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Moral concerns regarding the doctrine of the preexistence


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7 hours ago, california boy said:

My point was to find out what you think about the questions I asked.  Is there an answer to those questions somewhere in your response?

Yep.

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9 hours ago, california boy said:

My point was to find out what you think about the questions I asked.  Is there an answer to those questions somewhere in your response?

This really bugged me for some reason so I will help you and spell it out simply.

On 8/9/2016 at 5:33 AM, california boy said:

Yes. I mentioned that in my post.  Maybe you can help me here. Do you think it is important for someone to join the church here on earth?  If they do, what benefit is it to them to accept it here rather than after they die?  Why do you think people don't join the church?  Are they wrong to not accept it?  Do you think people don't join the church because they  are wicked or want to sin?  

Q: Do you think it is important for someone to join the church here on earth?

A: Would it be better to start college because you had that capability at 12 years of age?  Of course it is better to learn more here than after you have passed. 

Q:Why do you think people don't join the church?

A: People do not join the church here because of all the confusion in this life, and of course they are not wrong to not accept it

Q:  Are they wrong to not accept it?  Do you think people don't join the church because they  are wicked or want to sin?  

A: People rebel against doctrines they do not understand as is shown here every single day- and in this thread for that matter.   The church and God are not as strict as some       weird Utahns think.  Honestly you don't burn in hell for playing with face cards or drinking caffeinated cola.  

That is about as direct and easy as I can make it

 

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4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

This really bugged me for some reason so I will help you and spell it out simply.

Q: Do you think it is important for someone to join the church here on earth?

A: Would it be better to start college because you had that capability at 12 years of age?  Of course it is better to learn more here than after you have passed. 

Q:Why do you think people don't join the church?

A: People do not join the church here because of all the confusion in this life, and of course they are not wrong to not accept it

Q:  Are they wrong to not accept it?  Do you think people don't join the church because they  are wicked or want to sin?  

A: People rebel against doctrines they do not understand as is shown here every single day- and in this thread for that matter.   The church and God are not as strict as some       weird Utahns think.  Honestly you don't burn in hell for playing with face cards or drinking caffeinated cola.  

That is about as direct and easy as I can make it

Victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Californii!

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8 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

 

Edited by USU78
Idiot numbskull fumblefingeritis
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5 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

This really bugged me for some reason so I will help you and spell it out simply.

Q: Do you think it is important for someone to join the church here on earth?

A: Would it be better to start college because you had that capability at 12 years of age?  Of course it is better to learn more here than after you have passed. 

Q:Why do you think people don't join the church?

A: People do not join the church here because of all the confusion in this life, and of course they are not wrong to not accept it

Q:  Are they wrong to not accept it?  Do you think people don't join the church because they  are wicked or want to sin?  

A: People rebel against doctrines they do not understand as is shown here every single day- and in this thread for that matter.   The church and God are not as strict as some       weird Utahns think.  Honestly you don't burn in hell for playing with face cards or drinking caffeinated cola.  

That is about as direct and easy as I can make it

 

Thanks for your input.  This is much more clear what you were saying.  I couldn't tell before what question your words were addressing.  Your first response with a simple Yes seemed to indicate that you really didn't care to clarify your answer.  So I was fine with that.  Your second answer actually gave me some information that I didn't have to guess at what you were saying.  I have learned it best not to guess at someone's answers if I am not clear on what they met.  

I would ask you a few more questions to further understand what you responded to, but you seem to take these questions offensively, so I will just be content with what you have given me.

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On 8/9/2016 at 6:31 PM, mfbukowski said:

Please read this again and again until you figure out it is self-contradictory

Why is that view being abandoned?  Because it is wrong and never made sense unless you believe- as this thread implies- that we are pre-destined.

That belief is incorrect

No, it wasn't self-contradictory, mfbukowski. 

And if those examples really are "being abandoned" (as opposed to merely not being discussed in public forums)--well, that's certainly interesting & I'd like to see what you have in support.  I'm sure other readers would too.  But please note: It won't prove there's *not* an "element of karma" in the LDS notion of preexistence--it could simply demonstrate I failed to provide sufficiently contemporary examples to support my argument.  Here's the full post, let our readers decide if I'm barking at the moon--

There's an element of karma in the LDS notion of preexistence, is there not?  The idea that there were "fence-sitters" is one example.  The idea that the most valiant spirits were saved for the latter/last days is another.  I realize these specific examples may have fallen from favor here in 2016--but the broader idea still stands, right?  I imagine Mitt Romney as a ranking officer in the War in Heaven, boblloyd91 a Private First Class.  And me--well, I was hiding in the pre-existent bathroom.

See, we get what we deserve...

Note that last line was bit of humor as my real hope is in Grace, not karma (otherwise things are going to go very badly for me).  So how about you take the point of my post seriously and have another go?

:0)

--Erik

PS.  I might suppose someone so deeply opposed to "predestination" (variations of which appear repeatedly in the New Testament) would happily embrace the logic of karma as predestination's obvious alternative.  Is there really another alternative?  Serious question. 

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On ‎8‎/‎7‎/‎2016 at 10:15 PM, boblloyd91 said:

To those that don't know my background I'm an LCSW, and spend my days working with those that have mental health and substance abuse problems. Something that has bothered me more and more is that many people who have problems were born into an environment where they had considerable handicaps (such as abuse, use of drugs etc.) I know that we often hear stories of people who overcome this and lead good happy loves, however in my observation this isn't always the case. 

