In John 9:1-3 the disciples passed by a man blind from birth and asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answers, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Some Mormons have used this to argue that the disciples assumed human pre-existence, and that Jesus was endorsing this assumption by not explicitly correcting it.
This is a bad interpretation for a few reasons.
1. The Gospel of John is clear and persistent in declaring the unique pre-existence of Jesus in contrast to the rest of humanity, who were “from below.” See the list of such passages at Theopedia (under “Johannine Passages”). This is the most important reason, so it’s crucial that you take a minute to read those passages (John 1:1-2, 15, 18; 3:13, 31; 5:36-38; 6:46, 62; 7:28-29; 8:23, 58; 17:24).
2. Sinning in the womb was regarded as possible by some Jews (see D.A. Carson excerpt below).
3. Even if the disciples had human pre-existence in mind (which seems unlikely), Jesus doesn’t go on confirm this assumption. Rather, he goes on to refute the notion that the man was born blind because of any personal sin. Just because Jesus refutes one assumption of the disciples doesn’t mean he is endorsing the remaining. This point alone does not refute human pre-existence, of course, but in light of #1 and #2, we have no compelling reason to read the story in John 9 in a way that contradicts John’s existenting theme of Jesus’ unique pre-existence.
This is a great example of the importance of letting the explicit govern the implicit, the obvious govern the less obvious, and the whole of a work inform the parts of a work.
361-362 of The Gospel According to John, by D.A. Carson:
> The disciples assume, like most Palestinian Jews of their day, that sin and suffering are intimately connected. In one sense, they are correct; they are simply working out the entailments of the fall (Gn. 3). If rabbis argued that there is no death without sin (B. Shabbath 55a; proved by referring to Ezk. 18:20) and no suffering without guilt (citing Ps. 89:32), Paul in the New Testament would certainly agree (Rom. 1-2; 3:10ff.). But once theologians move from generalizing statements about the origin of the human race’s maladies to tight connections between the sins and sufferings of an individual, they go beyond the biblical evidence (whether from the Old Testament or the New). That a specific illness or experience of suffering can be the direct consequence of a specific sin, few would deny (e.g. Miram’s revolt, Nu. 12; notes on Jn. 5:14; cf. 1 Cor. 11:30). That it is invariably so, numerous biblical texts flatly deny (e.g. Job; Gal 4:13; 2 Cor. 12:7).
> In this instance, the disciples presuppose the tighest possible connection. The specific individual is suffering from blindness; therefore some specific, individual sin must have been the antecedent cause. Because he was born blind, it must be that either he sinned in the womb (certainly regarded as possible by some Jews), or his parent sinned in some way that implicated him (e.g. when a pregnant woman worships in a pagan temple her unborn fetus was regarded as participating in the pagan rite, Canticles Rabbah I, 6, [?] 3).
>  Thus in “Genesis Rabbah” 63:6 (a rabbinical commentary) on Gn. 25:22, various disputants discuss the ante-natal conduct of Esau and Jacob, and Ps. 58:3 is cited to prove that Esau displayed sinful inclinations from the womb.
What does this concept in Mormonism lead to? It leads to many gods, the best of whom practiced polygamy when they were going through their initiation stage on some planet, these wives are now with them and together they are procreating spirit children. These spirit children will eventually have human parents and then be able to work themselves also through the process of becoming gods.
Their own god of this planet lives on or near a planet called Kolob where he and his wives are spending their time procreating when they don’t have other duties to attend to.
So to debate a pre-existence has some merit in that it may teach Mormons some important lessons about Biblical interpretation. However it’s important to flesh out where this concept leads in Mormonism.
It’s also important to understand the attributes of God that He has been willing to share (tell us about Himself) with us. One of these is that God is omniscient. He knows everything. So if He says He knew us before the foundation of the world He is demonstrating this attribute of being omniscient. It doesn’t mean what Mormons with their father-mother god with spirit procreation think it means.
It all gets back eventually with Mormons to the nature of God. To know Him as He is changes the equation pretty quickly. It blows the idea of a pre-existence out of the water.
Aaron, nice piece – short and decisive on the interpretation and a great catalyst for discussing the pre-existence.
The Pre-e does lead to the things that falcon points out and much more, but I wanted to focus on where its coming from or, rather, what it is supposed to do. The Pre-e is supposed to give an account for why people start out in varied situations from their birth. People are concerned with the notion of a good God and people getting a raw-deal start in this life (as well as a good start).
One nice thing about this particular account in the Bible is that it shows how the disciples were concerned with this issue as well. But the nature of their question shows they did not believe in a pre-existence because they ask about the parents’ sin. If they had believed in Pre-e then they would have just asked about the blind man’s Pre-e.
