The Evolution of Adventists’ Creation Belief Statement

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The Evolution of Adventists’ Creation Belief Statement

This article traces the history of the first Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief Statement on creation (FB#6). It is a revised version of a previous article,[1] which describes how external and internal attacks on a literal interpretation of biblical protology (the study of origins as described in Genesis 1-11) led SDA leaders to voice their support of (1) a literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis and (2) the formulation of a specific statement on creation. It also describes the process used by the General Conference (GC) to formulate the statement on creation, and how this statement was rewritten to include multiple interpretations of origins.

Creation in Early Adventist Fundamental Belief Statements

From the early days of the Second Advent Movement, Adventists were firm believers in the Creation account of Genesis 1:1-2:3. It is here that they found the theological foundation of the biblical Sabbath. To the Adventist pioneers Creation was “the reason why God blessed and sanctified the seventh day, because ‘in it he had rested from all his work which GOD had created and made.’”[2]

As the Second Advent Movement progressed, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald became the official publication of the movement. From August 15 to December 19 of 1859, “a list of five leading doctrines was published in the masthead of the Review and Herald.”[3] Although a reference to the Law of God appeared in the list, there was no direct reference to Creation.

Adventism grew and in 1872, A Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught and Practiced by the Seventh-day Adventists was printed. It contained twenty-five unsigned propositions, and it was later published in the Signs of the Times on June 4, 1874, under the title Fundamental Principles.[4] It placed more emphasis on God as the Creator but had no explicit statement on Creation.[5] This particular list was never printed in the Yearbook or the Church Manual.

“In the 1889 Yearbook of the denomination, . . . these ‘Fundamental Principles’ were included in a slightly revised and expanded form in Twenty-eight sections. . . . This was not continued in subsequent issues, but it was inserted again in the Yearbook in 1905 and continued to appear through 1914.”[6] The same twenty-eight statements appeared in the Review and Herald in 1912 and remained as the official doctrinal statement of the SDA Church until 1931.[7] Again, this list contained no specific statement on Creation.

The title “Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists” (FB) appeared for the first time in the 1931 Yearbook. Then it was printed in the Church Manual in 1932.[8] This list with twenty-two articles was “prepared by a committee of four, including the GC president and the editor of the Review and Herald.”[9] Though the statement on the observance of the Sabbath included the words “memorial of Creation,” no specific statement on Creation was added until 1980.

Thus, for almost 50 years, the Seventh-day Adventist Church endorsed the 1931 articles of fundamental belief with minor revisions. Then, on April 25, 1980, the GC in session took a vote on what became known as the Twenty-Seven Fundamental Beliefs, also referred to as “a summary of the principal features of Adventist beliefs.”[11] This was the first formulated set of fundamental beliefs to include a statement on Creation (1980 FB#6)—a statement that remains unchanged 35 years later. (For the wording of this statement, see the right-hand column of Table 1.)

Adventists’ View of Origins

Despite the absence of an official statement, the SDA Church has believed in biblical protology since its establishment in 1863, treasuring both the positive outcomes of the Enlightenment and Scriptural authority.[12] This can hardly be overemphasized, since Adventism emerged during a time of great epistemological turmoil over whether Scripture or science should be considered the ultimate source of knowledge, especially as related to protology. After the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, the search for a foundation of knowledge intensified, causing many to renounce their belief that Scripture is a reliable source and a foundation of knowledge.[13] To Adventists, between 1844 and 1980 the very foundation of Christianity was under attack. Thus, some SDA leaders voiced their support for a literal interpretation of biblical protology.

