The Impact of Mormonism on the Enjoyment of God as an Artist

C.S. Lewis once wrote,

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most… The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing… to find the place where all the beauty came from.” – Till We Have Faces

In his essay “Christianity and Literature,” he also wrote,

“[An] author should never conceive of himself as bringing into existence beauty or wisdom that did not exist before, but simply and solely as trying to embody in terms of his own art some reflection of eternal Beauty and Wisdom. (“Christianity and Literature,” Journal of the Society of Christians in the Arts, Inc. 1, no. 2 (1975): 22)”

And Jerram Barrs writes in his article, “Christianity and the Arts” (PDF):

“Our work in any field of the arts will be imitative. We will be thinking God’s thoughts after Him—painting with His colors; speaking with His gift of language; exploring and expressing His sounds and harmonies; working with His creation in all its glory, diversity, and in-built inventiveness. In addition, we will find ourselves longing to make known the beauty of life as it once was in Paradise, the tragedy of its present marring, and the hope of our final redemption. All great art will contain this element of being an echo of Eden: Eden in its original glory, Eden that is lost to us, and Eden restored.” (pg 7)

The last two of three quotes above were taken from this Desiring God blog post.

I’ve had this blog post in draft mode for quite some time, and I think its timing is ironic. This past Tuesday I had two LDS missionaries over for dinner and we got to talking about the glory of God. One of them, Elder J., described God’s gifts as “hand-me-down” gifts (that is his word), since God has what he has, especially knowledge and power, after having learned it from another God.

Is your God a “hand-me-down” Artist? When you find the God of this earth, are you really finding where all the ultimate beauty comes from? When you consider nature and beauty and happiness and eternal law[1] and the plan of salvation (whatever you think all that is), do you think of it all as ultimately coming from our God, or having been passed down a chain of gods?

I want to know where all the beauty really comes from, and then worship (worship, after all, is the consummation of my pleasure and delight). If our God is not the Ultimate Artist then I will go in search of the one who is.

[1] “The laws and ordinances by which men and women are exalted in the celestial kingdom of our God are eternal and do not change—and because they are eternal, they predate even God.” (Alonzo Gaskill, Odds Are, You’re Going to Be Exalted: Evidence That the Plan of Salvation Works, p. 8, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2008)

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95 Responses to The Impact of Mormonism on the Enjoyment of God as an Artist

  1. falcon says:

    The problem for Mormons is that the Mormon god is really not magnificent as is the God who is worshipped by Christians. Mormonism reduces their god to manageable terms. In fact the Mormon god is comprehensible while the God of the Bible is incomprehensible. The Mormon god is a former man who had a beginning, being the offspring of another Mormon god and his (goddess) wife. The Mormon god having been the spiritual offspring of the Mormon grandfather god then became a man. Through a series of tests, the Mormon god progressed and is still in a progressive mode. Having been a man, the Mormon god was subject to all human frailities including being sinful. The Mormon god is limited. The God of the Bible had no beginning. He is magnificent. We can’t comprehend Him. He is pure.
    Joseph Smith arranged to have a god that allowed him, in fact demanded, plural wives to reach the pinacle of godhood. With this stroke of genius, Smith invented a god, to fullfill the desires of his sinful flesh and his maglomania. Smith’s doctrine allowed him to have an endless supply of sexual partners in this world as a man and to continue his lust in eternity as a god.
    Smith’s deception isn’t that clever, but it is appealing and it feels good to those willing to take the bait. What a poor trade Mormons make. Abandoning God for a graven image of themselves.

  2. Walrus says:

    To which Christianity do we not resemble? That of todays or that of 0-400AD?
    Early Christian theologists such as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Justin Martyr, Hippolytus, Athanasius and even Augustine and Jerome made statements regarding the deification of man as communally accepted.

    According to Christian scholar G.L. Prestige, the ancient Christians “taught that the destiny of man was to become like God, and even to become deified.”
    (William Ralph Inge, Christian Mysticism (London, Metheun & Co., 1948[1899]), 13, 356.)
    Joseph Fitzmyer wrote:
    The language of 2 Peter is taken up by St. Irenaeus, in his famous phrase, ‘if the Word has been made man, it is so that men may be made gods; (adv. Haer v, pref.), And becomes the standard in Greek theology. In the fourth century St. Athanasius repeats Irenaeus almost word for word, and in the fifth century St. Cyril of Alexandria says that we shall become sons ‘by participation’ (Greek methexis). Deification is the central idea in the spirituality of St. Maximus the confessor, for whom the doctrine is corollary of the incarnation: ‘deification, briefly, is the encompassing and fulfillment of all times and ages’,…and St. Symeon the new theologian at the end of the tenth century writes, ‘he who is God by nature converses with those whom he has made gods by grace, as a friend converses with his friends, face to face…’
    Finally, it should be noted that deification does not mean absorption into God, since the deified creature remains itself and distinct. It is the whole human being, body and soul, who is transfigured in the spirit into the likeness of the divine nature, and deification is the goal of every Christian. (Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Pauline Theology: a brief sketch (Prentice-Hall, 1967), 42. AISN B0006BQTCQ)
    The consensus among those who lived just after the apostles is contrary to your current perspective. It appears as though Mormons resemble the early Christian church more so than you stated. MUCH more so.

  3. Berean says:

    Yes, I’ve been gone for a while working on some research projects…thought I’d come by for a visit today to take a break. Anyway, I guess that’s a “no deal” on your part.

    Correct, the word “Gods” is not in the Bible. Yes, the word “gods” is and it is not talking about deity but in many cases is referring to idols. Defender needs to look closely again at Genesis and tell us here where the word “Gods” (capital “G”) is located. The Mormon’s re-write of Genesis in Moses and Abraham doesn’t match up. Why did Joseph Smith need to re-write the Book of Genesis (namely verse 1:26) twice in the Book of Moses and Abraham? Why doesn’t Moses 2:26 and Abraham 4:26 match up? “God” in Moses, “Gods” in Abraham – is there confusion at Kolob?

    You addressed the key difference between Mormons and Christians when you said, “I am saying that we are the same species, that He is our Father”. No, you aren’t the same “species” as the divine. He is God – you aren’t and never will be anything close to Him and neither will I. God is a spirit (John 4:24) and man was made in His image in which we have a spirit (Ecl 12:7). Were you made in the image of Christ in Genesis 1:26? If so, I guess there is a problem because at this point in Mormon theology Jesus does not have a physical body and is a spirit because He is still in the preexistent state. The Mormon holy ghost is a spirit man so two out of three in Mormonism at this point are spirits.

