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Evolution And Varying Reconciliation Theories


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With what we know from the gospel and assuming that man did evolve from a lower species (though not nessacarily ADAM and his kind) I would like this thread to discuss various ways one reconciles Evolution with the fall and the gospel along with the church and it's theology. How does one see God using evolution to carry out the plan so that all gospel requisites are met such as Adam and Eve in the Garden without sin not knowing good from evil... ect... Try to keep responses to offering suggestions on better ways to make these replies fit and also holes that we see in various responses. So that we might put forth a response that is able to stand up to criticsm. You may also supply links to sites that already have a well thought out opinion

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I see Adam and Eve as real people, but the first three chapters of Genesis are probably metaphorical for our own individual "falls." Adam and Eve were, in my opinion, the first covenant man and woman. This makes more sense to me personally, and I think it's strongly suggested in the temple.

I'm open to the fact that I could be wrong, though.

Edited by altersteve
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The see the Fall as personal.

Everyone began in the presence of God, in a state where they could not die, and could not progress.

Everyone made a choice to fall/enter into a mortal body.

Everybody made choices that would cause them to fall/separate from the ultimate will and desires of God.

Everyone should look to Jesus Christ as the example and enabler to return to Unity with God (Atonement).

I don't require God to have caused or directed evolution. I see him finding this world and the devleoping life upon it which was developed through natural processes, declaring it good and suitable, and then using the bodies of developed homosapiens as a proper host to begin a symbiotic relationship with eternal intelligences that were prepared and able to move on to a next stage of development and learning and experience.

But placing his 'children' here, he thus created an exalted purpose for this planet, and all life on it became re-purposed in the context of this plan for development. You could very truly say we participated in the 'creation', because it was our presence that made it a Creation!

We can regard the first homo-sapien/child of God combo as an 'Adam', but I view the story as being better applied - and far more useful - to the vision of Everyman/woman than limited to the detailed life events of some prehistoric figure.

Edited by David T
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Based on what the Church teaches, and the current theory of evolution, I think most "reconciliations" follow this pattern:

1. God forms the Earth over billions of years (with Adam and Jesus' help)

2. God starts life at its most basic level, and over a very long period of time, "evolves" the different species using evolution (i.e. countless generations of birth/mutation/death)

3. At some point, human-like hominids have evolved, but their spirits are "animal spirits", not God-born spirits.

4. When the human form has reached it's proper state of evolution, God selects a male and female and gives them the first God-born spirits.

5. These male and female humans are named "Adam" and "Eve", and are placed in a Terrestrial Garden, a place of paradise where nothing dies, and all animals live peacefully. Outside the garden, life for the other plants, animals and hominids continues as they are borne, evolve, and die.

6. After some unknown period of time, Adam and Eve "fall", and are made into mortal man and woman, being the first man and woman to have God-born spirits.

7. Adam and Eve are removed from the garden, and return to the mortal world to join the plants, animals and human-like hominids that have lived there while they were in the garden.

Even though there are serious problems with that sequence of events when compared to the teachings of our latter day Prophets and Apostles, it is the best theorized sequence of events that allows for some semblance of belief in both evolution and LDS doctrines.

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The fall is personal.

Everyone began in the presence of God, in a state where they could not die, and could not progress.

Everyone made a choice to fall/enter into a mortal body.

Everybody made choices that would cause them to fall/separate from the ultimate will and desires of God.

Everyone should look to Jesus Christ as the example and enabler to return to Unity with God (Atonement).

I don't require God to have caused or directed evolution. I see him using the bodies of developed homosapiens as a proper host to begin a symbiotic relationship with eternal intelligences that were prepared and able to move on to a next stage of development and learning and experience.

But placing his 'children' here, he thus created an exalted purpose for this planet, and all life on it became re-purposed in the context of this plan for development.

I know many of you on this board have had this conversation but this theory before joining this board is a first.

My only hole is how do you reconcile this with Adam being Mchael the angel as revealed in LDS theology

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I know many of you on this board have had this conversation but this theory before joining this board is a first.

My only hole is how do you reconcile this with Adam being Mchael the angel as revealed in LDS theology

Simple. Michael was the first of God's spirit children to come to earth.

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And as I said above:

By placing his 'children' here, he thus created an exalted purpose for this planet, and all life on it became re-purposed in the context of this plan for development. You could very truly say we participated in the 'creation', because it was our presence that made it a Creation!

