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Pope Francis and the "Fortunate Fall"


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11 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Well I think we do that all the time ourselves and the whole issue is simply knowing that something will happen - with certainty.

I have illustrated that by holding a pencil out at arms length and allowed it to fall to the floor by force of gravity.   Clearly I did not create gravity or "make it fall"  but yes I did "allow it to fall"

I also knew with certainty that it would fall and not float up to the ceiling but still I did not "make it fall", gravity did that all by itself.   It's kind of like organizing matter vs creating it.  In one case you take advantage of what you know is going to happen as a result of your intervention and in the other, you actually 

So yeah, there are distinctions and I think with real differences.

If you hold a baby at arm's length and allow it to fall to the floor, you won't be successful in blaming the incident on gravity. ;)

Edited by Gray
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12 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

If you are not LDS I am sorry to say, you do not understand the issues in the same way we do.  I never meant to say that avoiding temptation was a bad thing- just that praying to be exempt from temptation is not God's job.

When I learned the Act of Contrition before my First Communion, I learned the words "I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, ... to avoid the "NEAR OCCASIONS" of sin."

That's something I agree with.   If you have weakness for porn, I think it is appropriate to pray for the strength to overcome the desire to go to porn sites, for example, or bars if you like to drink.  Those are the "occasions of sin" in Catholic parlance.

But the difference is that you are asking God for strength to avoid temptation on your own,  not to keep you free from the temptations.

You are asking God to help YOU build your spiritual muscles, not to lighten the burdens that shall be placed on your spiritual shoulders

THAT is the nuance here I think that some may be missing.

Thank you Mark for taking the time to reply and explain your position.  I definitely agree that overcoming temptation is a major reason why we're here to begin with.  I absolutely believe that we are called to become the same kind of person Jesus was.  I am a believer in Joseph Smith's King Follet sermon and all that it implies, to the extent of my comprehension.

In the spirit of exchanging nuanced points of view (which are fun and educational even if nobody really changes anyone else's mind), let me toss this out:

In my opinion, temptation arises from incorrect thinking.  A person thinks "this will make me happy."  Of course it utterly fails to do so.  If we could correct our thinking, that temptation at least would no longer be an issue (and extending our new perception to other temptations becomes much easier).  The trouble is, we're slow learners because there is a part of us that wants to sabotage us.  In religious circles, it's often called "Satan".  Not saying there isn't an actual Satan, but I think we over-attribute our own incorrect thought patterns to him. 

So I think the key lies in changing our minds so that we have a correct perception of what will, and will not, make us truly happy.  The teaching "wickedness never was happiness" is right on the money. 

The problem with relying solely on our "spiritual muscles" (i.e. willpower) to overcome temptation is this:  When there is a disconnect between what you WANT to do, and what you actually DO, a part of your mind is silently enraged at being denied what it wants.  So willpower alone can produce good behavior, but it does not produce real happiness because the inner conflict is still churning.  The solution has been described as a "mighty change of heart", and in reality that's probably not a one-time event, but the good news is this:  What you don't want to do takes no effort to avoid doing, and produces no inner conflict.  "Satan" is, in effect, bound, because you truly do not want what he has to offer. 

I am NOT opposed to willpower - for willpower is consciously directing the mind!  But willpower focused only on RESISTING temptation is focused on the symptoms, not the root cause.  It's not either/or, but ime changing the mind is far more powerful and far-reaching in its beneficial effects than successfully resisting an urge. 

Which sounds more like happiness to you:  "Endure to the end", or "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light"?   Imo neither is wrong, but the second one is what might be called a higher law (recall that "gospel" actually means "good news"). 

I don't think spiritual muscle-building is wrong, but I think the desired end result (real happiness, which includes complete freedom from inner conflict) comes from changing our minds (i.e. our hearts), not from more trips to the gym.  In practice, I think both are probably needed. 

And getting back to what I think is Pope Francis' intent, imo asking for God's help with changing our perceptions is a very good idea, and much better than the original wording, which seems to lay the blame for our temptations (incorrect perceptions about what will make us happy) on God. 

Anyway that's my nuance. 

Edited by Eek!
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9 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I would like to hear your interpretation of that, insofar as we can avoid Temple content.

I will try and give you a nut shell version.

To me, the two trees in the Garden of Eden represent the keys of exaltation.  The tree of life represents the love of God, as explained by Nephi.  The tree of knowledge of good and evil represents, the knowledge of God (think of how the Father gained His knowledge).  Love and knowledge are the two keys of exaltation.  All of the commandments and ordinances necessary for salvation hang on love (Matt 22:40).  But exaltation could not be complete without the knowledge of God.  “Without the knowledge of all things God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures; for it is by reason of the knowledge which he has of all things, from the beginning to the end, that enables him to give that understanding to his creatures by which they are made partakers of eternal life (Joseph Smith - lectures on Faith)"

The plan of God was for Adam and Eve to eventually gain exaltation through partaking of both fruits.  Adam and Eve ate freely of and enjoyed full access to the presence and love of God (tree of life) because of their innocence.  However, they lost full access to the tree after the fall.  This teaches us the principles upon which the keys of the tree of life (love of God) are predicated, namely innocence - freedom from sin stain.  Without it, we cannot enjoy the full measure of God's love in exaltation. 

