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dougtheavenger

Eternity As A Ring

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"I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man-the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man." - Joseph Smith, Teachings of Joseph Smith.

One of the few glimmers of intelligence I have encountered on CARM is a statement by one of the posters that our presence here can not be the result of an infinite series of events because an infinte series of events can not be completed by definition. Joseph Smith at one time likened eternity to a ring which has no beginning and no end. So what are the implications of this model of eternity; ie, as a ring?

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Does that mean that I'll experience everything from my pre-mortal life, to my mortal life, to my post-mortal (immortal) life, all over again - but slightly different because of agency? Why?

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There are 5 scripture verses in the D & C and Book of Mormon that use the phrase: "the course of the Lord is one eternal round".

This is interesting to ponder on, as I'm not even sure if can understand what "course" means here. Especially since in (for example) Alma 37:12 he says that his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round. So some imagery here that normally we might place at opposites, but God uses both, so what to think? Time for more pondering, ha ha!

There are also about eight verses in D & C, Book of Mormon, and Pearl of Great Price that use the phrase or some form: "from all eternity to all eternity". Not sure how to 'mechanically' explain that (i.e. how many eternities are there in a [possibly] infinite multi-metaverse), but something about the ideas it is meant to convey seems to need a double eternity, or an eternity at either end bookmarking all the eternity in between (no doubt the phrase is somewhat poetic).

One of the things I have personally come to take eternity as, can be called "cycle" (but this is not a scriptural word). A cycle is a round, also. But in any case, it is observable, that what dies is also born, and what is born will die. There is no better showing than a garden . . . the seed dies, but the fruit is born . . . the fruit dies, but the seed is born. Also when we died to the pre-mortal life, we were born here, and when we die from here, we will be born elsewhere. As well, the cycle of family . . . we are infants, then grow, then marry, then produce more infants, then grow old. The cycle never ends, although it is populated with different individuals. None of this is a conclusive picture of "eternity" but just to get the thinking juices started.

In other words . . . IS there any death or birth? The answer is yes and no. There are many deaths, many births (corresponding with new progressions, planes, cycles) . . . and there are no deaths or births, because it is still ME, I am one being despite my multiple experiences.

There is that awesome scripture in D & C that talks about the endlessness of God's punishments but then says, that doesn't mean it won't stop (also see Mosiah 27:29). Also D & C describes celestiality as the potential for endless lives (plural; such as D & C 132:24, 55).

Also I am noticing that while we most of address Heavenly Father, Joseph Smith was wont to address as Eternal Father.

So the point is I suppose that we really have not plumbed any depths on what eternity means, and that it does mean something qualitative rather than quantitative.

Maybe this also . . . 2 Ne 9:39

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Trying to conceive of no time - eternity is mind-boggling.

The closest thing we can experience is what Eckhart Tolle explained - eternity is in the "now."

You cannot now feel something yesterday, or tomorrow, but only in the moment.

"Be still and know that I am God." - Maybe it also could be said, "Be aware & appreciate the moment & know God/eternity."

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Couldn't the seasonal cycles of a linear year be considered a round?

Couldn't it also mean an eternal round is like seasonal cycles with post-mortals/immortals/gods working with a new generation of pre-mortals, develop into their mortal existence/world, develop into their post-mortal existence/world? These post-mortal graduates then continue the cycle?

In a way we would experience the pre-mortal, mortal, and post-mortal existence each time there's a generation of children.

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So the point is I suppose that we really have not plumbed any depths on what eternity means, and that it does mean something qualitative rather than quantitative.

Maybe this also . . . 2 Ne 9:39

Good point.

In SundaySchool, we were discussing how Jesus came in the "meridian of time."

I asked the teacher, "How can that be - since he came 2,000 years ago & Adam & Even are believed to have lived 6,000 years ago (4,000 BC)?"

He said, what any good teacher would say, "Take that question home, study it, & report back." ;)

So, I did & realized this isn't math class - so meridan in this context means, the most significant event - like the climax of a story.

It's somewhat mind-boggling to consider anything except linear experiences...

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=uY_ZgAvXsuw (the 10 dimensions)

And I don't think it's essential we understand more than what is important we understand.

Like in City Slickers, the purpose of life is to "Remember ONE thing."

Edited by HeatherAnn

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Couldn't the seasonal cycles of a linear year be considered a round?

