>>> Steve Smith: You don't have to accept the so-called "miracles" of the Bible as literal to be an LDS member in good standing. <<< I think that it is great that there is not a catechism down to every detail level on beliefs. Yet, because of modern revelation, there are no debates about infant baptism (Moroni 8). And, I would assert similarly, the six literal days of creation probably find few adherents among us. A literal resurrection of Jesus; A literal feeding of 5000 families where the people tried to make Him king--probably few disbelieve those miracles. Moroni has a list of miracles that he makes in Ether chapter 12 and Paul has a list in Hebrews chapter 11. The references to the crossing of the Red Sea seem to me to be testified of as much as any miracle of the Old Testament. --RM
I appreciate Bro. Millett's correct observation that: "Normally, our observations of the laws of nature in the present make good predictions of how things were in the past." Certainly, it is also true that God's power is sufficient to do his work (see 2 Nephi 27:20-21).
However, we should not always assume that the facile interpretations of scripture are the correct ones, as was pointed out with the example of the seven days of creation not being literal 24-hour days. Similarly, a knowledge of Hebrew helps us understand that the word "eretz" used in scripture to describe the extent of the Flood can be used to mean "land" (as in the "face of all the land"), not merely "earth" (as in the "face of all the earth"). Even when scripture says "all the earth" there are clear examples that it is being used in the same kind of sense that we say to someone "everyone was there," when we really mean "all the people you and I usually think about were there."
It should be noted that there are many faithful members of the Church who take scripture seriously, including former apostle John A. Widtsoe, who are on record as being comfortable with a Flood that did not cover all parts of the earth. scientifically-minded people of faith are not seeking to subordinate the claims of faith to the program of science, but naturally desire to circumscribe their understanding of truth
>>> Susan: in the debate,the man of faith was defending points which represent HIS interpretation -- but not OUR interpretation -- of the Bible. <<<
You are right, but there is a considerable overlap and there are some accounts that are figurative. Joseph Smith knew Gabriel, who is Noah. The Book of Mormon supports the ark of Noah being similar to the barges of the Jeredites. We believe in a God of miracles. Do you believe in a world wide flood? Do you believe in 3 million Israelites crossing the river Jordan at spring flood that led to the conquest of Jericho? Do you believe in the day and night and day in America as a sign of Christ's coming in the old world? Do you believe that Christ and Adam and Eve needed precisely the right DNA to perform their missions? The list goes on and on. It would be great to get feedback from many members on a long list of miracles on whether they are believed to be literal or figurative. --RM
You don't have to accept the so-called "miracles" of the Bible as literal to be an LDS member in good standing. Lots of LDS people don't accept Adam and Eve, the fall, the flood, the tower of Babel, the longevity of the patriarchs, the crossing of the Red Sea, three million Israelites surviving in the desert for 40 years, the crossing of the River Jordan at spring flood, the victory at Jericho,as literal, but they are strong supporters of the LDS church. You aren't asked if you accept the Bible miracles as literal on the temple recommend questions. You are required to regard every last thing that Joseph Smith or other prophets said as true or literal. The prophets aren't infallible, and that is both in deed and in word.
You're setting up a false dichotomy here: Either believe what all the physical evidence tells us about a flood (namely, that a worldwide flood wiping out virtually all life didn't happen in such a fashion) OR believe in the Gospel. But there's another possibility: It's time to recognize that parts of Genesis in particular aren't history in the modern sense of the world, but rather inspired stories that have been passed down to us to teach us important spiritual lessons. There are many things to learn from the story of Noah, but geology and biology aren't two of them.
Many years ago, I took a biology course at William and Mary. I no longer remember the professor nor author of the text nor for that matter the title of it.
The main premise of the author, regarding evolution and creationism was that one asks Who did the creation, the other ask how it occurred. I used that idea to introduce evolution along with his idea to ask how much power your God Has? Would you deny him the power to create the earth in 7 days.
Never had a parent come in from the local church. These folks tore into the same students teachers in middle school.
Again and again in the debate,the man of faith was defending points which represent HIS interpretation -- but not OUR interpretation -- of the Bible. We believe the Bible as far as it is translated correctly. Among faithful members, there are a variety of interpretations. On some limited points, modern revelation is perfectly clear. We do not claim as a Church to know the meaning of every detail in the Bible. What we do claim is the authority to preach Christ's gospel. Jesus said III Nephi 11:40. Let us defend His gospel, and not our "interpretations."
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