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Rivers

Eternal Regression and Intelligence

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I've been thinking about another Latter-day Saint teaching that doesn't sit will with me.  There's the belief that God the Father had a father. And is His father had a father.  And so on forever backwards.  But I'm not really sure if it is official doctrine or not.  I believe its rooted in Joseph Smith's Sermon in the Grove shortly before his death. 

According to our other Christian friends, God is the first cause of all things being uncreated and self-existing.  While that is a mind-boggling thing to think about, it makes more sense IMO than the other option of a never-ending backward timeline.  I'm thinking of the theist argument of contingency.  If everything is contingent on something else, there had to be some kind of first cause.  And that first cause is God, or we can at least call it God.  

Our Christian friends argue that our perception of God isn't really God but a very intelligent and powerful extra-terrestrial or angel.  This is one of the major reasons they don't like to consider us Christians.  Our understanding of the very definition of God is very different from theirs.   So part of me finds their view of God to be more within the realm of rationality than our view.  But another part of me prefers our understanding of a corporeal God of passions that is coequal with us.  

Then I got thinking about D&C 93:29  which talks about Intelligence being not created or made.  Is it possible that this uncreated Intelligence was the first cause?  If so we can have our cake and eat it too (never understood that expression).  We can have a theology with a first cause while still having an embodied God that was once a man like us.  If other Christians tell us we don't believe in the same God as them, we can point to D&C 93:29.  Uncreated Intelligence.  That is essentially their view of God.  

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Is there a question here?

Mormonism teaches that God was once a mortal man who achieved exaltation.

Our Christian friends disagree but don't accept revelation beyond the Bible.

Personally, I believe if eternity goes in both directions I see no need for a first cause.

 

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Haven't we gotten past Aristotle?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_argument

The turtles really do go all the way down.

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1 hour ago, Rivers said:

I've been thinking about another Latter-day Saint teaching that doesn't sit will with me.  There's the belief that God the Father had a father. And is His father had a father.  And so on forever backwards.  But I'm not really sure if it is official doctrine or not.  I believe its rooted in Joseph Smith's Sermon in the Grove shortly before his death. 

According to our other Christian friends, God is the first cause of all things being uncreated and self-existing.  While that is a mind-boggling thing to think about, it makes more sense IMO than the other option of a never-ending backward timeline.  I'm thinking of the theist argument of contingency.  If everything is contingent on something else, there had to be some kind of first cause.  And that first cause is God, or we can at least call it God.  

Our Christian friends argue that our perception of God isn't really God but a very intelligent and powerful extra-terrestrial or angel.  This is one of the major reasons they don't like to consider us Christians.  Our understanding of the very definition of God is very different from theirs.   So part of me finds their view of God to be more within the realm of rationality than our view.  But another part of me prefers our understanding of a corporeal God of passions that is coequal with us.  

Then I got thinking about D&C 93:29  which talks about Intelligence being not created or made.  Is it possible that this uncreated Intelligence was the first cause?  If so we can have our cake and eat it too (never understood that expression).  We can have a theology with a first cause while still having an embodied God that was once a man like us.  If other Christians tell us we don't believe in the same God as them, we can point to D&C 93:29.  Uncreated Intelligence.  That is essentially their view of God.  

Most or all of the below comes from Blake Ostler:

I generally reject the idea that God the Father had a Heavenly Father.  

I also reject Creation ex Nihilo as being problematic for many reasons.  It IMO is not Biblical or originally part of Christianity.  The "problem of evil" is less or non-solvable within a Creation ex Nihilo framework.  I don't think Libertarian Free WIll is possible within Creation ex Nihilo. 

I generally believe that God the Father is the one who is "more intelligent than them all" (from the BOA) and that the Son and the Holy Spirit were essentially always or effectively always united with Him (not sure I would say eternally, I really have no strong opinion on this).

Our mortal probation is essential to our deification, but this is a product of our eternal starting point NOT a necessary condition of divinity as such.  LDS must acknowledge that the Son and the Holy Spirit were divine before they were mortal, I merely assert that God the Father was the fount of divinity before he was mortal too.

 

Concerning this question and the Sermon in the Grove and Ostler's thoughts...   here is an EXCELLENT thread:

http://www.newcoolthang.com/index.php/2006/05/the-father-has-a-father/253/

Enjoy!

Charity, TOm

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, USU78 said:

Haven't we gotten past Aristotle?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_argument

The turtles really do go all the way down.

