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Does LDS Doctrine Actually Reject "Creation Ex Nihilo?"


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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

.......................................

..............................Xenu really did show up to Earth long ago with a ship full of thetans.

Didn't L. Ron Hubbard base the name Xenu on Book of Mormon Zenos?  Which is spelled in Greek xenos meaning "stranger, foreigner."  And wasn't the thetan concept taken from Anthroposophy (Rudolf Steiner) and Gnosticism?  Some people say that Hubbard made a bet with a fellow scifi writer that he could invent a religion . . .

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1 hour ago, 3DOP said:

Some say God cannot. Others say God can. Transcendency and Immanency are joined in the theory of Jesus. It is just harder to believe if we are made out of nothing. Justice and mercy kiss when a greater chasm (Creator and creature) is bridged. The finite is received into the Infiinite. All things are made one.

I concede that Mormons who deny that God is so capable make the gap disappear...but so do those who believe that the Uncreated God can and did join Himself to us. I can't be leaning on David Hume for questions like this. Surely we are invited to go beyond philosophy. Immanence with Creatio ex Nihilo is admittedly incredible (humanly speaking), stupendous, seemingly crazy. But I am thinking that maybe we need more faith and less logic that supposes to limit the creativity of God.

Hey Mark...I don't want to get all fired up about this. But you know that my bunch believes that we can receive God Himself as Bread. One can imagine wrongly that we don't (or can't) believe in Immanence. But we obviously believe God is with us intimately. You could as easily say we disbelieve Ex Nihilo. But we do so believe. Obviously, we yield neither the one truth for the other, whatever the philosophers have to say about it. We insist upon God Transcendent and God Immanent.

If you are even correct, will your God be angry at us for thinking He is so capable? What father is not a little pleased with a child who overestimates his father's greatness?  Is it so terrible to think Our Father can confound faithless philosophers?

Rory

I never talk about God in any of my posts.

God as he is, is incapable of being discussed.  I only post about what is philosophically consistent about sentences allegedly ABOUT God.

I don't think for one minute that any of this- mine OR yours is how it "really is" so don't get hot under the collar

Think of Augustine and the boy on the beach.

This is just talk.

But talk is important because it is how we think and some of us demand consistent thoughts regardless of how ridiculous they are.  It's a human hang up.

That's what I was going to tell you before and never got back to you.  All we have is man's logic and that logic says one is either immanent or transcendent.  It's like being "A" or "NOT A"- you can't be both in human logic.

The reality is God is probably neither but even that is saying too much.

You pick your mystery for meditation and I will pick mine and we will end up in the same place- I am convinced of that.

And incidentally I seldom chew when I take the sacrament. ;)

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

That observation is key, since there is in fact no Scriptural support for creatio ex nihilo or for a god who is the only uncaused cause (prime mover), the only necessary being.  In fact the fundamental basis of modern Judeo-Christian-Muslim theology comes from Greek philosophy rather than from the Bible.  The two cannot coexist, and that is the reason for the Great Apostasy and for the Restoration of All Things.

Exactly!

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5 hours ago, strappinglad said:

I find it interesting that, so far , as we look back into the space several billion light years , what we see is pretty much what we have always seen. The universe is quite uniform stuff-wise.

Not really. It looks more like a piece of lace. 

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6 hours ago, The Nehor said:

LDS scripture and teaching seem to rule out ex nihilo unless it is hidden behind other truths in a way we will not fond outside direct revelation.

Using the "what is official doctrine" game to toss out anything that disagrees with your desire to believe something is an old and venerable tradition but it is unlikely to lead to any new discoveries. With enough scissors and glue applied to the scriptures and the words of the prophets I could justify the sale of indulgences and argue that Xenu really did show up to Earth long ago with a ship full of thetans.

I'm sympathetic to what you're saying.  On the other hand, we've seen in recent years, through the essays, the dangers of not closely examining the doctrinal basis for certain beliefs (e.g., race).  To say "this isn't doctrine, but it's been and being taught, so you should accept it just like doctrine" seems to just avoid the issue.  Why have doctrine? Because it provides the consensus around which a group can settle its beliefs.  The approach some seem to suggest is to have non-doctrine, but to enforce consensus around it as if it were doctrine - which really makes no sense aside from making it easy to deny the teaching if the need arises.  If an issue isn't doctrine, then there shouldn't be repercussions for discussing and advocating diverging positions on the issue.

