Friday, April 16, 2021

Refuting and Correcting BYU’s False Doctrine on the Origin of Man #5 - Theistic Evolution—the false teaching that God used evolution to create mankind / Adam & Eve

(by Dennis B. Horne)

I heard one of our own eminent scientists say something to the effect

 that he believed more professors have taken themselves out of the Church

 by their trying to philosophize or intellectualize the fall of Adam

and the subsequent atonement of the Savior.

—President Harold B. Lee


When you find some of our Latter-day Saint teachers who

struggle to try to explain how the Creation and the Fall of man

 took place and can be harmonized with the evolutionary theory of science,

 the net result is that the teachings of the gospel are destroyed

and the theory of evolution prevails.

—President Harold B. Lee


            Because most evolutionists of the wider scientific world are also atheists, and because the theory of evolution doesn’t need God, BYU evolutionists have been obliged to imagine up an alternate theory of evolution that allows for God’s existence and involvement. So some of them have come up with various iterations of evolution that have God somehow directing it from beginning (whatever that is supposed to be) to end, hundreds of millions of years later. The prophets and apostles have rejected such nonsense the same as the rest of it, as the below quotations make abundantly clear:


Elder Boyd K. Packer, BYU Speeches:

            The so-called theistic evolution, the theory that God used an evolutionary process to prepare a physical body for the spirit of man, is equally false.


Elder Orson F. Whitney:

            We have no right to take the theories of men, however scholarly, however learned, and set them up as a standard, and try to make the Gospel bow down to them; making of them an iron bedstead upon which God's truth, if not long enough, must be stretched out, or if too long, must be chopped off—anything to make it fit into the system of men's thoughts and theories! On the contrary, we should hold up the Gospel as the standard of truth, and measure thereby the theories and opinions of men. (Conference Report, April 1915, 100.)


President George Q. Cannon:

            Many preachers of the Gospel have adopted this theory. The result is, infidelity has spread. Doubt has been thrown upon the Mosaic account of creation, the whole religious world has been agitated, and in many instances faith in the scriptures has been destroyed by this theory of the eminent philosopher, Charles Darwin. (“The False Theories of Men,” General Conference, October 4, 1896.)


President Joseph Fielding Smith:

            We are living in a world where the Christian ministers of various denominations have been frightened by the philosophies of men and, therefore, because they lack the Spirit of the Lord, have tried to modify the scriptures, or the meaning of the scriptures, so that they can make them harmonize with the false theories so prevalent in the world today, theories which are in absolute conflict with divine revelation; and yet these people, afraid, dominated by the influence of false philosophy, are modifying the doctrines to make them conform to these theories and ideas which are godless in their foundation. We cannot afford to do that.


President Joseph Fielding Smith:

            It is true that the school of evolutionists is divided into the two great classes, the Theistic and the Atheistic branches. But the Theistic evolutionist is a weak-kneed and unbelieving religionist, who is constantly apologizing for the miracles of the scriptures, and who does not believe in the divine mission of Jesus Christ. Again I repeat, no man can consistently accept the doctrine of the evolutionist and also believe in the divine mission of our Redeemer. The two thoughts are in absolute conflict. You cannot harmonize them and serve both masters.


President Joseph Fielding Smith:

            The story of creation as it is given by revelation to Moses certainly has been greatly misinterpreted and misapplied by those who endeavor to square it with the teachings of the modern educational world. (Church History and Modern Revelation 2:263)


President Joseph Fielding Smith:

            Now, evolution leads men [and women] away from God. Men who have had faith in God, when they have become converted to that theory, forsake God.


President Joseph Fielding Smith:

            You will find that every doctrine, every principle, no matter how universally believed, if it is not in accord with the divine word of the Lord to his servants, will perish. Nor is it necessary for us to try to stretch the word of the Lord in a vain attempt to make it conform to these theories and teachings. The word of the Lord shall not pass away unfulfilled, but these false doctrines and theories will all fail. Truth, and only truth, will remain when all else has perished. (Conference Report, October, 1952.)