What about the tree of knowledge?  To understand this, we have to understand what happened to Adam and Eve upon partaking the fruit.  The fruit precipitated the birth of their scriptural and spiritual hearts, the battle ground of the soul between good and evil, the place where spiritual understanding occurs (parable of the sower), and where the knowledge and understanding of God resides.  This knowledge fills the immensity of space.  It is the all seeing eye. The light of Christ.  "For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil (Mormoni 7:16)".  It is the source of God's knowledge of all things, it is the source of his power, it is the power by which he created the earth and all things that are (D&C 88 and 93).  The way that we gain full access to this knowledge of good and knowledge of God is through obedience.  The more we obey, the more we are given; line upon line, precept upon precept, until we know as God knows and see as God sees.  

I believe that Adam and Eve were being prepared to partake of the tree of knowledge.  The garden was a training ground for them to partake.  They were promised further instructions.  Unfortunately, we will never know what that further instruction might have been because they fell before it was received.  I believe that further instruction would have been preparatory to partaking of the tree of knowledge upon their obedience to both commandments as promised in scripture (...save the Lord shall prepare a way...1 Nephi 3:7).  

Satan knew that God was preparing them.  He knew that partaking of the fruit would give the giver of the fruit first access to the heart of Adam and Eve to influence it for good or evil.  Satan knew that if he didn't intervene, God would have first access to their hear.  Instead, he offered them the fruit.  He took the place of God (as he always wanted to do from the beginning).  It was not his fruit to give.  That is why God was so angry at Lucifer!  Think about it, why would God be so angry at Lucifer if he was simply doing God's bidding?  No, Satan was not unknowingly helping along the plan of God.  He understood the plan.  He was there for the pre-mortal discussions.  He knew the purpose of the fruit and its purpose in the plan, as he clearly and truthfully explained to Adam and Eve. Satan was cursed with such a sore cursing because he knew the plan and sought to take the place of God and have greater influence on the hearts of man.  He succeeded.  

Satan took opportunity at the birth of their new hearts to make the first cut.  "The first cut is the deepest... (Cat Stevens;))." His first order of business was to instill toxic shame in their hearts, whereby he might cause Adam and Eve to hide from God (which is really the first sin in my book).  "Look what you have done now, you have ruined everything, you have destroyed the plan of God, God will never accept you like this, can't you see that you are naked....HIDE!"   Adam and Eve became more comfortable in the presence of Satan than in the presence of God.  When that happens...Satan wins.

So, in my mind, the fruit was not forbidden because it was evil, but because it was good and they were unprepared.  I believe that it was to be accepted by covenant.  It was forbidden in the same sense that sex is forbidden before marriage and covenant.  Sex is not evil because it is forbidden, we simply need to be prepared first.  It is the same with the fruit of knowledge - the knowledge of God - of good and evil - the light of Christ. 

That is my theory anyway.  To me it makes the most sense in light of 1 Nephi 3:7, Moroni 7:6 (knowledge of good and evil is the light of Christ), and the understanding that knowledge is predicated upon obedience.  It would have been given them for obedience to the principles upon which the blessing of knowledge is predicated. For "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say (D&C 82:10)".  It also removes the problem of conflicting commandments and a forced fall one way or the other.

Exaltation is nothing more then partaking of both fruits in their fullness - A fullness of God's love, and a fullness of God's knowledge. 

Edited by pogi
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Quote

 

The problem with relying solely on our "spiritual muscles" (i.e. willpower) to overcome temptation is this:  When there is a disconnect between what you WANT to do, and what you actually DO, a part of your mind is silently enraged at being denied what it wants.  So willpower alone can produce good behavior, but it does not produce real happiness because the inner conflict is still churning....

I am NOT opposed to willpower - for willpower is consciously directing the mind!  But willpower focused only on RESISTING temptation is focused on the symptoms, not the root cause.  It's not either/or, but ime changing the mind is far more powerful and far-reaching in its beneficial effects than successfully resisting an urge.

 

Excellent point and one I spent much of my youth and much of my adulthood trying to convince my dad of.  

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2 hours ago, Eek! said:

Thank you Mark for taking the time to reply and explain your position.  I definitely agree that overcoming temptation is a major reason why we're here to begin with.  I absolutely believe that we are called to become the same kind of person Jesus was.  I am a believer in Joseph Smith's King Follet sermon and all that it implies, to the extent of my comprehension.

In the spirit of exchanging nuanced points of view (which are fun and educational even if nobody really changes anyone else's mind), let me toss this out:

In my opinion, temptation arises from incorrect thinking.  A person thinks "this will make me happy."  Of course it utterly fails to do so.  If we could correct our thinking, that temptation at least would no longer be an issue (and extending our new perception to other temptations becomes much easier).  The trouble is, we're slow learners because there is a part of us that wants to sabotage us.  In religious circles, it's often called "Satan".  Not saying there isn't an actual Satan, but I think we over-attribute our own incorrect thought patterns to him. 

So I think the key lies in changing our minds so that we have a correct perception of what will, and will not, make us truly happy.  The teaching "wickedness never was happiness" is right on the money. 

The problem with relying solely on our "spiritual muscles" (i.e. willpower) to overcome temptation is this:  When there is a disconnect between what you WANT to do, and what you actually DO, a part of your mind is silently enraged at being denied what it wants.  So willpower alone can produce good behavior, but it does not produce real happiness because the inner conflict is still churning.  The solution has been described as a "mighty change of heart", and in reality that's probably not a one-time event, but the good news is this:  What you don't want to do takes no effort to avoid doing, and produces no inner conflict.  "Satan" is, in effect, bound, because you truly do not want what he has to offer. 

