Mountain Man

Adam & Eve and other Miracles - Symbolic, Literal, or Both?

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I’m new to these forums so I’m not sure if this topic has been covered before. Let me just start by saying that I was happy to find a venue where faithful LDS can ask sincere questions regarding our faith. In my search for answers I have come across other sites and it soon became clear that I was reading anti-Mormon material. I could feel the spirit leave me, and that’s how you know.
 

I’m a life-long member who had a faith crisis when I was a teenager that carried over into my mid-twenties. At 15 years old, I became obsessed with “disproving” events in the scriptures based on my own limited knowledge and understanding of how the world works. I began to challenge some of the more significant events in the old testament. I was convinced there was no way that we all were descendents of two people (because gross, incest). I was convinced there was no way that Moses literally split the Red Sea and marched across it because after 5 minutes of research, I saw there was a land bridge connecting Egypt with the middle east during that time. I was convinced there was no way to fill a ship with 1 pair of every animal, bird, insect, reptile etc and that became the basis for all life as we know it.

I figured if these events were made up, or embellished, that it stood to reason other things in the Bible could be made up also. Why, even God could be made up. I continued down this path of destroying what little faith I had and then I set my sights on the Book of Mormon. What’s the easiest way to disprove the Book of Mormon? Attack the “source”, Joseph Smith. However, I had read enough of the Book of Mormon that I could not deny the spirit that I felt when I read it. I had visited the sacred grove, knelt in prayer, and received a witness that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. How could a young man with hardly any education, completely fabricate such a Book? I was stumped. As Jeffrey R Holland recently put it, (I’m paraphrasing b/c I can’t find the quote) “The Book of Mormon will stand as a roadblock for those who try to disprove the church”.

And in my case, that was true. I could “disprove” everything except The Book of Mormon. I chalked it up to Joseph Smith being “divinely inspired” and told myself that IF there was a God, that the Church was true. I held on to that little seed of a testimony as I continued to make poor decisions.
 

After 8 years, I was the prodigal son who returned to the church after wasting my blessings on riotous living. I saw what the world had to offer and I found it to be lacking of any real substance. I had been sufficiently humbled to the point of repentance. That was when this stiff-necked person turned to Christ and His church in a very real way.
 

Soon after I returned, I met my future wife who is more amazing and beautiful than any of your wives (sorry fellas, I got the best one). As I was preparing to enter the temple to become sealed and receive my endowments, my wife and I attended a temple prep class.
 

This class was preparing us for the covenants we were about to receive and the teacher told us that we would learn more about Adam and Eve. I confessed that I had always kind of viewed them symbolically to which he corrected me and said that they are literal, and that I’ll know that for myself after receiving my endowments.

 

Well… I received my endowments, and I’ve probably done endowments for 25+ people at this point, and I still think that Adam & Eve are mostly symbolic and I’m ok with that. It really doesn’t bother me if they are just symbolic. When I die, and I find out that they were literally the mother and father of all living who instantly sprouted out of the ground, I’ll say “okay, cool”. When I die, and I find out they were symbolic of the first two spirits to enter the physical bodies that were formed over millions of years of evolution, and that the Old Testament might have gotten a few dates wrong because of ya know, no written history and what not I’ll say “Okay, cool”.

How does one account for Science while also having faith in Heavenly Father and Christ?

I draw great comfort from this quote by Joseph Smith “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it”

I’m okay with viewing some things symbolically (especially in the Old Testament). Just look at how Christ and his Prophets & Apostles taught, through symbolism and parables. Look at how our Prophets and Apostles teach today, through symbolism and parables. When Dieter F. Uchtdorf talks about flying, he’s teaching using parables!

 

Some might criticize my views, and tell me that I am wandering from the straight and narrow. That may be true. However, I believe viewing some of the appendages of the Gospel symbolically actually strengthens my Faith in the Savior. I love that Heavenly Father knows us so well, that he has provided us ways to understand difficult concepts in a simple way. After all, we are but bumbling toddlers compared to Him.

Symbolism also helps me because I do not have to hold the appendages of our Religion to the scrutinizing flame of science.