    Just because man has a body of flesh, bones and blood doesn’t mean that the God of the Bible does. The BoM doesn’t agree with idea of the Mormon god having a physical body (Alma 18 & 22). Then again, the BoM doesn’t say that the Mormon god is an exalted man – “most correct book on earth”? If the author (Mormon god) didn’t tell the truth about who he is (an exalted man with flesh and bones), he broke the commandments of bearing false witness and lying. God doesn’t lie (Heb 6:18; Enos 1:6; Ether 3:12). The promise of Moroni 10 is nullified on these points among others.

    Seems like you are backtracking on your earlier hints regarding 1 John 3:2-3. I know Mormons reference this when they talk about being just like God one day or becoming a god (exaltation).

  4. Walrus says:

    God being incomprehensable serves as a problem…
    John 17: 3
    3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
    If you cannot comprehend God then you cannot truly comprehend the gospel or its meaning or its purpose. To not comprehend God is to not comprehend His son is to not comprehend ourselves as sons and daughters to a Heavenly Father.
    As for your comments in general…they are combative, condiscending, divisive, and altogether unchristlike. Egging on a fight as to who’s God is better? Why would you incite contention?
    No wonder those with whom you speak elapse to bearing their testimony for your heart is too hard to receive naught but what you yourself have placed into it, your neck too stiff to look to the right or left and absorb all the evidence that is around you. You mock the bearing ‘testimony’ …replace testimony with faith. That is what is being borne, an expression of faith. Faith IS required…not evidence. I know a person who will spit on your faith as readily as he would mine or anyone else of any other faith. He carries the same spirit you do, Falcon, except he favors athiesm. He asks, “Where is Noah’s ark? Where is this flood evidence? How is mankind only 6000 yrs old, or how isn’t Earth billions of years old?” Evidence is the crux of man, Faith the definer of the saints of God. His almighty hand is all around to be seen, but we must needs have believing eyes to see it…our hearts must be full of hope and faith, not doubt and scepticism. How would one ever know that the Bible was the Word of God if they approached it as you do the Book of Mormon or ‘mormonism’? They wouldn’t..nay, they couldn’t. Christ healed in front of all…but only a portion believed. Why? Because they had at least a hope that Christ was the Messiah. One of LDS faith could preform a miracle in your presence and yet you would not believe that it was wrought by the power of God.
    14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
    15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
    16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. (Moroni 7:14-16)

  5. Berean says:

    One sure way to determine whether we are made in the image of God or not is to conduct an exercise. This requires getting up from the computer and going to look in the mirror to see if what we see is what the Bible says is the image of God according to the Mormon view if they want to take liberties with Genesis 1:26. I just did this after showering and nope, I guess I didn’t make the cut.

    The Mormons say that their god is an exalted man and we are made in his image. Okay…I turned around in the mirror and didn’t see any wings or feathers coming out of my back so I guess I’m not made in the image of God since God must have these physical characteristics (Psalms 91:4). I also stuck out my tongue and realized that I am not made in the image of God (Christ) since I don’t have a sword for a tongue like Jesus does (Revelation 1:16). Jesus is also bread (John 6:41) and a door (John 10:9). I guess I missed out on obtaining those physical attributes as well.

    You get the point? Mormons would be well served to do some studying in Biblical hermeneutics or do they even offer this at BYU? Anytime you make God out to be a big man, this is the “sword” you will fall on.

    It’s been fun, but it’s back to work. I look forward to more discussions next year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

    Berean

  6. gundeck says:

    Walrus,

    God is incomprehensible yet knowable. Isaiah 40:18; Isaiah 55:8, 9; Job 11:7; Psalm 145:3; Romans 11:33-36 etc. You seem to be making the liberal theological argument in reverse. If I understand your argument unless we can comprehend God totally we have a lack of faith?

    Rest assured the finite (creature) cannot comprehend exhaustively the Infinite (Creator), “finitum non possit capere infinitum”. Our knowledge of God is finite, incomplete, imperfect, and totally dependant on His Revelation.

  7. mrgermit says:

    AARON: I’ve had a DEVIL of a time logging in, so I re-registered as mrgermit; I’m still in the system as germit, so if you want to delete that set-up (germit) or tell me how to notify wordpress or whatever…..I dont’ want to be seen as bending the rules or I’ll NEVER get my own Kolob.

    Welcome back FALCON and BEREAN, you guys have been missed, but we there is a time and a season for everything.

    Walrus: in answer to your question a few posts ago: I”LL TAKE THE GENIE: a creative power over one that merely organizes pre-existing matter. Not a tough choice at all. Welcome to Mormon Coffee.

  8. GB says:

    To quote Talmage accurately would be helpful.

    ‘In Psalm 82:6, judges invested by DIVINE APPOINTMENT are called “gods.” ‘ (emphasis mine).

    Sorry but the self appointed Pharisees don’t meet the requirement, unless you are claiming that Jesus’ was then and there APPOINTING them to be His judge.

    How is Jesus’ declaration, (if as you claim that he was referring to the Pharisees as judges), a defense against blasphemy?

  9. Nathan16 says:

    “How much more creativity is needed to sculpt and mold materials with set properties and limits and yet be limitless with your creations rather than having genie like abilities and -POOF-, its there.”

    The analogy is flawed. You see, it’s not as simple as “having genie like abilities and -POOF-, its there”. You could say, “God just thought of a world, and POOF, it was there.” But strictly speaking, that means God would have to invent ideas (information that is thought). God would have to invent the process by which His ideas are turned into creations. God invented matter, God invented abilities. See, you seem to have the idea of God saying, “Let’s make a world,” when the idea of world, or making, didn’t even exist. God had to invent those. A closer analogy would be more like, “Let’s make something out of something other than matter or energy, and other than any of its opposing forms, like antimatter.” Can you think of anything like that? It requires a creative mind to think of that. Much more creative than a genie that imagines something that already exists, at least as an idea.
    By the way, by saying that matter and energy do not cease to exist by our means, it does not automatically follow that they were not brought into existence by something beyond our means, and that they will not cease to exist by means of something beyond our means. Casual assumptions like this make for bad philosophy. And God makes it very clear that He created the world out of nothing: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:15-17) If by God all things were created, what does that leave God to create something out of? Nothing. If all things were created by God, then there is nothing that God had to create something out of.
    Nate

