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Is The Spirit In 1 Kings 22:19-23 Embodied Or Incorporeal?


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I would appreciate it if you'd start being specific so your argument stops sounding like you're just running around with the goal post refusing to put it down anywhere.

Well, he is moving the goal posts. The stipulation that belief in the text is required was not originally required. (as shown here, )

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My interest here is specifically in explaining why I don't think this passage, which was cited by a Mormon to me in defense of the Mormon view of spirits, actually supports that view. Your own characterization clearly won't fit the Mormon view, since Mormons don't think the "divine council" is a "physical event" but is rather an event involving spirit beings in the celestial kingdom. Spirit beings, according to LDS doctrine, are "material" but not "physical." This isn't a mere semantic point, because construing the vision as meaning that spirits are literally embodied entities does imply that they are physical beings.

There may be some confusion on your part. I have not argued that spirits have physical bodies (by "physical" I mean the less pure matter we typically refer to as "physical"). I was arguing that they have spirit bodies. The vision does mean that the spirits are literally embodied entities, though embodied as spirit beings in spirit bodies. And, I don't see how this differs from what Maklelan is suggesting.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund
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I've often wondered if this was just fluffy imagery or If Lazarus and the rich man, as disembodied spirits where able to actually see, speak and hear each other, and feel torment from physical fire.

Luke 16

19 ¶There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23 And in h*** he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

The early Christians sure believed it to be a Physical reality. Pay attention to the "skin colors" of the individuals in the scene.

Panel 2 - The 'spirit body' or breath of life being removed from Lazarus' mouth. Lazarus as a Child in Paradise being bounced on Abrahams knee.

Panel 3 - The 'spirit body' of the rich man being torn from his mouth and dragged screaming over the shoulder of the demons to the fires of h***. Notice he starts out white but slowly roasts to a golden brown. Then to a chared black.

Edited by Zakuska
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Ahab,

You may very well never understand my position, because you (and most Mormons with whom I have tried to discuss these things) appear to accept a monistic view of reality, i.e., the idea that all reality is ultimately of one basic or elemental kind.

That's not how I view or see things, Rob, unless my understanding of what you mean by one "basic or elemental kind" is flawed. I do recognize the fact that all matter is composed of some type of substance, and that for any "thing" to be real it must consist of some type of physical substance... except for thoughts and emotions which are manifestations of other things rather than things that can act for themselves... but I see each type of thing that exist as consisting of some types of substances which other things are not composed of. Rocks, for example, don't have any kind of spirit within them, which is why they are not living creatures, while plants and animals and other forms of life have their own unique elements which makes them the kinds of things that they are.

Maybe on some very basic level all things have some things in them which some other things have, but I wouldn't go so far to say that all things are composed of the very same basic substance because I see a uniqueness in all kinds of things.

The idea that immaterial beings might be very real entities just doesn't compute with many people today.

And that's a good thing, because it is in fact nonsense, If a being is immaterial, then it really doesn't really exist in any kind of "real" or "material" form or substance, and while you may "believe" that such a being does exist, what you believe in doesn't conform to reality. It simply doesn't work that way, even though you "think" it does.

Historically, this difficulty in accepting the idea of immaterial beings can be traced to the Enlightenment, in which skeptics dismissed the idea as incomprehensible and contrary to their understanding of Ockham's razor.

That idea was around long before that age in which many were still not enlightened. Think back to the days of the Greeks who transmitted that idea to the Romans who the apostle Paul knew in his day, some of whom became Christian while retaining some of their old traditional beliefs and who continued long after the days of those apostles when the Nicean creed was adopted.

The classical Jewish and Christian view of spirits that I accept is that spirits are real, substantial beings, but not material beings. Matter in our view is the stuff of the physical universe. We do not view spirits as abstractions akin to thoughts or concepts. They are real, personal entities, but they are not composed of matter and are incorporeal (bodiless). Their "substance" may itself be called spirit; it is real and, in the case of created spirits, finite, but still immaterial.

