Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Seven Deadly Heresies, Part Two (Organic Evolution)

This post is the second in a seven-part series covering the seven deadly heresies according to Elder McConkie in his address to the student body of BYU in 1981. Again, for easy reference, please find the entire text of the talk here.

Elder McConkie's second heresy is pointed directly as organic evolution. Specifically, he says:

"Heresy two concerns itself with the relationship between organic evolution and revealed religion and asks the question whether they can be harmonized.

There are those who believe that the theory of organic evolution runs counter to the plain and explicit principles set forth in the holy scriptures as these have been interpreted and taught by Joseph Smith and his associates. There are others who think that evolution is the system used by the Lord to form plant and animal life and to place man on earth.

May I say that all truth is in agreement, that true religion and true science bear the same witness, and that in the true and full sense, true science is part of true religion. But may I also raise some questions of a serious nature. Is there any way to harmonize the false religions of the Dark Ages with the truths of science as they have now been discovered? is there any way to harmonize the revealed religion that has come to us with the theoretical postulates of Darwinism and the diverse speculations descending therefrom?

Should we accept the famous document of the First Presidency issued in the days of President Joseph F. Smith and entitled "The Origin of Man" as meaning exactly what it says? Is it the doctrine of the gospel that Adam stood next to Christ in power and might and intelligence before the foundations of the world were laid; that Adam was placed on this earth as an immortal being; that there was no death in the world for him or for any form of life until after the Fall; that the fall of Adam brought temporal and spiritual death into the world; that this temporal death passed upon all forms of life, upon man and animal and fish and fowl and plant life; that Christ came to ransom man and all forms of life from the effects of the temporal death brought into the world through the Fall, and in the case of man from a spiritual death also; and that this ransom includes a resurrection for man and for all forms of life? Can you harmonize these things with the evolutionary postulate that death has always existed and that the various forms of life have evolved from preceding forms over astronomically long periods of time?

Can you harmonize the theories of men with the inspired words that say:

And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they [meaning Adam and Eve] would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. [2 Ne. 2:22-26]

These are questions to which all of us should find answers. Every person must choose for himself what he will believe. I recommend that all of you study and ponder and pray and seek light and knowledge in these and in all fields. I believe that the atonement of Christ is the great and eternal foundation upon which revealed religion rests. I believe that no man can be saved unless he believes that our Lord's atoning sacrifice brings immortality to all and eternal life to those who believe and obey, and no man can believe in the atonement unless he accepts both the divine sonship of Christ and the fall of Adam.

My reasoning causes me to conclude that if death has always prevailed in the world, then there was no fall of Adam that brought death to all forms of life; that if Adam did not fall, there is no need for an atonement; that if there was no atonement, there is no salvation, no resurrection, and no eternal life; and that if there was no atonement, there is nothing in all of the glorious promises that the Lord has given us. I believe that the Fall affects man, all forms of life, and the earth itself, and that the atonement affects man, all forms of life, and the earth itself."

Evolution is one of those topics in the church where there are multiple quotes from one General Authority and quotes from another which contradict one another. Therefore, to make sure that we focus on the most relevant statements, I will quote only from the First Presidency in its capacity or one of its members, keeping in mind that First Presidency statements with support from the Quorum of the 12 are the best sign of authenticity.

I will begin first with a quote from the First Presidency's "The Origin of Man", published in 1909. The main points include:

"Adam is the primal parent of our race...It is held by some that Adam is not the first man upon this Earth, and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men."

Later on, the explanation continues,"

"True it is that the body of man enters upon its career as a tiny germ or embryo, which becomes an infant, quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is, and the child, after being born, develops into a man. There is nothing in this, however, to indicate that the original man, the first of our race, began life as anything less than a man, or less than the human germ or embryo becomes a man."

In order to clarify the point, the First Presidency issued the following statement in 1925 following the famous evolution trial in Tennessee, made famous in "Inherit the Wind". The following is a brief exert provide to the press:

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing belief on diving revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity. By his Almighty power God organized the Earth, and all that it contains, from spirit and element, which co-exist eternally with himself.

Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with diving attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable by experience through the ages and eons, of evolving into God."

Both of these statements were reaffirmed in the 1992 edition of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism's heading under evolution, which was approved by the First Presidency.

In order to keep this post from being too long, I will share one final quote from Pres. Hinckley from an interview he granted in 2002 to Larry Witham:

"What the church requires is only a belief that Adam was the first man of what we would call the human race. Scientists can speculate the on the rest. Studied all about it. Didn't worry me then. Doesn't worry me now."

Of course this is not an authoritative statement given by the First Presidency, but it gives us an idea of what they are thinking individually at the moment. I am purposefully only including these statements because the post could get long with other statements from Presidents Kimball and McKay, quotes from Talmage, etc. I just want us to address Elder McConkie's last paragraph with the previous statements in mind.

The crux of what I want to get at here is what Elder McConkie seems to think is evolution's biggest problem with compliance to the Gospel. If death did not enter the world until the Fall, literally speaking, then the atonement would never have happened and therefore no salvation nor exaltation. Essentially, the Plan of Salvation would fail.

If you think that the Gospel can work in harmony with organic evolution, how would one circumvent Elder McConkie's dilemma? Any thoughts.

36 comments:

C. David Parsons said...

The Gospel cannot work in harmony with organic evolution, as evolution is a hoax.

WHY TRY TO ACCEPT DARWIN WHEN HE HATED GOD? TO DO SO IS CULPABLE NEGLIGENCE WHICH WILL RECEIVE ITS JUST REWARD.

The following dissertation on Darwin is lifted from Volume 1 of The Quest for Right, a series of seven books on origins based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect.

On the outset, the reader should be aware that Darwin was a self-proclaimed agnostic; he did not deny the possibility that God exists but believed it was beyond one's mental ability to decide if there is, indeed, any divine force. Darwin, in response to an invitation to become a Patron of the Cat Show (September 18, 1872), lightheartedly referred to himself and cronies as "atheistical cats." By definition, an atheist either does not believe in, or denies the existence of God. Regardless of the profile, agnostics and atheists alike believe that all questions concerning origins, being, and the like may be explained fully by material phenomena and logic; scientists have since added a third dimension, the orderly application of mathematics, called electronic interpretation—read the matter in detail in Volume 1.

