Nature Confirms a Recent Creation Week

The initial pre-Abrahamic chapters of Genesis establish monotheism, the creator God of the whole of life and its world, the God who chose Abraham out of all the creation and through his lineage the slaves for whom Genesis was written, the very slaves who were salvaged by this God from Egypt and brought to Saini and then to the Jordan and finally Canaan, the Promised Land. Thus, do we humans do great disservice out of our ignorance-fueled need for ultimate clarity in lieu of faith to read into Genesis what is not there and was never intended to be there? It seems so.

As we the people of Seventh-day Adventism approach the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this coming October, we do well to remember that Sola Scriptura means that we individually embrace scripture independent of its interpretations by any church council, including our own. And we also do well to re-clarify that Sola Scriptura does not mean that special revelation has replaced natural revelation.

And as the people of Seventh-day Adventism, we do well to remember that, as the books of Moses specifically confirm, the Sabbath honors the power of God as creator and as redeemer, first symbolically through the children of Abraham and post Jesus the whole of his creation, as also promised in Genesis.

In light of this, do we not do better to simply let the ice cores tell their own story? It seems so.


The Conference was fantastic! Your attitude is “flawed.” It was NOT an exercise in “indoctrination” but an open discussion where scientific evidences where presented and the problems with some models candidly brought to our attention.

The absolute definitive signs of design are found in new discoveries in functions in regulatory DNA and the revolution in Epigenetics!

If you have not read Chadwick and Brand’s book don’t trash it! Of course we don’t understand everything - it was never stated that we do!

“Si comprehendis, non est deus“ (If you comprehend it, it is not God) Augustine of Hippo

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Amen and amen!



Interesting answer/rebuttal from ICR on this topic - Worth a look. In the article, they talk about a 50-foot layer of ice covering two WWII-era B-17 Flying Fortresses and 6 P-38 Lightning aircraft. Obviously this ice accumulation happened recently. In one section of the article, simple tests for particulate matter from known volcanic activity in earth’s history are referred to. The article also calls for young earth creationists to further study the ice core data and try to figure out what it means for them.

Short answer: don’t believe everything you read in Spectrum from those attempting to undermine young earth creation.


That goes for what I say to.
The WWII aircraft landed on the coast where it snows great amounts. (and ice cores do not go back far) The very old ice cores are taken in land where it is much dryer and very little ice is added each year. [quote=“Irishtiger, post:16, topic:13827”]
simple tests for particulate matter from known volcanic activity in earth’s history are referred to.
From the pictures I saw; the volcanic marks in the ice are spot on.
If we only had ice, only lake sediment, only tree rings, only coral rings, etc… then one could be questioned. When they all do not say 6000, actually 4500 to a “great flood”.

[quote]“Trees made 3 to 5 rings per year in Bible times.”
“Ice core layers happen every day not every year.”
“Lake sediment, every storm.”
“The laws of physics were different is Bible times”
“The earth went around the sun much, much faster, back then.”[/quote]
Even if that was true, there are still too many layers/rings.

The question is not “millions or billions”, but why is there no mark in history 4500 and 6000 years ago? I fully understand there is no way to prove “to you”. Lets reverse it. I want to find water marks on 10,000 year old buildings in the middle east. I want to find only 4500 ice layers. I could write a book if I could only show that all start beyond 6000 light years don’t exist. I want to find this … but not in a Ken Ham way.

check out some of the archive articles for spectrum…here’s one, written by andre reis (a new testament theologian), that explains in simple terms why ice core analysis from greenland isn’t necessarily objective:

this is the point probably most in dispute among scientists, not only within the field of ice core science, but all the branches of earth origins science…conventional science simply denies that noah’s flood happened, and therefore finds no evidence that it happened…creation science, on the other hand, uses noah’s flood as a starting premise in everything they look at…all their models assume that it happened…this discrepancy in initial assumptions probably explains why scientists with the same degrees from the same institutions, and using the same methods, arrive at such different conclusions after examining the same evidence…

of course for the average lay person, this disconnect between qualified scientists gives good cover to disbelieve whatever lies outside of a chosen belief system…if the question of origins is a court trial, with the public being the jury, and scientists specialty witnesses, it means individual members of the jury, or the public, will likely conclude what they believed going into the trial…


Thank you Dr Letham and Mr Gibson for your thoughtful article. It is refreshing to read a response to creation that is neither staunchly atheistic nor young earth creationist.

My question for gap theorists is: Is there a hierarchy of created life? So much geology is dependent on biology. For example, marine invertebrates and limestone, cyanobacteria and iron ore, buried forests and coal. How do gap theorists account for these (and other eg. dinosaur) life forms which have been present for more than thousands of years?


Why do we insist on saying “the Sabbath” as if there were only one? (Lev 23 is chuck full of sabbaths that we flat-out ignore.)

“when diverse life forms were created and God gave us a Creation Memorial in time, the Sabbath.” And Isn’t it misleading for us to pretend that this particular sabbath was given in Genesis 1/2 as part of creation when it was actually given as part of the exodus? (Ex. 16, Dt. 5) And maybe we should emphasize that “the third day” and “the seventh day” and “the eighth day”, etc., never add “of the week”. Our preoccupation with the age of the earth seems to be driven more by our assumptions about the Bible than by its unambiguous declarations.


So, what exactly do you propose was created during creation week? Settled farming? The insertion of the likeness of God into Adam and Eve? The climate on earth is tightly connected with life, and you include pollen for both ice core calibration as well as for determining past temperature ranges.

They do write that there was life in other areas of earth. Here:

When you write that the problems with some models were candidly brought into attention, would the model voted by the recent GC sessions be one of those highlighted? Or did the conference candidly bring evidence against competing models to your attention?

So I understand from your reply that the conference provided at least reasonably good solutions to these issues. Would you mind providing a summary of these solutions here, I would very much like to learn them. I have never learned of any probable, let alone any believable solutions to these questions and this, as you may understand, causes a great deal of internal conflict with regard to adventist belief, church and local congregation. Therefore I would be pleased if you could help me answering these questions.

The bible begs to differ from your assessment above.

12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.


The belief of an old Earth creation is incompatible with the Fourth Commandment, spoken by God himself, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…” (Exodus 20:11). The evening of the first day begins with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The timing is confirmed by Genesis 1:2 when, “…darkness was upon the face of the deep…” The morning of the first day begins with Genesis 1:3, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

So the Bible itself tells us that the first day was composed of an evening (the time of darkness upon the face of the deep) and morning (the time of light). One cannot truly accept and keep the Sabbath commandment while holding to a belief in an old Earth.

Does this mean I can explain away the above evidence for an older Earth? Certainly not. But if we are to walk by faith and not by sight, we must be able to reject even our best physical evidence if it is incompatible with our faith. To choose physical evidence over faith is to act as Eve, who rejected faith in God’s word because she, “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise…” (Genesis 3:6).

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Because literalism provide certainty and avoids having to deal with the ambiguity of symbolism and other literary devices designed to make a person think. Thinking is hard and increases the opportunity to be wrong. It is much easier to read literally and ignore symbolism, even when it means totally misunderstanding the message.

Structure of Genesis 1 (to 2:3)

day 1 - light           day 4 - Sun, Moon & stars 
day 2 - firmament       day 5 - Sea & air creatures
day 3 - land & plants   day 6 - land animals & humans

day 7 - The Rest that comes from completion

Sure you can. You just do it and stop tying it to creation, or at least tie it to the creation myth, which is informative and quite beautiful, but don’t expect the myth to be literal.

Another of the commandment accounts, the one in in Deut, says the Sabbath was given as a remembrance of slavery in Egypt, and goes on to explain this in great detail. Never mentions creation. Go with that one. It makes more sense anyway.

I suspect you’re right. It seems easier to leave all that behind and assume it’s simple and direct and literal.

But the problem I see is the longer term defense of a literalist position. For example, if the two creation accounts are thought to be literal, then many problems emerge, including:

Gen 1:
The fist creation story ends with:
On the 6th day, El said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.


