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My Triune Creator

June 29, 2009

Which person(s) of the Godhead made all things?

The Father

“God [Elohim] created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

The Son

“All things were made by him [Jesus]; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3).

The Spirit

“By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens…” (Job 26:13).  “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4).

Psalm 33:6 reveals the presence of YHWH, the Word, and the Spirit in creation:

“By the word of the LORD (YHWH) were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath (Hebrew: ruwach, translated Spirit in Gen. 1:2) of his mouth.” [1]

So, now I have a question for my LDS readers. If all three persons of the Godhead are said to have created, why does Isaiah 44:24 say:

“Thus says the LORD (YHWH), your redeemer, and he that formed you from the womb, I am the LORD that makes all things; that stretches forth the heavens alone; that spreads abroad the earth by myself…” [2]

Is YHWH one person or one Being?  If YHWH is referring to only one person, how could He claim to have created all things by Himself, alone, when all three persons of the Godhead were clearly involved in creating?

_________________________

1.  I realize that LDS readers may not see the Trinity in this passage as the modern LDS church teaches that YHWH is Jesus. LDS used to believe, however, that the name YHWH referred to God the Father. Christians and Jews believe that the OT name titles, YHWH and Elohim, are referring to the same Divine Being. These names are often used interchangeably in the OT in Hebrew parallelisms as demonstrated on this blog that I know nothing about, but I like this particular post.

2. It should also be mentioned that Isaiah 44:24 does not correspond well with the account of creation given in the LDS scriptures Abraham 4-5.

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77 Comments leave one →
  1. psychochemiker permalink
    June 29, 2009 2:52 am

    Hi Jessica,
    This isn’t really my forte, so maybe Yellow Dart can come and provided some more of the historical context, but Isaiah contradicts Genesis, Job, and John, is because it was written by different authors with different worldviews, understanding of God, and purpose in writing.

    Genesis comes from source material much older than Isaiah, Isaiah was written by Second Isaiah, as a polemic.
    For more info, read “How to read the Bible” by James Kugel.

    Therefore, modern biblical scholars would say that Isaiah reads something other than Genesis because it was written by a different person with different assumptions, viewpoints, and aims in writing.

    In general, I can say that I feel like you’re over-simplifiying the issue. That is, there are MANY more verses that add to the nuance of creation. When we selectively choose verses that demonstrate our own opinion the best, we aren’t proving our opinion to be true, but rather, we are prooftexting. I feel the full issue is very complex, and certainly some verses contradict others, I think the best way to deal with it is to not be dogmatic about this.

  2. Todd Wood permalink
    June 29, 2009 3:02 am

    Love the title. Drew me right in. All Glory to the three Person’d God on this Sunday evening.

  3. June 29, 2009 10:17 am

    Psychochmiker,

    I’m the one who did the original search…it comes up “YHWH etta Elohim” or small variations almost 600 times…and in each case, it cannot be read “Elohim is God the father, YHWH is Jesus’ name”

    Your points about Genesis contradicting Isaiah have no bearing on this issue and are a red herring.

    this is not over simplifying it at all.

    Either the Jewish people have been using their own language wrong for 4500 years

    or Joseph Smith didn’t know what he was talking about.

    Pretty simple actually.

  4. June 29, 2009 10:20 am

    Jessica,
    it’s interesting also how this belief has morphed; good research, thanks for posting it.

  5. June 29, 2009 1:19 pm

    Hi rpavich,
    It’s nice to know your opinion that the fact that Isaiah and Gensesis contradicting one another are a red herring.

    But the question Jessica asked was, “How do you Mormons reconcile these scriptures.” I took from her opening post that she reconciled that by accepting the ascriptural verbage “three persons in one being” to how she reconciles the contradiction. I do not accept this part of the traditional christian creed, seeing as it is unscriptural.

    Instead, I recognized the contradiction, and allowed it to stand.
    FWIW, Mormons would easily accept that both the Father & Son were involved in creation. Normally, our expression of this would be, “The Son created our world under the direction of the Father.”

    If one reads the scriptures in the context that they were written in, rather than prooftexting and undergoing historical collapse, one finds that they cannot quite so easily read back into it an Evangelical world-view.

  6. June 29, 2009 2:08 pm

    Psycho,
    I believe that Jessica was asking the following:

    How does the LDS member reconcile the fact that in the Hebrew language YHWH is the proper name of God while the LDS church identifies YHWH as Jesus, and therebye making the 600 passages that have this phrase, pure gobblydegook.

    If I misunderstood her question, then she can elaborate or correct me.

    that’s why I said your comment on Genesis and Isaiah was a red herring, it has no bearing whatsoever on this issue.

    Again, if I’m wrong in assuming what she meant, she can say so.

  7. June 29, 2009 6:19 pm

    Hi rpavich,

    You said, “Either the Jewish people have been using their own language wrong for 4500 years or Joseph Smith didn’t know what he was talking about.”

    Actually, according to the article I linked to in the first footnote, Joseph Smith “apparently never specifically identified Jehovah as Jesus, nor Jehovah as the Son of Elohim. Rather, the Prophet followed the biblical Hebrew usage of the divine names and either combined them or used them interchangeably as epithets for God the Father” (Jehovah as Father: The Development of the Mormon Jehovah Doctrine).

    I believe the teaching that Jehovah = Jesus has come about as an attempt to explain Smith’s later teaching of a plurality of beings. If Jehovah is one of the divine names for the one true God of the OT, then the passages in John where Jesus claims the divine name “I AM” become problematic for the LDS view. The Book of Mormon, of course, still contains references to God as one being and actually appears to have some passages that infer Modalism (i.e. Ether 4:12).

    PC said,

    PC said, But the question Jessica asked was, “How do you Mormons reconcile these scriptures.”

    True. My post is specific to one passage that I believe is difficult to reconcile from the LDS paradigm. However, it’s not beyond the scope of the thread to bring up other examples from the OT. That’s partly why I linked to rpavich’s post. He has apparently done quite a bit of research on the other examples that are also difficult to reconcile with the teaching that God is more than one Being.

    The larger question I posed in the OP: “Is YHWH one person or one Being?”

    I cited one specific example in the post, but I don’t think one example will be sufficient to determine this. I think a lot of passages have to be considered.

  8. faithoffathers permalink
    June 29, 2009 6:21 pm

    Interesting that you use the Jews as the standard for defining God when they didn’t even recognize Christ as divine. I wouldn’t exactly look to modern Jews as a perfect representation of the religion of ancient Israel either.

    Although the question is far from settled, the field is quite split on this. In fact, a slight majority of experts in ancient Hebrew religion side with the argument that the oldest version of that belief system was not monotheistic.

    The debate over the Elohim/YHWH identity is fairly complicated and nuanced, at least more so than admitted by most evangelicals.

    By the way, LDS doctrine maintains that God the Father created all things spiritually. Later, Christ the Son created all things physically. So both Beings can say that He created “all things.”

    fof

  9. June 29, 2009 6:37 pm

    Jessica,

    Actually, according to the article I linked to in the first footnote, Joseph Smith “apparently never specifically identified Jehovah as Jesus, nor Jehovah as the Son of Elohim.

