3/22/2005

Adam and Eve: How?

The year following the First Presidency's statement, "Origin of Man," the following was published in the Improvement Era, April 1910:
Origin of Man.-"In just what manner did the mortal bodies of Adam and Eve come into existence on this earth?" This question comes from several High Priests' quorums. Of course, all are familiar with the statements in Genesis 1:26, 27; 2: 7; also in the Book of Moses, Pearl of Great Price, 2: 27; and in the Book of-Abraham 5:7. The latter statement reads: "And the Gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man's spirit) and put it into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." These are the authentic statements of the scriptures, ancient and modern, and it is best to rest with these, until the Lord shall see fit to give more light on the subject. Whether the mortal bodies of man evolved in natural processes to present perfection, through the direction and power of God; whether the first parents of our generations, Adam and Eve, were transplanted from another sphere, with immortal tabernacles, which became corrupted through sin and the partaking of natural foods, in the process of time; whether they were born here in mortality, as other mortals have been, are questions not fully answered in the revealed word of God. For helpful discussion of the subject, see IMPROVEMENT ERA, Vol. XI, August 1908, No. 10, page 778, article, "Creation and Growth of Adam;" also article by the First Presidency, "Origin of Man," Vol. XIII, No. 1, page 75, 1909. [emphasis added]

For more discussion about this passage see Duane Jeffery's article here.

Since Joseph F. Smith was one of two editors at the time, this passage has been attributed to him and although it probably did not reflect his own opinion it shows that no specific creation process was officially endorsed. Although the creation of Adam and Eve has been the topic of continued discussion in the years since this statement, the lack of official clarification has been maintained.

Some cite certain scriptures was well as statements by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others, to argue that Adam (and presumably Eve) was physically born of Heavenly Parents and later became mortal in the manner described in Genesis. This would seem to contradict the scriptural teaching that Jesus was the only physical son of God. Elder Bruce R. McConkie resolves the contradiction this way:
Father Adam, the first man, is also a son of God (Luke 3:38; Moses 6:22), a fact that does not change the great truth that Christ is the Only Begotten in the flesh, for Adam's entrance into this world was in immortality. He came here before death had its beginning, with its consequent mortal or flesh-status of existence. ("Son of God" in Mormon Doctrine)

However Stephens, Meldrum, and Peterson in their book, Evolution and Mormonism, rightly point out that the phrase "Only Begotten in the flesh" is not contained in the scriptures.

For some, the idea of a divine origin of our physical bodies presents a significant impediment to accepting the concept of common descent as being applied to mankind. And yet investigation of the anatomy, genome, and development of humans does not reveal any marks of special creation. Rather they strongly support that we and other primates have common ancestors. Stephens et al. write:
The unsupported notion that our physical bodies must be in some way special, i.e., apart from nature, and directly descended from God's immortal body is a major source of conflict with evolution theory. There are no scientific data to support any of these supernatural hypotheses; in fact, the body of accumulated scientific evidence stands against them. If our physical bodies are in some way "special," in that our ancestors' physical bodies came from some other planet or directly from God, then we could predict that the physical nature of our bodies should be in some way different from those of life forms originating on this earth.

Regardless of whether Adam was a literal son of God or was "transplanted from another sphere," the basic conflict with science remains the same. Whatever the truth is regarding the origin of our physical bodies, it must explain the evidence that we see for common descent. The following are two hypothetical scenarios that might resolve this discrepancy:

1. Stephens, Meldrum, and Peterson propose a theistic evolution scenario where Adam and Eve's physical bodies were the result of hominid evolution. However, at some point after their spirits were placed into their physical bodies, they became immortal by partaking of the fruit of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. (Perhaps they experienced something similar to translation.) This is the immortality that they later fell from. Variations on this scenario are possible, including the geographical and organismal range involved.

2. Another scenario might be a compromise between theistic evolution and the idea of a divine origin of our physical bodies. Perhaps Adam and Eve were born (physically) of Heavenly Parents. Their Fall entailed taking on the physiology of the most similar hominids by some sort of tissue transplantaion. Although I am not sure whether it can be reliably traced to Joseph Smith (I cannot trace it past Joseph Fielding Smith), a common doctrinal concept is that Adam and Eve did not have blood while in the Garden of Eden. Since blood is derived from bone marrow, perhaps something like a bone marrow transplant occured where the donors were the most similar mortal (non-children of God) hominids. Certainly this scenario is highly speculative, but something like it allows for our close genetic relationship to other animals while retaining our spiritual and physical relationship with God. Adam and Eve thus fell by taking mortal physiology and genetics into their bodies, and our relationship to other animals is therefore a partial illusion.

Yet to come--Adam and Eve: When and Where?

63 Comments:

A nice post, Jared. This is clearly one of the points where the "rubber meets the road" in a major way.

I don't think option 2---the "tissue transplant" idea---is sufficient to account for the observed genetic similarities between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom.

3/23/2005 05:57:00 AM  

It may not be the most satisfying explanation--it is rather ad hoc--and we're certainly talking about germline changes, but how is it insufficient?

3/23/2005 08:04:00 AM  

I like the first scenario; however, it seems to imply that the spirit is independent of life. It is a popular notion among Mormons that a person's ability to live is dependant on the person having a spirit. Do they address this in their book?

3/23/2005 08:10:00 AM  

Jared, my understanding is that humans' nuclear and mitrochondrial DNA show clear relationships to the rest of the animal kingdom. If human bodies were born physically of heavenly parents, wouldn't we expect at least the "junk DNA" portions to not show those relationships? A telestial bone marrow transplant wouldn't introduce the observed telestial DNA patterns into all cells in the body, would it?

3/23/2005 08:27:00 AM  

I find (1) to be interesting and somewhat plausible, but I do not like (2) at all. It seems to be a desperate clutching at straws. We also must consider "Adam and Eve: Who?" where we speak of mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosome Adam, the common mother and father that all humanity shares biologically speaking. Does these individuals match up with what we are trying to say about religious Adam and Eve? If we can't find a match, then or questions of how might need to be radically altered.

3/23/2005 09:56:00 AM  

I agree that option 1 seems better, but I don't think we should necessarily discount something like #2 out of hand. It may not be favored, but I think we should still keep it in our back pocket, so to speak.

Christain,

No, a bone marrow transfer would not be sufficient. Although I mentioned bone marrow in the post, I was trying not to be too specific--it's just an example of the general concept I was putting out.

All others--I'll get to some of the issues raised, later.

3/23/2005 11:12:00 AM  

It seems a slight variation of (2) works best and is what I believe. Adam and Eve were the children of God and were in an other sphere, a terrestial one. The effect of the fall was to take upon them the nature of humans already living in this telestial sphere. Marion G. Romney appears to me to adopt this view, or at least to allow for it, when he wrote the following:

" There were no pre-adamic men in the line of Adam. ... I am not a scientist. I do not profess to know anything but Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and the principles of his gospel. If, however, there are some things in the strata of the earth indicating there were men before Adam, they were not the ancestors of Adam. Adam was the son of God. ... He did not come up through an unbroken line of organic evolution. There had to be a fall. 'Adam fell that men might be.'" (2 Nephi 2:25.) (Conference Report, April 5, 1953)

3/23/2005 01:13:00 PM  

It just seems that under that theory God was trying to trick us into thinking we are closely related to and descended from animals when really we are not. With regards to tissue transplants, I don't see any good reason, doctrinal or scientific, to believe it. But this doesn't make it false.

3/23/2005 01:16:00 PM  

It seems to me that the idea that our bodies are "special" and unrelated to the world around us, as well as being impossible to reconcile to our DNA, also denies the whole notion of a telestial, terrestrial, and celestial kingdom. While we certainly don't accept Brigham Young's views on the matter of the fall and creation, it is interesting that he seemed to believe that people could transform their bodies between these "kinds." Thus a celestial being could become a telestial being. But if that is so, then one can't help but imagine that it would imply taking on a similar nature to them.

3/23/2005 03:44:00 PM  

First a post-script: Before my mission the idea that Adam and Eve were physical descendants of God had never crossed my mind--and I think I was pretty informed for a teenager (I already knew about Adam-God, for example.) I thought the idea was fascinating, but I wondered if it was really official doctrine. Since then I've listened carefully when the Brethren have discussed our relationship to God. I've never heard the idea endorsed--they only mention our spiritual relationship. Therefore I don't think that one must accept the idea, pending further revelation.

Jeff,

You're comment raises an issue of what descendant and related really mean. For example, a couple of years ago a lab chemically synthesized the polio virus genome which was used to then make actual polio virus. We can ask in what way the product virus was descendant of other polio viruses? The progeny had the same genetic sequence and physical properties but did not physically come from ancestor virus. It's possible that we're dealing with an analogous situation here.

I don't see the scenario Clark proposed as trickery because there is an actual relationship--even if it is only/mostly informational--between us and the rest of the animal kingdom. It does not change the fact that we are a product of evolution--we're just not only a product of evolution.

To me, trickery would be an arrangement of geological and genomic patterns that don't allow any correct inferences, such as if no life of any kind died on this earth until Adam and Eve fell 6000 years ago, with a worldwide flood to boot.

3/23/2005 04:00:00 PM  

That's a really interesting comment Jared. Let's ignore miracles and the divine for the moment. I think it safe to say that even with our own technological advancement we'll be able to build from scratch human DNA much the way right now we can construct viruses from scratch. Maybe that'll be a 100 years from now, but it seems only a matter of time.