 

Q: Did Noah really build an Ark?

A: Who cares, let’s focus on what is important.

 

Q: Why are there structures built by humans 5,000 years before Adam and Eve?

A: Who cares, let’s focus on what is important.

 

Q: Was the Earth literally created in 7 days, or even 7,000 years?

A: Who cares, let’s focus on what is important.

 

I can see how viewing things symbolically can be dangerous, but I believe It can be more dangerous to have a very literal and dogmatic view of the Gospel.

I was listening to a podcast recently (don’t worry, I stopped listening once I realized what it was) when a young man said one of the reasons he left the Church was because the Book of Mormon mentions horses and there is no current archeological evidence that supports horses in the Americas at that time.

Really? Seriously? You’re going to bank your entire Testimony of the Savior and Heavenly Father’s plan on... _horses_? That sounds like a young man I once knew (me).

 

What about the recent supposed discovery of Bountiful? What if you get so wrapped up in that, and it turns out it wasn’t the place, so you leave the church because “if it didn’t happen exactly like it states in the Book of Mormon, then I’m done!”

 

I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I also believe that Thomas S Monson is a Prophet of God. I have felt the redemptive power of Christ’s atoning grace in a very real and literal sense. I know we have a Heavenly Father and Mother who love us dearly. I believe that our church is lead by Christ and I know that The Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ and that it was not fabricated by Joseph Smith. I leave this Testimony as a witness, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

So, how do you account for Science and Faith? Do you ignore Science whole-cloth whenever it contradicts the Gospel? Or do you find a compromise that let’s you go on, moving forward in faith?

Also, am I going to the Telestial Kingdom because I think Heavenly Father and Christ probably have some pretty stellar spaceships? (that’s another post for another day)

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Guest LiterateParakeet

Welcome MM,

I don't have any wisdom to Shar e9n this topic because I'm with you - who cares let's focus on what's important.

Whether Adam and Eve were literal or symbolic has no influence on my life and my goal to become more like the Savior. Literal or symbolic - it makes no difference to me.

Again welcome!

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On 3/24/2016 at 9:51 AM, Mountain Man said:

Q: Was the Earth literally created in 7 days, or even 7,000 years?

A: Who cares, let’s focus on what is important.

 

I can see how viewing things symbolically can be dangerous, but I believe It can be more dangerous to have a very literal and dogmatic view of the Gospel.

And here's at least one of the problems we Saints have with the Gospel:

We don't know the doctrines of the Church, and assume things that are not part of the doctrine are.

To wit: there is nothing in scripture or anyplace official that indicates the earth was created in 7 day, years, months or millennia. All we know is that there were seven creative periods. And we don't know much about even that, since we have three differing accounts of the creation.

We are not "Creationists" as are many in the Christian world: we do not have, as doctrine, a position on evolution, for instance. There are two official statements to that effect, and nothing to the contrary. Most LDSs are anti-evolution, but the Church is not.

So, while what we do know is not always in agreement with science, there are very very few places where doctrine and science are at odds.

So, who cares? Let's focus on what is important.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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I think one of the more interesting examples is the book of Job. From what I can see from those who study the sources and transmission of scripture, there is some good evidence that the book of Job is a work of fiction. The events described in this book did not really happen.

 I sometimes think that we struggle with the question of what it means when we say that scripture is "true". Does "true" mean "scripture (or original autographs of scripture) is an inerrant, factually correct history of events that actually happened?" Sometimes we want "scripture is true" to mean that. Can fiction and myth be "true"?

Can scripture be true even when the factual parts of the text are discredited by science? As one who enjoys science fiction, I find that much of what I like about sci-fi are the themes of human nature, government, and such that are explored. These truths are not dependent on the science in sci-fi being exactly right. If we do learn that "transporters" are impossible as Star Trek envisions them, that will not invalidate the themes around human nature that the authors and filmmakers have explored.