    You’re right…that was my mistake, sorry.

  10. June 29, 2009 6:40 pm

    faithoffathers,

    Interesting that you use the Jews as the standard for defining God when they didn’t even recognize Christ as divine.

    My point was and still is.

    Hebrew is a language that’s been spoken for 4500 years or longer.

    They have holy scriptures that they can ACTUALLY READ…

    The LDS church has come along and redefined their words….

    Someone is not correct.

    Either those who know the language and have spoken it for 4500 years, or the LDS church….

    that was my point.

    It would be like me going up to someone who speaks spanish and telling them that “kabesa” doesn’t mean “head” like they’ve always thought it did…

    They’d tell me to take a hike….

    and they’d be right…

  11. June 29, 2009 6:50 pm

    faithofathers,

    If you believe that YHWH is Jesus’ name then do you have a plausible explaination for the 600 times the following phrase occurs in the OT:

    YHWY etta Elohim…

    as in

    31:26 “Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of (YHWH) the Lord your (Elohim) God.

    Before you say I cherry picked that particular one to make my point…there are over 500 others with “YHWH etta Elohim” as I have shown here.

    How, in your estimation can this be taken GRAMMATICALLY any other way….

    By LDS reckoning this would be:

    31:26 “Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of Jesus Christ your God the father.”

    That makes mincemeat of the sentence….a dead giveaway of a wrong understanding.

    My point is NOT theological, but grammatical.

    PS: if you’re going to make a bold statement like :

    Although the question is far from settled, the field is quite split on this.

    it would be good to site your sources so they could be verified…an unsited source is no source at all.

  12. Ethan permalink
    June 29, 2009 9:38 pm

    rpavich,
    I am curious to know which being you think Jesus was asking to spare his cup when he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then he states not MY will be done, but THY will. Are you calling Jesus a paranoid schizophrenic?

    Also, When those in the Bible had the visions of heaven with Jesus literally sitting on the “right hand of the the Father,” did Jesus have his right hand tucked under his bottom?

    Since you are getting so technical with your grammar and meaning.

  13. Ethan permalink
    June 29, 2009 9:48 pm

    Also:

    “YHWH etta Elohim.”

    Elohim is an Hebraic plural form of the word God.

    hmmm…interesting grammar, indeed.

  14. June 29, 2009 10:00 pm

    Ethan,
    Jesus was praying to God the father.

    You are correct; El, Elohim, etc are plural.

    bob

  15. Ethan permalink
    June 29, 2009 10:11 pm

    Robert,

    Exactly. It is obvious in these passages that Jesus and the Father are two separate beings. To interpret them to mean they are one God is to do some serious acrobatics.

  16. June 29, 2009 10:32 pm

    “To interpret them to mean they are one God is to do some serious acrobatics.”

    Ethan,

    You believe there is more than one God?

    Darrell

  17. Ethan permalink
    June 29, 2009 11:00 pm

    Darrell,

    I believe God the Father and Jesus Christ are not the same person. I do not worship or pray to Jesus, only God the Father, in the name of Jesus.

    Yes, I believe we have one God the Father. I believe what the Bible says about Him having a son (a very specific title) named Jesus Christ. If there are other gods out there they have no bearing on our creation here. it is relative and they have nothing to do with me or my world. This (our) creation has no other God. However, the Hebrew word Elohim (Gods) is still plural. This word was not a mistake and it appears over and over.

    Likewise, I see other fathers around here on Earth, but I personally have only one father, my dad. He is all that matters to me and my world and I have no allegience to other fathers although I know they exist. This organization is the basis for life on Earth and is not a coincidence. Life on Earth is a similitude of life in the eternities. A preparation. Gender, family units, society and the basic pattern of life that God created; do you believe these things are an accident and have no eternal function? What’s the point?

    Will resurrected Evangelical females retain their physical gender? Why retain obsolete relics of reproduction in Heaven? Is it dead weight to you? What about males? Will you still have gender? Why?

    Do you believe we are alone in the universe? That would be an incredible waste of unimaginable space. Maybe God was just practicing with the endless worlds we are beginning to discover. The Universe keeps getting deeper for those with increasingly bigger telescopes, there is no end in sight. What do you make of it? I see open land ready for new subdivisions.

    But to answer your question, yes, this subdivision has one God, our Father (our literal dad). you aren’t taking the Bible literally enough.

  18. Ethan permalink
    June 29, 2009 11:06 pm

    And you still haven’t answered who Jesus was praying to in the Garden. The being who’s will was not Jesus’ will.

  19. June 29, 2009 11:52 pm

    Ethan,

    Thanks for answering my quesiton. I want to understand your belief as I know many Mormons view this differentlly.

    Let me see if I understand you correctly…

    The Father is God and this is the object whom you worship and pray too.

    Jesus is the Son of God and you do not worship or pray to him.

    Correct?

    If so, let me ask you this…

    Is Jesus a God?

    Darrell

  20. June 30, 2009 12:27 am

    Ethan,
    I will answer you as clearly as I can. This is Orthodox Christianity 101.

    There is but one God.

    God the Father is God

    God the Son is God

    God the holy Spirit is God

    All eternal

    All co-equal

    One Being in 3 persons.

    That’s Orthodox Christianity.

    If you say otherwise for whatever reason, then you are a heretic according to the Christian Church.

    I don’t expect you to understand it…you’ve been taught (if you’re LDS) that there are “3 separate and distince personages” as if they could “stand next to each other at a party” but that’s false.

    God is spirit. He has no body, he has no bones.

    Period.

    That’s as clear as I can make it.

    —————————–

    Darrell,
    Jesus is not “A God” he is “God” The only God their is…period.

  21. June 30, 2009 12:42 am

    Robert,

    Thanks for coming on here. You are misunderstanding me and the reason for my questions. I understand the orthodox position very well and, in fact, am an orthodox Christian. To be exact I am a convert from Mormonism.

    I am asking Ethan these questions in order to better understand what he believes. Different Mormons hold diverging opinions on this subject and I want to better understand where Ethan is.

    Have a good night!!

    Darrell

  22. June 30, 2009 12:43 am

    Robert,

    I truly respect and appreciate your comments and insight. For the purposes of the discussion we have going on here I would appreciate it if you would review my comment policy for an understanding of what I consider a respectful conversation.

    I have no problems with anyone stating how and why they disagree with the LDS church and their teachings, but saying things like “I don’t expect you to understand it…” comes across as condescending and goes against what I consider respectful. If you don’t expect someone to understand then what is the point in sharing? I DO believe that LDS can come to an understanding of the Trinity as we review the scriptures together.

    As for Darrell, he is a born again ex-LDS Christian with a lot of knowledge in apologetics. I don’t mean to speak for him, but I’m confident from other discussions we’ve had that he has a good understanding of the Trinity. I believe he is trying to understand Ethan’s point of view by asking if Jesus is “a” God in Ethan’s view.

