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stemelbow

The problem of evil

163 posts in this topic

Thanks for the reply. If my argument/presentation in the OP is true regarding mainstream Christianity, then indeed, there is no reason to accept that it all is upon man's choices for mainstreamers. It is God's choice, in essence, since He before creating anything knew all things that would happen. He designed each and every man, including his choices. It must be so, because each man's choice was conceived of by God.

love,

stem

I'm looking forward to the day when you get the right idea on this particular issue, stem.

Until then, I'll just keep hoping.

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Thanks for the reply. If my argument/presentation in the OP is true regarding mainstream Christianity, then indeed, there is no reason to accept that it all is upon man's choices for mainstreamers. It is God's choice, in essence, since He before creating anything knew all things that would happen. He designed each and every man, including his choices. It must be so, because each man's choice was conceived of by God.

love,

stem

Just because God knows what will happen, does not mean he creates or causes men's choices. We know when our children fall when learning to walk it is a good thing to let them experience the fall to learn how to get up. Natural consequences are the best lessons for our children and for us. We intervene for our children some, but not always. Making a lot of noise helps (Praying) in getting a response for help. We know that our children will eventually walk and we know our children will often fail when learning. We guide them and know the goal. Knowing is not controlling, it is nudging to the right direction and wanting that direction to eventually come from the child's own heart. Prayer is powerful in giving direction to the heavenlies waiting to move on our behalf. God just knows whats going to happen but he does not force us to do it, he just waits for his children to step up to the plate. It means more to him that way.

Heartleap...

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I'm looking forward to the day when you get the right idea on this particular issue, stem.

Until then, I'll just keep hoping.

If I need correction then I welcome it.

love,

stem

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Just because God knows what will happen, does not mean he creates or causes men's choices. We know when our children fall when learning to walk it is a good thing to let them experience the fall to learn how to get up. Natural consequences are the best lessons for our children and for us.

I fear you are missing my point. I do no say just because God knows what will hapen that means He created or causes man's choices per se. I believe God knows what will happen too, but I do not believe God causes or creates man's choices. It must be understood my critique is against the mainstream concept. Our children and us don't make a good analogy on the mainstream concept because we are of the same species and kind as our children. God is not. More importantly to my point, God not only knows all according to the mainstream concept but in fact must have decided all--He had to since He knew all before even creating. He in essence, create and designed man out of nothing. Assuming mainstream assumptions regarding God as truth, the only thing we can do or think is that which God had already decided for us to do and think. Each and every act or thought I do or have originated in God's conception. I hope that helps in regards to my argument and point.

We intervene for our children some, but not always. Making a lot of noise helps (Praying) in getting a response for help. We know that our children will eventually walk and we know our children will often fail when learning. We guide them and know the goal. Knowing is not controlling, it is nudging to the right direction and wanting that direction to eventually come from the child's own heart. Prayer is powerful in giving direction to the heavenlies waiting to move on our behalf. God just knows whats going to happen but he does not force us to do it, he just waits for his children to step up to the plate. It means more to him that way.

Heartleap...

I have made my points and I welcome any effort to actually directly respond to the points I've offered. Until then it appears you have decided to brush aside my argument and miss my point.

love,

stem

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name='CV75' timestamp='1293586471' post='1208957685'] . . . .

: It seems that by virtue of our will and agency we advance from estate to estate at different paces and with different attributes.

From whom did we get our "will"?

: But only we can account for ourselves--we are a result of our agency, not God's programming.

What, then, are we to make of D&C 46 which explicitly states differences (some of which are dramatic) in the spiritual gifts God has given his children? I submit that fair-minded persons are apt to conclude that the disparate bestowal of those gifts constituted "programming."

program (as a noun): "a schedule or system under which action may be taken toward a desired goal; a proposed project or scheme." Also, "a catalog of projected proceedings or features; prospectus."

programmer (as a noun): "one that prepares and tests programs for mechanisms; a person or device that programs a mechanism."

program (as a verb): "to insert a program for (a particular action) into or as if into a mechanism."

Source: Webster's Third New International Dictionary Unabridged, 2002, pp. 1,812 and 1,813.

