In Favor of Evolution & God

These evidences show that we can be open to ideas about creation from prophets as well as scientists, and that neither are flawless in their ideas. My opinion is that evolution of species is false secular doctrine. However, there is room for debate, and here are some words of the prophets which demonstrate where that room may be.

 

-“In these respects we differ from the Christian world, for our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science in any particular…whether the Lord found the earth empty and void, whether he made it out of nothing or out of the rude elements; or whether he made it in six days or in as many millions of years, is and will remain a matter of speculation in the minds of men unless he give revelation on the subject. If we understood the process of creation there would be no mystery about it, it would be all reasonable and plain, for there is no mystery except to the ignorant.”
(Brigham Young, (May 14, 1871) Journal of Discourses 14:116.)

 

-Elder Holland says that in Eden there was no HUMAN (perhaps animal?) death or chance of human posterity. “the simple truth is that we cannot fully comprehend the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ and we will not adequately appreciate the unique purpose of His birth or His death—in other words, there is no way to truly celebrate Christmas or Easter—without understanding that there was an actual Adam and Eve who fell from an actual Eden, with all the consequences that fall carried with it. I do not know the details of what happened on this planet before that, but I do know these two were created under the divine hand of God, that for a time they lived alone in a paradisiacal setting where there was neither human death nor future family, and that through a sequence of choices they transgressed a commandment of God which required that they leave their garden setting but which allowed them to have children before facing physical death.” (Elder Jeffrey R Holland, April 2015 General Conference, Where Justice Love and Mercy Meet https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2015/04/where-justice-love-and-mercy-meet?lang=eng)

 

-June 1982 Ensign Elder McConkie says the days of creation don’t need to be a specific amount of time, but rather an eon, etc.

 

-in the Genesis creation account, days as we now know them didn’t even exist until the 4th day of creation; further, the Hebraic use of the word day was used both literally and symbolically.

 

-Book of Mormon scripture speaks of how we live in the last days wherein even though knowledge of the creation is given, we still reject God, and are condemned. This can suggest that what we know of creation today is at least somewhat accurate, including some major aspects of evolution, and that even with this precious knowledge, we reject God as being the author of creation, and reject God’s laws. Perhaps the prophet is saying that even with the extremely improbable fact of our existence, to still reject the existence of God in light of that knowledge, is to have sunk very deep into apostacy. Any reasonable person could look at the odds of things just right to satisfy the existence of human life on a planet, and how things are lined up just so for that to occur, and would confess that God had a controlling hand in it. But us, we are so far gone, that our leading institutions of scientific research insist that no such being exists. This being said, we know that even more information on the creation will be revealed during the Millennium. Another interpretation of this scripture is to say ‘you had a knowledge of creation from the scriptures but you betrayed it for the theories of man, namely evolution.’

 

-early latter-day saint prophets taught that organic evolution is wrong in that it deletes the need for God in the equation, and thus is of the devil. They also saw a great issue in that organic evolution didn’t suggest a fall or a redemption or our race, but rather a continual flow of gradual change. There must be some sort of context in which creation and science and religion all fit together. Elder Richard G Scott, a nuclear physicist and Apostle, spoke of both revelation and science as tools for finding truth. Other prominent church proponents of science are James E Talmage, John Widstoe, Henry Eyring Sr., just to name a few. We cannot rely entirely on science as the only source of truth, that is called scientism, and in their goal to be void of bias as seen in tribes and religion, they become a sort of a tribe themselves, and have their own gods and altars at which they worship. We must proceed with caution.

 

-we don’t claim that the bible is the end all text; we encourage investigation using the best tools we can find; both scientific and revelatory tools are helpful when deceit is not involved.

 

-anti-evolutionists have said the evolution of the eye stops evolutionists, but actually there are good explanations for the evolution of the eye.

 

-evolution suggests that things can turn out in different ways, this scares religionists because they think everything is pre-destined by God; but it doesn’t have to be that way, God could have designed a program which does creation, and there can be much variety within that scope

 

-Joseph Smith restored the doctrine that God didn’t create everything out of nothing, but out of existing materials. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be recycled and reconfigured. The biblical Hebrew word for create doesn’t mean to make something out of nothing, but to use existing materials to build something.

 

-The Pearl of Great Price says God commanded things to come into creation, then he waited for them to obey. This suggests he could have laid the foundation for creation, or written the program, then it unfolded in however long that took.

 

-The Pearl of Great Price says the spirit of God was brooding over the waters, brooding suggesting a hatchling; this could indicate that the spark of life was placed on earth and incubated as it was rising forth in time.

 

-There were apparently humanoid creatures which lived before Adam, but, as Nibley puts it, they were not man. Adam was the first man. The status was reached sufficiently in the evolution of the human body to where the spirit of the eternal man from, an embryo of God, God’s literal posterity, could be placed inside it, and we call that the first man. The first spirit children of Father in Heaven placed on the earth.

