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Challenging God


Maidservant

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I stole this from another thread, but I didn't want to muck up that thread with a different direction I wanted to take this.

Speaking of Schroeder, I plan on checking out his new God According to God (HarperOne, 2010). The summary should raise the eyes of LDS members:

In this groundbreaking exploration, a biblical scholar and M.I.T.-trained physicist combines decades of research to change the debate between religion and science, presenting a new paradigm of how to understand God.

Gerald Schroeder has spent his career revealing the hand of God in the intricate discoveries of physics. Now, for the first time, he turns his attention to this Force, examining both the Bible and the physical world to discover the true nature of God - God according to God.

Schroeder argues that we have ignored those traits of God we find unappealing, replacing them with our personal desire for the all-knowing, all-loving, neverchanging deity that so many worship today. This leads to the age-old problem: How can there be such a God when the world is filled with tragedy? Yet Schroeder reveals that this troubling juxtaposition is really smoke and mirrors. The God revealed in the Bible is 100 percent compatible with the world as we know it today. It is our misconception of God that causesdisparity. In fact, the concept of God that atheists rail against and that believers defend is inaccurate.

In God According to God, Schroeder presents a compelling case for the true God, a dynamic God who is still learning how to relate to creation. The key to God's action in the world, says Schroeder, can be found in a well-known verse in Exodus that is typically translated "I am that which I am." Schroeder's correction that it should be translated "I will be that which I will be" reveals a God that changes Its presence to fit the ever-changing world.

This opens our eyes to other characteristics of God that we have long overlooked despite their being present in some of the most popular stories in the Bible - a God who regrets (the flood of Noah), a God who wants us to argue with Him (Jacob wrestling with God in the desert), and thus a God who changes His mind (Moses convinces God to spare the Israelite people), and a God who allowed nature, and the creation itself, from the very start, to rebel (Adam's and Eve's betrayal in Eden).

With riveting chapters on the origins of life, a scientist's view of creation, and the unique place of our planet in the galaxy, God According to God offers a radical paradigm shift that will forever change how we understand God.

This is breathtaking to me, although my first introduction to the possibility of a "learning God" was probably over 5 years ago in some forgotten thing I have read and it has stuck with me although until recently the knowledge has scared me (which is generally my first reaction to any revelation I get from God). But recently, I have learned some more things by experience and by precept that nuance this idea and well . . . ok, it still scares me.

I have come to realize that we must challenge God in order to progress. Or, at least, we must challenge "God". I don't know why this is a surprise to me since it is pivotal in the Adam and Eve portrayal.

One thing I have thought is that we have to remember that Satan wanted God's name and wanted to be worshipped as God. Therefore I think some of the most invidious deceptions we have to watch out for are not the ones that have "Satan" stamped clearly all over them, but the ones that have "God" stamped on them.

I think a very easily comprehensible example of this from our point of view in history is the racism and its consequences that were perpetrated in the world and of which the Church also partook of. Racism was fashioned from the beginning as a godly order. Of course, those who fight such a thing also realize that they are hearing God tell them to resist such things.

I always imagine President Kimball petitioning the Lord for the removal of the Priesthood Ban, and I always hear the story tell that President Kimball, not God, initiated the exchange/revelation/new reality. (I could be wrong on that.) The following is a completely fake conversation of course, but here's how I sometimes see it in my head.

Pres. Kimball: "We don't want to do this any more, and it's not right. Everyone should have the Priesthood."

God: "You're saying that you think that all men should be able to enjoy the priesthood and the consequences of that? And you don't want me to deny the Priesthood any more to people with black skin?"

Pres. Kimball: "That's what I'm saying. You know I'm right."

God: " 'Bout time."

Okay, my point isn't about racism and its consequences, whether world or church. That is just the most plain example that might resonate with the most people about how we once thought something was godly and now we realize it just isn't.

Anyway, I don't care what angle you take on this, but I would love to hear people's thoughts about struggling with God a la Jacob wrestling with the angel and Abraham arguing about Sodom, and I think I liked someone else's point in another thread that Abraham may have actually failed God's test when he tried to sacrifice Isaac.