Now, consider if one constructs unique DNA and from that constructs a whole body. That's an even bigger technological challenge, but perhaps one of hundreds of years - certainly within the realm for God though. Now if this body isn't a true clone, but constructed uniquely but utilizing information from what human DNA shares, what is its relationship to humans?

Now clearly this is the model I favor. I don't quite see how we can find the notion of a resurrection plausible - the creating from scratch our current body, only improved, and in some ways different. (i.e. its celestial and not telestial) I don't see how we can find that so plausible while the reverse is implausible. It seems that the materialism within Mormonism gives us a reason to see all of this as primarily technological in nature.

As I discussed over at the Bloggernacle Times, we don't know what spirit matter is nor what a spirit is. We don't know how it interacts. But presumably however it works, it is physical and if physical it is open to technological manipulation.

One can critique such views as perhaps not lining up with scripture. (Although I think scripture vague enough so as to not be helpfu) But I don't think we can reject them out of hand.

3/23/2005 04:15:00 PM  

Jared and Clark, if the genome were clean, tight, and exact---like a recipe in a cookbook---your speculations about assembling bodies from that pure information content would be a strong possibility.

But it seems to me that the clear evidence of "tinkering" in the genome---long stretches of junk DNA, features like alternative triplet codons specifying the same amino acid being more likely to be the same in nearest evolutionary relatives, etc.---is where this notion falters in a big way. That God would insert these kinds of features that make it look just like it came from common descent---rather than just producing a "clean" genome with only the necessary information content---makes it look an awful lot like Jeffrey's notion of "deception."

3/23/2005 05:41:00 PM  

Christian,

First of all, sorry I accidentally misspelled your name earlier. It was a simple typographical error.

The argument of #2 is not that God manufactured the junk DNA and other signs of evolution. I think it is more along the lines of some sort of horizontal transfer--already existing "fallen" genetic code (ie. the product of evolution and contained in a hominid) was transfered in some manner to Adam and Eve, and passed on to their progeny.

The drawback to this scenario, in my mind, is that if hominids were sufficiently developed to transfer genetic info to Adam and Eve, why not just make two of those hominids Adam and Eve?

At this point I don't favor either model--I see pros and cons in both.

3/23/2005 06:46:00 PM  

Jared makes my point. The issue isn't that God would fake such stuff but rather he'd copy such flaws into a being so that they would match the existing humans. Put an other way, using the range of variability of human DNA he'd construct a body similar in appearance to Adam and Eve's. The point is that the human genome, flaws and all, was the model.

This isn't fakery. Rather it is the whole point of Adam and Eve taking on a fallen nature.

3/23/2005 07:25:00 PM  

The prevailing notion in #2 option seems to be that animals (and plants, bacteria etc) existed with their DNA prior to the fall of man. It should be remembered that the scriptures point out that the fall of man co-incided with the fall of all nature. I suggest that all the similarities we see between humans and other life, particularly with DNA, were inherited simultaneously as a direct result of the fall. Therefore, our uniqueness from other life does not depend on the presence (or absence) of DNA.

Also:
Christian said
That God would insert these kinds of features that make it look just like it came from common descent---rather than just producing a "clean" genome with only the necessary information content---makes it look an awful lot like Jeffrey's notion of "deception."
My understanding is that things such as junk DNA, triplet codons, etc, while widely considered to be by-products of evolution, actually serve a purpose. External stimuli that cause base-pair mutations (eg, UV light) are statistically less likely to cause mutation in a crucial amino acid-coding region due to the combination of these DNA sequences. Is it possible that these sequences, for the above reason, were intentionally included in all life.

3/23/2005 08:14:00 PM  

I'm not at all convinced that the scriptures teach that nature fell well Adam and Eve. I think Alma's discussion of the angel guarding Eden argue against that reading. I recognize many read it that way. I'm just not sure it is justified.

I think any talk of nature falling is just talk of Adam and Eve leaving a terrestrial world with terrestrial nature and entering a telestial world with telestial nature.

To be more specific than that would involve going to the scriptures and hearing your argument for specific readings.

The claim that all nature fell is really just the claim by New Earthers that God made it seem, by miracle that life had been existing for million years, with advancing life forms and so forth, with various dating schemes matching. For that to work there really must be deception on God's part. I see no reason to believe such a scheme and considerable to disbelieve it.

3/23/2005 11:37:00 PM  

My point is this:
If we are going to talk about God transplanting anything in Adam and Eve's body why would God hide His intervention by making our DNA exactly like other animals? He must have known that once we could analyze DNA, we would have learned about evolution, and that the teleological argument, as used by some of His prophets, simply isn't working anymore. Why wouldn't He give us a significantly different DNA in us for the purpose of providing evidence? We can't say "He has His reasons" because the argument from design has been used many times over. How would this be different?

Why is my body so suseptible to illness? Why do we get old so fast? Why does evolutionary psychology placed within its proper limits make so much sense? Why were not our urges of the flesh which we inhabited from distant ancestors not left out in the tranplanting process?

I simply don't buy it.

3/24/2005 12:24:00 AM  

Why is my body so suseptible to illness? Why do we get old so fast? Why does evolutionary psychology placed within its proper limits make so much sense? Why were not our urges of the flesh which we inhabited from distant ancestors not left out in the tranplanting process?

Jeff, I don't want to go to the mat defending this scenario because I'm not wedded to it myself. However, I'm not sure you've totally understood it based on the above comment. We get ill, old, etc precisely because of evolution--it is our genetic heritage. The urges of the flesh are part of that heritage and were not left out because we are to live in a fallen condition.

The issue here is more over whether our fallen nature, based on our genetic heritage, was strictly a result of vertical transmission, or whether there may have been a horizontal transmission at some point. Obviously we cannot give an answer with certainty, but I don't see it as terribly flawed as you do. I'll have to kick it around some more.

3/24/2005 07:07:00 AM  

Jared - et. al, I have been waiting for years to learn from a discussion like this - thank you so much. I especially enjoy the range of views expressed. Since I know little about science and DNA, I would like to expand a couple of ideas that have already been introduced with some additional "traditional authorities" that I have posted elsewhere and have not yet been specifically mentioned here (Please forgive me for not crediting those who have previously posted by name):

(1)Regarding vertical descent of our physical bodies from God: True - it is not unambiguously in the Scriptures and there is no doctrine - but Pres. Kimball specifically stated while the Prophet in General Priesthood that when resurrected, we will have (paraphrasing here) "keys" to produce both BODY and SPIRIT in our exalted state. The context strongly implies a "human-like" process of procreation. If true, it is only a short jump to believe that that Adam and Eve could have received both spirit and physical bodies from celestial partents. (See also Moses 6:22)

(2) Regarding a "horizontal fall" of all life, along with that of Adam and Eve, at the the time of the Fall: clear statement from Pres. Lee was included in the Priesthood/Relief Society "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church" manuel a couple of years ago regarding such a horizontal fall. Obviously, an editorial decision was made to include this, and some correlation committee "signed off." This does not make it doctrine, but it coincides with 2 Neph 2:22, which I have not seen discussed here.

(3)One theory not referred to here is that the death recorded on earth before Adam and Eve applied to a "preparatory" creation, and that, using the paradigms of "earth renewal" (See 10th Article of Faith) and "Noah's ark," Adam and Eve and all the animals in the garden were a "fresh start," immortal and fell together. I like this, because it allows me to believe both the Scriptures and the scientists. Before reading an entire book about it, I developed the theory on my own - from differences in the various creation accounts in the Pearl of Great Price. I don't know if the "horizontal transfer" science ideas discussed here could cover this or not - and I would like some help.

A couple of years ago, I asked an agnostic evolutionary biology professor in an online discussion at a "Star Wars" site if such a "horizontal transfer" could possible match what is known about DNA, and you can imagine how far I got with that one . . .

3/24/2005 08:53:00 AM  

Greg, Presidents Kimball and Lee did not tell us how they knew the statements they made were true. Since they did not claim direct revelation on these points, we need not be bound by them. We are free to interpret them as their personal understanding of the scriptures and statements of their predecessors---which understanding may or may not be correct.

Similar logic applies to 2 Nephi 2:22. Despite the fact it's bound in leather, it's just Lehi teaching his family---not direct revelation. This family teaching situation is even less binding than a general priesthood meeting.

Furthermore, Lehi prefaces the segment in question by stating in v. 17, And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose..., which makes clear that he is making his own best interpretation based on his reading of the creation account in the brass plates.

Finally, is 2 Nephi 2:22 the only verse in scripture justifying the notion that all of nature fell with Adam? If so, I think even Harold B. Lee thought it unwise to think any doctrine can be clearly established based on a single verse. The basic doctrines to be relied upon have a much wider base of attestation.

3/24/2005 09:39:00 AM  

Gary,

Maybe we can treat 2 Ne 22:2 a little more fully later.

Regarding Pres. Kimball and Lee, I think Christian makes a good point. Both were probably strongly influenced by Joseph Fielding Smith. I'll have to read Pres. Kimball's talk again--but it seems like maybe you are squeezing more out of it in this context than need be.

Regarding your proposal of renewals, you'll have to explain a little more--I don't quite understand what you are proposing. From what I can glean so far, I don't think the horizontal transfer that Clark and I were talking about can help here.