If I may, I liked this statement from this Anglican priest discussing the book of Job (http://thefunstons.com/?p=2902 )

Quote

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” Among the reasons fiction is worth writing, reading, and studying is not that it’s entertaining (although good fiction truly is), but rather that it teaches us important lessons about the world, about human beings, and (the religious person says) about God. It does so even if we’re not actively studying, not trying to learn these things; they get into us and into our thinking in unconscious ways. That’s what Scripture is supposed to do, too. And that’s why Scripture includes fiction and poetry along with history, memoir, and correspondence. And that’s why it’s perfectly OK to say, “Job is fiction.” It may be fiction, but it’s nonetheless true!

 

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2 hours ago, Mountain Man said:

 

So, how do you account for Science and Faith? Do you ignore Science whole-cloth whenever it contradicts the Gospel? Or do you find a compromise that let’s you go on, moving forward in faith?

 

I am a professional scientist (an ecologist, to be specific), and a faithful member of the church.  I find that both roles actually enhance me overall, because they address different aspect of life.

 Like looking at a forest from a scientific standpoint, I see so much marvelous complexity working together in such interact ways, science can only roughly approximate-- remember, science by definition doesn't actually prove anything, but just disproves stuff.  Looking at the same forest from a spiritual standpoint: I see a marvelous masterpiece with the fingerprints of deity all over.  Spirituality tells me why things are- something science never can.  Science tells me the how things are- understanding the mechanism which is not elaborated on in scripture (after all, the point of scripture is talk about God, not the chemical structure of rubisco).  

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I ignore probably 99.999% of science (a fraction of which is known to mortal men), because "Who cares, let’s focus on what is important."  If you want to study one science or another, go for it.  But asteroid compositions and the latest rocket designs and such don't impact my daily decisions.  There are so many things to study in mortality, that I have no problem with anyone studying almost anything.  IMO, apparent conflicts between science and revealed truth is nothing more than evidence of our own ignorance.  I choose to trust revealed truth and acknowledge that we have no clue how God brought many (most?) things to pass, and how he did it isn't the point - the Bible isn't a world-building manual, it's a faith-building manual.  Personally, I believe Adam and Eve were real people created as described in scripture* and that the endowment is overflowing with symbolism meant to teach us about a lot more important things than how Adam and Eve passed their time.

*Note that the D&C leaves no doubt they were real people, not symbols or fictional characters.  As for how they were created, I believe the scriptural description is completely accurate - as far as it goes.  Whether I understand it, or how much of the irrelevant-to-me bits were left out, is a whole 'nother (unanswerable) question.

And I think the same thing about every other scriptural story that some people see as "far fetched".  Some people willfully limit their capacity to believe in the miraculous and in powers beyond their comprehension.  For example, I believe Christ walked on water (or slightly above it so that he appeared to be walking on water).  I believe he was able to do that because he understood the various natural forces (laws of physics and other laws) needed to accomplish the goal, and used them the same way an airplane builder understands and uses natural forces to enable the plane to fly despite the fact that gravity really wants it to stay on the ground.

Those who think they must choose either science or faith are severely limiting themselves (and severely misunderstanding what faith is).  I find that life is far better when I let go of skepticism, which is only good for areas where self-preservation is the goal.  Where self-expansion is the goal, I believe all things are possible (by definition), even the things science doesn't yet understand.

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Leaving the church over a lack of evidence is a farce! If they leave over the lack of evidence then will they return when the evidence is proven? Of course not! They are leaving either because they did not receive a witness from God, they don't trust God, or they don't know God. 

 

It takes lots of faith to believe the sciences especially regarding the dating of the pre-flood era. The faith is that everything today was the same back then and that the cataclysmic event had no bearing on the radioactivity of the atoms when the flood happened. There will be discoveries made which reveal an energy that alters the radiation level and/or decay rates. I suspicion it will be found to be associated with earthquake fogs such as was experienced in the New Madrid quake of 1812. When it is realized that the "great deep" was broken up at the flood and that this currently unknown energy came in to play then it will have to be admitted that it could have had a profound effect on atoms and their radiation. When that happens those that had their faith in the sciences and dating methods will see how foolish it was to place such great faith in the sciences, even so much that they tried to disprove God by their ignorance. Maybe it will take 50 years but the errors of the pre-flood dating methods will be exposed...