Do we need to challenge God in order to reach our full potential as part of the assembly of the Firstborn? I may have more thoughts, but your turn first. :)

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In God According to God, Schroeder presents a compelling case for the true God, a dynamic God who is still learning how to relate to creation. The key to God's action in the world, says Schroeder, can be found in a well-known verse in Exodus that is typically translated "I am that which I am." Schroeder's correction that it should be translated "I will be that which I will be" reveals a God that changes Its presence to fit the ever-changing world.

(Bold mine)

I like the translation of Ex. 3:14 found here, http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/exo3.pdf

and·he-is-saying Elohim to Moses I-shall-become who I-am-becoming and·he-is-saying you-shall-say to·sons-of Israel I-shall-become he-sent·me to·you(p)

Considering that this is the pre-mortal Jesus Christ speaking, it makes perfect sense.

He shall become who He is becoming, the Savior of the world.

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Do we need to challenge God in order to reach our full potential as part of the assembly of the Firstborn? I may have more thoughts, but your turn first. :)

Many scriptures challenge us to seek and find (explore), and in doing so we challenge ourselves and our former conceptions by leaving our comfort zone, stepping into the darkness with faith, and progressing by being humble, teachable and faithful and true to the light we discover.

We also “challenge” God in the sense of “proving” God, as in: “prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10) We learn to prove as he has modeled in proving us: “he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; I will try you and prove you herewith.” (D&C 98:12) In proving God, he blesses us and subsequently proves us in how we respond. He proves us so we can prove Him in turn and advance from estate to estate: “we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon …and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.” (Abraham 3:25-26).

We prove God and He proves us. This is an exercise for us to both become like Him and ultimately and actually “become Him.” Mutually proving one another is part of our eternal relationship, and a key mechanism in how the relationship grows. Of course this is accomplished in love and faith, not competition and doubt. God is becoming a God that is accepted by more gods in training, and so advances from a God of many to a God of more, including a God of more gods. He proves us as we prove Him, and we prove Him as He proves us, and so we learn to become like Him.

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I am not sure if this pertains to what you're expecting, but something I was taught in the Language Training Mission (the precursor to the Missionary Training Center, but only for those destined for non-English-speaking missions) was that we needed to challenge God while on His errand.

Here's how it was put. Say you are having difficulties in your calling, such as finding learning the language or the discussions particularly challenging. Praying as if everything depended upon God, and working as if everything depended upon God entailed perhaps challenging God on the difficulty. "Dear Father, you called me to serve You and placed me here in this place to learn this language and despite my efforts I feel like I am failing to gain the fluency that I am sure I will need when I actually begin to talk with Your children in Germany. I am also having a very hard time passing off the first lesson. I know You called me to do this work, and as Nephi said, You will not call someone to do something and then not stand behind them when they need it! I am doing Your work, as You have asked, and because of this I know I have a righteous claim upon you for Your help and I am asking you to do so."

And I did see some miracles in that environment which resulted in some of the Elders and Sisters taking it to heart that Father would answer their needs.

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This is breathtaking to me, although my first introduction to the possibility of a "learning God" was probably over 5 years ago in some forgotten thing I have read and it has stuck with me although until recently the knowledge has scared me (which is generally my first reaction to any revelation I get from God). But recently, I have learned some more things by experience and by precept that nuance this idea and well . . . ok, it still scares me.

It is an interesting concept.. a "learning God".

I think there are difficulties with the view. It comes into headlong opposition with things like ominisicence, an infinitely wise God, God being perfect. I don't know how you could actually reconcile these things. Seems like it would have to be one or the other.

The key to God's action in the world, says Schroeder, can be found in a well-known verse in Exodus that is typically translated "I am that which I am." Schroeder's correction that it should be translated "I will be that which I will be" reveals a God that changes Its presence to fit the ever-changing world.

Schroeder seems to be hanging a very large hat on a single scriptural nail to solidify his thoughts. If we accept to the posited alternate translation of Ex 3:14 I certainly think it is less intelligible and I don't see how it really changes things in the way Schroeder does.

Exodus 3:14 (King James Version)

14And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AMI will be that which I will be: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AMI will be hath sent me unto you.

I don't see the verse pointing to a changing being. I think even with the alternate trans, it seems to just be saying God will continue.

