chasingthewind

God was once a man?!

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You have stumbled upon one of those few truly foundational doctrines that raises the eye brows of us non-LDS. You answer is perfect too. Once it is accepted that there was an apostasy, and that there are modern revelations on par with scripture, then the difficult doctrines can be explained.  Those of us on the other side of the fence will continue to raise theological eye brows, and we will continue to enjoy the often-interesting interfaith discussions that result. 

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13 hours ago, chasingthewind said:

At first I thought it was blasphemous to think Heavenly Father had a past history as a mortal man.  But once I learned man is an uncreated being in D&C 93 then it didn't seem like a big deal anymore.  Pretty good example of 'milk before meat', don't you think?

 

This is an excellent example of how having theological behind an idea is super important.  A couple of important things with this I find important to highlight in inter-faith conversations is:

-- This entire idea is outside of LDS scriptural canon.  This touches on that the LDS cannon is open, the process in which revelation is received and canonized, and the fact that we believe that only Christ has been perfect in this life and other leaders are not.  This particular speculation has no influence on LDS practical doctrine. 

-- That we, ordinary humans, have always existed.  That does not make God any less.

-- That we, ordinary humans, have the potential to become like Heavenly Father.  This does not make Him any less, in fact it increases my reverence and owe of His power.

-- It is the act of sining which makes a person a sinner, not having lived a mortal life.  We don't believe in the Original Sin.  For the obvious example, Christ did walk this Earth as a mortal man, but was perfectly righteous.    

-- That there are many wonders God has yet to reveal to us.  *If* the Father was once a mortal man, we don't know what that life was like.  

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59 minutes ago, Colirio said:

Considering the life of the Savior of the world, is it really so hard to believe that God was a Man? 

 

:)

 

Well...there is that. Still, the struggle is if the Father was once a man, then God seems to be changing. As an example, we believe that God has never said, "This idea just occurred to me..."

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3 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

This is an excellent example of how having theological behind an idea is super important.  A couple of important things with this I find important to highlight in inter-faith conversations is:

-- This entire idea is outside of LDS scriptural canon.  This touches on that the LDS cannon is open, the process in which revelation is received and canonized, and the fact that we believe that only Christ has been perfect in this life and other leaders are not.  This particular speculation has no influence on LDS practical doctrine. 

-- That we, ordinary humans, have always existed.  That does not make God any less.

-- That we, ordinary humans, have the potential to become like Heavenly Father.  This does not make Him any less, in fact it increases my reverence and owe of His power.

-- It is the act of sining which makes a person a sinner, not having lived a mortal life.  We don't believe in the Original Sin.  For the obvious example, Christ did walk this Earth as a mortal man, but was perfectly righteous.    

-- That there are many wonders God has yet to reveal to us.  *If* the Father was once a mortal man, we don't know what that life was like.  

Just a couple thoughts on this: 

If humans have always existed, it seems to us that God becomes less. God making us out of nothing seems much bigger than God crafting/molding our eternal intelligence.

If I become what God is, then won't I kind of leave him? Yes, we may visit, but I'm off to become the God of my world--just like my kids will go off to become wives and mothers. I relate to them differently as teens than I did when they were kids. I'll relate differently once they become different, too.

--- I hope this is not a thread derail. 

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5 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

Well...there is that. Still, the struggle is if the Father was once a man, then God seems to be changing. As an example, we believe that God has never said, "This idea just occurred to me..."

I think what changing  there was occurred before He became a God. I suspect there hasn't been much changing after that. As to the idea that God has never said this idea just occurred to me, we agree with that. Mckonkie gave an address on this subject but I don't have time to look it up right now.

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7 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

If humans have always existed, it seems to us that God becomes less. God making us out of nothing seems much bigger than God crafting/molding our eternal intelligence.