This conclusion is reinforced (and the LDS argument is found invalid) if Aaron is correct and people argue from this passage that Jesus could have corrected them but didn’t. Because the same is true for the disciple’s assumption that the sins of the parents would be visited upon the child. If I remember correctly this isn’t true according to the Articles of Faith. So which assumption should Jesus have explicitly shown false – pre-existence or generational curses? If LDS teaching is correct, this is why Jesus didn’t correct this assumption of the disciples, but then, he should have corrected another assumption that went against LDS teaching (generational curses), thus the argument from Jesus’ silence is self-refuting and false.
Part 2 later today.
Have a great day everyone!
May God bless you in Jesus, the Christ’s Name.
1800 years after Jesus established His church and appointed His apostles to preach the gospel
of salvation and we see yet another end time ” latter-day” prophet using the Bible in such a
way as to try and bolster his new doctrines . With all the warnings in the Bible about such
prophets and the strange new doctrines they create this behavior by Mormon prophets
in creating their doctrine of pre-existence( pre -mortal ) is’nt surprising . The account in
John 9 does’nt teach this abberrant doctrine, but Mormon prophets have found what they
wanted to find , just enough “evidence” they could use etc. This is a poor way to treat the
Bible . This same type of behavior in manipulating Bible verses to make a doctrine appear
out of no where was also utilized by some Mormons to prove that polygamy was a part of
Jesus’ gospel , as they used the parable of the ten Virgins [ Matt 25] to show the N.T.
teaches this practice . This type of behavior is how false prophets , who have superseded
the Bible with their “newer revelation “, seek to convince people that they are also
appointed by the same God who inspired Biblical prophets/apostles . Those that are
investigating the claims of Mormonism need to beware of how it’s prophets attempt to use
the Bible as a means to bolster their strange new doctrines . The N.T. does’nt teach that
polygamy is a part of the gospel message that Jesus’ apostles received from Him to preach ,
neither does it teach the Mormon doctrine of a pre-mortal life of God and His wives creating
a myriad of babies who start on a progression to become Gods.
I have said this before and will say it again.
When you read the Book of Job, when God is rebuking Job, God says, where were you when I created these things?
So this tells me, if Job was in a “pre-existence” Then he should have answered the question.
If Mormons teach, as they do, we passed through some veil of forgetfulness then God would or should have reminded Job of this, otherwise it would be unfair for God to ask that question of Job.
otherwise, we did not exist before hand with God, and again the Mormons are getting it wrong.
Also this is another one of these doctrines that cannot be found in the so called “most correct book” upon the earth, and means we must again listen to the prophets. Yet the problem is, the prophets cannot agree, so again, who do we trust?
You know better. As I have to keep reminding people…….it’s called “revelation”. It’s what makes Mormons think their religion is such a hot commodity.
I see some Christian groups that are into “words from the Lord” and “revelation knowledge” and unfortunately, by my unscientific calculation, about 90% of it is coming out of someone’s imagination.
It’s religious entertainment. It fires people up, makes them feel good and helps them fill time thinking they are having spiritual experiences.
I know I’m a walking contradiction because on the one hand I very much believe in God’s ability and desire to communicate with those who call Him Lord. On the other hand, I’ve become a huge skeptic when it comes to spiritual claims.
Mormons need to take their sincerity and desire to know God and find Him in His revealed Word the Bible. Personal revelation is a lot of fun as would be the thought that someone’s religion has a living prophet getting direct communication from the deity. It’s a trap. That’s why Mormons end up with aberrant and heretical teachings about such things as pre-existence.
A guy who claimed to be a prophet said it and no body thought to challenge it.
It’s better to put confidence in the Lord rather than some man who has no idea what he’s talking about.
The second aspect of this argument from this interaction with Jesus is what is implied by the argument if we assumed it was correct. Obviously, if I am correct about the Articles of Faith, then, as I showed in Part 1 above, it is not correct – the logic of the argument from the event contradicts itself when applied to the whole event.
But if we “just go with it”, then the LDS who use this argument are saying that Jesus implicitly confirmed that the the blind man had a pre-existence and, (again) by not correcting the disciples, implicitly confirmed that the blind man’s affliction could have been a result of his pre-existence.
But how does that work?(common question all LDS need)
Was Jesus really implicitly confirming that we not only could sin but that some of us actually did sin in the pre-existence? After all, if we couldn’t, then Jesus would have corrected them.
LDS could reply that the war in heaven is proof of sin in the pre-existence. This is not denied. However, those who sinned by participating in the rebellion were immediately (partially) judged by expulsion (and, in LDS theology, eternally denied bodies). Instead, the logic of this argument leads to the idea that this man sinned in the pre-existence in some other way and so was born blind. This would mean that all babies born unhealthily had sinned in the pre-existence. That’s “a whole lotta [sinning] goin’ on”. Even if a spirit-person was immediately born to someone as soon as they sinned in heaven, this would still seem absurd.
Again, the “Jesus confirms by not denying” argument is self-refuting in this Biblical event (part 1, above) and it leads to absurdity, at least in LDS theology (part 2, here).
