Confusion about Adam and Eve:

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Heber13
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Heber13 » 06 Feb 2012, 12:20

Good discussion. I might also add that I think we all pick and choose our scriptures and how we interpret them to make something meaningful for our life (proof-texting for practical reasons).

The Creation took place in six days. The sixth day was when Adam and Eve were put in the Garden. There was a day of rest. There was a fall and death was introduced to the earth.

Russell M Nelson taught:
In Genesis and Moses, those periods are called days. But in the book of Abraham, each period is referred to as a time. Whether termed a day, a time, or an age, each phase was a period between two identifiable events—a division of eternity.
Scriptures using different words (day, time, age, etc) need to be interpreted to make sense, and here we are letting go of literal interpretation of "days", and putting the meaning "division of eternity" to those words in the scriptures.

So, it would seem consistent to take the rest of the Adam and Even story with the same approach, realizing words are being used to convey a message, but the methods and meanings may not be understood in fullness with literal facts that will never change. So if "six days" doesn't mean six literal days, then "Adam and Eve put in the Garden of Eden" might not really mean they literally were put in a Garden, right? And there might not really be a talking serpent, and there might not really be zero death of any kind prior to the fall, there might not be some tree with magical fruit to put blood in Eve's veins, and there might not really even be an Adam and Eve.

But it seems sometimes people take things literal, and then let go of it elsewhere (i.e. there really was a man Adam, but there really wasn't a talking snake, etc). Why is that? Is it to help us feel more certain of our knowledge of things? But can we really "know"?

In fact, in the same article, Elder Nelson is telling us we don't "know" everything for sure, we can't.
Though our understanding of the Creation is limited, we know enough to appreciate its supernal significance. And that store of knowledge will be augmented in the future. Scripture declares: “In that day when the Lord shall come [again], he shall reveal all things— [D&C101:32-34]
Taken from Ensign May 2000
Hey, if an apostle is telling me we can't know everything now, then I can live with that. And I find greater meaning in an allegorical, non-literal, Adam and Eve story. And I give others the right to interpret it however works best for them.

More important than the details, what value do we get from knowing the Creation stories (literal or allegorical)?
Elder Nelson wrote:As beneficiaries of the divine Creation, what shall we do? We should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations. And we are to love and care for one another.
Amen.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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wayfarer
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by wayfarer » 06 Feb 2012, 13:28

jeffwalshgen wrote:Please would you define for me the bias that you imply that I have.
that there is only one way to interpret gospel truth: your way, literally.
jeffwalshgen wrote:If it is because I believe that the placing of Adam and Eve in the garden, the fall and the process whereby mankind came into being to populate this world, then I would ask you to explain how mankind did come into being. I ask Ray, Cwald GB Smith and others the same question
i'll play your game.

I dont knowfor sure, but i think that the most likely answer is that humans (physical bodies) came into being through the power of god as applied to this telestial kingdom: natural law (see section 88). according to bh roberts and other faithful LDS scientists, evolution may well be the process god used.

now your turn - pick either section A or B, and answer all questions in the selected section.

Section A - explaining the literal model.
1. if death did not exist before the fall, please explain dinosaurs.
2. were carnivorous beasts herbavores before the fall?
3. was eve literally created by surgically removing a rib from adam?
4. is menstrual pain and post partum depression a direct consequence of eve partaking of the fruit?
5. did water refract light differently before the flood?
6. did the sun and moon get created after the earth? or, did the earth only start rotating after "the waters" were separated from the dry land?
7. please explain the etymology of "firmament", or if you know hebrew, of "rakia".
8. please explain what "windows of heaven" and "fountains of the great deep" refer to in the flood story.

Section B - Embracing diversity
1. does a belief that god acts through natural power detract from the respect and worship of God?
2. How does a specific belief in a given speculation as to origins help you live a more authentic life here and now?
Last edited by wayfarer on 06 Feb 2012, 13:57, edited 1 time in total.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
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cwald
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by cwald » 06 Feb 2012, 13:49

jeffwalshgen wrote:...then I would ask you to explain how mankind did come into being. I ask Ray, Cwald GB Smith and others the same question...
I don't know.

Let me repeat that...I don't know.

If I had to guess, I lean towards evolution, because it makes the most sense to me, and meets Occam's razor. Also it is possible that we got "seeded" from another planet by an alien life form. Creation is another possibility.

I think the point I would like to make, is I don't think it is important, and I don't think anyone can really know how this happened. I don't think I, as an LDS member, need to choose between creation (adam and eve), evolution or aliens.