    I do appreciate you being here and contributing to the discussion. I am not trying to run you off at all.

  23. Ethan permalink
    June 30, 2009 12:48 am

    Yes, Jesus is a God.

    He is of the race of God the Father, the only begotten (conceived) son in the flesh and is therefore the same literal species as the Father. Or we could just refer to it the way the Bible does on numerous occasions and call Jesus the “son” of God. That sonship is not symbolic or figurative. Why would you assume that the Bible is lying in it’s description of Jesus as a son?

  24. June 30, 2009 12:53 am

    Darrel,
    Whoops..I’m very sorry.

    bob

  25. June 30, 2009 12:54 am

    Ethan,
    Quote:

    That sonship is not symbolic or figurative. Why would you assume that the Bible is lying in it’s description of Jesus as a son?

    What makes you think that this is a “literal description” as in I have a Dad of whom I am his son by birth…

    What do you think that?

  26. June 30, 2009 12:58 am

    Jessica,

    “I don’t expect you to understand it…” comes across as condescending and goes against what I consider respectful.

    Then how do I convey the idea that I don’t expect them to understand the Orthodox Christian Trinity?

    I meant what I said; because of their teaching they have a hard time grasping the idea. That’s just a fact and you can see it born out in this thread.

    It wasn’t meant to be disrespectful; possibly I should have used a smiley but I didn’t think anyone would take it differently than I meant it.

    I’ve talked to hundreds of LDS folks over the years, I used to be LDS quite a few years ago, so I’m not being disrespectful, just direct and honest.

    sorry.

  27. June 30, 2009 1:00 am

    Whoops…I didn’t see this part of your question Jessica:

    f you don’t expect someone to understand then what is the point in sharing?

    Because we are commanded to as Christians to tell the truth of what we know.
    Because God is glorified when His truths are proclaimed.
    Because God is the one who changes a heart to understand this stuff and I trust him.

    Are those good enough reasons to keep sharing this stuff?

  28. June 30, 2009 1:10 am

    I meant what I said; because of their teaching they have a hard time grasping the idea. That’s just a fact and you can see it born out in this thread.

    Oh, I think I see what you meant now. Blogging can lead to a lot of misunderstandings sometimes because we can’t hear someone’s tone.

    I used to be LDS quite a few years ago

    Oh wow! Would love to hear your story of what led you into and out of the LDS church!

  29. June 30, 2009 1:14 am

    Ethan,

    You said:

    “Yes, Jesus is a God.”

    And A little earlier when speaking of The Father and The Son you said:

    “To interpret them to mean they are one God is to do some serious acrobatics.”

    So, if The Father and Jesus are both Gods and we are incorrect in referring to the as “One God” as you so clearly pointed out, would I be correct in saying that you believe in two Gods?

    Darrell

  30. Ethan permalink
    June 30, 2009 1:32 am

    Darrell,
    I am sure God can be used as an administrative term. The Godhead rules in unison and solidarity. Obama/Biden, Churchill/Truman. Osteen/Warren, Jim/Tammy.

    My wife and I are the God of our household, our family, our creation.

    To say that Jesus and His Father cannot rule as one God is to overlook the obvious.

    Bob,
    When you meet a stranger on the street and he says he is the son of Tom, why would you assume he was murkily referring to some symbolic, ambiguous relationship with a man who was not really his father?

    Of course I take the Bible at its word that Jesus is the “son” of God. Simplify your interpretation.

  31. June 30, 2009 1:39 am

    Ethan,

    You didn’t answer my question and appear to be trying to side step it by throwing in God as an “Administrative Term” – whatever that is it is not what we are talking about here.

    Be straight with me… You said Jesus and The Father are both a God and you also said we are incorrect and are, in fact, performing gymnasitcs to say that He and The Father are One God. So, do you believe in two Gods? Yes or No.

    Darrell

  32. Ethan permalink
    June 30, 2009 2:47 am

    Darrell,

    I see your move. Here it is:

    You get me to admit that I believe in “two Gods,” then you pull out some NT verse stating that there is only “one God” and cry gotcha.

    I am not side stepping. I am merely giving reasonable logic as to why I can say that Jesus and the father are both “Gods” but how that does not violate the “one God” rule. It is semantics again.

    So yes, I believe that Jesus and the Father are both “Gods,” while at the same time believing that they are “one God” (team). That is perfectly logical to me.

    Pull out the verse, let’s take a look at it.

    btw, the acrobatics is referring to the Garden prayer and the “right hand of the Father” vision. There is no way you can wiggle out of that one.

  33. June 30, 2009 3:32 am

    Ethan,

    You SPECIFICALLY said, “To interpret them to mean they are ONE GOD is to do some serious acrobatics.” [Emphasis Mine]

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding you but the above statement appears to say you do NOT believe The Father and Jesus are ONE GOD. Yet now you say they are One God/Team.

    It appears that you are using the word God with two different meanings here. One meaning something that a being “is” (Ex. God is A God and Jesus is A God) and another as a name title or a position that a being holds (ex. God as an Administrative Term).

    You appear to being using the first definition when talking about what the Father “Is” and what Jesus “Is”. In that sense you are saying “yes, there are two Gods.” However, when you talk about them being “One God” you seem to switch to the second definition which is that they are not literally one but only one in the sense that they work together as an “God Team.”

    Am I understanding you correctly?

    Darrell

  34. June 30, 2009 3:36 am

    “btw, the acrobatics is referring to the Garden prayer and the “right hand of the Father” vision. There is no way you can wiggle out of that one.”

    There is nothing to wiggle out of. One who has a proper apprehension of the teaching of the trinity has no issues with either of those.

    Darrell

  35. Michael Mattei permalink
    June 30, 2009 3:41 am

    Jessica,

    Well, I’m glad to see this discussion branching out a bit.

    I find the team or united in purpose explanation of God the Father and Jesus oneness produced above utterly inadequate. I think part of the problem with reconciling the Mormon and (Orthodox) views of God is the fact that the Orthodox view has historically identified God as the ultimate. He is alone the greatest being that is. He created the universe ex nilo. He has always existed since before the beginning of time. He is self sufficient. He is complete. All of these ideas reinforce the idea of but one God because, by definition there can only be one ultimate. I would go so far to say that a being which does not transcend the universe, does not transcend time and is defined by the things of the universe than rather defines them, is in a orthodox Christian sense not something which can be called “God”.

    It is because monotheism is categorically and definitively important that the Trinity arises as a central theology. No question it is difficult, I’m struggling with parts of it right now. But the need to reconcile that God is one and that Jesus is one of the persons of God, is absolutely essential to a functioning and whole doctrine of Christianity.

    To sum up. The phrase “A God” is to me a purely mythological one. The only way to describe God with meaning is refer to Him as “The God”.

    One of the problems with an idea of divine progression is that how do you define a person outside of God? Is he self-sufficient, even in his ascended state? If so, does this not mean that the end of Mormonism is to shed God like a snake sheds his skin? That seems monstrous. If not, doesn’t that mean God is still defined and dependent upon His God? If that is so, why is there no doctrine of His God, a greater and more supreme being?