I think Schroeder may be going beyond the bounds of alternate interpretation to get his point across. Because, he/she seems to be implicitly suggesting that "I will be that which I will be" actually should be understood as "I will be that which I am not". The verse doesn't say this at all, but I suppose the author is using all these other points of wrestling angels and so forth to imply this concept as the best general understanding.

Another problem I see deals with the trustworthiness of such a being. How could one reasonably hold any expectation that God is capable of providing a continued and improved condition for his children if He is only at present learning how to interact us. It creates an underlying problem that God isn't currently capable of fully knowing us. How is that reconciled with scripture like Psalms 139?

Psa 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

Psa 139:3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

Psa 139:4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Psa 139:5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Psa 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

This train of thought also challenges some of those verse that I think point to God's omniscience or conversely that LDS seem to think point to a preexistence like...

Jer 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Just some thoughts on the matter Maidservant. Curious to what you and others who think Schroeder's notions are persuasive think on the matter.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

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Just some thoughts on the matter Maidservant. Curious to what you and others who think Schroeder's notions are persuasive think on the matter.

I'm not sure if this is where Schroeder is going or not, but it seems that “learning” has so many nuances that I think that an omniscient being can still find a way to learn.

It appears He does not use His knowledge of all things to control eternal law, as evidenced in the creation (Abraham chapter 4) where He commands and waits and observes until He is obeyed (verses 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). The agency of man would certainly introduce a more complicated dynamic.

God does not use His omniscience to control our agency. He waits until we exercise it, and then responds. Each decision and action we make, which He does not control, become a new decision and action point for Him. When we use of our agency He makes decisions based on His perfect knowledge and observation and either intervenes to invite us back to the correct path or judges us to put us where we belong. Perhaps another way of looking at it is that our exercise of agency creates new knowledge for Him to consider and act upon.

At these points God finds us becoming something in relation to what He wants and He responds or rewards us accordingly. For example: “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them… Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” (Luke 12: 37-43)

When we find grace and favor with God (2 Samuel 15:35; 16:4; D&C 93:20), we establish a new reality with which He interacts, and in this sense He is omniscient yet learning.

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...

Anyway, I don't care what angle you take on this, but I would love to hear people's thoughts about struggling with God a la Jacob wrestling with the angel and Abraham arguing about Sodom, and I think I liked someone else's point in another thread that Abraham may have actually failed God's test when he tried to sacrifice Isaac.

Do we need to challenge God in order to reach our full potential as part of the assembly of the Firstborn? I may have more thoughts, but your turn first. :)

I believe in obtaining the largest concept for "God" possible. A "learning god" is far, far beneath such a concept, ergo it is fallacious. But, a caveat: if YOUR "God" is a learning god, perhaps that is how "God" will relate to you, until you learn better?

My concept for "God" demands that space-time is not fixed and immutable: every imagined outcome to a situation has to be real in the time frame in which it is placed. So: my family was killed and maimed back in 1985 when our car rolled in the desert north of Las Vegas; my then-youngest son was killed by the tractor on the beach; my youngest daughter and her mother both died in childbirth, etc. But, not HERE; not in this scenario I am typing from. I believe that "God" permits every outcome, and we learn from all of them. And furthermore, that this world is not "finished" until every soul in it is satisfied with their mortal experience. I believe a lot more than this too, but this is sufficient....

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I believe in obtaining the largest concept for "God" possible. A "learning god" is far, far beneath such a concept, ergo it is fallacious. But, a caveat: if YOUR "God" is a learning god, perhaps that is how "God" will relate to you, until you learn better?

My concept for "God" demands that space-time is not fixed and immutable: every imagined outcome to a situation has to be real in the time frame in which it is placed. So: my family was killed and maimed back in 1985 when our car rolled in the desert north of Las Vegas; my then-youngest son was killed by the tractor on the beach; my youngest daughter and her mother both died in childbirth, etc. But, not HERE; not in this scenario I am typing from. I believe that "God" permits every outcome, and we learn from all of them. And furthermore, that this world is not "finished" until every soul in it is satisfied with their mortal experience. I believe a lot more than this too, but this is sufficient....

Genesis 6:6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

:acute:

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He shall become who He is becoming, the Savior of the world.

Simple and direct. Makes sense.

Many scriptures challenge us to seek and find (explore), and in doing so we challenge ourselves and our former conceptions by leaving our comfort zone, stepping into the darkness with faith, and progressing by being humble, teachable and faithful and true to the light we discover.