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How can evil have an eternal end, if as I understand Evangelical belief, people/creatures will be suffering eternally for God not redeeming them? They in essence, it seems, will always be left un-redeemed and inherently evil as a result. Also, is it your opinion that Satan will cease to exist?

Hi Stem,

Thanks for the response.

Good questions. I think I addressed my own view on Satan's existence and so forth in a previous post to ElfLord. But I don't mind taking the affirmative Evangelical argument.

Something worth taking into consideration is this concept of evil itself. Your premise here seems to be that evil will continue to exist given an EV view after judgment. I disagree.

The reason I say so, is that evil requires action or at the very least it requires thought. In example, neither a man, a child or a hammer could be considered evil. However, a man bludgeoning a child to death with a hammer would certainly be evil.. likely you would agree with me that a man dwelling upon such a notion would be evil as well.

In the above example this man would have to access to such a situation or simply the access to cognition to attain something that was actually evil.

I see no good reason to think that a being that is disconnected both physically and spiritually from everything is capable of either physical or cognitive evil. So to get your point through I think you would have to establish that Evangelicals consider hell bound beings capable of committing or even conceiving of evil.

I would like to see what persuasive argumentation you can present.

Oh but God can destroy it...that is what salvation is about--destroying the evil in us. I simply see the two main options of good and evil being available to all, and some like Satan will choose evil--thus evil desires/intentions/deeds won't be completely annihalted. I find it comprehensible because it only makes sense that for eternity any/all will always have the choice to make between good and evil. We have it now, why not always?

Bold mine. I agree that God can destroy evil, but don't see how you can actually make such a statement and remain a believing LDS. I didn't think your thread was headed towards the direction of Grace vs. Works. However this seems to be where it is at this point.

I want to counter your statement with a few questions.

1. Can God destroy evil without the consent of any other being?

2a. If so, could you please explain how that works?

2b. If not and such a matter requires some sort or reciprocity of another individual, then your statement is a bit misleading because how can it be said that God destroys evil when it would be better said they both destroy evil together?

3. In either case, I am curious to know how God or both God and another individual combined together are capable of destroying any amount of evil if (given the LDS view) that evil is infinite? There is a paradox in the statement of course, but I am curious as to how you dismiss it.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

editted - fur speling :P

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1. Can God destroy evil without the consent if any other being?

No, I don't think so - well, at least not until the time of judgment. I think before then, he needs permission of at least one person to destroy evil - and that's you. A humble heart is the permission, that it is. After the judgement, I'm not sure about.

2b. If not and such a matter requires some sort or reciprocity of another individual, then your statement is a bit misleading because how can it be said that God destroys evil when it would be better said they both destroy evil together?

It is destroyed together. It takes two.

3. In either case, I am curious to know how God or both God and another individual combined together are capable of destroying any amount of evil if (given the LDS view) that evil is infinite? There is a paradox in the statement of course, but I am curious as to how you dismiss it.

Well, consider infinity over infinity squared. One infinity cancels out, and it become 1 over infinity. Also, I think, but am not sure, that evil is only infinite if you count it over time, which is in a way, infinite as well.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

Hope my input helped. Best Wishes,

TAO

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From whom did we get our "will"?

What, then, are we to make of D&C 46 which explicitly states differences (some of which are dramatic) in the spiritual gifts God has given his children? I submit that fair-minded persons are apt to conclude that the disparate bestowal of those gifts constituted "programming."

From D&C 93: 23, 29 and 30, we are of the same truth as God, which acts for itself and defines existence. Independence is a property of truth, which was not created or made. Will is a property of independence. This is how Satan can exist without the truth he rejects and with a will independent of God and the truth He accepts.

Spiritual gifts, like foreordaining, are an outgrowth or function of each spirit

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There can be no eradication of evil as long as two things exist: eternity and free agency.

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I don't see why we would want evil to be eradicated. Evil is not just the result of badly used agency, it is also the possibility and lure of bad choices, without which there could be true agency and no spiritual progression. The sword of character can only be forged by beating it daily with the hammer of self-denial.

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. . . . Independence is a property of truth, which was not created or made .

