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Origen On The Anthropomorphic God


Sargon

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The Trinity seems to be a hot topic these days, probably due in part to Kerry Shirt's excellent podcasts on the subject. I just received a copy of Barry Bickmore's "Restoring the Ancient Church: Joseph Smith and Early Christianity". It was not easy to get my hands on, since they are out of print.

I discovered a jewel of a quote in there by Origen. It is found on pg 90, also here:

http://www.fairlds.org/Restoring_the_Ancie...rch/chap03.html

"The Jews indeed, but also some of our people, supposed that God should be understood as a man, that is, adorned with human members and human appearance. But the philosophers despise these stories as fabulous and formed in the likeness of poetic fictions."44

It can be found here also: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=88939571

What this quote shows is that Origen, who was a strong and influential figure in Trinitarian development, knowingly bowed to the philosophical ideas of Greek thought. What place does Greek philosophy have in determining truth? How was poor old Moses ever supposed to know the identity of God without the all-important influence of Pythagoras, Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates? I don't know he managed!!

Barry has on his site a great joke

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/2671/joke.html

Jesus said, Whom do men say that I am?

And his disciples answered and said, Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elias, or other of the old prophets.

And Jesus answered and said, But whom do you say that I am?

Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Logos, existing in the Father as His rationality and then, by an act of His will, being generated, in consideration of the various functions by which God is related to his creation, but only on the fact that Scripture speaks of a Father, and a Son, and a Holy Spirit, each member of the Trinity being coequal with every other member, and each acting inseparably with and interpenetrating every other member, with only an economic subordination within God, but causing no division which would make the substance no longer simple."

And Jesus answering, said, "What?"

Sargon

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Sargon,

What this quote shows is that Origen

What Origen quotes show is that he was consistent with the Bible.

What this quote shows is that Origen, who was a strong and influential figure in Trinitarian development, knowingly bowed to the philosophical ideas of Greek thought. What place does Greek philosophy have in determining truth? How was poor old Moses ever supposed to know the identity of God without the all-important influence of Pythagoras, Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates? I don't know he managed!!

Do you think the apostle John "bowed to the philosophical ideas of Greek thought" when he used the term "logos"?

I discovered a jewel of a quote in there by Origen. It

I believe this is a better jewel by Origen ... Origen writings consistent with other early Christians like Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria. Irenaeus was a disciple of the great Polycarp, who was a direct disciple of John the Apostle (see below).

Origen (The Fundamental Doctrines 4:4:1 [A.D. 225])

"No, rejecting every suggestion of corporeality, we hold that the Word, the Wisdom, was begotten out of the invisible and incorporeal God, without anything corporal being acted upon . . . the expression which we employ, however, that there was never a time when he did not exist, is to be taken with a certain allowance. For these very words ‘when’ and ‘never’ are terms of temporal significance, while whatever is said of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is to be understood as transcending all time, all ages, and all eternity".

Origen (Fundamental Doctrines 1:1:6 [A.D. 225])

"Since our mind is in itself unable to behold God as he is, it knows the Father of the universe from the beauty of his works and from the elegance of his creatures. God, therefore, is not to be thought of as being either a body or as existing in a body, but as a simple intellectual being, admitting within himself no addition of any kind".

Irenaeus of Lyons (Against Heresies 2:13:3 [A.D. 189])

"Far removed is the Father of all from those things which operate among men, the affections and passions. He is simple, not composed of parts, without structure, altogether like and equal to himself alone. He is all mind, all spirit, all thought, all intelligent, all reason . . . all light, all fountain of every good, and this is the manner in which the religious and the pious are accustomed to speak of God"

Clement of Alexandria (Fragment from On Providence [A.D. 200])

"Being is in God. God is divine being, eternal and without beginning, incorporeal and illimitable, and the cause of what exists. Being is that which wholly subsists. Nature is the truth of things, or the inner reality of them. According to others, it is the production of what has come to existence; and according to others, again, it is the providence of God, causing the being, and the manner of being, in the things which are produced".