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2 hours ago, Mormons Talk said:

I'm sympathetic to what you're saying.  On the other hand, we've seen in recent years, through the essays, the dangers of not closely examining the doctrinal basis for certain beliefs (e.g., race).  To say "this isn't doctrine, but it's been and being taught, so you should accept it just like doctrine" seems to just avoid the issue.  Why have doctrine? Because it provides the consensus around which a group can settle its beliefs.  The approach some seem to suggest is to have non-doctrine, but to enforce consensus around it as if it were doctrine - which really makes no sense aside from making it easy to deny the teaching if the need arises.  If an issue isn't doctrine, then there shouldn't be repercussions for discussing and advocating diverging positions on the issue.

Yes, but the Priesthood Ban was supported doctrinally only by inferences from scripture at best and contradicted to a degree by other scripture. The idea that matter is eternal is declared directly in scripture. Ex Nihilo requires ignoring scripture.

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7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Didn't L. Ron Hubbard base the name Xenu on Book of Mormon Zenos?  Which is spelled in Greek xenos meaning "stranger, foreigner."  And wasn't the thetan concept taken from Anthroposophy (Rudolf Steiner) and Gnosticism?  Some people say that Hubbard made a bet with a fellow scifi writer that he could invent a religion . . .

No idea and not sure why it would matter.

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19 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

To your specific question, the main argument against creation ex nihilo are that either our fundamental soul or at least the stuff out of which it is made is uncreated and thus co-eternal with God. It primarily comes out of the King Follet Discourse and D&C 93:29. Although the Sermon in the Grove and parts of Abraham 3 also are frequently tied to the doctrine.

The theology of creation ex nihilo poses an absolute ontological gap between God and creation. Mormonism has always seen there as being no gap.

There are two main points I'd like to make: (1) That gap is smaller than one might think in some parts of Christianity (e.g., given the doctrine of deification in the Eastern Orthodox faith); and (2) a gap most certainly exists in the Mormon tradition.

Re (2):  there is, and always will be, a fundamental gap between us and God.  It was under His direction that all was organized/created.  We are His offspring. We are begotten in His image. He is our Father, and always will be.  He was full of wisdom, truth, and perfection when we were but saplings.  He will always be the Being we worship.  His glory will always, always exceed ours. We owe all things to Him, and not visa versa.  Our sin prevents us from being like Him, but even in a sinless state (I.e. Adam/Eve), we were nowhere near His equal.  Thus, a gap exists, and always will exist, even in Mormonism.

Don't trust me on this; here's Blake Ostlers take:

"It is important to note that there are senses in which a creator-creature distinction exists between God and humans in Mormon scripture because all that exists owes its existence, in its current form, to God. The book of Moses says that Enoch beheld “all the spirits that God had created; and he beheld also things which are not visible to the natural eye” (Moses 6:36). Everything has been organized and sustained by cooperating with the maximal power of God. We could not live or have our existence in this sphere of human existence, or any other sphere of existence, without God’s creative power. Thus, there is a distinction between creator and creature, and it is an irreducible and fundamental distinction. Yet it is not an onto-theological distinction that requires the nonbiblical doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. Indeed, it may be said that human parents are co-creators with God and that we as children are creatures of such co-creation. In an analogous sense, the gods are both created (as begotten beings) and eternal (as primordial beings having God’s uncreated nature)." See Blake Ostler, Exploring Mormono Thought: Of God and Gods, Part 1, kindle location 222.

I next refer you to the article by Millett, apparently ghost-written by Daniel Peterson:(see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2017/03/latter-day-saints-believe-men-women-can-become-gods.html)

"Since the scriptures teach that those who gain eternal life will look like God, receive the inheritance of God, receive the glory of God, be one with God, sit upon the throne of God, and exercise the power and rule of God, then surely it cannot be un-Christian to conclude with C. S. Lewis and others that such beings as these can be called gods, as long as we remember that this use of the term gods does not in any way reduce or limit the sovereignty of God our Father. That is how the early Christians used the term; it is how C. S. Lewis used the term; and it is how Latter-day Saints use the term and understand the doctrine."