A cultural note: a marked distinction separates men who profess to be disciples (followers) of Christ and adherents of the Bible and those who profess to be outside Christianity (called unbelievers). Regarding the current definitions of agnostic and atheist, the text of the New Testament refutes the associated attributes, specifically the possibility that man (for whatever reason) either does not believe in the existence of God or else believes it is beyond one's mental ability to decide if there is a God. Countering the claim, the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned, "For the invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they [men who 'hold the truth in unrighteousness'] are without excuse" (Romans 1:20-22). The things God created are aptly referred to as “the glory of God.”

In deference to the biblical precept, the eternal power and Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are clearly evidenced (seen and understood) by the things that God created and made. One only has to observe his or her surroundings; for instance, a wilderness setting with stately trees reaching skyward, colorful wildflowers dotting the meadows, wood ducks by a pool, and animals scurrying about in the underbrush, to realize the knowledge of the existence of God. There are, however, men who do "not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Romans 1:28), and cast down every thought of God. Regrettably, the course of action is not without due penalty: "Because when they knew God [everyone has known God at one time in his or her life], they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21, 22).

In light of the foregoing scriptures, the current definitions of agnostic and atheist are wholly inept: men who hold the biblical precept to be patently false, professing either not to believe or know that there is an eternal power, are neither agnostic nor atheist, but willfully disobedient—willful, "done on purpose; deliberate." The comprehensive assessment will be fully justified; please read on.

Concurring with the biblical principle, Darwin may be charged with being willfully disobedient, as observed in his criticism of the tenets of Christianity. Of one certainty the reader may be assured, Darwin did not speak objectively when it came to Christianity—objectively, "uninfluenced by personal feelings, prejudices or agendas." In a bitter denial of Christianity, Darwin complained that he "could hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine." Why was Darwin so embittered? Read Revelation 20:11-15; 21:7, 8.

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Darwin once confessed to being a theist, the belief in the existence of a god or gods, in particular the belief that God both created and rules all earthly phenomena. After the publication of the Origin, Darwin charged his original belief in God to the "constant inculcation" (instruction or indoctrination) in a belief in God" during his childhood, which was as difficult to cast down as "for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake." With self-assurance, Darwin purposed in his heart that he would no longer retain God in his knowledge, resolving instead to become an "agnostic." The reader is, therefore, cautioned that, whenever reading books and articles about Darwin, most, if not all, biographical authors are predisposed to depict him in a favorable light, oftentimes allowing pro-evolutionist sentiment to prejudice their work.

The Old Testament did not escape Darwin's inflamed rhetoric; concerning the validity of biblical histories (in particular, the Genesis account of creation), Darwin pointedly declared that "the manifestly false history of the earth....was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos (sic), or the beliefs of any barbarian." Thus, Darwin likened the creation of the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:7-25), to a mere fairy tale. As an alternative to the counterfactual history, he summarily disposed of both creationism and God by declaring in the Origin that, once the reader entertains the "volumne (sic) on the origin of species...light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history," meaning that man and apes diverged from a common ancestor through the agency of evolution without the aid or influence of God—there is no God.

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Hans said...

Thank you David for the advertisement for the book series.

That being said, I would like to keep the post focused on my original question which you answered in one line and then continued into the advert that is an ad hominem attack on Darwin and not on the theory itself.

Based on the citations used in the post from modern day prophets, what are your thoughts on the wiggle room left open by the language?

Clinton said...

The gospel can work in harmony with the ideas of natural selection, evolution, etc. Such things are observed to be occuring currently. But, I agree with Elder McConkie that the verse in 2 Nephi indicates that death was introduced into the world by the Fall. I believe that natural selection began occuring at that point in history. I admit that the current narrative describing the history of the earth, based on fossils, radioactive dating, geological observations, etc, seems to fit the evidence well, but I expect that at some point in the future, God will reveal a narrative that harmonizes these observations with the narrative given in the book of Genesis.

An important related question is, How are the gospel and the Second Law of Thermodynamics harmonized?

Hans said...

Clinton,

I tend to agree with you that the Gospel fits into some form of natural selection/evolution but I think that there are things that have not been revealed or we do not have the entire record from old times. I am not sure how this would help us overcome 2 Nephi 2, but I think that the accounts of the Garden, while accurate, focus on elements that are more spiritual than scientific. Like the Flood, perhaps the Garden/Fall was localized to the area it occurred in? I also think that Adam lived much sooner than we think, because again, when Moses wrote Genesis, I don't think that he was concerned with the actual dates but what happened.

I am intrigued by your question about the Second Law of Thermodynamics and realized that I never considered how this could possibly harmonize. Considering that the Universe will eventually reach a point of absolute or decentralized entropy, I am curious as to how this could fit with such statements as "the elements are eternal", etc. Do you have any thoughts on this? I admittedly am not a scientist but am generally interested in Physics.

Another topic that is of interest to me is the role of dimensions in the Gospel. Do the Savior and other celestial beings reside in a (at least) 4th dimensional world which would allow them to scientifically perform "miraculous" things like showing up in homes while passing through doors or where time is not a factor? This is perhaps a topic for a subsequent post, but I fear that I could not do these topics justice.

Jeremy said...

The 2nd law of thermodynamics is a strong argument against evolution. Briefly, the 2nd law teaches that all matter in a closed system (i.e., us in this universe) will enventually degrade into an unorganized state. Interestingly enough, however, creationism goes fully against this law as the earth was initially organized from "chaos."

Nate said...

As far as the 'Adam introduced death' argument. What is death? Is death a separation of spirit and body? Did the pre-adamites have a spirit?

Does the atonement apply to the animals (I would agree that it applies to the earth as a whole in that it will be renewed, but I doubt that every insect, fish, etc., take part in any similar renewal)?

My point is that death may have more than one definition as it has different eternal effects on the dirrerent things that are dying.

Of course death existed on the earth prior to the fall (ask the dinosaurs). Death of spirit children did not. Death of an immortal being (Adam) did not. Death can exist in a terrestial world. We know that people will die (albiet very temporarily) in the mellenium.

Maybe there was no death in the garden of eden. Adam was cast out and it seems as though the world was already a worse place.

