Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Theological Studies PhD

First Advisor

Miroslav M. Kis

Second Advisor

John T. Baldwin

Third Advisor

Richard M. Davidson

Abstract

This study explores the relationship between the doctrines of creation and revelation within evangelical thought, especially focusing upon the writings of the two foremost leaders of "Neo-evangelicalism," Bernard L. Ramm and Carl F. H. Henry. Neo-evangelicalism arose in America in the 1940s as a reaction against the Fundamentalism of the first decades of the twentieth century. One of its purposes was to free evangelicalism from the anti-intellectual tendencies of Fundamentalism while yet maintaining a belief in the full inspiration and historicity of Scripture. As a result, evangelicals have sought to harmonize the biblical record of creation with modern geological discoveries.

The goals of this study are twofold: First, to explain how and why Bernard Ramm and Carl Henry differ in their understanding of the doctrines of revelation and creation, and second, to uncover the reasons why Ramm, Henry, and most evangelical theologians and scientists adopt a metaphorical understanding of the days of creation, when the large majority of scholars in the past one hundred years have understood the creation days to be literal, twenty-four-hour days.

The approach of this study is descriptive, comparative, analytical, and evaluative. The first two chapters introduce the subject and provide a survey of the historical background for the evangelical understanding of revelation and creation, while the next two chapters, which are also descriptive, examine in detail the thought of Ramm and Henry on the doctrines of revelation and creation, and especially their views on the days of creation. Chapter 5, which is comparative and analytical for the large part, consists of comparisons and contrasts between the thought of Rammand Henry upon revelation and creation as well as upon the specific nature of the creation days. The evaluative phase involves a discussion of why this issue is important to evangelicalism, noted in the last part of chapter 5 and in the summary and conclusions found in chapter 6.

The differences between Ramm and Henry on the doctrines of revelation and creation can be accounted for largely on the basis of the differing methodologies and philosophical positions of the two. The contrast between the evangelical approaches to understanding the days of creation and the approaches of non-evangelical scholarship is best explained on the basis of the evangelical understanding of revelation and inspiration.

Subject Area

Creation--Comparative studies, Revelation--Comparative studies, Henry, Carl F. H. (Carl Ferdinand Howard), 1913-2003, Ramm, Bernard L., 1916-.

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