What Seventh-day Adventists Believe
• Belief in Deity
There is a Trinity of the Father, the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit that comprises one God Almighty.
Jesus Christ is God's only incarnation and is God.
• Origin of Universe and Life
The biblical Book of Genesis is inerrant. Most Seventh-day Adventists hold that, although the universe and our planet are ancient, God created the ordered world and all life forms in less than seven, literally twenty-four hour, days, less than 10,000 years ago--thereby refuting most claims of modern science.
• After Death
Death results in unconsciousness. At any time now, Jesus Christ will return to raise to heaven all the righteous dead and living, resurrect and destroy the wicked and Satan here on earth, and then return the righteous to a paradisiacal earth for eternity with God.
• Why Evil?
Original sin--all people are inherently sinners, prone to evil and subject to Satan's temptations.
Salvation is only by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ alone. But faith must be exhibited through action. Baptism (full immersion) is performed at age of accountability for those "born again" and is regarded as a demonstration of belief, a symbol of union with Christ and forgiveness of sins, and reception of the Holy Spirit. The faithful will obey God's commandments, acknowledge and repent their sins, observe the Sabbath on Saturday, adhere to church moral laws, restrictions, and sacraments, including baptism and communion, care for their body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Living life as simply and naturally as possible, away from stressful influences, is encouraged. Some modes of entertainment (theater, billiard rooms, dance halls, saloons, most television, movies, etc.) are to be avoided. Schooling at home or at non-government church schools is recommended.
• Undeserved Suffering
Some suffering is caused by the inheritance of mortality originating from Adam and Eve's disobedience to God, which includes vulnerability to illness and disease. Also, Satan pervades the earth, causing pain and suffering. Many believe that suffering is God's design to test, teach, or strengthen belief in Him; the greater the suffering of innocent believers, the greater will be their reward after life.
• Contemporary Issues
Abortion has moral consequences and should only be performed for the most serious reasons. The church acknowledges compelling reasons for a woman to choose abortion, e.g., threat to the life of the woman, rape/incest, extreme congenital abnormalities, etc. After counseling, the final decision is regarded as her own--she is not to be coerced or condemned. Homosexuality is forbidden. Gender equality and womens rights are promoted, but women are not permitted at the highest levels of the church hierarchy and are generally regarded as subordinate to men. Marriage is permanent and divorce only permitted on grounds of adultery/fornication, abandonment by an unbelieving spouse, or physical violence. Remarriage is only permitted if one's spouse committed adultery/fornication. Working for peace is encouraged by the SDA church as a Christian value. Many SDAs refuse combat status in the armed forces, and the church urges strict control of semi- and automatic assault weapons. The church supports community activities for equal rights and justice, antipoverty, education, and the direct provision of health care facilities. The church operates a world-wide network of schools and health care institutions.
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