At the beginning of the month of May 2017, we invited the young men and women of the Almeria ward, stake of Granada-Spain, to a talk organised by the bishopric. With the intention of dealing with the issues that most interested them, we asked them to put the questions or topics in which they had doubts and concerns on unnamed paper and put them in a container to the case.
This article is a literal transcription of the questions and a summary of the answers we gave you. The young people are of both sexes and their ages range from 12 to 17 years old.
The blocks are divided into several themes, God and Evolution, science and religion. The first of these talks is dedicated to the theory of evolution and its consequences. We begin with the first question, which is rather a statement
1. If the theory of evolution is a theory because it has no proof, religion is a theory, since it also has no proof about the evolution of the earth.
Before going into the subject we established the meanings of words, clue, proof and evidence.
The importance of correct use of language in addressing an issue is vital. Language does thought and not the other way around. A language that stumbles, stumbles and in the end makes thought clumsy. Therefore, before continuing, we emphasize the importance of reading and the subject of language.
A scientific theory is a construction of our mind
- A scientific theory is based on deduction and logic, it is always open to new formulations of the same, and accumulates evidence until at some point another emerges that better describes the facts and observations. A scientific theory is a construction of our mind and does not have an assigned zone in our brain but is our own creation.
- The scientific method is not the only way of thinking, there is for example the theory of art and literature. These theories are not intended to explain the world or predict events, but the contemplation of the world through the artistic or literary sense. We mention this because the scientific method is already considered the only way to use our mind to observe the world. And it is not so.
Religion is not a theory
Religion is not a theory, the transcendent is woven into our body and our psychology and takes its place in the brain, unlike theories.
Spirituality, like memory, sight, language, etc., has its place in the brain. It responds to the transcendental need of the human being, that is, to an impulse to believe in a later world and reality. Our brain is a reflection of the plan of salvation, because this plan is incarnated in its form.
- The theory of evolution has evidence so it’s a theory if not it would be a hypothesis. But it has no conclusive evidence, because it is not able to explain the cell and its complexity through natural selection, otherwise it would be indisputable. Therefore it is a partial theory, like Newton’s theory of gravity, which describes the behavior of gravity, but not at all scales. Nor does it explain its origin.
- The Genesis account speaks of the creation of Adam by the direct intervention of the gods. But it does not explain the procedure. It is not a book of anthropology or paleontology. Its purpose is to give testimony, not evidence.
It testifies to the divine origin of man. It therefore belongs to another place of our thought, to another variant of its activity, but as real as the others. Concerning the area of the brain where its epicentre is, we read…
“These locations (of beliefs) are located in the inner part of the temporal cortex, looking at and connecting with the amygdala (limbic system) by means of bidirectional links (entries and reentries in Edelman’s sense). Later on it has been seen (and Andrew B. Newberg has contributed to this) that in this system of connections part of the frontal zones and other cerebral topologies are integrated.” (Pedro Rubal, Universidad Pontificia Comillas referring to Andrew B. Newberg in neurology)
In this link we can see a study of the University of Utah, published in Social Neuroscience, where it talks about the relationship of the brain with spirituality. Although, in my opinion, this (very detailed) study, cannot cover the entire religious experience. It is like understanding biology with a stethoscope.
“Therefore, it can be said that the tendency to generate religious and philosophical experiences and concepts is mapped in the human brain” (Pedro Rubal). Therefore, I add, our brain has already mapped or reflected our premortal nature and the desire to know our home and our divine origin.
- Religion, therefore, is not a theory, it is a capacity, a sensitivity that exists in us and is nourished by revelation. Just as God feeds the little birds of heaven, he provides us with the light of Christ to give us light. Therefore it goes outside the scientific framework and has to be dealt with in another language.
In the same way that the photographic technique did not end with painting, as predicted, but was transformed into an expression of art. The scientific method and the religious fact coexist in our interior and to create conflicts between them is not to understand our nature.
- The gospel’s approach to the human being is not scientific, but juridical. It is therefore more related to Adam’s behavior than to his origin or constitution. That is why the scriptures have more bearing on what Adam did than on the formulation of carbon, which is the clay with which he was created.
2. What do you think about the scientific evidence of evolution?
The Savior put us in the right perspective to address this question. We read in Luke 20:22 “ Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Cæsar, or no?”
Not being his kingdom of this world, this question was intended to involve him in the fiscal problems of this world. If it answered yes, it justified the domination of Rome and if it said no, it supported rebellion against it. His answer is a lesson. “Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Cæsar’s. And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which be Cæsar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” (Luke 20:24-25)
- I understand that we must give Darwin what is his (although now the tendency is to ask for a return of influence to this theory) and also give to God what is God’s. We must also give to God what is God’s. The question they asked the Savior was a closed one, with a yes or no answer. When someone leaves their home environment and enters into alien fields, the terms of the debate fall into strange hands. But the Savior did not fall into that trap.
As members we must understand that the terms of this debate are not in our field, and that we cannot debate taxes under Roman domination.The fossil record speaks of an astonishing creation and of strange and unexpected guests. But they are there. Not to acknowledge it is to rebel against reality, against Caesar, which the Savior did not do. As my wife says, “You have to accept reality”
The Adam man too
Natural selection does not describe the world in its totality, but does so from a way of understanding the world. That philosophy, present even in the industry, has provided us with an effective world full of achievements. With enough authority to ask ourselves if it is lawful to believe in evolution or not. But that question reduces an eternal and profound question to a mere yes or no answer.
