05
Aug
09

DIFFERING VIEWS OF HUMANITY

     One important area where Mormonism differs from the Bible is in its view of the natural condition of the human race.  It has a much more optimistic view of humanity.

     This comes out in a number of ways.  It talks about how just the fact that we are on earth is an indication of our faithfulness in the pre-existence.  “You had the power to choose even before you were born. . .Your presence on earth confirms that you exercised your agency to follow Heavenly Father’s plan.”  (True to the Faith).

     At times, it describes people as “gods in embryo”.  (See the quote in the last post.)  That quote also is an example of how it teaches that people can become a God.

     Lying at the foundation of all this is the idea that Adam’s and Eve’s Fall was good.  “Some people believe Adam and Eve committed a serious sin when they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  However, latter-day scriptures help us understand that their fall was a necessary step in the plan of life and a great blessing to all of us.  Because of the Fall, we are blessed with physical bodies, the right to choose between good and evil, and the opportunity to gain eternal life.  None of these privileges would have been ours had Adam and Eve remained in the garden.”  (Gospel Principles, p.33)

     All of these things combine to give a picture of humanity that is quite optimistic.  That stands in stark contrast to what the Bible says.

     Instead of having the ability to choose between good and evil, God said:  “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21).  What is so striking about that is that God said that after the Flood – when Noah and his family constituted the whole human race!  Even then God did not have an optimistic view of humanity.  Instead of talking about an innate right to choose between good and evil, he said that even a person’s inclination is evil. 

     Other scriptures support this.  “God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.  Every one of them is gone back; they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”  (Psalm 53:2-3.)  That is all inclusive.  None were seeking God – all have become filthy – none does good.  Wouldn’t choosing the right be doing something good?

     Because of humanity’s inherent evilness, we couldn’t do anything to become worthy and acceptable to Heavenly Father.  Jesus had to do everything.  And he did!  He drowned my sins in the depths of the sea.  He completely covered me with his perfection.  I am saved, not by grace after all I can do as Mormonism teaches.  I am saved by grace alone as the Bible teaches.

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251 Responses to “DIFFERING VIEWS OF HUMANITY”


  1. 1 geoff456
    August 5, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    wow, i am glad i am an optimistic Mormon!! Life would be a bummer as a denom Christian!

    Please explain why the Lord spent ANY time at ALL on obedience when (in your opinion)it is so un-necessary??

    ~Geoff

  2. 2 Echo
    August 5, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Why would life be a “bummer for a denominational Christian”?

    Obedience isn’t necessary to be saved, to have eternal life, to be forgiven. Those things are given unconditionally out of God’s great love for us. True Love IS unconditional meaning there are no “conditions” we must meet before these gifts of love can be ours. That is the nature of unconditional love.

    While Obedience isn’t necessary, obedience does follow.
    Who would not want to be obedient to such a great God as this?!

  3. August 5, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    The pessimistic view of human nature stems from the Reformers insistence that man is totally depraved. By contrast, the Catholic view of human nature is that man is not totally depraved but that man retains the image of God and retains human free will, even though that image has been tarnished by the fall it still remains. “By virtue of his soul and his spiritual powers of intellect and will, man is endowed with freedom, an “outstanding manifestation of the divine image.”” Catechism, 1705. The Latter-day Saint view of human nature is much closer to the Catholic tradition in that man retains free will and is not totally depraved. Therefore, the real difference is whether man is totally depraved or not. The real difference is whether man retains free will or not.

    It is important for students of the Christianity to recognize that the notion of a ‘fortunate fall’ (felix culpa) is not alien to the Christian tradition. The Exsultet, a hymn of praise sung during Easter Vigil includes the phrase, “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”

    St. Thomas Aquinas writes:

    But there is no reason why human nature should not have been raised to something greater after sin. For God allows evils to happen in order to bring a greater good therefrom; hence it is written (Romans 5:20): “Where sin abounded, grace did more abound.” Hence, too, in the blessing of the Paschal candle, we say: “O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer!” Summa Theologica, III, 1, 3, ad 3; see also the Catechism, 412.

    C.S. Lewis also arrived a similar conclusion. He argued that “redeemed humanity” is to rise to a higher glory than an “unfallen humanity.”

    For God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo. Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity would have been, more glorious than any unfallen race now is (if at this moment the night sky conceals any such). The greater the sin, the greater the mercy: the deeper the death, the brighter the re-birth.” C.S. Lewis, Miracles, p. 198

    Therefore, we can speak of a fortunate fall and a happy fault. Thus, while the Book of Mormon, like other traditions, recognizes the evils that lie inside fallen human nature (see Ether 3:2 “because of the fall our natures have become evil continually”), it also recognizes that man is created in the image of God and possesses great potential for happiness and joy through the great Redemption of Jesus Christ. Thus, the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi could exclaim:

    Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. 2 Nephi 2:25-26.

  4. 4 markcares
    August 5, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Aquinas:
    What’s important is not what the Reformers taought or what Cahtolicism teaches. What is importnat is what the Bible teaches. What is your interpretation of the two passages I cited?

  5. August 5, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Aquinas,

    I would council a review of Reformed theology before you make claims about what the Reformers taught concerning the image of God in man after the fall.

  6. 6 geoff456
    August 5, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Echo,

    Do you agree that obedience is taught in the scriptures? Why, then, if it is a natural consequence, did the Apostles and Jesus Christ himself spend ANY time preaching about it?

    ~Geoff

    and while you are at it, explain Hebrews 5:9.

  7. 7 Echo
    August 6, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Geoff, Yes, obedience is taught in scriptures. As I said before: “Obedience isn’t necessary to be saved, to have eternal life, to be forgiven. Those things are given unconditionally out of God’s great love for us. True Love IS unconditional meaning there are no “conditions” we must meet before these gifts of love can be ours. That is the nature of unconditional love.
    That is justification.

    Who would not want to be obedient to such a great God as this?!

    Justification comes BEFORE sanctification.

    While Obedience isn’t necessary for justification, obedience does follow after justification and it is a process called sanctification.

    Why, then, if it is a natural consequence, is it preached about in the Bible?
    Once we are justified, we begin a life of sanctification.

    Hebrews 5:9? Check out Blue Letter Bible

  8. 8 geoff456
    August 6, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Echo,

    You didn’t answer the question. Why would the early Church leaders even bother TEACHIING obedience?? It would be a waste of time!

    Obviously there is effort involved in the process. Even the “process” of sanctification involves effort. To be sanctified is to be purified. It takes effort to be obedient and to be pure. Saying this is all a gift is a huge cop-out. The Lord intended for us to be obedient and to become perfect like Him and His Father. (2 separate and distinct individuals)

    sorry, your argument is weak.

    ~Geoff

  9. 9 Brad
    August 6, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Geoff, you’re missing the point. Nobody has said that obedience isn’t IMPORTANT – it is. What has been said is that it’s not necessary for salvation, but is something that one who has been truly saved will naturally do AFTER salvation. I believe obedience is important, as I’m sure Echo, Gundeck, Mark and others do, as well. However, we don’t believe the obedience saves us, rather we obey BECAUSE we are saved. That makes all the difference in the world.

    So you cannot rightly continue to ask the question “why was obedience taught”, b/c we don’t disagree that it’s important, just not a part of salvation, rather an occurrence after salvation. It is part of sanctification, not justification, as Echo has said (I guess I’m echoing Echo, then… :) )

  10. 10 markcares
    August 6, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Geoff:
    I would like your take on the two passages I cited. If people could obey by nature then how can the Bible say all have become filthy and there is no one who does good?

  11. 11 RLO
    August 6, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Geoff

    I’d like to recommend two short books for you on the doctrines of justification and sanctification that might help to clear things up a bit. They would do so much better than short posts on this blog can. Both are available through Northwestern Publishing House, as well as elsewhere online, and are two books in “The People’s Bible Teachings” series.

    Justification: How God Forgives by Wayne D. Mueller

    Sanctification: Alive in Christ by Lyle W. Lange

    Both books are an easy read at less than 200 pages. If you decide to pick them up, I would be interested to know if you find them helpful in understanding what EV’s believe about these two doctrines.

    There are also 21 other currently published titles in the series of 25 books, the final two not yet published.

  12. 12 geoff456
    August 6, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Brad,

    If obedience is a NATURAL RESULT OF CONVERSION, then why was it taught?

    that is the question.

    If eating is a NATURAL RESULT OF HUNGER, you wouldn’t need to be taught to do it.

    do you understand my question?

    ~Geoff

  13. August 6, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Good post, mark.

    I was just thinking of this very thing this morning during my time in the Word.

    ” As for you, you were dead in your transgressions, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world, and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air…. all of us lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following it’s desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. ” Ephesians 2:1-4 NIV

    Naturally, without Christ we are by nature the objects of wrath. Paul said it well. All of us, before we surrender to Christ at one time gratified our cravings and nature.
    We were not born naturally “good” or without sin. It just isn’t so. The bible declares differently.

    ” But because of His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy made us alive in Christ… remember we were once separate from Christ, without hope.. without God in the world. But now, you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Jesus Christ.”
    Eph. 2:4,12,13

    I was once separate from God. Gratifying my cravings. False doctrines as good as they may sound, are simply that. False. They tickled my ears, but they were not true.

    The bible teaches us something very different about human nature.

    For all of us have fallen short. romans 3:23
    No, there is no one righteous not one. Romans 3:10
    All have turned aside, they have become corrupt there is no one that does good, not even one. Psalm 14:3

    The bible clearly shows us that man, naturally is inherently a fallen creature, selfish, seeking their own desires and lusts… it is ONLY thru Christ that this fallen creature is slain and crucified.

    ” I am crucified in Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Gal. 2:20

    It may be hard for the LDS to understand this, because at their heart of their teachings is that *all* people are spirit sons and daughters of God, and all are born good. They view the fall as something good that happened.

    As sincere as one may be , a false doctrine is a false doctrine.

    Kind regards,

    Gloria

  14. August 6, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Amen!!

    I could care less what Calvin or Luther taught.. If I went to get the scoop on what God “thinks” then I pick up the Bible. :)

    gloria

  15. 15 geoff456
    August 6, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Mark,

    We all have the “natural” man to contend with. He is indeed an enemy to God. but we also have the light of Christ. We have the “law”, whether it is society or otherwise to guide us. We have the plan of Salvation or the Plan of Happiness to guide us. Jesus DID die to save me from my sins. He did break the bands of death and enable me to be resurrected some day. (eternal life AND life everlasting)

    where there is no law, there is no sin. where there is no sin, there is no righteousness. where there is no righteousness there is no happiness. But there IS a law. There is the opportunity to OBEY or DISOBEY that law. Disobedience leads to sin and sin leads to misery.
    Obedience leads to righteousness and that leads to happiness. God is a God of mercy but also a God of JUSTICE. He has given laws for thousands of years. Why, if He is the same yesterday, today and forever, quit now? He hasn’t. There are laws that govern the universe. there are laws that, when obeyed, bring promised blessings. There are commandments and covenants for God’s people. It has always been this way, and always will be. there are no “freebies”. There is and always will be effort required for God’s grace. What good is a gift if you won’t accept it? Works, faith, obedience and an eye single to His glory constitute acceptance of His Great Gift.

    ~Geoff

  16. 16 rblandjr
    August 7, 2009 at 12:13 am

    Mark,

    The standard established by God is Holiness. Without this holiness none of us will see him. We are utterly and hopelessly condemned because of our sin. The law was given as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. That we might see the impossibility of becoming righteous in ourselves. Even our good things are considered filthy rags by God. We need a Savior who has paid our sin debt. We don’t need more time to obey and work off this debt because what we have to offer is tainted by our sinfulness. Paul in Ephesians says that,”we are dead in our tresspasses and sins…” A dead man cannot resurrect himself. Only the one who conquered death can do this. Not only resurrect us but give us a quality of life beyond compare. Eternal Life. Col. 2:13,14 sums up our condition and what Christ does in our lives by grace through faith. “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, god made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

    Thanks,
    Richard

  17. 17 geoff456
    August 7, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Richard,

    “We are utterly and hopelessly condemned because of our sin.”

    The Atonement took care of that for any who will accept it!
    Over and over again the Apostles taught the people the importance of repentance and keeping the commandments. Paul was no exception! Grace THROUGH faith. (that “through” word is very important) Faith means: believing, loving, serving, keeping the commandments, DOING everything that enables us to ACCEPT His gift.

    God would NOT give commandments that He knew we could not accomplish. that would be “guile”. And we KNOW that HE is NOT FULL OF GUILE!!

    the gift is there for any who will RECEIVE it.

    ~Geoff

  18. 18 rblandjr
    August 7, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Geoff,
    I appreciate your reply and feel obedience is important in our Christian lives.

    Scripture says in Matt. 5:48 ” Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect”

    That is present tense. You must be perfect to be exalted. The Father demands perfection now. Anything less will not get it done. To be forgiven you must thourghly repent and forsake your sin completely.

    James says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

    Jesus said in Matt. 7:13,14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in therat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” This passage is part of our Lords sermon on the mount. The penalty for not being perfect as our Father in heaven is to be cast into “outer darkness”.

    The Parable in Matt. 22 of the wedding feast teaches us that the “man without the wedding garment was cast into outer darkness:where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Since he did not have a wedding garment which is a picture of Christs righteousness and perfecetion he was cast into outer darkness.

    Hell is a terrible place that many will go to and spend an eternity there according to the words of our Savior. I shudder to think that people will reject the Gospel that gives them hope, forgiveness,regeneration, adoption, justification and sanctification. This wonderful gift may be received by faith in Christs sacrifice on cavalry.

    Heb. 10:10-18 tells of this great sacrifice by our Savior that we may receive and have his perfect righteousness applied to our lives. I praise him that when the Father sees me he sees Christs perfect righteousness. My desire is that my life may be one that glorifies him alone. For he is worthy!

    On the other hand those that seek perfection by obeying the law will have to meet Gods standard of righteousness by their own works. That standard is Matt. 5:48 ” Be ye perfect as your father in heaven is perfect.”

    My prayer is that you will see the truth of His word.
    John 6:47 ” Verily, Verily,I say unto you he that believeth on me hath everlasting life”
    It is well, It is well with my soul. Praise His Name.

    Richard
    2Tim 4:2

  19. August 8, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Brad wrote:

    “What has been said is that it’s not necessary for salvation, but is something that one who has been truly saved will naturally do AFTER salvation.”

    Which means, essentially – if you aren’t doing good works, that must mean you’re not saved.

  20. August 8, 2009 at 2:24 am

    I also noticed that everyone pretty-much ignored Aquinas’ post above.

    Except Gundeck, who only had a dismissive sneer with nothing to back it up. Aquinas provided quotes. Aren’t you capable of doing the same Gundeck?

    I guess since no one responded to his comment, that must mean you all don’t have an answer – except to lamely change the subject and pretend nothing happened.

  21. 21 RLO
    August 8, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Seth says: “I guess since no one responded to his comment, that must mean you all don’t have an answer – except to lamely change the subject and pretend nothing happened.”

    Is this not an argument from silence?

  22. 22 RLO
    August 8, 2009 at 7:49 am

    If you are not saved, you are not capable of doing good works.

    If you are saved, you can’t help but do good works.

  23. August 8, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Then why are you talking to me RLO?

    Why not just let your all-powerful God save me or not according to his whim?

    Why do you feel the need to stick in your oar?

    Not confident that he’ll get the job done without you?

  24. August 8, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Seth,

    The Reformed teaching on the image of God is so well documented that it would have been easy to verify before making claims. Rather than give you a bunch of quotes I would refer you to Lewis Berkhof’s “Systematic Theology”,Part 2 Chapter 3 “Man as the Image of God”, in it you will be pleased to find what many Reformed men think on this subject. Berkhof also engages with other theological views, a revolutionary thought. For instance he says that Reformed theology “…distinguishes, however, between those elements in the image of God which man cannot loose without ceasing to be man, consisting in the essential qualities and powers of the human soul…” This link would be a good start http://books.google.com/books?id=jFqJaODKwIoC&printsec=frontcover&lr=#v=onepage&q=image&f=false

    I refer you to Berkhof for 3 reasons, 1 I have his book, 2 it is available on Google books, and 3 it is still a standard systematic for confessional Protestants. I don’t think that Protestants should disengage from the theologians from our past. We may not agree with their views but to ignore them is to deny the catholicity of the Church.

    I am fully aware of the ‘fortunate fall’ but that is only one side of the theological coin so to speak. To look at ‘fortunate fall’ in isolation, neglecting for instance the beleif that the prelapsarian Adam continued to progress beyond his created state is kind of like sinning so that grace may abound (Rom 6:1). Correct me if I am wrong, but the Mormon view of the “image of God” does not exactly coincide with the Roman Catholic view making this kind of a moot point and the reason that I have not commented further.

  25. 25 geoff456
    August 8, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    glad to see some truth is being posted on this blog:

    “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. 2 Nephi 2:25-26.”

    NOW, THAT is the truth!! BELIEVE IT!!

    ~Geoff

  26. 26 markcares
    August 8, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Seth:
    You say that no-one commented on Aquinas’ comment and read something into that. Could I not say the same thing about the fact that no LDS commentator made a sincere attempt to explain the two passages I cited in the orginal post. If as Geoff says, we all have the light of Christ, how does that fit into these two passages (and many more in the Bible)? How can it be said of those who have the Light of Christ that none seek God, that together they have become filthy?

