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GC President Opens Bible and Science Conference

The International Conference on the Bible and Science opened with a big bang on Friday August 15 in Las Vegas, when General Conference President Ted Wilson told the assembled professors, scientists, administrators and pastors from around the world that, “If one does not accept the recent six-day creation understanding of origins then that person is actually not a 'Seventh-day' Adventist.” 

He went on to explain that not accepting the six-day creation would mean that the seventh-day Sabbath would become “absolutely meaningless historically and theologically and most of our Biblically based doctrines centered in Christ and His authoritative voice would become meaningless as well.”  While the person might claim to be an “Adventist,” to Wilson that would be impossible because he feels that  “without the clear Biblical understanding of the foundational Sabbath doctrine and God’s authority as Creator and Sovereign of the universe, it is really impossible to arrange a meaningful theological construct that would lead to or be acceptable for a belief in a literal second coming of Christ.” 

Wilson also called for teachers who do not believe in a literal six-day creation of a young earth to resign their positions. “A church employee who teaches theistic or pure evolutionary theory should not even exist in a Seventh-day Adventist school or church pulpit,” he said. He pleaded with conference attendees to be loyal to God’s Biblical truth. If a teacher does not believe in that six day creation with all their heart, the honorable thing would be “to resign from their position of trust. It is that important to God’s ultimate mission.”

Titled “God’s Authoritative Voice,” Wilson’s address referred to God’s authoritative voice or power over a dozen times. It was God’s authoritative voice that created the earth, that is central to Adventist doctrine. The sanctuary service shows us God’s authoritative voice, we need to pray for the latter rain and a full acceptance of God’s authoritative voice. 

Wilson’s message was affirmed by Edward Zinke, the co-organizer of the event with support from the Faith & Science Council, the Geoscience Research Institute, Biblical Research Institute,  and the GC Department of Education. He told the assembly that what the Bible reveals about God depends upon a correct epistemology. Rationalism, empiricism, materialism,  and existentialism were all wrong epistemologies for understanding God, he said.

Andrews University Professors Richard and Joann Davidson are presenting a series of lectures on the accuracy, reliability and authority of the Scriptures.

The 350 participants in the conference come from Adventist universities around the world and include church leaders. They will spend 10 days in the desert of the American southwest considering geological and archaeological scientific evidence as well as discussing the Bible. For a close-up look at evidence supporting the belief that the Earth is a relatively young 6,000 years old they will take trips to Virgin River Gorge, a long canyon located between St. George, Utah, and Littlefield, Arizona; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; and Utah’s Zion National Park, which has a 15-mile canyon plunging up to half a mile deep at some points. 

The lineup of speakers includes professors in biology, geology, earth and biological science, and theology from Loma Linda University, Andrews University, and Southwestern Adventist University, as well as several non-Adventist universities, and from the General Conference. 

Adventist Review news editor Andrew McChesney is providing updates on the Review website, where the full text of Wilson’s speech was also posted.

Bonnie Dwyer is the editor of Spectrum.

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