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.)


Blogger Jared* said...

why do we not anticipate someday doing temple work for those chimps and fish who are our ancestors?

I don't think chimps or fish would have any interest in entering into covenants, so it's probably not a problem.

8/27/2014 03:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Seth said...

If God can sort through the mess of marriages and affairs throughout human history, I'm sure he won't have any trouble finding where fish and chimps fit into the plan. And bigfoot too. (At least I've never heard of the cain/bigfoot idea being reputed in official church media.. ;)

8/27/2014 11:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt that any educated person ever said you would find chimps in your lineage. Despite our incredible genetic similarity, we are not related.

9/02/2014 04:52:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Anonymous: Duane Jeffery is Professor of Zoology at BYU (now retired). He teaches that, "In the vertebrate lineages,... there is a virtually solid line connecting all major groups from fish to humans." (The Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 11, 2006.)

Trent D. Stephens is Professor of Anatomy and Embryology at Idaho State University. Regarding the question of human's closest relative in the animal kingdom, Stephens teaches that "our closest living relative ... is the chimpanzee. The differences between humans and chimpanzee DNA is only twice that between any two of us sitting here in the room." (2003 FairMormon Conference).

Both of these men are educated persons.

9/03/2014 05:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are still misstating the fact. We are not descended from chimps and neither of your BYU experts said otherwise. They did say the chimp is our closest living relative, but it is still incorrect to say we are descended from chimps.

9/03/2014 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Anonymous: Regarding chimps you said: "Despite our incredible genetic similarity, we are not related."

Not related?

        lineage noun 1. lineal descent from an ancestor; ancestry or pedigree. 2. a sequence of species each of which is considered to have evolved from its predecessor.

Educated persons say (1) humans descended from fish, (2) chimpanzees and humans have a common ancestor and, (3) in the animal kingdom the chimpanzee is man's "closest living relative."

9/03/2014 07:39:00 AM  

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