Sunday, April 12, 2009

Evolution and the resurrection and atonement

Quite a while ago, so long now it is hard for me to remember much about it, I read a biography about Charles Darwin. I do remember having awe at his life and work. He worked so diligently and sacrificed so much for his knowledge and its publication. It appears that it is now the celebration of his bicentenary. (I don't know if that means he was born 200 years ago or died 200 years ago.)

I say this, not meaning that there is any connection between my having read that biography and the fact that his history has grown so old in terms of my living, but because it seems that so little has changed. Of course, the issue of evolution is still a hot topic; so many people in this world, and in particular in our nation, still have such trouble with the notion of evolution, particularly many involved heavily in religion. The same old timeworn argument of science over against religion continues even to this day, all this time later, despite the irrefutable evidence. We, who stand at the pinnacle of the evolutionary process as far as living things at least on this earth go, don't like to be compared to our ancestors. But it doesn't bother me. In fact, I am in awe of all of life; it is magnificent. We descend not only from long-armed, hairy creatures but are related to all other life forms.

It reminds me of a joke I heard from a high councilman in Sacrament meeting a few weeks ago. A little girl, confused by what she had heard her mother and father tell her, went back to her mother. "Mama," she said, "remember how you told me that our ancestors came from the Garden of Eden?" Her mother nodded. "Well, Papa says our ancestors were apes." And the mother says, "Well, dear, that's right. I was talking about my side of the family and your father was talking about his."

I wonder in the small scope of my life if I have evolved and, if so, if it has been a positive evolution, neutral, or negative. Like I suppose just about everyone, I would like to think I have advanced in some positive way. If I were to make the assessment, I would judge myself positively. However, I recognize some degree of hubris in doing so. So I'll just leave it at that and say that I appreciate my ancestors, in particular my parents and grandparents who were such an important part of my infancy and childhood and on into adulthood. Today is the day to celebrate the resurrection and atonement. Without parents and ancestors, a resurrection and an atonement would not be necessary. I wouldn't be here. None of us would.

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