4/11/2005

Adam and Eve: When and Where?

Earlier I discussed some of the issues surrounding how Adam and Eve were created, and listed two tentative suggestions for reconciliation with science. Here I will discuss some of the issues involved in placing Adam and Eve in time and geography. Up front I want to point out that I am not a geneticist, archeologist, or anthropologist. My understanding of the issues involved come primarily from writings for non-expert audiences.

The LDS Model:

The traditional LDS placement of Adam and Eve is straightforward. Using Biblical chronology and other supportive scriptures, Adam and Eve became mortal around 6,000 years ago. Scriptural statements place the future (and by implication the past) site of Adam-ondi-ahman in Missouri. A number of personal accounts state that Joseph Smith identifed Jackson county as the site of the Garden of Eden, and identified some stones as part of an altar that Adam built after leaving the garden. Some presume that Noah was responsible for transfering the human race to the Eastern Hemisphere.

The Scientific Models:

One of the components of evolutionary theory is the concept of common descent--that all living organisms descend from previously living organisms and that ultimately, all living organisms share common ancestors. For humans this means that our physical bodies share common ancestry with other primates. Long ago it was recognized that the closest living relative, with which we share a common ancestor, is the chimpanzee. This hypothesis is supported by both anatomical, archeological, and genetic evidence. Since chimpanzees are only known to have lived in Africa, the origination of humans was hypothesized to have taken place there.

Accumulating evidence has continued to support Africa as the place of human origins. The oldest hominid (including Homo sapiens) remains are found there. Genetic diversity in humans is greatest in Africa and less diverse outside of Africa, which suggests that populations throughout the rest of the world are descended from a subset of early African populations.

The relatedness of hominid species is still under debate. As I understand it, the current dominant model of human development and expansion is called "Out of Africa 2." In this model, modern humans developed in Africa after other hominids had migrated to Asia and Europe. Modern humans eventually moved out of Africa and replaced other hominids who became extinct. The other main model is called the "Multiregional" model. In this model, early hominids moved out of Africa to colonize Asia and Europe as described above, but modern humans arose gradually through genetic mixing of these populations. Other models contain a mixture of these two models. One recent paper, based on genetic evidence, argues for genetic mixing with several major migrations, including three from Africa.

Below is a rough, brief timeline of significant events in hominid evolution:

>1 million years ago: First hominids leave Africa
200,000 years ago: First anatomical Homo sapiens in Africa
~160,000 years ago: "Mitochondrial Eve"
~60,000 years ago: "Y-chromosome Adam"
40-50,000 years ago: Development of culture (more sophisticated tools, art, ceremonial burial of dead)
15-30,000 years ago: Colonization of North America
10,000 years ago: Development of Agriculture
3-4,000 years ago: Development of written language

Placing Adam and Eve in light of current scientific understanding and without additional revelation is highly problematic. The qualities associated with Adam and Eve in the scriptures include intelligence, writing, and agriculture. Further, the LDS model places Adam and Eve in North America around 6,000 years ago. This timing is reasonably consistent with agriculture and writing, but is inconsistent with genetic or geneological ancestry to all living humans. Placing Adam and Eve in a position of genetic or geneological ancestry is inconsistent with writing and agriculture, as well as with placement in North America. The concepts of "mitochondrial Eve" and "Y-chromosome Adam" are not helpful here because, in spite of their naming, they do not refer to the biblical persons. That this is true is evident from the different times that these two individuals lived.

With scientific debate still surrounding how early hominids relate to each other it seems premature to pose any scenario that accounts for Adam and Eve, much less their placement in North America. Such a proposal would also require revelatory clarification on the timing and geography of Adam and Eve, and whether the identification of stones derived from Adam's altar was a matter of speculation or literal truth. (Duane Jeffery recently pointed out the problem these stones pose for a worldwide flood scenario.) Until information is more forthcoming, on both sides, it seems best not to force a reconciliation. Speculation is all we can do right now.

Further Reading
There are a number of explanations of human development and migration available on the internet. I will list just a few here.
Origins of Modern Humans: Multiregional or Out of Africa, by Donald Johanson
Alan Templeton, Out of Africa again and again
Becoming Human
Out of Africa, EvoWiki
Human mtDNA Migrations

There are a number of books that likely give good general explanations of current scientific thought. Since science moves, sometimes quickly, it is important to seek out information that is as fresh as possible. It is also important to read from multiple sources in order to not mistake one person's opinion for generally accepted conclusions. This advice applies to all scientific fields.

43 Comments:

In my view, the fall occurred when mankind become accountable for their actions. That would be roughly when our ancestors' moral sensibilities crossed the threshold from those of a seven-year old (or younger)to those of an eight-year old (or older). As chimps fall on one side of that line and modern humans fall on the other side, there has to be some point at which the crossover occurred. Is there anyway to estimate where that event would fall on your timeline? 

Posted by Last Lemming

4/11/2005 01:41:00 PM  

If I had to guess, I would say around the time of development of culture. As I understand it, good evidence for the timing of development of language is still a long way off. It would be that much harder to estimate when conscience entered the picture--especially in the absence of written codes of conduct.

If conscience has a biological component, which I believe it does, then it would have to have been before the first group of humans colonized areas (islands, etc) that kept them isolated from the rest. 

Posted by Jared

4/11/2005 02:26:00 PM  

Jared,

Question: Can "anatomical, archeological, and genetic evidence" (para. 3 above) prove anything about the origin of man?

Answer:Yes. Scientific evidence can be convincingly supportive of the theory "that all living organisms descend from previously living organisms and that ultimately, all living organisms share common ancestors" if—but only if—the natural laws and processes of nature we observe today haven't changed significantly in the last several billion years. Without this assumption, physical evidence from prior to written history has no meaning.

Question: Is it only an assumption that the natural laws and processes of nature we observe today haven't changed significantly in the last several billion years. Doesn't the evidence provide a clear picture of the past?

Answer: No scientist has ever made a trip back in time to actually observe the earth as it was millions or billions of years ago. You can't even observe the earth as it was yesterday without some kind of recording (for example, a photograph). Evidence gathered from yesterday is subject to interpretation. I like Hugh Nibley's description of this problem:

"My own children, long before they could read, write, or count, could tell you exactly how things were upon the earth millions and millions of years ago. But did the little scholars really know? 'What is our knowledge of the past and how do we obtain it?' asks the eminent archaeologist Stuart Piggott, and answers: 'The past no longer exists for us, even the past of yesterday.... This means that we can never have direct knowledge of the past. We have only information or evidence from which we can construct a picture.' The fossil or potsherd or photograph that I hold in my hand may be called a fact—it is direct evidence, an immediate experience; but my interpretation of it is not a fact, it is entirely a picture of my own construction. I cannot experience ten thousand or forty million years—I can only imagine, and the fact that my picture is based on facts does not make it a fact, even when I think the evidence is so clear and unequivocal as to allow no other interpretation." (The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, vol. 1, ch. 2, 25-27.)

