As a child, it is likely that many of us read (or had our parents read to us) the biblical account of creation. It is also likely that many of us accepted with “child-like faith” the idea that God could create an entire world in a literal six days, comprised of 24 hours each. Separating land from sea with simply a command? No problem! Creating the sun and moon in 24 hours? Done! Creating every species of animals? All in a day’s work!
However, as age and experience creep in, it is easy for some to begin second-guessing the Biblical story of creation. The theory of evolution is widely taught and accepted in this day and age. The idea that God could create everything in a literal week seems like an astronomical task (at least, for our human minds). It is easy to attempt to squeeze God and His power into a box of our understanding – forgetting that He is, essentially, beyond our understanding.
The Adventist Church teaches that:
God has revealed in Scripture the authentic and historical account of His creative activity. He created the universe, and in a recent six-day creation the Lord made “the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” and rested on the seventh day. 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. (Gen. 1-2; 5; 11; Exod. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1–6; 33:6, 9; 104; Isa. 45:12, 18; Acts 17:24; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; 11:3; Rev. 10:6; 14:7.)1
As part of the 2018 Global Church Member Survey (GCMS), Adventists around the world were asked if they believe that God created the universe (Q42.17). A strong majority agreed with this statement: 79.6% strongly agreed and 15.1% agreed. A small fraction was not sure (2.8%), disagreed (0.8%), or strongly disagreed (1.6%).
In 2013, a majority (93.3%) of respondents also strongly agreed that God created the world. Only a small percentage of respondents agreed more than disagreed (4.25%), disagreed more than agreed (0.96%), or strongly disagreed (1.5%).
Additionally, in 2018, survey participants were asked to respond to the statement (Q42.05), “I believe God created the world in six days of 24 hours each in the relatively recent past.” Almost two thirds (64.9%) strongly agree with this statement, with another 20.8% indicating that they agree. A small percentage (6.5%) of respondents shared that they are uncertain what they believe, while 7.8% disagree to one extent or another.
When a similar survey was administered in 2013, 73% of respondents strongly agreed with the idea of a six-day creation, composed of 24 hours each day, in the relatively recent past. Fourteen percent of respondents agreed more than they disagreed, and 5% disagreed more than they agreed. Almost one in ten (8%) strongly disagreed with this concept of creation.
While the categories on the 2013 and 2018 surveys slightly differed and results for the “strongly agree” category were lower in 2018, it appears that overall, church members are becoming more accepting of the idea of a literal six-day creation week in the relatively recent past. (In 2013 GCMS, 73% strongly agreed and 8% strongly disagreed, as opposed to the 2018 survey, where 85.7% strongly agreed/agreed and 7.8% disagreed/strongly disagreed.) This is greatly encouraging, as it demonstrates that globally, church members are more widely accepting what the Bible teaches.
For more data on both 2013 and 2018 GCMS look at the following presentations by Dr. David Trim from the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research:
Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry.
- General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. (2019). Creation. Retrieved from https://www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/humanity/creation/