I have no problem if one has faith in a literal Adam and Ever (creation) belief. But I don't think i need to believe it. I have know problem if one says, "I believe in a literal Adam and Eve. Great. I might have a problem though, if one says, "I KNOW that Adam and Eve are literal beings, and you need to have faith that I am right."
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Feb 2012, 14:12

Jeff, we discuss differing opinions here all the time, but we don't "debate". There is a very important, very fundamental difference between those two structures - and it's important to emphasize right now. We aren't here to convince others to believe exactly as we believe. It just isn't how we operate and actually is contrary to our mission and purpose.

I also have NO problem with people believing in a literal Garden of Eden. That's not how I see it, but I know it's how most of the people I love dearly see it - and I'm totally fine with that. They think I'm wrong; I think they're wrong; that's totally fine with me.

To answer your question more directly, I believe the 1909 First Presidency statement on "The Origin of Man" is an excellent, very carefully worded statement. It explicitly leaves open the possibility that our physical bodies were created through an evolutionary process and that Adam ("man") and Eve ("mother") were the result of the insertion of per-mortal spirits into bodies prepared by God through such an evolutionary process. My own view is much like that statement - and it was reprinted in the Ensign during this young century as the official position of the LDS Church.

In essence, it says, "We don't know about the creation of the physical body, but we do know we are spirit children of God and unique in that way from "the animal kingdom."

If you want a far more in-depth parsing of some of the statement, read the following link:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2906&p=36015&hilit=embryo#p36015

and, again, we don't "debate" here. It's not a place where we are trying to "convert" people to our view. We don't have a consensus view on anything, so trying to covert people to a non-existent consensus would be futile.
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

GBSmith
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by GBSmith » 06 Feb 2012, 15:20

I believe that the apostle Peter in 2pet3:3-4 was referring to these scientist/phillosophers as scoffers walking after thair own lusts
I actually tend to jog rather than walk but that's another matter. I believe the way I do becuase to me that makes the most sense but I do have the sense to know that is just a matter of belief. ( how's that for a bit of chiasmus?) We'll find out soon enough but in the mean time it's still a matter of bearing one anothers burdens, etc ... wether Eden is a place or not.

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Bruce in Montana
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Bruce in Montana » 06 Feb 2012, 15:50

I normally leave this sort of thread alone...primarily because I have fundamentalist views, but....

I'd like to throw the Adam-God doctrine in the mix, since it hasn't really been mentioned.

Could it be that Adam and one of his wives came here, or were brought here, from another sphere? Could it be that all previous hominids were a result of a previous "creation"?

Of course the mainstream church doesn't talk about this much anymore. I guess it comes down to....

1) Brigham Young was full of it.
or
2) We weren't ready for it.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
-William S.

jeffwalshgen
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by jeffwalshgen » 06 Feb 2012, 16:01

Ray, Sorry debate was the wrong word. jeff

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cwald
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by cwald » 06 Feb 2012, 16:08

Bruce in Montana wrote:
Could it be that Adam and one of his wives came here, or were brought here, from another sphere? Could it be that all previous hominids were a result of a previous "creation"?...
Sure, it's possible. It's just a modified version of the the Alien theory.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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wayfarer
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by wayfarer » 06 Feb 2012, 16:31

Bruce in Montana wrote:I normally leave this sort of thread alone...primarily because I have fundamentalist views, but....

I'd like to throw the Adam-God doctrine in the mix, since it hasn't really been mentioned.

Could it be that Adam and one of his wives came here, or were brought here, from another sphere? Could it be that all previous hominids were a result of a previous "creation"?

Of course the mainstream church doesn't talk about this much anymore. I guess it comes down to....

1) Brigham Young was full of it.
or
2) We weren't ready for it.
all possible, somewhat unlikely, but a lot depends on definitions.

the truth about the nature if god is unknowable, and therefore any truth claim is speculative. that a prophet states something means that the speculation should be taken seriously, but it should not be asserted as fact.

bertrand russell had a wonderful way of putting these things: if something is provably true, accept it, if something is proved false, then reject it. if something is unknown or unknowable/unprovable, then suspend judgment.

by suspended judgment, it also means i dont assert as True that which cannot be proven false.

this works for me.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Confusion about Adam and Eve:

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Feb 2012, 17:38

by suspended judgment, it also means i dont assert as True that which cannot be proven false.
This basically is how I see things, but I will phrase it in a slightly different way:

We see through a glass, darkly.

Once I close my mind to any possibility, I dam my ability to gain insight from it - so I better be 100% sure I believe it has been proven false to me. Others might not believe it is false; that's OK. I just need to make sure I'm convinced it is undeniably false before I shut my mind to what truth it might teach me - and, even in those situations, pondering WHY it is false often can teach me about truth.

There's a difference between suspending judgment and suspending critical thinking - and I never, ever, never, ever want to suspend critical thinking. (not critical as in "demeaning" or "inclined to find fault", but merely as in "considering in detail" and "engaged in careful analysis") Even when I might feel I "know" something (anything - true, false or anywhere in between), I still can gain further light and knowledge by thinking critically about it.
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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