Recently in Sunday School the lesson topic was the Creation. The science of it was brought up, and I am still mulling over in my mind what I could have said better than what I did. I am frustrated with myself for not having prepared better for it. Not that I really saw it coming, but I should have. I knew that the Creation lesson was coming up, but I had been thinking I would be in the nursery with my son. Sione stayed in the nursery instead. I even had my oldest daughter start asking me questions about it in the week before, but had not pursued it more than a discussion of what I remembered off the top of my head. I told her we would learn more later (we were in the car at the time) and I was not being that urgent in my quest, since she had seemed mildly interested. I was therefore not as prepared as I feel I should have been for the discussion that ensued in the class. It was not contentious, in my opinion, it is just frustrating to me to see how many people seem to be so easily swayed by “the philosophies of men” in this subject.
I have not studied this subject in over a year, and so the information was not as fresh in my mind as I wish it would have been. However I just noticed that I had saved a file on evolution and I opened it to find an e-mail I wrote when I was discussing this very topic when I had been studying this more in depth. Here is most of what I wrote. I left out irrelevant comments. Some of this I had remembered and used, some I wish I had remembered.
First of all I want to define theistic evolution for those who may not know what it means. Theistic Evolution is the belief that God used evolution to create the world.
We read in Genesis 1:24 “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind and it was so.” and in Moses 2:24 “And I, God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the earth after their kind, and it was so.” From these it is clear that from the beginning there has always been “like beget like” going on.
Regarding Natural Selection……Hmmmmmm. To me saying that Heavenly Father uses natural selection is like saying that Heavenly Father takes away our agency to choose who we will marry and procreate with. We have that choice, always. A zebra has always given birth to a zebra. Mosquitoes have always laid eggs for more mosquitoes. An apple tree has always produced apple trees. Tomato plants have always produced more tomato plants.
President John Taylor wrote “The animal and vegetable creations are governed by certain laws, and are composed of certain elements peculiar to themselves. This applies to the man, to the beast, fowls, fish and creeping things, to the insects and to all animated nature; each one possessing its own distinctive features, each requiring a specific sustenance, each having an organism and faculties governed by prescribed laws to perpetuate its own kind. So accurate is the formation of the various living creatures that an intelligent student of nature can tell by any particular bone of the skeleton on an animal to what class or order it belongs.
“These principles do not change, as represented by evolutionists of the Darwinian school, but the primitive organisms of all living beings exist in the same form as when they first received their impress from their Maker.”
In 1 Cor. 15:38-39 Peter states “But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, and another of fishes, and another of birds.” I read this and think Hmmmmmmmmm, why would He go through the trouble of creating something as less than what He wanted it to be? He created it and said it was good. He created it perfectly, He has no reason to use any process to physically change an entire species of anything.
If we are going to look at whether the world is progressing or regressing in its natural state, I would have to say it must be regressing. After all this world, when it was first created, existed in a paradisiacal or a terrestrial state. We are not in this state now, but the earth will be “renewed” and receive its paradisiacal glory. The earth, too was created in a perfect state. There were no weeds, or thorns until after the fall, according to Moses 4:24. As the weeds and thorns also multiply and replenish the earth, it only makes sense that there are many more of the less desirable aspects of things now, than in the beginning. Seeing as there has not been any zero population meetings going on among the plant world, that is.
In “Man: His Origin and Destiny” Orson Pratt wrote “Man, when he was first placed upon this earth, was an immortal being, capable of eternal endurance; his flesh and bones, as well as his spirit, were immortal and eternal in their nature; and it was just so with all the inferior creation – the lion, the leopard, the kid and the cow; it was so with the feathered tribes of creation, as well as those that swim in the vast ocean waters; all were immortal and eternal in their nature; and the earth itself, as a living being, was immortal and eternal in its nature…. The earth was so constructed that it was capable of existing as a living being to all eternity, with all the swarms of animals, fowls, and fishes that were first placed upon the face thereof…. If there had been no sin, our father Adam would at this day have been in the Garden of Eden, as bright and as blooming, as fresh and as fair, as ever, together with his lovely consort Eve, dwelling in all the beauty of youth.”
2 Nephi 2:22-26 tells us that Lehi said “If Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy. And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.”
In Moses 5:11 Eve is quoted as saying “Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.”
Before the fall, there was perfection. There was no death, no illness, nothing to improve upon. This world, and all that live on it, are naturally having more illnesses, etc. Yes, we are “finding” cures for disease. In truth Heavenly Father is revealing them, of course. However more spring up continually.
Our Heavenly Father is a God of order. “All things testify of Christ.” All true science will point back to God. We should judge all things by the scriptures, words of the prophets, and ultimately the Spirit. The world would have us believe that to judge all things by those points first would be naive, and likely to keep us in ignorance. I propose that it is exactly the opposite. Because all true knowledge comes from God. and as we follow the scriptures, His prophets, and the Spirit, we will have more knowledge revealed to us. He shows us this is the case over and over again in the scriptures. From the Brother of Jared, Moses, Lehi, Nephi, to Joseph Smith. When we go to Him for knowledge and truth, He will teach us. We have no need to seriously consider the philosophies of the world, when it is mixed with scripture. Simply because we need not have that lesser, finite knowledge added in.