  27. 27 RLO
    August 8, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Oh, he can get the job done just fine without me all right. Nevertheless, he gives all believers the privilege of having a part in his work. Consider Matthew 28:18-20. Consider Romans 10: 13-15. Consider 2 Timothy 3:16.

    But still you persist with your tone? Your attitude of sarcasm and hostility? Consider Titus 2:6. In fact, consider the entire 2nd chapter of Titus.

    I encourage you to give respect a try. Set aside your sarcasm and hostility.

  28. August 8, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Mark, I would respond that the Bible does not take only a negative view of humanity. It also takes a positive view of humanity.

    To focus solely on one or the other is misguided.

    Thanks for the response Gundeck. That was more along the lines of what I was hoping for.

  29. August 8, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    RLO, the sarcasm is because your position makes absolutely zero sense. And yet we still play the game of me asking for a straight answer, and you (or Echo in the previous thread) evading the question. It’s highly annoying.

  30. 30 RLO
    August 8, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Seth, I don’t think the problem is that I, or Echo, or any others, are evading all of your questions. The problem is that you are evading all of the answers. How many times do you need to hear it from us before it finally sinks in, that good works DO NOT precede salvation, and that good works ARE NOT a condition to be met before salvation is granted? Good works FOLLOW salvation. Ephesians 2:4 DOES NOT SAY, “But because of our good works for him…” No, it says, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgression…” EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN TRANSGRESSIONS! I ask you, what kind of good works can a dead person do to win God’s favor? I’ll answer it for you. NONE! Can he do good works after he is saved? Yes. So I will say it again:

    If you are not saved, you are not capable of doing good works.

    If you are saved, you can’t help but do good works.

    Seth, my friend, you are simply trying to put your “good works” on the wrong end of your salvation.

    As far as it making absolutely zero sense to you, all I can say is that human reason has its limitations. I don’t believe what I believe about my faith because it “makes sense” to me. I believe what I believe because Heavenly Father reveals it to me through his word. And when my own human reason tries to say, “But it doesn’t make sense!” well then I simply go back to the words God spoke through his prophet in Isaiah 55:8-9:

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” delcares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoghts than your thoughts.”

  31. August 8, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    No RLO, the problem is that I don’t think you really believe that works do not save.

    You and Echo say that is what you believe. But then you act in an utterly contradictory manner.

    I have already pointed this out. And thus far, none of you have been able to provide an even remotely satisfactory answer.

    And now you are again invoking the same old worn-out Evangelical cop out of “God’s ways aren’t our ways.”

    You always know an Evangelical is losing the argument when they resort to that one.

    If it really is all up to God, and his ways really are utterly incomprehensible, then fine. Act consistently with your beliefs and quit trying to convert me. Leave that up to God, if you really believe it’s all up to him.

    Since you continue to evangelize however, I must conclude that your talk of grace is mere empty rhetoric that you yourself do not believe in.

  32. 32 RLO
    August 8, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    “No RLO, the problem is that I don’t think you really believe that works do not save.”

    Think what you wish.

    “You and Echo say that is what you believe. But then you act in an utterly contradictory manner.”

    Contradictory? How so?

    “And now you are again invoking the same old worn-out Evangelical cop out of “God’s ways aren’t our ways.””

    Clearly, your problem isn’t with me. It’s with the word of God. Perhaps you should take it up with him.

    “If it really is all up to God, and his ways really are utterly incomprehensible, then fine. Act consistently with your beliefs and quit trying to convert me. Leave that up to God, if you really believe it’s all up to him.”

    Yes, it really is all up to God. And yet he chooses to use me as one of his tools, encouraging me to share his word with others. What a blessing it is to carry out God’s will for me! Should I continue to follow his command to do so (the obedience you often speak of), or should I instead follow Seth’s command to stop doing so? I think you know the answer.

    “Since you continue to evangelize however, I must conclude that your talk of grace is mere empty rhetoric that you yourself do not believe in.”

    Conclude what you wish.

    But again, your argument isn’t with me. It’s with the word of God. Consider Ephesians 2: 8-9. Empty rhetoric my friend?

    But now, ADB’s admonishment on July 28th at 10:35 from The Parable of the Prodigal Son thread still stands:

    “Refuse to believe what’s been stated to your own peril.”

    But also take heart, Seth. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

  33. August 8, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    So you simply evangelize me because God predestined you to evangelize me.

    And I argue with you because God predestined me to argue with you.

    Like I said earlier. Like playing with Star Wars action figures.

  34. 34 geoff456
    August 10, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    mark,

    is there any question that man has the light of Christ? That is how I understand John 1:9.

    do you disagree? how would YOU explain both scriptures in light of that?

    ~Geoff

  35. 35 markcares
    August 11, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Geoff:
    Since Light of Christ” is an LDS expression, many of the people reading this might not be familiar with it. I think the sentence from the description in True to the Faith that will help people understand your reference to it in this discussion is: “This power is an influence for good in the lives of all people (see John 1:9, D&C 93:2).” Geoff, if you don’t think that is a satisfactory reference feel free to give a fuller one.
    You ask if there is any question that man has the light of Christ? Yes, there is. I, along with millions of others don’t agree. John 1:9 says: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Putting this verse into its context makes its meaning clear. Both before and after verse 9, the gospel writer John emphasizes that although Jesus is the only light of the world, not everybody sees that. “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (v. 5) “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (v. 10-11) The context clearly shows that the light didn’t affect all the people.
    Secondly, as I understand it, Mormonism teaches that the Light of Christ is not Christ. As this passage shows, and also John 8:12 which True to the Faith also references, the light in both cases is Christ himself.

  36. 36 geoff456
    August 12, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Mark,

    Is English your native language???

    How can “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” mean anything else??

    The light of Christ is given to EVERY MAN THAT COMETH INTO THE WORLD. We (LDS) do not claim that every man LISTENS, but it is given as a gift from God.

    ~Geoff

  37. 37 markcares
    August 12, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Geoff:
    I don’t understand your need for sarcasm. Coouldn’t I have replied the same way to your explanation of the two passages in the original post?
    So that I better understand your beliefs, please answer this question. Is the light of John 1:9 Christ himself or something different? The reason I ask is that the context plainly shows that it is Christ himself. The explanations that True to the Faith and the LDS Bible Dictionary give do not equate it with Christ. Before trying to have a meaningful discussion, don’t you think we need to define the term? From my perspective, this is not just semantics. Defining who or what the light is in John 1:9 impacts the interpertation of it.

  38. August 12, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    What makes you think John 1:9 isn’t allegorical?

  39. 39 Echo
    August 13, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Seth said:
    ==========

    “So you simply evangelize me because God predestined you to evangelize me.

    And I argue with you because God predestined me to argue with you.

    Like I said earlier. Like playing with Star Wars action figures.”

    Echo:
    =====

    What makes you think it’s like playing with Star Wars action figures?… Just because you can’t do anything to save yourself that doesn’t mean you a star wars action figure.
    You didn’t have any choice in being born to your biological parents, but your ability to choose this and that did come once you were born.

  40. August 13, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    It isn’t a matter of not having control over my salvation Echo.

    It’s a matter of not having personal control over ANYTHING I do.

    Which is what creation ex nihilo combined with an omnipotent God requires.

    Star Wars action figures.

  41. 41 Echo
    August 13, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Seth said:
    ==========

    It’s a matter of not having personal control over ANYTHING I do.

    “Which is what creation ex nihilo combined with an omnipotent God requires.

    Star Wars action figures.”

    Echo:
    =====

    Not so.

  42. August 13, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    So you’re saying that God didn’t know exactly how you were going to turn out when he programmed the entire universe in the beginning (you included)?

  43. 43 rblandjr
    August 13, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Seth,

    We all have a will and can choose to reject or receive Christ.
    We can choose to go His way or our way. His righteousness or our righteousness.

    Phil. 3:9 ” And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousnes which if of God by Faith.”

    Master Yoda — “Much learning you have to do my young apprentice, the dark side is with you”

  44. August 13, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Yoda can hang it in his pointy ear.

    Did God know how you would ultimately turn out when he created the universe or not?

    Can you answer rblandjr? Echo? Anyone else?

  45. 45 Echo
    August 13, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Seth,

    The fact that God knows the end of all things doesn’t mean we are star wars action figures.
    The truth is that even I can “predict” some of the reactions my son will have in response to certain (future) situations. That doesn’t make him a star wars action figure. It just means I know some things about my son.

    I don’t see how being created out of nothing and being created out of something makes a difference as you seem to claim.

    The fact that we can’t “choose” to recieve Christ does not mean we are action figures. Once a person is born again, they THEN CAN make choices, they THEN have control over things they do.

    My son didn’t make a “choice” to become my son or to be born. That was out of his hands. Once he was born, the journey of making choices, of having control over things he does, began.

  46. August 13, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Echo, if I create a robo-dog to attack everything on sight and it hurts someone – I’d be the one thrown in jail.

    You are saying an omnipotent God created everything out of nothing – including you and me. How would he not be responsible therefore for what we do?

    If he knew I was going to write an unkind blog post, maybe he should have taken that into account when he designed the universe and ensured that I would turn out differently.

    If God is all-knowing, and God created the universe out of nothing, then you must logically arrive at the conclusion that the universe is exactly the way God wants it.

    Otherwise you are accusing him of incompetence.

  47. 47 Echo
    August 13, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Seth wrote: “If he knew I was going to write an unkind blog post, maybe he should have taken that into account when he designed the universe and ensured that I would turn out differently.”

    But if he did that then you would be a robot. But since your not a robot, you alone are responsible for your unkind blog posts.

  48. 48 rblandjr
    August 13, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    My Buddy Seth,

    I hope you are having a great day. Do you think God cares about you, your heart, how your day is going? Do you think he knows when you hurt, when you are angry at us “ignorant gentiles”? He also knows what is the greatest need of your heart? PEACE

    Sure God does. But he gives a will that we can choose to follow or reject him. He wants to love him because we choose to.

    Love can be given or received. It can never be taken.

    Keep your light saber away from Yoda’s ear if you know whats good for you.

    Say I met a wonderful young lady and fell in love. I tell Her I love and want to get married. Well she doesn’t see it the same way.( I don’t know why, I am such a great guy.)
    I can’t force her to love me. Neither can God.

    Richard

  49. August 13, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Richard, Echo.

    I agree with both of those sentiments about God being about love, and how love cannot be coerced, only offered, etc. My unkind actions are my own fault.

    But this doesn’t work with creation ex nihilo.

    If God created me out of nothing, then it follows that he knew what I was going to do. He also knew exactly HOW the way he was creating me would RESULT in me doing either good or bad.

    To claim otherwise, you have to state that God either didn’t know what he was doing, or that some outside force beyond his control came in and caused me to be unkind. You can call it Satan, or you can call it free will… whatever.

    The point is, either he was in control of the inputs that caused me to sin, or he wasn’t.

    Which is it?

  50. 50 RLO
    August 13, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Seth said: “You are saying an omnipotent God created everything out of nothing – including you and me. How would he not be responsible therefore for what we do?”

    Seth, I can see you have difficulty coming to terms with God knowing something is going to happen, and at the same time not being responsible for it happening. Only the sinful nature, fallen human reason, and faulty logic can conclude that God’s knowledge of a future event (a future evil for instance) equates to his being responsible for it. God is not the author of evil. Such a thought is simply contrary to God’s nature, and contrary to everything God tells us about himself. Even Adam and Eve, after the fall, tried passing off the responsibility and blame onto God with, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” and, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

    Seth said: “Echo, if I create a robo-dog to attack everything on sight and it hurts someone – I’d be the one thrown in jail.”

    I don’t see how your robo-dog analogy has any valid point of comparision. God created mankind with the capabiliity of making choices. And rightly holds mankind responsible for the choices made. Your robo-dog machine invention does not possess the capability of making choices, or taking responsibility.

    Seth said: “If he knew I was going to write an unkind blog post, maybe he should have taken that into account when he designed the universe…”

    There you go, blaming God for your poor choices,

    “…and ensured that I would turn out differently.”

    but hopefully, he’s not finished with you yet.

    Seth said: “If God is all-knowing, and God created the universe out of nothing, then you must logically arrive at the conclusion that the universe is exactly the way God wants it.”

    In time, all of these things will be made clear to you.
    The question is whether it will be too late.
    For your sake, I pray it will not.

    Do not be deceived:
    God cannot be mocked.
    A man reaps what he sows.
    Galatians 6:7

  51. August 14, 2009 at 12:49 am

    I know that God cannot be mocked RLO.

    Especially not by bad Protestant theology.

    And really, all your post does is throw up the old “it’s a mystery” smokescreen.

    A “mystery” is something that we are currently incapable of understanding, but would make sense IF we had the same knowledge God does.

    We aren’t talking about a mystery here.

    We are talking about something that is incapable of EVER being true – no matter how much knowledge we end up having.

    A God who created everything out of nothing, and yet gave us free will is just as impossible as a “square circle” and makes just as much sense.

    You don’t claim that there are square circles, and then when someone points out that this makes no sense, claim “it’s a mystery.”

    Doesn’t work.

    Free will and creation ex nihilo do not work together. Not because it’s mysterious – but because they flat-out contradict each other.

  52. 52 Echo
    August 14, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Seth,

    God did not create evil.

    God is love. God is good.
    When God shows us what is good and what is love, then that which is not good and that which is not love, is revealed just by contrast. That does not mean that God created nor that he is responsible for it but the contrast is still there.

    “If God created me out of nothing, then it follows that he knew what I was going to do. He also knew exactly HOW the way he was creating me would RESULT in me doing either good or bad.”

    Just because God knows what your going to do that doesn’t mean that he is responsible for it. He has given you a conscience which enables you to make right choices and when you opt to go against it, that is your responsibility.

  53. 53 Echo
    August 14, 2009 at 12:53 am

    “Free will and creation ex nihilo do not work together. Not because it’s mysterious – but because they flat-out contradict each other.”

    I don’t see any contradiction.

  54. August 14, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Echo, when I was a kid, I used to explain the problem of evil this way:

    If I’m in a city high-rise looking down at a busy intersection and I see an old lady with a walker inching across the street, then – looking further down the street – I see a speeding car heading right for her that she cannot see…

    Well… I am aware of what is going to happen. The people on the ground are not, but I am. But that doesn’t mean I caused the accident when it does happen, just as I predicted it would. I had foreknowledge, but I didn’t cause the accident.

    I thought this was a pretty good explanation.

    One problem though.

    God is not powerless, like I am in the example. It would be more like me not reaching out and grabbing a six year old who is about to run into the street in front of a car.

    Well, you can argue that God has his reasons that we don’t know.

    Fine.

    The mystery defense works OK for me here.

    But it doesn’t work if I deliberately rigged the world such that the child would run out into the street.

    It doesn’t work if I programmed the whole course of human events into the system the moment I snapped my fingers and willed the universe into existence.

    So, I hear you when you say that just because God has foreknowledge does not make him culpable. True enough.

    But you combine foreknowledge with creation ex nihilo and your statement just doesn’t work anymore.

  55. 55 Echo
    August 14, 2009 at 2:32 am

    I don’t believe that God pre-programs a child to run out into the street or pre-programs someone to hit an old lady with his car. So often in the Bible God tries to steer someone from the direction they are going in and at times the warning is heeded and at other times it falls on deaf or stubborn ears.

    God created people with the ability to act on their own and THAT is what is pre-programed. The fact that he knows in advance that the man is going to hit the old lady with his car or that the little girl is going to run into the street doesn’t mean he pre-programmed it to happen nor that he was powerless in that situation.

    Seth said:
    =========

    “The mystery defense works OK for me here.”

    Echo:
    =====

    It works for me also. We get SMALL glimpses of the BIG “mystery” in these kinds of situations from the Bible itself.
    One example that comes to mind is Joseph. God used the harm that Joseph’s brothers tried to cause him for the good of many including Joseph’s brothers. God was not responsible for what the brothers did, but he did use the situation in a powerful way.

    Genesis 50:19-20 ” But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

    Isaiah 57:1 is another glimpse. God could prevent a small child from running out on the street and getting killed. But sometimes in his wisdom, God takes the young away to spare them from evil:

    Isaiah 57:1 “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.”

  56. 56 Echo
    August 14, 2009 at 2:39 am

    Note: I shouldn’t use the phrase: “God takes away the young” in the example where the little girl gets hit by a car.
    It would be more correct to say: “God uses the situation and allows it to take away the young”

  57. August 14, 2009 at 3:10 am

    Portions of what you are talking about, I agree with Echo.

    Mark… should I just let this one drop at this point?

  58. 58 RLO
    August 14, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Seth, Thank you for your comments. I’m going to ask a favor of you. I’m still not grasping what the rational is behind your assertion that God could not create a free-will being ex nihilo. Can you walk me through why do you believe creation ex nihilo of a created free-will being in incapable of ever being true? Why do you say they don’t work together. Why do they contradict each other?

  59. August 14, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I’ll try. Assuming God created the universe out of nothing other than his own will:

    1. Either God knew everything that would happen in the universe when he created it or he didn’t.

    Protestants of either Calvinist or Arminian persuasion would say that he did know.

    2. Either an outside force interfered with God’s creation or it didn’t.

    Again, I think most Protestants would be unwilling to say anything could interfere with the universe being created exactly the way God wanted it. Otherwise, you diminish the power of God and make it subject to outside forces.

    3. Either everything the universe would ever be was anticipated and set in motion in the moment of God’s creation, or it wasn’t.