I next refer to a quote from Robert Millett himself, no stranger to Mormon doctrine, as found in the book "Talking Doctrine; Mormons and Evangelicals in Conversation" (2015), p.205.  "To summarize, Latter-day Saints teach that through the cleansing and transforming power of the blood of Jesus Christ, and through the sanctifying and divinizing power of the Holy Spirit, men and women may over time mature spiritually; may, as our Eastern Orthodox friends would put it (and with which we would have no argument), partake of the energies, not the essence of God Our Father, a process that is referred to variously as participation, transformation, union, intermingling, partaking, elevation, kingship, interpenetration, joint heirship, son and daughterhood, adoption, re-creation, and realization."

Thus, you have a situation where a current, major branch of Christianity teaches deification (Eastern Orthodoxy) that Bob Millett likens to our teaching, and where Mormonism recognizes differences between God and us that are eternal and cannot be bridged.

In short, a "gap" between us and God exists both in Christianity and Mormonism, with or without the doctrine of creation ex nihilo or the LDS doctrine of deification.

Edited by Mormons Talk
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1 hour ago, Mormons Talk said:

There are two main points I'd like to make: (1) That gap is smaller than one might think in some parts of Christianity (e.g., given the doctrine of deification in the Eastern Orthodox faith); and (2) a gap most certainly exists in the Mormon tradition.

Re (2):  there is, and always will be, a fundamental gap between us and God.  It was under His direction that all was organized/created.  We are His offspring. We are begotten in His image. He is our Father, and always will be.  He was full of wisdom, truth, and perfection when we were but saplings.  He will always be the Being we worship.  His glory will always, always exceed ours. We owe all things to Him, and not visa versa.  Our sin prevents us from being like Him, but even in a sinless state (I.e. Adam/Eve), we were nowhere near His equal.  Thus, a gap exists, and always will exist, even in Mormonism.

Don't trust me on this; here's Blake Ostlers take:

"It is important to note that there are senses in which a creator-creature distinction exists between God and humans in Mormon scripture because all that exists owes its existence, in its current form, to God. The book of Moses says that Enoch beheld “all the spirits that God had created; and he beheld also things which are not visible to the natural eye” (Moses 6:36). Everything has been organized and sustained by cooperating with the maximal power of God. We could not live or have our existence in this sphere of human existence, or any other sphere of existence, without God’s creative power. Thus, there is a distinction between creator and creature, and it is an irreducible and fundamental distinction. Yet it is not an onto-theological distinction that requires the nonbiblical doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. Indeed, it may be said that human parents are co-creators with God and that we as children are creatures of such co-creation. In an analogous sense, the gods are both created (as begotten beings) and eternal (as primordial beings having God’s uncreated nature)." See Blake Ostler, Exploring Mormono Thought: Of God and Gods, Part 1, kindle location 222.

I next refer you to the article by Millett, apparently ghost-written by Daniel Peterson:(see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2017/03/latter-day-saints-believe-men-women-can-become-gods.html)

"Since the scriptures teach that those who gain eternal life will look like God, receive the inheritance of God, receive the glory of God, be one with God, sit upon the throne of God, and exercise the power and rule of God, then surely it cannot be un-Christian to conclude with C. S. Lewis and others that such beings as these can be called gods, as long as we remember that this use of the term gods does not in any way reduce or limit the sovereignty of God our Father. That is how the early Christians used the term; it is how C. S. Lewis used the term; and it is how Latter-day Saints use the term and understand the doctrine."

I next refer to a quote from Robert Millett himself, no stranger to Mormon doctrine, as found in the book "Talking Doctrine; Mormons and Evangelicals in Conversation" (2015), p.205.  "To summarize, Latter-day Saints teach that through the cleansing and transforming power of the blood of Jesus Christ, and through the sanctifying and divinizing power of the Holy Spirit, men and women may over time mature spiritually; may, as our Eastern Orthodox friends would put it (and with which we would have no argument), partake of the energies, not the essence of God Our Father, a process that is referred to variously as participation, transformation, union, intermingling, partaking, elevation, kingship, interpenetration, joint heirship, son and daughterhood, adoption, re-creation, and realization."

Thus, you have a situation where a current, major branch of Christianity teaches deification (Eastern Orthodoxy) that Bob Millett likens to our teaching, and where Mormonism recognizes differences between God and us that are eternal and cannot be bridged.

In short, a "gap" between us and God exists both in Christianity and Mormonism, with or without the doctrine of creation ex nihilo or the LDS doctrine of deification.

In LDS Theology we are Gods. Though we will always be subject to him.

