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Spirit Bodies


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In terms of spirits having bodies, let's look at some biblical passages:

"And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him." (1 Kings 22:21; see also 2 Chronicles 18:20)

Evidently, this spirit had a mouth with which to speak and legs upon which to stand.

"Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying..." (Job 4: 15-16)

Here, the spirit stood and had an image, the exact form of which Job couldn't say. At the very least, the spirit must have had some sort of "body" in order to be seen.

"The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him." (Zechariah 12:1; see also Hebrews 1:7)

This suggests to me that the spirits of man have form, and thus bodies that were formed.

"And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear." (Matthew 14:26; Mark 6:49)

This suggests to me that the disciples believed that spirits have the form of men. SAme with this passage:

"And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit." (Lk 24:36-37)

"And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host..." (Gen. 32;1-2)

Angels, or the hosts of heaven, evidently have bodies else they couldn't be seen.

"And the *** saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand..."(Numbers 22:23, see also verses 24-35; 1 Chronicles 21:15-16)

Angels evidently have legs to stand on and hands with which to hold swords, and touch:

"And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him."(1 Kings 19:5, see also verse 5)

"And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah..."(Judges 6:11, see also verses 12 & 21-22; 13:all)

I could go on, but hopefully this will suffice.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

If I were still responding on this thread, which of course I am not, I would still be looking for any Biblical basis whatsoever that anything can be "incorporeal", or indeed one place where that word is used in the Bible.

But of course that discussion, seems to have fallen by the wayside since I am not here anymore.

:ph34r:

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If I were still responding on this thread, which of course I am not, I would still be looking for any Biblical basis whatsoever that anything can be "incorporeal", or indeed one place where that word is used in the Bible.

But of course that discussion, seems to have fallen by the wayside since I am not here anymore.

:ph34r:

Bowman once referenced John 4:24 as proof that spirits are "immaterial". (Or was it to prove that God is "immaterial?) But you must PRESUME God (or spirit) to be "immaterial" to get to his proof.

It is interesting to me that the English word "spirit" is translated from the Greek word "pneuma" which, according to Strong's, also means

5) a movement of air (a gentle blast)

a) of the wind, hence the wind itself

b) breath of nostrils or mouth

CLEARLY!!! It doesn't express or imply "immaterial" at all.

Edited by Vance
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Wade,

I would be happy to discuss these passages with you. Before I spend a lot of time commenting on each passage, I'd like to ask you about how these examples should be viewed. Should these statements you quoted from the Bible be read in context? Does it matter what the surrounding verses say as far as how these verses you quoted should be interpreted? Are you in fact interested in discussing their interpretation on exegetical grounds? If an exegetical study of one of these passages showed that it didn't make much sense to view it as referring to the spirit as literally possessing a body with a specific human form, would that negate the use of that verse in support of the LDS belief that all spirits have bodies?

I'm asking these questions because I am aware that some Mormons will not take any exegesis of a biblical text seriously if it undermines LDS doctrinal claims. Some Mormons will simply say that their beliefs are based primarily on modern revelation. They may reply by arguing that the text may have been changed or clarifying elements lost from the text. Such responses would in effect mean that exegesis of the texts is superfluous; they must mean what modern LDS revelation says they mean, and exegesis may be used to buttress or confirm LDS doctrine but not to challenge it.

Since I don't know how you view this issue, I am asking you now, so I will know how to proceed. I certainly don't want to waste your time with exegesis of the texts if this isn't relevant to your belief.

In terms of spirits having bodies, let's look at some biblical passages:

"And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him." (1 Kings 22:21; see also 2 Chronicles 18:20)

Evidently, this spirit had a mouth with which to speak and legs upon which to stand.

"Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying..." (Job 4: 15-16)

Here, the spirit stood and had an image, the exact form of which Job couldn't say. At the very least, the spirit must have had some sort of "body" in order to be seen.

"The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him." (Zechariah 12:1; see also Hebrews 1:7)

This suggests to me that the spirits of man have form, and thus bodies that were formed.

"And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear." (Matthew 14:26; Mark 6:49)

This suggests to me that the disciples believed that spirits have the form of men. SAme with this passage:

"And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit." (Lk 24:36-37)

"And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host..." (Gen. 32;1-2)

Angels, or the hosts of heaven, evidently have bodies else they couldn't be seen.

"And the *** saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand..."(Numbers 22:23, see also verses 24-35; 1 Chronicles 21:15-16)

Angels evidently have legs to stand on and hands with which to hold swords, and touch:

"And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him."(1 Kings 19:5, see also verse 5)

"And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah..."(Judges 6:11, see also verses 12 & 21-22; 13:all)

I could go on, but hopefully this will suffice.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I am working through Gospel Principles and came across this intriguing description of spirit beings:

"Spirit beings have the same bodily form as mortals except that the spirit body is in perfect form (see Ether 3:16). Spirits carry with them from earth their attitudes of devotion or antagonism toward things of righteousness (see Alma 34:34). They have the same appetites and desires that they had when they lived on earth" (Gospel Principles, 2009 ed., 242).

