(by Dennis B. Horne)
Elder Mark E. Petersen was one of the more blunt and forceful apostles when writing and speaking about the doctrine of the origin of man and the false theories of evolution. Therefore, for evolutionary scientists he is one of the more disliked apostles. He did not mince words and told things are they really were, not worrying much about diplomacy.
I am so glad that you believe in God. I am so glad that you accept Him as the great Creator of all. He is the great Creator. He made all things. He made this earth on which we live. He made the light. The scripture makes it clear that the Gods decided to create this world. In the process of their work they did separate the light from the darkness. They put lights in the firmament of heaven. As they looked upon their work they said it was “good.” And then they separated the waters from the earth; and they said it was “good.”
Then they began to make life upon the earth. All sorts of vegetation. And each bit of vegetation was given a commandment—to reproduce after its own kind; after its own image and likeness. As God surveyed His work, He announced that it was “Good.” Then He created the birds in the air and the fish in the sea, and they were given a similar commission—that they were to bring forth after their own kind; after their own likeness and image. As the Lord surveyed that bit of His work, again He was pleased and announced that it was “good.” And then He created the animals, and each one of them was commanded that it should bring forth after its own kind; reproduce in their own likeness and image: the cow, the bear, the horse, the sheep—all the animals. As He surveyed all of that, he pronounced it “good.” Then came the time for the creation of man; the time for the crowning act of creation. Why was it the crowning act? Why was it so important?—God was placing His own race upon the earth; His own children. God knew that He was to perpetuate His own race; that we were His offspring; that we were to come to the earth and that we were to have experience in mortality. So He placed us here and the record says that man was made in the exact image and likeness of God. Why?—because we are of the race of God. We are His children. Is it at all unusual that a child should resemble its parent? He was our Father; we, His children. The first of our race to enter mortality was placed on the earth. They [Adam and Eve] were in the exact image and likeness of God—just as the cows that were placed upon the earth and reproduced after their kind had more cows that were in the exact likeness and image of the parent cows. Just as was the case with the horse, and with the sheep, and with the trees and the birds and the bees and the flowers. Each one bringing forth after its own kind. Then God brought His own race upon the earth and commanded that they should reproduce after their own kind; in their own likeness and image. And they in turn were in the likeness and image of God. Therefore, as they reproduced, they reproduced the race of God; each one being in the exact likeness and image of God. Wasn’t it a marvelous creation? He, our Father; we, His children; we, of the race of God. After He had made man, male and female, in His own likeness and image, He surveyed His work. This time He did not say it was only “good.” This time He said “It is very good.” It was a great act. Having made man and woman after His own likeness, He introduced something that had not been introduced in creation before. Not with the animals, not with the birds nor the bees nor the fish nor the vegetation. Something different was now being introduced—because there was a different species—here was the race of God. The animals and the birds and the bees were His creations, yes. They had life in themselves; He gave them the right and the power of reproduction after their own kind. But now with man, who was of the race of God, something else had to be introduced before He could give them the commandment. That something else was marriage. So God brought the woman whom He had made to the man whom He had made. They twain became one flesh; she, his helpmeet. Having given her, in the bonds of holy matrimony, to the man, the Father in heaven stood before those two and gave them a commandment: to bring forth after their own kind. To multiply and fill up the earth with more of the race of God. . . . It [sex] is holy. It is part of the function of Almighty God.
From a Conference talk:
What is the purpose of our existence? Can a man who thinks that life came about by chance on a globe that was made by accident have any overlying purpose to guide him?
Can a man who thinks he evolved from the lowest forms of life have any lofty aspirations?
Does the idea that we are descendants of ape-like ancestors inspire us to any great heights of achievement?
The importance of having purpose in life cannot be overstated. . . .
Now, what is the truth about the origin of man? Paul gave it to us: We are the children of God. We are his offspring. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. (See Rom. 8:16-17.)
And what does that mean?
It means that we have a mighty purpose in life, which purpose is that we may become like God!
Jesus commanded us to achieve this purpose, saying: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48.)
Then, being children of God, we can see our true destiny. And being thus related to him, as his children, we now see ourselves in an entirely new light—not as the descendants of ape-like creatures living an aimless existence, but as the descendants of Almighty God, with the possibility of becoming like him!
Now we can understand the true place and dignity of man. Now we can see his infinite potential.