One of the first to voice his support was W. H. Littlejohn. He wrote in 1884, complimenting the faculty of Battle Creek College for their transparent and solid stand on origins. He emphasized the distinction between the Adventist college and other institutions, where it became “confessedly true that the leaven of evolutionism ha[d] entered largely into the theories of many of the college professors of [that] time, and that many of them openly avow[ed] and publicly [taught] doctrines in harmony with . . . the ‘higher criticism.’”[15] “Fortunately,” Littlejohn said, the teachers at Battle Creek College “are not only professors of religion themselves, but they are also firm believers in the inspiration of the Scriptures, and interpret them in harmony with their most literal and obvious sense.”[16]

Nearly 100 years later GC President Robert Pierson also voiced support for biblical protology. He said on October 12, 1978:

Already, brethren and sisters, there are subtle forces that are beginning to stir. Regrettably there are those in the church who belittle the inspiration of the total Bible, who scorn the first 11 chapters of Genesis, who question the Spirit of Prophecy’s short chronology of the age of the earth, and who subtly and not so subtly attack the Spirit of Prophecy. There are some who point to the reformers and contemporary theologians as a source and the norm for Seventh-day Adventist doctrine. There are those who allegedly are tired of the hackneyed phrases of Adventism. There are those who wish to forget the standards of the church we love. There are . . . those who would throw off the mantle of a peculiar people; and those who would go the way of the secular, materialistic world.

Fellow leaders, beloved brethren and sisters—don’t let it happen! I appeal to you as earnestly as I know how this morning—don’t let it happen! I appeal to Andrews University, to the Seminary, to Loma Linda University— don’t let it happen! We are not Seventh-day Anglicans, not Seventh-day Lutherans—we are Seventh-day Adventists! This is God’s last church with God’s last message!

About the same time W. J. Hackett also spoke on the importance of formulating a statement to communicate clearly the SDA belief about creation in six literal days, a global Flood, and the age of life on the earth. Hackett said:

Areas to be explored are those concerning the church’s positions that have been challenged. Some fall in the area of science and include topics such as a literal, seven-day Creation, a universal Flood, and the age of life on earth. A clear definition here will enable teachers of science in our schools clearly to present to inquiring young minds the church’s position.[18]

In academia, Adventists also took a stand in favor of biblical protology.[19] Instead of adopting a method of accommodating the interpretation of Scripture to the interpretation of nature, or simply dismissing mainstream science as incompatible with the biblical view of creation, as fundamentalists did,[20] mainline Adventism sought to embrace mainstream science and theology as complementary enterprises. For these scholars, it was through Scripture alone that knowledge about the relationship of the natural and the supernatural realms coalesces intelligibly.[21]

Formulating a Statement on Creation

When tracing the history of the Creation Fundamental Belief, I was surprised to find out that the current statement on Creation is the result of an extensive rewriting process that transformed the statement originally prepared by the GC between 1978 and 1979 under the leadership of B.E. Seton.[22] In fact, the 1980 FB was rewritten by a group of theologians at the SDA Theological Seminary to include multiple interpretations of origins, and then it was published in the Adventist Review on February 21, 1980, prior to its approval at the GC Session.

Although some discussion may have taken place earlier, the formulation of the statement on Creation started on June 8, 1978, when the GC voted to appoint an Ad Hoc Creation and Revelation Statements Editing Committee (hereafter ADHOC).[24] The work of the ADHOC was done mainly by correspondence from June 1978 until August 1979.

A tentative statement on Creation was prepared and presented to the X-1535 Church Manual Committee (hereafter X-1535) in September 1978.[25] On that occasion, “the chairman shared copies of B. E. Seton’s comments and suggestions regarding the Fundamental Beliefs section of the Church Manual. Members of the committee were urged to give careful study to the suggested revisions and to make notes.”[26] One of Seton’s comments pointed out the inadequacy of that first statement. In February 1979, “a tentative revision of the ‘Fundamental Beliefs’ as prepared by B E Seton” was brought to X-1535, where the chairman “stressed the need for a clearer statement concerning Creation.”[27]

As a result of the concerns raised by Seton, the X-1535 voted “to ask W. J. Hackett, R. Hammill and B. E. Seton to form a subcommittee” to write the statement on Creation.[28] By the end of the next day, the X-1535 had approved a tentative statement on Creation (See Document 1). It contained the key phrases “reliable chronicle of the Creation of the world,” “In six literal, consecutive days God created the world,” and “world-wide Noachian flood.” Even though this draft was edited extensively, one can sense a positive reaction to Hackett’s invitation to “preserve the landmarks” of biblical protology.[29]

