Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"Creation" teachings at LDS.org

The "Gospel Topics" section at LDS.org is "a great resource for answers to questions about Mormon beliefs,... doctrine, policies, practices, and history."  I recommend these articles for the well balanced, authoritative views they provide on a wide variety of subjects.

In this post I will review the article on "Creation," with special focus on its teachings related to the theory of evolution and the doctrine of "no death before the fall."

The article begins with three paragraphs from True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference.  "Adam," it says, "was  ' the first man of all men '  (Moses 1:34)."

Church magazine articles

Links to several Church magazine articles are provided.  These include the following:


"Gospel Classics: The Origin of Man" (Ensign, Feb. 2002, pp. 26–30) is summarized in these words:

"In 1909, amid controversy and questions about the Creation and the theory of evolution, the First Presidency issued this article, which expresses the Church's doctrinal position."  (Emphasis added.)

Regarding the notion that Adam descended "from lower orders of the animal creation," this official First Presidency pronouncement states:

"These, however, are the theories of men.  The word of the Lord declares that Adam was  ' the first man of all men '  (Moses 1:34)."

The meaning of Moses 1:34 becomes clear:  Adam was not the offspring of "lower orders" of animal life.  The Church's doctrinal position is that evolution does not explain the origin of man's body.

In an earlier post (click here) I reviewed an authoritative evaluation of the phrase "these ... are the theories of men."


Elder Russell M. Nelson's April 2000 General Conference talk on "Creation"  (Ensign, May 2000, pp. 84–86) teaches "no death before the fall:"

""The creation of a paradisiacal planet came from God.  Mortality and death came into the world through the Fall of Adam....  Eventually,  ' the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.'  At the Second Coming of the Lord, the earth will be changed once again.  It will be returned to its paradisiacal state and be made new."

In an earlier post (click here) I examined this paragraph in more detail.


"Christ and the Creation by Elder Bruce R. McConkie (Ensign, Jun. 1982, pp. 9-15.) declares that mortality, procreation and death on this earth began with the Fall of Adam:

"The Fall was made possible because an infinite Creator, in the primeval day, made the earth and man and all forms of life in such a state that they could fall.... This first temporal creation of all things, as we shall see, was paradisiacal in nature.  In the primeval and Edenic day all forms of life lived in a higher and different state than now prevails.  The coming fall would take them downward and forward and onward.  Death and procreation had yet to enter the world....

"When the earth was first created it was in a paradisiacal state, an Edenic state, a state in which there was no death....

"The initial creation was paradisiacal; death and mortality had not yet entered the world.  There was no mortal flesh upon the earth for any form of life.  The Creation was past, but mortality as we know it lay ahead.  All things had been created in a state of paradisiacal immortality....

"Then comes the Fall; Adam falls; mortality and procreation and death commence.  Fallen man is mortal; he has mortal flesh; he is “the first flesh upon the earth.”  And the effects of his fall pass upon all created things.  They fall in that they too become mortal.  Death enters the world; mortality reigns; procreation commences; and the Lord's great and eternal purposes roll onward....

"There is no evolving from one species to another in any of this."


' In the Beginning ' : A Latter-day Perspective" by Robert J. Woodford (Ensign, Jan. 1998, pp. 12-19) explains that "Adam and Eve ... were placed on earth as immortal beings" and that "mortality came to all living things" through Adam's fall.


"Four Accounts of the Creation" by Keith Meservy (Ensign, Jan. 1986, pp. 50-53) proclaims that "all authentic accounts of the earth's origins have a single source—the Creator of all things, whose explanations come to us through prophets."

This echoes the Church's doctrinal position on origins which is that

"Man, by searching, cannot find out God.  Never, unaided, will he discover the truth about the beginning of human life.  The Lord must reveal Himself or remain unrevealed; and the same is true of the facts relating to the origin of Adam's race—God alone can reveal them."  ("The Origin of Man," Ensign, Feb. 2002, p. 30; see also #1 above.)

Additional materials

Links to additional online materials about the Creation are also provided.

Chapter 37 in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, "Sons and Daughters of the Eternal Father," contains excerpts from the Church's doctrinal position statement on these issues (see #1 above).

A short BYU Studies article titled "How Do Latter-day Saints Understand the Creation?"  (abstracted from "Creation, Creation Accounts," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1:340–43) points out that the LDS understanding of the Creation "differs from both scientific and traditional Christian accounts."


Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:  "Unless and until we gain a true view of the creation of all things we cannot hope to gain that fulness of eternal reward which otherwise would be ours"  (see #3 above).  To help us gain "a true view of the creation," the Church has provided a web page with answers to questions about "Creation."

The "Creation" page presents the Church's doctrinal position that evolution does not explain the origin of man's body.  It teaches of a paradisiacal creation with no death for any form of life on earth until after the fall of Adam.


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