Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Geocacher

Why Do Most All Christians Reject Any Form Of Preexistence?

Recommended Posts

I have studied Near Death Experiences for well over 20 years, and many NDE's talk about spirits waiting to be born, but what I have seen is that most Trinitarian Christians don't believe in any existence prior to Earth life.

The place I visit alot is the Catholic dot com forums in the non-catholic religions section, and basically they all say that we had no existence prior to Earth life, but what my thing is, is that if there was no preexistence, how are we born into an Earth life, especially in cases of a rape? Also if they go against a preexistence, how can they prove of a life after death.

For much of my 47 years I was aware of the idea that I did preexist my body in some form, but not until I studied Near Death Experiences for so long, did I become comfortable with the actual process of dying in itself, for which the church does not say anything about that. Funny that the church does not say much about what it is like to die, but it seems like only the Mormon church fits with what Near Death Experiences have said for eons.

-

Geoff

Share this post


Link to post

I have to admit I have wondered the same thing myself since pre-existence makes so much sense.

One question though, purely out of curiosity, why specifically in matters of Rape? I'm afraid I don't understand the emphasis.

Lehi

Share this post


Link to post

The old Traducianism/Original Sin doctrine is the traditional basis for much of nonLDS Christianity. In it, the spirit is not created until the point of conception. Full-blown traducianism has the male and female spirits procreating at the same time as the physical bodies. Thus, without a premortal spirit, there is no pre-existence.

Share this post


Link to post

I think that the main reason for not accepting preexistence is that the Bible says that Jesus created all that exists. (Col 1:16) (John 1:3).

To say that God did not create something is seen as saying that God is less than the Bible description of Him.

Share this post


Link to post

If we didn't exist before we were on earth, God can certainly cause

us to not exist after we are on earth.

If this is the case, why would God even bother with hell and/or eternal punishment for the wicked at all? It would make most sense to simply cause the wicked people to vanish away (i.e. cease to exist).... :P

If this is the case, then it is most cruel and unusual for a God with omniscience to will into existence a being with free will knowing he would turn against God, and then damn him to eternity for going against his will. Again it would have made more sense, to simply will the 'disobedient' being back out of existence. Forget about all that work maintaining the boundaries of hell so all the devils don't break loose! <_<:unsure:

Anyways, I believe in a pre-existence, Its plainly evident that the Bible refers to it indirectly in a few places. However there definitely is NOT any scriptures that state we didn't exist before we were born (In the Bible that is).

Share this post


Link to post

I think that the main reason for not accepting preexistence is that the Bible says that Jesus created all that exists. (Col 1:16) (John 1:3).

To say that God did not create something is seen as saying that God is less than the Bible description of Him.

Most scripture is in the context of humans here on earth. Thus it is normal to interpret scripture like that as Jesus making mankind (i.e. mortals) here on earth. It would have nothing to do with the soul (or rather spirit) of man existing before we were born.

Share this post


Link to post

Most scripture is in the context of humans here on earth. Thus it is normal to interpret scripture like that as Jesus making mankind (i.e. mortals) here on earth. It would have nothing to do with the soul (or rather spirit) of man existing before we were born.

Perhaps most scripture, but not Col 1:16.

16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

Share this post


Link to post

Perhaps most scripture, but not Col 1:16.

16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

Like I said earlier, it doesn't explicitly state that Humans didn't exist as spirits before we were born. And the interpretation is pretty stretched as well. Also, the whole of chapter one of Collossians is NOT about pre-mortal existence at all, but about something completely different. Don't try to mix together what the Apostle Paul didn't try to mix together. If I wanted to really interpret this chapter as literally as you have, I would be forced to believe that God is actually invisible (verse 15), and that nobody can see him. Hence no one knows what he looks like. Makes stealthing pretty easy when no one can see you.... "Hey who's talking to me?, I can't see you!!" :P

To Paul this chapter was a greeting, if we read as a greeting in our minds, than we will get all things right.

What I get out of chapter 1 is that the Father and the Son are two seperate and distinct beings. In fact Paul refers to him as... get this: the 'Father'. Kinds of puts a sinker on parts of the Nicean creed. IMHO. <_<

What is your thoughts on the other points I brought up -- about if we didn't exist before we were born, than it would make more sense for God to make wicked people cease to exist again after this life ??