Clement of Alexandria (Fragment from On Providence [A.D. 200])

"What is God? God, as the Lord says, is a spirit. Now spirit is properly substance, incorporeal, and uncircumscribed. And that is incorporeal which does not consist of a body, or whose existence is not according to breadth, length, and depth. And that is uncircumscribed which has no place, which is wholly in all, and in each entire, and the same in itself".

Clement of Alexandria (Miscellanies 5:12 [A.D. 208]).

"No one can rightly express him wholly. For on account of his greatness he is ranked as the All, and is the Father of the universe. Nor are any parts to be predicated of him. For the One is indivisible; wherefore also it is infinite, not considered with reference to inscrutability, but with reference to its being without dimensions, and not having a limit. And therefore it is without form"

And Jesus answered and said, But whom do you say that I am? Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Logos

Do you think Jesus is "logos" ... the apostle John wrote he was "logos".

The word Logos is the term by which Christian theology in the Greek language designates the Word of God. Before John had consecrated this term by adopting it, the Greeks and the Jews had used it to express religious conceptions.

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The problem Origen is talking about relates, in large measure, to the inability of Greek philosophy to see the 'living relationship' between the 'intelligence' or 'intelligences' and the forms it manifests through - bringing creation about through the forms themselves. Within the context of LDS thought, 'intelligences' are unbegotten, uncreated, and eternal, but at the same time, are not separate from the forms it creates through SELF-observation and replication according to the procreative functions appropriate for a given form in a given context. It, the intelligence(s), is what moves the forms 'forward in development' and causes 'expansion of being' through lucidity. The less lucid the intelligence is through a manifestation, the less 'aware' it is beyond its immediate 'form'. It's 'observational state' is extremely limited.

'God', in their (the Greek philosophers) estimation, is solely linked with the notion that the 'intelligences' or the unbegotten is wholy separate and wholy transcendent from man and any other being. Man has no 'innate' connection to the intelligence(s) and certainly is not the intelligence(s) at a fundamental Self-level. Therefore, man is at the mercy - or not - of whatever is 'higher' than him in an external way. He certainly isn't 'equal to God' - and certainly isn't nor will be 'God'. We see this arise in the 'convetional Christian' theology of the Trinity which only allows for ONE linking of the 'unbegotten' with the 'begotten' (Christ) - and it is most pronounced in Islam with their understanding of 'Allah' that allows for absolutely none of that begetting. Creation, in these systems, is an idol and the destructive tendencies that this leads to are very apparent in the history of 'Christianity' and 'Islam'.

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Thank you Johnny, for you have played beautifully into my thoughts. After reading the quotes from Johnny's post, consider some, not all, of these summaries:

Thales (546 B.C.) said that God is mind (nous). The universe is alive and full of divine power. "Everything is full of Gods." He even noted that a stone had a soul.

Anaximander (532 B.C.) - the beginning and the fundamental substance (stoicheion) of things is an infinite something - "The Boundless" as he designates it. He also says the "apeiron", the absolute is the source of all things.Other elements are constantly being exchanged, but the Boundless cannot partake of this changeableness, or else it would pass away. The Boundless is not like the other elements.

This Boundless is uncreated and indestructible, being itself primary. It has no cause, but causes all other things.

Heracleitus (500 B.C.) - God is wisest of all. When we die our souls mount up and live. The deathless are dead, the dead are deathless.

Pythagoras (532 B.C.) - The ruler and cause (arche) of all things is one eternal God, unique, unmoving, wholly like himself and different from all else. Being is one and there can be none else.

Xenophanes (536 B.C.) - God is one and incorporeal. Neither in appearance nor in mind does he resemble mortals. God is without parts (homoion pantei) defined spherical and perceptive in all parts. The Unmoving, the effective cause, but most simply the existing one. There can only be one (sounds like a movie!). He is neither boundless nor bound, neither the center, nor moving, nor motionless, etc. He is everywhere the same.

Melissus (440 B.C.) - If nothing exists there is nothing to talk about. If something exists it is either created or timeless. If created it must come out of something else. It cannot come out of what does not exist, yet neither can it come out of what does exist, therefore what exists has always existed. It is unperishable and uncreated, therefore it is boundless, and hence one, hence unmoving, since the infinite has nowhere to go. There is no empty space or the one would fill it.

