What do Seventh-day Adventists Believe about Creation?
Seventh-day Adventists believe that God is the Creator of our world. They come to this conclusion from the first book of the Bible—Genesis. They believe that it only took God six literal days to form the world and all it contains, including us humans.
Here is what we’ll learn from the Bible about our origins and that of our planet:
- Why the there must have been a Creator
- How the world was created
- Who created the world and where He came from
- The implications of a biblical understanding of the origin of the world
This belief in creation is foundational to Adventists, so much so that one of their fundamental beliefs is on this topic. It reads:
Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of the work He performed and completed during six literal days that together with the Sabbath constituted the same unit of time that we call a week today.
The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was ‘very good,’ declaring the glory of God.”
Why do Adventists Believe in Creation?
Adventists believe in creation because the first words of the Bible, in the first chapter of Genesis tells us that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, NKJV).
Someone once asked: “Why is there something rather than nothing?”
You’ve got to admit it, that’s a pretty broad question, and yet,basic at the same time.
We exist, the earth exists, the stars exist, and the universe exists. And it all had to have come from somewhere, right? But from where?
For Adventists, the reason there is “something rather than nothing” is because God created everything that exists.
It’s true that there are many people who have a hard time grasping the idea of God. And who have alternative explanations for the origin of the universe and all that is in it.
For example, the famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle (368 BC-348 BC), believed that the world has always existed.
On the other hand we’ve got the Big Bang Theory, which presents the idea that the universe had a beginning. That there is a point when the universe came into existence.
Then there is one scientist who has argued that the universe arose from absolutely nothing. He’s come to the conclusion that “nothing is the foundation of everything” (Atkins, Peter. Conjuring of the Universe: The Origins of the Laws of Nature, p. 28).
But for us, we’ll take a closer look at what the Bible tells us about God being the origin of everything.
If God Created Everything, where did God Come From?
This is a common question. But the Bible doesn’t say where God came from. Instead, it presents Him as an eternal Being.
This means He has always existed. There is no stated time when He assumed a state of existence.
In trying to help us wrap our minds around this concept, the Psalmist puts it this way:
“Before the mountains were brought forth,Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:2, NKJV).
To ask the question “Where did God come from?” represents a misunderstanding about the nature of God.
God is not just one thing among others in the creation.
He exists above, beyond, and outside of the creation, a category that is uniquely His alone. And one that finite, created beings, like ourselves, will naturally have a hard time grasping.
People ask this question because they are used to everything else they know of as having a source or a known origin. That makes sense because every day of our lives, we encounter finite, created things.
But with God as eternal, the question is inapplicable.
God does not have a source. God does not have an origin. God has always existed and always will.
That’s why Job declared:
“How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.” (Job 36:26, NKJV).
Maybe everything else needs an explanation for how it got here, but not God.
How Old is the Universe?
The Bible does not give us an age of the universe as a whole.
The account of creation in the book of Genesis is in the context of the creation of our earth and of life here.
But other Bible texts clearly talk about God as the Creator and Sustainer of all the universe, even other worlds (Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1: 15-17).
There is evidence from the Bible that other intelligent life existed before the creation of life on Earth.
For example, the book of Job talks of how other beings praised God at the creation of the earth.
“When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38: 7, NKJV).
Some kind of intelligent life rejoiced at the work that God had done here.
How Did God Create the World?
According to Genesis 1 and 2, Adventists believe God created the world—and all life on it—in six days, all by speaking it into existence. And Adventists believe that this was a deliberate and conscious act on His part.
This means God had purpose and foresight in making our world and the life on it.
Such an understanding is in contrast with the idea of complete evolution, which has no place for purpose, direction, or intentions. Instead, it suggests that only blind forces and mutations were the means for the creation and existence of life on Earth.
The Bible is also clear that God spoke our present world into existence.
Over and over it said that “And God said, let there be” such and such, and then such and such happened.
The Psalmist also expressed this fact when he wrote:
“For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:9, NKJV).
“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made” (Psalm 33:6, NKJV).
The book of Hebrews also has this explanation:
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3, NKJV).
And John tells us that this Word, through which everything was created, was Jesus Himself:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:1-5, 14-17, NKJV).
What was the order of Events in the Creation of our planet?
First, there was the earth itself which was already there.
It was “without form and void” before the six days of creation began (Genesis 1:2).
Though Seventh-day Adventists don’t have an official position on when the pre-creation earth itself was first formed. Some believe the earth itself was created at the beginning of the six days.
But whether He made it way in the past or at the beginning of the six days, Adventist believe that God alone had created it.
The six-day sequence of events are presented in Genesis as follows:
- Day one – God divided light from darkness (Genesis 1: 3-5).
- Day two, God divided the earth from the sky (Genesis 1: 6-8).
- Day three, God divided the land from the sea, and then made vegetation and trees (Genesis 1:9-13).
- Day four, God made the sun, moon, and stars appear above the earth (Genesis 1:14-19).
- Day five, God brought forth life in the water and birds in the sky (Genesis 1:20-23).
- Day six, God created land animals. And then He created humanity, Adam and Eve (Genesis 1: 24-32; Genesis 2: 7, 18-23).
Then God gave man authority over all that He had created. And also commanded him to be fruitful and multiply in order to populate the world with mankind.
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:28, NKJV).
Note how there’s nothing in the creation account that hints anything about chance having a role in creation.
On the contrary, every word of the Genesis creation pointed to the creation of Earth and life on it as the planned and purposeful act of a loving God. A God who created everything exactly as He had wanted it.
All through the creation account, God looked at what He had made at each stage and said that it was “good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).