Document 1: A Tentative Statement on Creation Voted on by the X-1535 Committee

Creation_pic1

The subcommittee continued to improve the statement. On March 4, 1979, Seton provided the X-1535 some new revisions. Documents 2 and 3 show the full statement being edited.[30] This version included an allusion to the Trinity, a specific reference to Satan as the originator of sin, and a reference to the Garden of Eden.[31]

Document 2: Full Suggested Statement on Creation During Formulation Process

Creation_pic2

Document 3: Alteration Suggested to the Portion Between the Brackets

Creation_pic3

Satisfied with the progress, the X-1535

agreed that the chairman [W. Duncan Eva] should approach Andrews University with a view to arranging a meeting with solicited members of the Theological Faculty to obtain their input on the revised fundamental beliefs as prepared by this committee. It was therefore suggested that Elders W. D. Eva, W. J. Hackett and Dr. R. Hammill meet with theologians on a convenient date on the Andrews University campus.[32]

After all the work put into the formulation of the statement on Creation, this single move would soon undermine Hackett’s appeal to “preserve the landmarks” of biblical protology. The review group of theologians, known as the Committee of Twelve, would remove several of those landmarks.

The X–1535 prepared a three-column document showing the progress on the Fundamental Beliefs so far. The first column included the 22 articles printed in the Church Manual since 1932; the second column showed the alterations to that version and the new articles; and the third column showed the revised Fundamental Beliefs. This three-column document was mailed to Andrews University and to a group of SDA leaders on August 10, 1979.[33]

Searching for the Three-Column Document

For many years, researchers tried to locate this three-column document, for they believed the original statement prepared by X–1535 would reflect the SDA understanding of Creation more clearly. But the document would not be easy to locate.

On March 15-17, 2010, I was granted access to the Adventist Archives at the GC headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Accompanied by my two sons—Matheus and Gabriel—I arrived to find eight storage boxes filled with material on the 1980 FB#6, including the personal files of W. Duncan Eva. Peter Chiomenti, assistant director of the Archives, had separated out all the material available on the history of the Fundamental Beliefs statement of 1980.

On the second day of research I located the three-column document sent to Andrews University in 1979. As Lawrence Geraty pointed out, the document had a cover saying, “At this stage this document is confidential and intended only for those to whom it is sent. It may not be copied or duplicated in any way.” The differences between the 1980 FB#6, which was revised by the Committee of Twelve, and the statement proposed by the X-1535 are substantial (See Table 1).[35]

Table 1: Comparison of Statements

X-1535 Final Proposed Statement on Creation Sent to Andrews University[36] Statement on Creation Returned From Andrews University (ultimately voted as 1980 FB#6)[37]
That the book of Genesis contains the only inspired, reliable chronicle of the Creation of the world, and that God [the Father], with Christ and the Holy Spirit, is Creator of all things. In six literal days the Lord made heaven and the earth and all living things upon it with their supporting environment. The Lord then established the seventh day as the Sabbath, a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. Man was originally created in the image of God, but his fall into sin in response to Satan’s temptation in the Garden of Eden resulted in the progressive defacement of that image. It also led to marring God’s handiwork in Creation and to the worldwide flood in the days of Noah. Through Christ, God will eradicate sin and its results from the universe and at the close of human history restore the pristine perfection of His Creation in a new heavens and a new earth (Gen 1:1-26; Ps 33:6-9; Gen 3:1-24; Exo 20:8-11; Gen 6-8; Rev 21:1-7). God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3.)

