Friday, May 31, 2013

The Scientific Process IS the Revelation Process

This week I got to hear a Pharmacist speak about how great science is, and how it's always wrong.  Sometimes it's completely wrong, and sometimes it just needs to be tweaked.  It moves us in the right direction.  But usually we find out that we knew a little - and assumed a lot.

We make theories, we test them, we analyze results, we make new theories.  Every once in a while a breakthrough is made.  We find something out that we'd never thought of before.

For example - We went from seeing the atom as a random mixture of particles, to realizing it was a condensed mass of positively charged particles in the middle, surrounded by negatively charged particles circling around it.  Later we found particles with no charge were also in the middle.

Then we found that electrons can be transferred.  We found that neutrons can be added to change the weight of elements.  We found that the number of protons determined what element an atom was.

We discovered the element Helium not by finding it, but deducing it from the Sun.
We found a way of releasing energy through nuclear reactions.

These particles only scratched the surface. 

Will cold fusion ever work? How about string theory? What do we know about quarks?
What about gravity?  We still don't know what CAUSES gravity.  We know large objects attract smaller objects.  But it isn't by mechanical force, or magnetic force, or electrical force.  It's by some gravitational pull that we all see and recognize and can describe, yet we have no idea what it really is.

Religion, Revelation, Prophets, Faith - it all works the same way.
The Scientific Process is much the same as the Revelation Process.

I believe all God has revealed, all that he now reveals, and I believe he is yet to reveal many things.

People seem to have this belief that God just gave us knowledge. *poof*  It just descended upon the people and prophets like dew in the morning, and after 4000 years of progressively teaching and revealing, It all stopped.

God said, "No more. Good Luck. Do with what you have. Oh, and pray all you like, there is nothing new to discover."

How does that make sense?

How did Moses get the 10 Commandments?  Did he just sit on his throne next to his adopted brother Ramesses until God dropped the stone tablets at his feet?  No!  God first gave him a wake-up call.  Then Moses worked for them.  He worked to gain knowledge.  He practiced using God's power.  He practiced talking to God.  He practiced getting revelation.  He prayed, he worked, he thought, he taught.  Eventually when he received stone tablets with laws and revelations that would help a people ready for them - the people weren't.  So Moses broke those tablets and asked God for something the people could handle.  They were the 10 commandments.  They were a great "discovery."  They would advance mankind and be a guiding map for centuries to come.  They are still recited, read, and used today.

Were they the end all, beat all, immutable law?  No.  They were a step.  They were the simpler law, the one the people were ready for then.  God had something better in store, but it would have been like giving electricity to cavemen - they'd have no idea what to do with hit.  So then Christ came and explained - There is much more.  There is more to being morally clean than just "not having sex with a married person."  There is more to brotherly love than just "not killing other people."

The scientific process is usually not about seeking better answers, but asking better questions.

Joseph Smith never planned on starting a new religion.  He didn't pray to ask how he could change the Methodist church or reform the Presbyterians.  He asked God which church was right.  He asked a new question, a better question.  God then told him  -None of them are right.  They all come close, but none are correct. -  Over the next 15 years Joseph kept praying, kept studying, learning, reading.  He worked on projects to learn how to receive revelation.  He translated an ancient book of scripture into English.  He read the Bible over and over again.  He pondered about passages that didn't seem to make sense.

1. Why does 1st Corinthians 15:29 talk about baptisms for the dead?
2. Why does 2nd Corinthians 12:1-4 talk about a third heaven?  How many heavens are there?
3. Why does Jeremiah 1:4–5 talk about God knowing us before we were born?  Did we exist before birth?
4. Why does 1st Peter 4:6 talk about preaching the Gospel to those who are dead?  Can we still learn and progress and be converted after death?

To find better answers, we have to ask better questions.  Joseph Smith was not the first nor the last to ask better questions.  We can all ask them.  There are so many things we don't understand.

Look at the world around us.  Could you explain to someone who lived just 100 years ago how cell-phones work?  How about the internet, microwaves, atomic energy, space travel?

The key to spiritual knowledge and revelation is much the same as the key to physical and scientific knowledge.


Capricornus Constellatus said...

I love this! I think Mormons very often shy away from asking questions as it's sometimes seen as the first step down the road to apostasy just by questioning, but I think it's so critical to testimony in additional to gaining further light and knowledge. Like you mention, it was Joseph's question that started it all!

Thanks for the insightful post.

Capricornus Constellatus said...

*in addition... bah, sorry for the typos!