Adam as God in Evolution

Having already established two possible versions of Adam worth accepting, Adam as symbolic myth and Adam as (first) prophet, it's become clear that some what even more. Saying that Adam was merely the first father of the faithful, similar to Abraham, doesn't seem to go far enough. We want him to to have had a real fall. A fall which is more meaningful than our fall into mortality. A fall which actually effects us and the world in some way.

The final version of Adam that we will consider can, in fact, accomplish this. Not only that, but prophets have actually taught this version of Adam in the past, something which cannot be said for the other two versions. The draw back, however, is that this version of Adam has long since fallen into disrepute. We are having a hard enough time as it is trying to get members to believe in one theory which many if not most church leaders reject (evolution). How could we ever get them to accept another with it (Adam-God doctrine)?

I will not attempt a full expose of the doctrine and its difficulties here, except as applied to evolution. For those who want to discuss the merits and demerits of the doctrine in general should go to my site here where I have launched a preemptive strike of sorts.

It was Hugh Nibley who first indirectly pointed to the possibility of this version of Adam as related to evolution: "One of our biggest stumbling blocks is not knowing how Adam relates to other beings, earthly and heavenly. That is the root of the Adam-God misunderstanding. (Until we care to look into the matter seriously, I will keep my opinions in a low profile.)" A tantalizing quote to say the least.

The main proponent of the A/G doctine by any account was Brigham Young. Though others did believe and teach the doctrine as well, Brigham had the clearest concepts regarding what this doctrine entailed. Brigham was, by all accounts, the origin of the doctrine in everybody else who believed it with one notable exception. Brigham Young claimed on numerous occasions to have recieved the doctrine from Joseph Smith. Joseph's plural wife, Helen Mar Whitney backed up this claim by Brigham. While some of Joseph's later teaching seem to point in the A/G direction, we have no record of him actually reaching the A/G in his teachings, so we will focus instead on Brigham's ideas.

It might be profitable to here look at Brigham's ideas concerning evolution since he seems to have maintained a very different view of the creation of man compared to the rest of us today.
"I am not astonished that infidelity prevails to a great extent among the inhabitants of the earth, for the religious teachers of the people advance many ideas and notions for truth which are in opposition to and contradict facts demonstrated by science, and which are generally understood.
"You take, for instance, our geologists, and they tell us that this earth has been in existence for thousands and millions of years. They think, and they have good reason for their faith, that their researches and investigations enable them to demonstrate that this earth has been in existence as long as they assert it has; and they say, 'If the Lord, as religionists declare, made the earth out of nothing in six days, six thousand years ago, our studies are all in vain; but by what we can learn from nature and the immutable laws of the Creator as revealed therein, we know that your theories are incorrect and consequently we must reject your religions as false and vain....'
"In these respects we differ from the Christian world, for our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science in any particular. You may take geology, for instance, and it is a true science; not that I would say for a moment that all the conclusions and deductions of its professors are true, but its leading principles are; they are facts—they are eternal; and to assert that the Lord made this earth out of nothing is preposterous and impossible. God never made something out of nothing...
"If we understood the process of creation there would be no mystery about it, it would be all reasonable and plain, for there is no mystery except to the ignorant... How long it [the Earth] had been organized is not for me to say, and I do not care anything about it. As for the Bible account of the creation we may say that the Lord gave it to Moses, or rather Moses obtained the history and traditions of the fathers, and from them picked out what he considered necessary, and that account has been handed down from age to age, and we have got it, no matter whether it is correct or not, and whether the Lord found the earth empty or void, whether he made it out of nothing or out of the rude elements; or whether he made it in six days or in as many millions of years, is and will remain a matter of speculation in the minds of men unless he gives revelation on the subject" JD 14:115-117