 

According to Fritz Guy—secretary for the Committee of Twelve—it was Geraty who drafted the 1980 FB#6.[38] In the rewriting process, Geraty omitted some of the key words and phrases. For example,

  • The phrase, “That the book of Genesis contains the only inspired, reliable chronicle of the Creation of the world”;
  • The term “chronicle,” which suggests that SDAs accept the Bible as historically trustworthy;[39]
  • The phrase, “In six literal days the Lord made heaven and the earth and all living things,” which indicates that SDAs interpret the days of the creation week as literal days of 24 hours and therefore as historical days;
  • The phrase, “It also led to marring God’s handiwork in Creation and to the worldwide flood in the days of Noah,” which implies that SDAs support a short chronology for the existence of life on earth and a global flood.

The omission occurred because the 1980 FB#6 was written—according to Guy—under the premise that SDAs have multiple views “regarding the history of life on Earth. Individual Adventists—scientists, theologians, pastors, and others—hold widely differing views regarding the age of the universe, of the planet Earth, and of life on Earth.”[41]

The Creation Statement on the Floor of the GC Session

As the day to review and vote on the statement on creation arrived, GC President Neal C. Wilson addressed the delegates, emphasizing the importance of leaders refusing to be content with the status quo. He said: “An organization is developed to achieve an objective. [An] organization should not continue simply to maintain itself. Unless there are clear targets, organization is meaningless.”[42]

Given this emphasis on “clear targets,” the ambiguous language used in the 1980 FB#6 did not pass unnoticed by some delegates.

For instance, Leroy Moore, supported by A. A. Roth, expressed concern about the wording of the creation belief. He suggested that some room could be made for the Spirit of Prophecy to contribute to the creation statement. E. J. Humphrey inquired about the possibility of including “six literal days” in the statement. John V. Stevens stressed that a purpose for rewriting the FB and including a statement on creation was to make the SDA beliefs “more easily understood by those not of our faith.” To Moore, Roth, Humphrey, and Stevens, a Fundamental Belief on creation should let the world know what SDAs believe.[43]

Others like Humberto R. Treiyer pointed out the importance of including “our position about the earth’s chronology.” Neal C. Wilson responded with openness to these revisions, but none of the delegates picked up on his openness. At that point, Geraty justified the wording, saying that “creation is far more extensive than just origins.” Pressing the issue, Geraty argued, “In a paragraph on Creation, I would like to testify to the world that God does not work, as deists believe, by getting things started and then allowing them to run their course. I would like to include creative activity that includes not only origins but much more.”[44]

In spite of the observations presented and the request of some delegates to use a clearer wording for FB#6, the discussion ended shortly after Geraty’s arguments, and the Creation belief was voted into effect on the morning of April 25, 1980.

The Fruits of the 1980 Statement on Creation

Looking back into the events that led SDAs to formulate a Fundamental Belief statement on creation, it is perplexing to see how this positive action has opened the door to internal controversy about origins.

Regardless of the fact that the Committee of Twelve produced a statement of fundamental beliefs that raised many theological concerns and controversies, we must recognize their efforts and contributions to Adventism. Geraty, for example, expressed his concerns about the time assigned for this task. As a result of his observation, the committee suggested that more time be allowed for future revisions of the FB. They also suggested that all “the results of [their] effort . . . be published in the Adventist Review with the invitation for comment and reaction by any concerned.”[45]

On the other hand, though I can sympathize with the committee’s intentions, I suggest that what unfolded during this process has fallen short of fulfilling the purpose of the FB Statement—to present “the church’s understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture.”[46] The appeal to stand against “those . . . who belittle the inspiration of the total Bible, who scorn the first 11 chapters of Genesis, . . . [a] short chronology of the age of the earth” was overlooked, and the call for “a clear definition” to “enable teachers of science in our schools clearly to present to inquiring young minds the church’s position”[48] was disregarded. (For information on how FB#6 was used to support the teaching of theistic evolution at an SDA institution of higher education, see pages 36-38 of my article “Development of the Fundamental Beliefs Statement with Particular Reference to the Fundamental Belief #6: Creation” in the Journal of the Adventist Theological Society.)

Fortunately, after more than thirty years, and with a revived commitment to a literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, the 2010 GC in session took a vote to reword FB#6. The motion brought by GC President Ted Wilson included a request to approve the statement “A Reaffirmation of Creation,” which more clearly stated the belief of mainline SDAs on origins. The motion included a request to integrate FB#6 and the statement “A Reaffirmation of Creation.”[49] The motion was approved.