I keep having a bunch of random thoughts. Sorry if they are all scattered. This post probably only makes sense to me.

Hans said...

Jer,

I see you problem with the second law but I don't see how it necessarily contradicts natural selection. Churches in medieval Europe have entrances that are no taller than 5 feet because people were so short then. Since then, we have grown much more as a race because it suited us.

I think that the elements were organized because they were already at a concentrated state. It will take eons for complete Entropy in the Universe and therefore sufficient time for some natural selection to occur. Whether Entropy is not a factor at a higher dimension is another question.

Nate,

"As far as the 'Adam introduced death' argument. What is death? Is death a separation of spirit and body? Did the pre-adamites have a spirit?"

I think Death to Adam was physical and spiritual (separation of body and spirit; separation from God's presence.

"Does the atonement apply to the animals (I would agree that it applies to the earth as a whole in that it will be renewed, but I doubt that every insect, fish, etc., take part in any similar renewal)?"

I think that it covers the whole Earth and the animals, but only in the sense of the resurrection, so that they may fulfill the measure of their creation.

"Maybe there was no death in the garden of eden. Adam was cast out and it seems as though the world was already a worse place."

My current understanding is somewhere along these lines that either Adam was much, much sooner than we think (5000 B.C. give or take) or that the Garden was separated from the telestial world as it was. Something along the same lines as God being perfect in his own sphere. When Adam transgressed, he was then moved to the world that we now live in. I therefore follow your line of thinking and believe that the truth is somewhere there but it seems like we are missing so essential pieces.

Obviously people were on earth prior to 5000 B.C. (Scorpion King in Egypt) so the dates are completely wrong. I get the feeling that when Moses was writing Genesis, that he was not quite as concerns with the dates as he was with preserving the traditions as they came to him.

Clinton said...

It's a common idea that the Second Law states that disorder must increase. More precisely, the Second Law states that for any closed system, a spontaneous process will lead to an increase in the entropy of the system. Entropy is not the same thing exactly as disorder. It often is, but not always. Let me illustrate with an example from a freshman chemistry textbook. Suppose I have two molecules of gas that are in two tanks connected by a valve. There are three possible arrangements: both molecules in one tank, both in the other, or one in each tank. I can easily calculate which arrangement has greater entropy (its the arrangement with one molecule in each tank), but determining which arrangement is less disordered is a matter of opinion.

In fact, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is the principal driving force behind evolution, in my opinion (I haven't done the calculations that would give my opinion more credence). In my understanding, mistakes are made in DNA replication which introduce the genetic variation which then introduce variations in the physical characteristics of a population that allow natural selection to put pressure on a population. In most cases, these mistakes in replication happen because they are entropically favored (ie they increase the entropy of the universe) rather than enthalpically favored (ie they result in molecules with stronger bonds, etc).

I'm not convinced that there must have been people on the earth prior to 5000 BC, nor am I convinced that the dinosaurs must have died before that time.

To go back to an earlier question posed by Hans, I find more wiggle room in the science, and I prefer to do my wiggling there. I'm not really done giving thoughts in response to the comments already given, but my class just finished their quiz, so I better get back to teaching. Thanks.

Doug Towers said...

I have to totally agree with Bruce and 2 Nep. The question is are we to believe man or God?

There is absolutely no evidence - by evidence I mean something that proves - of evolution. Proving something COULD be a fact, and proving it is are two different things.

Talk of dinosaurs living before man is just as unproven. Dating methods are arrived at by assumption. I first assume item X to be so old and then I determine the age of other things relative to that assumption.

If we are to believe the Scriptures (and I do) the earth spent 2,440 years in a state of fall (by that time man only lived approximately 70 years only). During that time there was CONSTANT change of matter. No one can accurately measure anything before that time.

So do we believe God or the hype of man?

S.Faux said...

Well, I am just VERY glad that the Church lets us evolutionists have temple recommends and participate in all the blessings of the Church, which are many. For many years, until recently, my Stake President was a biologist and a very ardent evolutionist.

In fact, I would just say that 99.9% of life scientists consider evolution a simple fact of nature.

So, believe what you want. I don't care as long as I can believe what I want. I believe God and Darwin. Sorry, I see no conflicts except specious ones.

Hans said...

Hi Doug,

Can you clarify on where you come up with your numbers for the 2440 number for years and the 70 number as well? I would like to put this in context but admit that I am unfamiliar with these numbers.

In regards to other posts, I believe in 2 Nephi 2 to the extent that Lehi meant it which seems to be pretty broad, but will stick to what modern day profits have said, that for sure we believe that Adam was the first of our family. I am open to what is in the middle ground which seems to be quite a bit.

Nate said...

From complete left field:

We are told the spirit world is on the earth. I assume we can agree that there is no death in the spirit world. But yet...there is death on earth.

Maybe that is the parallel. There was "Adams earth" and the "cave man's earth" (just like earth and spirit world). Adam's fall merged the worlds.

That explanation would reconcile all points of view. If only we had a parallel universe theorist.

Hans said...

Nate, I think you are on the right track. IIRC, BY taught that the Spirit World was here on Earth as well.

I have always thought of it being a part of the 4th dimension where time is not a factor. I am not good at Quantum Physics but it would allow multiple layers to be in the same place.

I think your Adam somewhere else theory is the best we may have with the information gap between two sides, but does DNA indicate that we have descended from the "cave man"?

Nate said...

I wouldn't say that DNA says that for certain. And we could never test it out.

All DNA on earth is similar. We are 98% apes, 90% rats, etc.

Even if our DNA was 99.5% cave-man...that wouldn't surprise me. If you are going to build similar machines, that function almost exactly the same, the parts will be similar.

Think of is this way. Ford and Toyota both build trucks. They look a little different, but I bet you could say they are 90%+ the same (each have pistons, spark plugs, gas tank, fuel lines, exhasust, tires, brakes, etc.)

I won't go there...but your question could also bring up: How did God create Adam. Then we could speculate for hours.

Doug Towers said...

hans

The 2440 years is the estimate, from Biblical dates given, of when Moses wrote his books. They set down God stating that man's life span would be 70 years only, from that time forth. At the time of Abraham God stated that the average life span was 120 years.

As we know (I hope you do) Adam lived for 930 years. Others after him lived similar lengths of time. But as the fall took greater and greater affect over time, that length of living decreased.

