Ted Wilson’s Faith/Science Dead-end

Some months back I had occasion to review the events comprising the General Conference’s August 2014 International Conference on the Bible and Science: Affirming Creation, held in St. George, Utah. Among the articles I read or re-read was GC President Ted Wilson’s keynote address, the complete text of which can be found here. But this time I took more careful note of the details. This column will revisit that speech and highlight some serious concerns I have – and believe all thoughtful Adventists should also have – about the views Wilson expressed, and the arguments he used for supporting them.

Speech Summary

Elder Wilson began by labeling the position the attendees would (exclusively) encounter at the upcoming conference as “Biblical Creation”. He stated “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” (paragraph 3). He thus equated Young Earth Creationism (YEC) as identical to Biblical Creation – even though there are other interpretations held by conscientious Christians.

Next he proposed that failure to adhere to a literal 6-day creation chronology undermined the whole gospel (par. 6) and then undergirded his position with two E.G. White quotes (par. 7, par. 11) in which she deprecates evolution and affirms a recent 6-day creation sequence. Thus Elder Wilson clearly established his concordance with Ellen White. He stated (par. 8): “the Spirit of Prophecy provides tremendous counsel and light on this subject. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy are absolutely trustworthy and accurate”. Such phraseology suggests that Wilson holds an inerrant view of Ellen White (more on this later).

He told his audience that the purpose of the conference is to “affirm your belief in a loving Creator” (par. 10) and, presumably, this would be done by providing evidence and arguments in favor of a recent 6-day creation week. It appears that Elder Wilson links the two – “belief in a loving Creator” with YEC.

Wilson then doubled down by proposing that people who do not hold this YEC position are not true Adventists and the Sabbath doctrine would fall without it (par. 13). 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“(par. 20).

Adventists shouldn’t preach or teach evolution (par. 24) and you should be “loyal” and “believe it with all your heart”. Otherwise, if you are an employee, you should resign (par. 25).

The errors in Biblical interpretation are because of Higher Criticism, which is our deadly enemy as 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” (par. 26). This approach is “inspired by the devil” (par. 27).

He concluded with an exhortation to hold fast to the truth and proclaim it. “The church and the Lord are depending on you” (par. 31).

Some Questionable Assumptions and Inferences

1. Assuming what must ultimately be proven – “Biblical Creation” (par. 2).Elder Wilson used this term to describe the position he espouses, which is the historically orthodox SDA view of origins. He exclaimed that we should “[t]hank God for loyal … presenters who have faith in God’s Word”. But the YEC position is an interpretationthat, however orthodox it may seem to many Adventists, ultimately needs to be proven, not merely assumed. And, characterizing presenters who will represent this view has having “faith in God’s word” can be viewed as contrasting them with questionably faithful people who do not hold to this orthodoxy. The problem here is far more complex than space allows, but there is a widespread assumption among conservative Christians (not just SDAs) that there actually exists a so-called plain reading that “allows the Bible to interpret itself” (par. 26). But the Bible is inanimate and thus does not interpret anything. People interpret. What this phrase intends is to declare that there is a self-evident interpretation (plain reading) that any careful, honest reader will come to. But this is also a conclusion and itself needs careful investigation. People will generally read material from within the confines of their world-view. And then assume that view is synonymous with absolute reality[1]. This is far from true.

2. Without YEC the Sabbath and 2nd-coming doctrines would be meaningless (par. 13).This is stated as a reason why believing YEC is necessary. But it is also a conclusion that needs examination and is far from universally accepted across Christendom. Why is it that thosebelievers do not find Wilson’s linkage mandatory?

3. “evolution is not a science, it is a false form of religion and part of spiritualism” (par. 21).This is a widely-held belief within Adventism but it should not go unchallenged. Wilson’s assertion that “evolution is not a science” reveals his unfamiliarity with the philosophy of science. Indeed, nothing in this speech suggests any scientific literacy or rationale. He privileges his interpretation of scripture, thus begging the problem of humans interpreting revelation.

