Sunday, June 22, 2014

Adam, the first of all human beings

Science insists that the first humans appeared in an already mortal world some 200,000 years ago. Conversely, the Church teaches that the first humans were Adam and Eve, who brought mortality to a previously non-mortal world about 6,000 years ago. There is no harmony between these views.

A current missionary pamphlet about The Plan of Salvation teaches that Adam and Eve were "the first humans." Indeed, according to LDS scripture, Adam was "the first man of all men." (Moses 1:34.)

This scriptural view of man's origin was taught again in the April 2014 General Conference. Carlos H. Amado, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, declared: "[The Redeemer's] sacrifice blessed everyone, from Adam, the first, to the last of all human beings." (Ensign, May 2014.)

June 24, 2014. An anonymous comment this afternoon (see below) prompted the following addendum. It is from the 2013 edition of LDS Scripture.


Blogger Jeff G said...

Wait, I'm confused. What does this have to do with OW? ;)

6/23/2014 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

sicut erat in principio, your comment is here. Now please tell me this: Where and when has the Church published an apostolic statement endorsing the idea that organic evolution explains the origin of man?

Prominence is unimportant. If the author is clearly identified, if he is a latter-day apostle, and if the statement appears in official LDS media, that will suffice.

6/24/2014 04:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please document your assertion that our church teaches that human life began 6000 years ago. I don't believe it has ever taught such a thing. You are sounding more and more like an evangelical than a Mormon.

6/24/2014 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Anonymous: The Church teaches that mortal life began when Adam fell and that the Fall of Adam happened about 4000 BC (see above). The last time I checked, 4000 plus 2014 was about 6000.

6/24/2014 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

"Science insists that the first humans appeared in an already mortal world some 200,000 years ago. Conversely, the Church teaches that the first humans were Adam and Eve, who brought mortality to a previously non-mortal world about 6,000 years ago. There is no harmony between these views."

I can think of a way to harmonize both views, without changing or tossing out anything stated in each. But I guess that really doesn't matter, until/if the Church reveals such a harmonization.

6/25/2014 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Such fantasizing doesn't require revelation.

6/27/2014 12:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what exactly do you mean by "human beings?" I'm just trying to see if I understand what you're saying here.

6/27/2014 06:51:00 AM  
Anonymous sicut erat in principio said...

"Where and when has the church published an apostolic statement...": nowhere that I can find.

Now, if you will kindly address the questions I posed to you in my comment.

Many of us are interested in truth as defined in scripture ("knowledge of things as they are, and as they were...") and not just that subset of truth found in official Church material. Or can all truth not be circumscribed into one great whole?

[As a footnote, I'm sad that the hyperlinks in my comment didn't come through--they appeared on the preview of my comment. Can they be restored?]

6/27/2014 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

sicut: The official position of the Church regarding human evolution was announced in a formal 1909 statement by the First Presidency. Over the years, it has generated much discussion among Church members. However, there has been no discussion in official LDS media among those authorized to interpret what the Church has officially said, they being members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Their comments in official LDS media about the origin of man have been very consistent and one-sided. Neither the missionary pamphlet nor Elder Amado are overstepping what the Church has authoritatively taught for 115 years.

Yes. The physical evidence for man's shared biological heritage with primates appears overwhelming. But physical evidence alone does not establish knowledge of things as they are or as they were. Reality includes a great deal which the physical senses cannot access. That is why we have prophets and apostles who speak by the Spirit and help us see into eternity.

This is important because the Spirit "speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be." (Jacob 4:13; italics added.)

When I'm confronted by physical evidence that contradicts what apostles and prophets teach, I choose to rely on the repeated confirmations I've received that they speak for God and that they speak the truth.

Anonymous: This definition works for me.

6/27/2014 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

Sure, but I'm not sure what that had to so with the point I made, which is that there are ways to harmonize these views without giving up anything. You, like me, cannot definitively say whether the church will in the future reveal such a harmonization or not

6/27/2014 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Steven: It is my view that only in fantasy land will harmony be found between the truths of revealed religion and the theories of organic evolution.

6/27/2014 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So we have a disconnect. BYU anthropologists such as Joel Janetski and others have studied pre-historic humans who inhabited Utah as far back as 11,000 years ago. Either they are just plain wrong or we are misinterpreting the scriptures as to when human life began.

6/28/2014 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Anonymous: Imagine a room 20 feet by 50 feet with a curtain dividing the room into two smaller rooms, each 20 feet by 25 feet. In one of the two smaller rooms, our anthropologist friends are carefully evaluating evidence to determine how long humans have lived in Utah.

One of the rules under which these anthropologists operate is that they must make their decision based on what the senses can perceive. Evidence from the other side of the curtain is off limits and completely inadmissible because they cannot handle or even see it. Under these conditions, the anthropologists conclude that humans inhabited Utah as far back as 11,000 years ago.

Now imagine that a non-anthropologist walks into the room and announces that he has seen what is on the other side of the curtain and, based on what he saw, he believes the first humans appeared in Utah no earlier than 6,000 years ago.

Even if an anthropologist were to see through the curtain, conclusions based on what is there could never be published in a reputable scientific journal. Therefore, it would be academic suicide for any serious anthropologist to include such evidence in his research.

The conclusion that humans inhabited Utah as far back as 11,000 years ago is academically sound. But that conclusion will change when the curtain comes down and the entire scientific community gains access to what is on the other side. Until then, it is unfair to say that our anthropologist friends are just plain wrong. And it is ridiculous to expect scripture, which tells of the other side, to agree with conclusions based on incomplete evidence.

6/28/2014 06:37:00 PM  

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