Monday, November 16, 2009

We are BOTH Predestined and Foreordination - There isn't a conflict

On my mission I had the experience where my companion was in debate with a Protestant on this issue. My companion was strongly arguing that we aren't predestined, but foreordained. The Protestant was strongly contending that the Bible was right and we are predestined. In listening to them they were both saying the same thing, but insisting on different words. So in looking at this subject it is important to look at what we are talking about, rather than being pedantic about words.

There are those that have incorrect ideas on what predestination actually means in Scripture. So often I have heard the statement within the church that we aren't predestined, but are foreordained. Yet what is it that has caused this to become an issue?

One of the doctrines of the religious reformer, Calvin, is a doctrine referred to as "unconditional election." This doctrine espouses that God made some people whom he will make do the right thing: That they have no free choice.

Some people expand this to make it that ALL people have been selected by God to either go to heaven or hell: That in all things we do we have no real choice and that God preset that we would do those things. Paul's statements in regard predestination are the source of this doctrine.

In regard this the Wikipedia states _

"The doctrine does not hold that every influence of God's Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, but that the Holy Spirit is able to overcome all resistance and make his influence irresistible and effective. Thus, when God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual certainly will be saved."

To battle this false doctrine it has been presented that it must be a false translation. Yet the word from which it is translated is a compilation of two words that mean "before" and "limiting the bounds." So the word comes to a meaning of a preset limit of bounds - predestined.

Looking at one such Scripture we have _

"According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." Eph 1:4-5

Those in favor of "unconditional election" interpret this to mean that God has felt pleased to randomly choose these people and save them. Yet our understanding of the pre-existence makes this clear. God is pleased that 1. He can save them because of Christ's atonement. And 2. He is glad because he knew they would be righteous. As that was the type of spirits they were "before the foundation of the world."

However confusion still exists as there is question on how a person can be both predestined, yet have choice?

There are 2 levels on which we are predestined. The first is that God knew what type of person we were and would therefore become. The second relates to the time-eternity factor and is more likely to be what Paul is referring to.

Tomorrow I will get out of bed at a certain time. What that time is I don't presently know. Yet if I could see in eternity (as God does) that would be answered. A deeper point in this regard is that there is only one time I will get out of bed tomorrow. So even though I have a choice in when I get out of bed, I am destined to get out of bed at that time: There is no other time I will get out of bed tomorrow - choice or no choice.

God has shown the future to many righteous people. Moroni said that he had seen us _

"Behold, I speak to you as if you were present, and yet you are not. But see, Jesus Christ has shown you to me, and I know your doing." Mormon 8:35

So what he saw us doing we will do. Not because we have to, but because that is what we will choose.

God worked out the best things for us to do for our individual growth. And he put us in a place and circumstance where we would have those things (AS BEST AS IS AVAILABLE). In doing this he knew what opportunities we would develop with and those we'd fail with. Yet in all this, these are our choices.

Paul's statement doesn't propose that those he is speaking to were there by luck.

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Rom 8:29-30

If this were merely a foreordination spoken of here (from which some could fail) how could he have them all "glorified"?

Obviously this is proposing that ALL those who had a knowing relationship with God before coming here WILL live so as that they will be glorified. Yet this is done by their choices.

Could Jesus have chosen to sin? Yes. But did he? No. Was this foreknown? Yes. Was it his destiny, therefore, not to sin? Yes. Was it by his choice that he didn't? Yes. - Foreordained yet predestined.

44 comments:

yeti said...

Sometimes I think it is so important to define concepts before one starts trying to defend them. Then the problem comes when we defone one word in idfferent ways. then i guess it means going back and learning greek to know what was originally meant.

yeti said...

While I was sitting in on a relief society discussion yesterday, they were debating if woman could be foreordained or if only men could be foreordained. The idea was the to be ordained had to do with the priesthood, and woman not being part of the priesthood would not be ordained and therefore neither foreordained. But then the thought was maybe predestined would be a better word to use for woman.
I am wondering about the use of Foreordination in the scriptures? is it used? would looking at those scriptures answer the questions?

Doug Towers said...

Yeti

There is one use of the word "foreordained." No use of the word "foreordination."

The one use is relative to Christ and his mission.

However we do have Jer 1:5, which mentions that Jeremiah was both sanctified and ordained before coming here.

