Creation and Time: Biblical Reflections

Speaker: Categories: Feb 12, 2000


[1hr, 19min, 21sec / 41min, 55sec]


A fetish . . . ? A fantasy . . . ? A fixation . . . ? A fascination . . . ? A focus . . . ? Or none of the above . . . ? Just what is it that has sparked such a recent and continuing interest in discussions about creation? Articles in forward-thinking publications such asAdventist TodayandSpectrumkeep the topic visible. And, of course, presentations at the San Diego Adventist Forum Chapter have not gone unnoticed!

What's happened to the certainty which we, at some time in the past, may have possessed? What happened to those very convincing lectures in college science courses which left no doubt in the minds of the students about the age of the earth, the events of the Genesis creation week, and the certainty of the Biblical record? Did the professors mislead us?

Dr. Dalton Baldwin notes:"Traditional Adventist biblical interpretation describes earthly life forms as created less than ten thousand years ago in six days. Paleontology, geology, archaeology, and history portray earthly life forms as coming into being over a much longer time than one week beginning much more than ten thousand years ago. Adventists have convictions that since"the book of nature and the book of revelation bear the impress of the same master mind, they cannot but speak in harmony,"and that the"book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other,"(Education 128) Because of this conflict in the time for the appearance of life forms, many Adventists have decided there was something wrong with the science and have tried to find scientific evidence supporting the appearance of all life forms in a short time less than ten thousand years ago. Others have felt that a better interpretation of the biblical evidence might disclose the harmony."

He continues:"This [San Diego Adventist Forum] presentation seeks a better interpretation of the biblical evidence about time in relation to creation. The Bible refers to creation in six days in three references and to an ongoing creation in many references. Traditionally we have ignored the time elements of references to ongoing creation treating them as poetic, metaphoric, and symbolic. There is good reason to treat the references to a six-day creation as poetic, metaphoric, or symbolic. There is also good evidence that the years listed in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 are not chronological but symbolic. Creation is continuous and ongoing."

The Genesis account -- symbolic, metaphoric, poetic - - not to be understood as literal? If such might be true for these most critical verses, what about other portions of thesacred writwhich we have memorized, cited, and used in countless convincing Bible studies?

(NOTE: audio quality is poor at times. This is because the original cassette recording master had some audio problems.)


Dalton Baldwin grew up in the Village of Angwin, California, where he received a BA from Pacific Union College with a Bible major. While there he took a class in the philosophy of science from Harold W. Clark who had been attacked by George McCready Price for publicly agreeing that there is a geological column. Clark originated the ecological zonation theory to explain why simple life forms appear lower in the geo logical column than more complex forms. At the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary (at that time in Washington, D. C.), he wrote an M. A. thesis,The Concept of the Will in Ellen G. White, and a B.D. thesis on the topic of faith and reason in Ellen G. White. The summer he completed his B. D., he and Barbara Britton, who worked in the General Conference, were married. The next year she taught music and he taught Bible at Blue Mountain Academy in Pennsylvania. While pastoring near Philadelphia, he attended Princeton Theological Seminary where he wrote a Th. M.

Thesis entitled“Paradox, Nonsense and the Role of the Understanding in Soren Kierkegaard."His Ph. D. dissertation written under John Cobb at the Claremont Graduate School was a Whiteheadian solution to the problem of evil. At a time when the Barthian rejection of natural theology was widely held, John Cobb published a book on natural theology. For over thirty years Baldwin taught theology at Loma Linda University. One of the classes he taught repeatedly was a seminar in religion and science. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Christian Theology at Loma Linda University. His three children, Cheryl, Yvonne, and Duane are scientifically inclined and all have MDs from the Loma Linda University Medical School.

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