ancient authorities viewed the historicity of the flood story. Good evidence exists that centuries before the time of Christ, several of the great developing cultures made reference to an epic-size flood.
ADVENTISTS AFFIRM that God created the Bible in six days and rested the seventh and was refreshed. And we affirm so much more that depends on that first affirmation. The gospel that should go to the world must include this element of God’s creative power. And so this edition of ADVENTISTS AFFIRM. makes its contribution.
May we be faithful to the truths that were written with God’s finger.
1See Origins, by Ariel Roth (1998, Review and Herald Publishing Association); and Faith, Reason, and Earth History, by Leonard Brand (1997, Andrews University Press). Both of these books rise above many of their genre by showing respect for the research and intelligence of persons that believe in evolution. You would not need to be embarrassed to have your secular scientifically gifted uncle read them.