Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pre-Existence - What do we Know about it?

What do we know of ourselves before we came here to earth? What do the Scriptures say on this, and is there any other information we can derive from known facts?

In many places in the Scriptures we are told that we are the spirit children of our Heavenly Father. Many places in the Scriptures also demonstrate that spirits look like people (us).

D&C 131:7 tells us, "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."

So we know that our Heavenly Father had our spirit bodies made of a real substance. This means we had a beginning of our spirit, as such.

D&C 93:29 tells us, "Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." (also refer Abr 3:18)

So we also have an intelligence which was never created, but has existed forever. Then what is this intelligence? It is defined as light and truth, and the light of truth (as quoted above). D&C 93 tells us some other things about it. It must be free or it can't exist (verse 30). It exists less when it disobeys the principles God teaches (verse 39). As we accept and follow God's principles we exist more (and become more intelligent) (verse 28).

Abr 3:19 tells us, "And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord they God. I am more intelligent than they all."

This tells us that intelligences have different levels intelligence from each other.

D&C 29:36 tells us that Satan rebelled along with a third of the host of heaven. Considering that mankind rebels and that spirits rebel, it must be that even as intelligences not all would have accepted God's plan. This informs us that in spite of seeing God infront of us not all obey him. I knew my father had more power than I did when a child, but that didn't mean that I believed in everything he told me.

Job 38:7 tells us that male spirits shouted for joy when the corner stone of the earth was laid. So we were really into having the earth done.

This is what the Scriptures inform us. So do we have any further information? Yes! Piles of it! The reason we have more information than that which is recorded in Scipture is because we continue to exist. We ARE that intelligence. Admittedly we have a lot of misconceptions about ourselves thrown at us from birth. But we can overcome these by belief in what God has informed us of and examining mankind.

There is lots of evidence that people reach out to each other with senses beyond the body (eg if we concentrate hard enough on another person they will become aware of us). So we can sense strong feelings from others.

We have memories. We have feelings for others. There is just a long list when you think about it. Our intelligence has these now, and has always had these.

Male intelligences think differently from female intelligences.

It is amazing just how much information about ourselves in the pre-existence we have when it is thought through.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Money - Abrahamic Syndrome

A concept preached in many places and also believed amongst many members is what I term "Abrahamic Syndrome".

"And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold." Gen 13:2

The Scriptures inform us that we will be blessed as we follow God. We see that the Nephites and those Israelites in the middle east prospered when they lived by God's commandments. By this logic a person that is righteous will be rich. But is this all the Scriptures give us on this subject? If it was that simple why wasn't Christ rich? And what of David who had to live in caves? And of Elijah who also lived in a cave? How rich was Joseph as a slave and in prison? And what of Jeremiah in a pit? Lehi and his family weren't rich in the wilderness. What do the Scriptures really teach on this subject? Jacob is a good place to begin this examination, as it is often quoted in support of the idea of seeking riches.

"But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good--to cloth the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and afflicted." Jacob 2:18-19

A study of the book of Jacob will reveal that he was preaching to a hard hearted lot that weren't spiritually high at all. He is giving a really hard-hitting sermon on repentance. So to consider this doctrine that he is delivering as some kind of fulness of the gospel of Christ would be incorrect. But there are some things that can be learnt from these verses. He was speaking (note verse 12) AGAINST people being rich. And then he is saying that if you really HAVE to (ie you can't grasp the idea of all being equal) then at least seek them to do good.

Abrahamic Syndrome also existed amongst Jews at the time of Christ.

"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?" Matt 19:24-25

Here Christ has presented that it is extremely difficult for a rich man to be saved. His apostles response to this was to ask the question that if a rich man has such difficulty being saved, then who can be saved? A plain declaration that they believed that the rich were far more likely to be saved, because they are favoured of God with riches - Abrahamic Syndrome. Christ, however, is teaching quite the opposite.

So what of Abraham etc?

This requires a new set of thinking. Abraham didn't regard the things he had as his. He regarded them as belonging to God. He was just a steward. He used them to demonstrate to those around that blessings come from following God. His lifestyle was not above his fellows. His tent would be as the tent of all those following him, unless he used it for entertaining guests. Even then his heart was not upon it or obtaining riches. His heart was on God. He observed the principle of consecration. It was like a lot of stuff just sitting there. This is totally different from people WANTING to be rich and have that which is above their brother.

In the quoted story in Matthew chapter 19 Christ tells the rich man that if he wants to be saved, to give ALL he has to the poor. Plainly Christ is not promoting riches. Christ was born in a barn thing. Doesn't that say it all?

"Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." Prov 30:7-9

Some wise points from Solomon.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Wind Blows

John 3:8 "The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but can't tell where it came from, and where its going: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."

What an interesting statement. Christ is saying that the acts and deeds of the righteous won't be understandable: They won't fit in with any known pattern. It states that such people will appear inconsistent. Christ taught this same thing when challenged in regard his apostles picking corn upon the sabbath. Remember that God was so fussy about resting on the sabbath that when Israel were collecting manna in the wilderness they weren't even allowed to go out and just collect it on the sabbath. So how would he feel about picking corn? Yet Christ put this off by quoting a concept of flexability due to circumstance.

Matt 12:3-4 "But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?"

The gospel does give a freedom. But how should this freedom be used? This built in flexability can be used for our destruction if we are not using the Spirit. Which gets back to the original quote. It is only those born of the Spirit (those who no longer sin - 1 Jn 5:18) that have obtained this ability to be guided purely by the Spirit. It requires a person to be purged of evil intent - no lust, anger against people, greed or pride. How can the Spirit be with us when we have such things in our heart. The constant companionship of the Spirit must be acheived through our righteous hearts. The Spirit has to feel good about being with us. But if we plan on eternal life we must acheive this relationship.

D&C 45:57 "For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived--verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day."

This is saying that to be alright in the judgement we must have become totally guided by the Spirit. What Christ has said, in my original quote, is that the actions of such a person may not entirely fit in with some convention or normal set of rules. It will require the Spirit to understand such a person's actions. A good lesson not to judge others by the hearing of the ears or the seeing of the eyes (refer Isa 11:3).