Couldn't it also mean an eternal round is like seasonal cycles with post-mortals/immortals/gods working with a new generation of pre-mortals, develop into their mortal existence/world, develop into their post-mortal existence/world? These post-mortal graduates then continue the cycle?

In a way we would experience the pre-mortal, mortal, and post-mortal existence each time there's a generation of children.

Yeah, there are a lot of cycles, aren't there? "As above so below."

It also reminds me of reincarnation... eternal progress.

If God is All-Knowing & our goal is to become like God... then experiencing the "all" may be required.

Yet, maybe we don't need to experience everything ourselves, but to feel such empathy that we do vicariously.

Edited by HeatherAnn

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Yeah, there are a lot of cycles, aren't there? "As above so below."

It also reminds me of reincarnation... eternal progress.

If God is All-Knowing & our goal is to become like God... then experiencing the "all" may be required.

Yet, maybe we don't need to experience everything ourselves, but to feel such empathy that we do vicariously.

Vicariously or to actually guide us. I liken much of this to the temple workers who guide me through the halls and rooms because I have this lost look on my face. They know the process very well because they have experienced it first-hand for themselves and help others along in the experience. Me, I might be experiencing it for the first time.

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I don't embrace the idea of an infinite regression of Gods, nor do I believe that we will ever become exactly as God is, create and rule over planets of our own, and populate them with our own spirit children who we will redeem with our "Only Begotten Sons" (I'm very uncomfortable with that idea specifically) and later exalt to become exactly like us, ad infinitum. So I think all Joseph (who I've always thought of as a very visual teacher) was saying was that our spirits, in some form, have no beginning and no end. I think he was simply using his ring as an object lesson, since it's impossible to visually demonstrate the concept of a line stretching infinitely in both directions.

Of course, I could be wrong. Either way, I guess it's just something that we, in our mortal bodies and in this fallen world, can't comprehend.

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I don't embrace the idea of an infinite regression of Gods, nor do I believe that we will ever become exactly as God is, create and rule over planets of our own, and populate them with our own spirit children who we will redeem with our "Only Begotten Sons" (I'm very uncomfortable with that idea specifically) and later exalt to become exactly like us, ad infinitum. So I think all Joseph (who I've always thought of as a very visual teacher) was saying was that our spirits, in some form, have no beginning and no end. I think he was simply using his ring as an object lesson, since it's impossible to visually demonstrate the concept of a line stretching infinitely in both directions.

Of course, I could be wrong. Either way, I guess it's just something that we, in our mortal bodies and in this fallen world, can't comprehend.

I have the same understanding as you have stated above. We have one purpose and that is to glorify our God for eternity. We may assist hiim in his work, but we will never be separate from him. He will always be our God. I may be wrong, but it is what I sense is true. I agree that this may only be a reflection the limited capacity of my mortal understanding and abilities; I may easily be worng, but if so, it does not really matter.

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I have the same understanding as you have stated above. We have one purpose and that is to glorify our God for eternity. We may assist hiim in his work, but we will never be separate from him. He will always be our God. I may be wrong, but it is what I sense is true. I agree that this may only be a reflection the limited capacity of my mortal understanding and abilities; I may easily be worng, but if so, it does not really matter.

I agree wholeheartedly.

I understand that to have eternal life is to have God's life, just as to receive eternal punishment is to receive God's punishment, but I don't think that means that we will be "equal" with Him in any literal sense. He is the God of gods and He will always be worshiped as such; He will merely share some of His life, power, glory, knowledge, and authority with us, and perhaps have us assist Him in expanding His Creation. That's a beautiful thought to me. I would be content if He accepts the way I live the life He has blessed me with as an appropriate offering of thanks to Him, but He wants to go beyond that by sharing what He has with me and exalting me to inherit all things with His Son, if I remain faithful and do the things He has commanded me to do. I find that beyond gracious of Him and I am grateful.

However, there is a distinction, in my opinion, that must be made. Though we may become "gods," or exalted, divine beings with "all power" and angels subject to us, we will NEVER become "God" of anyone or anything. Nobody will worship us. I'm VERY uncomfortable with that idea and I'm happy to reject it.

Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are THE members of ONE eternal Godhead and, consequently, are ONE eternal God, and they always will be. The idea of replacing my Father as God of another world, much less another universe, is something I just cannot accept.