With this problem in mind, let's ask again...

Question: Does scientific evidence prove anything about the origin of man?

Answer One: Scientifically, we do not have direct knowledge of the past. The scientific evidence must be interpreted. And even though a given interpretation is based on fact, the interpretation itself is not fact. What the scientific data prove about human origins depends entirely on what one chooses to imagine or believe about human origins in the first place because it is from that point of view that the evidence will be interpreted.

Answer Two: Doctrinally, it does not and cannot. In the official 1909 declaration of Church doctrine regarding man's effort to discover human origins, there is an important and often overlooked warning:

"Man, by searching, cannot find out God. Never, unaided, will he discover the truth about the beginning of human life. The Lord must reveal Himself or remain unrevealed; and the same is true of the facts relating to the origin of Adam’s race—God alone can reveal them." ("The Origin of Man," Ensign, Feb. 2002, 30.)

A scientist living in 2005 may be tempted to point out that the First Presidency living in 1909 spoke prematurely because they didn't have access then to all the facts that are available today. But in saying this, the scientist is admitting that science has advanced—or changed—a lot in the past 100 years. Is it not likely that equally significant advances—changes—will occur in science during the next century?

The 21st century Church has twice emphasized that doctrinally the 1909 statement is not outdated (see the 2000-2001 Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society manual Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, Chapter 37, and the Feb. 2002 Ensign from which the above paragraph is quoted).

Unchanging truth comes from God, who is "the same, yesterday, today, and forever" (2 Ne. 2:4; 27:23; 29:9; Alma 31:17; Morm. 9:9; Moro. 10:19; D&C 20:12; 35:1). It is found in "the scriptures and the words of modern prophets" (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, May 1993, 14). "And if it were in perfect agreement with the science of today, it would surely be out of line with the science of tomorrow" (Of All Things!: Classic Quotations from Hugh Nibley, comp. Gary P. Gillum, 1993, 245).

4/13/2005 05:59:00 AM  

Gary,

I will not argue that a person should make religous decisions based purely on scientific evidence. Like Henry Erying, I think there is room for disagreement in the Church--otherwise salvation would hinge on how much education a person has (either as a positive or negative).

I also do not wish to be seen as trying to erode faith in the prophets. Overall I think the 1909 statement is a fine document, though we clearly differ in which portions to emphasize, or how they should be interpreted. While the statement re-affirms important truths, I also see it as a product of its time. Evolutionary theory was relatively new at the time, can be counter-intuitive, and was used as an excuse to support social and economic philosophies that ran counter to gospel principles. There would have been nothing but confusion among church members had the First Presidency endorsed it. For heaven's sake, they were still trying to get rid of Adam-god teachings. They were right to be skeptical--we should always be a little skeptical. I don't know exactly how the Grant administration felt about it, but it is interesting that their statement re-affirmed certain doctrinal truths but dropped the passages that could be interpreted as hostile to evolution. The current First Presidency seems to take a more wait-and-see approach, which I think is wise. If they came down hard on either side of the issue, I don't think anything would be gained.

You state: "What the scientific data prove about human origins depends entirely on what one chooses to imagine or believe about human origins in the first place because it is from that point of view that the evidence will be interpreted." Mostly, I disagree with you here. Yes, our intepretation will be affected by prior experience and certain ground rules and assumptions. But taken to an extreme, this statement discounts the possibility that experiments and analysis can teach us anything, which I think is false. Multiple lines of evidence are important--it makes science strong. Certain properties of our genome could be different, making the case for common descent weaker, but they aren't. Analysis of the origin of our genes could point to anywhere on the earth, but so far it mostly does not--it points primarily to Africa. I refuse to believe that we only have evidence for common descent because we just want it to be that way. I think that is demonstrably not the case.

Regarding human origins, there are certainly areas of uncertainty. When and why did language develope? What caused our brains to get relatively big? Why did ancient hominids begin to walk up-right? When did we gain conscience, moral judgment, and the ability to empathize? Mostly we can only put forward hypotheses about these things. At this point it looks like only God can give us these answers, so I agree that unaided, we won't know the full story. But I don't think what we do have is totally wrong either.

Provided we both keep the commandments, I don't think our disagreement really matters. If it did, I would hope church leaders would give the issue a fraction of the attention that they do for, say, p0rn0graphy. In fact, there is information out there that suggests that the Brethren have not reached total consensus on these issues. 

Posted by Jared

4/13/2005 09:19:00 AM  

As we learn from Jared's article, reconciling the scientific evidence with the scriptures at present is problematic. But, this conclusion is only true if we accept the scriptures as true. Perhaps it is the scriptures that should be questioned as well as the scientific evidence? In light of this example (scripture interpretation versus scientific), how does one have 'faith' that the scriptures are in fact true? How many falsehoods exist in the scriptures that have yet to be discovered? Or will they all just be swept under the rug like, for example, what is done with the biblical account of the creation of the earth (i.e., 'days' doesn't really mean 86,400 seconds as we know it, but rather is a metaphor or cannot be interpreted literally).
 

Posted by Steve M.

4/13/2005 10:10:00 AM  

With regard to the laws of nature changing two things should be pointed out.

1) We have no reason to even suspect that the laws of physics have changed. See here  for the reasons.

2) To think that God changed the laws of physics is against Mormon doctrine. We believe that God did not create matter, intelligence or laws. His miracles are always in accordance with natural law, for the simple reason that He cannot change them. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/13/2005 10:45:00 AM  

Jeffrey,

I would like to address your suggestion that the laws of nature and the laws of physics do not change, indeed cannot change.

I am confused by your statement that "To think that God changed the laws of physics is against Mormon doctrine."

Right now, however, I am at work.

More on this later tonight.
 

Posted by Gary

4/13/2005 12:25:00 PM  

We believe that God performs miracles in accordance with natural law. Why? Because He cannot break or change them to suit His purposes. That is why He organized the world instead of Created it. That is why a God would even consider using such a prodigously wasteful method such as evolution. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/13/2005 12:56:00 PM  

I agree with Jeffery with the caveat that I don't believe we understand or know all natural laws--which is why miracles are miracles to us. 

Posted by Jared

4/13/2005 01:14:00 PM  

No Doy! ;-p Even I believe that. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/13/2005 02:22:00 PM  

Sorry, I should have phrased it differently. 

