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Friday, March 05, 2010

Gospel Principles, Chapter 5: The Creation

God made this world and everything in it. I make stuff too. Using the same methods ascribed to God by LDS evolutionists, I created the building pictured below.

Every day on my way to work and again on my way home from work I drive past the above location. Three years ago, it was an empty field. Using a policy of strict non-interference, I checked up on its progress twice a day for the entire period it was under construction.

In other words, according to the way LDS evolutionists describe God's role in the Creation of heaven and earth, I created the above building.

25 Comments:

Blogger Jared* said...

Are its origins as a lean-to, then a tent, then a log cabin, apparent on the inside?

3/05/2010 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

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Jared*, you do understand the point of my post. Here's an excerpt from Gospel Principles, Chapter 5.

-------------- quote --------------
"Jesus Christ created this world and everything in it. He also created many other worlds. He did so through the power of the priesthood, under the direction of our Heavenly Father."
-------------- end quote --------------

Through the power of the priesthood, not evolution or the big bang. Can you tell me why Jesus needed the direction of Heavenly Father? According to Darwinian evolution, Jesus needed as much Creation direction as I needed to create that building. Do you really believe the Gospel Principles manual is foolishly wrong?

3/05/2010 08:55:00 PM  
Anonymous SteveP said...

And how did you get your spirit in it? And you were the architect, payed the contractors, and bought the land? Well done.

You should learn what evolutionary theists teach, your analogy lacks some details that seem to confuse us with deists. Of course if you are not going to read what we write you'll never understand what we believe. But why bother learning something new. It's not like Joseph Smith loved learning new things . . . No wait, He did . . . the glory of God is intelligence . . . . But for you that would take actually entering the construction site wouldn't it and that's not your thing. How can you argue with someone who just wants to take a static picture from the distance and not roll up their sleeves and join the construction project and learn things that come only from the heavy lifting that engaging with all the details that come from working on the site itself brings with it, rather than standing back and taking pictures from the sidelines.

3/05/2010 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

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SteveP, I believe the Father and the Son did "roll up their sleeves and join the construction project" and it's true my belief isn't science. But today, no one can enter the Creation project, we can only enter the finished building and that's not the same thing. Therefore, I believe Gospel Principles, Chapter 5 over the theories of men.

And yes, I'm uneducated. Both you and Jared* have a large investment in time and money in your points of view. This post doesn't suggest you abandon your views. It merely sets forth my own personal point of view.

So, thank you both for stopping by.

3/05/2010 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff G said...

I actually thought that was pretty funny, Gary. :)

3/05/2010 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

"I checked up on its progress twice a day for the entire period it was under construction."
So I'm sure curious--was it built in an instant or was it built step-by-step over time?

3/06/2010 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

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Tim, step-by-step over time.

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Jeff G, it's good to hear from you. In a sense, it was meant to be funny. But actually, I'm raising a serious question.

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All (Jared*, SteveP, Jeff G, and Tim), will one of you please explain me how the actions of God differed from my actions. In other words, if this world and everything in it resulted naturally from the big bang and Darwinian evolution, what was God's role in the Creation? What exactly did God do?

3/06/2010 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger S.Faux said...

R. Gary:

Robert Lanza has a book that is well worth reading: Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe Based in quantum theory, it is argued that the universe is finely tuned for life (because very tiny changes in physical constants would make life impossible), and that "consciousness" or "observation" are essential ingredients to the universe as we know it.

At the moment of the big bang the order of the universe was set. There would be life and there would be consciousness.

Creation need NOT be done out of nothing or done within a day. The job of the LDS scientist is merely to follow the trails left behind. The trails consists of fossils in the rocks, the anatomy & behavior of the living, and DNA sequences.

Do you blame the scientist for following the trails left behind? I am sure you do not.

So, we follow the trails and we find a world that is 4.5 billion years old with evidence of life beginning about a billion years later. Science gives us how and when. Religion gives us why.

3/06/2010 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

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S.Faux, you are right, I do not blame the scientist for walking into the finished building and seeking to discover how it was built.

Let me ask you: How were God's large Creation actions different from my own small building actions? I used a policy of strict non-interference. If the order of the entire universe was set at the moment of the big bang and any outside interference would have made life impossible, what was God's role? What exactly did He do?