Ellen White, an Inerrant Authority?

lder Wilson, as is his habit, quotes Ellen White far in excess of the Bible – approximately three times as much (per word count) in this speech. And the Biblical quotes used are much more generic. It is Ellen White’s words he essentially rests his position upon, with the declaration (noted above) that she is “absolutely reliable” and, along with the Bible of course, should be “the basis of your understanding of origins” (par. 9). But this “high” view of Ellen White is not a mandated test of fellowship in Adventism. Many Adventists believe as Wilson does, but I think many more reject EGW inerrancy. And some do not even affirm her to be a prophet. Fundamental Belief #18 states, somewhat equivocally: “Her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church.” You do not need to read the idea of inerrancy into these words, although some, presumably including Elder Wilson, want to. Thus the question of doctrinal grounding – as evidenced in Wilson’s address – seems to me to rest substantially on Ellen White. And, make no mistake, her position is pro-YEC and anti-evolution, as the Wilson EGW quotes indicate. Here are some of the most salient quotes in his address:

"The assumption that the events of the first week required thousands upon thousands of years ... is infidelity in its most insidious and hence most dangerous form; ... 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."(par. 7)

“Human philosophy declares that an indefinite period of time was taken in the creation of the world. Does God state the matter thus? No; ... Yet ... 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.”(par. 11)

Strong words. So, does an Adventist have the freedom to disagree with Ellen White here? I think, in theory, yes. But, in practice – it varies widely. The church is in a tough spot if it wants an inerrant EGW, as that pushes us perilously close to cult status. Yet, if someone disagrees with her – and I have qualified disagreements with her above statements – then I think it is quite difficult to avoid being charged as a reprobate SDA. But inerrancy is a very fragile position to argue for. One wrong statement collapses the position, as inerrancy is all or nothing.

A Closed Authoritarianism

After stating his position based on Ellen White’s authority Wilson then declares that his audience needs to align themselves with YEC – enthusiastically and unequivocally. If they cannot they should do the decent thing and resign. Alternate views are characterized as sophistic, unreliable, inspired by the devil, and spiritualism. The climate Wilson projects with such word choice is hardly an open one, where “come let us reason together” applies. The assumption is that, if you disagree, you are not on God’s side. But how can Wilson reconcile this “take no prisoners” stand with Luke’s commendation to the Bereans in Acts 17:11? While the context there was Biblical correctness, Christians have always understood such commendation as affirming truth-seeking. “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5 KJV). And Adventism has always held this as a core-value. But, for Elder Wilson, the prophet has spoken and there is nothing more to consider. One needs only to obey. This is a profoundly un-Protestant posture. It also has the chilling effect of stifling discussion – at least among church employees. There are limited career moves for a pastor or administrator who runs afoul of powerful organizational superiors. And, while teachers do have somewhat more flexibility – they can teach outside the denominational system – many have no desire to do so, or have put in many years of service and have deep roots.

Consequences and the Dead-end

The core problem is that there is an overwhelmingscientific consensus that the earth is very old – estimated at about 4.5 billion years. But Ellen White’s statements are categorical. She accepted the common understanding of around 6000 years. Elder Wilson appears to believe Ellen White speaks for God, without error. And we recognize that science is probabilistic, so it can and does revise theories over time. For many, then, the choice simplifies to God vs. man. And obviously we who are believers ought to align with God. What is very poorly recognized among Christians (especially fundamentalists) is that bothways of knowledge acquisition – via human investigation and via revelation – are fallible. The fallibility in the revelatory path is due to 1) believing material to be inspired when it isn’t, and 2) misreading inspired material.

In considering Ellen White’s position on the age of the earth, it’s hard to misread her. She is YEC, full stop. But I have no qualms, in this case, saying that I think she is wrong. I reject her inerrancy and accept the scientific consensus. Why? Because I have extensively investigated the geology in support of the conventional position. Not only are the individual lines of evidence overwhelming, but they correlate. That is, multiple independent measurements agree. I seriously doubt that many, if any, of our church leaders – starting with President Wilson – have much scientific literacy. Or have done any personal investigation of the relevant data and arguments. They lean on organizations like the Geoscience Research Instituteto manufacture apologetic support. Exactly like the broader evangelical community uses groups like AIGor ICR. And many likely don’t think this is a problem because they also cannot imagine how they could be mistaken regarding their revelatory sources. And God trumps man. Q.E.D.

