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Reviewing the Review: Belief edition

July 9, 2009
Vol. 186, No. 19
When PAULSEN SPOKE ON ISSUE OF ORIGINS, he affirmed the official Adventist position on creation and the flood, by citing a statement voted by the General Conference Executive Committee at the 2004 Annual Council. That document affirmed “our historic, biblical position of belief in a literal, recent, six-day creation. . .that the seven days of Creation account were literal 24-hour days forming a week identical in time to what we not experience as a week; and that the Flood was global in nature.” He called “on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins”.
This “affirmation” flies in the face of overwhelming scientific, historical, and literary evidence that the creation story recounted in Genesis 1 & 2: 1-3 and the Bible’s universal flood stories are not, and could not be, factually real accounts of “recent” events. Why was such an affirmation necessary? A political outsider can only fearlessly speculate.
When the Biblical Research Institute continues to gloss over the problems inherent in the literal interpretation of the Bible; when the Geoscience Institute avoids even suggesting that the 6-day creation story might be a poetic, rather than scientific, affirmation that God is the creator of this world; and the GC Executive Committee is unable muster the political courage to even suggest that the 1988, 27 Fundamental Doctrines of the Church*, need revision, it leaves church administrators, like Jan Paulsen, no wiggle room in which to officially accommodate progressive elements within the Church.
When “traditional” Adventist power brokers demand that a reasonably progressive administrator “put down” challenges to their influence by speaking with the authority of an elected president, it is fair to assume that change is in the wind. It is also worth noting that Paulsen carefully avoids expressing his “take” on the situation. “Faith is certainly not subject to the findings of science,” is as far as he, personally, is willing to express an opinion. What effect his “affirmation statement” will have remains to be seen.
*We have not written this book to serve as a creed, a statement of beliefs set in theological concrete. (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, pp. vii, viii.)
Philosophy is simply supporting fundamental assertions about reality with what the author believes are convincing arguments. Bad philosophy fails either because the fundamental assertion (rock and roll music is demonic) is flawed, or the arguments in support of the fundamental assertion (because I say so) are unconvincing. In Clifford Goldstein’s ZEUS CRUCIFIED, he does good philosophy rather well until he makes the flawed assumption that Moses, Paul, John, and he are somehow not included in “the vast corpus of philosophical inquiry since the time of Thales”.
Check out Amanecer’s music on the Internet. They are an internationally acclaimed Adventist quartet that sings IN PERFECT HARMONY.
Jimmy Phillips experiences an ALTERNATE REALITY that reminds him “that no matter what my ‘reality’. . . the people around me should never be ignored”.

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