Faith in God is challenged for some by science. However, as science continues
to reveal the nature of reality, faith in God can plausibly increase. Our
vision of the elegance of the universe expands beyond unimagined horizons, and
possibilities may be infinite.God gives us mysteries to figure out.
The biggest mystery is how to tame the human heart without losing free will,
because without solving this mystery, the human race will not survive.
That’s where we’re going to need help.Science says It
took 14 billion years for sentient, intelligent beings to evolve. We are now on
the verge of designing ourselves. The true scientist must wonder what we will
we look like 14 billion years from now? Is the concept of immortality,
omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence so hard to imagine?If it
can happen, it already has!Incidentally, but pertinent to the human
heart: the truth of the Book of Mormon is in how it makes life better, not
whether there was a Jewish nation in the Americas (which got erased by natural
forces and war, by the way).
As some LDS Mormons understand that the creation was accomplished in aprox. 6
thousand years as we count time today. This world that was created for
Heavenly Fathers children to experience the things of mortality was created by
"Matter Unorganized". To members that have been to the Temple the word
structure probably did not convey a very powerful meaning. Heavenly Father did
not use the words "Unorganized Matter" which would have given a whole
new meaning to the creation. His use and arrangement of the words
"Unorganized Matter" meant matter that had previously been organized
from "Worlds with out number have I created".. The true meaning
is shown to those that are spiritually prepared. Some of the matter with
corresponding animal fossils, etc, etc. came from worlds created eons ago. As
these worlds finished their purpose they were unorganized. From these worlds
our world was organized or created..To the LDS Church members i simply
ask, when you go through the Endowment Ceremony, listen carefully to Heavenly
Fathers words and pray for understanding. For members who have not a Temple
Recommend, please prepare and get your affairs in order, that you may obtain.
Contrary to "A Scientist's" assertion, Prof. Peterson offers
neither a natural theology nor a teleological argument.
@ coltakashi"The 'God of the Gaps' notion assumes that
there is a limited volume of potential scientific knowledge..."Please see A Scientist’s comment on this. He expertly identifies
Peterson’s straw man (and with great style, I might add).His
concluding comment about how JS saw god belief reminded me again of how curious
it is that science is often the target of believers and their apologists.
It's as if they see it as a threat or something.@
NoNamesAccepted"My belief in scientific results...is based much
more on believing the experiences of others."So now applications
of the scientific method are just "experiences?" But I guess you'd
have to degrade the concept in order to meet the narrative that science is just
a matter of faith too. Next challenge: How to make "religious claims differ
by locale and are frequently mutually exclusive" and "science is science
wherever you go" look like the same thing.
@Ernest T. BassPlant domestication happened independently of the Middle
East in many other regions around the world. It happened in the Americas in more
than one location. Today 60% of the variety of foods grown worldwide originated
from the work of America's ancient people who were the world's
greatest plant breeders. They did this by selective planting, not by grafting.
Somehow that major contritubition to the world never gets mentioned in the Book
of Mormon. A good book with more on this is "Indian Givers: How Native
Americans Transformed the World" by Jack Weatherford
@Steve Warren "Lehi's family and Ishmael's family came from the
Mideast, where grafting and olive trees did exist, so they would have understood
the chapter. I'm sure they were capable of answering questions on the
subject of olive trees. Those Nephites born much later would have been no more
mystified by Jacob 5 than people born in America are mystified by cultural
aspects of the Old Testament that are unfamiliar to us. Besides, the Book of
Mormon itself states that it was written for our time, not theirs."In my opinion, you are quoting fallible men about their pontifications about
God's will and nothing else. Please actually quote a perfect God or your
comments are meaningless.
@Ernest T. BassIt makes not the slightest difference to Jacob 5 if
olive trees and grafting did or did not exist in America in 500-600 BC. The fact
that Jacob 5 contains only the words of an Old Testament prophet strengthens its
authenticity, because he would have been familiar with olive trees and grafting.
Lehi's family and Ishmael's family came from the Mideast,
where grafting and olive trees did exist, so they would have understood the
chapter. I'm sure they were capable of answering questions on the subject
of olive trees. Those Nephites born much later would have been no more
mystified by Jacob 5 than people born in America are mystified by cultural
aspects of the Old Testament that are unfamiliar to us. Besides, the Book of
Mormon itself states that it was written for our time, not theirs.