3/06/2010 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger S.Faux said...

R. Gary:

I cannot wait to attend Heavenly University in the next life and take the course entitled: "Quantum Theory and the Creation of Universes." Until I take that course I cannot speak to what God did with precision.

But, you and I agree that God created all men (2 Ne. 29:7), and that he created all worlds (Moses 1:33). The difference is that I am persuaded by the scientific facts that the earth is billions of years old and that life evolved (and is now evolving) by natural selection.

I am very impressed with geologist David L. Clark's testimony. LDS scientists know that the story of natural history is best told in the rocks, in physical anatomy, and in DNA sequences. The value of scripture is NOT in its recipe for creating life but in its recipe for living life.

I enjoy your skepticism and your articulate defenses. I am sure I will find you at Heavenly University "some day."

3/06/2010 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

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S.Faux, you are kind. Just like you, I'm convinced that secular knowledge has a place. I expect the two of us will be classmates in that Heavenly University. I like how Spencer W. Kimball once described that future experience:

-------------- quote --------------
"Peter and John had little secular learning, being termed ignorant [Acts 4:13]. But Peter and John knew the vital things of life, that God lives and that the crucified, resurrected Lord is the Son of God. They knew the path to eternal life. This they learned in a few decades of their mortal life. This exaltation meant godhood for them and creation of worlds with eternal increase for which they would probably need, eventually, a total knowledge of the sciences.

"But this fact escapes many: Peter and John had only decades to learn and do the spiritual but have already had about nineteen centuries in which to learn the secular or the geology of the earth, the zoology and physiology and psychology of the creatures of the earth. But mortality is the time to learn of God and the gospel first and to perform the ordinances, then to learn what can be secured of the secular things." (New Era, Sept. 1981, p.47.)
-------------- end quote --------------

If I get there first, I'll save you a seat next to me.

3/06/2010 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris Henrichsen said...

My guess is that SteveP will have tenure at Heavenly University.

3/06/2010 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Chris Henrichsen, I agree with you. But I'm guessing first he'll take a few classes and maybe even graduate.

3/06/2010 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jared* said...

Gary,

If God has not revealed exactly what he did, how can you expect me to tell you? Of course I recognize that you are engaging in a kind of reductio ad absurdum.

Whether God intervened in the physical creation as a historical matter, vs whether such interventions can be inferred by (or are required by) science, are separate questions. I've never held that God didn't intervene in creation. How could I possibly know that?

Back to your analogy of the building. Your quote above said that Jesus "created this world and everything in it." Does that mean he gets credit for having created the building? Many people would say that he does, though in a somewhat indirect way. (i.e. he created the materials to make it, etc.) But did he directly intervene in its construction? Most people would say no. I suspect he just watched--like you did.

If we can speak of the building as being part of God's creation but not worry about how exactly he contributed to its construction, why can't we do the same with other features of the earth and the universe?

3/06/2010 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

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Jared, you said (and asked), "The Gospel Principles manual says Jesus 'created this world and everything in it.' Does that mean he gets credit for having created the building?"  Answer: I'm with you on this one. I suspect God just watched the construction of the above pictured building, like I did. But then nobody claims God built it. So why does God claim to be earth's builder?

You ask, "If God has not revealed exactly what he did, how can you expect me to tell you?"  Answer: What about those things God has revealed about his role in the Creation? Can we really just toss them because they don't happen to agree with today's science?

You ask, why worry about God's contribution to the construction of the earth and the universe. Answer: First, let me remind you that my sources don't prove anything, they merely justify my own beliefs. With that in mind, here are statements from three prophets who suggest God's role in the Creation was that of builder:

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"The Architect and Builder of this earth had definite plans."  and  "Jesus Christ was the framer and builder of this earth." (Joseph Fielding Smith)

"There is a supreme being, one who had a divine plan, one who was the Creator and the builder of the universe." (Howard W. Hunter)

"...the Master Builder, the Creator of the world, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." (Thomas S. Monson)
-------------- end quote --------------

You claim, "I've never held that God didn't intervene in creation." Answer: Are you saying it's just a question of how much God intervened and how often? Is that all that separates us?