I agree there is a problem with turtles all the way down!

I am not sure why creation ex nihilo solves the problem.  

As one who rejects creation ex nihilo, I suggest our Christian friends believe God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; but ONE God) is the uncaused cause.  I merely assert that Eternal Intelligences within the framework of unorganized matter and with God the Father as "the greatest of them all" is the uncaused cause.

Charity, TOm

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3 hours ago, Rivers said:

I've been thinking about another Latter-day Saint teaching that doesn't sit will with me.  There's the belief that God the Father had a father. And is His father had a father.  And so on forever backwards.  But I'm not really sure if it is official doctrine or not.  I believe its rooted in Joseph Smith's Sermon in the Grove shortly before his death. 

According to our other Christian friends, God is the first cause of all things being uncreated and self-existing.  While that is a mind-boggling thing to think about, it makes more sense IMO than the other option of a never-ending backward timeline.  I'm thinking of the theist argument of contingency.  If everything is contingent on something else, there had to be some kind of first cause.  And that first cause is God, or we can at least call it God.  

Our Christian friends argue that our perception of God isn't really God but a very intelligent and powerful extra-terrestrial or angel.  This is one of the major reasons they don't like to consider us Christians.  Our understanding of the very definition of God is very different from theirs.   So part of me finds their view of God to be more within the realm of rationality than our view.  But another part of me prefers our understanding of a corporeal God of passions that is coequal with us.  

Then I got thinking about D&C 93:29  which talks about Intelligence being not created or made.  Is it possible that this uncreated Intelligence was the first cause?  If so we can have our cake and eat it too (never understood that expression).  We can have a theology with a first cause while still having an embodied God that was once a man like us.  If other Christians tell us we don't believe in the same God as them, we can point to D&C 93:29.  Uncreated Intelligence.  That is essentially their view of God.  

I think “uncreated” intelligence is not the same as “unorganized and non-acting” intelligence, and verse 30 indicates that God is the one that organizes it to act. This would make Him the first cause for that stage of that intelligence just as our parents are first cause for us.

It also seems from verse 30 that “uncreated” intelligence can be organized and act in one sphere and not another and can be organized or placed in new spheres where it can act differently. The larger the sphere, the greater the action (agency), the greater the intelligence, and the greater the scope of existence. Working forward, the greater sphere represents greater salvation; working backwards, the smaller the sphere, the greater the condemnation.

Excuse the interjection of science here, but “dark energy” and “dark matter” – that which we cannot see or interact with but which makes up almost all of the physical universe -- may be analogous to intelligence inasmuch as they as/and intelligence are the precursors of both spirit and element.

So each “generation” is the first cause for the next. Everyone is an agent intelligence and a product of acting, acting upon and getting acted upon by a greater organized intelligence. Because the formulas and equations are the same going backward and forward, there is no “first” except according to one’s reckoning, which is a function of his sphere.

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Truman Madsen (not a GA and his opinion only)said something like: When we think of eternity, after every tomorrow there is another tomorrow. So it is with God and the worlds He created, without number; before every yesterday there was another yesterday.

Jesus said: The Son doeth nothing but what He seeth the Father do.

If that applies to everything the Savior did, then God the Father during His mortality was also a Savior within the jurisidiction of all the worlds He helped create under the direction of His Father / Parents / Heavenly Council.

The phrase: one eternal round / circuit / cycle has helped me not understand but ponder more on this concept.

Each software system has a lifecycle.

Seasons have an annual lifecycle.

All the planets have an orbit / cycle

I think Joseph Smith said in the King Follet sermon somethign like:  if something has a beginning then it will have an end. God et al. had no beginning and so They and we, Their offspring, will also have no end 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Rivers said:

I've been thinking about another Latter-day Saint teaching that doesn't sit will with me.  There's the belief that God the Father had a father. And is His father had a father.  And so on forever backwards.  But I'm not really sure if it is official doctrine or not.  I believe its rooted in Joseph Smith's Sermon in the Grove shortly before his death. 

According to our other Christian friends, God is the first cause of all things being uncreated and self-existing.  While that is a mind-boggling thing to think about, it makes more sense IMO than the other option of a never-ending backward timeline.  I'm thinking of the theist argument of contingency.  If everything is contingent on something else, there had to be some kind of first cause.  And that first cause is God, or we can at least call it God.  