The "God of the Gaps" notion assumes that there is a limited volume of
potential scientific knowledge, and that human science is quickly filling up
that volume by claiming title to every element within that volume, which will
"real soon now" leave no gaps in scientists' knowledge, and no
place for the "god" who lives only in such "gaps" to exist. This is totally a conjecture without any scientific basis whatsoever.
Furthermore, it is a theory that should be distressing for scientists, because
their job is not to just preserve, teach and apply the body of scientific
knowledge, it is their quintessential role to discover NEW knowledge. The
notion that the body of work for scientific researchers is diminishing and will
terminate in the near future is an attack on the entire scientific enterprise,
even more than on "religion". In reality, every serious
advance in scientific knowledge raises new questions and reveals new territory
needing exploration. The recent theories of Dark Matter and Dark Energy show
that 97% of the "known universe" is made of matter and energy that we
cannot fully describe. The "gaps" in knowledge are growing--and science
is needed more than ever.
It is interesting to me that most who claim science proves there is no God are
most often using science as a faith-based religion. They've replaced
clerical robes with lab smocks, priests with scientists, faith in the Bible with
faith in peer reviewed publishing.How many here who cling to science
have personally studied math beyond college level introductory calculus? How
many have personally studied college level organic chemistry, biology,
astronomy, or cosmology?How many have ever, personally conducted the
oil drop experiment? Or personally dropped a feather and a hammer inside a
vacuum chamber?How many have ever conducted any experiment at the
Large Hadron Collider?How many even make a habit of regularly
reading the full published scientific papers as contrasted with media
summaries?My religion is based on faith. But it is a faith of many,
all but countless, personal experiences.My belief in scientific
results (like most posters here) is based much more on believing the experiences
of others. And this, even with undergrad and graduate degrees in a STEM field.
RE: Ernest T. Bass. The Olive Tree is a symbol of Israel's Religious
privileges.Romans 11:11-31 - Gentiles Grafted In v. -24 For if you
were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, ... to be
unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel,
..Gentile Believers have a Special Relationship with Jewish
Believers. In addition to their special relationship to Israel, Gentiles who
have been grafted in to the Olive Tree by faith in Christ among the natural
branches, have a special relationship to the ‘Jewish believers in
Christ’, who are the natural branches. The two kinds of branches in the
Olive Tree Jewish and Gentile=(ethnos, black or white) believers in Christ.
VS 2 Nephi 5:21-22 The Lamanites were turned black through
God’s disfavor. Later in 3 Nephi 2:14-15 when some converted and joined
with the more righteous Nephite group, they were turned white. Whiteness in
the BoM is associated with “rightness”.
@Steve Warren: I would love to see where Native Americans were grafting olive
trees, vineyards or any other type of tree for that matter.Agriculture got
it's start in the Middle East around 10,000 years ago. Olive trees and
grafting didn't exist in the New World in 600BC.
Puzzling title: "Intelligent Design vs God of the Gaps" suggests
contrasting the two concepts. But Peterson defends and conflates them, insisting
we embrace a (debunked) "God of the Gaps" position because
"atheistic 'scientism of the gaps' is a mere promissory
note".He hopes we will overlook the fact that his invention of
an "atheism of the gaps" is not only an absurd abuse of dialectic, but
one of the crudest and poorest straw man arguments I have seen in a long
time!No atheist/non-believer dogmatically asserts that,
"someday, we’ll be able to explain every single mystery as the result
of purposeless natural forces".Purposeless natural forces?
Leibniz is rolling over in his grave, mumbling "non liquet"!All Peterson gives us here is a highly diluted, barely re-warmed, and very
poor teleological argument. He ignores the withering arguments against Paley.
But he also ignores Joseph Smith's complete (and wise) rejection of
"natural theology".Instead, the Prophet insisted that
knowledge of god is solely through revelation and "human testimony
only". As such, it is difficult to see how Peterson's essay is a
"defense of the faith" at all.Non liquet!
Ernest T. Bass wrote: "As olive trees didn't exist in the Americas,
and neither did grafting of branches for that matter, the whole allegory of
Jacob 5 would have been lost on those who lived in the Americas at that
time."Grafting has been around for thousands of years. Besides,
Jacob was born in the Old World. He and his contemporaries were familiar with
olive-tree culture even if they didn't bring it to the Americas. Also, the
grafting, pruning, digging, etc., have broad application in horticulture, not
just to olive trees and would have been perfectly understandable in
America's agrarian culture in Book of Mormon times.