  10. Walrus says:

    Gundeck,
    I meant to seperate the first portion of my comment from the rest with the phrase “As for your comments in general…” but that wasn’t made clear and i apologize.
    I do not disagree with the passages you qouted…we, of ourselves, cannot search and find that which God has made unsearchable. We are very much dependant upon His revealing it to us. It is declared that He is unsearchable…not incomprehensable, not unknowable. Yea, we do depend on the Lord’s Revelation to understand…it is not to say that He cannot reveal, or we can in noway understand once He does. I find my everyday relationship incomprehensable…as in I havn’t a clue nor conjecture as to how today’s events is preparing me for the morrow (like, out of nowhere, you get a prompting to drop by a friends house to leave a heart felt note of appreciation…you feel a little foolish and out of place cause you really don’t know them that well…a week or two goes by and they approach you and thank you and wonder how you knew they needed that…”The Lord wanted to let you know that He’s aware” and we both feel His love!). The breadth and depth of His work is infinite and seemingly incomprehensable…until He reveals it to us.
    As for the faith part…surely we won’t know, we won’t serve as much if we lack the faith. But i was speaking more on the attitude that one takes. Your statement, for instance, that we totally depend on His Revelation yet Joseph Smith is discounted as having received revelation. Those who have accepted, or who have been taught that there can be no more prophets will automatically dismiss the claim that Joseph Smith was called as such upon mere pretense. The Book of Mormon is dismissed because others have formed wedges between it and the Bible…so when it is searched out, one is looking for a confirmation of the faults, not truth. If you search the Bible for faults, you will surely think you’ve found them. Therefore, faith and hope or mere openedness to the possibility that the Bible is the Word of God will open a small crack in the door of your heart for the Holy Spirit to whisper to you…to teach you…to reveal to you the truth. That same faith, hope and openedness is required to discover the truth which lies in the Book of Mormon.
    Aaron, the moderater, pulled together a few phrases from President Monson (our prophet today) and formed a phrase that seemingly contradicted basic doctrine…I reqouted the section in it’s completness and corrected the disparity…i mention this because in the same discourse, Pres Monson states some profoundly beautiful truths, and yet all that was recognized were phrases that could be combined and used to find fault.

  11. gundeck says:

    Walrus,

    You said, “Those who have accepted, or who have been taught that there can be no more prophets will automatically dismiss the claim that Joseph Smith was called as such upon mere pretense. ”

    In this you are only half correct. There are many of us who have come to the cessationist position because of Joseph Smith. Sadly there are many others who have had their faith irreparably damaged.

    Evan if I grant your position on Joseph Smith and the BoM, I must ask how do you know President Monson is the Prophet? Couldn’t it be President Stephen M. Veazey? For a substantial percentage of Mormons close to the Joseph Smith, Veazey and his denomination has just as much claim as Monson.

    I have been thinking about the original post title God as an Artist. Dur ring this Advent Season while the Christian Church is looking forward to celebrating Christmas and the Incarnation we are also looking forward to his Second Coming. I look forward to that day when I can see God’s Art without the blinders of sin, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I wish the same for you.

  12. Ralph says:

    Berean,

    You want to see where the word “Gods” is found in the Bible and not “gods”, look no further than Genesis 1:1. Throughout most of Genesis the word used was “Elohim” and as has been said many times, this is the plural form – so it should be translated into “Gods”. Now the question is – did the translators do the right thing translating it into the singular form rather than the plural form? And how do we know which is the correct form if the ancient Hebrews were polytheists?

    So just because it is not in our English translation, it is in the original version of the Bible.

  13. falcon says:

    Well this is all pretty simple. Do the Jews worship the Mormon god? The Jews wrote the OT. Find an orthodox Jew and explain the Mormon concept regarding the nature of God and see the reaction (of the Jew). I don’t think we’ll see much of a kindered spirit there theologically speaking regarding the god of Mormonism and the God of the Hebrews. Mormons are pretty much on their own with their “man to god” program. Atheists do not believe in a Creator God. Theists believe in some kind of Creator. A deist believes in one Creator God. A pantheist believes that the universe is God. A dualist believes in a Good God and an Evil God who are fighting it out for the universe. A polytheist believes in many gods. Polytheism is the formula of Hinduism. Only monotheists blieve in the God of the Bible. The three monotheistic groups are Jews, Muslims and Christians. Their history goes back to Abraham.
    Polytheism is an “ism” that believes that there is more than one god. To believe that there exists more than one god puts a religion in the poly camp. Polytheists fail to answer three basic questions; Where did the God I am worshipping come from? How was he created? If he is not the First Cause, who is?
    Joseph Smith was by definition a paganist. He said “God found himself among spirits”. He said, “You have got to learn to be Gods yourselves….the same as all Gods have done before you…until you are able to dwell in everlasting burnings and sit in glory”. Brigham Young said “Man is King of Kings and Lord of Lords in embryo.” Orson Pratt said that there were more gods than there are particles of matter in a million planets like the earth. He further said: “We were begotten by our Father in Heaven; the person of our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again, He was begotten by a still more ancient Father and so on, from generation to generation, from one heavenly world to another still more ancient, until our minds are wearied and lost in the multiplicity of generations and successive worlds, and as a last resort, we wonder in our mind, how far back the genealogy extends, and how the first world was formed, and how the first Father was begotten.” Pratt wasn’t interested in finding out about the first Father. He said “in worshipping any one of these Gods, we worship the whole.” Polytheism anyone?
    Mormons are polytheists. “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become”. Do Mormons really believe they will become gods? Yes, of course they do. It’s the basis for Mormonism. The basic philosophical mistake of Mormonism is that there is no first Father, there is no Creator, there is no first cause. In Mormonism there is no God as defined by any rational definition. Mormonism cannot push it’s self back to the beginning.
    In Christianity our God stands alone. There are no other gods. Mormons torture the scriptures as they must to come up with other gods. Mormon hermenutics is weak when it comes to the Bible. For a complete picture of the nature of God being One see Isaiah 43:10-11; 43:6-7; 44:8; 45:5-6.
    Mormons are polytheists who fight to maintain a belief in the multiplicity of gods. What kind of religion is this where men deny God in the hope of becoming a god.

  14. Walrus says:

    “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:15-17)
    “1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2

    The Bible does not say that God created out of nothing. It tells us that whatever we see, or don’t see (gases) was created by Him, but it does not give an accounting that fits your conclusion, exclusively. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”….a statement…a summary.
    The rest of Genesis 1 describes, in brief detail, how God continues to organize the elements and setup a habitable planet. He is God…when He speaks, the elements obey. When He declares, “Let there be light” there was light…Christ was able to calm the seas with His words…verily, each particle obeys the Word of God…surely all He must do is speak and the work is commensed and accomplished.
    And notice the order in which God creates, forms, brings to life…He starts with the basic elements of life…light, water, dry land…and progresses to more sophisticated forms of life until He finishes with Adam and Eve. It was organized. From the most basic to the most complex. Even if science forces a symbolic analogy, we see stages, we see order and no surprise for God is a God of order, not chaos.
    The context is simple. The words plain. Verily He did create. Nowhere does it say “out of nothing”.

    “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19

    “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
    20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” (Eccl. 3: 19-20)

    One of few examples of how God creates…man was created out of dust…repeated in the Bible as the smallest and lowest state of physical form for not man only. God does NOT make it “very clear” that He created the world out of nothing…men with degrees did…not the Word of God.