Our Christian friends argue that our perception of God isn't really God but a very intelligent and powerful extra-terrestrial or angel.  This is one of the major reasons they don't like to consider us Christians.  Our understanding of the very definition of God is very different from theirs.   So part of me finds their view of God to be more within the realm of rationality than our view.  But another part of me prefers our understanding of a corporeal God of passions that is coequal with us.  

Then I got thinking about D&C 93:29  which talks about Intelligence being not created or made.  Is it possible that this uncreated Intelligence was the first cause?  If so we can have our cake and eat it too (never understood that expression).  We can have a theology with a first cause while still having an embodied God that was once a man like us.  If other Christians tell us we don't believe in the same God as them, we can point to D&C 93:29.  Uncreated Intelligence.  That is essentially their view of God.  

You seem to have multiple questions.  But you didn't really ask any at all.

First: "backwards timeline".  I'm not sure why this wouldn't make sense.  The laws of thermodynamics indicate that matter cannot be created nor destroyed, merely changed from one form to another.  So, it obviously makes sense that what exists now has always existed in some form.  That is a never-ending timeline in both directions. And this is science pointing this out.  Why wouldn't it make sense?  They even hypothesize that this universe has existed an infinite number of times before, exploding and imploding over and over again.  It apparently makes sense in a secular frame, but not a religious one?  Not following.

If the problem is simply conceiving an "end", we have to recognize that "Eternity" is something that we cannot truly understand in mortality.  All we can see in our minds is a line going off into the distance so far that we can't see it.  Our finite minds seek a finite end to everything.  So, to not see that end that doesn't exist, seems incongruous to us.

Our Christian Friends: Well, nothing in the Bible says anything about how God was or was not created.  He was simply there at the beginning.  But the beginning of what?  All we know is that he was there at the beginning of the creation of the universe.  But if we do indeed believe there is a heaven and hell, are we stuck believing they exist only in this universe?  So, could we theoretically travel there if we had the technology to travel that far in a short period of time?

I find that harder to believe. Or else it would possible to rescue someone from hell by simply going there.  I find it easier to believe there was something else before the Universe.  And there is nothing in the Bible that forbids the belief that we were there too.  In fact, there are multiple passages that indicate there was: Two that come to mind off the top of my head.  Not slam dunk proof. But certainly indicators.

What is God?:  They may think that our beliefs "lower" God to our level.  On the contrary.  Our beliefs allow us to see the possibility of us being "raised" to His level.  This may seem like "the glass is half full".  But there is another factor here.  When discussing aliens, there is no absolute scale of what level we are on.  We're only on comparative scales.  When speaking of God, HE IS the absolute scale.

Edited by Carborendum
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3 hours ago, TOmNossor said:

Most or all of the below comes from Blake Ostler:

I'll stick with Joseph and Brigham etc.

Plus traditional Christian concepts on God and creation make no sense to me, but I recognize they do to others.

I think the bigger question on this thread is why so many members of the Church are rejecting more and more revealed truths in favor of the old Christian traditions.

And then writing about it as a step in their personal development and a progressive approach.  How is rejecting further light and knowledge from heaven and returning to the doctrine of the apostasy progress?

 

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5 hours ago, Rivers said:

I've been thinking about another Latter-day Saint teaching that doesn't sit will with me.  There's the belief that God the Father had a father. And is His father had a father.  And so on forever backwards.  But I'm not really sure if it is official doctrine or not.  I believe its rooted in Joseph Smith's Sermon in the Grove shortly before his death. 

It's a mainstream doctrine but not everyone shares it. Famously Blake Ostler rejects it although most do accept it for various reasons - primarily the Lecture in the Grove and the King Follet Discourse not to mention that most of the early apostles also accepted it.

There lots of places this is discussed. Here's one to get you started:

https://juvenileinstructor.org/“infinite-regress”-or-“monarchical-monotheism”/

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, JLHPROF said:

I'll stick with Joseph and Brigham etc.

Plus traditional Christian concepts on God and creation make no sense to me, but I recognize they do to others.

I think the bigger question on this thread is why so many members of the Church are rejecting more and more revealed truths in favor of the old Christian traditions.

And then writing about it as a step in their personal development and a progressive approach.  How is rejecting further light and knowledge from heaven and returning to the doctrine of the apostasy progress?

 

I agree. I have hard time accepting anything after Joseph, but I think he was pretty clear in the King Follett and Sermon in the Grove about his understanding of the heavens. 