Posted by Jared

4/13/2005 03:22:00 PM  

It's OK. I'm only joking. It's just that sometimes I feel like I'm the one you is a little too heterodox for comfort. Like J. said over at my site, I'm the one who is willing to use terms and endorse ideas which other people shy away from. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/13/2005 03:41:00 PM  

Steve M.,

Good questions--I don't think a pat answer is sufficient, but it's all I have at the moment.

I'm sure there will be future suprises that overturn what we used to think. That such things have occured are evident from church history, and really it's part of what we believe--we learn line upon line. I think such revolutions are much more likely to occur on more speculative items than on more central doctrines--although understanding of central doctrines can change without them necessarily being false.

A few of my general thoughts related to this are here . 

Posted by Jared

4/13/2005 03:50:00 PM  

Jared,

Regarding your 4/13/2005 09:19:28 post above:

Simply put, I see science dealing with at least two completely different kinds of questions. And I believe it is a question of Laboratory Science versus Forensics.

First, What is happening in the present? (Laboratory Science)

Second, What did happen in the past? (Forensics)

Scientific conclusions are about what IS happening right now in today's world are straightforward. Because these conclusions are in the now, scientists all over the world can duplicate the circumstances and verify the result, saying "Yes, I get the same result" or "No, I don't get the same result." Controversy in this area doesn't usually last long because when enough people have verified the result (whether positively or negatively) the proposal is either accepted or discarded and that's the end of it.

Conclusions are about what WAS happening in the world yesterday are not as simple. Unfortunately, without the ability to time travel, these conclusions are less precise because there are no tests to be done, no experiments. We just take data gathered in the field (i.e. fossils) or data gathered in the laboratory (i.e. the genome) and try to reconstruct what happened by piecing the data together so that it makes sense. When we use this process in a court of law, it's called forensics. But even in a court of law, eye witnesses are preferred.

It seems to me, both of your discussions about Adam and Eve are in the second category. There is nothing you or I can DO to scientifically verify our conclusions. We're stuck with logic, reasoning, and—Heaven forbid—faith, in either God or man.

My faith tells me the 1909 First Presidency is very important. I quote it as if it were part of the Standard Works. For you the 1909 statement "is a find document [but] a product of its time." That's an impressive list you gave, telling what motivated it:

1. "Evolutionary theory was relatively new at the time,"

2. "[it] can be counter-intuitive,"

3. "[it] was used as an excuse to support social and economic philosophies that ran counter to gospel principles.

4. There would have been nothing but confusion among church members had the First Presidency endorsed it.

5. For heaven's sake, they were still trying to get rid of Adam-god teachings.

6. They were right to be skeptical--we should always be a little skeptical.

But did the 1909 First Presidency actually say they were motivated by any of these reasons? No.

Jared, you are entitled to your analysis. But you left out one important motivation. It's the one the First Presidency themselves gave in the document: "To tell the truth as God has revealed it...." they said, "is the sole purpose of this presentation."

You may think it is a product of its time. But I say again, the 21st century Church has twice emphasized that doctrinally the 1909 statement is not outdated (see the 2000-2001 Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society manual Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, Chapter 37, and the Feb. 2002 Ensign.)

Jeffrey,

Regarding your 4/13/2005 10:45:45 post above.

You were first but the others have agreed. You all seem surprised that I would suggest changes in the natural laws and processes of nature we observe today.

It seems to be your belief that God "cannot change" the natural laws and processes of nature. Your words are, "To think that God changed the laws of physics is against Mormon doctrine."

I would agree, and I think you would also, that the laws of nature are basically the same now as they have been for the past 6,000 years. Prior to that I believe, as I've discussed on my web site, that no death before the fall is true, Church doctrine. I believe the fall was an actual event involving real people and that it happened approximately 6,000 years ago.

But, let's take the first item in your timeline (para. 6 above)—"1 million years ago: First hominids leave Africa." And let me ask you this question: Can you say positively that all of the natural processes of life and death were exactly the same then as now?

Regardless of the evidence, conclusions about conditions on the earth 1 million years ago are meaningless unless your answer is, "Yes."

And my own answer of course is, "No."

It has always amazed me how this suggestion (change in natural processes of life and death) seems so unbelievable when applied to the past, yet so not a problem when applied to the future.

We sing in Church, "How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion shall lie down together without any ire." (Hymns, 2; see also Isaiah 11:6-7). Have you ever wondered, during the singing of that song, whether known scientific principles—natural laws—can explain how this will happen?

What will science do when earth moves from its present stage of existence into the next—the millennium—and some natural laws do change? What can science tell us right now, for example, about a world in which there "there shall be no sorrow because there is no death" (D&C 101:29)? Can either of these conditions be observed today? Can experiments be done to test hypothetical ideas about such a world?

What about the Resurrection? Was the Resurrection a reality for Jesus Christ? Will it be a reality for you and for me? Science simply cannot answer these questions.

Surely you must realize that all of the telestial knowledge accumulated by man cannot tell anyone anything about terrestrial or celestial worlds. Do you really think we can apply our understanding of the present world to a past world in which there was no death? Does that make any more sense than trying to apply our knowledge of the present earth to the future earth? Isn't that just a little like using scientific evidence to prove there can be no resurrection of the dead? Doesn't your logic apply as well to the near future as to the distant past? Surely, if there was no death before the fall, none of the observable and reproducible data we see today has any application to that world.

Jeffrey, the earth and all upon it did change at the time of the fall of Adam, just as surely as it will change at the time of the Second Coming of Christ. At least one Church President, Joseph Fielding Smith, testified repeatedly that this is so. Five Prophets have followed him in succession and I defy anyone to name which of President Joseph Fielding Smith's successors has said that he, as President, was wrong.

4/13/2005 07:52:00 PM  

Gary,
Its quite apparent that you do not believe that any reconciliation can be made between evolution and Mormonism. If this is correct then you will not believe much of anything that is said here, for we are taking for granted the evolution is basically true.

I my personal efforts here, I have used a version of evolution which is rather "hard core", that defended by Dawkins and Dennett. I figure that if evolution is wrong in any relevant aspect, it will be all the easier to reconcile.

You can throw out uniformitarianism if you want, but you must insist that all of science, not just evolution is wrong. You would have to insist that the understanding of the universe as taught in universities is wrong, dead wrong. I am not willing to accept this. Their teachings, especially those of evolution, are based are solid evidence from a variety of field and sound reasoning which is closely criticized by the entire world.

Such a take on science seems VERY un-Mormon if you ask me.

