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Author Topic: no physical death before the fall.
jana at jade house
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Even with 40 years of membership AND with some apologetics background, I seem to have missed this memo. I missed it in the scriptures, I missed it in Institute class, I missed it in firesides, I missed it in Sunday School.

But I think I have seen it here twice I think just recently. Please educate me--

Starting from the point of Adam and Eve did not have blood so they could not decay before the Fall. Or, from the point that they were prevented from going past the tree of life so they would not stay in their probative state and be that way for eternity, frustrating the Plan.

Or does this include all of Creation, even that outside of the Garden of Eden? And why is anything outside the Garden of Eden important before the Fall from the perspective of the Plan of Salvation?

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Taalcon
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quote:
Starting from the point of Adam and Eve did not have blood
The idea of No Blood Before The Fall was not based on a revelation. It was a speculation begun by Orson Pratt, and then revived by Joseph Fielding Smith to combat evolutionSee here for a history of that.

[ March 05, 2012, 08:59 PM: Message edited by: Taalcon ]

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jana at jade house
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Thank you for that contribution.
Thus a teaching that has been witnessed to by at least three General Authorities and published in teaching manuals of the Church which have been carefully edited and examined by people set apart and authorized for that task is also suspect?

Yikes! and the dissenters of the Church think we are a bunch of mindless spiritual robotic lemmings in lockstep.

I am still interested in learning why the original topic is considered by some to be folklore.

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stevet
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The key is the scientific evidence.

The fossil record indicates live has been on Earth for a billion plus years of its existence.

And, it shows progressive evolution.

The key issue is how do the scriptural stories mesh with the scientific evidence. BYU's scientists do a pretty good job of arguing that evolution & ancient life can be reconciled but one must not be as literalistic as assumed in the past.

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AndrewR
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quote:
The idea of No Blood Before The Fall was not based on a revelation.
Nope - it's based on the fact that Adam and Eve were the litteral offspring of immortal beings.

They could not die! Blood brought death to them.

The "breath of life" given to Adam was his spirit - not blood.

Spirit energised their bodies and controlled them.

Blood took over that role in a way that ingited baser passions. Now our spirit must overcome the mortal body and control it.

Andrew R.

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Jim Clay
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Jana,
quote:
Starting from the point of Adam and Eve did not have blood so they could not decay before the Fall.
I tend to agree with Taalcon on this. It may be true, it may not. While it is an interesting topic I would not consider it all that important.
quote:
Or, from the point that they were prevented from going past the tree of life so they would not stay in their probative state and be that way for eternity, frustrating the Plan.
Yes, though I would have said it a little differently. They were not allowed to partake of the tree of life, because then they wouldn't have had a probationary time (Alma 12:23-24,26). It appears to me that mortality, somehow, is related to changeability.
quote:
Or does this include all of Creation, even that outside of the Garden of Eden?
We don't know.
quote:
And why is anything outside the Garden of Eden important before the Fall from the perspective of the Plan of Salvation?
It isn't.

I'll add my $0.02, and feel free to ignore it. The scriptures are very clear that there was no death before the fall. As stevet notes, the scientific evidence clearly does not agree on this point. It's possible that the pre-fall conditions only applied to the garden, it's possible God created an elaborate set of evidence to really work our faith (please note that I am saying this mostly tongue in cheek). My official position is that I don't know how it all went down, though I have transitioned from being a "creation literalist" to being open to it being an allegorical account.

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Herr Jones
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How about no death for people before the Fall? If Adam and Eve are the first people, no-one before them died.
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FlyByNight
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I've always read the scripture as saying Adam and Eve were immortal till they partook of the tree of knowledge. I've never seen anything other than speculation that anything else on earth was immortal.

I have opinions and thoughts and theories about that time. However, my conclusions are not the same conclusions as some, and similar to others.

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Taalcon
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What I think we all agree on:

We all previously dwelt in the presence of God in a state where death wasn't possible, or even coherent.

We all previously made a specific choice resulting in our cominging - or falling you may say - into a mortal body that we could become separated from, making death now a thing.

We all chose to do something at some point that caused us to fall spiritually out of line with the will and unity of God.

We all now need to look to Jesus Christ to get us back on track and at-one with the divine unity.