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11 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I never talk about God in any of my posts.

God as he is, is incapable of being discussed.  I only post about what is philosophically consistent about sentences allegedly ABOUT God.

I don't think for one minute that any of this- mine OR yours is how it "really is" so don't get hot under the collar

Think of Augustine and the boy on the beach.

This is just talk.

But talk is important because it is how we think and some of us demand consistent thoughts regardless of how ridiculous they are.  It's a human hang up.

That's what I was going to tell you before and never got back to you.  All we have is man's logic and that logic says one is either immanent or transcendent.  It's like being "A" or "NOT A"- you can't be both in human logic.

The reality is God is probably neither but even that is saying too much.

You pick your mystery for meditation and I will pick mine and we will end up in the same place- I am convinced of that.

And incidentally I seldom chew when I take the sacrament. ;)

 

 

One church father, St. Chrysostom, says that we "fix our teeth in His flesh". I am kind of liberal, but if you ever come back, its okay with me if you chew. ;)

Edited by 3DOP
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7 hours ago, Mormons Talk said:

I'm sympathetic to what you're saying.  On the other hand, we've seen in recent years, through the essays, the dangers of not closely examining the doctrinal basis for certain beliefs (e.g., race).  To say "this isn't doctrine, but it's been and being taught, so you should accept it just like doctrine" seems to just avoid the issue.  Why have doctrine? Because it provides the consensus around which a group can settle its beliefs.  The approach some seem to suggest is to have non-doctrine, but to enforce consensus around it as if it were doctrine - which really makes no sense aside from making it easy to deny the teaching if the need arises.  If an issue isn't doctrine, then there shouldn't be repercussions for discussing and advocating diverging positions on the issue.

This is from Blake Ostler, by anyone's definition, a leading Mormon theologian

http://www.timesandseasons.org/harchive/2005/04/is-there-any-mormon-doctrine/

 

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4 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Yes, but the Priesthood Ban was supported doctrinally only by inferences from scripture at best and contradicted to a degree by other scripture. The idea that matter is eternal is declared directly in scripture. Ex Nihilo requires ignoring scripture.

And in the recent essay the church has all but said that the ban was a mistake in the first place.

Quote

 

The justifications for this restriction echoed the widespread ideas about racial inferiority that had been used to argue for the legalization of black “servitude” in the Territory of Utah.10 According to one view, which had been promulgated in the United States from at least the 1730s, blacks descended from the same lineage as the biblical Cain, who slew his brother Abel.11Those who accepted this view believed that God’s “curse” on Cain was the mark of a dark skin. Black servitude was sometimes viewed as a second curse placed upon Noah’s grandson Canaan as a result of Ham’s indiscretion toward his father.12 Although slavery was not a significant factor in Utah’s economy and was soon abolished, the restriction on priesthood ordinations remained.

Removing the Restriction

Even after 1852, at least two black Mormons continued to hold the priesthood. When one of these men, Elijah Abel, petitioned to receive his temple endowment in 1879, his request was denied. Jane Manning James, a faithful black member who crossed the plains and lived in Salt Lake City until her death in 1908, similarly asked to enter the temple; she was allowed to perform baptisms for the dead for her ancestors but was not allowed to participate in other ordinances.13 The curse of Cain was often put forward as justification for the priesthood and temple restrictions. Around the turn of the century, another explanation gained currency: blacks were said to have been less than fully valiant in the premortal battle against Lucifer and, as a consequence, were restricted from priesthood and temple blessings.14

By the late 1940s and 1950s, racial integration was becoming more common in American life. Church President David O. McKay emphasized that the restriction extended only to men of black African descent. The Church had always allowed Pacific Islanders to hold the priesthood, and President McKay clarified that black Fijians and Australian Aborigines could also be ordained to the priesthood and instituted missionary work among them. In South Africa, President McKay reversed a prior policy that required prospective priesthood holders to trace their lineage out of Africa.15

Nevertheless, given the long history of withholding the priesthood from men of black African descent, Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter the policy, and they made ongoing efforts to understand what should be done. After praying for guidance, President McKay did not feel impressed to lift the ban.16

 

https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng

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38 minutes ago, 3DOP said:

 

One church father, St. Chrysostom, says that we "fix our teeth in His flesh". I am kind of liberal, but if you ever come back, its okay with me if you chew. ;)

O res mirabilis!

