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I wonder if there was a cover memo...

The cover letter to the packet says, "Various views have been expressed by other Church leaders on this subject over many decades; however, formal statements by the First Presidency are the definitive source of official Church positions."

LDS scientists: Manage to reconcile evolution and Mormonism and think everyone else should, too.

Sign me up with that team.

Sign me up with that team.

I'd say "me too", but I'm kind of wondering what the reconciliation of Mormonism and Evolution looks like. Just today in GD we were having the discussion about the Garden of Eden and, despite LDS admonition to see the whole thing as figurative, people really, really, wanted it to be literal. I think it's very difficult to reconcile the doctine of a man-god continuum without a literal belief in the man-in-the-image-of-god-in-the-image-of-man creation paradigm.

I've heard of looking through a glass darkly, but this sounds like looking through a peep-stone darkly.

Please forgive the cynicism, but the only way I can reconcile the two is to increasingly diminish the literalness of mormon doctrine...which I'm fine with, but many people I know find the distinctiveness any therfore the value of Mormonism in it's literal view of God and Jesus as a glorified men of flesh who appeared just so to Joseph Smith.

How would each of your reconcile evolution with mormonism?

I live in a Muslim country, just a few blocks from the National Science Center. In the gift shop are a number of books why evolution and Islam are incompatible. In the National Science Center.

"despite LDS admonition to see the whole thing as figurative"

Watt, not sure where this admontion is.

Watt, I'm with Tim -- what are you talking about? (Even though I am about to post on why we should look at the garden narrative as an allegory). Further, I see no difficulty in reconciling "the doctine of a man-god continuum" even if the garden narrative is allegorical and not literal. (Check out my post later this week for more details)

Watt, not sure where this admontion is

The temple ...

My point is, the more allegorical the view, the easier it is to reconcile. But also that there is a natural resistance to the allegorical view as it is contrary to what is distinctivly Mormon: the literal view of such things.

[edited 1/23]

The temple narrative ... But the scriptural narrative (which is different) has never been interpreted as being allegorical in any way. Symbolic, yes. Allegorical, no.

There's also a difference in you saying it's allegorical, and saying that we've been told that it is purely allegorical, whether or not it's then easier to reconcile.

[edited 1/23]

Tim J wrote: "But the scriptural narrative (which is different) has never been interpreted as being allegorical in any way"

In fact, the temple ceremony is just such an interpretation.

I agree that we have not been instructed to see it as strictly allegorical, and to the degree that we see it as literal we are hindered in reconciliation.

My point is that Mormonism does see these things as literal...that this is part of what makes Mormonism distinctive. And that this will necessarily make it more difficult for Mormons to reconcile with science.

Does anyone have any idea how you would reconcile the literalist tradition with science? This is one of the great questions of our day.

A web site at Xavier University of Louisiana has documented the religious responses to evolution for about four years now.

http://webusers.xula.edu/cporter/2000n/evolution_and_religion.htm

It hasn't been updated yet this year because there was a hurricane, and the web site was down for most of the fall.

The "interpretation problem" doesn't enter the ID debate, but only because ID hasn't really entered the curriculum. Just as teaching "Biblical Creation" in the classroom would quickly raise questions about just what exactly "Biblical Creation" is (as there are different interpretations of the biblical texts that recount creation), so ID would inevitably raise the same questions if it were actually adopted in earnest.

What exactly is the Design in ID? Who or what is the Intelligence in ID? Lacking objective answers to these foundational questions would, I think, pose significant problems for anything more than a cursory 15-minute nod to ID in a bio curriculum.

Good point, Dave. I don't think this law was was ever meant as a complete solution...just an opening salvo.

A small devotional based on the subject of this post can be found on my blog under: Dear Mr. Fantasy.

Fascinating discussion today, all.

I'm no scientist and this topic has never interested me per se. My only beef is when people use evolution to claim God does not exist, or that somehow evolution proves the scriptures are not true.

My take is that earth has many phases and different purposes at different times. Just because there was Homo erectus does not mean Homo sapiens must have evolved from them.

Perhaps God allowed these creations to live on earth for a period of time. Then, when it was time to being the phase of mankind as we know it, then the old phase ended and a new one began.

Creation is a continuum, not a single event. This is true temporally as well as spiritually. Consider all the changes the earth has undertaking, creation, fall, flood...and then the burning and re-creation to a paradisiacal glory only be to go through yet another re-creation to its final celestial glory.

Do evolutionists factor in these sudden and mighty changes in earths future? No. And they most certainly do not factor in sudden and mighty changes in earths past either.

God is the First Scientist. I'll take his word over the evolutionists any day of the week.

LDS Patriot said: God is the First Scientist. I'll take his word over the evolutionists any day of the week.

Why not take both?

will said: Why not take both?

Because science isn't nearly as useful in determining truth as is revelation.

For example, who knew more about creation, Darwin or Moses? Darwin only used science to aid his understanding. Moses saw every step and particle in earth's creation, as well as the universe as a whole.

When there is an apparent conflict between the two, I side with God, believing it the more prudent path.

When there is an apparent conflict between the two, I side with God, believing it the more prudent path.

That's certainly a valid approach. Another approach would be to see if the apparent conflict dissolves when we look at the issue from a different angle.

LDS Patriot wrote: who knew more about creation, Darwin or Moses?

May be...yet, who chose or was able to transmit actual data about the the process? Not Moses or Abraham. It's one thing to say you know something about creation and quite another to show the data.

This distinction is a basic one between religion and science.

I am personally very suspicious of anyone who claims that knowledge is or can only be revealed to "authorized" prophets...or that this is primary or most reliable source of non-religious truth. This is contrary to the spirit of truth-seeking that has been a part of Mormonism from the beginning.

Our obsession with priesthood authority will be the death of our individual intellects.

will: "I am personally very suspicious of anyone who claims that knowledge is or can only be revealed to "authorized" prophets...or that this is primary or most reliable source of non-religious truth. This is contrary to the spirit of truth-seeking that has been a part of Mormonism from the beginning."

I fully concur. I did not say that nor infer that in the least. Excellent point and good reminder.

Watt, it always seemed pretty apparent to me that the temple ceremony was mostly symbolic, not a documentary. I've never heard official statements to the contrary.

How literal is Genesis? I feel like I have plenty of wiggle room there as well, and I've never heard official statements to the contrary ... at least in my adult lifetime.

I agree with you that many Mormons would like Genesis, and perhaps the temple ceremony, to be literal. But that doesn't put them in harmony with the true religion.

I don't see any disagreement between evolution theory and the biblical account. In fact, ET boosts my appreciation for all life.

Genesis starts in the middle of the story, not at the beginning. John 1:1 starts at the beginning. Genesis can be read to imply that matter existed before God acted on it. However, all matter exists because the mind of God created it. The forces that acted on matter to bring about life are attributed to God, regardless of how many creative beings ultimately had a hand in it. God is life, and life evolves to serve God's purposes.

So when I see the miracle of life in nature, I marvel at God's handiwork and the genius of his grand creation. It's much easier than straining at gnats.

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