Hmm, have you tried looking up ‘pre-existence’ and Judaism on the web? Well here is one find on Wikipedia –
So it appears that there were 3 thoughts on this matter in the Jewish religion. So its not as cut and dried as Mr Carson makes it out to be.
Also in the Wiki entry it states that Origen and Tertullian thought that spirits pre-existed the physical body.
So its not just the LDS church that has this ideology.
That clears it all up. Therefore the LDS church is true, right?
So then we can conclude that Jews believe in a mother-father god combo who live on or near the planet Kolob where they procreate spirit children who eventually get human bodies so that they also might have the chance to progress into being gods.
After all Ralph, that’s what Mormonism teaches, right? And wouldn’t you know it. You uncovered a foundation for such a belief.
Jews are also polytheistic in their belief regarding the nature of God, correct Ralph?
We can always count on you Ralph, to come up with some reference from someone some where that allows you to make a leap into trying to prove that Mormonism is the real deal; practiced by Jews and also first century Christians.
To my fellow Christian posters: remember that Ralph likes to chase us down empty rabbit trails. Be fore warned!
“So it appears that there were 3 thoughts on this matter in the Jewish religion. So its not as cut and dried as Mr Carson makes it out to be.”
You are going to have to do a little better Ralph. You seem to be implying that these three opinions or points-of-view are all equal in status. I’m sure we can take just about any topic and find three or more opinions on the matter. Look at Mormonism itself. We have one of the inspired true blue prophets saying something in one era and another one contradicting the first (one).
That’s the problem Mormons have in defending Mormonism. Quite often they have to side with atheists, for example, to rip into Christianity.
Joseph Smith believed that men lived on the moon. So that idea should be given considerable weight when discussing the possibility of life on other planets, right?
why is it you will follow after anyone that agree with you?
Go back and read what Jesus said to the religious Jews, and many people in General.
Jesus said to the religious leaders, YOU do err in scripture. They thought they knew something, Jesus said they were wrong.
Then to the Jews in General Jesus said, You have heard it said/taught, But I say to you…
The Jews in General were listing to the religious leaders, they were teaching false things, so Jesus correct them. So you just keep telling yourself, everyone knows more than Jesus, But I will follow Jesus. Rick
Falco said Rick, You know better. As I have to keep reminding people…….it’s called “revelation”
Funny how that works, The LDS revelation changes so often it cannot be trusted. Lets see here, WoW, Just a good thing, now a command, Yet if you break it down, the LDS only follow the dont drink coffee, tea, beer, wine part, the rest they dont follow.
Negro’s were cured with black skin and will NEVER hold the priest hood by Order of God, God later changes His mind. Negro’s would turn WHITE, later changed to “PURE” I can see black changing to white, I cannot see black changing to pure.
Polygamy will stand forever and it is an everlasting law that cannot change, yet that changed when Man’s government stepped in, funny how mans laws beat out Gods laws.
I’m sure I missed some changing revelation. But thats enough for now, But lets not forget all the failed LDS prophecy’s, either. That in it’s self is plenty to cover.
I asked my buddy Andy Watson to give me a quick take on our topic at hand. I thought his insights and anecdotes were really good so I thought I’d pass them along. Andy wrote:
“I’ve read the Mormon’s church manual on this subject. It’s covered in the Pearl of Great Price Student Manual Religion 327. The conclusions on the preexistence and the creation of the world(s) in this book are not ones that Mormons would probably embrace if they knew about it or thought it out (Joseph Smith helped Jesus create the world; trees and other plants are bodies that have souls; etc.). The Bible can be used to clearly affirm by the analogy of faith (Scripture interprets Scripture) that the Mormon’s view of the preexistence is a heresy.”
“I was attending an LDS Sunday school class one time when this subject came up. The teacher started talking about how all of us have passed through the “veil of forgetfulness” and that is why we don’t remember any of this in the preexistence. I pulled out McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine from my bookbag and asked him why this “veil of forgetfulness” is not mentioned. He had no answer. The other questions I asked him on this subject also went unanswered. They just make it up as they go along. When I asked him if Joseph Smith helped Jesus create the world, he said that was not the case. I pulled out the student manual and read to him that Smith did help Jesus create the world. Things didn’t go well from there.”
The part about trees and plants having bodies and souls is called “animism”. It would fit in well with the occult nature of Smith’s invented religion. More folklore I guess.
Andy said Doctrine from my bookbag and asked him why this “veil of forgetfulness” is not mentioned. He had no answer.
The reason he had no answer was, every time LDS walk through the door of their Church, the walk through the veil of forgetfulness and that means since they forget, they need to make things up as they go and pray for “revelation”, even if that revelation contradicts former revelation.