I guess my question to you guys is this: how humane is the doctrine of preexistence? Of course it isn't like the doctrine of predestination, which I feel is much worse, however I'm starting to struggle with the idea of spirits being deliberately sent into situations where unimaginable pain and suffering are present

This will all be just my opinion.

It does indeed seem unfair that so many of God's children are born into a situation where the odds are clearly stacked against them. Some say that God will take everything into account and judge us accordingly, and imo this is part of the answer but not the whole answer. Some say that God knows our hearts and will judge us based on what we would have done, and there is probably some truth to this, but then one wonders what the point of coming here is to begin with if God can simply reward or punish us based on what we would have done.

I'd like to propose a somewhat different paradigm. This will be consistent with some aspects of orthodox LDS teachings and inconsistent with others, but I think it will be perfectly consistent with the idea of a God who is good, a God who is fair, and a God who is no respecter of persons.

The plan is, we are to become the same manner of man (or woman) that Jesus is. Jesus did not start out with a fullness, bur rather progressed from a small capacity to a greater one, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until he attained the resurrection from the dead - the same as had all Gods before him. It took him quite a while too – if everything he did was written down, all the books in the world would not be able to contain it. These assertions are based teachings from the Gospel of John, First John, Third Nephi, D&C 93, and the King Follet discourse.

Obviously this is too much for one person to accomplish in one lifetime, so in my opinion it is reasonable to expect that it will take many lifetimes. In some lifetimes, learning our lessons the hard way (going from "a small capacity to a greater one") and/or forgiveness of our sins (going from from “grace to grace”) is the best we can hope for. As we get further along, we have lifetimes where we pretty much ace the tests (going from “exaltation to exaltation”). Once we have mastered all the courses in the cirriculum, we have become the same manner of man (or woman) as Jesus, and we attain “the resurrection of the dead”. Note that, according to the sequence of events Joseph Smith taught in his most advanced teaching on the subject, the King Follet Discourse, the resurrection of the dead comes AFTER we have progressed “from exaltation to exaltation”, which imo means that we have to achieve “exaltation” not just once, but many times, because the plan is that we literally become like Jesus, and obviously that's going to take a while.

Jesus speaks of two kinds of resurrection in the Book of John – the resurrection of life eternal (of which his would be an example), and the resurrection of “judgment”. The Greek word is “krisis”, and “the resurrection of crisis” would be a better translation. An even better translation comes from the insight we gain by looking at the Chinese language, where the word for “crisis” is made up of the words for “danger” and “opportunity”. Thus, there are two kinds of resurrections: The resurrection of life eternal, and the resurrection of “danger and opportunity”. Mortal life certainly could be described as a time of “danger and opportunity”!

In other words, I think the concept of reincarnation is consistent with the principle of eternal progression. Personally, I prefer the term “multiple mortal probations”, as this excludes incorrect concepts like coming back as an animal. The inequities and lack of opportunity in one lifetime are made up for in another lifetime, and the wisdom and intelligence we attain in one lifetime stays with us, so that we have that much advantage in the next life, this being a basic aspect of “eternal progression”. Thus imo there is a perspective from which all things work together for our good – even being born a mental and emotional train-wreck to a drug-addicted mother trapped in one abusive relationship after another. All of God's promises that do not come true in one lifetime are still in effect and will all be fulfilled, because God sees us as if we are in eternity (which we are), rather than in time (which is all we can normally see while class is in session).

I'm not trying to “prove” reincarnation, or multiple mortal probations, in this post – that would take pages and pages to even attempt. I'm merely presenting the concept as one way of reconciling the inequities of this life with the concept of a God that is good, a God that is fair, and a God that is no respecter of persons. For those who are open to taking a look at some evidence, a case for reincarnation, written from and for a Mormon perspective, is made in this article: Reincarnation and Mormonism, Part 1

In my opinion – and that's all any of this post is – there are areas where we get freebies, and there are areas where we do not. It's like a driver's license test (except that a passing score is 100%, not 70%). If we fail the test, we have to take it again because sufficient mastery is required, but our past failures are not held against us. Still we are required to ace the test before we get our driver's license – we are not issued an honorary license just because our past mistakes are not held against us for eternity. (Then if we want our pilot's license, we go to a higher school – but we don't know anything about such higher schools at this point in our progression; we only know the principle that progression is eternal.)

So I believe that it will take a very long time, but that we are expected to become the same manner of man (or woman) as Jesus. I believe that is not unrealistic. I also believe that God is good, God is fair, and God is no respecter of persons, and that reincarnation would be one way for God to make sure everyone is able to eventually get their license, so to speak. And if not reincarnation, then I still believe that God has figured out a plan that works for all of his children, such that no one is cheated, even if we don't know the end from the beginning like He does. See Mfbukowski's “Chess Master” analogy, one of the best insights I have ever read, starting about halfway down this post:

That's my opinion anyway.

Edited by Eek!
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9 minutes ago, Eek! said:

This will all be just my opinion.