I recommend you look over the material here. Pay particular attention to part 4 where transposons, pseudogenes, and endogenous retroviruses are discussed. I think these are some of the strongest molecular evidences for common descent that we have. Any explanation for how life began has to take these things into account somehow.

3/24/2005 10:21:00 AM  

Christian and Jared - Hi. I really do need to reread some things on "common descent," but, not being a scientist, all I can do to judge them is go and read criticisms at either ID or CS sights.

When I quoted the Prophets here, I wasn't using them as a doctrinal hammer, I just wanted your reactions. As far as doctrine goes, after reading 220 posts at Times and Seasons on "spirit birth," and many referrences to doctrine here, I honestly don't see ANY applicable standard. Paul said (I hope he wasn't drunk that day) that we need Prophets and Apostles so that we don't get blown about as to what doctrine is.

Because the story of the Universal Flood; 6,000 years of "temporal" earthlife, and the earth divided in the days of Peleg are found at multiple places in the Scriptures, do you accept them as facts? I believe Christian wrote in one of his posts at this site that when the Book of Mormon speaks about all things in nature testifying of God, that this was "frosting on the cake," after testimonies of the Prophets. But, if a Prophet "endorses" a reading of
Scripture, it carries no weight, unless he adds the statement "Thus sayeth the Lord."

Since the Scriptures don't define doctrine, who does? I am working on a "restatement" of the definition of "doctrine" gleaned from what I am finding on the blogs. So far, after applying one or two of several "loopholes" that are used to circumvent the "traditional definitions," (i.e, those used in CES religion classes)I see each person defining doctrine his or her (not to many "hers" on the blogs)own way, based upon the intellect.

While not a scientist, I have earned a living from exploiting loopholes in the the Tax Laws, so I believe I am qualified somewhat to recognize and analyize their use.

I am glad to see you quoting Pres. Lee about the danger of using a single scripture, but, how do we know he wasn't relying too heavily on Eugene England when he said that? Pres. Lee had some other fun quotes about doctrinal authority that I will post later.

As far as the earth "renewal" issue - I believe that you guys were discussing the biology of a "horizontal shift" of Adam and Eve's bodies from an immortal to a fallen state, and how they would then conform to evidences for "common descent." I just wanted to know why, if this could have worked for Adam, why not for the other animals in the Garden as well?

Since you are strething to speculate about Adam and Eve, I was just asking for help to extend it to the animals. In fact, maybe it would be easier, biolically, to match an immortal Adam and Eve to the fallen biological world if the other animals that have lived since their time also fell. I do not believe in "no death before the Fall," but am entertaining something like a universal extinction - akin to the "Flood Story" - before a new batch of animals was placed here expecially for the use of men inhabited by the spirit "offspring" of God.

Believe it or not, there is room in the creation accounts for such an interpretation that is at least reasonable - as well as some physical geological evidence. But, I don't want to discuss that here. Since it has already been proposed that there could be a "loophole" for some kind of a DNA "match" or "trace" between an immortal and a fallen HUMAN body, why not also between an immortal and fallen animal body?

I am like a child in these matters, and sincerely want help to understand. (Maybe it was only Clark who discussed this - but I don't know which of you are scientists). Thanks for putting up with a CES guy and an old guy. I am sincerely trying to understand your points of view.

3/24/2005 03:04:00 PM  

Greg, I for one enjoy your participation here.

On learning about common descent: I don't know what you mean by CS; and actually, I don't think ID necessarily (or even usually) disputes common descent. But in addition to considering ID sites, read also the link Jared posted, which is more likely to represent mainstream scientific views on common descent---if only for awareness of what leads people to think the way they do.

You seem to suggest inconsistency in placing a premium on what prophets say about the existence of God while simultaneously questioning their endorsement of scripture. There is no discrepancy, because one need not assume that everything a prophet says carries equal weight. Even with a prophet, one is entitled to consider the basis of each statement individually. If he has direct contact with God, his witness on this issue is valuable; he can competently testify of his existence. But if a prophet gives us no reason to think he has his own direct experience on some other matter, and he says something about that matter that shows ignorance of, indifference to, or contradiction with a large body of legitimate evidence, I think one has a reasonable basis for maintaining a different view on that issue.

When you say, "I see each person defining doctrine his or her (not to many "hers" on the blogs)own way, based upon the intellect," this is where the light bulb should come on. Welcome to the test of mortality! Each of us is responsible to determine, individually, what the important truths are. And not necessarily only by the intellect---by study and faith, good brother. Some issues lend themselves to greater inspection by physical evidence and intellect; evolution is one such issue, the existence of God less so. Prophets may have more experience than us in this truth-discovery process, particularly in matters that where "spiritual" evidence is almost all there is, but ultimately (and even on the "spiritual" matters) they are fellow-travelers with
us in this mortal state with its limited perspectives.

3/24/2005 05:05:00 PM  

I just reread your comments regarding #2 and find them a little more acceptable. If a member told me that how they reconciled the issue in their minds I wouldn't freak out over their utter gullibility and naivete. Perhaps my biggest worry, however, is this.

If God transplanted tissue from one hominid to Adam, we now have to worry about some people descending from Adam while others did not. This is a wide-open door for racism since those hominids from the Garden region would have a much greater chance at interbreeding with Adam and his descendants.

I'm not sure I could accept that for a couple of reasons.

1) social acceptability, obviously.
2) there seems to be little to no essential difference between any ethnicity. This makes being a descendant of Adam not very special or important.
3) there must have been a vast similarity between Adam and those other hominids, as well as a vast similarity between those hominids and cro-magnon, and right on down the line. I have addressed the issue a bit in some of my posts, but it seems, again that being related to Adam just isn't important at all.
4) If this is the case, that being a descendant of Adam isn't important at all, why do we even insist on keeping him in the picture at all?

I know these are too many to fully respond to in a comment section, but I do feel they must eventually be addressed in we are to put any stock in #2.

3/26/2005 02:35:00 PM  

Christian said

"Since they did not claim direct revelation on these points, we need not be bound by them. We are free to interpret them as their personal understanding of the scriptures and statements of their predecessors---which understanding may or may not be correct"

Thank you so much for this and related descriptions of doctrine. I have never heard them specifically described before, although I am seeing examples of them in these blogs. When I have referred to "CES" I meant the "Church Education System," specifically Institutes and the College of Religion at BYU.

Since you have shared your views of doctrine, I am going to give mine - not as the "correct one," although it is more common and has worked for me. Mine is the more "traditional view", the one I would expect to hear from Pres. Packer. It is closely connected to CES, where I have taught part time Institute for six years. I was "converted" from an "Alma and Sons of Mosiah" path through the medium of Institute, so I have a strong CES bias.

I did not see or hear an Angel, but encountered a package delivered by the Holy Ghost that had a similar effect. At the time, I WAS seeking truth, but organized religion was at the bottom of my list, and this Church was beyond consideration and didn't make the list. This package contained several items bundled together. They were unwrapped sequentially in time, but the span was fairly short. The first addressed the historicity of the Book of Mormon, and the bundle included what is described in the CES course manual for "Teachings of the Living Prophets" as a "mantle" that hovers over the Scriptures and Priesthood Leaders.

More specifically, this "mantle" is connected to the notion of "Prophets, Seers, and Revelators." My favorite Scriptural definition of Seership is found at Mos. 8:17. From my perspective, seership authority is IMPLIED by office. A given interpretation may be false, but should be given the "benefit of the doubt." There should be "a preponderance of evidence" to question its veracity, in my view.

From my perspective, here is how I would analyze Pres. Lee's statement about the Fall that I have quoted. First of all, no death before the fall is reasonably implied by statements in D&C and Book of Revelations about 6,000 years of "temporal existence" for the earth. I also find a 2nd, “new creation" described in the Pearl of Great Price. Therefore, 2 Neph 2:22 does not necessarily stand alone on this teaching.

Starting with 2 Neph 2:22, I would deduce that Lehi, a Prophet, is interpreting another Prophet's writings on the brass plates. Then, Nephi, a Prophet, copied Lehi's statement on small plates made especially for us modern Mormons. Then, the teaching was retained in the translation by another Prophet, Joseph Smith. It was then taught by Harold B. Lee, an Apostle at the time, (who, in the "CES" view of doctrine, by virtue of the Seership of his office, has a stewardship over doctrine). Finally, it was included in a Priesthood manual entitled "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church," which has a committee from the present Quorum of the Twelve as editors.

So, instead of seeing Lehi giving his opinion in family home evening, I see a "mantle" of seership hovering over five Prophets as I read 2 Neph 2:22. This (after considerations discussed below) is how I would teach this verse in my Institute or Gospel Principles class.

Now, I must confront the scientific evidence. I will admit that until a few years ago, when I decided to really investigate and "think for myself," on this matter, I accepted Joseph Fielding Smith, et. al., "creation science," and the Flood to explain the fossil record. As I have explained, I have moved beyond that view and am now entertaining a "fresh start" scenario, and, am presently attempting to falsify this theory.

Christian - I hope you will not think that because my doctrinal views are different than yours, or more traditional, that I am saying mine are right and yours are wrong. If anyone is going to expand my view of doctrine, it is going to be individuals like you, Jeff and Jared who are “spinozaizing” basic issues with such clarity of thought. Last week, I was visiting my daughter’s ward, and sat next to a sister in my Mother’s generation who had just taught Gospel Doctrine. I engaged her in conversation and, because of something that came up, began to “speculate” about the spirit world.

