Proposed amendments to Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief No. 6 represent an attempt to define acceptable Adventist understandings of creation more tightly and to exclude alternative viewpoints in a creedal fashion. In particular, there appears to be an attempt to exclude anything but a young age for life. One question which may be asked is whether the proposed amendments are in fact sufficient to exclude unwanted views, since there are models which allow for a creation week consisting of seven consecutive, contiguous, literal, twenty-four days, yet which accommodate current scientific understandings in ways recent creationism finds uncomfortable. While group identity is important, a focus on the formulation of tighter belief statements as a means of defining heretics will do little to bring resolution. Such documents can all too easily become primarily instruments of power and exclusion. They indicate a shift in focus from the core of a community’s identity to its borders and that is no advance. Listening to one another may not always bring unanimity of opinion but it should both foster respect and facilitate a deeper and more productive unity than mere uniformity could ever bring.

Avondale Research Centre

Spirituality and Worship Research Centre