We also “challenge” God in the sense of “proving” God, as in: “prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10) We learn to prove as he has modeled in proving us: “he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; I will try you and prove you herewith.” (D&C 98:12) In proving God, he blesses us and subsequently proves us in how we respond. He proves us so we can prove Him in turn and advance from estate to estate: “we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon …and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.” (Abraham 3:25-26).

We prove God and He proves us. This is an exercise for us to both become like Him and ultimately and actually “become Him.” Mutually proving one another is part of our eternal relationship, and a key mechanism in how the relationship grows. Of course this is accomplished in love and faith, not competition and doubt. God is becoming a God that is accepted by more gods in training, and so advances from a God of many to a God of more, including a God of more gods. He proves us as we prove Him, and we prove Him as He proves us, and so we learn to become like Him.

This is beautiful, CV, and this is helpful to me. In fact, as I was writing my OP, I was thinking, "Now, really, am I challenging God, or is he challenging me?" And these scriptural terms ("prove") are much better anyway, perhaps. I think what happens in my personal experience is that (usually) when I feel like I am challenging God for his problems what I find out is that what I THOUGHT was God wasn't--but some tradition of captivity--and God wants me to truly know him as he truly is, but he's not going to hand it to me on a platter, he wants me to seek and to experience for myself.

We learn by our mistakes. Where does that leave "god" ?

Good question, and in any reconciliation, it would have to be addressed if God makes mistakes. I think another of my beliefs that either helps and/or causes problems is that I think that God is everywhere, or at least everywhere he is allowed to enter (humans can block him), and this God is like a grand force. This God doesn't make mistakes, it/he just IS and gives life to everything. I know that most LDS people won't accept this view or encompass it with the idea of the spirit of God, which also I have no problem with that. Thus, this makes (in my view) Heavenly Father an adept with this GOD or GOOD or LIFE force, or as LDS would term it . . . Heavenly Father is an Exalted Man. Does it follow then that Heavenly Father could still be making mistakes? My short answer is "no". Long answer is also "no", but it involves a discussion of point of view that I've hinted at, such as my fake scenario with God and Pres. Kimball in the OP. Pres. Kimball is redressing God but what God is doing is making sure that we have his law in the fleshy tables of our hearts--that we hold to good even when we feel even GOD is against us (a la the forsaking Jesus felt on the cross)--not that we obey because of reward or EXTERNAL laws or forces. In my experience, such a progression is a rather brutal process (but maybe that's because there's some stuff I haven't learned yet to make it less so).

Here's how it was put. Say you are having difficulties in your calling, such as finding learning the language or the discussions particularly challenging. Praying as if everything depended upon God, and working as if everything depended upon God entailed perhaps challenging God on the difficulty. "Dear Father, you called me to serve You and placed me here in this place to learn this language and despite my efforts I feel like I am failing to gain the fluency that I am sure I will need when I actually begin to talk with Your children in Germany. I am also having a very hard time passing off the first lesson. I know You called me to do this work, and as Nephi said, You will not call someone to do something and then not stand behind them when they need it! I am doing Your work, as You have asked, and because of this I know I have a righteous claim upon you for Your help and I am asking you to do so."

And I did see some miracles in that environment which resulted in some of the Elders and Sisters taking it to heart that Father would answer their needs.

This is cool. I think I've had some prayers like that, but don't remember any particular consequences of them.

We can also learn from other peoples mistakes. Where does that leave God?

Interesting, elaborate? :)

It is an interesting concept.. a "learning God".

I think there are difficulties with the view. It comes into headlong opposition with things like ominisicence, an infinitely wise God, God being perfect. I don't know how you could actually reconcile these things. Seems like it would have to be one or the other.

Schroeder seems to be hanging a very large hat on a single scriptural nail to solidify his thoughts. If we accept to the posited alternate translation of Ex 3:14 I certainly think it is less intelligible and I don't see how it really changes things in the way Schroeder does.

Exodus 3:14 (King James Version)

14And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AMI will be that which I will be: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AMI will be hath sent me unto you.

I don't see the verse pointing to a changing being. I think even with the alternate trans, it seems to just be saying God will continue.