    Now we’re getting to a point where some might balk. But really, an affirmative on this simply proceeds from the Protestant answers to #1 and #2. If you consider God all-knowing (meaning that there wasn’t anything in the future he didn’t already see as clearly as if it were present) AND all-powerful (meaning nothing could interfere with his desires and plans) – then it simply follows that all the programming for how the universe would unfold was thought of by God, planned by God, desired by God, and commanded by God in that one moment of creation. The universe WOULD unfold the way he planned it.

    How do you get around this conclusion?

  60. 60 RLO
    August 14, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    “– then it simply follows that all the programming for how the universe would unfold was thought of by God, planned by God, desired by God, and commanded by God in that one moment of creation. The universe WOULD unfold the way he planned it.”

    Simply.

    How, or why, you come to these conclusions based on everything that precedes, “simply” escapes me. After all the mental gymnastics, what I’m hearing is, “The reason God can’t create a free-will being is because, well, God can’t create a free-will being.”

    “planned by God”
    “desired by God”
    “commanded by God”

    I think that maybe you just can’t allow for the notion that God’s “knowing” everything that is ever going to happen, does not equate to his “causing” everything that is ever going to happen, and his being “responsible” for everything that is ever going to happen.

    God in his omnipotence, created beings with free will. He gave them the choice of either mucking thing up, or not mucking things up. We could have done either, but we chose to muck things up. The choice was of man. The blame is on man. I think trying to place the blame on God for a poor free-will decision made by his free-will beings is about as absurd as blaming auto makers for drunk driving deaths, or gun makers for gun related homicides (probably not the best analogies, but hopefully you understand what I trying to express).

    I don’t know why God did all the things he did in the way tht he did. The Bible doesn’t always tell me everything my sinful nature wants to know. But it does tell me everything I need to know. Pretty much everything that falls beyond my need to know resides in the realm of the secret things of God.

    And I trust that after having allowed us to try things our way for a while, he will ultimately set all things straight. But why did he allow us to wreck things in the first place? I would be speculating. Maybe it was for the purpose of driving home the truth once and for all, and for all of eternity:

    That God is God, and we are not.

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I really do appreciate the effort you’ve made. While I might be getting closer to understanding what you’re telling me you believe on this particular issue, I’m not sure I’m any closer at all to understanding why you believe it.

  61. August 14, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Philosophy is a hard, hard thing…

  62. 62 Echo
    August 14, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Philosophy can be a dangerous thing because it isn’t always in line with biblical teaching so we would want to step carefully where philosophy is concerned.

    Col 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

  63. August 15, 2009 at 12:35 am

    You know Echo…

    I’ve always felt that your “we don’t do philosophy – we just do the Bible” line was frankly, full of rubbish.

    So don’t even start with me. This line doesn’t work on me.

    You, as a traditional Christian, come from one of the most philosophy-laden religious traditions on the planet. You guys have been playing with fire from day one.

  64. August 15, 2009 at 12:36 am

    In fact, creation ex nihilo is, to begin with, a purely philosophical invention unsupported by the Bible.

  65. August 15, 2009 at 2:08 am

    Seth,

    Your comments about Creation Ex-Nihilo contradicting Free Will are interesting. I think the problem you have may stem from a misunderstanding of omnipotence.

    There really is no contradiction between the two.

    Darrell

  66. 66 Echo
    August 15, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Seth said:
    =========

    “You know Echo…

    I’ve always felt that your “we don’t do philosophy – we just do the Bible” line was frankly, full of rubbish.

    So don’t even start with me. This line doesn’t work on me.”

    “You, as a traditional Christian, come from one of the most philosophy-laden religious traditions on the planet. You guys have been playing with fire from day one.”

    Echo:
    =====

    How much do you know about Lutherans that you can make such a claim against us? Or are you just guessing? Or worse yet, laying a false charge against us?

    Seth said:
    ==========

    In fact, creation ex nihilo is, to begin with, a purely philosophical invention unsupported by the Bible.

    Echo:
    =====

    It is supported by the Bible. The Bible says that “ALL” things were made by him” so the LDS view is unbiblical because according to you, the LDS doesn’t believe “ALL” things were made by him but that he made things out of things that were already in existence:

    John 1:3 “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

  67. August 15, 2009 at 2:37 am

    Yeah, and the word “made” works just fine with creation ex materia too Echo.

    You’re not getting anywhere here.

  68. 68 Echo
    August 15, 2009 at 3:00 am

    The words: “ALL THINGS were made” exclude ex materia 100%

  69. August 15, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Yup, all things on earth were made – out of pre-existing material.

    No problem. Especially if you view the author as simply referring to the things he knew about. It wasn’t meant to be some philosophically categorical statement – as much as the philosophically-minded Christians here would like to make it into one.

  70. 70 Echo
    August 15, 2009 at 3:39 am

    I will let my statement stand. The Bible is very clear. GOD says: “ALL THINGS were made” the word “ALL” excludes any pre existing material.

    Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the UNIVERSE was formed at God’s command, so that what is SEEN WAS NOT MADE OUT OF WHAT WAS VISIBLE.

    That excludes pre existing material 100% also.

    Seth said: “Especially if you view the author as simply referring to the things he knew about…”

    Echo: Let’s not forget that GOD himself is the author of the Bible and so GOD is referring to the things that he knows about.

  71. August 15, 2009 at 3:45 am

    Lot of assumptions you’re bringing to the text Echo.

  72. 72 Echo
    August 15, 2009 at 4:17 am

    It is you that is bringing assumptions to the text Seth. Nothing in the Bible states that God created the universe out of pre existing material. Those are LDS assumptions which are based on the philosphy of men. Assumptions cause deceit.

    Col 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

    Call me simple but when God says “ALL things were made by him” I don’t assume anything. I take him at his word and believe ALL things were made by him.

  73. August 15, 2009 at 4:18 am

    And that is an assumption you are making Echo.

  74. 74 JesusLover
    August 15, 2009 at 5:36 am

    SethR. – your God is too small.

  75. 75 jm
    August 15, 2009 at 6:19 am

    Ha ya’ll you have to remember, Seth worships a demigod. Not the great God of the Bible.

  76. August 15, 2009 at 6:29 am

    Whereas, you guys don’t even worship a God to begin with.

    You worship a philosophical notion.

    Shall we escalate?

  77. 77 JesusLover
    August 15, 2009 at 6:40 am

    SethR – that is just a silly thing to write. If you are angered and offended at what myself and others write then take that up with God – He wrote The Book – we just take Him at His word and follow Him. You are free to believe what you want but when you try to say that what you believe is in the bible then you will come up against a wall because mormonism has nothing to do with the bible except that it is bound into your quads – I can only think to lend credibility to the religion.

  78. August 15, 2009 at 7:27 am

    JL,

    If you are angered or offended by Mormonism, take it up with God. It’s his sermon being preached against the errors you perpetuate.

    You see, we can go on and on, back and forth like this for hundreds more comments if you want.

    You can claim that Mormonism is against the Bible. I can claim it is.

    But really, is there much point?

    Any time you’re willing to actually discuss something, let me know. I’m not interested in a “yes you are – no I’m not” sort of back-and-forth.

  79. August 15, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    “Yeah, and the word “made” works just fine with creation ex materia too Echo.”

    I don’t see how, Seth. “Made” in creation “Ex-Matetia” necessitates material pre-existing for God to “make” it from. However, the Bible teaches God made “All”. This means that no material pre-existed prior to Him making ANYTHING.

    In addition, as I mentioned above, creation ex-nihilo does NOT contradict Free Will – from your explanation I believe you may have a misunderstanding of omnipotence which creates a false conflict in your mind.

    Darrell

  80. August 15, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Did you “make” breakfast this morning Darrell?

  81. 81 Echo
    August 15, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Seth said: “And that is an assumption you are making Echo.”

    Echo: It’s not an assumption. It’s just that I know of nothing in the Bible that states that God created the UNIVERSE out of pre existing material. The Bible teaches that God created ALL THINGS. I would welcome any passages you would like to send my way that show that God created the UNIVERSE out of pre existing material where assumptions don’t have to be made. I am always willing to be instructed by and to learn from God’s own word.

  82. August 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    “Did you “make” breakfast this morning Darrell?”

    Good analogy, Seth. No, I didn’t make “all” my breakfast. Someone else – whom I call God – made the material from which I produced my breakfast.

    In contrast to my “making” my breakfast, The Bible teaches that God made “all”. It does not teach that God made only part of what exists. It is only by leaving out that one little word that you can make Creation Ex-Materia fit into The Bible narrative.

    Darrell

  83. August 15, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Echo, I think you mistake me.

    I am not arguing that the Bible demands creation ex materia (though I think you can actually make an argument from the original Hebrew).

    All I’m saying is that the Bible doesn’t demand creation ex nihilo either.

  84. 84 Echo
    August 16, 2009 at 12:09 am

    Then make the argument from the original Hebrew.

  85. August 16, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Weren’t you here when I made this argument the last time?

  86. 86 Echo
    August 16, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Where can I find it?

  87. August 16, 2009 at 2:36 am

    It’s one of those debates where the Mormon bloggers will bring up all this non-Mormon biblical scholarship about how the Old Testament isn’t really the way conservative Christianity thought it was. Then the Evangelical bloggers will say “no it’s not like that – here are a bunch of scholars who support my view.” Then some Mormon blogger like Yellow Dart will say – “no those scholars of yours are in the decided minority – here are a whole truckload of scholars who support my view.” And then of course, none of the Evangelical bloggers believe him, and none of them feel inclined to read all the sources and check. So the conversation usually ends at that point in a bit of a stalemate.

    I could summarize it for you anyway though if you want.

  88. 89 ADB
    August 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    This post is essential to understanding one’s take on Jesus Christ. Only when Father’s law leads me to see how totally corrupt I am by nature do I see how I could not possibly stand a chance without Christ alone.

    Aside from the numerous references in the Bible that refer to our inherent evil, I can’t help but notice a few plain examples from life that support this truth very well. 1) Children do not need to be taught how to sin. They are quite good at it from birth and as toddlers. Rather, you’ll notice that there is a constant need on the part of parents to teach children to do what is right. Put a number of toddlers in a room together with one toy and watch the sinful nature at work. Then, even when we try to teach children to share, notice how even sharing is something that the other kids are supposed to do with me, not the other way around.

    2) On the occasions that I remember particular dreams that I have, while some of them may be relatively harmless, I can’t help but notice that even in dreams I find myself sinning. The sins that I commit while I am awake and am conscious are one thing, but I don’t have any control over my dreams. It seems to me that even my own dreams reflect the sin that is inherently in my heart.

    Only Jesus can and has rescued me from the eternal consequences of such a corrupted human nature. Because of him alone will I live with Heavenly Father forever!

  89. August 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    I would disagree and say that little children are sinful because of their environment rather than because of their own internal nature.

    And yes, I served as nursery worker for couple years and have three young kids of my own right now. So I have as much experience on this as anyone.

  90. 91 ADB
    August 17, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    But surely I would think there would be at least one set of LDS parents over time who could have met Jesus’ demands of perfection and so provided the ideal environment in which to raise kids, right? Otherwise we’d have to conclude that EVERY SINGLE environment in which children have been raised has always been to blame? Too convenient for me. I’m sure someone by now could have tested your theory by setting up some sort of faux family atmosphere minimizing to the smallest extent the amount of external influence that environment would have. Then, according to your theory, we’d be able to raise sinless children. Why don’t we just do that? Seems plausible to me if environment is all there is to blame.

  91. August 17, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    But see… you’re making the same argument I am – that the environment is fundamentally flawed and always will be.

    I agree.

    But that’s a far cry from saying children are depraved by nature.

  92. August 17, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Mormons are fully in acknowledgment that we are sometimes completely at the mercy of our environment – thus the need for a savior.

  93. August 17, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Final thought (sorry about the multiple posts). The Mormon view is also that little children are “alive in Christ.” So even children need the savior under Mormon theology.

  94. 95 rblandjr
    August 19, 2009 at 4:50 am

    Everyone,

    Years ago a lady that I worked with posed a question for me.

    “Who made God?”

    I thought it was a good question.
    I answered it in a simple way.

    If God could me made(created), then god wouldn’t be omnipotent or omniscient.
    Instead of being God Almighty he would be god almost.

    “In the beginning God…..”

    The uncreated one.

    Since we have a will then we are responsible for our decisions and actions. God is the one that holds us accountable for them.

    I am glad that Christ paid that account in full for me.
    Praise His Name.

  95. August 19, 2009 at 4:56 am

    You realize that Mormons don’t believe God was “created” either, right?

  96. August 19, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Echo, haven’t had much chance to reply to your request. But I have a moment, so…

    The original Hebrew word for “create” in Genesis chapter 1 is “bara” (or however you want to spell it). Rendered literally, bara means to divide. You can also find instances of the word being used in the following passages: Joshua 17:15, 18; Ezekiel 23:47; and a brief mention in 1 Samuel 2:23 and Ezekiel 21:24. To take the text of Joshua:

    “If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear (bara) land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.”

    In this instance, the Hebrew word bara is used with respect to HUMAN beings clearing farmland. Thus the meaning “divide.”

    Traditional Christians often attempt to counter that the word bara is only used for God. Joshua 17:15 clearly shows that not to be the case (as well as the other passages I provided).

    One of my Christian acquaintances countered that whenever the Hebrew word bara is rendered in Qal verb conjugation, that it only applies to God. Which may be true, but I don’t really see that it matters. Even if you tie the word to God alone, it still doesn’t conclusively lead to creation out of nothing.

    A lot of Biblical scholarship has rejected Genesis as talking about creation ex nihilo. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s a passage from the commentary in the Jewish Study Bible:

    “This [circumstancial] clause describes things just before the process
    of creation begins. To modern people, the opposite of the created
    order is ‘nothing,’ that is, a vaccuum. To the ancients, the opposite
    of the created order was something much worse than ‘nothing.’ It was
    an active malevolent force we can best term ‘chaos.’ In this verse,
    chaos is envisioned as a dark, undifferentiated mass of water. In 1:9,
    God creates the dry land (and the Seas, which can exist only when
    water is bounded by dry land) But in 1:1-2:3, water itself and
    darkness, too, are primordial (contrast Isa. 45:7). In the midrash,
    Bar Kappara upholds the troubling notion that God created the world
    out of preexistant material. But other rabbis worry that acknowledging
    this would cause people To liken God to a king who had built his
    palace on a garbage dump, thus arrogantly impugning His Majesty (Gen.
    Rab. 1.5). In the ancient Near East, however, To say a deity had
    subdued chaos is to give him the highest praise.” Jewish STudy Bible
    on Gen 1:2.

    So basically, Genesis chapter 1 is talking about God’s spirit moving upon the face of the WATERS.

    What are these waters?

    It was essentially an ancient Hebrew notion of the pre-existing chaotic matter that existed in the beginning. God moved upon this chaotic matter and divided it (bara) into the order of our present creation.

    Taking the full implications of the word bara literally, you get a similar conclusion to the one Joseph Smith reached when he studied Hebrew on a purely amateur level – God created our world out of pre-existing materials and creation ex nihilo is not in the Genesis account, but is merely implied (for what Joseph – and I – consider to be purely artificial philosophical reasons).

    Non-LDS author Edwin Hatch noted the influence of some Greek philosophical ideas in the change to creatio ex nihilo:

    “With Basilides [a second century Gnostic philosopher], the conception of matter was raised to a higher plane. The distinction of subject and object was preserved, so that the action of the Transcendent God was still that of creation and not of evolution; but it was “out of that which was not” that He made things to be . . . . The basis of the theory was Platonic, though some of the terms were borrowed from both Aristotle and the Stoics. It became itself the basis for the theory which ultimately prevailed in the Church. The transition appears in Tatian [ca. 170 A.D.].” Edwin Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church, 195–196.

    Another non-Mormon scholar notes:

    “Creatio ex nihilo appeared suddenly in the latter half of the second century c.e. Not only did creatio ex nihilo lack precedent, it stood in firm opposition to all the philosophical schools of the Greco-Roman world. As we have seen, the doctrine was not forced upon the Christian community by their revealed tradition, either in Biblical texts or the Early Jewish interpretation of them. As we will also see it was not a position attested in the New Testament doctrine or even sub-apostolic writings. It was a position taken by the apologists of the late second century, Tatian and Theophilus, and developed by various ecclesiastical writers thereafter, by Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen. Creatio ex nihilo represents an innovation in the interpretive traditions of revelation and cannot be explained merely as a continuation of tradition.” James N. Hubler, “Creatio ex Nihilo: Matter, Creation, and the Body in Classical and Christian Philosophy through Aquinas” (PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1995), 102.

    We haven’t covered all the scriptures I’ve heard cited in support of creation ex nihilo, but I think that’s enough to start on. Needless to say, I think the concept is purely artificial philosophical addition, and completely unwarranted by the plain biblical text.

  97. 98 Echo
    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Seth,

    You said: “So basically, Genesis chapter 1 is talking about God’s spirit moving upon the face of the WATERS. What are these waters? It was essentially an ancient Hebrew notion of the pre-existing chaotic matter that existed in the beginning. God moved upon this chaotic matter and divided it (bara) into the order of our present creation.”

    It is scripturally impossible for the “waters” to pre exist. In Genesis 1:1 God first created the heavens and the earth. This would include him creating the waters.

    Revelation 10:6 “And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and ALL THE IS IN THEM, THE EARTH AND ALL THAT IS IN IT, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay!”

    Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

    Psalm 33:6-9 ” By the word of the LORD [not existing matter] were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. Psalm 33:9 ” For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”

    John 1:3 “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

    This passage clearly is in favor of creation out of nothing:

    Col 1:16 “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE,…”

    It matters not what biblical scholars believe. What matters is what the Bible says.

  98. August 27, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Echo, since the only thing that matters is what the Bible says, let’s have a look at how you have misread it.

    “Revelation 10:6 “And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and ALL THE IS IN THEM, THE EARTH AND ALL THAT IS IN IT, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay!”

    Yup. God created the heavens and earth and “all that is in them” out of pre-existent matter. Next verse…

    “Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.””

    Let me ask you something – can you see a proton?

    Nope, it is not visible to the human eye. Therefore, invisible.

    Being invisible is not the same as being nothing. So this doesn’t back up your creation ex nihilo argument either. Next verse…

    “Psalm 33:6-9 ” By the word of the LORD [not existing matter] were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. Psalm 33:9 ” For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.””

    Yup. God “made” all of that.

    Out of pre=existent matter. Next verse….

    “John 1:3 “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

    As one scholar noted on this verse –

    “The punctuation of [John 1:3] becomes critical to its meaning. Proponents of creatio ex materia could easily qualify the creatures of the Word to that “which came about,” excluding matter. Proponents of creatio ex nihilo could place a period after “not one thing came about” and leave “which came about” to the next sentence. The absence of a determinate tradition of punctuation in New Testament [Greek] texts leaves room for both interpretations.”

    “Col 1:16 “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE,…””

    I already noted that “invisible” does not equal immaterial. And as my explanation of Genesis noted, the word “created” does not mean “out of nothing” either.

    So none of the verses really explicitly state what you think they “clearly” do.

  99. August 27, 2009 at 5:51 am

    To summarize…

    You take words like:

    “create”
    “invisible”
    “all things”
    “made”

    And ASSUME that this means creation from nothing for no better reason than that’s the way you are used to reading it.

    But every last one of those words works equally well with a universe where God creates stuff out of something.

    And incidentally, creation ex materia was rather common among the most early Christians. Ex nihilo is a later theological innovation that was shoehorned into the reading of the Bible. The concept of creatio ex nihilo:

    “began to be adumbrated in Christian circles shortly before Galen’s time. The first Christian thinker to articulate the rudiments of a doctrine of creatio ex nihilo was the Gnostic theologian Basilides, who flourished in the second quarter of the second century. Basilides worked out an elaborate cosmogony as he sought to think through the implications of Christian teaching in light of the platonic cosmogony. He rejected the analogy of the human maker, the craftsman who carves a piece of wood, as an anthropomorphism that severely limited the power of God. God, unlike mortals, created the world out of ‘non-existing’ matter. He first brought matter into being through the creation of ‘seeds’, and it is this created stuff that is fashioned, according to His will, into the cosmos.”

    (Gerhard May, Schoepfung Aus Dem Nichts: Die Entstehung Der Lehre Von Der Creatio Ex Nihilo (Arbeiten Zur Kirchengeschichte, Vol 48) (Walter De Gruyter Inc, 1978), 63-85. ISBN 3110072041; as quoted in Robert Louis Wilken, The Christians as the Romans saw Them (Yale University Press, 2003), 88–89. ISBN 0300098391.)

    Thus, the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo was first advanced by a Gnostic (a heretical branch of Christianity), and did not appear until more than a century after the birth of Christ.

    The idea of God using pre-existing material in creation was accepted by at least some of the early Church Fathers, suggesting that beliefs about the mechanism of creation altered over time, as Greek philosophical ideas intruded on Christian doctrine. Justin Martyr (A.D. 110—165) said:

    “And we have been taught that He in the beginning did of His goodness, for man’s sake, create all things out of unformed matter; and if men by their works show themselves worthy of this His design, they are deemed worthy, and so we have received-of reigning in company with Him, being delivered from corruption and suffering.” Justin Martyr, “First Apology of Justin,” (Chapter 10) Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:165.

    Justin continues elsewhere with such examples as:

    * “by the word of God the whole world was made out of the substance spoken of before by Moses.” Justin Martyr, “First Apology of Justin,” (Chapter 59) Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:182.

    * [the earth,] “which God made according to the pre-existent form.” Justin Martyr, “Hortatory to the Greeks,” (Chapter 30) Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:286.

    * “And His Son, who alone is properly called Son, the Word who also was with Him and was begotten before the works, when at first He created and arranged all things by Him, is called Christ, in reference to His being anointed and God’s ordering all thing; through Him…” Justin Martyr, “First Apology of Justin,” (Chapter 10) Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:165.

    Justin was not the only Father to reject ex nihilo creation. Clement said in his “Hymn to the Paedagogus”:

    “Out of a confused heap who didst create This ordered sphere, and from the shapeless mass Of matter didst the universe adorn….” Clement, “Hymn to the Paedagogus,” (?) Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:296.

    Blake Ostler comments on 1 Clement:

    “Clement stated: “Thou . . . didst make manifest the everlasting fabric of the world. Thou, Lord, didst create the earth.” The terms used here by Clement are significant. He asserts that God did “make manifest” (ἐϕανεροποίησας) the “everlasting fabric of the world” (Σὺ τὴν ἀέναον του κόσμου σύστασιν). He is referring to an eternal substrate that underlies God’s creative activity. Clement is important because he is at the very center of the Christian church as it was then developing. His view assumed that God had created from an eternally existing substrate, creating by “making manifest” what already existed in some form. The lack of argumentation or further elucidation indicates that Clement was not attempting to establish a philosophical position; he was merely maintaining a generally accepted one. However, the fact that such a view was assumed is even more significant than if Clement had argued for it. If he had presented an argument for this view, then we could assume that it was either a contested doctrine or a new view. But because he acknowledged it as obvious, it appears to have been a generally accepted belief in the early Christian church.”

    (Blake T. Ostler, “Out of Nothing: A History of Creation ex Nihilo in Early Christian Thought (review of Review of Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, “Craftsman or Creator? An Examination of the Mormon Doctrine of Creation and a Defense of Creatio ex nihilo,” in The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-Growing Movement, edited by Beckwith, Mosser, and Owen),” FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 253–320.)

    Non-LDS author Edwin Hatch noted the influence of some Greek philosophical ideas in the change to creatio ex nihilo:

    “With Basilides [a second century Gnostic philosopher], the conception of matter was raised to a higher plane. The distinction of subject and object was preserved, so that the action of the Transcendent God was still that of creation and not of evolution; but it was “out of that which was not” that He made things to be . . . . The basis of the theory was Platonic, though some of the terms were borrowed from both Aristotle and the Stoics. It became itself the basis for the theory which ultimately prevailed in the Church. The transition appears in Tatian [ca. 170 A.D.]” Edwin Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church, 195–196.

    Of course, I know you don’t put much stock the scholars Echo. Nor, I imagine, do you put much stock in the early Christian fathers.

    But, if you’ll pardon my saying so Echo, while nothing in our conversations makes me think you are any more ignorant than any other normal guy, when it comes to interpreting the Bible, I think I trust the opinion of these people I’ve quoted more than I trust your ability to interpret the text.

    Most of your interpretation seems based on mere unfounded assumption.

  100. August 27, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Final thought…

    What, Echo, do you do with 2 Peter 3:5 ?

    “But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.”

    Pretty clear language there.

    Heavens and earth came from water.

    Which matches up very well with my explanation of Genesis 1 and how the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (or pre-existing chaotic matter) and ORGANIZED our local situation.

  101. 102 Kielite
    August 27, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Carl Lawrenz, a trusted Hebrew scholar wrote on this issue in his commentary on Genesis 1-11. Here are his comments on Genesis 1:1;

    “Every word of this first verse deserves our thorough attention. This verse is not the normal sentence of Hebrew narrative, which ordinarily begins with the verb. Of the next 30 sentences, only two do not begin with the verb. In this opening sentence, the adverbial phrase Biresheet is in the emphatic position. As to form, Resheet could be either in the construct or absolute state. Since there is nothing in its form or in its context in this independent sentence to establish it as a construct, it is to be taken as being in the absolute state. The Masoretes inticated this as their judgment by punctuating Biresheet with a tiphha, a disjunctive accent. For good reason they did not point the inseparable preposition with the vowel of the article. Terms like Resheet and Rosh, beginning; Kedem, olden times; and Olam; eternity, when used in adverbial phrases, generally occur without the article and in the absolute state (comapre Isaiah 46:10; 40:21; 41:4,26; Proverbs 8:23). Thus the LXX translates the Hebrew as en arche, and this has gone over into the New Testament (Jn 1:1), which speaks of the same absolute beginning. It refers to the beginning of all matter, all sapce, and all time. By an exercise of his will, God brought heaven and earth into existence in its initial essential form.”

    He goes on a little later to say,

    “Unlike other verbs of making, Bara never takes the accusative of the material from which something is made but only an accusative to designate the thing made. it is incorrect to say, however, that the verb Bara in itself expresses the thought of making something out of nothing. We have just noted that Bara is used three times for God’s creative activity of making man. And yet we know from Genesis 2:7 that in forming man, God used the dust of the ground, which he had previously made. In this first verse Bara is indeed used for a most momentous creatio ex nihilo, that of making heaven and earth out of nothing. Yet that it was a divine making out of nothing is really brought out, not by Bara, but by the adverbial modifier Biresheet that precedes the verb. If God made heaven and earth in the absolute beginning, it necessarily had to be a making out of nothing. Bara, on the other hand, describes God’s action as something extraordinary and epoch-making. The creatio ex nihilo is explicitly corroborated in Hebrews 11:3; it is also implicit in the statements of Exodus 20:11a; 1 John 1:1-3; Psalm 146:6; Acts 17:24; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 10:6.”

    For more reading check out his book, A Commentary on Genesis 1-11, by Carl J. Lawrenz, John C. Jeske. Published by Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee, WI, 2004.

  102. 103 Echo
    August 30, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Seth said:
    ==========

    Of course, I know you don’t put much stock the scholars Echo. Nor, I imagine, do you put much stock in the early Christian fathers.

    But, if you’ll pardon my saying so Echo, while nothing in our conversations makes me think you are any more ignorant than any other normal guy, when it comes to interpreting the Bible, I think I trust the opinion of these people I’ve quoted more than I trust your ability to interpret the text.

    Echo:
    =====

    Romans 3:4 “…Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”

    God has given YOU the authority to interpret his word for yourself so that in the judgement, you won’t be condemned to outer darkness (Hell) for trusting in a liar. Therefore when you listen to the scholars, TEST their words in light of God’s own word:

    Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true”

  103. 104 Echo
    August 30, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Seth,

    Is ex materia (existing matter) visible or invisible?

  104. August 30, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    As we know from modern science, existing material can be both visible and invisible to a 600 BC Hebrew.

    It’s both.

    I haven’t had time to get back to kielite’s comment, but hope to eventually.

  105. August 30, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Modern cosmology also answers your question about “invisible matter” with a resounding yes.

    In fact, the vast majority of the matter in our known universe is invisible and almost undetectable. Physicist Lawrence M. Kraus, in his book “Quintessence: The Mystery of Missing Mass in the Universe” described as vacuum as “a bubbling, brewing source of matter and energy; it may even contain most of the matter in the universe!”

    We observe the stuff around us – grass, rocks, animals, trees, stars, clouds, people – and we find them to be composed of atoms made of protons, neutrons, and electrons. We might expect the entire universe to be made of the same stuff. But to the astonishment of modern astrophysicists, they found this isn’t the case at all. The particles I just described only compose about an estimated 5% of the total mass of the universe. And additional 25% is composed of what we call “dark matter” – matter that is not seen, but is detectable by its gravitational influence on other observable bodies.

    Invisible Echo.

    Another 70% is composed of what scientists term “dark energy” whose nature is unknown, but which is likely related to the energy of the vacuum.

    Our universe is literally filled with invisible matter right at this instant. This utterly removes Colossians 1:16 as a credible justification for creation ex nihilo – which I see as nothing more than the misguided attempt of medieval theologians to make God’s power greater by making him into some sort of fantastical magician. But such a notion is utterly unnecessary for the glory of God.

    And it certainly isn’t biblical.

  106. August 31, 2009 at 12:07 am

    OK, I dug up my old notes and found a response to kielite’s post.

    If I take your meaning correctly, you are saying that of the 50 instances of the Hebrew Bible of _reshit_, 49 of them cannot be read “in the beginning”, and have to be read “in the beginning of” (a temporal clause). There is one instance where it has to be read in the absolute (“in the beginning”) and this one instance is often used as justification for reading Genesis 1:1 as an absolute beginning. Basically, you are saying that when God creates in the later passages after verse 1 the mode of God’s creation is ex materia, in the sense of dividing what is there. But in the “beginning” or “beroshit” in verse 1, the mode shifts to an utterly alien and absolute sort of “beginning” that clearly implies ex nihilo creation.

    But your analysis here operates from purely modern assumptions about matter and nothingness which were not shared by the ancient authors of the biblical text.

    The Jewish Study Bible (Marc Zvi Brettler was a contributing editor), responds to your point here:

    “This clause [verse 2] describes things just before the process of creation began. To modern people, the opposite of the created order is ‘nothing,’ that is, a vacuum. To the ancients, the opposite of the created order was something much worse than ‘nothing.’ It was an active, malevolent force we can best term ‘chaos.’ In this verse, chaos is envisioned as a dark, undifferentiated mass of water. In the midrash, Bar Kappara upholds the troubling notion that the Torah shows that God created the world out of preexistent material. But other rabbis worry that acknowledging this would cause people to liken God to a king who had built his palace on a garbage dump, thus arrogantly impugning His majesty (Gen. Rab. 1:5). In the ancient Near East, however, to say that a deity had subdued chaos is to give him the highest praise. (pg. 13).”

    A Mormon acquaintance of mine who has studied more extensively in biblical textual analysis remarked on this:

    “The arguments about bara generally go like this: Only god creates (bara). So God’s creating (bara) must be wholly alien to man creating. The thing which is most alien to man creating is ex-nihilo creation. Thus bara must infer ex-nihilo creation.

    This probably isn’t the best way to argue this. Clear statements of ex-nihilo creation don’t appear for a couple of millenia afterwards. And so this argument (as the above suggests) is really based to some extent on a culturally biased reading of the text. Which is to say that to those in the ANE, the most alien kind of creation wouldn’t necessarily be ex-nihilo creation, but rather ordering the universe from chaos.”

    So, kielite… you would be correct in pointing out that the use of beroshit in Genesis 1:1 is different from the other 49 times it appears in the Bible – which does imply that this “beginning” was special and different from other beginnings we read of in the Bible.

    But this distinction is NOT because God was creating from nothing. But because God was doing something only he could do – reach out over the dangerous chaotic matter of the universe and bend it to his will and mastery. A feat of unrivaled mastery that would have impressed the ancients far more than conjuring something out of nothing. Thus beroshit gets its special usage in verse 1.

    But this does not require ex nihilo creation.

  107. August 31, 2009 at 12:09 am

    Finally, if anyone is interested, Evangelical scholar John Walton is also of the opinion that “bara” does not refer to ex nihilo. You can listen to him here:

    [audio src="http://www.logos.com/media/lecture/walton.mp3" /]

  108. 109 Echo
    August 31, 2009 at 1:28 am

    Seth said:
    =========

    “As we know from modern science, existing material can be both visible and invisible to a 600 BC Hebrew.

    It’s both.”

    Echo:
    =====

    According to the verses below, “He is “BEFORE” ALL THINGS”. He existed “before” all things visible and invisible:

    Col 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; ALL THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM AND FOR HIM. HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS, AND IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.”

    Seth said:
    =========

    Finally, if anyone is interested, Evangelical scholar John Walton is also of the opinion that “bara” does not refer to ex nihilo. You can listen to him here:”

    Echo:
    =====

    I already agree that Bara doesn’t not always refer to ex nihilo. But scripture will name the ex materia when ex materia is used. (i.e. God created Eve from Adams rib.)

    But when God created the universe, he spoke and the universe lept into existence ex nihilo.

    “Psalm 33:6-9 ” By the word of the LORD [not existing matter] were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. Psalm 33:9 ” For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”

    If the heavens and the earth were made ex materia, the Bible would say so. God does not “forget” to mention something. We dare not “add” to his word that which his word iself doesn’t say.

  109. August 31, 2009 at 1:34 am

    Seth,

    Col 1:16 says that God created “the invisible” as well. The invisible dark matter you refer to, according to Col 1:16, was created by God as well. Therefore, I am not quite sure how you think dark matter existing today as invisible to us does away with Col 1:16.

    Darrell

  110. August 31, 2009 at 2:47 am

    The point is, I have no idea where you guys pulled ex nihilo from the mere use of “invisible” here.

    And as I have already shown, “create” does not mean ex nihilo anyway. So Echo’s repetitions about how God “created” all things visible and invisible is utterly beside the point.

    Echo, this is a perfect example of how people take the Bible and read their own presumptions into it.

    “Psalm 33:6-9 ” By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.”

    Yup. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made – out of pre-existing matter.

    Psalm 33:9 ” For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”

    Yup. He spoke, and it came to be. Out of pre-existing matter.

    Do you see a pattern here?

    Col 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; ALL THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM AND FOR HIM. HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS, AND IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.”

    Yup. Created by him. Out of… wait for it… pre-existing matter! Imagine that.

    And he is “before all things” – in their present form.