Edited by altersteve

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I agree wholeheartedly.

I understand that to have eternal life is to have God's life, just as to receive eternal punishment is to receive God's punishment, but I don't think that means that we will be "equal" with Him in any literal sense. He is the God of gods and He will always be worshiped as such; He will merely share some of His life, power, glory, knowledge, and authority with us, and perhaps have us assist Him in expanding His Creation. That's a beautiful thought to me. I would be content if He accepts the way I live the life He has blessed me with as an appropriate offering of thanks to Him, but He wants to go beyond that by sharing what He has with me and exalting me to inherit all things with His Son, if I remain faithful and do the things He has commanded me to do. I find that beyond gracious of Him and I am grateful.

However, there is a distinction, in my opinion, that must be made. Though we may become "gods," or exalted, divine beings with "all power" and angels subject to us, we will NEVER become "God" of anyone or anything. Nobody will worship us. I'm VERY uncomfortable with that idea and I'm happy to reject it.

Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are THE members of ONE eternal Godhead and, consequently, are ONE eternal God, and they always will be. The idea of replacing my Father as God of another world, much less another universe, is something I just cannot accept.

Has anything been said that leads you to believe that members of this discussion believe otherwise?

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"I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man-the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man." - Joseph Smith, Teachings of Joseph Smith.

One of the few glimmers of intelligence I have encountered on CARM is a statement by one of the posters that our presence here can not be the result of an infinite series of events because an infinte series of events can not be completed by definition. Joseph Smith at one time likened eternity to a ring which has no beginning and no end. So what are the implications of this model of eternity; ie, as a ring?

I think he is saying the immortal mind has no beginning (no identifiable or definite starting point). When it becomes a mortal mind, it gets a beginning and an end (birth and death). Becoming a mortal mind keeps the immortal aspect and also adds upon it a new, “mortal mind.” The former mind ends because once experiencing mortality, it will never be the same. At the same time, a new mind begins in that the immortal mind possesses a new feature.

Its beginning occurs when it is added upon with the mortal flesh (upon birth or conception), and its end occurs when the immortal and mortal components of this new mind (or this second estate) are separated by death. Without a body, we lose (or miss) half our mind until the resurrection.

So it is “cut in two” in two senses: 1) in mortality, it takes on a “mind of flesh” as well as the “immortal mind” that learn to coexist, and 2) in death, these two dimensions are separated. It is “rejoined” when the immortal mind and the now-immortal mind of flesh are inseparably connected in the resurrection and continue as one eternal round, as did the original, immortal mind ring.

I think the image of a ring is not that time, development, experience, etc. repeat themselves for an individual in a loop fashion, but that there is no determinate beginning or end for the "mind" anywhere except mortality. I do see how the continuation of the seeds can be called a "round", but I think this is a different concept from the "immortal mind."

Edited by CV75

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"Eternity as a ring".

I remember someone who had a vision of eternity. He saw the cycle of rain, rivers to the ocean, then evaporation into the clouds.

++++++++

Regarding exaltation, I know another who had a dream. He was meeting with the master of a vast estate. He had many servants who knew exactly their duty and they were one minded with the Lord and the other servants.

This is known as Patrimony, viz. an undivided inheritance among the heirs. Joint

heirs, and subject to the direction of Lord of the estate and manor.

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One of the few glimmers of intelligence I have encountered on CARM is a statement by one of the posters that our presence here can not be the result of an infinite series of events because an infinte series of events can not be completed by definition.

Whoever said anything would be completed?

The works of God continue, And worlds and lives abound;

Improvement and progression Have one eternal round.

There is no end to matter; There is no end to space;

There is no end to spirit; There is no end to race.

There is no end to virtue; There is no end to might;

There is no end to wisdom; There is no end to light.

There is no end to union; There is no end to youth;

There is no end to priesthood; There is no end to truth.

There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;

There is no end to being; There is no death above.

There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;

There is no end to being; There is no death above.

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"I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man-the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man." - Joseph Smith, Teachings of Joseph Smith.

One of the few glimmers of intelligence I have encountered on CARM is a statement by one of the posters that our presence here can not be the result of an infinite series of events because an infinte series of events can not be completed by definition. Joseph Smith at one time likened eternity to a ring which has no beginning and no end. So what are the implications of this model of eternity; ie, as a ring?