In context, the above statements focus specifically on the nature of our spirit beings in the postmortem spirit world. The previous page states that when our mortal bodies die, "our spirits will go to the spirit world," and "will live there until we are ready for the resurrection," when "our mortal bodies will once more unite with our spirits" (241).

I have some questions about the above statements. I don't know any way to ask these questions that does not sound challenging or critical. I mean no disrespect with these questions. I do think they raise some problems that are worthy of consideration, but I am primarily interested in any clarifications those knowledgeable about LDS doctrine may be able to offer. I would especially appreciate references to LDS publications or reliable articles of relevance. Of course, explanations that clear up the apparent difficulties that this line of questioning raises are also welcome.

  1. When we are resurrected, will we have two bodies--a spirit body and a physical body? Do we have two such bodies now? This seems to be entailed in the statement that when we are resurrected our mortal bodies will be reunited with our spirits.
  2. Is it correct to say that a spirit body occupies space? This seems to be entailed in the statement that spirit beings have a "spirit body" that has "the same bodily form as mortals."
  3. If a spirit body occupies space, and if we have now and/or will have after the resurrection both a spirit body and a physical body, will they occupy the same space at the same time?
  4. If the spirit body is in perfect form, why will the physical body need to be resurrected at all? Doesn't the word "perfect" mean that it lacks nothing?
  5. To what extent does a spirit body "have the same bodily form" as a physical body? Does it have two eyes, two ears, a mouth, a nose, five fingers, and five toes? Does it have hair?
  6. If a spirit body is anatomically similar to a physical body, and if we have both a spirit body and a physical body (now and/or in the resurrection), does this mean we have or will have four eyes, four ears, two mouths, and so forth?
  7. What are the purposes of spirit eyes, spirit ears, or a spirit nose in the spirit world, if spirit beings have such bodily parts? For example, are there sound waves in heaven that convey sounds to spirit ears? If so, is there air in heaven (through which the sound waves propagate)? Are there odors or smells in heaven, and again, does this mean there are chemical compounds propagated by microscopic particles through moving air in heaven?
  8. If we will have the same appetites and desires in the spirit world that we have in mortality, does this mean we will be hungry and thirsty? May we infer, if the answer is yes, that we will have stomachs and a digestive system to go with them?
  9. Will we have sexual desires, and if so, does this mean our spirit bodies are or will be anatomically comparable to physical bodies in that regard as well? If so, does that mean that spirit bodies can unite to perform reproductive functions--and are designed or formed to do so?
  10. If spirit bodies are indeed male and female and have the same appetites and desires as physical bodies, including desires oriented toward reproduction, wouldn't this mean that spirit beings should be able to reproduce in the same way (or at least in a very similar way) as physical human beings reproduce? Is there any precedent for this in LDS doctrine?

I hope I have expressed these questions with sufficient sensitivity and circumspection. It is not my intention to ridicule or caricature. Thank you for any light you can shed on these questions.

Mmmm.... sorry 'bout the late reply... but these are some good questions... so I hope you don't mind if I theorize about them. Of course, it is all theory... so not exactly perfect, but hey, it's something interesting to talk about =).

1) Yes. But we do not have a glorified celestial body. We have to die and be resurrected for that to happen. There are some verses about it in Revelations, I believe... about everyone being age 100... or maybe that relates to the second coming. I forget.

2) Yes, I would think so. I'm not sure where in space it actually occupies, or with what pieces of matter it interacts with, but I would say this is a definite possibility (I could be very wrong though).

3) I think so. But I am not sure. It is just something that makes the most sense to me. It could be very differently connected though.

4) 'spirit body' when used in the scriptures is often referring to a 'glorified celestial body'. Perhaps I should have answered Question 1 differently... we have... a spirit... and a physical body. When united and glorified, they become a 'spiritual body'.

5) All the same, I think. If we take a look in Ether... Christ in spirit form looked precisely like what physical Christ did. Only he wasn't physical. So I would say yes. There is a story (probably didn't actually happen) that goes around, that says a man who lost his leg to disease came to Brigham Young and told Brigham that he would denounce Brigham as a false prophet if he didn't restore the leg immediately. The story goes, that Brigham told him it would be easy to restore the leg, but then asked him whether he was sure he wanted three legs rising with him in the resurrection. As I said... I don't know if this actually occurred... but it gives an idea... in an albightly different way... of the thought of it =).

6) Yes, I think. And I like the spiritual eyes thing. Perhaps that is what is 'veiled', keeping us from seeing, until it is unveiled, and it becomes possible to see the Lord? I'm not sure =).

7) Some people have already articulated speculation. Nobody really knows. I like the idea that someone talked about... 'spirit vegetables'... but I'm not sure if that is the case... that is, I'm not sure if we will be eating them. I am pretty sure they exist though. After all... everything has a spirit, in a sense... it has a parallel of itself made of spiritual matter... or at least I think =P. Again, could be wrong.

8] Uh... same sort of thing as seven. I don't know. But my hazardous (and completely ignorant) guess would be yes. In any case, I think the eating will be alot more 'dignified', and 'celestial' than normal-day eating, lol. I find it difficult... and yet very intriguing to imagine eating... on the new level. I think the technique will be the same... but tons more... amazing and graceful. Not sure though,a again.

