“Recently I’ve been reading through D&C, and came across Section 77, the section which clarifies the sometimes incomprehensible issues in Revelations.
In verses 6 and 7, it states that earth’s “continuance, or its temporal existence” is 7,000 years.
I read that just a couple of days ago, and today saw a particular article published in the news, which detailed new DNA-based data placing the earliest known human male at about 120,000-156,000 years ago.
Has anyone given much thought to this particular section? I don’t really see much information about it on the internet, so it must not be seen as an issue. Though I do see some vague arguments that posit that since Revelations is inscrutable and incomprehensible, then Section 77 should also be treated as such. Though that doesn’t make much sense, seeing as the section is a revelation that’s meant to clarify in plain terms.”
- Revelation of any kind is colored and influenced by he / she to whom it is given. This is a natural and expected limitation of trying to meld the divine and the mortal. (How can we possibly cram the wisdom and intelligence of the Infinite into the constraints of the fallibly Finite? Something has to give.)
- (corollary to #1) I’ve heard it said “God can only use whatever intelligence you already have”. Thus, sending an inspiration to, say, the Prophet Isaiah about the possibility of using computers to share temple ordinance information or spread the message of the Messiah around the world would be completely baffling to him. Likewise if he saw, say, visions of steam engine trains or modern airplanes, he’d only be able to describe them according to his own intelligence (“…hooves like a cyclone, their movement was swift as an arrow…”).
- There’s a good chance that God will allow his children to have slightly incorrect information and opinions regarding non-essential items of intelligence, either because they are unable to fully understand the whole truth, or are unwilling, or it doesn’t matter.
And it’s quite possible that at a future point, when they are able to understand, willing to let go of old truth and accept new truth, and when it really matters that they do, then He’ll give them new truth.
In my mind, that is the most plausible explanation for things like blacks / women and the priesthood, polygamy, etc. We didn’t have all 3 “qualifiers for revelation”.
So it’s quite possible that if Joseph asked God about an advanced scientific concept, like the nature of the planet earth, much of the answer would be either completely over Joseph’s uneducated head, or it would be colored and framed according to whatever knowledge he already had or was prevalent in America at that time.
In my silly mind, I usually see this particular scenario going something like this:
- Joseph: “So, uh, how old is the planet?”
- God: “Well, how old do YOU think it is?”
- Joseph: “Well, the book of Revelations says something about each seal being 1,000 years, and there’s 7 of them, so that sounds like 7,000 years total.”
- God: “Yeaaah….so, you haven’t learned about Hebrew numerology yet, have you…where numbers don’t really mean numbers?”
- Joseph: “….wut…”
- God: “Nothing…forget I said anything.”
- Joseph: “So, the answer is 7,000 years, right? That’s what I think it is.”
- God: “… Sure. That’s fine.”
- Joseph “K, thanks! Love you.” <goes to write it down> “HAY GAIS! GOD SAYS THE EARTH IS 7,000 YEARS OLD!”
- God: “..but, wait…hang on…there’s….um…so, there’s more to it than that.”
- Joseph: “Huh?”
- God: <sigh>“….never mind. Doesn’t really matter. Go take care of your family. Ya’ll have much bigger stuff to worry about. We’ll untangle this later.”