That's the doctrine of the fall that is universal, personal, and not subject to or relying on blaming (or praising?) any one possible person in any one historical location.

It's the doctrine of the fall that speaks to me, and doesn't give me a desire or need to find a pair of historical ancestors whose acts resulted in the fundamental laws of nature and biology being substantially changed and redefined for all living beings on the face of the earth.

I find the many different versions of the Adam and Eve story powerful, true, and inspired. But not as anything in any way needed to be historically corroborated in all its details.


For those interested in seeing the different positions and ideas had in LDS thought over the years on these things, there's a FANTASTIC in depth series (in progress) on the developing and changing views of the Fall (and Adam and Eve) in Mormon thought from Joseph Smith to the present over at the blog Pieran Spring (I recommend reading them in order):

Understanding the Fall in Mormonism – Part I: Lost and Fallen
Understanding the Fall in Mormonism – Part II: Fortunate Redemption
Understanding the Fall in Mormonism – Part III: Adam to Michael
Understanding the Fall in Mormonism – Part IV: The Fall of Man Meets the Plurality of Worlds
Understanding the Fall in Mormonism – Part V: From Sin to Transgression
Early Understandings of Adam and Eve: Brigham Young and Orson Pratt
Early Understandings of Adam and Eve: Woodruff to Whitney
The Conflicting Commandments Theory: John Andreas Widtsoe

[ March 06, 2012, 11:42 AM: Message edited by: Taalcon ]

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Jean Valjean
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We share something like 96% of our DNA with chimpanzees. Yes, the 4% is awfully important. It's still just 4%. We also have vestigial tails (a relative very painfully broke his once) and vestigial muscles that can no longer move our ears (President Monson duly excepted.) Our appendices may serve a useful function for keeping the colon populated with beneficial bacteria, but otherwise it's a vestigial organ as well. It seems to me that when Man was not found on Earth, the higher primates were the clay from which the Lord shaped us.

I do not know what the physics of the Garden of Eden were. I do not believe Orson Pratt or Joseph F. Smith knew what the physics of the Garden of Eden were. It does seem like the Garden of Eden operated on different physical laws than our world. It was, in some sense, not a part of our world. Eastern Missouri certainly isn't a Garden of Eden today (no offense intended to any tarheels reading this.) I am open to this possibility: <SPECULATION>When Adam was reshaped from the biological "clay" the Lord found here, thus becoming fit to host the spirit of Michael, he was originally physically sustained in a way that postponed physical deterioration indefinitely. Since controlled physical deterioration (apoptosis) is absolutely indispensable for development of a fetus, this precluded Eve having children. The means by which this was done is symbolized by the Tree of Life. Satan persuaded Adam and Eve to take actions that interrupted this sustaining mechanism with the promise of knowledge, symbolized by the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. When Adam and Eve were cut off from the Tree of Life because of their transgression, physical deterioration commenced, possibly at a much reduced rate (if one accepts the long lifespan of the patriarchs as literally true.)</SPECULATION> Y'know, that would make a pretty good science fiction story. I'll leave that to OSC since he's better at that sort of thing.

I am also open to the possibility that the story of the Creation and Fall is mostly allegory, particularly since Adam means "Man" in Hebrew. However, that poses the question of when allegory ends and literal history begins. I do not know how an allegory can preside at the second Council of Adam-Ondi-Ahman, so until we receive further light and knowledge -- which we have not been promised prior to Christ's return -- I'll go with the last official First Presidency statements on the topic, which tell me to leave the study of the physical aspects of Creation to the sciences, but with the caveat that we are duty-bound for the present to regard Adam as our primal parent.

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jana at jade house
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I have ideas about extra scriptural subjects but since they are neither important nor peculiar to the Plan of Salvation it usually takes quite a provocation for me to cross swords over those subjects. Apologetics dialogue is supposed to be an exchange of ideas without derogatory slur. It does happen.

Adam and Eve having blood may not be word for word defined in any standard work. Whether they had blood or not is not obviously part of the set of information required to pass though the Gates.