I am NOT opposed to willpower - for willpower is consciously directing the mind!  But willpower focused only on RESISTING temptation is focused on the symptoms, not the root cause.  It's not either/or, but ime changing the mind is far more powerful and far-reaching in its beneficial effects than successfully resisting an urge. 

Which sounds more like happiness to you:  "Endure to the end", or "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light"?   Imo neither is wrong, but the second one is what might be called a higher law (recall that "gospel" actually means "good news"). 

I don't think spiritual muscle-building is wrong, but I think the desired end result (real happiness, which includes complete freedom from inner conflict) comes from changing our minds (i.e. our hearts), not from more trips to the gym.  In practice, I think both are probably needed. 

And getting back to what I think is Pope Francis' intent, imo asking for God's help with changing our perceptions is a very good idea, and much better than the original wording, which seems to lay the blame for our temptations (incorrect perceptions about what will make us happy) on God. 

Anyway that's my nuance. 

Thanks for your thoughts.  I think this is really insightful.  This is so true about temptation simply being incorrect thinking or beliefs and perspectives about ourselves, God, and the world, and that real happiness comes from "changing our minds". In fact, the word "repentance" (from the original Greek) literally denotes a "change of mind."  Pretty cool!

I think our spiritual muscles are not developed simply by "white knuckling" temptations.  Rather, they are developed through a turning to God, over and over, and over, and over, again.  Our strength is not of ourselves, it is of God.  We can do nothing, and overcome nothing, without Him.  Through this process, He reveals more light to us, corrects our thinking, our perspective, and over time those new perspectives override and overpower previous temptations.  

Edited by pogi
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6 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

I have to ask, if God knows all, the end from the beginning, why did He not intervene before Satan tempted Eve? Was there a need for the fall to happen just as it did?

He didn't need to intervene. In knowing the end from the beginning, he knows that it will all work out in the end.  Justice nor mercy have been robbed.  Intervening would have interfered with the agency of man.  They needed to have an opposing voice.   I don't think the fall needed to happen just as it did, but it would have eventually happened one way or another...we are human after all. 

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8 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I still have this impression that we are supposed to build our spiritual muscles in facing the world and taking it on with all the evil it throws at us.

You can't build muscles without stressing them and exercise.

It seems to be the praying to God to help us not to be tempted is like praying for God not to make us not go to the gym. 

He says to us in the sandbox "Here is your matter unorganized go and create a world."

"Oh that's too hard please don't make me do that."

I think I agree with you that we need the peirasmos, strongs 3986 of Matt6:13, as the greek meaning can refer to testing, trials, and probation.  A few verses in Deuteronomy are helpful as well, 

ESV Deuteronomy 4:34 it replaces "temptation" from the KJV with "trials"

34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

Also in Deuteronomy 7:19,  the heb word for the KJV temptation is maccah, or strongs 4531, "testing", and "proving" which is similar to [proving] them in Abr. 3:25.  Also God has a way to convert the bad things people have done into good through his miraculous power, for example in Gen 50:20, Joseph explains, 

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today."

However, there is still some evil which is pointlessly ruthless to the weak and underprivileged which God could fix but chooses not to, or has no power to, or has no power or will which means he is not worthy of worship or our love.  Possibly his creation is unfinished and still has elements of chaos, but he created man through evolutionary processes to progress and finally finish the creation through benevolent transfiguration through testing, trials, and sciences , technology.  The problem is sin, we can may obtain immorality and superintelligence but still have great inequality, evil selfishness, and pride. The god-making theodicy is a challenge.

 

 

 

Edited by blueglass
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20 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I pretty much agree with the first portion but less with the last part

I know my weaknesses bring on temptation and I pray to overcome temptation and ask God for strength and to help me change my poor attitude and to help me listen to the spirit more and temptations less

But I personally don't pray to keep me out of temptation.  That's my problem- my weakness to overcome.

If God is not the source of temptation- who is?   Why pray to Him to keep us out of temptation when he does not tempt us in the first place?  It's convenient to blame Satan but all he can do is exploit our weaknesses and our lack of resolve.

Does he even have the authority to interfere with our agency that much to change our attitude toward temptation?

I don't believe either Satan or God cause temptation. Temptation is caused by our own weakness. How was Satan trying to tempt our Savior? He was trying to appeal to a selfish nature. If one does not think selfishly, it is nigh impossible to be tempted. How is it not OK to pray to the Father to lead us from temptation? To teach us to overcome? That is essentially what becoming like God is all about. I don't pray not to be tempted, but to overcome temptation - to be led away from that. That means giving up the natural man. Something I probably won't learn till the very last........ 

Edited by RevTestament
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10 hours ago, Calm said:

Excellent point and one I spent much of my youth and much of my adulthood trying to convince my dad of.  

Thank you very much, and kudos to you and your dad for having the kind of relationship that allowed such conversations.

9 hours ago, pogi said:

Thanks for your thoughts.  I think this is really insightful.  This is so true about temptation simply being incorrect thinking or beliefs and perspectives about ourselves, God, and the world, and that real happiness comes from "changing our minds". In fact, the word "repentance" (from the original Greek) literally denotes a "change of mind."  Pretty cool!

I think our spiritual muscles are not developed simply by "white knuckling" temptations.  Rather, they are developed through a turning to God, over and over, and over, and over, again.  Our strength is not of ourselves, it is of God.  We can do nothing, and overcome nothing, without Him.  Through this process, He reveals more light to us, corrects our thinking, our perspective, and over time those new perspectives override and overpower previous temptations.  

