Celebration of Creation – Avondale College 2011
A celebration of Seventh-day Adventists’ belief in the Biblical creation will be held May 13 and 14 on the campus of Avondale College, Cooranbong, Australia. Speakers range from Barry Oliver, president of the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists, to guests from as far away as Maryland in the United States. The weekend’s activities will be kicked off by Delbert Baker, Vice President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and former president of Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama.
God’s creation is a doctrine that unites all Adventists and is a point of engagement between theologians and scientists in the church. The speaker lineup reflects this with active Adventist scientists like biochemist Ross Grant of the Australian Research Institute and Adventist theologian Grenville Kent, who is writing and presenting the documentary series “Big Questions – Does God Exist?” “Understanding creation helps us make sense of ourselves and our experiences,” says Dr. Kent, “If God created everything from 14 billion Light Years of observable universe down to quarks and gluons, then God is truly all-powerful, there is hope that God can re-create fallen humans through the gospel and we can take seriously the promise of a new heaven and a new earth.”
“We look forward to welcoming speakers and guests to Avondale to celebrate the Biblical creation with us,” says Ray Roennfeldt, President of Avondale College. “It is events like this, along with our unique Christ-centered Adventist education, that ultimately produces the excellent graduates Avondale is known for.” “It will be an honor to work with our Australian colleagues at the premier Adventist educational institution in Australia.” commented L. James Gibson, Director of the Geoscience Research Institute and another of the international guest speakers.
Although he will be traveling a long way for the Avondale Celebration of Creation, Australia is familiar territory for Gerhard Pfandl of the Biblical Research Institute. Dr. Pfandl, a native of Austria, now lives in the United States, but lived for several years in Australia and will be familiar to many who come to hear his presentations on “Creation in the Adventist Church” and “Adventist Interpretations of Genesis.”
Another speaker who illustrates the global nature of Adventist belief in the Biblical creation is paleontologist Raúl Esperante, a citizen of Spain. Dr. Esperante’s research on fossil whales is fascinating and offers some interesting insights into how Adventists conduct world-class science, remain faithful to the Bible and make discoveries consistent with the history of Earth revealed in Scripture.
David Tasker, longtime missionary and leader in Adventist education, now Field Secretary of the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists, will address an issue that many believe challenges the goodness of God and His creation; the problem of evil. How could God be both good and have created the terribly broken world in which we live? Does evil really challenge belief in the Biblical creation and the goodness of God? Or does the same Bible that tells us about the creation offer a coherent account that addresses this very issue?
Previous celebrations of creation have been held at two of the leading Adventist Universities in the United States; 2009 at Loma Linda University, a health sciences university in California, and 2010 at Andrews University, location of the Adventist Theological Seminary, in Michigan. But the Avondale Celebration of Creation will be only the second to be held outside the United States. Another Celebration of Creation will be held the previous weekend on the campus of Pacific Adventist University in Papua New Guinea. “My hope is that the Avondale Celebration of Creation will be one of many opportunities for the global church to unite together around our shared belief in the Creator God and the Bible as a true record of His amazing wisdom and power,” says Timothy Standish, one of the organizers of the event and a host of the Hope TV programs “Celebration of Creation” and “Yes, Creation!” “I greatly look forward to joining with fellow Adventist Australians to celebrate this pillar of our faith.”
Dr. Standish will be traveling to Australia directly from Nashville, Tennessee where he will be presenting during “In the Beginning: Making Sense of Creation and Evolution” with Ron Clouzet, Director of the North American Division Evangelism Institute. These presentations will be broadcast globally on Hope Channel and will be downloaded by many churches as part of the Adventist Church’s NET 2011 evangelism initiative.
Celebration of Creation programs are sponsored by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Faith and Science Council, a committee of Adventist church leaders who seek to promote a well-informed view of nature that is consistent with the Biblical worldview.