- I personally accept that the Java man, the Cro-Magnon man, the Australopitecus man, the Neardental man, lived on earth. The Adam man too. But I have no proof, no evidence, because what I know, is in the environment of faith and religion. By divine revelation through the scriptures and prophets. In these terms scientifically debate this issue, is a waste of time.
- Certainly the situation of the believer is difficult. But it is also true that it is complete, because it reflects the whole width of our nature and not only its rational and logical part. Our brain is like the mustard seed, if it is allowed, with time the birds of the sky can nest in it and not only a species of these. As is the scientific method of thought.
An account of Adam’s descendants
The Lord “But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you.” (Moses 1:35) but refers to the descendants of the man Adam and not to the rest whose ancestry and plan we do not know.
I understand that there must be a plan for every being that comes into the world, but I only know the one that affects me. This is sometimes frustrating and in my youth it came to the degree of being desperate. I also desired at that time as Alma 29:1 “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and…” demonstrate it to all with irrefutable proofs “You see, you see how what I tell you is true…”.
But we are not granted to recite this victorious phrase. Why? because we overcome by faith… “And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.” (D&C 76:53) How many of us wanted to get to natural science class, not with a trumpet, but with a little gunpowder, at least to give us the pleasure of making some noise?
- Over time, one appreciates the advantages of the tensegrity of the tree of life over the architectural logic of this extraordinary building across the street. In the end, we must be humble, even if, as in my case, it is because we are forced to be humble.
- When the gods called for light, they did so from darkness and certainly from a dark “empty and desolate” environment. We’re often in that darkness looking for light. The evidence always seems to be against us. But in spite of everything we call upon the light in full darkness following their example.
- Evolution explains large-scale changes, but not all scales is a partial theory. Nowadays Darwinism, far from its initial tuning with observations, has more and more problems to explain cellular life and its complexity.
This video represents the foundations of the theory of Intelligent Design. It has created a great controversy because its creators, initially evolutionists, have reached a time where natural selection can not explain the facts.
3 If there are many worlds like ours, who created the Universe?
- We find the answer in Moses 1:33 “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.”
There is no such answer in all the scriptures. And this statement is further assured in the following verse “But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power….”The Lord gives us an idea of the size of the Universe… “And there are many that exist today, and are countless to man; but for me all things are numbered, because they are mine and I know them.” Countless for man, how many can man count? Surely in this verse it does not refer so much to mathematical enumeration as to comprehension.
- As human beings, we are surpassed everywhere by the infinite. We have to resign ourselves to not understanding all things and not being able to count them on our fingers.
4. The scriptures say that the Lord created all things. Why are there facts that claim otherwise?
- Tell me only one who claims otherwise.
Well, I didn’t get an answer.
5. If God controls natural processes, is he the greatest murderer of all time? Earthquakes floods…
The question did not seem to me to be the fruit of reflection but adopted by this anonymous young man, formulated with a prejudice that is very common today. Closed and dominant question. It is a kind of recrimination towards a lesser god, employed for hours in the maintenance of the world, some pipes leak and that causes accidents.
The person who interrogates thus, supposes that he is in that right because of his greater awareness of what is just.
We read in Abraham 3:25, “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;”
Below is a list of things that that employee should fix.
- It should not allow hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods, nor should erupting volcanoes or droughts.
- He should not allow plagues, diseases, or malformations. Viruses included.
- It should not allow wars, abuses, gender-based violence, weapons.
- Should not consent to hunger, poverty, exploitation, accidents or crime
- It should eliminate inequality
In short, I would have to intervene more often in everything and if I should not have made a better world. At this point I made a proposal, because there really was a solution, a better and more efficient commissioner.
“Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor..” Moses 4:1
Then I asked all of them
Why didn’t you choose him? What are you complaining about now?
Did we eliminate the mosquitoes as well? They are the ones that cause the most deaths. The point is that it is us who are on trial, not him. It is he who judges, not us.
This world is not fair, nor does it try to be (did you know that?). In fact, it is a predatory world. It is a probative state and that word includes injustice, abuse, poverty and accidents. So do mosquitoes. We are not here to evaluate creation and who made it. We are evaluated.
We are under the domination of a soft, moaning, childish and superficial culture.
A scene and the same question
Mark 15:34-36 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
And when some of them that were there heard him, they said, Behold, call Elijah.
And one ran, and dipped a sponge in vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him drink, saying, Let it be, let us see if Elijah cometh to bring him down.”
What resemblance is there between this scene and the question asked? If he is the Son of God, let him save himself, or let Elijah come and bring him down. A variation, If he is the Son of God, why does his Father allow him to die on the cross.
He could tell us: why do I have to sacrifice my son for you? His son could have said: why do you allow this to happen to me if you are my father?. But these questions are not part of a character like his, who may go out however chooses to do your will.
These five questions can be in anyone’s mind, but especially in the minds of our young people. For me it is necessary to face them with success, to encourage in the youth the reading of good books, the study of the scriptures and the interest in the subject of english language. The study of semantics and syntactic and morphological analysis, which gave us so much trouble in school, is the means to cement a good command of language and consequently the ability to have a well directed thought.
Even if he doesn’t give us all the answers.