Is "independence" the same thing as agency? It would appear so, hence we read in Helaman 14:30: ". . .ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given [emphasis added] unto you a knowledge and he hath made [emphasis added] you free." Also, this: "For behold, my brethren, it is given [emphasis added] unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil" (Moroni 7:15). And this: "I, the Lord God, made [emphasis added] you free, therefore ye are free indeed. . ." (D&C 98). And this: "That every man may act. . .according to the moral agency which I have given unto him. . . (D&C 101:78). If independence to act (agency) was not "created or made," how was it possible for God to make us free? Perhaps you feel that independence is not synonymous with agency; if so, how do you define independence?

: Will is a property of independence. This is how Satan can exist without the truth he rejects and with a will independent of God and the truth He accepts.

Is "will" a property of agency?

: Spiritual gifts, like foreordaining, are an outgrowth or function of each spirit
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Is "independence" the same thing as agency?

Is "will" a property of agency?

some spirits had it in their "DNA" to use their individual agency wisely

In the process of making us, he favored some over others, knowing that leadership would be essential for the building of his kingdom.

those who possess certain gifts--and who are faithful--have an advantage in mortality (and beyond) over those not so blessed.

God making us free has two or three meanings. First, God makes us free in the same way He organized the world

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No, I don't think so - well, at least not until the time of judgment. I think before then, he needs permission of at least one person to destroy evil - and that's you. A humble heart is the permission, that it is. After the judgement, I'm not sure about.

TAO,

Certainly your answers seem consistent with an LDS paradigm and I appreciate you putting them forth. Bold mine, could you expand on that statement a bit?

You may be on a similar track to what my LDS Father in Law supports. That being, at some point, perhaps God in his mercy, disorganizes the Hell bound.

Well, consider infinity over infinity squared. One infinity cancels out, and it become 1 over infinity. Also, I think, but am not sure, that evil is only infinite if you count it over time, which is in a way, infinite as well.

Infinity is something that seems to exist only conceptually and doesn't work out well outside the philosophical.

I would argue that it is impossible to square an actual infinite, I mean it is infinite after all. You can't square what you can't get to the beginning of or end to of a series of things.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Mudcat

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There can be no eradication of evil as long as two things exist: eternity and free agency.

I disagree with you here. If all beings that have such agency at some point decide never to choose any action that is evil, then evil is eradicated.

To put it into perspective let me ask you this. Let's say running a red light is against the law and therefore evil. Let's also say that at some point all decide not to run red lights and from that point forward they don't. If so, it is still fair to say that running a red light is evil, but it would be out of line to say that the evil of running red lights still exists.

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TAO,

Certainly your answers seem consistent with an LDS paradigm and I appreciate you putting them forth. Bold mine, could you expand on that statement a bit?

Sure thing, I am at your service.

You may be on a similar track to what my LDS Father in Law supports. That being, at some point, perhaps God in his mercy, disorganizes the Hell bound.

This one I'm not so sure about. I suppose God would be capable of doing such, but what I mean by not knowing is that I wouldn't know if it would be wisdom in him - I don't know whether there is a more just path for them. I tend to not think disorganization, though - if I remember right, much of that 'eternal torment' will actually be our own souls sorrowing from not being in the presense of the Father. In other words... are own souls crying inside will cause the agony known as eternal torment. It will be the most painful thing - indeed, soul sorrow is already the most painful thing on this Earth, but this will be so much worse knowing in absoluteness your sin. I think God will say this is enough, and leave us be, but I am not sure enough to really say much beyond what I said really.

Infinity is something that seems to exist only conceptually and doesn't work out well outside the philosophical.

Hmmm... I think I can think of something that might be infinite. What I am thinking of is... Truly, in order for the universe to be understandable, matter must be conserved. What I mean is there is matter outside of the universe - and I think it bends to the law of conservation of energy as well. And if the law of conservation of energy is true... it means matter has existed... forever. It'd be very interesting to track a piece of matter's life in the past without end, and in the future without end, that it would be.

I would argue that it is impossible to square an actual infinite, I mean it is infinite after all. You can't square what you can't get to the beginning of or end to of a series of things.

