Primary sources/Evolution/MOD 360

Of course, a man who believes that man has descended from lower forms of life, and by gradual development after an enormous length of time evolved from fish to reptile and then to ape, can never understand the fall of man and the atonement. These truths are mysteries to him and only contempt and abuse do they receive from him. Here are a few such expressions.

This from Robert Blatchford:

But no Adam, no Fall; no Fall no Atonement; no Atonement no Savior. Accepting evidence, how can we believe in a Fall? When did man fall; was it before he ceased to be a monkey, or after? Was it when he was a tree man, or later? Was it in the Stone Age, or the Bronze Age, or in the Age of Iron? . . . And if there never was a Fall, why should there be any Atonement? (God and My Neighbor, p. 159, Chicago, 1917.)

This from Durant Drake:

What sort of justice is it that could be satisfied with the punishment of one innocent man and the free pardon of myriads of guilty men? The theory seems a remnant of the ancient idea that the gods need to be placated; but by the side of pagan gods, who were content with humble offerings of flesh and fruit, the Christian God, demanding the suffering and death of his own Son, appears a monster of cruelty. (Problems of Religion, p. 176.)

This from John Fisk:

Theology has much to say about original sin. This original sin is neither more nor less than the brute-inheritance which every man carries with him. (The Destiny of Man, p. 103.)

This from Dr. E. W. McBride, at the Oxford Conference of Modern Churchmen:

If mankind have been slowly developing out of ape-like ancestors, then what is called sin consists of nothing but the tendencies which they have inherited from these ancestors: there never was a state of primeval innocence, and all the nations of the world have developed out of primitive man by processes as natural as those which gave rise to the Jews. (The Modern Churchman, September 1924, p. 232.)

This from Dr. H. D. A. Major, also at the Oxford Conference of Modern Churchmen:

Science has shown us that what is popularly called "original sin" . . . consists of man's inheritance from his brute ancestry. (The Modern Churchman, p. 206.)

This from Andrew D. White:

. . . The theory of an evolution process in the formation of the universe and of animated nature is established, and the theory of direct creation is gone forever. In place of it science has given us conceptions far more noble, and opened the way to an argument for design infinitely more, beautiful than any ever developed by theology. (A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, Vol. 1, p. 86.)

With this special attack upon geological science by means of the dogma of Adam's fall, the more general attack by the literal interpretation of the text was continued. The legendary husks and rinds of our sacred books were insisted upon as equally precious and nutritious with the great moral and religious truths which they developed. (Ibid, pp. 222-223.)

A belief, then, in a primeval period of innocence and perfection—moral, intellectual, and physical—from which men for some fault fell, is perfectly in accordance with what we should expect.

From: Joseph Fielding Smith, Man, His Origin and Destiny, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1954): 360-361.