I recall reading an interesting anecdote that ties into that. I don't have the source of the quote, so I will have to quote from memory; but I think I read it in the Journal of Discourses. The story was that one of the early leaders of the Church (one of the Apostles I think) prayed to the Lord to reveal to him the nature of eternity. Then he had a vision or a dream in which he was shown a bright ring, with a part of it passing through a cloud; and he was given to understand that the ring represented eternity, and the bit that passed through a cloud represented the portion of it that we experience in mortality.

I recall reading another passage from Joseph Smith (in connection with the Book of Abraham or the Egyptian Papyri), that "eternity" is a fixed number of years long; and he gives a numerical figure for how long it is!

My own explanation for all of this is that infinity and eternity exist as a closed loop, like the surface of the earth. You can travel around it in any direction without ever falling off the edge. It is at the same time both "infinite" (i.e. "endless," literally), but still limited. Some theoretical physicists believe that our three dimensional space is also "curved" in this way, and therefore limited. It is like the surface of the earth, but in three dimensions. You can travel along it in any direction forever without falling off the edge; but it is still limited in extent.

According to Relativity, time and space are interrelated. Journeying in space affects the passage of time. And it is all "relative," meaning that space does not have a fixed frame of reference. You cannot travel relative to space. You can only travel relative to another object in space. For this reason some have regarded time as a fourth dimension of space. If all of this is true, it would suggest that the whole of "space-time" exists as a closed loop, and therefore is limited in extent, which might allow for the possibility of multiple universes.

Edited by zerinus

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I'm not sure about this one, about whether or not eternity is a ring. The problem with eternity being a ring is that eternity endlessly repeats itself.

It seems more to me that it would be an endless cycle with a changing starting variable... recursion. But I have had no insight into the subject, so I really have no idea.

The quote though is referring to the nature of spirits, however... and not to the nature of eternity... so while it may be a correct concept that eternity is ring-like... I don't know if the quote applies to that.

Lots of thoughts, I could be wrong... but in any case... interesting.

Best Wishes,

TAO

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"I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man-the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man." - Joseph Smith, Teachings of Joseph Smith.

One of the few glimmers of intelligence I have encountered on CARM is a statement by one of the posters that our presence here can not be the result of an infinite series of events because an infinte series of events can not be completed by definition. Joseph Smith at one time likened eternity to a ring which has no beginning and no end. So what are the implications of this model of eternity; ie, as a ring?

Just a thought, but what if Heavenly Father is the uncaused cause, and when we're exalted, we join Him in His Godhead (as "Elohim") and help initatite human history by participating in the creation of the universe?

Not "another" universe, but this one?

Call it backward causality, or a temporal causality loop.

Wouldn't that fit in with the imagery of a ring, a circle, or a mobius loop???

BTW: What is a mobius loop?

Edited by inquiringmind

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What is a mobius loop?

A Möbius loop (or band or strip) is a single-sided, two-dimensional object. It has only one side and only one edge. A practical (i.e., three-dimensional) Möbius strip is made by taking a long strip of paper, giving it a half (180°) twist and then taping (or gluing) it to itself.

You can prove it has but one side by using a pen or pencil to trace a line down the center of the strip without lifting the pen and pulling the strip under it. Eventually, the line will return to the starting point and it will cover both "sides" of the strip. You can do a similar experiment with the edge.

A Möbius strip is a one-sided piece of paper, one any normal human being can create. The old "Is God so powerful He can make a one-sided piece of paper?" challenge is so easy to refute that even I can do it, without exercising the Priesthood.

A ring is a torus, which is a one-sided, no-edged, three dimensional object. A geometric line (i.e., no width or height, one dimension only: length) will be infinite in length and never cross itself within the volume of the ring. If you start at the "bottom" (it's arbitrary), you can go 'round and 'round the ring, always rising slightly with each lap, and never reach the top. I see this as the answer to Joseph's "ring analogy": it has no beginning, and it has no end, but it does not go through exactly the same points as the path gets 'better' with each turning.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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I don't embrace the idea of an infinite regression of Gods, nor do I believe that we will ever become exactly as God is, create and rule over planets of our own, and populate them with our own spirit children who we will redeem with our "Only Begotten Sons" (I'm very uncomfortable with that idea specifically) and later exalt to become exactly like us, ad infinitum. So I think all Joseph (who I've always thought of as a very visual teacher) was saying was that our spirits, in some form, have no beginning and no end. I think he was simply using his ring as an object lesson, since it's impossible to visually demonstrate the concept of a line stretching infinitely in both directions.