President Harold B. Lee (1954):

            Now, there are three basic beliefs as to how man came to be. The first is called the monogenetic belief that man has descended from a single human pair. This is the teaching of the holy scriptures. Those who accept this teaching believe that races of men were due to modifications of physical characteristics as a result of climatic influences, food, and habits of life. Those who represent this idea place much confidence in the Bible teachings.

            The absurdity of the teachings of uninspired theologians is chiefly responsible for scientific theories because of the theologians’ ridiculous interpretations of what we have in the meager story in the scriptures. This has no doubt resulted in causing men to try to find another explanation which would be more satisfying to them. Out of their thinking have come two theories—one, the polygenetic theory. These are they who believe that there were a number of independent creations, each giving birth to separate characteristics and their diversities. This is what someone referred to as the “pre-Adamic theory,” about which I have quoted from Elder Roberts. He writes that he doubts that there is any substance and can find but the slenderest of evidence to lend color to the fact that all human life had not descended from one single human pair.

            The other theory, and that which we will consider at some length later on, is what has been styled the evolutionary theory—that all existing species are but developments of preexistent lower forms of life, and so on back through spontaneous generation.

            There is still one other kind of, shall I say, “theorist.” They are called by some of our writers “Christian evolutionists.” These are the ones who try to harmonize science with religion, and we possibly have had some in the Church whom we might call Christian evolutionists. Of course, Elder Roberts says this: “I am aware that there is a class of men who profess to be ‘Christian evolutionists [theistic evolutionists],’ and who maintain that Christianity can be made to harmonize with the philosophy of evolution. But how are they made to harmonize? We are told that Jesus is still a Redeemer, but in this sense only: he gave out faultless moral precepts, and practiced them in his life, and inasmuch as people accept his doctrines and follow his example they will be redeemed from evil. But as to the fall of man and the atonement made for him by the Son of God—both ideas are of necessity rejected [by the Christian evolutionist]; which means, of course, denying the great fundamental truths of revelation; it is by destroying the basis on which the Christian religion rests, that the two theories are harmonized—if such a process can be called harmonization. It is on the same principle that the lion and the lamb harmonize, or lie down together—the lion eats the lamb.”

            When you find some of our Latter-day Saint teachers who struggle to try to explain how the Creation and the Fall of man took place and can be harmonized with the evolutionary theory of science, the net result is that the teachings of the gospel are destroyed and the theory of evolution prevails.


President Harold B. Lee:

            I heard one of our own eminent scientists say something to the effect that he believed more professors have taken themselves out of the Church by their trying to philosophize or intellectualize the fall of Adam and the subsequent atonement of the Savior. This was because they would rather accept the philosophies of men than what the Lord has revealed until they, and we, are able to understand the “mysteries of godliness” as explained to the prophets of the Lord and more fully revealed in sacred places.


President Harold B. Lee:

            The Book of Mormon confirms the fact that the Flood was a worldwide phenomenon. Now, there are what I think are called “Christian evolutionists [theistic evolutionists]” who advocate a “lion eats the lamb” kind of doctrine in which they try to harmonize and make everything mesh. The result is that they give up most of their faith and wind up not very good teachers of the gospel. They would have us believe that the Flood didn’t cover the whole earth—it just seemed so to the people who were in a specific area. There was a big flash flood of some sort, and the people thought the whole world was underwater. Read again the words of the prophet in Ether, and here is what we find:  “For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof” (Ether 13:2).


Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

            We ought to judge everything by gospel standards, not the reverse. Do not take a scientific principle, so-called, and try to make the gospel conform to it. Take the gospel for what it is, and, insofar as you can, make other things conform to it, and if they do not conform to it, forget them. Forget them; do not worry. They will vanish away eventually.  In the true sense of the word, the gospel embraces all truth. And everything that is true is going to conform to the principles that God has revealed. (Mark L. McConkie, ed., Doctrines of the Restoration: Sermons & Writings of Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989], 336-37.)


Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

            Sometimes persons having a knowledge of the revealed truths of salvation and of the evolutionistic theories of the day keep these two branches of knowledge divided between separate mental compartments. Their purpose seems to be to avoid resolving the obvious conflicts which otherwise would arise. Truth, however, is truth, and ultimately every believing person must channel his mental processes so that proper choices are made as between the truths of salvation and the theories of men.


Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

            Heresy 4: Evolution is the process God used to create all forms of life except Adam, who came by special creation; or Adam was the end product of an evolutionary system used by the Lord for his own purposes.

            Commentary: These false notions, together with whatever variations of them happen to be in vogue at any given time, are simply an attempt, on the part of those whose faith falls short of the divine standard, to harmonize the specious theories of men with the revelations of the Lord. They pledge a superficial allegiance to religious truth and allow for a form of divine worship without forsaking the theories of men. They, of necessity, assume that death has always existed on earth, that it did not have its beginning with the fall of Adam, and that there must be some other explanation for all the revelations which say that the atonement ransoms man from the effects of the fall. When those who espouse this view talk of a fall and an atonement, they falsely assume such applies only to man rather than to the earth and all forms of life, as the scriptures attest. (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, chap 12.)


Former BYU Religion Professor Robert J. Matthews:

            For the foregoing reasons, all of them taken from the teachings of the scriptures and the Brethren, I see the theory of organic evolution as contrary to the nature of God, insulting to the original status of man, and a subtle attack upon the mission of Jesus Christ. It may not seem so at first glance, but in terms of doctrine the theory of organic evolution is a concept that, if believed,

would undercut the entire plan of salvation and our faith in the divinity and accomplishments of the Messiah. There must be a simple, straightforward way to make this situation evident to

honest believers who espouse so-called theistic evolution, believers who may not realize they harbor a philosophy that is not only contradictory but also destructive. I do not think it is harmless. The end result is disaster, because the tenets of organic evolution are contrary to the plan of God. (A Bible! A Bible!, 188-189, 193-194.)


Former BYU Religion Professor Robert J. Matthews:

            This chapter is written from the vantage point of a belief in the four standard works of the Church as sacred, revealed scripture. We start with the assurance that these scriptures are correct and convey an accurate impression as to the purposes of God in the creation of the earth, the divine origin of man, the reality of the fall of man, and the provision for redemption from the Fall.

            It is not the aim of this chapter to seek to harmonize conflicting views generated by those who look to nonscriptural, secular, or philosophical sources for information on the subject of the Fall, or who desire to rationalize or compromise in order to make the pieces fit a nonscriptural frame of reference. It is my conviction that the scriptures are consistent within themselves, and even though all the details are not made known, there is sufficient information in them to enable us to understand what caused the Fall, what its effects have been, and what its role is in the purposes of God. Enough has been revealed to enlighten us on the practical and useful purposes that the Fall serves in man's progress toward salvation, and to help us realize that neither Adam nor God regretted that the Fall occurred—in fact, this event is a matter for ultimate rejoicing. Since the point of view in this chapter is that the scriptural account is accurate (if not complete), our energies will not be spent on trying to determine the correctness of the record, but only to learn what the scriptures really say and the interpretation placed upon them by the latter-day prophets. (The Man Adam, 35-38)


Former BYU Religion Professor Joseph Fielding McConkie:

            We can tug, twist, contort, and sell our birthright, but we cannot overcome the irreconcilable differences between the theory of organic evolution and the doctrine of the Fall. Some have argued for a form of theistic evolution—that is, a God-inspired evolution—in which lower forms of life progressed over great periods of time to the point that God could take the spirit of the man Adam and place it in an animal and declare it to be the first man. The argument is at odds both with scripture and with an official declaration of the First Presidency on the origin of man. The scriptures of the Restoration declare Adam to be "the son of God" (Moses 6:22) and the "firstborn" of all earth's inhabitants (Abr. 1:3). They further state that he and Eve were created in the image and likeness of God's body. In the book of Moses we read: "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; in the image of his own body, male and female, created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created and became living souls in the land upon the footstool of God" (Moses 6:8-9; emphasis added). Let the idea not be lost that the physical body of God is being spoken of here. . . .

            Evolution is the notion that lower forms of life can, through the course of generations, genetically improve themselves. For that to happen, both birth and death would have to exist. By contrast, Father Lehi teaches us that if there had been no Fall, "all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children," he tells us. Thus, he testifies, "Adam fell that men might be" (2 Ne. 2:22-23, 25). Enoch, teaching the same thing, said: "Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe" (Moses 6:48).


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