Wednesday, August 27, 2014

When Family History and Evolution Collide

A large part of family history work involves identifying our ancestors and giving them the opportunity to accept gospel ordinances. For years, however, my biologist friends have insisted that if I trace my genealogy back far enough, I will find chimpanzees and eventually even fish. So my question is this: If that is true, why do we not anticipate someday doing temple work for those chimps and fish who are our ancestors?

And the answer to that question is simply this: According to our faith, the beasts of the field and the fish of the sea are not our ancestors. The following teachings make that clear and they have never been contradicted in Church media by anyone holding apostolic keys:

1. Boyd K. Packer: "An understanding of the sealing authority with its binding of the generations into eternal families cannot admit to ancestral blood lines to beasts." ("The Law and the Light," 1990.)

2. James E. Talmage: "Man is the child of God, he is born heir to boundless possibilities, the inheritor of the eternities to come. Among mortal beings, the law holds true that the posterity of each shall be after his kind. The child therefore may become like unto the parent; and man may yet attain the rank of godship. He is born in the lineage of Deity, not in the posterity of the brute creation." ("The Earth and Man," 1931.)

3. Boyd K. Packer: "In the countless billions of opportunities in the reproduction of living things, one kind does not beget another. If a species ever does cross, the offspring cannot reproduce. The pattern for all life is the pattern of the parentage.

"This is demonstrated in so many obvious ways, even an ordinary mind should understand it. Surely no one with reverence for God could believe that His children evolved from slime or from reptiles. (Although one can easily imagine that those who accept the theory of evolution don’t show much enthusiasm for genealogical research!) The theory of evolution, and it is a theory, will have an entirely different dimension when the workings of God in creation are fully revealed." (Ensign, Nov. 1984.)

(read more...)