"How pleased we would be to place these thing before the people if they would receive them! How much unbelief exists in the mind of the Latter-Day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I revealed unto them, and which God revealed to me--namely that Adam is our father and God--I do not know, I do not inquire, I care nothing about it. Our Father Adam helped to make this earth, it was created expressly for him, and after it was made he and his companions came here, He brought one of his wives with him, and she was Called Eve, because she was the first woman upon the earth. Our Father Adam is the man who stand at the gate and holds the keys of everlasting life and salvation to all his children who have or whoever will come upon the earth. I have been found fault with by the ministers of religion because I have said that they were ignorant. But I could not find any man on the earth who cold tell me this, although it is one of the simplest things in the world, until I met and talked with Joseph Smith.
[In clarifying certain remarks made by his brother, Joseph Young, the President said:] "My brother said that God is as we are. He did not mean those words to be literally understood. He meant simply, that in our organization we have all the properties in embryo in our bodies that our Father has in his , and that literally, morally, socially, by the spirit and by the flesh we are his children, Do you think that God, who holds the eternities in his hands and can do all things at his pleasure, is not capable of sending forth his own children, and forming this flesh for his own offspring? Where is the mystery in this? We say that Father Adam came here and helped to make the earth. Who is he? He is Michael: a great Prince, and it was said to him by Elohim, "Go ye and make an earth." What is the great mystery about it? He came and formed the earth. Geologists tell us that it was here millions of years ago. How do thy know? They know nothing about it but suppose it was here, what of it? Adam found it in a state of chaos, unorganized and incomplete. Philosophers, again, in talking of the development of the products of the Earth, for instance, in the vegetable kingdom, say the little fibers grew first, then the larger vegetation. When this preparatory stage was completed then came the various orders of the animal creation; and finally man appeared. No matter whether these notions are true or not, they are more or less speculative. Adam came here and got it up in a shape that would suit Him to commence business. What is the mystery about it? None that I have seen.
"Adam came here, and they brought his wife. "Well," says one, "why was Adam called Adam?" He was the first man on the earth, and its framer and maker. He, with the help of his brethren, brought it into existence. Then he said, "I want my children who are in the spirit world to come and live here. I once dwelt upon an earth something like this, in a mortal state. I was faithful, I received my crown and exaltation.. I have the privilege of extending my work, and to its increase there will be no end. I want my children that were born to me in the spirit world to come here and take tabernacles of flesh that their spirits may have a house, a tabernacle or a dwelling place as mine has, and where is the mystery?
"Now for mother Eve. The evil principle always has and always will exist. Well, a certain character came along, and said to Mother Eve, "The Lord has told you that you must not do so and so, for if you do you shall surely die. But I tell you that if you do not do this you will never know good from evil, your eyes will never be opened, and you may live on the earth forever and ever, and you will never know what the Gods know." The evil told the truth, what is the mystery about it? He is doing it today. He is telling one or two truths and mixing them with a thousand errors to get the people to swallow them. I do not blame Mother Eve, I would not have had her miss eating the forbidden fruit for any thing in the world. I would not give a groat it I could not understand light from darkness." Deseret News, June 18, 1873

I should note that the things which Brigham considered so speculative more than a century ago are no longer very speculative. Brigham Young was somewhat skeptical of evolution for a number of reasons: 1) the false theory of social darwinism which was being taught in relation to evolution was directly contrary to the United Order he was at that time trying to establish. 2) Darwin's book didn't come out until very late in his life and it doesn't appear that he ever gave the book a read through. 3) Brigham was like most religious people at the time and was very skeptical of theories which did not exactly conform to the revelations he considered true. Luckily for us, he wisely allowed the theory some elbow room just in case further investigation demonstrated its validity.

It should also be noted that when Apostle Orson Hyde in a general conference talk in October 1854 said: "The world was peopled before the days of Adam.When God said, Go forth and replenish the earth, it was to replenish the inhabitants of the human species, and make it as it was before," Brigham commented: "I do not wish to eradicate any items from the lecture Elder Hyde has given us this evening... We have had a splendid address from brother Hyde, for which I am grateful. I feel in my heart to bless the people all the time, and can say amen to brother Hyde's last remarks."

That said, we must confess that all of Brigham's ideas surrounding A/G can fit into our evolutionary model. We must deal with the preexistence and spirit birth and the fall. After that, I will attempt to present a version of the A/G theory which some may find acceptable.

We have already seen that accepting a literal spirit birth while up holding evolution is very difficult if not impossible. The same holds for BY's views. He believed Adam to be the father of us all, both spiritually and physically speaking. While it is not what BY believed it is still possible to "socialize" our spirit birth by saying that we were adopted by A/G in the preexistence.