P.S. Did you read the link of carbon dating? You should also read the link we have at the home page on evidences of macro evolution. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/14/2005 12:31:00 AM  

Gary,

You pose legitimate questions regarding different spheres of existence. But should moving from one sphere to another not only erase any evidence of the former sphere, but create strongly supported evidence of a very different past altogether?

If you argue that it might, as a test of faith, then I have to ask, why was so much work put into "testing" just a few people? Keep in mind that under a 6000 year scenario, that it is only people at the tail end who have been in a position to figure out that the evidence leads to different conclusions. And it's not even all people living during that time--it's only those who have enough education to recognize the problem. So we're talking about rigging up a test of faith of massive proportions, just to test a few scientists and those that are in a position to hear what they say. Meanwhile we have admonitions in scripture to treasure up knowledge and to study things in the earth and how it was made, and so forth, but evidently we are not to believe much of what we find.

Perhaps you can see our problem, which is why we're undertaking an attempt at reconciliation.

I don't expect to persuade you, neither do I really want to--I don't think it matters. I believe that the Church is true either way, and that is what ultimately counts. Neither side of science or religion has the whole story yet--there are still things to learn. But we have to make decisions about our life now--which is partly why I would never want someone to jettison their faith in the Church based on science.

I hope you'll stick around and continue to keep us doctrinally honest. 

Posted by Jared

4/14/2005 07:28:00 AM  

Jeff - I was able to watch "Dumbo" the other day, and finally understood "Stop that Crow," and realized, of course that this is an addition to the original story.

In studying Dennet a bit, he is trying to convince you and I to get rid of not one, but 3 feathers. The first is God, the second is the soul, and the third is "free will." While you still claim to believe in these three feathers, your faith in Darwinism has caused you to attempt to alter the model that God has used to tell his children what the truth is about such things as Himself, the soul, and free will.

The model for dispensing truth from God about such things is about doctrine. Dennet is lying to me about the existence of God, my soul, and my free will. I have been taught in Church all of my life that God does not lie, and, that I can trust the Scriptures and the First Presidency. Now, you are telling me that, regarding the origin of my body, I must beleive that Dennet is telling me the truth, and God is lying to me.

I do not have scientific training, nor, perhaps, your IQ. However, I have read many "reports from the front" from well-trained scientists with proper credentials and credible stories that tell me that the theory of Evolution has serious problems. I was even recently reading about serious problems from a qualified source about "common descent."

You are, from my perspective, changing the "model" if you will as to how God dispenses truth, or, in your terminology, "doctrine." It should now include scientific theories, and, when these clash with traditional doctrinal sources, the scriptures and the First Presidency give way, and Dennet and Dawkins become my new Apostles.

My personal faith is based upon spiritual experiences that go way beyond my intellect. A couple of weeks ago, I happened to be in San Diego and visited the San Diego zoo one day, and the San Diego Temple the next, at about the same times. At the end of the first visit, I was face to face with an Orangutan accross a glass. We put our hands accross from one anothers', and I looked into his face for some minutes.

The next day, I was at the Temple, and, at about the same time, was in what is for me, a very sacred place. The two experiences - the zoo and the Temple, were literally like night and day as I contemplated the issue at this blog. I cannot, and will not ever believe that I am descended from apes, and that I cannot trust the veracity of the Scriptures, the First Presidency, and the unmistakable, (but untransferable) witness of the Holy Ghost over the clever but falsifiable musings of Dawkins and Dennet.
 

Posted by Greg

4/14/2005 07:37:00 AM  

Jared said: "I believe that the Church is true either way, and that is what ultimately counts."

Jared - I have just completed an informal survey of "believing scientists" on this very issue of the origin of man. I have a publication from BYU in 1978, and the recent "Of Heaven and Earth" from Deseret book, and find that the large majority of those with training like yours think there is something wrong with the Scriptures and other traditional doctrine.

Most of them wouldn't want to go as far as you guys are, i.e., willing to dispense with the doctrine of a "Fall," other than as the deliberate act of all of us to come to earth. What I don't know is the number of students who, through the years, when confronting this dichotomy have lost their faith. I do know of a few, but, that is no valid survey.

What I am learning here is that no reconciliation seems possible. Either the science is recognized, as Gary has pointed out, as limited in perhaps time, space and dimension, or, the Scriptures and the Seers are just plain wrong.

The other day you gave a great answer to my pointing out that the literalness of the Fall may be connected to God's culpability for the sins of man. You gave a good answer. I still disagree, but your answer showed common sense and the passions of your faith. One thing I disagree on though, was your answer to Gary about "wiggle room" in the 1909 statement. Such is only possible if you take things out of context. This is the sentence you paraphrased"

"whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion"

In context, the paragraph which contains it is the conclusion of a two paragraph statement that is separated in the text. When put together, I believe that the context removes any doubt or "wiggle room."

"These two points being established, namely, the creation of man in the image of God, and the twofold character of the Creation, let us now inquire: WHAT IS THE FORM OF MAN, IN THE SPIRIT AND IN THE BODY, AS ORIGINALLY CREATED? In a general way the answer is given in the words chosen as the text of this treatise. “God created man in his own image.” It is more explicitly rendered in the Book of Mormon thus: “All men were created in the beginning after mine own image” (Ether 3:15). … If, therefore, we can ascertain the form of the “Father of spirits,” “The God of the spirits of all flesh,” we shall be able to discover the form of the original man."

* * * *
"It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declared that Adam was “the first man of all men” (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race. It was shown to the brother of Jared that all men were created in the beginning after the image of God; whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion: Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our Heavenly Father."(EMPHASIS ADDED)

There seems to be no reasonable doubt that the origins, again, of mans' bodies, BOTH SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL, are being addressed.

While I would agree with your retort to Gary that, while still being taught, our physical link to God is not emphasized these days, and, has not received the official "First Presidency Doctrinal Seal," the issue we are discussing here HAS received such treatment.

Now, here are some sincere questions from someone who represents the 99.9% of the members of the Kingdom who have not had your scientific training:

(1) Why has God lied to us about the origins of our bodies?

(2) Why has God given us such a flawed doctrinal model upon which we can rely for truth?

(3) Even though Elder McConkie and Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith, (and many other "Seers and Savants" ) were not very clear in their arguments as to why the Scriptures teach us that there is an ESSENTIAL link between the Fall of Adam and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, why did God lie to us and tell us that there is a link?

(4) If Adam is not a real person, why did God lie to us in all four Standard Works about his many key roles in the pre-mortal and mortal worlds?