I think debating whether women could be classified as being ordained isn't really the question. It is true that priesthood should be used correctly and within the guidelines God has set. Thus it wouldn't be right to do so if it isn't what God wants.

But whether foreordained or not, certain women are pre-chosen to certain tasks. Mary was a very choice person, and you can be sure that God had her chosen before birth for the task of raising Jesus. It was not a random occurrence.

The same would be said of Eve. And what of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Surely she must have been a choice spirit in the pre-existence.

God looked at all the spirits, and puts us into appropriate places to what suits; according to what is available.

Kyle said...

I sorta kinda agree with your conclusions, but I think you gloss over some very real arguments for the lack of free will.

Here's an oversimplified one:

If God is omniscient, meaning He knows how you will respond to every situation, and HE set the wheels of the universe in motion that would lead you to write this blog post, how can you say that writing this blog post was your choice, when it really couldn't have happened any other way?

You said yourself, God put Mary in a situation in which He knew she'd be worthy to give birth to the Savior. But the rub is that, by a certain argument, it was Him that caused that situation to be conducive to her worthiness.

This is not a philosophy I agree with, but it's difficult to disprove unless you're willing to state that God DIDN'T set the wheels in motion knowing the outcomes of infinite variables.

Also, the Sunday school lesson this week seems to disagree with your predestination argument.

Doug Towers said...

Kyle

Interesting other perspective. I like the varying of opinions that I get thrown at me. It makes life interesting. Your perspective is more a mathematical one - simple logic.

If I have a child who I know enjoys using a calculator (speaking of maths), I can be assured that if I give him a problem he will use the calculator. (And I make sure he has one, of course.) I haven't actually forced him to use the calculator. But I knew he would. So I have taken advantage of my knowledge of the best thing to do in his case.

God puts us in the best positions for us to produce our best. If we were not the type of spirit to make good use of the opportunity he wouldn't put us there. Although I see it could be viewed the other way, I can't say that I feel God is taking away free choice because of that.

Kyle said...

Yeah, the response to the calculator scenario would be that if you gave your son a math problem, knowing that he would turn to the calculator, he may have made the choice to use it, but YOU put him in the condition in which you knew he'd make that choice. That's exactly the point of the predestinationists (I have a close friend who really thinks this way).

To add morality to the equation, which I think we have to, if you know your son will sneak a cookie, and you put a cookie jar in front of him and tell him not to take one, then it's at least partly your fault when he does. Moreover, you're a pretty mean dad for putting your child in that situation.

It's tricky. The calvinists' god WAS a mean god--after all, predestination is very similar to Lucifer's plan, only without the guarantee of salvation for all. But the idea has stuck around for so long because it's so difficult to refute.

Doug Towers said...

Kyle

I have to think a few things in regard what you are saying.

Firstly God can't put everyone only in places where they aren't going to have temptations that he knows they can't resist.

Also he doesn't put people into places where the temptation is irresistable. With every temptation there is a way out.

In regard the cookies - stealing cookies can teach us lessons. We can't spend our lives in bed because we are going to do wrong by getting out of it. Through wrong good can occur.

WWII was a terrible thing. But many people turned back to God because of fear. And from that came many children who followed God.

So God putting us in difficult circumstances and us failing can produce good, even by us suffering as a lesson.

If 20 people do something evil and one person learns to do good from it to the point that the person gains eternal life, the benefit is incalculable.

The plan of Lucifer was impossible as freedom is required for an intelligence to continue to exist. God doesn't remove our freedom. It is us that makes a bad CHOICE and thereby remove our own freedom.

In this regard we see that a man following God by not smoking is free to either smoke or not smoke. A person following Lucifer and smoking isn't free not to smoke: They must have a cigarette.

God has stated that his intent is to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to choose completely and ultimately whether they prefer to do evil or good. And to what level they wish to do so. And the final allocation will be according to our choosing.

Kyle said...

You're not really addressing the predestinationist argument. Back to the cookie jar! :-)

Yes, your son can choose not to take a cookie. But you already know that he won't, and you put the cookie jar in front of him with that full knowledge. If God is the Prime Mover (as Mormons believe He is), He is ultimately responsible for you being in that situation, and so He shares complicity for the choice you made, and yet metes out punishment only to you.

