Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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Seers, Savants and Evolution I IE V O I. U atfgi m__ 1 '' ''Jl f'fl have an end; good logic. I want to reason more on the spirit of man, for I am dwelling on the body of man, on the subject of the dead. I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man, the immortal spirit, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; but as the Lord lives there would be an end.—All the fools, learned and wise men, from the beginning of creation, who say that man had a beginning, proves that he must have an end and then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But, if I am right I might with boldness proclaim from the house tops, that God never did have power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself: intelligence exists upon a self existent principle, it is a spirit from age to age, and there is no creation about it.25 Thus both matter and the basic identity of man share necessary existence with God.26 The doctrines have been taught continually and often by Joseph's successors.27 As regards the first point of contention in the science-theology argument, Mormonism was unalterably opposed to the basic position of Christian theology.28 In the dispute on this point between science and then-current theology, Mormonism was clearly allied much more closely with science. 2. Age of the Earth The predominant doctrine of the 19th century Christian theologians is too well known to need extensive documentation. While not all were as extreme as John Lightfoot, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, who insisted that the creation of the earth took place "on the twenty-third of October, 4004 B.C., at nine o'clock in the morning," the range of views for the earth's age ranged generally from about 4000 years to 6000 years before Christ.29 Science, of course, could not agree. Darwin, in the first edition of The Origin, had opted for an age of several hundreds of millions of years. Even devoutly religious scientists who opposed him, such as the physicist Lord Kelvin, produced estimates for the earth's age in the neighborhood of twenty million years. Estimates this small were painful to Darwin, since they seemed far too short for natural selection to have played the role he postulated for it.30 But they were even more painful to the orthodox theologians; they demonstrated in virtually final fashion that a 6000-year age was beyond defensibility. Kelvin's arguments, and others similar, have since been generally laid to rest. The age of the earth has been pushed ever further back; current estimates range from 4.5 - 5.0 billion years. While no really precise age has been determined, the main issue, that of an old earth or a young one, has been