This was because matter didn't fall instantly - as such a fall is relative to the righteousness of the individuals. Thus the change in ALL things was gradual, not instant.

I would like to say in regard comments made that firstly DNA of apes and us being so similar proves absolutely nothing. Pigs flesh and our flesh are closer in type. Horses and humans can eat similar herbs. Try and eat bamboo shoots (as gorillas do) and you'll be dead in no time. Ape DNA is so similar because we have so much in common. Dogs being similar to cats doesn't prove that dogs came from cats or visa-versa.

And I don't believe that just because a person believes in evolution that they shouldn't be a church member. But let me say that I KNOW I am a descendant of Heavenly Father: That Adam and Eve were the children of our heavenly parents. And that knowledge makes me appreciate myself and you so much more. I believe that such doctrines as evolution belittle people and would only add to suicide and general poor self-esteme. I also believe that changing the statements of Scripture to suit man's philosophies (which is all the evolutionary theory is) is a bad habit.

One last thing I would like to mention, as it was raised, is that "cave-men" existed when the first fleet arrived in Australia in 1770. Considering that Australia had cities thousands of years ago that proves that cave-men aren't some strange being that existed millions of years ago, but mearly a state of backward existence - like the Indians living in tents.

Doug Towers said...

I'd just like to further add for interest. I have seen the spirits of the dead and the living. The dead are all around us (as much as the living are). If you use your spirit eyes (which you have in your spirit that is in your spirit body in your physical body) you will see them. The ones I've seen were just standing around talking (mostly). Sorry. Nothing exciting. No parallel universes or 4th dimension.

Hans said...

Hi Doug,

Thanks for your clarification. The numbers make more sense to me now that you clarified where you were pulling them from. I am aware that the Genesis lists Adam as being 930but I am a little more loose with the terminology there.

I can agree with you on the major point that we all descend from Adam and also from Heavenly Parents. Like Nate and I have said, I just think that we can still arrive at that point perhaps by some form of evolution. As our records from the time period as so very limited, I think that there is a lot of wiggle room to get to that point. I won't presume to say how, but I maintain that we come from Adam and look at what evidence the world offers to see if I can make a connection. If I can't, it doesn't shake my testimony, it just helps me to know that it isn't necessarily a big deal if I can't figure it out.

It is interesting that you can come to the conclusion that it is impossible for us to have evolved through evolution and S.Faux to see absolutely no problem with it. I think the church's loose interpretation that we only need to believe that Adam is our first parent allows us to scope out this middle ground. Whether the answer is there or not, I do not know. But it does make for interesting comments on blogs like this. That is why I appreciate all your comments because we get a wide variety of viewpoints on things that are lesson certain.

BTW, your story of seeing spirits is interesting. I didn't figure that spirits did much different than you said. I still don't see why the terms you used can't fit something like the 4th dimension. What you term spiritual eyes may also mean something like a parallel universe. Nate, your are the quantum physics expert, any thoughts?

Jeremy said...

I, for one, am not an evolutionist Creationist, per se, but I am a realist. I believe that eventually science and religion will agree as more truth is discovered.

Currently, there is a plethora of scientific evidence proving that this Earth cannot be only 7000yrs old, and that several other "homo" species lived and thrived on this Earth thousands, and even millions of years ago. For that matter, there are a lot of them today; you can go to the local zoo and see some of them, but they are not men. Are they ancestral to us? NO! For they are contemporary.

I agree with Hans' "point of view" interpretation for the Creation.
The LDS have 4 Creation stories; Genesis, Moses, Abraham, and the temple. Each of these are seen from a different "point of view," like the 4 Gospels, but none conflict with each other if you put them into their proper context.

Take, for example, Abraham's view of the Creation from Abraham 4.

"And the Gods said: Let us prepare the earth to bring forth grass" (Abraham 4:11)

It does not say, "Let us create grass." It goes on further to teach:

"Let us prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly. . . . And the Gods prepared the waters that they might bring forth great whales, and every living creature that moveth." (Abraham 4:20-21)

Notice that Abraham's indicates the waters were so treated that they would have the capacity to produce these species over time. In other words, the Gods did not make whales on the spot but arranged it so that in time they might appear; i.e., they created the potential. Is this evolution?

"And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed." (Abraham 4:18.)

"And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed, and that their plan was good" (Abraham 4:21)

Abraham teaches that the Gods watched the evolutionary process initiate, and were pleased that their creations obeyed as they had commanded.

This is my realist view of evolution. It makes sense to me.

Jeremy said...

On a separate note, it has always amazed me how LDS scholars have come full circle on this topic. Talmadge and B.H. Roberts were evolutionists, in the sense that they couldn't accept that the earth was only 7000 years old. Then comes the Joseph Fielding Smith and BRM era which refuted such ideas and inculcated a "literalist" view to the creation.

Today, however, LDS scholars are circling back to a more realist approach. I think that this is a direct result of the scientific evidence that increasingly shows mankind how things "eventually" came about.

In that same vein, I have always been struck by the plainness of Moses' "perception" of the creation and Joseph Fielding Smith's comments:

"And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also" (Moses 3:7)

Joseph Fielding Smith vehemently states that, "there was no death of any living creature before the fall of Adam!... Anything contrary to this doctrine is diametrically opposed to the doctrines revealed to this Church! IF there was any creature increasing by propogation before the fall, then throw away the Book of Mormon, deny your faith, the Book of Abraham and the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants!" ("Answers to Gospel Questions, 5:116).

Pretty strong words, huh? Nate may be on to something to theorize that the Fall occurred elsewhere, or in another "dimension." The scriptures are pretty clear on this point, but dinosaur bones and ancient homo erectus screams at me likewise.

Hans said...

Jeremy,

I think you sum up where I stand on this, that the exact details of how these things happened are vague to us because the focus of the creation is that it happened and not the specifics.

It sounds like we could be in the same place that we were with the last heresy, perhaps another sphere? Did Adam fall from Kolob and was thus places on the Earth when it was ready for our race, in other words, the creationary period was complete? B.H. Roberts was originally for the idea that the beings on the planet prior to 7000 years ago were another race before Adam. I don't think we've quite come that full circle, but I think that we are inching away from the literalism of the 60's and 70's of BRM and his father-in-law. It is interesting that JFeS never made such comments while the prophet but only as an apostle. Not that he can't be right, but perhaps another little insight that the Lord really does lead the church despite the opinion or views of the leaders.