I have read many "plausable" histories of Pre-Adamic man's progress on earth from believing scientists. How come no one here has been able to provide a plausable story about how God's children came to earth that harmonizes with even a "no fall" doctrine? It seems to me that, having perfomed major surgery on the Scriptures and created a new (scientific theory inclusive)doctrinal model - having pared things down to pre-mortal spirit existence in God's, presence, the spiritual death of moving to earth, and the redemption through the atonement, there still is no plausable story that even then will "reconcile" the remaining source of truth, scientific theory even to itself.

As Gary has pointed out, even "truths" which now appear to be "spiritual" or "non-scientific" - such as the "celestialization" of our bodies and the planet, are actually "scientific," so, I believe that SOMEONE qualified should be responsible to contruct plausable theories linking such things to known science, or, they should be discarded along with other myths from the Scriptures.

4/14/2005 09:20:00 AM  

I just realized that we have both Greg and Gary here. Given that both of your arguments are along the same lines, I hope you'll forgive me if I've switched up your names at all.

Greg,

First of all, I think you are overstating our case. Jeffery provided a possible explanation for the Fall. We could think of others. I just don't want anyone to mistake our exericise here as being wedded to speculative doctrinal positions. I reserve the right to change my mind without apology.

Now about God lying--do you consider figurative scriptural passages as lies? When we are told that Adam was created from the dust of the earth (which Orson Pratt took quite literally, while Brigham Young did not) and that Eve was created from Adam's rib, are those lies? I doubt that you think so, and neither do I.

Speaking for myself, I believe Adam was a real person.

I realize that this comment is incomplete, but I need to think some more. 

Posted by Jared

4/14/2005 10:02:00 AM  

Greg,
What happened? Your recent comments seem rather bitter in comparison to your earlier ones.

Dennett and Dawkins are full blown atheistic naturalists. I have not tried to hide this fact. Dawkins seems to have serious issues beyond simply being not convinced, but Dennett isn't as bad. He simply doesn't think that a belief in God is necessary to explain things.

Though it may be hard to see, his ideas actually fit in somewhat nicely with Mormon doctrine, though not without some finagling. We don't believe that objective miracles are possible. We are strict materialists. We don't belief in creatio ex nihilo of anything.

Thus 1) Our reasons for believing in God must go beyond the teleological approach. It must be based on, as you call them, spiritual experiences, not the wonders of nature. Dennett definitely allows for this while maintaining a hardy amount of skepticism.

2) We don't believe the spirits are magic stuff. It is composed of "more refined" matter which is subject to natural laws of some type. While Dennett sees no evidence for this, he definitely allows for this.

3) Dennett does accept a variety of free will worth wanting, as he calls it. As of late I have posted quite a bit trying to show how his version of free will is not only compatible with Mormonism, but is actually a better fit with it than is any form of indeterminism. You follow the link at the home page to "Issues in Mormon Doctrine" to go see what I mean by this.

To call Dennett and Dawkins apostles of Jesus Christ is highly inappropriate, I agree. But to call them General Authorities of evolution and it's implications for our world view isn't far off the mark. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/14/2005 10:49:00 AM  

Wow, it's getting hot in here!! I think the main problem of this misunderstanding is rooted in the fact that we as church members think the scriptures say things they don't. One example: that the only people that were on the American continent from 592 BC to 421 AD were the Nephites and Lamanites. Or that they spread over two entire continents. The scriptures just do not say that. This is just one of many examples we could use. As an LDS culture we have made assumptions and refuse to give those assumptions up even in the face of significant evidence that does nothing to lessen the truthfulness of what is taught in scripture and by the Brethren.

Brigham Young was very critical of this narrow approach to knowledge and learning. He encouraged the saints to explore, to throw off the stereotypical practices and thoughts. If you want just the highlights read Nibley's Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints.

4/14/2005 12:16:00 PM  

Jeff Said Greg,

What happened? Your recent comments seem rather bitter in comparison to your earlier ones.

- if you want to know the truth, it was Steve's comments. I actually lost sleep over them. I was glad to see you take him to task a bit. As far as Dennett goes, I don't know enough about him to say whether he is a "closet Mormon" whom you will convert when he realizes he is alive in the spirit world.

I was listening to a tape about Sartre, another materialist, and, I could swear, Stephen Covey's whole "7 habits" phenomenon comes right out of Sartre.

Jared - your best argument is the one you gave Gary about you scientists being "trapped" by the burdens of your almost unique knowledge. I cannot say if this is true - only that others with your apparent information see the facts differently, and, are in the forefront in what they see as the cultural fight of the age in the ID movement.

I am absolutely convinced of your sincerity. I am acquiring the belief that an LDS scientist who is going to be good in his field and discover some important things may be so tied to his or her research paradigm that it may be impossible to deny it, or even objectively challenge it. However, I also believe that if you saw Doctrine as an essential theory or system the way I do, you would not allow it to be diluted to the extent that it won't function for most members of the Church. Put another way, you would not allow the inroads into your scientific theories that you are attempting into my doctrinal theories.

You could say then that my doctrinal theories are my own, but they are not. I have adopted them and tested them, but these are in personal ways. I did a survey last week, and discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that "no death before the Fall" is presently the doctrine being taught in all presently correlated Church lessons. Before attending here, I would have thought that this would be a "harder" doctrine for scientists to swallow than the origins question. However, I have learned that from your perspective, these things come in a package. The same information that tells you the "temporal" earth is old tells you my body came from lower forms of life.

As I have stated before, my personal belief is that both science and the "traditionally taught doctrinal model" of knowledge are true. Because of the apparent relationship between scientific theories and the ability of men to discover truths about the physical world and put them to our use, I believe that the Lord provided a very orderly, but PRE-ADAMIC creation period.

You will tell me that an "Adamic" renewal or remodel followed by a fall and death would be discoverable and measurable. I believe this as well. However, has this THEORY ever really been rigorously tested? If I ever get the funds, and I may, I would spend a lot of money to hire you or someone like you to test such theories. As of now, except over at ARN, where supposedly 40 scientists are working on an ID theory, no one is being paid to do such research. And, over at ARN, they won't be doing much on an Adamic renewal.

Well, we have the Creation scientists. I have read a lot of interesting articles there. They are overburdened generally by Creation ex-nihilo and "young earth" paradigms. Yet, I have read several abstracts that seriously question some of your theoretical beliefs.

Whether you recognize it or not, and, I have tried to bring this to the surface, you are constructing a new theory of Doctrine. This theory is as important to someone like me as your scientific theories are to you. I would like to see you acknowledge your new theory and "flesh it out," so to speak. However, from a basic philosophical construct, the only foundational truths I see in your theory of doctrine are those discoverable by scientific investigation. If your theory of doctrine includes other fundamentals, I would like to see them in theoretical form as part of your doctrinal theory, to see how its parts work and thus, how I can teach my students and my children what truth is under such a theory.

