Archive for the 'Child of God' Category

The Good News – You are a Child of God. The Bad News – You Were Adopted?!

In my many blog discussions and debates over spirit birth, I have learned that spirit adoption is the preferred theory of those who do not like the idea of literal spirit birth.  The idea of adoption as the fundamental relationship between God and man does not appeal to me in the least.  And I would like to attempt to explain why that is. But first it may be a good idea to provide simple definitions for spirit birth and spirit adoption as I currently understand the terms.

Continue reading ‘The Good News – You are a Child of God. The Bad News – You Were Adopted?!’

Spirit Birth and Ontological Sameness

Joseph Smith’s teaching that something about us (intelligence/mind/spirit) has an eternal past, and was never created nor made, is a remarkable thing with many implications on Mormon theology.  One of the obvious results of such a teaching is that it ultimately eliminates the creator/creature relationship between God and man.  But with the creator/creature relationship eliminated, what then is the relationship between God and man?

Continue reading ‘Spirit Birth and Ontological Sameness’

Reviewing Paulsen’s Statements Relating to ‘Spirit Birth’

In one week my presentation will be over, and perhaps I will be able to think about something else.  That might be nice.  In a recent thread at BCC, J. Stapley apparently felt the need to argue my presentation before it is even given.  This is probably no big deal since we have been over this stuff often, and I am sure that I will not be presenting anything that will be a big surprise to anybody.  In the comments to this thread I stated that Dr. David Paulsen and I seemed to be on the same page with much of this topic.  Matt W. said that he read the same section of ‘Mormonism in Dialogue with Contemporary Christian Theologies‘ and did not come away with the same impression.  I am pleased to pass along what I feel are the relevant statements from this section of the book.

Continue reading ‘Reviewing Paulsen’s Statements Relating to ‘Spirit Birth’’

Pinocchio, Spirit Birth and Being a ‘Real Boy’

As I am sure a few of you have noticed, I have had something of a one-track mind lately with my upcoming presentation at the SMPT conference (schedule announced here).  I was recently considering why I felt so strongly about this idea of spirit birth, when others don’t share this feeling – and even go to great length to dismiss the idea in spite of current church teachings on the subject.  This brings me to the story of Pinocchio which may bring some interesting discussion on the topic.

Continue reading ‘Pinocchio, Spirit Birth and Being a ‘Real Boy’’

From the Ensign: What We Believe – God is Truly Our Father

I have been thinking of reviewing this section in the Ensign while it lasts.  I hope the Ensign continues this department.  This review comes from the January 2010 issue, and I will try to catch up as the year goes on.  I will mostly just cut and paste what I feel are key points and open it up for discussion if anyone is interested.  This particular article addresses the topic I am preparing my presentation for so it particularly caught my attention.  You can read this very short article by clicking the link above and then clicking on the ‘What we Believe’ bookmark on the side of this PDF file.

Continue reading ‘From the Ensign: What We Believe – God is Truly Our Father’

SMPT Paper on Spirit Birth ….. ACCEPTED!

I just received word that my paper on Spirit Birth for the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology was accepted.  I am pretty darn excited about it.  Now what?!

I have never presented, or even attended something like this before and I have no idea what to expect.  As for now I am planning to go, but I have the following fears:

1 – I do not want to be buried alive by people at this conference.  I am not very sophisticated or well read in philosophy.  There will be plenty of people who could bury me alive if they chose to.  YIKES!

2 – I suppose I will have to spring for a flight, a motel, a rental car, etc.  Cha-ching.

3 – I just don’t know what to expect.  Do I just read the thing and ask for questions?  What goes on at these things??

Anyway, I guess I need to write a 200-300 word abstract, and figure out what a ‘curriculm vitae’ is.

And I want to thank everyone who helped me with this.  That includes everyone who ever interacted with me on any of my goofy spirit birth posts and comments, but particularly those who encouraged me and gave advice in my posted outline and draft.

A Sketchy First Draft of SMPT ‘Spirit Birth’

(I spit this out pretty quickly.  Some of it is awkward, I know.  I would appreciate any constructive comments.  I have about 1000 words left, so I could address things that are missing.)

Introduction

The idea of mankind being the children of God is not a new one. Yet, many take this idea metaphorically. One of the unique aspects of Mormonism is found in how literally many members take the parent/child relationship between God and man, and how many members take this relationship literally.

Continue reading ‘A Sketchy First Draft of SMPT ‘Spirit Birth’’

Joseph Smith Teaching Spirit Birth? Or Something Like It?