    Excuse my rambling. I am just beginning a week of inadequate sleep. I hope some value can be found in the above.

    God bless,

    Michael

  36. Ethan permalink
    June 30, 2009 4:10 am

    Michael,

    An interesting thought. My answer to progression is simply the only natural, obvious one that God has created before our very eyes, I believe life is a similitude of the eternal order of things, pure and simple.

    Our families on Earth. These are not random patterns of relationship, meant to vanish.

    In the Bible we are forced to view God through the lense of family relations because that is the best way to explain our purpose. Terms like father and son pervade the scriptures to this end.

    “Shedding God like a snakeskin” is just as inaccurate as applying that analogy to seeing a son grow up, gain knowledge of good and evil

    through experience and education, and advancing his own family. Inheriting, as a toddler with his father holding his hand through the journey, all that the father has. Ask some earthly parents whose children have successfully grown up if they feel like shed snakeskin. No way, that is every father’s dream.

    It’s the Lion King, the circle of life. When you were born, God held you up on a rock and people cheered. One day if you make wise choices you will be in a position to lift up your children on the rock. You are simba, one day you’ll be a father. The kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. A similitude.

    You’ll have to excuse me, I don’t mean to sound disrespectful. But I hate the Evangelical afterlife. It is a major downgrade and to me seems almost trivial and devoid of meaning. I do not see any of the symmetry and elegance of the God designed organization of our life here. It is sorely missing. I think you are overlooking the God ordained society that, when approached righteously, is truly the greatest hope and joy possible. That is why I believe the Bible uses family terminology in all of it’s dealing with God and Jesus, so we don’t miss the point.

  37. Ethan permalink
    June 30, 2009 4:18 am

    Darrell,

    My argument for the Garden prayer is that Jesus was not praying to himself. The prayer and the vision are boht very clear that there are two beings in play.

    My next (separate) point is that all three members of the godhead present a united front. In this (other) sense they are acting as one God, or one body. The way that the Supreme Court is ONE BENCH, but they are all individuals.

    Also, I am interested how you explain the Garden prayer and vision “on the right hand of the Father” with your understanding of the trinity.

  38. Ethan permalink
    June 30, 2009 4:24 am

    Darrell,

    As an example, imagine a corporation (root word corpo is latin for “body”) with two equal CEO’s. There are a few around who have joint “rulers” in charge.

    Both men are CEO, but when they represent the office or corporation, they are considered one body.

    If this were my theology I could both say that I beleived in the individuality of both men AND that the work they do is one in purpose. There is nothing contradictory in this statement.

  39. Ethan permalink
    June 30, 2009 4:28 am

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist….I thought of one more thing:

    If I saw one of these CEO’s on his office phone carrying on a fervent conversation with someone who obviously had a different “will” in some matter, I would assume there is another person on the other line.

    If not, I think he is a crazy man with schizophrenia. You know this is true.

  40. Stephanie permalink
    June 30, 2009 4:32 am

    It’s the Lion King, the circle of life. When you were born, God held you up on a rock and people cheered. One day if you make wise choices you will be in a position to lift up your children on the rock. You are simba, one day you’ll be a father. The kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. A similitude.

    Thank you. Now I will have Elton John going through my head all evening. 🙂

    On a less musical note I would like to point out that one of the areas that I feel that Evangelicals and LDS really differ is in their view of the afterlife. You mention that you feel that the afterlife of traditional Christianity is lacking. Perhaps you picture us sitting on clouds and playing our harps. Maybe it seems like a boring, pointless existence of walking around on gold streets. However, the reality is that GOD is in heaven. The supreme creator of the universe will be in constant fellowship with us. Think of the joy of perfect, unblemished fellowship with Him and with other believers. I fail to see how this is a low view. The Bible’s use of familial descriptions (Father/Son, Bride/Bridegroom) is not to show that the relationship is the same as our view of father and son or of man and wife. Rather, it is the closest possible human relationship that would meet those same characteristics. You mentioned earlier (and have mentioned in the past as well) a view that you are sure we will continue to have our same relaitionships in heaven for what else is the purpose of our gender. My response is that I believe you may be missing the point about heaven. It is not about your glory and exaltation, it is about the exaltation of the Creator of you.

    The difference has to do with the progression of God. How does one become a god and how did our God become Himself? Is it possible that God was once like you or I? Did He perform the same carnal sins that we have? Has He simply progressed to overcome His flesh and become perfect? Now, clearly I don’t believe any of the answers to the questions are true, however even if I did slightly believe them to be so then it would drastically effect my view of God. Suddenly, from that perspective, I can see how exaltation is about man. I personally believe this perspective has a very low view of God.

  41. Stephanie permalink
    June 30, 2009 4:34 am

    Oops, I meant “affect” my view of God.

  42. Ethan permalink
    June 30, 2009 5:03 am

    “It is not about your glory and exaltation, it is about the exaltation of the Creator of you.”

    This is where we disagree severely on the definition of father. My life is about me and my family. God has set that up, he has planted that seed in me for some reason and it has gotten a hold of me. That is not selfish, God is not narcacistic.

    Concerning this, God saved His greatest prophetic insights for our time, the best for last. These are my two favorite passages and they are not in the Bible.

    “The glory of God is intelligence (ours and his), or, in other words, light and truth.” D&C 93:36

    “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39

    We are His work. Our glory is His glory.

    Of course it’s a revolutionary understanding of God, but with it a revolutionary understanding of man.

    What does a father on Earth desire? To lift his child to have what he has. This is not LDS thought, it is human history. I am in line with the patterns God has established since Adam. Death is not the end of purpose.

    “Think of the joy of perfect, unblemished fellowship with Him and with other believers.”

    Fellowship with God is great. But this sounds like a blissful eternal recess, or stroll. There’s something of a nightmare in it for me.

    I no longer live with my dad, but I really enjoy the strolls and conversation on sunday evenings when I visit him. However, it is my family work in progress that I can’t wait to get back to after the musings. My growing family is my father’s glory, too.

    Perhaps we will have to respect each other’s view of the purpose of life (or life eternal) and leave it at that. If you think it is vain and diminishes God for these views then all I can say is that we do not see eye to eye. 🙂

  43. June 30, 2009 9:43 am

    Ethan,

    Quote:

    I am curious to know which being you think Jesus was asking to spare his cup when he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then he states not MY will be done, but THY will. Are you calling Jesus a paranoid schizophrenic?

    He was praying to the Father…I thought I had already mentioned that. 🙂

    Also, When those in the Bible had the visions of heaven with Jesus literally sitting on the “right hand of the the Father,” did Jesus have his right hand tucked under his bottom?

    Since you are getting so technical with your grammar

    and meaning.

    Yes, I am reading the language and giving it it’s due respect, if you’d like to term that “so technical” then fine.

    You wouldn’t presume to take a semester of Spanish and then tell a Spaniard that he’s all wet when it comes to his language would you?