My son-in-law died 3 years ago, leaving 4 young children. He had been my best friend, and I often wonder just what the heck he is doing these days because I cannot visualize it. You should have seen her freeze up when I began talking about things beyond HER doctrinal limits. She acted like I was inviting her to join a polygamous cult or something.









Christian said

"Since they did not claim direct revelation on these points, we need not be bound by them. We are free to interpret them as their personal understanding of the scriptures and statements of their predecessors---which understanding may or may not be correct"

Thank you so much for this and related descriptions of doctrine. I have never heard them specifically described before, although I am seeing examples of them in these blogs. When I have referred to "CES" I meant "Church Education System" specifically Institutes and the College of Religion at BYU.

Since you have shared your views of doctrine, I am going to give mine - not as the "correct one," although it is more common and has worked for me. Mine is the more "traditional view", the one I would expect to hear from Pres. Packer. It is closely connected to CES, where I have taught part time Institute for six years. I was "converted" from an "Alma and Sons of Mosiah" path through the medium of Institute, so I have a strong CES bias.

I did not see or hear an Angel, but encountered a package delivered by the Holy Ghost that had a similar effect. At the time, I WAS seeking truth, but organized religion was at the bottom of my list, and this Church was beyond consideration and didn't make the list. This package contained several items bundled together. They were unwrapped sequentially in time, but the span was fairly short. The first addressed the historicity of the Book of Mormon, and the bundle included what is described in the CES course manual for "Teachings of the Living Prophets" as a "mantle" that hovers over the Scriptures and Priesthood Leaders.

More specifically, this "mantle" is connected to the notion of "Prophets, Seers, and Revelators." My favorite Scriptural definition of Seership is found at Mos. 8:17. From my perspective, seership authority is IMPLIED by office. A given interpretation may be false, but should be given the "benefit of the the doubt." There should be "a preponderance of evidence" to question its veracity, in my view.

From my perspective, here is how I would analyze Pres. Lee's statement about the Fall that I have quoted. First of all, no death before the fall is reasonably implied by statements in D&C and Book of Revelations about 6,000 years of "temporal existence" for the earth. I also find a 2nd, “new creation" described in the Pearl of Great Price. Therefore, 2 Neph 2:22 does not necessarily stand alone on this teaching.

Starting with 2 Neph 2:22, I would deduce that Lehi, a Prophet, is interpreting another Prophet's writings on the brass plates. Then, Nephi, a Prophet, copied Lehi's statement on small plates made especially for us modern Mormons. Then, the teaching was retained in the translation by another Prophet, Joseph Smith. It was then taught by Harold B. Lee, an Apostle at the time, (who, in the "CES" view of doctrine, by virtue of the Seership of his office, has a stewardship over doctrine). Finally, it was included in a Priesthood manual entitled "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church," which has a committee from the present Quorum of the Twelve as editors.

So, instead of seeing Lehi giving his opinion in family home evening, I see a "mantle" of seership hovering over five Prophets as I read 2 Neph 2:22. This (after considerations discussed below) is how I would teach this verse in my Institute or Gospel Principles class.

Now, I must confront the scientific evidence. I will admit that until a few years ago, when I decided to really investigate and "think for myself," on this matter, I accepted Joseph Fielding Smith, et. al., "creation science," and the Flood to explain the fossil record. As I have explained, I have moved beyond that view and am now entertaining a "fresh start" scenario, and, am presently attempting to falsify this theory.

Christian - I hope you will not think that because my doctrinal views are different than yours, or more traditional, that I am saying mine are right and yours are wrong. If anyone is going to expand my view of doctrine, it is going to be individuals like you, Jeff and Jared who are “spinozaizing” basic issues with such clarity of thought. Last week, I was visiting my daughter’s ward, and sat next to a sister in my Mother’s generation who had just taught Gospel Doctrine. I engaged her in conversation and, because of something that came up, began to “speculate” about the spirit world.

My son-in-law died 3 years ago, leaving 4 young children. He had been my best friend, and I often wonder just what the heck he is doing these days because I cannot visualize it. You should have seen her freeze up when I began talking about things beyond HER doctrinal limits. She acted like I was inviting her to join a polygamous cult or something.

3/26/2005 06:19:00 PM  

In that Adam and Eve are only important n the way that they relate to Jesus Christ, the foundation, infrastructure, and exoskeleton of our faith, I believe the opinions of McConkie and Fielding Smith are not without merit, although it is scripturally obvious that there is evolution, after all, Adam and his close kin lived hundreds of years, and we do not (Perhaps the appendix was the secret to longevity before it devolved(only joking)). Further we can see intellectual evolution and spiritual evolution within the last 20 years(Computers, the "preach my gospel" manual replacng the missionary discussions).
Anyway, my curiousity point is how we Harmonize the Atonement, which is Fielding Smith's greatest arguement against evolution (I expect you all to know what I'm talking about), with evolution. After all, The basic Premise is that Christ's atonement overcame the effects of the fall, which fall is seperation from God by Death, Sin, and Ignorance(of a specific type). If Death was not an effect of the fall, and existed before the fall, how do we harmonize it's place within the atonement.
The "greenie" answer I always laughed at was the Earth was made out of other planets and dinosaurs were from other planets, etc. Not very in keeping with the earth will be renewed to it's paradisiacal glory. (after all, why weren't these other earths renewed?)
A thought I've had is that the Fall perhaps worked like the atonement, and thus, being infinite worked forward and backwards in time, ad infinitum. This, of course, has major holes in it and is far to "star trek" but is still a fun cheap shot in the dark.
Another great doctrinal issue to be weighed is that of Family organization. After all, one of the main doctrinal reasons for the Temple is that families may be sealed togethor for time and all eternity. This would tend to require that we all descended from God, via Adam, via the chain of family sealings. Elder Packer rejects evolution on this grounds, stating in his blunt, loveable way "I'm not sealed to monkeys" (I paraphrase, as this quote is family legend, and not taken from any direct source.) However, Talmage, Widtsoe, Eyring Sr., and Oaks are known to have leaned or to currently lean towards other ideas.
So ultimately, I know by prayer and faith that Jesus is the Christ, and that his atonement was real, and I know by the same means that the sealing ordinances of the Temple are valid and devine. now How do I harmonize this knowledge with evolution and it's tenants?
If there have been posts that have already dealt with this, please just shoot me the links and save your keys.

3/27/2005 08:59:00 AM  

Matt,

Stick around and we'll get to some of the issues you raise. There is probably enough in your comment to fuel at least 2 different posts, so keep checking in.

3/27/2005 10:28:00 AM  

Greg, thanks for sharing your doctrinal views. Even if you did come right out and say "I think your views are wrong," I'd still be willing to continue discussion!

Matt, the short answer is that death and guilt are manifestly with us as part of our experience. We don't need to know the mechanics of how they came into the world in order to know we need salvation from them.

3/27/2005 06:27:00 PM  

Matt, along the same lines, I posted on my now-defunct blog, Let Us Reason, a response to the "no Adam, no Fall; no Fall, no Atonement" line of argument against evolution.

3/28/2005 12:57:00 PM  

Christian said:

"(Matt), the short answer is that death and guilt are manifestly with us as part of our experience. We don't need to know the mechanics of how they came into the world in order to know we need salvation from them."

I have a(nother) question. I belong to a book club wherein primary "doctrinal" influences are Freud and Nietzhe - and my friends there don't seem to "know (they) need salvation from (death and guilt)." How does a "Mormon" come to "know" that he or she needs salvation from death and guilt?

3/28/2005 02:54:00 PM  

Greg, you must mean that they don't think that salvation is possible, not that they think they'd have no use for it. Trying to convince them with something that conflicts with science (i.e. creationism) is not going to help get them closer.

3/28/2005 07:03:00 PM  

Christian said:

"Greg, you must mean that they don't think that salvation is possible, not that they think they'd have no use for it."

No. I mean that they don't care to be "saved" from death or guilt because they rejoice in "life as it is." (That is a quote from "Man of LaMancha"). No immortality; no judgment. One makes an art of "living in the moment." While Darwin and modern science may fortify them, such philosophies pre-date modern science.

I still would like to understand how a Mormon "knows" he or she needs salvation from death and guilt. That is my question. The book club illustration is an attempt to justify the question. A Mormon who subscribes to certain ideas of Baruch Spinoza, for example, needn't worry about "guilt," as the materialistic determinism of Spinoza's philosophy, if relied upon, would relieve this brother or sister of his or her individual responsibility for harmful actions and also of the tendency to blame others for theirs.

3/29/2005 02:11:00 PM  

Greg, we're talking past each other and I'm not sure how to connect. Both believers and unbelievers die, and they both know it. Both believers and unbelievers experience guilt---shame, tension, and the pain of ruptured relationships---and both know it. It is not necessary to believe in a Fall from paradisiacal glory to know that death and guilt are features of this world.

Unbelievers don't think there's a supernatural power that can help with these problems, but they're not ignorant of death and guilt.

Believers do think a supernatural power can help them---but their belief in this saving power may, in principle, be logically independent of how death and guilt came into the world.

I don't think there's anything more I can say on this. (By the way, Greg, it may be that you became aware of the phrase "Spinozist Mormon" before its meaning was publicly explained.)

