Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eternal Marriage - What is the Biblical Support?

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we know there will be those who are married even after death (D&C 131:1-4). Yet many non-members find this hard to believe. Particularly those who are religious tend to come to see even loving sex as a bad thing that God tolerates, rather than extols. For example, the Catholics hold up what they term "the Blessed Virgin Mary" as being superior, claiming she never had sex at any time during her entire life, and that Jesus was an only child. And their priests and nuns don't marry either.

And while Protestantism claims its support of sex within marriage, claiming it to be clean, if you want to find their true feelings just propose that Jesus followed God's command and was married, and watch the reaction. "How could God stoop so low," is how they respond in their thinking. They can accept he could stoop to be born, to eat, to drink and even go to the toilet. But suggest him having sex and their real feelings are apparent. So what does life and the Bible really say in support of loving sex, having children and doing this eternally? And what are those things that confuse people on this subject?

I should first present that the greater good a thing can do and be, the greater evil can be done by the same principle. Thus while sex is a good and wonderful thing when performed for the right reasons, in an entirely loving way, it can be the cause of enormous evil when the opposite applies. And everything in between will be exactly that - in between total good and total evil. Thus people's perception of the goodness of marriage is affected by their deep seated perception of the righteousness or evil of sex. To those who see sex as something lesser than a totally righteous act, talking of eternal marriage seems to be talking of an eternity of performing an unrighteous act. And I can only recommend to such people that they prayerfully re-evaluate sex. I have a link at the top of the page called "sex problems", which I'd advise you click, read and apply.

Sadducees Question
Many have been of the opinion that there is no eternity of marriage, being confused by a conversation between Christ and the Sadducees. The Sadducees presented a question of a woman who's husband died. The Law of Moses states that the oldest brother of the dead man must take her to wife (this commandment was given to ensure the wife was looked after upon the death of her husband - remembering they had plural marriage, so it made no difference if the brother was already married). The Sadducees posed the brother dying also and through seven brothers, with this occurring with them all. Then the woman dies. So who should be her husband in the resurrection, they questioned?

Matt 22:20-30 "Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."

When this says "in the resurrection" the word "in" is translated from the Greek word "en", that is also translated as "at" (by implication "at that specific time"), in the Bible. So that gives us a clearer understanding of the statement, in that he is saying that there are to be no marriages performed during the process of the resurrection itself.

Those deciding that this opposes marriage in heaven are making assumptions of things beyond what the text actually says. The text tells us that angels in heaven aren't married. The first assumption they make is that angels are the only beings in heaven other than God. It doesn't say that no one is married in heaven. Nor does it say that the woman in question isn't married in heaven. What it states is that there is no marriage performed at that point. Jesus has presented that the Scriptures answer the question and that people don't get married nor give anyone in marriage when resurrected to change the answer already given in the Scriptures.

Jesus has pointed out that they have made the error of not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God, in asking this question. So what did their Scriptures (the Old Testament) tell them to answer the question? Does the Old Testament say that no one is married in heaven? No. To the contrary. They tell us that the wife in the discussion wouldn't be removed from her original marriage (ie her first husband - as they are "one flesh" Gen 2:24). The fact that the brothers had to marry her after his death doesn't detract from this. No one gets married in heaven including angels in heaven (ie those in the lower 2 degrees - as the highest degree are Gods, not angels). All marriages will be performed on earth before the final resurrection. And no changes will be made thereafter, it would seem.

Jesus said concerning marriage, "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Matt 19:6

Note that Jesus has said, "they are NO MORE TWAIN." That means that these two perfect people (he was speaking of Adam and Eve) NEVER again will be separate. It was an eternal union.

So when Jesus talks of them not understanding the power of God what did he mean? How would God be demonstrating power by doing nothing? He is saying that the power of God is demonstrated in maintaining this joining together of the husband and wife even beyond the grave and at and beyond the resurrection.

Anyone claiming this is stating no marriage will exist at all in heaven would therefore have to demonstrate where Christ was quoting this from in the Old Testament. And then demonstrate HOW this lack of action would prove the power of God. Are we to propose that he is proving his power when he can't sustain that oneness (that he has declared) beyond the grave?

Is Marriage for an Inferior Class?
Matt 19 contains a discussion which is also often misunderstood, leaving some feeling that marriage is for some spiritually inferior group. Christ was discussing divorce with his disciples. He states in verse 8 that divorce was not done until Moses, and it was given only because of their hardness of heart. He then goes on in verse 9 to state,

"And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."

Verse 10 then has his disciples posing that if the case be so with the man then it isn't good to marry. Christ's response gives some the mistaken idea that he is stating it better not to marry at all, in spite of God's initial commandment in Genesis. But the disciples stated "IF the case be so with the man." What case? The case just proposed in the statement Christ made, where a man divorcing his wife and marrying another would be guilty of adultery. And where a man marrying a divorced woman would be committing adultery.