I didn't realize the word "repentance" denotes a "change of mind", but that fits well.  Thanks for educating me!

And I agree with all of your second paragraph. 

If you two don't mind, I would like propose one possible implication of this idea that the root problem is at the level of our thoughts.  This is only an opinion, so feel free to roll your eyes or whatever... this is going to get strange, because it arises from a gentle thought system which we are unaccustomed to.    

Let's start out in the deep end.  Think of the very worst thing you ever did.  Yeah, that.  Whatever it was, at the time did you not think that, somehow, it would make you happy?  Well, obviously it didn't.  You were mistaken, very much mistaken, about what would make you happy.  

So, what is the appropriate response to someone who has made a mistake?   Is it condemnation?   Eternal punishment, perhaps?  No, the appropriate response is healing and correction.  This might seem like a novel concept, at least in a religious context, but let's look at what Jesus modeled with the strange example that he set:

Remember the woman who was caught in the act of adultery?  Jesus not only dispersed everyone who wanted to condemn and punish her, he also made it clear that he did not condemn her either, no doubt to her great relief (healing). And then he said, "go and sin no more" (correction).  Was she a special case?  Did she get a freebie that everyone else can only wish for?  Only if God is unfair. 

My point is, there is a different way to see even the very worst thing you have done.  You were mistaken about what would make you happy.  And the appropriate response to your mistake would not be condemnation, but rather healing and correction.

Like I said, this arises from a gentle thought system... one which "casts out all fear".

In my opinion. 

Edited by Eek!
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It was not to make me happy, but to temporarily remove pain.  Not sure if fear was the ultimate cause or not.  Will have to think about it.  There is a point in some versions of depression where people will even hurt themselves to feel something, anything.  I don't think I was to that point, but it certainly wasn't healthy.

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12 hours ago, Gray said:

If you hold a baby at arm's length and allow it to fall to the floor, you won't be successful in blaming the incident on gravity. ;)

Unfortunately this has nothing to do with what I said.  Let's see if you can figure it out for yourself.  ;)

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12 hours ago, Eek! said:

Thank you Mark for taking the time to reply and explain your position.  I definitely agree that overcoming temptation is a major reason why we're here to begin with.  I absolutely believe that we are called to become the same kind of person Jesus was.  I am a believer in Joseph Smith's King Follet sermon and all that it implies, to the extent of my comprehension.

In the spirit of exchanging nuanced points of view (which are fun and educational even if nobody really changes anyone else's mind), let me toss this out:

In my opinion, temptation arises from incorrect thinking.  A person thinks "this will make me happy."  Of course it utterly fails to do so.  If we could correct our thinking, that temptation at least would no longer be an issue (and extending our new perception to other temptations becomes much easier).  The trouble is, we're slow learners because there is a part of us that wants to sabotage us.  In religious circles, it's often called "Satan".  Not saying there isn't an actual Satan, but I think we over-attribute our own incorrect thought patterns to him. 

So I think the key lies in changing our minds so that we have a correct perception of what will, and will not, make us truly happy.  The teaching "wickedness never was happiness" is right on the money. 

The problem with relying solely on our "spiritual muscles" (i.e. willpower) to overcome temptation is this:  When there is a disconnect between what you WANT to do, and what you actually DO, a part of your mind is silently enraged at being denied what it wants.  So willpower alone can produce good behavior, but it does not produce real happiness because the inner conflict is still churning.  The solution has been described as a "mighty change of heart", and in reality that's probably not a one-time event, but the good news is this:  What you don't want to do takes no effort to avoid doing, and produces no inner conflict.  "Satan" is, in effect, bound, because you truly do not want what he has to offer. 

I am NOT opposed to willpower - for willpower is consciously directing the mind!  But willpower focused only on RESISTING temptation is focused on the symptoms, not the root cause.  It's not either/or, but ime changing the mind is far more powerful and far-reaching in its beneficial effects than successfully resisting an urge. 

Which sounds more like happiness to you:  "Endure to the end", or "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light"?   Imo neither is wrong, but the second one is what might be called a higher law (recall that "gospel" actually means "good news"). 

I don't think spiritual muscle-building is wrong, but I think the desired end result (real happiness, which includes complete freedom from inner conflict) comes from changing our minds (i.e. our hearts), not from more trips to the gym.  In practice, I think both are probably needed. 

And getting back to what I think is Pope Francis' intent, imo asking for God's help with changing our perceptions is a very good idea, and much better than the original wording, which seems to lay the blame for our temptations (incorrect perceptions about what will make us happy) on God. 

Anyway that's my nuance. 

President Benson pointed out that sin is always based on pride at some point, and enmity toward God.  It's doing what I want not what God wants.

The trick is to finally learn that that feeling is wrong and that in the final analysis whenever you sin you will eventually figure out why it did not get you what you REALLY wanted anyway, and happiness comes from doing what God wants in the first place.

But I suppose you have to sin a lot to finally figure that out when you are old.  :)  It's not about will power or even surrendering your will when you finally figure that one out- you just figure out that it's the easiest and best path to what you really want anyway.

 

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11 hours ago, pogi said:

I will try and give you a nut shell version.

