Trilobites are not the only example of rapid mass burial. This is a pattern repeated in many other organisms including these Knightia fish fossils from the Green River Formation in Wyoming, United States. [Photo: Geoscience Research Institute]

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Creation Exhibit to Open at Adventist Church Headquarters

It will feature evidence pointing to design in nature and a worldwide catastrophe.

In preparation for Creation Sabbath on October 28, 2017, the Geoscience Research Institute (GRI) is creating a series of scientifically accurate and faith building displays. The exhibit will be opened during this year’s Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee, to be held from October 5-11 at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

“The displays will feature physical evidence pointing to design in nature and catastrophe in the rock record,” said GRI Director Jim Gibson. “Scriptures provide a cogent explanation for this evidence. These displays are a testimony to both the Church’s allegiance to the biblical creation and to the scientific study of origins.”

The exhibit will show examples of biological beauty and other evidence of design, such as irreducible complexity. Other examples of design will include the way fish are engineered for swimming, birds for flying, eyes for seeing, and fossil ammonite shells for movement in water.

  • Trilobites are found as abundant fossils in some places. These extinct arthropods illustrate both mass burial and rapid fossilization when found in groups like those on this slab of rock. These fossils serve as a record of rapid events in the past, like the flood recorded in Scripture, rather than slow gradual processes. [Photo: Geoscience Research Institute]

  • The geologic record is widely recognized as a record of catastrophe. The Bible records one global catastrophe, the worldwide flood, many geologists believe the geologic record was produced by multiple catastrophes and that one of the causes was meteorites. This metallic meteorite looks like a stone, but a section that has been cut open reveals the metallic interior. [Photo: Geoscience Research Institute]

  • These fossil shrimp come from Lebanon and illustrate both the global nature of the fossil record and the continuity of life since they were fossilized. They look very similar to modern shrimp, suggesting that little obvious evolution has occurred since they were fossilized. In addition, ancient shrimp were just as elegantly and beautifully designed as those living today. They also must have been preserved rapidly, because shrimp typically fall apart soon after death. [Photo: Geoscience Research Institute]

  • Ammonites were named after the Egyptian god Amun. They are beautiful examples of design for living in water. Even though they are now extinct, we can learn much about how wonderfully designed they were from their abundant fossils. [Photo: Geoscience Research Institute]

  • GRI Director Jim Gibson with some of the fossils on display in the GRI Building. In his hands, he holds fossils that will be part of the Creation Exhibit at the Adventist Church headquarters starting next month. [Photo: Geoscience Research Institute]

Several displays will feature some of the abundant evidence of the worldwide flood recorded in the Bible. Most scientists agree on the occurrence of past global catastrophes, such as extraterrestrial impacts and gigantic lava flows, but many deny that these could be associated with the flood recorded in Genesis and elsewhere, according to senior scientist at GRI Tim Standish. “This evidence of global catastrophe will be included in the displays,” he said.

“The question of time is one in which the most widely accepted scientific explanations espousing millions of years disagree with the clear record given in Scripture of thousands of years since creation,” said Standish. “Adventists don’t ignore this tension, and this will be reflected in the displays.” However, the record of Scripture is robust. For example, one display will examine several patterns in the fossil record that show God’s activity in nature, irrespective of the time assigned to the fossils involved.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a long history of interest in the relationship between history recorded in the Bible and the study of nature using the methods of science. Church co-founder Ellen G. White explained the Adventist approach over a century ago when she wrote: “Since the book of nature and the book of revelation bear the impress of the same master mind, they cannot but speak in harmony. By different methods, and in different languages, they witness to the same great truths. Science is ever discovering new wonders; but she brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation. The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. They make us acquainted with God by teaching us something of the laws through which He works.”[*]

Creation Sabbath, designated for October 28, is an opportunity to celebrate this Bible-inspired approach to the study of nature, according to Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “The creation story and global flood explain so much, and yet we still have questions that need to be answered. Nevertheless, God’s word is sure!” he said.

Faith in the biblical record leading to discoveries using the methods of science has been a hallmark of Adventists’ contribution to understanding nature. Appreciating that many questions remain to be answered has proven a productive incentive to do science, according to Standish. In the sphere of medical science, this motivation has led to the pioneering work of Harry Miller in nutrition, innovations in neurosurgery by Ben Carson and Melvin P. Judkins’ groundbreaking heart catheterization technique using catheters of his design.

In the sciences of paleontology and geology, the Adventist approach, inspired by confidence in the Bible, motivated Harold Coffin’s study of fossil forests in Yellowstone National Park., said Standish. It led to a new and more comprehensive model explaining their formation.

Leonard Brand has been inspired to examine the evidence of widespread rock layers that appear to have been rapidly laid down by water across North America. Also featured in the displays at the Adventist world headquarters will be research by Arthur Chadwick showing a worldwide movement of water in distinct patterns.

Creation displays are free and open to the public. They will be on display at the world headquarters through March 2018 and are designed to illustrate how faith in the biblical record of history has productively inspired science.

“By showing some of the abundant evidence that points toward a Creator God and a global flood, these displays will encourage confidence in the biblical record of history,” said Gibson. “In addition, the fossils and other evidence presented are intrinsically fascinating, revealing that ‘The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them.’”[†]



[*] Education, p. 130.

[†] Psalm 111:2, NKJV.


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