  15. mrgermit says:

    Walrus: just to make sure I understand you correctly, are you saying “DUST” is the smallest, most basic, physical element of man , and perhaps of other things as well ?? Are you saying that is wath is meant in Genesis ?? Is this a Mormon thing , or just Walrus on a balmy day talking ?? Thanks Mr.Germit

  16. falcon says:

    In Christian apologetics, we need go no further then dealing with the doctrine of the existence of God and making a clear case for who He is; that is His nature. The Hebrew people were unique among their neighbors in that they were monotheists. Not all followed the path God called them to walk. God continually warned the men about intermarrage (with foreign women) because of the effect that the women’s idolotry would have on this monotheistic religion. We read continually about reformation leaders who would demand that the “high places” be torn down. The “god” that the Hebrews were worshiping in these cases was “Baal”. This was basically devil worship. When God sent His plagues against Egypt, it was directed at their “:gods”. The first plague of bloody waters was directed aginst Osiris the god of the Nile. The second plague of frogs was against the frog goddess Hekt. The third plague of lice was against Seb, the earth god. The fourth plague of beetles/flies was agains Hatkok, the wife of Osiris. The fifth plague of cattle disease was atgainst Apis, the sacred bull god. The sixth plague, boils, was against Typhon. The seventh plague, hail and fire, was against Shu, the god of the atmosphere. The eighth plague, locusts, was against Serapia, the god who protected Egypt against locusts. The ninth plague, darkness, was against Ra, the sun god. The tenth plague, the death of the firsborn was an attack on all “gods”. So the purpose of the plagues was twofold: a) to demonstrate to Israel the strenght of their God and b) To show the Egyptians the total inability of their “gods”. During the final days of Moses’ first forty-day meeting with God on Mt. Sinai, the Hebrews demanded that Aaron make them a “god”. After the Babylonian Captivity the Jews had enough of idolotry. They learned their lesson. Were these “gods” real gods. No of course not, but the Hebrews treated them as if they were (real).
    In Mormonism we also have a manufacturing of gods. Mormons on the one hand search for Biblical references to argue for the multiplicity of gods and on the other argue that they themselves are monotheists. Welcome to a strain of “logic” that runs all through Mormonism. Like the ancient Hebrews, Mormons have to be willing to give up their “gods” and come to the one true living God. They can attatch Biblical names to their gods and to their savior, but in the end, these Mormon gods are false gods. Attached to this is the Mormon man’s desire to become a god also. Has Satan ever produced a bigger lie or a bigger deception? As with the Hebrews of old, Mormons need to give up their false gods and come to the One living God. They need to give up their pagan temples and rituals and become living temples dedicated to God. Only then will they know God and enjoy the salvation he offers.

  17. Lautensack says:

    Ralph,
    As the saying goes, a little Hebrew can be deadly, and your statement about Genesis 1:1 shows that you know a little Hebrew. Unfortunately context dictates that Elohim in Genesis 1:1 be translated as a masculine singular noun, not a masculine plural as you suggest. (bra[filtered profanity or slur]h bara elohim) The key word here is bara which is in the is a verb in the qal third masculine singular form, dictating that elohim be translated as a singular noun. So while you are correct that the noun elohim apart from any context would mean gods, in this context it is a masculine singular noun in it’s usage.

    Lautensack

  18. gundeck says:

    In Against Heresies Irenaeus is opposing second century gnostic belief in the progression of gods. Your single quote of him out of context proves nothing. The Eastern Churches view on deification is in fact closer to the Reformed principal of sanctification and has nothing to do with becoming a god.

    If you would like a better understanding of the orthodox Christian belief I recommend “The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship” by Robert Letham. He has a substantial breakdown on both Eastern and Western views of the Trinity as well as the language used outside of the Bible to explain the incomprehensible.

  19. GB says:

    Still waiting for an answer!!!

  20. GB says:

    You seem to be implying that we should just willingly submit to the whims of government leaders. Then why do we have defense attorneys? Were our founding fathers justified in rebelling? So when they want to usurp our liberties we should just let them?

    Sorry but that doesn’t answer the question.

    Shall we try again?

    How is Jesus’ declaration (as you suppose) that the Pharisees were judges, a defense against the accusation of Blasphemy?

  21. falcon says:

    Genesis “gods” reference.
    We keep hitting this softball served-up by our Mormon posters out of the park so often you’d think they’d learn and stop pitching it. But as so many things Mormon, if you wait long enough it comes around again. So here we go. “Does ‘gods’ and ‘us’ imply the existence of more than one God?” Not at all. The usual Hebrew term for “god” is lohim, which is the plural of loah. It is occassionally used as a true plural, referring to the imaginary gods of the heathen. But usually it refers to the one true God, and the plural ending is known to Hebrew grammarians as the “plural of majesty” like “dionim “(“lords” or “Lord”) and b’alim (plural of ba’al, “lord,” “master,” “owner,” “husband”), lohim also may be used to give a heightened impressiveness of majesty to God. As such, this plural is modified by adjectives in the singular and takes a singular verb.
    I could go on but this has been covered on this site so many times that I’m beginning to think it should be posted in the margins of the comment section and we could simply reference it when it makes its rounds again.

  22. Ralph says:

    Lautensack,

    You missed the point. The ancient Hebrews (ie the ancestors of the Israelites and Jews) were most likely polytheistic. It was not until Moses that strict monotheism was pushed. It was the ancient Hebrews that would have written the manuscripts that Moses used to write the first part of Genesis. So if they used the plural form and were most likely polytheists and meant it to be plural, who is in error? Moses for making things singular? Someone else apart from Moses who transcribed the manuscripts? Any other options?

    So the point – if the original writer made it plural because of their belief system did someone purposefully or ignorantly make it singular? It could be that the original writer did write it as singular as it stands, but can we be sure?

  23. gundeck says:

    I do not suppose anything of the kind. It is not a defence it is an accusation. Once again from my post above…The question is who are the “gods”? They are those who judge unjustly and accept the wicked. They have failed to follow the law by defending the the poor and doing justice to the needy. They do not know or understand the law and walk in darkness.

    This is not a deffence, Christ is calling his accusers wicked.

  24. Ralph says:

    Falcon,

    The Jews did not write the OT – it was a conglomerate of people from the tribes of Israel. Moses was a Levite. David and Solomon were from Judah (Jews). I don’t know much more about the other authors but they were not all Jews. Also, the Jews in Jesus’ time had apostatized from their true religion which is why Jesus was correcting them as well as introducing the new gospel. So instead of asking the question you asked “Do the Jews worship the Mormon god?” you should be asking “Are the Jews worshiping the god of their ancestors?”

