The following is a transcript of the keynote speech that Adventist Church President Ted N.C. Wilson gave at the opening of a 10-day International Conference on the Bible and Science in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Aug. 15, 2014.
What a privilege to be at this extraordinary International Conference on the Bible and Science starting here in Las Vegas and going today to beautiful St George, Utah. I will be with you from the beginning to the very end. That is how much I believe in this special program and Biblical subject.
We thank the Faith and Science Council, Geoscience Research Institute, Biblical Research Institute, the GC Department of Education, the conference planning group and other interested parties, including eminent Seventh-day Adventist scientists and scholars, for the fine organization that has taken place for this meeting of hundreds of proponents of Biblical creation coming from every one of our 13 divisions and attached fields around the world.
As educators, teachers, scientists, theologians, department directors, editors, administrators, pastors and members, we all share a common belief in God’s authoritative voice as the Creator. We believe that the Biblical creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 was a literal event that took place in six literal, consecutive days recently as opposed to deep time. It was accomplished by God’s authoritative voice and happened when He spoke the world into existence. The field trips and presentations during this special conference will be firmly based on this Biblical conviction.
Thank God for loyal, academically trained, consecrated, talented, intelligent, humble presenters who have faith in God’s Word and His creative power that enables all of us to find answers and reassurance in a recent literal creation by the word of the Lord. As Psalm 33:6, 9 proclaim: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth … for He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”
This is God’s authoritative voice! God’s word was powerful then and is equally powerful today. We have His written word and we have the account of the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ who affirmed the creative power of the Godhead to create and recreate.
Not only does our belief in origins hinge on this belief but also our belief that in the salvation process of Christ’s righteousness, both justification and sanctification, that God can recreate something new in the heart of the human being. This is God’s authoritative voice. Without this intrinsic belief in the power of God, neither origins nor the future have any real meaning.
Regarding origins, the powerful, heavenly inspired book Patriarchs and Prophets, pages 111, 112, indicates, “The assumption that the events of the first week required thousands upon thousands of years, strikes directly at the foundation of the fourth commandment. It represents the Creator as commanding men to observe the week of literal days in commemoration of vast, indefinite periods. This is unlike His method of dealing with His creatures. It makes indefinite and obscure that which He has made very plain. It is infidelity in its most insidious and hence most dangerous form; its real character is so disguised that it is held and taught by many who profess to believe the Bible. … The Bible recognizes no long ages in which the Earth was slowly evolved from chaos. Of each successive day of creation, the sacred record declares that it consisted of the evening and the morning, like all other days that have followed.”
As we can see, the Spirit of Prophecy provides tremendous counsel and light on this subject. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy are absolutely trustworthy and accurate. Actually, most who do not believe in Biblical creation would not believe in the Spirit of Prophecy as a defining element in historical accuracy and therefore unreliable for scientific or theological contribution.
Actually, the Spirit of Prophecy points back to the Bible. The Holy Word of God is the absolute foundation of our faith and belief. I stand here today to state that both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy are absolutely reliable and are inspired by the Creator Himself. Rely on the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as the basis of your understanding of origins.
Purpose of the Conference
The purpose of this 10-day Bible and science conference is to affirm your belief in a loving Creator and an all-powerful Redeemer who is returning to take us home to heaven and ultimately will recreate a new Earth and place Eden again where it was intended. Obviously, the seventh-day Sabbath is integral to this six-day creation week since it memorializes the literal creation week and provides Seventh-day Adventists with a direct connection to our Creator. The book of Revelation indicates that the Sabbath will be a sign or seal of those who are God’s people in the last days of Earth’s history just before Christ’s soon return.
In Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pages 135-136, we read, “Human philosophy declares that an indefinite period of time was taken in the creation of the world. Does God state the matter thus? No; He says, ‘It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days [not six indefinite periods of time; for then there would be no possible way for man to observe the day specified in the fourth commandment] the Lord made haven and Earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.’ … Yet with the living oracles before them, those who claim to preach the word present the suppositions of human minds, the maxims and commandments of men. They make void the law of God by their traditions. The sophistry in regard to the world’s being created in an indefinite period of time is one of Satan’s falsehoods. God speaks to the human family in language they can comprehend. He does not leave the matter so indefinite that human begins can handle it according to their theories. When the Lord declares that He made the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, He means the day of 24 hours, which He has marked off by the rising and setting of the sun.”
How much plainer could it get? Seventh-day Adventists around the world believe and accept the creation of this world in six literal days with the seventh-day as a memorial of creation and we proclaim it with Holy Spirit power. In fact, Seventh-day Adventists are one of the last churches to actually believe in a literal creation through God’s authoritative voice.
6-Day Creation Makes a Seventh-day Adventist
If one does not accept the recent six-day creation understanding then that person is actually not a “Seventh-day” Adventist since 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. The person may claim to be an “Adventist,” but in reality 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. The return of Christ, the great hope of Seventh-day Adventists and who they are, would then eventually lead to God’s re-creation of this world into the new Earth with the new Eden and the New Jerusalem, the Holy City.
The Biblical account of origins can be believed. It underscores God’s power for salvation, the sanctuary process as outlined in the Pentateuch and in Hebrews, His ability to now recreate in us a new heart and His ability to make all things new in the future according to Revelation 21:5 as portrayed in Revelation 20, 21 and 22 all through His power, authority, love, grace and all-encompassing righteousness.
This is not the time for half-hearted faith. It is the time to plead with the Lord for genuine revival and reformation leading to the latter rain of the Holy Spirit and a full acceptance of God’s authoritative voice.
This is not some legalistic initiative but is centered in Christ and Him alone. The sanctuary service and Christ’s ministry call us to humbly ask the Lord to work in our lives accepting His righteousness as we face His judgment and soon coming. This is the message that has been entrusted to Seventh-day Adventists as God’s last-day remnant church. It is a heaven-borne call from God Himself found throughout the Bible in passages such as Joel 2, Acts 2, Hosea 6 and 2 Peter 3:14 which instructs in the context of the second coming of Christ, “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.”
The sanctuary service shows us in detail God’s authoritative voice as it unfolds the marvelous plan of justification and sanctification. Without a literal understanding of God’s creative and saving power, our understanding of the sanctuary service and the plan of salvation makes no sense. God’s salvation and authoritative voice is demonstrated in the sanctuary service showing His power to re-create in us a new heart through His righteousness.
The three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 point us to the sanctuary understanding of Christ’s relationship to His people and point back to God’s creative power. The first angel’s message proclaiming the everlasting gospel and that the hour of God’s judgment has come is a special announcement turning people back to the true worship of God — the One who made everything and is worthy of our worship. We worship Him on the seventh-day Sabbath because He asked us to and because it is a memorial of His creatorship of this Earth in six, literal, consecutive days of recent origin.
As a human being, Christ kept the Sabbath. He gave this to the human race at creation and again on Mt. Sinai. It was a peculiar privilege to stand on top of Mt. Sinai in July and realize that was the area where God gave His precious 10 commandments including the reaffirmation of the Sabbath.
‘Do Not Manipulate Biblical Truth’
The precious Biblical truth of a recent literal creation including the commemoration of the creation week with the Sabbath has come under fierce attack by unbelieving secularists and humanists and is even being dismissed by some who claim to be Seventh-day Adventists. Do not believe them nor participate in this manipulation of Biblical truth regarding creation and the visible commemoration of creation — the Sabbath.
In essence, evolution is not a science, it is a false form of religion and part of spiritualism. A definition of spiritualism is found in The Great Controversy, page 554, “Spiritualism teaches ‘that man is the creature of progression; that it is his destiny from his birth to progress, even to eternity, toward the Godhead.”