4/01/2005 04:49:00 AM  

Christian - thanks for trying to connect. I will try again to clarify what I am talking about. You seem to be saying that the desire to be rescued from death and guilt is universal. If you have read Nietzche, for example - he attempts to celebrate, even "glorify" mans' "mortal" limitations. He sees the inevitability of death as a sort of stimulant - a call to find the maximum in whatever segment of life may present itself. He denigrates guilt as a "Christian" (no put intended) construct that tends to hold back and punish many natural leaders of the human species.

I think you are saying that:

All people recognize death and guilt as conditions from which salvation would be desireable-

Those who believe in a supernatural power look to such for salvation -

They can, in principle, exercise faith in such supernatural power sufficient to be "saved" without knowing or agreeing on how death and guilt came into the world.

My personal theory at this time would be that there may be a stronger connection between the kind of faith necessary for salvation, as discussed in LoF, faith that would be willing to forsake "every earthly thing," and an individual's belief in how death and guilt came into the world than is supposed in this thread.

In order to create some dialogue on this theory of mine, I was trying to elicit a response that would explain why some individuals are bothered about death and guilt and some are not. If such differences in outlook exist, what are the sources of these differences?

But, if we start with the proposition that all humans have the same basic view about death and guilt, then a discussion of sources for such differences in outlook becomes moot. Sometimes, discussing such "sources" makes people uncomfortable.

For example, using my Book Club again, a lot of the literature we read begs questions about the sources of "right and wrong." I have noticed that when I attempt to discuss this, most people want to avoid it. In an earlier post, when you said that individuals "know" they need to be saved from death and guilt, two parts of me focused on the word "know." One is the lawyer - the other is the Mormon. To both, the word "know" has special significance. If "knowing" such a thing was just used as a phrase in passing, so to speak, then, I think we are missing some of the best issues in the thread.

By pointing out that such "knowing" is not universal, and that, for a Mormon, or any believer, to "know" that death and guilt are more than just "cultural realities" and require the exercise of faith and sacrifice in order to effectively nuetralize - I am hoping to elicit a response as to what might be the source of such "knowing."

4/01/2005 08:24:00 AM  

I am new to the discussion, but have deep-rooted thoughts and ideas about evolution and the situations surrounding the creation and the Fall.

The main influence on my thoughts about evolution was Dr. Bill Bradshaw at BYU. The packet that is available through BYU is a great resource to start the dialogue.

As for the Garden and Adam and Eve: Adam and Eve were both "introduced into the garden." What does that mean? It seems to me that there was something special about the Garden and that it was different from the world in which Adam and Eve existed (how I think they came into existence I'll discuss later). That they might have become immortal by partaking of the tree of life is very likely.

After partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and falling from the presence of God because of direct transgression of a commandment, they weren't just left in a "fallen" Garden of Eden. Again they removed from the Garden and put forth into the "lone and dreary world".

It seems that the garden was a unique place, very different from the "lone and dreary world."

This allows for the existence of a world in which there was death (for how long, we don't know, perhaps 4.5 billion years), in which Adam and Eve, as the first homonids actually to evolve and progress, following the natural laws, into creatures that were in the exact image of God (something that the omniscience, omnipotence of the Creator anticipated). Death, physical and spiritual as it applies to spirit children of God, introduced by Eve's and Adam's (and subsequently our) agency, provides for the fall and entrance of further spiritual offspring of God to enter into this realm and have mortality in the image of God available to us.

4/02/2005 04:48:00 PM  

Mike - Great post! Since you are appealing to the Tree of Life to allow Adam and Eve to become immortal, so that they can then meet scriptural, doctrinal, and traditional teachings of our Faith which require immortality as a prelude to both a Fall and Redemption, I have some questions for you:

(1) Since you refer to the BYU packet, how does this explanation satisfy two First Presidency Statements which interpret verses in the Book of Mormon to mean that "Adam is the PRIMAL parent of our race."?

(2) This explanation assumes that Adam and Eve were born into a line of "pre-humans" not fit as tabernacles for spirit children of God. Were Adam and Eve random genetic mutations who just "fit the bill." Or, in order for just one male and one female to be "mutated just the right way", did God have to intevene in a customized "special creation"? And, if He did have to intervene at that point, why not an entire special creation for man?

(3) What happened to their parents? They were not quite "worthy" to partake of the Tree of Life and become immortal?

(4) What about the sins of pre-immortal Adam and Eve? Did the fruit of the Tree of Life atone for these sins, so that besides becoming immortal, they became clean enough to dwell in the presence of the Gods who visited them in the Garden? Remember, after they AGAIN became mortal, had they partaken of the fruit of the Tree of Life, they would have lived forever in their sins. Why didn't this happen the first time?

I could go on, but, it seems to me that relying on the "Tree of Life" to solve this foundational doctrinal problem is a rather blunt instrument that opens up a large can of worms - each of which should be dealt with for the theory to hold, in my view.

This basic approach reminds me of Intelligent Design criticisms of the evolution of irreducibly complex systems and the responses I have read to them. A sort of blunt "solution" is proposed, such as the use of dual-purpose genes, but, when the details of the problem and proposed solution are looked at closely, there are still large gaps not explained by natural selection and other proposed evolution mechanisms.

I see similar gaps in your Tree of Life solution to the problem of Adam and Eve being created initially in a fallen condition. No one else has gotten as far into this issue as you have - and I eagerly anticipate reading any future posts that might answer some of my questions.

4/04/2005 09:39:00 PM  

Good questions Greg.

4/04/2005 10:32:00 PM  

I need to re-read those First Presidency statements to re-orient myself.

For now I will just point out that primal can mean both "original" and "first in importance." I'll admit that they probably had both meanings in mind, but the second one seems most important to me.

Perhaps we have an issue similar to the Nephites/Lamanites being the "principle" ancestors of the American Indians.

4/05/2005 07:23:00 AM  

Sorry, that should be "principal."

4/05/2005 07:24:00 AM  

Jared said...

"I need to re-read those First Presidency statements to re-orient myself."

The First Presidency statements are directed at a single issue -"what is the origin of man's physical body." Attempting to parse words such as "primal" creates uncertainty where none was intended.

To those who accept First Presidency interpretations of Scripture as settled doctrine, there is no ambiguity on the issue of the origin of man's body. This has also recently been republished in the Ensign, and Relief Society and Priesthood manuels.

Further, I ran accross an interesting reassessment of the 1931 First Presidency minutes here http://www.ndbf.net/eom.htm (sorry, I don't know how to set this up as a hyperlink).

The point is that Mike and his BYU prof are directly challenging the First Presidency on a clear statement of doctrine. They may think the doctrine in question to be false doctrine, but they should at least acknowlege the arena of their challenge and the authority of their opponents.

4/06/2005 07:32:00 PM  

I don't question the doctrine of Adam as the "primal parent of our race." He is the father of all humanity (that race whose physical bodies house the spiritual children of God). As no beings on the earth had spirits that were offspring of God until Adam, whatever spirits his physical ancestors may have had, the have no eternal or spiritual relation to us or the issues we are discussing. I don't see a big problem here and will attempt to explain myself and answer Greg's questions a few posts back. This paragraph answers the first question.

Secondly, I did use the wrong word to describe the Tree of Life as the instrument of inducing immortality. I should have said very possible instead of very likely.

Question 2:

Natural laws being just that, laws, I see it as being very likley that as the process continued and progressed in the manner which God foresaw, He knew exactly when and where these "random genetic mutations" would occur-watching the "things which [He] had ordered until the obeyed" (Abr 4:18) at which point His plan for His spirit children arrived at the point where physical bodies were ready.

Question 3:
An interesting question, but I don't think the answer is important if these creatures (Adam's and Eve's parents) were not inhabited by spirit children of God; they would not have been introduced into the Garden.

Question 4:
Again an interesting question, but I don't attach it much relevance as I am assuming "pre-immortal" Adam and Eve to be in the same state of spiritual innocence as the post-immortal, that is without knowing opposition and having the veil in place they were unable to sin. Only after they partook of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil could they sin and then live forever in their sins if they took of the Tree of Life.

4/08/2005 10:54:00 AM  

Mike, how would you respond to these questions which I posed to Jared?

If we believe that Adam was the first real child of God, we run into problem for it seems obvious that we do not all share a common ancestor a mere 6,000 yeats ago. We would now have to worry about some people descending from Adam while others did not, meaning some people would be children of God while others are not. Also, some races would be more "pure" than others. This is a wide-open door for racism since those hominids from the Garden region would have a much greater chance at interbreeding with Adam and his descendants.

I'm not sure I could accept that for a couple of reasons.

1) social acceptability, obviously.
2) there seems to be little to no essential difference between any ethnicity. This makes being a descendant of Adam not very special or important.
3) there must have been a vast similarity between Adam and those other hominids, as well as a vast similarity between those hominids and cro-magnon, and right on down the line. I have addressed the issue a bit in some of my posts, but it seems, again that being physically related to Adam just isn't important at all.
4) If this is the case, that being a descendant of Adam isn't important at all, why do we even insist on keeping him in the picture at all?
 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/08/2005 11:54:00 AM  

Jeffrey,

The assumption that you base your entire question on is that it is "obvious that we do not all share a common ancestor" as recent as 6000 years ago.

I question the word obvious. What data are there that make this obvious? I agree that my argument hinges on Adam being the first human inhabited by a spirit child of God and on all humans descending physically from him.

4/08/2005 01:58:00 PM  

Greg,

The link that you provided is interesting. A part of the argument there is that because parts of JSF's books were used as a priesthood manual while he was President of the church, the contents of the manual are official and binding doctrine.