Do you realize you'll never be able to offer any kind of proof or evidence that spirits exist as immaterial beings. All you'll ever have is that thought in your head that they do, even if you see a spirit appear right in front of you. You'll likely think something immaterial is taking on a material form so you can see him at that moment before going back into something immaterial, and if he told you he was made of some type of material substance you likely would not believe him while you continued to hold your belief.

I'm happy to offer biblical evidence to support this view, but obviously I can't offer support for a view I don't hold, such as your misunderstanding of my view as meaning that spirits are unreal abstractions or thoughts. So first we need to have a minimal understanding of what it is I am advocating.

My understanding of what you are advocating is something that is real but not of any real form or substance. Is that about it?

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong in your understanding of what "spirits" are, as I truly would like to understand what you mean.

Just don't be surprised if I dismiss those ideas as nonsense because I know there is no truth in what you are saying.

Edited by Ahab
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zerinus,

A spirit (other than God) is made or created by God, and it is definitely something rather than nothing. However, "something" does not mean something material or something with a human form. My position is that all spirits are incorporeal or, if you prefer, not embodied (bodiless). That is, spirits do not have mass, do not occupy physical space, and do not have a fixed spatial arrangement (shape).

If they do not have location they are everywhere and no where and yours is the same as mine then.

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Dan,

You wrote:

Joseph Smith said "there is no such things as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes" (DHC 5:392-93). (EDIT: I removed the incriminating part where I forgot this was a part of the D&C) Is it now your contention that according to Latter-day Saint ideology, spirits are "matter" and "material" but not "physical"? If so, would you mind showing where this distinction is made?

Sure.

"There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by pure eyes; we cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter" (D&C 131:7-8 ). In context here, "more fine or pure" means finer or purer than the material of our physical bodies.

“In tracing the thing to the foundation, and looking at it philosophically, we shall find a very material difference between the body and the spirit; the body is supposed to be organized matter, and the spirit, by many, is thought to be immaterial, without substance. With this latter statement we should beg leave to differ, and state that spirit is a substance; that it is material, but that it is more pure, elastic and refined matter than the body; that it existed before the body, can exist in the body; and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection, be again united with it” (Joseph Smith, April 1, 1842, in History of the Church 4:575; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 207).

"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life" (Gordon B. Hinckley, general conference, 1995).

"You consist of two parts—your physical body, and your spirit which lives within your body" (Russell Nelson, general conference, 1985).

"Man is a dual being—a living soul—composed of a body of spirit and a physical body. His spirit existed as an individual personal entity in a premortal life long before the earth was created" (Marion G. Romney, general conference, 1978).

"Our spirit body has the same shape and form as the physical body. The spirit body then has arms, legs, a head, and a mind" (Eldred G. Smith, general conference, 1964).

"Each of us has a spirit body and a physical body. Before coming to this earth we were personages of spirit, yet we were individuals. We could walk, run, speak, see, think. Our spirit body was made of elements not found in mortality" (Eldred G. Smith, general conference, 1963).

"You and I are dual personages, possessing a spirit body which dwells in a physical body. Death is the separation of that spiritual body from the physical body" (Milton R. Hunter, general conference, 1949).

"The human spirit is a personage that resembles the physical body. Spirit substance is real matter but is considerably more refined than the physical substance of the mortal, fallen, temporal world of earth life" (Robert J. Matthews, Selected Writings, 465-66).

"In LDS understanding, the spirit of each individual is not immaterial, but consists of pure, refined matter: "It existed before the body, can exist in the body; and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection, be again united with it" (TPJS, p. 207). Identity and personality persist with the spirit, and after the resurrection the spirit will dwell forever in a physical body" (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1222).

"The spirit world is the habitation of spirits. The earth itself and the living things on the earth have spirit counterparts that existed before the physical creation, and a living soul consists of a spirit body united with a physical body. This spirit existence, where living things are composed of organized, refined spirit matter, extends beyond the human family and includes animals and plants" (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1408).

