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About Spammer

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    Separates Water & Dry Land

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  1. It's squaring circles only if you superimpose a definition of unlimited that we don’t use. Definitions are word games. We define unlimited to mean unlimited ability to do the intrinsically possible. It's all semantics. If you want to call it limited, fine by me. It's only an issue if you insist that what we really mean by unlimited is that God is absolutely unlimited (we don't). We call God unlimited, despite the implicit limits, and really only see the need to bring up the latter when people want to play word games seeking to undermine the orthodox definition of God. And they are word games. It’s all word games, including our orthodox formulations. The difference is, we believe the ideas underlying our formulations are divinely inspired! So...saying that God cannot do the logically impossible does not constrain his omnipotence - if you go with our definition of ‘unlimited’ and ‘omnipotence.’ If you want to discuss contradictions in our definitions, you have to start with the definitions we use, as we define them. If God and man are measured on the same scale, then what you say above would be correct. But what you say is only a problem for us if you first start with the LDS definition, the truth of which is unprovable. Indeed, to each their own. Starting with our definition, equally unprovable, only God is uncreated and cannot make something he created to be uncreated. There's no issue with either God’s omnipotence or his godliness, if you go with the definitions we actually use when we describe our own teaching.
  2. Yep. Because of our subjective filter, it makes sense to me that God would appoint an infallible human agency protected from error (someone able through the Holy Spirit to speak to the Truth beyond language while using language), else how can we have any confidence that our subjective truth aligns with the objective Truth? But identifying that infallible source is just as subjective a process as seeking out the Truth individually, without recourse to the infallible arbiter. It all boils down to lived experience and testimony. Round and round it goes.
  3. I think that would require a church whose members are able to access the Truth independent of any language, tribal or otherwise. Good luck finding it and let me know when you do! Fantastic post, btw.
  4. Everything depends on the God you posit, the definition you use. In my spiritual tradition, by definition, God just is. "I Am." There is God and then there is everything else in existence that isn't God. God is uncreated and everything that isn’t God (matter, time, space) is created out of nothing. Only God is uncreated and there can only be one God without God ceasing to be God. That is non-negotiable without changing the definition. Thus, asking whether God’s nature can be acquired is like asking whether God can make square circles; a rock too big for Him to lift; will to destroy his own works of justice (Alma 42:22); or make something created (human beings) to be uncreated (God); something can’t be simultaneously created and uncreated. All of these are logical impossibilities. God can’t do the logically impossible; nonsense is still nonsense, even if we speak it about God. That’s the only sense in which it can be said that God is ‘limited.’ It limits God's atonement in the sense described above: God can't do the logically impossible. Jesus is one with the Father because Father and Son, along with the Holy Spirit, share the one uncreated divine nature. We can never be what Jesus is: the uncreated assuming human flesh. Jesus = God. We are creatures. We are joined to God, we don't become God. Divinized human ≠ God. Through the Incarnation of Christ, human beings can be made perfectly and entirely at one with God in the manner proper to creatures - by partaking in the divine nature through the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:4). All things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26) - except the logically impossible. We can partake of the divine nature, but we remain created beings. We will acquire divine attributes but will not be divine like Jesus is divine. We will be lower-case ‘gods,’ not God. God cannot make human beings to be what He Himself is: uncreated. See above.
  5. That’s exactly right. The Son is eternally begotten. Not begotten in time. More definitions. Maybe, maybe not. Both are also unprovable assumptions. Time will tell; we’ll only know in hindsight. 1900+ years and counting.
  6. A resolution is only possible if we begin from the same definition of the divine and definitions are in the eye of the beholder. One man’s contradiction is another’s perfect sense. Which one is ‘true’ or ‘truer’ cannot be proved. My definition works for me, which is why to me the LDS deity is a kind of Zeus. He has divine attributes but is not divine. By my definition, divinity is a nature, has no limits, cannot be acquired, and can unite with the limited without it’s own nature being changed. It’s all in the definition. It’s only contradictory if you adopt a different definition, the truth of which is equally unprovable, by first assuming something else that’s unprovable - nothing immaterial exists (only the material exists, therefore God is material and limited). The converse is also unprovable. Where you begin determines where you end up.
  7. All you say here necessarily follows from the premise that nothing immaterial exists. Personally, I find it impossible to conceive of worshipping a being measured on the same scale that I’m on, however many degrees further up the scale this being is. No matter how advanced, we’re still only talking about another human being. I can respect and be in awe of such a being, ask it for favors, but adore and worship, long to be in its presence and require nothing more because doing so brings ineffable joy and peace? No. The LDS Heavenly Father is a kind of perfectly moral Zeus in such a system. I guess it’s the ontological gap that counts for me. I can’t conceive of worshipping a being that I can become exactly like. I can become a moral Zeus in my own right. If I can become that, then me and God are in principle equals. Or so it seems to me.
