In his classical collection of biographies titled Parallel Lives, Plutarch tells of the mischievous Procrustes, whose defeat was counted among the feats of the Athenian hero Theseus. Procrustes had the curious habit of inviting any passerby traveler to rest at his abode, only to meticulously impose upon his guest the requirement that the guest be made to proportionally fit the bed that he had provided for him. If the guest were too short, he would be stretched (needless to say, to his death) until the body met the bed’s length. If the guest were too tall, he would be executed by having either his head or legs trimmed off with the precision of a tailor. Theseus brings retribution to Procrustes by forcefully fitting the body of the villain to the dimensions of his own eerie bed.1 The obsession of Procrustes is allegorically seen in attempted reconciliations of the historical sciences with Scripture. Enthusiasts of naturalistic paradigms of the day will stretch the biblical timescale to fit the procrustean bed of deep time. The analogy does not stop here, however. In the opposing field of ideological contention, scientists and laypersons of various Christian denominations who maintain a commitment to fundamental biblical principles can sometimes also be tempted to engage in procrustean efforts. When some of them do, their methods are unique insofar as the crime of stretching is not committed. Rather, their tool is the axe, and they will trim off the observed complexity gleaned in the rocks by the observer of nature’s record for the sake of fitting observations into the traditional scheme of Flood Geology, which may sometimes be unrealistic or lean too heavily on mechanism. 2 How, then, do we escape the procrustean disposition and correctly make sense of Inspired Revelation and the Book of Nature? How can these two revealing sources be taken together so that neither one is shrunk or stretched to be made fit for the other? How can the honest Seventh-day Adventist Christian investigate the natural history of our planet’s surface and remain in agreement with the historically accurate account of Genesis and the inspired considerations of God’s prophets? This article attempts to present not negative evidence demonstrating inconsistencies of mainline paradigms (which could be found elsewhere), but to positively paint a portrait in suggesting a tertium quid or third alternative in unifying apparently contradictory notions from revelation and historical science. This portrait is directed specifically to Seventh-day Adventists, in a format that is more kerygmatic than apologetic. A discussion of principles found in Ellen White’s statements will also be useful towards the formulation of a model that will attempt to address this controversial topic. It will follow that Seventh-day Adventist theological concepts improve our understanding of the rock record.

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