    You also said “The three monotheistic groups are Jews, Muslims and Christians. Their history goes back to Abraham.” Yes, the Jews history goes back to Abraham – but I have seen a few shows from archaeologists and historians that say that Abraham and his family/peers were polytheists. Many of these same archaeologists and historians say that it was Moses that brought strict monotheism to the Israelites. So according to these people, the Bible started out as polytheistic – meaning that the Jews background is polytheistic and so is the Christian background because of this.

  25. GB says:

    “If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—”

    Doesn’t sound like an accusation of wickedness. Your assertion doesn’t fit the context.

    But feel free to continue grasping for non-existent straws.

  26. mrgermit says:

    found this on the net and decided to share
    Blessings on everyone, including and especially my LDS friends and those in any other category
    We can probably all agree that our Father has done some AMAZING work in this universe and for that, we can be grateful

    MRGERMIT

    Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
    Pied Beauty

    Glory be to God for dappled things—
    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
    Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
    And áll trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

    All things counter, original, spáre, strange;
    Whatever is fickle, frecklèd (who knows how?)
    With swíft, slów; sweet, sóur; adázzle, dím;
    He fathers-forth whose beauty is pást change:

    Práise hím.

  27. gundeck says:

    This is a clear example of two people who read the Bible differently. We simply have a different hermeneutic. Rather than talking past each other let me explain the method that I am using. Then If you care to you can explain to me how you come to your conclusion.

    I cannot simply read the verse I need to read it in it’s historical and grammatical setting. Looking at the grammar, syntax, word meanings and identified figures of speech. I will admit this is hard for me because I do not read Biblical languages, so I rely on translation notes and other tools to help.

    Then I look at the canonical context, is this a literary illusion or quote to some other part of the canon. If it is (as we see in this case) then I look at how the quote or illusion is being used.

    Finally I look at my understanding of the passage it’s redemptive historical setting. This is simply that the Bible is one cohisve revelation pointing to Jesus Christ.

    So in it’s context Christ has just declared the He and the Father are One and the Jews are going to stone him for “blaspheming.” His response is to quote out of the Book of Psalms Psalm 82:6. When I read Psalm 82 it is about unrighteous judges, and the fate that awaits them. Taking this into account when I read John 10:34 the “gods” (little g) is unrighteous judges. Moving into John 10:35 once again “so if he called them gods…” (little g) is once again unrighteous judges. Christ then goes on in John 10:36 to tell the unrighteous judges “You are blaspheming…” Why are the Jews blaspheming, He tells us it is because He is the Son of God.

    To see this in the canonical context first Read all of Psalm 82. Then reread Psalm 82:7 tell me that “But ye shall die like men, and fall like any one of the princes.” means these people are destined for eternal godhood. No these are unrighteous judges.

    To understand it in it’s redemptive historical setting reread John 10:34 and note what it dose not say. It does not say, “Ye shall become gods.” This whole section from John 10:22 to John 10″42 is Christ boldly proclaiming that He and the Father are One, and that he is the Son of God. This is powerful stuff and you are missing it.

    The reading of this passage that you present brings up problems. Can explain how your reading of these two passages squares with the numerous places where God tells His people that there is only one and always will be only one God. Consult Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10-11; Isaiah 44: 6-8 etc.

    Finally to change my view you would need to show me where God tells us that He really didn’t mean all the “one God stuff” and the wrath that He poured down on Israel, well it wasn’t because He is the One God exercising His sovereign judgment. Show me where Jesus tells us that the Old Testament is wrong and in fact there are “gods without end”.

  28. GB says:

    gundeck,

    So basically you make the presumption that Ps 82:6 is about “inrighteous judges” and then you run with it.

    The problem is that you provide no support for your presumption.

    Ps 82:6 uses the word elohim which literally means gods (plural of eli or god).

    For you to presume it to mean “unrighteous judges” provides absolutely NO weight to your argument or position.

    You have absolutely no basis for telling anyone that it doesn’t mean “gods” when clearly the text and the context says otherwise.

    I, on the other hand, have the evangelical scholar Michael S. Heiser whom I quote, “The plural <ĕlōhîm of Psalm 82:1, 6 are divine beings, not human judges or humans fulfilling any role.”

  29. GB says:

    gundeck,
    Finally, it is not my job to change your view and I have no intention of trying. If you really want to know how many beings can be “one” (with) God, study John 17. Jesus made great effort to teach His diciples the concept and importance of unity.

    If you are one with God in every aspect except being or person, what would that make you?

  30. gundeck says:

    GB,
    Ok because Michael S. Heiser says so… Is that the hermeneutic that you want to defend? I found an evangelical who taken out of context agrees with me is not an exegetical approach I would want to defend. I may have been taking too much for granted. You may not be familiar with the historical grammatical exegetical approach. If you look at the NET bible translation notes for Psalm 82 you see that these translators believe that this Psalm is a polemic against Pagan gods. But they also note that ’elohim (אֱלֹהִים) has been used in Biblical Hebrew to mean, “…officials appointed by God.” The Definition human judges or rulers is in fact supported by other uses in the Bible (cf. Exod 21:6; 22:8, 9; Psalm 45:6).

    We do not have to take the NET translators word for it, I use it because it is available online and I can link to my sources. It is valuable to be able to read source material in context, it keeps everybody honest. Strong’s definition is here http://www.eliyah.com/cgi-bin/strongs.cgi?file=hebrewlexicon&isindex=430. The Condensed Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon can be found here http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H430&t=KJV.

    It also appears that you very own Talmage agrees more with me than you. He never refers to the potential godhood of man in his comments on this passage. I do not agree with his thought that these men were honored by God with this title of god (little g) (see above). This honorific title god (little g) that he proposes only weakens your position.

    Your evangelical taken out of context agrees with me exegetical approach does not answer any of the redemptive historical questions. Can you explain how your reading of these two passages squares with the numerous places where God tells His people that there is only one and always will be only one God. Megan on the “Those Abominable Creeds” has a slew of these if you need more than the few I provided. Or should I take the reference to John 17 and Christ’s Priestly prayer to mean that Michael S. Heiser does not have an answer for this.

  31. gundeck says:

    One last comment. You say it is not your job to change my view. I find this to be patently false. The claims of your church, and the charges your church has made against orthodox Christianity, its Creeds and its Ministers obligate you to either defend them or repudiate them. It is in fact sir, your duty to do this. By your doctrines you boldly proclaim yourself a god in the making while my claim is that I am a sinner Justified by the blood of Christ. You have made an audacious claim, defend it.

    Follow the example of the Reformers. Demand trained ministers from your church who are qualified in the biblical languages and are able to teach and explain the grammar and history of the Bible. Demand systematic and biblical theologies from your leadership that use exegesis not eisogesis. Take down your Bibles and apply a rigorous exegetical standard to your own personal study and devotion. Test your dogma against the Word of God.