Doug Towers said...

hans

If Heavenly Father is literally the father of Adam, as Luke and Moses state, then evolution is impossible.

In regard the creation account in Abraham, as we were the ones creating the earth we couldn't create the whales etc (living things). These required heavenly whale parents. Therefore we could only prepare the waters to bring forth whales etc. The same applies to the grass.

The only reason the scriptural accounts of the creation are different was to hide certain things from the ignorant. The Book of Abraham has the full version (other than the leaving of the 3rd and 4th day difference knowledge). The temple session goes with the simple version in Genesis to avoid teaching concepts outside of the point of the endowment session itself.

I would refute the claim that science has proven the existence of any living being upon this earth prior to 7,000 years ago. I have watched many of these programs and they are as scientific as "Days of our Lives." They chose the dating method that they finally find to "prove" the desired outcome. All other dating methods that disprove the theory are rejected. If that is scientific then I'm a monkeys uncle and evolutionists have got it backward.

What I was saying in regard spirit matter is that it is present, not in another dimension. It is just that the matter is not visible with our natural eyes (as the D&C states).

Hans said...

Doug,

What type of science do you think is like a soap opera? Without specifying I can't make a determination whether to agree or disagree with that.

I personally am not sure exactly how things happened, but I see that a lot of evidence seems to support that the world is older than 7000 years (even BRM conceeds this in "New Witness") and that there are some beings that are very human-like who lived, let's say 10,000 years ago. The only standards that we have really been given authoritatively by the church are: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, declares man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity…. Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes (see Appendix, "Doctrinal Expositions of the First Presidency") and "Adam is the primal parent of our race" (Joseph F. Smith, John Winder, and Anthon Lund). Because subsequent First Presidencies have passed on clarifying this, I would say that the details really haven't been revealed to us beyond those points.

I think that whether the Abraham account is a complete account of the creation is kind of a stretch. It definitely contains a more detailed account than others but whether that is also like saying that Mormon's record contains a full account of the history of the Nephites.

I do appreciate your thoughts and like to consider them when thinking about this topic. I think that I am going to keep an open mind.

Doug Towers said...

hans

Thanks for your response. The problems I find in science are so immense that it is many subjects on its own. I see science as having become a religion. Its priests are believed with the flimsiest of evidence presented, and SO MANY other facts that oppose its opinion are not mentioned by them. Consequently their opinion becomes the one and only.

It is true that the church leaders over the years have had many and varying opinions relative to scientific claims. So quoting GAs is a bit pointless.

That then leaves us with 3 ways of finding the truth. One is the Holy Ghost. Another is Scripture. The other is to really examine the claims presented from a purely scientific view point. I have done all of these and come to the same conclusion. Even if I didn't believe Scripture I still would not believe in evolution and many other claims of what Paul terms "science falsely so called."

All dating methods other than carbon dating (and there, other problems exist) are methods built on assuming a date for something and measuring all other things relative to that assumption. This means that something is concluded to be millions of years old by geologists and that assumption becomes gospel.

Of evolution itself, finding extinct species of apes, that looked more like people, proves absolutely nothing. And particularly when their own concepts of evolution are disproven by themselves. They carbon dated two skulls. But the one with the larger space for a brain was far older than the other. So they went around testing the skull with different dating methods and eventually they found one that "proved" the skull with less brain space was older.

The only reason people believe this stuff is constant mindwashing.

The Ice Age: They showed all these places in the world that demonstrated a particular situation in the layers over time. They showed 3 places in the world that showed what they claimed. On the SAME SHOW they later (talking on another subject) showed layers at the same time where they found some skulls and NO ICE AGE LAYERS.

WHY would I believe these people when the Scriptures teach something to the contrary? Yes, we can alter scripture, as so many do. But I am neither religiously nor scientifically impressed by "sciences" one sided version of history.

We have magically appearing cells that teach themselves to split. I may better believe that a main-frame computer will magically make itself in my lounge room (being another fluke that just happened). Life coming out of no-where. And so the fable goes.

I don't have to compromise my religion to this nonsense.

I can testify to you that Heavenly Father has stood before me and told me that all living things mentioned in the creation story had eternal parents that bore them physically upon the earth.

But to refer back to Scripture let me present that the insects and animals were made on the same day, AFTER birds and fish, according to the record. That throws evolution out the window on its own. Unless we are to compromise that as well.

Hopefully this will give you something to contemplate in regard your considerations on evolution.

Jeremy said...

Granted, carbon-dating is not an exact science, but it has been proven to be quite accurate. Mankind has discovered the rate of radioactive decay of carbon-based materials, just like we have discovered how to harness the power of the atom, or send radio waves through the air to transmit audio messages. These are not theories, but scientific verities.

I don't think any active LDS would agree that we (humankind) evolved from a lesser form. That is not the argument, nor is it within the Plan. Instead, all would agree that Adam is the first of our "race," truly the son of our Father in Heaven.

Where some get caught up, however, is that evidence abounds that the earth is possibly millions/billions of years old. This evidence does not detract from the Adam story. In fact, it may even bolster Adam's story as I explained previously in my post regarding Abraham. God does not use "magic" to make things happen; he is required to obey laws just as much as any of us. In fact, that is partially how he became God, by understanding and mastering these laws. In preparing the Earth for Adam's eventual entrance onto the stage, nothing was said of man!

In my opinion, the LDS should shy away from a literalist interpretation of scripture. Especially when it comes to stories like stuffing over 30 million "known" species onto a boat for around a year in an attempt to preserve said number of species.

Doug Towers said...

jeremy

Good points. In regard radio-cabon dating, the problem is that dating things within the last several thousand years (and terrible errors have occurred there also such as dating a sword from about 650AD as having been made in 1380AD) is going to have more hope of being accurate than dating something past the time of the completion of the fall (at the time of Moses). The break down rate of quickened substances can only be wildly guessed at. And considering that the quickening receeded at an unknown rate, the whole concept is virtually unusable past that time, other than comparing relative dates of objects to each other.