Christ then goes on to explain that this is a hard concept for most people in this situation to follow (verse 11), and presents that those divorced people would be better off to remain unmarried (verse 12). I should personally say in regard this that it seems possible that an entire spiritual re-birth may alter this situation. There are those divorced people who have been instructed of the Holy Ghost to re-marry years later, and after great change has occurred. I would therefore recommend serious and prayerful consideration of the application of this to each individual. But he definitely seems to oppose the idea of someone getting a divorce and just going out and marrying someone else, IMO.

Paul makes some comments that also confuse some people, in regard not getting married. This issue I have discussed before relative to Paul being married, but will repeat the main points here.

1 Cor 7:1 "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman."

1 Cor 7:7-8 "For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I."

The problem with reading this is that we have only one side of this conversation. What were the things that they had written to him that he was answering from the viewpoint of? I would present to you that this conversation is the same as that which Jesus had with his disciples concerning the divorced. Paul, having previously been a dedicated Pharisee, would have been married. The law of Moses declared that leaders were to be married. It was a commandment. But his wife would have been an equally devout Jewess, who would have been horrified by his change of religion.

Therefore these "unmarried" he is referring to, that are best not getting married, are those who are divorced. Widows are already married and sealed to a husband for eternity. It is an interesting philosophy he is presenting that they would be better to involve themselves in spiritual work rather than re-marrying. It does have some sense to it. I should further point out to those unaware, that he has stated that these ideas AREN'T commandments (verse 6), but ideas he is presenting as advice. Verse 2 should also be read in considering these ideas.

However (returning to the subject) he isn't presenting that previously unmarried people don't get married or that marriage is for those who can't control themselves (as verse 2 may leave people with that opinion if not understood in the context that it is speaking to the divorced).

So what are God's feelings on Marriage?
"Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Heb 13:4

In the beginning God gave Adam and Eve a blessing, and in that instructed that they are to produce offspring (Gen 1:27-28). So the very first recorded instruction to mankind was to have children. Here we have two perfect people (in the sense that they had not transgressed at this point) being given that child bearing is a thing that perfect people would do. Therefore child bearing isn't for some imperfect class of people, as some propose.

Therefore as perfect people in the beginning were given child bearing as a primary function of male-female relationships, should we consider it surprising that God would have this continue to be a primary function of male-female relationships? And should we consider it so surprising that it would continue to be the primary function of male-female relationships when we are brought back to that perfect physical state again by resurrection?

Gen 2:18 says in regard to Adam, "And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone..."

This clearly presents that it isn't good for a perfect man (which Adam then was) to be without a wife.

Paul states, "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord." 1 Cor 11:11

Paul further states that a woman must have a husband above her in her relationship with God.

1 Cor 11:3 "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."

In other words to the man it is God through Christ. But to the woman it is God through Christ, through her husband.

1 Pet 3:7 mentions that husbands and wives are "heirs together" of the grace of life.

Therefore we have all this talk of the oneness of husband and wife, that God has made them one flesh and they shouldn't be separated, that they are "no more" twain but one, that the woman must have a man to be in the Lord, that it isn't good for a perfect man to be alone and that both are heirs together of eternal life. Weighing that against the other side were we have nothing stating that the oneness of flesh of a married couple is to be extinguished afterwards. So Biblical support comes out strongly in favour of the concept of eternal marriage to those obtaining perfection.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why Protestants don't want to accept our Boring God.

Many members may wonder why Protestants aren't all flying into the church as fast as they can. But in reality one big problem is that they like their version of God. Our God is boring from their perspective.

Let's look at our God for a moment. While we know that he is glorified and resurrected, able to do anything with matter and hold countless planetary systems together, he is however a man. I mean, how boring is that?

Our God is made of flesh (yes, glorified and resurrected, but a flesh type of thing). He has veins and all that usual stuff.

What is more, he has a wife. How droll. How everyday.

Then we tell them he had kids. Now that is really getting very hum drum. He had to raise us and put up with all those usual problems of rebellious children. What's exotic and exciting about that, I ask?

Further he has all the usual emotions, just like we do. This is super boring. He is too realistic, no imagination. It needs a bit of Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz: Some Spice.

Now let's look at the version they enjoy.

He fills the universe, yet he may not be in your heart even though he is your heart.

Yeah! Now we're talking! How about a bit of Star Wars?

He is supremely powerful and made all space and laws without actually having any laws to do this with.

Oh, this is getting real cool. But let's add more mysticism.

There are three of them, but only one.

Well this is the stuff a good yarn is made of. But more, more.

While he fills the universe he isn't actually made of anything to fill it.

Now that is a wopper!

And just to add to that he is a spirit yet even people who see spirits can't see him.

Yes, that sounds really mystical. But can't you add more to that?

Yet you can see God in everything because he is in everything, though there is nothing to see.

Can we make it more exciting, can we, can we? How about we make him even more confusing?

He loves us, but has no emotions.