  • El is an ancient Canaanite god, the God of Abraham.
  • God refers to self as plural, as if multiple gods were involved in creation, or were watching.
  • God creates male and female at the same time at the very end of creation. This is where we get the idea that humanity is the pinnacle of creation, God’s final act (suggesting that makes us special.)
  • There is no hint that only two people were created, but says “adam” in the original, which was the word for humankind and is plural.

Gen 2: The second creation story begins with:
In the day that the YHWH made the earth and the heavens, 5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6 but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

  • Then God created the garden of Eden and placed the man there.
  • Then told the man about the forbidden tree.
  • Then created all the birds and animals and the man named them all.
  • Then God created woman from man.


  • HYWH, or “Yahweh” is not El. YHWH is a different god.
  • God creates a man as the very first act of creation, then everything else, and then a woman.
  • This is where we get the picture of “adam” (literally man or human) naming all of the animals.
  • Clearly two people are created, one male and one female.

This is an example of the issue that arises when that insisting that the text is inspired, literal, and inerrant: The two stories cannot both be literally true and historically accurate:

  • They name two different gods of history as the creator god.
  • You cannot have man created both as the last act of creation and as the first act of creation.
  • If man is created first, then man cannot be understood the pinnacle of creation. If created last then he could not have named the animals as they were created.

One of the stories has to be wrong if the other is right. And if so, then parts of the bible must now be viewed as literally wrong, which must be a horrible thing for a literalist. It’s unworkable, but that doesn’t stop the attempt.

Excuses are made, theories are developed, and so on and so forth. This, I think, is why when I listen to literalists, they are often quite defensive, having worked so hard to explain away the inconsistencies, and then becoming so very attached to their solutions, they can’t seem to bear challenges to them.

OTOH, if your view is that inspiration does not equal infallibility, and that the bible isn’t a literal history of the world, all that goes away and you are free to read the text and appreciate what it conveys.


I hate to keep beating a dead horse, so probably should be quiet, having spoken up already in response to previous articles. But, I’ll pipe up one more time, because while I appreciate your bringing a serious discussion of scientific data to this topic, I continue to strain to follow your overall logic.

You concluded this article with a grandiose statement of “Our creation message” and the “Advent Creation message”, the truth of which “destroys the corruption of theistic evolution” as taught by, among others, the Pope and his band of (apparently corrupt) Catholics. But seriously…what you are proclaiming is not the Adventist message at any time in its history! If you are advocating for a revision of the Adventist message, you should come right out and say so.

This article skips past the things you briefly mentioned in responses to your previous articles, namely, that you believe life developed over millions of years before Creation Week, and that the significance of Creation Week was the creation of man’s spiritual nature. In your concluding paragraph here you refer to the planet being “modified geologically over a long period”—a statement that wouldn’t raise the hackles of most SDAs, just YECs. But, the geological record contains fossils, and you have previously said in comments that you believe there was life, up to and including Neanderthals, and even modern man (minus a spiritual nature), before Creation Week. (Or something like that—by not explicitly stating your beliefs in a logical, sequential presentation, it is hard to know exactly what they are). That WOULD raise the hackles of most SDAs.

On the one hand, you cite Ellen White and position yourselves as in agreement with her and the Bible, but on the other hand, you refer to 800,000+ years recorded in ice cores and more in varves (not to mention previous mentions of Neanderthals and other life long before creation week), and you ignore a global Flood in your interpretation of ice cores, etc. It is simply not possible to reconcile that with ALL of what EGW wrote! You have reduced Creation Week to initiation of an undetectable event—man’s “spiritual nature”; is that a basis for keeping the Sabbath to honor the God who created heaven and earth? You won’t win any traditional SDAs with your argument.

On the other hand, your identification of a recent creation week is not consistent with ALL of modern science either. There is no record of any discontinuity in the development of man or other species at that time (other than the agricultural revolution). Any claim to the creation of a “spiritual nature” 6000 or so years ago is not scientific (nor biblical according to Adventist interpretation, since the Genesis account doesn’t separate man’s physical creation from his creation as a being in the image of God). There is archaeological evidence of man’s cultural and religious expression dating back much earlier than the end of the last ice age.

For that matter, neither is your claim of the “greatest climate change recorded on Earth” about 10-12,000 years ago scientifically accurate. Paleoenvironments left traces for hundreds of millions of years, such as massive desert seas on Pangea, palm tree fossils, cold-blooded creatures thriving, etc.—so there must have been a major climate change at least once before, from warm to the cold ice ages. And before that, about 2.5 billion years ago, high temperatures existed under a methane-rich atmosphere before oxygen increased. And go back to the earliest several million years and Earth was an inhabitable ball of molten lava. These are just three examples of greater climate change than the one you cite. (See

Sometimes making both sides of a debate unhappy is a sign that one is getting close to the truth. I don’t think that is the case here. The creationism vs. science debate is not a matter of two extremes, with the truth being found in the middle. These are two different approaches based on fundamentally different assumptions. You can’t pick and choose aspects of each and create a synthesis that has integrity. By attempting to do so you are necessarily rejecting other aspects and creating inconsistencies.

The logic process you are applying seems to be this: If A implies B, and C implies D, you argue that A and C are true, but that B and D are NOT true. (e.g., if EGW is a prophetic voice worth citing as an authority on earth history, that implies that the life on Earth began about 6000 years old. But you take A and skip B. On the science side, you use scientific data seriously but seem to skip or obscure the implications on the development of man).

I appreciate your intent, but I don’t think this is the path for reaching peace (or the truth) in the debate on origins.

One last complaint. I don’t know if you are responsible or the Spectrum editors, but the title is very misleading: “Nature Confirms a Recent Creation Week”. But, in the body of the text you wrote: “While the results outlined above are of interest, a causal relationship involving Creation Week has not been established.” Which is it? My own conclusion from the data you presented is that a less catchy but more accurate title would be: “Climate data show CO2 increase coincident with man’s development of agriculture”.


Dear friend, we won’t get an answer to all questions during our life time. We shall have to live with them.


Authors’ Response to Replies to Nature Confirms a Recent Creation


  1. Apologies: For late response. We suffer from aging (90+) and some ills that seem to go with it. Being Winter here and a rather cold one at that chest infections have and are still taking their toll. In addition to some more serious complaints which infections haven’t helped. This has left Stuart to write the responses alone without our normal discussion of each.

2.Introduction to the Greatest Climate Change: Thanks are due to Spectrum for publishing the last two articles: (1) Nature identifies events during the ‘Gap’ period in Creation; (2) Nature confirms a recent Creation Week. The first appeared to be generally well received, while the ice-core data of the second seemed to be accepted, our interpretation in relation to Creation Week was not. One sensed that some doubted that Creation Week ever occurred.

However, the concept of a recent Creation Week on an ancient planet is not new. It was promoted by our pioneers, Uriah Smith, M.C. Wilcox, and our early geologist McCready Price, in the late 1800s and early 20th century, before YEC became more dominant. Indeed, our (the present authors) views could well be expressed by these brethren today speaking with the enlightenment of modern science.

Ice core science is now an established field that appears to have provided insight into the climate change that very probably preceded Creation Week. We wish to explain this event. A great climate change was initiated at 11,700 years BP to transform the climate of the earth. It was the climate change, after 2 million years of glaciation, that terminated the ice age climate. Mild climate followed until today. This enabled man and all life to flourish. The climate change greatly modified a number of aspects of climate. However, two respondents have mentioned that similar or slightly greater increases in temperature occurred at other times, notably at 125 thousand years (ky) BP (the Eemian record) and at about 50 million years BP (Eocene Optimum). They suggest that these two warmings cast doubt on the significance of the recent (11,700 year) climate change we have described. However, temperature is only one aspect of climate and this suggestion is misleading. The latter warming (the Eocene) required a long period to develop (tens of thousands of years) but then cooled slowly to initiate the ice ages. For discussion of the former see under patfromzuric response.