Share this post


Link to post

I think that the main reason for not accepting preexistence is that the Bible says that Jesus created all that exists. (Col 1:16) (John 1:3).

To say that God did not create something is seen as saying that God is less than the Bible description of Him.

Did He create the Father then , or did he create Himself? I'm confused as to how that could be. Certainly , to create all things He had to pre-exist the things created. And if He did create all things that is no bar to the possibility that He created all things spiritually before they took mortal form. Therefore , it would seem to me , that all things could be created before a mortal state came into existence. This is what the LDS mean by pre-existence. We pre-exist (are created) spiritually before we exist temporally. It seems to me this is harmonious with the notion both that Jesus created all things and that all things pre-exist their physical nature.

Share this post


Link to post

The pre-mortal life is one of the most convincing of the restored doctrines. It resonates in me, it is truth.

Share this post


Link to post

They probably had no sense of imagination and merely limited themselves to what was already written.

Share this post


Link to post

The pre-existence idea would make angels and such spirits the same class of beings, The idea that they are the same class of beings is rejected in most churches.

Collossians 1:16 has Jesus creating living spirit entities. No idea of procreation in heaven is in the Bible.

Share this post


Link to post

Like I said earlier, it doesn't explicitly state that Humans didn't exist as spirits before we were born. And the interpretation is pretty stretched as well. Also, the whole of chapter one of Collossians is NOT about pre-mortal existence at all, but about something completely different. Don't try to mix together what the Apostle Paul didn't try to mix together. If I wanted to really interpret this chapter as literally as you have, I would be forced to believe that God is actually invisible (verse 15), and that nobody can see him. Hence no one knows what he looks like. Makes stealthing pretty easy when no one can see you.... "Hey who's talking to me?, I can't see you!!" :P

I think that teaching from silence is not a strong position. Because something is not explicitly stated does not necessarily mean that it is false.

Actually, there is no passage in the Bible that IS specifically about preexistence. Even though the context of Col 1 is not preexistence, vs 16 seems to clearly be about creation and has a very inclusive list of things that Jesus created.

To Paul this chapter was a greeting, if we read as a greeting in our minds, than we will get all things right.

What I get out of chapter 1 is that the Father and the Son are two seperate and distinct beings. In fact Paul refers to him as... get this: the 'Father'. Kinds of puts a sinker on parts of the Nicean creed. IMHO. <_<

While the first chapter contains a greeting, I am not ready to ignore the text.

What is your thoughts on the other points I brought up -- about if we didn't exist before we were born, than it would make more sense for God to make wicked people cease to exist again after this life ??

I am not sure that I follow your reasoning on that. It seems to me that God, being sovereign and our creator, could cause us not to exist whether or not preexistence was true.

.

Share this post


Link to post

They probably had no sense of imagination and merely limited themselves to what was already written.

LOL I know that describes me. :P

Share this post


Link to post

I have studied Near Death Experiences for well over 20 years, and many NDE's talk about spirits waiting to be born, but what I have seen is that most Trinitarian Christians don't believe in any existence prior to Earth life.

The place I visit alot is the Catholic dot com forums in the non-catholic religions section, and basically they all say that we had no existence prior to Earth life, but what my thing is, is that if there was no preexistence, how are we born into an Earth life, especially in cases of a rape? Also if they go against a preexistence, how can they prove of a life after death.

For much of my 47 years I was aware of the idea that I did preexist my body in some form, but not until I studied Near Death Experiences for so long, did I become comfortable with the actual process of dying in itself, for which the church does not say anything about that. Funny that the church does not say much about what it is like to die, but it seems like only the Mormon church fits with what Near Death Experiences have said for eons.

-

Geoff

I used to believe in the preexistence of souls, not because I ever belonged to a Church that taught it, but because I read Plato as an impressionable 17-year-old. I later abandoned that belief (sadly at first) in favor of Catholic teaching.

The central reason that non-LDS Christians don't believe in the premortal existence is that it obliterates the fundamental distinction between creature and creator. If we say of Christ, "All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made" we leave no room for eternal, preexistent human souls.