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Even though there are serious problems with that sequence of events when compared to the teachings of our latter day Prophets and Apostles, it is the best theorized sequence of events that allows for some semblance of belief in both evolution and LDS doctrines.

what are the flaws? As we will need to address those if possible

Edited by reelmormon
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We can regard the first homo-sapien/child of God combo as an 'Adam', but I view the story as being better applied - and far more useful - to the vision of Everyman/woman than limited to the detailed life events of some prehistoric figure.

Exactly. I think reading the first few chapters of Genesis as a literal history of mankind is missing the point.

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Sometimes the "reconciliations" remind me of this exchange from the show "Life's Too Short", where the actor Warwick Davis is discussing his tax problems with his accountant. The accountant is reporting back about his negotiations with the government:

Warwick: Okay, the original figure they were saying I owed was $250,000. Where are we at now?

Eric (the accountant): Well, I was cheeky. I said "he won't do it again." There was a bit of back and forth. And the figure I arrived at was $50,000.

W: $50,000? That's great!

E: Wait, nope. They said "no" to that. A very definite "no."

W: So, what was the figure you agreed on?

E: $250,000...

W: Well that's what they wanted to start with! That's not negotiating, Eric. You just agreed with them!

E: Yes, well, alright. But they are the tax people. They do know what they're talking about. They understand your accounts better than me to be honest. And I'm not going to argue with them.

Edited by cinepro
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Exactly. I think reading the first few chapters of Genesis as a literal history of mankind is missing the point.

Especially since the context of the Garden Story is probably the expulsion of the Israelite High Priest/King (Adam) from Israel and the Temple (Eden), for idolatry (heeding the call of idolatrous serpents and women rather than God) , and then being exiled into the world (Babylon). While the new modern version updates and re-contextualizes it ("Translates") to be a story of the Plan of Salvation, that's not the context at all as it appears in Genesis.

It's a completely valid prophetic priority to re-contextualize the earlier stories to teach a relevant or newly understood doctrinal principle to the people of their day.

Edited by David T
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As discussed in other threads, several of us have proposed the following:

Death existed as part of the the five days of creation.

On the the fifth day beasts and animals, including human-like creatures, were created and living during this period.

On the sixth day, the Garden of Eden was prepared and Adam and Eve were the first creation of the human family. Death did not exist in the Garden of Eden. After the Fall, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, and death came back into the world.

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Especially since the context of the Garden Story is probably the expulsion of the Israelite High Priest/King (Adam) from Israel and the Temple (Eden), for idolatry (heeding the call of idolatrous serpents and women rather than God) , and then being exiled into the world (Babylon). While the new modern version updates and re-contextualizes it ("Translates") to be a story of the Plan of Salvation, that's not the context at all as it appears in Genesis.

It's a completely valid prophetic priority to re-contextualize the earlier stories to teach a relevant or newly understood doctrinal principle to the people of their day.

Part of the problem (or advantage) of the different "standard works" of the LDS canon is some things are taught from multiple sources. So I suspect some LDS would have difficulty "re-contextualizing" scriptural events that are supported in other scriptures, and again by modern Church leaders.

There is no doubt a certain degree of tolerance for mistaken assumptions being taught based on the erroneous understanding of the original scriptural account, but for something as foundational as the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall, I don't think you'll find much support for anything other than a totally literal reading.

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Edited by cinepro
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With what we know from the gospel and assuming that man did evolve from a lower species (though not nessacarily ADAM and his kind) I would like this thread to discuss various ways one reconciles Evolution with the fall and the gospel along with the church and it's theology. How does one see God using evolution to carry out the plan so that all gospel requisites are met such as Adam and Eve in the Garden without sin not knowing good from evil... ect...

I think there has been more than one world on this planet.

(Pearl of Great Price | Moses 1:33 - 35)

33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.

34 And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.

35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power.

I think bones that are older than 6,000 years belonged to other worlds that are now passed away, that new worlds get built on the ruins of older worlds:

(New Testament | Revelation 21:1)

1 AND I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;

new worlds get built on the ruins of older worlds it seems...

as far as Eden/Adam/Eve, just as we are now surrounded by angels that we cannot see:

(Old Testament | 2 Kings 6:16 - 17)

16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

I think there are different realms or dimensions around us that we are unable to see - that perhaps Eden resides in one of these areas... sort of a multidimen kind of arrangement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIadtFJYWhw

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"For something as foundational as the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall, I don't think you'll find much support for anything other than a totally literal reading."