 

-the restored church of Jesus Christ teaches the agency of man rather than a pre-destination, which fits well in evolutionary science. God can predict the future, and knows psychology so well that he can make extremely accurate predictions, and he can send messengers to intervene when needed. The creation we think of in past tense, but we might do well to consider our individual fall and redemption as present tense, in that we fall short of perfection, and regularly need the help of God, the which he does send in various forms. The poor widow prays that she will have enough to make ends meet as she continues to pay her tithes to the church, and her bucket of laundry soap lasts over a year; these divine interventions are not uncommon to those who call out to God for aid. God is a divine being who was once a man like us, he lives on another planet with more advanced technology than ours, and he helps us in ways he sees best fit. President Spencer W Kimball in Faith Precedes the Miracle speaks at length of this interplanetary communication and interaction with God, the more advanced person than we currently are, and that God is trying to reach out to us to help us avoid self-destruction according to the universal laws of nature. God didn’t write the 10 commandments, he revealed them to us. They aren’t his creation, but are rather unveilings of eternal laws which govern the universe, and when those laws are broken, civilizations collapse, all religion aside. It is impossible for a civilization to long term operate on principles which aren’t aligned with those principles which govern the universe. God is God because he has learned those principles and abides in them, not because he created those principles. We too can become like God, if we will hear the message he reveals.

 

-some say that a belief in Christ is just an illusion, a hallucination of the mind, and that the gods of each culture dictate which god we claim to know be real. The Book of Mormon shatters this narrative, showing that a large congregation of people witnessed both prophecy and fulfilment regarding the doctrine and visitation of Jesus Christ. Unbelievers claim that there is simply no evidence for God, and that we shouldn’t believe in things which have no evidence. Consider this: many scientists get upset when anti-evolutionists tout certain facts as being unsolvable by the scientists, even when the scientists have addressed that matter, such as the evolutionary possibility of the eye ball, and yet scientists do the same thing: they ignore responses from the believers.

 

-gaps in the evolutionary sequence have been an issue of contention, but with shifting of the earth and washing of layers of sediment around etc., it could be possible that certain levels of progression of a species could be missing in the place we were looking.

 

-the ‘kinds’ argument suggests there is no mixing of species, but the Hebrew for kinds doesn’t insist on kinds remaining separate. God commanded animals to multiply in their sphere, but this could be limited to the fact of nature that animals breed with their fellows, not the strangers, and that progeny doesn’t occur when cross species breeding takes place in most cases of mixing very different types of animals.

 

-Nibley suggests that the flood covered the entire earth from Noah’s perspective only. Scientists suggest the whole earth wasn’t immersed. It could be that the earth was immersed in water completely for but a moment, then the water immediately began to recede, instead of being in place for a long time, or even the 40 days of the sailing of Noah. After all, baptisms we perform today only involve a complete immersion of a few seconds, although you may stand in the water for a few minutes for the prayer, entrance and exit. Further, Nibley suggests that just because the first scriptural mention of a rainbow is at the time of the flood doesn’t mean there weren’t rainbows before that, water refracting the light just so. Then again, perhaps something in the atmosphere changed at that time as a result of the flood which allowed that refraction to take place.

 

-Though not essential. a fast creation is possible. We must consider alternative explanations given that our scientific methods are not yet free of error and political influence. The bible says a day to God is 1000 years to man. It could well be possible that the creation of earth was 7 days, in other words, 7000 years. Or perhaps God spent 1000 years in each day of creation setting things up, and things went from there. For example, God said in the day you eat the fruit you’ll surely die, well, Adam died before reaching 1000 years of age, which to God is a day, and Adam indeed died within that day. We know of no one living more than 1000 years, though some got close. Some apocryphal texts claim Adam was the longest living man, who lived even longer than Methuselah, but still under 1000 years. Catastrophic events could well have expedited the creation of great canyons etc. to accommodate a 7000-year creation. When the water power is high enough, it can destroy anything in its path, even thick and strong metals. We have machines today which are metal saws, which simply use high pressure water to cut through metals like butter. I’ve seen one of these machines at work, it’s surreal.

 

-traditional religion doesn’t allow long times for creation, but Joseph Smith called the days of creation as ‘creative periods’. The days can also be divided by not time but event, namely that in the first period, the first set of things was brought about, etc. So far as 7 days goes, perhaps there were 7 programs which God came to institute at various times when appropriate. Perhaps between each day of creation, there is a large amount of time where things assemble, before the next day of creation begins. I am inclined to believe there are both literal and spiritual interpretations of sacred creation texts. This is the pattern of scripture and prophecy, dual fulfillment.

 

-there are questionable things about carbon dating; we could read existing material preceding from a volcano to be old, when the land it is forming is fresh and new. The material from the magna is ancient, but the land form is new. This being said, it seems we are extremely distant from having all the science right when it comes to dating earth, etc., even though carbon dating seems to work for more recent things, such as how old a papyrus scroll, or old potshard is.

-there remain many strange things which scientists suggest, many theories with holes in the reasoning, such as the oddities of the order of our solar system etc. which can be pointed out by anti-evolutionists, but we might well say that these oddities are gaps in our knowledge of the evolutionary process more so than evidence worthy of scrapping all processes of evolution.

