by Allen Leigh, contributor
One thing that has been discussed in this blog is whether or not the scriptures should be interpreted literally. Persons who subscribe to a scientific view of the universe disagree with persons who subscribe to a religious view of the universe that is obtained from a literal interpretation of the scriptures. In this post, I am suggestion that the two views be considered two paradigms or models of the universe, and that the appropriate model be used when discussing the universe. I am not saying which model is closest to “real life”. That is something that each person has to decide for him or herself.
I am suggesting that considering the two views as paradigms allows both views to exist in my mind. For example, when I visit sciencedaily.com or read Discover magazine, I have the scientific view in my mind. But, when I attend priesthood meeting or my gospel doctrine class, I have the so-called literal view in mind. By allowing both views to exist in my mind and to use them appropriately, I am able to ignore differences between the viewpoints and focus on learning things that will help me in my personal and spiritual life. This means that I’m wearing “two hats” and that I change hats when I change from reading about science to reading the Ensign magazine, or vice versa. For example, the story of Noah and the flood. I am not concerned whether the flood was planet-wide or just a regional flood that covered a particular region of the planet, or that the flood even existed at all (I do have my opinion about this matter, of course). I am concerned about lessons on obedience and faith in God that I can learn from the flood-story, and I’m content to leave differences between the two views of the flood to future research and revelations from God. Truth is things as they are, and at some future time, we will understand the truth about the flood, the creation, and other “mysteries”. But, for now, I’m focusing on becoming a more loving person and giving service to others.