In contrast, the recent climate change that terminated the ice age climate arose suddenly, and after only a few years, changes in climate parameters and induction of warming were detected. The rapid and coordinated changes suggest response to a regulatory signal or signals. In terms of the diverse effects and biological significance, the 11.7 ky climate change that appears to have preceded Creation Week can be termed “the greatest climate change recorded on Earth.” and the record has much precision, unlike most of the pre-ice age events (e.g. the Eocene Warming).

3.Beliefs: We wish also to explain as briefly as possible our theological stance - since many have asked and some have assumed, and mostly assumed incorrectly. For reasons we cannot understand, one respondent stated that we believe life developed over millions of years before Creation Week. Also that the significance of Creation Week was the creation of man’s spiritual nature. We have never held these views.

We have always intended to provide the modern science point of view as Nature might impact Scripture (Bible) and where we see any impact on Ellen White’ writings and what she has said we have no qualms in saying so. We believe in Scriptures account of Genesis in Creation as explained more clearly in the ESV than most other versions, which means essentially Creation Week occurred on an old planet Earth created millions of years ago.

We acknowledge life prior to Creation Week but have avoided discussion of this issue as far as possible - due mainly to some older church members having difficulty accepting this view at this time.

We recognise the following:

(1) The presence of plants before CW (see comment in our response to Graeme Sharock, Spectrum, 23 June 2017; also Spectrum, 4 March, 2016).

(2) The existence of hominids/Neanderthals prior to CW. (See the present authors in Spectrum, 4 March 2016).

(3) Note that the evidence for both (1) and (2) above is very strong. Three comments worth noting:
(a) the plants and cyanobacteria had a function, to serve as a source of oxygen;

(b) the Neanderthals became extinct about 30,000 years ago (probably long before CW);

© the pre-CW life does not reduce the significance of CE. Most hominids had probably died out and were not created in God’s image. New Plant species were required to suit the great climate change that preceded CW. All this pre-CW life was created. - Stuart & Col (31July2017)


@niteguy2 in his/her reply 14 July asked: "How do we know that at Creation, the Total earth was tropical the year round?

Our response: We don’t! We never stated that it was. Ice cores from Greenland contain annual layers back to over 90,000 years ago. Hence glaciation occurred in the Northern Hemisphere throughout this time. The world climate during Creation Week could have resembled the climate of the world today.

  • (20July2017)


We are trying to establish when Creation Week occurred. We accept the Genesis account. However, it was not our intention to become involved with specific living organisms.

Ice core data seems to be particularly relevant to our discussion, but not the fossil record, which often reveals life that arose before Creation Week. The Bible is silent on this subject and we thought to leave it at that.

For reasons already presented elsewhere, the significance of Creation Week is not lessened by pre-Creation Week life. For example, after the great climate change, new plant species would be required. These would be able to function in the new climate, and Creation Week could have produced at least 400,000.

Then there is the inevitable Dinosaur question. During the ice age, areas where these creatures could survive would always be present. For example, around the Mediterranean, in the tropics (temperatures only 5o below present values).

  • (20July2017)


Several people who read the article had no trouble differentiating between observed facts and interpretation, but perhaps we should have taken greater care.

  • (20July2017)


Thank you for your discussion about the cause of ice ages and warming periods. The last warming was very rapid as you have noted. Tremendous changes; the removal of dust from the atmosphere was almost immediate. It was not gradual; it occurred in perhaps 20 years, a mere geological moment, and the initial indicator of warming required perhaps only 3 years (Walker, ref. 40). All this precision was not an accident. Surely it was designed, and designed for a purpose as suggested.

  • (20July2017)


In our view (i.e. Stuart & Col, the writers of the original story: Nature Confirms a Recent Creation) Biblical Creation has no scientific credibility problems. Below Patrik’s comment (15 July) is discussed under the five heads he gives after, saying: “Let me pick out two or three elements to comment.”

Our response, using Patrik’s numbering system:

(1) Patrik claims that the elevated temperatures of the past 11,000 years, probably associated with Creation Week, are not special, because one other similar ice core period has been recorded. (Note: only one in numerous cores). It is a warm period of nearly 10,000 years in the Eemian record (Greenland) with the potential to yield and maintain an “Eden” - like climate. However, the corresponding period in the Vostok core is a normal transient sharp peak (in fact shown in Fig. 1 at 130,000 years BP) with no potential as a continuing source of “Edenic” - like climate. Probable reason: the Eemian interglacial was a reconstruction from folded ice and not a natural core region. [Ref. Dahl-Jensen, et. al., Nature, 493, 489-494 (2013)].

Marked rises in temperature are often recorded in ice cores (interglacials) but are normally sharp and transient and unable to generated Edenic-like conditions. In contrast, the climate change (initiated at 11,700 years BP) that terminated the ice age climate after 2 million years, also elevated temperatures (Fig. 2), and produced a warm climate for 11,000 years. The absence of storms and dust and drought have also been recorded. The last 11,000 years are a special period that allowed mankind to flourish (see Fig.4). To designate it as “nothing special” is misleading.

Robert Johnston (see later) went in search of periods with temperatures greater than the last 10,000 years. He travelled back to about 50 million years, then 2.5 billion years and beyond. See our comments.

(2) & (3) The marine sediment and lake varve cores do show the presence of shells and plants respectively long before Creation Week. This does not contradict Scripture, which has nothing to say on this issue.

Genesis 1, as you say, “leaves a door open for the existence of the earth before creation week.” Numerous Hebrew scholars affirm a gap in creation allowing geological modification of the planet earth.

You state: "Genesis 1 leaves a door open for the existence of the earth before the creation week, but nevertheless establishes from day 1-4 events of such universal dimensions that it is unthinkable to not find traces of them that would go far beyond what can be found in ice-core layers from 6-10,000 years ago. Example: the ‘separation of light and darkness’ or the installation of the “greater and lesser light and the stars”. The challenge for you is to find them?

(4) Interesting comment. “Trees were created pleasant to the sight.” you state. Only God could do this, He is a God of beauty. The bizarre forms natural selection would yield cannot be imagined!

(5) Finally you conclude that: “Genesis is not about geography nor biology nor any other natural science but about literature, poetry, symmetry (compare the role of water in the first to water in the second creation account) to teach us about the authority of God over our lives.”

We can accept that view as yours, while we have a somewhat different view. We consider Genesis 1 is all about origins, which we think is only natural. Our origins and also those of our environment.

Comparison with the literature of the day (e.g. Gilgamesh) shows it to be an entirely different nature. Scripture reveals the origin of the planet in eons past - it is inspired.

It (The Bible) is the first book to say that the universe has a beginning and that the universe is expanding (“stretched out”).

  • (20July2017)


Robert said: “But seriously…what you are proclaiming is not the Adventist message at any time in its history! If you are advocating for a revision of the Adventist message, you should come right out and say so.”

Our response: We thought we were presenting a Recent Creation Week on an Old Earth. What we presented accords with many of our pioneers, as discussed previously and repeated below. Our views in principle are not new. Early in the history of the church, the present view we propose was probably the Adventist message at that time.

"Why the 2015 GC adopted this stance [i.e. YEC] and apparently rejected two-stage creation is not clarified. These opposing views were being discussed by Protestants just prior to the emergence of Adventism and were merely copied into the early Advent Church.32 Elder J. N. Andrews wrote in support of YEC in 1861, a view he emphasised in 1874. Andrews was objecting to the two-stage view published in the Review & Herald 1860 by Elder Uriah Smith.32 Gerhard Pfandl provides details in a scholarly article: “Ellen G. White and Earth Science."33 Pfandl says our early pioneers were discussing actively this very issue. However, Andrews view did not prevail so that Milton C. Wilcox writing an editorial in Signs of the Times in 1898 could say: “’In the beginning.’ When this beginning was, how long a period it covered, it is idle to conjecture; for it is not revealed. That it was a period which antedated the six days’ work [of Creation] is evident.” George McCready Price in 1902 adopted this same view as have modern theologians, both Adventist (e.g. Richard M. Davidson34) and non-Adventist. Most significantly, this is the view established today by modern science. Now in 2016 it appears that this view is no longer valid officially. That is in spite of Pfandl stating that “Many Adventist theologians and scientists today [2003] hold to the two-stage-creation theory.”