It does indeed seem unfair that so many of God's children are born into a situation where the odds are clearly stacked against them. Some say that God will take everything into account and judge us accordingly, and imo this is part of the answer but not the whole answer. Some say that God knows our hearts and will judge us based on what we would have done, and there is probably some truth to this, but then one wonders what the point of coming here is to begin with if God can simply reward or punish us based on what we would have done.

I'd like to propose a somewhat different paradigm. This will be consistent with some aspects of LDS teachings and inconsistent with others, but I think it will be perfectly consistent with the idea of a God who is good, a God who is fair, and a God who is no respecter of persons.

The plan is, we are to become the same manner of man (or woman) that Jesus is. Jesus did not start out with a fullness, bur rather progressed from a small capacity to a greater one, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until he attained the resurrection from the dead - the same as had all Gods before him. It took him quite a while too – if everything he did was written down, all the books in the world would not be able to contain it. These assertions are based teachings from the Gospel of John, First John, Third Nephi, D&C 93, and the King Follet discourse.

Obviously this is too much for one person to accomplish in one lifetime, so in my opinion it is reasonable to expect that it will take many lifetimes. In some lifetimes, learning our lessons the hard way (going from "a small capacity to a greater one") and/or forgiveness of our sins (going from from “grace to grace”) is the best we can hope for. As we get further along, we have lifetimes where we pretty much ace the tests (going from “exaltation to exaltation”). Once we have mastered all the courses in the cirriculum, we have become the same manner of man (or woman) as Jesus, and we attain “the resurrection of the dead”. Note that, according to the sequence of events Joseph Smith taught in his most advanced teaching on the subject, the King Follet Discourse, the resurrection of the dead comes AFTER we have progressed “from exaltation to exaltation”, which imo means that we have to achieve “exaltation” not just once, but many times, because the plan is that we literally become like Jesus, and obviously that's going to take a while.

Jesus speaks of two kinds of resurrection in the Book of John – the resurrection of life eternal (of which his would be an example), and the resurrection of “judgment”. The Greek word is “krisis”, and “the resurrection of crisis” would be a better translation. An even better translation comes from the insight we gain by looking at the Chinese language, where the word for “crisis” is made up of the words for “danger” and “opportunity”. Thus, there are two kinds of resurrections: The resurrection of life eternal, and the resurrection of “danger and opportunity”. Mortal life certainly could be described as a time of “danger and opportunity”!

In other words, I think the concept of reincarnation is consistent with the principle of eternal progression. Personally, I prefer the term “multiple mortal probations”, as this excludes incorrect concepts like coming back as an animal. The inequities and lack of opportunity in one lifetime are made up for in another lifetime, and the wisdom and intelligence we attain in one lifetime stays with us, so that we have that much advantage in the next life, this being a basic aspect of “eternal progression”. Thus imo there is a perspective from which all things work together for our good – even being born a mental and emotional train-wreck to a drug-addicted mother trapped in one abusive relationship after another. All of God's promises that do not come true in one lifetime are still in effect and will all be fulfilled, because God sees us as if we are in eternity (which we are), rather than in time (which is all we can normally see while class is in session).

I'm not trying to “prove” reincarnation, or multiple mortal probations, in this post – that would take pages and pages to even attempt. I'm merely presenting the concept as one way of reconciling the inequities of this life with the concept of a God that is good, a God that is fair, and a God that is no respecter of persons. For those who are open to taking a look at some evidence, a strong case for reincarnation, written from and for a Mormon perspective, is made in this paper: [http://www.freeread.com/22520/]

In my opinion – and that's all any of this post is – there are areas where we get freebies, and there are areas where we do not. It's like a driver's license test (except that a passing score is 100%, not 70%). If we fail the test, we have to take it again because sufficient mastery is required, but our past failures are not held against us. Still we are required to ace the test before we get our driver's license – we are not issued an honorary license just because our past mistakes are not held against us for eternity. (Then if we want our pilot's license, we go to a higher school – but we don't know anything about such higher schools at this point in our progression; we only know the principle that progression is eternal.)

So I believe that it will take a very long time, but that we are expected to become the same manner of man (or woman) as Jesus. I believe that is not unrealistic. I also believe that God is good, God is fair, and God is no respecter of persons, and that reincarnation would be one way for God to make sure everyone is able to eventually get their license, so to speak. And if not reincarnation, then I still believe that God has figured out a plan that works for all of his children, such that no one is cheated, even if we don't know the end from the beginning like He does. (See Mfbukowski's “Chess Master” analogy, one of the best insights I have ever read, starting about halfway down this post:

That's my opinion anyway.

I agree that it takes many lifetimes to become exalted, but our own particular mortal life only happens once. We each, in turn act as agents for helping our ancestors, and predecessors behind the veil. I think sometimes we have been so close to someone else' life that we remember beyond the veil sometimes and incorrectly assume it was one of our past lives, when in reality we only helped so much in that other person's life that we remember much of it and personalize it since we can't remember all of it. It adds more in depth meaning to the scripture here:

"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
Malachi 4:6

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7 hours ago, Eek! said:

This will all be just my opinion.

It does indeed seem unfair that so many of God's children are born into a situation where the odds are clearly stacked against them. Some say that God will take everything into account and judge us accordingly, and imo this is part of the answer but not the whole answer. Some say that God knows our hearts and will judge us based on what we would have done, and there is probably some truth to this, but then one wonders what the point of coming here is to begin with if God can simply reward or punish us based on what we would have done.

