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Clarification Regarding History of Fundamental Belief #6 – Creation

Several times it has been implied in speeches and conversations during this week at the General Conference Session that those involved in drafting the church’s Fundamental Beliefs left #6 (the one on Creation) “open” and “ambiguous” because they were trying to leave room for theistic evolution.

In fact, this was specifically stated in Ed Zinke’s Yes, Creation! presentation on “Theistic Evolution and the End of Adventism.” In my opinion, as one of the drafters of Fundamental Belief #6 in 1980, nothing could be further from the truth.

Those of us teaching at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in those days were not even incipient theistic evolutionists, nor did we ever think of trying to make room for such in the statement on creation. When this statement was being discussed on the floor of the General Conference Session, with Elder N. C. Wilson,* president, presiding, there were suggestions from some delegates on the floor supportive of the move to include more restrictive language, i.e. “literal 24-hour days,” etc. However, some delegates resisted in favor of just quoting the language of Genesis 1 to which all delegates could agree, not interpretive language that might cause dissension.

The aim at the time that the belief on Creation was written was to employ biblical phraseology and thus unify believers in the biblical view of creation. Doesn’t it seem strange for people to argue that biblical language is “open, ambiguous, and in need of revision”? As John Brunt got up to say at the floor mic (but time was called before he had a chance to speak), “One would think that the Bible, mighty as the sword, could withstand delegates tampering with its wording.”


Larry Geraty earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University and is president emeritus of La Sierra University.

*In the editing process, I mistakenly added Ted to the initials. It refers to Neal.-Alexander Carpenter

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