To me, the two trees in the Garden of Eden represent the keys of exaltation.  The tree of life represents the love of God, as explained by Nephi.  The tree of knowledge of good and evil represents, the knowledge of God (think of how the Father gained His knowledge).  Love and knowledge are the two keys of exaltation.  All of the commandments and ordinances necessary for salvation hang on love (Matt 22:40).  But exaltation could not be complete without the knowledge of God.  “Without the knowledge of all things God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures; for it is by reason of the knowledge which he has of all things, from the beginning to the end, that enables him to give that understanding to his creatures by which they are made partakers of eternal life (Joseph Smith - lectures on Faith)"

The plan of God was for Adam and Eve to eventually gain exaltation through partaking of both fruits.  Adam and Eve ate freely of and enjoyed full access to the presence and love of God (tree of life) because of their innocence.  However, they lost full access to the tree after the fall.  This teaches us the principles upon which the keys of the tree of life (love of God) are predicated, namely innocence - freedom from sin stain.  Without it, we cannot enjoy the full measure of God's love in exaltation. 

What about the tree of knowledge?  To understand this, we have to understand what happened to Adam and Eve upon partaking the fruit.  The fruit precipitated the birth of their scriptural and spiritual hearts, the battle ground of the soul between good and evil, the place where spiritual understanding occurs (parable of the sower), and where the knowledge and understanding of God resides.  This knowledge fills the immensity of space.  It is the all seeing eye. The light of Christ.  "For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil (Mormoni 7:16)".  It is the source of God's knowledge of all things, it is the source of his power, it is the power by which he created the earth and all things that are (D&C 88 and 93).  The way that we gain full access to this knowledge of good and knowledge of God is through obedience.  The more we obey, the more we are given; line upon line, precept upon precept, until we know as God knows and see as God sees.  

I believe that Adam and Eve were being prepared to partake of the tree of knowledge.  The garden was a training ground for them to partake.  They were promised further instructions.  Unfortunately, we will never know what that further instruction might have been because they fell before it was received.  I believe that further instruction would have been preparatory to partaking of the tree of knowledge upon their obedience to both commandments as promised in scripture (...save the Lord shall prepare a way...1 Nephi 3:7).  

Satan knew that God was preparing them.  He knew that partaking of the fruit would give the giver of the fruit first access to the heart of Adam and Eve to influence it for good or evil.  Satan knew that if he didn't intervene, God would have first access to their hear.  Instead, he offered them the fruit.  He took the place of God (as he always wanted to do from the beginning).  It was not his fruit to give.  That is why God was so angry at Lucifer!  Think about it, why would God be so angry at Lucifer if he was simply doing God's bidding?  No, Satan was not unknowingly helping along the plan of God.  He understood the plan.  He was there for the pre-mortal discussions.  He knew the purpose of the fruit and its purpose in the plan, as he clearly and truthfully explained to Adam and Eve. Satan was cursed with such a sore cursing because he knew the plan and sought to take the place of God and have greater influence on the hearts of man.  He succeeded.  

Satan took opportunity at the birth of their new hearts to make the first cut.  "The first cut is the deepest... (Cat Stevens;))." His first order of business was to instill toxic shame in their hearts, whereby he might cause Adam and Eve to hide from God (which is really the first sin in my book).  "Look what you have done now, you have ruined everything, you have destroyed the plan of God, God will never accept you like this, can't you see that you are naked....HIDE!"   Adam and Eve became more comfortable in the presence of Satan than in the presence of God.  When that happens...Satan wins.

So, in my mind, the fruit was not forbidden because it was evil, but because it was good and they were unprepared.  I believe that it was to be accepted by covenant.  It was forbidden in the same sense that sex is forbidden before marriage and covenant.  Sex is not evil because it is forbidden, we simply need to be prepared first.  It is the same with the fruit of knowledge - the knowledge of God - of good and evil - the light of Christ. 

That is my theory anyway.  To me it makes the most sense in light of 1 Nephi 3:7, Moroni 7:6 (knowledge of good and evil is the light of Christ), and the understanding that knowledge is predicated upon obedience.  It would have been given them for obedience to the principles upon which the blessing of knowledge is predicated. For "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say (D&C 82:10)".  It also removes the problem of conflicting commandments and a forced fall one way or the other.

Exaltation is nothing more then partaking of both fruits in their fullness - A fullness of God's love, and a fullness of God's knowledge. 

Wow thanks for this- very interesting and thought.  Blake Ostler also thinks that the first real sin was hiding from God.  I can look that up if you like.

I have always been fascinated by one of the Hebrew words for "knowledge", the word transliterated is "yada" and it is used to describe the relationship between spouses, as in "He knew his wife" meaning intercourse.  But it has that essence of an intimate knowledge in a direct experiential way as opposed to our western view of "knowledge" meaning knowing facts in a way that may be rather detached.

So that gives your view a lot of credence in the Adam and Eve context, as well as the combination of love and knowledge in one word.  

Thanks- I will really have to spend some time going over that one.  I am so glad I asked!

 

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10 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

President Benson pointed out that sin is always based on pride at some point, and enmity toward God.  It's doing what I want not what God wants.

I believe that, if we invite God to correct all of our perceptions without reservation, and focus our will on removing all of our barriers that would thwart this correction, eventually comes a point where there is no longer any discrepancy between what we want and what God wants.  I think sacrifice is a telestial law; I believe that at some higher level, it no longer comes into play. 

Edited by Eek!
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To all:

I had some problems with the board last night. I posted several posts and later found out that they somehow did not make it to the board. I think maybe the system was under maintenance at the time. I will respond to all sometime this evening.

In one or two cases only half of my post showed up so if post seem incomplete that is why.

 

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23 hours ago, pogi said:

I will try and give you a nut shell version.