RE: observator . Jacob 5:9, the branches of the wild olive tree, and graft them
Compare Romans 11:17 the branches be broken off, and thou,
being a wild ‘olive tree’ wert graffed in.Jacob 5:7.
wither away, and we will cast them into the fire that they may be burned.
Compare(John 15:6 )withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire,
and they are burned. RE: Steve C. Warren . 2 of many JS use of the
Bible in the BoM, and miss-use: , “Telestial world.”
here are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the
celestial = (G.epouranial )is one, and the glory of the terrestrial=( G. epigeia
)is another.(1 Cor 15:40 KJV ) Compare,(1 Cor 15:40 NIV )There are
also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the
heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is
another.The term “telestial” originated with JS’s
use of the Latin Vulgate in the KJV.; it appears that he took the first two
letters of “(te)rrestrial” and added them on the ending of
“ce(lestial)” to create the new word, “telestial.”.
Well putting it all in context. As olive trees didn't exist in the
Americas, and neither did grafting of branches for that matter, the whole
allegory of Jacob 5 would have been lost on those who lived in the Americas at
that time. Along those lines, vineyards didn't exist either.Also, how
did Isiah get in the brass plates when most of it hadn't been written in
“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the
story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is
about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he
is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for
centuries.” ― Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers
Daniel Peterson,I often enjoy your articles for my own sake, but
just as often find little tid bits where I think to myself "yeah, that aint
gonna convince no one". Sometimes I think the world is so far off it's
rocker that there's little we can do to reason with people who are so
accustomed to their own form of rhetoric that they just can't comprehend
anything else. After all, the light shines and the darkness doesn't
comprehend it. That said, this was a refreshing article. I felt you made the
best case possible. Why? Probably because it's the very core case I've
been making all my life.I never argue that I'm right and that
others should just accept it. I just argue the very small claim, yet to big to
fit through the ego of malice, that it is merely possible that I'm right.
It is possible God is real. It is just as worth exploring as empirical evidence
is, less our exploring the unknown be shaped only by the minds of those who
think they know everything. But alas, so many egos just can't take
admitting the possibility religion is valid.I got a good laugh on
this: "astounding botanical coincidence" It could be a book title!
"There's no guarantee that naturalistic science will ultimately explain
absolutely everything."This is the "you can't prove my
god doesn't exist" argument, which places gods in the same company as
fairies, elves, and celestial teapots. We can't prove they don't
exist either.But this is all that religion has in the wake of
thousands upon thousands of scientific discoveries that not only refute
religious explanations for natural things, but provide naturalistic explanations
for why man has created gods and religions for as far back as we can see.So, no, there's no guarantee of science explaining everything. But
when the scoreboard for the last several hundred years registers thousands-plus
for one player and zero for the other, is it so unreasonable to have more
confidence in the former?
Religion is definitely the God of the gaps. As soon as people can't explain
something they attempt to make up stuff to explain it and say they
"feel" it is right. That is the definition of all religions including
the LDS church in my opinion.
And in the recent past decades, hasn't there been a prophet named Zenos
whose writing was found? Coincidence? Possible... but I doubt it!As
far as anachronisms, do this: read the book. Get it in context instead of the
filter of an anti-LDS bookstore. You might find out that the only untruths
you're getting are caused by not going to the actual source. It's
amazing that the Book of Mormon is one of the few books on the face of the earth
for which it's considered in vogue to formulate an opinion without actually
reading it.I dare you...
@The most noble Ernest T. BassIn Jacob Chapter 5, Jacob is quoting a
prophet named Zenos. Zenos' words were on the plates of brass, and the
plates of brass were brought to the Western Hemisphere by Lehi and the gang.
Zenos lived in the middle east, thus HE would have known about olive trees.
@The Most Noble Enest T. BassIn Jacob Chapter 5, Jacob is quoting a
prophet that is named Zenos. The words of Zenos were on the plates of brass,
and those were brought over with Lehi and the gang. So that means that Zenos
lived in or near Jerusalem, not in the Western Hemisphere, which means he would
have known about Olive Trees.
@Ernest T. Bass "Here's a fun fact: olive trees did not exist in
the Americas at that point in history. Jacob 5 is in fact anachronistic, very
much so."You are absolutely right. It is anachronistic to the
Americas. But Jacob 5:1 attributes the whole chapter to Zenos, an Old Testament
prophet about whom Jacob and others apparently were quite familiar and who would
have lived in olive-tree country.
