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The problem of evil


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#141 LeSellers

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 10:06 PM

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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#142 nicolasconnault

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 12:12 AM

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? Posted Image
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Intelligence is defined by a single variable: whether or not you understand the word "dichotomy".

#143 TAO

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 12:29 AM

And what would be the dimensions of that niche? Posted Image


Integrals and Derivatives. Important for calculating space flight and the like, and for other things as well I suppose.
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...my religion is built on the belief system and I believe that God will always find a way to make things just and fair even though it seems impossible. I accept this axiom without proof because I believe and hope that it must be true and in my heart I know it's true. That' s my testimony... -- Ajax18

As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows, cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind. -- Cleveland Armory ... I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. -- Hippolyte Taine

[On what God will say of one's own spiritual valiance]... I'd be content if He could just say to me, "Well, you weren't completely worthless." - Nathair

#144 calmoriah

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 12:58 AM

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.

Edited by calmoriah, 31 December 2010 - 01:26 AM.

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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
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#145 calmoriah

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 01:23 AM

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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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
UMW forever!

#146 stemelbow

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 09:57 AM

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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#147 paulpatter

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 02:24 PM

. . . . 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’ve already discussed how no spiritual gift as described in D&C 46 is greater than another (they are all grouped together as the “best gifts”, verse 8 ). So I do not think it appropriate to assign a significance factor to one gift or another.


You do not believe, then, that the spiritual gift to work miracles is a greater gift than, say, the gift to believe on the testimony of others. I suppose we will have to agree to disagree about that. Note, too, that some individuals receive all the gifts, which--it seems obvious to me--indicates additional inequality in the bestowal of spiritual gifts.

: I won't comment on the spiritual DNA idea because what we became is always a function of what we were before, and what we were before is a function of choices before that, which can be correct or corrected by virtue of our association with God but without His programming, creating or making co-eternal beings a certain way outside their agency.


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.
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#148 TAO

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 02:45 PM

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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...my religion is built on the belief system and I believe that God will always find a way to make things just and fair even though it seems impossible. I accept this axiom without proof because I believe and hope that it must be true and in my heart I know it's true. That' s my testimony... -- Ajax18

As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows, cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind. -- Cleveland Armory ... I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. -- Hippolyte Taine

[On what God will say of one's own spiritual valiance]... I'd be content if He could just say to me, "Well, you weren't completely worthless." - Nathair

#149 paulpatter

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 06:19 PM

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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#150 Balzer

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 06:28 PM

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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#151 TAO

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 06:57 PM

Thank you.


No problem =).

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.


I tend to think that in organizing (referring to the rest of the matter other than spirits), God has expert control, but for the 'birth of spirits' (although it is not given as such, I think they are born in a way like on Earth), he doesn't really have control over that. But as said, if that's not the way spirits are created, than it's useless speculation, but if spirits are created that way, there wouldn't be a way to discriminate, I think.

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).


I think we were given part our agency at the moment of our spiritual birth, actually. In such, we were able to make choices, were able to exert a will, and the like. I have nothing supporting this, but I think that this might be one of the reasons Satan was capable of falling... sinning of his own choice, out of agency. If it is the case (which it might not be), the 'superior spirits' might be referring to those with a more willing heart.

I think that statement is probably correct. Nice insight!


Thanks, it was great discussing =D.
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...my religion is built on the belief system and I believe that God will always find a way to make things just and fair even though it seems impossible. I accept this axiom without proof because I believe and hope that it must be true and in my heart I know it's true. That' s my testimony... -- Ajax18

As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows, cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind. -- Cleveland Armory ... I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. -- Hippolyte Taine

[On what God will say of one's own spiritual valiance]... I'd be content if He could just say to me, "Well, you weren't completely worthless." - Nathair

#152 CV75

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 07:59 PM

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.

