(by Dennis B. Horne)
President Nelson’s teachings on the creation of man and his rejection of evolution are the most important of our time simply because he is the prophet of the Lord right now. Yet pro-evolutionists like Ben Spackman and others in the BYU biology department seek to marginalize his voice and views. Of President Nelson, Spackman said:
He’s said some things on occasion, and it has never been enough to be able to pin down what camp he falls into. He’s very obviously against the new atheist camp that says science and evolution disprove that there’s a God. That’s not a surprise. Whether he would be in favor of say, Steven Peck’s views of evolution, a BYU biology professor who talks about evolution a lot, or theistic evolution or, the kind of evolution in the way the Catholic Church has gone for it, he’s never really said enough to pin down his views. . . .
I do push back on people who say, “Well, he’s a doctor. He should know all about evolution.” I come from a family of doctors. I went through premed. So not to say anything negative about doctors, but doctors are not necessarily scientists. They are more like mechanics, elite, especially surgeons. . . . Which he was, he was a heart surgeon. I you look at when his training was, he received his MD in 1947, if I recall correctly. That’s seven years before the structure of DNA is discovered, before the experiment that proves that DNA is the means of passing on genetic traits. . . . So I don’t know what he has read on scientific topis since then, or specifically on evolution or on reconciling science and religion, but I would not expect that either as a doctor or a surgeon or given his age that he received extensive training in biological evolution and is capable of nuanced scientific discussion either way. (Spackman, Ben Spackman on Evolution-Creation Controversy, 28-29.)
It is the purest rot and baloney to suggest that President Nelson hasn’t said enough about evolution to pin down his views, as is evident to all who peruse the below quotations. Further, the idea that President Nelson has to thoroughly understand evolutionary science in order to talk about it is one of the great heresies pushed by liberals and dissidents in the Church. A quotation from President Lee in a previous blog already refuted such junk. Prophets can speak about and interpret scripture about anything the Lord wants them to. I suggest members read the below teachings of President Nelson to get their own, better, conception of what President Nelson said about the origin of man (and evolution):
President Russell M. Nelson:
Question: Do you understand how the resurrection will come about? Answer: No. Nor do I comprehend fully the Creation, the Fall, or the Atonement. But their interrelationships I do understand. The creation of man in the Garden of Eden was perfect, without blood, procreation, death. The fall of Adam brought about the mortal creation through a process beyond my ability to understand. Blood circulating in the body became essential to the life of our mortal tabernacles. This body of flesh and blood allows us now to exercise agency, to suffer, and to have joy. It allows us to enter into family relationships, and ultimately, it allows us to die. The immortal creation effected by the atoning sacrifice of the Savior will allow our resurrection. Our bodies will be changed from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortality to immortality. Then we will possess bloodless bodies of flesh and bone that will be quickened and receive life from the Spirit. (“Twenty Questions,” An Evening with Elder Russell M. Nelson; Address to CES Religious Educators, 13 September 1985, 6.)
President Russell M. Nelson
They [Adam and Eve] were created in the image of God, with bodies of flesh and bone. Created in the image of God and not yet mortal, they could not grow old and die. “And they would have had no children” nor experienced the trials of life. . . . The creation of Adam and Eve was a paradisiacal creation, one that required a significant change before they could fulfill the commandment to have children6 and thus provide earthly bodies for premortal spirit sons and daughters of God.” That brings us to the Fall. Scripture teaches that “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” The Fall of Adam (and Eve) constituted the mortal creation and brought about the required changes in their bodies, including the circulation of blood and other modifications as well.8 They were now able to have children. They and their posterity also became subject to injury, disease, and death. . . .
The Creation culminated with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were created in the image of God, with bodies of flesh and bone. Created in the image of God and not yet mortal, they could not grow old and die. [Footnote: They were created as amortal beings—“without mortality”—not at that time subject to death.] “And they would have had no children” nor experienced the trials of life. (Please forgive me for mentioning children and the trials of life in the same breath.) The creation of Adam and Eve was a paradisiacal creation, one that required a significant change before they could fulfill the commandment to have children and thus provide earthly bodies for premortal spirit sons and daughters of God.
That brings us to the Fall. Scripture teaches that “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” The Fall of Adam (and Eve) constituted the mortal creation and brought about the required changes in their bodies, including the circulation of blood and other modifications as well. They were now able to have children. They and their posterity also became subject to injury, disease, and death. (Emphasis added.)
Just think, if you could create anything that could defend itself, repair itself, and renew itself without limit, you could create perpetual life. That our Creator did with the bodies he created for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. If they had continued to be nourished from the tree of life, they would have lived forever. According to the Lord, as revealed through his prophets, the fall of Adam instituted the aging process, which results ultimately in physical death. . . .
Through the ages, some without scriptural understanding have tried to explain our existence by pretentious words such as ex nihilo (out of nothing). Others have deduced that, because of certain similarities between different forms of life, there has been a natural selection of the species, or organic evolution from one form to another. Still others have concluded that man came as a consequence of a “big bang” that resulted in the creation of our planet and life upon it.
To me, such theories are unbelievable! Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a Dictionary? It’s unthinkable! But it could be argued to be within a remote realm of possibility. Even if that could happen, such a Dictionary could certainly not heal its own torn pages, or renew its own worn corners, or reproduce its own subsequent editions!