I'd like to propose a somewhat different paradigm. This will be consistent with some aspects of orthodox LDS teachings and inconsistent with others, but I think it will be perfectly consistent with the idea of a God who is good, a God who is fair, and a God who is no respecter of persons.

The plan is, we are to become the same manner of man (or woman) that Jesus is. Jesus did not start out with a fullness, bur rather progressed from a small capacity to a greater one, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until he attained the resurrection from the dead - the same as had all Gods before him. It took him quite a while too – if everything he did was written down, all the books in the world would not be able to contain it. These assertions are based teachings from the Gospel of John, First John, Third Nephi, D&C 93, and the King Follet discourse.

Obviously this is too much for one person to accomplish in one lifetime, so in my opinion it is reasonable to expect that it will take many lifetimes. In some lifetimes, learning our lessons the hard way (going from "a small capacity to a greater one") and/or forgiveness of our sins (going from from “grace to grace”) is the best we can hope for. As we get further along, we have lifetimes where we pretty much ace the tests (going from “exaltation to exaltation”). Once we have mastered all the courses in the cirriculum, we have become the same manner of man (or woman) as Jesus, and we attain “the resurrection of the dead”. Note that, according to the sequence of events Joseph Smith taught in his most advanced teaching on the subject, the King Follet Discourse, the resurrection of the dead comes AFTER we have progressed “from exaltation to exaltation”, which imo means that we have to achieve “exaltation” not just once, but many times, because the plan is that we literally become like Jesus, and obviously that's going to take a while.

Jesus speaks of two kinds of resurrection in the Book of John – the resurrection of life eternal (of which his would be an example), and the resurrection of “judgment”. The Greek word is “krisis”, and “the resurrection of crisis” would be a better translation. An even better translation comes from the insight we gain by looking at the Chinese language, where the word for “crisis” is made up of the words for “danger” and “opportunity”. Thus, there are two kinds of resurrections: The resurrection of life eternal, and the resurrection of “danger and opportunity”. Mortal life certainly could be described as a time of “danger and opportunity”!

In other words, I think the concept of reincarnation is consistent with the principle of eternal progression. Personally, I prefer the term “multiple mortal probations”, as this excludes incorrect concepts like coming back as an animal. The inequities and lack of opportunity in one lifetime are made up for in another lifetime, and the wisdom and intelligence we attain in one lifetime stays with us, so that we have that much advantage in the next life, this being a basic aspect of “eternal progression”. Thus imo there is a perspective from which all things work together for our good – even being born a mental and emotional train-wreck to a drug-addicted mother trapped in one abusive relationship after another. All of God's promises that do not come true in one lifetime are still in effect and will all be fulfilled, because God sees us as if we are in eternity (which we are), rather than in time (which is all we can normally see while class is in session).

I'm not trying to “prove” reincarnation, or multiple mortal probations, in this post – that would take pages and pages to even attempt. I'm merely presenting the concept as one way of reconciling the inequities of this life with the concept of a God that is good, a God that is fair, and a God that is no respecter of persons. For those who are open to taking a look at some evidence, a case for reincarnation, written from and for a Mormon perspective, is made in this article: Reincarnation and Mormonism, Part 1

In my opinion – and that's all any of this post is – there are areas where we get freebies, and there are areas where we do not. It's like a driver's license test (except that a passing score is 100%, not 70%). If we fail the test, we have to take it again because sufficient mastery is required, but our past failures are not held against us. Still we are required to ace the test before we get our driver's license – we are not issued an honorary license just because our past mistakes are not held against us for eternity. (Then if we want our pilot's license, we go to a higher school – but we don't know anything about such higher schools at this point in our progression; we only know the principle that progression is eternal.)

So I believe that it will take a very long time, but that we are expected to become the same manner of man (or woman) as Jesus. I believe that is not unrealistic. I also believe that God is good, God is fair, and God is no respecter of persons, and that reincarnation would be one way for God to make sure everyone is able to eventually get their license, so to speak. And if not reincarnation, then I still believe that God has figured out a plan that works for all of his children, such that no one is cheated, even if we don't know the end from the beginning like He does. See Mfbukowski's “Chess Master” analogy, one of the best insights I have ever read, starting about halfway down this post:

That's my opinion anyway.

Now I don't believe in reincarnation but I do wonder if the placement of individuals was done in different contexts in such a way that they needed to be in that place in that situation according to God's will. For some reason your post got me thinking about that.

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23 hours ago, Five Solas said:

No, it wasn't self-contradictory, mfbukowski. 

And if those examples really are "being abandoned" (as opposed to merely not being discussed in public forums)--well, that's certainly interesting & I'd like to see what you have in support.  I'm sure other readers would too.  But please note: It won't prove there's *not* an "element of karma" in the LDS notion of preexistence--it could simply demonstrate I failed to provide sufficiently contemporary examples to support my argument.  Here's the full post, let our readers decide if I'm barking at the moon--

There's an element of karma in the LDS notion of preexistence, is there not?  The idea that there were "fence-sitters" is one example.  The idea that the most valiant spirits were saved for the latter/last days is another.  I realize these specific examples may have fallen from favor here in 2016--but the broader idea still stands, right?  I imagine Mitt Romney as a ranking officer in the War in Heaven, boblloyd91 a Private First Class.  And me--well, I was hiding in the pre-existent bathroom.