While I don't believe in evolution of species one to another, the problem in the ark situation is answered by the fact that the fall was still in process. He only needed to preserve a type (eg a cat) in order for the rest to take place by the continued fall.

I remember watching a re-run of the Brady Bunch where they talked of the Grand Canyon being thousands of years old. I have seen programs that made assumptions of how much water was running past to carve it out, and therefore how old it must be. But this type of science isn't science at all. It is enormous assumption - how much water DID run past?

These types of assumption abound in this type of theory scinece.

In spite of us supposedly having split an atom, and using electrons and protons etc there really is no photographic evidence that clearly PROVES the atomic model. The theory was built on known facts so, of course, it can be used as a model. But many things stand to oppose it. Semiconductor barriers don't work as the theory claims they should. A TV technician sometimes finds himself putting a diode in parallel with a peice of wire to have a TV repaired. According to the atomic model this is nonsense.

Our science is still incredibly primative. Where I see absolute proof of something I then believe it.

Your point about the Book of Abraham account is valid, except that what Abraham is demonstrating is that we (doing the actual creation) could only prepare things to house those things which were about to be born to their heavenly parents. We could pursued matter to move by love, but couldn't invent life (no one can - as I'm sure you know).

When all is said and done there is no way to actually prove existence of anything beyond that which records a date in writing. Anything else, regardless of how good it may be made to sound, is assumption, and will always remain so. Dating methods disprove each other. What greater sign of falsehood can you have than that?

I won't be online until about Tuesday, so if you wish to continue further I'll respond around then.

Nate said...

Sorry for the delay...I've been out of town.

I'm still stuck way up on "heavenly whale parents." What scripture did you find that in?

What do you mean that Heavenly Father was literally the father of Adam. Was Adam not created from the dust of the earth?

I derrive my thoughts from the following line of reasoning:

God needed matter to create Adam. This could have came about in many ways. Here is my theory:

The only real science I see in the Bible is where Eve was created from the Rib of Adam (not by a heavenly whale parent or anything). This is interesting because it could not have happened the other way around as women do not posess a Y chromosome.

So we see that God knows his way around genetic manipulation (which of course we could have assumed). I beleive the creation of adam was undertaken in a similar process.

Via evolution I think it is fair to say that all things came from the dust of the earth (in fact even now, all matter in our earthly existance comes from the earth, especially my huge guns, because we grow by eating things that came from the earth...the earth is the only provider of matter in our existence).

It's getting late so I'm just going to come out with it less eloquently (spelling?). If Adam were a genetically modified cave man, that would not conflict with scripture. He would be created by God, who would literally be his father, and he would have come from the dust of the earth. Further, there is scruptural precedence for genetic modification.

I imagine that is how whales were created. Begin with a basic structure then modify and perfect the structure.

Incidentally, that is how we create things. You wouldn't assume a good computer came directly fom heavenly computer parents when there is a decent chain of lesser computers over time which were previously created. (I know the analogy isn't perfect for machines, but it makes sense in an organic machine sense because you use exising organic matter to create more organic matter...I just thought I'd poke at the above computer logic example)

If I'm coming off rude, I don't mean to. I'm trying to have fun while undertaking thoughts too deep for us mortals.

Jeremy said...

Hey Doug, not sure if you're going to catch this reply or not, but here goes.

(NOTE: Skip the next few paragraphs if you don't care to know how carbon dating works)

Science has irrefutably demonstrated proven that carbon-14 is radioactive, with a half-life of about 5,700 years. The carbon-14 atoms that cosmic rays create combine with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, which plants absorb naturally and incorporate into plant fibers by photosynthesis. Animals and people eat plants and take in this carbon-14. The ratio of normal carbon (carbon-12) to carbon-14 in the air and in all living things at any given time is a constant. The carbon-14 atoms are always decaying, but they are being replaced by new carbon-14 atoms at a constant rate.

As soon as a living organism dies, it stops taking in new carbon. The ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 at the moment of death is the same as every other living thing, but the carbon-14 decays and is not replaced. By looking at the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the sample and comparing it to the ratio in a living organism, it is possible to determine the age of a formerly living thing fairly precisely.

Because the half-life of carbon-14 is 5,700 years, it is only reliable for dating objects up to about 60,000 years old. However, the principle of carbon-14 dating applies to other isotopes as well. Potassium-40 is another radioactive element naturally found in your body and has a half-life of 1.3 billion years. Other useful radioisotopes for radioactive dating include Uranium -235 (half-life = 704 million years), Uranium -238 (half-life = 4.5 billion years), Thorium-232 (half-life = 14 billion years) and Rubidium-87 (half-life = 49 billion years).

MY POINT: Dating methods, whether by the carbon system or other isotopes are quite accurate and provide ample evidence of an earth existence much beyond the literalist view. To me, as a mechanical engineer, this provides "absolute proof" that you can take to the bank.

I believe many of the dilemmas we face in today's Church regarding possible conflicts between science and religion would be significantly reduced were we to more consciously remind ourselves of this principle: that leaders' fallibility on factual issues does not necessarily negate the sacredness and genuineness of their calling nor our responsibility to listen carefully and respond prayerfully to their guidance on spiritual and moral principles.

Anonymous said...

WOW, I feel so much smarter!! and dumber at the same time.

Hi This is Heidi, Jer's mother-in-law. I enjoy reading everyone's comments. I do not have anything to say at this time. I feel like I have just been in class and if I made a comment on this topic I would sound "REALLY DUMB". So for now I will stay quite and just learn from you smart youngens.

Hans said...

Thanks for your comments and participating Heidi. Don't fret, because I feel kind of lost on some of the information here. I trust Jeremy's figures are correct, so I'll let him back them up. Please feel free to comment as we enjoy hearing from everyone.

Clinton said...

I'm glad someone got around to explaining carbon dating. I kept intending to do it myself. One difference with other radioactive dating, particularly with heavier elements is that in my understanding, they aren't replenished through cosmic irradiation.
I agree that these methods of dating are extremely sound, but I am still reluctant to take them to the bank. It is true that for as long as we have been observing the mass of carbon isotopes they have maintained a constant ratio, and that carbon-14 has maintained a constant decay rate. It is also true that no one has proposed a suitable mechanism through which these processes could vary, but I don't think that such variance can be unequivocally ruled out just because it's never been observed.

