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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Dialogues on Science and Religion / 121 species of animals and your comment that the gospel appears to teach a "Zap" theory of how things were created, how do you personally confront the issue of creation as taught by the scriptures and as you have been trained as a natural scientist? Well, once again this is a confusing issue, because we don't have enough data on it in the scriptures. Apparently we don't need this information, and we probably could not understand it if we had it. We know that Adam existed; I think we know that Adam existed prior to the creation and, in fact, assisted in it; he must have been around some place, so you would almost have to think of him as being literally placed here—the "Zap" concept. This is not inconceivable. I guess that the real question arises as to how we presently date the bones and fossils which are found. Although we don't really know the date of Adam, as far as I am concerned, he could have lived in the garden for millions of years before they decided to take the step, and so ... The issue of historical time is of no concern to you then? Well, not really. However, they are dating certain bones of supposed human bodies much before the time of the biblical idea of the beginning of man. But what is in your body was already here at the time of the creation; how this might affect the dating of your bones is really immaterial to me. It may be, then, that the elements of the earth are eternal, and they were brought together at the creation, in fact they were all very old. Yes, they could have been. I don't care, just pick a number, how old and how they were incorporated into various things. This plant here is taking nutrients from that soil that we placed there. That soil is—you tell me how old it is. Just because we happen to find Carbon 14 within the leaf of that new plant is really immaterial. Now as far as the species are concerned, again I must rationalize many things if we go to the time of Noah's Ark. This has always been a confusing issue to some. People have put their pencils to this and figured out how many bales of hay and everything else were necessary. I think each of us can realize how inconceivable this whole thing could have been. But in our day, we have created species. Right? We create a new species by a flip of the chromosomes in the placement of the genes. This is why there probably have not been enough humans born upon this earth yet to have two people who are exactly alike. I think that this is one of God's plans; through random assortment and combination and recombination of chromosomes and genes we have a tremendous opportunity for differences. This is why we are all different. This is why we grow differently and this is why we react differently. It is pretty well shown, or at least we can show now, that if Noah had taken a male and female pussycat upon the ark, there could have developed all of the various cats that we have ever heard about. Sometimes we picture the garden with lambs and cats and everything else all living peacefully together. But we don't know that this is exactly right, do we? In other words, if someone has drawn a picture of all animals, they are showing various species that we think of today, or at the time of the drawing. I am not so sure that all of them were there. You