 

-the odds of things lining up just so for creation of planets and life and human life are so large that it is unreasonable to suggest that an intelligent designer isn’t behind it all. Weather that designer is involved in the process of nature continually, or just wrote the script/program on which it operates, is a matter of lesser importance.

 

-Nibley points out that the Pearl of Great Price doesn’t say that Kolob is at the center of the universe, but that it is the center of God’s creations, after that order of things. There could be many Gods. In fact, Joseph Smith taught that Heavenly Father has a Father, and so on. The Milky Way Galaxy could be God’s center of operations, and other galaxies as centers of operations of other Gods. I recently heard a scientific estimation that there could be I think it was as many as 8 billion planets like our earth in the Milky Way Galaxy alone. God presides over his creations, he has reached the status of a God, and none are more powerful than him, but there are others equal to him who have also reached the status of God, who, like him, continually create in an ever-expanding universe.

-many suggest God isn’t real because human suffering is so great; the restored church teaches that agency is essential for progress of the human race, and that means even evil people are allowed to operate freely. The restored church also teaches that the purpose of suffering is to refine our character, so we become eventually like God. We can react to suffering with hatred or with compassion, this is the test of our souls. Eventually when the period of testing is past, fire will consume the earth, and only refined people will withstand it.

 

-some say the bible shows God as both mean and nice, and that it thereby cannot be relied upon. Hear this analogy: consider a 5-year-old ; from the perspective of the child, the parents aren’t perfectly good because it doesn’t always get its way. Similarly with a broader perspective we can see that God always tries to persuade people to be good and avoid natural consequences, but they often don’t elect to follow those suggestions, and God gives lower laws for them which are better than nothing, but not as good as what he had in store for them if there were more willing to be compliant. Throughout history the prophets sent from God have by and large been rejected, and our progress as a race has thus been slower than it might have otherwise been.

 

-in a class on Egyptian I learned that our oldest documents are from around 4000 BC, which is around the time of Adam the first man. This shows that if there were humanoid creatures before this time, they were not endowed with the levels of intelligence which are seen in humans in whom dwell eternal spirits.

 

-The Pearl of Great Price says all things were created spiritually before temporally. Perhaps the cross mixing of animal species through many generations is mirroring an earlier spiritual creation. God could have charted out the various stages of life forms, and from the intelligence and spirit refined matter, could have created all of those stages of life forms as spiritual creatures, thus the life forms of mixed animal species on earth could have well had spirits in them, which spirits indeed reflected the shape and appearance of their bodies on this earth. Many ancient texts suggest the revelations of heaven include the appearance of all matter of animal life, the likes of which we have never seen, and that therefore although this earth is patterned after heaven, what we see here is a tiny fraction of what would be seen in heaven were we to go there. All creatures fulfil the measure of their creation by progressing the evolution of species through procreation; God says the very purpose of the animals is to reproduce, and have joy in that process of living day to day life and propagating their species. Ultimately this procreation lead to circumstances where man could enter the stage, and go through a moral testing ground, where the temporal trials would reflect his spiritual character.

 

-I don’t know how to figure 2 Nephi 2:22 which says before the fall there was no death, but there is no official church doctrine saying there is no death before 4000 BC when Adam lived. Perhaps it means just that there was no spiritual death before that. Perhaps it was that within Eden there was no death, but elsewhere there was. Perhaps things froze once it got to Eden where man entered the scene, a new order and age beginning, a new purpose of life, and nothing died when that order commenced. But that seems a weak explanation. Organic evolution would suggest ancient life forms such as dinosaurs, and death and reproduction of species evolving long before man appeared on the scene and fell. Speaking to Dr. Stephen Ricks of this on one occasion, he suggested that perhaps those dinosaurs etc. belonged to a different order of some kind. Joseph Smith reportedly suggested that dinosaur fossils could have come from the other earths from which this earth was made, seeing as this earth is a creation of its mother earth, and wasn’t created out of nothing, according to the prophet. I had a dream once where this puzzle was on my mind, and I asked a prophet what was to be understood of the dinosaurs, he said that they would return, but not like people think. I don’t know what that means, if anything.

 

-the church is neutral on evolution: see “New Era What Does the Church believe about evolution 2016” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/2016/10/to-the-point/what-does-the-church-believe-about-evolution?lang=eng

 

-The drama of Adam could be representative of Eden being premortality for us, and the choice to come to earth the taking the fruit, and the living on earth being the wilderness to which they were expelled. Thus we don’t have original sin/guilt, but we have a biological evolutional inheritance of a carnal nature which we must subdue to our spiritual development. (idea from Teryl Givens “Wrestling The Angel)

 

-if Adam was brought here from another world as Brigham suggested, it could appease evolution, and this order of man as different.

 

-Brigham Young said he put away childish bible stories and embraces a more mature understanding of the accounts. (see Wrestling the Angel by Teryl Givens)

-counsel from Henry Eyring senior (the world renown chemist) to his son Henry B. Eyring (who would later become an Apostle) that in his studies, he doesn’t need to believe anything that isn’t true.

 

 

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