With regards to the fall, some of BY's will also need to be modified. For one, the earth has always been fallen. If we take the second quote from BY seriously though, this does not present to big of a problem either. Where the problem does arise is in the fall of man, but this is also where the strength of this version of Adam comes into play. Adam already was our father when He fell, therefore His fall actually could affect us somehow. We need, however, to be more specific than "somehow". The fall introduced four things: 1) spiritual death, 2) physical death, 3) procreation and 4) knowledge.

With regards to spiritual death, Brigham's views are rather murky. He doesn't seem to have believed that Adam sinned in eating the fruit. He continued to maintain that Adam transgressed a commandment but he strongly felt that it was intended by God and Adam that this would happen. This is not sin by anybodies definition. It seems that BY was slightly modifying his statements or perhaps his beliefs in order to better accord with scripture. What I am suggesting is that under BY's doctrine, Adam didn't really suffer a spiritual death in the same way that we do because He never actually sinned. He was separated from the "presence of God", but this should be clarified since He was God. Put another way, He was separated from the presence of the Gods in heaven, the same as we are at birth. It would seem, then, that Adam suffered the same spiritual death that babies do at birth and nothing more. (It should also be noted that this was the same spiritual death which Jesus also suffered.) This is interesting because it almost suggests that BY believed exactly what we have already said in previous posts, namely that spiritual death is almost entirely an individual process.

As to physical death, our response will be similar. While Adam came to earth an made Himself mortal, He didn't necessarily cause mortality in anyone other than Himself. The earth was already a fallen place and whenever it was that He came, there were already men and women living and dying in the world.

The same can be said for procreation, though there are further issues regarding procreation which must be addressed. In our posts on spirit birth and self-existing spirits Greg noted that we must account for the "continuation of lives" promises as found in section 132. We noted that Joseph never specified whether these would be spritual lives (in which case we can still adopt the "spiritual adoption" model) or physical. In fact, Nauvoo sources seem to indicate that Joseph believed that it would actually be a continuation of parenting physical children. Consider a few quotes:
"In teaching us the 'Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man', we could begin to see why we should 'love God supremely and our brother as ourselves' - He [Joseph] taught us that God was the great head of human procreation -was really and truly the Father of our spirits and our bodies." - Benjamin F. Johnson
"Now regarding Adam: He came here from another planet an immortalized being and brought his wife, Eve, with him, and by eating of the fruits of this earth became subject to death and decay and he became of the earth, earthly, was made mortal and subject to death." - Anson Call.
"A tenfold glory, that's the prize! Without it [Eternal Marriage] you're undone! But with it you will shine as bright as the bright shining sun. There you may shine like mighty Gods, creating worlds so fair, at least a world for every wife that you take with you there." - A satirical expose of Joseph's secret Nauvoo teachings printed in the Warsaw Message Feb. 7, 1844

In was because of this very doctrine that both Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball were preaching things which were very A/G-like only a couple of months after Joseph's death.

Here, I suspect, is the connection between what Joseph taught in Nauvoo and what Brigham taught in Salt Lake. Joseph believed that spirits are not created, they are co-eternal with God. He therefore believed that the "continuation of seeds" referred to physical birth. It was already clear well before Nauvoo that J.S. believed that Adam was a physical son of God. What B.Y. believed was that Adam was the God who had physical sons. The title of God was moved from Adam's father to Adam himself. Now did B.Y. do this or did J.S.? It is unclear, but it seems clear that Brigham strongly believed that either J.S. did it, or was definitely on his way to doing it himself. After all, which way helps God, whoever He is, continue His seeds more: coming to earth for a little bit and having one son named Adam or coming to earth for a long time and giving birth to many sons named Cain, Able, Seth, etc.?

With regards to the gaining knowledge part of the fall we can also see that Brigham's view would be different than most members'. Adam did not learn much of anything that He hadn't already learned elsewhere by partaking of the fruit. Brigham believed that a veil of forgetfulness had been drawn over Adam, but I would suggest that these statements, like those referring to spiritual death, refer to the symbolic Adam (meaning us) than to the Adam-God. We come here to learn, not God.

