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Adam and Eve and Evolution
zlllch posted a topic in LDS Gospel DiscussionI understand that the church has no official position on the theory of evolution, and that members are free to believe what they will on the subject. The church does however, assert that Adam and Eve were real historical persons, the first children of God on the earth, and the primal parents of the entire human race. The church's position regarding pre-adamites (humans who lived before the biblical time of Adam) is also neutral. The church neither confirms nor denies their existence. The same is true regarding the idea that there was no death on the earth prior to the fall; the church takes no official stance. Though the church is neutral on the subject, fossil and archaeological evidence overwhelmingly point to the existence of pre-adamites and death prior to the fall, and I'm inclined to accept the validity of that evidence. Keep in mind that the church neither supports nor condemns me in doing so. If you similarly choose to accept this evidence, I'm interested in how you reconcile the existence of pre-adamites with a literal, historical Adam and Eve. Perhaps Adam and Eve were the first humans only in the sense that they were the first children of God. Perhaps they were products of evolution, the apex of the pre-adamic race, and were merely the first of whom God breathed the breath of life into their nostrils. Perhaps they weren't created through the process of evolution, and the pre-adamites have no relation to them. Thoughts? Whatever the case may be, it cannot be denied that the best evidence available to us does seem to confirm the existence of pre-adamites. Please let me know what you believe on this subject and why. I would also be very interested if you are aware of any theories advanced by church leaders, or really anyone else for that matter. Thanks! EDIT: Apparently there is some disagreement on what the official doctrine of the church is on this subject. Some church leaders have expressed strong views that evolution is inconsistent with church teachings, and others have likewise expressed strong views that evolution is consistent with church teachings. I maintain that the church's official stance is neutral, which is what allows these church leaders to have their differences of opinion on the matter. Here's a source from lds.org that affirms the church's neutral position: "The Church has no official position on the theory of evolution. Organic evolution, or changes to species’ inherited traits over time, is a matter for scientific study. Nothing has been revealed concerning evolution." (https://www.lds.org/new-era/2016/10/to-the-point/what-does-the-church-believe-about-evolution?lang=eng) Irregardless of the official church doctrine, I intended for this thread to be centered around what you think about evolution. Let's keep the discussion civil as we express our opinions on the subject. Thanks.
Does Mormon doctrine support organic evolution?
Snigmorder posted a topic in LDS Gospel DiscussionI should preface this with a disclaimer: I don't care about the theory of organic evolution, I can take it or leave it. We know that creation ex nihilo (from nothing) is a false doctrine of apostate Christendom and is part of the philosophical construction which they call "the Trinity." We also know that matter, physical stuff which exists, is eternal and has no originator or origin. There is nothing which exists which is not material. If something is incorporeal, it doesn't exist. Think about the eternal nature of matter. Now think about what we are, and what the animals are, and what the plants are. We are living organisms, we might call it organic matter. Do you think that organic matter is uncreated and unoriginated the same way inanimate matter is? It seems apparent to me that biological organisms are not eternal, that they must be derived from unliving matter. We don't believe in a God that creates from nothing. We believe in a God which gives order and organization and law to pre-existing materials which he did not cause to be. This includes the laws upon which matter would change incrementally into a higher order. We know that living organisms can be derived from dead matter, because that's exactly what happened. Living things exist, so that is precisely what has happened. Matter has become living. How else would something as complex as our bodies be formed if not incrementally? Do you imagine Him causing dead matter to form all of the complex processes and materials of the body in one act of creation? In one moment? I'm not sure I do. Some have said that biological life on earth was brought from the eternal worlds and settled here on earth. I'm not sure what evidence there is in scripture for that premise. There are contradictions in scripture. Such as the idea that Adam and Eve are the first humans on this earth. I've heard a theory from a BYU biologist (I can't recall his name) wherein Homo sapiens pre-date Adam and Eve and what Adam and Eve are, are the first souls, the first parents of the race of Man. Meaning God took a male and female Homosapien and placed into them the spirits of Adam and Eve. The mind of gods were made flesh. I'm not sure what I think of this theory. Lehi also tells us that there was no death before the fall. Some people have said that this means no death in the garden of Eden only, meaning there was a death outside the garden. But Lehi is very clear that there was no death among all the things which were created. Organisms outside the garden of Eden are among those things created. People like Bruce R. McConkie and Joseph Fielding Smith (one of whom I admire) were very opposed to evolution. While men like B.H. Roberts and James A. Talmage took no issue with it. And those were just the golden oldies, I'm sure the same disagreements exist today. What do you think about evolution?