It's similar, in my opinon, to how we can't think in other dimensions. A higher dimension object compared to us would have a 3D shadow and the likes, if we were to look at it. I'm not sure we will ever be able to 'picture' infinity until we actually get there. It's kinda like the difference between straight lines and curves. You can zoom in on a certain section of a curve as much as you would like, and it will never become a line. So then the question becomes, if our eyes simplify the objects into lines, are curves actually existant? Or are our eyes correct, and only lines exist?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Mudcat

No problem, I like this sort of philosophical thought, it makes me think and realize new things. =)

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Infinity is something that seems to exist only conceptually and doesn't work out well outside the philosophical.

Infinity exits and is crucial in many parts of mathematics.

I would argue that it is impossible to square an actual infinite, I mean it is infinite after all. You can't square what you can't get to the beginning of or end to of a series of things.

In a sense, there is no "infinity" because the idea you are probably thinking about is only one of an infinite number of infinities. For instance, there are the infinity of all positive integers (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ... 200,900,988,660,499,679,949,969,549, 200,900,988,660,499,679,949,969,550, ..., ?), the infinity of negative integers, the infinity of all fractions between 0 and 1, the infinity of all fractions between 1 and 2, and so on. There are the infinity of all irrational numbers (?, ?2, ?3, ?5, ?6, 3?10, ...), the infinity of even integers, the infinity of odd integers, and so on.

You can find a function that defines a surface so large that you cannot paint it, but that also defines a volume you can fill with paint. Illogical? Well, maybe, but the idea of infinity is not illogical, nor is it useless.

Squaring infinity is not impossible. And it fills a very valid and useful niche in mathematics.

Lehi

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Squaring infinity is not impossible. And it fills a very valid and useful niche in mathematics.

Lehi

And what would be the dimensions of that niche? wacko.gif

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And what would be the dimensions of that niche? wacko.gif

Integrals and Derivatives. Important for calculating space flight and the like, and for other things as well I suppose.

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Upshot: Some intelligences have been "commissioned" to succeed in mortality--and beyond--and others have not.

This seems to assume that there are not opportunities for all to succeed, that God being a loving father still could not create a mortality where everyone could succeed given enough time and opportunities if they so chose to do so.

OTOH, if one assumes that each individual given his particular abilities and mortal situation and postmortal situation could succeed and the only reason why he doesn't is because of his own personal choices, then one would tend to look to the unique internal eternal individual personality or construct of intelligence for the answer to why that individual chose to 'fail' (I prefer to state it as 'refusing to take full advantage of one's positive opportunities while taking too much advantage of one's negative opportunities'; the individual hasn't "failed" because he is doing exactly what he wants to do and is thus successful by his own standard....except he may see a distinct difference in the consequences he would prefer and those that he gets based on eternal laws).

The term "commission" suggests something that is imposed from the outside rather than arising from the fundamental nature of the being. We don't like the term "destined" as LDS because it is often used in terms of a fate imposed on us from some external source. Perhaps something along the lines of self-fulfilling 'prophecy' or self-selected fate or self-directed destination?

****I have the same issue with "programming" in regards to the idea of spiritual gifts given, programming implying a set course of action as opposed to a variety of actions that someone with the gift can undertake that are not available to those without the gift.

However, this discussion appears to me to hinge on the assumption that the choice of 'fail or succeed' rests in the eternal nature of the individual based on our current understanding of human motivation, thought process, etc. which makes us determinists, something that I have found most LDS don't like to be labeled as for some reason. It is possible that assumption is fundamentally wrong and that there is something truly redemptive in God's power that would allow us to overcome even that eternal nature that leads us to choose another path besides the one God offers us beside himself and we are simply unaware of it.

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I see no good reason to think that a being that is disconnected both physically and spiritually from everything is capable of either physical or cognitive evil. So to get your point through I think you would have to establish that Evangelicals consider hell bound beings capable of committing or even conceiving of evil.
Don't you then run into the problem of the justice of forcing nonevil individuals to suffer eternally? Your personal belief makes much more logical sense to me than the mainstream idea of beings who are not doing evil still having to suffer eternal punishment, especially since there was nothing eternal about the evil they committed and they are not now eternally evil beings, but eternally nonevil.