Further, if our spirits are eternal intelligence the same as God's, there is no reason to think God has absolute authority over us. If we are self-subsistent in the same mode that He is, our existences are ours, not his, and he cannot dictate the laws of our existence.

Also, there is no meaningful scriptural evidence to support it.

Share this post


Link to post

Did He create the Father then , or did he create Himself? I'm confused as to how that could be. Certainly , to create all things He had to pre-exist the things created. And if He did create all things that is no bar to the possibility that He created all things spiritually before they took mortal form. Therefore , it would seem to me , that all things could be created before a mortal state came into existence. This is what the LDS mean by pre-existence. We pre-exist (are created) spiritually before we exist temporally. It seems to me this is harmonious with the notion both that Jesus created all things and that all things pre-exist their physical nature.

No, Jesus did not create the Father. I believe that the "most all Christians" referred to in the OP would be Trinitarians and would believe that Jesus and the Father are the same God. So when Col 1:16 and John 1:3 speak of Jesus creating, it does not mean He created Himself. We "most all Christian" believe that God had no beginning. Everything else did have a beginning.

You believe that Jesus created us spiritually before we came to earth? Is that broadly accepted by LDS?

Share this post


Link to post

The central reason that non-LDS Christians don't believe in the premortal existence is that it obliterates the fundamental distinction between creature and creator. If we say of Christ, "All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made" we leave no room for eternal, preexistent human souls.

John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

There is room :P Those last three words in the verse, seem to stand out to me. Why tag those words at the end, you could simple say All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that would seem all inclusive enough. But no, it adds "that was made", this seems to drive home the point if something needed making then He did it, no arguments there.

However note that it uses the word "made" at the end not the word "exist". In Mormon theology we do not believe in ex nihilo creation. God didn't make the materials (matter) that was used in the creation, he organized existing elements into this earth. In a like manner our spirits may have been made from "intelligences" that have always existed, D&C93:29 "Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be". However not much has been revealed about this (here's a reference on intelligence from the church's official website http://scriptures.lds.org/gs/i/12). But my sole point is not everything was made by God, only everything that needed making.

In any case still don't see how that scripture rules out a preexistence. Perhaps it would help to think of the preexistence as part of the making process and coming to earth is the completion, being "made", because we are a whole soul (Body + Spirit).

Further, if our spirits are eternal intelligence the same as God's, there is no reason to think God has absolute authority over us. If we are self-subsistent in the same mode that He is, our existences are ours, not his, and he cannot dictate the laws of our existence.

Also, there is no meaningful scriptural evidence to support it.

My existence (my life) is mine! I'm here by the grace of God sure, and my feeling and belief about him influence my life greatly. God dictates the laws men must follow to become like him. It's all about progression, from unorganized intelligences (chaotic state) through to ultimately being like God, because we've followed the same laws and have met the same conditions that He has met, we have become one with God and hence received Godhood. Thats the desired destination and not the beginning, if we reach that point then we may be as you say in the same "mode" as God, but that would only come about precisely because God was our law giver, and he's laws are calculated to that effect.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Soren,

You posted:

>>I used to believe in the preexistence of souls, not because I ever belonged to a Church that taught it, but because I read Plato as an impressionable 17-year-old. I later abandoned that belief (sadly at first) in favor of Catholic teaching.

The central reason that non-LDS Christians don't believe in the premortal existence is that it obliterates the fundamental distinction between creature and creator. If we say of Christ, "All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made" we leave no room for eternal, preexistent human souls.

Further, if our spirits are eternal intelligence the same as God's, there is no reason to think God has absolute authority over us. If we are self-subsistent in the same mode that He is, our existences are ours, not his, and he cannot dictate the laws of our existence.>>

Me: I think one must distinguish between two different types of pre-existence: eternal pre-existence, and temporal pre-existence.

I have argued in the past that I know of no â??officialâ? Catholic document which out-right denies the second option (by â??officialâ? I mean decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, and ex cathedra Papal pronouncements).

