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Abstract

Ellen White’s repeated and strident denunciations of ‘infidel geologists’ and their
ideas in her 1864 monograph “Spiritual Gifts” are well known. This early origins
material was invoked from time to time in her subsequent articles for Church
periodicals, would be re-worked and expanded in her “Spirit of Prophecy” (1870)
and was to see its final denouement in “Patriarchs and Prophets” (1890) with
other associated material appearing in the “Great Controversy” (1888). Because
of her accepted prophetic status Ellen White’s writings in this area have proved
to be enduringly authoritative for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Further,
they were enormously formative for George McCready Price and, through him,
hugely influential for the world-wide recent creationism movement, beginning in
the 1960s. This paper explores the historical and theological contexts of White’s
pronouncements on geological themes, explores possible provocations and sources behind some of her ideas and notes differences in the manner in which she re-used this material in later publications. This study indicates that her statements on geological matters represented ideas which, while once commonly held, were no longer accepted by professionals involved with the rapid scientific progression of nineteenth century geology.

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