To me, the two trees in the Garden of Eden represent the keys of exaltation.  The tree of life represents the love of God, as explained by Nephi.  The tree of knowledge of good and evil represents, the knowledge of God (think of how the Father gained His knowledge).  Love and knowledge are the two keys of exaltation.  All of the commandments and ordinances necessary for salvation hang on love (Matt 22:40).  But exaltation could not be complete without the knowledge of God.  “Without the knowledge of all things God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures; for it is by reason of the knowledge which he has of all things, from the beginning to the end, that enables him to give that understanding to his creatures by which they are made partakers of eternal life (Joseph Smith - lectures on Faith)"

The plan of God was for Adam and Eve to eventually gain exaltation through partaking of both fruits.  Adam and Eve ate freely of and enjoyed full access to the presence and love of God (tree of life) because of their innocence.  However, they lost full access to the tree after the fall.  This teaches us the principles upon which the keys of the tree of life (love of God) are predicated, namely innocence - freedom from sin stain.  Without it, we cannot enjoy the full measure of God's love in exaltation. 

What about the tree of knowledge?  To understand this, we have to understand what happened to Adam and Eve upon partaking the fruit.  The fruit precipitated the birth of their scriptural and spiritual hearts, the battle ground of the soul between good and evil, the place where spiritual understanding occurs (parable of the sower), and where the knowledge and understanding of God resides.  This knowledge fills the immensity of space.  It is the all seeing eye. The light of Christ.  "For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil (Mormoni 7:16)".  It is the source of God's knowledge of all things, it is the source of his power, it is the power by which he created the earth and all things that are (D&C 88 and 93).  The way that we gain full access to this knowledge of good and knowledge of God is through obedience.  The more we obey, the more we are given; line upon line, precept upon precept, until we know as God knows and see as God sees.  

I believe that Adam and Eve were being prepared to partake of the tree of knowledge.  The garden was a training ground for them to partake.  They were promised further instructions.  Unfortunately, we will never know what that further instruction might have been because they fell before it was received.  I believe that further instruction would have been preparatory to partaking of the tree of knowledge upon their obedience to both commandments as promised in scripture (...save the Lord shall prepare a way...1 Nephi 3:7).  

Satan knew that God was preparing them.  He knew that partaking of the fruit would give the giver of the fruit first access to the heart of Adam and Eve to influence it for good or evil.  Satan knew that if he didn't intervene, God would have first access to their hear.  Instead, he offered them the fruit.  He took the place of God (as he always wanted to do from the beginning).  It was not his fruit to give.  That is why God was so angry at Lucifer!  Think about it, why would God be so angry at Lucifer if he was simply doing God's bidding?  No, Satan was not unknowingly helping along the plan of God.  He understood the plan.  He was there for the pre-mortal discussions.  He knew the purpose of the fruit and its purpose in the plan, as he clearly and truthfully explained to Adam and Eve. Satan was cursed with such a sore cursing because he knew the plan and sought to take the place of God and have greater influence on the hearts of man.  He succeeded.  

Satan took opportunity at the birth of their new hearts to make the first cut.  "The first cut is the deepest... (Cat Stevens;))." His first order of business was to instill toxic shame in their hearts, whereby he might cause Adam and Eve to hide from God (which is really the first sin in my book).  "Look what you have done now, you have ruined everything, you have destroyed the plan of God, God will never accept you like this, can't you see that you are naked....HIDE!"   Adam and Eve became more comfortable in the presence of Satan than in the presence of God.  When that happens...Satan wins.

So, in my mind, the fruit was not forbidden because it was evil, but because it was good and they were unprepared.  I believe that it was to be accepted by covenant.  It was forbidden in the same sense that sex is forbidden before marriage and covenant.  Sex is not evil because it is forbidden, we simply need to be prepared first.  It is the same with the fruit of knowledge - the knowledge of God - of good and evil - the light of Christ. 

That is my theory anyway.  To me it makes the most sense in light of 1 Nephi 3:7, Moroni 7:6 (knowledge of good and evil is the light of Christ), and the understanding that knowledge is predicated upon obedience.  It would have been given them for obedience to the principles upon which the blessing of knowledge is predicated. For "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say (D&C 82:10)".  It also removes the problem of conflicting commandments and a forced fall one way or the other.

Exaltation is nothing more then partaking of both fruits in their fullness - A fullness of God's love, and a fullness of God's knowledge. 

I've not taken them to be incompatible commandments either, as there is a time and a place for everything (Ecclesiastes 3):

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."

As you pointed out, a time to live, a time to prepare,  a time to know, a time to die, a time to live again and progress, etc. This is necessary to get all the knowledge you mentioned in your 4th paragraph, and which @mfbukowski referred to; a knowledge of all kingdoms from highest to lowest (D&C 88:7-13, 36-38, 49-50).

 

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11 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Wow thanks for this- very interesting and thought.  Blake Ostler also thinks that the first real sin was hiding from God.  I can look that up if you like.

I have always been fascinated by one of the Hebrew words for "knowledge", the word transliterated is "yada" and it is used to describe the relationship between spouses, as in "He knew his wife" meaning intercourse.  But it has that essence of an intimate knowledge in a direct experiential way as opposed to our western view of "knowledge" meaning knowing facts in a way that may be rather detached.

So that gives your view a lot of credence in the Adam and Eve context, as well as the combination of love and knowledge in one word.  

Thanks- I will really have to spend some time going over that one.  I am so glad I asked!