Why did Adam-God come here then? It depends on where we put Him. We could put Him as one of the Y-Chromosome Adam's. Remember, every single one of the most recent Y.A.'s male ancestors was also a Y.A. as well. Our Adam-God could have been anyone of those men. If such is the case then it would seem that Adam-God came here for one purpose, to procreate. As can be seen from our discussion, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

If we put Adam-God at about 6,000 years ago, as BY certainly would have, he could have come not only to procreate, but to teach, to bring the priesthood and do all the things which we attribute to Jesus in addition to his atonement. We would not, however, under this model be able to maintain that everybody is the descendant of God in the same way or to the same degree. This, as we have seen in other threads, can lead to rather unpleasant consequences.

There is a way out of this. It is not impossible for Adam-God to have fulfilled both roles. There is no contradiction in Him having come to earth twice. This does not necessarily mean that He had to fall twice by eathing the fruit. After all, according to Brigham, there was actually a third time when Adam-God came to earth to sire a child, namely Jesus. (For other questions regarding A/G's relationship to Jesus and the Atonement I would assume deal with those issues at my other site, for they have little to do with evolution as such.)

We can see that the Adam as God version has benefits as well. It is fully compatible with the "symbolic myth" and "(first) prophet" models. It establishes a closer connection with Adam, both physically and spiritually speaking. It also seems to establish a closer connection with God than we were left with in our discussion regarding spirit birth. It also seems to agree with Joseph's King Follett sermon to a large extent as well. It's just that some members are very uneasy with doctrinal renovations which must be made in their mind to accommodate such a doctrine.

Summary: While our previous versions of Adam were acceptable with evolution, they were never taught by any prophet. The version of Adam as God, however, has. While this version has its benefits, its doctrinal corralaries might simply be too much for most members.


I should note, however, that placing Adam as the Y.A and Eve and M.E. might be problematic. The Y Chromosome and Mitochondria that we all share is closely related to that of Chimpanzees as well. I must say that I'm not sure where such a scenario would leave M.E. Maybe she didn't come until 6,000 years ago or something though this will undoubtablly leave the feminists dissatisfied. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/29/2005 02:15:00 PM  

A few notes, the Nauvoo Expositor lists one of Joseph's "sins" as claiming that God could fall with his creation. A definite hint that some elements of A/G can be traced back. (Although not necessarily the controversial ones)

Second, I'm not exactly sure what your A/G model offers that more traditional models don't as well, vis a vis science. Could you be more explicit?

It seems to me an Adam who isn't the Father of Jesus who falls and becomes "first man" of his descendents according to the flesh and is by adoption first man of all the human family fulfills all the needs one might see. 

Posted by Clark

4/29/2005 04:20:00 PM  

Thanks for that additional reference.

What this model can offer that the others cannot is two fold:

1) It places us in a closer relationship with God. We saw earlier that since evolution rejects essentialism it is difficult, if not impossible, to claim that in the pre-existence some were literal spirit children of God and others were not. This is what some people claim, that the descendants of Adam have "souls" whereas the other hominids didn't. This is essentialism if there ever was any. Therefore we had to revert to saying that God is only our "adopted" spirit father and physically speaking we can only become more "adopted" to Him. What this model says is that we are the literal physical children of God even though we may have been spiritually adopted.

We could say that we are the physical children of God without A/G but this brings in difficulties. One, we don't have a common ancestor within the 50,000 years or so. Placing Adam back then has real issues which should be somewhat obvious as well. I suppose one possibility, however, would be to place Adam 50,000 years ago (or 160,000 if we are going to give him an Eve) and say that he gave birth to children and THEN became immortal by taking the Tree of life or something, but this is not what the story says.

Secondly, placing Adam 50,000 years ago makes Adam more primitive than we want. It also removes him too far from us and especially Moses. After all, we aren't writing down any stories about a guy named "Ted" who was a mighty hunter who lived 30,000 years ago.

2) The second benefit to this version is that it gives us an Adam that matters. Some people were uncomfortable with flat out saying that Adam's fall meant nothing at all to us. Now his fall means a lot, though in a different way. There really was an Adam who actually ate fruit so as to become mortal. THis would be a great example of what Benson called the condescension of God. This isn't really that much of an option with the other versions of Adam.

More should be said about that off-handed remark I gave about Adam siring children and then becoming immortal and then falling. Not only is this not what the stories are saying (which makes it no better than my versions) but it completely destroys the point of the Garden. Are we to suppose that Adam became immortal and all the while people are dying outside of the garden and then he falls which causes..... what? Nothing is accomplished at all by this immortal escapade. Adam was already mortal with children. So was the rest of the world. No spiritual death is introduced. No physical death. No posterity. No knowledge. This is not a fall worth wanting and therefore this is not an Adam worth wanting.