Where Will We Go from Here?

Much hard work was put into the formulation of a statement on creation that would testify of the Adventist Church’s high view of Scripture. The statement initially produced by the ADHOC was a true attempt to preserve the “biblical landmarks” as suggested by Hackett. It included

  1. The word “literal” to describe the six days of creation;
  2. The term “chronicle” to describe the Genesis account as “the only inspired, reliable chronicle of the Creation of the world”; and
  3. The concept of a “world-wide flood.”

The 1980 FB#6, however, does not include these biblical landmarks. To be blunt, the 1980 FB#6 does not adequately represent the belief of mainline Seventh-day Adventists on origins.

  • First, it lacks the linkage of Scripture and history within itself, falling short on making clear that Adventists accept the creation account as reliable history.
  • Second, the 1980 FB#6 downplays the use of the Hebrew numeral after the Hebrew yom (יום), which, based on its use in Scripture, indicates that the days in Genesis 1:1–2:4a are literal twenty-four-hour days and not long periods of time.[50]
  • Third, the 1980 FB#6 gives no indication of whether the Genesis Flood is regarded a historical event or an ancient myth.

In my opinion, the 1980 FB#6 is more a subjective deliberation on the age of the earth (including life on earth) than a statement of the mainline SDA understanding of origins.

Moving forward, I suggest that the SDA Church should eliminate these key areas of ambiguity from FB#6. The SDA statement on creation cannot allow for multifold interpretations when it comes to how God gave form to and created life on earth (Gen 2:1-4a, Exod 20:11; Ps 95:5-6)––He did “in six days” and “rested the seventh day.” These are essential points for SDA theology and cannot be compromised. Remember, “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men . . . whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”[51]

The countdown to the 2015 GC Session in San Antonio, Texas, has already started. The Annual Council has already seen drafts of a new statement on Creation, and the task of rewording the 1980 FB#6 is nearly finished.[52] (The proposed wording to be considered at GC Session can be found on p. 54-55 of the GC Session Agenda.) What will be the outcome? We will soon see whether Adventists will choose to affirm more clearly their belief in the Bible’s historical account of origins.

______

Notes:

[1] Sergio L. Silva, “Development of the Fundamental Beliefs Statement with Particular Reference to the Fundamental Belief #6: Creation,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 21, no. 1 & 2 (2010).

[2] James White, “The Weekly Sabbath Instituted at Creation, and not at Sinai,” The Present Truth, July 1849, 1.

[3] SDA Encyclopedia 2000 ed., s.v. “Doctrinal Statements, Seventh-day Adventist.”

[4] Ibid.

[5] “Fundamental Principles of the Seventh-day Adventists,” The Signs of the Times, June 4, 1874.

[6] s.v. “SDA Encyclopedia.”

[7] The Late Uriah Smith, “Fundamental Principles of Seventh-day Adventists,” Review and Herald, 4-6.

[8] General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Church Manual (General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1932), 180-186.

[9] s.v. “SDA Encyclopedia.”

[10] Ibid. Additional information can be found at Guy.

[11] General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Yearbook of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1931), 377–380 and s.v. “SDA Encyclopedia.”

[12] See Sergio L. Silva, “Origins and the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” Perspective Digest 19, no. 3 (2014).

[13] Schleiermacher and Lücke, On the Glaubenslehre: Two Letters to Dr. Lücke.

[14] For information on SDA authors who wrote on the issue of evolution from the mid 19th century and early 20th century, see J. N. Andrews, History of the Sabbath (n.p.: 1887); A. J. Gordon, “Christian Science not Scriptural,” Review and Herald, October 2, 627-628; A. T. Jones, “Creation or Evolution: Which?” Review and Herald, February 21, 115, 116; A. T. Jones, “Creation or Evolution: Which? (Continuation),” Review and Herald, February 28, 146–147; A. T. Jones, “Creation or Evolution: Which? (Conclude),” Review and Herald, March 7, 136; W. H. Littlejohn, “The Battle Creek College: What it is Not, and What it is,” Review and Herald, January 22, 51; W. H. Littlejohn, “The Temple in Heaven,” Review and Herald, March 3, 129–131.