You do not believe, then, that the spiritual gift to work miracles is a greater gift than, say, the gift to believe on the testimony of others. I suppose we will have to agree to disagree about that. Note, too, that some individuals receive all the gifts, which--it seems obvious to me--indicates additional inequality in the bestowal of spiritual gifts.

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.

As I’ve pointed out before, He gives agency in the same sense that He creates that which is coeternal with Him. He is really organizing and facilitating our eternal progress. God giving us agency has two or three meanings. First, God gives us agency in the same way He organized the world—not by creation. Second, by virtue of His Fatherhood and our chosen association with Him, we progress and gain more agency to become like Him as we choose correctly. Third, by virtue of the Christ we can exercise agency in this world.

I do not believe that any spiritual gift in these verses is greater than another, for the reasons stated previously. What varies is the faith to use any gift and the resultant effectiveness in fulfilling the Lord's will.

I am saying that agency allows intelligent beings to choose and progress without God’s programming their agency or the choices they make with that agency. Our coeternal nature makes us equal in this regard. Inherent inequality is not possible in a coeternal origin. Even though at any given moment we occupy distinct places on the plan of salvation spectrum, we are each completely (equally) accountable for where we are.

Edited by CV75, 31 December 2010 - 08:03 PM.

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#153 paulpatter

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 08:32 PM

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.


You make a valid point. I should have written "excel" rather than "succeed." Not all will gain exhaltation.

: 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 question, though, is why is he "doing exactly what he wants to do". . .why is he "engineered" to make personal choices that are sub-standard and will be detrimental to him, whereas others are seemingly "engineered" to make choices that will benefit them? I realize there probably isn't an answer to these questions. My reason for asking them, however, is to point out that inequality exists among intelligences. Consequently, when some members feel they don't measure up to certain other members, they need to realize that those "other members" got a head start. The good news is, as you note above, that "everyone [can] succeed given enough time and opportunities if they [choose] to do so."

: The term "commission" suggests something that is imposed from the outside rather than arising from the fundamental nature of the being.


I could have chosen a better word, but the fact is something is imposed "from the outside" and it constitutes "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.


But, in my view, that is precisely what takes place. Even a cursory reading of Abraham, for example, makes that clear. He, and certain others, were singled out. What, in their "fundamental nature," caused them to excel?

****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.


Again, probably an unwise word choice on my part. I don't have D&C 46 in front of me, but I think the Lord states that all have received spiritual gifts. I didn't mean to imply that implementing one's spiritual gift(s) necessarily involves a set course of action or is in some way mandatory. I have said that the gifts vary in value, such as having the gift to perform miracles as contrasted with having the gift to believe on another's words.

: 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.


I agree: The redemptive power of the Savior is available to everyone.
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#154 CV75

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 11:04 AM

when some members feel they don't measure up to certain other members, they need to realize that those "other members" got a head start.

On the contrary--this is most antithetical to the Gospel of Christ. They need to realize that they need to come unto Christ, not compare themselves or "measure up" to other members at all (and especially not accept a specious excuse for whatever their point of personal dissatisfaction might be).
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#155 changed

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 02:19 PM

If one considers, thinks through, the mainstream concept of God (He who is self-existent, knows all things, created all things out of nothing, or His own conception) then it must be concluded, if the logical steps are followed, that God is the very source of evil. Let's think of it this way too...


the month old "create..." threadis still going if anyone remembers how it was started...

So I think most agree with me that LDS do not believe in ex-Nihilo creation:

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 93:29)
Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.


that "create" as used in the scriptures should be defined as - transform, mold, refine, purify, shape etc. etc. and not poof- make something out of nothing.

A few others agree...
example: http://www.ancient-h.../5_creator.html
"The English word "create" is an abstract word and a foriegn concept to the Hebrews."

another example: http://www.dailyglob...laims-academic/

For the oft asked question: "Why did God create evil?"