And as for the first type, the Latter-day Saint has three â??optionsâ? as noted by the following LDS scholar:

It was in the Spring of 1833, while residing in Kirtland, Ohio, that the Prophet received a revelation now known as Section ninety-three of the Doctrine and Covenants. In the twenty-ninth verse we read that â??Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.â? This, it appears, was the first reference in modern scripture to something in or about the idea that man was not created or made, nor could he be. It seems that Joseph Smith did not provide the Saints with additional information at that time as to just what this scripture meant or [p.216] what additional implications he saw in the Lord's pronouncement. It is also not entirely clear whether intelligence is something individual or collective, or an attribute or principle. In fact,it is not clear what this verse means when the Lord says, â??Man was also in the beginning with [Him].â? (Kenneth W. Godfrey, â??The History of Intelligence in Latter-day Thoughtâ?, in The Pearl of Great Price: Revelations From God, ed. by Peterson and Tate, pp. 215,126 - bold emphasis mine.)

If intelligence is viewed as an â??attribute or principleâ?, I would argue that both types of pre-existence could be true without contradiction.

Grace and peace,

David

Share this post


Link to post

John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

There is room :P Those last three words in the verse, seem to stand out to me. Why tag those words at the end, you could simple say All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that would seem all inclusive enough. But no, it adds "that was made", this seems to drive home the point if something needed making then He did it, no arguments there.

It is inclusive enough. The second clause is written to reinforce the first clause, not to limit it. "All things" means "all things," and the category of "things not made" includes one being: God Himself, the Unmade Maker. We must not interpret the second part of the sentence in a way that leads us to deny the first part.

However note that it uses the word "made" at the end not the word "exist". In Mormon theology we do not believe in ex nihilo creation. God didn't make the materials (matter) that was used in the creation, he organized existing elements into this earth. In a like manner our spirits may have been made from "intelligences" that have always existed, D&C93:29 "Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be". However not much has been revealed about this (here's a reference on intelligence from the church's official website http://scriptures.lds.org/gs/i/12). But my sole point is not everything was made by God, only everything that needed making.

I have read D&C. The verse you cite is the basis of my whole point. If man was in the beginning with God (and also has a separate existence) God has no authority over him since man's existence is independant of Him.

In any case still don't see how that scripture rules out a preexistence. Perhaps it would help to think of the preexistence as part of the making process and coming to earth is the completion, being "made", because we are a whole soul (Body + Spirit).

If you are not convinced by John, Colossians 1:15 teaches the same thing overwelmingly:

"By him all things were created that are in heaven and that are in the earth."

This includes human souls. It also rules out "being made" as coming to earth, since it includes all things in heaven.

"Visible and invisible"

This includes human souls.

"Whether thy be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers."

This refers to the hosts angels in heaven, which per preexistence doctrine would include human souls.

"All things were created by Him and for him and he is before all things, and by him all things consist."

No qualifications on this statement.

My existence (my life) is mine! I'm here by the grace of God sure, and my feeling and belief about him influence my life greatly. God dictates the laws men must follow to become like him. It's all about progression, from unorganized intelligences (chaotic state) through to ultimately being like God, because we've followed the same laws and have met the same conditions that He has met, we have become one with God and hence received Godhood. Thats the desired destination and not the beginning, if we reach that point then we may be as you say in the same "mode" as God, but that would only come about precisely because God was our law giver, and he's laws are calculated to that effect.

I am aware that LDS theology teaches this, but my point is that the concept of human existence in LDS theology provides no basis for God's authority to lay out such a plan. This is especially evident if there was a time in ages past when God himself was unorganized matter like us. Why should another piece of matter from another part fo the universe that I do not need to exist dictate the terms of my life? Whence gets he this authority? By contrast, a God who did create me ex nihilo can claim any power over me at all, since I owe all to him.

Everything that God did not create is something we have no cause the prasie Him for or thank Him for and for which we owe Him no obedience. I know that LDS theology does not teach this, but it would teach that if it were consistent with itself, for it is the only reasonable conclusion one could draw from such premises.

Share this post


Link to post

I think one must distinguish between two different types of pre-existence: eternal pre-existence, and temporal pre-existence.

David

Hi Dave!

I agree with that distinction. But I think that the eternal preexistence is the more important issue, because the equality in nature between God and man is the first premise of LDS theology, and eternal preexistence is necessary to make such a view coherent. Also, since the story about our premortal life with Heavenly Father functions in LDS spirituality (among other things) to reinforce the importance of man's eternal nature and is the first means whereby that concept is introduced to learners, I think it is most fundamental to answer the question of eternal preexistence.