See, we get what we deserve...

Note that last line was bit of humor as my real hope is in Grace, not karma (otherwise things are going to go very badly for me).  So how about you take the point of my post seriously and have another go?

:0)

--Erik

PS.  I might suppose someone so deeply opposed to "predestination" (variations of which appear repeatedly in the New Testament) would happily embrace the logic of karma as predestination's obvious alternative.  Is there really another alternative?  Serious question. 

In reading the last part of your post where you discussed the dichotomy of Karma and predestination as two opposing concepts, I thought of another term someone threw out here, which is foreordination. I look at it as a combination of the two, where God puts someone in a certain situation because of the good things they could do. I see this evidenced in both positive and negative ways throughout scripture, such as Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5 for example) as well as with King Saul and Judas Iscariot. These are all conjectures, and think it would require an intimate understanding of the nature of time and space and how permeable these are in God's divine plan to gain a good grasp of a way to solve my dilemma 🤔

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On 8/11/2016 at 9:22 PM, boblloyd91 said:

In reading the last part of your post where you discussed the dichotomy of Karma and predestination as two opposing concepts, I thought of another term someone threw out here, which is foreordination. I look at it as a combination of the two, where God puts someone in a certain situation because of the good things they could do. I see this evidenced in both positive and negative ways throughout scripture, such as Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5 for example) as well as with King Saul and Judas Iscariot. These are all conjectures, and think it would require an intimate understanding of the nature of time and space and how permeable these are in God's divine plan to gain a good grasp of a way to solve my dilemma 🤔

It's unlikely you've discovered a "third way" between karma and predestination, boblloyd91.  Outside of Mormonism, the words predestined and foreordained are essentially synonyms.  The latter appears in the Westminster Confession of Faith (chapter 3)--and the context you'll find therein amply demonstrates my point.  

And no one outside of the LDS religion thinks Jeremiah 1:5 implies preexistence--because it doesn't.  You might consider checking your "conjecture" against that cold hard fact. 

;0)

But getting back to your thoughtful OP--I don't think it's helpful if we see people less fortunate than ourselves as somehow having "asked for it" (one way or another) in an LDS-style preexistence.  And it certainly wouldn't be a Biblical/Christian answer to your question.

--Erik

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6 hours ago, Five Solas said:

It's unlikely you've discovered a "third way" between karma and predestination, boblloyd91.  Outside of Mormonism, the words predestined and foreordained are essentially synonyms.  The latter appears in the Westminster Confession of Faith (chapter 3)--and the context you'll find therein amply demonstrates my point.  

And no one outside of the LDS religion thinks Jeremiah 1:5 implies preexistence--because it doesn't.  You might consider checking your "conjecture" against that cold hard fact. 

;0)

But getting back to your thoughtful OP--I don't think it's helpful if we see people less fortunate than ourselves as somehow having "asked for it" (one way or another) in an LDS-style preexistence.  And it certainly wouldn't be a Biblical/Christian answer to your question.

--Erik

In regards to my moral concerns about the preexistence, I agree it's got me thinking about some challenges about how and when evil is allowed. Having said that, I also don't want anyone to think I'm giving any kind of credence to the idea of absolute predestination, or some form of hyper Calvinism which would lead to the idea of double predestination. Now I'm aware that there is a spectrum of opinion about how much predestination is used in someone's salvation, and I don't want to speak for you Erik, but where do you stand in regards to the extent of Predestination? And how much it affects our salvation? I think this would be good to know in future discussions. 

My next thought is regarding Jeremiah 1:5. I actually wasn't using that in the context of an idea of a preexistence, but since you mentioned it, we as LDS weren't the first to put forth this idea. I don't know if you're aware that Origen also had some things to say about the preexistence. Granted many saw his ideas as heretical, but others have seen the same things LDS have seen. Someone else on the board mentioned Teryl Givens book "when souls had wings" as a good overview of the history of the concept of preexistence. I read it a while ago and enjoyed it

Back to my topic, Jeremiah and numerous other biblical scriptures talk of people being called, and of God's foreknowledge of them. Having said this, there are also times when they failed spectacularly and lost their blessings (the two examples I can think of are Saul and Judas). Where I'm going with all this is that it bothers me that there is no seemingly cut and dry answer to how much God is involved in the salvation (and if you think about it condemnation) both spiritually and temporally. Why was Paul spared condemnation on the road to Damascus and given a chance to repent (which he did in a glorious manner) whereas Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead for stealing money? This is a conundrum. 

And before anything else is said, yes I've read Romans 9 and it didn't adequately answer my concern. I'm reading through this chapter again as well as Alma 13, we'll see if I get more illumination 

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7 hours ago, Five Solas said:

And no one outside of the LDS religion thinks Jeremiah 1:5 implies preexistence--because it doesn't.

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

If the Lord knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the belly, then it is very obvious that he had a pre-existence. Since Peter knows that God is no repecter of persons, it is easy to understand that God would have not just created Jeremiah and not anyone else before coming to Earth:

"34  ¶ Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:"
Acts 10:34

Also it is also quite clear that we were all there during the creation of this Earth, when Job was asked if he knew about where he was during this time and the Lord referred to all of us as, "the sons of God.":

"4  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6  Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7  When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
Job 38:4-7

 

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1 hour ago, boblloyd91 said:

A small update, I'm having a difficult time reconciling Romans 2 with Romans 9. Any scriptural experts that could help me figure this out would be great!