I think Schroeder may be going beyond the bounds of alternate interpretation to get his point across. Because, he/she seems to be implicitly suggesting that "I will be that which I will be" actually should be understood as "I will be that which I am not". The verse doesn't say this at all, but I suppose the author is using all these other points of wrestling angels and so forth to imply this concept as the best general understanding.

Another problem I see deals with the trustworthiness of such a being. How could one reasonably hold any expectation that God is capable of providing a continued and improved condition for his children if He is only at present learning how to interact us. It creates an underlying problem that God isn't currently capable of fully knowing us. How is that reconciled with scripture like Psalms 139?

This train of thought also challenges some of those verse that I think point to God's omniscience or conversely that LDS seem to think point to a preexistence like...

Just some thoughts on the matter Maidservant. Curious to what you and others who think Schroeder's notions are persuasive think on the matter.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

I can agree with most or all of this. And I agree that what Schroder has to say is no linchpin, it just kind of set me off thinking some things already in my mind or that I had previously been exposed to. The "I Am that I Am" is a fundamental godly mystery, also, and its significance is never going to be exhausted by what we are discussing here.

What you mention about being able to trust God is exactly what scares me. I have long rested my trust in God based on his promise in Isaiah that he never gets weary of helping. I don't think I will discard this, so what new I think I'm learning will have to fuse with this, or eventually fall by the way side.

In terms of the LDS idea of Heavenly Father infinitely being involved into bringing to pass worlds and his work being the immortality of eternal life of man, you would think that even if there could have been a point at which he was "green" at it, would have looooooong passed, and thus, if one accepts this idea, one HAS to locate another framework or reconciliation for, say, the violence we feel is excessive in Old Testament times. One either has to remove that from God's feet and lay it at the humans involved (i.e. that God could only work with people where they are at, OR, the people THOUGHT God was telling them these things but really it was cultural, etc), OR come to understand what the eternal lesson of all the ages of history OR? of such a thing is . . . one could also try to affirm that the violence was "ok" and "right" in the circumstances, but I personally reject that type of idea.

I'm not sure if this is where Schroeder is going or not, but it seems that “learning” has so many nuances that I think that an omniscient being can still find a way to learn.

It appears He does not use His knowledge of all things to control eternal law, as evidenced in the creation (Abraham chapter 4) where He commands and waits and observes until He is obeyed (verses 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). The agency of man would certainly introduce a more complicated dynamic.

God does not use His omniscience to control our agency. He waits until we exercise it, and then responds. Each decision and action we make, which He does not control, become a new decision and action point for Him. When we use of our agency He makes decisions based on His perfect knowledge and observation and either intervenes to invite us back to the correct path or judges us to put us where we belong. Perhaps another way of looking at it is that our exercise of agency creates new knowledge for Him to consider and act upon.

At these points God finds us becoming something in relation to what He wants and He responds or rewards us accordingly. For example: “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them… Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” (Luke 12: 37-43)

When we find grace and favor with God (2 Samuel 15:35; 16:4; D&C 93:20), we establish a new reality with which He interacts, and in this sense He is omniscient yet learning.

Another perfect articulation, thanks CV.

I believe in obtaining the largest concept for "God" possible. A "learning god" is far, far beneath such a concept, ergo it is fallacious. But, a caveat: if YOUR "God" is a learning god, perhaps that is how "God" will relate to you, until you learn better?

My concept for "God" demands that space-time is not fixed and immutable: every imagined outcome to a situation has to be real in the time frame in which it is placed. So: my family was killed and maimed back in 1985 when our car rolled in the desert north of Las Vegas; my then-youngest son was killed by the tractor on the beach; my youngest daughter and her mother both died in childbirth, etc. But, not HERE; not in this scenario I am typing from. I believe that "God" permits every outcome, and we learn from all of them. And furthermore, that this world is not "finished" until every soul in it is satisfied with their mortal experience. I believe a lot more than this too, but this is sufficient....

While respecting your right to believe so, I reject the idea that having to learn something is intrinsically "beneath" not having to learn something. That is a paradigm that has been selected, and a lot of people have it, to be sure. In fact, putting anything in a "beneath" or "above" relationship is a paradigm. Could still be the best picture, but it's not automatic and intrinsic.