Doug Towers said...

Jeremy

I know this is an old discussion, but I only just noticed that you had answered it further. I am looking for someone who can discuss this thing through both Scripturally and scientifically. As you appear to have more than a basic understanding of Scripture and a belief in this concept, I hope you won't mind continuing with it.

Either way, thanks for the information.

I would like us to analyse together the concepts you have mentioned.

"Science has irrefutably demonstrated proven that carbon-14 is radioactive, with a half-life of about 5,700 years."

That is the first point that I would like to raise for consideration. Presumably they mean that assuming things have always been as constant as they have been recently, the half-life is about 5,700 years.

This presents my first beef with "theory science:" Seemingly endless assumptions we must believe because they said we can only see things as they propose them to be.

Three things stand out within my feeble knowledge of things as they were, as they are, and as they are to come.

First "theory science" concludes that it knows that nothing (singular or multiple events) has happened that can have affected the breakdown rate. Secondly the theory leaves us to accept that bodies that were in a different state from ours (the fall was gradual) couldn't have affected the breakdown rate. Thirdly it concludes it knows there was a constant breakdown rate over periods we have not tested such over to see if our conclusions for such periods are accurate.

I note Clinton also raises question relative to two of these assumptions.

"The carbon-14 atoms that cosmic rays create combine with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, which plants absorb naturally and incorporate into plant fibers by photosynthesis. Animals and people eat plants and take in this carbon-14. The ratio of normal carbon (carbon-12) to carbon-14 in the air and in all living things at any given time is a constant. The carbon-14 atoms are always decaying, but they are being replaced by new carbon-14 atoms at a constant rate."

Another point sits in my mind for consideration in regard this area. It is only a minor thought, but may bare some relevance.

As it talks of a rainbow existing as a sign after Noah, there are those who believe that previous to the flood no rainbows existed. It is posed by some that a thick cloud covered the earth and it would have been an extremely damp atmosphere.

If this is true then would the sun have created this same balance of carbon-12 to carbon-14 anyway? Perhaps this also could only be an assumed answer.

Scripturally -
While I share your opinion that GAs aren't inspired in all their opinions, I do hold strength to those things written in the Standard Works. I'm therefore interested in your feelings on Moses 3:4+6 (I would ask that you don't pose this question as a topic on your site, as it could create some serious confusion).

"and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air...And I, the Lord God, formed man...and man became a living soul, the FIRST FLESH upon the earth, the first man ALSO.."

A careful reading (without assumption) will demonstrate that this statement is in perfect harmony with all other accounts of the creation. While I'm not allowed to prove this for other reasons, I am still interested in your feelings on Moses' statement.

Spiritual Logic -
Before being born we spend time in the womb adjusting our intelligence to the technique of creating electrical inpulses in the brain to get the body to have life functions. Animals do this also. This process was obviously also necessary for us to do in obtaining spirit bodies. Thus we were born to our heavenly human parents and received spirit bodies. Animals etc have spirit bodies that look like their physical bodies (D&C 77:2A). Therefore if human spirit bodies needed to be made by birth, then it only stands to reason that spirit bodies for animals etc must be also made by birth to respective heavenly animal parents.

As Adam and Eve (being human) needed to be born to heavenly human parents physically, doesn't it stand to reason that all living things must also be physically born to heavenly parents of their various types (e.g. cats born by heavenly cat parents)?

Earthly Logic -
Considering that scientists rarely are right in their first conclusions (in spite of demonstrated scientific evidence that they were correct) why should I believe CONCLUSIONS that can't really even be proven in their proposed application?

Secondly, if we were able to physically demonstrate, in action, the entire evolutionary chain happening as is proposed, and sat there watching it over the proposed millions of years, it still wouldn't prove that it DID occur before.

Jeremy said...

Doug, thanks for keeping up on this. It is fascinating stuff, huh?

I don't have my scriptures with me right now. But stay tuned, I'll try and comment tonight on your thought-provoking comments.

Jeremy said...

Greg, I know I posted a lot of information here, however, each inquiry you have raised deserves a discourse of its own. I hope you take the time to read over my thoughts. NOTE: I’m in no way saying I’m right and you’re wrong – this is just what I believe about the things you brought up.

In sum, I adhere to this statement by Brigham Young: “The idea that the religion of Christ is one thing, and science is another, is a mistaken idea, for there is no true religion without true science, and consequently there is no true science without true religion.” Our emphasis, or course, must rest on true science, and true religion.

Regarding the age of the earth, Elder John A. Witdsoe once pointed out that within our Church there are 3 prevailing positions on the length of the creative periods: 1) Each day was 24 hrs; 2) Each day of the creation was actually 1000yrs; and 3) The creation of the earth extended over very long periods, the duration of which we do not yet accurately know. Of the 3, it is this last one that I adopt since it seems to best fit the present scientific evidence.

In response to your comments about radio-metric dating techniques, first, as I stated in an earlier comment, carbon is not the only isotope used. Scientist have also found great success with Uranium -235 (half-life = 704 million years), Uranium -238 (half-life = 4.5 billion years), Thorium-232 (half-life = 14 billion years) and Rubidium-87 (half-life = 49 billion years). Using these techniques, the oldest terrestrial rocks are estimated to be about 3.8 billions years old! In your defense, the earth is very geologically active and is subject to weathering, therefore, rocks from its earliest period will not have survived. However, the oldest rocks found by the Apollo astronauts on the moon, which of course is not geologically active, are around 4.2 billion years old. Furthermore, radioactive dating of meteorites gives ages of 4.5 to 4.7 billion years old. All this evidence, taken together, points to the formation of our solar system and this earth around 4.6 billion years ago. This I believe.

Regarding your comments on rainbows, those that believe that rainbows did not exist before Noah’s time would have to deny that water only then began to refract light prismatically. God works by natural laws, and light has always refracted around water molecules creating a prism of colors. As to whether a thick cloud covered the earth up until this time, we have neither evidence nor information to support that.

Regarding Moses 3:4-6, these verses have perplexed members of the Church for centuries, and GA’s have not been immune. BH Roberts, senior president of the First Council of the 70, wrote and spoke extensively about his beliefs concerning pre-Adamites and death among plant and animal life before the Fall. His views, of course, were strongly opposed by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, at the time a member of the 12. In April of 1931, the 1st Pres. stated that neither side of the controversy has been accepted by doctrine, thus, to this day there is no official stance on this subject.