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/29/2005 10:43:00 PM  


Clark's point is a good one and I don't think you've responded to it yet. I will ask in my own words...

Is there anything in this scenario that makes it essential for the Adam figure to be the Father of Jesus Christ? For instance, we could still have a divine Adam that is not the Father of Christ. We already believe Michael was part of the Godhead (3rd member) before this life so therefore calling Adam/Michael "God" is no stretch in our doctrine. What in this story requires this divine Adam to actually be the Father of Jesus?

Further, in the HCK model (MMP) we have discussed, what is to keep us from suggesting Jesus was an Adam in the last world that Adam is slated to be a savior in the next? I still don't see why Brigham's exact model is necessary when as far as I can tell all of the benefits you mention can be had with Adam/Michael subordinate to Jesus who is subordinate to the Father... The advantage is that it jibes much better with the teaching of most of the other prophets throughout time -- ancient and modern. 

Posted by Geoff Johnston

4/30/2005 12:13:00 PM  

Thanks for the help Geoff. As you know by now, sometimes I don't read as closely as I should. (Sorry Clark.)

There was one more benefit of this model from above which I failed to mention. This version of Adam has actually been endorsed by Prophets and Apostles whereas the other two versions have not.

Now to Geoff's comment.

I can see nothing in A/G as applied to evolution which makes it better for Adam to be the Father of Christ other than the claim that Adam in God, our Heavenly Father. As you noticed, I didn't say much of anything about JC (sorry about the trendy achronym) in the post. Quite frankly, it doesn't have much to do with evolution. Of course if we modify things, our claiming that Prophets and Apostles have taught it.

Referring back to my other post, I am very uncomfortable equating Adam with the third member in the Godhead. I tried that option already back when I was trying to figure out what in the world BY was doing this the doctrine since Jesus is Jehovah. But again, for BY Jesus was not Jehovah. (This is the discussion I did not want to have on this site. Doh!)

Just calling Adam "God" in this story doesn't amount to much. Some people believe that JS is the HG, but this doesn't make his sins or fall mean anything at all to us. If one is to accept this version of Adam (a big if I imagine) all the benefits derive from our equating our heavenly father with Adam. If our heavenly father is not Jesus' father, then that is a different issue for a different day. Merely calling Adam a God instead of our God doesn't get much done for us unfortunately. It would seem to be essentially the same as Adam as (first) prophet since what I was claiming is that Adam received the fullness of the priesthood which is basically "Godhood" in a certain sense according to JS and BY. In fact, it should be mentioned that their exalting the patriarchal priesthood was one of the main reasons for Adam "promotion." (I will have to post on that at my other site.)

Like I said, (sorry I'm not trying to sound rude, I'm merely addressing your questions in order, which means that I am unintentionally repeating myself.) treating Adam as Jesus' inferior in A/G doesn't work. The Nauvoo/BY version of the fullness of the priesthood doesn't really allow it, and it is clear that this is not what BY meant. I cannot emphasize how unwise it is to interpret Jehovah as Jesus in BY's statements. This is not to say that I don't accept that Jesus was Jehovah in the OT. But I do not believe that He is in the temple creation account. Translation is definitely needed.

I will comment more on this in the next couple days.


Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

4/30/2005 11:31:00 PM  

I'd like to respond to much of what you just asserted. Is this the right place to do so? My response has little to do with evolution per se but everything to do with the identity of Adam. Are you ok with having this exchange here? 

Posted by Geoff Johnston

5/01/2005 11:23:00 AM  

I'd rather do it at my other site so as to not scare away people who are here for evolution. I also don't want people to mistake this one version of Adam for what I am trying to do with evolution itself. With such a highly charged and speculative topic I think only bad things could result from it here. But I am more than willing on the thread at my other site. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

5/01/2005 01:47:00 PM  

There is one issue which I wanted to address last night but did not have the. I'm surprised that nobody has seen this obvious flaw yet.

This is regarding the idea which I entertained in the post that Adam/God could plausibly have been both a prophet 6,000 years ago as well as a Y-Chromosome Adam. Upon further reflection, it's not near as simple as I might have led on in the post.