9) Actually... this is an issue... not all of us agree upon. I have met some who say that it is not the case... and they tend to believe spirit creation is done on a much more... organizational level. And in much bigger quantities. I, am not sure what the case is. But I think that we actually might keep our functionality in that regards. And mayhaps... just maybe... spiritual creation is done in this manner. Of course... there is problems with that. After all... how would a celestial body beget a spirit? And furthermore... it could be argued, that it's use is only temporary... only for earth only. So there is many opinions on it... and I don't think we know... nor would I say I know... until God, or someone else he has sent, tells me for sure. I wouldn't trust anybody else.

10) Talked about this in 9. Also... exaltation won't be all about... this subject... rather it will be about children. Think of exaltation as having the most awesome spouse possible, and the result of that would be... family. Isn't that the point of mairrage, truly? Family. That is more of what it is, I believe.

Thanks for the thoughts, and have a good day =). Remember... all of this is opinion... and probably totally wrong. And if it's not wrong... well... I can say it's not the full picture XD.

Best Wishes,

-TAO

EDIT: Nak brought up a good point about how the physical body would have to correspond to the primarily crated spiritual body. I don't really think this is a problem, it... just has to be based on an appropriate amount of foreknowledge. But not sure. It is an issue to be thought about. =)

Edited by TAO
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Wade,

I would be happy to discuss these passages with you. Before I spend a lot of time commenting on each passage, I'd like to ask you about how these examples should be viewed. Should these statements you quoted from the Bible be read in context? Does it matter what the surrounding verses say as far as how these verses you quoted should be interpreted? Are you in fact interested in discussing their interpretation on exegetical grounds? If an exegetical study of one of these passages showed that it didn't make much sense to view it as referring to the spirit as literally possessing a body with a specific human form, would that negate the use of that verse in support of the LDS belief that all spirits have bodies?

I'm asking these questions because I am aware that some Mormons will not take any exegesis of a biblical text seriously if it undermines LDS doctrinal claims. Some Mormons will simply say that their beliefs are based primarily on modern revelation. They may reply by arguing that the text may have been changed or clarifying elements lost from the text. Such responses would in effect mean that exegesis of the texts is superfluous; they must mean what modern LDS revelation says they mean, and exegesis may be used to buttress or confirm LDS doctrine but not to challenge it.

Since I don't know how you view this issue, I am asking you now, so I will know how to proceed. I certainly don't want to waste your time with exegesis of the texts if this isn't relevant to your belief.

Hi Rob,

Some people may believe that exegesis will result in a single rational interpretation of biblical passages. I don't happen to share that view. I believe that the human language in which the Bible was written, and the content of the Bible, itself, is sufficiently imprecise as to allow a broad range of reasonable interpretations.

I mention this because while I am open to you sharing with me your opinion, I want you to know in advanced that I have, through the guidance of the spirit and assisted by modern revelation, already formulated a reasonable opinion of my own, and as such I will be looking at your opinion more as a way of better understanding how you view things, rather than as a cause for changing my own spirit-lead opinion--not that my opinion can't be changed, it just that it is rather unlikely given my own prayerful studies and my having already heard pretty much all the opinions to the contrary.

In short, I am happy to consider what you have to say, and this as a matter of expanding the horizons of my understanding. However, as expected, and perhaps like you, I will likely privilege my own opinion over yours.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
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In terms of post-mortal spirits having bodies, consider the story of the rich man and Lazerus in Luke 16:19-31. Count the explicit and implicit bodily parts:

[19] "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.

[20] And at his gate lay a poor man named Laz'arus, full of sores,

[21] who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

[22] The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried;

[23] and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Laz'arus in his bosom.

[24] And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Laz'arus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.'

[25] But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Laz'arus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.

[26] And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.'

[27] And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house,

[28] for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.'

[29] But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'

[30] And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'

[31] He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Wade,

Thanks for your reply. You stated your position very politely and clearly. In my view discussing the exegesis of the texts is of little or no use when one side in the discussion thinks that his religion's modern revelations and his personal spiritual experience can override the exegetical evidence. Furthermore, if the source of your doctrine is the aforementioned modern revelation and spiritual experience, your quotations from the Bible are superfluous insofar as they don't have anything to do with the basis on which you accept your doctrine.

In this situation, therefore, I see no value in my attempting to respond to your list of biblical proof texts. Your doctrine is not based on the Bible, by your own admission, but on modern revelation that you accept by what you believe is your own experience of spiritual guidance. It would therefore seem more relevant to discuss your modern revelations than to discuss biblical proof texts that are really of tangential relevance to your belief. I will simply state that in my view none of the texts you cited teaches that spirits have "spirit bodies," and I am confident that a careful exegesis of those texts in context will support my view.

Hi Rob,

Some people may believe that exegesis will result in a single rational interpretation of biblical passages. I don't happen to share that view. I believe that the human language in which the Bible was written, and the content of the Bible, itself, is sufficiently imprecise as to allow a broad range of reasonable interpretations.