I love your question: If YOUR God is a learning god, perhaps that is how God will relate to you, until you learn better? I shall have to think on this for a long time. I do think that all of us "create" our own God that we need, and that the real God is trying to pierce through that as best he can, no doubt through these "challenging" or "proving" exercises.

I'm not sure if I understand how you see the structure of progression, but I think I would tend to agree with you (based on my own set of beliefs where I'm at right now) that despite the doctrine of a final judgment, that in the longer eternal haul, the opportunities for progression are limitless for the willing.

:acute:

LOL.

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I once read a place where a Jewish woman in reflecting upon the passage of the holocaust, that God needs us to forgive him, to love him, to be there for him, and he might need some help and compassion from us--there was a sense in her that God could no longer carry the world by himself, as evidenced by the Holocaust (could insert anything here), and that as people we needed to lift a weary God. I am actually deeply moved by this possibility, and such a possibility does not violate my faith, but deepens it.

I could not find this quote, but in looking around I found another interesting report of someone--LDS interestingly, although I wasn't looking for that--who listened to Elie Weisel speak.

http://bycommonconsent.com/2006/05/23/the-holocaust-in-rural-utah/

According to the blogger, this is what he heard Elie Weisel say.

""""In the face of the barabarisms of fascism and communism, when humanity asked what God was having to do with all this, they were told “You have no right to challenge. ‘Where was God’? How dare you even ask! Of course you don’t matter.” In this atmosphere, Elie Wiesel made people matter. He said, I have a right to hold God accountable. When faced with the question of why good people suffer, Elie Wiesel said, “They shouldn’t! God has a lot of answering to do.”"""""

""""""His first point was that doubt is a gift. Certainty is dangerous in his mind, in fact he called madness a consequence of certainty, not of doubt. Instead, doubt offers the opportunity, or rather the quest, to learn. We define our selves by our quest."""""""

"""""""""""[Day of Atonement] On that day, the High Priest was washed, anointed, and then quizzed and harassed so that the purity of his heart would be known and maintained. His accusers and harassers asked forgiveness, saying that they were doing it for his own sake and for the sake of God.""""""""[my thought: High Priest as the type for God]

""""""""""There is a midrash of the Flood. Afterward, after the waters had receded, Noah took a look around and said, “Why God? Why did you have to kill them all? Why did you have to kill even the children?” God then says to Noah, “Now you are asking?""""""""""""""

I am the queen of theological reconciliation, believe me, but sometimes you just have to let things be as they are. In my mind, the central text of the gospel is Moses Chapter 7 in the Pearl of Great Price. For example, one can argue all they want mechanically about omniscience and foreknowledge (and I attribute both of these to God), but in the end you are simply witnessing a God who is weeping because his children are assaulting each other in every way imagined (Moses 7:28-33), and if you want to take it farther, after crying, he just gets really mad about it (v 34).

So sometimes I just have to watch that God--he's helpless, I'm helpless--and simply embrace him back, without hurrying to manufacture what the theology of that is.

There is actually a lot of interesting stuff in that link. """"" . . . my children have defeated me . . . """"""""""

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God wants me to truly know him as he truly is, but he's not going to hand it to me on a platter, he wants me to seek and to experience for myself.

I find that John 14 goes a long way in describing how He prepares the way for us to do this.

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I'm not sure if this is where Schroeder is going or not, but it seems that “learning” has so many nuances that I think that an omniscient being can still find a way to learn.

Hi CV,

Thanks for a thoughtful response. I will say that if we actually use the term "omniscient". What you have stated does have some logical issues. But for the record, combining all the "omni's" that many Chrisitian theists employ also creates it's own logical problems. Many have fallen back to the term "maximal" in preference to "omni".

Such a stance, might validate your position a bit better. Maximal, would point more towards "all that is known" vs. an omni type position of "all that can be known, plus lots of other things too."

Don't want to sidetrack, but as I think about it, it certainly makes the battle between the Prince of this world and God a bit more dynamic.

It appears He does not use His knowledge of all things to control eternal law, as evidenced in the creation (Abraham chapter 4) where He commands and waits and observes until He is obeyed (verses 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). The agency of man would certainly introduce a more complicated dynamic.

Though I have read the PoGP a few times, I don't have any persuasive reason at present to hold it authoritatively as you do. That said, I'll have to respond to rest as best I can.

