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» Nauvoo Forum » Nauvoo Classic Forum » Doctrines & Scholarship » The meaning of intelligence

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Author Topic: The meaning of intelligence
Janey
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Years ago, I heard someone give an interesting thought about D&C 130:18, which states: "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection."

IIRC, the speaker had studied Hebrew. He said that the Hebrew word "intelligence" referred to "experience with God." That makes sense, in that when the OT was written, education meant spiritual education in the traditions and doctrines of the Mosaic law. Secular education long post-dated that period. So if Joseph Smith was using "intelligence" in the Hebrew sense of the word, that scripture means that the experiences we have with God (through prayer and feeding the hungry, etc.) rise with us in the resurrection. I've heard lessons where that scripture gets discussed until it means that your college degrees give you righteousness brownie points.

So, is that a tenuous enough connection for you? I vaguely remember hearing someone offering a different interpretation of "intelligence" that maybe Joseph Smith meant to include when he chose that word to write this revelation.

Question: Does anyone know if the Hebrew word for intelligence or knowledge really does include the concept of experience with God rather than secular knowledge?

Then we have that neat scripture in D&C 93:36 that says, "The glory of God is intelligence." Well, if intelligence is experience with God, then experiencing the glory of God gives us more intelligence than you can imagine.

In John 17:22 in the Intercessory Prayer, Christ prays, "the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." If intelligence is experience with God, and the glory of God is intelligence, then maybe Christ is referring to the Mount of Transfiguration in this verse.

It's a bit convoluted for GD class so I probably won't bring it up on Sunday, but I thought it was interesting. I like the implications of saying 'intelligence' means your familiarity with the things of God.

[ June 29, 2007, 12:44 PM: Message edited by: Janey ]

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FlyByNight
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God knows every fact. So as we learn facts, we are learning the things of God. And in a sense becoming more familiar with Him.
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timmie59
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My understanding of intelligence is this, it is that force or ability to organize matter into physical bodies and is present in all living things. Plants take dirt and organize it into plant bodies humans take plant bodies and organize their elements into human bodies. The ability to do this is the glory of God or intelligence. After all it is what God did with Adam, taking dirt and organizing it into a physical body. We have been made stewards over a portion of God's glory/intelligence that has been organized in His image. We are to give an account one day of how we used this glory of God.

I believe that most if not all of what we learn in college is not learning at all but rather remembering what we knew as spirits before passing through the veil to come here and dwell. Our spirits know how to organize perfectly working bodies and repair them also yet we are not aware of this intelligence and study for years trying to understand how it is done.

I think what we actually learn in this life is how to live within and control a physical body with all of its passions and pains. That is what we must learn to become like our parents in heaven. That is the expierence with God or intelligence that we gain here.

Anyway that is how I have it figured out to this point. [Smile]

Tim

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Janey
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So intelligence and creation are connected. Interesting. That makes sense, given that one of God's names is Creator.
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dillfest
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quote:
Does anyone know if the Hebrew word for intelligence or knowledge really does include the concept of experience with God rather than secular knowledge?
Lexically speaking, no it doesn't.*
In terms of usage, however, "knowledge of God" is something special. The verb it comes from can also mean to be intimately associated with whether physical (ie. he knew his wife) or spiritual (ie. "other gods whom you have not known" the implication being that you DO know Yahweh.)

So, literally, no.


*Someone asked me the other day if the Hebrew word for Elder meant "defender of the faith." He was thinking of the following- "The term "elder," which is applied to all holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood, means a defender of the faith. That is our prime responsibility and calling. Every holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood is to be a defender of the faith.
Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, April 1970, p.54.

I explained that no, all the Biblical words translated as "elder" really do just mean "older man." When President Lee said this, he wasn't speaking literally or lexically. Rather, he was talking about human responsibility, to be an Elder means to be a defender of the faith.

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Janey
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Bummer. So my whole idea is invalid. Oh well. It was a cool thought while it lasted.
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fear of shiz
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I still think it is a cool thought. After all, if we all have an eternity to progress after this life, then what difference does it make how many facts we learn while we are here? So what if I know all the periodic table of the elements and five languages and the complete list of the kings of England? How will that give me an advantage in eternity?

The only really important kind of "knowing" in the eternal sense will be how well I know God. So I think this is a fantastic idea, and I appreciate you sharing it.

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dianoia
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Truth is truth. It is my belief that we create a divide between spiritual/secular matters that the Lord doesn't. I've felt the Spirit very strongly in zoology dissection labs as I have marvelled at how wonderfully put together all living things are. We are as beautiful on the inside as the outside.

That being said, there is also the principle of priorities, and devoting time to temple worship and scripture study. Being learned is just fine if it is coupled with humility. "The more I know, the more I realize how much I don't know."