Edited by SettingDogStar

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4 hours ago, USU78 said:

Haven't we gotten past Aristotle?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_argument

The turtles really do go all the way down.

Well at least we could call them Ninja Turtles.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Is there a question here?

Mormonism teaches that God was once a mortal man who achieved exaltation.

Our Christian friends disagree but don't accept revelation beyond the Bible.

Personally, I believe if eternity goes in both directions I see no need for a first cause.

 

My question is whether my theory makes sense or not.  Since I can’t wrap my head around infinity backwards I am asking if it’s possible we can accept Intelligence as described in D&C as the the uncreated essence that started it all.  But it seems like many of you have no problem with a backward infinite timeline.  

Edited by Rivers

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

I'll stick with Joseph and Brigham etc.

Plus traditional Christian concepts on God and creation make no sense to me, but I recognize they do to others.

I think the bigger question on this thread is why so many members of the Church are rejecting more and more revealed truths in favor of the old Christian traditions.

And then writing about it as a step in their personal development and a progressive approach.  How is rejecting further light and knowledge from heaven and returning to the doctrine of the apostasy progress?

 

It is not often that I am accused of being some modernist trying to change the church.  Tastes salty! <grin>

Ostler's point is that the KFD definately did not teach that God the Father had a Heavenly Father and that the Sermon in the Grove likely didn't either (though it is fragmentally recorded in 3 non-agreeing sources).  If he is right, that means God the Father's Heavenly Father is a post Joseph extrapolation that is not supported by any scripture.

We as LDS cannot embrace all such extrapolations.  You like me surely reject Adam-God.  You must reject either post-mortal progress between kingdoms or no progress between kingdoms.  You like me likely embrace truth within the teachings of Heavenly Mother.  So we have made some similar choices and some different choices.  I will acknowledge that you are in the MAJORITY when it comes to God the Father having a Father.

I am not sure I can say that my interaction with non-LDS Christianity has zero impact on my general rejection of this teaching, but I can say two things.  There are many LDS-centric reasons to believe as I do.  And my rejection of creation ex nihilo, my belief God the Father like God the Son has a body of flesh and bone, and my insistence that when Christians (LDS and early Christians) say we can become Gods they mean it; leaves me solidly at odds with most of non-LDS Christianity. 

Oh and my general rejection (of God the Father having a Heavenly Father) means that I think it is not the best view a LDS can have, but I am fine with those who do and I don't think God is offended.

Tastes salty!

Charity, TOm

Edited by TOmNossor

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If there is a first turtle, does that mean there could be a last turtle?  Maybe it isn't turtles all the way down , but turtles all the way around. 

The Mayans conceived of time in cycles of millions of years. 

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3 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

If there is a first turtle, does that mean there could be a last turtle?  Maybe it isn't turtles all the way down , but turtles all the way around. 

The Mayans conceived of time in cycles of millions of years. 

 

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24 minutes ago, TOmNossor said:

We as LDS cannot embrace all such extrapolations.  You like me surely reject Adam-God.  You must reject either post-mortal progress between kingdoms or no progress between kingdoms You like me likely embrace truth within the teachings of Heavenly Mother.  So we have made some similar choices and some different choices.  I will acknowledge that you are in the MAJORITY when it comes to God the Father having a Father.

Apparently you don't know me very well.

And I disagree with your post-Joseph theory on polytheism.

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1 hour ago, Rivers said:

Nope.  There has to be a first turtle.  At least in my mind.

I do not think the minds of immortals function like ours do. It is possible the answer is incomprehensible to us. I had an idea as to how it would work and I tried to write it out but it required nonexistent verb tenses and it was not even a cohesive theory. It was just a starting point.

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56 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Apparently you don't know me very well.

And I disagree with your post-Joseph theory on polytheism.

You might have to DM on your belief in Adam-God. I don’t necessarily agree with the exact way Brigham describes it..but I don’t think he just made it up out or pure thin air. 

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8 hours ago, TOmNossor said:

I generally believe that God the Father is the one who is "more intelligent than them all" (from the BOA) and that the Son and the Holy Spirit were essentially always or effectively always united with Him (not sure I would say eternally, I really have no strong opinion on this).

I believe that there is way too much that we do not understand by phrases such as "more intelligent than them all." For instance in D&C 19:18 Jesus the Christ, the Great Jehovah, declared himself to be "the greatest of all," yet He has always bowed to the will of His Father.