    Then why do you feel that you can do it here?

    it’s simple; and nobody has actually answered my question; it’s been rabbit trails and smoke and mirrors.

    To address your question quoted above…the “right hand” is a cultural Hebrew idiom for a “place of preeminence” which Jesus certainly has.

    There are many of them but that’s one. LDS folks because they’ve been taught about separate personages have a tough time getting the idea that God is spirit and that there is NO right hand to “sit on.”

    God is also said to have wingswhy don’t you ascribe bird like wings to Him also? That would be being consistent in your literal reading of His attributes, would it not?

    Like I said; there are many of these idioms…I hesitate to go into more because it will derail this thread.

  44. June 30, 2009 1:15 pm

    rpavich,
    Even if one concedes that the saying “right hand of the Father” is purely symbolic, one doesn’t refer to themself as being pre-eminent among others, unless one recognizes that there is an ontological difference. One could very easily ask why Stephen didn’t say, “Behold, I see the Son of Man. He isn’t on the right hand of the Father. He is the exact same person of the Father. Or at least, if he’s a different person, at least he’s ontologically one with the Father.” Hopefully we can all agree that He didn’t say that, even though that’s what you all are telling the LDS we have to believe.

    I love how gellies can’t refrain from bringing up ascriptural words to describe God.
    One being, uncreated, ex-nihilo.
    If you would just say the scriptures that you base things on, and require us to accept those scriptures, would have some better discussions. But when the discussion starts with a, “here’s the scripture, and here’s my personal, private interpretation of that scripture, which you MUST subscribe to in order to be Christian” you do several things:

    You set yourself up as an authority in interpreting God’s word.
    You set up doctrinal tests requried for salvation.
    You begin relying on abominable creeds.

    State the scripture, and ask us how they fit. We probably won’t give an answer that’s acceptable to you, but we don’t recognize your authority to damn us for not interpreting scripture the same as you do.

  45. Stephanie permalink
    June 30, 2009 1:33 pm

    However, it is my family work in progress that I can’t wait to get back to after the musings. My growing family is my father’s glory, too.

    We really do have different perspectives, don’t we? If you can imagine for a moment my point of view I would like to explain how critical the difference is. First, lets imagine that your worldview is correct. In this scenario if you endure to the end and remain faithful you have the opportunity to live forever with your wife (and possibly other wives) and children in heaven. You will go on to exaltation and eventually become the god of your own world. You will be like God eventually. I, on the other hand, will simply go to a lower heaven. While not in the presence of God the Father, I will still be in a glorious place with other Christian believers. You can correct me if I screwed this view up. 🙂

    Now, lets imagine that my view is correct. Based upon God’s forgiveness through my trust in Jesus I am justified, though not through my own merit (Rom. 4:2). God has promised that He will save me from wrath (I Thes 5:9) and give me the “gift of eternal life” (Rom. 6:23). In this view it would not just be foolish to assert that man will continue to progress–it would be dangerous! The words that you were using to describe this state reminded me of Satan’s blasphemy that caused him to be cast from heaven

    And you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit upon the mount of assembly in the uttermost north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. (Isa. 14:13-14).

    One of us certainly must be wrong in our views, for they appear contradictory. What if it is possible that you could be wrong in some respect? Does it concern you at all that your statements sound much like Satan’s?

    STephanie

  46. June 30, 2009 2:13 pm

    Not quite Stephanie,
    You are comparing the LDS view of glorification with the Evangelical justification. If you want to get the comparison correct, compare LDS justification with Evangelical justification, and LDS exaltation with Evangelical glorification. But conflating the two just confuses the issue, when there is a difference.

  47. June 30, 2009 2:32 pm

    Psycho,
    I never said that their was no difference.

    I said:

    God is one.

    God the Father is not Jesus
    Jesus is not the HS
    The HS is not God the father

    yet…

    There is but one God.

    You keep characterizing what I said.

    You don’t have to “concede” anything…the reference to the “right hand” that’s just a fact of the Hebrew language…

    It’s the same way that LDS folks misunderstand “monogenes” as “only Son born literally of the Father”

    “If it SAYS SON then it must be how I as a 21st century person define the word Son!”

    When in actuality it’s meaning is one of “preeminence.”

    BDAG: “being one of it’s kind, or unique in it’s class”

    Hebrews 11:17 says that Abraham was going to offer up his “monogenes” son Isaac…did Abraham have more than one son?

    Of course, but Isaac is his “preeminent” one not the “only begotten literally of Abraham”

    This is not tough stuff if you let the Hebrew language define it’s own terms or the Greek language define it’s own terms.

    The fact is that the LDS understanding cannot be reconciled with the Bible neither OT nor NT, and somebody is very wrong.

  48. June 30, 2009 2:37 pm

    Psycho,

    Quote:

    Not quite Stephanie,
    You are comparing the LDS view of glorification with the Evangelical justification.

    And she’s right to do so.

    The Christian view of Justification is analogous to the LDS view of glorification.

    Not all are justified before the father; only those whom the Father chose, gave to the Son, and whom the Son saves.

  49. June 30, 2009 3:55 pm

    rpavich,
    She is not justified in doing so.
    LDS exaltation is not the theological equivalent of Evangelical Justification.

    Both she, and you comparing to unequivalent quantities. It’s like comparing America’s obama with Germany’s Hitler. You have to compare equivalent quantities. Luckily, most of the Evangelicals know that its not intelligent to compare LDS exaltation with Evangelical justification.

  50. June 30, 2009 4:04 pm

    Psycho,
    then let me correct her for both of us:

    LDS “living with God in the highest (Celestial) kingdom is equivalent to Justification.

    How’s that?

    (Since Christianity has no actual equivalent to “being a god of your own world”)

  51. June 30, 2009 5:39 pm

    No Robert,
    You are still conflating two topics and thereby creating confusion.
    Please read the Evangelical’s post, Bridget Jack Meyers entitled,
    Theosis and exaltation.

  52. June 30, 2009 6:16 pm

    Psycho,
    We may use the same words but we don’t mean the same thing…sorry

  53. June 30, 2009 7:31 pm

    psychochemiker,

    I know that I am coming in late but I would love it if you can expound a little more on the Mormon position of a second even a third or fourth Isaiah. Also what is your thoughts on some of the more recent that propose a single Isaiah with an editor or redactor (school) compiling the all of Isaiah’s prophesies. It just seems to me that some of the recent commentaries (both liberal and conservative) have been leaning more to a single author with a redactor, leaving the place of disagreement as to when the final redaction complete.

  54. June 30, 2009 8:41 pm

    As someone who personally thinks God knows what will happen in the future, it is easy for me to accept isaiah having single authorship. However, the biblical scholars and their philosphies currently teach a divided isaiah authorship, ostensibly under the assumption that “no man can know of what will happen in the future.” I reject the argument, but felt obligated to use the fullness of background in describing Isaiah. One way or another, it’s still in the OT, but we may not have to expect that it is written in 700 BC. Notwithstanding if it was written much later than the rest of Isaiah, one still has to explain the changing interpretations of the nature of God under Jewish thought.