[15] Littlejohn, “The Battle Creek College: What it is Not, and What it is,” 51.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Robert H. Pierson, “An Ernest Appeal From the Retiring President of the General Conference,” Review and Herald, 10, 11.

[18] W. J. Hackett, “Preserve the Landmarks,” Review and Herald, May 26, 1977, 2.

[19] See George McCready Price, The New Geology: A Textbook for Colleges, Normal Schools, and Training Schools; and for the General Reader (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1923); George McCready Price, Genesis Vindicated (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1941); Harold W. Clark, Back to Creationism: A Defense of the Scientific Accuracy of the Doctrine of Special Creation, and a Plea for a Return to Faith in the Literal Interpretation of the Genesis Record of Creation as Opposed to the Theory of Evolution (Angwin, CA: Pacific Union College Press, 1929); Harold W. Clark, Genes and Genesis (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1940); Harold W. Clark, Genesis and Science (Nashville, TN: Southern Publishing Association, 1967); Harold W. Clark, Fossils, Flood, and Fire (Escondido, CA: Outdoor Pictures, 1968); Harold W. Clark, The Battle over Genesis (Washington: Review and Herald Pub. Association, 1977); Harold W. Clark, New Creationism (Nashville, TN: Southern Pub. Association, 1980).

[20] Raymond A. Eve and Francis B. Harrold, The Creationist Movement in Modern America (Boston, MA: Twayne Publishers, 1991), 49. In relation to biblical protology, fundamentalists actively participate in the Young Earth Creationism movement (YEC). Independently of mainstream science providing reliable evidences in favor of an old universe, fundamentalists insist that because the genealogies in Scripture seem to account for the beginning of human life on earth some six to ten thousand years ago, that the entire galactic universe was created about the same time in six literal days. A good example of this theologically fundamentalist understanding is found in the belief statement of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), Principles of Scientific Creationism. It says: “The record of earth history, as preserved in the earth’s crust, especially in the rocks and fossil deposits, is primarily a record of catastrophic intensities of natural processes, operating largely within uniform natural laws, rather than one of gradualism and relatively uniform process rates. There are many scientific evidences for a relatively recent creation of the earth and the universe, in addition to strong scientific evidence that most of the earth’s fossiliferous sedimentary rocks were formed in an even more recent global hydraulic cataclysm.” Institute for Creation Research, “Principles of Scientific Creationism,” Institute for Creation Research, http://www.icr.org/tenets/ (accessed April 10, 2012). Emphasis supplied. See also Institute for Creation Research, “Principles of Biblical Creationism,” Institute for Creation Research, http://www.icr.org/tenets/ (accessed April 10, 2012).

[21] Norman R. Gulley, Systematic Theology: Prolegomena (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2003), 191.

[22] Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, “Seventh-day Adventist Doctrinal Statement,” in Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 2nd rev. ed., 2 vols. (Hagerstown, MD: Review & Herald, 2002).

[23] s.v. “SDA Encyclopedia” and Kenneth H. Wood, “Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists,” Adventist Review, 8.

[24] The members of that committee were “W. Duncan Eva (Chairman); G. M. Hyde (Secretary), Milo Anderson, Roger Coon, Raoul Dederen, Richard Fearing, W. J. Hackett, Richard Hammill, Frank Holbrook, Warren H. Johns, Alf Lohne, James Londis, Robert W. Olson, Jack Provonsha, Ariel Roth, Cree Sandefur, William C. Jr. Scales, G. Ralph Thompson, Mervyn Warren, K. H. Wood, and E. E. Zinke.” General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Washington, DC), Minutes of Meetings of the General Conference Committee, meeting of 8 June 1978.