    This isn’t the Bible talking Echo. It’s your own prejudices about the Bible talking. The text of the Bible doesn’t anywhere demand creation ex nihilo. It’s something your forebears added to the text and you’ve been so indoctrinated with this line of thinking that it is now impossible for you to see how the text could possibly be interpreted any other way.

  111. 112 ADB
    August 31, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Forgive my naivete … what is the reason behind all the time spent discussing “ex nihilo” vs. “ex materia” discussion? How does this play into the grander scheme of things?

  112. August 31, 2009 at 3:44 am

    “The point is, I have no idea where you guys pulled ex nihilo from the mere use of “invisible” here.”

    No we haven’t. The phrase “all… visible and invisible… were created by Him” pretty much covers everything that exists. Because everything that exists is either VISIBLE OR INVISIBLE. This is not us pulling something out that is not already there. Rather, it is taking what the scripture says and believing it. On the other hand, it is ADDING SOMETHING TO THE SCRIPTURE to insert the words “from pre-existing matter” into it. There is only one problem with that… pre-existing matter would be at least part of “all” and would be either “visible or invisible” and since scripture tells us God created “all” that was “visible and invisible” that kind of rules out pre-existing matter.

    Darrell

  113. August 31, 2009 at 3:57 am

    “No we haven’t.”

    Bad wording… sorry. I should have said “We haven’t pulled it out. It is right there.”

    Darrell

  114. 115 jesuslover
    August 31, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Seth: “Col 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; ALL THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM AND FOR HIM. HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS, AND IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.”

    Right there in Colossians – as well as several verses others have shown you – it clearly states that ALL THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM AND FOR HIM. HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS, AND IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.

    Obviously if all things were created by God then He created ALL THINGS from nothing. Even a non-religious person reading that passage at face value would see that. It is you that have a problem with a great God creating all because it just doesn’t jibe with your belief system so you seem to have to denegrate God to make Him fit into the mormon church and He just won’t be contained!

  115. 116 Echo
    August 31, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Seth said:
    =========

    The point is, I have no idea where you guys pulled ex nihilo from the mere use of “invisible” here.

    Echo:
    =====

    We don’t pull ex nihilo out of or from invisible. Everything that exists, including ex materia, is either visible or invisible. There are no other options outside of the visible and invisible. Anything outside of visible and invisible is “nothing”. God was BEFORE all that is visible and invisible. God made all that is visible and invisible (ex materia). He created ex materia out of nothing because he was BEFORE all that is visible and invisible. God existed before anything and everything that exists, before ex materia.

    Seth said:
    =========

    Echo, this is a perfect example of how people take the Bible and read their own presumptions into it.

    “Psalm 33:6-9 ” By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.”

    Yup. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made – out of pre-existing matter.

    Psalm 33:9 ” For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”

    Yup. He spoke, and it came to be. Out of pre-existing matter.

    Echo:
    =====

    Your the “perfect example of how people take the Bible and read their own presumptions into it.” I took God’s word without adding to it any presumptions. I took it: “As is” as in: “He spoke and it came to be.” You have added the presumption that God created everything out of pre-existing matter. Where in that verse is ex materia named????

  116. August 31, 2009 at 4:52 am

    Thanks for the clarification Darrell.

    By the way guys.

    When I was in high school, I was feeling particularly creative one day. So I created a pretty nice ink drawing.

    My mom really liked it. Still hanging on her wall, as it so happens.

    And I’m pretty darn certain I didn’t create IT out of nothing.

  117. August 31, 2009 at 4:54 am

    By the way Mark…

    I thought I’d let you know that in my Firefox internet browser, the mp3 of John Walton I linked to is automatically playing whenever this page is opened up.

    You might want to keep an eye on it. If it becomes too much of an irritation for you or other readers, feel free to delete the link.

  118. August 31, 2009 at 4:56 am

    Sure you added something to the verses Echo.

    You added the words “out of nothing” to each verse in question.

    That’s an ADDITION Echo. No matter which way you slice it.

  119. 120 jesuslover
    August 31, 2009 at 5:09 am

    Seth: You are not God creating the world so your creating a piece of art has no relevance to this discussion. I wonder how you thought it did?

    Echo did not add anything to the verses quoted – they clearly state that God created EVERYTHING. And existed BEFORE everything. It is you that is reading something else into that.

  120. August 31, 2009 at 5:25 am

    It’s relevant because it shows that the plain English of the text does not require your reading of any of these verses.

    “Create” does not equal ex nihilo.

    And I just got done with several posts that I put quite a bit of work into showing that the original Hebrew doesn’t require ex nihilo either, and, in fact, suggests the exact opposite.

    Did you just not read them because they were too long?

  121. 122 jesuslover
    August 31, 2009 at 6:15 am

    Seth – I read what you wrote – I just don’t agree with you. You are adding things to the bible that are not there. Your exegesis is simply incorrect.

    Once again you are not employing logical or linear thinking to this discussion on scripture and seem determined to prove that God is less than He truly is. You are simply ADDING WORDS TO SCRIPTURE THAT AREN’T THERE. Regardless of your lengthy posts – you lack true understanding of who God is – of who the bible says God is.

  122. August 31, 2009 at 6:27 am

    Which is basically to say you don’t have any answer to what I wrote except to stubbornly repeat points you already made.

    Let me know when you have something new to say.

  123. 124 jesuslover
    August 31, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Seth – I am not stubborn – I am simply standing firm on the truth of the bible and you don’t agree with what I say. I read what you wrote – most of which is just your opinion which ends up reading like 2 + 2 = 17.
    If you have ever studied logical thinking at the university level you would see clearly how flawed your statements become when you try to prove us Christians wrong. You are imposing your beliefs onto scriptural interpretation and coming up in error. You may say that I have nothing new to say or that I am not smart enough to read your big, long posts but in the end…you are wrong about the character of God because your view of Him contradicts the bible.

  124. August 31, 2009 at 10:20 am

    “When I was in high school, I was feeling particularly creative one day. So I created a pretty nice ink drawing.

    My mom really liked it. Still hanging on her wall, as it so happens.

    And I’m pretty darn certain I didn’t create IT out of nothing.”

    Seth,

    Were the ink and paper it was created from visible or invisible before you created the ink drawing?

    Darrell

  125. August 31, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Doesn’t really matter, does it?

    Because the only point was the word “create.”

    It doesn’t equal ex nihilo. That’s an assumption you guys are adding to the text every time you use it. It’s like every time you encounter the word “create” in the text, you subconsciously add the words “out of nothing.”

    And the fact that God can create both visible and invisible things doesn’t change anything. He obviously can create both out of pre-existing elements or materials. So this is yet another verse that you ADD the words “out of nothing” to.

    Aside from keitel, so far, none of you are really engaging the argument here. You’re just repeating entrenched positions. It like you are more interested in proving to your buddies that you’re not letting the Mormon get to you, than you are in actually discussing anything or learning anything. Well, guess what – simply repeating verses that use the word “create,” and then stubbornly claiming it means “out of nothing” isn’t an argument. It’s just a blind sort of zeal without knowledge. If this is the only thing I can expect from you for the rest of the discussion, there really is no point in talking to you any further.

    But, if this conversation is any indicator, I think I know exactly how to regard your claims to being a Bible-only bunch.

    If that were truly the case, I’d think you’d at least be agnostic on the issue of whether creation was ex nihilo or ex materia. The fact that you are all so vehemently against the possibility of an ex materia creation – even though the Biblical text clearly implies, or at least allows it, speaks volumes.

  126. 127 Echo
    August 31, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Seth, Darrell’s question is a good one. Think about it. Remember also that when you created your ink drawing, you did NOT exist “before” the ink and paper but God existed “before” the visible and invisible.

    You also forgot to answer ADB’s question.

    Seth said:
    =========

    Sure you added something to the verses Echo.

    You added the words “out of nothing” to each verse in question.

    Echo:
    =====

    Psalm 33:9 ” For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”

    Seth, God spoke and it came to be.

    What does “It came to be” mean? It means: It began to exist. When something is non-existant, it is nothing, it doesn’t exist.

  127. 128 Echo
    August 31, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Seth said:
    =========

    Because the only point was the word “create.”

    It doesn’t equal ex nihilo. That’s an assumption you guys are adding to the text every time you use it.

    Echo:
    =====

    Could you answer Darrell’s question?

    Create doesn’t mean ex nihilo. Create means “to make”. God “made” everything visible and invisible. Matter falls into the category of visible and invisible. God came BEFORE matter.

    Rev 14:7 “Worship him who “MADE” the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

    Col 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created[MADE]: things in heaven and on earth, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; ALL THINGS WERE CREATED[MADE] BY HIM AND FOR HIM. HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS, AND IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.”

  128. August 31, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Seth,

    It does matter because Col 1:16 says God created ALL that is VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE. You keep forgetting that one little word… ALL!!!!!!

    Since the paper and ink you created your drawing from were either visible or invisible AND they were part of ALL, I believe your example kind of proves my point.

    I am not sure how to make this any clearer for you Seth. All that is either visible or invisible pretty much covers EVERYTHING and means that God did not create out of pre-existing matter. The pre-existing matter would have been part of the ALL THAT IS VISIBLE OR INVISIBLE which the Bible says God clearly created.

    Darrell

  129. August 31, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    “Forgive my naivete … what is the reason behind all the time spent discussing “ex nihilo” vs. “ex materia” discussion? How does this play into the grander scheme of things?”

    ADB,

    You ask a good question.

    The first reason this matters is because The Bible teaches creation ex-nihilo. To teach something counter to what the Bible says is ultimately heresy. However, in addition creation ex materia/ex nihilo matter because of the effect these positions have on how one views God. Christianity teaches that God is above all things (transcends all) and before all things. There is nothing which is outside of the control or dominion of God. God needs nothing from His creation; rather, His creation is in total need of Him. Everything that exists exists not to give something God He needs, but out of God’s good pleasure.

    In contrast, however, if there is matter which has always existed outside of God, then this calls into question the dominion and transcendence of God over that matter. A perfect example of this comes from Mormon theologian Cleon Skousen. Skousen took the idea of creation ex-materia to its ultimate conclusion in his series of books titled Days of The Living Christ. Skousen says that God is only God so long as the intelligences (uncreated matter) allow Him as such. God is God because the intelligences give allegence to God. God is IN NEED of their allegence to remain God and the very minute the intelligences decide to take their allegence away from God is the day that God ceases to be God.

    Problem is, the Bible teaches that God is in need of NOTHING from us. When one views ALL matter in its proper perspective – created by God, for God, and under the dominion of God – the idea of God only being God due to the fact that pre-existing matter ALLOWS Him to be God is shown to nothing more than heresy.

    Darrell

  130. August 31, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    You guys are still begging the question.

    The question is whether words like “create” and “made” automatically mean “from nothing.”

    All you are doing is asserting that this is what the words do mean. But I say they don’t, and I’ve given an argument for it. You guys have not done so – unless bare-assertion counts as “argument.”

    And the fact that a scripture says that God is “before” all things visible and invisible does not require ex nihilo either. All that means is that God is before all things as we currently have them – which is perfectly compatible with ex materia creation.

    Now, as for Darrell’s post #130…

    Finally we are getting somewhere. Darrell has revealed why he and other traditional Christians NEED ex nihilo to work. Not because the Bible says so, but because their philosophical worldview requires it.

  131. 132 JesusLover
    August 31, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Seth – “God is before all things as we currently have them” is NOT the definition of ex-nihilo and there is no proof that that is what the verses are saying – it is just as Darrell stated – you are twisting scripture to support your own false belief system. That belief is not even remotely implied in any verse – no doctrine teaches that and indeed teach quite the opposite.

    We Christians do not “NEED ex nihilo to work” – that it truly one of the most ludicrous things that you have said so far – we believe it because the bible teaches it. NOT that false doctrine of God being dependent on us. What a pile of horse-hockey! More evidence of the falseness and twistedness of the mormon church.

    I think you can’t concede what we are saying is true because your house of cards would come tumbling down as someone previously mentioned. I realize this must be scary – but isn’t truth at all cost worth having? It is to me…………sticking your fingers in your ears and going “lalalalalalala” is not going to benefit you eternally. I really hope to come to see the truth of the bible. At this point I don’t think you are interested at all.

  132. August 31, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    “philosophical worldview requires it.”

    I am laughing so hard it hurts. You think God “transcending all” is a philosophical worldview rather than a Biblical doctrine? Wow! Are we both talking about the Bible here?

    Funny how you think that is wrong but you have no problems with Skousen saying God is only God because the intelligences give him allegence. Let see… which one of those views is laid out in the Bible?????? I wonder…….

    Oh, and Seth, you, once again, forgot the word “all”. Tell me, if God created “ALL” that is either “visible or invisible”, what is left for Him to create it from? Is there something which is not included in in “all” that is either “invisible or visible”?

    Darrell

  133. 134 Echo
    August 31, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Everyone, respectfully, just a heads up, please be nice and be respectful to Seth when posting. Re-read your post before hitting “submit” and ask yourself: “Would I like it if someone said it like this to me or about me? ” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    Seth said:
    ==========

    And the fact that a scripture says that God is “before” all things visible and invisible does not require ex nihilo either. All that means is that God is before all things as we currently have them – which is perfectly compatible with ex materia creation.

    Echo:
    ====

    Your reading into scripture something that isn’t there based on the information you have come to believe through men whether they be scholars or others. Let God be true and every man a liar Seth. In the judgement God is going to call you up and question you on your beliefs. You will respond: “But this scholar said….” and God will turn to you and say: “But what did I say Seth?”. If you did’t make any effort during this life to find out what God himself says, God will turn you away and say: “you trusted in men and not in God”

    Ex materia clearly falls into the category of “visible or invisible”. God created ALL THINGS VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE. “ALL” means “ALL” Seth. EVERY word of God is vitally important in coming to the correct understanding of God’s word, if you ignore or doubt any word, you will come to the wrong interpretation:

    Mathew 4:4 “‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on EVERY WORD word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

    Here is another verse that clearly shows that EVERYTHING that exists, exists because of God’s own doing:

    Hebrews 2:10 “it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom EVERYTHING EXISTS,”

    EVERTHING is Everything Seth. That includes ex materia. When something doesn’t exist, it is nothing. God made everything in existence. Naturally out of that which didn’t exist, therefore he made it out of nothing.

    Are you willing to risk the welfare of your soul and end up in outer darkness(Hell) for the sake of a false scholar or other man? Take the welfare of your soul into your own hands. Consider every man a liar and consider God true.

  134. August 31, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    When you guys have more to offer than hyperbole, let me know.

    JesusLover,

    Don’t lose sight of the fact that – as a Mormon – I never claimed that all my beliefs came from the Bible in the first place. That’s your position, not mine.

    All I have to show is that my beliefs are not contradicted by the Bible, and modern revelation can fill in the blanks.

    You however, are the one claiming Bible-alone. So you have to show that all your beliefs are decisively established by the Bible.

    So far, on ex nihilo, it’s been a total wash for you, as far as I can tell. I’ve shown that all the verses you cited admit more than one meaning. You have done nothing to refute that, other than saying “you’re wrong – so there!”

    And I’m sure you guys are laughing hard right now. It’s a useful defense-mechanism.

  135. August 31, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks for the reminder Echo. I’ll try not to let my own irritability get the best of me.

    Echo, how would you propose learning “God’s word?”

    Isn’t consulting the best biblical scholarship available a part of a good faith effort to understand God’s word?

  136. 137 ADB
    August 31, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Seth,

    Maybe a different angle to approach this discussion would be to ask you how the Bible would state it differently in a way that could only be understood as creation ex nihilo. If you were the author of Scripture, how would you phrase it so that there could be no other way to understand creation than ex nihilo? There are so many simple and clear passages that have been pointed to that speak of creation ex nihilo, yet you seem to have a loophole for all of them. So how would you word it in a way that allows no loopholes? Humor us, play the devil’s advocate and explain how the Bible could have worded creation ex nihilo better.

  137. August 31, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Seth,

    Not sure if you missed my questions. Just in case, here they are again…

    “Oh, and Seth, you, once again, forgot the word “all”. Tell me, if God created “ALL” that is either “visible or invisible”, what is left for Him to create it from? Is there something which is not included in in “all” that is either “invisible or visible”?

    Darrell

  138. 139 rblandjr
    September 2, 2009 at 1:35 am

    All,

    Its interesting the direction that posts can go. Reminds me of the Apostle Paul, who no matter where he was speaking, who he was speaking to was that he would quickly go back to the Gospel and share what Christ did for him. “The chief of sinners”. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul covered quite well in Romans how God viewed mankind,sinful. Dead in their trespasses and sins. Utterly condemned because of that sinfull nature. And we prove our sinfullness by our thoughts, words and actions.Job 5:7 says,”Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly. What I know is that I am a sinner, God isn’t and thatHe sent His Son who lived a sinless life and died for us all. He is the one who finished the work of redemption. I am spiritually dead and unable to breath life into myself or keep it going. He is God and I am not nor will I ever be. He will not share his glory with another. He is deserving of all our praise and glory. The song said it so well. “We fall down we lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus.”
    Provided you have come by the way of the cross which is the only way for sinfull mankind to be forgiven and spend eternity with God.
    Praising Him for peace and joy that I am resting in daily.

  139. September 2, 2009 at 1:50 am

    By the way Echo…

    Hebrews 2:10 doesn’t have the word “exist” in the original Greek. A more accurate reading would be:

    “for whom and through whom all things [are].”