 

Posted by Greg

4/14/2005 02:06:00 PM  

Jared - I am closing for the day and traveling. I really appreciate the time you guys take for me.
I neglected to answer a fundamental response of yours. As to lying - it is one thing that some passages are (rather obviously) allegorical. I have also, to answer Mike, accepted the latest theories about Book of Mormon geography.

However, if what I see as your theory of Doctrine is true, what I will see as "lies" will go way beyond the allegorical types of scriptures. To begin with, I have been assured by the First Presidency of the Church, under my theory of doctrine, that my body did not descend from lower forms of life.

As a lawyer, I cannot function without a very cohesive "doctrinal" theory. Up until the present, I have seen the necessity for a similarly cohesive doctrinal theory to guide the Church. In science, you use research methods that may not rely as heavily on doctrinal theories as those of us in the Kingdom or in the law do. Thus, you may not be as sensitized as I am to this issue.

Have a great day!

4/14/2005 02:29:00 PM  

Greg,

I think that you are misunderstanding where this is coming from. The essential doctrines of salvation aren't being questioned here. That Man is in a fallen state requiring profound intervention by a God who condescended to suffer both body and spirit for all to bring us as individuals back to the presence of our Father is held as absolutely true. The discussion is not changing doctrines: it's about changing how we see the doctrines.

Are we saved by faith? It depends on how you look at it. My answer is whole-heartedly yes and I think that church-wide the younger generation can discuss this doctrinal question with a little more clarity than the previous generation because of people questioning their assumptions and trying to understand what the scriptures actually say.

Can we get to that point with evolution and the Origin of Man? I sure hope so. This is fundamental to who we are and our relationship with God. I understand the need to defend the Brethren when they are making official declarations, but we must recognize the profound disagreements that have existed among some General Authorities and even Apostles on this topic and should feel okay talking about these things openly.

 

Posted by Mike Wilson

4/14/2005 02:36:00 PM  

Greg,

I failed to mention that I too realized that the "stop that crow" was an addition to the Dumbo story, as Dennett himself confesses. I simply remembered it wrong. Sorry about that.

Just so you know, I am not on the same page as Steve. I'm not even sure we are reading the same book. Nevertheless, as I'm sure you have noticed, I'm not under any kind of assumption that there is anything approaching infallibility in any men. This isn't to say that we shouldn't sustain them, or that they don't recieve true revelation. I simply believe that 1) not everything they say is revelation, and 2) even revelation given to them is not absolutely correct. There are lot's of quotes I could give on that matter, but I'm sure these ideas shouldn't be that controversial.

As to evolution, we haven't even covered too much of it. All of the claims that I have used in my posts can't even be denied by IDC's, with the possible exception of essentialism. IDC's are mainly concerned with showing that evolution was some how directed, but we have not even mentioned this topic at all. Like many a commentator has noticed, the supposed controversies which still remain in evolution are hardly the weightier matters the IDC's would like them to be. The issues which force us to revise our views on life are on a quite solid foundation. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/15/2005 10:37:00 AM  

Jeffrey,

You are simply wrong about me. According to you, I "must insist that all of science, not just evolution is wrong." You evidently haven't yet checked out the bio on my web site, otherwise you would know that I've been a successful professional in the field of computer science for nearly thirty years. In other words, I am a scientist. How can I then be accused of rejecting "all of science?"

Also, I drive a car to work. I watch television. I go to the doctor when necessary and I take the prescribed medications (more and more the older I get, by the way). And all of these activities prove I don't live like the 19th century Quakers, who did reject science.

Neither do I reject all knowledge of the universe. You could not have known that on the walls in my small office at work, I am surrounded by these National Geographic posters: The Universe, The Milky Way, The Solar System, plus this enhanced LANDSAT-7 satellite image of the area where I grew up and now live.

I freely accept what science knows about our present world. But I reject some of what science claims to know about our past and future world. I reject, for example, what the Rev. Roger Bertschausen, said in 1998:

"I know for certain that the world's going to end! The source of this revelation is not the Bible or some other prophecy new or ancient, but the world of science.

"In the past several decades, we have learned scientifically that sooner or later the world as we know it will end. The operative theory about the demise of the dinosaurs tells us how a random and seemingly small event like a meteor crashing into a tiny part of our planet can have a catastrophic effect on life over the whole world. The dust from that meteor collision obscured the sun to such an extent that the whole global eco-system changed. Relatively small fluctuations of temperature can have a tremendous impact. Only a few years ago our telescopes witnessed a devastating meteor collision into Jupiter. No one could contemplate that event without concluding that such a disaster could sooner or later happen here. Many people are now lobbying for our government to spend big dollars to discover ways of changing the course of meteors before they hit our planet.

"And if we are somehow lucky enough to avoid a devastating meteor, we have learned enough about the life cycle of stars to know that someday our sun will die, and us along with it. In Carl Sagan's words, billions of years from now the sun will become 'a degenerate white dwarf, cooling like all those points of light we see at the centers of planetary nebulae from high surface temperatures to its ultimate state, a dark and dead black dwarf.' (Carl Sagan, Cosmos, New York: Random House, 1980, pp. 232-233.)" Click here to read Bertschausen's article.

Do you accept the above Bertschausen, Carl Sagan view regarding the future of earth? Or do you accept this one:

"It is decreed that this earth shall become a celestialized, glorified sphere; such is the revealed word. Science has nothing to say on the matter; it can neither refute nor prove." (James E. Talmage, The Earth and Man, Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1931, p. 16; italics added.)

4/15/2005 12:03:00 PM  

Greg,

It's funny--I thought about suggesting that our differing perspectives might be tied somewhat to our professions (I guess that is obvious for me). I heard a talk once by John Welch were he pointed out that Alma the younger was a judge, and how this seems to show through in some of this preaching. Justice vs mercy, for example.

I used to be more legalistic (no negative conotation meant) in my approach to the gospel. Now I have a more "the wind bloweth where it listeth" attitude--within limits. I'm sure my science work has been an influence.

I'll have to discuss my "doctrinal theory" later.

BTW, why don't you write up your pre-Adamic creation scenario in more detail and we can give it a post of its own--just email it to us? 

Posted by Jared

4/15/2005 02:44:00 PM  

Greg, I seem to recall Joseph saying something along the lines of "A prophet is a prophet only when speaking as such." (If you dispute the statement I can try to find it.) What place does this idea have in your theory of doctrine?
 