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On 5/13/2017 at 3:37 PM, Meadowchik said:

Cool topic. 

The way you've framed it, I would say that the Mormon Plan of Salvation and Family Proclamation imply a co-eternal nature of man and God. 

If the Big Bang began with a singularity, that allows for the possibility of co-eternality of intelligences, our earliest state of existence, since intelligences are neither spirit or physical. 

But the Big Bang does not imply ex nihilo. Compressed energy is not nothing.

But "never nothing" does not necessitate Mormon co-eternality either. So the BB contradicts ex nihilo, does not necessarily contradict co-eternality, but does not support co-eternality either.

"Compressed energy is not nothing." - True, but it's got potential. (Haha, see what I did there? ;) )

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On 5/13/2017 at 2:59 PM, Mormons Talk said:
[Topic: Creation "Ex Nihilo"]
 
I've frequently seen statements to the effect that, in contrast to other Christians, Mormons reject "Creation Ex Nihilo." Sometimes people refer to this when talking about "Mormon cosmology" and the like.
 
(1) What are the actual *doctrinal* underpinnings of the positions that Mormons reject creation ex-nihilo?
 
(2) What is the basis of this "Mormon cosmology," and is it really doctrine?
 
For example, the King Follett discourse is, to my knowledge, not considered "doctrine." And while people may read certain sections of the D&C and Book of Abraham to support their view (that creation was not ex-nihilo), this is an interpretation of scripture, and not itself binding doctrine, since other interpretive schemes exist that seem like they could be consistent with creation ex nihilo (i.e. one can agree that scripture is authoritative without agreeing that a particular interpretation of it is). General authorities may have said we reject ex nihilo, but were they talking as "men" or "prophets," let alone in unison as a First Presidency + Q12? And it seems there are competing views as to what doctrine is contained in the Temple ceremony.
 
Is the rejection of the doctrine of creation "ex nihilo" really just folk tradition, and not doctrine?
 
In your opinion, is the science of the big bang more or less compatible with creation ex nihilo than so-called "Mormon cosmology" (which I would be delighted to discover is actually not doctrine!)? Why or why not?
 
350px-CMB_Timeline300_no_WMAP.jpg

"29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.

30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence."

D&C 93

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Does LDS Doctrine Actually Reject "Creation Ex Nihilo?"

Just to set things straight, I don't think we reject it completely; perhaps God can create something out of nothing. We only teach that He has never done it that way because of eternal laws that He choses to follow.

One of the meanings of the Hebrew verb 'baurau', translated as "create" in the Old Testament, is "to organize, form, or fashion"; the same way a carpenter might organize together some already existing pieces of wood to make a table. In the Old Testament the same Hebrew word used in Genesis for create('baurau'), is used in the following scripture:

"I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King." (Isa 43:15)

Obviously God did not create Israel out of nothing. He organized it out of a league of tribes bound together by a covenant with Him (Josh. 24)

We believe that it is an eternal law of heaven and the universe that the principle elements of all matter that exists now have always existed in some form or another and can neither be created nor destroyed (an accepted law of physics called "conservation of mass"), and that God works with this eternal law when it comes to creating things:
"For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;"
(D&C 93:33, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 351). 

Why should God need to create something out of nothing when He already has plenty of material to work with that has existed for eternity?

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32 minutes ago, rodheadlee said:

A blank page isn't nothing, it's a blank page among other things that i don't have the education to describe.. I don't think there is any such thing as nothing.

According to joseph Smith you are right. The only way nothing can be described is within a finite context and the expectation of a certain something. A person may look in an empty box expecting a certain kind of something he can see and touch and correctly say there is nothing, only because what is in there (air, dust, etc) is not what he was expecting. 

Edited by JAHS
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34 minutes ago, rodheadlee said:

A blank page isn't nothing, it's a blank page among other things that i don't have the education to describe.. I don't think there is any such thing as nothing.

In the original creation, we hold that God creates out of nothing, and what was made was good. In the recreation, or redemption, which celebrates the happy fault of Adam, we go further. We hold that God creates out of "less than nothing", if you will. It is greater to bring good out of evil than to bring good out of nothing. At least nothing isn't bad. At least nothing isn't evil. Y'all are scandalized at Creation Ex Nihilo, but you don't know the half of it. It gets worse...from your point of view.

 

Edited by 3DOP
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