A Confession of Scientific Faith
By George McCready Price
The position of Seventh-day Adventists as to materialism, geology, and evolution should be clearly defined and uniformly understood. It may be well to enumerate the articles of scientific faith upon which we as a denomination stand.
1. Seventh-day Adventists acknowledge the great progress that has been made in recent years in utilizing the forces of nature and in understanding the laws and principles of natural phenomena, and recognize that all the real discoveries in nature are only so many enlargements of our knowledge of the wisdom and watchcare of God.
2. Seventh-day Adventists deplore the widespread tendency among men of science to seek to build up a materialistic philosophy, in which the things of nature are regarded as self-sufficient, or as containing within themselves the "forces" and "properties" which produce what is termed "natural phenomena."
3. Seventh-day Adventists, as Christians, look upon the entire natural world as not only having been created by God in the beginning, but as now being momentarily sustained and upheld by the fiat, or the ever-acting word, of the living God, who is nevertheless gloriously transcendent to the natural universe, and who has revealed Himself to mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ. We believe that in all departments of scientific study, whenever we seek to understand the deeper lessons of physical and vital phenomena, we must look behind these phenomena and their apparent natural causes, to the ever-acting fiat or will of our Father, who not only has created our universe, but who still sustains and energizes it in all of its countless and multifarious activities.
4. Seventh-day Adventists recognize the progress which has been made in deciphering the records of the stratified rocks, revealing to us the remarkably equable climate and the strange forms of plants and animals which lived in the long ago, when the earth was young. But here again we deplore the modern tendency to affirm without proof that the past experiences of the earth are to be measured by the present behavior of our oceans, rivers, and atmosphere; for we confidently believe the record of the Bible, that in the early centuries of our world there occurred a vast and overwhelming cataclysm, "whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished." We affirm that it is very unscientific for modern evolutionary geology to flaunt this record of a universal deluge, for we believe that in this experience of our world we have a better and more trustworthy explanation of the fossils buried in the rocks than any explanation hitherto offered by uniformitarian geology.
In other words, Seventh-day Adventists accept as scientific and trust-worthy the catastrophic interpretation of the record of the rocks—not a preAdamite catastrophe, occurring before the creation of our present world of plants and animals, but a catastrophe coinciding with the record of the flood in the seventh and eighth chapters of Genesis.
5. Seventh-day Adventists repudiate and deny the view that the days of creation are to be understood as immensely long periods of time—a view which would drive us to keep up the futile and childish endeavor of trying to harmonize the days of creation with the imaginary and unscientific "ages" of the evolutionary geologists; for this vain endeavor to harmonize these two theories has been one of the chief causes contributing to the deplorable spread of the theory of man's development from an alleged animal ancestry. The catastrophic interpretation of geology* is much more simple and satisfactory, and in harmony not only with the record in Genesis, but with all the rest of the Bible. This catastrophic system of geology has now been before the world for about a quarter of a century without successful answer or refutation; and if this view of geology is correct, there can be no possible doubt that the popular theory of man's development from animal ancestors is false, and quite unsupported by scientific evidence. In our view, the whole problem of organic evolution has been needlessly created by the geological denial of a universal deluge. With the adoption of the Bible record of a universal deluge, as an explanation of the facts of the fossiliferous rocks, the problem of organic evolution entirely disappears.
6. Seventh-day Adventists believe that the present vogue of uniformitarian geology is very concisely and very accurately delineated in the third chapter of the second epistle of Peter. In this prophecy, of nearly nineteen centuries ago, we have a description of the naturalistic philosophy of our day. It describes the reasoning of the men who scoff at the second coming of Christ and the future destruction of the earth by fire, because, as they say, "all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." This is exactly parallel to the language of Charles Darwin in the closing sentences of his book entitled, "Origin of Species," where he says that since there has never been any world cataclysm in the past, "we may look with some confidence to a secure future of great length." Peter's language is a very accurate statement of the prevailing creed of geological uniformity, which is the very foundation of the entire evolution doctrine. And the apostle Peter goes on to say that these last-day scoffers have adopted this creed of naturalism or uniformity, because they have long been accustomed to denying or willfully ignoring the Bible record of a universal deluge which formerly destroyed the world by water. How could the present cult of uniformitarian evolution be more accurately or more appropriately described?
7. Seventh-day Adventists, by affirming allegiance to the Sabbath as a memorial of the creation of our world, are thereby entering a protest week by week against the prevailing belief in a naturalistic development of the earth and its inhabitants; and we thereby call upon all loyal believers in a real creation, as described in the Bible, to join with us in observing that memorial of a real creation which it becomes increasingly evident the God of the Bible has deliberately planned and reserved for our day as a crucial test of loyalty to Him, in opposition to the opposing philosophy of naturalism or evolution.
Berrien Springs, Mich.
* See "The New Geology" and other works by same author.