Anyway, I think we're talking past eachother, so I'll leave it alone. But be careful with that WWII story. It could be offensive to Jewish people if you say that the holocaust was "a lesson" that resulted in good. (I doubt that view is shared by many people, anyway)

yeti said...

Kyle,

I see where you are coming from. almost as if God has made us as wind up toys. because he knit us together in our mother womb, and know what situations we will run into (Psalm 139)Sometimes i don't doubt people feel as if God has wound us up and left us facing a wall. Or it seems like God has set the ball in motion and is now watching the play unfold (shakespere?)I have friends who believe that since God is all powerful he can chose to limit his power, and thus could choose to limit his foreknowledge, and therefore maybe we could have free will, but I don't know how that would all work out, and I can't much grasp God not knowing, and even being apprehensive about whether or not Adam and Eve would eat the "forbidden" fruit.
To what extent has God let us live in the concequences of sin. did he put the cookie jar infront of us, or did someone else, or is it a result of another's sin? how much does God restrain Satan. God let him tempt Job, but God did not tempt Job. God might not want the cookie jar to be there, but in giving us free will, he has left us in the wake of their consequences. God isn't the one who tempts us, but when we are temped he provides a way out.
I don't know if that gives any answers, but it tends to make sense in my mind. how would you explain the cookie Jar?

Kyle said...

I don't really have a good explanation for the cookie jar, yeti. There are several "outs" that I can see, and I'm sure there are thousands more that the brightest philosophers haven't even considered.

One is that maybe God DIDN'T extrapolate every variable of his creation when he set the wheels in motion. I know some would say that defies the idea of omniscience, but it doesn't for me. Several GAs, including Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and BH Roberts, have implied that God's omniscience means he "knows all that is knowable," and that his knowledge is still increasing (quick recap here: http://somemormonstuff.blogspot.com/2009/03/part-iii-omniscience-and-divine.html). So in this case, you didn't actually KNOW your son would take the cookie a million years ago when you set things in motion that would result in your son having a cookie jar in front of him.

I don't accept or reject this definition of omniscience, but it makes sense to me.

Another option is that our "level of righteousness" is a part of our nature and personality, perhaps formed in our pre-earth life. So free will is just the freedom to obey this deep-down part of ourselves. In this case, your son's whole spirit decides to take the cookie, and he won't be judged on that one act, but on the nature of his disobedient spirit as a whole.

There's some pluses and minuses to this idea as well. Anyway, it's all just speculation. There is so much we don't know about things like God's relationship with Satan, the eternal nature of evil (has it always existed? Will it always exist?), or even the extent to which we'll be judged for our sins. And the extent to which we'll be exalted once we overcome them.

Until we know the answers, faith, hope, charity, and love in the meantime.

Doug Towers said...

Kyle and yeti

Some good thoughts have come up there. There are things that need to be remembered in this analysis; some of which have been hinted at by you both.

Firstly it is right that we have established a personality long before we ever even heard of God. We have existed forever as an intelligence. So when God got to us he is only able to work with what we are. If we are thieves in type of person, then we will steal from the cookie jar.

It should be stated, however, that people are a bit like cream in a bottle of pasteurized milk. We can be shaken up in this life, and do things that aren't really our fundamental nature, for quite some time. But eventually the cream will rise to the top, and we will straighten out. So we can't judge who is who.

God loves Satan, (as Satan is his child) but hates the works and thinking of Satan.

Evil has always existed. Evil is that which opposes nature. Good is that which flows with and supports nature. It will always exist because natural laws are eternal and don't change. - It will always make you feel good inside and at peace with yourself to love others (for example).

The extent to which we are condemned for our sins is according to how we judge. If we truly forgive then we will truly be forgiven.

God is only omnipotent on a physical level. He can't change our character unless we let him in. He can only stand at the door and knock. All intelligence must be free in the sphere in which it exists, otherwise there is no existence (note D&C 93:30).

Us having cookie jars in this life gives us the opportunity to find our true selves and set our eternal course. We need to see what type of person we are. And we need to become what we can. Temptations and struggles are blessings in this regard.

In regard the Jews, I watched Schindler's List. I remember that guy who had 2 Lugers (pistols) fail to fire. The chance of that happening is absolutely ridiculous. How do you think that affected his belief in God, in the midst of all that? Unfortunately this is a time of struggle and hardship. That is the whole point. This is the sandpit that children have to learn in at Kindergarten. What we come out as depends on how we respond.