I do not worry too much about any of this. I cannot comprehend eternity nor infinity. Trying to figure out a "first cause" or whatever and how such a concept fits into eternity makes my head ache, because they seem incompatible. I.E. what was there before a First Cause? If time started with a first cause, then there is no eternity.

Those are shelf items for me. I put them on a shelf of questions that will be answered at a later date but are not essential for me to know to get to the next level.

Glenn

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Glenn101 said:

I believe that there is way too much that we do not understand by phrases such as "more intelligent than them all." For instance in D&C 19:18 Jesus the Christ, the Great Jehovah, declared himself to be "the greatest of all," yet He has always bowed to the will of His Father.

I do not worry too much about any of this. I cannot comprehend eternity nor infinity. Trying to figure out a "first cause" or whatever and how such a concept fits into eternity makes my head ache, because they seem incompatible. I.E. what was there before a First Cause? If time started with a first cause, then there is no eternity.

Those are shelf items for me. I put them on a shelf of questions that will be answered at a later date but are not essential for me to know to get to the next level.

Glenn

As Joseph said, all things that have a beginning will have an end. So if we want to say that something suddenly came into existence then those things would have to suddenly go out of existence, nothing would be eternal. 

Edited by SettingDogStar
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12 hours ago, Rivers said:

I've been thinking about another Latter-day Saint teaching that doesn't sit will with me.  There's the belief that God the Father had a father. And is His father had a father.  And so on forever backwards.  But I'm not really sure if it is official doctrine or not.  I believe its rooted in Joseph Smith's Sermon in the Grove shortly before his death. 

According to our other Christian friends, God is the first cause of all things being uncreated and self-existing.  While that is a mind-boggling thing to think about, it makes more sense IMO than the other option of a never-ending backward timeline.  I'm thinking of the theist argument of contingency.  If everything is contingent on something else, there had to be some kind of first cause.  And that first cause is God, or we can at least call it God.  

Our Christian friends argue that our perception of God isn't really God but a very intelligent and powerful extra-terrestrial or angel.  This is one of the major reasons they don't like to consider us Christians.  Our understanding of the very definition of God is very different from theirs.   So part of me finds their view of God to be more within the realm of rationality than our view.  But another part of me prefers our understanding of a corporeal God of passions that is coequal with us.  

Then I got thinking about D&C 93:29  which talks about Intelligence being not created or made.  Is it possible that this uncreated Intelligence was the first cause?  If so we can have our cake and eat it too (never understood that expression).  We can have a theology with a first cause while still having an embodied God that was once a man like us.  If other Christians tell us we don't believe in the same God as them, we can point to D&C 93:29.  Uncreated Intelligence.  That is essentially their view of God.  

Rivers, this is deep water. I believe God the Father was First Cause for us - we are his children. If you are trying to understand eternity - where there is no beginning and there is no end - then you must abandon any form or degree of linear thinking and assumptions. 

Jesus says in the New Testament that he does nothing that he has not seen the Father do. This scripture is ignored by the vast majority of Christian theologians. The best answer I ever got from anyone is that we don't understand it. For us, we take it at face value. Jesus learned from the Father and the Father, at some point, lived on a world. 

For me, the King Follett discourse introduces more questions than answers. I tend to ignore it because it does not answer anything for me. It is why, for me, I accept the fact that  God the Father is my First Cause and I have no understanding of almost everything that surrounds that event. (iow, the concept of First Cause introduces as many questions as the King Follett discourse for me). 

I choose to put it on the shelf, concluding that nothing about those teachings have anything to do with Exaltation and Exaltation makes sense to me. 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Rivers said:

And that first cause is God, or we can at least call it God.  

But how did the first cause become the first cause?

Infinite regression or unknowable nonbeginning that somehow came to a point of change seem essentially the same thing to me.  The only difference is how many beings are involved....which doesn't affect how logical it is, imo.

Edited by Calm
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4 minutes ago, Calm said:

But how did the first cause become the first cause?

Infinite regression or unknowable nonbeginning that somehow came to a point of change seem essentially the same thing to me.  The only difference is how many beings are involved....which doesn't affect how logical it is, imo.

This I can agree with totally. Either way doesn't necessarily make "logical" sense because each one is just as infinite and eternal as the other. Our little human reptile brains can't handle that kind of information unless it's given to us by God. So really both are just as crazy and just as plausible until we have the question answered by God.  

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