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Sadliers, I "Liked" your post above for the first paragraph, which I think is completely true. As for the second, I disagree. I see no important conflicts between the gospel truths and current scientific models on any topic.

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I think that as members we take stuff way too literally. I will answer your questions.

 

6 hours ago, Mountain Man said:

Q: Did Noah really build an Ark?

 

A: Yes, but did the whole earth flood? Nope.

6 hours ago, Mountain Man said:

 

Q: Why are there structures built by humans 5,000 years before Adam and Eve?

 

A: You know when Adam and Eve were on the earth? wait you don't think that the earth is only 7000 years old do you?

Anyways the short answer: Pre-Adamites

6 hours ago, Mountain Man said:

 

Q: Was the Earth literally created in 7 days, or even 7,000 years?

 

A: No and no.

6 hours ago, Mountain Man said:

 

So, how do you account for Science and Faith? Do you ignore Science whole-cloth whenever it contradicts the Gospel? Or do you find a compromise that let’s you go on, moving forward in faith?

 

Think about it for a minute...who created science? Not only are they compatible they compliment each other 

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12 hours ago, Mountain Man said:

Q: Did Noah really build an Ark?

A: Who cares, let’s focus on what is important.

 

Q: Why are there structures built by humans 5,000 years before Adam and Eve?
A: Who cares, let’s focus on what is important.

Q: Was the Earth literally created in 7 days, or even 7,000 years?

A: Who cares, let’s focus on what is important.

I can see how viewing things symbolically can be dangerous, but I believe It can be more dangerous to have a very literal and dogmatic view of the Gospel.

So, how do you account for Science and Faith? Do you ignore Science whole-cloth whenever it contradicts the Gospel? Or do you find a compromise that let’s you go on, moving forward in faith?

Also, am I going to the Telestial Kingdom because I think Heavenly Father and Christ probably have some pretty stellar spaceships? (that’s another post for another day)

Q: Did Noah really build an Ark?
A: I care. Why, truth! Noah really did build an ark the same way and method Nephi built a ship, after the manner the Lord had showed him.

Q: Why are there structures built by humans 5,000 years before Adam and Eve?
A: I care. Adam and Eve were the first son/daughter of those that have the ability to become like the Father. Brigham Young speaks of the notion of Adam and Even "replenishing" the earth. This has been republished by the Church more than once and was spoken (and published) by the First Presidency of the Church back in 1909, "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." (Source)

Adam and Eve were real people, a real son, a real daughter, otherwise the Church would be false. How is a symbolic, fictional, character to lead a general assembly before Christ comes again in Adam-Ondi-Ahman? How does a fictional, symbolic character receive priesthood and pass this priesthood down to his posterity?  If Adam is symbolic, fictional, than Abraham would also be fictional, symbolic, Noah would be symbolic the City of Enoch would be symbolic, as Enoch (one of Adam's posterity) would not exist either.

I have never understood the notion from any LDS saint specifying Adam and Eve, are symbolic people, especially since Adam will one day return to lead his children again in a general assembly. How could there be any atonement if the fall was merely symbolic?  There are three pillars of truth: Creation, Fall, Atonement -- without Adam's literal existence there is no "Fall" and without the "Fall" there is no Atonement, and how could a fictional, symbolic character, be Michale the Archangel?  

Q: Was the Earth literally created in 7 days, or even 7,000 years?
A: I care. Why, I want to know truth. At this moment it is understood that days == periods, how long those periods are is unknown. Reading in the Doctrine and Covenants a scripture passage stood out to me while in the temple this night, that each earth, planet's time, is according to its sphere. We have to then understand a reckoning of time according to truth. Here is truth: In answer to the question—Is not the reckoning of God’s time, angel’s time, prophet’s time, and man’s time, according to the planet on which they reside? Whose time then was the earth created and do we actually know the reckoning of God's time?  I think not.  I care, and am looking forward to learning this truth -- not through science -- through God and revelation.