I have to agree with your final words, Kyle, "faith, hope, charity and love" are the keys to us getting into the kingdom.

kh said...

My understanding is that God knows everything. He is never surprised and sees the end from the beginning. He knew the destiny of every single intelligence before we came forth as spirit children. We did not know what would lay ahead for us completely. We planned out our lives with the help of our Heavenly Parents so we we know how to prepare for what they expected of us individually. That is why we were foreordained to accomplish certain things in this life. Nothing happens by chance. Every spirit child was innocent in the beginning as a spirit infant. At some point we began to become accountable for our decisions, just as we do here at approxiamately age eight. A few compared to the whole chose to be noble and great and were determined to return home in glory. Most settled for some less thatn that. I just discovered this site trying to get caught up as it were. More to come.....

Doug Towers said...

kh

Welcome to the site and thanks for the thoughts.

I agree with all you've said. The only thing I would wish to qualify is that while all are innocent of sinning at birth, there were different levels of following God prior to this life and we all had eternally differing natures.

We came here having never sinned. We couldn't sin because we had no body to sin with. Scriptural sin requires bad intent and feelings followed by an associated physical action. We can talk of "sins of omission," but these aren't sins in the literal sense (ie. they require sanctification not justification).

yeti said...

so you don't think lust or hate is a sin?

Kyle said...

That's a very narrow definition of sin, Doug (and I think it's wrong because of its specificity). Willful disobedience isn't a sin if you don't have a body? Does that mean Satan has never sinned?

And are you saying "physical action" is only possible once we have a body? And why do you need the "physical" descriptor...why couldn't you just say "action"? Surely there was behavior in the spirit world, and behavior implies action. And if we could act, and we know we weren't compelled to act a certain way up there, then we could act wrongly (and many did). The idea that you can only act (and thus only sin) if you have a body goes against quite a bit of what we believe.

Was the creation of the earth a "physical action"? Because we believe the earth was created by two spirits who had not yet received physical bodies. It's difficult to believe that spirits are powerful enough to command the elements and create worlds, but can't sin.

kh said...

Sin is to knowingly violate that we we know to be right. Agency requires that we know right from wrong and have the choice to chose right from wrong with set consequences. D&C 130:20 132:5 Everyone prior to this earth was born innocent and became capable of sinning by not fully complying with all celestial laws. Dishonesty, envy and jealosy are just three of many sins that do not require a body. We receive according to our desires. Many sons and daughters of God chose and desired not to prepare to return home in glory. They asked their heavenly parents to send them down to earth without the opportunity and thus the resposibility to live the fulness of the gospel in this life. Perfect Heavenly Parents would never over burden any of their children. The Book of Mormon states that the sheep (true followers of Jesus Christ) are numbered. The noble and great are the ones that accept the fulness of the gospel in this life, for they are the only ones who covenanted to do that in the premortal life. All others accepted the opportunity to accept and live the commandments in the after life. Thus God is perfectly fair and just and merciful. More to come ....

Doug Towers said...

To All (first)

I seem to have created a bit of a stir with that one. Good to know people are thinking. I was careful to state that "Scriptural sin" requires a body.

In 1 John 3:4, informs us that "...sin is the transgression of the law." He means the Law of Moses. The law requires physical action.

Things such as anger, hate, greed, pride etc are transgressions of the gospel.

Under that gospel lust is the issue. Under the law the act of adultery is the issue. Under the law killing is the issue. Under the gospel anger is the issue.

I am proposing that Satan has transgressed the gospel only, yes. As he has no body to kill anyone with, he can't kill etc. Certainly he is a very distorted being however.

Its an interesting question about what happened in regard the things we did with our spirit bodies before coming here. It seems(?) we couldn't do too much wrong with the body itself. Otherwise we would have needed a Savior there also. Our ability to move physical matter didn't allow us to sin as there was no physical being to kill or mame etc.

I know what I'm saying is a bit different from what you are used to hearing. Normally this is a bit deep for GA talks at conference or Sunday School manuals. But the Scriptures do actually support what I'm saying.