God does not use His omniscience to control our agency. He waits until we exercise it, and then responds. Each decision and action we make, which He does not control, become a new decision and action point for Him. When we use of our agency He makes decisions based on His perfect knowledge and observation and either intervenes to invite us back to the correct path or judges us to put us where we belong. Perhaps another way of looking at it is that our exercise of agency creates new knowledge for Him to consider and act upon.

Bold mine. I think any who hold to the notion of man having free will, have a bit of a hoop to get through when it comes to believing in an omniscient God and reconciling that with the notion we have free will.

I don't agree with the LDS train of thought that God sort of limits or suspends His omniscience for the sake of man having free will. I don't know why he would need to do this actually. To me this would seem to be a change in God's character.. I mean if God knows everything, but chooses not to know everything in order to make free will possible. Then it doesn't make sense for God to declare in scripture that he knows everything, if their are things he decides he doesn't know.

Not being overly critical, I struggle with this issue myself. Their is sort of an advanced Armenian view called Molinism that makes a great deal of sense of it to me.

However, at the end of the day. What I really think is this..

I think most people see a logical inconsistency between an all knowing God and personal freedom of the will. If we try to hold God to our own logical constraints then the inconsistency is blaring statement of mutual exclusion. Personally, I don't think it implausible that God is capable of knowing what we will do and also giving us the ability to have free choice. I think how we work this out to make sense to ourselves is more academic than anything else.

Respectfully,

Mudcat

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Maximal, would point more towards "all that is known" vs. an omni type position of "all that can be known, plus lots of other things too."

I think any who hold to the notion of man having free will, have a bit of a hoop to get through when it comes to believing in an omniscient God and reconciling that with the notion we have free will.

Personally, I don't think it implausible that God is capable of knowing what we will do and also giving us the ability to have free choice. I think how we work this out to make sense to ourselves is more academic than anything else.

Yes, I’m thinking more in terms of God knowing all things, or all that there is to be known for Him to be God. I certainly cannot say all of what they (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) know, except that they know what they need to in order to act as God.

In one sense, on the surface, being so knowledgeable so as to still be able to learn may come across as the same nonsense that God is so powerful He can create a stone so heavy He can’t pick it up. But in another sense, such as the agency discussion, it may be more reasonable: He “learns” what we do with our agency as He observes our use of it even though He may comprehend beforehand all the things we might ever choose to do with it. An example of this type of learning is John 5:30, where Christ in His role as Eternal Judge first hears (“learns”), and then judges accordingly.

Then Romans 10:17 teaches how faith comes by hearing (learning) and Alma 32 teaches how faith develops into knowledge. There must be a way in which God exercised these principles in His own setting in order to know all things, and is teaching us to do it in our setting (as Christ did in His setting).

There are some Biblical passages that indicate that the Lord did not know all things and was still discovering and learning while in His mortal frame (Matthew 24:36; 26:39; 27:46; John 5:17, 19, 20; 8:28 – in these last two, John witnesses that Jesus said that He seeks the will of the Father, and was taught of the Father, both indicators of a learning process). So there is an apparent difference between what the Father knows and what the Son knows. The Son learns of the Father, yet they are both God, and one (John 17). LDS scripture provides some insight into this with John’s witness of His receiving “grace for grace” and continuing “from grace to grace” (D&C 93:11-14), which in a way is a learning process. This might be an example of Christ suspending His knowledge, as we all do, under the conditions of the “veil of forgetfulness” and having to re-learn eternal principles in the flesh.

While Jesus in a sense suspended His knowledge in coming to earth, I do not see God (whether the Father, or the Resurrected Christ or the Holy Ghost) having to suspend His knowledge in order for us to act. To the contrary, I would hold that He fully asserts His knowledge in order to sustain the plan of salvation and deliver with perfect love, mercy and justice the consequences of our exercising agency. Not to put too fine a point on it, agency is the ability and privilege He gave us to choose and act for ourselves, and may not be the same as free will (depending on how one sees them).

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Interesting, elaborate? :)

It was said that we learn from our mistakes, but that isn't the only way to learn. A wise person learns from the mistakes from others. I don't know that it is required that God used the first approach.

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I stole this from another thread, but I didn't want to muck up that thread with a different direction I wanted to take this.

