'Rob Bowman' timestamp='1309145933' post='1209021869']
I can offer only a brief reply at this time. Perhaps later we might discuss the Trinity in one or more separate threads.
As you may know, evangelicals and other orthodox Christians differ from Mormons theologically in many ways. One of those ways pertain to the doctrine of Satan and the demons (demonology). We do not view Satan as a "god" in a positive or affirmative sense or connotation. Angels, demons, and Satan may occasionally be called "gods" in the loose sense of supernatural beings, but this is a very different usage from the Bible's most common references to "God." Satan is not the god of this earth; Paul calls him "the god of this age" (2 Cor. 4:4), meaning that Satan is the supernatural power leading the rebellion against the true God that characterizes this age as distinct from the age to come. We believe that Satan exists but we do not "believe in" Satan as an object of faith, any more than we believe in Hitler or any other evil being.
It is my understanding that the EV view of Father is that He is only spirit – iow, supernatural in some way – without even a glorified body. Satan has no physical body, though he is able to manifest as though he has one – but is supernatural, or spirit.
Remember when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness? The conversation between Jesus and Satan seems to make it clear that the earth now is the dominion of Satan – IOW, even Jesus does not deny that Satan is the god of the earth.
3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
First of all, how is it Satan was able to take Christ (a God) ANYWHERE---such as the place of Satan’s own choosing? Secondly, when Satan tells Jesus that he (Satan) will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, Jesus never denies that they belong to Satan. Instead, Jesus reminds Satan of his sin – which is that he fails to worship and serve his God!!!
In Revelation we see that Jesus is given the deed to the earth. So, who has that deed now?
What type of powers would you personally say that a "god" has? Is Paul talking about "this age" as being the age of the earth as we know it? In the end times, Satan will be allowed to use his existing powers to perform the same kinds of miracles which Jesus and His Apostles performed; including, but not limited to, raising the dead. To me, this is the kind of power which only a "god" type of being can possess. We are taught that Satan's powers will be so great that even the Elect are in danger of being fooled by him. So, what exactly are Satan and the anti-christ going to be fooling mankind about? They will manifest the same powers. What is it the anti-christ going to claim? He will be claiming to BE God. Who else but another who has the same kind of power to perform miracles which can fool the Elect, could have the power of a god if he were not a god? Even if he is of a lower or subset of those who appear to man in this earthly realm to be equal in their abilitities as "gods"? Think seriously about it.
Even if you want to call Satan’s being recognized as a god a "title", where is his god-like power coming from? Neither Satan nor the anti-christ will be performing these miracles in the name of Jesus Christ. As I recall, Revelation explains that the anti-christ will receive his power from Satan; and Satan already possesses these powers. If one stops long enough to see what these teachings will really look like as they are unfolding, it is not difficult to see that the power held by Satan is akin to at least some of the power which Jesus manifested. Jesus, however, recognized and taught that His power AND His authority came from Heavenly Father. Satan will NOT be giving this glory to Father, or worshipping his God; but, rather, he worships and gives glory to himself. This is the pride which got Satan into trouble to begin with.
The differences we are learning in our time on the earth is between good and evil. This ability is a quality of a god.
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
In addition to learning the consequences of our choices between good and evil, we should also be learning to recognize the "Good" Gods from the "evil" gods.
Also, consider that the LDS believe the Bible is literal when it describes mankind as the sons and daughters of God (the most High God - the Almighty God - Heavenly Father). It is not a stretch to think outside the box of what various men have taught about God, to also believe that Satan, as an organized Intelligence is, also a spiritual offspring of the most High God. Satan is also called "prince" - but of darkness; not the "Prince" of Peace or the source of "light" which Jesus is known as. Satan absolutely is a god; but he has fallen and is no longer able to be in the presence of Father. However, he IS able to be in the presence of Jesus:
And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
(Please note, btw, that this took place BEFORE Jesus came to the earth in the flesh – before He manifested Himself as part of any man-made Trinity theory)
As another thought, would you consider all the efforts which Jesus has accomplished and continues to accomplish in His fight against Satan, merely a fight against someone who does not have at least some of the powers of a god? To me it is ludicrous to ponder that Jesus would have such a difficult and constant battle going on with someone who does not have the powers of a god.
The biblical basis for the doctrine of the Trinity is not some superficial argument that if each person is called "g-o-d" then they must be three persons in one God. There is much, much more to it than that. When you suggest that Trinitarians have not thought sufficiently about the devil as a fourth god, you are mistaken, because you don't understand the reasoning behind the doctrine of the Trinity. I have produced a detailed outline study that presents temple content:line removed that you may find helpful.
I would agree that the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity is not some superficial argument. Un-numbered men, women, and children have lost their lives because of it. I appreciate your desire to educate me further. You should know, however, that I was raised a Lutheran and am well-versed in a doctrine which I could never accept. It is NOT the doctrine which studying the Bible has ever taught me. It was a breath of fresh air to find that the LDS Church believes in three separate and individual (non-ontological, non-same essence) Beings who make up the Godhead for our world, who are united and are one in purpose.