7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.(Old Testament | Isaiah 45:7)

I always answer that God did not create evil, he transforms it - that 'bara' is better translated as transform, not create:

7 I form the light, and transform darkness: I make peace, and transform evil: I the LORD do all these things.(Old Testament | Isaiah 45:7)

That God is cleaning up a mess He did not create..... (our problems are not God's fault, we were not "created" imperfectly, as we were not created at all, so nothing bad can be blamed on God, because He did not create it)


Anyhoo, I was thinking about how the word create is prob not the greatest translation, and was thinking of the beginning chapts of Gen.


(Old Testament | Genesis 1:1)
1 IN the abeginning God transformed the heaven and the earth.

for the "creative" days, what if instead of creating the birds/bees/animals/plants etc. etc. God "transformed" what was already there? Just a thought.


the issue of evil, seems to always be a thread or 2 on it on most relig boards.

Edited by changed, 02 January 2011 - 02:24 PM.

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#156 paulpatter

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 08:56 PM

On the contrary--this is most antithetical to the Gospel of Christ. They need to realize that they need to come unto Christ, not compare themselves or "measure up" to other members at all (and especially not accept a specious excuse for whatever their point of personal dissatisfaction might be).


I didn't defend the tendency of some members to "measure up" to other members; I simply stated it as a fact--and a problem--I have observed during my long lifetime as a Latter-day Saint. To your credit, you didn't accuse me of personally doing that.

You don't address the nucleus of my argument; i.e., some spirit children are more gifted than others, and thus they enter mortality in an advantageous position. As I note in Post 149, Elder McConkie states that Christ "was aided in the creation of this earth by 'many of the noble and great' spirit children of the Father." What matters here, however, is that Elder McConkie described those spirit children as "superior spirits" (Mormon Doctrine, p. 169). Do you suppose that Elder McConkie was making a "specious" distinction?

It's difficult for me to understand how one can believe in the principle of eternal progression while dismissing my argument. Referring to that principle, Elder McConkie (yes, I often read his writings/speeches), states: "Endowed with agency and subject to eternal laws, man began his progression and advancement in pre-existence. . . . During his earth life he gains a mortal body, receives experience in earthly things, and prepares for a future eternity. . .when he will continue to gain knowledge and intelligence. This gradually unfolding course of advancement and experience--a course that began in past eternity and will continue in ages future--is referred to as. . .eternal progression." Then, we read the following: "In the full sense, eternal progression is enjoyed only by those who receive exaltation. Exalted persons gain the fullness of the Father; they have all power, all knowledge, and all wisdom. . . . All other persons are assigned lesser places in the mansions that are prepared, and their progression is not eternal and unlimited but in a specified sphere. There will be truths such persons never learn, powers they never possess. They are 'ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more. . .eternal weight of glory,' and they so continue 'to all eternity, and. . .forever and ever'" (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 238-39 and D&C 132:16-17).

Hence, for whatever reason, some spirit children perform proactively and positively in the pre-existence and others do not.
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#157 calmoriah

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 10:41 PM

The question, though, is why is he "doing exactly what he wants to do". . .why is he "engineered" to make personal choices that are sub-standard and will be detrimental to him, whereas others are seemingly "engineered" to make choices that will benefit them? I realize there probably isn't an answer to these questions. My reason for asking them, however, is to point out that inequality exists among intelligences.

I would say he wasn't engineered to make choices, but rather that which is eternally existing in him is what is the first cause. He is engineered to possibly understand and express those choices, definitely to follow through on his choices IOW, not however given the motivations or values that lead him to make a particular choice, the core of motivation has always existed within him (though expanded and likely refined by prior choices).

God only adds to us the ability to act on those choices in various ways. I look on the primary intelligent entity as the fundamental uncreated unit of humanity, it is the differences inherent in them---for whatever reason they exist, it is not in my view because some outside force (God or something else) acted upon them....they exist and have always existed in their similarities and differences, they are uncreated, unorganized (by an outside force) and unique.