This is because you've never tried to write a fantasy novel.  Option A: Character snaps his fingers and poof, there we have what he wanted, out of thin air.  Option B: Character can work magic, but it's work.  He has to know the rules, learn, and master his craft, pay some price to do what needs doing.  Option A is easy (for the character and the author - and readers hate it); option B is supremely difficult and requires both character and author to master their crafts - and readers love it.

(Not intended to be a comparison to the work and abilities of God, only to point out that impressive is in the eye of the beholder.)

8 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

If I become what God is, then won't I kind of leave him? Yes, we may visit, but I'm off to become the God of my world--just like my kids will go off to become wives and mothers. I relate to them differently as teens than I did when they were kids. I'll relate differently once they become different, too.

To quote from the King Follett sermon (emphasis mine):

Quote

What did Jesus do? why I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. I saw my Father work out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom I shall present it to my Father, so that he obtains kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt his glory, so that Jesus treads in his tracks to inherit what God did before; it is plain beyond disputation, and you thus learn some of the first principles of the gospel, about which so much hath been said.

Which is more glorious, to be worshipped by puny, powerless, ignoramuses or to be worshipped by (basically) junior gods who understand your majesty far better than they did when they were mortal?

NOTE: That quote is referencing (implied, not explicit) John 5:19.

Quote

19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

 

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9 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

Just a couple thoughts on this: 

If humans have always existed, it seems to us that God becomes less. God making us out of nothing seems much bigger than God crafting/molding our eternal intelligence.

I understand that perspective from the ex nihilio camp, and it is important to understand/respect that perspective during interfaith dialogue.  Thank you for bringing it up.  

We LDS obviously don't share this ex nihilio perspective at all and believe the idea to be extra-Biblical.  I personally find it... I honestly wonder "So, God in the Bible wasn't good even enough for you, so you had to add the extra stuff?"  But then it's SO easy to get egoistical and antagonistic with comments such as that.  I need to remind myself to be respectful, charitable, and try really hard to understand other views.   Christ-like love is always the key.

9 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

If I become what God is, then won't I kind of leave him? Yes, we may visit, but I'm off to become the God of my world--just like my kids will go off to become wives and mothers. I relate to them differently as teens than I did when they were kids. I'll relate differently once they become different, too.

I relate differently to God today than I did in my teens, and different still than when I was a little kid.  I'm sure I'll relate to him differently in another decade, let alone a few decades after that, or after resurrection.  But He's still always going to be my Father, just as my earthly dad will always be my dad.  We never leave either of those relationships.  

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23 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

I honestly wonder "So, God in the Bible wasn't good even enough for you, so you had to add the extra stuff?"

So, I did some quick digging around. Most non-LDS Christians would simply say that the word creation packs within it the idea "out of nothing." Of course, the historic development of the doctrine of creation is messier than that. The bottom line is that Muslim and historic Christian doctrine overwhelmingly favors creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). Yet, there are some historic Christian thinkers and writings that seem to favor a basic eternal matter. Jewish teaching is even more mixed, though it seems that the "out of nothing" side is more prevalent. Islam is completely on the side of "out of nothing" creation. The majority does not win, but there is something compelling, for those of us followers of the three Abrahamic religions, without the LDS sources, in seeing that most of our teachers, thinkers, and expositors have come to the conclusion that God made the world by his word, out of nothing.  On the other hand, I can also see that, even apart from the LDS scriptures, there are some sound reasons for believing there is an eternal matter/substance to the universe.

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54 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

Just a couple thoughts on this: 

If humans have always existed, it seems to us that God becomes less. God making us out of nothing seems much bigger than God crafting/molding our eternal intelligence.

If I become what God is, then won't I kind of leave him? Yes, we may visit, but I'm off to become the God of my world--just like my kids will go off to become wives and mothers. I relate to them differently as teens than I did when they were kids. I'll relate differently once they become different, too.

--- I hope this is not a thread derail. 