[25] General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Washington, DC), Minutes of Meetings of the (X-1535) Church Manual Committee, meeting of 8 September 1978.

[26] Ibid.

[27] General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Washington, DC), Minutes of Meetings of the (X-1535) Church Manual Committee, 14–15 February 1979, meeting of 14 February 1979.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Hackett, 2.

[30] Bernard E. Seton, “Suggestion for Statement of Belief on Creation,” in X-1535 Church Manual Revision Committee – Fundamental Beliefs (Washington, DC: General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1979).

[31] General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Washington, DC), Minutes of Meetings of the (X-1535) Church Manual Committee, 9–10 April 1979, meeting of 9 April 1979.

[32] Ibid. A brief reference to this event can be found at Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 2nd rev. ed., 2 vols. (Hagerstown, MD: Review & Herald, 1996).

[33] W. Duncan Eva, to X–1535 Church Manual Revision––”Fundamental Beliefs” Members of ad hoc committee, August 10, 1979. W. Duncan Eva Collection, Office of Archives & Statistics, Silver Spring, MD.

[34] Lawrence Geraty, “A New Statement of Fundamental Beliefs,” Spectrum, 4.

[35] W. Duncan Eva, “Proposal for the 1980 Statement on Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, 1980,” p. 3, 4, 5, W. Duncan Eva Material on Fundamental Beliefs 1980 – 1981, Silver Spring, MD. See Appendix A and B.

[36] Eva, “Proposal for the 1980 Statement on Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists.” See Appendix A and B

[37] General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Church Manual (General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1981), 33.

[38] Guy, Fritz, “Uncovering the Origins of the Statement of Twenty-seven Fundamental Beliefs” http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/doctrines/au2002conference/guy/ guy27origin.htm (accessed 03/25/2010).

[39] Definition of “chronicle”: “an historical account of events arranged in order of time usually without analysis or interpretation.” 11th ed. s.v. “Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.”

[40] Gerhard F. Hasel, “The ‘Days’ of Creation in Genesis 1: Literal ‘Days’ or Figurative ‘Periods/Epochs’ of Time?” Origins, 5-38.

[41] Fritz Guy, “Seven Considerations for Productive Conversation About the History of Life on Planet Earth,” Spectrum, June 18, 2009.

[42] General Conference Bulletin No. 6, “Eighth Business Meeting: Fifty-third General Conference Session, April 22, 1980, 9:30 A.M. Session Proceedings Continue From Bulletin 5,” Review and Herald, April 24, 1980, 14.

[43] General Conference Bulletin No. 6, “Ninth Business Meeting: Fifty-third General Conference Session, April 22, 1980, 3:15 P.M. Session Proceedings Continue From Bulletin 5,” Review and Herald, April 24, 1980, 20.

[44] Ibid. Emphasis supplied.

[45] Geraty, 3.

[46] General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Church Manual (General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1981), 31. Emphasis supplied.

[47] Robert H. Pierson, “An Ernest Appeal From the Retiring President of the General Conference,” Review and Herald, 10, 11.

[48] W. J. Hackett, “Preserve the Landmarks,” Review and Herald, May 26, 1977, 2.

[49] Keith Lockhart, “Under Wilson, Church Begins the Process to Rewrite Creation Belief,” Spectrum, June 30, 2010.

[50] For additional information on the meaning of the Hebrew word יום see R. Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, electronic ed., 2 vols. (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1980), 370.

[51] Ellen G. White, Education (Oakland, CA: Pacific Press, 1903), 57.

[52] Elizabeth Lechleitner, “Annual Council Delegates Review Suggested Rewording to 28 Fundamental Beliefs”, Adventist News Network http://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2013-10-15/annual-council-delegates-review-suggested-rewording-to-28-fundamental-beliefs/ (accessed 06/19/2015).

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Sergio L. Silva is a Ph.D. candidate at Andrews University with a research focus on the doctrine of creation. Originally from Brazil, he currently resides in Centerville, Ohio, where he works as the chaplain of the Grandview Medical Center. He is married and has two sons.