  32. faithoffathers says:

    “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” Exodus 15:11

    The Dead Sea Scrolls version of Deuteronomy 32:8-9: “When the Most High parcelled out the nations, when he dispersed all mankind, he laid down the boundaries of every people according to the number of the sons of God; but the Lord’s (Jehovah’s) share was his own people, Jacob was his alotted portion.” Thus the Qumran reading suggests that the earlier Hebrew had read “sons of God.” Such is the opinion of Peter Hayman and Margaret Barker.

    The Pseudo Clementine Recognitions (4th century text based on 2nd century source document) reads: “For the Most High God, who alone holds the power of all things, has divided all the nations of the earth into seventy-two parts, and over these He hath appointed angels s princes. But to the one among the archangels who is greatest, was committed the government of those who, before all others, received the worship and knowledge of the Most High God…. Thus the princes of the several nations are called gods. But Christ is God of princes, who is Judge of all.”

    Philo of Alexandria wrote around 30 B.C. “But if there be any as yet unfit to be called a son of God, let him press to take his place under God’s First-born, the Word, who holds the eldership among the angels, an archangel as it were. And many names are his for he is called: the Beginning, the Name of God, His Word, the Man after His Image, and ‘He that sees’, namely, Israel.” (Gieschen, Angelomorphic Christology, 109).

    Many early Jewish documents speak of Christ as the supreme or pre-eminent Angel of God in a subordinationist way. In other words, Christ was the greatest among the “angels of the Father.” This is true of early Christianity as well. Anglican historian Richard Hansen said “Indeed, until Athanasius began writing, every single theologian, East and West, had postulated some form of Subordinationism. It could, about the year 300, have been described as a fixed part of the catholic theology.” (R. Hansen “The Achievement of Orthodoxy in the Fourth Centure AD, 1989, 153).

    “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28)

    Paul said the Father is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:6) and that after the resurrection Jesus will be “subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor 15:28).

    Hippolytus of Rome said the Father is “the Lord and God and Ruler of all, and even of Christ Himself.”

    Athenagorias wrote of the “diversity in rank” within the Godhead. Origen labeled Jesus as a “second God.”

    J.N.D. Kelly says that at the council of Nicea, the most numerous group was the middle party who believed that there were three divine persons, “separate in rank and glory but united in harmony of will.” J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines 1978, 247-48.

    Now somebody show evidence of anybody in the first 3 centuries believing in three coequal persons in one being.

    Origen and Justin both ascribed the anthropomorphic concept of God to the Jews in general. Origen also believed in the premortal existence of souls and referred to Jewish text to support such a belief.

    Christopher Stead, a Cambridge scholar, argues that as Christianity moved out into the Hellenized world, there occured a transition from a Hebrew anthropomorphic conept of God to a Greek philosophical concept. Stead, Philosophy in Christian Antiquity, 89-90.

    falcon, rhetoric will not argue away these evidence to which many others can be added. There is plenty to suggest that the early Christians and Jews believed in an anthropomorphic, physical God, and that the Father and the Son were separate beings. You do not have to believe it, but the LDS theology is very much in line with ancient texts and thought.

  33. Walrus says:

    What are you talking about? Really…what are you talking about? If we worship God(s) then you worship God(s). God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. One. Three. God. Gods. You taking remote circumstances and placing them at the heart of our intentions is as accurate or valid as me calling you a cannibal for wanting to partake of the blood and body of Jesus Christ during the sacrament. Cannibal. Repent Cannibal Falcon…it’s simply ridiculous is are your judgments upon the intentions of our hearts. Scripture advises against that.
    “Attached to this is the Mormon man’s desire to become a god also. Has Satan ever produced a bigger lie or a bigger deception?”
    We’re commanded to be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect…the life of a Christian is to be Christlike. We cannot be perfect? We cannot be Christlike? We cannot be One with the Father, even as Christ is One with the Father? Who is Satan decieving, Falcon? Christ’s Atonement is just that…An At ONE Ment with God the Father and Jesus Christ…Christ’s atonement is NOT limited…it’s EVERLASTING and ETERNAL. God can do anything…but bestow His glory upon us? Nay Falcon…God IS all powerful, all merciful, all loving and nothing is beyond His capacity.
    Ever wonder why Moses or Elijah was given power to smite the populace with afflictions? Why it says that with a particle of faith one can move mountains? How Christ did not limit just Himself to walking on water, but suggested that we all could? If we have the mind of God, if we are One with His Will, then God will give us His power to act as we ‘please’…for what we ‘please’ is God’s Will….He knows that we would not do anything outside of what He would do in the same circumstance…that we would move this mountain hither, not to get gain, not to show off, but for a greater purpose, not for our own. If one were given the gift of healing, would they retain it if they used it for gain? Nay. Being One with God means that we act according as He would…or Christ would…being thus Christlike.
    Dare to throw out red-herrings based on your judgments of the intentions of our hearts…but our intention, our desire is to follow Christ, to be like Him, to be perfected in Him, to become One with the Son and the Father, and the Holy Ghost.

  34. Walrus says:

    How do i know that President Monson is a prophet? How do you know that Moses was a prophet? That Peter, James and John were apostles? That Jesus is the Christ? How do you know that the Bible is the Word of God? It is by the same spirit that you came to know these things that I came to know Monson as a prophet.
    Again…if you would have listened to the Pharisees, the Saducees and found understanding with them (which MANY did) the odds would be dim that you would accept Christ. It is easy to find fault with that which is true…specially when the truth is threatening.
    Ever since the Apostles died, men have moved one their own accord. The founding fathers….or bishops…or popes…guided the Christian church into a direction…from which most, if not all, on this site have moved away from theologically (Reformation). Grasp this…the organization that reports the oldest and most direct ties to Christianity have been written off as deviating from the orginal sooo much that subsantially different faiths were organized into numerously different churches.
    (We know, full well, that this is an LDS position regarding an apostasy….let not your preconceptions harden your heart to the impossibility of such.)
    Where did the errors begin? Were the sprouts not seen in the various epistles to the early churches? Are they not repleat with correcting admonishments? Were the early saints not walking on the edge, in danger of falling, years before the Apostles were taken?
    I have, as has the LDS faith, been accused of heresy for suggesting that God’s Word was compromised by man. “God is too powerful to let that happen.” “God wouldn’t allow it.” “God said He would curse those that did, so it’s not possible” …suggesting that i didn’t believe in the Almighty Power of God.
    God would never allow His Work to be thwarted…who are we to say how He goes about it? Who are we to say what God can and cannot allow? What God can and cannot do? If God allowed truths to be lost, it is because He is all knowing and has a means by which those truths can be restored…or is God limited? God is bound to the promises that He makes to us…not the commandments that He gives to man. “Do not kill” doesn’t mean that God cannot command a nation to go to war. “Do not add to or take away” doesn’t confine God to giving more or taking away that which He gave.

  35. gundeck says:

    Walrus,

    Thank you for the reply, it shows that you have put some thought into my question. In response I would point you to the Bible. In Deuteronomy 18:21-22 we have the only test of a true prophet laid out in Scripture. Is this a test that your prophets have passed?

    I am always glad to talk about the Reformation. Your view on the Reformation shows a misunderstanding of the Reformers goals and Church history. The reformers never claimed that Christ’s Church had been destroyed. They told us that some doctrines were in error and pointed the way to a …”true religion which is delivered in the Scriptures.” John Calvin, in the introduction to the Institutes, told the King of France “The Church of Christ assuredly has lived, and will live, as long as Christ shall reign at the right hand of the Father. By his hand it is sustained, by his protection defended, by his mighty power preserved in safety. For what he once undertook he will undoubtedly perform, he will be with his people always, “even to the end of the world” (Mt. 28:20).” See this link for the context http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.ii.viii.html

    Far be it from me to place limitations on God’s sovereignty, but you also seem not to acknowledge God’s many promises that He would not allow His Church to fail. The Scripture clearly proclaims God’s promises that Church will last forever Matt 28:19-20; John 14:16; Ephesians 3:21 etc. Unfortunately this is another area of doctrine that we must disagree on, because I am sure that you will understand that as a Christian I must believe that God keeps His promises. Any claim to the contrary crosses the line past error.

  36. GB says:

    I didn’t take Heiser out of context. I quoted exactly one of several points he was defending. Heiser has the benefit of having many sources available to him that were not available to Talmage. And Talmage does NOT agree with you. You seem to be stuck on the word “human” in both Talmage and Heiser’s work. To Talmage the difference between gods and humans is a matter flesh and blood, whereas to Heiser they are a separate species entirely.

    Talmage calls them “invested by DIVINE APPOINTMENT”, whereas Heiser calls them members of “the divine council”.

    And you called them “those who judge unjustly and accept the wicked.” To which I asked you to explain how such an understanding could be a defense against the accusation of blasphemy.

    By the way it is clear that you don’t believe that the Bible is sufficient, because you have to go to other sources to support your position.

    I also find it interesting that you are claiming I am in error by taking the Bible as it was translated (by using the usual meaning of a term) and you are claiming that the UNusual meaning is the correct one. And the sources you quote say things like “occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates” and “God 2346, god 244, judge 5, GOD 1, goddess 2, great 2, mighty 2, angels 1, exceeding 1”. A quick look at the number reveals that I am 521 times more likely to be correct than you. Thank you for providing the data.

    “He never refers to the potential godhood of man in his comments on this passage.”

    He didn’t need to because he had already spent an entire chapter on the topic.

    “Can you explain how your reading of these two passages squares with the numerous places where God tells His people that there is only one and always will be only one God.”

    Shall we get something clear here? The Bible, in several places clearly declares the preeminence of Jesus Christ. His teachings supersede ALL others.

    He in John 17 clearly explains the unity or oneness of the Father and the Son while being separate beings.

    Heiser is perfectly capable of defending his own positions. I don’t agree with him all of the time but I do appreciate his logical, honest and thoughtful approach.

    I am curious, who is responsible for your salvation? Is it me?

    “Test your dogma against the Word of God.”

    This I have done, and it compares far more favorably than the Traditional Orthodox doctrine that is being preach by the unauthorized.

  37. gundeck says:

    GB,

    Thank you for the time that you spent responding to my comments. You have shown a consistent argument throughout and I commend you for it.

    As you are aware Hesier’s speculations do not coincide with Mormon views on the future godhood of man. If you prefer I accept that you did not take Hesier out of context but I maintain that you did cherry pick his speculations that best suited your position.

    Daniel C. Peterson one of your own writes about Talmage’s veiw as:

    “With such considerations in mind, and in view of the obvious fact that the use of the passage in John 10 requires that it apply to ordinary human beings, “This interpretation of the psalm enjoyed considerable popularity during a certain period of Johannine scholarship.” It was, for example, the position adopted by James E. Talmage in his 1915 treatise Jesus the Christ, presumably drawn from the readings in conservative nineteenth-century Protestant biblical scholarship that informed his book generally.”

    See this link http://farms.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=46&chapid=258#r27 We can only wish Talmage had read more conservative nineteenth-century Protestant biblical scholarship.

  38. gundeck says:

    I apologize for this but I must use a resource not available online. I refer to the new “Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” edited by G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, specifically the section on John written by Andreas J. Kostenberger. I will summarize the thoughts.

    One assessment of Jesus’s argument or defense against blaspheme is that he was making a typical rabbinic argument starting from the lesser and progressing to the greater. He used a similar lesser to greater argument in John 5:47 albeit in a different context. In this case He is placing all of the weight of the argument on a single OT passage (Psalm 82:6) and saying that his claim does not involve blaspheme because there are places in the Hebrew Scripture where humans are called god (אֱלֹהִים / ʾělohîm).

    A second assessment, and one that is not mutually exclusive of the first, is that practice that Jesus has of confounding his accusers by asking questions that they are unable to answer. This is seen throughout the Gospels (Matt 22:41-46). Christ’s point in John 10 being that if Israel or corrupt judges can be called god (small g) (אֱלֹהִים / ʾělohîm) how can the Jews accuse Him of Blaspheme whom the Father has sent (John 10:36).

    As to the translation and meaning of אֱלֹהִים / ʾělohîm, I assume that you would accept that the meaning of a word must match the context not just the most popular definition. This is the same reason that אֱלֹהִים / ʾělohîm in Exodus 21:6 is translated “JUDGES” in your KJV. (cf Exodus 22:8-9; Exodus 22:28; Deuteronomy 1:17; 1 Chronicles 29:23; 2 Chronicles 19:6-7)

    When looking at Psalm 82 we also have the Jewish traditions to go back to to help us understand how Jesus, John, and the Jews that Jesus was speaking to would have understood this passage. I have already commented about the Rabbinic argument style used by Christ. In the 11Q13II, 10-11 (Dead Sea Scroll Apocryphal Psalms) the reference to אֱלֹהִים / ʾělohîm in Psalm 82 is taken to mean evil angels or false gods (this comports with the NET translation that I described above). Conservative Protestant scholars do not think that this is the use in John because of the scarcity other angelic reference in the Gospel. (cf Targumic Texts)

    Rabbinic tradition sites Psalm 82 as being addressed to Israel or a part of Israel, specifically at the time of receiving the Law ( ‘Abod. Zar. 5a). Textually we know that this quote is exactly as it is found in both the LXX and the Hebrew Texts.

    You are going to have to be more specific about where else you see the future godhood of man in the Gospel of John. Certainly you are not referring to John 9 or any of the proceeding parts of John 10?