    Evangelicals putting their head under the sand and saying, “All [good] Christians and Jews believed exactly as I do today” is a false, guilty, historical collapse. We have evidence that most jews do not believe what modern Jews believe, nor what modern Christians believe, even about strict monotheism. Most biblical scholars accept that monotheism was new to the israelites, and replaced older beliefs.

    Naturally, as a Mormon, I believe God revealed himself to Adam, and Adam taught his posterity, even through to Noah, and Abraham, but there was a lot of apostasy along the way. Abraham’s father was an idolator. I think most people were apostates into multiple gods, some kept a correct view (of at least two members of the Godhead), but a strict monotheism as described by Isaiah probably wasn’t found until Isaiah started teaching it (and Josiah started enforcing it). And even then, it wasn’t fully correct, because Jesus and the Father aren’t the same person, even by traditional orthodox models (those who say otherwise are just heretical modalists who haven’t studied their own church history). I won’t cast stones at them for being heretical however.

    Look, Jesus said he came to reveal the Father, and the Godhead, knowledge previously unknown. Gellies shouldn’t be claiming, “That’s what we said all along.” Christianity wasn’t Judaism back then or today.

    The important thing to recognize, as I learned from a byu religion professor.
    The scandal of Christianity wasn’t that God had a Son (most people believed Adam was a Son of God), the scandall, was that the God whom they had been able to communicate with (Jehovah {YHWH }) had a Father! One wonders why more records don’t show Jewish discord against Christian multi-godded ness. Why they don’t describe “ontological oneness” as a defense until the fourth century. One could surmise, that the easiest answer is, “The records don’t describe an ontological oneness debate because it wasn’t used” and “Jews didn’t fight against two members of the Godhead because historically, because many Israelites believed in a more henotheistic model.”

    Gundeck,
    Really good question.
    Now it’s time for you to go learn about the divine council, and you can do this from an Evangelical’s standpoint (not a Mormon one. In fact, he makes clear his research was not tainted by Mormon belief is his misgivings page).

  55. June 30, 2009 8:46 pm

    Gundeck,
    I don’t think I answered your question.
    There is no official church stance on Isaiah’s authorship. Everything was my personal opinion.

  56. June 30, 2009 8:53 pm

    Robert,
    We don’t even use the same words.
    But you really need to understand that Mormons have a concept of justification and salvation that comes closer to yours. And Evangelicals have a concept of Glorification that comes closer to our concept of Exaltation.

    I have not said that LDS Exaltation = Gelli Glorification.
    What I’ve said is that you need to compare doctrines that are comparable.

    That is,
    If Mormons believe A and Evangelicals believe B.
    & Mormons believe X and Evangelicals believe Y.

    Then you should compare A with B, and X with Y.
    Stephanies original comment compared A with Y and B with X.

    That is confusion, taught by the author of confusion.
    We can do better than that.

  57. Stephanie permalink
    June 30, 2009 9:15 pm

    PC,

    You are correct, I was addressing both justification and exaltation/glorification in the same post. I should have just skipped the justification part because it wasn’t really relevant. My excuse for that is that my brain is not fully functional before 10 AM and I wrote that post before I went to work this morning. 🙂 Really, what should have been compared was the LDS view of exaltation with the Evangelical view of glorification. However, if you throw out what I said I about justification, the rest of my point is valid in comparing the words that Ethan was using with the words that Satan used. I believe there is cause for concern in the LDS view of exaltation. If this doctrine is incorrect then it is equivalent to blasphemy. The LDS church has made changes in doctrine and practice in the past–the Adam/God theory, the role of African Americans in the priesthood, plural marriage, etc. Who is to say that the teaching of exaltation won’t change? I find this teaching to be much more significant and dangerous than any other LDS doctrine.

    Stephanie

  58. June 30, 2009 10:15 pm

    psychochemiker,

    I am not sure what is up with the word “Gellies”. In fact the term evangelical as it is used today applies to me, sadly because I do like the term, but I am a confessional Reformed Protestant. I understand that it is a difficult distinction to make, for someone on the outside, I am not really part of the mainstream of “evangelicalism” but I have read some of Michael Heiser’s work.

    It does not take modern scholarship to prove that many people in Israel did not worship only the ont true and living God, the bible is replete with examples of idolatry from the children of Israel. As far as my believing that the Jews beleived in the Trinity before it was fully revealed with the incarnation, ministry, perfect obedience, death, resurrection and assention of our Lord Christ Jesus, you have me confused with someone else. You ask why the Jews don’t deal with ontological oneness of God. Assuming that you are correct my answer would be simple they understood the deffinition of “one” as in one God.

    I would not deny divine councils in fact the Bible does teach us that there were divine councils, it also shows us: 1) There is only one Sovereign Creator and God, divine councils show us that by demonstrating God’s sovereignty power and authority. 2) The Bible is quite different from the Ugaritic texts because there is no creation myth for God (i.e. how God came into existence). In this the Bible is not ambiguous, simply He always existed and always will. 3) Once again the Bible differes from the Ugaritic texts because there is not a 3 tiered pantheon of gods only the 1 God and His creatures, doing His bidding. 4) In the Bible there is no power sharing and no counseling of God going on. God makes his decries those in attendance comply. 5) ost important in the Bible God is always portrayed as unique and incomparable to those in attendance. He alone is God,ontologicaly different than those around him his creatures.

    As far as the date to Isaiah is concerned there is good evidence (form the text) that it is pre-exhilic in nature. There are a number of reasons to question multiple Isaiaha’s, a lack of historical detial regarding the exile; a lack of any Babolonian cultural enfluance; a contunutiy in the theological ephisys thru the text; the relation of chapters 38-39 and 2 Kings 18-20; the lack of a name for the writer of Chapter 40 (uncommon in the age of prophets) etc.

  59. NChristine permalink
    July 1, 2009 4:15 am

    Hi PC,

    I find it so strange that LDS (e.g., FAIR) use the ideas of secular scholars about primitive Israelite religion in order to show there is a multiplicity of gods. I believe it is really untenable 🙂 for numerous reasons:

    * In order to posit this, one must essentially say that the OT scriptures present contradictory views of God. If the overwhelming majority of passages present monotheism, and yet speculative reasoning can interpret a very few verses as implying henotheism/polytheism, then the whole can’t be right. Indeed, you said that Isaiah taught a strict monotheism that “wasn’t fully correct.” Isaiah thus can’t be inspired (“God-breathed”). But Paul said that all of the OT scriptures were inspired (II Tim. 3:16). Peter said that “no prophecy of the scripture” (that would definitely include Isaiah!) is of “private interpretation, for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:20-21). So how could the Holy Ghost move Isaiah to say something not “fully correct”? This really goes against the teaching of the apostles.