"In summary, the Prophet Joseph Smith teaches that the principle ingredients of physical and spirit elements have existed and will continue to exist in some form of organization forever. The doctrine of the restored gospel, then, is that the elements of the body and spirit of each human have always existed. At some point in the distant past, God brought eternal intelligence and other spirit elements together in the form of a spirit body. Later, he placed that living spirit within an embryo or fetus made of the physical elements of this earth. As a new life was born, the infant body grew until it became the mature body we now possess. Although some may argue that God created the whole man (intelligence, spirit, and body) from nothing, God's own revealed word declares that God organized man from already existing material, both physical and spiritual" (Victor Ludlow, Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel, 142).

Edited by Rob Bowman
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I've often wondered if this was just fluffy imagery or If Lazarus and the rich man, as disembodied spirits where able to actually see, speak and hear each other, and feel torment from physical fire.

Luke 16:

In the previous thread, this passage, along with a number of other biblical passages, was cited in support of the LDS belief that spirits have bodies. Rob portends to examine the exegesis of each of those passages. This thread is devoted to the first passage I cited. Presumably, other threads will be devoted to the other passages. So, I believe he is already aware of one you cited.

However, given that the passage in question in this thread is the one I believe is most vulnerable to criticism, and given how poorly things seeming to be going exegetically for Rob on this thread, I am not sure whether we will ever get to the other passages or not. We'll see.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I agree that from our reckoning, spirits have no mass, yet through some means of their spiritual power interact with (influence, move) physical things.

I also agree that they do not occupy physical space, but spiritual space. That physical and spiritual space coexist or overlap is evident from their constant interaction and "connectedness" in moving and acting in this world. I do think it may be more accurate to describe the spirit as being "connected with" or "possessing" a mortal body rather than actually occupying it, though I have no problem with the figurative vernacular (the term "dwelling" as well). I'm suggesting this is how adult human spirits with their specifications can "occupy" infant, incomplete or gargantuan bodies, and how many evil spirits can possess one body.

I do not agree that spirits have no shape, which is the crux of the LDS interpretation of I Kings 22:19-23.

Spiritual power and influence are another matter.

The LDS position is that there is no such thing as "immaterial matter", and that spiritual matter is in fact matter but "more refined".

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Ahab,

You may very well never understand my position, because you (and most Mormons with whom I have tried to discuss these things) appear to accept a monistic view of reality, i.e., the idea that all reality is ultimately of one basic or elemental kind. The idea that immaterial beings might be very real entities just doesn't compute with many people today. Historically, this difficulty in accepting the idea of immaterial beings can be traced to the Enlightenment, in which skeptics dismissed the idea as incomprehensible and contrary to their understanding of Ockham's razor.

The classical Jewish and Christian view of spirits that I accept is that spirits are real, substantial beings, but not material beings. Matter in our view is the stuff of the physical universe. We do not view spirits as abstractions akin to thoughts or concepts. They are real, personal entities, but they are not composed of matter and are incorporeal (bodiless). Their "substance" may itself be called spirit; it is real and, in the case of created spirits, finite, but still immaterial.

I'm happy to offer biblical evidence to support this view, but obviously I can't offer support for a view I don't hold, such as your misunderstanding of my view as meaning that spirits are unreal abstractions or thoughts. So first we need to have a minimal understanding of what it is I am advocating.

I would love to see your biblical support for the existence of "substance"- we have had this discussion before and we both know that no such biblical support exists.

It was totally an invention of Neoplatonic philosophers.

I am surprised that you don't cite any Evangelical theologians who have some views at least which cohere with 20th Century philosophy.

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The LDS position is that there is no such thing as "immaterial matter", and that spiritual matter is in fact matter but "more refined".

Even light/fire/plasma are matter.

In physics and chemistry, plasma is a state of matter similar to gas in which a certain portion of the particles are ionized. Heating a gas may ionize (reduce the number of electrons in) its molecules or atoms, thus turning it into a plasma, which contains charged particles: positive ions and negative electrons. Ionization can be induced by other means, such as strong electromagnetic field applied with a laser or microwave generator, and is accompanied by the dissociation of molecular bonds, if present.[1]

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Actually,

I think its inclusion in D&C 131:7 makes it "official doctrine".