Anaxagoras (428 B.C.) - no creation and no passing away, just an eternal mixing and reshuffling of elements. Nous came and gave structure to chaos. Nous is independent of all things. Only mind is unlimited and self-existent. It is the great mover, itself unmoved and invulnerable. Mind gives meaning, and hence being, to all things.

Empedocles (444 B.C.) - God has no human body parts, but he is sacred, ineffable, indescribable, Mind (Phren), filling the whole vast universe with his thoughts. He is not known through the senses, but with the intellect, right reasoning, dikaios logos.

Protagoras (440 B.C.) - He doesn't know whether the Gods exist or not.

Socrates (399 B.C.) - the divinity in us is invisible.

Antisthenes (444 B.C.) - No one can ever know God because there is nothing to compare Him with (no eikon)

Euclid (440 B.C.) - Some call God intellect (phronesis), some god, some mind (nous). Only the Good exists. its opposite is nonexistence. This one Good is uniform and always the same.

Plato (347 B.C.) - The boundless, the limit or definition (number, measure), the mixture of these both = our universe, the creator and cause of it all, God.

God is simple, eternal, pure mind.

The operation of the mind is obvious by looking at the motion of the celestial bodies.

God is good and causes all good.

Mind, not just necessity created all things.

This cosmos is a living organism with a mind (nous), truly created by the providence (pronoia) of God.

Aristotle (347 B.C.) - Only philosophy contemplates the immobile, immaterial, self-existent substratum. The most basic of all first principles is that nothing can be and not be at the same time. It cannot have parts, as these are limiting, and the infinite is not limited. Hence God is infinite and unlimited. The great primal body, moving on its own axis, is uncreated, indestructible and not subject to increase of diminution.

Epicurus (306 B.C.) - God is an immortal, imperishable - "aphtharton".

Philo (39 A.D.) - God is simple, absolutely one, and unmixed. He has no parts, no body, which would diminish him, therefore God is not compound. While he is older than the cosmos, he is the creator of the cosmos. He is a monad, One. Impossible to view God, all we can comprehend is His existence, everything else is beyond us.

Appollonius (1st century A.D.) - God is one and apart from all things, He is utterly unlike anything corporeal (bodily in nature). God needs nothing, he is mind and has no organs.

Plutarch (120 A.D.) - God is not like man or anything on earth. has no body, great or small, but is unutterable, indefinable, incomparable, to anything else.

Plotinus (242 A.D.) - God embraces all, all nous, all God, all soul. Being all good, why should he change? Having all things present with him, where would he go? Being perfect, what more can he seek? Mind is all, embracing itself all in itself, it is one and eternal, having no past, present and future. Mind supports being and being is the substance of mind. For to know is to be, each the cause of the other, but though they are two, they are one. To seek is the act of an unsatisfied mind, nous and being are the same, the idea is inseparable from the Nous that has it; the substance of thought is thought. All matter is evil, there is nothing true and good in it, since it is the opposite of perfect being.

Do you wonder from whence Clement, Irenaeus, and Origen received their training?

John using the term "logos" is not problematic. In the LDS church we frequently use the word Trinity, though we do neat mean it as you do. We 'frequently use the term "priesthood", though we do not mean as most do. We frequently use the word "grace", though we do not mean as most do. It is ok to employ terms from other cultures, so long as you do not compromise your doctrine. John clearly did not teach a "Logos" in the way that later theologians came to understand it, as testified by John 17:20-21.

Sargon

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Sargon,

Do you wonder from whence Clement, Irenaeus, and Origen received their training?

You are missing the big picture ... are the writings of Clement, Irenaeus, and Origen consist with the Bible?

In order to articulate some doctrines the early Christians used certain notions of philosophical origin. In doing this they did not submit the faith to human wisdom.

John using the term "logos" is not problematic.

Do you believe that the Son was literally the Word of God, the "logos"?

It is ok to employ terms from other cultures, so long as you do not compromise your doctrine.

Do the writings of clement, Irenaeus, and Origen compromise the doctrine that is revealed by the Bible ... I don't think so.