I would say an 'mortal' analogy would be sending a person who has suffered brain damage to the point of having no memory and no disposition to break the law anymore to life imprisonment for a crime he committed prior to the brain injury. Yes, it might be 'just' in the sense that a crime was committed and the punishment is a consequence of that crime, but now there is a disconnect between the individual who committed the crime and the individual now in existence because in essence the original individual no longer exists. What good does this punishment accomplish? Certainly not rehabilitation since the individual has already been changed, not a safety issue since there is no more inclination to commit the crime, it seems purely an accounting problem---so much evil must be balanced out by so much punishment...which while not merciful could be seen as just (though it also means that such punishment can be undergone by anyone, not someone actually responsible for the crime as that individual no longer exists)....unless one is talking about infinite punishment given for finite evil, there is no balance in that equation that I can see.

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Mudcat,

Hi Stem,

Thanks for the response.

Good questions. I think I addressed my own view on Satan's existence and so forth in a previous post to ElfLord. But I don't mind taking the affirmative Evangelical argument.

Thats fine too. I've ran into a couple of people over the years, now that your position has been explained, that have taken the same course of belief as you, as evangelicals--annihilation of the wicked. I wouldn't mind exploring that as well. Perhaps we can do that side by side.

If God created evil, only to destroy many to most of HIs creations and subsequently saving some others, for whatever reason, is the point of evil to make those He arbitrarily saves stronger?

Does the notion of completely obliterating those who are evil suggest a pointless existence for those who will be destroyed? And, is giving eternal blessedness to those who will be saved, arbitrarily, really good considering it is at the cost to many others who arbitrarily have no purposefuly existence but to make others stronger? I see evil in the very concept of your belief itself it seems.

Something worth taking into consideration is this concept of evil itself. Your premise here seems to be that evil will continue to exist given an EV view after judgment. I disagree.

The reason I say so, is that evil requires action or at the very least it requires thought. In example, neither a man, a child or a hammer could be considered evil. However, a man bludgeoning a child to death with a hammer would certainly be evil.. likely you would agree with me that a man dwelling upon such a notion would be evil as well.

In the above example this man would have to access to such a situation or simply the access to cognition to attain something that was actually evil.

I see no good reason to think that a being that is disconnected both physically and spiritually from everything is capable of either physical or cognitive evil. So to get your point through I think you would have to establish that Evangelicals consider hell bound beings capable of committing or even conceiving of evil.

I would like to see what persuasive argumentation you can present.

I think taking the bolded assumption above, you may have a point. Of course I see no reason to take that assumption. If people here and now are capable of physical and cognitive evil, then why assume beings who continue after death are not also capable of such? I think its rather presumptuous to take that stand in some hope to escape the problem of evil.

Also, it would be my argument that it is evil in itself to let others suffer eternally, in what has been described to me as the worst suffering imaginable, when one has a means to keep these others from suffering at all. Also it is evil to create beings knowing they're eternal existence will be nothing but to suffer eternally, when one could create them, at least theoretically, to not suffer at all. Thus, with this said, not only does evil continue, but it continues in God who, it would have to be assumed, destroyed evil in other of his creations. Instead of enjoying an eternity in goodness, for those who are saved, they are enjoying selfish fruits of salvation with the very one who continues in His own self-initiated evil. That just seems despicable.

Bold mine. I agree that God can destroy evil, but don't see how you can actually make such a statement and remain a believing LDS. I didn't think your thread was headed towards the direction of Grace vs. Works. However this seems to be where it is at this point.

I want to counter your statement with a few questions.

1. Can God destroy evil without the consent of any other being?

Its a tough and good question. After considering it, I would have to suggest no. He cannot in that He abides by the precept that evil can only be destroyed within individuals through their own choice.

2a. If so, could you please explain how that works?

2b. If not and such a matter requires some sort or reciprocity of another individual, then your statement is a bit misleading because how can it be said that God destroys evil when it would be better said they both destroy evil together?