Look, for the sake of discussion, I'm willing to leave questions about God's role in the Creation open. But that leaves this question open also:

If this world and everything in it resulted naturally from the big bang and from Darwinian evolution, what did God himself do in that process? If nothing, then how did He earn the title "Creator?"

3/07/2010 01:29:00 AM  
Anonymous SteveP said...

I love it! Heavenly University. I think this time I'll major in poetry though.

3/07/2010 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave C. said...

Gary,

You put in your thumb and pulled out a plum! I love it.

When random mutations in the blue print (caused by unknown events) changed the design of the building from what you originally intended, did you use environmental selection like changing weather patterns to put the project back on track toward your original design intentions?

Of course, if you had one design in mind before the ground breaking and the building ended up finished according to your design, how in the world were you able to sit by passively and still have the building end up like you intended it to end up? If we accept for a moment that passive forces did build the structure, how could they have known to build it like you wanted it built? With environmental slection acting on random mutations in the blue print, there are some many possible combinations, yet the structure ended up like you wanted it to. Amazing!

One last question: Why did you not just actively and purposively build the structure according to your wishes if it was to become one of the crowning achievments of your building career? How could you leave so much to chance and the vicissitudes of passive forces?

3/07/2010 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

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Dave C.,

For the record, nothing you attribute to me in your comment came from my words. I said nothing about "mutations in the blue print," or any of the rest.

The word "create" is a verb. God actively "created" the heaven and the earth. He controlled the entire project from the beginning until Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden. It wasn't a drive-by project.

3/07/2010 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger S.Faux said...

R. Gary:

This discussion has reminded me of a humorous essay I wrote awhile back: The Creation Room. It is meant to be taken in fun.

3/08/2010 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

S.Faux, your essay on "The Creation Room" is imaginative and entertaining.

I've heard it argued that LDS Creation accounts are also imaginative and entertaining, and that the big bang theory represents a more accurate view of what happened. What is your opinion about the Creation accounts in Genesis, Moses, Abraham, and the temple?

3/08/2010 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger cinepro said...

Interesting conversation.

I myself have often wondered how the idea of "creation by evolution" blends with the doctrine of a "spiritual pre-creation".

I can only imagine billions and billions of spirits all lined up, perfectly mapping out every generation in the history of evolutionary development, including the dead-ends.

Then, as the line of spirits grows to be more and more human-like, God prepares the special spirits of Adam and Eve, placing them in humanoid bodies when the bodies have evolved to be properly God-image-like.

It makes perfect sense.

3/08/2010 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

cinepro, your scenario interests me.

It also raises a few questions. Here's one:

Gen. 5:3 says Seth was in the likeness and image of Adam. D&C 107:43 adds that "his likeness was the express likeness of his father [and he] could be distinguished from [Adam] only by his age." This is confirmed by D&C 138:40 which states that Seth "was in the express image of his father, Adam."

So how did "creation by evolution" (as you call it) produce a physical body that was not just in God's image, but in God's "express" image?

-------------- quote --------------
"In the account of the Creation of the earth, 'God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness' (Gen. 1:26). Could any language be more explicit? Does it demean God, as some would have us believe, that man was created in His express image?" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Jul 2006, p.2.)
-------------- end quote --------------

Of course, nobody is required to believe this, but I'm just wondering how evolution could have accomplished it.

3/08/2010 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff G said...

Gary,

I wrote up a post which, in hind sight, I think articulates the point you are trying to make in this post:

http://stopthatcrow.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/60/

3/13/2010 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Even if we were left to the probability of things happening only statistically, forget all evolutionary processes, which is black and white and makes perfect since for me and millions of others; for a God who has created worlds without number, and where time does not even exist and is only measured unto man (See Alma 40:8) anything is statically possible in such a universe! One who has a hard time with this thought should study the possibilities that exist even in the digits in the irrational number Pi.

By the way... I am a former student of Duane E. Jeffery. I have to say... you have not been so friendly it seems in your comments toward Dr. Jeffery. I only found your blog today. I don't have time to read to much more.

3/18/2010 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

David,

I appreciate your visit and your comment. I sympathize with your view of origins, but I see things differently.

Duane Jeffery's 1973 Dialogue article bothered me for more than thirty years until I posted about it on the web (with as much kindness as he showed President Joseph Fielding Smith).

Please feel free to comment further.

3/18/2010 05:45:00 PM  

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