If any have trouble with this then I guess we just have to agree to disagree on this subject.

yeti said...

confusion.
If 1 John 3:4 is talking about Moses' law then if we are no longer under Moses' law (is that what you think? like it is now okay for us to wear clothing woven of two different material) then is it impossible for us to sin? we cannot break a law which we are not under.
Sin, in an original language (i think Hebrew, but maybe Greek and possibly both) I have heard means to "miss the mark". like if you were shooting arrows at a target. If we are called to perfection, but some of us learned better and faster in the pre mortal existence, and some completely turned away from God in our pre earthly life, then didn't they miss the mark? isn't there needed repentance, and from what? from sin. otherwise it is like saying that they did something which is against God but is not a sin?

Kyle said...

I like that, yeti. The author's definition of sin seems much too narrow to be accurate...there are LOTS of ways to act in opposition to the will and commandments of God.

Doug Towers said...

The definition given is reasonable, but we are still left with the meaning in application.

If I do an act against someone I feel guilty inside. My sense of divine justice awakens my immortal soul to a sense of my own guilt that creates a feeling likened to a fire: I demand justice - I must pay to appease myself. Either that or accept the atonement of Christ and have his suffering appease my conscience.

If I think ill of a person I can feel remorse that I did so. But my heart doesn't demand retribution because only I suffered by it.

The Law of Moses isn't destroyed. It is alive and well. Not one part of it has gone. Whatever God had in mind for making any particular piece of it is still valid today.

It is only if we are truly "in Christ" that the law is fulfilled.

So how is someone in Christ? They live as he would. Their hearts aren't set upon the things of the world or aspiring to the honors of men. They don't serve the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye nor the pride of life.

D&C section 119 Heading tells us that because of FAILURE on behalf of the church God reinstituted the Law of Moses concept of tithing (still practiced today).

This is only one example of how God can give Law of Moses principles while gospel principles are also being taught.

D&C 59 gives us another example of this in giving us some Law of Moses principles mixed with gospel principles and then in verse 22 it informs us that this is according to the Law and the Prophets (which becomes invalid when we fully follow Christ - those Law of Moses parts only).

As James said, if we fulfill the royal law of loving our neighbor as ourselves we do well. But if we are a respector of persons we fall under the law of Moses and are subject to that. So we must act as those to be judged by the law of liberty. That liberty is in Christ by our honoring of his law of love.

yeti said...

If I think ill of someone in my heart, it may never effect them, but I am thinking poorly of God's creation, and I think that is a sin against God. the Brokeness is between me and God and it is there where the reconciliation must happen. We must make even our thoughts obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5)

I am still really unclear about your thoughts regarding the Law of Moses. either we are under all of it or none of it, but if we were not under all of it and then as a punishment for failure tithing came into play again... okay, but that would mean the before that we were not under all of it. There are obvious parts of the Levitical Law (and by that I mean the law found in the book of Leviticus) which I do not know of anyone who has followed. have you heard of the book The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs?
http://www.ajjacobs.com/books/yolb.asp

I think that Christ Himself fulfilled the law. Partly I think that refers to that sacrifical system (being the ultimate sacrifice). I believe Paul said that he was not under the law.

Doug Towers said...

yeti

I haven't read the book you referred to.

In regard your first paragraph. God sorrows when we do evil to others. He is pleased that although someone may feel ill of others that they are learning not to respond with evil. It is good that you want your thoughts to be right. God is pleased with this.

It is true that we should feel we have failed where we have transgressed the gospel (had wrong thoughts and feelings). This requires sanctification by the Holy Ghost and yourself working together. But Christ doesn't need to clean your heart of this, because you have done no harm to anyone. Therefore there is no evil act upon your conscience.

The law of Moses is not subject to what date you lived in.

At the time of Moses the gospel was preached to Israel. But they didn't accept it because they were too hard of heart.

"For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." Heb 4:2

It isn't when you live as to whether you can accept the gospel and live it. Nor whether God feels you can only handle the Law of Moses. It is how you live.

Paul went and offered sacrifices in the temple long after Christ had made his atonement for sins. Paul was an apostle at this time. He did this as a demonstration that he was not preaching against the Law of Moses.

Christ told some to go and sin no more, and yet he told one man to follow the law and show his cleansing to the priest.

In regard his apostles he stated that it is difficult to put new ideas in old heads. It takes a transformation.

Paul stated that some keep sabbaths and some don't. Let each be persuaded in his own mind, he said. In regard eating things offered to idols he said the same.