Regarding the oneness of charity and knowledge:

Mosiah 4:11-12: "And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel. And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true."

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11 hours ago, Eek! said:

If you two don't mind, I would like propose one possible implication of this idea that the root problem is at the level of our thoughts.  This is only an opinion, so feel free to roll your eyes or whatever... this is going to get strange, because it arises from a gentle thought system which we are unaccustomed to.    

Let's start out in the deep end.  Think of the very worst thing you ever did.  Yeah, that.  Whatever it was, at the time did you not think that, somehow, it would make you happy?  Well, obviously it didn't.  You were mistaken, very much mistaken, about what would make you happy.  

So, what is the appropriate response to someone who has made a mistake?   Is it condemnation?   Eternal punishment, perhaps?  No, the appropriate response is healing and correction.  This might seem like a novel concept, at least in a religious context, but let's look at what Jesus modeled with the strange example that he set:

Remember the woman who was caught in the act of adultery?  Jesus not only dispersed everyone who wanted to condemn and punish her, he also made it clear that he did not condemn her either, no doubt to her great relief (healing). And then he said, "go and sin no more" (correction).  Was she a special case?  Did she get a freebie that everyone else can only wish for?  Only if God is unfair. 

My point is, there is a different way to see even the very worst thing you have done.  You were mistaken about what would make you happy.  And the appropriate response to your mistake would not be condemnation, but rather healing and correction.

Like I said, this arises from a gentle thought system... one which "casts out all fear".

In my opinion. 

I think that there is a lot of truth to this.  At some level, I think that you are right.  My theory about sin has evolved from my experience in addiction recovery.  I discovered the core of the problem to be toxic shame for me, which is nothing more than an improper belief/perspective about yourself, God, and the world.  It is the belief that "I am not acceptable, or worthy of love in some way".  I was not even aware that I held such a belief.  It was buried deep in my subconscious mind/heart.  John Bradshaw was one of the pioneers of toxic shame in addiction recovery and rightly places it at the core of every addiction.  I take it further than addiction though.  I believe that it is at the root of every sin, it is on a spectrum. 

Think about it.  What is sin?  At it's core, sin is us removing ourselves or separating ourselves from God and his influence in some way.  But why would we do that?  If we believe that God is the source of joy, love, happiness, peace, and goodness, why would we ever want to remove ourselves from that?  All we have to do is look back to the garden of Eden to answer that question, which shows us the prototype and root of all sin, in my opinion.  Adam removed himself from God's presence because Lucifer convinced him that he was unacceptable or unlovable in some way.  He made Adam feel accepted by Satan and unacceptable to God.  Adam became more concerned about self-preservation than the will of God at that point.  My will, not thine be done.  Enmity.  Pride!  Ironically, when we examine pride, we find that even pride finds its roots in toxic shame.  But it is just a mask we wear to hide our true selves.  This is all evident in the garden story.  

Once shame is instilled in our hearts, Satan's job is done, and we work on auto pilot from then on.  Adam (as it is with us) feared exposure.  He stayed comfortably numb, hiding in the shadows, away from the exposure of God's light for some time, I imagine. 

We build a wall around our hearts out of fear of exposure.  We avoid true intimacy in relationships due to fear of exposure.  We don't like to feel vulnerable.  We fear that if the REAL, TRUE us was discovered, it would be rejected, so we wear masks.  I think many are not even aware of the masks they wear or the root causes of them wearing the masks.  We all wear them to some degree or another though.  The masks that we wear are often compensatory in that we become super human, the over achiever, the valedictorian, the power, the successful career, the perfect house, the "perfect" family, the uber religious, etc.  Or, we wear a less than human mask and become the drug addict, the failure, the good for nothing, etc.  It is all a source of numbing and hiding (as Calm expressed in her example), but manifests itself in different ways.  But ultimately, I think you are right.  We ultimately choose the numbness because we believe it is the "happier" option over facing the pain and fear of exposure.  I think we often don't really believe that healing is possible, so we remain in hiding, as Adam in Eden.  Yet God is always calling after us.  

Because of that, I absolutely agree with your appropriate response to sin/mistakes.  The last thing we want to do is shame someone for their mistakes.  We don't want people to believe that they are bad...or they will self fulfill that belief.  There is a very big and important distinction between believing that you are bad (toxic shame), and that you have done bad (healthy guilt).  The former will keep us in our sins and in hiding, in fear of exposure, the later inspires us to seek reconciliation.  And that is the example that we have to follow in Adam.  Adam chose to step out into the light and exposure of God's eyes, revealing his everything, unmasked, and completely naked.  That is TERRIFYING!  But that is what ultimately is required for true healing and ultimate happiness.  Only then can we forever cover our nakedness by the skins of the atonement.  When God calls, we have to take that vulnerable and terrifying step into the light of exposure and proclaim, as Adam, "here am I", "in all my nakedness".  Faith is sometimes compared to walking in darkness, but for me, the stronger faith requires us to step into the light.    

 

 

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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

Regarding the oneness of charity and knowledge:

And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God [Tree of Life], and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge [Tree of Knowledge] of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just [justice requires knowledge of good and evil] and true."

Interestingly, even though Adam and Eve partook freely of the Tree of Life, they didn't really "know it".  They couldn't....they didn't know and couldn't experience "good"...yet.  They had no comprehension or experiential reference for it.  It must have been like eating fruit for sustenance and life, without experiencing the sweet or the bitter flavors of life.  It was given them, in their innocence, but to experience it in its fullness, that required the other fruit, the fruit of knowledge.  An intended gift for all obedient.  The two trees need each other for a fullness of joy.  A way would have been prepared to obey.  But instead of first experiencing the good, they experienced the evil, and the tree of life was withheld from them for their loss of innocence. 

