Author: Adam G.

Helpless as a Baby

This is the time of year for Christmas devotions. This year my thoughts have been on the impulse to serve the needy that we have at Christmas. We don’t have it at Easter. My thoughts have also been on the Christ child. The religious significance of the grown Christ, on the cross and in the garden, is obvious. But what did Christ do for us as a bare baby?

The Doctrinal Problem of Evolution

The scriptural problem of evolution is well understood. The creation accounts in Genesis and other scripture are not obviously describing speciation through natural selection.

The Slaughter of the Innocents

After the wise men came, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

Christmas Devotional 2008

President Uchtdorf said that the angels came to the shepherds, the poor, not to the rich. At one point in my life that would have bugged me. Today I realized that the rich should want it that way. If you’re wealthy and still looking for something, you don’t want to be told that your wealth is all there is.

The Myth of Evolution and the Myth of the Fall

Noah Millman concedes that the science of evolution is not incompatible with the truth of Christianity. But, he argues, the myth of evolution is incompatible with the myth of Christianity. I think science does have implications for the persuasiveness of specific religious doctrines, simply as a psychological matter. And I think evolution through natural selection is extremely uncongenial to the central Christian story about the nature of sin and evil in the world. Why? Because the Christian story has the entry of strife into the world come about as the result of human sin, whereas the core idea behind evolution by natural selection is that our existence – and the consciousness and ability to sin that comes with it – is a product of strife. Put bluntly: natural selection is not the mechanism that the Christian deity would use to create man in His image. Or, if it is, I’d like to see the explanation.

Why Did God Give Contradictory Commandments?

The temple treats the Garden story as a universal story. Whatever the reason for that, you can make a good case that in some sense each of us has been in the Garden and fallen. In fact, as we’ve discussed here before, making the Garden story a universal story can make sense of the contradictory commandments God gave Adam and Eve.

The 6th Day of Christmas

On the sweetness of Mormon life. Some child behind me started yelling during a really good talk about charity. Because of the talk, perhaps, I remembered not to turn around and gawk. Later I peeked behind me and saw a young mother with three small children who had slipped in late. Her husband is a good man but he doesn’t believe and won’t come and he works on Sundays anyway, so she and her children are usually late. Sometimes they’re so late they don’t come until the very end of sacrament meeting. But they almost always come.

“Falls, Gardens, Death”

From the archives. This Christmas season I’ll be reposting a few favorite Christmas posts from the past. This first one is from December 18 of 2005 and may not make sense as a Christmas post until a later one I put up. I would appreciate that any substantive comments be left in the combox of the original post. I’m leaving this combox open for any technical comments or for comments on this introductory paragraph. (more…)

From the Archives: Pioneer Children

A week has passed since Pioneer Day. We remembered it here. In my sacrament meeting, where the speakers reminded us of President Hinckley’s meditation on the shade cast by the trees the pioneers planted and the “long shadow” they themselves cast in which we still find some shelter from the heat of the times.

Woefully Arrayed

Thanks to The Atlantic, I’m in the middle of reading the book From the Hook of Holland to the Horn of Constantinople. When the author was in his late teens in the early 30s, he decided on a whim to walk across Europe and this is his memoir.

Falls, Gardens, Deaths


In New Mexico the weeks before Thanksgiving are High Fall, autumn in abundance, all gold colors and fruits. Thanksgiving is the high point of that season, and also its end. Then its sand hill crane season, Christmas, and winter.

Pioneer Children

A week has passed since Pioneer Day. I was moved by the memorials here and in my sacrament meeting, where the speakers called us to reflect on, in President Hinckley’s words, the “long shadow” the pioneers cast in which we still find some shelter from the heat of the times. The shadow is real, I think. Some of us are here because of them. In law school I met a girl whose ancestors had joined the kingdom in England and crossed the ocean. Like many, they lingered for a few years at the eastern terminus of the trail to raise money. But somehow they never made it across the plains, they never became pioneer. Now generations of that family have passed in the full light of the world, faith has dried up and withered away, and this daughter of theirs is a Catholic with the usual obscure notions of the Church.

The God We Hold Hostage

I and my good wife went to the temple last night. Through me, through Adam, through Christ, a 17th century Saxon named Christoph H. came into God’s presence. Or came closer to it, anyway.

Do we matter at all? Are we stones that leave no ripples?

We love God because he’s just. We look at children in bad homes and console ourselves with knowing that their day will come. Every blessing God has offered us he’ll offer them and through grace he’ll clear them of whatever would impede their choice. We see the cemeteries full of people the gospel never reached and we’re pleased to think of baptisms for the dead. When we ourselves have sinned in our parenting or our friendship or our calling and it seems very much like we’ve made it harder for our children or our husband or our friend to accept Christ and the Gospel we remember that men are punished for their own sins and not for ours. If we mess up, someone else will fix it, or God will offer grace if only our victims will accept it. We are comforted. We can hardly even bear all the inequity that natural disaster and inexorable history and wicked men do,…

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men

Our mission Christmases were mostly lonely times, but God gave us a gift on the second one. We had made little scrolls that we tied in red ribbon. On the scrolls we had printed a short message that said: “Silver and Gold have we none, but that which we have we give unto you. Two thousand years ago the Savior said, ‘Peace I leave with you, Peace I give unto you.’ We give you our love, and our wish that the Savior’s peace be with you.” We went caroling to the members and the neighbors and left them with a scroll.

The Contradictory Commandments of Adam and Eve

In Institute we wondered why God would give contradictory commandments: Adam and Eve were told to multiply and replenish the earth, and they were told not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. These commandments, the scriptures plainly state, contradict each other. See 2 Nephi 2:22-23.