John clearly did not teach a "Logos" in the way that later theologians came to understand it, as testified by John 17:20-21.

How did not the apostle John teach "Logos" ... John 17:20-21 is not about John's teaching of "Logos" ... if you think it is then please explain how.

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From John 17:21-32:

  • The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mindâ??
    Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
    So they might be one heart and mind with us.
    Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
    The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
    So they'll be as unified and together as we areâ??
    I in them and you in me.
    Then they'll be mature in this oneness,
    And give the godless world evidence
    That you've sent me and loved them
    In the same way you've loved me.

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Severian,

Do you then believe that the Father was literally in the Son ... please explain?

Do you then believe that God was in Christ ... please explain?

I really can't speak for St. John.

You know, both sides of this question have made good arguments over time.

I suppose the ambiguity of the New Testament allows this. Since I am LDS, I will lean that way at Church, but here on the Internet, I will confess to not knowing. I doubt Origen would fault me on that.

BTW, did you know that the Universalists cite Origen as the origin of Universalist thought?

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Do you then believe that the Father was literally in the Son ... please explain?

Do you then believe that God was in Christ ... please explain?

....

How did not the apostle John teach "Logos" ... John 17:20-21 is not about John's teaching of "Logos" ... if you think it is then please explain how.

Sigh....Johnny you know what we believe. The point of this thread is this:

In order to articulate some doctrines the early Christians used certain notions of philosophical origin.

At least you recognize it.

Sargon

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Sargon,

Sigh....Johnny you know what we believe. The point of this thread is this:

I know that the Mormon belief of a Anthropomorphic God is not consistent with Scripture.

At least you recognize it.

I recognize that Origen words of a "incorporeal God" and that "God, therefore, is not to be thought of as being either a body or as existing in a body" is consistent with the Bible.

I recognize that the stories that God is a man with human members are "in the likeness of poetic fictions".

I recgonize that Moses did not see God as a man with human members but Moses saw the glory of God.

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From John 17:21-32: ... I in them and you in me.
Do you then believe that the Father was literally in the Son ... please explain?

Do you then believe that God was in Christ ... please explain?

Of course not. According to Strong's and Thayer's "one" is of the same mind (and heart). "In" is standing next to each other as a support (moral or otherwise).

On the other hand, trinitarian logic, which was not extant among the ECF, forces John 17 to mean the we become part of the Godhead as johnny sarcastically wonders.

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BCSpace,

Of course not. According to Strong's and Thayer's "one" is of the same mind (and heart). "In" is standing next to each other as a support (moral or otherwise).

Jesus' tells us how they "are one",

John.10

[30] I and my Father are one.

[38] But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

John.14

[10] Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

John.17

[21] That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

On the other hand, trinitarian logic, which was not extant among the ECF, forces John 17 to mean the we become part of the Godhead as johnny sarcastically wonders.

Trinitarian logic is consistent with the Bible. Trinitarian logic is consistent with the ECF's:

Tertullian (Against Praxeas 25 [A.D. 216])

"Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are one essence, not one Person, as it is said, â??I and my Father are Oneâ?? [John 10:30], in respect of unity of Being, not singularity of number"

Tertullian,Apology,21(A.D. 197),in ANF,III:34-35

We have already asserted that God made the world, and all which it contains, by His Word, and Reason, and Power. It is abundantly plain that your philosophers, too, regard the Logos--that is, the Word and Reason--as the Creator of the universe...And we, in like manner, hold that the Word, and Reason, and Power, by which we have said God made all, have spirit as their proper and essential substratum, in which the Word has inbeing to give forth utterances, and reason abides to dispose and arrange, and power is over all to execute. We have been taught that He proceeds forth from God, and in that procession He is generated; so that He is the Son of God, and is called God from unity of substance with God. For God, too, is a Spirit. Even when the ray is shot from the sun, it is still part of the parent mass; the sun will still be in the ray, because it is a ray of the sun--there is no division of substance, but merely an extension. Thus Christ is Spirit of Spirit, and God of God, as light of light is kindled. The material matrix remains entire and unimpaired, though you derive from it any number of shoots possessed of its qualities; so, too, that which has come forth out of God is at once God and the Son of God, and the two are one. In this way also, as He is Spirit of Spirit and God of God, He is made a second in manner of existence--in position, not in nature; and He did not withdraw from the original source, but went forth. This ray of God, then, as it was always foretold in ancient times, descending into a certain virgin, and made flesh in her womb, is in His birth God and man united."