Posted by Christian Y. Cardall (TSM)

4/15/2005 08:39:00 PM  

I think what Christian brings up is a very important point and something that I have thought about often after pondering the following portion in D&C 28.

"1 BEHOLD, I say unto thee, Oliver, that it shall be given unto thee that thou shalt be heard by the church in all things whatsoever thou shalt teach them by the Comforter, concerning the revelations and commandments which I have given.

2 But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and brevelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.

3 And thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him, even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and the revelations, with power and cauthority unto the church.

4 And if thou art led at any time by the Comforter to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandment unto the church, thou mayest do it.

5 But thou shalt not write by way of commandment , but by wisdom;

6 And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church;

7 For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead.

8 And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment.
 "

We are church of writers. We record every talk ever given, every piece ever written. However, I think that the Lord had a great reason to instruct Oliver not to write down things as commandments that were revealed to him. When a person gives an address, the situation, context and Spirit can carry it to the heart of those listening in a meaningful and understandable way. When those removed from the situation by time and place and context then read the same information the meaning may be lost and the information may not even apply to those individuals.

It's fun to read what Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, Pratt, McConkie, Talmadge etc. wrote or said at different times, as wisdom, but we must recognize that 1) many times they were not given as revelation, and 2) if they were, they were for a specific audience unless noted otherwise. The codifying of doctrine from past writings and addresses that has taken place in the culture of the church has been unfortunate in narrowing the minds of us who should be willing and interested in investigation and discussion more than any other people.
 

Posted by Mike Wilson

4/16/2005 08:46:00 AM  

Jeff - before getting back to my "doctrinal" dissertations, I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions so that I can get a better idea about your contructs of Deity:

(1)Do you believe that God can "speak" and the elements obey?

(2) Do you believe that Heavenly Father can personally listen and respond to millions of prayers simulatneously (or, in ways that would appear "simultaneous" to us)?

4/16/2005 02:00:00 PM  

Jeff said: "To call Dennett and Dawkins apostles of Jesus Christ is highly inappropriate, I agree. But to call them General Authorities of evolution and it's implications for our world view isn't far off the mark."

Jeff - I believe that, from your perspective, Dawkins and Dennett may very well be "Apostles of Jesus Christ." At page 244 of the Topical Guide of the LDS Scriptures in an entry, Jesus Christ, Creator, followed by approximately 100 scriptural referrences.

If you would agree that the creation of man was one of The Creator's more important productions, and, having rejected Elder Russell M. Nelson, a world-famous heart surgeon's recent "testimony" (I don't have the cite handy, but can get it)that man's body was NOT created from lower forms of life, who represents "Jesus, Christ, Creator" for you on this issue?

From what I have read so far, while some of the "actual" apostles in this dispensation have supported a pre-Adamic biosphere, not one of them, (please correct me, if possible) have opposed Elder Nelson's current position on the creation of man.

On the other hand, while you are not trained as a biologist, geneticist, or anthropologist, you accept the "testimony" of Dawkins and Dennett on at least two very important issues as to how Jesus Christ, who you believe in, carried out the creation:

(1) Man was created from lower forms of life,

(2) If Jesus' input was needed in the creation of man, (or the rest of the biosphere), he left no evidence that it was.

Who are your "Apostles" of Jesus Christ, on the issue of "Jesus Christ, Creator," to which there are 100 Scriptural referrences"?, Elder Nelson, et. al., (many others have spoken out), or Dennett and Dawkins?

If my analysis is flawed here, please deconstruct it.

4/16/2005 03:16:00 PM  

Mike- you had a link to a Jack Welch article, and the address didn't work and I was interested

4/16/2005 05:26:00 PM  

10,000 years ago: Development of Agriculture
3-4,000 years ago: Development of written language
 

Nice timeline for the window in which Adam is inserted into the world from where he was.

What is also interesting is in the Pearl of Great Price where the author states that he saw many lands, and each land was an "earth" but that he is limiting his story to the part of the world that is relevant to him.

"And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof."

(Moses 1:29)

"But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you." (Moses 1:35).

Read those together.

Adam becomes like Abraham, and we become his children the same way we become the children of Israel.

But we don't get the story of the world, instead we get the story of a single earth or land.

The scriptures are very clear, if you take a deconstructist reading of sorts of them, and if you read them without being overwhelmed by outside culture.

Where Adam was inserted and how he was induced to change states to match the telestial state of the world before he and Eve could move on to being in the lone world and then to a place where the sons of God would meet the daughters of men is an entirely different story.

Anyway, interesting stuff. Glad I got a pointer to this site. 

Posted by Stephen M (Ethesis)

4/17/2005 09:08:00 PM  

Stephen's comments about each land being an "earth" are interesting. I'll have to look through that again.

I don't have enough on this to make a post of its own yet, so I'll just throw it out, as it is in the same vein as Stephen's comment.

Has it ever seemed strange to anyone how easily Adam and Eve's children disbelieve their parents? The scripture says that Satan came among them and told them to believe it not. Under the traditional interpretation where these are the only human-like creatures on earth, it seems quite remarkable. These were either some extremely knuckle-headed people, or there is something more to the story than meets the eye. What reason would they have NOT to believe Adam and Eve? 

Posted by Jared

4/18/2005 07:01:00 AM  

First of all, I have to say that I agree Jared's comments. I have always had a very difficult time accepting that Adam and Eve's children were the only people running around. It seems that Nibley's Adam wasn't the first man, though he wisely refrains from explicitly saying so.

Now to Greg who seems to have switched from highly interested spectator and/or pupil to challenger/defender of the faith. (This is not meant as an insult. ;->)

1) I believe that God can speak and the elements obey, but I think that we both agree that a lot has to happen between those two steps.

My understanding of Mormonism's doctrine of deity is more or less along these lines. Whereas ethical monotheists only have to worry about what is logically possible and maintain that God can do all of it, we have to ask what is physically possible and maintain that God can do all of it. This results from our rejection of objective miracles. Granted, there are many physical laws, especially as pertaining to "more refined matter", that we are not aware of, but the point still holds.

2) I think that it is possible that God can listen to millions of prayers at the same time (I suppose it is physically possible), but I question whether he does. I'm not saying that He ignores a big portion of prayers. I simply believe that He receives help from other people and/or tools of some sort.

I think you are equivocating a bit in your definition of "Apostles of Jesus Christ." The important sense in which people are Apostles of Jesus Christ is the sense in which Jesus is really important, not the creation but the atonement. Darwin, Dawkin's and Dennett (DDD) have made no authoritative statements in this regard.