Today, I fall on the side of no blood in the Garden: perhaps what kept them "alive" and in a state to learn is a process that my considerably less than Godlike brain can understand. Life force in Eden is not the only extra-mortal bodily function which I posit is so very different than what we mortals can even imagine that it has not been totally revealed. For now "blood"is fine. I am waiting further instruction by the Lord's anointed.

But I was provoked and spent some sleepless hours pondering and fretting over this from the CES thread by jlm:
quote:
nonsense folk doctrine during church, e.g. no physical death before the fall.
With GA witness AND curriculum guides to the contrary, a member without stewardship over curriculum calling that line of thought nonsense folk doctrine is troublesome. And demeaning to those who profess it.
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Jean Valjean
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I believe it is possible to disbelieve "no death before the fall", and point to what appear to be its folklore origins, without demeaning those who believe it.

Can those who believe in "no death before the fall" disagree that it is folklore without demeaning Taalcon, Jim Clay, James E. Talmadge, and B.H. Roberts?

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Jim Clay
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Hmmm, I had no idea that there were people in the Church that considered the "no death" thing to be folklore. As I said, there are numerous canonical scriptures that, to my mind, make it pretty clear. Perhaps, as FlyByNight said, they mean "no death for Adam and Eve, but death for everything else".
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Taalcon
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Here's the article on FAIRLDS.ORG on the subject: Mormonism and Science/Death Before The Fall
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jana at jade house
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It is the word nonsense preceding folklore that makes it demeaning. Folklore often has an event, a reality, that sparked it. Folklore does not connote valueless: to some, the entire Adam and Eve story ( of which there are several) just might be folklore. To some, Job might be folk lore (even made up of whole cloth). Some OT prophets also might be partially folklore. But to add "nonsense" to it is rather poor choice of word, I think.
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Jean Valjean
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Jana: Just so.
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jlm
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Someone lost sleep over one of my comments? Wow.

I will defend my use of the word "nonsense" though. The applicable definition here from Webster's is:

b (1) : language, conduct, or an idea that is absurd or contrary to good sense

The idea that no plants or animals died prior the evolution (whoops, sorry) ...the introduction of man is absurd and contradicts the paleotological record.

Assuming that the Adam/Eve account is more than just allogory, my belief is that Adam's mortal tabernacle gave him an evolutionary leap in intelligence, rendering him accountable in the eyes of God. Eve may have been a parallel leap, but the math doesn't bear that up, so my best guess is that Eve was probably Adam's daughter through a non-accountable pre-Adamite. Being his daughter Eve inherited Adam's accountablity. When grown, Adam and Eve were then led to the garden of Eden where they lived in a transfigured state.

Again, all of this is pure speculation on my part, and as such I would never share it in a church setting.

As for an appeal to ancient scripture, I would hope that our light and knowledge is greater than what they had thousands of years ago. IMHO, the most current witness, either revelatory or empirical, out weighs a really old one.

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Taalcon
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I don't see why those who accept part of the story as allegorical (snake, fully formed from dust, woman from Rib) still feel they need to try to keep part of the trappings of the story as literal (eating fruit, immortal in a garden,etc.).

Again, I feel there's much true, inspired, and beneficial we can learn (and different things) from the different versions of the Adam and Eve Garden story. I don't think any of those things, however, are necessarily historical and need to be wrapped up .

I love the Temple experience. I am greatly edified by it, and challenged by it. I don't view it, however, as a history documentary.

Same way I feel about Jesus' parables. I'm not interested in historically and trivially verifying the details of his parables. I am, however, very interested in finding what is applicable and practical in them, and making it a part of my life.

[ March 06, 2012, 02:04 PM: Message edited by: Taalcon ]

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jlm
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Trappings? No one truely knows how much of the garden myth is based on history and how much is purely metephorical. So I see no harm is letting everyone develop their own form of the narrative. In the long run, these details are unimportant.
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Jean Valjean
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quote:
I don't see why those who accept part of the story as allegorical (snake, fully formed from dust, woman from Rib) still feel they need to try to keep part of the trappings of the story as literal (eating fruit, immortal in a garden,etc.).
I don't see why those who accept part of the story as allegorical feel they need to conclude that the whole thing is allegorical.
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The_Monk
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Metaphor vs history as the only two options creates a false dichotomy and is a really bad way of framing the issue.