Source: Spectrum, Perspective: Ice Ages Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism, 10 February 2016 | D. Stuart Letham and Col J. Gibson

Robert continues by saying:

(1) “That you believe life developed over millions of years before Creation Week,” and
(2) "… significance of Creation Week was the creation of man’s spiritual natures,"
(3) “… by not explicitly stating your beliefs … it is hard to know exactly what they are.”

Let’s now consider each of these statements in turn, below:

(1) We have addressed briefly this before (Oct., 2015, Response to Robert):

"1. Origin of pre-Edenic species.
They did not evolve. God created them - for a purpose. People do not realise what would be involved in evolution of pre-Edenic life. Evolution of the first cell would require over 300 complex interacting and working genes produced from simple chemicals like methane, ammonia and water. The water would inhibit macromolecule formation, which eliminates water. It requires a Creator.

“There is evidence that cyanobacteria and some plants were present on earth prior to Creation Week. Cyanobacteria are among the earliest microfossils. It would follow that they were created and put there for a purpose, to oxygenate the atmosphere in preparation for subsequent acts of creation. Even the bacteria are biochemically very complex with a unique enzyme system for converting water into oxygen. The active centre has four spaced manganese atoms but its exact mechanism of action remains partially obscure to modern science. This system is coupled to related biochemistry comprising photosynthesis system II with over 20 proteins. On top of all this, the cyanobacteria also convert nitrogen in the atmosphere into forms (e.g. nitrate) that plants can use. All by evolution with natural selection? Our view: Impossible!”

Source: Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism: Authors’ Second Response, 23 March 2016, D. Stuart Letham and Col J. Gibson.

We have never stated that life developed over millions of years before Creation Week. We have stated in our present response to “eyethink2” that pre-creation week animal life was also created (see also Spectrum, 4 March, 2016); we said the creatures concerned including hominids “certainly did not evolve.”

(2) At no stage have we ever discussed man’s spiritual nature. We believe man was created in God’s image, according to Scripture.

(3) We stated our beliefs for you in our response to your comment on “Events during the Gap Period.” We would appreciate some idea of your beliefs.

EGWhite Comment. EGW frequently states that CW occurred 6,000 years ago. But according to Pfandl she never makes an unequivocal statement as to the age of the earth. If this is so, we would appear to be in accord with EGW. However, R. Hannon (in a recent Spectrum) considers EGW to be YEC without doubt.

A Question of Climate Changes. Robert has compared temperatures during the 11.7 ky climate change to those considered to have occurred when the planet was molten lava and later about 2.5 billion years ago when high temperatures occurred followed by cooling. These were considered examples of “climate” change greater than that found at 11.7 ky. However, this is a ridiculous comparison. At these very early times, climate (i.e. changes in weather patterns) had no meaning; the planet and its atmosphere were still forming. Also the estimates of temperature were gross approximations relative to the much greater precision of the ice age temperatures determinations. Hence the course of temperature (“climate”) change was not really recorded at all, but this was part of our statement - “… the greatest climate change recorded on earth.” Temperature, wind strength, dust level and drought were all recorded chronologically.

At 55 million years ago, during the Eocene period, the early earth again showed high temperatures, as noted by Robert, with rises comparable to that seen about 11.7 ky ago. Cooling then occurred and the ice ages began about 2 million years ago. The real significance of the climate change that occurred at 11.7 ky ago was the termination of the ice age climate. This termination allowed life, as we know it today, to flourish. It was the greatest and most significant climate change recorded. See also comments in the Introduction to this Authors Responses.

  • (30July2017)

@Think4Yourself says, “We write opinion pieces with selected facts.” NOT TRUE.

We start with facts (e.g. in current paper: Summary/brief introduction, ice cores, their validation, ice age climate, climate change). Then we suggest a link to Creation Week. The first personal opinion is on p. 6.

You claim: we say our work is proof that life didn’t exist here before 8,000 - 12,000 years ago. NOT TRUE.

We have recognised that plants, cyanobacteria, animals, and hominids were present long before creation week. (See below; Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism: Reader Feedback & Authors’ Response, 4 March 2016.)

"We accept that the evidence for some plant life before 10,000 years ago appears strong and cyanobacteria were probably present also at that time. The earth needed a source of oxygen to provide a continuous supply for life and God designed plants and cyanobacteria with the ingenious enzyme system to convert water into oxygen, a system still imperfectly understood by science. In this way, the atmosphere was enriched in oxygen in preparation for humans on earth, the only planet known to have such an atmosphere.

A respondent now asks: If plants were already present, why would a “second creation” be necessary? The pre-Creation Week (pCW) plants would be those that could survive adverse climate (including ice age conditions) – low light, low temperature, drought and wind. But after 10,000 years ago, following cessation of the ice age, with mild temperatures and, the increase in solar radiation in Creation Week, different plant types would be needed for the altered environment. Plants are very sensitive to environmental change. Indeed, a multitude of species would be required to provide vegetation and food in diverse climates. As a reflection of this, it is noteworthy that today there are 400,000 plant species and often numerous varieties within a species. Furthermore, the purpose of plants before and after Creation Week appears to be very different: pCW, oxygenation of atmosphere: after, food for man and animals (Genesis 1:29,31). Ideally this would involve very different plant species. In summation, based on plants, the Creation Week 6 to 10,000 years ago would indeed be necessary.

There is evidence that animal life (as mentioned by one respondent) and hominids (human-like creatures) existed long ago on the Earth. The Neanderthals and the Mega fauna lived and died out, apparently long before 10,000 years ago: this is beyond dispute. All this is difficult to rationalize: perhaps there was an earlier creation because the creatures concerned certainly did not evolve. However, the above does not negate the Creation Week revealed to us in Genesis 1 and 2. It is relevant to recall that, according to Genesis 1:2 and Psalm 104:6, the Earth was covered in water prior to Creation Week and any animal life that existed then would have been extinguished.

Thus, Creation Week may represent a new beginning when God created the human race in His image to reveal His glory. …

Source: Ice Age Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism: Reader Feedback & Authors’ Response, 4 March 2016, D. Stuart Letham and Col J. Gibson

However, we do claim that ice age climate would render some areas unsuitable for human habitation while in other areas life would be difficult. We have inferred life in tropical areas was always possible where temperatures fell only 5oC.

eyethink2 claims: we say life is just 11,000 years old and do not explain botanical evidence to the contrary. NOT TRUE. We say creation week occurred after about 11,000 years ago and have recognised several times in Spectrum that plants occurred prior to this, e.g. on June 23, 2017, see quote below:

“We have discussed this already in detail in relation to plants (Spectrum, March 4, 2016). Conclusion: Some plants were present prior to CW, but CW was essential to give the 400,000 species suitable for post-CW conditions.”

eyethink2 claims (final point 1): We take facts about ice cores and extrapolate to a world wide situation that is not warranted. NOT TRUE.

Temperature changes revealed by ice cores often explain and accurately date the occurrence of world-wide biological events. For one example, initiation of the great climate change revealed by ice core temperature occurred at 11,700 years BP (annual layer counting). This accounted for the pollen record of lake sediment cores in Germany, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Poland and Norway that showed a marked change in plant type at 11,500 - 11,900 years BP. Changes in plant growth rate world-wide often correlate with changes in temperature revealed by ice cores. The temperature during the last glaciation (the Younger Dryas) has been related to plant growth around lakes in the New East and Southern Alaska (Spectrum, 28 Sept, 2015).

