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More evidence for BOM antiquity?


consiglieri

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Genesis 1:2 refers to "the deep," which is generally understood by Old Testament scholars to be the formless body of primeval water surrounding the land which is in the beginning completely submerged.

After this, the Creation appears to take place by dividing: (1) God divides the light from the darkness; (2) God divides the waters above from the waters below; (3) God divides the waters below from the dry land; (4) God creates the lights in the sky to divide the light from the darkness (again!); and, (5) God divides man from himself in order to create woman.

In short, God takes a formless, chaotic mass and creates all things through a process of division.

___________

It is possible this ancient view of Creation may provide a backdrop which helps us more fully understand Lehi's words in 2 Nephi 2, especially his enigmatic reference to "a compound in one."

For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, . . . all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

Wherefore it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, . . .

And if these (opposites) are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

(2 Nephi 2:11-13)

____________

It therefore seems plausible that Lehi was forging his argument based upon the ancient view of Creation, against which backdrop it seems to make more sense than without it; his argument for "opposition in all things" being buttressed by the account of Creation in which all things were created through division, thereby creating opposition in all things.

If this is so, it seems a strong mark in favor of the ancient Semitic authorship of the Book of Mormon.

I have some other thoughts to share, but will wait to see if there is any interest.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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would anyone at the time of Joseph Smith been aware of the "ancient view of Creation"?

can I offer my own bits of "evidence", subject of course to the same query i posted above.

My tidbit:

Not too long ago the son of an ancient American linguist translated a "term" and his translation was along the lines of "and it came to pass" that is not his exact translation but the meaning is still there.

(i had another tidbit but need to develop it more, it has to do with ancient american people carving the "head" of their kings in stone and appearance of such type of practice in the BoM)

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Genesis 1:2 refers to "the deep," which is generally understood by Old Testament scholars to be the formless body of primeval water surrounding the land which is in the beginning completely submerged.

After this, the Creation appears to take place by dividing: (1) God divides the light from the darkness; (2) God divides the waters above from the waters below; (3) God divides the waters below from the dry land; (4) God creates the lights in the sky to divide the light from the darkness (again!); and, (5) God divides man from himself in order to create woman.

In short, God takes a formless, chaotic mass and creates all things through a process of division.

___________

It is possible this ancient view of Creation may provide a backdrop which helps us more fully understand Lehi's words in 2 Nephi 2, especially his enigmatic reference to "a compound in one."

____________

It therefore seems plausible that Lehi was forging his argument based upon the ancient view of Creation, against which backdrop it seems to make more sense than without it; his argument for "opposition in all things" being buttressed by the account of Creation in which all things were created through division, thereby creating opposition in all things.

If this is so, it seems a strong mark in favor of the ancient Semitic authorship of the Book of Mormon.

I have some other thoughts to share, but will wait to see if there is any interest.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

This is a nice observation. Thanks so much for sharing. It seems to me that the use of merismus via the opposite word pairs life/death, corruption/incorruption, happiness/misery, sense/insensibility reflects the use of polar expression as the frame work for creation in Genesis 1 via the word pair "heaven and earth."

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This is a nice observation. Thanks so much for sharing. It seems to me that the use of merismus via the opposite word pairs life/death, corruption/incorruption, happiness/misery, sense/insensibility reflects the use of polar expression as the frame work for creation in Genesis 1 via the word pair "heaven and earth."

Thank you so much for your completely unsolicited comments, David. :P

I think you make an excellent point (and note your Skousenesque usage of "happiness" in opposition to "misery" rather than the current Book of Mormon's "holiness").

It may be significant that the Book of Mormon's only reference to Christ as "Mediator" comes in this chapter (28), meaning one who intervenes between two parties in opposition in order to try to help them reach an agreement; when "mediate" is used as an intransitive verb, it may also mean, "be between," as in "to be between two stages, ideas, times, or things."

Similarly, the Messiah is described twice in this chapter as making "intercession" (9,10), which appears to come from the Latin meaning literally to "go between."

("Intercession" is used in the Book of Mormon only here and twice by Abinadi in Mosiah 14:12;15:8.)