I mention this because while I am open to you sharing with me your opinion, I want you to know in advanced that I have, through the guidance of the spirit and assisted by modern revelation, already formulated a reasonable opinion of my own, and as such I will be looking at your opinion more as a way of better understanding how you view things, rather than as a cause for changing my own spirit-lead opinion--not that my opinion can't be changed, it just that it is rather unlikely given my own prayerful studies and my having already heard pretty much all the opinions to the contrary.

In short, I am happy to consider what you have to say, and this as a matter of expanding the horizons of my understanding. However, as expected, and perhaps like you, I will likely privilege my own opinion over yours.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Here are a few more biblical passages that I view as suggesting that pre-mortal and post-mortal spirits have bodies:

" Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left." (2 Chronicles 18:18; see also 1 Kings 22:19)

"And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Dan. 4:35--emphasis mine; see also Judg. 5:20; 2 Kgs. 6:17; Rom. 9:29; James 5:4)

"And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." Rev. 19:14

"9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands..." (Rev. 7:19)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Wade,

Thanks for your reply. You stated your position very politely and clearly. In my view discussing the exegesis of the texts is of little or no use when one side in the discussion thinks that his religion's modern revelations and his personal spiritual experience can override the exegetical evidence.

Correction. I didn't say it would over-ride the exegetical evidence, I said it would over-ride YOUR exegetical OPINION. Evidence and opinion may mean the same thing to you, but not to me.

Also, modern revelation and spiritual guidance has assisted me in my own exegesis. As such, it makes little sense for me to privilege your presumably arm-of-flesh exegesis over my own, particularly when I have the advantage of further insights from an omniscient God. :)

Finally, laying out your arm-of-flesh exegetical opinion may be of no use in terms of changing my opinion, but it may prove useful in educating me and others about your opinion. If you, unlike me (I have gladly listed biblical passage in support of my belief), feel that isn't worth it to you to offer your perspective, then to each their own.

Furthermore, if the source of your doctrine is the aforementioned modern revelation and spiritual experience, your quotations from the Bible are superfluous insofar as they don't have anything to do with the basis on which you accept your doctrine.

That may be true (actually, it isn't) were I speaking solely to the "basis" of my belief. I wasn't. Rather, I was also speaking to biblical support and confirmation of my belief.

In this situation, therefore, I see no value in my attempting to respond to your list of biblical proof texts. Your doctrine is not based on the Bible, by your own admission, but on modern revelation that you accept by what you believe is your own experience of spiritual guidance. It would therefore seem more relevant to discuss your modern revelations than to discuss biblical proof texts that are really of tangential relevance to your belief. I will simply state that in my view none of the texts you cited teaches that spirits have "spirit bodies," and I am confident that a careful exegesis of those texts in context will support my view.

Again, you may have a point (actually, you don't) were I speaking only to the basis of my belief. I wasn't. The biblical passages are a part of the basis of my belief, and also provide support and further insight, and employ a scriptural text shared in common with other Christian faiths with whom I am discussing the matter. So, contrary to what you myopically suggest, it is quite relevant.

But, I can respect if you do not wish to share your point of view.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
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I can say a few things here. When I was 19, I died. For how long, I don't know, but my spirit left my body. I was hovering in the room with my body as I looked down on it, it was strapped to a gurney so as not to hurt myself. I percieved myself to have a spirit body that looked just like my dead body. I could see out the window of my room, which would have been impossible from the gurney. I don't recall hearing anything, but there may have been nothing to hear.

From this experience I know that there is life after death, I know that we have a spirit body and that it has the capability to see, it would appear to have to same appearance as our physical body. The next time I die I hope to have the looks of a 19 year old body.

Carry on.

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Wade,

You wrote:

Correction. I didn't say it would over-ride the exegetical evidence, I said it would over-ride YOUR exegetical OPINION. Evidence and opinion may mean the same thing to you, but not to me.

I am uninterested in defending my own opinion. I am interested in the evidence. If the evidence supports my opinion, fine. If the evidence shows that my opinion is in need of revision or abandonment, fine as well. I don't expect anyone to put my opinion over the evidence, since I don't wish to do that even for myself.

You wrote:

Also, modern revelation and spiritual guidance has assisted me in my own exegesis. As such, it makes little sense for me to privilege your presumably arm-of-flesh exegesis over my own, particularly when I have the advantage of further insights from an omniscient God. :)

Finally, laying out your arm-of-flesh exegetical opinion may be of no use in terms of changing my opinion, but it may prove useful in educating me and others about your opinion. If you, unlike me (I have gladly listed biblical passage in support of my belief), feel that isn't worth it to you to offer your perspective, then to each their own.

I won't bother responding to your characterization of my reading of the Bible as "arm-of-flesh exegesis." Suffice it to say that in order to proceed in a discussion with you about the meaning of the biblical texts you cited, I will need to ask if you can agree to some ground rules:

1. Any discussion of the meaning of the text is to be based on a reasoned examination of the wording of the text in its ancient historical and literary contexts, especially in the immediate context of the passage itself.

2. While you may have your modern revelations and I may have my modern doctrinal confessions, we will agree not to appeal to these as reasons for favoring one interpretation over another.

What do you think?

Edited by Rob Bowman
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Wade,

I am uninterested in defending my own opinion. I am interested in the evidence. If the evidence supports my opinion, fine. If the evidence shows that my opinion is in need of revision or abandonment, fine as well. I don't expect anyone to put my opinion over the evidence, since I don't wish to do that even for myself.

