Evolution and My Favorite Hymn

May 6, 2007

My favorite hymn is If You Could Hie To Kolob by W. W. Phelps. I love it more than any other hymn partly because it is so uniquely Mormon. Unlike many of our other hymns which could be sung and welcomed on Sunday morning in any Christian denomination, only those who actually believe the teachings of Joseph Smith could love this hymn. Properly understood, it makes mention of the most profound doctrines separating us from the traditional Christian world, a world I gladly apostatized from many years ago. And the hymn symbolizes for me “the rest of the story” that I found when I was a lone man in the wilderness, spiritually speaking, looking for a religious belief that I could find plausible.

But it also sums up concisely my problems with the idea that man upon this earth was created physically by a process of evolution originating in some primordial, Precambrian sea. Here is the first verse which I fervently believe with every fibre of my most religious body:

If you could hie to Kolob In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward With that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever, Through all eternity,
Find out the generation Where Gods began to be?

Which generation of Gods was the first? Who can imagine such a thing? There have always been Gods. If God, our Heavenly Father, had a Heavenly Father, then did he not also have a Heavenly Grandfather? And so on going back forever? There was no first generation. It is one eternal round. The opposing mirrors in our temple sealing rooms acknowledge this eternal truth. Some things never had a beginning, and there have always been exalted men such as our Heavenly Father is. Joseph Smith revealed this grand and glorious truth to us, and for that we may praise him forever.

Which reminds me of another wonderful hymn written by W. W. Phelps, Praise To The Man. That Phelps was some hymn writer.

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