As teachers on the campuses of Seventh-day Adventist academies, colleges and universities, and leaders in God’s church, through God’s power, hold firmly to a literal recent creation and absolutely reject theistic and general evolutionary theory. I call on you to be champions of creation based on the Biblical account and reinforced so explicitly by the Spirit of Prophecy and as voted by the world Seventh-day Adventist Church at the 2010 General Conference Session.
Next year at the 2015 General Conference Session, we will have the opportunity to vote an even clearer wording of Fundamental Belief No. 6 about God’s authoritative voice in creation.
Adventists Shouldn’t Teach or Preach Evolution
A church employee who teaches theistic or pure evolutionary theory should not even exist in a Seventh-day Adventist school or church pulpit.
My fellow attendees to this International Conference on Bible and Science, be loyal to God’s Biblical truth, not just because you are employed by the church or you think it is the politically correct thing to do, but because you believe it with all your heart. Otherwise, the honorable thing is, and I say this with all kindness, for a person to resign from their position of trust. It is that important to God’s ultimate mission.
Our church has long held to the historical-biblical method of interpreting Scripture, which allows the Bible to interpret itself — line upon line, precept upon precept. However, one of the greatest attacks against the Bible, creation, prophetic understanding, the sanctuary message and many other Seventh-day Adventist Biblical beliefs is from the historical-critical method, which is influenced by the unbiblical approach of “higher criticism.” This approach is a deadly enemy of our theology and mission. It puts an individual above the plain approach of the Scriptures and gives inappropriate license to decide what he or she perceives as truth based on the resources and education of the critic.
Reject this approach, which is self-centered and inspired by the devil. This approach does not lead people to trust God and His Word and will destroy your own understanding of correct Biblical theology and our precious Advent mission.
That Advent mission is completely linked to the bedrock memorial of God’s authoritative voice in creation, the Sabbath, which reminds us where we have come from. In the same way that the “seventh-day” reminds us of where we came from, the other part of our name, “Adventist,” tells us where we are going. We are waiting for the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ and look forward to it as the culmination of all of Earth’s history. The literal return of Christ is the great objective and goal of every Seventh-day Adventist. It is that Blessed Hope to which we cling and has been announced by God’s authoritative voice.
Let classrooms and pulpits of all Seventh-day Adventist churches and institutions ring with the loud and exciting proclamation that Jesus is coming soon! Tell students, church members and the public that we are a people who await the literal return of the King of Kings who will take us home to heaven. Tell them that every eye will see this incredible return of Jesus and that He will not set foot on this Earth but that we will rise to meet Him in the air. Unashamedly proclaim those precious words of Paul found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
‘Seventh-day Adventist’ Is 2-Word Sermon
Our powerful, heaven-sent name, “Seventh-day Adventist,” is a two-word sermon of hope telling us of our origin at creation and of our future when God will recreate us as immortal beings. This points to God as the all-powerful Creator, as the Author and Finisher of our faith, as the authoritative voice of all time! It proclaims the Great Controversy theme from the challenging beginning to its fantastic end!
This is what this International Conference on the Bible and Science is ultimately about. As you listen, observe, analyze, discuss, study and pray, may the Holy Spirit bring you new insights about how to share this ageless and everlasting message of creation and redemption. The church and the Lord are depending on you!
God’s authoritative voice was at the beginning of creation where Moses records nine times in Genesis 1 the words, “And God said.” The apostle John records God’s authoritative voice three times in Revelation 22, the last chapter of the Bible, saying, “I come quickly.” God’s authoritative voice is real and it is everywhere!
What a privilege to share our highly relevant Biblical message that proclaims and upholds Christ, as our Creator, Redeemer, High Priest, Coming King and Best Friend! Thank God for His authoritative power at creation and His re-creative power to make us into new creatures for eternity. By His grace, let’s all plan to go home with Him soon to celebrate His Creatorship and authoritative voice forever! May this be your experience as we begin this vital 2014 International Conference on the Bible and Science.