I think the key to these types of discussion is identifying how someone view the composition of the original, primordial uncreated intelligence---whether it is already formed into an individual or the primordial intelligence is a collection of some form of very refined 'intelligent' matter waiting for someone's hand to assume any distinct form.

the fact is something is imposed "from the outside" and it constitutes "the fundamental nature of the being."

Not to my view of intelligence, I don't see God dipping in a ladle into a primordial mass of unorganized intelligent matter and coming up with a spoonful of 'stuff' that he then forms into an individual intelligent. Rather that the intelligences that later became spirits, etc. have always been in existence as individuals, though it may have been in a form which was too unorganized to be anything but potentially sentient. Think of legos, is the primordial intelligence at the stage of the factory where the designer picks out what is necessary for that particular construction that is then boxed up and shipped out or does the primordial intelligence come preboxed so that while there is no discernible pattern to it, the potential of what it can be is limited by what attributes are already in the mix or does it come at the stage---my current POV ---where it is already assembled and ready to play with so to speak.....thus we have three possibilities for what is meant by "intelligence" and I am aware of supporters of all possibilities among LDS believers, the implications of each with regard to agency and motivations of mankind can be significantly different.

What God has 'imposed' on us is in my view is not our 'self' but a vehicle (spirit and then later body and later who knows) for acting and expressing that fundamental nature that we always were. We then bond---not only through experiences and learning situations that God provides us but lastly with the Atonement that somehow 'seals' the bond between intelligence and spirit and then spirit and body and then ????---with that 'vehicle' in such a way as it becomes inseparable from our original self (along with other attributes we've picked up along the way due to our choices), thus resulting in an augmented being that then has the opportunity to choose to follow God's plan to receive another vehicle that if used properly will augment us to the point that we may progress onward and upward toward all that God is and wants us to be---the core that we once were still being there, just intertwined with all that has been added.

He, and certain others, were singled out. What, in their "fundamental nature," caused them to excel?

Whatever it was, it always existed within them or rather that which motivated them to achieve that state where they were singled out has always existed within men and not been imposed upon them by God or a colliding asteroid or a self appointed sentient being who was just plain bored with no one else to talk to.

I agree: The redemptive power of the Savior is available to everyone.

Yes, but just how far can that redemptive power alter us if we want it to, can it change our fundamental always existent eternal nature, IOW dump part of the core original intelligence in favour of some other attribute that we've decided we rather have....would we allow it to if it could? I think a lot depends on just how simple or complex that original core being was....the simpler, the less likely we will want to change the core rather than instead merely adopting another way of more effective or beneficial expression of that core quality/attribute. I can see a very complex being choosing to perhaps 'delete' something in its makeup that inhibits its growth toward the general goal, that deletion will change it but not so significantly as to lose what made itself its "Self" so to speak....

Makes sense?

Edited by calmoriah, 02 January 2011 - 10:43 PM.

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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
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#158 paulpatter

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 02:19 PM

I would say he wasn't engineered to make choices, but rather that which is eternally existing in him is what is the first cause.


I confess that you express the principal idea better than I do.

: He is engineered to possibly understand and express those choices, definitely to follow through on his choices IOW, not however given the motivations or values that lead him to make a particular choice, the core of motivation has always existed within him (though expanded and likely refined by prior choices).


I'm not so sure. It seems to me that which "eternally [exists] in him" and is the "first cause" is paramount; it drives everything else, including the choices he makes. He cannot distance himself from it.

: God only adds to us the ability to act on those choices in various ways. I look on the primary intelligent entity as the fundamental uncreated unit of humanity, it is the differences inherent in them---for whatever reason they exist, it is not in my view because some outside force (God or something else) acted upon them....they exist and have always existed in their similarities and differences, they are uncreated, unorganized (by an outside force) and unique.