I won't bother responding to your characterization of my reading of the Bible as "arm-of-flesh exegesis." Suffice it to say that in order to proceed in a discussion with you about the meaning of the biblical texts you cited, I will need to ask if you can agree to some ground rules:

1. Any discussion of the meaning of the text is to be based on a reasoned examination of the wording of the text in its ancient historical and literary contexts, especially in the immediate context of the passage itself.

2. While you may have your modern revelations and I may have my modern doctrinal confessions, we will agree not to appeal to these as reasons for favoring one interpretation over another.

What do you think?

Rob,

As with all walks of life, biblical evidence doesn't interpret itself, but is subject to interpretation and, depending upon the evidence, is amenable to deriving various reasonable meanings.

The same is true for interpreting and weighing historical and literary context in relation to the evidence.

Such interpretations are, of necessity, and unavoidably, a function of one's world view.

And, while the man-made method of exegesis may be beneficial to an extent, I personally don't see any reason to restrict myself to that man-made method in attempting to interpret the things of God, particularly when I am able to draw on the powers of heaven for assistance. But, to each their own.

I think this is important for you to finally grasp since, from what I have seen, it resides at the very heart of the huge disconnect you continue to manifest in discussions with we LDS.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Wade,

You appear to be unable to agree to the ground rules I proposed. That's too bad.

I'm going to tell you what may seem to be a somewhat silly sounding story. However, I have a serious question to ask that the story helps me to illustrate. I don't mean for the story to be offensive, but only to illustrate my perspective on your stance with regard to the reasonable interpretation of biblical texts.

Suppose a fellow named Billy Bob claims to have received modern modern revelation by the Holy Ghost that reveals that he is the new Prophet of the Super-Restoration and that only those who are anointed with oil by him or by one of his anointees can know the true meaning of the Book of Mormon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price. Billy Bob claims that God enabled him to "translate" the Book of Melchizedek and the Gospel of Andrew, and also gave him new revelations that explain all of these things. According to Billy Bob, a number of verses in the Book of Mormon prophesy his coming. Surprised when you hear this, you ask a Billy-Bobber what Book of Mormon texts prophesy his coming. When you read them, none of them seem to say anything about Billy Bob. However, the Billy-Bobber assures you that he has additional revelations from God that you don't have, and that these additional revelations prove that the Book of Mormon does prophesy the coming of Billy Bob.

Would it not be appropriate for you to respond that the Billy-Bobber interpretation of the Book of Mormon cannot be sustained by a reasoned examination of the texts in their contexts? Or would you have to agree that there is no way to adjudicate the issue reasonably so that each of you will have to follow whatever revelations or spiritual guidance you believe you have in the matter?

This story and these questions illustrate my perspective on your position with regard to the Bible. You want to have the freedom to quote the Bible in support of your Mormon beliefs. However, you are not prepared to defend your use of these biblical texts by showing that your understanding of their meaning fits the wording of the texts in their literary and historical contexts. Instead you fall back on your modern revelations and your claim to receive additional knowledge from the Holy Ghost that privilege your interpretation of the biblical texts over mine. From my perspective this is no different, and no better, than a Billy-Bobber claiming that the Book of Mormon prophesies the coming of Billy Bob but not being prepared to show that his Book of Mormon proof texts really say what he claims they say.

My observation is that most Mormons are happy to discuss context, meaning of words, etc. -- all of that "arm of flesh" exegetical stuff -- when they think it will support their point of view. Certainly if a non-Mormon were to misinterpret something in a Mormon scripture or in one of Joseph Smith's sermons a Mormon would be quick to point out any objective evidence that shows the non-Mormon's interpretation to be wrong. Yet many Mormons feel no obligation to support their use of biblical proof texts in support of Mormon beliefs if challenged on exegetical grounds, and many, as you did, actually denigrate exegesis when it is used by non-Mormons in support of their beliefs. I would respectfully suggest that you must choose. Either agree that all texts are subject to careful study in context (exegesis) or take the position that no texts are subject to careful study in context. Either take the view that no argument based on a text should be made without being willing to defend that argument by exegesis of the text, or take the view that any argument based on any text (including the Book of Mormon, D&C, the King Follett Discourse, or your most recent post) may be made without concern for whether that understanding of the text can be supported by exegesis of the text.

Edited by Rob Bowman
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Hi Rob,

You seem intent of continuing with your disconnect. How unfortunate. However, let me make one more attempt to to see if you are beyond reach.

Wade,

You appear to be unable to agree to the ground rules I proposed. That's too bad.

I'm going to tell you what may seem to be a somewhat silly sounding story. However, I have a serious question to ask that the story helps me to illustrate. I don't mean for the story to be offensive, but only to illustrate my perspective on your stance with regard to the reasonable interpretation of biblical texts.

Suppose a fellow named Billy Bob claims to have received modern modern revelation by the Holy Ghost that reveals that he is the new Prophet of the Super-Restoration and that only those who are anointed with oil by him or by one of his anointees can know the true meaning of the Book of Mormon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price. Billy Bob claims that God enabled him to "translate" the Book of Melchizedek and the Gospel of Andrew, and also gave him new revelations that explain all of these things. According to Billy Bob, a number of verses in the Book of Mormon prophesy his coming. Surprised when you hear this, you ask a Billy-Bobber what Book of Mormon texts prophesy his coming. When you read them, none of them seem to say anything about Billy Bob. However, the Billy-Bobber assures you that he has additional revelations from God that you don't have, and that these additional revelations prove that the Book of Mormon does prophesy the coming of Billy Bob.

Would it not be appropriate for you to respond that the Billy-Bobber interpretation of the Book of Mormon cannot be sustained by a reasoned examination of the texts in their contexts?

No. At best, within mutually respectful and effectual inter-faith dialogue, I can simply suggest that his interpretation differs from mine, and then I might offer my interpretation and reasoning for his consideration. To claim, dogmatically, that his interpretation can't be sustained by a reasoned examination of the text in its context, is to mistakenly and presumptuously presuppose there is only one reasonable way (my way) to interpret that text in context. Such a dogmatic approach is a barrier to effective inter-faith communication.

Or would you have to agree that there is no way to adjudicate the issue reasonably so that each of you will have to follow whatever revelations or spiritual guidance you believe you have in the matter?

Perhaps. However, unlike you, my intent wouldn't necessarily be to adjudicate our different OPINIONS, but rather to better mutually understand our respective opinions--a strategy of inter-faith discourse I have found to be quite productive.

Now, let me share with you a silly story of my own. Since the time of Christ, different men and women have ardently studied the Bible "in context", and consequently there have arisen the Gnostics, Nestorians, Miaphysitist, Arianist, Goths, Monastics, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and eventually an escalating host of Protestant denominations. Then, after the turn of the modern millennium, along comes Elvis the Dude, who attended a mail-order seminary, and learned of a wonderful man-made analytical technique called "exegesis." He figured what need is there for God when man has devised an infallible way to interpret the things of God? So, using exegesis he devised his own religious denomination called the Church of Dogmatic Bibliolatry, which he viewed as the only reasonable interpretation of the Bible. And, one of his doctrines was that while the spirits of men were present in the bodies of men, they didn't exist. And, he, or some of his "followers", would go online to discussion boards purporting to reason with their opponents, but ultimately dismissing other reasoned belief, including exegetically based beliefs, as not sustainable by a reasoned examination of the texts in their context.

Wouldn't you think it appropriate to suggest to Elvis the Dude that his dogmatic approach is counter-effectual and an inter-faith discussion-killer which manifests a fundamental social disconnect, if not an over-reliance on his own arm of flesh?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
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Wade,

So, according to you, Billy-Bobbism is a reasonable interpretation of the Book of Mormon that cannot be refuted exegetically. That's an interesting admission. I'm afraid I don't see any hope of making further progress in our discussion, but I think that it has been illuminating.

Setting aside your severely flawed caricature of my beliefs, I am unashamed to say that I think some beliefs are wrong and that we can know on rational grounds that they are wrong. I do not see this position as inimical to genuine inter-faith dialogue. On the contrary, I consider it to be a necessary precondition for the honest pursuit of truth in such dialogue.

Edited by Rob Bowman
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Bowman once referenced John 4:24 as proof that spirits are "immaterial". (Or was it to prove that God is "immaterial?) But you must PRESUME God (or spirit) to be "immaterial" to get to his proof.

It is interesting to me that the English word "spirit" is translated from the Greek word "pneuma" which, according to Strong's, also means

CLEARLY!!! It doesn't express or imply "immaterial" at all.

Of course you are right. It's all a waste of time

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I won't bother responding to your characterization of my reading of the Bible as "arm-of-flesh exegesis." Suffice it to say that in order to proceed in a discussion with you about the meaning of the biblical texts you cited, I will need to ask if you can agree to some ground rules:

1. Any discussion of the meaning of the text is to be based on a reasoned examination of the wording of the text in its ancient historical and literary contexts, especially in the immediate context of the passage itself.

2. While you may have your modern revelations and I may have my modern doctrinal confessions, we will agree not to appeal to these as reasons for favoring one interpretation over another.

What do you think?

Agreed! I am willing to debate this subject with you on your own terms, as a purely exegetical endeavor based on the biblical context, without any reference to personal revelation or extra-biblical considerations. I am ready as soon as you are!

Before we begin, however, we need to establish some common grounds and define our terms regarding the nature of spiris so that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak. When you say that spirits are “incorporeal,” you need to clarify for me the following points:

  1. What is the biblical basis for that claim? Since the Bible is the basis of your theology, I presume you must have a biblical basis for it.
  2. You need to clarify what you mean by “incorporeal”. If by incorporeal you mean that spirits do not have bodies of flesh and blood like ours, or anything that is tangible or can be impacted by the materials of our world, then we are in agreement. We don’t believe that either. However, if by incorporeal you mean that spirits are made of nothing at all, then we don’t agree. The only thing that is made of nothing is nothing. A spirit, whatever it is, has got to be made of something. It can’t just be made of nothing—otherwise it would be nothing. It has to be made of something in order to avoid being nothing.