I am a physicist converted to the LDS faith because of the logic of Baptism for the Dead. I am not an anthropologist but I note the discontinuity in the sophistication of civilizations between those shown by the old fosil human remains before ~4000 BC and those of the early modern civilations. I note that modern humans spread their new culture quickly.. Some have said there is no conflict between the teachings of God and the scientific method. If this is true, there should be a consistent way to explain both what is observed in the scriptures and the oservations of science. If we could develop a universal theory, we would know both religion and science better and would be able to make predictions as well as prophesies. This paper is my attempt to resolve some differences between the teachings of my LDS faith and my scientific community. I also suggest several hypothetical scennario for your consideration. This is intended to be inoffensive. But since it provides justification for Baptism for the Dead, it is not consistent with the teachings of our Christian bretheren. Upcountry ______________________________________________________________________________________ Abstract 10-11-15 I describe scenarios consistent with current scientific knowledge, scripture and LDS teachings that explain much of today's events. These include events at the Grand Council in the Pre-existence, the meaning of God's curses on Adam and Eve at the Fall, the reasons for Atonement and Baptism, and a hypothesis removing the conflict between creationism and evolution. I suggest that the battle between Good and Evil is ongoing and that the end result depends on us and is yet to be determined. The Glory of God is Intelligence Impressed by a love of God and the logic of Baptism for the Dead, I was baptized into the LDS church as a graduate student in physics. Physics deals with the fundamental laws of nature including the origin of man and the universe. I joined in spite of the LDS doctrine that Adam and Eve were real people and not fictional characters in an allegorical tale. I took a leap of faith. I am thankful that I did. Speaking as a member of this ward, I am told that we are Children of God, in the image of God and members of an eternal family. Our Heavenly Parents loved us as we love our children on earth. “As man now is, God once was:” “As God now is, man may be.” [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, Ch 5] God has a physical body. Spirits are a finer type of matter but more fine or pure”. [D&C 131] By proper authority, we must be baptized to be saved and married to be exulted. Stories in Genesis of Adam, Eve, Noah, and the Flood are literally true. Earth and mankind is 7000 years old. [D&C 77:6] The Garden of Eden is near what is now Jackson, Missouri. [D&C 107:53-57] Speaking as a physicist, I am told that we are mostly space surrounded by a electron force field. Space is not empty but is a seething mass of virtual particles flashing in and out of existence. Space has 9 dimensions not 3. Perception of time depends on the observer. Matter and energy are simultaneously waves and particles in multiple locations and can tunnel through walls. The universe is random, uncertain, entangled and 95% of it is unseen and unknown. Our universe is 13.7 billion years old. The Earth is 4 billion years old. Mankind is the end result of millions of years of evolution. Our Church and science do agree that matter, energy, and information are equivalent, eternal, and can not be lost – just reorganized (transformed in scientific language). This is a recent scientific discovery [Leonard Susskind “Black Hole Wars”] but it was stated by Joseph Smith 180 years ago. If energy and matter are eternal, his further statement that spirit is matter [D&C 131] means we are beings of energy and part of an unseen eternal society. Our Church teaches that God organized the Earth, creatures, and mankind from spiritual material in a Preexistence before he made this physical world. [Moses 3:5] Mankind's souls were made in their image – male and female. “Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning”. [D&C 93:38] We were created intelligent with the potential to be divine. [Lorenzo Snow, Ch 5] But, as our souls developed randomly and obtained self awareness, our natures began to diverge according to our choices. When Father convened the Grand Council, our souls had fully matured. We had memories, personalities and projected our image to other spirits. We had friends, formed societies and families. We talked, played, and argued. There were Great Leaders such as Jesus, Lucifer, Michael, and Jeremiah. [Jeremiah 1:5] At Grand Council, we were told of the Plan of Salvation for our entry into the physical world on Earth. Behind a veil of forgetfulness, we would be tested. For the first time, we would experience pain, choices with consequence, and sin. Sin would be unavoidable. Justice would require repayment either by us personally or by a Redeemer – someone without blemish. [1 Peter 1:19] In the Council, we were asked to ratify the selection of this Redeemer and covenant to come to Earth with Him. Since Jesus held the birthright and had created our Paradisaical World, His selection was expected. Jesus said “Send Me”, but Lucifer offered another choice. He said “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.” [Moses 4] Examine those words: If I said “the Titanic has sunk and not one soul was lost”, you would say what a miracle. If, however, I said “the Titanic has sunk and one soul was not lost”, you would say what a tragedy. With the additional promise “I will redeem all mankind... And surely I will do it”, those wishing