"Here's a fun fact: olive trees did not exist in the Americas at that
point in history. Jacob 5 is in fact anachronistic, very much so."Very interesting. The story only makes sense if it had been brought from a
group that initially lived in a place where olive trees existed...
All very interesting. Regardless of what facts and science may tell us, I still
have no intention in abandoning -- The Devil made me do it.
The author missed the big problem of having a "Good of the gaps". It
cheapens God. Everytime something that was once Divine becomes explainable,
people wonder what else attributed to God isn't actually Divine.There are two obvious strategies to forestall this. First, don't
overreach in claims of Divinity, don't demands that God is involved in
every little thing, and the room to have faith undermined is reduced. But that
requires humility, admitting that not everything requires God.The
second is to attack attempts to discover and explore. This is, traditionally,
the path organized religion had taken. Galileo, Darwin, the Scopes Monkey
Trial... It is not an honorable path, and does nothing to glorify anyone.
@Steve C Warren:Here's a fun fact: olive trees did not exist in the
Americas at that point in history. Jacob 5 is in fact anachronistic, very much
@Steven C Warren "...all it takes is to point to a single verse (or a
single chapter like Jacob 5) that could not have been written by Joseph Smith,
and, suddenly, the reader is left with a strong assumption that the whole book
is of divine origin."The BOM is a remarkable document.
There's no getting around it.
Skeptic wrote: "Why not accept that the Book of Mormon may be an inspired
allegory authored by the charismatic Joseph Smith who may have been a prophet in
his own way and time."Have you read chapter 5 of Jacob? Yes,
it's a boring chapter, but it is unimaginable to me that Joseph Smith or
anyone associated with him could have written something like that in 1829.In fact, I happen to think that even if people see the Book of Mormon
and its storyline as questionable, all it takes is to point to a single verse
(or a single chapter like Jacob 5) that could not have been written by Joseph
Smith, and, suddenly, the reader is left with a strong assumption that the whole
book is of divine origin.
"...a great Hebrew nation here in the Americas..."Please
cite where, in the Book of Mormon, there is a "great Hebrew nation"
discussed. The book claims that there are some large civilizations, but it does
not make any claim that they are majority ethnic Hebrew. To make
this claim on behalf of the book, you are presuming that the book **itself**
states that no other people were on the American continent prior to the Jaredite
landing. The book, however, makes no such claim (though some Mormons have).
Your claim of a large ethnic Hebrew nation is a strawman argument, allowing you
to dismiss the BofM out of hand. Call it the "ethnicity of the
gaps...""Geologic record vs biblical chronology. They both
can't be right, can they?"Who said they had to be. I have
no problem seeing biblical chronology as either symbolic and/or (very)
@marxistSome LDS members have tried to explain humans in the Americas
prior to 6,000 years ago as hominids whose spirits were not spirit children of a
Heavenly Father. Filling the gap by making ancient ancestors of American Indians
soulless animals might work for some, it didn't for me. See the Meridian
Magazine article "Were there Men before Adam and other Hard Questions"
By William A. Dargan, April 2, 2014
Well here's a gigantic "gap." We have the geologic record. It is
so established and verifiable as to be rock solid (pardon the pun). This
encompasses migrations from Asia into the Americas about 10,000 years ago. But
this cannot be reconciled with biblical chronology. What does a person of faith
do with this? Geologic record vs biblical chronology. They both
can't be right, can they?
Perhaps more appropriately would be for Dr. Peterson to address the issues of
Mormon of Gaps. He continuously attempts to authenticate the Book of Mormon
with the use of esoteric terms of chiasm, visions, willing witnesses, etc.
These are all just debatable alternative facts, in today's jargon. The
true fact, truth, and reality is that there never was a great Hebrew nation here
in the Americas; as told in the Book of Mormon story. Ergo, how are all of Dr.
Peterson other argument relative to the central theme of the truth of the Book
of Mormon. It is a giant Gap of Mormonism. Why not accept that the Book of
Mormon may be an inspired allegory authored by the charismatic Joseph Smith who
may have been a prophet in his own way and time.
Human impatience spurs us to get ahead of ourselves in finding answers.
Curiosity to know things, to understand, are what make us human. We may never
know all we aspire to know. But neither can we stop wondering and imagining.
From the article:"There’s no guarantee that naturalistic
science will ultimately explain absolutely everything."I agree.
There is no guarantee. But it certiainly is trending that way. Have
supernatural explainations ever overturned natural explainations? Yet natural
explainations have time and again overturned supernatural or mythitical