Ice cores record the composition of the atmosphere of the past and are the only source of this information. The atmosphere affects the whole earth. Changes in ice core gas composition are of global significance. In modern times, ice cores have accurately recorded radioactive and other forms of polution.

eyethink2 says (final point 2): You tie your conclusions to Bible and EGW passages. NOT TRUE.

We relate them to these sources, so what? It does not prove either source and we don’t claim it does.

eyethink2 says (3rd point): One must take all our assertions to be true or their theology is in doubt. NOT TRUE.

We did not state that, and assigned to Creation Week only the significance given it in Scripture. However, it is clear that this is a sensitive area for you. Since you brought it up, please accept our comment for what it is worth. If you accept TE or PC, there is no 7-day creation week and the primary basis for Sabbath observance is gone. That’s obvious.

However, the following is just our opinion. If man was not created from dust on day 6, but evolved or formed gradually, can you expect recreation from the dust at the Second Advent? Creation and Recreation (after salvation) come together in Christ. We are commanded to celebrate both jointly on Sabbath on earth and Sabbath continues in Eden restored.

eyethink2 talks of (final points): “Unsubstantiated and unsupported conclusions … even if foundation of them is correct.” We should send to peer reviewed journals. NOT TRUE.

eyethink2 is concerned regarding our conclusions. All conclusions we presented regarding the ice core ages and the great climate change were specified in the literature cited. These conclusions are accepted by earth scientists world wide. We only made one main conclusion, viz. Creation Week occurred after the great climate change which was compatible with Creation Week. We said: “it is reasonable to conclude that Creation Week occurred after the great climate change.” That is after 11,700 years BP and for additional reasons after 10,000 years BP. That is, Creation Week was recent.

There is in fact, one other possibility, but it does not concern the timing of Creation Week and perhaps eyethink2 had this in mind - Creation Week never occurred. But this would be in opposition to Scripture and would contradict the words of Christ (Mark 10:6; Matt. 19:4).

  • (30July2017)

Well, the classical answer (post 24) of those with no (more) answers. I heard and hear it often and that’s why it has to be opposed! This argument in the sheep-coat of a counseling advice in fact has to be translated into “stop asking questions”, which is a reliable way to drive truth-seeking sisters and brothers out of the community of believers. Opposed to this approach the Spirit of Prophecy as the record of the biblical writers as e.g. Adam’s first activities in Genesis 2 all encourage us to stay curious and search for the truth, which involves the asking of questions. I wish to live in a church full of question-askers who admit that they don’t know the answers yet but they won’t give in until they receive God’s blessings! - One last substantial remark to the discussion: The authors in their replies as well as other contributors mention life (of single cell organisms up to hominides) before the creation week. From the mouth of a defender of a literal reading of Genesis this is undiluted nonsense. Genesis says that death only came as a consequence of sin. This is a core message of the whole bible. So do the authors conclude that forms of life before the creation week would have lived without death? Or died a different type of death? It becomes apparent that this whole attempt of defending modern scientifical conclusions on the basis of an inspired piece of literature from antiquity, that was concerned with completely different questions, is hopeless and only leads to further nonsense. Inspiration of a text doesn’t mean that it answers all our life’s questions, like how to fix our broken car or messed up hairdo. There is a big confusion (about what is a literary genre) going on in the heads of many and I also perceive a lack of daily biblical study and general familiarity with the character of God’s work on earth and in history as it is presented in the whole of the bible. Nicodemus was one of this literal (John 3:4) understanders of Jesus’ words, and John tells us about the rare moment where even God did not keep back a gentle ironic remark: “As a teacher you have a duty to be not too blatantly stuck in open questions!” (John 3:10, paraphrased). Maybe the reference to the “blowing” (pneo) “wind” (pneuma) in John 3:8 even refers intentionally to the “hovering” (rachaph) “spirit” (ruwach) in Gen 1:2. Nicodemus wanted to talk about miracles and was in a scientific mode of thinking which Jesus told him is a dead end. The bible is not concerned with material but with spiritual questions! God’s miracles are about the coming of his kingdom. To see this we have to be born again.

1 Like

Signs of design can just as easily lead to Intelligent Design theory as to strict YEC creationism. This is an issue that Chadwick and Brand barely approach in their revised book. I found gaping holes in their thinking.

First off, let me extend get-well wishes and hope you (Col) are feeling better soon!

Now to my response to your response to my response to your article…

I have criticized you for not being clear about what you believe, and for presenting information in a disingenuous manner, i.e., being coy about life before Creation Week. Now you explain that you did so mainly because “some older church members having difficulty accepting this view at this time.” Seriously?! You are in your 90s, and you are worried about what old people will think of your views?! I applaud you for thinking progressively, but I appeal to you to not worry about older Spectrum readers; I suspect they can handle controversy better than some younger readers can. And, your reluctance to clearly lay out your views has created unnecessary confusion and discussion (seeking clarification) on these pages.

You defended yourself against my accusation of your claiming to proclaim the Adventist message when your views do not agree with that message at any time in history. You said, “We thought we were presenting a Recent Creation Week on an Old Earth. What we presented accords with many of our pioneers.…Early in the history of the church, the present view we propose was probably the Adventist message at that time.” That is a great example of the disingenuousness I accused you of! Just because Adventists have taught a recent creation week in an old earth at many times in its history doesn’t mean that your views are in agreement with historical Adventist views on creation! At no time in Adventist history that I’m aware of has the church espoused a view of life on Earth before creation week. For you to gloss over this MAJOR difference is—what can I say?—disingenuous at best. It is not in agreement with EGW’s writings, and it is not in agreement with the writings of the SDA pioneers or its official positions since. I do not understand how you cannot see the importance of this point! (I’m not criticizing you for disagreeing with the pioneers, btw. I’m criticizing you for claiming to be in alignment with them when you are not).

The 2-stage creation you are describing is different from what most Adventist authors (and pioneers) referred to. Those that held a 2-stage view (as opposed to YEC) understood the planet Earth to have been created eons ago, but then to have remained in a formless and void state (perhaps with geological activity, but no life), probably covered by water. In an earlier article ( you cited (and disagreed with) Richard Davidson and his “passive gap” view. But, that is the “2-stage” creation view held by the pioneers you cited! By contrast, what you hold is a form of the “active gap” view, where you hold that there was prior created life, but much of it died out before a recent creation week. Because of the theological issues raised by prior creation, life and death, this has never been the Adventist view.

You quoted from an article by Pfandl as support for your view. “Many Adventist theologians and scientists today [2003] hold to the two-stage creation theory.” But you neglected to quote the very next sentence! “Millions of years ago God created the core globe of our earth, and 6—10,000 years ago he created all living organisms and their habitations in six days.” Adventism has never held a view incorporating creation of life before creation week. (I’m not counting distinctly minority views such as those of Jack Provonsha involving a Luciferian creation).

You quoted a paragraph from an earlier article in which you said, “Why the 2015 GC adopted this stance [i.e. YEC] and apparently rejected two-stage creation is not clarified.” But, the 2015 GC did not adopt a YEC position! You seem confused on this point. Its vote was only for a YLC position. “Passive gap” and YEC views are still within the bounds of orthodoxy. What is excluded is an old life view, which you hold, and which church pioneers never did (including those you quote).

As an aside, it is true that a “passive gap” view was frequently espoused by writers in the Review during the late 19th and early 20th century. However, YEC received increasing attention beginning with the 1920s as the SDAs adopted increasingly the fundamentalist positions of the evangelical community, through the 1950s. You cited George McReady Price from 1902 in support of early “2-stage” views, but that was, again, not in support of life before creation week. And, at best, I would say Price was agnostic on the question of when the planet was created. In his 1902 article he wrote, “….[T]he Bible has left the real formation of our globe in obscurity as to time and manner.” Later, however, Price became a YEC proponent. In 1928 he wrote in Ministry, “Of course, no enlightened Adventist believes that the stellar universe is merely some six or seven thousand years old. We all know that the universe in general has been in existence for an indefinite period prior to the creation of our solar system. It is the creation of this solar system which is brought to view in the first chapter of Genesis.” In the Jan. 9, 1930 Review, Price wrote, “Even if we consider that the first verse of the Bible seems somewhat ambiguous as to the time when the materials of the solar system were called into existence out of nothing, we cannot evade the fact that the fourth commandment has incorporated into it the positive declaration: ‘In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.’” Harold Clark and Frank Marsh continued to champion the YEC view after Price. This belief that the solar system was recently created was also expressed not long ago by the current GC president. Nevertheless, the “passive gap” view is still orthodox, and held by (many? most?) SDA scholars.