But, for Adventists, what if Ellen White iswrong? The church hierarchy presently, by not only adopting YEC but by stifling conversation, has thus positioned itself as anti-science. While this may be acceptable to scientifically undereducated believers, scientific literacy is slowly gaining ground in the world (climate deniers notwithstanding). And, due to its long history of success, science has very high credibility among a populace Adventists would presumably like to evangelize. But we are unlikely to get much traction with such a public while the church is positioned this way. The day needs to come – and soon – when the church takes an open look at the issue of Ellen White’s inerrancy. We are paying a high price, and it will only get higher in the future.

[1]For an insightful, yet possibly disturbing investigation of this world-view problem, I would refer you to the book: “God, Sky and Land” by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull.

Rich Hannon, a retired software engineer, is Columns Editor for SpectrumMagazine.org.

Image Credit: L. Blackmer, Adventist Review

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8085

“The day needs to come – and soon – when the church takes an open look at the issue of Ellen White’s inerrancy. We are paying a high price, and it will only get higher in the future.”

Absolutely agree. And you are correct, Rich, that it pushes the denomination into cultism and being viewed this way.

I fully expect that if the current president stays in current position as the figurehead of the SDA church that this sort of cultish thinking will continue to be promoted and chill efforts to both speak out and have other views, scientific or otherwise. But I think that this is the exact aim of certain groups of people, particularly those who believe in an fallacious variant of Adventism, “Last Generation Theology”. That this group appears to be promoted by the current president should be concerning to all Adventists as the church will appear more and more “cultish” to the outside world thus diminishing traditional Adventism’s message to the world.


The age of the earth and the act of creation upon earth are two different dates. Even so The Ted Mandate is pure nonsense. He is not a leader but a pusher and Avery poor one at that. He aint got the right kind of whip for the task he Has set forth. He will get the highway before the academics.,


believe the audience that Ted Wilson addresses is mature in faith. It is obvious that the reference to “evolutionism” as non-science tries to explain the macro evolutionary processes … What is non-scientific … Anyway, I read the whole post, but I just need to give an answer to explain the thought that Is hidden behind this writing, instead of keeping the faith, defending the sound doctrine, preaching of Christ and plead for the holy spirit devotes time to this which leaves no benefit even to the person who wrote it.