And when He finished creating everything, He declared it to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
This sounds vastly different from the billions of years of suffering, death, violence and “survival of the fittest” that evolution suggests led to the creation of the world. Besides, it hardly sounds “good,” let alone “very good.”
We can take comfort in this, knowing that God intentionally wanted us to exist. Each of us, in our unique and distinct mixture of thoughts, personality and perspective.
From the beginning, God wanted YOU to exist.
Are the Days of Creation Depicted in Genesis 1 Literal?
Adventists believe they are literal, 24-hour days. Just as we measure a day today.
And there are 3 compelling reasons to support this conclusion:
- The word for each “day” in the Genesis account is yom, which all through the Old Testament means a “day” as we understand a day now.For example, in lamenting the day of his birth, Job cried out:
“May the day [yom] perish on which I was born” (Job 3:3, NKJV).
- Each day of the creation account was depicted with the phrase—”and there was evening and morning” (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31, NKJV).In the Bible, a day began with sunset.
So naturally, each day was depicted first with an evening and then a morning. And just as days today have a literal evening and morning, the Bible uses that phrase to show us that a literal day with an evening and morning was meant for each day of creation.
The phrase “and there was evening and morning” was basically the Bible’s way of saying “24 hours.”
And as Richard Davidson wrote, “The phrase ‘evening and morning’ appearing at the conclusion of each of the six days of creation is used by the author to clearly define the nature of the days of creation as literal 24-hour days”1
- In the Ten Commandments, written by the finger of God Himself, the Bible specifically says that God created the world in six days (Deuteronomy 9:1).As the Fourth Commandment reads, in part:
“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:11, NKJV).
This commandment is why Seventh-day Adventists keep the seventh-day Sabbath, as a memorial of the six days of creation. Sabbath is a literal day, made of a literal evening and morning,
The doctrine of a six-day creation is so important that God commands us to set aside every seventh day as a memorial of the six-day creation.
How was Humanity Created?
Adventists find a direct relationship between the doctrine of creation and the nature of man. And the first two chapters of Genesis are clear about humans as the direct and purposeful creation of God.
We read that “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7, NKJV).
This was unique just for the creation of man.
While He spoke the rest of the creation into existence, He got down and fashioned man from the dust of the ground.
But here is where it gets even more special.
Twice, Genesis says that humans were made in God’s image—both male and female.
In deciding to make man, the Godhead reasoned among themselves saying, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26, NKJV).
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27, NKJV).
This is something not said for any other creature.
And it presents a very distinct and unmistakable contrast to evolutionary theory which teaches that human beings are merely evolved animals of some kind or another. That we are just “advanced apes.”
But Scripture depicts human beings as a special and direct creation of God. A creation that was purposely formed by Him to reflect His character and image.
Why is it Important to Understand How God Created Humanity?
An understanding of how humanity was created gives us a proper sense of identity. And helps us see the dignity that all other humans are invested with by the virtue of their creation.
An evolutionist once described humanity as “blobs of organized mud.”
Who organized the mud?
But even more importantly, if human beings are merely the chance products of billions of years of evolution, then nothing is particularly sacred about us or human life in general.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s when the evolutionary theory was taking hold, many believed in what they called “Social Darwinism.” The idea was that by helping the weakest and the less fit to survive, society was not only going against nature but hurting itself in the process.
Many used the theory of evolution to justify not giving aid to the poor or the needy, and not helping those who were being snuffed out by disease. Some took this notion even further. Instead of just letting Mother Nature weed out the weak, why not help her along?
The idea became known as “eugenics,” which involved forced sterilization, forced abortions, and, in some cases (such as the Holocaust), killing all the “undesirables.”
Adventists reject this thinking based on their understanding of human origins. They see human beings, all human beings, as made in the “image of God.”
And even more importantly, Adventists believe that Jesus Christ died for every human being. Every person is of equal value in the eyes of God. (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).
Why Does Current Science Teach Different Things About Our Origins?
Science studies only natural things; it looks only for natural explanations for natural events.
In fact, according to its own man-made rules, science must table any kind of supernatural explanation for anything at all. It must be further observed, experimented and repeated in order to have an explanation. Otherwise, things remain as Theories.
The creation of our world was a purely supernatural event. An event beyond the reach of science, at least as now practiced.
This restriction then leads to a big problem regarding creation because the creation of this world was all supernatural. Whatever conclusion science draws about origins, it will inevitably clash with the supernatural explanation given in Scripture.
How does the Doctrine of Creation Tie in with the Teaching of Redemption?
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12; 5:17-19, NKJV).
Adventists believe so strongly that God created this earth and life on it in six days and rested on the seventh.
This belief provides a solid ground for a sense of our identity. And tells us where the world we live in came from. It reveals the character of the One who created it all, including us as humans.
And best of all, it helps us know that we were made for the special purpose of having the image of God—that we have a special relationship with our Creator who loves us and claims us. He claims us not just as His creatures but when we messed it up through sin, He claimed us as His redeemed possession through Jesus.
And we can call Him “Father” (Matthew 6:9).
Calling our Creator “Father” then gives our relationships with fellow human beings a whole new perspective. We see them as fellow children of God. Fellow brothers and sisters. And this inspires love and the realization of the dignity inherent in every human being.
Can you imagine what the world would look like today if we all had this understanding?
A whole different place and experience for all of us.
We have the privilege of relating with God, the Creator of all things. We have the privilege to cultivate a relationship with Him as our Maker, Redeemer, Friend and Father.
[Here are some resources to help you begin cultivating that relationship]
 (Klingbeil, Gerald, The Genesis Creation Account [Berrien Springs, MI; Andrews University Press, 2015]. Richard Davidson. “The Genesis Account of Origins,” p. 78. )
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