Very good Rick…………………the Mormon folks live in a veil of forgetfulness. They’d just as soon forget a lot of Mormonism, its history and teachings, but they’re stuck with it. All they can do is first of all deny these things, then when they find out it’s true we’re told it’s “opinion” and finally when all else fails it becomes folklore or folk doctrine. Once a person stats chipping away at Mormonism all that is left is dust that blows away in the wind, as it should.
This is a faith that does require a suspension of credulity and magical thinking. The sad thing about it is that Mormons could have it all if they turned to the Lord Jesus and see Him for who He really is. The forgiveness of sin and promise of eternal life is all there for those who are willing to humble themselves and come to Him.
Ralph, the Wikipedia article you quote from is riddled with flags indicating a need for real citations:
Try another source?
One thing that really bugs me about the Mormon church is, They dont allow the young kid MM to think for themselves and look at the evidence.
I have literally had 100’s of MM pass through my doors, Like I said, I lived in Maine for about 17 years, but it was only about the last 4 years or so that I started sharing with Mormons, Then I am going on 12 years living in MN. I have lived in many places, sought out MM to come to my house, or had to go to friends houses.
Almost every MM I have spoken with has told me, They are not allowed to watch videos like JS vs The Bible, or videos like that. They are not allowed to view Blogs like this one, They are not allowed to read any books that are not church approved. The LDS can claim it is to “protect them” But We see many LDS post here, and get interviewed by Christians in these video’s. So if the LDS church is true and correct, what are they trying to hide from these poor kids?
Then as Falcon posted info from Andy saying, he asked questions in class and the teacher claimed he was not aware of these things or did not have an answer for them, then I would say, how can you be a teacher? And according to JS, A man cannot be saved in ignorance, so are the LDS saved if they are ignorant of the churchs teachings? Also I have pointed out teachings from the Church to these kids and they say, they are not taught in LDS classes and were not aware of them. I show them from LDS sources to prove I am not making it up.
Aaron said Ralph, the Wikipedia article you quote from is riddled with flags indicating a need for real citations:
Try another source?
Ralph, As I said, That other source should be the Bible. It is proven to be trustworthy and if you want to believe it is missing many things, then ask your prophets why they dont pray for revelation to recive the missing things, and why JS was commanded by God to “correct” the Word of God, only to really add nothing to it, and then have it fall into corruption and fall to Mormon splinter groups, and even sadder, have the J.S.T even claim it is not finished and contradict it’s self. The problems just keep coming.
At one time Mormon apostle (senior apostle/prophet) Brigham Young claimed that the
doctrines of Mormonism are in the Bible. I think for him this meant that with enough
searching and personal revelation coupled with relying on a mentioning ( vrs actual teaching)
that indeed Mormonism doctrines even the “unique ” ones like a humans having a pre-
existence as spirit beings in heaven , are in the Bible. It seems that false prophets love to
find where some term or statement is mentioned in the Bible (ususally the O.T.) and from
there begin to construct a doctrine from it . But merely mentioning something should not be
equated with Biblical prophets/apostles actually teaching or endorsing it . When we see how
Mormons construct their doctrine of man’s pre- existence we see them engage in using this
type of interpretation behavior . There is’nt enough in Jn 9:1-3 to base a teaching on at all ,
the same for verses like Jer 1:5. Yet from such slim evidence we hear some Mormons state that
the Bible teaches this doctrine . Does the Bible really TEACH it ? Simple answer: no . Can a
person find “evidence” of it in the Bible if they really want to ? Yes. Since no apostle of Jesus
in the N.T. elaborates and unfolds this as a doctrine , a spiritual truth , then we need be leery
of those who claim to be His apostles that do teach it as fundamental truth , like Mormon
apostles do . Peter warned of false teachers who would try and introduce (2Pt2:1) doctrines
that were contrary to the clear spiritual truths he received from Jesus.
Can you show me where I said that what I wrote proves the LDS church true? I didn’t, so don’t put words into my mouth. All I did was refute Mr Carson’s writings stating that Judiasm only taught there was no pre-existence of the spirit. according to an article in wiki it states that there are 2 (sorry I made a mistake by saying 3 last time) thoughts in Judaism with the rabbinic literature pointing to a belief in the pre-existence of the spirit.
As far as if they were equal in status, if the rabbis were teaching a pre-existence over no pre-existence I wonder what was more accepted at the time of these teachings. And I am not siding with athiests here, I am going to the religion from which Jesus’ disciples and apostles came from to show that it might have taught and believed in pre-existence at the time when Jesus was asked this question. So Mr Carson’s case is still not cut and dried as the above post indicates.
Look closely at the wiki article, you will find that the part discussing the rabbinic literature – which taught about a pre-existence – was referenced to a book – Tan., Pekude, 3. The main parts that were objected to that did not have proper references were for the Traditional Christian, Mormon and Islam views as well as the Jewish view of no pre-existence.