On whether you have written that life “developed” over millions of years, I’ll defer to your interpretation of your own words. I used the ambiguous word “developed” because I didn’t understand what you believed regarding prior life, i.e., how much of it had evolved (naturalistic or theistic evolution) and how much was sequentially created (progressive creationism). My understanding now is that you are advocating the latter. Regardless, I think I was accurate in saying that you hold that life “developed” (by whatever mechanism) over billions of years, with early stage of planetary life development including cyanobacteria, and then developing to more complex forms later, including hominids. (A real estate “developer” actively develops his property, so please understand that by “development” I was not excluding a developer, and I think that is what your view is).

I apparently misinterpreted your remarks when you wrote, “the pre-CW life does not reduce the significance of CW. Most hominids had probably died out and were not created in God’s image.” (Nature Identifies Events during the “Gap” in Creation: Authors’ Response). Since some theistic evolutionists/progressive creationists have held that the Genesis account of the creation of Adam is recounting a time when homo sapiens (a species which science documents to have been in existence 100,000+ years ago) was imbued with a spiritual nature, I interpreted your claim that this was when a being was “created in God’s image” to mean the same thing. Apparently I was wrong. That leaves it for you to explain what is uniquely different about being “created in God’s image” that makes homo sapiens of 20,000 years ago different from homo sapiens of 6,000 years ago. I maintain that there is no scientific evidence for a unique leap in human development at that time, other than the non-anatomical/physiological development of agriculture as evidenced by archaeology.

You have never responded to my earlier comment (Nature Identifies Events during the “Gap” in Creation: Authors’ Response) that “modern science has found that about 20% of [the Neanderthal] genome survives in some humans.” That doesn’t seem to fit with your claims (if I understand you correctly) of Neanderthals being extinct 30,000 years ago and a unique God-imaged new hominid species being created during creation week 20,000+ years later. (I assume you also disagree with the evidence for homo sapiens dating back well before your creation week timing).

Your article didn’t place a time-limitation on your claim for the “greatest climate change in history,” hence my reference to temperature-change episodes millions of years ago; I didn’t realize that early climate changes “had no meaning”. It is rather curious that you criticized me for referring to periods 55 million and 2.5 billion years ago (“a ridiculous comparison”) but then you emphasized the role of cyanobacteria, which are conventionally considered to have evolved about 2.5BA with significant oxidation found in rock samples of 2BA. It seems as if you discount as meaningless those temperature changes that occurred 2.5BA, but count as significant the bacterial action and oxygen production (by fixing CO2) that occurred then. It seems inconsistent of you. But this is a minor point, and if you want to call changes 11,000 years ago the “greatest climate change in history”, who am I, from the “greatest nation on earth”, to argue with a couple Aussies. (joking!)

You asked me to state my beliefs. This is a response to your article, not the place for me to articulate my beliefs. Suffice it to say that I seek truth. A part of any truth-seeking process is to collect and examine as much evidence as possible, not excluding data contrary to one’s hypotheses, and to represent that data as honestly as possible (within the inevitable limits of human bias). That applies to both scripture and science. I do not believe scientific evidence should be trumped by a particular scriptural interpretation, but rather, I believe that science has standing to inform our interpretation of scripture. That is where I part ways with fundamentalists.

Thank-you for your contributions and for your engagement in responses. My opinion is that you have not provided a viable interpretation of scientific and scriptural data, but perhaps I still don’t understand exactly what your views are.


Authors Response to Robert Johnston’s Third Reply

Surprised! Really truly surprised; to note that even in the US, the greatest country on earth, you cannot find a real climate change greater that the one at 11,700 k years BP. That is, the one designed by God that preceded Creation Week (CW).

We intend now to do our best to answer those questions you say we omitted previously. Hence this discussion will of necessity turn to pre-CW life, although we had not thought it relevant, but you obviously thought otherwise.

Because of modern archaeological evidence, we accepted the view that the hominids occurred before CW, and from plant science we recognised that some plants and special bacteria were also present. The evidence for these appears conclusive. However, there is no supporting statement from Scripture or EG White. The presence of pre-CW life is a personal conclusion but we note that this is also accepted by many other Christian scientists. However, because of the silence of Scripture and possible distress to older church members (as we have stated before), we have not promoted this idea in our previous discussions.

We would like to emphasise that the concept of a recent creation week (CW) on an old Earth, which we support in place of YEC, does have a clear Biblical basis. This view we suggest is worthy of theological as well as scientific discussion since it is supported by modern science. The old Earth is well established by modern science. (See later under Conclusion below).

We believe that all life, including life prior to CW, arose at the command of the Creator by fiat Creation, the only mechanism for creation of life that is recorded in Scripture. We have always believed, and stated repeatedly, that theistic evolution, progressive creationism and Darwinian evolution have no basis. However, our views on pre-CW life diverge from the Adventist denominational norm but we have stated them as a factual extension of Biblical truth, just as the precise age of the earth is a factual extension of the antiquity revealed by Scripture.

However, there is one feature in your reply Robert, that we found somewhat disturbing. That is the regular habit of grossly misinterpreting statements we have made. We stated previously that we believe God created all life, including life before CW. The latter was created for a purpose and could not possibly have evolved (we gave reasons). This was stated in Spectrum on:

Oct, 2015 (a response to Robert)
Mar 4, 2016
Mar 23, 2016
Jun 23, 2017

In our 2017 article, currently being discussed, pre-CW life was not mentioned. Even though irrelevant, you Robert claimed (23July2017) that (in complete contradiction to our beliefs we had stated repeatedly) that the writers believed:

(1) “… life developed over millions of years before Creation Week,” and
(2) “… significance of Creation Week was the creation of man’s spiritual natures,” and
(3) “… even modern man (minus a spiritual nature)” occurred before Creation Week.

We never made these statements. We have never stated that life developed over millions of years before Creation Week. We simply stated that life before Creation Week was created by God for a purpose, assuming this would be fiat creation as at Creation Week when God spoke.

At no stage have we ever discussed man’s spiritual nature. We believe man was created in God’s image, according to Scripture.

In Spectrum we stated our beliefs for Robert on 23 June2017 in response to his comment on “Events during the Gap Period,” and repeated them very briefly on 31 July, 2017.

These comments refuting Robert’s erroneous assessment of our beliefs appeared in Spectrum on 31 July, 2017. Robert then replied, but only to assign more detail to our supposed beliefs. The concepts of naturalistic and theistic evolution, and progressive creationism all appeared. All of these we have repudiated previously in Spectrum. We find it somewhat surprising that Robert does not even mention fiat creation (as in Genesis 1), our stated belief, as a possibility. One can only conclude that this might suggest that this is not part of Robert’s belief.

Robert said: “… I didn’t understand what you believed regarding prior life, i.e., how much of it had evolved (natural or theistic evolution) and how much was sequentially created (progressive creationism). My understanding now is that you are advocating the latter.”

“Regardless, I think I was accurate in saying that you hold that life “developed” (by whatever mechanism) over billions of years, with early stage of planetary life development including cyanobacteria, and then developing to more complex forms later, including hominids.”