It's a question of genres.

And in the long run, some people leave the Church because of insisting CES teachers or random GAs (not aware of any recently) who falsely insist that we must read Genesis purely as a history, with occasional metaphors thrown in. When confronted with a hard and obvious disparity between their college class and their CES guy, most of them go with their college class.

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jana at jade house
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quote:
Someone lost sleep over one of my comments? Wow.
Yes, and until about an hour ago I couldn't figure out what the disconnect was.

I teach a very narrow scope. I don't teach science and history, per se. I teach scriptures that are in the quad. I teach them the best way I can. I loosely use the church manuals to guide the direction of the instruction: and our main theme is how the doctrine in the scripture all fit in the Plan of Salvation and personal application. If the Seminary of the future is going to demand history and science background of the teachers, and apologetic defense, then as I have said elsewhere, it is not as sad a day as I thought that I will be released soon.
I would have to demand a degree in religious studies with a minor in science for myself to feel close to competent to teach the way it looks like the hoped for curriculum will dictate. And, actually with just a few courses I could get just that qualification.
Sadly, here in University is only for the young land, it excludes anyone over 25 automatically.

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Redd
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quote:
Sadly, here in University is only for the young land, it excludes anyone over 25 automatically.
YIKES [Eek!]
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jana at jade house
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Since our universities are not open to anyone , and classes are strictly limited, and they are government (tax) supported, a student a finite time to get your university degree and then get out there and contribute to the next generation. The benefit of this is that a young graduate does not have a huge debt load, the community has paid his schooling ( for the better part) and he is expected to compensate by contributing in his turn to educational pot.
We don't have the luxury of offering remedial classes past age 16 ( other kinds of schools for people that are not university bound are many,) and we don't have the option of a ten or 20 year plan for degrees.
We do have wonderful continuing education programs for older students too but they usually aren't degree programs. Our teachers for instance are trained with a certificate not degreed in the same way that US teachers are at the primary and elementary levels. There are programs for career switch- but none are university level--
Since I already have a bachelor plus, I have had "my opportunity"; at 62 I would not be granted a chair over an 18 year old.

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mhooner
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quote:
educational pot
Is that more potent than straight weed?
[Razz]

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AndrewR
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quote:
The key is the scientific evidence.

The fossil record indicates live has been on Earth for a billion plus years of its existence.


And where there is none? It's just magic?

What is the scientific evidence for translation? Or, Christ's miracles?

In order to create a human being God needed billions of years?

Why? We believe that God (Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother) are physical beings. There is a time trusted means for created a human baby from two human parents - and it doesn't taken billions of years.

I am quite happy to believe that the creative process of organising matter and developing a sustainable planet for humans to reside on take a very long time.

However, my wife and I have managed to produce 8 offspring. I am sure we will still be capable in our exalted state.

And, like I said what about other processes not given by science.

Did Christ turn water into wine?

Or, knowing that the wine containers were stained red, and the people so drunk they would not notice, he added water - coloured the water red - and no one noticed.

Either we believe in a God who can excersise priesthood (the force) power, or we don't.

Andrew R.

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Jason
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Why would we call Christ the 'Only the Begotten of the Father' if Adam was also a literal physical child of God?

Our bodies are so similar to all other life on earth that they must have come from the same process.

Just because we are learning how some of the miracles occurred does not make them any less miraculous. God knows the physical mechanisms behind the miracles. He knows how faith physically works. He knows how the priesthood physically works. It is not a magic box to him. We are promised that we will learn all that, too.

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JennaDean
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quote:
I don't see why those who accept part of the story as allegorical (snake, fully formed from dust, woman from Rib) still feel they need to try to keep part of the trappings of the story as literal (eating fruit, immortal in a garden,etc.).
This sounds a lot like some of my non-religious acquaintances who mock those that believe in the bible. "You believe in the Bible literally? You mean you believe that God had a physical arm that literally stretched out over all the nations?" Etc, etc, ad nauseum.

We LDS are not (most of us) complete literalists. We recognize that parts of the biblical story are metaphorical but we also believe that parts are literal. I see no dichotomy in believing that there really was a Garden of Eden in which our literal first parents could not die, while also believing that it's possible the serpent was not actually a serpent and the action that caused death to come into the world was not actually eating a fruit. (I still think it could have been, but it's possible it wasn't.)

