The creation

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Opalsky
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The creation

Post by Opalsky » 04 Apr 2018, 23:08

I believe in God and his son and in the Holy Ghost. I believe in a pre mortal and post mortal existence.... I don't need those things proven to me but the concept of the creation still boggles my mind. What are your thoughts concerning this topic? I have yet to see a gospel perspective about this. I would love to see a side by side comparison of aspects covered within the book of genesis in the Bible and within the Big Bang theory & theories of evolution. I have heard numerous times that these theories are wrong but they don't go into great detail as to why. All the pieces of the puzzle don't fit together. I am not seeing the full picture. I would love to have an open discussion about this topic and perhaps mend a bit of my faith.

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DarkJedi
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Re: The creation

Post by DarkJedi » 05 Apr 2018, 05:31

You actually have more belief than I do regarding pre- and post-mortal life. I hope there is a post-mortal life, and to some extent the idea does have some universality among religions/belief systems (although not all have a teaching about it). Pre-mortal ideas are much less common. For me, we simply don't have enough information about either. I can accept that they may be real but beyond that I have other things to concentrate on given the limited information we do have. I think if God wanted us to know more about them God would have made it known.

I do believe God is the Creator (I don't know it, I simply believe it). I don't know how God did it, but the Big Bang and evolution are certainly possibilities. I recognize in the past church leaders have made definitive statements regarding the subject and there were very heated debates between the likes of B.H. Roberts and James Talmadge who favored scientific theories and Joseph Fielding Smith who did not. And even more "modern" apostles (such as McConkie) have made some statements on the subject. But I also recognize that the current Q15 have not made any statements and I believe there is no official stance on the subject. And, evolution and similar theories are taught at BYU. Thus, those who say what the "church teaches" on the subject are in reality expressing their own opinions, not the church's. (A Google search will give several results, including LDS.org, that affirm the church has no official stance on the subject.)
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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dande48
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Re: The creation

Post by dande48 » 05 Apr 2018, 06:46

There are a few different views you can take to reconcile the two (mix and match):
  • Science is a conspiracy run by the devil to undermine our faith.
  • Those who wrote the scriptures had a limited understanding of how the universe works, and interpreted their inspiration from God according to their understanding. They did not have a solid foundation in relativity, astrophysics, chemistry, etc. It wouldn't have been difficult for God to delve into the details without that solid foundation.
  • The Big Bang teaches us that all of Creation came from a single point within our dimension. In the multi-verse theory, with God being in a different plane of existence, it would make sense that all creation came from somewhere.
  • Mankind was still raised from the dust... through a very long and complicated process.
  • It is silly to think that the seven days of creation were actual earth days, since earth days could not exist before the earth. Also, it's apparent that God's time is not man's time. God took 4.54+ billion years to get everything just right for his children.
  • Everything from the creation can be taken as a figurative, mythological story, showing our relationship with God.
  • The creation story is really mankind trying to find their relationship with God and place in the universe, rather than God directly saying anything to mankind (This is what I believe, with some caveats).
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One of the nicer spiritual truths that modern science has taught us, is that we don't ever get to see the full picture. We're not the center of the universe, or the center of all creation. We're egotistical beings living on a speck, hurling around a yellow dwarf star, on the outskirts of our relatively small galaxy. Mankind is not even an infinitesimal fraction of all the goings-on in our universe. When better, more complete information reveals itself, we alter our conclusions. But until our understanding expands, we must to the best we can with what we've been given, fully recognizing we will be wrong about a great many things.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Opalsky
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Re: The creation

Post by Opalsky » 05 Apr 2018, 07:05

I will expand on my personal thoughts on this subject
I'll start of by saying I believe that for God all things are possible and that his divine hand is in everything. However some of the doctrine does not add up. There's a lot I am relatively confused about honestly. I would like to better understand these things.
The church teaches with the fall of Adam came mortality and death. Adam and Eve lived in the garden of eden in a paradisal state and could. They could not bare children until they partook of the fruit.
Scientific studies teach us that Species have lived and died on the earth for around 560 million years. Fossils from ancient extinct ancestors have been discovered that date millions of years ago. The modern form of humans only evolved about 200,000 years ago. Civilization as we know it is only about 6,000 years old. Industrialization started in the earnest only in the 1800s. It could be argued that humans have advanced more recently. Research comparing anatomy and genetics says humans are most closely related to chimpanzees.
I have mused that perhaps the garden wasn't a place but more of a state of mind. Kind of like animals and children with a limited agency. A state of ignorance. I thought perhaps there is symbolism but I have since been told the garden of eden was an actual place on earth. I have considered that perhaps apes and monkeys exist to help humans to study them and better understand themselves in certain aspects.
Also I have been told it wasn't God who created this earth directly but it was through his son Jesus Christ that the earth was made under Gods direction. Is this solid doctrine?

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On Own Now
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Re: The creation

Post by On Own Now » 05 Apr 2018, 07:25

I'm glad you brought this up, Opalsky. I was a hardliner about the literalness of the creation in my youth, but changed my tune to believing it was symbolic even as a still all-in member.

If you have been to the temple, think about the presentation there. It is HIGHLY symbolic. It doesn't really make any attempt to be anything other than symbolic and it is presented with the meaning of the symbolism completely trumping any factual nature of the narrative. Although I think this should still be fairly obvious today, I will point you toward what was clearly symbolic in the old form: A minister was sent to Adam and Eve to try to confuse their thinking about God and, in the older days, even led the temple visitors in a hymn (as I understand it). I doubt temple goers ever thought of that as literal.