Meh. David T described pretty much my view of the story as well, so that's two people, at least. It's not even that it's not a "literal" story; it's just that what really did happen is described using less-than-literal language. Nephi's vision of the Tree of Life "really did happen", but the thing that "happened" was that someone was taught a truth wrapped within a metaphor.

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The problem is that so many people feel the need to see TRUTH as being equal to HISTORICAL. Jesus told many parables which teach powerful Truth, but I don't see too many people trying to argue for the historicity of Dives and Lazarus.

There is a strong misunderstanding of different Genre in the Bible.

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Yep. It's exacerbated by the fact that the Garden story is usually the very first scriptural thing we read as kids. (Being a perverse sort of fellow, I personally started with Revelation and worked my way backwards, but I doubt I'm a representative sample. *snerk*) The point is, we're just unceremoniously dropped into a foreign literary convention with no western signposts that clue us in to how we're meant to interpret things -- things which would have been obvious to the people living at the time of composition, but which now seem utterly alien. The very prominent editorializing and selection process in the Book of Mormon should clue us in to the idea that the Bible, too, is not a univocal text containing purely historical writing; there are definite agendas and external historical processes that need to be weighed when interpreting the "meaning" of any given story or poem.

Edited by JeremyOrbe-Smith
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Nephi's vision of the Tree of Life "really did happen", but the thing that "happened" was that someone was taught a truth wrapped within a metaphor.

Nephi's vision was a metaphor that was identified as such, and whose elements and symbolism were clearly explained. So, since God has demonstrated a propensity for explaining such hard sayings, the fact that He has consistently declined to so do with respect to this Genesis "myth" ought to give one pause before asserting it is a metaphor.

Unless you're just saying you don't believe it.

Not speaking exactly to you personally, Jeremy, unless the shoe fits.

Edited by Log
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Again, I think that goes back to the "foreign literary convention" thang. There is no introduction to the Harry Potter books which explains that King's Cross Station does not actually exist and you will never be able to find the "real" Elder Wand no matter how much archaeology you do. It's taken for granted in the culture (and conveyed through external markers such as fanciful cover illustrations, etc.) that the story will be accepted as "fiction" which will nevertheless be worth reading because all the deliberate falsehoods the author has written down nevertheless contains and asserts a causal universe which highlights important "truths" which we can receive powerfully into our memories. (In addition, if one is knowledgeable about external culture not explicitly contained within the story, we can realize retroactively that the name "King's Cross" does in fact contain a powerful symbolic resonance with real-world associations, highlighting the intent of the author. But if we handed the book to someone not brought up in the western tradition, the reference would fly right over their heads.)

Edited by JeremyOrbe-Smith
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But if we handed it to someone not brought up in the western tradition, it'd fly right over their heads.

And yet, the Endowments were handed to someone not brought up in the eastern tradition, which implies on its face that it wasn't intended to fly over our western heads.

Edited by Log
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It also used to be explicitly stated that some things in the Endowment were figurative, without specifying where the "symbolic" ended and the "historical" began.

It used to be MUCH more specific, and that's the understanding I take into it.

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I know many of you on this board have had this conversation but this theory before joining this board is a first.

My only hole is how do you reconcile this with Adam being Mchael the angel as revealed in LDS theology

To me reconciling macro-evolution has several small problems but two major ones. They are reconciling "fall". A fall is a decent and evolution is an ascension from the primitive. to me just the opposite. The other is the big one and that is if there was no fall then the atonement is negated. No fall, no need of an atonement.

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To me reconciling macro-evolution has several small problems but two major ones. They are reconciling "fall". A fall is a decent and evolution is an ascension from the primitive. to me just the opposite. The other is the big one and that is if there was no fall then the atonement is negated. No fall, no need of an atonement.

That's one of the key points. The Garden of Eden and fall become irrelevant in many reconciliation theories. Once you have God creating a planet with plants, animals and pre-humans that give birth, mutate, evolve, and die, you don't really need a "fall". Everything is already "fallen."

Depending on the timeline, you can even have the non-human pre-Adamites engaging in very human-like activities like building fire, developing spoken and written language, forming communities, engaging in primitive religion etc.

Edited by cinepro
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