    And even that word is probably not a perfect fit. Tricky things, translations.

  140. September 2, 2009 at 2:06 am

    Seth,

    Are you going to answer my question? I have now asked it twice. In case you missed it check out comments number 138 and 133.

    Darrell

  141. 142 Echo
    September 2, 2009 at 2:10 am

    Seth said:
    ========

    Echo, how would you propose learning “God’s word?”

    Isn’t consulting the best biblical scholarship available a part of a good faith effort to understand God’s word?

    Echo:
    =====

    My question would be…How do you know for certain that a certain scholar is the best? What if they are “the best” by the world’s standards but by God’s standards, they are dead wrong?

    Romans 3:4 says: “… Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: “SO THAT YOU MAY BE PROVED RIGHT WHEN YOU SPEAK AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU JUDGE.”

    In the above verse, the part in captital letters explains.

    A scholar is only the “best” when what he says is exactly what the Bible says so that he is proved right by scripture. That means that “YOU” must always “test” them in light of scripture. The opinions of scholars apart from scriptural backing, means nothing. It is those who are proved “right” by scripture that are “best”. Then you will be trusting in God and not Man. The key is that YOU must test what they say in light of scripture to see if it is true rather than just blindly excepting that whatever you hear or whatever supports what you believe is only true.

    Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness AND EXAMINED THE SCRIPTURE EVERY DAY TO SEE IF WHAT PAUL SAID WAS TRUE”

    Seth said:
    =========

    All I have to show is that my beliefs are not contradicted by the Bible, and modern revelation can fill in the blanks.

    Echo:
    =====

    If you “tested” what you have been taught to believe, you would learn that this “filling in the blanks” actually substantially changes the true doctrine of the Bible.
    Adding to God’s word is always dangerous and in the case of the LDS church, it is lethal to the soul.

  142. 143 Echo
    September 2, 2009 at 2:11 am

    Seth said:
    ==========

    Hebrews 2:10 doesn’t have the word “exist” in the original Greek. A more accurate reading would be:

    “for whom and through whom all things [are].”

    And even that word is probably not a perfect fit. Tricky things, translations.

    Echo:
    =====

    What is the opposite of “are”?

  143. 144 Echo
    September 2, 2009 at 2:27 am

    rblandjr,

    Thanks for the reminder! I needed it.

    Your right. Faith only comes through the message that Jesus has done everything for us and in our place. So much has he done for us that we can be certain beyond doubt that all our sins are forgiven and eternal life is our home. It is true, faith never comes through a discussion on ex nihilo or ex materia.

  144. September 2, 2009 at 5:19 am

    Well Echo, if you are saying that true faith never comes through discussions of ex materia vs. ex nihilo, I’m sure you’ll agree that it doesn’t matter if Mormons decide to adopt ex materia for their theology.

    Right?

    And by the way, my soul feels fine. Although it is bugging me about being too snarky online. I’ll grant that…

  145. September 2, 2009 at 5:22 am

    I didn’t answer it again Darrell, because I already answered it before.

    “Create” doesn’t mean “out of nothing.”

    So the fact that God created all things invisible and visible is hardly illuminating to the discussion.

    “Create” Darrell.

    C-r-e-a-t-e

    That’s the keyword.

    “All things” is utterly beside the point. It’s really just an exercise in question-begging on your part.

    We seem to be getting a lot of that around here…

  146. 147 Echo
    September 2, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Seth, all doctrine matters, faith however comes through the message of the gospel. The message that God demands perfection from YOU and Jesus lived that perfect life in your behalf. Because of Jesus, you have been made perfect forever.

    1 Tmothy 4:16 “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers”

    You said: “And by the way, my soul feels fine”

    Our feelings can’t always be trusted:

    Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death”

  147. September 2, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    So, which is it? Are these doctrinal issues important or not?

    Make up your mind.

  148. 149 Echo
    September 2, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    All doctrinal issues are important but faith only comes through the message of what Christ has done for you.

  149. 150 rblandjr
    September 3, 2009 at 2:38 am

    All,

    Coming home from church tonight my heart thought of this one simple comparison.

    DO I TRUST JESUS CHRIST THE UNCREATED ONE, WHO PAID MY REDEMPTION IN FULL WITH HIS SINLESS SACRIFICE ON THE CROSS AND RISING FROM THE DEAD VICTORIOUSLY?

    OR

    DO I TRUST A MAN JOSEPH SMITH AND HIS PROMISES?

    With out pause or doubt I will rest in JESUS CHRIST ALONE.

    “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you REST.”

    This sinner will trust in the Savior alone.

  150. September 3, 2009 at 3:01 am

    rblandjr,

    Do you trust Paul and his promises?

  151. 152 Echo
    September 3, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Seth said: “Do you trust Paul and his promises?”

    Of course we believe in Paul and his promises. Paul taught REST, Jesus taught REST, Joseph taught WORK

  152. September 3, 2009 at 4:49 am

    So, you can trust a man if his message is true – correct?

  153. 154 Echo
    September 3, 2009 at 5:43 am

    We believe that what Paul wrote is God’s word, not Paul’s word. God spoke through Paul.
    If a man isn’t in the Bible, I would test his words in light of scripture, even if I believed his message was true, I would continue to test him and never stop.

    Jesus and Paul taught REST, Joseph taught WORK.

    “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you REST.”

    Jesus taught that he would give us REST from WORK and Joseph taught that we must WORK.
    This is a really important matter, a matter of life or death for the soul.
    If we must WORK, then we do not have faith in Jesus but rather we have faith in ourselves.
    Eternal life is Guaranteed to those who have faith in Jesus, Outer Darkness is Guaranteed to those who have faith in themselves.

    This is why we feel compelled to reach out to the LDS people with love, concern and compassion. We want to help them avoid the grave danger they are in.

  154. September 3, 2009 at 5:56 am

    Echo, what assurance do I have that what you say is God’s word, and not just your own opinion?

    You keep trying to avoid this issue by simply pretending that your interpretation DOES equal God’s word as contained in the Bible.

    But unfortunately, I don’t believe you, I don’t trust your exegesis, and I’m not going to simply agree that you do represent the Bible accurately.

    As I said before, I have a lot more reason to trust Biblical scholars than I have to trust you.

    Nothing personal Echo. But, like me, you really are just a “guy on the internet.”

    Why should I have ANY confidence that your interpretation is correct?

    And that goes equally for everyone else here.

  155. 156 Echo
    September 3, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Seth, What have I been trying to say all along? Trust me or trust God’s word? I don’t want you to trust me, I want you to test my words in light of scripture. I want you to trust God alone.

    How can you have confidence if what I say is true or if what the scholars say is true? TEST everyone in light of scripture! Scripture says: “Let God be TRUE and every man a liar.” Why trust me?! Why trust scholars?! Trust in GOD alone!

  156. 157 Echo
    September 3, 2009 at 6:31 am

    Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

    God wants to speak to YOU through his word in the Bible. God has given YOU the authority to trust in his word alone over that of any man. His word IS TRUTH.

  157. September 3, 2009 at 6:35 am

    I have been reading the Bible Echo.

    And I have been sharing MY conclusions with you.

    You dispute those conclusions. But you give me nothing more than your own word and your own opinion to back up those disputes you have.

  158. 159 Echo
    September 3, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Yes Seth, but have you been testing my words or simply refuting them? Are you open to being corrected or open to having a change of mind about your beliefs if God’s own word leads you there? Or is your mind already made up? Are you trusting man more than God?

    If your testing my words, I welcome that! Test to your hearts desire.

    My word on it’s own, apart from God’s word, is worthless, my opinions on their own, apart from God’s word, are worthless. What matters is God’s word and that is why I use God’s word so often in my posts. It is HIS word that matters. It is HIS word that I want to pass along to you.

  159. September 3, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    I could say that same of you.

    This really is going nowhere. You continually make theological assertions and simply say – “it’s in the Bible.”

    Well, a lot of the time, I disagree. And your assurances that you are in harmony with the Bible, on their own, don’t really count for much. Especially not when people – both Mormon and NON-Mormon – disagree with your analysis. Why should I take your word over theirs?

    Now you would respond – “don’t take my word – take God’s word.”

    Well – what do you think I’ve been trying to do? I have been taking God’s word.

    And he appears to disagree with you on a few key points. Which is what this debate is all about. And you can’t avoid the debate by simply repeating the same old tired assertions that “I’m biblical and you’re not.”

    In a debate where who is biblical is the question at issue, you can’t just repeatedly make bare assertions that you’re right and expect anyone to be impressed. I would think that your long and fruitless arguments with GB would have demonstrated that. Anyone can claim to have a bead on what God is thinking. But that doesn’t mean I have to be impressed by it.

  160. 161 JesusLover
    September 3, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Seth – the problem is that you are not reading the bible with eyes towards the truth – you are reading it with eyes filtered through the mormon church – so everything you read you are trying to put into this framework.
    The bible is a “stand alone” book and has to be read just for itself. You will never see its truths while you are reading it in this way. No one could. You don’t realize it because you are so immeshed in that false belief system and you are blinded to its truths. It would help if you could read the bible as if you had never read it and not think about the mormon church while you did – then you would find out the truth within it. I pray you will. I really do.

    You never answered me either – why are you not temple worthy?

  161. September 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    “Seth – the problem is that you are not reading the bible with eyes towards the truth – you are reading it with eyes filtered through the mormon church – so everything you read you are trying to put into this framework.”

    I could say the same thing about you JL. So once again, it comes down to your opinion and my opinion and no particular reason to favor one opinion over the other.

    As for the temple recommend thing… You mischaracterize this if you think it is about salvation by merit.

    The temple recommend (and the questions that are asked in the interview for one) are a part of LDS Covenant theology. Abstaining from extra-marital sex does not, in my view, make me worthy of the Celestial Kingdom. Entering into a COVENANT does.

    Covenants are two-way agreements. But they are not about merit on my end. I do not merit the Celestial Kingdom, I am not entitled to it. Yet God has, nonetheless, promised it as a part of entering into a two-way covenant with him. Exaltation cannot ever be merited by me or anyone else.

    But you can grab hold of promises that God has made, and do your part to enter into them.

  162. 163 JesusLover
    September 3, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Seth – I don’t belong or ascribe to any particular denomination – I hold to God’s word only. Even if I respect someone if what they preach goes contrary to the bible I would not believe it as we are not to follow man but God.

    Your response about temple recommends did not answer my question. I asked why YOU do not have a TR nor have taken out your endowments when this is key to any sort of exaltation in your faith?

  163. September 3, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Where did you get that idea JL?

    I have a recommend. Current.

    But either way, I considered not answering at all, since your question is unnecessary for the topic, and if I didn’t have a temple recommend, I certainly wouldn’t be telling you why. It’s a kind of personal question and you really had no business asking it.

  164. 165 JesusLover
    September 3, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Seth – I asked the question because in an earlier post you said that you had not taken out your endowments yet. I assumed that you didn’t have a temple recommend because it’s every mormon’s goal to take them out and I couldn’t see why – if you had one – you hadn’t been through the temple yet?
    I’m still curious….

  165. 166 Echo
    September 3, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Seth,

    GB often took scripture verses out of context. A person can support just about any belief, any interpretation, taking scripture out of context. Another problem I see is reading the Bible through a BOM lens, this changes the interpretation of the Bible rather drastically.

    The LDS church doesn’t LIVE on EVERY word that comes from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). They skip a word here or there and it entirely and Catastrophically changes the interpretation of God’s word:

    The LDS skips a word on Ephesians 2:20 stating this: “built on the foundation of apostles and prophets”

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=efe0438d9b76b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

    Skipping one single word leads to an interpretation that leaves wide the door for an ongoing and continual succession of apostles and prophets.

    The Bible on Ephesians 2:20 “built on the foundation of THE apostles and prophets”
    This interpretation closes the door on ongoing and continaul succession of apostles and prophets. The word “THE” closes the door.

  166. 167 Echo
    September 3, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    But again, this conversation leads away from the gospel, the most important conversation we can have. Let’s discuss the gospel. Faith comes from the gospel.

  167. September 3, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Echo, there is no word “the” in Greek.

  168. September 3, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Just like there is no word “a” in Greek.

    Like “God is a spirit.”

    More accurate is “God is spirit.”

    JL,

    I never said I hadn’t taken out my endowments. I don’t know what you are referring to.

    Finally, Echo

    I think our conversation on the idea of creation ex nihilo showed that I was reading the Bible more in context than you were. I was actually looking at what the original Hebrew said, what it meant, and how it’s author would have meant it. You were the one trying to make a strained a-contextual modern English reading of the text.

  169. 170 Echo
    September 3, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Seth you said: “Echo, there is no word “the” in Greek.”

    At the following link, the greek word “TWV” or “Ton” equals “THE”

    http://biblos.com/ephesians/2-20.htm

    Let’s get back to the gospel.

  170. September 3, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks for the correction.

    How are you going to discuss the Gospel if you don’t understand how it was written?

  171. 172 Echo
    September 3, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    what do you mean by: “if you don’t understand how it was written”?

  172. September 3, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    If your source of knowledge is from the Bible, and you don’t know the language and cultural context that went into the words written there, then you can’t really say you understand the Gospel contained in it, can you?

  173. 174 JesusLover
    September 3, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Sorry Seth – it was Shem on another post who said that.

  174. 176 Echo
    September 3, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Seth,

    You have to remember Seth, that when I answer your question, that I believe in a different gospel than you do.

    The entire gospel message can be summed up in one single verse:

    John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

    In that single verse, there are no DO’s (Do this, don’t do that)

    So simplistic is the message contained therein, that even an infant or small child can believe and thus has eternal life.

    Understanding this simplistic message isn’t dependant on the language or cultural context of the times. Love transcends language barriers and cultural context. Besides, the message itself is just so simple. Believe in Jesus and you have eternal life. Nothing too hard to understand there.

  175. September 4, 2009 at 1:20 am

    “You have to remember Seth, that when I answer your question, that I believe in a different gospel than you do.”

    I’ll only bother to remember it if I actually agree with it Echo.

    Quit trying to force concessions from me. I’m not playing that game.

  176. 178 Echo
    September 4, 2009 at 2:40 am

    I am not at all interested in forcing concessions from you, nor am I interested in games. I was simply trying to convey to you that my answer is based on the gospel that “I” believe in. If I believed in your gospel, my answer would be different. Judging my motives is a sin. Desiring to give me a bad name is a sin.

  177. 179 Echo
    September 4, 2009 at 4:31 am

    According to the gospel I believe in, your sins, these sins, are forgiven.

    According to the gospel you believe in, your sins stand in judgement against you.

    “Alma taught that when we die our spirits are assigned to a state of happiness or of misery.(see Alma 40:11-15) This is a partial judgement.” (Gospel Principles page 295)
    “Our words, works and thoughts are used to judge us
    The prophet Alma testified, “Our words will condemn us, yea,all our works will condemn us and our thoughts will also condemn us”(Alma 12:14)(Gospel Principles page 295)

  178. September 4, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Complete and utter misuse of one of the most beautiful sermons on forgiveness in the Book of Mormon.

  179. 181 Echo
    September 4, 2009 at 6:40 am

    “Only through faith in Christ can we be prepared for the Final Judgement. Through faithful discipleship to him and repentance of all our sins, we can be forgiven for our sins and become pure and holy so that we can dwell in the presence of God. As we repent of our sins, GIVING UP EVERY IMPURE THOUGHT AND ACT, the Holy Ghost will change our hearts SO WE NO LONGER DESIRE TO SIN. Then when we are judged, we will be found ready to enter into God’s presence.” (Gospel Principles page 295)

    By your gospel, your not ready to enter God’s presence. Your sins testify to that.

    By my gospel, you would be ready to enter God’s presence.

  180. 182 rblandjr
    September 12, 2009 at 3:52 am

    Seth,
    Echo,

    I wanted to jump back into the conversation. I want to bring up the Apostle Paul who was called by God to be an Apostle.

    He has much to say on repentance and forgiveness.

    In fact the Apostle Paul in Romans 6 laments his sinful desires and actions that he continues to do that he battles with on a daily basis.

    You would think that one of the Apostles who God used mightily to take the message throughout the known world. Who also wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit much of the NT. If He could say that he was the “chief of sinners“, deserving of condemnation and judgment yet thankful for justification by Grace through faith in the finished work of Christ.

    Now his life before Christ which was considered by himself and others one of the most righteous pharisees. He obeyed the Law and was zealous of good works which he was trusting in to make it to heaven.

    But what did he say in Phil. 3:4-9

    “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, as touching the law, a Pharisee: Concerning zeal, persecuting the church: touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. BUT WHAT THINGS WERE GAIN TO ME, THOSE I COUNTED LOSS FOR CHRIST. YEA DOUBTLESS, AND I COUNT ALL THINGS BUT LOSS FOR THE EXCELLENCY OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST JESUS MY LORD: FOR WHOM I HAVE SUFFERED THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS, AND DO COUNT THEM BUT DUNG, THAT I MAY WIN CHRIST, AND BE FOUND IN HIM, NOT HAVING MINE OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, WHICH IS OF THE LAW, BUT THAT WHICH IS THROUGH THE FAITH OF CHRIST, THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS OF GOD BY FAITH.”

    I can say that I am no Apostle Paul or for that matter anyone else. He admitted that he couldn’t abandon his sin and trust his righteous works to earn or merit Gods reward of eternal life. He says that in Rom 6 and also in the passage I quoted.