As members of the family of God, we can know that he has placed us here on earth in a type of school that will help us to become like him, if we are willing to follow the curriculum.
“Christ the Creator,” BYU Speeches, December 13, 1977:
We need not be disturbed by the hypothetical teachings of men, brilliant and scholarly though they may be. Although they search diligently, these men admit that they have no final answers to the basic questions of life. They seek earnestly, gathering a few data here and there, making their deductions, revising them from time to time, and hoping that in the end they may arrive at the truth. But we who have revelation already know the facts about our existence, and they all relate to God.
What does revelation say? It tells us that Almighty God was the Creator, and that he has revealed the truth about the origin of life and all else in creation. He himself says, “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” (Moses 1:33). Then it was through Christ that the Creation came to be. No true believer will reject these words, for they are revelation.
Note that the Almighty here declares that he had a purpose in creation: “And I also created them for mine own purpose.” How often have the scientists debated the question of whether or not there is any evidence of purpose in creation! Some doubt, but many agree that there is. Having seen obvious purpose in creation, and to some extent seeing its significance, they ask: Could the uniformity we note in all nature, the mathematical precision which characterizes the movements of stars and planets, and the distinct evidence of planning as seen throughout the universe be the result of an accident? Could all this possibly exist without some great purpose? . . .
There was a creation. There was a divine Creator, and that Creator was Jesus Christ. God’s purpose in creation, of course, was to make a suitable dwelling place for us, his children, where we might begin our development toward becoming like him; for we can become like him, and are so commanded. As God spoke to Moses he declared that it was through his Son, Jesus Christ, that creation came about. And the Bible, of course, agrees with that.
So the scriptures teach that everything came into existence through Jesus Christ and it came about with full advance planning and purpose. The purpose was that this was a first step in our becoming like God.
Now note what the scripture says about the origin of life, which so many believe was but a spontaneous chemical reaction from inanimate objects. It is important to keep this scripture in mind, for under no circumstance did life ever spring from nonlife—not ever from any inanimate substance. Zero plus zero equals zero; no life plus no life equals no life.
The origin of life was planned in advance and with a clear purpose by Almighty God himself. Note again the words of the scriptures: “It was by him that life came into existence.” Ponder those words. What I read is from a modern translation of the sacred scriptures, put in present-day understandable English, teaching clearly that it was by Jesus Christ that life came into existence. So you see that the creation of life was a premeditated act of God.
May I make this crystal clear: Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Savior, created all things under the direction of his Father, including life, and he did so according to a preconceived plan. He was the Creator of heaven and earth. This is the position we Latter-day Saints must take with respect to Jesus Christ. If we truly believe in him, we must believe his doctrine, and this is the doctrine of Christ. Are we willing to believe it? Are we willing to be Christians within the framework of this definition? I testify to you humbly as a servant of Christ—but also as one of his special witnesses—that these things are true.
No power known to science can bring about the resurrection of the dead. And yet the Resurrection to us is a demonstrated fact. The fact of immortality in and of itself is vital proof that God lives, that he is the Creator, and that all life originated with him.
Our knowledge of immortality is indisputable. Our indisputable knowledge of immortality gives us equally indisputable proof of the divine genesis of all things mortal. It testifies that there was no accident involved in the origin of life.
No inanimate substance can produce life, as we have seen. Try as the scientists have to prove it otherwise, all of their experiments have established that inanimate substances remain inanimate and cannot produce mortal life even in microscopic form. Then neither can inanimate substances bring forth immortal life. Inanimate substances are as powerless to produce immortal life as they are to produce mortal life. If they could make mortal life, they would have to be given credit for making immortal life also, for life is life, whether mortal or immortal, and both are well known to us. Every portion of life comes from God, whether it be preexistent life, mortal life, the life of the departed spirit, of resurrected life. All life comes from God.
This is something our men of learning are prone to forget or to reject as they reject religion altogether. Immortality, however, is something that they must deal with. They cannot ignore it, nor can they disprove it. It is here and it is real. But immortality is proof positive of the correct status of creation and establishes that it is of divine origin.
How do we know there is immortality? For us, as I say, it is a demonstrated fact, for men have come back from the dead to us to prove it. Our whole religion is based on the principle of men coming back from the grave and ministering to us here on earth. . . .
