Saturday, January 12, 2013

SteveP's answer to current teachings about the origin of man: Pretend they don't exist

This post is my response to Steve's BCC article (found here).

One of the most science friendly apostles of this dispensation explained the origin of man this way: "Man is the child of God.... He is born in the lineage of Deity, not in the posterity of the brute creation." (James E. Talmage, "The Earth and Man.")

Yes, Talmage died in 1933, but no apostle before or since has contradicted him regarding man's lineage. And, in fact, his view is strongly corroborated by today's living apostles and prophets.


Thomas S. Monson asks, "Who can doubt that there is a designer?" He answers using both thoughtful consideration and the revealed word of God: "If there is a design in this world in which we live, there must be a Designer." President Monson reminded that "the Grand Designer created the heaven and the earth." For example, there was light because the Grand Designer said "Let there be light." The sun, moon, and stars "came by His design."

"Man alone," he said, "received intelligence, a brain, a mind, and a soul. Man alone with these attributes had the capacity for faith and hope, for inspiration and ambition." He testified that "Man [is] the noblest work of the Great Designer." (Ensign, May 2010.)


D. Todd Christofferson:  “Those who believe that our bodies are nothing more than the result of evolutionary chance will feel no accountability to God or anyone else for what they do with or to their body. We who have a witness of the broader reality of premortal, mortal, and postmortal eternity, however, must acknowledge that we have a duty to God with respect to this crowning achievement of His physical creation. In Paul's words:

“ ' What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

" ' For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s'  (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).”  (Ensign, Nov. 2010.)


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.”)

"No lesson is more manifest in nature than that all living things do as the Lord commanded in the Creation. They reproduce “after their own kind.” (See Moses 2:12, 24.) They follow the pattern of their parentage. Everyone knows that; every four-year-old knows that! A bird will not become an animal nor a fish. A mammal will not beget reptiles, nor “do men gather … figs of thistles.” (Matt. 7:16.)

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. (Ensign, Nov. 1984.)


Russell M. Nelson:  “Through the ages, some without scriptural understanding have tried to explain our existence by pretentious words such as ex nihilo (out of nothing). Others have deduced that, because of certain similarities between different forms of life, there has been a natural selection of the species, or organic evolution from one form to another. Many of these people have concluded that the universe began as a 'big bang' that eventually resulted in the creation of our planet and life upon it.

“To me, such theories are unbelievable! Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary? It is unthinkable! Even if it could be argued to be within a remote realm of possibility, such a dictionary could certainly not heal its own torn pages or renew its own worn corners or reproduce its own subsequent editions!

"We are children of God, created by him and formed in his image. Recently I studied the scriptures to find how many times they testify of the divine creation of man. Looking up references that referred to create, form (or their derivatives), with either man, men, male, or female in the same verse, I found that there are at least fifty-five verses of scripture that attest to our divine creation....

“I believe all of those scriptures that pertain to the creation of man. But the decision to believe is a spiritual one, not made solely by an understanding of things physical, for we read that 'the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.' (1 Cor. 2:14.)

“It is incumbent upon each informed and spiritually attuned person to help overcome such foolishness of men who would deny divine creation or think that man simply evolved. By the Spirit, we perceive the truer and more believable wisdom of God.

“With great conviction, I add my testimony to that of my fellow Apostle Paul, who said, ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

“ ‘ If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.’ (1 Cor. 3:16, 17.)” (Ensign, Jan. 1988.)


"It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation.  These, however, are the theories of men.  The word of the Lord declared that Adam was  ' the first man of all men.' "  ("The Origin of Man,"  Ensign, Feb. 2002;.)

The introduction to this formal First Presidency statement emphasizes that it is the Church's current "doctrinal position on these matters."


Anonymous Ghost of Talmage DBF said...

Talmage taught there was death before the fall. Just sayin'.

1/12/2013 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Stanton S said...

I believe that our bodies are the result of evolutionary chance, yet I feel a great sense of accountability to God what I do with or to my body.

As for my thoughts concerning the dictionary-from-an-explosion analogy, we've already discussed that...

In no way do I feel that I am somehow less connected to God, or that my body is any less valuable simply because it came about due to random evolutionary process. Rather, it gives me a greater sense of appreciation for why we need to overcome the "natural man". By nature (biologically speaking), I have the same passions and desires as do the animals; and these desires, when acted upon without restraint, take me farther away from God. To be born again of the spirit, I overcome those desires and learn to bridle my passions and use my energies in ways that bring me closer to the Lord. I feel that my relationship to my Heavenly Father is enhanced knowing that my body came about through natural means.

1/12/2013 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Ghost of Talmage: I invite you to read my 2006 post about "James E. Talmage and Death Before the Fall."

In his book The Articles of Faith, Talmage wrote: "No one realizes more fully than does the mind trained to scientific method how much we do not know."


Stanton S: Your comment doesn't address the Church's consistent and official teachings against the evolutionary origin of man.

1/12/2013 05:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

February 15, 1957
David O. McKay, President, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Dear Brother Stokes,

…On the subject of organic evolution the Church has officially taken no position. The book “Man, His Origin and Destiny” was not published by the Church, and is not approved by the Church.

The book contains expressions of the author’s views for which he alone is responsible....

etc etc

1/12/2013 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Anonymous: The private letter to Stokes doesn't overturn the earlier First Presidency's formal statement on the origin of man. I invite you to read a letter written by Church President Harold B. Lee to a member in October 1973 (click here) wherein he talks about a letter very similar to the one you have mentioned.