However, soon after this, Elder James Talmadge, who was a geologist by profession, was invited by the 1st Pres. to give a talk on the issue. The talk, given in the Salt Lake Tabernacle in Aug. 1931, was later published in the Church section of the Deseret News. In his talk, Talmadge confirmed that life and death occurred on the earth long before the coming of man: “But this we know, for both revealed and discovered truth, that is to say, both scripture and science, so affirm – that plant life antedated animal existence, and that animals preceded man on earth...These plants and animals lived and dies, age after age, while the earth was yet unfit for human habitation.”

Talmadge reasoned that if there were no death or disease before the Fall, it would be very difficult to account for all the fossilized remains of now-extinct flora and fauna in geologic strata all over the earth. In addition, ancient fossil bones show signs of tumors, arthritis, abscesses, and breakage; not to mention the disease shown in fossilized plant remains. All these indicate that death and disease were part of living things millions of years ago.

Now, it is important to stress here that although there may have been death among plants and animals before the Fall, this does not apply to Adam and Eve. While Talmadge did believe in pre-Adamites, he wasn’t as sure about the connection between these beings and “man.”But what of the manlike creatures we dig up that evidently lived on the earth millions of years ago? I adhere to the 1st Pres. interpretation that they are not our ancestors. Adam and Eve are the primal parents of our race. Science has clearly shown the existence of other hominids before Adam came onto the scene, but none of them told a story, none of them were part of God’s plan.

Interestingly enough, this was the view of most members of the Church at this time. In my opinion, however, the reason most members adhere to a more literal interpretation of the Creation, is because Roberts, Talmadge and Witdsoe all died before JFS. Left with little opposition, JFS began discoursing on the “evils” of believing in evolution, and he eventually wrote “The Origin on Man,” and “Man: His Origin and Destiny.” These books became widely accepted by a new generation of members who eventually forgot about Roberts’, Talmadge’s and Widtsoe’s words on evolution.

Lastly, I’m not sure I can comment on your thoughts regarding the spiritual birth of God’s children or that of animals. As far as I know, the scriptures are silent on this subject, and we would have to enter the realm of speculation. Although it’s fun sometimes, I actually have never deeply considered that before so I would have nothing to contribute.

Doug Towers said...

Jeremy,

Thanks for the comments. I'll read through them and comment next week.

Doug Towers said...

Jeremy

Thanks for your response.

I fully support the statement that real science and religion should have no conflict whatsoever. The question is does science today move toward truth or away from it? When I speak of such I am really referring to those areas of science that I label "theory science." That is areas where real evidence is impossible.

In regard John Widstoe's 3 options. I support option 2 because the Scriptures clearly present this idea IMO. I hold the Scriptures as more valid than the changing and unprovable theories of man.

In regard dating with things other than carbon. This doesn't support an argument against the 3 problems I mentioned in regard carbon dating, as these other substances would only suffer EXACTLY the same problem and for the same reasons. In fact the greater the years of speculation the more the problems become valid.

I threw in the water over the earth for your thoughts.

In regard the church and its official position; I realise they don't know. This only rules them out as a source of resolving the question. You have presented the speculative opinions of several past GAs. But you have also presented the conflict of this source. As I stated before _

"While I share your opinion that GAs aren't inspired in all their opinions, I do hold strength to those things written in the Standard Works."

Therefore I'm interested in how YOU view Moses' statement, rather than quoting the confusion of others. As a lawyer you must be used to interpreting even complex statements. This seems a simple statement to me. How do you view the theory of evolution as fitting with this?

From my point I'm firstly looking at a strictly scientific (and when I say "scientific" I'm removing that issue from my religious opinions) viewpoint of evolution. True science means to actually know something. The word "science" comes from the Latin meaning to know. Therefore it must present indisputable evidence or it isn't science at all.

The word "theory" comes from the Greek meaning "speculator" or to speculate. So to talk of a "scientific theory" is, in reality, an oxymoron. But for the point of discussion I would like to use them, but in their correct meanings.

For me to accept something from a scientific point of view it must be known and proven. I am not interested in whether this GA or that GA or anyone else thinks it must be right or wrong. I'm talking about a strictly scientific viewpoint. Proof. I don't need to be a geologist to use common sense.

Yet when I look at whether it is religiously supported (which I view as a separate evaluation) I don't turn to these people or those people's view and their official positions either. I seek what is presented from God on the matter. Moses claims sure knowledge of this thing, not speculation by discussion, nor asking scientists of his day. Therefore I hold what he and Abraham (who also claims to know) say occurred.

While some of these GAs you quote can't understand how to fit Scripture with their perceptions, the Scriptures say that man was "the first flesh upon the earth." Do I believe what Moses has said or believe Talmage's confusions? In Talmage's statement itself he is declaring that he doesn't really know for a fact. So these quotes are of no help to us in finding truth.

I can't help but see serious conflict, scientifically and Scripturally, with the theory of evolution. Some claim that evolution is proven. But I would pose that it can't possibly ever be proven, and such claims are illogical.

Jeremy said...

Thanks for the response, Doug.

I read your response, then I read my previous response, then I read your response again. I stand by what I wrote, including my comments concerning Moses 3:4-6.

Our discussion boils down to either a literalist view of the scriptures or a realist view. During my mission and for a stint afterwards, I adhered to a strict literalist interpretation of the scriptures and relied on my assumption that if God wanted something to be done, he would just snap his fingers and, vioala!

However, after years of study and contemplation my views have altered. If true science and true religion are to be one some day, then, as Talmadge, Roberts and Witdsoe did, we must take what science has shown us and apply that to what we know to be our doctrine.

Yes, I am an attorney, but I also have a degree in mechanical engineering. Thus, I may see science differently than you. I studied scientific theory and fact for over 5 years before I went to law school. I'm not afraid to say that science has "proven" things that we may rely on as truth.

Obviously these inquiries have no relevance to our eternal salvation, for I believe both of us believe in the more important themes of the Gospel, like the Atonement and required priesthood ordinances. They are fun to debate, though, huh? I do, however, hope that you continue pondering these themes, as I will continue also.