Jesus Christ himself came to the Kirtland Temple, just as he had appeared previously with his Father in the grove near Palmyra, New York. His appearance, combined with the visitations of his servants, proves the truthfulness of the work of Christ, the truthfulness of the account of Jesus as written by Moses, and the fact that we are the children of God and not the offspring of lower forms of life.
It all declares, as if from the housetops, that we have divinity within us, with the full capability of sometime becoming like Almighty God himself, who is our Father. Do you not see that the appearance of angelic messengers to Joseph Smith solves many of the questions that have troubled our minds with regard to our identity and our origin? These messengers truly and literally came to the Prophet Joseph Smith. To this I bear you my solemn testimony. . . .
Christ also taught that He Himself was the Creator. Said He to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ … who created the heavens and the earth.” (D&C 14:9.)
One of our most touching and impressive revelations of the Savior is provided in the Book of Ether, where the appearance of the Lord to the brother of Jared is recorded. I quote briefly from it. Said the Savior to the brother of Jared:
“Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. …
“Never have I shown myself unto man whom I created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image. …
“This body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.” (Ether 3:14–16; italics added.)
There we have it in His own words! The glorious, irrefutable truth! Christ is the Creator! Shall we not accept His word in preference to uninspired theories of men?
Probably the greatest challenge to belief in Christ today is the fast-spreading denial that He is the Creator, coming from men who would supplant the revealed truth with the very tenuous and fragile theory that the universe and all life came about in some mysterious, spontaneous, accidental manner.
To deny that He is the Creator is to deny also that He is the Christ.
To deny that He is the Creator is to deny that He can save us from our sins.
To deny that He is the Creator is to deny that He broke the bands of death. It is to reject the fact of the Resurrection.
To deny that He is the Creator is to deny that He wrought out an atonement on the cross at Calvary.
To deny that He is the Creator is to reject His gospel and the true Christian religion.
But He is the Creator! He is the Redeemer! He is the Savior of the world! He did accomplish His atonement on Calvary, and He did bring about the Resurrection. This we know by the revelation of God! His gospel is true and we love it, and we love Him and deem it a privilege to serve Him!
Efforts were made to see if there were microscopic life on Mars, not whether little men were walking about there. Actually the scientists were trying to find out how life began. They wondered if it could have developed from an unusual combination of certain acids, proteins, and other ingredients in the soil. However, it was determined that no such life exists on Mars, nor was there any evidence showing how life began.
When scientists made similar studies on Earth, the result was the same. And why? Because life only comes from already existing life! But where does life really come from? It can only come from God. He is the Creator, and He alone can make life. And this He did—all life!
When we study astronomy and see the countless stars and planets in the heavens, and when we discover the precision and complete order that abides there, we know that only God could make such a plan possible.
All the experiments of men seeking to create life in any form have failed, because God has reserved to Himself the right and power to make life.
He created all things in spirit form before he placed them on Earth in mortal form. All life had a preexistence. We humans did also, and we truly lived with God our Heavenly Father. We are actually His spirit children.
Since we are His spiritual offspring, as the apostle Paul said, He did not create us in the same way He did other life forms. We came into being by birth and are in the image and likeness of God. And God is our Heavenly Father. It is natural for children to grow up in the likeness of their parents.
When the earth was created for us to live upon—and that is why it was organized in the first place—God provided physical bodies for all the spirits He had made during the preexistence. He then sent those spirits who did not follow Satan to earth to occupy mortal bodies according to the form and shape of each particular spirit.
The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith about the creation of man and beasts and birds and creeping things, saying that “that which is spiritual [is] in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal [is] in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man [is] in the likeness of his person, as [is] also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created.” (D&C 77:2.)
That is why cows are always cows, horses are always horses, birds are always birds, trees are always trees, and human beings are always human beings. The Creator made all living things that way in the preexistence and designed physical bodies to fit the spirits as He sent them here to Earth.
And who is this great Creator? The scriptures tell us that Jesus Christ, our Savior, was the Creator under the direction of Heavenly Father: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3.)
I do not believe that we can bring into our classrooms or sermons the philosophies and doctrines of uninspired men of the world, no matter how well educated they may be, and present them as accepted truth.
I do not believe we should accept every theory advanced by men of science as though it were true. These men change their minds much too often for that. (Conference Report, April 1953, 83.)