Interesting argument. An immediate concern is that other priesthood manuals were written by such people as Hugh Nibley. Do the contents of those manuals have official doctrine status. Furthermore I'll bet we could find portions of the manual that are questionable or outdated, but maybe I'm just being difficult.

The fact that the Encyclopedia of Mormonism article was included in the BYU packet (and not JSF's statements) and is still distributed by the First Presidency undermines his thesis to some degree. 

Posted by jared

4/08/2005 02:05:00 PM  

Well we can talk about "Y Chromosome - Adam" our most recent male ancestor who live 60,000 - 90,000 years ago or we can even hold out for a "Mitochondrial Eve" who lived 150,000 - 200,000 years ago. Either way, things look bleak. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/08/2005 02:31:00 PM  

Mike said:

"I don't question the doctrine of Adam as the "primal parent of our race." He is the father of all humanity (that race whose physical bodies house the spiritual children of God)."

Mike - thank you very much for your good-faith answers to my questions. My remaining issue is this: In my opinion, you are not defining "Primal" in the way the First Presidency did. If they meant what you do, there would be no disagreements over our origins. Most of us Mormons, indeed, most Christians who are not scientists want to believe that we are NOT descended from lower forms of life, but that we were created in a special creation in a different way.

Thus, when the First Presidency spoke in 1909, they went through many Scriptures and much rhetoric to leave no doubt that they were answering my question "Did my body evolve from lower forms of life?" Their answer, with which you may disagree, was "no." They allude to this conclusion repeatedly, and when they arive at the summary and state that "Adam is the Primal Parent of our race," they leave no room, in my opinion, for your interpretation of the word "primal."

I am not criticizing your use of the word "primal" to describe your particular synthesis, but I do disagree that the First Presidency left room for your interpretation in theirs. The BYU packet is linked on the home page here, and you can read it for again for yourself, and challenge me if you like.

Jeff, for example, has few qualms about challenging "offical" doctrine when he disagrees with it. One should realize, though, that most of us have been taught all of our "doctrinal" lives in the Church that the First Presidency is authorized by God to interpret Scripture, especially when there is confusion as to its meaning on important matters.

If it has so spoken, and one disagrees, perhaps, in time, the following may apply to him or her: "They also that erred . . . shall learn doctrine." (Isa 29:24)It is possible that the First Presidency is wrong on this matter. However, that is different than saying they have not taken a clear position.

One more thing - I have a more detailed explanation for how a "
pre-immortal" Adam and Eve could have escaped responsibiltiy for their "pre-immortal mortal" sins. They simply could have partaken of the Tree of Life while still children below the age of accountability. That could solve the doctrinal problem I raised.

BUT, in contemplating answers to questions I posed on Jeff's latest subject on the Fall, I do believe I have discovered a GRANDDADDY doctrinal problem with "creation by evolution" - one that I have not seen in print before.

Thanks for taking the trouble to answer my questions.

4/08/2005 03:02:00 PM  

Greg, What was that!? A teaser trailer? What is the objection? I'm on the edge of my seat! 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/08/2005 03:06:00 PM  

Jeffrey:

Another question is whether the time frame of 6000 years truly encompasses the time of humanity on the earth. I know that most have interpreted the time-line from Adam to present as such (6000) years. However, I don't know anywhere in the scriptures that it actually gives dates for any of this. The first scriptures we have are actually from the brother of Jared (~2200 BC abridged by Ether, who lived about after 600 B.C.). Moses didn't write any of the Pentatuch until around 1200 BC. That is when we really start to have an accurate time-line. Before that, things are pretty up in the air. We have specified life-spans of the patriarchs, but nothing written until then (oops, I forgot about Abraham somewhere in that 2000-1200 BC range).

The gap between when things were written and when they happened leaves a lot of leeway (I don't know if it accounts for 10- to 15-fold discrepancy, but it might).

Greg: I went back and read the first presidency statements. They indicate that "Man began as human beings." Is that the sticking point? I guess I don't see what I am putting out there as contradictory to that statement. As there was no Man nor Human Being (defined as physically in the precise image of God and therefore able to house a spirit child of God) before Adam, I see my opinion in line with that doctrine.

Am I stradling the fence sufficiently between the two camps?

4/09/2005 11:10:00 AM  

Mike,
This is an issue that I plan on addressing in a future post, but here is the jist. The reason why we are called The Church of Jesus Chrsit of Latter-day  Saints, is because we believe these to be the last days. We are taught (D&C 77) that the earth is going through a 6,000 mortal existence followed by a 1,000 millenium.

If we reject the idea of 6,000 years we are on a slippery slope to rejecting the idea that the millenium in coming any time soon, if at all. Very dangerous indeed. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/09/2005 01:07:00 PM  

Jeffrey,

Does the claim (para. 7 above) that "Only Begotten in the flesh" isn't found in scripture allow a person to say Jesus was not  the "Only Begotten in the flesh"? I'm quite certain it's LDS doctrine that He is. 

Posted by Gary

4/09/2005 11:10:00 PM  

Jeffrey,

Does the claim (para. 7 above) that "Only Begotten in the flesh" isn't found in scripture allow a person to say Jesus was not the "Only Begotten in the flesh"? I'm quite certain it's LDS doctrine that He is.

4/09/2005 11:12:00 PM  

Gary,

If you are specifically soliciting answer from Jeffery, then I apologize for butting in. But since I wrote the original post I thought I would clarify.

The point was that those who argue that Adam was physically born of God have to justify how that can be while Jesus retains the title "Only Begotten." Their solution is to emphasize that Jesus was the
"Only Begotten in the flesh ." In contrast, they argue, Adam was born in an immortal state so there is no contradiction. This argument is weakened by the fact that the phrase is not contained in scripture.

If you believe that Adam was physically born of God, you have to accommodate that fact by limiting the scope of the title "Only Begotten." If Adam was physically created another way, then no accommodation is necessary--Jesus is the Only Begotten, in the full sense of the phrase. 

Posted by Jared

4/10/2005 09:26:00 AM  

Jared,

Thanks for the clarification. And I'm sorry about my mistake—you aren't butting in. As I understand it then, referring to Jesus as the Only Begotten of the Father "in the flesh" is an accommodation to allow Adam also to be begotten of the Father into an immortal state. And so because of the evidence for common descent, it is felt that the accomodation is not only unnecessary but, to quote Stephens et al., it "has been perpetuated by tradition rather than scripture or other revelation." Is that correct?

4/10/2005 11:25:00 AM  

Gary,

Your re-statement sounds about right. I would add a caveat--the phrase "Only Begotten in the flesh" is a commonly used one in the Church. Most of the time I don't think people use it with the accommodation in mind. In fact it is probable that many, maybe most, Church members have never heard the idea that Adam is physically descended from God. I had never heard the idea until my mission when I read the concept in a book. I think I was reasonably well informed as a teenager, and I've never seen it offically taught.

My point here is I think most people who use the phrase use it in a straightforward manner--without any thought of accommodating Adam. 

Posted by Jared

4/10/2005 03:13:00 PM  

Jared:

Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful commentary.

In this comment, I will attempt to answer two questions: (1.) Is the statement scriptural that Christ was the Only Begotten Son "in the flesh"? and (2.) Has the idea that Adam is physically descended from God ever been "officially taught"?

Question 1.

I've noted well your caveat that the phrase "Only Begotten in the flesh" is a commonly used one in the Church and some Church members may use the term without the accommodation in mind. But that begs the question which is not how members of the Church use the phrase but whether the phrase "has been perpetuated by tradition rather than scripture or other revelation." So please bear with me for a minute on this one, okay?

To find an answer to the question, I visited the Church's on-line Gospel Library where I searched for three words: "only," "begotten," and "flesh." There were 195 matches.

Among these I found Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young (once), Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith (seven times), Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (once), and Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant (twice) all saying Jesus was the Only Begotten "in the flesh."

I also found 23 articles by Gordon B. Hinckley (including the one in this month's Ensign). I found five articles by Howard W. Hunter and 14 by Ezra Taft Benson. I found one by Spencer W. Kimball, three by Harold B. Lee, four by Joseph Fielding Smith, two by Joseph F. Smith, two by Wilford Woodruff, and one by Brigham Young. That's a total of 55 articles found in official Church publications, written by Church Presidents and teaching that Jesus was the Only Begotten "in the flesh."

I found six articles by Thomas S. Monson, three by James E. Faust, two by Boyd K. Packer, four by David B. Haight, one by Neal A. Maxwell, three by Joseph B. Wirthlin, two by Richard G. Scott, one by Robert D. Hales, and four by Jeffrey R. Holland. That's a total of 26 articles found in official Church publications, written by the most recent Apostles and teaching that Jesus was the Only Begotten "in the flesh."

I found the doctrine in the Gospel Principles manual—official text for the Gospel Essentials Sunday School class—twice (1997, 69 & 379).

Then there is "The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" which includes these two sentences: "We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world."

Here is the short version: "We solemnly testify that ... he was ... the Only Begotten Son in the flesh."

This formal declaration was published over the actual signatures of all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. In the history of the Church it has been a rare thing for the First Presidency and the Twelve, acting collectively, to publish a document with their actual signatures. Yet, this declaration has been thus published (with actual signatures) in the Ensign, Apr. 2000, 2; the Ensign, Dec. 2004, 9; the New Era, Apr. 2000, 20; the Liahona, Apr. 2000, 2; and the Liahona, Dec. 2004, 9.