    How could you or I, or for that matter anyone think that they would be able to accomplish what the Apostle Paul could not?

    Abandon sin and its desires to earn forgiveness by thourghly repenting of sin.

    Paul was very clear on how man is forgiven, justified, adopted into Gods family is through grace through faith in the finished work of Christ alone.

    “Not my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.“

    The LDS Gospel is one that lays heavu burdens on mankind.
    The Cross is Gods answer to the sin problem.

    Resting in Him,
    Richard

  181. September 12, 2009 at 5:11 am

    Since LDS theology does not teach that we merit salvation, I see no problem with Paul’s comments.

    I agree with them.

  182. September 12, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Seth,

    What is your definition of salvation? Is it life with God the Father (Celestial Kingdom) or life with the Holy Spirit (Telestial Kingdom)?

    Darrell

  183. September 12, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Technically, I distinguish salvation – inheriting a kingdom of glory – from exaltation – inheriting the Celestial Kingdom.

    But I believe Paul’s words about unworthiness apply to both. I don’t think you merit either result.

  184. September 12, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    If exaltation (Celestial Kingdom) and salvation (any kingdom) are both obtained through no merit on the part of the individual, what causes one person to go to the telestial kingdom and another to go the celestial kingdom? What was the difference between the two individuals?

    Darrell

  185. September 12, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    The degree of their acceptance of the Atonement of course.

  186. September 12, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Since the atonement is a gift, how does one accept it to a greater degree? Is it a matter of saying, “Lord, I accept only the nail that went in your right hand but not the ones that went in your left hand or feet.” If my dad gives me a car, do I accept only the right front tire but not the rest?

    So, how does one accept the atonement to a greater degree? What is the difference between a person who accepts the atonement to a large degree and a person who accepts is to less of a degree?

    Darrell

  187. September 13, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Yeah. Well, the Atonement isn’t an automobile.

  188. September 13, 2009 at 12:04 am

    You didn’t answer my questions.

    So, how does one accept the atonement to a greater degree? What is the difference between a person who accepts the atonement to a large degree and a person who accepts is to less of a degree?

    Darrell

  189. September 13, 2009 at 12:36 am

    It’s just the way people are. No one ever buys into an idea 100%. Just like no one ever buys into an idea 0%. It’s always some amount in-between.

    For example Darrell, I don’t believe that you currently have 100% faith in the Atonement. But I also don’t think this will prevent it from being efficacious in your life and in the hereafter.

  190. September 13, 2009 at 1:18 am

    So, you honestly believe the difference between someone who makes it to the Celestial and someone who makes it to the Telestial Kingdom is degree of belief? It has nothing to do with what they do? That is interesting because the D&C uses very different terminology when describing those who inhabit the Tel. King., Terr. King., and Cel. King. It talks all about what people are like in terms of what they do. Let’s look at some of D&C 76.

    Speaking of those that inherit the CK:

    verse 52: By keeping the commandements they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins.

    Contrast this with those that inherit the Telestial Glory.

    verse 103: These are they who are liars, and soreceres, and aulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.

    I think you are playing games with your answer to avoid revealing the full truth about Mormmon belief in this area. As a result, you are actually telling a half-truth. People who go to the Cel Kingdom in Mormon belief are those who obey the commandments better… they get life with God the Father because they were more obedient. Those in the lower two kingdoms were not as good or obedient so they only get life with the Son (lowly Jesus!! People get punished by having life with Him rather than the Father) or life with the Holy Spirit. While you might believe that their degree of belief in the atonement plays into this, in reality the Mormon Church teaches that works has a lot to do with it. Verse 52 says volumes – “By keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins.” That DOES teach that those in the CK merit the CK by what the DO.

    Another point on this – One of the stark differences between Biblical Christianity and Mormonism is that our definitions of salvation are very different. While Mormonism teaches that salvation is simply avoiding outer darkness and that the only thing you have to do to merit it is not be a REALLY bad person (in fact, you don’t have to accept Christ to receive it) we view salvation as life with God the Father. Therefore, to get what WE term salvation (the Cel Kingdom to Mormons) in Mormon belief one does have to have more than faith… one has to merit it through “keeping the commandments” so we can be “washed and cleansed from” all our sins.

    Darrell

  191. September 13, 2009 at 5:49 am

    You know Darrell, talking to you is really like trying to talk to a rock.

    Very little point in it.

    We’ve already gone the rounds before on various angles with this.

    We had one long back and forth where I tried to find out what it is exactly that I have to DO to accept Jesus. And guess what?

    No Evangelical here had anything even close to a coherent answer. The main reason being because you guys were so worried about not admitting that there actually is something that must be humanly DONE to accept the Atonement, that all you were capable of doing was lamely repeating scriptures from Romans at me.

    Then we tried the angle of asking you guys whether it is possible for a person to fall from saved status once they have accepted Jesus. And you guys completely bombed that one too.

    And we went the route of asking you guys what a person who was actually saved would look like. And, after a bunch of arm twisting, accompanied by a lot of irrelevant name-calling, we did get you to at least admit that good works would be manifest in the life of the believer. But only as a result of the “saved status” of the person.

    Which, for all practical purposes, is indistinguishable from what Mormons believe – since we hold the Atonement to be a day-to-day enabler of good works.

    At any rate, it became pretty clear to me that even if I became an Evangelical, or a Lutheran or something, I still wouldn’t have any better idea of whether I’m saved or not. Because you always get to play mind games with yourself and wonder if you “really” meant it when you confessed Jesus at that Bible retreat or not.

    “Did I really mean it? Or was I just mouthing the words, but not really feeling them enough?”

    Have you really accepted Jesus enough to get your heaven ticket Darrell?

    Are you sure? Are you sure you couldn’t have been just a little bit more sincere about it? What if you didn’t actually mean it in your heart back then? What if you just THINK you meant it? I mean, we’re all imperfect beings, right? Doesn’t that make you functionally incapable of truly accepting Jesus?

    And if you didn’t really accept Jesus back then, what are you really left with?

    Well, I guess you’d better get out there and start doing some good works Darrell. Because obviously, those are the real evidence of a true acceptance of Jesus. If you’d really accepted him back during aisle call, then you’d obviously be producing some of those fruits of repentance, right?

    Better step things up, just to be on the safe side.

  192. September 13, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Based on your rant in an attempt to turn the tables away from Mormonism, I take it you have no response to what D&C says… that “keeping the commandments” washes and cleanses one from all their sins and that those in the telestial kingdom are “liars, and soreceres, and aulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.”

    Seth, what you fail to understand – and I could be wrong but I am not sure you even WANT to try to understand it – is there is a difference between giving the glory to oneself and giving the glory to Christ. Mormonism is a works based religion that gives the glory to man. You say the “atonement is a day to day enabler of good works”. That sound an aweful lot like something Millet would say in an attempt to paint Mormonism to more like traditional Christianity. I does not sound like something that would come out of the mouth of an actual church general authority. It is definitly not something found in the LDS scriptures. I am curious, do you have any talks or quotes from actual church leaders – not self made church apologists – that say something like that?

    Darrell

  193. September 13, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    “You say the “atonement is a day to day enabler of good works”. That sound an aweful lot like something Millet would say in an attempt to paint Mormonism to more like traditional Christianity. I does not sound like something that would come out of the mouth of an actual church general authority. It is definitly not something found in the LDS scriptures. I am curious, do you have any talks or quotes from actual church leaders – not self made church apologists – that say something like that?”

    You know, I take that one back. I have heard language like that from the pulpit. I was wrong on that one.

    However, that is not the problem. The problem is that in Mormonism, the atonement and acceptance of it is not what merits one the CK. It is the level of obedience to the commandments. So, while the atonement might ENABLE one to be more obedient, it alone is not enough. It only gives you the “chance” and based upon how hard you work will determine whether you make it to the CK, Terr, or Tel. Unfortunately, as we all know Paul teaches otherwise (Eph 2:8-9).

    As an example, let’s say I express faith in Christ and try to follow him but I smoke and I like the occasional drink of alcohol but I never get drunk. I will never be able to get baptized into the Mormon Church because of my tobacco and alcohol use, and, as a result, I will never be able to make it to the CK (D&C 51). In addition to keeping certain commandments which allow one to be baptized by the Mormon Church, one must also accept JS as a Prophet and agree to follow and sustain other “modern day prophets”. Again, in Mormonism there is a lot more required than just accepting the atonement to get into the CK. I think you are being very disingenuous to say all that is required is a “greater degree of acceptance of the atonement”, for works most certainly play into it.

    Darrell

  194. September 14, 2009 at 12:36 am

    The verse in D&C I referenced above is actually D&C 76:51 not D&C Section 51.

    Darrell

  195. September 14, 2009 at 3:32 am

    You know Darrell, we’ve gone around in circles with this enough times that I no longer really care what your opinion of Mormonism is.

    So, the only thing I’m really interested in discussing with you anymore is why you think your own religion is any good.

    So, I’m all ears.

    If I were to join your religion Darrell, what assurance would I have of salvation that I don’t already have?

    And don’t start throwing random New Testament verses at me. I frankly don’t care that much. Why do YOU think I would have some sort of assurance of salvation (as you define that word)?

  196. 198 Echo
    September 14, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Seth,

    What does this verse saying to you, what is your interpretation?:

    “FOR WHOM I HAVE SUFFERED THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS, AND DO COUNT THEM BUT DUNG, THAT I MAY WIN CHRIST, AND BE FOUND IN HIM, NOT HAVING MINE OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, WHICH IS OF THE LAW, BUT THAT WHICH IS THROUGH THE FAITH OF CHRIST, THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS OF GOD BY FAITH.”

  197. September 14, 2009 at 3:49 am

    I don’t care Echo.

    Why do you think you are saved and what makes you so certain?

    Hint: quoting another Bible verse at me is not going to work as an answer.

  198. 200 Echo
    September 14, 2009 at 4:22 am

    Seth said: “Why do you think you are saved and what makes you so certain?”

    I am 100% certain because my salvation depended on Jesus 100% and Jesus finished it 100%.

  199. September 14, 2009 at 4:56 am

    Yeah Echo.

    But who says you REALLY accepted Jesus in the first place?

  200. 202 Echo
    September 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    My salvation isn’t dependant on my accepting Jesus. My salvation is dependant ONLY on the person and work of Jesus.

    If my salvation were dependant on my accepting Jesus as some NON LDS & NON LUTHERANS do teach even here in this blog, then someday, sometime, I would or could wonder if I REALLY ACCEPTED Jesus just as you say. That dependance on “my” decision to accept Jesus, or dependance on my “decision for Christ” could potentially cause me to fall from faith just as your suggesting.

    But I am Lutheran. Lutherans place 100% of the focus on the person and work of Jesus ALONE.
    I need not worry about whether I have accepted Jesus. JESUS HAS ACCEPTED ME! That is all I need to know.

  201. September 14, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Echo, if your salvation and my salvation is not dependent on “accepting” Jesus, then why are you even bothering to talk to me.

    Obviously, if you just leave me alone and leave all the Mormons alone, we’ll be saved anyway, right?

  202. September 14, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    “You know Darrell, we’ve gone around in circles with this enough times that I no longer really care what your opinion of Mormonism is.”

    I can understand why you feel that way. I don’t really expect you to care about my view on these matters. While I do pray that your eyes and heart will be opened to the truth, my purpose for discussing these matters with you is not so much to try and change your mind. Rather, I do it for those who “lurk” here who might be seeking the truth. When you say things that are utterly false – such as, “LDS theology does not teach that we merit salvation . . .” – I feel a need to call you out on it so as to make sure others can see the truth.

    “And don’t start throwing random New Testament verses at me. I frankly don’t care that much.”

    and

    “I don’t care Echo.

    Why do you think you are saved and what makes you so certain?

    Hint: quoting another Bible verse at me is not going to work as an answer.”

    You ask me a question and then instruct me not to bother you with what the Bible says. You then tell Echo not to bother quoting the Bible becauase you don’t care. Seth, that says a lot about your apparent contempt for the Word and it is sad – “Don’t bother me with what the Bible teaches because I already have my mind made up and nothing the Bible says is going to change it.”

    Darrell

  203. September 14, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Seth,

    You posed an interesting question in your comment, “…I tried to find out what it is exactly that I have to DO to accept Jesus.”

    I was at a new blog http://www.meetthepuritans.com and I saw this post…

    “Consider “A New Confession of Faith”, written after the Westminster Confession of Faith, which was penned by both Congregationalists and Presbyterians in 1654. Authors included Thomas Goodwin, John Owen, Philip Nye, Sydrach Simpson, Richard Vines, and Thomas Manton. The language of the Confession on the need for godliness is striking:

    XII. All true believers are partakers of Jesus Christ and all his benefits freely by grace, and are justified by faith in him, and not by works, he being made of God righteousness unto us.

    XIII. That no man can be saved unlesse he be born again of the holy Spirit, Repent, Believe, and walk in holy conversation and godliness.

    XIV. That whosoever do not prize and love Jesus Christ above himself, and all other things, cannot be saved.

    XV. Whosoever allows himself to live in any known sin, upon any pretence or principle whatsoever, is in a state of damnation.

    They certainly do not deny sola fide; but, importantly, they also maintain that holiness is a necessary component of the Christian life; and they language they use is rather strong.”

  204. September 14, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Darrell, I am not dismissive of the Bible.

    I am simply dismissive of your attempts to explain it.

    I have my own Bible. I read it a lot. And I can continue to do so.

    What I want from you and Echo is your personal assurance in your religion. If I want Bible passages, I can go read them myself without all the faulty additions you two have thrown on.

    What I want to know is why you feel you are assured salvation. What do you think you did to get it.

    Gundeck has provided a useful confession of faith that talks of “believers” being saved in Christ.

    This means that in order to be saved, YOU must believe in Christ.

    So again, what makes you Darrell, think that you have “believed” enough to obtain grace?

    That’s the only thing I am interested in hearing from you. What is your personal conviction that you have believed sufficient for salvation based upon?

    Or are you going to try and tell me again how a person doesn’t have to believe in Jesus to be saved?

  205. 207 Echo
    September 15, 2009 at 2:32 am

    Seth said:
    ==========

    “Echo, if your salvation and my salvation is not dependent on “accepting” Jesus, then why are you even bothering to talk to me.

    Obviously, if you just leave me alone and leave all the Mormons alone, we’ll be saved anyway, right?”

    Echo:
    ====

    Mormons need to hear that God has accepted them. A Mormon cannot believe that God has accepted them unless they first hear that God has accepted them. If they believe that God has accepted them, their faith didn’t contribute to them being accepted by God. Their faith simply took hold of that which was already finished, that which was already said by God.

  206. September 15, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    How do you know you are a real “believer” Echo?

  207. 210 Echo
    September 15, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I have spent the majority of my life as un UNbeliever. I became a believer as an adult. Therefore I have lived with and through the blindness that the bible speaks about unbelievers having. I have lived with fear (caused by the blindness in my thinking which is as follows:) of having to make myself acceptable to God in order to be accepted by him into his kingdom and I have since been freed from all those fears when I first heard about the Amazing Grace of God that says that God had accepted me into his celestial kingdom, even as wretched as I am.

    There is no God like that God! No love so great! No love so unconditional! His grace still amazes me! Now that is a God that I want to be like! Even though I am a wretch, I want to spend the rest of my life learning how to be just like him!

    The song: “Amazing Grace” really sums it up quite well for me, read it and listen to every word:

    Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me!
    I once was lost, but now am found;
    Was blind, but now I see.

    ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
    And grace my fears relieved;
    How precious did that grace appear
    The hour I first believed.

    2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Cornithians 3:14-16

    Mormons still live in blindness, the same blindness I had lived the majority of my life in until I heard about God’s amazing grace.

  208. September 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    I get that you find God to be wonderful. I hear a lot of nice personal stories in my own church too.

    But how do you know that YOU actually believe?

  209. September 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    “But how do you know that YOU actually believe?”

    How do I know I am actually typing at this keyboard right now? How do we know we aren’t actually plugged into some fancy computer system and everything around us exists only in our minds? Perhaps we are all part of the Matrix? Some questions just get to the point of being ludicrous.

    A person simply knows whether or not they actually believe something – it is intrinisic Either you believe Christ was the Savior and He rose from the dead or you don’t.

    Darrell

  210. 213 Echo
    September 15, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Because I actually believe.

    What kind of answer are you looking for?

  211. September 15, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    “So again, what makes you Darrell, think that you have “believed” enough to obtain grace?”

    That question assumes that there are actually degrees of belief. I don’t buy that. Either one believes that Christ was who He claimed to be (the One and Only True God and Savior) and rose from the dead or they don’t.

    Darrell

  212. September 15, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Ah, but we all know the heart is deceitful and cannot be trusted Darrell.

    How do you know personally that your belief is not just a big act?

  213. September 15, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    And if it comes to simple pure knowledge…

    Well, even Satan has that. So I don’t see how that helps you much.

  214. September 15, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Seth,

    How do you know you actually exist?

    Darrell

  215. 218 Echo
    September 15, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Seth, maybe your question just needs to be more specific. I am uncertain what kind of answer are you looking for? What would be your own answer to your question? Why do you ask this question?

  216. September 15, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Apples and oranges.

    There’s plenty of reason for me to doubt whether your commitment (or my commitment) is sincere as opposed to self-manufactured.

    I think the only reason your own internal faith appears self-evident to you is because you want it to be so.

