Posts filed under ‘biology’
CROSS-POSTED TO MORMONMATTERS.ORG 5/29/10. JOIN THE DISCUSSION THERE!
Distinctly Mormon doctrines relating the physical appearance of humanity to God’s own “preferred” form grew gradually in early Restoration history rather than springing forth full form. Although there are references in the Book of Mormon (the earliest recorded of Joseph Smith’s prophetic writings) to the Brother of Jared seeing the “finger” and then the full vision of Christ, even the earliest published accounts of the First Vision do not feature descriptions of two personages appearing as does the “official” version eventually recorded several years after formation of the church. This doesn’t mean that later descriptions were contradictory to the first version; it does suggest that certain features of the encounter took on greater significance in light of subsequent experience.
The emphasis on the “physicality of God” even in the spiritual realm grew in concert with notions of the Eternal Family and its role and function in achieving and living in Celestial Glory. The elaboration of this theology is natural as the early church leadership began to push, at first secretly, new forms of marriage and family life, but it was not an inevitable evolution of the theology of the 1830 Restoration. For example, no one in the Community of Christ expects that the afterlife is about progressing to populate new worlds with our own spiritual offspring, as Heavenly Father populated our own world. In one denomination, it is THE Heavenly Father; in the other it is Heavenly Father, with the seldom spoken inference that there may be Heavenly Mother lurking in the theology as well.
TH drops in with a new post about how our elegant views of God as creator run into aesthetic reality in a contest between youthful excitement, DNA extraction, and super-glue.
TH has also created her own blog, “In Our Makers Image” — which you’ll find in the Blogatorium section of the Blogroll to the right — to dwell on more clearly theological issues. Check it out after you’re finished here.
As science acquires the capacity to explain more and more that we once considered miraculous — as it asserts the authority to enter what had once been ceded as the magisterium of the church — what responsibility does it have to maintain rigorous scientific standards in drawing conclusions about phenomena in the newly “occupied” territories? How does science envelop religion while still being respectful of religion, and faithful (irony intended) to science?
The question becomes significant because many people do not realize just how much territory has been “occupied” since Galileo first stood under the judgement of the church centuries ago. They are still debating evolution when the science, like some 1950′s horror monster, has already enveloped them and moved on.
Here are some things that come out of simple extrapolation of basic Western science. Simply an exercise in consciousness-raising about consciousness when you look at science on time scales well within our technological imaginings, let alone out into deep time where all of human history looks like the lifespan of a mayfly. These are among the miracles that science asserts the capacity (now or eventually) to explain. So what does science owe religion? And what does science owe science?
My least favorite science is biology. It probably has to do with being introduced to it during a school year in which I spent a number of weeks in the hospital with doctors doing things to me to get my juvenile diabetes under control. When I got out, I then had to spend most of the rest of the school year staying after school dissecting various little creatures who had never done anything to me. At that point I half suspected that it was the animals, not the doctors, who had really been on my side.