1/12/2013 07:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

R. Gary: " Your comment doesn't address the Church's consistent and official teachings against the evolutionary origin of man."

Does it need to? You already know that I don't agree with that, and I have already commented on the matter in past posts. I was simply addressing Elder Christofferson's statement.

I also think that it would be good to point out that although President Monson believes that there is a Designer, this does not lend any credence to the abomination that is Intelligent Design, put forth by the Discovery Institute.

I too believe that God has the role of a Designer, but not in the same way that others use the word. I believe that there is order and purpose to the things that He does, and in that sense He is a Designer in our lives.

1/12/2013 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

SteveP: Below are links to the source for all of my quotes. I hereby challenge you to review each of the complete articles and show how my quotes have a different meaning when read in context.

    1. The Earth and Man

    2. Ensign, May 2010.

    3. Ensign, Nov. 2010.

    4. The Law and the Light.

    5. Ensign, Nov. 1984.

    6. Ensign, Jan. 1988.

    7. Ensign, Feb. 2002.

1/12/2013 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger DavidH said...

Was Elder Christopherson out of harmony with the church in this interview with Reuters:

"REUTERS: Do you believe in Evolution?

"CHRISTOFFERSON: I don't know. That's a very intriguing question. I can't think of a doctrinal statement by the church on evolution. We do believe certainly in a divine hand in creation. And one of our scriptures says there is a lot yet to be revealed.There's not much that's frankly been revealed on the religious side regarding it. You've got a basic account of creation over different periods - we're not talking necessarily about 24 hour days but periods in which God directed creation. The hows, the details, I don't know, to be honest with you. We don't claim to know.

"We do believe that more is to be revealed. One of our articles of faith is that we believe all that God has revealed, all that is now revealed and all that is yet to be revealed.

"I think it's important to admit on the scientific side there are limits to what we know and on the religious side there are limits to what we know."


1/14/2013 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

DavidH: I reviewed his comment at the time (here).

1/14/2013 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

A very nice list of quotes from inspired brethren. I don't mind LDS scholars believing in theistic evolution. As for me and my house, it is clear from the teaching of the prophets and apostles that evolution was not used to create Adam and Eve's bodies. However, I still believe in evolution. I believe that life forms are evolving but tend to limit this within life forms. I would really like to see our theistic evolutionary friends admit the differences between their brand of evolution and evolution proper. For instance, orthodox evolution advocates natural selection acting on random mutations within the genome, but random mutations are not consistent with theistic evolution, no matter how you spin it.

1/21/2013 09:47:00 PM  
Anonymous JR said...

@ Dave: nicely said.
My family also believes along the same lines as you. Science has given us much knowledge, but science does not erode my family's faith in God and His Prophets.
Like David H said, there are limits to what we know.
Good stuff.

1/28/2013 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Charles D. Coleman said...

In all due respect to your position, I feel that you have made up your mind regarding that there was no death before the Fall of Adam and that you are supporting that with your interpretation of what others have said about it. In my reading of 2 Nephi 2:23 there is a contexual problem in your interpretation. Part of that has to do with what certain words mean and part of that is the literary construction of the verses associated with that. Without going into too much detail, when it says that "and they would have remained forever and had no end" is referring solely to Adam and Eve, not to the animals and plants. I could go into more detail why this verse is misinterpreted but that would take too much time in a short comment. Because that immortality before the Fall refers only to Adam and Eve, that leaves the possibility that animals and plants died before the Fall for many years prior to the creation of Adam and Eve. I would be happy to discuss this in greater detail if you wish.

Charles D. Coleman

1/29/2013 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Charles: Thank you for your comment. I would be interested in your response to (1) my discussion titled, "NDBF in LDS media," (click here) and (2) four paragraphs regarding 2 Ne. 2:22-23, found in my 2005 blog post titled, "No Death Before the Fall taught in True to the Faith" (click here).

1/30/2013 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Modern scientists too, are embracing intelligent design, and are finding great problems with Darwinism. One thing is the mathematics doesn't work out for evolution. The universe simply is too young for the simplest parasite to have developed in a step wise fashion. See William Dembski.

The burden of proof is on the evolutionists, they must come up with a coherent, evidence based explanation, based on probability. To date they have utterly failed to do so. There is no Darwinian Tree of Life, there are simply computer programs that generation millions of different trees, conflicting with each other.

2/25/2013 12:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I agree with Muggeridge:

Malcolm Muggeridge (from The End of Christendom):

I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially the extent to which it’s been applied, will be one of the greatest jokes in the history books in the future. Posterity will marvel that so flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity that it has.

2/25/2013 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

The reason evolution is no threat to my faith is because it is not even a threat to science or intelligent design either. It's not a threat to my faith, but it is a threat to those who place confidence in its conclusions without adequately vetting those conclusion through the cold hard objective measurements of observation and mathematics:

The first chapter of Darwin's work is a great argument in favor of Intelligent Design. It's one thing to comment about people's intelligence and blindness, and make this about people, rather than principles. It's quite another to find objective experimentation and proof of one's theories.

I'd love to see the limits of evolutionary theory described in scientific fashion. Fortunately, we have Dr. Ralph Seelke finding those limits, and they are quite severe. What can evolution do? Not very much. Let the name calling begin, but also let the more dispassionate among us keep searching for the truth behind the rhetoric.

2/25/2013 01:34:00 PM  

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