Why are we mocking people who believe the scriptures on an LDS board? I don't get this. In fact the only problem as I see it is not when people believe the scriptures, but when they recognize the disparity between the scriptures and what science is telling us and then try to make up reasons that make the two fit, instead of saying "I don't know." Reasons like, "Well God must have planted all those dinosaur bones in the earth when he put it together, since dinosaurs couldn't have existed if there was no death before the fall;" or, "Adam and Eve must have really evolved from other animals, and then when there were two primates smart enough to be called human, God put them in the Garden;" or any other explanation.

It's fine to speculate to ourselves, I suppose. We're supposed to study and try to understand. But teaching that sort of thing in Seminary is where the trouble creeps in -- whether we teach a too-literal explanation or a too-scientific one that discounts most of what is said in the scriptures as "metaphorical".

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Taalcon
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quote:
In order to create a human being God needed billions of years?

Why? We believe that God (Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother) are physical beings. There is a time trusted means for created a human baby from two human parents - and it doesn't taken billions of years.

I am quite happy to believe that the creative process of organising matter and developing a sustainable planet for humans to reside on take a very long time.

However, my wife and I have managed to produce 8 offspring. I am sure we will still be capable in our exalted state.

I find the idea of Resurrected Undying Celestial Beings whose sexual offspring are Terrestrial beings (or just spirits?) who can then be physically changed to become dying mortals because they ate a fruit nonsensical.

Of course, there are many who feel the idea of God allowing the natural processes of the Universe to work out, and then letting spirits enter suitable bodies as hosts once found capable is also nonsensical [Wink] To each their own.

[ March 08, 2012, 09:32 AM: Message edited by: Taalcon ]

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Taalcon
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quote:
But if we believe that Christ created the earth (using whatever process) then we must acknowledge that He can use Law and Power in ways that we don't fully understand yet.
In addition, we can consider the concept of Functional Creation, where Creation = Giving Purpose/Fucntion to, rather that forming like a clay sculpture. That the earth and life on it had no inherent divine purpose, until he arrived, brought his Children here, and created/gave it (and the humans on it) a divine, exalted purpose.

A great quote from a fascinating blog post on the history, culture, genre and context of Genesis:

quote:
A corporation doesn’t exist just because it has a building or a sign out front. Think of God as CEO, and the building is already there. What he does is assign employees their jobs, how they’ll interact, and what they’re supposed to do; once all of those are in place, the CEO takes his seat in the head office, and opens for business. Now everyone knows what to do, the company can begin to carry out those functions as assigned, as assured and watched over by the CEO.

Bara’ then, the word translated as “create” may well, under the hood, mean something like “to assign a function within a system.” Prior to being bara‘ed, it would be tohu and bohu, functionless. Walton lays this out in great detail with plenty of evidence from within the Hebrew Bible and texts from the surrounding civilizations. It solves a multitude of problems, and I’m quite excited about it.

Just as Joseph Smith taught the principle God found eternally existing spirits, gathered them, and adopted them by Covenant (thus 'creating' them as His Children), I love pondering the idea that the natural processes were going on in the Universe, God found this beautiful world, and gave it purpose by using it as a place those intelligences He had guided and taken under his wing could enter and progress and have an experience similar to an experience He had formerly benefited from.

Just also, as we are baptized and recieve the Holy Ghost, we become "A New Creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.", Mosiah 27: 25-26, " And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be aborn again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his esons and daughters;
And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.")

[ March 08, 2012, 11:48 AM: Message edited by: Taalcon ]

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AndrewR
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quote:
I love pondering the idea that the natural processes were going on in the Universe, God found this beautiful world, and gave it purpose by using it as a place those intelligences He had guided and taken under his wing could enter and progress and have an experience similar to an experience He had formerly benefited from.


So God didn't create the universe? He simply resides in it. He did not create an earth, that He will celestialise as our Eternal Home, for us to go through a mortal probabtion on?

And if evolution happened slightly differently I guess we may not have looked quite like God.

