I usually get messages from my atheist friends, asking me why I don’t accept science, and evolution, and how can I believe in religion? Well, first of all I tell them that they’re thinking and assumptions are totally wrong, and that I absolutely do believe in science and evolution. “How is that possible, the Bible denies evolution,” they respond. “The Bible does not deny evolution in the slightest, in fact, the creation accounts in the Bible (Genesis they’re actually meaning to refer to) are actually not creation accounts at all, as they’re not referring to the literal scientific creation of the world,” I say back. Genesis today, is totally misunderstood in our modern, and Western world. The purpose of the creation accounts in Genesis was to show the Jews (who were at that time captives in Babylon) that their God is real, and is nothing like the Babylonian Gods that their captures believed in. Anyway, more on that another time.
I’m going to write a lot of the common questions I get asked by atheists, agnostics, spiritualists and even on occasions fellow “religious” people, and answer them with the answers I usually give. It’s important to note that I am a Latter-day Saint Christian, and our University, which is called Brigham Young University (BYU), teaches evolution, and all manner of sciences.
As a Christian do you believe in evolution?
“Yes of course.”
Do you believe we evolved from Chimps?
“No, not Chimps. But we did evolve from an Ape creature, who is also a common ancestor of the Chimpanzee, but we formed our own separate branches. Plus Chimpanzees are still here, so we couldn’t have evolved from them.”
Do you believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old?
“Oh goodness no! It’s billions.”
Do you believe we all come from Adam and Eve?
“I’m not totally sure on that, but I’ll say yes until further notice. But, our Prophets have made it clear in the past that the human family now, all come from Adam and Eve.”
Do you believe that God flooded the whole world, and the human race and certain animals were saved from the flood by Noah?
“No. The flood would have only have been a localized flood, there is no evidence what so ever to suggest anything close to a worldwide flood, where even the top of Mount Everest was immersed in water. You have to remember they Genesis is only a history of a certain group of people, not the whole world.
Were Adam and Eve the first people?
“I very much doubt that. I believe Adam and Eve were spirits who were put into Homo Sapien bodies. We have not stopped evolving, and never will. I also believe, that it’s possible that Adam and Eve were the first spirits of a new lineage that God had made Covenants with, but Genesis is not clear on that, and it shouldn’t be, because that’s not it’s purpose, so I don’t know.”
Did God create the world in 6 days?
“Like I’ve already stated, Genesis is not a book on science, so no. You have to remember that the Hebrews at that time, were not thinking about science, and how God created etc, they were asking the questions “is God really there? Does God exist? Have we been forsaken? They were in captivity after all, and they had to contend and compete with the teachings of the Babylonian religions. God answered the Hebrews questions, and showed them that he does exist, and they are still very important to him, as they’re still his covenant people. They didn’t care about the science of God at that time, and neither would they had understood it if God did reveal science of the creation. God answered the questions they had at the time, to the best of their understanding. God reveals truths in the context of peoples understandings. So, that’s pretty much the Genesis we have today.
Explain to me then, how we share DNA with Chimpanzees, and they’ve found Neanderthal DNA in our own?
“Like I’ve already stated, we evolved from the same tree as Chimps, Gorillas etc, so of course our DNA is still related. As for the Neanderthal DNA, it’s only people from Europe who hold Neanderthal DNA. So it’s pretty certain that Homo Sapiens at some point, bred with Neanderthals. Is it possible that Adam and Eves descendants moved into Europe and mixed with the Neanderthals? I believe that 100%. If every homo Sapien is related to Adam and Eve of course.
Has God revealed the truth of evolution to any of your Latter-day Saint Prophets?
“No he hasn’t. Why? Because it’s not essential to our salvation and exaltation. I believe in what our prophets do teach, and that is that, someday, when we make it back to Gods presence, he will reveal all of his truths, and how we came to be human.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds no offical stance on evolution. The Church members are meant to study and figure out science on our own, by using the mighty brains that God gave all of us.
I’ll post more of the questions I get asked, and my answers over the next few days.
I’ll leave with this great quote, found in the Encyclopaedia of Mormonism:
“The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how, though the Lord has promised that he will tell that when he comes again (D&C 101:32-33). In 1931, when there was intense discussion on the issue of organic evolution, the First Presidency of the Church, then consisting of Presidents Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, addressed all of the General Authorities of the Church on the matter, and concluded, Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the world. Leave geology, biology, archaeology, and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church.” (-First Presidency Minutes, April 7, 1931)