I don't think it's possible to rule out a temporal preexistence from scripture, not that I know of. But I don't know any decent means to justify it either. Some have used Gen 2:7 to show that the soul and body are created simultaneously. I think that is a reasonable but not provable interpretation.

BTW, I want to do some reading on early Christological controversies and you seem among the more knowledgable people here. What do you recommend?

Soren.

Share this post


Link to post

Hello again Soren,

Thanks for responding to my musings; you posted:

>>I agree with that distinction. But I think that the eternal preexistence is the more important issue, because the equality in nature between God and man is the first premise of LDS theology, and eternal preexistence is necessary to make such a view coherent. Also, since the story about our premortal life with Heavenly Father functions in LDS spirituality (among other things) to reinforce the importance of man's eternal nature and is the first means whereby that concept is introduced to learners, I think it is most fundamental to answer the question of eternal preexistence.>>

Me: There is no question that â??traditionalâ? Mormonism espouses what you have cogently outlined above. However, I have argued that the LDS Quad does not necessarily rule out other options; options that seem to me to be more in line with a consistent reading of the Quad itself. And given the historical development of dogma within the LDS paradigm, who knows exactly what the future holds for LDS theology.

>>I don't think it's possible to rule out a temporal preexistence from scripture, not that I know of. But I don't know any decent means to justify it either. Some have used Gen 2:7 to show that the soul and body are created simultaneously. I think that is a reasonable but not provable interpretation.>>

Me: Maybe later today after Wimbledon, and some house chores, I will present some of the work I have done on pre-existence in the Sacred Scriptures.

>>BTW, I want to do some reading on early Christological controversies and you seem among the more knowledgable people here. What do you recommend?>>

Me: IMHO, the most comprehensive treatment is Aloys Grillmeierâ??s multi-volume work, Christ in Christian Tradition. Here are some pricing options:

http://www.allbookstores.com/search?type=a...x=12&Go.y=7

[Note: there are 2 volumes in three books; vol. 2 has 2 parts.]

Grace and peace,

David

Share this post


Link to post

Perhaps most scripture, but not Col 1:16.

16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

That said, how can we have been "spirit children" of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother if we are created by Jesus and for him?

Pre-existence - no doubt as the "sons of God", but what I don't see it the Bible at least is evidence that we were produced by celestial copulation, as it were. Is this still even taught in modern LDS?

Blessings

Asaph

Share this post


Link to post

Me: IMHO, the most comprehensive treatment is Aloys Grillmeierâ??s multi-volume work, Christ in Christian Tradition. Here are some pricing options:

http://www.allbookstores.com/search?type=a...x=12&Go.y=7

Sweet. It's at my university library, so I won't need to pay a dime for it.

Share this post


Link to post

John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

There is room :P Those last three words in the verse, seem to stand out to me. Why tag those words at the end, you could simple say All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that would seem all inclusive enough. But no, it adds "that was made", this seems to drive home the point if something needed making then He did it, no arguments there.

However note that it uses the word "made" at the end not the word "exist". In Mormon theology we do not believe in ex nihilo creation. God didn't make the materials (matter) that was used in the creation, he organized existing elements into this earth. In a like manner our spirits may have been made from "intelligences" that have always existed, D&C93:29 "Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be". However not much has been revealed about this (here's a reference on intelligence from the church's official website http://scriptures.lds.org/gs/i/12). But my sole point is not everything was made by God, only everything that needed making.

In any case still don't see how that scripture rules out a preexistence. Perhaps it would help to think of the preexistence as part of the making process and coming to earth is the completion, being "made", because we are a whole soul (Body + Spirit).

My existence (my life) is mine! I'm here by the grace of God sure, and my feeling and belief about him influence my life greatly. God dictates the laws men must follow to become like him. It's all about progression, from unorganized intelligences (chaotic state) through to ultimately being like God, because we've followed the same laws and have met the same conditions that He has met, we have become one with God and hence received Godhood. Thats the desired destination and not the beginning, if we reach that point then we may be as you say in the same "mode" as God, but that would only come about precisely because God was our law giver, and he's laws are calculated to that effect.

Excellent.

Share this post


Link to post

Excellent.

And did you read my response to it?

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...