Creation

Creation May 11, 2021

 

Haleakala, by Michelle Maria
Michelle Maria took this photograph of the main caldera of Haleakala in 2012, and made it publicly available on Wikimedia Commons

 

I think that I failed to call y0ur attention to this item, which went up two or three days ago on the still barely-alive website of the Interpreter Foundation:

 

“Book of Moses Essays #54: Moses Sees the Garden of Eden (Moses 3): Spiritual Creation (Moses 3:5–7)”

 

Thinking about creation right now, I can’t help but picture the crater of Haleakala, where we stood on Sunday afternoon.  (See above.)  In a very real way, it is a reminder of creation.  Haleakala, after all, created the bulk of today’s Maui.

 

LA Temple creation room mural
This is very poor-quality image (borrowed from a borrowing from an old Church magazine) of part of the mural in the Creation Room of the Los Angeles California Temple (my temple, growing up). The colors in the caldera of Haleakala reminded me of that mural.  (I couldn’t find a photo showing the blue portions of the mural, which almost completely circles the room.)

 

This blog has a resident atheist who was born into what seems to have been a nominally Catholic family but who lost any faith that he may once have had — and it’s not at all clear that he ever did have any faith — while still in parochial school under the tutelage of various nuns.  He utterly disdains the concept of learning anything specifically about what Latter-day Saints believe or why we believe it.  So he chose to mock us today for our supposed notion that God simply “blinked” this world and the universe into existence.  We’ve tried on numerous occasions to help him understand that we don’t, in fact, believe in creation ex nihilo.  Completely in vain.  Accuracy seems to be irrelevant to his comprehensive disdain for theists and theism.  He keeps assuring us, for instance, that we reject science.  When we ask which particular sciences we reject — there are, interestingly, several professional scientists who often comment here, although, not insignificantly he is not one of them — he typically goes silent and then changes the subject.

 

On matter of creatio ex nihilo, by the way, see

 

Blake T. Ostler, “Out of Nothing: A History of Creation ex Nihilo in Early Christian Thought.”

Abstract

Review of Paul Copan and William Lane Craig. “Craftsman or Creator? An Examination of the Mormon Doctrine of Cration and a Defense of Creatio ex nihilo.” and Review of Paul Copan and William Lane Craig. Creation out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration. 

Or even D. C. Peterson, “Does the Qur’an Teach Creation Ex Nihilo?” in By Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley, ed. J. M. Lundquist and S. D. Ricks (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book and the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1990), 1:584-610, or D. C. Peterson, “Creation”, in Jane Dammen McAuliffe et al., eds., Encyclopedia of the Qur’ān (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2001-2006), 1:472-480.

 

***

 

In the spirit of my allegedly well-documented hatred and fear of science, here are some interesting items — the first of which seems appropriate to my recent thoughts about Haleakala:

 

“Volcanoes on Mars Could be Active, Raising Possibility that the Planet was Recently Habitable: New observations reveal that Mars could still be volcanically active, raising the possibility for habitable conditions below the surface of Mars in recent history.”

 

“A ‘lake’ on Mars may be surrounded by more pools of water: New radar data add to evidence of water under Mars’ south pole, but it’s not “a slam dunk yet””

 

“Planet-forming disks around stars may come preloaded with ingredients for life: Methanol found around a hot, young star must have formed in cooler interstellar environs”

 

***

 

But, alas, the current pandemic continues to dominate much of the news, and we apparently want it that way:

 

“How India’s COVID-19 crisis became the worst in the world: New variants and relaxed public health measures likely fueled the country’s surge”

 

“New Study Estimates More Than 900,000 People Have Died Of COVID-19 In U.S.”

 

“US unlikely to achieve COVID-19 herd immunity, experts say”

 

“Hesitancy about vaccines may keep Utah from reaching herd immunity”

 

“Jana Riess: Half of U.S. Latter-day Saints are COVID-19 ‘vaccine hesitant’ or ‘vaccine refusers’: Study finds members believe in vaccinations in general, and they trust their church leaders to do the right thing. Yet LDS authorities have been urging them to get the shot, and 50% don’t want to.”

 

Too bad.  The work of preaching the Gospel has been seriously hurt by the pandemic.  The vital labor of redeeming the dead has been brought to a virtual halt.  And an astoundingly large proportion of the Saints seem to be perfectly content with that.  I confess that I find the response of many Americans, and American Latter-day Saints, utterly baffling.

 

“Americans as young 12 could get the Covid-19 vaccine this week. Some experts think it could turn the pandemic around”

 

“How to detect, resist and counter the flood of fake news: Although most people are concerned about misinformation, few know how to spot a deceitful post”

 

“There is no link between the Covid-19 vaccines and infertility. Here’s why”

 

***

 

Some of you may have run across a former Latter-day Saint turned zealous evangelical Protestant by the name of Michael Flournoy.  I’ll freely confesss that, for one reason or another, conservative Protestant attacks on the Restoration no longer interest me very much, and I’ve paid no real attention to Mr. Flournoy.  Lately, however, and by sheer coincidence, I’ve come across his name a few times, so it caught my attention when I saw this on the blog of the prolific and extraordinarily bright Irish Latter-day Saint Robert Boylan.  Some of you may find it of interest, particularly if (unlike me) you’ve ever crossed swords with Michael Flournoy:

 

The Ongoing Intellectual and Theological Disingenuousness of Michael Flournoy”

 

***

 

I’m happy to note that one of these is within relatively easy driving distance of my home — and, most likely, not too far from the homes of a fair proportion of my 3.5 readers:

 

“Four Incredible Dinosaur ‘Graveyards'”

 

It’s an absolute miracle that such a place exists.  Why?  Because, as some people who don’t know me have publicly insisted, I’m a young-earth creationist.  For me, they say, our planet is only about six or seven thousand years old — leaving no time for dinosaurs.  Amazing, isn’t it?  I learn the most interesting things online!

 

Posted from Ka’anapali, Maui, Hawai’i

 

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