Paul wasn't under the law because he had accepted to become free of the law by obedience to the gospel of Christ. Not because it doesn't exist anymore.

To follow the gospel of Christ a person must have faith in Christ. They must have truly repented of their sins (which means they won't repeat them). Then they demonstrate the burying of the old sinner, by being submersed under water (baptism). This raises a new person ready to obey ALL things that the Father may ask of him. Having truly done this, they then will receive the Holy Ghost to guide them as to what is right and what is wrong (having got past the law of outward actions and turned their hearts to God).

At this point the person is ready to follow the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Before that God will give us bits and pieces of each, according to how much we listen to him and follow his ways.

There is very much a cross over of the two.

yeti said...

i am confused.
I do not get what role you believe that the law of Moses plays today.
how does it affect your life?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

I thought I'd throw that one at you and leave it between the Holy Ghost and you to come to understand it. I shouldn't enlarge upon it. It requires revelation. Good luck with it.

yeti said...

I know what I believe about the Law of Moses, but I do not know what you believe about the law of Moses. If I did, I feel like I would understand you better, and this conversation would make greater sense to me. as it is, I am confused. If you don't feel like you can share here, feel free to email me.

yeti said...

doug, you said: "It is true that we should feel we have failed where we have transgressed the gospel (had wrong thoughts and feelings). This requires sanctification by the Holy Ghost and yourself working together. But Christ doesn't need to clean your heart of this, because you have done no harm to anyone. Therefore there is no evil act upon your conscience."

you also said that God is pleased when we think bad thoughts, but then refrain from doing them. I have heard the analogy of a parent who is please when their kids takes his first step. i think in that way God is pleased when we do not act upon our negative thoughts. but, the parent would not be pleased if the child only ever learns to take one step. the parent would desire for the child to take many steps, and learn to walk normally and run and play. in the same way, God is pleased when we control our actions, but That is not where he wants to leave us. he wants to transform our thoughts. If we act nicely towards people we hate are we any better than the hyprocrites who "washed the outside of the pot but not the inside"? Hyprocrit come from the greek word actor, and God does not want us to become actors. He really didn't have a lot of nice things to say about those who acted.
is sin simply about harming people? Jesus commands us not to worry. If we are going against Jesus' words is that sin? therefore would worry be a sin even though it is a thought and not an action?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

Worrying isn't a sin.

There is a difference between being freed from sin and gaining eternal life.

Being freed from sin only requires us to stop sinning and apply the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ by repentance for our past sins.

To gain eternal life we need to sanctify our thinking to the point that we think and feel no evil desires.

They said of old time thou shalt not kill. But I say to you don't get angry with people for any reason.

See, we have moved from watching our actions to watching our feelings. This is a movement from the Law of Moses to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The latter is the true law of the Celestial kingdom.

yeti said...

I guess i get the idea that worrying is a sin from verses like Matthew 6:25-32 (more clear when read in translations other than KJV) and Phil 4:6. I think when we worry we ultimatly are not trusting God to take care of whatever it is we are worrying about. so that is why I would say it is a sin. Jesus tells us that we cannot serve God and money, but if we are worrying about food, clothing and such, then that will eventually (and probably quickly) lead to chasing after money, and letting getting money be our motivation (because we need to eat...) but if we take no thought of that, and trust God, I think it will be good.

so do you think gaining eternal life is based on us controling our thinking? and when you said there eternal life do you mean in the Celestial Kingdom, or any life after death?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

The two quotes you have referred me to don't actually make these ideas commandments that you can sin against. These are only ideas that may be transgressed.

He presents to his followers that those thus dedicated should put their sole trust in him for maitinance. This is a higher ideal that doesn't come from the law of Moses. A sin must be a transgression of the law of Moses (1 Jn 3:4).

In regard the term "eternal life." Eternal is a title of God. Thus eternal life means "God's life," the type of life that God leads (D&C 19:10-11). So it isn't just being in the Celestial Kingdom, but being in the highest degree (living a God type lifestyle).

In regard your question of controlling our thinking. It isn't so much a controlling of our thinking as a changing of our thinking. We need to come to see that God is actually right about everything: To come to see things as he does. - a bit of a challenge to say the least. But with questioning and listening to the spirit we can move toward this.

yeti said...

To define a sin only as being an act against the Law of Moses seems very narrow. and there are mosaic laws which i think we can break today with being sinners. I actually looked up sin in a Mormon book that is in my house, and some verses that were refered to where 1 John 5:17 which says all unrighteousness is sin. that seems to be a very broad stroke. especally, i think, if we looked up the greek for righteousness. i think it is the same root as justice.
Then Romans 14:23 states that whatever does not come from faith is a sin. I think I might be extrapolating to then say that because of the verse worry (which is obviously not of faith) is sin. but maybe not.
then James 4:17 says that if anyone knows the good he ought to do but does not do it, he sins. So, if Jesus says that we ought not worry, then we can know that we should not worry, have faith, then if we do worry, would that not be a sin?
I think 1 John 3:4 is not a complete definition of sin. Interesting how 1 John 3:8 says that the devil has been sinning from the beginning, would not that mean that he was sinning from a time before the law of Moses?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

You've brought out some good points that I will look at. As the word "sin" is translated from several words I think I need to look further to make a more informed comment.

Yet I do have to say that in 1 Jn 5:18-19 John does claim that they didn't sin anymore. So this would suggest that whatever you feel a sin to be it doesn't have to be done.

I'll get back to you on the other soon.

Doug Towers said...

yeti

1 Jn 5:17
Two aspects hit me when examining this.

1. Prior to this verse John is speaking about people committing sins that don't bring death under the law of Moses. He's saying that with any other sin we can pray with this person for their sins to be forgiven. Looking at the original Greek and possible renderings I think then verse 17 would be better understood if translated, "while all sin is unrighteous, nevertheless there are sins that don't bring death." But that rendering is open to debate.

2. The word "unrighteousness" means unjust. So by what rule did the Jews judge what justice was, but by the Law of Moses? Thus sin still remains the breaking of the law given to Moses.

Rom 14:23
Paul is speaking in regard to those who still feel they are under the law and can't eat things offered to idols. He is saying that we shouldn't eat such things or drink such things if it causes someone else to follow our example, where they don't fully believe it to be alright. If they eat or drink with uncertainty of the point that nothing is unclean of itself (verse 14), then they are not exercising faith in the gospel of Christ. This then means that their eating of that which is forbidden under the law of Moses is a sin.

Jam 4:17
This verse seems to belong to the chapter after it. It says that the rich have kept back money from their laborers by fraud (5:4). This lack of correct action is still a sin, is what he seems to be saying here. This is still stealing, even though it is stealing by lack of lawfull action, rather than by action.

1 Jn 3:8
The law of Moses existed before Moses. It just wasn't called the Law of Moses before. The gospel and law of Moses are eternal principles. All laws God gives are eternal. God's ways don't change, people do. There are those people who need lesser laws and those who can handle higher laws. I discuss this in my latest post on what LDS doctrine really is.

As to Satan sinning. I think John just couldn't come up with another word to define evil that Satan would do. I can't think of one either. So I can understand him using that term. We haven't invented a term for evil acts of spirits.

I still have to hold to the point that the Scriptures lay down that the law of Moses establishes sins (1 Jn 3:4). That those under the gospel sin no more (1 Jn 3:8-10) but are in a process of sanctification. That sancification is a long process that is brought about by the Holy Ghost in a person who has put off the old man and buried him completely (Rom 6:4-6). Those who sin at all aren't going to get into the kingdom of heaven. Christ doesn't need to atone for our incorrect thoughts, those need sanctification (1 Pet 1:2, Hel 3:35).

yeti said...

so to get into heaven we have to live the law of Moses?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

To get to heaven we have to be living the fulfilment of the law of Moses. And if we aren't living the gospel of Christ we must at least obey the law. As Christ stated that if we aren't living these least commandments we are in trouble. For our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees.

yeti said...

by saying living the fulfillment of the law do you mean that the sacrificail laws were dealt with in Christ's atonement, but the rest of the laws we need to live out?
even laws like:
Lev 19:19
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

You shall not trim the corners of your beard (Leviticus 19:27)

You should not lie on a bed where a mensturating woman has lain, and you can't sit on a chair where she has sat (Leviticus 15:20)

Doug Towers said...

yeti


God made the law for the purpose of helping people. EVERY law he gave has a purpose.