Finally, Lehi seems to be using all of this as a backdrop by way of introducing the "opposition" that he wishes to address, namely "the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter." (15)

I believe that Lehi is attempting to answer the age-old question of why God put the forbidden fruit in Eden if he didn't really want man to fall; Lehi begins by arguing from what is understood; the opposition used by God in creating all things did not end with the Creation per se, but continued into the Garden of Eden, necessitating the creation of the two trees; one forbidden and the other the tree of life. (It is not until verse 25 that Lehi drops the bombshell about how it appears the Fall was intended by God.)

The two trees are of interest, because they may be two sides of the same coin; one is the tree of knowledge of good and evil (a phrase Lehi eschews in favor of simply saying "forbidden fruit") and the other is the tree of life.

But the tree of life was anciently associated with "wisdom," and hence both trees may have been seen as avenues to knowledge/wisdom, the primary difference between them being that one was forbidden and the other was not. I don't know if this last leads anywhere of relevance, but I should not be surprised if there is some ancient tradition accounting for the creation of the two trees by having one divided from the other.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, . . . all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

Wherefore it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, . . .

And if these (opposites) are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

(2 Nephi 2:11-13)

Could this be JS's greatest wisdom (albeit not original)? Can it be used to argue for a physical/computational view of life and consciousness? For something to not be dead and insensible it must have parts! There must be "opposites" for there to be distinctions, "bits", 010010110101010 and for information. Dark and light, but also one and zero! Intelligent activity requires parts that interact (compounded in one) but a single wonder substance (say "a soul" or "pure intelligence") cannot explain the existence of selves or consciousness. Therefore, if spirit is implicated in these matters, it must be in a nonmagical way something like the way the brain is involved (it has parts and "computes"). Spirit must be just more like matter or even be matter. Distinctions in space and time --physics as the basis.

Of course, I think all one really needs to do is study matter and its interactions to explain things at a foundational level and I prefer to appeal to evidence and successful theoretical entities like atoms and neurons but JS has a point about there needing to be "parts". Now if we could just hear about the mechanism.

Of course, this really not so deep in the end and already present in the idea of yin and yang. The good stuff happens after you start with the details--the science.

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Of course, this really not so deep in the end and already present in the idea of yin and yang. The good stuff happens after you start with the details--the science.

Speaking of details, who knew of yin and yang either in Jerusalem of 600 BC or in New York of AD 1829?

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  • 3 weeks later...

But the tree of life was anciently associated with "wisdom," and hence both trees may have been seen as avenues to knowledge/wisdom, the primary difference between them being that one was forbidden and the other was not. I don't know if this last leads anywhere of relevance, but I should not be surprised if there is some ancient tradition accounting for the creation of the two trees by having one divided from the other.

Okay. It's official.

Sometimes I really do scare myself.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

_____________________________________

http://www.meridianmagazine.com/books/100128tree.html

The Tree in the Midst of the Garden and the Temple Symbolism of the
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This is a nice observation. Thanks so much for sharing. It seems to me that the use of merismus via the opposite word pairs life/death, corruption/incorruption, happiness/misery, sense/insensibility reflects the use of polar expression as the frame work for creation in Genesis 1 via the word pair "heaven and earth."

There was recently a hubbub about a Dutch scholar who recently told the press she would present a paper in the Netherlands arguing the word ??? doesn't mean "create," but "spatially separate." Some of her comments:

"There was already water. There were sea monsters. God did create some things, but not the Heaven and Earth. The usual idea of creating-out-of-nothing, creatio ex nihilo, is a big misunderstanding.

If you know Dutch, you can read the paper here.

Here are some responses from academic oriented blogs.

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There was recently a hubbub about a Dutch scholar who recently told the press she would present a paper in the Netherlands arguing the word ??? doesn't mean "create," but "spatially separate." Some of her comments:

If you know Dutch, you can read the paper here.

Here are some responses from academic oriented blogs.

Thanks for pointing this out! Alas, I'm afraid that I do not know Dutch. Why anyone wouldn't publish in French, German, or English, I have no idea! :P

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