There are plausible alternative views to those of Elder Wilson. The Adventist Church’s strength , and longevity, has rested in the past, and will cpontinue to rest , on its ability to seek, and adopt , NEW LIGHT. Otherwise what would have become of the church after 1844???I see Elder Wilson’s dilemma, whether he states it truly , or no. He is concerned primarily about the potential breakup of the church, and/or loss of membership, if the Church resiles from Saturday sabbath keeping which celebrates the end of a creation week.
Nevertheless , I, personally, am an Old Earth Scientific Creationism (OESC) supporter. That is, life on earth,(the age of which has now proven beyond any reasonable speculation, to be 4.5 billion years old ) was created in stages of great lengths of time, possibly as follows:
DAY 1 to 3: Precambrian Time (1) The Hadean era:4.5 bya to 3.8 bya.formation of solar system. UNstable orbits and frequent collisions of planetissimals , (or molten matter cast off from the young sun) as it settles down. One major collision happened between a HUGE planet( called Tiamat by the ancients),and another which split it into two, one part forming what is now known as earth, the other part forming the debris of the :asteroid belt and various comets which appear from time to time. Daylight was not bright due to the heavy atmosphers and was visible for only about 7 hours daily; DAY 2: THE Ar hean era from 3.8 bya to 2.5 bya: the earth changes from molten to solid . Condensation cycles now created oceans/seas. Blue/green algae now exists which oxegenises the atmosphere preparing it for more complex oxygen-breathing lifeforms. Next the Proterozoic era:2.5 bya to 542 mya: Atmosphere now has sufficient oxygen, to enable g aerobic lifeforms.Simple anaerobic lifeforms are poisoned by the oxygen and die out.Complex single-celled life forms appear(abundant bacteria and archaeans). Reproduction by sexual means have begun. Day 4: the Paledozoic era542 mya to 251mya. A Biological “big bang” takes center stage and this is known as the Cambrian Explosion. There is the appearance of all life body- plans which comprise the Linnaean classifican system. Life moves from ocean to land in some cases, First vertebrates apperar in the oceans. Fish with jaws appearin the oceans, and so on. Day 5. The Mesozoic era 251mya to 65.5 mya. Great reptiles flourish , there is a genetic split with dinosaurs, enablung appearance of lizards, . crocodiles and other reptiles . Mammals are small and insignificant… Insects with wings and flowers appear, The first created continent called Pangea,(raised from underwater by massive explosions) appears. Pangea splits with Africa and India separating from Antartica. Meteor hits Chicxulub, Yucatan , thereby creating a huge crater(Gulf of Mexico) Much of marine species and 85% of land species including dinosaurs dissappear. Day 6 Cenozoic era 65.5 mya forward. Mammals are now dominant . Homo sapiens is created in to take the place of a work stoppage by the Iggigi(Lower-level space pilots and engineers ). Yahweh calls a Council Meeting to decide what to do. The "snake"Enki, an Eloha geneticist ) suggests the creation of a slave race to take their place. Yahweh objects to this and orders the geneticists to try to create a being intelligent enough to do the work needed. Only gargoyles are produced by mixing existing animals… half this/half trhat, some having two heads or head of one animal and body of another like a sphinx. Yahweh gets impatient and calls another Council Meetins , giving orders (genesis 1:26). The “snake”, leader of the medical/genetiociost team goes to the rift valley in Africa where the most advanced earth creature Homo erectus exists in large numbers. One female is caught and her eggs are fertilised with the sperm of an Eloha(the leader of the strike Geshtu) Ninhursag(also known as Mami) one of the geneticists does the actual fertilisation, which is highly successful. She is praised by the Elohim ioncluding Yahweh. We call our mothers MAMA in her honour even in modern times… Neanderthals/cromagnons populate Europe.and so on. This was, in my opinion, a long-term scientific creation exercise of un imaginably large scope and complexity .Evolution does not and cznnot have been gthe operative factor. Evolution is a dead theory regarding how life originated and developed on earth. Natural selection has been proven , but only as regards to species adapting more effectively to their niche ecosystems, not to create new species. God and the Elohim did the scientific work of ALL life creation on this planet, including us Homo sapiens.


More of the same skepticism we’ve come to expect here. The only dead end is the evolutionary theory and the “overwhelming scientific consensus” about the age of the earth. It is all based on unverifiable assumptions about conditions in the past. No one knows or can know what conditions were like before the Flood and how that may have affected the decay rates of various isotopes. Contrary to what evolutionists would like us to believe, determining the age of rocks or fossils is not an exact science. But the fact that the creation of life occurred only thousands of years ago, rather than millions, shows that the rocks (which contain the fossils) cannot be as old as scientists claim. It’s a tottering house of cards built on the sand. It will come crashing down someday, hopefully in time to save some folks from their delusions.

“Overwhelming consensus” is a poor criterion for accepting a particular point of view. The “overwhelming consensus” at the time of Christ was that He was an imposter. The “overwhelming consensus” at the time of Moses was that he was a bad guy and that they should return to Egypt. The “overwhelming consensus” at the time of Noah was that a flood could not occur. In each case, it did not end well for the scoffers. Today is no different. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isa. 40:8.

Good for Ted Wilson. He must be one tough guy to stand up under all the criticism and vitriol hurled his way.


"“The day needs to come – and soon – when the church takes an open look at the issue of Ellen White’s inerrancy. We are paying a high price, and it will only get higher in the future.”

Many great scholars and thinkers have tried. A.G. Daniells, W.W Prescott, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Graeme Bradford and Arthur Patrick to name a few. The church isn’t interested in finding a middle ground with EGW. Never has. The persecution, ridicule and slanderous accusations the above mentioned gentlemen have accrued over their careers over this issue is proof of that.


It is amazing to me how so many of you people can glibly insult and designate those people who espouse a young earth position as idiots and dolts. Shame on you!

First, by denying a literal 7 day creation you wipe out the 7th day Sabbath in one fell swoop, are you a Seventh-day Adventist or not? I believe Ted Wilson was stating that in his sermon and you dismissed it out of hand.

