Scientists discover more every day about how life developed on Earth. Details that stream in from the new field of molecular biology rival the ongoing findings of paleontologists as they fill in the missing pieces in the fossil record. Professors Stephens and Meldrum, aided by the perspective of a non-scientist, Forrest B. Peterson, review the data for a general Latter-day Saint audience.
Their approach comes from a position of faith. They quote from the Creation account in the Pearl of Great Price: ”And the Gods said: Let us prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life. And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed and that their plan was good.” In the authors’ view, the passage’s emphasis on process over end result is consistent with modern science.
According to the LDS church, “Whether the mortal bodies of man evolved in natural processes to present perfection” or were formed by some other means is “not fully answered in the revealed word of God.” That God may have created the mechanism by which all life was formed—rather than each organism separately—is a concept that the authors find to be a satisfying and awe-inspiring possibility.