Robert proposes that this is what we intended to say. It is not: it is quite the opposite and Robert must know this already. “Conversation” is a desirable feature of Spectrum articles, but it is destroyed by this type of falsification. How the simple statement that God created life as in Genesis, can be transformed by Adventism into naturalistic and theistic evolution, progressive creationism and development of bacteria leading to hominids over billions of years is beyond comprehension! Then to attribute it all to other people (creationists) is unbelievable!

The views you (Robert) are expressing and attribute to us, are your views. This should be made clear and evidence from Scripture and science given to support them. Doing so might make an interesting story/article for you to write and submit to Spectrum.

Robert stated that we gloss over pre-CW life, thus:

“At no time in Adventist history that I’m aware of has the church espoused a view of life on Earth before creation week. For you to gloss over this MAJOR difference is–what can I say?–disingenuous at best.”

We are not glossing it over, because on p. 2 of the response you are commenting on, plant and hominid pre-CW life is mentioned; also on p. 6 addressed directly to you; also on p. 7 directed to ‘eyethink2’. We have talked about pre-CW life in Spectrum 2015 directed to you Robert, and in 2016 on two occasions (March 4, March 23) directed to others. In nearly all occasions, it is mentioned because the issue was raised by respondents. On these occasions, pre-CW life was presented as a natural occurrence attributed to the Creator. Robert sees a role for evolution over billions of years and we simply leave him to discuss the evidence for this. While plants and cyanobacteria have a clear role in the pre-CW world (oxygenation of the atmosphere, see Spectrum, March 4, 2016), no definite role yet, that we know of, can be assigned to hominids. (However, see below: Some comments on hominids).

Robert emphasizes the difference in the Creation belief expressed by the writers and that of some pioneers. Let’s take a closer look. The only difference is the concept, based on archaeology, of pre-CW life. We and many others accept this as truth, but the pioneers did not. The reason is simple. The evidence for pre-CW life was not available to them. Later, especially in the 20th century, a vast amount of knowledge established the occurrence of hominids, plants and cyanobacteria apparently prior to CW. Thus, the difference in belief arises from a lack of knowledge by the pioneers. It is not a doctrinal issue and is not addressed in Scripture and hence is not expected to become a fundamental belief. But it is never-the-less truth.

Pre-CW life further reveals the glory of the Creator and does not reduce the significance of CW. After the great climate change that preceded CW, a multitude of new species would be required to adapt to the new climate. Our pioneers were progressive thinkers and if alive today, in all probability, would accept pre-CW life as a modern science based truth.

The difference in belief discussed above and emphasized by Robert has no real significance to anyone’s faith.

Some Comments on Hominids: Robert appears to emphasise (we might think over-emphasise) the significance of pre-CW hominids. The Neanderthals, probably the largest group, became extinct 40,000 years ago, according to the Smithsonian Institution website. Any remaining hominids may have been destroyed by a pre-CW flood (as mentioned previously), or by the glacial maximum of the last ice age (23,000 years BP). And it should be noted that the Neanderthals were not “us” (i.e. Homo Sapiens). They appear to be a different species. We were created in God’s image and Genesis and Scripture is our story, not theirs. Their story is unknown and of no consequence.

The Christian scientist Hugh Ross comments regarding hominids thus:

“A major issue in the creation v. evolution controversy came from the lack of biblical mention or explanation of these creatures that looked so much like human beings and seemed to possess greater intelligence than other primate species. As I’ve mentioned before, the omission makes sense given that this story was written for readers throughout the ages, most of whom have no knowledge of these bipedal creatures. It makes even more sense if no significant link existed between these creatures and modern humans.”

“Yet a question lingers: Why would God create these hominids? What possible purpose would these creatures serve?”

Source: Hugh Ross, Navigating Genesis: A Scientist’s Journey through Genesis 1-11 (2014), p. 76.

God had a purpose for them just as the pre-CW plants had, but the hominids are irrelevant to us to day.

Robert raises problems with the occurrence of Neanderthal genomic sequences in humans as this doesn’t seem to fit with the Neanderthals being extinct 40,000 years ago (as found by modern science) and CW occurring about 10,000 years BP when man was formed in God’s image. Hugh Ross comments:

"… Many Bible passages, particularly Job 38-41 and Psalms 104 and 139, suggest that when God created, he used optimal designs. It makes sense that what worked well for one species likely worked well for other creatures too. …

"Pervasive common morphological designs demand pervasive common biochemical designs. Because morphological features are specified and programmed by DNA, DNA similarities should be widespread.

"These similarities would be most pronounced in a biblical creation model’s structure. One God–the Bible’s wise and loving Creator–would likely use the same DNA blueprints for optimized designs again and again. Naturalistic models for life, based on chance or random outcomes, would predict a wide range of DNA diversity.

"Dissimilarity is especially pronounced for gene expression patterns governing brain structure and activity. The human brain, unlike that of chimpanzees or any other species, possesses structures that sustain spiritual activity, meditation, analysis, mathematics, logic, complex language development, and communication. Gene expression patterns responsible for these structures are unique to humans [ref given here]

“[Ross] predicts that as geneticists look deeper into the genomes of the great apes and hominids that preceded humanity, … research will continue confirming that humans are genetically distinct. [Ross] also predicts that future genetic research will show that the Creator made appropriate use of similar or identical genetic designs for humans that had already been optimized for other species.”

Source: Hugh Ross, More Than a Theory (2009), pp. 86, 188.

NOTE: Having quoted Ross above re some facts on science should not lead any reader to jump to conclusions about us accepting Ross’s interpretation of his theological conclusions as he has expressed them to date. We don’t!

Finally, Robert “maintains that there is no scientific evidence for a unique leap in human development at that time”, about 6,000 years ago.

The authors suggest: take another look at Fig. 4 (Appendix) in our original article. What do you see as recorded at 7 to 8 thousand years ago? The great climate change and creation have interacted to initiate the leap in human population that transformed the planet.


Copied below is an extract from Robert Johnston (penultimate paragraph in his last reply to our last response to him):

“You asked me to state my beliefs. This is a response to your article, not the place for me to articulate my beliefs. Suffice it to say that I seek truth. A part of any truth-seeking process is to collect and examine as much evidence as possible, not excluding data contrary to one’s hypotheses, and to represent that data as honestly as possible (within the inevitable limits of human bias). That applies to both scripture and science. I do not believe scientific evidence should be trumped by a particular scriptural interpretation, but rather, I believe that science has standing to inform our interpretation of scripture. That is where I part ways with fundamentalists.”

We can wholeheartedly agree that we all seek truth (our emphasis added above in your quote). We endorse these comments, except to say that science might inform theology on the age of the Earth, for example, but that it does not, as far as we are concerned, go as far as supporting theistic evolution, for example.

In the present situation can we repeat (the fourth paragraph above of this present article) that we see in nature (or modern science) evidence of CW on an old Earth, which we realise is not the official YEC view currently adopted by the Church.

Having recently read Aage Rendalen’s story of his ‘conversation’ with Dr Herold Weiss, and his experience, (ref.; “Dr Herold Weiss: ‘You Can Be a Christian Without Being a Fundamentalist.’.” Spectrum, 2 Jan 2017) and also his reference to Des Ford’s experience - Weiss suggests simply: “Doctrinal changes take place over time as traditional doctrines become irrelevant and die of natural causes in abandoned fields.” Weiss then concludes: “Therefore, I have not been engaged in doctrinal battles.”

Neither have we any intention to do so, that is do battle over YEC. We have presented our story on that matter and now we are happy to leave it at that.

However, Robert, can we ask one question in the possibility of advancing truth between us on this issue: Do you see truth being advanced in our story about CW on an old Earth (ref.: Spectrum, “Perspective: Ice Ages Research Demolishes Young Earth Creationism,” 10 February 2016, D. Stuart Letham and Col J. Gibson). Yes OR No? If not, then can you explain, as briefly as possible, why not?

  • Stuart & Col (13-30August2017)

I’ll quickly respond to your latest comments, but personal circumstances will limit my response; I am presently evacuated from my home due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey, so have no access to my library.

