This site has been quiet for some time and it makes me wonder if we’ve stopped “thinking in a marrow bone.” I haven’t stopped thinking, but I’m not sure if I’m doing much thinking that’s worth anything. So instead, I’d like to issue a challenge and have you do the thinking for me: someone help me understand why so many Mormons accept evolution whole cloth without settling some of the most crucial divisions between doctrine and Darwinian dogma?
Let me reveal my ignorance by talking about things I don’t understand.
Carbon-dating and the Age of the Earth. So apparently the earth is really old. And apparently, back in the day, this revelation was meant to explode any creationist idea about the youth of the earth (i.e., that the earth was only 10,000 years old, or something of the sort). By now, it’s agreed by most people that the earth is millions – perhaps billions – of years old, and we know that because of carbon dating and stars and stuff.
I guess Mormons never had a problem with the earth being really old, since we believe everything has an eternal existence. But wait! we believe the elements are eternal? Then how come we accept the “age of the earth” from scientists who actually put a “birth” to the elements? Do we really believe that the earth is billions of years old? Or do we believe that the elements are eternal and have no age? Or do we believe something else entirely? I’d like to know.
Natural Selection and Being Nice. Last I heard, we as Christians believed we should live by the two great commandments: love God, love your neighbor. Last I heard, Natural Selection was all about “survival of the fittest,” whether that means loving your neighbor or not. Something just isn’t fitting here: if we really were formed through natural selection, then why are we commanded to be nice to people?
Natural Selection, Creation, and Death. Here’s another place where I’m ignorant. In fact, doubly ignorant. I know little about natural selection and I guess I know little about what Mormons believe about creation. What I thought I knew about natural selection is that it required death. What I thought I knew about Mormons and creation is that when creation occurred, death was not part of the picture – death only came about because of the fall of Adam.
So do Mormons believe in a literal fall? If so, do they believe in a literal Garden of Eden, where there was no death? If so, how does evolution and natural selection fit into the picture? I’m having a really hard time understanding that one.
Natural Selection, Resurrection, and Life after Death. And finally, if we get our bodies back after we die, then how does that fit with Natural Selection or with Creation though evolution? Did God work the whole resurrection thing into evolution before he began evolving stuff? This just doesn’t make sense to me.
And above all, I have to ask this question: why are there only two (three?) sides to the debate over creation and evolution? By this I mean, either you believe in evolution, or you’re a crazy person who believes in creationism or intelligent design (neither of which holds much scientific water). Why haven’t Mormons come up with something different – something that takes into account the eternal nature of man and of the elements; something that “fits the data” but also “fits the doctrine”? Are we really that inept?
Or perhaps we have and I’m simply ignorant of that fact. Would someone enlighten me?
Filed under: Mormon Doctrine, Science Tagged: | "survival of the fittest", age of earth, carbon dating, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, creation, creationism, death, eternal matter, evolution, Garden of Eden, intelligent design, LDS, LDS Church, Mormons, natural selection, Resurrection, Science and Religion, Two Great Commandments