  8. I think I see where you’re going. The law court analogy is a precursor to asking where the sense of justice, or morality more broadly, comes from? If so, that was CS Lewis’s approach in Mere Christianity. That book was one of the catalysts in my conversion away from an atheistic secularist mindset.
  9. Yeah, MFB’s goal to find ways to share the pragmatic benefits of religion is great, but I don’t think many secularists would find the law court analogy compelling. A savior isn’t required: pay your debts (do the time) and you’re free. You can save yourself through your own efforts. The Christian religion says you can’t save yourself. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be free from the effects of spiritual and physical death without Jesus’s intervention. The law court analogy only works if you receive a life sentence with no possibility of parole. Nothing you do can free you. You need to be broken out of prison by a friend. I suppose only guilt-ridden secularists would find the law court analogy useful - those who did the time and were freed, but still feel they haven’t fully paid the price. People who wish they could make amends but their victims are no longer alive? Who else would feel the need for a savior to make everything right?
  10. Ok, so you’re hoping your analogy appeals to secularists who are remorseful, do all they can do to make amends, have satisfied the law courts and their victims that amends truly have been made, but still don’t feel forgiven? Is that who you think Jesus’s atonement might appeal to? Secularists who did all they can do, and think doing their best is good enough, likely won’t see a need for Jesus. I guess I’m still not seeing which secularists you think would find value in your law court analogy.
  11. 1) Philosophical considerations have convinced me there might be something to this God thing. 2) “The line separating good and evil passes...through every human heart.” (Solzhenitsyn) The ugly history of humans on this planet is evidence that a Fall is possible. I view the sordid details as an experimental proof of the likelihood. There’s something wrong with the human animal. I see it through all of history, all around me and have experienced that brokenness in my own life. If there is a God, only one system accepts the reality of the flaw and offers a decent explanation. Something is broken that needs to be fixed. IMO, Christianity offers the best explanation for humanity’s brokenness and the most compelling solution: the Creator becomes one of us to heal the wound and make us what he is. Finally, reading the New Testament, the Patristic literature and Margaret Barker’s stuff convinced me the ancient church was not LDS. Not even close. That explains why I didn’t (and won’t) return to the faith I grew up in. My faith is only a hope, grounded on reading ancient philosophical and religious writings translated into English, that Christianity is true. I participate in and enjoy the Liturgy, hoping to be transformed so my own inner flaws are healed, hoping that my family and every human will also be healed. I only ever pray asking for those things. I never pray asking to find lost car keys or for help finding a job or whether a church is true. Spiritual experiences have nothing to do with it. I don’t have any to point to. Never have. So...assume I’m an atheist who believes that humanity is not broken, doesn’t need saving, and that I can make amends and find reconciliation all by myself through my own efforts. Why should I pray about Jesus? If I can acquire spiritual atonement through my own efforts alone, why do I need Jesus? I ask that because I think your analogy fails for people who believe they can make amends and experience the benefits of atonement through their own efforts alone. Lots of people are like that. Maybe most these days. You asked for opinions and that’s how I see it.
  12. I’m trying to think like an atheist. Pragmatically, what does belief in Jesus add, if I can gain a sense of fulfillment and peace and reconciliation - atonement- through amending my life through my own efforts? I’m an atheist who committed a crime, I felt remorse and made amends, I paid the price and my debt to society. My victims and the court are satisfied. I’ll never do it again and know it was wrong. I’m a changed man. What’s the point of Jesus, then? It seems that must be answered before we can expect an atheist to have the desire to pray.
  13. So what is lacking in the analogy that Jesus fills? If secularists see the pragmatic benefits of spiritual atonement and reconciliation through remorse, repentance and making amends (doing the time), and are able to acquire it and feel better through their own efforts, why do they need to pray about Jesus? What does Jesus add?
  14. Is a spiritual understanding of atonement a foundation for a hoped for eventual consideration of the feasibility of belief in actual atonement through Jesus’s required suffering and death? Or are you only proposing a good way for secularists to live their lives, without any appeal to truths about Jesus and his role in atonement, i.e., atonement without the Christian religion?
  15. How does the suffering and death of Jesus fit into spiritual atonement? The former secularist in me rejected satisfaction, penal substitution and ransom theories. Every secularist I know does the same. It seems that helping people see the analogy is only the first step in piquing their interest. Why did Jesus have to suffer and die? Or, are you saying spiritual atonement can still be had if Jesus is removed from the equation?
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