Second, the theory of evolution is just that a theory. It has more shortcomings than my belief that God spoke everything into existence. The first one would be the flood of Noah. Because you deny a world-wide flood, you must explain all the layers of strata easily seen in places like the Grand Canyon and various places. May I point out that were the forces that laid down those layers had to be so great that you can find them thousands of miles away from the Grand canyon, etc. and they do not vary! If these layers were laid down over long periods of time, you would find cuts in the strata visible erosion cuts subsequently filled in over eons of time, you don’t. You would also find the edges of these canyons much more rounded and eroded, you don’t. You would find deeper erosion in foothills of mountains, you don’t.

It is interesting to me that the topography of ocean floors circling volcanic islands is identical to the topography you find at the foot of the aforementioned mountains as the tops of those mountains washed essentially clean by wave action. Again, you see virtually NO erosion on those mountaintop pinnacles. But that raises no questions of how rapidly what you are viewing came into being, and you call us essentially uneducated Bible thumpers. Really?

Now some of you more honest Bible denying scientists are finding collagen and even soft tissue in these fossils thought to be millions of years old! Structures that could never survive millions of years especially if what you think you know actually is true! Please explain, I am interested, aren’t you?

I have been reading garbage on Spectrum for a while now and most of what I read would shake my faith were I not actually educated and actually know and understand what I believe and why. Sadly, you are causing many to doubt God’s word and His messages and warnings to them and all of us.

You have a right to your beliefs, you have a right to publish this garbage, but you DON’T have the right to publish it in official church organs, needlessly posing questions that serve one purpose, to shake peoples faith.

If you are honestly questioning SDAs, you need to examine your position in eternity. If you don’t really believe the doctrine, please, resign, and go away. Someday, I believe very soon, you will have to answer for your words and actions. please think about this, your salvation hangs on what you do.


Good apologetic against Adventist pillars of faith. This article provides skeptical views based on humanism, existentialism, agnosticism and atheism. One more echo among many voices of human philosophies that excludes any kind of revelation and that are not able to bring any support to faith. That way of thinking becomes scientific speculation or scientific hypothesis as synonyms of “true and demonstrated scientific knowledge”, that is not science but a big mistake, a big erred viewpoint. I don´t surprise with this because the Lord had it foretold: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
With such beliefs in mind I would never have reached to become Adventist, I left behind agnosticism and skepticism after a hard, deep and long process of searching and comparing evidences, I was liberated from such beliefs and could set on Jesus and His teachings the roots of my faith, anchored in the revelation of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy given to EGW.
That way of thinking fits better with a new and different church or schism than with the SDAC. I feel pain in my heart for seeing those ideas infiltrated and taking positions as a kind of “SDA” that has nothing to do with our firm foundation based on God´s revelation and message.


This whole situation feels truly creepy. Reasonable people are not going to be impressed by this kind of psychological manipulation in the name of religion.


Wilson is just looking out for the church the best he knows how. In reality, all the available options are bad, whether YEC, Intelligent Design, Theistic Evolution or Mainstream Evolution. The YEC/ID side doesn’t understand science while the TE/ME side doesn’t understand philosophy. We need a completely new approach: http://howtodebateevolution.com


I have personally spoken to more than a dozen North American attendees at the 2014 Utah conference, and I can state unequivocally that all but about two of them were deeply disturbed by the meeting. I’m speaking of scientists and theologians sprinkled across the country.

Ted Wilson’s introductory talk set a terse tone, but while some of the science that followed was good, some was just plain bad.

The leaders of the conference will not be happy should they read this. They are not privy, for obvious reasons, to the frank assessment of many participants. But the leaders will be undeterred, as similar meetings have taken place elsewhere since 2014, another is happening in Utah again next month, and there are donors with deep pockets to ensure a long future of these meetings. The goal is to persuade and pressure spiritual leaders and educators to present the masses with overwhelming “scientific” evidence that most of the facts support the Church’s position. Of course, there is no open discussion; that came to a grinding and very disturbing halt years ago.


Great comment, Kim! I’m very grateful to Rich for his presentation. Now, it’s time, that the world church is going to leave the false inerrancy (infallibility) doctrine. Or, if we stay at the wrong position, we could easily move toward Roman Catholicism.