The A/G doctrine maintains that Adam had to come to earth to eat the fruit of the earth so as to become mortal and have children. Are we to suppose that God did this not only once (6,000 years ago, probably in the fertile crescant) but another time (at least 60,000 in Africa)? This is simply too much.

There are two alternatives. 1) Adam gave birth to a Y.A. in the same way that He fathered Christ, namely in His divinity. This Y.A. could have sinned and been ignorant thus not being another Christ or anything. Does this mean that Christ is not the only begotten? No more than the traditional model which says that Adam was a literal son of God, just like Jesus. Therefore there are ways around it. Of course, if we are going to accept this in the A/G version, why not accept it in the other versions as well? I must say that I don't like this alternative very much for any of the versions. It seems like complete and total ad hoc finagling.

The other alternative is somewhat linked to ideas which I plan to post about in the future. Under the A/G version, Adam has lived, died and given birth on other planets before this one. Thus we are given quite a bit of wiggle room if we only posit that some Y.A. was brought here by transplantation. This Y.A. could have been any physical descendant of A/G's from any previous world. It wouldn't even have to have been a righteous one. This Y.A. could have been introduced at 60,000 years ago, or anytime before that, just so long as the Y.A. of science ended up being a descendant of the tranplanted individual. I personally find this option more appealing than the first one since it allows for much more wiggle room and prophets have actually taught this "transplantation process" in the past. As I said, this process will eventually receive a post of it's own.

I should also point out why this alternative couldn't be used in the "Adam as first parent" model which we are taught today. 1) This person which is transplanted would actually be Adam in the common version, placing Adam in the too distant past. 2) All of God's physical offspring were Saviors or Adam's on other worlds. I personally don't like the idea that characters like this would be demoted to a cave man. 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

5/01/2005 02:29:00 PM  

I confess I'm getting a little lost in all these Adams, but just two points:

1. The Y chromosome is not unique--ie it shows signs of ancient evolution, and while I do not know any specifics, I'm sure it shows relation to ape Y chromosome.

2. Apparently the aborigines of Tazmania colonized Tazmania 10,000 years ago and then had no contact with other humans until modern times. If this is true, then an Adam who is a common ancestor must be older than 10,000 years ago. 

Posted by Jared

5/01/2005 04:54:00 PM  

Jeffrey, this post is very interesting, but I suspect your fear that these ideas will have difficulty gaining acceptance is well-founded:

1. The scientists won't like it. Standard evolution is historically contingent and unpredictable. Unless you invoke something like ID, or God guiding the entire process of evolution to a desired end product, the chances of man evolving in such a way as to be compatible for procreation with a God arriving on the scene seems vanishingly small.

2. Those interested in doctrinal purity won't like it. This is a place where the limitations on the President's authority  will be invoked, with Brigham's (or Joseph's) individual views not carrying as much weight at the official voice of the First Presidency in the Father and the Son proclamation in the Joseph F. Smith administration.

3. It's a public relations disaster, starting to look like claims of aliens contributing genetic material through sexual encounters.

None of which, of course, means that it's wrong! 

Posted by Christian Y. Cardall

5/01/2005 05:37:00 PM  

"What is your mission here?" "Teaching Theology." "What theology do you teach?" "We teach a theology made of the theory of evolution, mingled with 19th century beliefs that conflict with Scripture." "What Scripture?" "The Four Standard Works" "Okay, how is your theology received here?" "Quite acceptably, except for a very few who don't at least believe some of it." "Sir, are you one of those who do not receive this theology?" "I am," "why not?" "Well, if something is not clear or omitted from the four Standard Works, I wait for representatives of my Father in Heaven to instruct me." "Who might they be?" "The First Presidency of the High Priesthood. Three men, a small quorum carefully selected by Jesus to Speak for Him when He is not on the earth personally." "Who is your Father in Heaven" could Adam be your Father in Heaven?" "Of course not, I learned in primary who my Father in Heaven is, silly," "But, isn't it about time you grew up?" "No - Jesus instructed the Nephites quite clearly that, after I was baptized, I had to remain as a little child, or I could not obtain the Kingdom of Heaven." "So, who is your Father in Heaven"? "He is the Father of my Spirit and Jesus" Father on Earth, and He listens to and answers my prayers, and He appeared to Joseph Smith to undo 2,000 years of silly intellectualizing about His identity. You know, when those Platonists joined the Church, they just couldn't shake the pure logic of the "Unmoved Mover," when the latest scientific theory stated that the natural order of the universe was to be at rest." "But, didn't Brigham Young get confused and think Adam was Heavenly Father, in spite of what the four standard works say?" "Perhaps, but, messengers from my Father cleared that up, once and for all, when Pres. Kimball was President of the Church." "Thank you for answering some questions, sir, you might possibly be visited again, farewell."