If the LDS church is true then you have heard it taught and you do err in your understanding of the scriptures with what you believe. So Jesus was talking at times to different people like this, but not all – so your point is moot.
A glance at what happens when false doctrine is created by well meaning religious
teachers , it expands into some very strange teachings promoted as spiritual truths. Mormon
apostles have taught their flock that humans have pre-existed in heaven , this is a fundamental
truth of their gospel message . Once this doctrine was created by these men other doctrines
elaborating it soon followed , all spiritual guidance by these modern -day apostles of
Jesus’ original church restored .Examples of the pre-earth life lived by God, men ,
women in heaven according to Mormon authorities: Many spirit brothers and sisters
rebelled and when sent to earth were born with a black skin ,the sign a divine curse. Also
in this heavenly world God and His wives spent eons populating their kingdom thru
celestial sex, the spirit babies thus sired by God were raised and schooled . Lucifer and his
older brother Jesus grew up together , learned laws together , Jesus mastered His schooling
quickly and became worthy to attain Godhood and was thus allowed to create this earth, and
noble spirit adults helped him including Joseph Smith . Mormon prophet Brigham Young
revealed another spiritual truth which to him elaborated further light on this (line upon line)
he once taught his people that Adam , known as Michael , was Maker and Framer of the earth .
New light was easy for him to teach since the Bible , when push came to shove, was from
old prophets , he was the “living” prophet . As for those other spirits who helped the Maker
and Framer of earth, they learned their ability by being instructed in the
“art and science of world making” according to another Mormon apostle.
Beware : Rev2:2
I was demonstrating a typical train of thought followed by Mormons. That is, everything leads to the conclusion that the Mormon church is true. It really doesn’t matter if the Scriptures have to be tortured or if erroneous, faulty sources are used, at-the-end-of-the-day, for the Mormon, it proves that the LDS church is true, that the BoM is true, that JS was a prophet and that the current prophet is the real deal and hearing from God.
I’m pointing out the obvious as to where your thinking and “scholarship” are leading in regards to a conclusion. You’re going to make the leap that there are mother gods and father gods, too numerous to count, who are procreating spirit children who eventually will have human bodies and be given a chance to become gods themselves. That’s the whole point of your attempt to connect some very dubious dots.
Ralph, you like other naive Mormons want Mormonism to be true. So you seek out information, no matter how far fetched, erroneous or poorly sourced so you can shout “eureka, I found it” the Rosetta Stone of information that once and for all proves Mormonism is true.
Stick to the Bible Ralph. It is the source of all truth when it comes to knowing who God is and what His plan of salvation is. Putting your trust in false prophets with a false gospel is not going to bring you to the end result you have hoped for. Come to know Jesus Ralph and what He taught and it will be Good News for you.
Mike hit the nail on the head with his thoughts on what fundamental error leads to. Just look at within the confines of your own religion. We often point out how Mormonism has to scramble because some “prophet” has proclaimed something that is either nonsense or just can’t make the cut in future generations.
Just take the blacks in the priesthood controversy. It’s got modern day LDS leaders looking around baffled exclaiming, “We just don’t know where that came from!” The other part of it is that they clearly do know where it came from and they’re lying to cover it up.
Then there’s the “men to gods” doctrine. We have your past prophet GBH basically denying or playing dumb that the doctrine ever existed.
Shall we go on with Brigham Young’s goofy teachings/doctrine on all sorts of topics and the castration of Bruce McConkie’s book on Mormon doctrine and of course Joseph Smith’s BoA.
I could go on but you get the picture. Error in doctrine and teaching isn’t like just driving a little over the center line and then quickly pulling the car back in the driving lane. It’s a full-fledged sailing into the ditch, rolling over a half-dozen times and then flipping the doctrinal car end to end and off a cliff.
So you’re attempt to find some where, any where where someone may have talked about a pre-existence needs to be fully fleshed out. Joseph Smith was very creative and would take ideas and take off on a crazy ride through the jungle of confusion.
You believe this stuff because you’ve bought the magic bosom burning fantasy which, from the point of the experience, has gotten you to buy anything the Mormons church puts out.
Ralph said RickB
If the LDS church is true then you have heard it taught and you do err in your understanding of the scriptures with what you believe
The problem is, The LDS church is not true. You for some reason badly want to believe it is. Why? I dont know. Maybe you want a bunch of wives in heaven and your own planet. We have shown so much evidence that the church is false that it is over whelming, yet you can somehow set all that aside and claim you have answers for it and it does not bother you. I guess your living proof the Bible is true, Some people just want their itching ears tickled and they choose darkness rather than light.
To answer Aaron’s question, which is the title of his blog post, no, John 9:1-3 doesn’t prove human preexistence anymore than other verses that the Mormons desperately try to make the Bible say through proof texting. It has already been pointed out by other blog posters here on this topic and others that the Bible can be made to say anything a person wants it to say. The Mormons aren’t the first to do this and they won’t be the last. False prophets and false religions have been doing it for a very, very long time and will continue to do so until the Second Advent of Christ when these people will be destroyed in God’s wrath.