The bolded part was where you lost me.  For us to become what God is, we have to become one with Him.  There is some rapport, affinity, relationship, bond, whathaveyou, that cannot be broken.  That is how we are like Him.  This is not to be mistaken for the unity of Buddhism.  But, no, we never leave Him.  We're one with Him.

The rest of your post makes sense in that realm in which it originated.  But I really don't see it the same way you do, obviously.  Having a love/hate relationship with my own father, I have both good and bad concepts of fatherhood.  I hope I'm doing better with my own children.  But one thing I really get emotional over is my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  The fact that my earthly father contributed a tiny half cell to the process of making me, or that my adoptive father signed some papers and had me get the government's blessing doesn't really mean much to me.  What I really care about is how much he loves me, cares for me, raises me right, etc.

To me, so it is with my Heavenly Father.  Whether I was made from nothing or made from parts pre-existent, doesn't really matter to me (although I obviously have a theological belief on that).  The fact that He is spiritually guiding me on the path and providing me all the best opportunities for Eternal Progression is what I look forward to.  That is the blessing in my life.

Edited by Carborendum

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So, the unity between Father and us is different that of our human parents--in that our spirits are always in communion. Is that right? As a side note, is it also LDS belief that in the pre-existence all humans had a sort of spiritual communion, or do I have that part wrong?

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18 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

So, the unity between Father and us is different that of our human parents--in that our spirits are always in communion. Is that right? As a side note, is it also LDS belief that in the pre-existence all humans had a sort of spiritual communion, or do I have that part wrong?

"Spirits are always in communion".  Yes, that describes it nicely. -- in the Celestial Kingdom.

Pre-existent intelligence -- not a lot is known about us at that point.  

  1. We existed.
  2. We were called "intelligences".
  3. God recognized us as intelligent (meaning that we had the potential to become like Him).
  4. He took us and made us his own by placing us in spirit bodies.
  5. Then the war in heaven.
  6. Then we came to earth.

Then the earth cooled.

Then the dinosaurs came.  But they all got too big and fat and died and turned into oil

Then the Arabs came and got filthy rich and bought Mercedes-Benzes and moved to Fresno.  Who ever lives in Fresno anymore?

EDIT: Oops.  I just realized you were talking about "spirits" rather than "intelligences".  But, I don't really know.  I don't know if that would be a correct doctrine.  I'd guess not for a number of reasons that are too long to put into an edit.

Edited by Carborendum

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2 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

So, the unity between Father and us is different that of our human parents--in that our spirits are always in communion. Is that right? As a side note, is it also LDS belief that in the pre-existence all humans had a sort of spiritual communion, or do I have that part wrong?

@Carborendum It should be said that the term "intelligence" is never defined precisely and there's no official church definition. 

The two predominant views of intelligence are these:

Intelligence is an individual, uncreacted, and indestructible "mind" or entity which God gives a spiritual body. You see this in books like 'Eternal Man' by Truman Madsen.

The second sees intelligence as the very matter from which spirits are created/generated. You see this and books like 'Mormon Doctrine' by Bruce McConkie.

I used to hold to the first definition but now I go with intelligence as matter, or the second definition.

The way I see it, intelligence as matter fits better with the doctrine of eternal increase.

 

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2 minutes ago, Snigmorder said:

@Carborendum It should be said that the term "intelligence" is never defined precisely and there's no official church definition. 

The two predominant views of intelligence are these:

Intelligence is an individual, uncreacted, and indestructible "mind" or entity which God gives a spiritual body. You see this in books like 'Eternal Man' by Truman Madsen.

The second sees intelligence as the very matter from which spirits are created/generated. You see this and books like 'Mormon Doctrine' by Bruce McConkie.

I used to hold to the first definition but now I go with intelligence as matter, or the second definition.

The way I see it, intelligence as matter fits better with the doctrine of eternal increase.

But the second one sounds like we then are created (rather than given spirits and then physical bodies) - that there was once a time when the consciousness known as "zil" did not exist.  Or do you see it some other way?