    * Even more than arbitrarily dividing between inspired/non-inspired scriptures (or more correct/less correct scriptures), this LDS argument actually says that what is not written is “more inspired” than what is! That is, the Bible nowhere states that the worship of God originally came from polytheism and henotheism. So when LDS adopt “mainstream” biblical scholarship on this matter, they are grabbing on to scholars’ speculations about various passages rather than the actual words themselves. For example, the patriarch Jacob blesses Joseph with the “blessings of the breasts and of the womb” (along with a list of many other blessings). So some extremely wise scholarship realizes that – aha! — “breasts and womb” just maybe could be the name of a goddess! Maybe “Breasts-and-Womb” was a consort of Jacob’s god!…or some such tomfoolery. When LDS latch onto such speculations in order to provide credibility for their own belief in plural gods, they are essentially saying that speculative inferences attempting to read between the lines are more correct or inspired than the recorded scriptures, which positively reject such ideas. This is just nonsense. Why would God totally mislead everyone by allowing false things to be recorded in His Word and keeping the real truth a secret for millennia? What a strange view of God!

    * Finally, this whole idea re: Israelite religion is essentially based upon an atheistic worldview, and I don’t see a way around it. If Israelite religion morphed from polytheism to henotheism to monotheism, than that religion is simply the product of evolution. If it is the product of evolution, then it is not real, and God is not real. So LDS are using a “God is not real; He evolved” line of logic in order to prove that “multiple gods actually exist.” Talk about strange bedfellows! The logical outcome of this “religious evolution” line of thinking (based on assumptions rather than actual data) is atheism — not some type of plurality of gods!

    Now, maybe I am misunderstanding you. 🙂 Maybe you are not positing what FAIR does. Maybe you don’t believe in a plurality of gods? Do you believe that God would mislead people by being silent on what is true while providing specific words that are at least partially false?

    NChristine

  60. psychochemiker permalink
    July 2, 2009 5:02 am

    Hi NChristine,
    I tried responding, but it just got too long.
    So I wrote my answer here. Feel free to comment here or there. If anyone comments here about my post, I guess just keep it to the topic Jessica has started.

  61. psychochemiker permalink
    July 2, 2009 5:03 am

    hm, maybe I’ve forgotten how to do links?
    Try two?
    http://psychochemiker.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/tvm/

  62. July 2, 2009 2:08 pm

    Ethan,

    Sorry, I have not been on the blog in a few days. Work has been crazy.

    “My argument for the Garden prayer is that Jesus was not praying to himself. The prayer and the vision are boht very clear that there are two beings in play.”

    The Garden scenario presents no issues for the doctrine of the Trinity.

    One God

    3 Persons

    In the Garden, Jesus (2nd person of the Trinity) in His nature as man was talking with The Father.

    “My next (separate) point is that all three members of the godhead present a united front. In this (other) sense they are acting as one God, or one body. The way that the Supreme Court is ONE BENCH, but they are all individuals.”

    I understand where you are coming from. My point is this… if you believe that Jesus and The Father are two separate beings who exist as Gods then YOU BELIEVE IN A LEAST TWO GODS. In other words, in your understanding The Father EXISTS AS A GOD and The Son SEPARATELY EXISTS AS A GOD – so you believe in at least 2 Gods. Then when you say they are ACTING TOGETHER AS ONE GOD you have switched to an entirely separate definition of God – you went from talking about God as the nature of a being (i.e. The Father IS A GOD) to God as a position or title an individual(s) hold or acts in (i.e. The Father and Jesus act together as ONE GOD). You are operating under two different definitions of God here. There is no other way to look at it. Where in The Bible does it teach different definitions for God?

    The real problem for Mormons lies in the fact that the Old and New Testament repeatedly tell us there is BUT ONE GOD. In Isaiah we are continually told that “There is No God Before, After or Besides” Him. Mormons believe it was the pre-mortal Christ talking in these verses. If so, Christ is saying there is NO GOD BEFORE, AFTER or BESIDES HIM. Unfortuantely, under your theology there is a God who exists besides Jesus – The Father. In addition, the Church teaches that The Father spiritually bore Jesus; therefore, there was a God PRIOR TO Jesus – The Father. These are huge problems for the Mormon theology on the nature of God.

    “Also, I am interested how you explain the Garden prayer and vision “on the right hand of the Father” with your understanding of the trinity.”

    One God eternally existing in Three Persons.

    Also, I believe someone (Rpavich?) adressed the issue of the “right hand” above.

    Back to work – more later.

    Darrell

  63. faithoffathers permalink
    July 2, 2009 5:23 pm

    NChristine,

    You mention something I have beeing thinking about.

    You said “I find it so strange that LDS (e.g., FAIR) use the ideas of secular scholars about primitive Israelite religion…”

    Evangelical critics of the BOM insist on evidence from non-LDS researchers and “non-biased” experts to validate claims of the BOM. Any data or observations that come from LDS in the field are categorically dismissed.

    When it comes to the Bible, you and other Christian adherents are insisting on experts within your general belief system- other Christians. Can you see the double standard here?

    To answer your question or statement- maybe those Christian scholars are just as biased as LDS scholars.

    You also mention the blessings promised to Joseph. I just have to squeeze this in- what of those promises? Jacob (Israel) promised Joseph: Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.”

    What record do we have of those promises being fulfilled? Where is the utmost bound of the everlasting hills? Seems like we would know a little more about all this- the blessings that prevailed above those of Jacobs progenitors.

    What of the stick of Joseph mentioned in Ezekial 37? A “stick” clearly refers to a scroll or holy writing. Where is that record or stick?

    And Psychochemiker is correct about exaltation and justification- two different things. Justification has to do with meeting the requirements of eternal law through Christ. Exaltation is the process of becoming like God the Father- a long process that is made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Those who are exalted will certainly be justified, but the two are not the same thing.

    fof

  64. faithoffathers permalink
    July 2, 2009 5:25 pm

    NChristine,

    By the way- George Washington insisted that the Bible be opened to the page with this passage from Genesis 49 when he placed his hand on the Bible during his swearing-in ceremony as the first president.

    fof

  65. July 2, 2009 7:24 pm

    FoF,

    You propose that there is a double standard for our acceptance of the Bible and use of Bible beleving Christians for help in understanding its contents while we reject the BoM and use non-Mormon experts as a proof for this rejection. On the surface this apears to be a valid complaint but when you examine the Bible and the BoM side by side the apperence of the double standard falls away.

    First the, ignoring all doctrinal interpretations, the Bible is an accepted authentic ancient religious text. Experts can argue over particular passages, dates of books, authorship etc. When we ignore any religious truth claims there are still external proofs for the Bibles existence as an authentic ancient religious text, be it a textual transmission history, archeology, other ancient writing referencing the Bible etc. Everything that you would expect to find for an authentic ancient religious text is present for the Bible.

    Second looking at the BoM, once again ignoring all doctrinal interpretations and any religious truth claims, there is no external proof of its existence prior to Joseph Smiths “revelations”. There is no textual transmission history, no archeology, no other ancient writing referencing the BoM etc. Everything that you would expect to find for an authentic ancient religious text is missing for the BoM.