The Mormon’s have used this “cherry picking” of verses through proof texting by making doctrines out of single verses that do not teach what the Mormons say these texts teach (ex: 1 Corinthians 15:29 – baptism for the dead). The Mormons took John 21:23 and built an entire teaching on an assumption that the Apostle John never died. The Mormons took the words of Jesus and added to them what Jesus did not directly state. Arguments from silence are very hard to prove. Church history states that John died in Ephesus around A.D. 101. I am not going to get off topic on these two examples.
I wonder when the Mormons are going to stay true and be consistent upon building doctrines out of one verse from the Bible. When will the Mormons make serpent handling and drinking poison part of their temple practices using Mark 16:18 as their text? A fringe sect of Pentecostals in the Smoky Mountains has done this with disastrous results. I recently read about another preacher from this group who was killed by a snake after handling it.
Normally the Mormons will cite Jeremiah 1:5 as their text in support of human preexistence. Notice what the text says and what it does not say. God said to Jeremiah, “I knew you” – not “You (Jeremiah) knew Me (God).” God’s foreordination and foreknowledge are undeniable (Isaiah 46:9-11). The context of Jeremiah 1:5 is referring to Jeremiah’s foreordination to a special ministry. There is a big difference between a human being foreordained to do what God has decreed for that person to do before the foundation of the world (Isaiah 46:11) and a human being having preexisted in spirit form before his or her physical birth on earth. There is a big difference in the preexistence of Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, and now God in human flesh who is not a created being than that of a human being is a created being that has come into existence at a fixed point in time.
The Bible is clear in stating that it is in the womb where human beings are formed and brought into existence. David states this of himself in Psalm 139:13. God saw in His foreknowledge what He had decreed FIRST in his foreordination David’s unformed substance and all the days that had been ordained of him before he was brought into existence (Psalm 139:13). Paul says this of himself in Galatians 1:15. Other texts that mention being formed in the womb are Isaiah 44:2, 21.
Regarding the spirit of a human being, the Bible answers the origin of the spirit very clearly in Zechariah 12:1 – “forms the spirit of a man within him.” Ecclesiastes 12:7 states the destiny of the spirit upon death. There is nothing in this passage that says spirits lived with God before coming to earth.
Dr. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 484:
“Creationism is the view that God creates a new soul for each person and sends it to that person’s body sometime between conception and birth. Traducianism, on the other hand, holds that the soul as well as the body of a child are inherited from the baby’s mother and father at the time of conception. Both views have had numerous defenders in the history of the church, with creationism eventually becoming the prevailing view in the Roman Catholic Church. Luther was in favor of traducianism, while [John] Calvin favored creationism…Creationism has had many modern evangelical advocates as well.
“There is one other popular view called pre-existentianism, namely, that the souls of people exist in heaven long before their bodies are conceived in the wombs of their mothers, and that God then brings the soul to earth to be joined with the baby’s body as he or she grows in the womb. But this view is not held by either Roman Catholic or Protestant theologians and is dangerously akin to ideas of reincarnation found in Eastern religions. Moreover, there is no support for this view in Scripture. Before we were conceived in the wombs of our mothers, we simply did not exist. We were not. Of course, God looked forward into the future and knew that we would exist, but that is far removed from saying that we actually did exist at some previous time.”
When it comes to the LDS Church’s teaching on the preexistence, what are some of the other particulars that are involved? It goes beyond the realm of human beings. The Mormon Encyclopedia has this to say under the title of “Animals” (Vol.1, p.42-43):
“Latter-day Saints believe that animals, like humans, have SPIRITS, in the form of their bodies (D&C 77:2). Like humans and plants, animals were created first as spirits in heaven and then physically on the earth (Moses 3:5). Mortal and subject to death, animals will be saved through the ATONEMENT of Christ…Heber C. Kimball criticized the use of spurs and whips saying, ‘[Horses] have the same life in them that you have, and we should not hurt them.’ So far, no authoritative Church statement on the use of animals in medical research and product testing is available.”
That’s pretty convenient. I’m guessing there are animals in the lab at BYU that would render the LDS Church having to remain silent on this issue. Animals will be saved through the atonement of Christ? Saved from what? “Saved” in Christian theology means being saved from the wrath of the Father by having the imputation of Christ’s righteousness applied to a believer’s account. As Falcon stated, this kind of LDS teaching goes into animism and further into Eastern religions. Implying Christ’s substitutionary atonement for animals and plants is a theological nightmare that borders upon the insane to sheer comedy. The Bible lists swine, black rats, bats, snakes, locusts, ants, bees, wasps, hornets, moths, fleas, gnats, ticks, scorpions, leech, and worms as animals. Christ’s atonement is for them? Ridiculous! This kind of thinking by the Mormons is what the environmental crazies today have in mind when they equate the life of a cockroach with the life of a human being.
