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The Creation of Humans: the Creation Or Evolution

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As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, my high school years were full of denouncing and correcting facts about the church from my peers. As a student interested about the natural world through the fascinating scope of biology, I have been forced to polarize between the explanations of science or the faith of religion on multiple accounts. Though my biology teachers seemed to be so adamant that humans evolved from apes, I was unable to adhere to their relentless comments demanding for concrete proof that it was God who created mankind through Adam. As I oscillated between the two opposing arguments, my immature brain started to undergo a phase in which I slowly started to question the intangible. If the theory of evolution created by man indeed explained how we, as humans, were created, then it seemed like my testimony in the church was all disproved by science. Prayerful studying as well as the help of Professor O’Neill led me to many answers to my question, but not after many, many years of being lost, unable to find any answers. The fact is that evolution and God coexist; it is the combination of the two that made the Plan of Salvation work. I was thankful that there exists an answer to my concern, but I was perplexed at mankind for choosing to dismiss God, the true mastermind of life who makes life work. In the case of how we were created, choosing to believe either science or religion is pure ignorance, as the combination of the two strengthens my testimony of the church.

Attempting to discover if scientific reasons were the only explanation to the creation of humans, I started my quest to find the truth by researching what my biology teachers believed in. Charles Darwin, through his book titled On the Origin of Species, introduced the theory of evolution through the process of natural selection. Despite controversial reviews worldwide, Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution has revolutionized the way scientists viewed the world. This led to many theories regarding the creation of man, with Darwinian evolution being its centerpiece (William). The events of the Monkey Scopes Trials in 1925 exacerbated the contentious issue of evolution vs. religion, breaking a Tennessee state law that bans the teaching of any theory that contradicts the creation taught in the Bible at school (History.com). Humans evolving from a common ancestor from apes, according to evolutionists, was well supported with evidence. From the proof that we share over 99% of our DNA with them, to very similar anatomical structures, and to all the fossil records, it is no surprise that such a theory was created. The fossil evidence provided proof that the Ardipithecus ramidus, which lived 4.4 million years ago, was the earliest humanoid with bipedal features who started the ancestry towards human creation. The Homo habilis displayed brain development that supported the act of speech, nicknamed The Handy Man due to its use of tools. Finally, the Homo erectus, which lived between 1.8 million and 300,000 years ago, was the organism that travelled across Africa to Southeast Asia complete with nearly identical features to humans, making it one of our own species (AllAboutCreation.org). However, despite learning all of that in school, I have yet to wonder if society was being nothing more than just a dogmatic slave to scientific evidence. There must have been plenty of holes to that theory and the sudden jump from an ape-like creature to us, a human, perplexed both me and Professor O’Neill. Another undeniable explanation must exist.

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Eventually, amidst my search for the truth, I have found that it was ignorant to shun the topic of evolution altogether. Though the church has officially declared that they have no official stance on evolution, plenty of general authorities have provided insight as to how evolution can tie in with creation (Smith). Joseph Fielding Smith, an apostle who gave a speech during General Conference in 1930, stated that the idea of “pre-Adamites” was false and that there was no death of mankind before Adam. In the 1950s, he wrote “Man, His Origin and Destiny”, an anti-evolution book published while the dispute of evolution was still highly controversial (Keeler). In the Holy Bible’s book of Genesis, it states, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them,” (King James Version, Gen. 1.27).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cultivates its beliefs on revelation through the living prophet. Humans, created in the image of God, have been given a mortal vessel to house the spirit. In the Book of Moses Chapter 3 verse 4-7, it reads “And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word.” After a brief conversation with Professor O’Neill, I realized that finding out the specifics of where we came from did not matter, since it was after God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” that we became humans. We could have been monkeys, or fish, or singled celled organisms, or all of the above before we became human. According to the BYU magazine, religion and evolution answers two separate questions that are both correct. Religion answers the reasons why we are here on this Earth while evolution provides a mechanism that allows the changes to take place (Evans). Having found a satisfactory answer, my reflection about this experience led me to view society and the world around me differently.

The debate surrounding evolution and religion has lasted well over a century, with mankind hypothesizing explanations about how we became who we are. My experience, fighting at the vanguard of this battle of creation, led to confusion regarding the purpose all of this was. Innately curious by nature, it seems as though we want to uncover the truth about everything, and we will not stop researching, debating, and sacrificing everything until we find it. According to my faith in the church, there are such things that we, with our mortal bodies, cannot comprehend since God’s omnipotent mind is far beyond our grasp of understanding. Despite that, mankind today still relies on concrete facts and explanations rather than an unknown, external influence in the form of God. Miraculous things, like how perfect our bodies came to be, are beyond the scope of what science can explain. Can we, as people of faith in religion, find peace with people of science, especially when they seem to be unable to find faith without undeniable, concrete proof? We, as a society, must come to an agreement that there exists intangible things and events that we will never be able to explain in a lifetime. As Len Scott, a dairyman questioned about what he believed about human creation, stated, “I don’t understand it, either; neither do I really understand the hereafter nor the preexistence. But where knowledge ends, faith must take over,” (Harrison).

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