I was asked to teach the Elder’s quorum Lesson yesterday.  We were on lesson 42 of the manual which can be viewed here.  Right off the bat there is a very interesting paragraph:

By 1843, although the Nauvoo Temple was not yet finished, the Prophet had announced the doctrine of salvation for the dead, and he had administered the temple endowment to a group of faithful Saints. But an important part of the sacred work of temples had yet to be put in place. On May 16, 1843, the Prophet traveled from Nauvoo to Ramus, Illinois, where he stayed at the home of his close friend Benjamin F. Johnson. That evening, he taught Brother and Sister Johnson and a few close friends about the “new and everlasting covenant of marriage.” He explained that this covenant was the “order of the priesthood” necessary to obtain the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. (See D&C 131:1–4.) He also taught that unless a man and a woman enter into the covenant of eternal marriage, “they will cease to increase when they die; that is, they will not have any children after the resurrection.” Those who do enter into this covenant and remain faithful “will continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory.”  (HC 5:391)

I have been told a few times in blog debates over spirit birth that Joseph Smith never taught anything about spirit birth, and I have been a little surprised by that.  But this quotation (From History of the Church) is pretty interesting and may bring some evidence about his thoughts on the topic.   The money line in this quote is ‘they will not have any children after the resurrection’.

So, if we assume that Joseph did teach something along these lines, and that it was recorded properly.  What are we to make of such after-resurrection child bearing by exalted, sealed married couples?  I am not sure there are very many possibilities:

1 – This was Joseph’s opinion – and he was wrong.  (Not very satisfying, especially given D&C 131)

2 – Exalted couples giving birth to …. resurrected, exalted beings?  (Not very satisfying either.  Seems a short circuit of the Plan of Salvation.)

3 – Exalted couples giving birth to spirit body offspring.  (This sounds more like it.)

Now, I realize that the quote from above speaks only to the eternal future, and not directly to the eternal past.  But given some statements from the KFD, would we not suppose that the same pattern also went on before?

Does this quote not provide some evidence of Joseph teaching something along the lines of spirit birth?

An Outline for a Possible SMPT Paper

There is a call for papers for the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology annual meetings that MattW announced here.  When I saw that the theme was “The Measure of Their Creation—Theological Anthropology”, and that one of the suggested topics was spirit birth, I got a bit excited.  Spirit birth was among my favorite blogging topics, and several of my posts on this topic can be read here.

I have never submitted a paper to anything like this before, and I readily admit that I am likely not up to the task of putting together a paper that will meet the appropriate standards.  But since this is a topic that interests me, and because I have been wanting to piece together the ideas and thoughts of all the posts and comments on this topic – I think I am going to make a go of it.

I thought I might spit out a possible outline for such a paper in this post, and solicit advice from any who care to give it.  I might organize such a paper thus:

Establish that literal spirit birth is a legitimate idea in Mormonism

- Key scriptures (Heb 12, Rom 8 etc.)
– Proclamation, TTTF
– BH Roberts, Truman Madsen, Brigham Young, John Widtsoe quotes

Discuss theological Implications

- Necessity of a tripartite model
– Relationship between God and Man
– Christ as Elder Brother
– Eternal families and Exaltation

Common Objections

- Sexual relations and viviparous birth for Heavenly parents
– Billions + of spirit offspring
– Resurrected being giving birth to spirit bodies
– Why did it take so long?
– Fixed/finite number of intelligences

Alternative View

- Spirit adoption
– Advantages/disadvantages

Conclusions

 

So, feel free to mock me, give me encouragement and advice, ignore me.  Whatever you want.

Reviewing ‘Eternal Man’ Part 3 – Creation and Procreation

The third of a seven part series.  See 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Chapter three of Eternal Man is ‘Creation and Procreation’. Madsen begins by providing a poetic writing by Joseph Smith:

And I heard a great voice bearing record from Heav’n,
He’s the Saviour, and Only Begotten of God-
By him, of him, and through him, the worlds were all made,
Even all that career in the heavens so broad.
Whose inhabitants, too, from the first to the last,
Are sav’d by the very same Saviour of ours;
And, of course, are begotten God’s daughters and sons,
By the very same truths, and the very same pow’rs.

Madsen then asks – ‘But is Divine fatherhood in any sense similar to human fatherhood’? He mentions what he feels is the one important similarity. It is that in both Divine and human fatherhood there is a transmission of traits and attributes. He then offers two anticipated objections to this assertion.

Continue reading ‘Reviewing ‘Eternal Man’ Part 3 – Creation and Procreation’


Bloggernacle



I'm a Mormon.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 258 other followers

The Author

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 118,254 hits

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 258 other followers