How do I account for science and gospel truth (faith)? Science == arm of flesh == theories of man == who have very limited knowledge according to what they suppose.  How often do we see science argue against itself after more researches provided? How does a theory last 100 years (spoken as fact) and then put down by another research article? Arm of flesh.  Faith == trust and confidence in God. I simply wait for his witness, once received, science can say anything it wants, if it contradicts -- science isn't wrong -- the man who profess the falsehoods are wrong.  Pure Science and Pure Religion will never contradict, it is always the theories of science and postulated theories in religion that cause contradiction. I also recognize some truths will not be revealed during a "Telestial" earth, as Telestial beings will not be able to handle "Terrestrial" or "Celestial" knowledge who are not spiritually minded.

Also, am I going to the Telestial Kingdom because I think Heavenly Father and Christ probably have some pretty stellar spaceships? YES :P

EDIT: Caveat -- when I am referring to science in the beginning I am referring to postulated theories put out by man/woman as fact which aren't factual.

Edited by Anddenex

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I have no idea how my toaster works. Doesn't bother me! Why should I care if I don't know how G-d created the world? If I don't know how any of my kitchen applicances work, why would I hope to understand creation? Anthropology and palentology are constantly changing (evolving!). Textbooks go out of date very quickly in those areas! It would be pretty silly to stalk your faith on "truths" that are constantly being rewritten. That doesn't mean that we can't study and enjoy such disciplines. I love to read about palentology! Love visiting dinosaur exhibits!

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Guest

Literal, figurative, or both?  Both.  But they are important in their own ways.

They were literally the first man and woman on the earth who were children of God.  The details of their story are not known to man.  The stories we have are "based on" their literal story.  But what we have is the figurative version of their story.

The literal is important because of the plan of salvation and all it entails.  The fall, sealing, The family of Adam are all integral parts of the overall plan.

The figurative is important to help us understand so many secrets of life.  If you look at the story of Adam and Eve in all the differing accounts, we find truths that help us understand how to live and what life is really about.

RE: Science vs. Religion

Truth is truth.  Scientific truth will lead to religious truth and vice versa.  But what we fail to acknowledge when placing them side-by-side is how little we know of both.  How much do we really know about physics and chemistry?  How much do we really know or understand about Eternal progression?  We know so little of each that it is easy to see conflicts where none exist.  But in our ignorance and pride we demand a reconciliation of the two that we know so little about.

Edited by Guest

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Greetings Mountain - I am a scientist and an engineer and I am also an active 5th generation member with a personal conversion to LDS covenants, doctrine and theology.  I am by training a physicist and mathematician that works in the field of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence.  It is my opinion that the question of literal or symbolic understanding is the wrong question and will lead to poor conclusions.  First off, language itself is symbolic - so also are written words which introduces a second level of symbolism.  There is in reality no such thing as "literal" meaning.  What there is - is interpretations.  For example the word tree is a symbolic word that conveys a meaning that is spoken and then understood.  Seldom is the understood meaning preciously identical to what was spoken or written - there are many different kinds and species of trees.   There is more to understanding the symbolism of language than just understanding each word and how they are put together in language.  Each word heard or read has what we call an array of extent of possible meanings when it is interpreted by the receiver.  But when it is spoken or written there usually is a singular intended meaning.  It is called the intent.  So there is a difference between the extent of possible meaning and the intended meaning.  Sometimes something that is spoken or written will have multiple intended meaning - sarcasm is a fine example of communications with multiple meaning.

Another form of speech that often or usually has multiple meaning is called poetry.  A great deal of ancient scripture is written specifically in poetic format indicating that the intended message is Gnostic or hidden and requires divine assistance to grasp the intended understanding or meaning.  Genesis for example is written in an ancient Hebrew poetic format - which would indicate that the intended message is somewhat hidden within the textual symbolism used.  This type of communications with man is not strange to G-d or to Jesus Christ.  Jesus taught by parables that were specifically intended to have hidden messages for the faithful that would be lost or confused by those that do no have eyes to see and ears to hear. 