As to the creation, God and Christ were not alone. Adam (whoever this was) helped as well, which lead JFSII to think that lot's of the prophets and faithful spirits helped. Some people interpret the Book of Abraham/evolution as pointing towards a "hand's off" approach in creation. I, like you, am not sure that is good enough, but it is still an option. I guess my point is that the title of creator is suitably ambiguous in our Mormon context to give us some elbow room.

I should also mention that I have not spoken on the process of creation yet. That will be a tough one I imagine.

I'm not merely accepting DDD's testimonies in this matter. Their evidence and reasoning has been double and triple checked many times over. This is the difference between science and religion, especially when the science is evolution. You can be sure that those 400 creationist professors as well as those in the wedge movement are busy at work trying to find any flaw that they can in their reasoning. Unfortunately they are not doing a very good job and the basic tenets of evolution which I have mentioned are hardly contested by anyone who is even remotely informed on the issue.



 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/18/2005 10:56:00 AM  

Jeff - thank you for your feedback about my attitude. One of my goals here is to NOT appeal to anything but reason, so, please accept my apology and I will do my best to change my tone.

Jeff said: "I think that it is possible that God can listen to millions of prayers at the same time (I suppose it is physically possible), but I question whether he does"

I am just reading in the Pearl of Great Price where God exands the perceptive capacity of Moses so that Moses is able to simultaneously see "every particle of the earth." I have heard this interpreted as a physics lesson, i.e., he saw each kind of particle. Later - he is shown every person, but I take the scripture literally on both counts, because I believe an important point is being taught.

Now if God can enable Moses to do such things, and if God can do such things, (and I believe that He can) then, these capacities are beyond the boundaries of my own logical and reasoning capacities, so I cannot judge his abilities by those means. Thus, if God CAN listen to all prayers (now, "prayer" may be "defined down" to only include certain attitudes- humility, etc.) but there still could be billions - "Bruce Almighty" got into this a bit. Now, if He can listen, and, if He loves me anything like I do my own children, why wouldn't He? Has he got something else that would come first? How would He decide who to listen to and who to ignore?

There was a very popular BYU professor who wrote a book about the Father delegating the responsibility of listening to individual prayers, and, this book was a primary factor in the preparation and delivery of Elder McConkie's "Seven Deadly Heresies" talk. His mention of the book remains quite controversial. (I have a couple of "backstories" about that). Elder McConkie said that the Scriptures mean it when they say that God listens personally to our prayers.

When I heard this talk, I began to rethink my own beliefs, and watch my own life about my personal relationship to God through prayer. Is he on the other end, just like you will be when you read this? (pretend for a moment that this is an instant message) It is my present belief that, having the capacity, and being a loving Father, God does listen to prayers individually. How He does it is so far beyond by ability to reason that I can't begin to comprehend it. THAT he does it is personally very important to me. It is also, from my perspective, a critical doctrinal issue.

In thinking about this through the years, I asked myself at one point, is God like Hiter? Wanting adulation from 1,000,000 in person listeners to his speech in Berlin? Or, is his first priority the "one on one?" Logically for me, it has to be one or the other. The large group, or the individual. And, if it is the individual, and He has the capacity, I can be confident that He listens to my prayer as if I was an only child.

Since you brought up the subject of the proofs of evolutionary theory, all I can see is that, intuitively, it seems impossible, and, when I read Behe deconstructing Dawkins on irreducible complexity, he succeeeds, and my intuition is gratified. When Dembski deconstructs the computer simulation response to ID, he also seems to make sense. (But, this site is not about this issue!)

I appreciate your responses to my questions and the opportunity to participate here. I do have more to say about the reasonable connection between a Fall of Man based upon "disobedience," and one engineered and directed entirely by God. I will do my best to avoid the attitude that has crept in since I lost sleep over ol' (he is older than you, I believe) Steve.
 

Posted by Greg

4/19/2005 09:37:00 AM  

Greg, I know Jeffrey is not particularly interested in debating evidence for evolution per se, he's more interested in pressing on the doctrinal side. I may be interested in such discussions as time goes by, however (as long as Jeffrey doesn't kick me off the site!). 

Posted by Christian Y. Cardall (TSM)

4/19/2005 10:00:00 AM  

Greg,
I'm really not that offended by your remarks. Sometimes I worry that because I can be so critical of people's views that others think I am more uptight than I really am. I don't mind criticism of my view any more than I mind criticizing others', but let's not take ourselves too seriously. Feel no need to reform in any way.

Christian,
I actually have no problem with discussing the merits of evolution on designated posts . I simply dont want every thread turning into the same conversation over and over again. I dont want discussions involving the pre-existence being high-jacked by somebody who thinks the fossil record is incomplete.

In fact, isn't that what I opened Carl's post up for? So by all means, discuss the merits of evolution. Just make sure that it is in the appropriate post. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/19/2005 10:33:00 AM  

Greg,
I'm really not that offended by your remarks. Sometimes I worry that because I can be so critical of people's views that others think I am more uptight than I really am. I don't mind criticism of my view any more than I mind criticizing others', but let's not take ourselves too seriously. Feel no need to reform in any way.

Christian,
I actually have no problem with discussing the merits of evolution on designated posts . I simply dont want every thread turning into the same conversation over and over again. I dont want discussions involving the pre-existence being high-jacked by somebody who thinks the fossil record is incomplete.

In fact, isn't that what I opened Carl's post up for? So by all means, discuss the merits of evolution. Just make sure that it is in the appropriate post. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/19/2005 10:33:00 AM  

Hey Darwinites
- in preparing to teach my Institute class tonight, I ran into a Scripture that, if I was looking for coded TOE language, TOE, contains just such a possible referrence: check out Mosiah 3:16.

4/19/2005 04:56:00 PM  

Greg,

Here's that link to the John Welch article about Adam and the Good Samaritan:

http://magazine.byu.edu/article.tpl?num=48-spr02&keyword=john%20welch%20good%20samaritan%20  

Posted by Mike Wilson

4/21/2005 09:41:00 AM  

Glad someone else is looking at the actual texts.

I've been deconstructing texts for a while. Looking at the Book of Mormon and how easily the kingmen came together and what pushed them and how they finally disappear.

Looking at what it means for Alma to go to the king for advice on how to run the Church and to have the king go talk to his priests and then come back and talk to Alma.

And looking at what God and the prophets actually said, rather than what we take from what they said.

I'll have to find this blog again when I get back from vacation.
 

Posted by Stephen M (Ethesis)

4/21/2005 08:30:00 PM  

Thanks for the props.  

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/21/2005 09:41:00 PM  

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