    No one likes having to second-guess themselves Darrell. But God makes it clear in his scriptures that we are required to do exactly that.

  217. September 15, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I ask this question Echo, because I’m quite certain I wouldn’t have any more reason for confidence in my own salvation under your set of beliefs than under my own right now.

  218. September 15, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    “Apples and oranges.”

    Not at all. You say one can never know whether they really believe and I think that reveals a heightened amount of skepticism… to the point of being utterly ludicrous. If you believe that a person cannot know what they really believe then how can a person know anything about themselves… like whether or not they really exist at all. Perhaps we are all part of the matrix and everything around us is produced by a computer in our mind? One can never really KNOW, right Seth?

    Further, I believe you questions reveal a lot about your mistrust of God for He has actually promised us Salvation based upon our belief. He has told us, contrary to your claim for continual second guessing, that we can approach the throne of Grace WITH CONFIDENCE. How can we be confident if we can never really know, Seth?

    Darrell

  219. September 15, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Well Darrell, you say you “know” because you “just know.”

    Which is really no different than what I hear every first Sunday of the month during Mormon Fast and Testimony Meeting. People know because they know.

    Which I’m not saying isn’t a perfectly valid position.

    I’m just not seeing what you guys are offering that I don’t already have. Because – when you get down to fundamentals – there really is no more assurance of salvation offered by Protestantism than by Mormonism.

    I know my religion is true.

    Why?

    Just because.

  220. 223 Echo
    September 15, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Seth said:
    =========

    There’s plenty of reason for me to doubt whether your commitment (or my commitment) is sincere as opposed to self-manufactured.

    I think the only reason your own internal faith appears self-evident to you is because you want it to be so.

    Echo:
    ====

    The one thing I can say for sure is that my commitment or faith isn’t self-manufactured. God took me by surprise! He changed the way I think.

    Seth said:
    =========

    I ask this question Echo, because I’m quite certain I wouldn’t have any more reason for confidence in my own salvation under your set of beliefs than under my own right now.

    Echo:
    =====

    Why couldn’t you have confidence in your salvation under my beliefs? If salvation is 100% dependant on God ALONE (and it is), we all can be absolutely 100% confident. God keeps his word and promises!

    IF salvation depends on us, even just a little bit, we can never be confident and then have to live our lives in fear. (thankfully it does not depend on us at all)

    Judge for yourself…which of the two is the more loving God?

  221. September 15, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    That’s the point Echo.

    Under your belief system, your salvation does depend on you.

    It depends on you believing in Jesus.

  222. September 15, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Now yoy are comparing apples and oranges, Seth. Let me explain.

    I am saying that it is true THAT I BELIEVE in Christ. The fact that I believe is true. Yet, you assert that I cannot know if I actually believe.

    What you and Mormons claim about your belief is different. You say that MORMONISM is true BASED UPON your belief.

    That is not the same thing. I never question whether or not Mormons believe in Mormonism. When someone says they believe JS was a prophet and that the being who appeared to him was Jesus Christ I have no problem accepting that they actually do believe that. However, you are questioning whether or not I actually believe what I say I believe.

    What I do question and assert is that what Mormons believe in, namely that the being who appeared to JS is the Jesus Christ of the Bible, is false.

    Darrell

  223. September 16, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Oh, I have ex-Mormons telling me all the time that I don’t “really” believe in Joseph Smith.

    I’m just ignoring the evidence after all, or blocking out unfriendly data, or letting my wants guide my thinking.

    And what guarantee do you offer me Darrell that you aren’t doing the exact same thing? And if it’s just your desires guiding your belief, and nothing more solid, how can you truly say with absolute confidence that your work is done in laying hold of salvation?

  224. September 16, 2009 at 12:03 am

    And before someone jumps on me for my statement “believing in Joseph Smith” let me be clear –

    I believe in Jesus Christ far more than I believe in Joseph Smith. But even here, ex-Mormons will tell me that I don’t really believe in Jesus either.

    So, there you go.

  225. September 16, 2009 at 12:13 am

    “I’m just not seeing what you guys are offering that I don’t already have. Because – when you get down to fundamentals – there really is no more assurance of salvation offered by Protestantism than by Mormonism.”

    Not at all. Under Mormonism you have to keep the commandments WELL ENOUGH to be able to enter the CK. However, according the Bible, that is just not possible.

    Under my beliefs all you have to do is believe. Which, according to the Bible, I can do and can approach the throne of Grace with confidence having my salvation in Heaven with God the Father assured.

    You are trying to equate believe and obedience by saying we can never know if we are doing either one “well enough”. However, obedience is a matter of degree, while belief is just that… belief. Either one does believe or they don’t and one can know with 100% certainty they actually DO believe. One can NEVER know whether they are keeping the commandments well enough because NO ONE ever keeps them fully. Why do you think Spencer W. Kimball’s book “The Miracle of Forgiveness” scared so many Mormons? Because they intrinsically know they are not keeping the commandments well enough. I have heard some faithful members jokingly call it “It’s a Miracle if you are ever forgiven”. That is truly sad because it is a miracle and one can be fogiven and not have it based upon “how good” they are.

    Darrell

  226. 229 Echo
    September 16, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Seth said:
    ==========

    That’s the point Echo.

    Under your belief system, your salvation does depend on you.

    It depends on you believing in Jesus.

    Echo:
    ====

    Your not understanding my belief system just yet all likely due to my inability to explain it to you well enough. My apologies for that! I am doing the best I can.

    My salvation doesn’t depend on me. My salvation doesn’t depend on my believing in Jesus.
    Just before Jesus died on the cross he said: “It is finished!”
    So 2000+ years ago, my salvation was finished from beggining to end. I wasn’t even born 2000+ years ago, so my salvation didn’t depend on my believing in Jesus, it was finished.

    Hearing that my salvation was finished in my behalf 2000+ years ago is itself the message that creates the faith to believe that my salvation was finished in my behalf 2000+ years ago.

    Like I said before, when I believe I have been accepted by God all because of Jesus and what he has done 2000+ years ago, that doesn’t make my “belief” the CAUSE of my being accepted by God. I was accepted by God before I believed! My “belief” is rather the RESULT of my being accepted by God. God himself creating that belief in me through his message.

  227. September 16, 2009 at 12:51 am

    “But even here, ex-Mormons will tell me that I don’t really believe in Jesus either.”

    As an ex-mormon, let me clarify my position on this. I certainly believe that you believe in a being who may have claimed to be the Jesus Christ of the Bible and I believe that JS may have even asserted him to be the Christ of the Bible. So I have no problems with you saying you believe in this being. However, I do not believe he was, in fact, the Christ of the Bible. I believe he was a false Christ as prophesied in the Bible.

    Darrell

  228. September 16, 2009 at 4:16 am

    “Your not understanding my belief system just yet all likely due to my inability to explain it to you well enough. My apologies for that! I am doing the best I can.”

    It’s OK Echo. Maybe we’ll both get it someday.

  229. 232 Echo
    September 16, 2009 at 5:25 am

    I get it very well but my concern is that you will misinterpret what I mean.

  230. 233 Echo
    September 16, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    To try and answer your question of “how do know that you actually believe?”

    We are not saved “by” faith or “because” of faith. We are saved BY GRACE “through” faith.

    Faith, which itself is a gift of God, is just the channel through which grace flows from God to the individual.

    Luther likened faith to two persons holding purses representing the strength of their faith while grace is represented by the contents of the purse. He said: “Two persons may hold a purse full of money: one with a weak hand, the other with a strong hand. Whether the hand is strong or weak,… it neither increases nor decreases the contents of the purse.”

    In Luthers example, the “faith” of the individual, whether it is weak or strong makes no difference. What is in the purse (grace) is the same for everyone. Both those with a weak faith and those with a strong faith still are carrying the purse containing the same contents.

    So it is not our faith that matters. That is to say that it’s the object of our faith that matters, not the faith itself. Faith is simply the tool given to us by God through which he pours grace into our hearts.

    It is the contents of the purse that matters…..GRACE

  231. September 16, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Are you trying to use the doctrine of “the elect?”

    And what assurance do you have that God gave you this faith. Maybe you just think you have it.

  232. 235 onlyjesus3
    September 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Echo – what an amazing illustration you gave about the purses! That is going to stick in my head for a long time! I would never have thought to explain our faith and God’s Grace in that way!

  233. 236 Echo
    September 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Martin Luther came up with that visual explanation. I liked it too! :)

  234. 237 Echo
    September 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Seth,

    I am not using the doctrine of the elect. I don’t believe God chooses some to be damned. I believe God wants all men to be saved. ( 1 Timothy 2:4)

    You said: “And what assurance do you have that God gave you this faith. Maybe you just think you have it.”

    I repeat, it is not the faith that matters, what matters is the object of that faith. The object of that faith is God’s grace. Grace by definition is the unmerited, undeserved love and favor of God.

    If gaining eternal life is dependant on our “GIVING UP EVERY IMPURE THOUGHT AND ACT, the Holy Ghost will change our hearts SO WE NO LONGER DESIRE TO SIN. Then when we are judged, we will be found ready to enter into God’s presence.” (LDS Book: Gospel Principles page 295) then Grace becomes something we have merited and/or deserved by fullfilling all the above.

    Saying that we must give up every impure thought and act in order to be found ready to enter God’s presence is putting people under the law:

    Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not be your master, because YOU ARE NOT UNDER LAW, but under grace”.

    Saying that we must give up every impure thought and act in order to be found ready to enter God’s presence is salvation by works and no longer salvation by grace:

    Romans 11:5-6 “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”

    Works nullify grace!

  235. 238 onlyjesus3
    September 16, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Echo – what you wrote brought to mind this passage: Luke 17:5,6: ” And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”

    Jesus Himself is illustrating that it’s not the size of the faith that counts. That has always been a comfort to me knowing that it is the Lord’s responsibility for my salvation and for answering my prayers – not mine. It’s also relevant in terms of praying for people which is what the passage is talking about – it’s not about how much faith a person has – it’s Whom they are praying to.

    Similiar passages about us being childlike or as a child connect with this also. The emphasis is on God – not us.

  236. September 16, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    You misunderstand Echo. I’m not talking about quantity of faith. I’m talking about quality of faith.

  237. 240 Echo
    September 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing your great thoughts with me. I especially liked when you said that the emphasis is on God and not on us. That is so important!

  238. 241 Echo
    September 16, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Seth, You will only find quality in the object of your faith not in the faith itself. Faith is simply the hose through which the water flows to water your garden. Quality(life giving water) is found in the water itself, not the hose itself.

    It is what we put our faith in that matters, it is the object of our faith that matters.
    The object of our faith is God’s grace. The object of our faith is not the quality or quantity of our faith in and of itself.

  239. 242 Echo
    September 16, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    When I said: “The object of our faith is not the quality of quantity of our faith in and of itself” that is to say that quality or quantity of faith in and of itself doesn’t save.

  240. September 16, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    “Faith is simply the hose through which the water flows to water your garden. Quality(life giving water) is found in the water itself, not the hose itself.”

    I love your analogies. You make some good points that are always good to remember! The focus is on God and His perfection – not on us. It brings me so much comfort to know that I am accepted by God not because of anything I have done but all because of what He has done. that is something I never had while a Mormon – and to be honest, I never thought I needed it until God opened my eyes. Once I realized how bad I was – that nothing I could do could make me “good enough” for God – then I fully realized I needed true Grace. Grace is something that really is never defined or discussed much in Mormonism… at least not while I was a member.

    Darrell

  241. 244 Echo
    September 16, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Darrell, thank you for your kind and encouraging words!

    I share the joy with you that God has opened your eyes!

    It reminds me of the verse: Luke 18:9-14 “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    It is the man who looks at God’s law when it says “Give up every impure thought and act and you will enter God’s presence” and then truthfully confesses that: “nothing I could do could make me good enough” who goes home justified before God.

    The man who looks ath God’s law when it says: “Give up every impure thought and act and you will enter God’s presence” and then says: “I have done all I can do” who doesn’t go home because he was not justified.

    The one who wasn’t good enough was saved by grace alone, the one who believed in his works missed grace all together and wasn’t saved.

    We are saved by Pure Grace(perfection imputed to us) or Pure Works (perfection required of us) and the two can’t be mixed and can’t go together. Works nullifies grace, grace nullifies works.

    Romans 11:16 “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”

    Thanks be to Jesus who has imputed his perfection to us to fulfill in us the perfection required of us to enter God’s presence.

    Grace gives perfect peace with God.

    You said: “Grace is something that really is never defined or discussed much in Mormonism… at least not while I was a member.”

    The Gospel is the message of God’s grace. Sadly, that is what is missing from Mormon theology.

    Acts 20:24 “…the gospel of God’s grace”

    God Bless you and Keep you!

  242. September 17, 2009 at 12:36 am

    This comment from James E. Foust in a Nov 2001 Ensign article says it all.

    “Many people think they need only confess that Jesus is the Christ and then they are saved by grace alone. We cannot be saved by grace alone, “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

    I have heard Mormons try to equivicate on that passage in the BOM but here James Foust says it as the Mormon Church truly views it. Grace only kicks in “after all you can do” in Mormonism. There is no peace in that. For who can truly say they have done “all they can do?” In addition, as Paul said, “if it is by works” – which is exactly what “all you can do” is – “then where is grace?” The peace that passes all understanding only comes from approaching God the way He has told us to approach Him… to the throne of grace with confidence knowing that our salvation has been assured by Him – not by us.

    Here is a link to the James E. Foust article.

    http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=b8088c6a47e0c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

    Darrell

  243. 246 Echo
    September 17, 2009 at 2:00 am

    Darrell, here is a quote from your LDS link for any LDS lurkers here:

    “All of us have sinned and need to repent TO FULLY PAY OUR PART OF THE DEBT. When we sincerely repent, the Savior’s magnificent Atonement PAYS THE REST OF THAT DEBT.”

    The Gospel of God’s Grace states that the entire debt we owe is paid in full:

    Mathew 18:32-34 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I CANCELED “ALL” THAT DEBT OF YOURS BECAUSE YOU BEGGED ME TO. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.”

    That is mercy, that is GRACE!

  244. September 17, 2009 at 2:44 am

    So the power of grace does not kick in until one fully repents. Som might say, “Well, that is fine because I have repented and continue to do so.” Unfortunately, studying what the LDS Church teaches about repentence leads to some pretty startling facts as well. True repentance as defined by the LDS Church is not really possible. lds.org has this to say:

    “Although confession is an essential element of repentance, it is not enough. The Lord has said, “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them” (D&C 58:43). We must maintain an unyielding, permanent resolve that we will never repeat the transgression. . . . Full obedience brings the complete power of the gospel into our lives . . .”

    Here is the link:

    http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&sourceId=51969daac5d98010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=bbd508f54922d010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

    So it is not enough to just ask for forgiveness. You must also completely abandon the sin. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t think of too many sins that I have COMPLETELY abandoned. Some might say, “Well, of course I can think of some. Look at all the REALLY bad things I don’t do anymore. I don’t swear anymore, I don’t sleep around on my spouse or view porn, etc.” And for that I say, “Good for you.” However, what about all the other things you do? Thinking poorly of your neighbor, looking upon a woman to lust after her, getting angry while not being justified, greed, yelling at someone, etc. Christ set the bar PRETTY HIGH in the sermon on the mount. He said if you get angry without being justifed you have committed murder! Have you TRULY abandoned all of these “little” sins? Well, if not, according to Mormon teachings you have not fully repented and therefore, the atonement does not kick in for you in those areas. And, guess what, you are, as a result,unfit for God. Because even one sin, no matter how small, makes you unworthy to be with God. In addition, according to Mormon teaching anytime you repeat a sin all the other times you have committed it come back upon you. So, every time you get angry while being unjustified you bring back EVERY OTHER TIME YOU HAVE DONE THAT. And each time, according to Christ, is like committing murder. How many times have you done that in you life? Can you honestly say you won’t do it again? If not, you are going to have to pay for THEM ALL because you have not truly repented.

    Now, compare that with true Grace which is unmerited and given based only upon Him – not upon us. How freeing that is!! Praise God!!

    Darrell

  245. 248 Echo
    September 17, 2009 at 4:27 am

    God’s law sets the bar at perfection and nothing short of it. There is no “peace” with God, without perfection. I know from personal experience when I was an unbeliever.

    One “little” sin is really not a “little” sin in the eyes of God. Our one little sin makes us breakers of God’s ENTIRE LAW:

    James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point IS GUILTY OF BREAKING ALL OF IT”

    Again, we can never find peace with God without perfection. One little sin makes us a guilty as the vilest offender who ever lived according to James 2:10. We are either a law breaker or a law keeper. It is an all or nothing deal. But our sins testify to us that we are all law breakers rather than law keepers.

    Without the gospel of peace, our sins will always rob us of the peace that God wants us to have.

    But God has, in his grace, provided peace with God, in the “Gospel of Peace.” (Eph 6:15 “…gospel of peace”):

    The perfection of Jesus imputed to us forever, all our sins have been forgiven. We now have peace with God. Amen!

  246. 249 Echo
    September 17, 2009 at 4:31 am

    Darrell,

    Since you like analogies, have you read this one? It is one of my favorites!

    http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?1518&cuTopic_topicID=45&cuItem_itemID=18101

  247. December 5, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    nice post here mate! It’s great to finally see other people online that think the same way that I do! im gonna save your website in my favorites so i can come back later!

  248. December 8, 2009 at 3:14 am

    Nice post, I do understand what you are saying but don’t totally agree with it


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