27-26 Ad-Interim Creation Study Committee
RE Sam Duncan, Chairman, led the Assembly in prayer and presented the preliminary report.
PRELIMINARY INTERIM REPORT OF THE CREATION STUDY COMMITTEE
The Twenty-Sixth (26th) General Assembly adopted a Resolution, whereby an Advisory Creation Study Committee (the "CSC") was erected to:
study the exegetical, hermeneutical, and theological interpretations of Genesis 1-3 and the original intent of the Westminster Standards phrase 'in the space of six days'. The committee of eleven (11) to be appointed by the Moderator within 30 days of the close of the 26th General Assembly, from nominees submitted to him by the commissioners to the General Assembly. The committee will report, D.V., to the 27th General Assembly its findings, along with its non-binding advice and counsel, if any.
The Work of the CSC
In preparation for its first meeting the members of the CSC shared their personal views on the issue with each other, along with candid suggestions of how to best deal with our assignment. Research assignments were made and position papers and other material were circulated.
The CSC met on November 6-7, 1998, in St. Louis, Missouri. All voting and advisory members were present. During this meeting, the CSC reviewed its assignment and discussed how to best accomplish our designated task. Subcommittees were appointed to work on Definitions of the relevant terms, what the different views were and the strengths and weaknesses or difficulties of each, along with a history of the conflict and an overview of the Confessional issue. Prior to adjourning, the CSC heard preliminary reports from these subcommittees.
Prior to its next meeting, these subcommittees continued their work and periodically submitted their findings to all of the members of the CSC. Also, during this time, third parties submitted numerous articles, research papers, and items of correspondence, and the same were reviewed by the CSC.
The CSC met on April 16-17, 1999, in Jackson, Mississippi. All voting and advisory members were present. During this meeting, the CSC received reports from its subcommittees and began the process of organizing this material for presentation to the General Assembly. It quickly became apparent that the CSC would not be able to present a complete and final report to the 27th General Assembly, and the following Motion was approved:
That a Special Order of the day be requested for 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16, 1999, to present an Interim Report of the Creation Study Committee (CSC), at which time, after introductory remarks, the various interpretations would be explained in ten (10) minute segments, along with the relevant strengths and weaknesses or difficulties of each view, after which up to one (1) hour of the Assembly's time would be devoted to receiving questions, comments, and input from the commissioners.
The CSC was not able to work through all of the interpretations, or address the constitutional issue, at its April, 1999 meeting. The committee will continue its work, using e-mail and telephonic conferences. However, in order to expedite this process, the CSC appointed TE William S. Barker and TE J. Ligon Duncan, III as editors to assemble the work of the subcommittees and present the same in a consistent and usuable manner. This work-in-progress will be included in the Supplement that is handed out at the General Assembly registration desk.
The Creation Study Committee recommends that the committee be continued for one (1) year, with a report being made to the 28th General Assembly. The work of the committee will be funded with designated gifts.
The Assembly directed that the following summary of the committee's work, read to the Assembly by Dr. Smith, be spread upon the Minutes and distributed to the Commissioners:
"Your committee has not completed its work. While there is a diversity of viewpoints on the committee, our working together leads us to affirm our confidence in each other's acceptance of the text of Genesis 1 and 2, as of all Scripture, as the inerrant Word of God and in each other's integrity in the exegesis of the text. The Assembly should known that the members of the committee have unanimity as to some foundational issues. The committee unanimously affirms the historicity of Genesis 1 and 2 as a self-consistent and true account of God's creation of the universe and of mankind in six days, and deny that Genesis 1 and 2 represent a mythical account of creation without reality in space and time, or that they represent two accounts that are without reality in space and time, or that they represent two accounts that are inconsistent with each other. Every person on the committee affirms that God created the heavens and the earth ex nihilo, out of nothing (Hebrews 11:3 - "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible"), and deny that the universe or anything in it was eternal, existing alongside the eternal God. We affirm God's special creation of Adam and Eve as real, historical individuals (Romans 5:12-14; I Corinthians 15:21-22, 45-49), and deny that Adam and Eve were the products of evolution from lower forms of life."