As a former Adventist, the subject of this discussion no longer has any real impact for me. But I admire intelligent, educated and honest individuals such as Rich Hannon, who continue to patiently and rationally articulate the issues.

The Adventist church has long struggled to break free from, and rise above, it’s cultic origins. For a while it looked as though it might succeed in doing so. But under the current GC leadership, hope is fading fast. I can scarcely imagine how painful and frustrating this must be, for those intelligent, educated and honest individuals still deeply invested in the Adventist organisation.


I attempted to post this article on my Facebook, but it WOULD NOT list the name of the article.
Would only give “spectrum magazine”. I wonder WHY??

It is MY understanding that Ellen NEVER took the Title of – PROPHET.
She ALWAYS said, MESSENGER. This is different.
It was MEN who positioned her on the pedestal of PROPHET. In order to go along with the statement in Revelation that the doctrine is based on. “Spirit of Prophecy” to these men meant – PROPHET. And an
Inerrant one, as prophets speak the Voice of God.
However, a look at the spiritual life of Ellen shows us that she grew in understanding just like we did.
WHY was it that others HAD to give the 1888 message, and NOT her.
By placing everything she wrote on paper as “inerrant” because she is a PROPHET has caused a lot of problems for the church.
This has been especially true when we know that she copied things for her books from “UNINSPIRED” writers. She was also limited by “common knowledge” of the 1800’s, and “primitive understandings” as compared to 21st Century.
Putting her back into her self-proclaimed status of “Messenger” rather than “Prophet” would be MORE helpful to both Ellen, and the Church.
Joseph Smith of Ellen’s time was ALSO declared to be a “prophet”.
[She made statements like amalgamation of animals created the huge preflood creatures no longer with us. She also made statements about the Origin of Blacks that were not true.]

Ray – If you notice through the Scriptures, God is a God of REST.
The Gods of Early Civilization created humans to WORK for them.
God created humans, and the FIRST act was to tell them to REST. And to Rest for a full day, every 7 days.
Also, in the chronology of time, REST [evening, dark,sleep,] came before daylight activity.
Perhaps this REST was a Slam, as we might say, against ALL of the other Gods of the other nations. "Our God loves us. OUR God enjoys our company, and doesn’t live on Mt. Olympus, but lives in the middle of us, in our neighborhood. He even COMMANDS us to Rest, take a complete day off from everything. Even our servants and our animals HAVE to Rest. And the servants HAVE to eat and celebrate WITH their employer’s family. Not off in their own tents that day.

They were also FORCED to take 4 Vacations a year.
Forbidden to become a Work-a-Holic.


Just one point of contaminatio terminorum : "Evolution is not a science (would Ted WIlson please at first define what ‘sciece’ is ) it is a false form of religion (once again : How does he define ‘religion’) and part of spiritualism (What should that be , please explain !!?

Oh boy, Popper a spirtualist, Erick Kandel a spiritualist, DuBois - Raymond - Virchow - Curie -Loschmidt -

Just havig taken a look on the orginal article in AR someyears ago :slight_smile:
"Science is an attempt to explain the natural world in i terms of natural processes. not supranatural things.

Brother Ted Wilson, nex please fly by an aiplane constructed with the principles of Noah and on the flight from Boise , Idaho to Nshville, Tennessee by beams sparkling out of the angels swords Or do you trust the board team and before the service team on ground ?) And the next appenectomy maybe necessary in your great family will not be conducted by surgeons with sharp knifes, but healed with figs, eh ? (Jes 38 : 21.)


In “Rock of Ages:Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life” Stephen Jay Gould advocates
for a view that he calls Non-overlapping magisteria. His position was that science and religion each represent different areas; that each has a “a legitimate magisterium, or domain of teaching authority,” and the two domains don’t overlap. “Rock of Ages…” is an interesting discussion of a type of dilemma that the SDA church is currently facing.

