By Cortney Bean
The Seventh-day Adventist Church released a statement last October regarding their official stance on the creation of the earth stating that the ?earth was created in six literal days and is of recent origin.?
During an Annual Council in Silver Spring, Md., the statement was approved by elected officials on the General Conference Executive Committee.
?We believe that the Sabbath was created as a holy day,? said Carol Allison, secretary for the Adventist Church in Salt Lake. ?The Sabbath was created along with the earth and men don?t have a right to change it.?
The official Affirmation of Creation document stated that the conference was held to address philosophical, theological and scientific questions and ?as an opportunity to pro-vide orientation and practical guidance for church members.?
The document included 11 statements specific to the Adventists? views on creation, science and revelation and the need to teach correct principles regarding their correlation.
Mark Kellner, assistant director for news and information at the Adventist Church World Headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., reiterated the document?s claims when he said that creation is a foundational belief that is fundamental to many other doctrines of the church.
?Speaking as a member, I believe it is very good to have this basic doctrine and this basic belief affirmed,? Kellner said. ?It is one of the elements of our faith that is very important.?
The belief in a creation period is one of several Adventist beliefs that are similar to those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including a reverent observance of the Sabbath, payment of tithes and offer-ings, and a baptism of members at an older age than most protestant faiths. The two churches are also similar in the increasing number of members; membership in the Adventist church totals 13.6 million and more than 25 million people attend weekly services around the world.
The Adventist Church?s statement on creation will impact the education provided by its schools.
Education is widely supported in the Adventist Church through ap-proximately 5,600 schools that they operate around the world. This in-cludes primary schools through col-lege level institutions. Approximately one million students are enrolled in these schools, making Adventist schools one of the largest private protestant educational organi-zations.
The affirmation recognized ?a high degree of concern that those involved in the Seventh-day Adventist teaching ministry conduct their work ethically and with integrity ? by standards of their profession, the teachings of scripture, and the basic understanding held by the body of believers.?
Allison was raised in the Advent-ist Church and all her children at-tended Adventist schools. She said they want to be able to teach creation-ism without having to moderate it with evolution.
?Biblically, as far back as the Bible can take history, from the fall of man is what we can track histori-cally,? Allison said.
Contrary to evolution theories, Adventists do not believe the world has existed for millions of years, she said.