To answer your last question first, my answer is “yes”, with qualifications. I don’t think you are advancing truth over what is already known to science, but I do think you present a more truthful interpretation of the data than YLC or YEC creationists do. Nevertheless, you are substituting one false (even if less so) narrative for another.

I needn’t repeat my previous objections, but I say “false” because your interpretation does not align with the whole body of science, despite closer alignment than YEC/YLC. You have not adequately addressed key evidence from science against your interpretation. At the same time, you have misrepresented the historic Adventist view, and even now argue that the pioneers would have agreed if they had modern data (more below).

You responded to my comments about Neanderthal DNA by resorting to a common creationist argument—that shared genome sequences (or as argued decades before the discovery of the genome, shared anatomical features) are due to reuse of design elements by a wise and efficient creator. That argument fails on many levels, such as common predatory features (if one holds the traditional creationist view of a predation-free creation), but in the present case, it fails because the Neanderthal evidence doesn’t support it.

Again, I apologize for not having access to my library, but a quick online search points to references that show how Neanderthal interbreeding with Homo sapiens primarily affected the European and Asian genome, not the African (from where Homo sapiens emerged). The data seem to support interbreeding of humans that migrated to Neanderthal territory, with minor subsequent influence as migratory humans returned. Interbreeding with other archaic hominids is also suggested. See:;;;;

You have not accounted for data indicating Homo sapiens originating long before 6000 (or 11,000) years ago. That oversight is exacerbated by genomic data showing interbreeding with Neanderthals long before then. And, the geographic (racial) dispersion of Neanderthal genes is consistent with hominid migration models but not consistent with God reusing Neanderthal (and other archaic hominid) genomic sequences, unless you believe God created multiple humans with significant genomic variation between these individuals. That isn’t the biblical account. And it certainly isn’t the “Flood geology” account which interprets the Genesis flood as a global event and subsequent humanity deriving from Noah and his family.

Turning now to the points raised earlier in your response, I’ll briefly answer, but should preface this by saying that I think you misinterpret some of my comments as intentionally misstating your views, when those comments were instead my effort to either ask for you to clarify your views, or my attempt to summarize your views as I understood them, seeking further clarification if I was wrong. I did this because I—and judging from other comments, I was not alone—found your presentation confusing and puzzling. This originated in part from your nonstandard use of terminology common to the creation-science debate. Now to your points:

  1. Ignoring points because scripture is silent is not helpful in the context of this discussion, and that has made it difficult for us to understand your arguments/views. New Zealand geology isn’t discussed in scripture, but you discussed it extensively. So, I think you could have spent a few paragraphs summarizing your view on life before Creation week. I had to try to glean your views from disparate comments you made in responses to several articles, not from an organized presentation in an article itself.

  2. You write, “This view we suggest is worthy of theological as well as scientific discussion since it is supported by modern science.” It is not. You have argued that certain climate data support that view, but that is speculative, and not consistent with much other scientific data (i.e., Neanderthal genome). Ask most conventional scientists and I think you’d find that they don’t agree that your view “is supported by modern science,” at least not in any comprehensive way.

  3. You said you were disturbed by my “regular habit of grossly misinterpreting statements we have made.” As stated above, many of my comments were efforts to clarify and understand your obscure views. You should shoulder some of the blame, at least. And, you seem to share the same characteristic, judging from the specific example you used. You deny that you ever said life developed millions of years before creation week. Yet, in the very response you are responding to, I explained why I carefully chose the word “developed” because it was not specific to a theory of creation or evolution. And, as I understand your view, you do believe life on earth developed—by the mechanism of progressive fiat creation—with cyanobacteria early preparing the environment, etc., and eventually reaching hominids. I understand you to explain the fossil record (and its increasing complexity with time) on the basis of a sequence of fiat creations. Most people call that “progressive creation”. You say you have denied “progressive creation”. I don’t understand how yours’ is not progressive creationism; your variant simply kills some/everybody off (apparently) and then creates (some of) them anew during Creation week, rather than the progressive creation continuing and displacing creation week, as most progressive creationists do. But, by definition, a series of fiat creations as explanation for the life forms found in the fossil record is “progressive creationism” in the terminology of the field. Your complaints #2 and #3 I specifically addressed in the response to which you just responded; I don’t know why you are revisiting those points here, and I won’t bother to repeat what I already wrote. I also was not expressing my views; as I said, this has nothing to do with my views. My efforts were to try to clarify and understand your views.

  4. A useful technique for improving communication is to rephrase what you hear someone saying and ask if that is what they meant. That is what I tried to do. You respond by saying I was purposely misinterpreting your views and that I knew it. That is not true. Even if you don’t realize it, you really have obscured what your views are and how different they are from both traditional Adventism and from mainstream science. Other readers have commented on that. I tried to help clarify, but you feel that I misrepresented your position. It was not intentional. To the degree I failed, it was through lack of understanding, not malice. If your views had been clearly expressed, comprehensively, using terminology in the commonly accepted manner, this would have been much easier for all of us.

  5. “Glossed over” doesn’t mean ignored. Yes, you did mention pre-CW life. But you glossed over it in the sense of ignoring its implications for traditional Adventism and the various theological implications that have long caused Adventists (and many others) to deny old life interpretations. Even now you seem to think it is no big deal and that pioneers would have accepted it had they all the data we have.

  6. You say the only reason pioneers didn’t accept pre-CW life is that they didn’t have modern evidence; you assume they would have accepted it if they had access to those data. This is a dubious claim. SDA pioneers argued for young life based on theological arguments (predation, nature of man, sin, need of salvation, Sabbath, etc.), biblical arguments (chronology), and in opposition to “infidel geologists” with whose work they were acquainted–it having been decades since the work of Scottish and other geologists to establish the fossil record and theories of sequentially complex life forms, and these concepts having been much discussed in American Protestant churches. EGW insisted that such efforts were designed to undermine the 7th day Sabbath. Do you seriously think she and other pioneers would abandon their theological concerns in the face of more scientific data? I don’t think so, and evidence supporting my view is found in the behavior and beliefs of their theological children–modern YEC/YLC creationists, including most SDAs. No amount of scientific data seems to convince them because changing their beliefs about earth history would, they believe, require radical theological change, up to and including abandoning Christianity altogether (they argue). You said, “It is not a doctrinal issue,” but that is not how modern or pioneer YLC/YEC creationists saw it. Search the Review archives for “creation” and you’ll find (after wishing for better filtering tools on the Adventist Archives website!) that many theological arguments have been given explaining why pre-existent life would present doctrinal problems. Not least the question of EGW’s inspiration as she discussed the origin of Earth in the context of the great controversy and Lucifer’s fall.

  7. I would like to say that I don’t find your pre-CW life ideas offensive theologically, though there are issues to be worked out (just as with other theories for explaining old life). My complaint is with the science; I am simply not willing to throw away the many lines of evidence for human habitation long before the climate change your attach such significance to. Neither do I see scientific evidence for anything resembling a Creation week as described in Gen. 1, 6000 or 11,000 years ago.

  8. You selectively quoted me by ignoring my qualifier of agricultural revolution as an event in human cultural development in the 6000+ year timeframe. That itself helps explain your population growth (though calling it a “leap” may be a stretch, at least compared to the growth since the Industrial Revolution). Neither of these, however, represents a biological transformation, the “fiat creation” of a new creature “in God’s image”. My argument was that science as a whole does not support the emergence of a unique species, or world of new species, at that time from a world where life (some or all? I am still not sure in the extent to which you preserve pre-CW life) had died out.

In conclusion, I have tried to speak for many of us that are confused by what you have written. I believe I have successfully drawn out of you additional comments which have helped to clarify your views, although it would have been better had these been presented in an organized, coherent fashion within the original articles themselves. I don’t think either the scientific community or the traditional Adventist community will agree with your interpretation. But, I have said more than enough. I will let you have the last word, if you choose to respond again. I have a Noachian flood to deal with! :blush: