A Real Conversation… on the Planet Zolar

From my friend Russ Bales. He took a conversation he had with an LDS internet missionary and presented it in an interesting way.

See the original conversation here.

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39 Responses to A Real Conversation… on the Planet Zolar

  1. setfree says:

    wow, I applaud Russ, both for the attempt at conversation, as well as the cute presentation.
    for the rest, all i can say is “wow, yup”

  2. Russ says:

    Thanks, setfree,

    After several dozen chats over the years with LDS members at Mormon.org, I was thinking that there must be “some” way to make an internet chat come to life. xtranormal.com provides a platform to present the continual dodging, hedging and equivocating that has unfortunately become the norm in LDS apologetics.

    My ultimate hope is that those at Mormon.org come to Christ after studying their way out… after realizing that their theology is unbiblical and non-Christian.

  3. setfree says:

    wouldn’t you say that the problem is that the gold star comes before the effort?
    what i mean is, Mormons are taught from childhood that there’s is the only true church, they have the living prophet of god, yada yada, but basically only hear feel-good stories at church week after week, year after year. And so they go off to adulthood (to missions and marriage) with a head full of fervor, but no backing.
    I think that your missionary rep was struggling to answer your questions.
    I don’t know how it happens, but thinking patterns are really befuddled, in Mormonism. Look at the D&C, and how it reads as though someone tossed the Bible in the blender and blended it up a bit before spewing it out on the page. The ideas are mixed together, and follow no clear course.
    I know a kid at the MTC right now who is walking around thinking he is having several spiritual experiences everyday (because emotional highs are spiritual experiences, of course). He says believes all these amazing things, especially about how “chosen” he is.
    But you ask him what he believes about God, scripture, and salvation, and he can’t quite answer the question.

  4. Russ says:

    I would concur that Mormons arrive “on mission” with fervor but no backing. Cognitive dissonance is an unfortunate thing. The LDS church quashes the dissonance with more indoctrination, i.e. “maintain your testimony.”

    I pray that God allows you opportunity with your friend at the Mission Training Center.

    I’d send him to mrm.org. 🙂

  5. DefenderOfTheFaith says:

    If there ever was a Pharisee in tin-clothing, this is it! The tactic is the same in all ages, “Let’s try to catch these people in a snare of words, using the scriptures of course”

    Robot Evangel

    “Would LDS have me believe God has a God?”

    John 20:17 …”I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God”. If I were a Jewish leader I would say “do the followers of Christ, who believe He is God, actually believe that Jesus has a God?” ie “Would Christians have me believe God (Jesus) has a God?”

    If I were Robot Mormon, I would say “I will answer you with your own scriptures, but first you must tell me “do you believe in a God without body, parts or passions?” Why have you created a God who is the antithesis of scriptural testimony of Him? Truly a generation of vipers.

  6. rvales says:

    Didn’t you just prove the point of this whole thing? That Mormons won’t give you a yes or no answer. ‘Would LDS have me believe God has a God?’ ‘Yes’ (and then cite scripture if you think you need to explain) Or even better in your example ‘I’ll answer you with your own scripture but first you must tell me…’ It’s an awful lot of deflection instead of just saying yes or no and then explaining. To demonstrate I’ll answer your question….
    Yes, I believe that God the Father is without a body because the Bible tells us that God is a spirit John 4:24 says ‘God is spirit’ and Jesus defines a spirit as ‘not having flesh and bones’ Luke 24:39. But I do not believe he is some apathetic being in the sky.
    Here you try…Do Mormons believe that God the Father has a wife that he was sealed to from his mortal life on another planet?

  7. What do you mean more?

    Did anyone else catch this? Frequently, I have to remind myself that Mormon missionaries are often very young. Not that being young is bad, just that I feel for them – being thrust into the apologetic trenches shortly after going to the senior prom.

  8. subgenius says:

    re-read your verses about God and spirit…they are not an A=B, B=D therefore A=D usage of the scriptures.
    You also seem to be struggling with the Mormon notion of “monolatrism” (not henotheism).
    Now John 20:17 is pretty clear about God having a God, if you pay attention. Ask yourself why does Jesus say “..and to my God” in that verse? why does He not leave it at saying “my Father”?
    This is just one of several scriptures where Jesus makes a clear distinction between Himself and His Father. If the Ev insists there is only One God then clearly a paradox has been created in their modern doctrine.

    Before anyone brings Paul into this discussion, let me ask the Pauline faithful a question…Why does Paul insist that the Law of Moses was null/void when Jesus and the Apostles both followed/taught this Law until their death?
    (yea, a side note, but it has been an elusive Ev question)

  9. Russ says:

    rvales, you’re not telling the whole LDS story. Why is that? In LDSism, the concept of “Eternal Progression” allows for the existence of possibly millions, billions or even trillions of deities… with each one having a succesor. Judeo-Christian thought has never subscribed to LDS ideas. More importantly, neither does God subscribe to LDS theology because, as God makes clear through the prophet Isaiah, God is the only God. He knows of no others. If there were other Gods then God would know about them. But he doesn’t. Mormonism therefore grossly errs on this very important aspect of God’s nature.

  10. rvales says:

    I struggle with a lot about Mormonism. Just as those pershing struggle with the message of the cross (1 Corinthians 18). It really is so simple and beautiful. I am a sinner. God, the very One who has always been and always will be, took on flesh to fulfill his law and pay my debt. I accept his sacrafice because I know I could never make myself into anything more that a wretched sinner.

  11. Russ,

    I enjoyed the video. I found the dialog a little jarring until I figured out it was a literal transcript of an internet exchange (PS I could toss out a quip about it being translated correctly, but I’ll restrain myself – LOL).

    You do well to present the kind of evasion and confuscation LDS put up when asked about how many “gods” there are.

    I don’t have a problem with people struggling to give an answer for what they believe (most Ev explanations of the Trinity might fall into this category). However, to propel a “missionary” into the world without equipping him or her to resolve questions like this is reprehensible. If nothing else, it undermines any claims the Mormon “church” has on being the One True Church to which God’s Truth has been entrusted, and without which God’s truth cannot be understood.

  12. DoF wrote

    “do you believe in a God without body, parts or passions?”

    Are you quoting James E Talmadge’s “Articles of Faith”? (AOF)

    In AOF, Talmadge objects to the Westminster Confession; here is the original from Chapter 2, Article 1;

    There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

    Given that this was written in 1646 and the nuances of some words may have changed (e.g. “parts”, “passions”), is there anything else you’d like to object to in this article? For example;
    * One…God
    * Most free
    * Most absolute (1)
    * Working all things…for His own glory

    Note (1) Modern grammarians will shudder at this phrase; you’re either absolute or you’re not and there’s no point in qualifying it with “most”. However, it illuminates the 17th Century meaning of similar phrases in context, such as “most loving” and “most just”.

    BTW, If you are persuaded by Talmadge, perhaps you could answer why, in one section Talmadge announces that anything without material substance cannot exist, yet he devotes entire chapters to Angels and Demons.

    (PS My quotes from Talmadge are from memory because, despite repeated requests from my LDS freinds to get me a permanent copy, they never did).

  13. liv4jc says:

    Sub, the answer to your question is very clear. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17,18 that he is the fullfilment of the Law.Remember, Jesus came to His own first, but the promise of the Law was never personal salvation, it was a promise to national Israel that obedience brought blessing and inheritance, and disobedience brought punishment. Jesus fulfilled all of the covenants in His person because they foreshadowed Him. Being sinless, He never had to offer sacrifices in the temple, etc. What Jesus really fulfilled was the promise to Abraham that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed (thus the gentiles were brought in to inherit salvation, but they were never part of the Mosaic Covenant), and that He would arise out of Judah and reign on the throne of David forever (Davidic Covenant). Hebrews is all about negating the Mosaic Covenant. That is why Jesus made all foods clean, etc. While the “Jews” are still God’s covenant people and will inherit blessings in the kingdom, the temple was destroyed in AD 70 as punishment for rejection of Jesus, and the Jewish Christians were free to abandon their adherance to the Mosaic Law, which many of them did. It would be kind of like you having a cup of coffee on the first morning of your salvation after you accept Jesus Christ as your God and Savior.

    Which Apostles taught the Law until their death, Sub???? Again, read Hebrews. Please show me proof of your assertion.

    Believe it or not I pray for you most every day.

  14. liv4jc says:

    DOF, you remind me of the JW’s I have spoken with. You take one verse and say, “AHA! Jesus says God is greater than He is!” while neglecting all of the verses that show that Jesus possesses the same characteristics as God and says that He is God and equal with the Father. In Matthew 11:27 Jesus declares that no one can know the Father unless He wills to reveal it to them. In John 6:44 Jesus says that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws them. In John 14:8-10 Jesus tells Philip that if he has seen Jesus, then he has seen the Father. Then Jesus makes the same statement in John 14:10 as he makes to the Pharisees in John 10:38 that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. The Jews understood his meaning perfectly and wanted to kill Him because He made Himself equal with God.

    What you don’t see is that all three persons of the Godhead are God, but there is subordination among them. Not in nature, but in office. The Father sends the Son, and the Father and the Son send the Spirit. The Spirit never sends the Father or the Son, but all three are said to perform the divine act of salvation. We are not modalists where the Father is the Son and the Son is the Father and the Spirit is the Father and the Son, etc. There is One being we know as God, but three separate persons within that one being.

  15. gundeck says:


    Talmadge’s books are available free online using google books.


    The Westminster Confessions use of “without passions” should be understood in the theological language in use in the 17th century. It is referring to the simple fact that God is not caused to act by anything outside of Himself. This is of course a necessity unless you would have God reliant on something outside of Himself for His own existence. To assume that God has passion in the manner the divines were referring is to also deny God’s ultimate freedom of action and his almighty nature.

    Without Body is easy, Calvin explains it simply, “The Anthropomorphites also, who dreamed of a corporeal God, because mouth, ears, eyes, hands, and feet, are often ascribed to him in Scripture, are easily refuted. For who is so devoid of intellect as not to understand that God, in so speaking, lisps with us as nurses are wont to do with little children? Such modes of expression, therefore, do not so much express what kind of a being God is, as accommodate the knowledge of him to our feebleness. In doing so, he must, of course, stoop far below his proper height.” (Institutes 1.13)

    “Without parts” is referring to God’s perfections, holy, love, wise, gracious, merciful etc. For example God is love, not because he loves but because love is his nature. He simply is love, this is not a part of Him it is Him. His being Love is not dependant on having something outside of Himself to love because His love cannot be separated from his nature.

    To deny any of these is also to deny the immutability of God.

  16. gundeck says:


    Try this link http://books.google.com/books?id=JecQAAAAIAAJ&pg=PR5&lpg=PR5&dq=articles of faith talmage&source=bl&ots=E1GdI-Go80&sig=qIxVvdXO06TgF9WOCNYAWCpNFA0&hl=en&ei=S6rrSoWvFo6cMObVnYQM&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBAQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=&f=false

  17. Mike R says:


    Great post on our Jesus fulfilling the old


    Thanks for the info you shared.

  18. liv4jc says:

    Thanks Mike. While I’m on the subject of the Trinity, I’m really tired of the mantra that before Nicea the Christian church did not believe in the Trinity, nor did they believe God was composed of the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit. I was given a magazine by a JW called “Should you believe in the Trinity?” Like Smith’s church, the Watchtower Society claims that no Ante-Nicene fathers taught that The Father and Son are One God. I just happened to be in the middle of a new book called Christian Apologetics Past and Present. The first volume covers the year 1 to 1500. While reading Athenagoras’ letter to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonias which was written sometime in the middle-late second century I came across this confession:

  19. liv4jc says:

    (cont)..”we are not atheists, therefore, seeing that we acknowledge one God, uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, illimitable, who is apprehended by the understanding only and the reason, who is encompassed by light and beauty, and spirit, and power ineffable, by whom the universe has been created through his Logos, and set in order, and is kept in being-I have sufficiently demonstrated. [I say His Logos], for we acknowledge also a Son of God. Nor let anyone think it ridiculous that God should have a Son. For though the poets, in their fictions, represent the gods as no better than men, our mode of thinking is not the same as theirs, concerning either God the Father or the Son. But the Son of God is the Logos of the Father, in idea and in operation; for after the pattern of Him and by Him were all things made, the Father and the Son being one. The Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son in oneness and power of spirit, the understanding and reason of the Father is the Son of God. But if, in your surpassing intelligence, it occurs to you to inquire what is meant by the Son, I will state briefly the He is the first product of the Father, not as having been brought into existence (for from the beginning, God, who is the eternal mind, had the Logos in Himself), being from eternity instinct with Logos; but inasmuch as He came forth to be the idea and engergizing power of all material things, which lay like a nature without attributes, and an inactive earth, the grosser particles being mixed up with the lighter. The prophetic Spirit also agrees with our statements. The Lord, it says, made me, the beginning of His ways to His works (Prov 8:22). The Holy Spirit Himself also, which operates in the prophets, we assert to be an effluence of God, flowing from Him, and returning back again like a beam of the sun.

  20. liv4jc says:

    (cont)…Who then, would not be astonished to hear men who speak of God the Father, and of God the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and who declare both their power in union and their distinction in order, called atheists? (Christian Apologetics Past and Present a Primary Source Reader pages 76 and 77).

    Did Athenagoras make this stuff up? No, it was the common teaching of the early church and sounds like something learned from reading John’s gospel, the point of John’s gospel being to prove that Jesus Christ was the Son of God (meaning God incarnate).

    Athenagoras believed and taught that God is invisible spirit, but that the Logos (Jesus Christ) is His Son and equally God. He presents the Holy Spirit as a person (calling Him the “Holy Spirit Himself”) that emanates from the Father and the Son, so He must be as much God as the Son is, who also came forth from the father, as the Logos. So if A=B and A and B=C, then C=A and B. This is a clear confession of the Trinity, and of the subordination that I spoke of above. Subordination in office, not in nature. Admittedly you will not find a confession as clear as this in scripture, but by putting all the scriptures together, the doctrine of the Trinity is easily seen.

    This is why Christians also believe in progressive revelation when measured against the Bible, which is the standard. The things in the OT became clearer by Christ’s teachings, and once the NT teachings were complete, the defined Trinity shadowed in the OT was revealed in the NT to us who have the completed teachings of scripture, not personal revelation that contradicts the Bible.

  21. falcon says:

    That was a super good video. My head was spinning! This is true blue cult communication; deflect all questions and give robotic memorized answers. And with the Mormons, they run away if they don’t “feel” the spirit. In-other-words, if while being challenged they start feeling “bad” they need to stuff their feelings and hit their jets and get out of the situation.
    Hay where’s Ralph when I need him? I wanted to do my Orson Pratt quote on if you worship one god you worship all of them. Ralph doesn’t like that one saying that BY put the kabosh on Orson’s theology. Mormons like BY sometimes and not at others. I guess BY didn’t like Orson thinking a person could worship all of the gods. I don’t think BY objected to the fact that their are lots of gods in the Mormon pantheon.
    Again, a five star video!

  22. gundeck,

    I appreciate your responses, and I fully agree that the language of the Westminster Confession (WC) needs to understood in its “native” 17th Century Environment.

    My query was really directed at DoF, since he brought it up.

    Anyhow, I do have a query for you (or anyone else well-versed in the WC); its to do with the word “parts”. What I mean is, its quite easy (in the context of Mormonism) to read “..without body, parts…” as “…without bodily parts…”; as if the “parts” relate to the “body”, and the comma doesn’t exist.

    If the authors of WC intended something like “the body and its parts”, then, I presume, the addition of “parts” after “body” could be superfluous.

    An alternative could be the use of “parts” as in different roles or “modes”. Compare Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” (Act 2, scene 7, 139–143),

    All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages.

    (bold mine).

    …well, Shakespeare was a very near contemporary of WC and the Authorized Bible of King James the First, so it seems fair to see how he used the word.

    What do you think?

    On a footnote; Aaron perceptively noted that the creeds and confessions of the orthodox church were an overflow of meaning (or something similar). It seems that skeptics and Mormons may regard my kind of word-scrutiny as nit-picking, preferring instead to retain their own first-impressions and prejudices. However, what I’ve seen from the LDS movement is so far removed, that I have to wonder if any words used by them have any meaning at all.

    What happened to the idea that the Church’s job is to communicate the Gospel to the World in a way that the World has some hope of understanding?

  23. Compared to the care taken to language by the various Bible Translators and authors of the confessions and creeds, the LDS movement have proven themselves to be experts at using language to obscure their message.

    This bothers me, but not as much as the Ex-Mos (e.g. grindael) who drilled into the message and found that it was not what they had signed up for.

    Mormons jump on the “free agency” wagon to shoot off at the Calvinists. Will they then practice what they preach, and allow freedom of choice with their religion by making clear what they believe?

    We may agree and we may not. At least we’ll know what it is that we agree with, or not. At least, we’ll be able to exercise the “free agency” that you say you believe in, and make an informed decision accordingly.

    Without the information, how can the decision be “free”?

  24. rpavich123 says:

    I know that I’m late to the party but I have to comment on the “dueling proof texts” way of doing business that “defendingthefaith” brought.

    If you think that the passage is teaching that Jesus “had a god” like Jesus is our God, then you have to do more than take that one passage and just assert it…that’s not good enough.

    The short version is that 2000 years of Christian history has believed one thing; that Christianity is monotheistic…period.

    If you want to come along in the 1800’s and assert that there are an “infinite number of Gods” then fine; more power to you…but don’t try the hokey “hey! because he said your god and my god that means our doctrine is right!” stuff…it won’t fly.

    In fact earlier on as John records it, the following exchange took place between Jesus and the Jewish leaders:

    The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

    The fact is; the Jews were monothesistic to the bone and the idea of multiple God’s was blasphemy, and the punishment was stoning to death.

    That’s irreconcilable with your conclusion about Jesus’ saying that “God was his God, and God had a God, and so on and so on.”

    To this day; Jews recite the Shema:

    The declaration “Hear, O Israel, Yahweh our God is one Yahweh”

  25. rpavich123 says:

    Addition to my last comment:

    God also says in 1 Tim 1:17

    The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, ***the only God***, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

    Paul not only affirms monotheism; he identifies Jesus as God.

    And yet..one God.

    Christian monotheism and the trinity in one paragraph.

  26. falcon says:

    What I think this video reveals is the problem that the LDS religion has with the truth. When you have something that is based on the character of a person whose foundation seed is deception, that’s the type of tree that will grow. The fruit of that tree will reflect the tree itself. The primary cause of Mormon “shaken faith syndrome” is the fact that those members who discover the less than flattering truth of the religion, feel that they’ve been lied to and duped by the organization. In my opinion, that’s why we see so many angry and hostile exMormons. The sad thing is that far too many of these “exmos” throw God overboard because of their experience in Mormonism.
    I saw a training video of some young Mormon missionary recruits who were told by the trainer, “Don’t answer the question the prospect asks, answer the question they should have asked.” It was a perfect example of the current of deception that runs through the Mormon religion. These kid missionaries were being taught how to deflect questions that might lead a prospect to reject Mormonism.
    Of course Mormons rationalize all of this with the famous “milk before meat” motto they use to convince themselves that it’s OK to cover-up the truth. The idea is that when the prospect becomes fully indoctrinated and sucked into the black hole of Mormonism, then little bits and pieces of the aberrant teachings and doctrines can be revealed. Mormonism turns honesty on its head.
    A legacy of deception started long ago is alive and well today in a church that has trouble owning its past and will do all that’s necessary to hide the truth.

  27. setfree says:

    That was terrific!
    Nice to meet you

  28. rvales says:

    I am so very grateful for my brothers and sisters in Christ who so loving and intelligently preach the Gospel of Christ and the truth and freedom of His love and sacrafice for us.

  29. gundeck says:


    You pose an interesting alternative. I have understood the divines to be speaking about the essence of God when they say “parts”. A number of good resources are available free online particularity Shaw’s exposition of the Confession and Francis R. Beattie’s excellent Presbyterian Standards. In any case, I do believe that the Confession leaves no room for modalism.

    DoF makes a typical compliant from the Mormon perspective as so much of Mormon philosophy is based on a corporeal deity.

  30. Enki says:

    I looked up the word ‘monolatrism’ because someone else mentioned it. The first hit I got was on wikipedia, it makes a case for ancient hebrew monolatrism.

  31. Enki says:

    “…in one section Talmadge announces that anything without material substance cannot exist, yet he devotes entire chapters to Angels and Demons….”

    LDS scriptures states that spirit is composed of matter, but it is of a different type than what most people are familiar with.

    D&C 131:7,8
    “7 There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes;
    8 We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.”

    I don’t think that spirit is defined in this way anywhere in the bible. However, does this statement actually conflict with what the bible has said concerning spirit and spirits?

    In some non-christian traditions there is the idea of a spirit body, ethic body, and the astral body. Each being various levels of refinement in ‘matter’, becoming finer and finer. I have read about theoretical states of matter which are far more dense forms of matter than what we are familiar with. These exist in conditions which we can’t live in.

    In college I was suprised to learn that a lot of people believe that there is no sharp distinction between matter, energy, and ‘immaterial’ substances. That we really are made of nothing.

    LDS scripture also states:
    “10 And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.”
    (Moses 1:10)

    So, its kind of strange, everything is matter, and everything is nothing?

    P.S. I was away for about two weeks. I am glad you liked the joke! “Jesus” got his own world recently, the moment was captured by the hubble space telescope. He was an lds faithful from Oaxaca, not from nazareth.

  32. Enki says:

    “DoF makes a typical compliant from the Mormon perspective as so much of Mormon philosophy is based on a corporeal deity.”

    The illustrator Crumb recently released the entire book of genesis in comic form. I saw a sample in the New Yorker. Its just so interesting reading it, and looking at the images. I often did a double take, because it makes a difference if you read it and read it illustrated. Anyways, he shows the ‘lord god’ as an old man with long hair and beard. And indeed the story in genesis writes it like it was a person walking around doing things. It specifically states that adam and eve hid because they heard the lord walking in the garden. That sounds like a physical form, if you take the story literally.

    here is a sample of crumbs work. CAUTION: may not be suited for all audiences!
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_6gBy1kGztSM/SiP3mOaq8-I/AAAAAAAAApc/rb-IwA9Aq0g/s400/robert crumb genesis 11.png

  33. gundeck, Enki and DoF

    Here’s my problem with the Talmadge-ian perspective; Talmadge poo-poos the idea of God not having a corporeal body because he says something like “if it doesn’t have matter, it can’t exist”, therefore God must have a corporeal body…

    …but its perfectly OK for spirits to be made of “refined matter”.

    So, if its OK for spirits to have “bodies” made of “refined matter”, how can one use this argument to assert that God must have a corporeal “body”? So, why not say that God has a body like the spirits – made of “refined matter”? Its just not a proof.

    I don’t buy any of this, though. I think Talmadge tried to reconcile some exotic 19th Century Physics (as understood by uninformed religionists) with Biblical ideas of God. It just doesn’t work.

    My reading of the Biblical God is that He created everything. The creation, including energy, time, matter, “refined matter” and anything else that may or may not be out there, exists within God.

    Sometimes, it seems, He becomes incarnate within His creation (notably in the person of Jesus), but that does not mean His existence is limited to a body of flesh and bone.

  34. setfree says:

    I went to the link on monolatrism, and noticed that one of the references it quotes is Bruce R. McConkie.

    A Biblical answer is that there is never any power or good quality ascribed to the “other gods” in the Bible, but they are equated with 1)idols, 2)demons, and 3)sun, moon, stars. The Bible does not suggest that people weren’t worshiping what they believed to be gods, because they were. What it DOES say is that those gods are not real. They could not help their people, they could not compete with Israel’s God, they were worthless. In fact, the name of the god Belial is actually translated “worthless”.

    To get monolatrism out of the Bible, in my opinion, you first have to want it there, and put it in…

  35. gundeck says:


    I understand all of God’s revelation with his creation to entail a condescension from the infinite to the finite, “Finitum non possit capere infinitum”—the finite cannot comprehend the infinite. Part of this condescension includes a “theophany” or an appearance of God, these appearances take differing forms and shapes in the Bible. None of them should be seen, as in Mormon philosophy, as a limit to God’s nature.

    Theologically concluding that God is made of matter, refined or otherwise, is to make Him dependent on the existence of matter or on something outside of Himself.

  36. Enki says:

    That link is talking about monolatrism in general, not specific about mormon ideas, even if an LDS authority is mentioned. The mention of monolatrism in relationship to mormonism seems misplaced, as in this context its talking about non-christian deities. I would assume that an exalted LDS person would be a christian ‘god’.

    What you are overlooking is the suggestion that that there appears to be a doctrinal developement from monolatrism to monotheism in the history of the jewish faith.

    “”The highest claim to be made for Moses is that he was, rather than a monotheist, a monolatrist. … The attribution of fully developed monotheism to Moses is certainly going beyond the evidence.”[4]”

  37. Enki says:

    I honestly equate your commentary with that of Hinduism or something similiar. Hare Krishna came to earth born to a human mother, and is reported to have other appearances around the world, even some devotees have actually become krisha themselves. The commentaries that I have read about this is that the physical form is just to have something the person can relate to, and to also hide most of the real attributes of god. The few people who witnessed the ‘cosmic form’ of krishna almost didn’t survive. I don’t know that is the ‘cosmic form’, but it sounded like its beyond most everything anyone is familiar with.

    So, that is all the ‘god created man in his image’ stuff about? Its possible god is only spirit, but if you don’t want to place limits on god, than why even have a spiritual form of a human?

    My most intense spiritual experience of god is exactly that there is no ‘form’, not human, and also not confined to limited to any spiritual tradition. All of my most spiritual experiences are in association with natural objects, such as fruit, plants, animals, rocks, rivers etc…not in a church, and not from reading any scriptures. I don’t equate any of this with christianity. I could be my upbringing, but whenever I read anything from the bible, its always about limitations, and some ancient manlike god.

  38. Enki,

    I’m not sure if I understand your comments on Krishna and Hinduism. The thoughts that jump up immediately in my mind are;
    * Did the Krishna tradition borrow from the Christian tradition, and
    * Oh no, here comes another attempt at syncretism

    As I understand it, the first Chapter of John’s Gospel (on which much of the Christian idea of the incarnation is drawn) was normative to Greek Philosophy up to verse 14. What I mean is, contemporary Greek philosophy had already posited that there was an “original cause”, or “wisdom” from which the creation came, which is described as the divine logos or Word. So, John is not breaking new ground when he writes “In the beginning was the Word…through Him all things were made” (John 1:1-3). And “In Him was light and that light was the life of men” (John 1:4).

    However, John profoundly challenges the norms of his day when he writes “The Word became flesh…” The idea that the divine logos would enter into the world in a “knowable” form was a revolution in itself, but if that was hard to swallow, the “format” of that form was truly “out there”; instead of a visible King who imposes his rule on the nations, the divine logos appears as a servant (Phil 2:2-11), whom most people ignore.

    Every time I think about this, I shake my head in almost disbelief; God humbled Himself to serve, and to give his life that we might live. There is no way I could think up something so counter-intuitive, counter-cultural, counter-sin and pro-human-life.

    My quick reading of Wikipedia on Krishna indicate that there are a number of varied traditions surrounding him. For example, he is the 8th son. My first impression is that he is the kind of person that everybody wants to be – endowed with superhuman powers, model lover etc. Is he just a projection of our desires?

    I recall a quote from Krishna, but I can’t confirm it’s true. Apparently, he said “I have come to destroy sinners”. No thanks. I’d rather stay with the one who came to save sinners.

  39. Enki says:

    Here is a link to your question “Did the Krishna tradition borrow from the Christian tradition?”

    The link makes the following statement:
    “The life of Krishna and the religion of Vaishnavism had not been influenced by Christianity, but had appeared autonomously on Indian soil and was already well-established by at least the third century BCE. Indeed, according to numerous accounts in the ancient Sanskrit literature [that began to appear more creditable to Western scholars] Krishna and the worship of Krishna as God appeared in India close to 3,000 BCE.”

    Krishna destroying sinners? That would be interesting to find out if its in the Bhavagad Gita. Hasn’t the hebrew god destroyed sinners while on earth? The judgements of god etc…people like to bring up the example of Sodom.

    I don’t know how true the next link is, but it makes the following statement:

    “Chrisna left paradise from pure compassion, to die for suffering sinners. He sought to lead men to better paths and lives of virtue and rectitude. He suffered to atone for the sins of the entire world. But the sinner, through faith in him, could be saved.”

    And just so you know and are warned, this is coming from a webpage which denouces the christian faith. It does point out a lot of parallels with christ and Krishna.

    Why did I make the commentaries? It just came to mind reading some commentary. Mostly the thought about god in human form NOT being the ultimate form. I remembered reading something about krishnas human form and his cosmic form which isn’t human.

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