The economy of divine communication is very interesting in that G-d always employs multiple witnesses - with different symbolism.  An example is the dream of Pharaoh that were interpreted by Joseph.   In fact Joseph tells Pharaoh that the two dreams are one (the Hebrew term ehad) and that the message was doubled so that Pharaoh would "Know" that the message was from G-d. 

Lets consider another message in scripture call the epoch of Noah's ark.  It is interesting to me that scriptures do not call it Noah's boat but rather use the word ark.  This is the exact same term used to describe a sacred relic in the temple called the "ark" of the covenant which definitely was not a boat.  I personally believe that the reason the term ark was used in scripture was for special symbolic meaning.  A meaning that I believe will not be uncovered by literal analysis.  The epoch of Noah's ark is simple enough for a child to understand yet challenging enough for a disciple studying to be able to devote a lifetime of study, prayer and meditation to discover much hidden to the unprincipled that see only what is at the surface. 

I wish you well in your journey of discovery - and for the record - I believe the empirical witness that is interpreted by the scientific community is much more consistent than are the interpretations of scripture by the religious community that tends to have an agenda of apostasy.

 

The Traveler

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On 3/25/2016 at 11:21 PM, Anddenex said:

Adam and Eve were real people, a real son, a real daughter, otherwise the Church would be false. 

I believe it is possible they are real people but I don't think that if they weren't, that the church would not be true. I just have questions about how every human being on Earth became descendants of just these two people. If God created other people for Adam and Eve's posterity to mate with, that could make sense.

So Adam and Eve had lot's of kids... how did they have grand children? Did God bless them with special genes so that they wouldn't get disabilities associated with inbreeding? Was it moral to marry your brother and sister? 

I personally believe that Adam and Eve were the first humans to receive spirits from Heavenly Father but that there were other humans or pre-humans on the Earth at the time. Evolved from .. whatever. We were just animals bumbling around for millions of years while we evolved into early humans. Once our bodies were ready to receive spirits, God united our Spirits with our Physical bodies to create our souls. I don't think this contradicts the account given in the Temple or in the scriptures, but I am no scholar and I could be wrong. Adam and Eve could have been protected from the other pre-humans in the Garden of Eden. Then, when they were cast out, they were forced to mingle with other pre-humans.. and maybe it was at that time that other Spirits entered those physical bodies... Maybe the spirits entered the physical bodies then in much the same way they do now (at birth). This makes sense to me and gives me comfort. It is something I have prayed about earnestly and I was at peace. That doesn't mean I'm right... I am probably way off base as I usually am on most things. I look forward to learning more about it throughout my life and on into eternity. 

Thanks to everyone for your replies! 

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4 hours ago, Mountain Man said:

Was it moral to marry your brother and sister?

There was no choice: there was no one else.

We read, with no condemnation (explicit or implied), that Cain married one of his brother's daughters.

Lehi

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15 hours ago, Mountain Man said:

Did God bless them with special genes so that they wouldn't get disabilities associated with inbreeding?

I personally believe that Adam and Eve were the first humans to receive spirits from Heavenly Father but that there were other humans or pre-humans on the Earth at the time. Evolved from .. whatever. We were just animals bumbling around for millions of years while we evolved into early humans. Once our bodies were ready to receive spirits, God united our Spirits with our Physical bodies to create our souls.

When people are living for 900 years, that is a pretty healthy gene pool.

This is Dr. Bradshaw @ BYU talking:

The accounts in the PoGP indicates that for all the phases of the creation save man, The Father sent the Son and Michael to do all the leg work.  But when it came time for man to be created, the Father, Himself, was present.  This would indicate something special happened during the creation of man vs all other creations.

---- I tend to believe that pattern of thinking.

 

Edited by Guest

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I think this shows the fine line between a "Crisis of Faith" and a "Puzzle of Faith"

If we accept that "God's ways are not our ways" and "God's thoughts are not our thought" then we should accept that there are going to be things we don't understand.

There is nothing wrong with this.  Just as there is nothing wrong with trying figure the puzzles out and learning either.