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Janey
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quote:
To be honest, I bristle a little at anything that suggests that I made a mistake by studying while the jocks were off hitting on cheerleaders.
I'm not suggesting you made a mistake. Hitting on cheerleaders doesn't lead to experience with God (except possibly repentance).

I've heard people use the verse about intelligence rising with us in the resurrection to beat themselves up because they don't have much formal education, and don't consider themselves brainy smart. I like the idea that 'true' intelligence is experience with God, which is available even for those who can't get degrees. And experience with God is equally available for people who have lots of degrees.

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hiccups
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quote:
I think both are necessary.
I'd qualify this by saying "unto whom much is given, much is required." Some are not given much book intelligence or understanding in this life.

There are several types of intelligence and we are each given different amounts of different types. And we are each given different challenges to meet with the tools of our intelligences.

The world as a whole will not often appreciate the hard work and sacrifice you've put into learning, Kent. I'll bet Heavenly Father is pleased, though. [Wave]

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fear of shiz
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I wasn't knocking learning/studying with my comment. Goodness knows I am a huge geek, and always reading something. I love knowledge. I just wanted to say that I think Janey's thought was a cool one, because the best and most important knowledge is the Knowing of God.
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Randy
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D&C 93 has two very similar definitions of intelligence. In verse 29, intelligence is called the light of truth. In verse 36, intelligence is light and truth.
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dianoia
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quote:
I've heard people use the verse about intelligence rising with us in the resurrection to beat themselves up because they don't have much formal education
Honestly, it never occurred to me that intelligence in this context would be taken by someone to mean booklearnin' and degrees. To me that scripture always meant that all accrued wisdom in this life will come with us. Basically, that we will still be ourselves once we get to the other side.

My grandma only has her grade four education, but she is one of the wisest, smartest women I know.

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Janey
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dianoia, I guess it's because I've spent too much time in college wards. Maybe that interpretation never comes up in the real world.
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dianoia
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Or maybe it does, and I'm completely oblivious. [Wink]

I come from a family of well-educated people. My parents never used their degrees as an excuse to stop learning ie. now that I have a piece of paper, I can turn off my brain. To this day, they mostly get books for birthdays and Christmas.

And their passion for learning is also a thirst to learn more of the gospel. Dad told me a few years ago he simply doesn't understand people who get bored with the gospel. This makes me wonder if there's a connection between "secular" curiosity and "spiritual" curiosity. (And my aforementioned grandma with the grade four education? She's always got a book on the go, and had a professor tell her a few years ago that she's got the equivalent of a master's degree in history in her noggin.)

One thing I've tried to instill in my children is that their intelligence is a gift. To feel superior because school comes easy is foolish, like someone feeling that way because they're beautiful. These things aren't earned, they just are. I want them to feel satisfaction from training their minds, and working hard.

[ June 29, 2007, 10:02 PM: Message edited by: dianoia ]

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Homegirl
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Randy wrote:
quote:
D&C 93 has two very similar definitions of intelligence. In verse 29, intelligence is called the light of truth. In verse 36, intelligence is light and truth.
Setting aside the wordly definition of intelligence which goes something along the lines of "the wise use of knowledge": Yeah, I understand God's definition of intelligence to include the following synonyms: Glory, light, truth, spirit and knowledge of past/present/future. All taken from scriptural references (D&C 88 & D&C 93).

Knowledge is not the same as intelligence. As Bruce R. McConkie pointed out, Satan has knowledge but he does not have intelligence. Light & truth (i.e. intelligence) forsake the evil one (D&C 93:37). On the other hand, intelligence encompasses knowledge of every kind - scientific, emotional, social, historical, etc.

So in a sense, Janey, you are right. Intelligence does infer or presuppose experience with God because intelligence means light, truth, spirit and glory and we can only attain these things by living as God lives. To live as God lives we follow His example and His commandments and we attract intelligence to us (truth embraceth truth, light cleaveth unto light, etc. - D&C 88:40) in increments until we are fully perfected as He is and are the embodiment of intelligence.

Very cool discussion!

[ July 15, 2007, 06:43 PM: Message edited by: Homegirl ]

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Homegirl
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Posted by diaonoia:
quote:
Truth is truth. It is my belief that we create a divide between spiritual/secular matters that the Lord doesn't. I've felt the Spirit very strongly in zoology dissection labs as I have marvelled at how wonderfully put together all living things are. We are as beautiful on the inside as the outside.

That being said, there is also the principle of priorities, and devoting time to temple worship and scripture study. Being learned is just fine if it is coupled with humility. "The more I know, the more I realize how much I don't know."

Amen!
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