Friday, September 6, 2019

Another Mistaken BYU Harmonize-Evolution-with-Doctrine Movement

“There is no need to attempt to harmonize conflicting views when some of the
views are out of harmony with the Standard Works. This is what life is all about.
The Lord is finding out what we will believe in spite of the allurements of the
world or the philosophies of men or the seemingly rational and logical
explanations that astute people make.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie[1]

“Informed members of the Church know that when they come across statements or
 doctrinal explanations which are contrary to what is in the revealed word, they are duty
bound to reject such.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie[2]

“I see others, [BYU Students] sharp, cynical, skeptical, in the know-it-all arrogance of blossoming young manhood and womanhood. They have inquisitive minds. They are easily taught—and easily led astray. Teach these with extra care.” Elder Boyd K. Packer[3]

            I may be behind the news, but I recently learned, to my dismay, that some professors in the Brigham Young University Biology Department are actively promoting another attempt to harmonize evolution with the gospel. Such a misguided and possibly even spiritually dangerous effort must not go unchallenged and uncorrected.
            I recognize and fully appreciate that BYU biologists must study and teach evolution for the school to be acceptable to the world as an accredited institution of higher learning. I also enthusiastically appreciate the almost inestimable value of the great majority of science for the betterment of the world.
            What is not appreciated, and what is unacceptable, is when the theories of the historical life sciences are forced to mix with the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in ancient and modern revelation—specifically, the theory (or theories) of organic evolution. Round pegs just don’t fit in square holes without causing damage; in this case spiritual harm. Where this latest BYU movement loses its way, as with its predecessors, is in supposing it can harmonize evolution of any brand with revealed gospel doctrine.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Modern Science and the Light of Christ in the Biblical Creation Story

The scientific properties of Light are key to reconciling science and the biblical creation story. The article thus begins with a brief primer on Light, thereby establishing a sound basis for a scientific analysis of Moses’s masterpiece of subtlety and symbolism.
The dual, wave/particle personality of Light – the “complementarity principle” – defines the “heaven and the earth” of Genesis 1. The creation of Light, followed by the firmament, then the appearance of land and so on is not an account of the creation of Planet Earth, but a metaphor for the creation of the universe.  Understanding this, the major anachronisms plaguing the usual understanding of Genesis 1 disappear and the timeline tracks well with scientists’ “Big Bang” cosmological model.
Re-examining the “fall” in terms of complementarity reveals that the “forbidden fruit” was physical sensory experience, and the fall was a quantum event in which the focus of Adam’s consciousness shifted from God to the physical world in accordance with this principle of quantum physics. Details of the physical creation as distinct from the spiritual then come into sharp focus, the meaning of the six “days” of creation and other symbolic elements becomes apparent, and the old earth/new earth conflict is resolved.

History of the Universe (Detail, cropped from original).
Genesis 1: 1 – 2:
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Without a basic understanding of modern cosmology and the scientific properties of light, any attempt to reconcile science and the biblical creation story is doomed from the start. The first chapter of Genesis is a metaphor for the creation of the universe, not an account of the creation of Planet Earth. That begins in Chapter 2. When we understand this the apparent anachronisms disappear and the creation story then agrees quite well with scientists’ “big bang” model.
We’ll return to Genesis in a bit, but since the Light of Christ underpins the entire universe, let’s start by discussing some of the properties of light. I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible without losing important detail.