The problem we can run into is when we "think" we know.  And using our knowledge and wisdom and logic about what we "think" we know runs counter to other things we "think" know.  That can turn a puzzle into a crisis.  When we get there we need to realize that it is not God who is wrong, but our understanding of what God is doing/has done that is wrong.

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20 hours ago, Mountain Man said:

I believe it is possible they are real people but I don't think that if they weren't, that the church would not be true. I just have questions about how every human being on Earth became descendants of just these two people. If God created other people for Adam and Eve's posterity to mate with, that could make sense.

So Adam and Eve had lot's of kids... how did they have grand children? Did God bless them with special genes so that they wouldn't get disabilities associated with inbreeding? Was it moral to marry your brother and sister? 

I personally believe that Adam and Eve were the first humans to receive spirits from Heavenly Father but that there were other humans or pre-humans on the Earth at the time. Evolved from .. whatever. We were just animals bumbling around for millions of years while we evolved into early humans. Once our bodies were ready to receive spirits, God united our Spirits with our Physical bodies to create our souls. I don't think this contradicts the account given in the Temple or in the scriptures, but I am no scholar and I could be wrong. Adam and Eve could have been protected from the other pre-humans in the Garden of Eden. Then, when they were cast out, they were forced to mingle with other pre-humans.. and maybe it was at that time that other Spirits entered those physical bodies... Maybe the spirits entered the physical bodies then in much the same way they do now (at birth). This makes sense to me and gives me comfort. It is something I have prayed about earnestly and I was at peace. That doesn't mean I'm right... I am probably way off base as I usually am on most things. I look forward to learning more about it throughout my life and on into eternity. 

Thanks to everyone for your replies! 

As @LeSellers said, who else was there?

As @Carborendum said, of course they had better genes.  It took a long time for our lifespan to shorten.

The scriptures make it perfectly clear that all things are created spiritually before they are created physically.  Therefore, there could have been no animal nor humanoid present without a spirit.  I personally reject the notion that something changed spirits or got spirits after the physical form was already present.

As for the rest, I don't understand why not knowing is such a big deal for the world at large.  So many people are so convinced of evolution of all species all the time everywhere that they reject Adam and Eve being created by God and being the first parents of the human species.  Other people are so convinced that Adam and Eve were the first humans that they reject the possibility of other humanoids existing before, during, or after Adam and Eve.  Personally, I am so convinced of my own ignorance that I think it's the height of arrogance for me to be typing this post. :)

It is my personal opinion that "evolution" is the wrong word and that the human genome has been devolving since Adam and Eve.  But that's me.

It's fun to speculate, but I think it's pretty much irrelevant unless you let your speculation lead you astray or waste your probation.  As for the peace you received through prayer, I take it as evidence of a loving, patient God more than as affirmation of any given model of our creation or continuing existence.

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I see nothing intrinsically wrong with an "incestuous" marriage, unless (IMO) it involves ancestors and descendants. Sibling marriages tend to be very risky and therefore not advisable, but other than the "ick!" factor, I don't see anything wrong with it in principle. Marriage of second and even first cousins as well as uncle/niece and aunt/nephew marriages were historically common. A common Muslim belief is that an ideal marriage is uncle/niece, specifically between a man and his brother's daughter. In general, the dangers of "incestuous" marriage have been greatly overstated. This is especially true in cases where there is no recent (past four or so generations) close marriages in one's ancestry. I can think of all sorts of good social reasons to have such a taboo in place, but for most modern Americans, it's not a genetic issue.

Edited by Vort

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55 minutes ago, zil said:

... the human genome has been devolving since Adam and Eve.  But that's me.

Technically, it would have been since Shem.  It was those born after the flood who started to show a reduced lifespan.  After that it has been declining a little bit with each passing millennium.  Shem lived many hundreds of years.  Abraham's was a contemporary of Shem but "only" lived to 175 years.  Today, the world record holders are capped out at around 120.

My great - grandfather lived to be 102 and died from old age -- no diseases, no poison, no injury.  He had an adventurous life.  I named my son after him.

Edited by Guest

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9 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Technically, it would have been since Shem.