I'm no expert, but I do study the scriptures every day, and have done so for decades. I don't know if this helps but this is what I get out of these two chapters:

"5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6  Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7  To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8  But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9  Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10  But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11  For there is no respect of persons with God."
Romans 2:5-11

This shows that we need to obey the commandments of God because we will end up reaping what we sow in the end. Part of repentance is turning our hearts, and actions away from sin (sin just means breaking God's laws/commandments). If we want to utilize the atonement we need to turn away from sin and toward Christ who showed us how to keep the commandments, therefore we need to do works as Christ's mercy helps us to change into a more Godlike person. Why would we even want to live with God if our desires were in opposition to God's anyway? The works, keeping the commandments, teach us to learn how to think and act like God, and the mercy lies in Christ who helps us to over come our mistakes as we learn to change ourselves to be like Him.

"12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15  Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)"
Romans 2:12-15

Here it tells us that those who don't know the commandments, at least have the light of Christ within them, which is called a conscience. In other words they have the commandments inside themselves already even if the haven't been taught the law outwardly. These people will still be judged by their works, according to how well they obeyed their conscience, or the light of Christ. Those who already know the law by being the Lord's people, need to obey that law as well as teach it, by showing the people who don't know the law. They will be judged with a little more responsibility because they aren't ignorant of the commandments and have been charged with more responsibility. If they think that they are going to gain a good judgement just because they know the law, but are hypocrites of how they teach the law as opposed to how they live it, they aren't even as good as those who haven't been taught the commandments, and aren't even considered the Lord's people by them.

"16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,
18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
21  Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
22  Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision."
Romans 2:16-25

The name on the church isn't what is going to bring a favorable judgement, but rather the works according to the light of Christ in obeying the commandments within their hearts, because the mercy of Christ allows them to be the Lord's people through the atonement.

Here we are shown that the Lord creates us on a day to day basis, as we live. We either learn to follow His teachings, or we don't decide to follow the light of Christ. The Lord has patience in allowing us to learn to follow Him. He doesn't just tell anyone, "You weren't born into my people, so you are just damned," nor vice versa, "You were born into my people so you are saved." He takes man/woman just like any other man/woman without prejudice, just like a potter takes one lump of clay just like any other. The potter (symbolic of the Lord) creates a good vessel based on how well that clay forms to his desires. If it doesn't work out he is patient and tries to allow it to be formed to his will, given more time, before just tossing it out right away to harden into scrap:

"18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God."
Romans 9:18-26

This part looks to me that adoption into being the Lord's people is what happens when the Lord's people fall away:

"27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
28  For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
30  What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31  But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32  Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."
Romans 9:27-33

I hope this helps you a little.

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5 hours ago, waveslider said:

I'm no expert, but I do study the scriptures every day, and have done so for decades. I don't know if this helps but this is what I get out of these two chapters:

"5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6  Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7  To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8  But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9  Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10  But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11  For there is no respect of persons with God."
Romans 2:5-11

This shows that we need to obey the commandments of God because we will end up reaping what we sow in the end. Part of repentance is turning our hearts, and actions away from sin (sin just means breaking God's laws/commandments). If we want to utilize the atonement we need to turn away from sin and toward Christ who showed us how to keep the commandments, therefore we need to do works as Christ's mercy helps us to change into a more Godlike person. Why would we even want to live with God if our desires were in opposition to God's anyway? The works, keeping the commandments, teach us to learn how to think and act like God, and the mercy lies in Christ who helps us to over come our mistakes as we learn to change ourselves to be like Him.

"12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15  Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)"
Romans 2:12-15

Here it tells us that those who don't know the commandments, at least have the light of Christ within them, which is called a conscience. In other words they have the commandments inside themselves already even if the haven't been taught the law outwardly. These people will still be judged by their works, according to how well they obeyed their conscience, or the light of Christ. Those who already know the law by being the Lord's people, need to obey that law as well as teach it, by showing the people who don't know the law. They will be judged with a little more responsibility because they aren't ignorant of the commandments and have been charged with more responsibility. If they think that they are going to gain a good judgement just because they know the law, but are hypocrites of how they teach the law as opposed to how they live it, they aren't even as good as those who haven't been taught the commandments, and aren't even considered the Lord's people by them.

"16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,
18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
21  Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
22  Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision."
Romans 2:16-25

The name on the church isn't what is going to bring a favorable judgement, but rather the works according to the light of Christ in obeying the commandments within their hearts, because the mercy of Christ allows them to be the Lord's people through the atonement.

Here we are shown that the Lord creates us on a day to day basis, as we live. We either learn to follow His teachings, or we don't decide to follow the light of Christ. The Lord has patience in allowing us to learn to follow Him. He doesn't just tell anyone, "You weren't born into my people, so you are just damned," nor vice versa, "You were born into my people so you are saved." He takes man/woman just like any other man/woman without prejudice, just like a potter takes one lump of clay just like any other. The potter (symbolic of the Lord) creates a good vessel based on how well that clay forms to his desires. If it doesn't work out he is patient and tries to allow it to be formed to his will, given more time, before just tossing it out right away to harden into scrap:

"18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God."
Romans 9:18-26

This part looks to me that adoption into being the Lord's people is what happens when the Lord's people fall away:

"27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
28  For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
30  What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31  But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32  Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."
Romans 9:27-33

I hope this helps you a little.