Pope Dionysius (Letter to Dionysius of Alexandria 3 [A.D. 262])

Neither, then, may we divide into three godheads the wonderful and divine unity. . . . Rather, we must believe in God, the Father almighty; and in Christ Jesus, his Son; and in the Holy Spirit; and that the Word is united to the God of the Universe. "For," he says, "the Father and I are one," and "I am in the Father, and the Father in me."

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Sargon:

The Trinity seems to be a hot topic these days, probably due in part to Kerry Shirt's excellent podcasts on the subject. I just received a copy of Barry Bickmore's "Restoring the Ancient Church: Joseph Smith and Early Christianity". It was not easy to get my hands on, since they are out of print.

KEWL (I mean about Barry's book, not my podcasts.....well, O.K., a small kewl for my podcasts...... :P ). I am using a bit of good ole Bar's book in my podcasts as well. It is a nifty little intro to this entire subject of early Christianity.

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Johnny:

are the writings of Clement, Irenaeus, and Origen consist with the Bible?

That depends on how one interprets what they supposedly mean, and on how much context one gives them to shore up what one thinks the Bible means.....i.e., it's all interpretation..........

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e=mc2,

That depends on how one interprets what they supposedly mean, and on how much context one gives them to shore up what one thinks the Bible means.....i.e., it's all interpretation..........

Please interprete for us some Bible verses that reveal a Anthropomorphic God like the Mormon Church teaches ... the early Christians did not think there was an Anthropomorphic God.

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Hello Sargon,

Your suggestion that John's use of the term logos was not philosophical is problematic. The philosophers' use of logos preceded John's use of the term, and in fact his use of it bears very strong resemblances to what we find in Philo. Paul, too, seems to have had influences from Greek philosophy. It is my personal belief that the exclusion of reason from the truth-finding process by erecting orthodoxies, hierarchies, canons and traditions is in fact at the root of most religious error.

-CK

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Johnny:

Please interprete for us some Bible verses that reveal a Anthropomorphic God like the Mormon Church teaches ...

I just did in my most recent podcast tonight. Happy listening.......

the early Christians did not think there was an Anthropomorphic God.

Sure they did. They testified of Jesus, God Almighty.........Creator of Heaven and Earth......Redeemer and Savior...... and the exact replica of His Father.

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Sure they did. They testified of Jesus, God Almighty.........Creator of Heaven and Earth......Redeemer and Savior...... and the exact replica of His Father.

I don't think any of the biblical authors ever used the phrase "exact replica". And while some of them may have thought of him in those terms, I suppose, I mentioned above that the Gospel of John seems to use the term logos in much the same way as Philo. Philo, like Sethian gnosticism (the Jewish circle from which Chrisitianity and Johannine theology in particular may have sprung), conceives God as a pleroma (usually translated fullness; here a technical term)-- a shapeless realm-- of divine light. The logos is the image of God in the sense of being a sort of mediator between the transcendent, almost-Platonic God and the material world. It is the logos that allows for interface between the material and divine realms. Philo speaks of the logos as a "divine man". When we consider all this, we see that for Philo the logos is indeed the image of God, but is not by any means his "exact replica".

-CK

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e=mc2,

... the early Christians did not think there was an Anthropomorphic God.

Johnny boy, see the first post in this thread.

"The Jews indeed, but also some of our people, supposed that God should be understood as a man, that is, adorned with human members and human appearance. But the philosophers despise these stories as fabulous and formed in the likeness of poetic fictions."44

In fact, it was so popular in Augustine's part of the world that it is what kept him from becoming a Christian, until he discovered there were other Christians who didn't believe in an anthropomorphic God.

