Worship Him Who Made

THE last book of the Bible is a revelation from God given to the Christian church by Jesus Christ through the apostle John. Its purpose is to provide helpful foreknowledge concerning some of the most significant issues and events over the span of human experience from the beginning of the Christian era until the earth is restored to Edenic perfection and established as the administrative center of the universe. . .

THE last book of the Bible is a revelation from God given to the Christian church by Jesus Christ through the apostle John. Its purpose is to provide helpful foreknowledge concerning some of the most significant issues and events over the span of human experience from the beginning of the Christian era until the earth is restored to Edenic perfection and established as the administrative center of the universe.

The first five verses in the fourteenth chapter of this book describe a victorious company from earth who accompany their Redeemer before the throne of God and wherever He goes. This company is so large that the volume of sound it produces in singing is compared to loud thunder. The last section of this chapter (verses 14- 20) gives a symbolic description of Christ's second coming and His gathering of the harvest of redeemed from, earth.

Verses 6-13 portray efforts directed from heaven to prepare the people of every nation, tribe, and language on earth for the events described in the last section of the chapter, and for participation in the triumphant scene presented in the first five verses. The central concern of these efforts is a presentation of the "everlasting gospel." The specific presentation of the everlasting gospel, which is described in Revelation 14:6, 7, is made during the latter part of the nineteenth century and onward, for it is given when a particular judgment procedure is going on a procedure known in Seventh-day Adventist terminology as the investigative judgment.

Verse 7 further informs us that the Heaven-inspired presentation of the eternal gospel at this particular time involves a clear and forceful call to give glory to God "and worship him who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." The phrasing; here immediately brings to mind the wording of the Sabbath commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day. . . . For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is" (Ex. 20:8-11 1), and suggests that an emphasis on considerations involved in the weekly Sabbath will be prominent in the final Heaven-inspired witness to the good news of salvation in Christ.

A brief glimpse at some of the high lights in the history of human thought during the nineteenth century may bring deeper perspective to our understanding of Revelation 14:7. In making this review, it will be helpful to keep in mind two reference points: 1844, after which one could say, "The hour of God's judgment has come"; and 1859, the year in which Charles Darwin's Origin of Species was first published.

In the first half of the 1800's those who took up scientific study did so, for the most part, out of a reverent desire to think God's thoughts after Him. Many of these men worked in the tradition of Sir Isaac Newton who a century earlier said, "All my discoveries have come in answer to prayer." The material universe was generally considered to be a manifestation of the power, wisdom, and goodness of God. Men of science did not feel that it was out of place to mention God, even in strictly scientific memoirs. Scientific association meetings were commonly opened with prayer. In his 1860 presidential ad dress to the British Association, after out lining the remarkable recent achievements of science, Lord John Wrottesly spoke of scientific research as "a glorious hymn to the Creator's praise." He stated further his conviction that the more investigation is made of nature "the better shall we be fitted to come nearer to our God" (Robert E. Clark, Darwin: Before and After, p. 94).

Within ten years the situation had changed drastically. Darwin's views dominated both philosophical and scientific thought. Scientific activity was largely pursued in isolation from concerns related to the Creator, if not in outright disregard to God. Science was being used on a large scale as a way of escape from God.

In the latter part of the nineteenth century Ernst Haeckel, a German biologist and philosopher, was advocating that a religion based on evolution should be taught in schools instead of Christianity. Within a short time many school systems in leading nations of the world were operating in basic accord with Haeckel's proposal. Most of the readers of these lines are familiar with public schools which, while forbidden to teach religion, thoroughly indoctrinate pupils and students with evolutionary viewpoints that are opposed to orthodox Christianity.

It is of interest to note that the ideas which are loosely referred to under the term "evolution" were first presented in well-developed form in a book which was published in 1844. This book--Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation--was written by a professing Christian and had a devoutly Christian tone. It went through twelve editions and was widely discussed. Although this book proposed most of the supporting arguments later used by Charles Darwin, its viewpoints were soundly rejected by the scientific community and largely ignored by theologians. Darwin read Vestiges, while he was in the initial stages of preparing material for his Origin of Species (Darwin: Before and After, pp. 47-49).

The following outline gives a historical setting for the message of Revelation 14:7:

1844--Publication of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. Beginning of the investigative judgment foretold by the prophet Daniel.

1859--Publication of Origin of Species.

1860--1870 Transition from a God-centered to an agnostic or atheistic viewpoint in science.

1863--Organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church with a commitment to call men everywhere to give glory to God and "worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."

1874--Founding of Battle Creek College.

Speaking of Battle Creek College, Ellen White stated in 1877, "The great object in the establishment of our college was to give correct views, showing the harmony of science and Bible religion." Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 274. It is significant that the objective set forth here is to bring about a return to the God-centered attitude toward science which prevailed in the early part of the nineteenth century.

The official list of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs contains no statement concerning a doctrine of harmony between science and the Bible. Nevertheless, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is unique among religious organizations in its implicit emphasis that the basic data of science is in harmony with the straight-forward teachings of the Bible, beginning with the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis. This position is clearly and eloquently set forth in the fol lowing statements by Ellen G. White:

In true science there can be nothing contrary to the teaching of the word of God; for both have the same Author. A correct understanding of both will always prove them to be in harmony. Ibid., vol. 8, p.' 258.

Skeptics who read the Bible for the sake of caviling, may, through an imperfect comprehension of either science or revelation, claim to find contradictions between them; but rightly under stood, they are in perfect harmony. . . . The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 114, 115.

Since the book of nature and the book of revelation bear the impress of the same master mind, they cannot but speak in harmony. By different methods, and in different languages, they witness to the same great truths. Science is ever discovering new wonders; but she brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation. . . . The Bible record is in harmony with itself and with the teaching of nature. Education, pp. 128, 129.

These statements are in sharp contrast with the position taken by H. Emil Brunner, one of the most popular Protestant theologians of the twentieth century. On page 38 of his book The Word and the World, he says, "Orthodoxy has become impossible for anyone who knows anything of science." Dr. Brunner seems to imply that an individual who joins the Seventh-day Adventist Church must not only check in his cigarettes and booze but also his brain. God who gave us a mind in making us after His own image has invited us to reason together "with Him (Isa. 1:18). In order for God's church to develop an effective voice in which to call loudly and with certainty on men of every rank, level of education, and location, to worship Him who made heaven, earth and sea, this reasoning must include the development of "correct views, showing the harmony of science and Bible religion." (To be continued)


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February 1970

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