That does help. I was re reading Romans 9 last night and it talks about God preparing some people for blessing and some for wrath. It seemed an arbitrary description. Then I read Romans 2 and the verses you described above. I appreciate your input

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On August 7, 2016 at 11:15 PM, boblloyd91 said:

To those that don't know my background I'm an LCSW, and spend my days working with those that have mental health and substance abuse problems. Something that has bothered me more and more is that many people who have problems were born into an environment where they had considerable handicaps (such as abuse, use of drugs etc.) I know that we often hear stories of people who overcome this and lead good happy loves, however in my observation this isn't always the case. 

I guess my question to you guys is this: how humane is the doctrine of preexistence? Of course it isn't like the doctrine of predestination, which I feel is much worse, however I'm starting to struggle with the idea of spirits being deliberately sent into situations where unimaginable pain and suffering are present

For me, and many others, the problem of evil and suffering is difficult to reconcile with an interactive loving theistic God. For others they are satisfied with simple answers and some of those are reflected here. And that is fine and I don't mean it critically.   Others have thought through the issue probably more than I have and find some satisfactory answers.   Others don't . Others keep simple faith and figure it will all work out in the end.  Answers that used to work for me, and some have been given here, no longer do work for me.

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

For me, and many others, the problem of evil and suffering is difficult to reconcile with an interactive loving theistic God. For others they are satisfied with simple answers and some of those are reflected here. And that is fine and I don't mean it critically.   Others have thought through the issue probably more than I have and find some satisfactory answers.   Others don't . Others keep simple faith and figure it will all work out in the end.  Answers that used to work for me, and some have been given here, no longer do work for me.

I agree, thanks for your comments! There are a few things you mentioned I wanted to explore further but can't right now. There is so much you said that resonated with me.

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On August 9, 2016 at 3:05 PM, waveslider said:

I tend to look at things from the perspective of being a father. I remember teaching my kids to ride bicycles when they were little. I knew well before hand that there would be pain, skinned knees, stitches, etc., I still let them anyway. I was always there to soothe their painful experiences, and clean their wounds, or take them to the ER when necessary, I also let them experience the joy of the feeling of freedom they gained from being more mobile. In the end they thanked me, even though there were times when they asked me why I let them get hurt, before they had learned to master a bike. The same goes for their teenage years as they gain more responsibility, and therefore reap the consequences when they choose to not be responsible enough.

I think when this life is long over, and we have all stood before the judgement bar of Christ, we too will see that the benefits far outweighed any pain and grief (regardless of how severe it seems with only the perspective of this mortal existence as reference). When we actually see that justice and mercy are meeted out perfectly by a perfect being, then things won't seem so unfair as they seem to us now. Heavenly Father allows things to happen, in order for us to learn and grow, and to allow opportunities for more good to happen, in the form of serving those who are in need of help, and comforting those in need of comfort. It gives us all an opportunity to learn and grow, not at the expense of others' misfortunes, but in spite of those misfortunes. Just my two cents worth anyway.

Yet if you had four children would you intentionally feed two and let the other two starve?   Would you consign two to a place In the world where they could barely eek out a living and not have access to clean water and put the other two in a the lap of luxery?   Would you place two in an area of the world or time in world history where perhaps they were subject to torture and torment due to perhaps their ethnicity or because of the despots in power yet put the other two in a place of freedom and opportunity?

There are comments are made that compared to eternity this life is short.   Well that is simply a statement of faith.   And even if it is correct from our perspective it is based on the accounting of time we live in.   To say we are only here on earth for two hours is a rather nonsensical and meaningless proposition because from our vantage point it does not seem like a mere two hours..

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8 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Yet if you had four children would you intentionally feed two and let the other two starve?   Would you consign two to a place In the world where they could barely eek out a living and not have access to clean water and put the other two in a the lap of luxery?   Would you place two in an area of the world or time in world history where perhaps they were subject to torture and torment due to perhaps their ethnicity or because of the despots in power yet put the other two in a place of freedom and opportunity?

This question is valid, and there is only one response I can give that makes any sense to me.
That we are NOT all equal when placed into this world - that our place in this world is determined based on laws obeyed in pre-mortality. 

Not on sins and errors that this life should be a punishment (Christ said that doesn't happen).  And I don't think the next life will be punishment for sin either but a natural placement based on laws followed and principles agreed to.

Why the transition from premortality to mortality whould operate on any different principle than the transition from mortality to resurrected eternity I do not know.

If God placed all of us in heaven with him and hell did not exist then we would all be in the happy same position in the next life. 
But that is not what will happen.  And if we had a veil of forgetfulness over this life when going to the next life I think I would have the same questions there about the condition of those in the Telestial and Terrestrial as you have here.
 

Quote

There are comments are made that compared to eternity this life is short.   Well that is simply a statement of faith.   And even if it is correct from our perspective it is based on the accounting of time we live in.   To say we are only here on earth for two hours is a rather nonsensical and meaningless proposition because from our vantage point it does not seem like a mere two hours..

Which vantage point matters?  Reality or perception?

