This is a subject of perennial interest and controversy, isn’t it? Sometimes we even hear of people having trials of faith because of apparent conflicts between scriptural history and scientific knowledge. I thought I’d share a few of my own ideas on reconciling the two, on the off chance that they may be interesting and helpful to anyone.
Of course, these are only theories. They’re not necessarily true. I don’t even necessarily believe them. I do, however, find comfort in the idea that these ideas exist, and could be true. Still, if any authorized leader clearly refuted any or all of my ideas here, I’d immediately and gladly give them up.
ADAM & EVE & EVOLUTION
I’ve never understood the antipathy some have towards evolution, especially from Latter-day Saints, as a close reading of Abraham 4 practically demands something like evolution.
There’s an old rhetorical question about whether or not Adam had a belly button. I’d say that he did because, though leaders as recent as Jeffrey R. Holland have affirmed that there was a literal Adam, the scriptural account of him being created from the dust and then having a spirit put into him leaves a lot of room for interpretation.
Understanding that all life forms have a spirit in them, I wonder if the following might be accurate. Here is a chart that crudely illustrates what I think may have happened (red lines indicate marriages, green lines indicate children). Basically, humans may have evolved to the point where, when the time was right, two were chosen to be the first to have not just any spirit, but spirits that were children of our Heavenly Father.
Those two then married and had children. Those children likewise, of course, had divine spirits, but they married others who did not. The children of those unions would have one parent descended from Adam and Eve (their grandparents), and one parent not, but those children could also have inherited divine spirits.
Marriage and breeding proceeded such that, eventually, all humans could count Adam and Eve as their direct ancestors.