For example God tells us that eating pig is unhealthy. Those people were told that they MUST NOT eat pig. If they did it became a spiritual sin because God commanded it of them. What God would now say is that nothing is spiritually unclean. But it still is unwise to eat pigs, as their flesh is still unhealthy to humans.

Why God gave some of those laws you mention I have no idea. I wish I did. One day, hopefully, I will. But you can know that he had a good reason.

In regard the sacrifices, they were symbolic. Once you understand the meaning of the symbol, doing the symbol itself can lose purpose IF you have fulfilled its meaning.

Thus if a person has accepted the atonement of Christ, what purpose can sacrificing a sheep in the place of such have? So it becomes pointless to keep sacrificing sheep.

I would advise all to seek to understand the law given to Moses and the purpose of each part.

yeti said...

but if we don't understand the purpose do we believe that God knows best and follow anyways?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

That is a good question. I don't sow crops nor raise livestock. But I do wear clothes of various sorts. I don't know whether that had something to do with not wearing fancy clothes - a coat of many colors (pieces). If so then I would do alright in that I don't wear fancy clothes or jewellery.

But I do follow the dietary laws. Yet I must admit that I don't buy previously bled meat (though I only eat birds and fish with scales and fins).

yeti said...

(at first I thought you meant that the birds you ate also had scales and fins... but I get it, not beef?)In regards to James 4:17-5:7, and in regrads to our consumeristic society (it that I mean not that we excessively consume (though that is true in our society) but that the demands of the consumer are met, and the idea of purchase power) to what extent do you think that you as a consumer are responsible for the workman failing to recieve his share of the wages? Are we fattening ourselfs for the day of slaughter when we purchase food for which the labourer did not recieve a full wage? is the blood on our hands? how do you respond to the lack of compassion shown towards those who produce our stuff? Do you think it is the consumers responsibility to care?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

I do have a problem with the fact that I know that Chinese laborers aren't being paid well at all. Yet if I don't buy the product they may not get paid at all. Is that really the solution?

I also spend the bit more to buy free range eggs as I have a thing about locking anything in prisons (except people who just would be a serious danger otherwise). Yet if I had no choice I'd still buy the other eggs. So I can't claim perfection in considering animals etc in all my decisions. We only have certain resources. So we have to be realistic as well as idealistic.

yeti said...

Doug-cool.
I try to be idealistic... that leads me to being a hyprocrit, because it is so hard to get it all right. I figure that I should not have pleasures (chocolate) at someone elses expense. and I like supporting things that support sustainable agriculture and small scale farmers. But if I need a new tooth brush, can I get one that was not made by small children working in dangerous conditions for many hours and then sold as a sex toy at night? I tend to think that everything made in China comes from such conditions, and I don't want to support that. I want nothing to do with that. even if otherwise they get nothing at all. The truth is that I am sure some factories are fine. but how can I know which one is good and which one is not?so I try to avoid them all. The other sad truth is that there are sweatshops in canada, australia and the states. so is anything safe? but maybe I can just spend less and donate more. I don't know. When our economy crashes the answer is that we need to spend more, and I think that it is sick the way that our economy operates...

Unknown said...

your not very smart are ya? there is a conflict and a huge difference between being pre destined and foreordained. foreordained means that you can do what you are foreordained to do as long as you make the right choices and follow the spirit. predestined mean that your going to do it no matter what. Predestined is like fate( no matter what you do it will happen) you cant change fate. mormons dont believe in fate or predestination. only in foreordination because fate and predestination would conflict with freewill and if that happened god would cease to exist. so stop talking nonsense and spreading falseness.

Unknown said...

destiny and fate and predestination are all false. the church doesnt belive these things. because they conflict with freewill

Doug Towers said...

Unknown

Thanks for your input and sincere concerns. I'd like you to re-read the post and your concerns will be answered.

To point out some parts that you may have missed I referred to such a false interpretation of the Bible as made by Calvin. He saw the word predestination as proposing that no choice was ever involved.

My post sets forth that choice was involved in the way Paul has presented it.

What Biblical predestination is presenting is that all of us will make certain decisions based on the type of person we originally were, and that God knows us.

So we aren't predestined from a Calvinistic interpretation (which is false) but we are from God's interpretation of the word.

Thus in the true Scriptural sense we are both predestined and foreordained.