to return to The Father, saw an easy way to avoid the pain of this world. Though true, Lucifer's words were deceptive – as were his words to Eve “ye shall not surely die”. How would Lucifer's plan work? Slightly change Lehi's vision of the Iron Rod. At birth, Lucifer would handcuff each of us to the Iron Rod. Chained to the Rod, we would proceed to the Tree of Life with neither sin, pain, nor scorn. No river of filth; no building on the hill. Without sin, we would all be redeemed. Without sin, the Atonement would be a coronation. Without experience with free will, and life itself, we would not be Children of our Father. We would be as worker bees to Lucifer's queen. Many spirits were reluctant to leave Heaven for Earth. We were afraid of pain, choices and danger. Since God had given us free agency, He let us chose – between the easy way to Earth with Lucifer, or the hard way with Jesus. In the ensuing confusion, cowardice, and deception, one third of the spirits chose to covenant with Lucifer, not Jesus. These are they who did not keep their First Estate. How do spirits communicate? Since spirits cannot affect physical matter, [D&C 129] they have no sight, hearing, touch, smell or taste. Spirits have no reflection, cast no shadow, and take no selfies. Instead, they project a mental image into our minds as though they were with us. Some examples are: the blindness of Saul on the road to Damascus, Zachariah's loss of speech, the blindness and forgetfulness caused by the angels at Lot's house, and Nephi's success in killing Laban. All of these deceptions are possible with telepathic power. My family history gives two more examples. On Earth, we are shielded from our complete memory and telepathic power by that veil which protects our free agency. We recognize some residual leakage as our “Sixth Sense”. We explore it with scientific experiments like “Remote Viewing”. When the veil is lifted and all memory is perfectly restored along with telepathic communication, it will be as if we shall shout our sins from the rooftops. Then, we will all know that God is loving, merciful and just. On our freely given invitation, both good and evil spirits can affect our thoughts and actions. Evidence of this is when people kill for greed like Cain and an oath like Lamech and become Master Mahan. [Moses 5] Whether they know it or not, they are in league with Satan. This is Satan's world of deception. His doctrine mimics but can never be the true doctrine of The Father. By their fruit, you shall know them. There can be no perfect counterfeits. And so, we came to Earth hoping to return to God in perfection but knowing we would fail and require redemption. Jesus had made all creatures and man from the dust of the Earth. He could give them life and the ability to cooperate, communicate and learn from each other. But only the Father could give intelligence and life to man. Only He could give us the capability to know good and evil, to accept or reject sin. Only He could give us standing to be like him, to become heirs of God and joint heirs of Jesus, and to make covenants with Him and with the Celestial Community beyond. As planned, Adam transgressed the Law with his Priesthood and reaffirmed our preexistent covenant on Earth for all of us. Adam and Eve's eyes were opened so they knew good and evil. [John 9:41] Their transgression of itself was not a sin. Sin is an intentional, malicious act to limit the Free Agency of yourself or another in violation of the covenant we made in the Preexistence. Only in our physical bodies, can we sin and have dominion over all creatures and Satan. That is why Cain, with the covenant and a body, is called the father of Satan's lies. [Gen 1:26. Moses 5:23-25] Satan is not God's enemy, he is our enemy. Satan has no standing with the Father. After the Fall, God cursed us, saying: [Moses 4: 20] “And I, the Lord God, said unto the serpent [for Satan spake by the mouth of the serpent]: Because thou hast done this thou shalt be cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life;  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; and he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” We are not talking about baby snakes here. The serpent's seed are those that covenanted with Lucifer at the Grand Council. The woman's seed are those that covenanted to follow Jesus. The bruising is the ongoing earthly battle between Good and Evil. We are the dust he shall eat in this world for as God said later to Adam,  “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”. From this point on, our brother Lucifer is Satan. He and his seed are our enemy. We are their lawful prey. Since spirits have only telepathic power, they feast on our emotions – fear, hate, wrath, etc. As we look at world events and history, we should remember Satan feeds on our misery and despair. Satan is our parasite.  “Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Considering that Eve started the whole process and forced Adam to violate a commandment with his Priesthood, she merited very few words. Why? She had no authority to transgress God's Law.  “And unto Adam, I, the Lord God, said: Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying—Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.  Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.  By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground—for thou shalt surely die.” With this, God forced us from the Paradise created by Jesus out into the present world of sorrow given to Satan. God changed the world for our sake, to protect us – not because of us. We became mortal. We would be born innocent but not equal since we would keep our preexistent attitudes.  “Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them.  Therefore I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken;” Father sent us into the world clothed and with seeds to till the ground. Like any proud parent, He wished us well. We became not only hunter gatherers but also farmers with intelligence and tools. Then, Father sealed his curse on us, saying:  “For as I, the Lord God, liveth, even so my words cannot return void, for as they go forth out of my mouth they must be fulfilled.” As the descendants of Adam and Eve, we are doubly cursed. When we sin, we have no way back to Father except for the path provided in the Plan of Salvation and this Higher Law. An offense against God's Law by the Authority of the Priesthood must be satisfied either by the offender himself or by a person without blemish offered in his place. This required sacrifice is the reason for the selection of a Redeemer in the Grand Council. He is the Anointed One,. There can be only one Only Begotten. Satisfaction of the curse on Adam and the Earth and our salvation now depends completely upon Jesus. The Old Testament makes prophesies, provides histories of the societies and gives the genealogy of Jesus. It also defines the requirements for such a Sacrifice. [Ex 12:5] It gives examples like Issac and the temple sacrifices by the Levites. The Redeemer must be without blemish, from the line of Judah and not related to Cain. Jesus' virgin birth removed the link to Adam. His baptism by John removed the link to Eve. Jesus became the required sacrifice without blemish. The New Testament details the actual Sacrifice of Jesus. The Lamb of God was fully aware, willing, and could withdraw at any time. Jesus had another task. He had to establish a church society to provide the baptismal infrastructure required by each of us. Jesus said, “believe and be baptized and be saved: believe not and be damned”. [Mark 16:16] By baptism we are “born again” and washed clean from the blemish on Eve. We must be baptized willingly in full knowledge of the process. That is why we do not baptize infants, why we baptize all the dead in our temples, and why each of us, alive or dead, must accept our own baptism. Are there unbaptized infant children in the Celestial Kingdom? Probably not. President Joseph F. Smith reported: “Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her: ‘You will have the joy, the pleasure and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit.’.. [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Ch 14, 176–178] Innocent children will be part of the First Resurrection and raised by their own parents or by others during the Millennium. Each child will choose for itself whether to be baptized when it matures in this world. All of the ordinances – baptism, sealing, marriage will be done in our temples by those in authority. The Millennium is the Great Sorting Out where we shall find our own. Since only the LDS priesthood may perform all requested ordinances for the dead, the LDS Church must endure to the end. Who will perform the Millennium temple ordinances? A clue is found in John 4:2. “Jesus baptized not, but His disciples did”. Certainly, Jesus had the authority to baptize. But He was not of this world. Likewise, those resurrected will not be this world. Every Millennial ordinance must be accomplished in our temples by those of this world for there are no baptisms or marriages in heaven. [Mark 12:25] Only we, the mortal priests of Ephraim with the birthright of Joseph, will do temple ordinances then just as only the descendants of Aaron and other Levites did sacrifices in that dispensation. [Matt 16:19,18:18] A prediction: Knowing that Baptism for the Dead is the only way that the dead of all the world may be saved, Satan will attempt to destroy our temples. This may be the reason for the growth of Islam, ISIS, the weakening of Christianity and coarsening of our society. There are many scenarios for Satan to remove the temples in the latter days. I expect little help from our non LDS brethren. [1 Nephi 14:10] There is an apparent conflict between religion and evolution. Evidence for evolution is irrefutable, but LDS doctrine claims the Earth is 7000 years old, [D&C 77:6] and Eden is in Missouri near Adam-ondi-Ahman. Surely, the temporal duration of Adam's covenant is more important to God than the age of matter. For a biblical precedent recall that an angel twice called Issac Abraham's “only son” [Gen 22:12,16] even though Abraham's first son Ishmael was born outside the covenant 13 years earlier by wife Hagar. Hypothesize that Eden was located in Pangaea 252 million years ago. After 1000 years, God gathered Noah and his family into the Ark and removed them from the Earth before the “Great Dying” – a catastrophe which killed almost all life on earth. For Biblical precedent recall the removal of Enoch. Inside the Ark, Noah perceived a flood – hence the worldwide flood traditions. Outside the Ark, millions of years passed, dinosaurs and humanoids evolved leaving their fossils. The continents slowly migrated to their present locations leaving Eden in Missouri. After 378 days, Mankind emerged on Mt. Ararat as a modern society with seeds, domesticated animals, metal skills, [Gen 4:20-22] and a complex language.[Gen 11. Moses 5. 6:5] We were divided by Babel and the land allocation agreement made during Peleg's lifetime. With God”s blessings of intelligence and the womb, we quickly spread across the globe displacing the other humanoids. By 3300 BCE. we built the first cities like Memphis and Uruk. Early Jericho and the Ubaid period are evidence of other humanoid's primitive development.