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31 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Yet if you had four children would you intentionally feed two and let the other two starve?   Would you consign two to a place In the world where they could barely eek out a living and not have access to clean water and put the other two in a the lap of luxery?   Would you place two in an area of the world or time in world history where perhaps they were subject to torture and torment due to perhaps their ethnicity or because of the despots in power yet put the other two in a place of freedom and opportunity?

There are comments are made that compared to eternity this life is short.   Well that is simply a statement of faith.   And even if it is correct from our perspective it is based on the accounting of time we live in.   To say we are only here on earth for two hours is a rather nonsensical and meaningless proposition because from our vantage point it does not seem like a mere two hours..

If I had four children, and I had the power to make all suffering and death only a temporary thing, knowing that the benefits far outweigh any suffering involved, if they but choose to follow my plan, and they voluntarily, even excitedly (see Job 38:7) chose to gain these experiences that are needed in mortality in order to grow up, all while knowing full well that suffering pain and even death were a part of it, I would allow them that growth rather than being a helicopter parent, trying to insulate them from any problems, thereby stunting any ability for them to learn and grow from these experiences, and in essence damning any further progress they could make in growing up to their full potential as sons and daughters of a loving parent. Besides any suffering any of them experience isn't going to be anywhere near the one son who chose to come and suffer the absolute worse things than any other person on the entire Earth, in order to fix the problems that the others will bring upon themselves by disobeying my parental plan, again completely voluntarily.

Is it bad to have say a military person decide to sacrifice his life in order to save all the rest of his fellow warriors, in a combat situation? Or would it be better to have him just cower in fear for self preservation, in an every man for himself situation? I say the warrior who would die protecting those whom he cares about, is the real hero. I personally think that many of those who were placed on this Earth in bad circumstances did so voluntarily, not only in order to learn and grow in ways that an insulated and safe life would bring, but also to allow opportunities for others' who have been given a safe and insulated life, in the lap of luxury, an opportunity to learn and grow by offering sacrifice and help in the form of aid, support and prayers, etc., even if they don't ever learn how to not just be self centered spoiled brats. I tend to think that many of these souls who are born into the worst of circumstances were actually heroes in the pre-Earth life, not just those who were the less valiant. Perhaps those who were brought into the lap of luxury were really the weaker souls that didn't even learn the lessons that being selfless is really the better way to be, and are still just trying to learn that basic lesson in growth before they can grow to the point where others who were born into what appears to be less favorable circumstances have already learned so much so that it is just part of their personalities already, and being born into the lap of luxury would only stagnate their growth. I know that not everyone fits into just one of these two categories of people, but I do find that some of the most kind and special souls are those who live in the humblest of conditions. I tend to feel that there is no such thing as luck and all was done to place people in the situations that would afford the most amount of growth and love on highly a personalized basis, for all involved. Whether we choose to grow, or not all depends on our own free agency of choice, and none of us were born without guidance in the form of the Light Of Christ, or in other words a conscience. But that is just my two cents worth anyway.

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Yet if you had four children would you intentionally feed two and let the other two starve?   Would you consign two to a place In the world where they could barely eek out a living and not have access to clean water and put the other two in a the lap of luxery?   Would you place two in an area of the world or time in world history where perhaps they were subject to torture and torment due to perhaps their ethnicity or because of the despots in power yet put the other two in a place of freedom and opportunity?

There are comments are made that compared to eternity this life is short.   Well that is simply a statement of faith.   And even if it is correct from our perspective it is based on the accounting of time we live in.   To say we are only here on earth for two hours is a rather nonsensical and meaningless proposition because from our vantage point it does not seem like a mere two hours..

Many times I have thought of things like this and wondered if I were really a child of God.  Some people get angry with me when I say..."God wouldn't do that".  So I always end up back to square one on so many things.  Thanks for this thoughtful post.

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3 hours ago, Teancum said:

Yet if you had four children would you intentionally feed two and let the other two starve?   Would you consign two to a place In the world where they could barely eek out a living and not have access to clean water and put the other two in a the lap of luxery?   Would you place two in an area of the world or time in world history where perhaps they were subject to torture and torment due to perhaps their ethnicity or because of the despots in power yet put the other two in a place of freedom and opportunity?

There are comments are made that compared to eternity this life is short.   Well that is simply a statement of faith.   And even if it is correct from our perspective it is based on the accounting of time we live in.   To say we are only here on earth for two hours is a rather nonsensical and meaningless proposition because from our vantage point it does not seem like a mere two hours..

 I noticed in an earlier post you  referred to how some people can get through painful experiences while others can't. I think that the statement you just made could be a good answer to  why some folks handle pain better than others. So I've mentioned my own anguish over why some suffer more than others I should also mention that I have seen  people who have suffered much more than I have handle life fairly well because of their faith. I of course give them kudos for this. However I still struggle and agree that it is bothersome to see so much inequality. Again thank you for your comments!

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1 hour ago, Jeanne said:

Many times I have thought of things like this and wondered if I were really a child of God.  Some people get angry with me when I say..."God wouldn't do that".  So I always end up back to square one on so many things.  Thanks for this thoughtful post.

I get frustrated too when people think they can read God's mind. Both from a fundamentalist point of view as well as well-intentioned but shallow attempts to soothe us.

Edited by boblloyd91
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