I was hopeless of finding the truth, from which in Thy Church, O Lord of heaven and earth, Creator of all things visible and invisible, [the Manichaeans] had turned me aside,--and it seemed to me most unbecoming to believe Thee to have the form of human flesh, and to be bounded by the bodily lineaments of our members. And because, when I desired to meditate on my God, I knew not what to think of but a mass of bodies (for what was not such did not seem to me to be), this was the greatest and almost sole cause of my inevitable error.45

Now off to PEC.

Sargon

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Sargon,

You have got to be kidding me Johnny. See the first post of this thread.

Who is "some of our people"?

Clearly Origen didn't believe in an Anthropomorphic God, Origen said "God, therefore, is not to be thought of as being either a body or as existing in a body". Origen rejected "every suggestion of corporeality".

In fact, it was so popular in Augustine's part of the world that it is what kept him from becoming a Christian, until he discovered there were other Christians who didn't believe in an anthropomorphic God.

What "other Christians" are you talking about, clearly these Christians did not believe in an Anthropomorphic God, for more quotes see the link below:

God Has No Body

http://www.catholic.com/library/God_Has_No_Body.asp

Clement of Alexandria (Fragment from On Providence [A.D. 200])

"Being is in God. God is divine being, eternal and without beginning, incorporeal and illimitable, and the cause of what exists. Being is that which wholly subsists. Nature is the truth of things, or the inner reality of them. According to others, it is the production of what has come to existence; and according to others, again, it is the providence of God, causing the being, and the manner of being, in the things which are produced".

Clement of Alexandria (Fragment from On Providence [A.D. 200])

"What is God? â??God,â?? as the Lord says, â??is a spirit.â?? Now spirit is properly substance, incorporeal, and uncircumscribed. And that is incorporeal which does not consist of a body, or whose existence is not according to breadth, length, and depth. And that is uncircumscribed which has no place, which is wholly in all, and in each entire, and the same in itself".

Clement of Alexandria (Miscellanies 5:12 [A.D. 208]).

"No one can rightly express him wholly. For on account of his greatness he is ranked as the All, and is the Father of the universe. Nor are any parts to be predicated of him. For the One is indivisible; wherefore also it is infinite, not considered with reference to inscrutability, but with reference to its being without dimensions, and not having a limit. And therefore it is without form"

Hilary of Poitiers (Commentary on the Psalms 129[130]:3 [A.D. 365]).

"First it must be remembered that God is incorporeal. He does not consist of certain parts and distinct members, making up one body. For we read in the gospel that God is a spirit, invisible, therefore, and an eternal nature, immeasurable and self-sufficient. It is also written that a spirit does not have flesh and bones. For these are the members of a body consist, and of these the substance of God has no need. God, however, who is everywhere and in all things, is all-hearing, all-seeing, all-doing, and all-assisting".

Augustine (The Trinity 5:5:6 [A.D. 408]).

"In created and changeable things what is not said according to substance can only be said according to accident. . . . In God, however, certainly there is nothing that is said according to accident, because in him there is nothing that is changeable, but neither is everything that is said of him according to substance"

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Sargon,

I know that the Mormon belief of a Anthropomorphic God is not consistent with Scripture.

...

Johnny,

You can only say that because you are so good at explaining away the OBVIOUS anthropomorphic descriptions of God that are in the Bible.

Yet, you are correct that the Mormon understanding of God cannot be proven from the Bible.

The Mormon faith does have "extra-Biblical" understanding to support its understanding of the Bible. But these extra-Biblical sources are the SAME source as the Bible itself: the Word of the Lord to the Prophets of Israel. That is not the same as the wisdom of Greek philosophers.

Here, from a Wikipedia article, is another writers thoughts, verifying again the "incorporation of much pre-Christian Greek philosophy into the Medieval Christian world view".

Condemnation of anthropomorphism

Many religions and philosophies have condemned anthropomorphism for various reasons. Some Ancient Greek philosophers did not approve of, and were often hostile to their people's mythology. These philosophers often developed monotheistic views. Plato's (427â??347 BCE) Demiurge (craftsman) in the Timaeus and Aristotle's (384â??322 BCE) prime mover in his Physics are notable examples. The Greek philosopher Xenophanes (570â??480 BCE) said that "the greatest god" resembles man "neither in form nor in mind." (Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies V xiv 109.1-3). The similarity of these philosophers' concepts of god to the concepts found in the Bible facilitated the incorporation of much pre-Christian Greek philosophy into the Medieval Christian world view by the Scholastics, most notably Thomas Aquinas. Anthropomorphism of God is condemned by Islam, since Muslims feel that God is beyond human limits of physical comprehension.