I would say because it is really God who does the destroying, we essentially give Him the okay through our own faithfulness, that it is not God and others doing it together. LDS scritpure states, "And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true. And we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength." (D&C 20:30-31)

3. In either case, I am curious to know how God or both God and another individual combined together are capable of destroying any amount of evil if (given the LDS view) that evil is infinite? There is a paradox in the statement of course, but I am curious as to how you dismiss it.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

editted - fur speling :P

I hear ya when you say "misleading". I don't intend to be. I might have erred in my communication. I don't think God will destroy all evil, as it is evident that evil, or the continuation of evil, is necessary for beings to grow. Not only will beings be given the chance to grow as they enter their mortal sojourns, but beings can grow within, as I understand it, their own kingdom of glory. Thus, God has an eternal purpose for evil as well. What I meant by God being able to destroy evil is that He is able and will destroy evil within individuals, as individuals allow Him to.

I hope that helps. And thanks for the discussion

love,

stem

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. . . . Will is more directly a property or assertion of independence than of agency, but all three are associated as eternal principles and so were not created or made.

If agency was not "created or made," how do you explain D&C 101:78: ". . .every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment" [emphasis added]. Here, God not only states that he personally gave man his agency, but he explains the rationale for so doing.

: I
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You make a tacit admission here (so it seems to me) that 1) some intelligences made wiser choices than other intelligences, and 2) those lesser intelligences will have an opportunity to play "catch up." Given the existence of 1) and 2), it becomes apparent that (as I have probably said too often) some intelligences were blessed--had the "will"--to make advantageous choices. Inequality, for reasons known only to God, was/is a reality. The fact that it can be corrected, presumably in mortality, does not change the fact of its existence.

I agree with alot of the rest of your post, so let me just talk about this part, which I have thoughts on.

For number 1): it's more... some intelligences exist as wiser than others... they've existed forever... and that wisdom will effect one's life on earth.

For number 2): using our experiences, God allows us to play catch up, giving us all the experiences necessary for catch up (so only our choices matter in the end, and not our pre-existance) and become wiser. All intelligences will need 'wisening', I assume, in preparation for exaltation.

Given 1) and 2), even though some intelligences have a better will to make advantageous choices, because the intelligences have existed eternally, it is not God's fault that they have such. God didn't bless certain people with 'a will to obey', the intelligences have that inside of themselves. (again, I could be wrong, I'm going kinda theoretical here)

Thus, because it was not God's fault we had less of a will, and because he will do his utter best to give us the agency we require on this Earth for fairness (he is utterly just), we cannot blame God for our own lack of humility / lack of will.

But yes, that's just my thoughts on it... they are somewhat incomplete... and may also be incorrect. But yah, food for thought I guess =D.

Best Wishes,

TAO

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I agree with alot of the rest of your post, so let me just talk about this part, which I have thoughts on.

Thank you.

: Given 1) and 2), even though some intelligences have a better will to make advantageous choices, because the intelligences have existed eternally, it is not God's fault that they have such. God didn't bless certain people with 'a will to obey', the intelligences have that inside of themselves. (again, I could be wrong, I'm going kinda theoretical here)

Hmmm. . .I hadn't thought of it that way. Fascinating point. So, if that is, indeed, the case, at some point some entity or influence or "force" practiced some form of discrimination--possibly unwittingly--in the process of "organizing" matter. The doctrine that we have always existed doesn't supercede the argument that some spirit children were subsequently more highly endowed than others. In that context, this statement by Elder McConkie is relevant: "That he [Christ] was aided in the creation of this earth by 'many of the noble and great' spirit children of the Father is evident in Abraham's writings. Unto those superior spirits [emphasis added] Christ said. . . " (Mormon Doctrine, p. 169).

: Thus, because it was not God's fault we had less of a will, and because he will do his utter best to give us the agency we require on this Earth for fairness (he is utterly just), we cannot blame God for our own lack of humility / lack of will.

I think that statement is probably correct. Nice insight!

: Best Wishes,

TAO

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There is always...

Isa. 45:7 (KJV)

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

Where God explicitly takes credit for it.

He did create the serpent after all and put the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden in the first place.

As often stated by Mormons here: Context!

Respectfully,

Balzer

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