Oh, that is a good one. Can we make him even more mystical still? I like the mystical bits.

While we must follow rules like loving one another, he can do whatever he likes and just make rules for himself as he goes.

Wow, he's IS all powerful. And how about some magic?

He made thought out of nothing and made us into thinking beings.

He made our thoughts out of absolutely nothing? Wow. Now THAT is magic. What other magical things did he do, give us more?

(Hmmm, what can I say to make it even better) He made EVERYTHING out of nothing.

EVERYTHING out of nothing? Now that is really out there. This god is really exciting.

Yes Brothers and Sisters I'm afraid we just can't compete with that for entertainment. But I must say that I am extremely grateful for a REAL God that actually IS loving and cares for us. I love the fact that he understands us because he isn't mystical or magical, but a person: A loving Father. Isn't reality wonderful?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Science and Religion

Some will propose that religion and "Modern Science" can meet in a perfect union: That there need be no opposition. Is this concept true?

There is no greater scientist than God. Science is a wonderful thing when it is true. Even some theories are reasonable models to use for development and repair. I spent years as a TV technician and used the theoretic atomic model for circuit board repairs and designing my own electronic equipment. This generally served as a passable concept for me to envisage what to expect and where.

But in reality the term "scientific theory" is an oxymoron. "Science" means "knowledge" or to know. "Theory" means that you are making an assumption, and don't know at all. And this point seems to be forgotten by some that get caught up in the perception of knowledge and wisdom that many theory scientists go to a lot of trouble to present.

Some may pose that such theories are a continual evolution of ideas. And it is true that the theory expands in time. But that doesn't make it any more correct of itself.

What of where it challenges what God has said? Do we compromise God's word to fit in with man's present perceptions? I have had some on-line tell me that they are a member, but regard the Scriptures can be compromised to comply with what science says: They remould what God has given to fit in with man! This is turning science into a greater religion than that of God's.

These obvious conflicts became apparent to me when at 5-years-old I went to a museum, with the school, and was told some bones were millions of years old. Knowing the Bible said otherwise I questioned the teller of this tale (who worked for the museum) 3 times before he admitted that the bones weren't real, as he had been claiming. I questioned him a further 3 times before he admitted they weren't out the back either (as he had then claimed). He then claimed they were in Germany. I then had to question him a further 3 times before he admitted that they only had part of a leg bone.

This experience has made me seriously question the most basic of claims of "modern science". And I have been glad that I have. For many lies, distortions and misrepresentations have been thrown at us. I could go into each as a subject of its own. And some of these I've briefly presented on this site in the past. But I'm looking at this subject from a faith in God VS faith in man concept.

This choice of holding what man says above what God says has dangerous consequences for individuals and society. We can begin to philosophise other things God says, and begin to create unclear lines of action and intent. I think it important that I leave no one in doubt that theory science and God aren't in harmony in many areas.

Abr 3:4 tells us that a day with God, by his reckoning, is as a thousand years on this earth. It even explains why. The VERY NEXT chapter tells us that the earth was created in a day (one time of light and one time of darkness). Now we'd have to be very imaginative to propose that this doesn't mean the 7 days of creation were 7,000 years only.

Next the D&C tells us that man will only spend 7 thousand years upon the earth (that includes the, as yet not arrived, millennium)(D&C 77:12A)(also note 2 Pet 3:8).

Now how do these things fit with the claim of modern science that the earth has been here for millions of years? And what of the proposed "Ice Age"?

Abr 3:24 tells us that some of us came down to create the earth for us all to dwell on. So here we are with this great plan, and off we go to make these things. Now I know we weren't experienced, but let's be realistic. Are we to propose this effort took us MILLIONS of years: That we floundered around for that long? And did we do this, by trying to get lava to do this and that for us etc, and a big bang to occur? How does this fit with Abr 4:18 that says that we watched those things until they obeyed? This demonstrates that we did all the creation actions ourselves.

Then we have the classic - evolution. Considering that Moses version in Genesis chapter 1 has man put here during the 6th day, and the animals in the same day (a thousand year period), and fish and birds the day before, we have a definite challenge to the theory. Add to that the point that the insects were made AFTER the birds and fish (on the same day as animals and man) and we really are lost to the theory of evolution.

Luke 3:38 and Moses 6:22 both declare that Adam was God's son (not as Jesus Christ is, who is the only begotten in the fallen flesh).

Now I would pose the question, are we to believe God to be smarter than man or visa-versa? Do we have faith, or do we crumble at the first sign of a challenge to our beliefs?

The Book of Mormon speaks of steel long before the proposed "iron age". This idea was rejected by "modern science" for many years, until they were proven wrong again. So who should we have believed?

Any student of science knows that ideas in science keep changing. We like to hope that the new opinion is actually correct THIS TIME.

It seems a simple mathematical equation to me. God is right 100% of the time, the first time. Man SOMETIMES gets it right eventually, and extremely rarely the first time. Ummm... Let me see. Who will I follow?