This is breathtaking to me, although my first introduction to the possibility of a "learning God" was probably over 5 years ago in some forgotten thing I have read and it has stuck with me although until recently the knowledge has scared me (which is generally my first reaction to any revelation I get from God). But recently, I have learned some more things by experience and by precept that nuance this idea and well . . . ok, it still scares me.

I have come to realize that we must challenge God in order to progress. Or, at least, we must challenge "God". I don't know why this is a surprise to me since it is pivotal in the Adam and Eve portrayal.

One thing I have thought is that we have to remember that Satan wanted God's name and wanted to be worshipped as God. Therefore I think some of the most invidious deceptions we have to watch out for are not the ones that have "Satan" stamped clearly all over them, but the ones that have "God" stamped on them.

I think a very easily comprehensible example of this from our point of view in history is the racism and its consequences that were perpetrated in the world and of which the Church also partook of. Racism was fashioned from the beginning as a godly order. Of course, those who fight such a thing also realize that they are hearing God tell them to resist such things.

I always imagine President Kimball petitioning the Lord for the removal of the Priesthood Ban, and I always hear the story tell that President Kimball, not God, initiated the exchange/revelation/new reality. (I could be wrong on that.) The following is a completely fake conversation of course, but here's how I sometimes see it in my head.

Pres. Kimball: "We don't want to do this any more, and it's not right. Everyone should have the Priesthood."

God: "You're saying that you think that all men should be able to enjoy the priesthood and the consequences of that? And you don't want me to deny the Priesthood any more to people with black skin?"

Pres. Kimball: "That's what I'm saying. You know I'm right."

God: " 'Bout time."

Okay, my point isn't about racism and its consequences, whether world or church. That is just the most plain example that might resonate with the most people about how we once thought something was godly and now we realize it just isn't.

Anyway, I don't care what angle you take on this, but I would love to hear people's thoughts about struggling with God a la Jacob wrestling with the angel and Abraham arguing about Sodom, and I think I liked someone else's point in another thread that Abraham may have actually failed God's test when he tried to sacrifice Isaac.

Do we need to challenge God in order to reach our full potential as part of the assembly of the Firstborn? I may have more thoughts, but your turn first. :)

I share a portion of the sentiments expressed above, in the sense that I do not believe God is omniscient in the absolute sense. Nor do I believe he needs to be in order to command my respect and reverence. For that matter, I think God probably has very few, if any absolute characteristics (i.e., absolute perfection, omnipotence, etc.). Somewhere along the line of the progression of human theology, it seems someone came up with the idea that God has to be absolutely omniscient, or else there would be no good reason to follow him and trust his judgment. I disagree. It is enough for me that God is much wiser than I am on all or almost all subjects. The more difficult question is determining whether a purported revelation/commandment/doctrine truly stems from God or is instead the creation of mankind. One thing that continues to amaze me is the obsession some people seem to have with needing to twist reality to be compatible with Biblical inerrancy. If the "true god" is one that ordered Moses to wipe out innocent women and children, then that is not the sort of being I would want to place my faith in. Rejecting Biblical inerrancy, of course, carries with it problems of its own, foremost of which is that it forces us to think and study more deeply and not have truth spoon-fed to us. But as between the quasi-comforts associated with thinking the Bible is inerrant (and for that matter, any LDS scripture), and the liberty of discerning truth without the chains of millenia-old prejudices and human errors, I'll take liberty over the comfort of a less-engaged brain. In my own view, based upon my life experience, one of the greatest lessons which religious zealots have usually not learned is this: revelation from god is necessarily hindered when it is subjected to the imperfections of the human mind; ignorance, fear, self-interest, and prejudices all combine to distort, filter, exaggerate, prevent, or water down the true message God would have us receive. For LDS, this should in theory be easy to accept- scriptures in the D&C instruct us that truth comes line upon line, precept upon precept, here a littler, and there a little, and that truth is less likely to be given when we are not prepared to receive/understand it (either because we have not been exposed to an idea or we have not devoted sufficient time to research and contemplate the subject matter). For this reason, I consider all purported revelations subject to scrutiny, regardless of their human source (prophets, scriptures, local leaders, etc.). I feel no need to demonstrate Biblical inerrancy by simply altering my view of God to make it fit stories which on their face reveal a spiteful, vengeful, capricious, and child-like god.

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