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2 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

So, I did some quick digging around. Most non-LDS Christians would simply say that the word creation packs within it the idea "out of nothing." Of course, the historic development of the doctrine of creation is messier than that. The bottom line is that Muslim and historic Christian doctrine overwhelmingly favors creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). Yet, there are some historic Christian thinkers and writings that seem to favor a basic eternal matter. Jewish teaching is even more mixed, though it seems that the "out of nothing" side is more prevalent. Islam is completely on the side of "out of nothing" creation. The majority does not win, but there is something compelling, for those of us followers of the three Abrahamic religions, without the LDS sources, in seeing that most of our teachers, thinkers, and expositors have come to the conclusion that God made the world by his word, out of nothing.  On the other hand, I can also see that, even apart from the LDS scriptures, there are some sound reasons for believing there is an eternal matter/substance to the universe.

Well, just look at the arrangement  of space. If God created everything out of complete nothingness, meaning he determined the very nature of existence and reality, why did he make an empty void and fill it with physical energy and matter and then caused these things to interact and create stars and planets and other bodies? Why are there atoms? Why are there quarks? 

Why didn't the God who created from nothing have a strictly spiritual existence (as opposed to physical per traditional christendom?) Why didn't he have an infinite plane of "earth" with infinite sky filled with his infinite creations? Why is it a series of islands rolling through a space?

To me, it seems self-evident that pre-existing materials were given laws and were organized. It just looks that way, it is that way.

This is a very strange reality to design from absolute scratch, ex nihilo, out of all the possible realities that could have been made manifest.

Edited by Snigmorder

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20 minutes ago, zil said:

But the second one sounds like we then are created (rather than given spirits and then physical bodies) - that there was once a time when the consciousness known as "zil" did not exist.  Or do you see it some other way?

Lets think about the idea of an uncreated mind. That would mean that there is an infinite number of self existing minds that will never have opportunities for increase via spirit or flesh. And they do have to be infinite, or else God has been untruthful about eternal increase.

Sure, if someone has to create a spirit, wence cometh spirits? But does an uncreated mind have The powers to create for itself spirit and flesh? Didn't someone have to enable the uncreated mind?

It seems to me that everything we know is a raindrop given to us out of vast waters. 

In the way I conceive things, intelligence as matter seems to work better with the reality of spirit generation in the wombs of glorified women. But intelligence as mind could just as easily work with this reality of spirit generation.

I will say this, Time is different where God is. He physically dwells in the same universe we do, but his existence is something else. Just consider his omniscience, I can't even begin to wrap my head around knowing something that has not yet happened, yet he knows it, it is possible to know it. There is a reality so far beyond our current station that we physically could not understand. The same way an ant physically cannot do calculus.

In both intelligence as matter and intelligence as mind, a beginningless race seems to be self evident.

Edited by Snigmorder

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10 minutes ago, Snigmorder said:

Why didn't the God who created from nothing have a strictly spiritual existence (as opposed to physical per traditional christendom?) 

I want to inquire about this first. Traditional Christian teaching is that God is not corporeal. Jesus became God in the flesh. Before that, even he was spirit. Islam and Judaism concur, to my understanding.

As for why God created a universe with limits, it has always been in his mind to do so. Perhaps this is why traditional Christian teaching divides reality into two parts:  Creator and Creation.

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Just now, prisonchaplain said:

I want to inquire about this first. Traditional Christian teaching is that God is not corporeal. Jesus became God in the flesh. Before that, even he was spirit. Islam and Judaism concur, to my understanding.

As for why God created a universe with limits, it has always been in his mind to do so. Perhaps this is why traditional Christian teaching divides reality into two parts:  Creator and Creation.

My statement is somewhat confusing, let me clarify. Traditional Christendom imagines  Spirit and element to be completely different things. Spirit is nonphysical while matter is physical. In Mormon doctrine all things are made of matter, all things are corporeal. If there is something that is incorporeal it cannot exist.