So you need clarify these two points for us before we proceed. I look forward to your reply with interest.

Edited by zerinus
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As did calmoriah (I believe) and I, even though neither of us is you/Vance.

The question is, "If Jesus did not 'pass through a solid wall' to enter the room where the ten Apostles were, how did He get inside?"

Lehi

Thats easy... He jumped in through the whole in the roof that was made to lower the man in the bed down on to be healed!

Edited by Zakuska
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Conceptually, "immaterial space" is the space where incorporeal beings (persons that have substance) are present. It is the kind of space that is needed for your belief to be coherent and make sense. ;)

Since spirit matter is not the same as physical matter, and thus does not occupy physical space, but it occupies spiritual space, the unity of the spirit and physical bodies is not contradictory or nonsense.

Which is intresting too because the rich man, without the aid of a "physical body" was able to look up to Abrahams Bosom and see Lazarus as well as communicate., etc. etc.

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<snip passages>

I could go on, but hopefully this will suffice.

Ah wade... you forgot about the best one!

1 Sam 28

5 And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.

6 And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

7 ¶Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at En-dor.

8 And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.

9 And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?

10 And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.

11 Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.

12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.

13 And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.

14 And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.

15 ¶And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.

16 Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?

17 And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:

18 Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day.

19 Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.

20 Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.

21 ¶And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me.

22 Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way.

23 But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed.

24 And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:

25 And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.

Apparently Spirit Bodies look just like Physical Bodies. complete with clothing and Age.

Edited by Zakuska
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zerinus,

Cool. Here are the answers to your questions.

1. The biblical basis for the claim that spirits are incorporeal is manifold, some of which will become evident as we look at the proof texts that Wade presented in support of spirits being embodied. I'll just highlight a few points of relevance here; this is not exhaustive. (a) Spirits are compared to incorporeal physical phenomena, specifically wind and breath (the literal, physical meanings of pneuma) as well as fire; see especially Hebrews 1:7. (b) Spirits can possess the bodies of human beings (numerous examples in the Gospels and Acts); this is best explained by the view that spirits are incorporeal. © Spirits can actually appear to people in their dreams (e.g., Matt. 1:20, 24; 2:13, 19); this is also best explained by their being incorporeal. (d) Human beings have spirits that are distinct from their bodies; in fact, the Bible often contrasts a person's "body" with his soul or spirit (Is. 10:18; Micah 6:7; Matt. 10:28; Rom. 8:10; 1 Cor. 5:3; 7:34; 2 Cor. 7:1; Col. 2:5; James 2:26). This is odd language if a spirit is itself a body. (e) Biblical passages in which bodily parts or actions are attributed to spirits often contain indications within the immediate context that preclude taking these descriptions literally (we'll see this as we look at such passages).

2. I certainly don't believe that spirits are nothing. What I mean (and what all orthodox Christians mean) by saying that spirits are incorporeal is that a spirit does not have have a set shape that occupies a certain amount of space.

A related, but not identical, point is that spirits are not material. Orthodox Christians view spirit as a different kind of "substance" than matter. We understand matter to refer to the quantifiable stuff of which things in the physical universe are composed. All matter has some mass, occupies some space, and is subject to physical forces (atomic forces, gravity, electromagnetic forces, centrifugal forces, etc.). Spirits do not have mass, do not occupy amounts of space, and are not subject to physical forces.

Finally, please be aware of the fact that all orthodox Christians agree that spirits can appear in bodily form for the purposes of interacting with human beings. Most orthodox Christians would even agree that spirits can take physical form for such purposes. The issue is whether bodily form is native or essential to the nature of spirits.

Agreed! I am willing to debate this subject with you on your own terms, as a purely exegetical endeavor based on the biblical context, without any reference to personal revelation or extra-biblical considerations. I am ready as soon as you are!

Before we begin, however, we need to establish some common grounds and define our terms regarding the nature of spiris so that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak. When you say that spirits are “incorporeal,” you need to clarify for me the following points:

  1. What is the biblical basis for that claim? Since the Bible is the basis of your theology, I presume you must have a biblical basis for it.
  2. You need to clarify what you mean by “incorporeal”. If by incorporeal you mean that spirits do not have bodies of flesh and blood like ours, or anything that is tangible or can be impacted by the materials of our world, then we are we are in agreement. We don’t believe that either. However, if by incorporeal you mean that spirits are made of nothing at all, then we don’t agree. The only thing that is made of nothing is nothing. A spirit, whatever it is, has got to be made of something. It can’t just be made of nothing—otherwise it would be nothing. It has to be made of something in order to avoid being nothing.

So you need clarify these two points for us before we proceed. I look forward to your reply with interest.

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A related, but not identical, point is that spirits are not material. Orthodox Christians view spirit as a different kind of "substance" than matter. We understand matter to refer to the quantifiable stuff of which things in the physical universe are composed. All matter has some mass, occupies some space, and is subject to physical forces (atomic forces, gravity, electromagnetic forces, centrifugal forces, etc.). Spirits do not have mass, do not occupy amounts of space, and are not subject to physical forces.

I really don't have much interest in the conversation since I'm not at all that concerned with how Protestants and Catholics view spirit. But, some clarity to your conversation will occur with more precision in your physics.