It's in For the Strength of Youth, 43. It's in The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A, ix; and again in The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part B, ix.

It's in Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part A, ix; as well as Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part B, ix.

It's in the Young Women Personal Progress book, inside the front cover. And copies suitable for framing are made available at no charge through LDS Distribution Services.

It's also been published in an abbreviated version without signatures in True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 87 and in the Friend, Jan. 2002, 28 (both of these sources contain the sentences quoted above).

The Prophet Joseph Smith said: "The fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the Church are vested in the keys of the kingdom." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 21; emphasis added.) Mormons also believe that "the President of the Church [is] the only person on earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 229; emphasis added.) It follows that only the President of the Church may "proclaim one unsettled doctrine, as among two or more doctrines in dispute, as the settled doctrine of the Church." (President J. Reuben Clark, as quoted by Francis M. Gibbons in Joseph Fielding Smith: Gospel Scholar, Prophet of God, p. 216; emphasis added.)

The Church's Prophet and President has a divine commission to teach doctrine. When he fulfils that commission, it becomes the word of the Lord and the voice of the Lord, etc. (D&C 68:4). This verse has never been restricted to that which is canonized and added to the Standard Works. And when the Counselors in the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve (a) teach the same doctrine individually that the Prophet is teaching, and (b) when they join with the Prophet speaking in unison on that very point of doctrine, publishing it in every conceivable way to the members of the Church, we may be sure that what they have spoken is "scripture" (D&C 68:4). In other words, "The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles" is scripture and members of the Church can cite that document as a scriptural source for the doctrine that Christ is the Only Begotten Son "in the flesh."

Question 2.

Now about Adam being physically descended from God. You say you've never seen it officially taught. Will one example suffice? Because I remember it being taught in 1980. Not only that, I believe those who signed the "The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles" used the term "Only Begotten Son in the flesh" twenty years later with the accomodation in mind because they were all in positions of general Church leadership in 1980. The list below includes fifteen names, the First Presidency and Twelve who signed the "The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles" in the year 2000. In each case I've indicated his position in the Church in 1980:

Gordon B. Hinckley, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Apostles.

Thomas S. Monson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

James E. Faust, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Boyd K. Packer, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

L. Tom Perry, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

David B. Haight, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Neal A. Maxwell, Presidency of the Seventy.

Russell M. Nelson, Sunday School General President.

Dallin H. Oaks, President of BYU.

M. Russell Ballard, Presidency of the Seventy.

Joseph B. Wirthlin, First Quorum of the Seventy.

Richard G. Scott, First Quorum of the Seventy.

Robert D. Hales, First Quorum of the Seventy.

Jeffrey R. Holland, Church Commissioner of Education.

Henry B. Eyring, Deputy Church Commissioner of Education.

Just a personal note before I proceed, a comment was posted earlier in this thread about a clear statement from President Lee regarding the fall that was published in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee manual. "Obviously," it was claimed, "an editorial decision was made to include this, and some correlation committee 'signed off.' This does not make it doctrine."

That is a gross oversimplification of the process. I was in a regional leadership meeting a few years ago and personally heard President Monson say that he had read all the way through a forthcoming Teachings of Presidents of the Church manual twice, making sure it contained sound doctrine. He then named a couple of his associates who had done likewise and with whom he had been discussing the manual. I think we should be careful what we assume about what has or hasn't happened when we read something published by the Church that we don't like. Again, this is just a personal note.

Now, back to Adam. The 1980-81 Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide contains a paragraph about Adam being physically descended from God. The paragraph was written by Bruce R. McConkie who was himself at the time one of the Apostles. The official nature of the paragraph is two-fold. First it quotes the very official 1909 First Presidency statement on "The Origin of Man." And second, it was published on page 36 of the 1980-81 Melchizedek Priesthood Study Guide. So, while this paragraph may or may not be "official doctrine," it clearly was "officially taught" in 1980. It says:

"Luke 3:38. What does this verse reveal about the origin of Adam's physical body? 'As to the manner in which Adam was placed on the earth, the First Presidency of the Church ... has given us this plain statement [from Improvement Era, Nov. 1909, p. 80]: "He took upon him an appropriate body, the body of a man, and so became a 'living soul.' ... All who have inhabited the earth since Adam have taken bodies and become souls in like manner." ' (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 17.)" (Bracketed comment and italics in the original.)

In addition, the footnote reference in the 1979 LDS edition of the Bible at Luke 3:38 for the words, "son of God" is to Moses 6:22 which, like Luke 3:38, is talking about genealogy and says Adam is "the son of God." Again, it seems clear to me that the fifteen men who signed the "The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles" have heard the idea that Adam is physically descended from God and they do not use the phrase "Only Begotten in the flesh" lightly.

Conclusion

To summarize: (1.) The statement that Christ was the Only Begotten Son "in the flesh" is scriptural. And although some Church members may use the term without the accommodation in mind, the First Presidency and the Twelve do not make casual, offhand declarations of doctrine. In a document of the magnitude of "The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles," they counsel together and choose their words carefully. (2.) You may disagree with the idea that Adam is physically descended from God if you like. But the idea is in the Standard Works and it has been "officially taught."

And thanks again to all of you for your thoughtful commentary. I'll keep reading.

4/10/2005 11:03:00 PM  

Gary,

Thanks for posting your research on these issues.

You point out that the phrase has been used by a number of church leaders and is contained in The Living Christ. I was not suggesting that the phrase was somehow wrong or inaccurate, I was only agreeing with Stephens that McConkie's accommodation splits hairs on a phrase not contained in the scriptures. We may disagree, but I don't think most general authorities--even in The Living Christ--use the phrase with accommodation in mind.

Regarding your second point, I was unaware of the statement in the manual. I do know that a manual in the early 20th century had similar teachings. So you have established that this concept has been published at least once in an official church manual. My point is this--for a doctrine that has large implications and ramifications, there isn't much support for it in Church publications or in General Conference talks. Why do the Brethren always emphasize our spiritual relationship to God if there is also a physical one? In my mind, the spiritual relationship would be dwarfed in importance by the physical one.

In light of scientific findings, I have a hard time accepting the concept as absolutely true--especially when it receives such little emphasis in the Church.
I think there is a good scriptural case for it though, so I don't accuse supporters of it of wresting the scriptures.

Interestingly, the Luke verse in the JST is changed to say "formed of God." I find this interesting since, if I am not mistaken, it post-dates what is contained in the Book of Moses. 

Posted by Jared

4/11/2005 07:18:00 AM  

Gary,
I think that when people use the phrase "only begotten in the flesh" they are juxtaposing it wiht "only begotten in the spirit" which we clearly do not believe. I think that this is all there is to it.

With regards to the teaching that Adam was physically descended from God, it is true that is has been offically taught, though not as much lately I think we would both agree. I'm not absolutely sure that evolution necessarily precludes such, but even if it did, I don't think too many members would lose too much sleep over rejecting such.

What might be most interesting of all, would be to consider BY's thoughts: that Adam was not descended from God, but was  God. I know that nobody believes it today, but so what? Right?

As Jared noted, I don't have too many problems with simply saying that some people are or were straight up wrong on certain issues, especially issues with little doctrinal or scientific support. I understand if others are not as liberal as I in dishing out such (as some would call it) criticism.

 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/11/2005 10:45:00 AM  

Jared and Jeffery:

Thanks for taking the time to read my April 10th comment. Your analytical comments really keep me thinking. This evening after Family Home Evening (and after I worked on taxes—yuk!), I did some more research on the subject. I appreciate you guys and the opportunity for this exchange. I just hope I'm not coming across too dogmatic about it. I've been told that's sometimes a problem for me.

Jeffery,

Two things.

First, I think you greatly underestimate the authority of Bruce R. McConkie and the impact he has had on the development of Mormon doctrine. He is, and will be for a long time yet to come, a respected scriptorian.

You acknowledged one example of his influence which you don't accept from the 1980-81 Melchizedek Priesthood Study Guide.

I will give you another example. This one is huge.

It's from a recent gospel doctrine lesson (Lesson 12: The Gathering). According to the teacher's manual "in this dispensation, the gathering began with a few people in New York." Then "in December 1830,... the Lord ... revealed ... that the Saints should leave New York and gather in Ohio.... A few months [later] Missouri became a second gathering place.... From 1831 to 1838, the Church maintained centers of population in both Ohio and Missouri.... In 1839 they gathered in Illinois [but] they were forced to leave Nauvoo in 1846, and in 1847 President Brigham Young led them to a new gathering place in the Rocky Mountains."

"For many years [until 1973] the call continued for Church members all over the world to gather to [the Rocky Mountains]. However, that phase of the gathering has now ended, and Church members are counseled to gather to the stakes of Zion wherever they live."

Note now how the doctrine changed from physical to spiritual gathering. The manual says, "In an area conference held in Mexico City in 1972, Elder Bruce R. McConkie said...."

We don't need to quote what he said here because we all know that only the President of the Church has authority to make such a doctrinal change. But,

"In April 1973, President Harold B. Lee, the 11th President of the Church, quoted [Elder McConkie's] words in general conference. In doing so, he 'in effect, announced that the pioneering phase of gathering was now over. The gathering is now to be out of the world into the Church in every nation' (Boyd K. Packer, in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 99; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 71)."