The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual Religion 327 elaborates further on the preexistence (p.9):
“…all things were first created in the spirit existence in heaven before they were placed upon this earth. We were all created untold ages before we were placed on this earth…This being true, then man, animals, and plants were not created in the spirit at the time of the creation of the earth, but long before…Man became a living soul – mankind, male and female. The Creators breathed into their nostrils the breath of life and man and woman became living souls. We don’t know exactly how their coming into this world happened, and when we’re able to understand it the Lord will tell us.”
On page 10 of the same manual we have this statement:
“…every tree…became also a living soul. Man, animals, and birds were also living souls. D&C 88:15 teaches a soul is a spirit and a body combined…for the Lord has said that not only has a man a spirit, and is thereby a living soul, but likewise the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea have spirits, and hence are living souls.”
The Bible doesn’t teach any of this nonsense. If I didn’t know these were LDS resources I would think I was reading something from Hinduism, Wicca, or some other pagan source. The Bible has clearly told us how creation came into existence. It’s spelled out in the book of Genesis. The Mormons have decided to go beyond the creation account in Genesis and add to it their fanciful additions that have no biblical support. Likewise, their word “Creators” from the quote above is incorrect. There is only one Creator – the God we read about in the Bible.
Who were some of these other co-“creators” that the Mormons state brought their world(s) into existence? On page 38 of the same manual we read this statement:
“Christ, acting under the direction of the Father, was and is the Creator of all things. That he was aided in the creation of this earth by ‘many of the noble and great’ spirit children of the Father is evident from Abraham’s writings…Michael or Adam was one of these. Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Peter, James, and John, Joseph Smith, and many other ‘noble and great’ ones played a part in the great creative enterprise.”
I wish the list would have continued or was being added to today. I guess Thomas Monson would be on that list and probably Mitt Romney especially if he is elected president. Romney would certainly be “noble and great” in acquiring the presidency when Joseph Smith tried and failed. Once again, this is sheer lunacy and comedy only in the minds of rebel sinners who have imagined a god and creation after their own choosing rather than the what the Bible says about the origins of creation, the denial of the preexistence of human beings, and the plethora of Scriptures that God alone is the Creator of all things without the “aide” of others.
Lastly, Ralph asserted that Origen and Tertullian supported a belief in the preexistence. First, anything referenced on Wikipedia is unreliable. Do the research and put the quotes out here from reliable sources. Granted, many things that these two believed on some issues were very wacky. If what they said didn’t line up the Word, then it must be rejected. If both of these men were alive today they would never cease to write and vocalize their anathemas against the teachings of Mormonism.
Andy said I wonder when the Mormons are going to stay true and be consistent upon building doctrines out of one verse from the Bible. When will the Mormons make serpent handling and drinking poison part of their temple practices using Mark 16:18 as their text?
Well I want to add a few verses that Mormons never cherry pick and try and follow.
Matthew 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
John 13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
Judas hung himself, now go and do it quickly. See I can make the case for suicide from the Bible. This is what Mormons are doing, committing spiritual suicide by following JS and the Mormon church.
Rick brought up an interesting point through his use of satire in his post. However, I would like to take that same thought process and put some reality to it and to Origen, an early church father, whom Ralph referred to in his earlier post. The danger of taking a verse in the Bible out of context or making a literal interpretation applicable to a believer’s life can be taken to the extreme. Origen was reading Matthew’s gospel and came across Matthew 19:12 (though there were no chapter and verse distinctions at that time). When the text stated the third group of eunuchs being those “who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” This is what Origen did and proceeded to castrate himself.
Eusebius wrote in his Ecclesiastical History that Origen “carried a deed into effect which would seem to proceed from a youthful understanding [of the text – Matt 19:12] not yet matured…in too literal and puerile a sense and at the same time thinking he would fulfill the words of our Savior” (Book 6, Chapter 8). Apparently this was a crude surgery done by Origen on himself. Origen wanted to hide it; however, Eusebius said “it was impossible for him, much as he wished it, to conceal an act.”
An immature, youthful and ignorant understanding of the text resulted in Origen misplacing his self-piety and zeal, which led to his being physically disfigured. Scripturally, this didn’t impress God and make Origen anymore righteous than others who viewed Origen’s view of Matthew 19:12 as in error along with other teachings of Origen. These would include the preexistence of souls and universal salvation, which are both heresies. Origen’s self-castration through ignorance brought further heresy.
Good job Andy.
You provided a lot of excellent information for those questioning Mormonism. I liked your points about people taking things in the Bible that are not to be taken literally in a literal fashion. As you know there are different literary devices that the writers of the Bible used, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to bring us the Word of God.