All matter does not have mass. There are massless particles (photons of light being the most common example)

All matter does not necessarily have extension (for example, the electron has a size consistent with 0). Indeed the concept of size is not horribly well defined. We are nevertheless wont to express a size and this size is a parameter which is descriptive of an interaction.

The are four fundamental forces: the strong and weak nuclear forces, the electromagnetic force, and the gravitational force. All the forces of physical matter and an expression of these forces (though, centrifugal force isn't a force at all but a frame of reference effect).

With 15 minutes or so, one can get a very accessible introduction to the Standard Model via the Particle Data Group's Particle Adventure

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Wade,

So, according to you, Billy-Bobbism is a reasonable interpretation of the Book of Mormon that cannot be refuted exegetically. That's an interesting admission. I'm afraid I don't see any hope of making further progress in our discussion, but I think that it has been illuminating.

Setting aside your severely flawed caricature of my beliefs, I am unashamed to say that I think some beliefs are wrong and that we can know on rational grounds that they are wrong. I do not see this position as inimical to genuine inter-faith dialogue. On the contrary, I consider it to be a necessary precondition for the honest pursuit of truth in such dialogue.

Rob,

Wade's point is that there is more than one reasonable interpretation of the scriptures. Your point seems to be that there is only one reasonable interpretation of the scriptures, in every case. I will now propose a middle ground.

How about if I agree there are some cases when there are several reasonable interpretations of the scriptures, but that some of those reasonable interpretations of the scriptures are not correct?

Can you agree with that? If so, what method do you propose for finding out which reasonable interpretations of the scriptures are not correct?

Or, to ask that question from the other perspective, what method do you propose for finding out which reasonable interpretation(s) among the many other reasonable interpretations are correct?

I would also like to note that Protestantism, in general, seems to have found a way to consider every sect within itself to have arrived at many, many, many reasonable interpretations of the scriptures while considering every sect within itself to be Christian.

We (LDS) simply ask for the same courtesy, even though in some cases you do not personallly agree with what we consider to be reasonable interpretations of the scriptures which we believe we have arrived at through the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

Edited by Ahab
  • Upvote 1
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1. The biblical basis for the claim that spirits are incorporeal is manifold, some of which will become evident as we look at the proof texts that Wade presented in support of spirits being embodied. I'll just highlight a few points of relevance here; this is not exhaustive. (a) Spirits are compared to incorporeal physical phenomena, specifically wind and breath (the literal, physical meanings of pneuma) as well as fire; see especially Hebrews 1:7.

Ok, so they aren't "immaterial" then are they!

(d) Human beings have spirits that are distinct from their bodies; in fact, the Bible often contrasts a person's "body" with his soul or spirit (Is. 10:18; Micah 6:7; Matt. 10:28; Rom. 8:10; 1 Cor. 5:3; 7:34; 2 Cor. 7:1; Col. 2:5; James 2:26). This is odd language if a spirit is itself a body.

Nah, it only requires that the spirit is distinct from the PHYSICAL body of flesh (or of elements if you will). It doesn't speak at all about what a spirit actually is.

(e) Biblical passages in which bodily parts or actions are attributed to spirits often contain indications within the immediate context that preclude taking these descriptions literally (we'll see this as we look at such passages).

Just another ASSERTION with no backing.

2. I certainly don't believe that spirits are nothing.

So then, they are composed of SOMETHING.

What I mean (and what all orthodox Christians mean) by saying that spirits are incorporeal is that a spirit does not have have a set shape that occupies a certain amount of space.

Just another ASSERTION with no backing. Please provide scriptural references to support your bald assertions.

A related, but not identical, point is that spirits are not material.

Just another ASSERTION with no backing. Please provide scriptural references to support your bald assertions.

Orthodox Christians view spirit as a different kind of "substance" than matter.

If you change "matter" to "element" then we could agree. But you have yet to support the assertion that spirit is "immaterial".

You could just admit that you can't.

We understand matter to refer to the quantifiable stuff of which things in the physical universe are composed.

And just what Biblical support do you have for this belief?

All matter has some mass, occupies some space, and is subject to physical forces (atomic forces, gravity, electromagnetic forces, centrifugal forces, etc.).

OK.

Spirits do not have mass,. . .

CFR! Chapter and verse please. (Or you could just refer to the scientific study that shows this.)

. . . do not occupy amounts of space, and are not subject to physical forces.

CFR! Chapter and verse please. (Or you could just refer to the scientific study that shows this.)

Finally, please be aware of the fact that all orthodox Christians agree that spirits can appear in bodily form for the purposes of interacting with human beings.

So, they deceive people about their nature? Even the good ones?

The fact is that they are a "bodily form", no deception needed.

Most orthodox Christians would even agree that spirits can take physical form for such purposes.

Why, when there is not need to deceive people about their nature. Why not appear as the gaseous looking what ever that you believe they are. Again, why the NEED FOR DECEPTION??????????

The issue is whether bodily form is native or essential to the nature of spirits.

And the answer is rather OBVIOUS. The "bodily form is native"!!!!!!!!

Or would you please do the "sola scriptura" thing and provide the Biblical statement declaring otherwise.

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