Agreed

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Dan,

You wrote:

Sure.

"There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by pure eyes; we cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter" (D&C 131:7-8 ). In context here, "more fine or pure" means finer or purer than the material of our physical bodies.

What it seems to mean to mean to me is differing ends of the spectrum of physicality. I don't see Smith saying something can be material but not physical.

“In tracing the thing to the foundation, and looking at it philosophically, we shall find a very material difference between the body and the spirit; the body is supposed to be organized matter, and the spirit, by many, is thought to be immaterial, without substance. With this latter statement we should beg leave to differ, and state that spirit is a substance; that it is material, but that it is more pure, elastic and refined matter than the body; that it existed before the body, can exist in the body; and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection, be again united with it” (Joseph Smith, April 1, 1842, in History of the Church 4:575; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 207).

So now Smith additionally states that the spirit is substance. Now it's material and substance, but not physical? You're really reaching here, Rob.

"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life" (Gordon B. Hinckley, general conference, 1995).

"You consist of two parts—your physical body, and your spirit which lives within your body" (Russell Nelson, general conference, 1985).

"Man is a dual being—a living soul—composed of a body of spirit and a physical body. His spirit existed as an individual personal entity in a premortal life long before the earth was created" (Marion G. Romney, general conference, 1978).

"Our spirit body has the same shape and form as the physical body. The spirit body then has arms, legs, a head, and a mind" (Eldred G. Smith, general conference, 1964).

This is just using conventional vernacular for distinguishing between the spiritual body and our mortal bodies. For the sake of argument, let's presume the spirit body is thought to be physical. What two terms should be used by authorities speaking to general audiences to communicate the different physical nature of the spirit as compared to the mortal body?

"Each of us has a spirit body and a physical body. Before coming to this earth we were personages of spirit, yet we were individuals. We could walk, run, speak, see, think. Our spirit body was made of elements not found in mortality" (Eldred G. Smith, general conference, 1963).

So now it is made of elements, it's substance, and it's material, but it's not physical. To prove this you're pointing to the use of conventional language in contexts that are not concerned with precise nomenclature. You're taking vernacular too far again.

"You and I are dual personages, possessing a spirit body which dwells in a physical body. Death is the separation of that spiritual body from the physical body" (Milton R. Hunter, general conference, 1949).

"The human spirit is a personage that resembles the physical body. Spirit substance is real matter but is considerably more refined than the physical substance of the mortal, fallen, temporal world of earth life" (Robert J. Matthews, Selected Writings, 465-66).

"In LDS understanding, the spirit of each individual is not immaterial, but consists of pure, refined matter: "It existed before the body, can exist in the body; and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection, be again united with it" (TPJS, p. 207).

Notice here the conventional vernacular isn't concerned with the fact that it is identifying what is elsewhere called the "spirit body" as something to be contrasted with the "body." In other words, the "spirit" is not a "body" in this quote. The word "body" refers only to the mortal body. The other passages called the spirit a "spirit body," but here the "body" (with no qualification) is distinguished from "the spirit." Using your über-strict interpretive lens, we'd have to conclude that the other texts are wrong in insisting that the spirit body is actually a "body." It is not a body, according to the above quote. Either that or this text is wrong. The other (correct) option is that these texts are concerned with presenting a conceptual distinction without worrying about being perfectly precise in the nomenclature used to describe that distinction. They're just using conventional vernacular. If pressed, all these writers would point out that, technically, the spirit body is actually physical, since it is substance, elemental, and material. It sits at the other end of the spectrum of physicality, but it's absolutely physical. You can't have material and elemental substance that is not physical.

Identity and personality persist with the spirit, and after the resurrection the spirit will dwell forever in a physical body" (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1222).

"The spirit world is the habitation of spirits. The earth itself and the living things on the earth have spirit counterparts that existed before the physical creation, and a living soul consists of a spirit body united with a physical body. This spirit existence, where living things are composed of organized, refined spirit matter, extends beyond the human family and includes animals and plants" (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1408).

