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Does our faith have a unique story to tell about creation, human origins and humanity’s relationship with the earth?

Faith Matters

Years ago, the famous astronomer Carl Sagan issued this challenge:

How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?’ Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.

We decided to take up Sagan’s challenge. We have asked George W. Handley, a terrific nature writer and BYU professor, to spearhead this project. He invited Jani Radebaugh, a fellow BYU professor and renowned planetary scientist, to join him.

The creation story handed us by the writers of Genesis is rich in metaphor and meaning. Like all great stories, it has been interpreted in various ways at various  times. But is it time in the unfolding of the Restoration to tell an even richer story that incorporates what humanity has since learned about the cosmos, about earth and about life on earth?

Our exploration of this question starts with George Handley’s wonderful article on the unfolding story of creation and stewardship and a terrific video conversation with Handley and Jani Radebaugh. Then, Handley and Terryl Givens explore our deep spiritual connection in the natural world in this conversation called Can Creation Heal Us?  Finally, there’s this little piece written by a young mother, Andrea Weaver, about the story she tells her children about the earth.

Also, be sure to check out this wonderful video called “Journey of the Universe,” which represents one way scientists from other faith traditions tell the earth’s story–a deeply spiritual narrative filled with insight and wonder.

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Additional Resources

A New Story of Creation

Telling a New Story of Earth’s Creation

The Story I Tell My Children About Creation

More Questions

How do we reconcile Book of Mormon “problems” with the claim that it is the “most correct” scriptural text? And is it essential that we see the Book of Mormon as truly historical—i.e. written by ancient writers about an ancient people? Could it be some other form of writing—inspired or otherwise?
How can I make sense of our history of denying priesthood and temple blessings to our Black brothers and sisters?
In what way is our church “the true church?”
Our history with plural marriage is really hard to accept. Shouldn’t we just renounce it in past, present and future and move on?
Are there big problems with the Book of Abraham?
Is there conflict between Latter-day Saint theology and evolution?