Edit: I meant to address this comment to mikecmanea

At risk of responding to a comment that will be deleted I would agree that NOMA is a useful step rather than a destination. Gould is effectively offering an olive branch to the church to exist alongside experimental science based on naturalism. Of course you are correct in that science based on naturalism can encroach on the domain of religion by examining the nature of miracles as for example in the clinical trials of intercessory pray and the study of religious experience by the mechanisms of functional MRI imaging. Indeed the incursions are largely one way and the best the religious perspective can offer is the God of the Gaps to mitigate the angst felt by fundamentalists in confronting ignorance of the unknown.
A much better recent formulation of religion and science I would suggest is the book by Jonathon Sacks “The Great partnership” which sees that Science and religion are answering different questions. They are providing a different perspective on the same reality. Like a functional brain with 2 hemispheres with lateralized spatial understanding, mathematics and language together making a coherent whole. Science (defined by the naturalistic experimental method) and religion/spirituality function best together when we recognize the limitations and contributions of both, their critical cooperative interactions rather than fuelling the pseudo conflict that Ted Wilson seems to be doing with his lack of perspective and understanding of modern biology.

I think this reflects a lack of understanding of the nature of modern experimental science. Do you think that this a question that science can address by experimental testing?
If you have a sample of the wine then you could perform compositional experimental analysis by mass spec, chromotography of biochemical analysis but even that would not indicate if the water that is the main component of the wine had been transformed into wine without the intervening steps of processing that water through a grapevine and a process of fermentation. if you do not have the wine then it is a question of logic and deduction. Have you any empirical evidence of this process of direct conversion of water into wine. Then what is the probability that it happened as specified versus the account being anecdotal but important parable. It is precisely for this reason that science is now defined by its ability to propose an hypothesis based on methodological naturalism and have the tools to perform the experiment to test this. Your question fails on both accounts. It is a faith and meaning why question not a how and when question. It rightly belongs in the domain of religion and like all miracles is effectively excluded from the domain of science by the essential characteristic of science as methodological naturalism.

Thanks you for illustrating my point. God of the gaps as the primary contribution of at least a certain religious position to science.
Methodological naturalism is not a faith position unless you believe the assumptions that bootstrap the methodological naturalism of experimental science are religious. Most scientists would pragmatically assume that they are just that assumptions. Things that cannot be proved.
Science is explicit in demarcating its domain as the natural world which is amenable to hypothesis based experimental assessment. The method seeks natural mechanism and explictiy excludes divine interventions as explanators. It is absolutely an assumption in the same way as the other assumptions; there is a reality, it is consistent and understandable by human thought and the methods of logic. Experimental testing based on an assumption of natural mechanism is overwhelmingly successful and pointing to the ignorance that exists and in which you want to place the locus of Gods activity is really not helpful and largely redundant as every scientist knows that every question answered by experiment creates more interesting questions and hypotheses that must be addressed.

You indeed may be right but I prefer my practice of science to be based on experiment and pointing out gaps in knowledge without a testable hypothesis is not science. Now if you tell me the experiment to test your alternative explanation and actually do the experiment then I may be convinced that you are talking about is indeed science.


Did Ellen White never notice that in the sacred record the seventh day of creation was never delimited by the evening and morning, by the rising and the setting of the sun as were the first six days.

It’s God who rested with no time limits set and through Jesus and His gospel of grace it is now our privilege to enter God’s rest, Today and for eternity!

Steve: I also see through Scripture that the temple was the centre of God’s resting place. That’s why I find John Walton’s concept of God resting in the Eden temple way more satsfying than these interminable arguments about interpreting Genesis 1 and 2 in the light of 21st century science. Perhaps if we paid more attention to the Apostle John in the first half-dozen verses of his gospel we would appreciate better some of the deeper issues about God and how He related to us right from the beginning. His relationship was to dwell with us not just one day in seven.


Why is the creation week always attacked by those who want to explain rocks that appear to be millions of years old? Wasn’t the earth created from “old” material? The age of the earth and the creation week are completely different. Why doesn’t Spectrum talk about this possibility? Seems like it would be somewhat of a win-win for both sides.

And, do we really know how long Adam and Eve were in Eden? The dimension of time was not needed until sin came into existence.

Much of the Bible can be interpreted differently by different people. But it seems to go out of it’s way in the record of creation to emphasize 6 literal days. Could it be that it is an important detail?

That being said, some of Wilson’s reasoning for believing YEC are frightening. He should be winning people over instead of giving ultimatums. This leadership style, unfortunately, permeates the church organization. Being a former SDA employee, it is disheartening to see.