"In summary, the Prophet Joseph Smith teaches that the principle ingredients of physical and spirit elements have existed and will continue to exist in some form of organization forever. The doctrine of the restored gospel, then, is that the elements of the body and spirit of each human have always existed. At some point in the distant past, God brought eternal intelligence and other spirit elements together in the form of a spirit body. Later, he placed that living spirit within an embryo or fetus made of the physical elements of this earth. As a new life was born, the infant body grew until it became the mature body we now possess. Although some may argue that God created the whole man (intelligence, spirit, and body) from nothing, God's own revealed word declares that God organized man from already existing material, both physical and spiritual" (Victor Ludlow, Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel, 142).

This is rather manipulative exegesis of these passages. You're arguing that Latter-day Saints believe that elemental and material substance is not physical simply because conventional ways of speaking of the difference between the spirit and mortal bodies happen to use the word "physical" over and against the word "spirit." If pressed, I imagine every single one of those persons would say the same thing: technically, spirit bodies are physical. I imagine that's how the Latter-day Saints here understand it as well.

Is there any Latter-day Saint here who disagrees?

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The classical Jewish and Christian view of spirits that I accept is that spirits are real, substantial beings, but not material beings. Matter in our view is the stuff of the physical universe. We do not view spirits as abstractions akin to thoughts or concepts. They are real, personal entities, but they are not composed of matter and are incorporeal (bodiless). Their "substance" may itself be called spirit; it is real and, in the case of created spirits, finite, but still immaterial.

I refer you to the quote from Joseph Smith that you gave in this post in this thread:

“In tracing the thing to the foundation, and looking at it philosophically, we shall find a very material difference between the body and the spirit; the body is supposed to be organized matter, and the spirit, by many, is thought to be immaterial, without substance. With this latter statement we should beg leave to differ, and state that spirit is a substance; that it is material, but that it is more pure, elastic and refined matter than the body; that it existed before the body, can exist in the body; and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection, be again united with it” (Joseph Smith, April 1, 1842, in History of the Church 4:575;Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 207).

What Joseph Smith calls "matter" is the same as what you have called "substance". So it looks like we are arguing over semantics here.

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I acknowledge that prophets have used the term "physical" body to distinguish it from a "spiritual" body, but underlying their usage is the common understanding we have as LDS that neither term means ANYTHING "immaterial".

No one LDS means anything like "incorporeal" when they speak of "spirit matter"

He is confusing two different linguistic contexts, one of which is a common usage to LDS people, with the Evangelical usage of "incorporeal" meaning "non-physical" to somehow imply that we think that "spirit matter" is not "REALLY physical" when in fact that is exactly what we believe.

The ambiguity is similar to the one which exists for the Evangelical usage of "salvation" which means something quite different than "salvation" for LDS.

The fact remains that Evangelicals are ultimately dualists who believe in some ephemeral realm of immaterial and undefinable "things" which are beyond human ability to comprehend, whereas LDS believe in no such thing.

As I have said before, yes, God is incomprehensible in how he does things, but he is certainly intelligent enough to reveal himself to his children in ways that we can understand perfectly.

We do not seek to escape thorough explanations.

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I refer you to the quote from Joseph Smith that you gave in this post in this thread:

What Joseph Smith calls "matter" is the same as what you have called "substance". So it looks like we are arguing over semantics here.

I agree and it appears that Mak does as well.

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The LDS position is that there is no such thing as "immaterial matter", and that spiritual matter is in fact matter but "more refined".

I agree 100% and believe it is consistent with my statements, as follows:

Spiritual matter is so refined and pure that we cannot measure its mass by our mortal reckoning. I’m certain that God can weigh it and that the spiritual world has its own “physical” laws that we cannot discern or measure with the mortal tools at our disposal. In many respects I think that spirit-to-spirit interaction seems as “physical” to spirits as mortal-to-mortal interaction appears to us, though once we are in a position to compare them, we would find the mortal experience to be far richer and meaningful, in accordance with the plan of salvation.