Only if you believe there was no devolution between Adam and Shem. :) I think we've been devolving the whole time.  I think that's one of the consequences of mortality.  But again, that's me.

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9 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Technically, it would have been since Shem.

Only if you believe there was no devolution between Adam and Shem. :) I think we've been devolving the whole time.  I think that's one of the consequences of mortality.  But again, that's me.

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7 minutes ago, zil said:

Only if you believe there was no devolution between Adam and Shem. :) 

I'm basing my statement on the numbers.  The age Adam died vs. the age Noah died.  In fact, Noah lived longer than Adam.  Methuselah lived even longer and was closer to Noah than Adam.  Shem lived 600 years, but Lamech lived 700(?) years.  So, the 600 years is still within statistical variation apparently.  It's a long way from 120.

 

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This is a very interesting question to me.

The scriptures say seek knowledge by learning and by faith. So the Lord wants us to use our brains and to learn. But he also wants us to develop faith.

When you do become educated, you learn that science is the major competing worldview to religion. At their core, science and religion are both talking about truth, but we don't know enough to see how they are connected a lot of the time.

Science is a very specific method - it can only talk about what you can measure. If you can't measure it, science can't touch it. Also, science is always tentative. It never has final answers.

I love learning about science. I think it is a very valuable tool for discovering truth. However, some people make it into more than a tool, and start to treat it like a religion, making it into a complete worldview. The problem with this is that science is limited and is always changing it's theories.

Religion is a very different way to truth. It is all about revelation from God. And also faith is required - the first principle of our LDS religion, in fact. Faith to me means trusting God. As we are obedient to God, our faith will increase.

I think it is possible in this life to get along fine without learning science or the "internet controversies." The most important thing is learning to love God and love your neighbor. But my personality is to ask questions, and I think God likes us to learn.

It is extremely foolish to decide whether the church is true based on things like "no evidence has been found for horses in the Americas." Let's use this as an example: First of all, lack of evidence doesn't prove anything. It just means so far we haven't found anything. Also, the Americas - that's a huge area. We don't know where the Book of Mormon people lived. Much of the Americas is not dry arid desert, where stuff would just lie on the ground, uncovered, and preserved by dryness. Also, how hard have archaeologists looked for horse bones? Say you find some bones, and you already "know" they can't be horse bones. Are you going to pay a lot of money to have them tested? Bias like this can influence what has been "found."

I have looked into most of the "internet controversies" and found reasonable explanations for things. Sometimes you have to take things on faith while you keep learning - suspend judgement. And sometimes you must take things on faith all your life. Luckily, we have the Holy Spirit - when you feel that, that is evidence that speaks to your soul.

Two great sources for answers to the "internet controversies" are the Gospel Topics essays on LDS.org, and the Fairmormon.org apologists site. 

https://www.lds.org/topics/essays

http://en.fairmormon.org/Table_of_Contents

Edited by tesuji

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10 hours ago, tesuji said:

The scriptures say seek knowledge by learning and by faith. So the Lord wants us to use our brains and to learn. But he also wants us to develop faith.

The scripture says to seek knowledge by learning and also by faith (D&C 88:118). Thus there are two ways to gain knowledge, by learning or by faith.

What is knowledge? Isn't knowledge a knowing of a truth? And doesn't it start out as a belief? That's what Alma taught in Alma 32. Alma likened the word to a seed wherein one starts with a belief then nourishes it until it becomes a knowledge in that one thing. Another option to learning knowledge is if we have faith in God then we can trust that a witness from God is truth thus yields knowledge. Alma taught us how to gain knowledge by learning while the Spirit gives us knowledge through faith - just as D&C 88 provides. But short of those ways, all of our studies yield belief, not knowledge. We don't gain knowledge in college, we gain beliefs. Scientists don't gain knowledge from working the scientific method, they gain beliefs. And members do not gain knowledge by studying books on doctrine, they gain beliefs unless the Spirit bares witness. And the same applies to all beliefs - a witness by the Spirit, coupled with faith, will turn the belief into knowledge.

 

 D&C 50:19-22 tells us how to gain knowledge by faith.

Edited by Sadliers

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