    Can you also explain your reference to John 17? Do you mean that Christ is in fact denying the one God? I cannot believe that you mean the Christ’s teachings supersedes the ALL others. And I do not wish to misstate your beliefs. Christ amplifies, fulfills, he expounds upon the old and yes he adds to our understanding but he does not supersede it and he tells us so (Matthew 5:17-19; Luke 16:17; John 7:53 – John 8:11).

  39. gundeck says:

    I do think that your comment regarding the sufficiency of Scripture requires special attention and space does not allow it. I am sure that you do not care to have your beliefs misrepresented. I have endeavored not to do so in my discussions on this site. When I have mistakenly mischaracterized the beliefs of Mormons I have apologized openly and publicly. Rather than go on about your misunderstanding of my views on Scripture let me instead give you this link, http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/index.html to the Westminster Confession of Faith. Chapter 1 clearly defines my belief on sufficiency of Scripture. It is short but comprehensive. I am going to assume that you were not trying to take a cheap shot but honestly did not understand the importance of biblical studies in our understanding of Scripture. Hopefully now you understand the importance of Biblicaly grounded scholarship and the difference between exegesis and speculation.

    Finally, I do not think you or any man has anything thing to do with my salvation. J. Gresham Machen reported last words were “Thank God for the righteousness of Christ. No hope without it.” The righteousness of Christ is where I rest my salvation.

  40. GB says:

    gundeck,

    Thanks for the “farms” link. I have always liked Peterson’s work, but I hadn’t read this piece before. (And even now I find that I can’t read the whole piece in one sitting.) I will finish it as I am able.

    I have been given the assignment to preach this Sunday. so for the short term I will not have time for our dialog.

    So until I have time, Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    GB

  41. GB says:

    gundeck,

    “Is this a test that your prophets have passed?”

    Yes!!

    “The reformers never claimed that Christ’s Church had been destroyed.”

    True, and in this they were wrong. The reason the doctrines had become corrupted is because the authority to declare true doctrine had been taken from among men.

    “They told us that some doctrines were in error and pointed the way to a …”true religion which is delivered in the Scriptures.” ”

    They were wrong with this as well. Biblically speaking the pattern has always been for God to call prophets to declare true doctrine. The availability of the scriptures has never been the guarantor of the perpetuation of true doctrine.

    “ . . . you also seem not to acknowledge God’s many promises that He would not allow His Church to fail.”

    That is because He never made such a promise. You misunderstand what was really being promised and to whom it was being promised. God does keep His promises to those to whom they are given.

    One promise that was made was that the true church would have apostles and prophets “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”

    Do you believe that God will keep that promise?

    From the article you gave to me earlier.

    ‘The prophet is the herald of the divine council. He delivers the decree of Yahweh, which is the decree of the council. The authority of the prophet as the herald/messenger of the assembly is that of the power which sent him. He is the vocal manifestation of the deity who dispatched him. The parallel position of the prophet and the messenger-deity in Canaanite literature makes this fact undeniable. . . . The Hebrew prophets, like the messenger-deities described in the Ugaritic myths, are clearly envoys who carry both the message and authority of the divinity who dispatched them. In the case of the prophets, this was Yahweh, and ultimately the council that surrounded him.’ (Mullen, Assembly of the Gods, 226.)

  42. gundeck says:

    GB,

    I hope that you had a good Christmas. Maybe in the future we will have the opportunity to discuss how well your prophets have done according to the Deuteronomy 18:21-22 test.

    I find it interesting that you would use any quote from Ephesians. Paul’s thoughts show that Christ has united people from all nations to himself and to one another in his church. This seems to refute your position of a great apostasy. In this short letter we see the Promise of God to support his Church over and over. We see Christ as the head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:15; 5:23). We have Christ as the cornerstone of His Church (Ephesians 2:20). Christ is described as the Savior and sanctifier of the Church (Ephesians 4:11-16) and how Christ loved and sanctified his Church (Ephesians 5:25). This is not all, Paul teaches that the Church and His faithful will dwell and grow in Christ (Ephesians 2:21-22; 4:15). God will manifest his wisdom (Ephesians 3:10) by means of the Church. We also see the Church described as the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; 3:6; 4:4; 4:16; 5:23; 5:30).

    I think the Ephesians must have paid close attention to Paul’s teaching because Church in Ephesus had a reputation for being able to test doctrine and find out false prophets. (Revelations 2:2). I think I will have to side with Paul, the Church in Ephesus, and Christ on this one.

  43. Megan,

    Professor Robert Alter provides some fascinating commentary on the tetragrammaton (YHWH) in his “The Five Books of Moses: a Translation and Commentary”.

    I’m going to have to do this from memory (and there’s no way I can write as fluently as the Prof).

    As you probably know,Biblical names are more than just labels – they convey something of the attributes of the person (or thing) they refer to. Its a literary form that is particularly pronounced in the Five Books.

    In the five books, there are several names starting with the ‘waw’ construction (the “Y” in “YHWH”), for example “Isaac” (he who laughs), “Jacob” (he who grabs [the heel]), “Israel” (he who struggles with God), “Jethro” (I forget this one). Then we come to “YHWH” (Ex 3:14), which translates best into “I will be what I will be”. Its more of a statement than a name.

    BTW, my reading of Ex 3 is that Moses asks for God to give him a name to take back to Egypt “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” Ex 3:13. One reason why the Name declines the request may be that if he had given a proper name (say, “Bill”), then the Israelites and Egyptians alike would have said something like “Oh, like Seth or Osiris, then”. Perhaps the Name is telling us that we can’t compare him to anyone else; he doesn’t even belong in the same building as these other deities.

    Anyway, back to the Prof. He observes that in all other cases, the “waw” construction tells us something of how the person derives his identity. Isaac derives his identity from the laughter of his mother, Israel derives his identity from his struggles with El, and so on.

    The tetragrammaton is unique in the sense that the Name does not derive his identity from any external cause. No-one can give a name to God because he is the first and last, there is none before him and none after him. He must give himself a name, and the ‘name’ he gives is a statement that refers us back to his attributes as the originator of all causes and the only one who is not shaped by the circumstances of his existence.

    So much for the notion that God emerged from, or was shaped by the cosmos. I guess JS missed this in his ‘translations’.

  44. GB says:

    gundeck,

    Just for your information nothing you quoted from the Bible contradicts LDS belief.

    I had to chuckle when I saw you quoting Eph 4:11-16. Where Christ promised that the true church would have apostles and prophets “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” KJV

    Are you implying that there is a unity of the faith? LOL!!!

    And you didn’t answer my question “Do you believe that God will keep that promise?”

    Any time you would like to discuss prophecies feel free. I would be interested to see if you can come up with an accusation that I haven’t heard before.

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