For me, "unique" is the operative word. Being unique, they are unlike any other intelligence, including the ways in which they will exercise their agency. And that (repeating myself here) depends on what eternally exists within them.

: I think the key to these types of discussion is identifying how someone view the composition of the original, primordial uncreated intelligence---whether it is already formed into an individual or the primordial intelligence is a collection of some form of very refined 'intelligent' matter waiting for someone's hand to assume any distinct form.


Sorry, I have difficulty following you here.

: Not to my view of intelligence, I don't see God dipping in a ladle into a primordial mass of unorganized intelligent matter and coming up with a spoonful of 'stuff' that he then forms into an individual intelligent. Rather that the intelligences that later became spirits, etc. have always been in existence as individuals [my emphasis]. . . .


I'm quite certain we don't know who or what caused intelligences to differ from one another. We do know, however, that subsequently some spirit children were superior to other spirit children. To me, that fact is of surpassing importance.

: What God has 'imposed' on us is in my view is not our 'self' but a vehicle (spirit and then later body and later who knows) for acting and expressing that fundamental nature that we always were. We then bond---not only through experiences and learning situations that God provides us but lastly with the Atonement that somehow 'seals' the bond between intelligence and spirit and then spirit and body and then ????---with that 'vehicle' in such a way as it becomes inseparable from our original self (along with other attributes we've picked up along the way due to our choices), thus resulting in an augmented being that then has the opportunity to choose to follow God's plan to receive another vehicle that if used properly will augment us to the point that we may progress onward and upward toward all that God is and wants us to be---the core that we once were still being there, just intertwined with all that has been added.


I'm afraid you lose me here (blame it on my density).

: Whatever it was, it always existed within them or rather that which motivated them to achieve that state where they were singled out has always existed within men and not been imposed upon them by God or a colliding asteroid or a self appointed sentient being who was just plain bored with no one else to talk to.


But something caused intelligences to exist as unique entities. It would be fascinating to know what it was and the rationale for it. We do know that God spoke to Abraham about the need for leadership in this mortal state, and that is why he chose Abraham and certain other "noble and great ones."

: Yes, but just how far can that redemptive power alter us if we want it to, can it change our fundamental always existent eternal nature, IOW dump part of the core original intelligence in favour of some other attribute that we've decided we rather have....would we allow it to if it could? I think a lot depends on just how simple or complex that original core being was....the simpler, the less likely we will want to change the core rather than instead merely adopting another way of more effective or beneficial expression of that core quality/attribute. I can see a very complex being choosing to perhaps 'delete' something in its makeup that inhibits its growth toward the general goal, that deletion will change it but not so significantly as to lose what made itself its "Self" so to speak....

Makes sense?


Interesting bit of speculation. I do not believe, however, that mortals can change the eternal nature with which they were "endowed" as intelligences. The die was cast.

In any event, sincere thanks for the thought-provoking response.
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#159 calmoriah

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 02:41 PM

But something caused intelligences to exist as unique entities.

Only if we assume a beginning to these intelligences at least in that form rather than a eternally preexisting status....pretty much how most traditional Christians view God, nothing caused God to be God, he is the first cause. So for my theory, our intelligences were the first cause and the differences have always existed being part of that first cause.

Got to run to a dentist appt. If I remember (and these days that is less than a 50-50 chance, sigh) I will come back and see if I can be clearer than I was before on my really speculative ideas that made no sense above. :P

Edited by calmoriah, 03 January 2011 - 02:42 PM.

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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
UMW forever!

#160 CV75

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 04:41 PM

Hence, for whatever reason, some spirit children perform proactively and positively in the pre-existence and others do not.

This particular point is more valid. I would rephrase it as, "Because of their individual agency, which no one else but that individual can control or account for, some of God's children perform proactively and positively in some or all areas of eternal progression and others do not, in any estate they have existed in thus far." The assertion that "God made me this way" when dissatisfied with one's spiritual condition is what I find specious and damaging to eternal progress.
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