So what I mean by my statement, why didn't god just create everything in the spirit, in an incorporeal fashion? Why bother leaving the envelope and making a corporeal reality?

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Then I am back to the distinction between creation and Creator. Why did God make that distinction? Perhaps all that is incorporeal is found within him. All else is creation. 

Having said that, I get your idea that we tend to create/make things from out of ourselves, so why wouldn't God do likewise?  I can offer speculative answers all day long, but your real point is that we might want to consider that God did make creation from out of himself, and therefore there might be an eternal matter. 

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I get the whole infinite self-existing minds waiting for spirits bit - anyone who's spent any time thinking about this has wondered that one.

My problem with the idea of a created intelligence / sentience (created from something that is not self-aware) is that this mandates either an uncreated something else which has always existed and which decided to start creating the rest of us, or spontaneous self-creation from pre-existing (but non-intelligent / non-sentient) matter - which I find to be a crock. :)

There's also that bit in the D&C which indicates we were not created at all, but have always existed along with God.  That we cannot comprehend this or how it could be fair or how there could be no beginning doesn't mean the idea is wrong, only that we don't understand it.  Joseph Smith also taught (or appears to have taught) that something created has an end, where something that has always existed cannot end - which implies to me that it's our intelligence which makes us immortal and preserves our resurrected selves, else both spirit and body would eventually end.

And yes, we have a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what we need to know to understand any of this - which doesn't alter the "this is interesting" bit. :)

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31 minutes ago, zil said:

I get the whole infinite self-existing minds waiting for spirits bit - anyone who's spent any time thinking about this has wondered that one.

My problem with the idea of a created intelligence / sentience (created from something that is not self-aware) is that this mandates either an uncreated something else which has always existed and which decided to start creating the rest of us, or spontaneous self-creation from pre-existing (but non-intelligent / non-sentient) matter - which I find to be a crock. :)

There's also that bit in the D&C which indicates we were not created at all, but have always existed along with God.  That we cannot comprehend this or how it could be fair or how there could be no beginning doesn't mean the idea is wrong, only that we don't understand it.  Joseph Smith also taught (or appears to have taught) that something created has an end, where something that has always existed cannot end - which implies to me that it's our intelligence which makes us immortal and preserves our resurrected selves, else both spirit and body would eventually end.

And yes, we have a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what we need to know to understand any of this - which doesn't alter the "this is interesting" bit. :)

Here's a statement from Joseph Smith in TPJS Page 158 "the spirit of man."

"The spirit of man is not a created being; it existed from eternity, and will exist to eternity. Anything created cannot be eternal; and earth, water, etc., had their existence in an elementary state, from eternity."

It seems by this statement, Joseph Smith considers something uncreated if it is organized from uncreated material. I assume this statement was made as counter to the doctrine of creation ex nihilo. He may be using create in the same way a traditional Christian would.

I'll admit, it's a pretty strange way to put it. In my opinion it's conclusive that spirits are generated in the womb. This is a generation of power and of glory. Can an entity, not created, but generated and constituted of uncreated matter, fail to exist?

Also, quick sidenote, there are people who have interpreted Abraham 3:22 as a reference to the creation of spirits, but Joseph Smith, in the same statement as quoted above, says: "the Father called all spirits before him at the creation of man, and organized them." It seems that Abraham's mention of the organization of spirits is a reference to spirits being organized into the council.

Also I totally forgot this thread was about gay marriage, sorry.

Edited by Snigmorder

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Some have theorized that he meant the intelligence of man (our core being) rather than the spirit (as in spirit child of God), which seems more consistent to me.  But, the simple fact is, we just don't know.  We can speculate all day long, and in the end, we'll all laugh at our former ignorance. ;)

3 minutes ago, Snigmorder said:

Also I totally forgot this thread was about gay marriage, sorry.

Huh?  No it's not.

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