We are children of God, created by him and formed in his image. Recently I studied the scriptures simply to find how many times they testify of the divine creation of man. Looking up references that referred either to create or form (or their derivatives) with either man, men, male, or female in the same verse, I found that there are at least fifty-five verses of scripture that attest to our divine creation (Genesis 1:27; 2:7, 8; 5:1, 2; 6:7; Deuteronomy 4:32; Isaiah 45:12; Malachi 2:10; Mark 10:6; Romans 9:20; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 3:10; 2 Nephi 1:10; 2:15; 9:6; 29:7; Jacob 4:9; Mosiah 4:2, 9; 7:27; Alma 1:4; 18:32, 34, 36; 22:12, 13; Mormon 9:12, 17; Ether 1:3; 3:15, 16; Moroni 10:3; D&C 20:18; 29:30, 34; 77:2; 77:12; 93:29; Moses 1:8; 2:27; 3:5, 7, 8, 9; 6:8, 9; 7:32; 8:26; Abraham 4:26, 27; 5:7, 8, 14, 16). I have selected one to represent all those verses that convey the same conclusion:
And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness. . . .
So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them. [Abraham 4:26, 27]
I believe all of those scriptures pertaining to the creation of man. But the decision to believe is a spiritual one, not born solely by an understanding of things physical:
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [1 Corinthians 2:14]
It is incumbent upon each informed and spiritually attuned person to help overcome such foolishness of men who would deny divine creation or think that man simply evolved. By the spirit we perceive the truer and more believable wisdom of God. . . .
For years I have attended scientific meetings of learned societies. Medical scientists and practitioners by the thousands participate in such assemblies annually from all over the world. The quest for knowledge is endless. It seems that the more we know, the more there is yet to learn. It is impossible that man may learn all the ways of God. But as we are faithful and are deeply rooted in scriptural accounts of God’s magnificent creations, we will be well prepared for future discoveries. All truth is compatible because it all emanates from God.
Of course, we know that “there is an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). In the world even many so-called “educators” teach contrary to divine truth.
In the Pew Forum interview, Elder (now President) Russell M. Nelson said: “We believe that God is our creator and that he has created other forms of life. It’s interesting to me, drawing on my 40 years experience as a medical doctor, how similar those species are. We developed open-heart surgery, for example, experimenting on lower animals simply because the same creator made the human being. We owe a lot to those lower species. But to think that man evolved from one species to another is, to me, incomprehensible.” “Why is that?” “Nelson: Man has always been man. Dogs have always been dogs. Monkeys have always been monkeys. It’s just the way genetics works.”
President Russell M. Nelson
That goal is shared by worthy servants of the Master, who would not speak ill of the Lord’s anointed nor provoke contention over teachings declared by ancient or living prophets.
Certainly no faithful follower of God would promote any cause even remotely related to religion if rooted in controversy, because contention is not of the Lord.
Surely a stalwart would not lend his or her good name to periodicals, programs, or forums that feature offenders who do sow “discord among brethren.” (Prov. 6:19; see also Prov. 6:14.)
Such agitators unfortunately fulfill long-foretold prophecy: they “take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed.” (Ps. 2:2.) . . .
Of course the authorities are human. But to them God has entrusted the keys to His divine work. And He holds us accountable for our responses to the teachings of His servants.
The entire Creation was planned by God. A council in heaven was once convened in which we participated. There our Heavenly Father announced His divine plan. . . .
Each phase of the Creation was well planned before it was accomplished. Scripture tells us that “the Lord God, created all things … spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth.”
The physical Creation itself was staged through ordered periods of time. In Genesis and Moses, those periods are called days. But in the book of Abraham, each period is referred to as a time. Whether termed a day, a time, or an age, each phase was a period between two identifiable events—a division of eternity.
Period one included the creation of atmospheric heavens and physical earth, culminating in the emergence of light from darkness.
In period two, the waters were divided between the surface of the earth and its atmospheric heavens. Provision was made for clouds and rain to give life to all that would later dwell upon the earth.
In period three, plant life began. The earth was organized to bring forth grass, herbs, trees, and vegetation—each growing from its own seed.
Period four was a time of further development. Lights in the expanse of the heaven were organized so there could be seasons and other means of measuring time. During this period, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the earth were placed in proper relationship to one another. The sun, with its vast stores of hydrogen, was to serve as a giant furnace to provide light and heat for the earth and life upon it.
In period five, fish, fowl, and “every living creature” were added. They were made fruitful and able to multiply—in the sea and on the earth—each after its own kind.
In the sixth period, creation of life continued. The beasts of the earth were made after their kind, cattle after their kind, and everything which “creepeth upon the earth”—again, after its own kind. Then the Gods counseled together and said: “Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness. …
“So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.” Thus, Adam and Eve were formed. And they were blessed to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
The seventh period was designated as a time of rest. . . .
Eventually, “the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.” At the Second Coming of the Lord, the earth will be changed once again. It will be returned to its paradisiacal state and be made new. There will be a new heaven and a new earth.
Scriptures declare that heaven, earth, and all things upon the earth are divinely created. Scriptures also help us to know more about the partnership of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, in the Creation. The first words in the Bible state, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and, “God created man in his own image, … male and female created he them.” The book of Abraham teaches that “the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.”
Scripture records the feelings of Heavenly Father for His Beloved Son and for each human being: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The book of John begins with this declaration:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
“The same was in the beginning with God.
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
This scripture denotes that the Word of God is Jesus Christ—God’s personal minister in the government of this universe and Creator of all life.
This fact was affirmed to Moses by our Heavenly Father, who said:
“And by the word of my power, have I created them [the earth and the individuals on it], which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.
“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.”
Many other scriptures confirm that, under direction of the Father, Jesus Christ is the Creator. One of the most compelling is His own personal testimony: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning.”
While we are to emulate our Savior’s kindness and compassion, while we are to value the rights and feelings of all of God’s children, we cannot change His doctrine. It is not ours to change. His doctrine is ours to study, understand, and uphold.