Posted by Greg

5/01/2005 06:38:00 PM  

Greg - the unmoved mover bit was Aristotle, not Plato.

5/01/2005 06:56:00 PM  

Jeffrey, sorry for the delay. I've been cutting back on my blogging. (BTW - might I make a plea to keep all the comments either here or on your other blog? Having some in each place is terribly confusing. I can't recall where I said what)

Second, regarding my question of what your view of A/G offers. You suggested it solves the problem of essentialism. This doesn't quite make sense to me for two reasons.

For one, I don't see how your solution avoids the problem of what mortal creatures have spirits. Could you clarify?

For an other, I don't see why non-essentialism in evolution or earthly life forms is a problem. This seems to be presenting a solution to a problem that never was a problem. I don't see why the issue of mortal bodies has anything to do with how close we are to God. I think you had better expand upon the problem before claiming its a good thing we solved it.

5/01/2005 07:12:00 PM  

"We teach a theology made of the theory of evolution, mingled with 19th century beliefs that conflict with Scripture." 

I think I would replace the word "teach" with "kick around". 

Posted by Jared

5/01/2005 08:55:00 PM  

Greg, I'm curious to read the statement by Pres. Kimball, do you have the reference? Also, did the proclamation on the Father and the Son in Joseph F. Smith's administration not clear up the "official" position sufficiently? 

Posted by Christian Y. Cardall

5/02/2005 03:47:00 AM  

Boy, I logged on this morning and saw a fair list of comments in the recent comments bar for this post. I knew I was in for it.

I don't know if the 10,000 was for me or not but I agree with you and I appreciate the info. I was saying that for A/G to be the father of all, He would have had to send a descendant of his to earth at least 60,000 years ago.

I fully agree with you as well. In fact, I don't expect anybody to really accept Adam as God here. I noted that That is a version of Adam which really does deserved to be investigated if only because it has actually been taught before. I assume that most people will be satisfied with Adam as (first) Prophet since it is similar enough to what we already think about Adam in the church. I had always been curious how the two doctrines could fit together and this was a perfect chance to see for myself. No offense taken to anybody and everybody who rejects this post.

I was cracking up from your comment. Not because it was ridiculous but because it was so creative. Thanks for your input. It should be noted, however, that while essentially all 20th century church leaders have rejected A/G, nobody has ever claimed revelation on the doctrine EXCEPT Brigham Young. This is rather significant though I don't expect it to be very compelling for anybody.

I have the exact same post over at my other site and you could paste your comments over there if you would like. I just don't want people thinking that they are changing the subject if they actually want to talk about evolution instead of 19th century statement accuracies.

Regarding essentialism you should read the posts here , here, here and here.

The issue isn't whether animals have spirits or not. I think Mormon doctrine and evolution compel us to accept that they do. The issue is whether any given hominid is a spirit-child-of-God or not. A literal spirit birth seems to be all or nothing. Therefore a suggested that we accept a "spiritual adoption" kind of "child-of-God" theory. This, however, leaves us not being literal sons and daughters of God, unless we are physically descended from Him, which seems to be what JS believed. This is how A/G helps with the issue which some may see as a problem.


Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

5/02/2005 10:04:00 AM  

they just couldn't shake the pure logic of the "Unmoved Mover," when the latest scientific theory stated that the natural order of the universe was to be at rest." 

Which seems to often be a problem.

Nicely said ;)

Posted by Stephen M (Ethesis)

5/02/2005 12:26:00 PM  

Jeffrey, I'm still not follwoing. (Sorry for being dense)

Is the problem you see that we have to assert that all hominds are children of God? Why is that a problem. Why can't we say some are and some aren't due to some change.