The tree of life is immortality, but the tree of knowledge carries the seeds of eternal life. 

Edited by pogi
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On 1/9/2018 at 7:16 PM, RevTestament said:

I don't believe either Satan or God cause temptation. Temptation is caused by our own weakness. How was Satan trying to tempt our Savior? He was trying to appeal to a selfish nature. If one does not think selfishly, it is nigh impossible to be tempted. How is it not OK to pray to the Father to lead us from temptation? To teach us to overcome? That is essentially what becoming like God is all about. I don't pray not to be tempted, but to overcome temptation - to be led away from that. That means giving up the natural man. Something I probably won't learn till the very last........ 

Yep we agree.

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11 hours ago, pogi said:

I think that there is a lot of truth to this.  At some level, I think that you are right.  My theory about sin has evolved from my experience in addiction recovery.  I discovered the core of the problem to be toxic shame for me, which is nothing more than an improper belief/perspective about yourself, God, and the world.  It is the belief that "I am not acceptable, or worthy of love in some way".  I was not even aware that I held such a belief.  It was buried deep in my subconscious mind/heart.  John Bradshaw was one of the pioneers of toxic shame in addiction recovery and rightly places it at the core of every addiction.  I take it further than addiction though.  I believe that it is at the root of every sin, it is on a spectrum. 

Think about it.  What is sin?  At it's core, sin is us removing ourselves or separating ourselves from God and his influence in some way.  But why would we do that?  If we believe that God is the source of joy, love, happiness, peace, and goodness, why would we ever want to remove ourselves from that?  All we have to do is look back to the garden of Eden to answer that question, which shows us the prototype and root of all sin, in my opinion.  Adam removed himself from God's presence because Lucifer convinced him that he was unacceptable or unlovable in some way.  He made Adam feel accepted by Satan and unacceptable to God.  Adam became more concerned about self-preservation than the will of God at that point.  My will, not thine be done.  Enmity.  Pride!  Ironically, when we examine pride, we find that even pride finds its roots in toxic shame.  But it is just a mask we wear to hide our true selves.  This is all evident in the garden story.  

Once shame is instilled in our hearts, Satan's job is done, and we work on auto pilot from then on.  Adam (as it is with us) feared exposure.  He stayed comfortably numb, hiding in the shadows, away from the exposure of God's light for some time, I imagine. 

We build a wall around our hearts out of fear of exposure.  We avoid true intimacy in relationships due to fear of exposure.  We don't like to feel vulnerable.  We fear that if the REAL, TRUE us was discovered, it would be rejected, so we wear masks.  I think many are not even aware of the masks they wear or the root causes of them wearing the masks.  We all wear them to some degree or another though.  The masks that we wear are often compensatory in that we become super human, the over achiever, the valedictorian, the power, the successful career, the perfect house, the "perfect" family, the uber religious, etc.  Or, we wear a less than human mask and become the drug addict, the failure, the good for nothing, etc.  It is all a source of numbing and hiding (as Calm expressed in her example), but manifests itself in different ways.  But ultimately, I think you are right.  We ultimately choose the numbness because we believe it is the "happier" option over facing the pain and fear of exposure.  I think we often don't really believe that healing is possible, so we remain in hiding, as Adam in Eden.  Yet God is always calling after us.  

Because of that, I absolutely agree with your appropriate response to sin/mistakes.  The last thing we want to do is shame someone for their mistakes.  We don't want people to believe that they are bad...or they will self fulfill that belief.  There is a very big and important distinction between believing that you are bad (toxic shame), and that you have done bad (healthy guilt).  The former will keep us in our sins and in hiding, in fear of exposure, the later inspires us to seek reconciliation.  And that is the example that we have to follow in Adam.  Adam chose to step out into the light and exposure of God's eyes, revealing his everything, unmasked, and completely naked.  That is TERRIFYING!  But that is what ultimately is required for true healing and ultimate happiness.  Only then can we forever cover our nakedness by the skins of the atonement.  When God calls, we have to take that vulnerable and terrifying step into the light of exposure and proclaim, as Adam, "here am I", "in all my nakedness".  Faith is sometimes compared to walking in darkness, but for me, the stronger faith requires us to step into the light.    

 

 

Just fabulous stuff- thanks!

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19 hours ago, pogi said:

Adam chose to step out into the light and exposure of God's eyes, revealing his everything, unmasked, and completely naked.  That is TERRIFYING!  But that is what ultimately is required for true healing and ultimate happiness.  Only then can we forever cover our nakedness by the skins of the atonement.  When God calls, we have to take that vulnerable and terrifying step into the light of exposure and proclaim, as Adam, "here am I", "in all my nakedness".  Faith is sometimes compared to walking in darkness, but for me, the stronger faith requires us to step into the light.    

Pres Nelson refers to Nibley's series of ensign articles in the 90's on the atonement here, "In Hebrew, the basic word for atonement is kaphar, a verb that means “to cover” or “to forgive.”19"  

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1996/10/the-atonement?lang=eng

John 15:22 "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin."

Whereas if you deny Christ and the atonement then you will find yourself naked and exposed and cry for the rocks to cover your sins:

Alma 12:14 "For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence."

Edited by blueglass
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