The Future of Mormon Theology

According Blake Ostler writing on
The primary task of Mormon theology for the foreseeable future is to assess its relationship to naturalism and the scientific worldview. Many Mormons view God as located within and limited by our “particular universe,” which began some fourteen billion years ago with the big bang and is thus subject to all of the limitations of natural law. Others see God as transcending the existing natural universe because God is the organizer not only of this universe, but of many others. God’s relationship to the natural universe, whether God had a beginning of his divinity, and whether God is at the mercy of limitations of natural laws, remain major issues for Mormon thinkers to work out.
I would agree with Ostler’s first sentence; but he is too limiting in the remainder of the paragraph.  It would seem that of equal importance would the description of man’s relationship to God.  Is God progressing?  Are man and God the same species?  What is man’s ultimate goal in the Plan of Salvation?  What is man’s relationship to the Earth.
Mormonism needs to get right with the accelerating progress of science.  In so doing, we need to avoid the mythologies of the past and develop a coherent theology that is compatible with science.  Mormon doctrine has the seeds for this effort, but we must identify the metaphors.
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2 Responses to The Future of Mormon Theology

  1. Nathan says:

    I think that developing a theology that is “compatible” with science would be doing the gospel no favors. I’m not exactly a traditionalist when it comes to doctrine (I believe in the big bang, as well as planetary, organic and human evolution — though I admit these are theories and I don’t exactly have “testimonies” for these things). Science doesn’t necessarily change every so often, but about every 20 or 30 years or so there’s some great break through that takes us that much closer to understanding the world around us. If we create a theology that matches the science of today, we risk eventually becoming just another mythology, and perhaps even collapsing the faith of some who see modern theories either disproven or replaced to the extent that the theology is no longer compatible in the sense that we gave it in this harmonization. All and all, I think that the best thing to do is, not incorporate science heavily into the religion (until we are absolutely certain of such topics) but not stifle peoples’ scientific learning either. But, instead of pulling the science of today in and running the risk of out-dating ourselves, I think that science and the Church should continue to learn “grace for grace, line upon line, precept upon precept” separately and then compare notes unofficially on the way.

  2. rogerdhansen says:

    I’m not suggesting that we support any given scientific “theory” so much as I’m suggesting that Mormonism be in a position that it is anti-science. When half of the Mormon population doesn’t believe in evolution (and believe that Mormonism and evolution are incompatible), we have a problem. What happens when kids go to college and decide that there is something to evolution. Many, with a wide range of concerns including evolution, are leaving the Church. I think Church leaders must be more forthright in their science-compatibility stance.

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