    Third, granting the authenticity of the Bible, generally accepted, even by agnostics, the religious truth claims made in the Bible should be interpreted by believers. Am I to submit myself to a person who claims that Matthew was wrong and Jesus never preformed a miracle and he was lying when he quoted Jesus “The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them…”

    Fourth, because the BoM has not passed the “authenticity” hurdle outside experts who do not have a religious bone in the fight seem to be an acceptable resource to validate authenticity claims made by Mormons. Note that I said authenticity not truth. If Mormons are ever able to prove the authenticity of the BoM as an ancient religious text then we can move on and judge the religious truth claims that it makes as we can when we reject the Koran (an authentic ancient religious text that I believe present false religious claims).

    As I see it, the BoM boils down to authenticity, the bible has every right to be accepted as authentic. The BoM has not passed this test. Your proposed double standard is a category error. The Bible is an authentic ancient religious text (and is generally accepted as such even by agnostics) the BoM has not been proven to be an ancient religious text (even to agnostics). You are comparing an “authentic” book to a book of “unproven authenticity” and expecting us to accept the word of the religious believer as proof of authenticity.

    Finally I must say that personally I do not dismiss outright the claims made by Mormons until I have researched them myself, I just have not found any of them particularly convincing.

  66. faithoffathers permalink
    July 2, 2009 7:49 pm

    Gundeck,

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. But you are totally changing the argument. You are morphing my point into an argument that favors your perspective. I arbitrarily used the Bible and BOM as the focus, but any topic that we disagree on could suffice.

    My point is very basic and general. BOM critics dismiss any evidences or opinions that come from LDS because, by definition, they are biased. But when it comes to the Bible, the unbelievers, or those outside your belief system are to be dismissed because their view is flawed somehow. Total double standard.

    It has nothing to do with which book is historical or authentic. It is about which researchers we choose to accept and those that we reject because of bias. And there is a fundamental problem I see in the double standard used by evangelical Christians in their criticisms of the BOM, POGP, etc.

    By the way, your statement that the BOM has no external evidences is your opinion. From my perspective, after looking at a pretty wide variety and depth of data and opinions, I would say there is a lot of evidence for the BOM. But I know you would dismiss those evidences primarily because the source of those observations and data. And this demonstrates my point.

    Thanks,

    fof

  67. July 2, 2009 8:43 pm

    FoF,

    Have I overlooked the textual transmission history or other ancient writing referencing the BoM, Book of Moses, or Book of Abraham?

    I understand exactly what you are saying and we sometime have a duel of experts good enough for a Law and Order episode. I do like Law and Order, the original not the knock offs (This is a fact and not open for debate the original is better than the knock offs).

    There is a matter of credibility and your experts are satisfied with an absence of a textual history for the BoM, Book of Moses, or Book of Abraham. They are also satisfied with a lack of any other historical writing referring to the BoM, Book of Moses, or Book of Abraham. This alone brings into question their objectivity on the subject. This is no different than when agnostics dismiss my objectivity when they find out I believe in miracles.

  68. July 3, 2009 7:15 am

    fof you said: What of the stick of Joseph mentioned in Ezekial 37? A “stick” clearly refers to a scroll or holy writing. Where is that record or stick?

    Wher in this definition doses it say scroll :`ets
    Pronunciation

    āts (Key)

    Part of Speech
    masculine noun

    Root Word (Etymology)

    from H6095

    TWOT Reference
    1670a

    Outline of Biblical Usage 1) tree, wood, timber, stock, plank, stalk, stick, gallows

    a) tree, trees

    b) wood, pieces of wood, gallows, firewood, cedar-wood, woody flax

    No where in Hebrew writing does this word refers to a scroll or holy writing.
    Also i’m think your aware that the GA, in the new LDS bible refers two the sticks as the Book of mormon and the Bible. Here is my question about this. Did Ephraim write the book of mormon?

  69. July 4, 2009 9:49 am

    With all due respect, I would like to remind you that Trinitarianism teaches both that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one and that they are three. If we were to adopt your interpretation of the scriptures you cite, they condemn both the Nicene Trinitarianism of creedal Christians, as well as the social Trinitarianism of the “Mormons.” Please be careful not to confuse modalism with Trinitarianism. Thanks.

  70. July 4, 2009 3:10 pm

    JDD,

    Can you explain what you find modalistic? I find that there is much confusion about what modalism actually teaches.

  71. faithoffathers permalink
    July 5, 2009 8:06 pm

    jm,

    It is all context. Wood was used at times during the Babylonian captivity as a material on which to write.

    Also consider the verses I cited: “take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:” The Lord Himself indicates the connection to writing upon these sticks. It was using a known medium of writing to symbolize the books of scripture that would eventually be unified. Interesting that the Lord then speaks of Israel being gathered home to their lands of their inheritence.

    This is exactly how the Lord planned- He would bring forth the instrument which He had prepared for the last days- the BOM- to convince scattered Israel and the world of Christ’s mission and the truthfulness of the message of the restored gospel. Thus the combining of the two sticks, or books of scripture, is spoken of in the context of gathering Israel from all parts of the earth.

    And no- Ephraim the son of Joseph did not write the BOM. But those who did write it were his posterity (Lehi was an Ephraimite). And it is the record of the people from the tribe of Joseph. Ezekial says the stick of Joseph shall be “in the hand of Ephraim.” Pretty cool.

    What is your interpretation of these verses.

    What of the promises to Joseph? When were they fulfilled? Remember they were made to Joseph after his rise to power in Egypt and after he saved his father’s house from famine.

    fof

  72. NChristine permalink
    July 7, 2009 4:57 am

    Hi FoF,

    You asked if I was using a double standard regarding the Bible and the BoM in terms of use of secular sources. I don’t think so. When I have cited secular sources regarding the authenticity of the Bible, I was referring to factual data–e.g., real places, people, etc. in the Bible that can be verified by secular archaeology, etc. In my comment to PC, my concern was the use of secular logic and secular theories to support the notion of multiple gods. In particular, I was referencing the idea that religion is the product of evolution. This is most certainly a theory — not a fact — and arguably would never have been concocted but for a secular ideology based upon atheism and evolution. Verifiable facts can often be agreed upon by people of differing ideologies (though interpreted differently), but lines of reasoning or logic based upon ideological assumptions are an entirely different matter.

  73. psychochemiker permalink
    July 7, 2009 1:38 pm

    NChristine:
    I have a post that’s pretty much a letter written to you:
    http://psychochemiker.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/tvm/

  74. NChristine permalink
    July 8, 2009 5:43 am

    Hi PC,

    I have replied at the link above. 🙂

    NChristine

  75. Rayan Radunovic permalink
    February 7, 2015 4:41 pm

    I rayan,39 am a psychic medium. an esoteric christian & bisexaul. I hope to see aliberal mormonism tha believ in the trinitarian of tHe Gnostic theology & power of cross ritual.
    I want have a wedding cerimony to marrya a wife & husbad at same time. and a propetic service That support female apostlship Mary Madgalene gnostic gospel. Here in QC, Canada region

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