There was a time, of course, when the creation was considered to be literal. But IMO, staring around the 1970's/80's, the Church simply stopped talking about the creation in that way. If you look in the LDS manuals today, you'll see references to the various "accounts" of the creation and what things we "learn" from the accounts.

Also, check out this passage from D&C 101:32-34:
Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things— Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof— Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven.
In other words, lots of mysteries about the creation are out of our sight, according to the D&C.

I look at it like this: If you talk to the average member of the Church and ask them about the literalness of the accounts of the creation and about how they reconcile evolution, dinosaurs, and the age of the earth, I believe their responses will be all over the map, but I also believe you'll get a large dose of "don't know the details". Sure, there will be plenty of people that take it all literally, and defend their views with 100-year-old statements, but the Church today really doesn't back them up.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

Roy
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Re: The creation

Post by Roy » 05 Apr 2018, 10:00

I believe that the Adam and Eve narrative is a symbolic story meant to teach us lessons and explain humanity's place in the universe.

Many church members and leaders have had a hard time believing in symbolism. For example the story of Job is taught as literal when most bible scholarship would agree that it is not.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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DarkJedi
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Re: The creation

Post by DarkJedi » 05 Apr 2018, 11:45

Opalsky wrote:
05 Apr 2018, 07:05
...but I have since been told the garden of eden was an actual place on earth.
You have to figure out what you believe, not what someone else says. As OON says, beliefs about the literalness of Adam & Eve, the Garden, and practically everything else are all over the map even among church members. I personally do not believe the Garden is literal, nor was the "fruit." And I don't buy the stuff about everything being immortal and not able to reproduce, etc. I know people in my ward who totally agree with me and people who take it all absolutely literally and believe the earth is only 6,000 years old (with all sorts of contorted explanations about fossils, etc.). It doesn't matter what anyone else believes or teaches, it only maters what you believe.
Also I have been told it wasn't God who created this earth directly but it was through his son Jesus Christ that the earth was made under Gods direction. Is this solid doctrine?
It is doctrine, but I don't know how symbolic it is. It's taught in the temple, but so is the Garden story. There are a few GAs (including BKP) who have referenced it as all symbolic and the symbolism is one of the few things I like about the temple.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Roy
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Re: The creation

Post by Roy » 05 Apr 2018, 13:00

Opalsky wrote:
05 Apr 2018, 07:05
Also I have been told it wasn't God who created this earth directly but it was through his son Jesus Christ that the earth was made under Gods direction. Is this solid doctrine?
Some great resources at this link for FairMormon: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Morm ... nd_Jehovah

Essentially the bible is not entirely clear on the point of who created the earth. Much of the bible is monotheistic and teaches one God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. That God is called by Elohim, Jehovah, and Adonai as various titles depending on what roles or attributes the writer was trying to emphasize.

When Christianity came along there was a big question as to how Jesus fits in with God the father. Is he a prophet/messiah/promised king? is he the son of God? is he the personification of God? Lots of different ways to interpret the scriptures.

What eventually became pretty commonplace in the western church was the idea of the Trinity. Jesus is everything. He is messiah, prophet, promised king, Son of God, and personification of God - all rolled up into one person.

I have reason to believe that the trinity was still the dominant understanding of God during the early years of the church. The BoM seems very Trinitarian (Much more than the bible).

Eventually The understanding of the "Godhead" evolved with God and Jesus as more definitely separate individuals. Still there was not clarity as to the titles of the different members of the Godhead. For example, "Nineteenth-century Mormons—including Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor—generally used Jehovah as the name of God the Father"
In 1916 the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued a doctrinal statement on the relationship between the Father and the Son: "Jesus the Son has represented and yet represents Elohim His Father in power and authority. This is true of Christ in His preexistent, antemortal, or unembodied state, in the which He was known as Jehovah; also during His embodiment in the flesh; …and since that period in His resurrected state"
Since 1916 the LDS church has been fairly consistent with assigning the name Elohim to God the Father and Jehovah to Jesus Christ.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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dande48
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Re: The creation

Post by dande48 » 05 Apr 2018, 19:44

I don't believe God deliberately tries to fool anyone, by planting false evidence. You can take what you learn from science, and what you hear from in Church and mesh them together in a hundred different ways.The Church gives no definitive answers, beyond what's already been said (not including what they've redacted).
Neil Degrass Tyson wrote: Every Scientific truth goes through three phases.
First, they deny it.
Second, they say it comflicts with the bible.
Third, they say they have known it all along.
But whether the story is true or not, what difference would it make? Many of the greatest stories on the nature of man, our relationship to one another and to God, our trials and suffering, come from works of fiction. Whether Adam and Eve were created directly, or evolved from monkeys, or never existed doesn't matter. What matters is their story and the lessons it teaches us.
Opalsky wrote:
05 Apr 2018, 07:05
Also I have been told it wasn't God who created this earth directly but it was through his son Jesus Christ that the earth was made under Gods direction. Is this solid doctrine?
It's in the Perl of Great Price, as well as the temple ceremony. So I'd say it's official doctrine, if that's what you're asking.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The creation

Post by Curt Sunshine » 05 Apr 2018, 22:37

Personally, I see the creation stories as figurative, not literal. They are the best ancient people could do to explain human life.

Also, the Church's official statement leaves open the possibility that Adam started out as "a germ embryo that becomes a man". It focuses ONLY on the belief that the first "man" was a unique creation of a spirit child of God and doesn't take a stance on exactly how that happened.

Finally, I believe the idea that God tests our faith by planting things that appear to contradict a literal reading of young Earth creationism is one of the stupidest ideas ever put forward by ignorant zealots - and if you read our archives, I rarely am that blunt and dismissive. God isn't Loki, the trickster. For me, it is that simple.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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