Richard

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erichard,

You can only say that because you are so good at explaining away the OBVIOUS anthropomorphic descriptions of God that are in the Bible.

Could you please share with us these "OBVIOUS anthropomorphic descriptions of God that are in the Bible" ... I do not know of any.

Yet, you are correct that the Mormon understanding of God cannot be proven from the Bible.

It can be shown that the Mormon understanding is not consistent with the early Christians and is not consistent with the scripture of the Bible.

That is not the same as the wisdom of Greek philosophers.

Early Christians used certain notions of philosophical origin. In doing this they did not submit the faith to human wisdom.

Here, from a Wikipedia article, is another writers thoughts, verifying again the "incorporation of much pre-Christian Greek philosophy into the Medieval Christian world view".

The Apostle John also incorporated Greek philosophy into his Christain view.

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CKSalmon:

we see that for Philo the logos is indeed the image of God, but is not by any means his "exact replica".

No of course not, this doesn't come from Philo, it comes from Jesus himself. Sorry I should have clarified that it was Jesus himself who said if you have seen me you have seen the Father. What were Philip and the other Apostles looking at and talking to when Jesus said this? I'll give ya a hint, it tweren't no them thar omnipresent incorpreal spirit everywhere present, but nowhere to be found, that's a fer shure....... :P

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Hello Sargon,

Your suggestion that John's use of the term logos was not philosophical is problematic. The philosophers' use of logos preceded John's use of the term, and in fact his use of it bears very strong resemblances to what we find in Philo.

Hi CK,

You have said that the philospher's use of the term preceded John's use of the term. Then it is natural enough that John would feel it necessary to relate Christian doctrine in ways that his Greek world would understand. As Johnny has pointed out,

Early Christians used certain notions of philosophical origin. In doing this they did not submit the faith to human wisdom.

Which I do not altogether believe is incorrect. I do believe that John's later followers, ie the "Apologists", took this method to the next level and compromised the original pure doctrine. Perhaps in the long run it was not the best choice of words for John to have used(If it was indeed him that wrote them), but he could not have foreseen the length to which his words would be analyzed, dissected, debated, and interpreted. This idea is summed up by Bickmore:

And yet, it was not possible for the Church to stay completely sheltered from the sphere of Greek culture and thought, for if the gospel was to be preached in the Hellenistic world, it had to be done on Hellenistic terms. Thus, even the Apostles sometimes used Greek terms (e.g. John's logos) to get across their message, and it was recognized that the "wisdom of the world" contained some kernels of truth.70 By the middle of the second century, however, the situation had changed.71 A class of Christian writers came on the scene which later historians have termed the "Apologists." These included Aristides, Justin, Tatian, Athenagoras, and others. Intellectuals themselves, they sought to express their faith in intellectually respectable terms, but the net result of their labors was not just to translate Christian ideas into a Hellenistic idiom. Rather, they imported philosophical ideas into their thought that had been anathema to the original Christians.72 One can certainly understand the temptation to make such accommodations, since the Greeks normally saw the Christians as intellectually feeble barbarians, but in the end "the efforts of the apologists succeeded in enabling Christianity to be labeled a third-rate philosophy rather than a first-rate superstition."73
Paul, too, seems to have had influences from Greek philosophy.

No doubt, since he lived in a Greek world. Joseph Smith was influenced by American ideas of freedom of religion, love of God, family, and hard work. Paul struggled to keep the doctrine pure, while carefully conveying his message in ways that his hearers would understand.

Colossians 2

6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

It is my personal belief that the exclusion of reason from the truth-finding process by erecting orthodoxies, hierarchies, canons and traditions is in fact at the root of most religious error.

What about unreasonable creeds?

I don't think any of the biblical authors ever used the phrase "exact replica".

How about "express image"?

Sargon

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