In our final conversation with historian Jean Addams, we will talk about similarities and differences between LDS and Church of Christ (Temple Lot) worship services.
GT: Tell us a little bit more about their worship services. Is it pretty similar to an LDS service?
Jean: Yes, and no. I mean, they have an opening and closing prayer, that sort of thing. They have speakers scheduled, so that’s all similar, and they sing songs. So those main ingredients are the same. The sacrament is a different situation altogether. That’s once a month.
Jean: They still use the common cup.
GT: Oh, really?
Jean: Uh huh, and they actually use two common cups. So they have two red trays and two common cups. Those are just passed down by row, by row, by row and they make a point before the ceremony, the service, that is only for baptized members of their church.
Jean: On the other hand, if you go to Sunday School and it’s a Book of Mormon class, it wouldn’t sound any different than going to an LDS Gospel Doctrine class.
Michael Marquardt discusses early missionary accounts. The final installment of our conversation with Michael is only available to newsletter subscribers. Sign up at gospeltangents.com/newsletter to get a secret link that talks about early missionaries and apostles!
Here’s what we will talk about. What did they preach to new converts? How were the original 12 apostles called? We’ll also talk about the Community of Christ. Do they believe the church was founding in Fayette or Manchester? Sign up right away so you don’t miss out on our conversation!
The Book of Genesis describes the creation of the earth in 7 days. Can that be interpreted through a scientific viewpoint? Ben Spackman will answer that question.
Ben: So Genesis 1 is supposed to be set against this contextual background that the Israelites knew because they were living through it. Once you remove that background, fast forward 2,500 years, generate all kinds of questions about the age of the earth in Darwin and evolution and things like that–the questions we are asking Genesis 1 to answer are not within its scope whatsoever. The cosmology we find there is an ancient cosmology that God used and adapted to teach these other things that were far, far more impressive and important to them. So, in some ways we are deeply misreading Genesis when we read it through a scientific lens, whether that is saying it matches science and young-earth creationist way or it’s really talking about like solar system formation and the long period. Both of those are deep misreadings regardless of the way you try to reconcile them.
We also talk about various theories about the creation of man.
Ben: You go back to 1656 and you’ve got a guy named Isaac La Peyrère who is the one who says Genesis is about the Jewish people and non-Jewish people existed before Adam. This is 1656. He’s not talking about fossils. He’s not talking about evolution. He’s just trying to figure out how do we make sense of where all these different groups of people all over the world come from?
GT: Where do Chinese and blacks and Native Americans come from?
Ben: Yeah, all this stuff. That idea has been given the term polygenism that is–you’re generated from multiple places as opposed to monogenism, that is Adam and Eve, and everyone comes from this one prototypical couple. Polygenism solved certain problems, it created others.
So in the 1800’s, you start seeing science settling into distinct fields and it is professionalizing. You also start seeing what is called scientific racism. That is, you have people who are actual scientists as we would think of them, start thinking scientifically about what accounts for different races and polygenism meant that if these people were created by God, but those people evolved, well then maybe those people aren’t fully human, and we can totally justified treating them as slaves. It led to scientific racism. I don’t know how much it played into the German stuff in the 1930’s. That’s, that’s something that is often overplayed by young-earth creationists that Darwin leads directly to the Holocaust and Nazis.
He mentions another theory too.
Ben: …at first it was called the Babylonian Genesis, the Babylonian creation account. The idea that they were really concerned about, “Where did matter come from, how did it get created?” led to transposing our view of Genesis as a creation account focused on materiality, onto the Babylonian creation account, focused on materiality. But more study of that led to understanding that it wasn’t really concerned with creation per se at all. You can see this in the titles of papers analyzing it over the last hundred years. Today, people don’t call it the Babylonian creation account or the Babylonian Genesis. Rather, it’s become known as the, oh gosh, I’m blanking.
There’s a young god in it who becomes the king of the gods name Marduk. The whole thing from beginning to end is about how Marduk becomes king. It’s the elevation of Marduk. It’s the story of Marduk’s rise to power. The creation stuff in it is a very subsequent to that. It’s part of the story. It’s not the thrust of the story, it’s not even a secondary aspect of the story. It’s just a necessary part of the story to tell, to explain and justify how Marduk came to power.