Of course, I could be wrong. Either way, I guess it's just something that we, in our mortal bodies and in this fallen world, can't comprehend.

There is no doctrine of the church that each of us will have our own planet to populate although we will have spirit children that will populate future worlds. It is not our doctrine the we will become GOD as Jerry Falwell once lied because GOD is our Heavenly Father who is a person and one person can not become another person, nor do our doctrines state that we can become God, because God is the godhead and the membership of the Godhead is unchanging. Our doctrines state that we will becomes gods. The little "g" is significant. This means infinite joy, eternal marriage, divine procreation, creative and rewarding work. I suppose it could involve getting a planet of our own, but that is pure speculation.

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There is no doctrine of the church that each of us will have our own planet to populate although we will have spirit children that will populate future worlds. It is not our doctrine the we will become GOD as Jerry Falwell once lied because GOD is our Heavenly Father who is a person and one person can not become another person, nor do our doctrines state that we can become God, because God is the godhead and the membership of the Godhead is unchanging. Our doctrines state that we will becomes gods. The little "g" is significant. This means infinite joy, eternal marriage, divine procreation, creative and rewarding work. I suppose it could involve getting a planet of our own, but that is pure speculation.

This is exactly what I have been trying to explain to people. Lots of Latter-day Saints believe otherwise, though.

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I recall reading an interesting anecdote that ties into that. I don't have the source of the quote, so I will have to quote from memory; but I think I read it in the Journal of Discourses. The story was that one of the early leaders of the Church (one of the Apostles I think) prayed to the Lord to reveal to him the nature of eternity. Then he had a vision or a dream in which he was shown a bright ring, with a part of it passing through a cloud; and he was given to understand that the ring represented eternity, and the bit that passed through a cloud represented the portion of it that we experience in mortality.

I recall reading another passage from Joseph Smith (in connection with the Book of Abraham or the Egyptian Papyri), that "eternity" is a fixed number of years long; and he gives a numerical figure for how long it is!

My own explanation for all of this is that infinity and eternity exist as a closed loop, like the surface of the earth. You can travel around it in any direction without ever falling off the edge. It is at the same time both "infinite" (i.e. "endless," literally), but still limited. Some theoretical physicists believe that our three dimensional space is also "curved" in this way, and therefore limited. It is like the surface of the earth, but in three dimensions. You can travel along it in any direction forever without falling off the edge; but it is still limited in extent.

According to Relativity, time and space are interrelated. Journeying in space affects the passage of time. And it is all "relative," meaning that space does not have a fixed frame of reference. You cannot travel relative to space. You can only travel relative to another object in space. For this reason some have regarded time as a fourth dimension of space. If all of this is true, it would suggest that the whole of "space-time" exists as a closed loop, and therefore is limited in extent, which might allow for the possibility of multiple universes.

If I understand Einstein's theory, if you set off from point A and travel in straight line, you will leave Earth and travel to the other end of the universe. If you keep going in a straight line, you will eventually come back to point A because space is curved.

Applying the same model to time, suggests that when you reach the end of time and keep going, the first moment after the end of time is the beginning of time.

I admit, this sounds a bit crazy, but who knows.

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I recall reading another passage from Joseph Smith (in connection with the Book of Abraham or the Egyptian Papyri), that "eternity" is a fixed number of years long; and he gives a numerical figure for how long it is!

I'd be very interested in that passage (if you could find it, or if anyone else could refer me to it.)

Could this be why Mormons use the plural term "eternities"?

Could there be more than one "eternity"?

Edited by inquiringmind

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If I understand Einstein's theory, if you set off from point A and travel in straight line, you will leave Earth and travel to the other end of the universe. If you keep going in a straight line, you will eventually come back to point A because space is curved.

Applying the same model to time, suggests that when you reach the end of time and keep going, the first moment after the end of time is the beginning of time.

I admit, this sounds a bit crazy, but who knows.

Time being "ring" shaped does not necessarily mean that when you go around it once you will start repeating the same experiences or events again. I don't think it works that way.

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