I do not believe the more refined spiritual matter occupies the same locale as its coarser physical matter counterpart at the same time on the most quantum level, but that the grosser things made of physical and spiritual matter (the body and the spirit) appear to occupy the same space at the same time once they are “connected”.

I think we corresponded a bit on helium occupying the same space as a balloon, rum as cake, etc. – not particle-for-particle, but in their new identity as a floating balloon or tiramisu, with the gas and the alcohol being “more refined” substances in relation to the latex and the cake. Likewise, the connected spirit and body become a new entity, the soul. This does not mean the spirit fills the body like a gas fills a balloon (imagine a hymn about that! Better as a limerick…), but that they are connected by the power of God to form a soul, and once they are connected, the soul constitutes a new entity in which its compound of physical matter (as a more organized physical body) and of spiritual matter (as a more organized spirit body) share the space called the soul.

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Notice here the conventional vernacular isn't concerned with the fact that it is identifying what is elsewhere called the "spirit body" as something to be contrasted with the "body." In other words, the "spirit" is not a "body" in this quote. The word "body" refers only to the mortal body. The other passages called the spirit a "spirit body," but here the "body" (with no qualification) is distinguished from "the spirit." Using your über-strict interpretive lens, we'd have to conclude that the other texts are wrong in insisting that the spirit body is actually a "body." It is not a body, according to the above quote. Either that or this text is wrong. The other (correct) option is that these texts are concerned with presenting a conceptual distinction without worrying about being perfectly precise in the nomenclature used to describe that distinction. They're just using conventional vernacular. If pressed, all these writers would point out that, technically, the spirit body is actually physical, since it is substance, elemental, and material. It sits at the other end of the spectrum of physicality, but it's absolutely physical. You can't have material and elemental substance that is not physical....

it as

This is rather manipulative exegesis of these passages. You're arguing that Latter-day Saints believe that elemental and material substance is not physical simply because conventional ways of speaking of the difference between the spirit and mortal bodies happen to use the word "physical" over and against the word "spirit." If pressed, I imagine every single one of those persons would say the same thing: technically, spirit bodies are physical...

Is there any Latter-day Saint here who disagrees?

I think not!

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Dan,

Let me summarize:

When any LDS leader or teacher fails to use the word physical, whatever he says cannot mean or imply that the spirit is not physical. When any LDS leader or teacher does use the word physical and contrasts it with the spirit (even the "spirit body"), he is just speaking colloquially and his wording should not be pressed. Ergo, all spirit is not only matter, but all spirit is physical.

Hey, if you want to advocate for this interpretation of LDS doctrine, go for it. Such a doctrine would be even easier to refute than the more philosophically sophisticated claim that spirit is somehow a finer and purer form of matter than the matter comprising physical objects.

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Dan,

You wrote:

For the sake of argument, let's presume the spirit body is thought to be physical. What two terms should be used by authorities speaking to general audiences to communicate the different physical nature of the spirit as compared to the mortal body?

How about calling the mortal body "mortal"?

Edited by Rob Bowman
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Bodily form, yes; physicality, no. Mormon theology denies that premortal spirits are or were physical.

If by "physical" you mean materials of this world, like our natural bodies, that would be right; but if you mean substantive, then that is not right. We believe spirits are substantive (read "refined matter" if you like), and that can be physical in its own way, or in its own sphere of existence, though not in ours.

Edited by zerinus
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zerinus,

I'm not trying to define Mormons' terms. I have quoted several statements from GAs and other Mormon leaders who use the term physical in reference to a body other than the spirit body--a body of flesh and bones.

Can anyone provide a single quotation from any Mormon authority or theologian who says that spirit bodies are physical?

If by "physical" you mean materials of this world, like our natural bodies, that would be right; but if you mean substantive, then that is not right. We believe spirits are substantive (read "refined matter" if you like), and that can be physical in its own way, or in its own sphere of existence.

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