It seems to me that the issue of spirit birth and our spiritual parentage (if there is any) is separate from issues of mortality.

That's what I'm getting confused upon as you seem to be tying them together. I don't see why.

It seems to me adoption deals with people in mortality  being adopted to some patriarch in terms of the patriarchal order. But that deals with the flesh, not the spirit. That might allow for an Adam to enter the world say only 6000 years ago but have pre-Adamites who still have spirits. 

Posted by clark

5/04/2005 04:55:00 PM  

Have you read the update yet? Maybe some of your questions will be answered there.

There is definitely a form of adoption which is purely physical, such as baptism and temple stuff. This is not what I am talking about.

I'm talking about in the preexistence it is best that we adopt the view that spirits are self-existent without creation. If we accept this, the issue then becomes "how can God be our spiritual father if we were never really born spiritually?" It is the literal spirit birth which must be rejected.

Now there are other forms of spirit birth that can be thought of, but as long as they don't involve a spirit being created, I only see some form of "spiritual adoption" as the only option. Thus in the book of Abraham the organization of intelligences is not an account of each intelligence being organized into a spirit (this goes against what JS was thinking) but the organization of already existing intelligences into "families" of sorts. We were spiritually adopted into God's spirit family rather than being born.

This might not satisfy some people who might insist that God be our literal father some how. The only option available, and it seems to be the view which JS maintained, is being literally descended form God physically. While Adam as patriarch could allow for this, Adam as God says exactly what we want it to in this case.

Thus, under Adam as God, we were spiritually adopted by God in the preexistence to eventually become his literal physical children as well as be more fully "adopted" by receiving the ordinances of the gospel.

No need to apologize. If you are not getting something, then chances are I'm not getting something either.

To answer your questions.

1) Yes, the problem has to do with our cliam to be actual children of God in some meaningful sense. Now we can say that some people are physically descended from God and some aren't, but to say that one person was fully a spirit child of God while their parent, who differed from them in no essential regard at all, is not at all seems unreasonable to me. It goes against the gradualism inherent in evolution. But if we suggest the possibility that there are degrees of "child-of-God-ness" then we are in business. This is what I propose.

Thus all the people who lived around the time of Adam, both before and after, were  spirit children of God to one extent or another.

What I'm basically saying is that the notion that only Adam's descendants are children of God while all other closely related hominids are not at all (as proposed by a number of Mormon evolutionists) is bunk.

I get the feeling that I have not yet fully addressed you issues, but I imagine the more I say about it, the easier it will be to pick out where, exactly, you are getting off my bus.


Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

5/04/2005 05:23:00 PM  

Christian (?) Although Aristotle's physics is the best source for the "unmoved mover" idea, I believe the Platonists who arguably supplanted the clear anthropomorphism of the New Testament basically accepted the same concept. Here is one quote:

"Another point of convergence: not only did Plato and Aristotle agree with the Bible on the existence of one God, they also agreed with the apostle Paul (in Romans 1) in thinking that we can demonstrate the existence of God by the rational examination of nature. Both Plato and Aristotle endorse some kind of “first cause” argument: that natural phenomena demand causes, that this chain of causation cannot be supposed to run infinteily backward, and that the first cause of the chain of natural causation must be a supreme intelligence or soul, a living and knowing thing.."

5/07/2005 10:54:00 PM  

Pres Kimball on Adam God and other "Unorthodox" doctrines:

"Another matter. We hope that you who teach in the various organizations, whether on the campuses or in our chapels, will always teach the orthodox truth. We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine."

Spencer W. Kimball, “Our Own Liahona,” Ensign, Nov. 1976, 77

5/07/2005 10:59:00 PM  

It's good to see you back. Just to let you know I am about to start commenting on Elder Packers talk that you recommended. I'm glad you did because having reread the talk, not only is it far better than Mc Conkie's thoughts, but he brings up some subjects which are definitely worth talking about.

Thank you for the admonition. I was wondering why I hadn't gotten as much "correction" as I anticipated going into a subject like A/G. It's comforting to know that I am still on the fringes of Mormon Society and teetering on Apostasy. ;0)
(Sorry about the sarcasm. No harm or malintent is intended.) 

Posted by Jeffrey Giliam

5/09/2005 10:40:00 AM  



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