Ralph seems to enjoy Mormonism. With many Mormons there are all sorts of reasons they keep believing the myth of Joseph Smith. Often times they are taken with Smith’s story and desire to believe it. Protecting the myth is very important in maintaining their emotional equilibrium.
For those of us who see through the Smith farce it’s difficult to understand how anyone would be taken in by it. However it’s a spiritual battle and as Paul says it’s fought in the heavenlies.
Through the years I’ve noticed somewhat of a common theme by new prophets or other
religious messengers all of whom are eager to advertise their message . Since so many people
have a respect for the Bible it is impertative for these prophets to try and convince us their
new spiritual truths are in the Bible , hidden for centuries , but now due to be understood .
This scenario is no surprise to those prophets who represent themselves as “christian” , but
there are others who have sought to utilize the Bible to validate their new ” revelations “.
One such person was Shirley Maclaine, popular actress turned New Ager ( Westernized
Hinduism ? ) Her popular book and mini series Out On A Limb raked in millions of dollars .
She attempted to convince people that the Bible supported her belief in Reincarnation .
However her was quick to explain that most references to Reincarnation were removed from
the Bible ( by a Church council in the 6th Century and to much re-copying) , but there were
“vestiges” of the doctrine that could still be found — Matt 16:13-15 ; Ch 17 . ( some New Agers
also cite John 9:1-3 ) . Ms Maclaine resorted to the same type of behavior that Mormon
leaders have concerning their doctrine of human pre-existence ( pre-mortal life in heaven) .
They admit that there is’nt any explicit teachings of this doctrine in the Bible but there are some
“vestiges ” of it scattered in the Bible . This doctrine allegedly fell victim to the passage of time
and is believed to be among what Mormons call , ” …the loss of those plain and precious parts
of sacred writ [ Jewish scriptures ] , which [cont]
as the Book of Mormon informs us , have been taken away from the Bible during its passage
down the centuries , 1Nephi 13:24-29. ” [ First Presidency Statement , The Origin of Man ].
Those investigating the claims of the Mormon church to be the one true church with the
restored gospel of Jesus need to notice how Mormon leaders resort to in explaining some of
their new “restored” doctrines by treating the Bible in the manner that has just been mentioned
above . How could a doctrine this fundamental, this important be so vague in the Bible ? Or
what about the document that is said to clarify the Bible , add to it’s teachings to bring clarity
on gospel truths — the Book of Mormon ? Does it clearly teach this doctrine ? We’re not
concerned with any “vestiges” here , we need clarity , explicit expounding of this doctrine
by the leaders in Jesus’ church in ancient America . This is a fundamental doctrine of the
Mormon gospel , it should leap out of Bible and Book of Mormon verses on a repeated basis .
Fact of the matter is that this doctrine as expounded by Mormon authorities has nothing to
do with the gospel preached by Jesus’ apostles . This new light by so-called modern day apostles
men who may claim to be revealing added light on a Biblical teaching, but in reality they are
only teaching their own bright ideas — the precepts of men [ 2 Nephi 28:14,31] .
The Mormon people deserve apostles that are more trustworthy , men who rightly divide the
word — 2Tim 2:15— and these are available in the New Testament.
You want a reference for Origen believing in a pre-existence, Google it, you will find a plethora of them. The basics of it are he believed that the sixth day of creation was the last for everything on this earth, and hypothesised that all of the spirits for this world were created by then and are waiting for the bodies to be created for them to inhabit.
As far as Tertullian goes, after a little digging I found out that the person who wrote the wiki article misunderstood Tertullian’s ideology. Tertullian did not believe in a tri-nature of man – ie spirit, soul, physical – he believed in a bi-nature – soul, physical. So he did not believe in a spirit for man. He also believed that the soul and physical being could not exist separately until after death. So he believed that the only soul created was Adam’s and that Adam passed this onto his progeny so that soul and physical body are united at conception and do not exist separately until after death.
Here is a reference to Tertullian and Origen for you –
So Origen believed in a pre-existence of the spirits, Tertullian believed in no spirit but the soul being ‘split’ in perpetuity along progeny, but the soul was created at the time of Adam and no new soul/s is/are being created.
Ralph, I dont get where your going with this.
What I mean is this? Your looking too two guys who dont believe the Bible and what it teaches to support your view. Why?
The Bible does not teach pre-existence so who cares if these guys dont believe it either. Thats like me saying, I believe in the flying spaghetti monster. The Bible does not teach it exists, so I must go to atheists websites and say, see they believe in it, so if they believe it must be true, therefore I will find a way to make the Bible say it is real.
I know It was created by God and in the Bible, but was one of the creatures that died off or went extinct either during the flood or shortly after. See Ralph, I’m a good Mormon after all, I made a case for a creature that atheists created and made it fit in the Bible. Mormon presidency here I come, I will be the next Mormon prophet with logic like that. And Falcon dont be jealous that I will make mormon prophet status. LoL.