Not quite sure that JSj taught that God found existing spirits. More that He was one of us (us being co-eternal with God) and He progressed beyond us and He desired us to be like Him. Which is the same postion I hope to be in some day.

Andrew R.

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Taalcon
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quote:
Not quite sure that JSj taught that God found existing spirits. More that He was one of us (us being co-eternal with God) and He progressed beyond us and He desired us to be like Him. Which is the same postion I hope to be in some day.
I don't see what difference you're making.

I love the parallel with Missionary work - seeking out and finding (with a companion?) those prepared to progress, and guiding them and inviting them to Covenant and begin their New Creation.

[ March 08, 2012, 12:08 PM: Message edited by: Taalcon ]

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Taalcon
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And of course I'm speculating.

But the idea brings a beauty and coherence to the divine story that speaks to me and inspires me and motivates me in a way the traditional understanding has not.

[ March 08, 2012, 12:14 PM: Message edited by: Taalcon ]

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cook
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Talcoon, I'll be excited to meet you in the eternities one day and hear what is your understanding about things then. I hope you think and theorize your actions as much as you seem to do for all gospel teachings and principles.
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FlyByNight
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quote:
Why are we mocking people who believe the scriptures on an LDS board?
Completely agree with this.

Each of us is entitled to our own personal speculations. I think telling someone they are flat out wrong when there isn't a scripture to support the assertion is like unto counting to 5 with the holy hand grenade.

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Taalcon
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Cook,

I'm a far, far more compassionate person now than I was even a few short years ago. I'm deeply flawed, and I'll be the first person to admit it. I used to study for the sake of knowledge. I'll admit that. Now I study for the sake of application. I now find no value in a fact that can't be applied, drive me to action, or guide me towards being something better, or being better to someone else.

My world has substantially changed once I started approaching things in this way. My love for the Savior and the Gospel, the Earth, all of God's children, and the potential of the Church has increased by leaps and bounds. Which is why I find it frustrating when I've been accused of being a faithless apostate by some here for having different perspective on things.

Because, to me, my faith and desire and drive to serve has never been greater in all my life. There's still SO much room for improvement. But at least now the drive and motivation is there.

I've come to the point where I really like who I'm in the process of becoming.

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Taalcon
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quote:
quote:

I don't see why those who accept part of the story as allegorical (snake, fully formed from dust, woman from Rib) still feel they need to try to keep part of the trappings of the story as literal (eating fruit, immortal in a garden,etc.).

This sounds a lot like some of my non-religious acquaintances who mock those that believe in the bible. "You believe in the Bible literally? You mean you believe that God had a physical arm that literally stretched out over all the nations?" Etc, etc, ad nauseum.
I hope you'll believe me that there was no intent here to mock. I was expressing something I honestly didn't grasp. I apologize if anyone was offended. I try very hard to phrase things in such as way that they will not be needlessly offensive. It appears I failed, and again, I apologize.

quote:
Why are we mocking people who believe the scriptures on an LDS board?
Again, I don't think I've done this. If you're referencing the statement given by another that launched this thread, I don't think he viewed it as mocking a belief in the scriptures, as much as expressing disdain for a particular problematic interpretation and extra-scriptural explanation and implication.

[ March 08, 2012, 01:48 PM: Message edited by: Taalcon ]

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scruffydog
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Let's not get into a row on this. So far, it has been interesting and polite. No one is being mocked and we have enough heat being generated elsewhere in Nauvoo without it happening here as well.

I have beliefs about the nature of the Universe that happily accommodate both the fact of God and the facts of science. I know how long people have been around on the planet and I have a great deal of suspicion about science that speculates without admitting that it is doing so.

I am perfectly comfortable with the fact that many members of the Church do not believe the same things as I do about the Universe, and that I do not believe the same things that they do about some aspects of scripture. None of these things are important. Believing in Jesus Christ, in His atonement, His conquering of death, that it is only through Him that we can return to the Father, of the need for repentance, of the need to be baptised, of the need to receive our endowments, and the need to endure till the end: these are the important things. I am pretty sure that all of us here agree on these things.

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Taalcon
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quote:
It doesn't require the rejection of science in order to embrace faith.
Bingo.
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Jean Valjean
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Hobbes: "But if I can't devour anyone, it won't be Heaven."
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