Since his call to the Quorum of the Twelve, few if any in Church leadership have criticized Elder Bruce R. McConkie. Most have read, and based on how frequently he is quoted, still do read, Elder McConkie's books.

Second, while I think you're wrong about people juxtaposing the two phrases, I'd be interested in any of your sources for that conclusion. Or is it your own invention to justify certain other things you would like to believe?

Now Jared,

It might be difficult to say just what, if anything, the General Authorities are thinking about evolution when they use the phrase "Only Begotten in the flesh." Of course, it would be easier if we knew how they felt about common descent being applied to man.

But that still leaves this problem: It's difficult to convince some people that the Church and its leaders are not against evolution. And it's difficult to convince other people that the Church and its leaders are against evolution. I suspect most people have some idea about what they believe, but I also suspect Jeffery is correct that most people don't worry that much about it. For those of us who do, however, it becomes a stand-off.

So I'll propose a solution. Can we agree that what matters is what Mormons think the Church's position is? Because if we knew that, we'd have a pretty good idea what the Authorities are thinking since that's where most Mormons get their thinking.

But, that leaves another problem. Can we even guess what Mormons think the Church's position is? Yes, I think maybe we can. Let me quote an expert.

For the past thirty years, Duane Jeffery has been a de facto spokesman for Mormon evolutionists. His well respected and often referred to article, Seers, Savants, and Evolution: The Uncomfortable Interface (hereinafter "SSE") was published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 8 [Autumn-Winter 1973], 41-75.

SSE was announced to the whole Church in the Ensign (Dec. 1975, 71) and to the academics in the Church in BYU Studies (Vol. 15, No. 4, Summer 1975, 532). It's respectability is enhanced by the fact that it appears in many Bibliographies, including four Encyclopedia of Mormonism articles.

You yourself have referred your readers (para. 3 above) to Professor Jeffery's article for additional information about your discussion opener (para. 2 above). According to its author, SSE is an abbreviated summary of everything that could be found from members of the First Presidency on the subject of evolution and it answers the question: "What is the doctrine of the Church on the subject of evolution" (SSE, 42).

The Professor's conclusion is that "the Church has taken no official position on the matter of evolution and related subjects [and] has made no official statement on the subject" (SSE, 67). I think he, of all people, is not likely to overstate any anti-evolution sentiment in the Church. In fact, if anything, I think he might play it down. Yet, last month he estimated that "probably 90 percent of people who are LDS think the church is against evolution." (See "Utah's non-war over evolution: It's taught — but probably not believed," Deseret Morning News, Mar. 19, 2005, pp. E1 & E3.)

Why would 90 percent of Mormons mistakenly think the Church is against evolution? Do they possibly think the Authorities are against evolution?

If this doctrine has "large implications and ramifications," as you say it has, why isn't the Church's neutral stand clarified better in Church publications or in General Conference talks? Why don't the Brethren emphasize their neutrality instead of allowing this confusion to continue?

I submit to you that it's because Duane Jeffery's "no Church doctrine" doctrine was created in SSE ex nihilo. And I invite you to consider my earlier analysis of this here.

Regarding your discussion opener from the April 1910 Era, the Deseret News article quoted above says Jeffery "points to a 1910 statement from the church First Presidency in which divinely directed evolution was included as an apparently acceptable possibility for the origin of life." In SSE, this 1910 statement is attributed to "the President's Office."

Two years ago, Dr. Trent Stephens, coauthor of Evolution and Mormonism, used the same 1910 statement in a speech. Here is what Dr. Stephens said about it:

"This is the Improvement Era from 1910. This is under the heading 'Priesthood Quorums' Table'. It's an anonymous statement. It's not signed by the First Presidency. But it is published in the Improvement Era. Joseph F. Smith was President of the Church at this time and was listed as the editor for the Improvement Era." (FAIR Fifth Annual Mormon Apologetics Conference, August 7, 2003, Utah Valley State College, Orem, Utah; emphasis added.)

As you've acknowledged in para. 4 above, the 1910 statement (para. 2 above) is not from the First Presidency and it did not originate "at the highest level of the Church, the President's Office" (SSE, 60-61) as claimed by Duane Jeffery. Trent Stephens was absolutely correct when he stated that it's an anonymous statement. And you correctly observed in para. 4 above that it probably did not even reflect the opinion of President Joseph F. Smith.

I think this anonymous article—I can't call it a statement without knowing "by whom" it was stated—merely acknowledges the existence of points of view not in harmony with a then recent First Presidency statement. I don't think it says anything official at all—it can't, because it's anonymous.

On the other hand, the First Presidency has formally declared the Church's official doctrinal position on the origin of man's body. And regarding the question of man's body evolving from lower orders of life, they said: "These, however, are the theories of men"—easily and usually interpreted as anti-evolution, not neutral.

This 1909 statement has been reprinted twice in major Church publications in recent years. First, it was excerpted in Chapter 37 of Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith (1998) which includes the anti-evolution sentence on page 336.

Then, the entire statement was also reprinted in the Church's official magazine so that Church members might know "the Church's doctrinal position on ... the Creation of the earth and the theories of evolution." (Introductory paragraph, "The Origin of Man," Ensign, Feb. 2002, 26; emphasis added).

Members of the First Presidency and the Twelve frequently reaffirm the doctrines that are found in this formal declaration. For example, President Boyd K. Packer is quoted in the January 2005 Ensign as follows:

"We are of God's family. We are His sons and daughters, created in the image of heavenly parents. 'No greater ideal has been revealed ... than the supernal truth that we are the children of God, and we differ, by virtue of our creation, from all other living things. (See Moses 6:8-10, 22, 59.)' " ("Strengthening the Family: Created in the Image of God, Male and Female," Ensign, Jan. 2005, 49.)

The verses cited (Moses 6:8-10, 22, 59) provide an excellent scriptural case for Adam being physically the son of God. For example, footnote 10b says, "Seth was in the likeness and image of Adam, as Adam was in the image of God." (Emphasis added.)

And speaking to Adam in verse 59, the Lord said, "ye were born into the world ... and so became of dust a living soul." That's the Lord speaking to Adam and it's a singular 'ye', it's not plural. If it were plural, the other phrase would be "and so became of dust living souls."

I think it means exactly what it says. And I don't think it was an accident that those particular verses were cited. This was the creation process and it answers the question, "Adam and Eve: How?"

Tonight I reread again the last six paragraphs of the 1909 First Presidency statement. Then I read them again to my wife. Then I read them in Family Home Evening. For me, it is an unambiguous statement of the Church's doctrinal position. For me, it explains why 90 percent of Mormons think the Church is against evolution.

Jared, you can believe whatever you want. I'm not telling you what to believe. I'm just telling you what I believe, and why.

And I repeat what I said on Sunday, thanks for all of your thoughtful commentary. I'm enjoying this discussion.

4/12/2005 03:11:00 AM  

Now I've done it again. I've mixed up names. Twice in only four comments.

Is it Duane E. Jeffery or Jeffrey D. Giliam?

Sorry about that, Jeffrey.

4/12/2005 06:22:00 AM  

Gary,

I've been a little slow to put 2 and 2 together. I didn't realize that was your website.

Thanks for your hefty comment. I will respond later.

4/12/2005 07:01:00 AM  

Gary,

I guess the heart of our current discussion right now is whether the concept that Adam was physically descended from God is an official church teaching. Certainly there are those who believe it--and they have reasonably good scriptural reasons, as well as endorsement from some influential leaders for doing so. It has shown up in offical church publications on occasion.

On the other hand, it receives very little attention compared to the doctrine of our spiritual relationship with God. I looked in the new book True to the Faith under the headings "Creation," "God the Father," and "The Fall," and saw nothing about our physical relationship with God. Nor is it contained in the Proclamation on the family. However our spiritual relationship is contained in these documents. The Origin of Man statement also contains wiggle room when it says that (paraphrasing) "whether we interpret this to mean the spirit, the body, or both, the conclusion is the same."

It seems to me that this is simply an unsettled issue. It may be true, as I indicated in my post. But if it is, there still must ultimately be an accounting for our scientific observations that highly suggest common physical ancestry with other animals.

As to what church members believe--I think that's a complicated issue.

4/12/2005 03:57:00 PM  


This isn't fakery. Rather it is the whole point of Adam and Eve taking on a fallen nature.
 

Nicely said. I gather that the concept of the fall including a complete change of state doesn't resonate for some people, but it makes (and has always made) great sense to me.

We have exactly the kind of bodies one should expect if there was a fall. 

Posted by Stephen M (Ethesis)

5/02/2005 12:57:00 PM  

This is all very fascinating .stuff Adam and Eve from Heavenly Parents etc.. This is 2006 and with all of the knowledge available it would seem that someone here would might say.. Hey, in Genesis God said "Let there Be light and it was. Then when it came to creating a man of likeness, not apes, the voice said "Let us create man." From my understanding GOD does not need assistance so who was speaking and who was being spoken to? Could it be that Adam and Eve were infact not the first humanzs nor were they singular. Hmmmm maybe there was no "evolution of man" but a grafting process. Jacob was spear heading it with his flock, and they were'nt animals. The Bible is a story of the creation of man. Ask the question. What man? I could say more but I would probably offend some and ruin others perception of self. Please email me, I welcome to here from you all. 

Posted by Karen Lewis

11/14/2006 05:08:00 PM  

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