Does Evolution Leave Room for God?

Mc Conkie's first objection which we mentioned was that the theory of evolution does not take into accout God:

GOD: CREATOR AND RULER OF MANY WORLDS. — While it is true that evolutionists may be divided between theistic and atheistic groups, yet most of those professing belief in God consider him to be an indefinable force, essence, or power of an incomprehensible nature. According to revelation, however, he is a personal Being, a holy and exalted Man, a glorified, resurrected Personage having a tangible body of flesh and bones, an anthropomorphic Entity, the personal Father of the spirits of all men. ("D&C 130:22"D&C 130:23; "moses 6:51; "abr. 3:22"abr. 3:23"abr. 3:24; Jos. Smith 2:16-19.)
This Person, in whose image and likeness man is created, has ordained the same plan of creation and salvation for this earth, and all the varieties of life on its face, that he has ordained with reference to the infinite number of worlds elsewhere created by him. ("moses 1:1; "D&C 76:22"D&C 76:23"D&C 76:24.) Obviously the eternal truths concerning the nature of the true God and his creative enterprises have received no consideration in the formulation of the theory of organic evolution.
The same can be said for Einstein's theory of relativity, Newton's laws of motion and Copernicus' heliocentric model of the solar system. Why don't we make a big fuss about them? Because we are talking about the creation of man, and if God has ever done anything it must have been this.

Some things must be cleared up first. Elder Mc Conkie mentions that some evolutionists believe in God, but it is a very different God than ours. This is true, but since when is that anything new? What is our God like? The reason why most evolutionists believe in such a non-personal God, is because they have been forced to reject the traditional Judeo-Christian God. We did that almost 200 years ago, but instead of accepting a "life force" type of God, we went even more anthropomorphic than they did. We do not believe in the utterly infinite and absolutistic God of ethical mono-theism, but believe in a God which is to one extent or another, finite (though there may be considerable difference as to how finite He is according to each individual Mormon).

David L. Paulsen's Doctoral dissertation, "Comparative Coherency of Mormon (Finistic) and Classical Theism, is a great resource for this. He describes how Mormonism believes in God which resides in Space (somewhere) and in Time. He had a beginning (in some sense), just like us (in the very same sense). He did not create elements (matter) or physical, eternal law. Instead, He is, to some extent, subject to physical law. This is why we don't really believe in miracles.

Here is Brigham Young:

The providences of God are all a miracle to the human family until they understand them. There are no miracles only to those who are ignorant. A miracle is supposed to be a result without a cause, but there is no such thing. There is a cause for every result we see; and if we see a result without understanding the cause we call it a miracle. This is what we have been taught; but there is no miracle to those who understand. (JD 14:79, 13:140)
George Q. Cannon also said:

I know that miracles are said to be suspension of law; but instead of their being a suspension of law, they are due to a knowledge of a higher law, to a comprehension of greater laws, by the knowledge of which, what are called miracles are wrought. (JD 25:149-150)
Paulsen concluded in his dissertation:

The hypothesis of a finite God coheres more closely with the findings of evolutionary studies than does the hypothesis of an omnipotent God. This position is based principally on (1) the apparently extremely long periods of time necessary for the development of man; and (2) the staggering waste ensuing in the evolution of life-forms. There is no logical inconsistency in the notion of God's creationg men without (a) resort to evolutionary process, (b) taking millions of year and/or (c) producing staggering waste... The conflicting data point (one) toward the hypothesis of a loving and benevolent God hampered by obstacles and instruments to His will.
to be continued...

Evolutionists have rejected the more traditional forms of God in favor of a more abstract version of Him which amounts to little more than the natural laws of the universe. Mormons, however, have rejected the traditional form of God since the beginning and have tended to believe in a radically anthropomorphic Deity. Strangly enough this idea of a finite God may be fairly well suited for dealing with evolution.



Is Paulsen's dissertation available online?

There was an essay by Jim Faulconer on the same topic that was linked to recently on T&S. Unfortunately the link no longer works.

3/13/2005 02:00:00 PM  

It was available for purchase online at UMI but I can't find it any more. It was published in 1975 by the title I mentioned.

3/13/2005 03:07:00 PM  



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