An Absolute God and a Worry-Free Life

I suspect that I view God as less absolute than most people do.  Because I believe in an embodied God, I do not feel that He can literally be everywhere and everywhen.  And because I have a robust belief in free will, I do not feel that God can have absolute foreknowledge.  All this leads to a somewhat non-absolute view of God.

I am in the midst of possibly the most stressful time in my life, and I am worrying myself silly.  I feel some sort of moral obligation to worry.  I believe my worry accomplishes something.  If nothing else. it makes me more responsible in fulfilling my duties.

I am reading William James’ Pragmatism, and one of his points is that believing in an absolute God allows one to take a ‘moral holiday’.  What he means by this, is that if God is in complete control of everything, then everything is God’s responsibility.  If we come across some difficult circumstance, we don’t need to take some moral stand on the issue.  We can shrug it off and leave it in God’s hands.

It strikes me, that if I had a more absolute view of God, I would likely worry less.  I could let go of my sense of moral obligation to worry about my responsibilities and just leave them to God.  Additionally, I do not feel that this needs to be an all-or-nothing dichotomy.  I can just believe that God is nearly absolute, or even functionally absolute – and just expect Him to bless me like crazy whenever the need arises.  This could help me be happy and nearly stress free in spite of what is going on in my world.  This seems like just the type of pragmatic approach that James was suggesting.

29 Responses to “An Absolute God and a Worry-Free Life”

  1. 1 bookslinger March 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Ah, the balance….. The God who has absolute power to control, yet he allows, or demands us, to exercise agency (we have no choice but to exercise agency) and do our part. Yet no matter what we do, or what the other guy does, the omniscient God has already taken that into account, as in “I knew you were going to do that” or “I knew that was going to happen.” If we try to fake-out God, He could still say “I knew you were going to do that.”

    It’s a logical fallacy, but something that most human minds demand, that “random” equate with “unknown” and that “agency” equate with “unforseeable.” Randomness and/or agency do not demand “unknown” or “unforeseeable” when dealing with higher dimensions of existence. The fact that God knows what my future choices will be does not deny me the right and duty to choose; His knowledge does not negate my agency.

    I believe in a God who inhabits a higher dimensional realm, in terms of both time and space, and who interacts with our 3 dimensional space and linear time, much like we in 3D land can interact with a 2D space. Imaginary 2D inhabitants of that 2D space would not be able to comprehend our ability to appear out of nowhere into their world. (See Carl Sagan’s “flatland” analogy on Youtube. Bruce Webster also has a good post that posits a God of higher dimensions on his web site.)

    It’s a paradox, because we in 3D/linear-time land can’t wrap our heads around higher dimensional beings who operate outside of our time-line. But, even cosmologists and String Theory physicists posit that time is a “local phenomenon”, that there is no such thing as “time” in higher dimensions, it’s a phenomenon of our localized 3D universe, which is itself a temporal “bubble” inside some kind of higher realm.

    To combine a couple points: Foreknowledge that exists in a higher dimension does not negate our agency in a lower dimension where that knowledge doesn’t exist.

    The closest I was able to even catch a glimpse of the time paradox was while watching Captian Sisko have a conversation with the worm-hole aliens in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (Kurt Vonnegut also has a good analogy in Slaughterhouse Five.)

    That Star Trek:DS9 episode caused me to see additional degrees of meaning in many scriptural passages (especially in the D&C) about the meaning of the words “eternal”, “eternity”, “forever”, “immortality”. And combining that with some of the gems from the King Follett discourse, I mentally made some connections to my extremely limited understanding of Stephen Hawking’s cosmology.

    “Eternal” and “immortal” do not always mean a straight line that stretches for infinity. Cosmologist speculates that our observable universe does have a limit (otherwise our night sky would be bright with the light of an infinte number of stars having shined for an infinite length of time). So what is beyond out Universe? Is there 3D space out there with no content? Are there additional “universes” beyond our “Hubble Space” ? Is our 3D universe a localized bubble or dot in some higher dimension?

    An interesting tidbit: Jesus does not have the absolute knowledge of the future as does Heavenly Father. I.E., even Jesus doesn’t know the hour/day of His second coming.

    Somehow, for the law of Agency, and for our mortal probation to be a true test, absolute knowledge that is had in a higher dimension cannot (or must not) come into our sphere

  2. 2 Eric Nielson March 21, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks Bookslinger.

    I still can’t go there. Knowing the future absolutely does not take away freedom, it is just evidence that we are not free.

    Yet, to the point of the post, believing in an absolute God can be quite comforting. And even if I can’t quite go absolute, I can go close to it. I can go functionally absolute. That might help, and thus be pragmatic.

  3. 3 ji March 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Thanks Bookslinger — I appreciated your descriptions. So often, we humans try to re-create God in our image — but we need to appreciate that he exists outside of our creation, and that our understandings and ways are not his.

  4. 4 bookslinger March 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Here’s the link to Bruce Webster’s article on how higher dimensions might fit into an LDS cosmology:

    Here’s the link to Carl Sagan explaining a 4th dimension using an analogy from 2D to 3D.

    I forget if those pieces go into a higher dimension of _time_ as well as space. But, as 2D and 3D can be extrapolated to greater dimensions, so could linear 1D time.

  5. 5 Jamie Turner March 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I agree that “Randomness and/or agency do not demand “unknown” or “unforeseeable”” – and bookslinger, I post that Carl Sagan link all the time!! I love flatland!

    To me, knowing something, and causing it, are two very different things – said it before, I can know what will be on TV tonight by reading the guide, but that does not mean that I caused it, or took away anyone’s agency to know it. I have no problem with the future being set in stone – fully known by God, to me the point is “who” sets it in stone, not “if” it is set.

    Put in in God’s hands – there is freedom from worry in that. “God, grant me the serenity to – put in God’s hands – the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.” … you really can put it in His hands!

    I like the gravity idea of God’s presence – that just like a planet/sun is finite, yet their gravitational influence is all present, I see God as being finite, but His influence as being everywhere.

    Sorry things are stressful for you right now, hope everything works out for the best, we’ll keep you all in our prayers.

  6. 6 Jamie Turner March 22, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    not to derail the op, but here are some other higher-dim links –

    Click to access jse_21_3_beichler.pdf

    and this next one is a vid that teaches you how to really see 3D shapes from their distorted 2D shadows, and then using the same principles, to try and see 4D shapes using their 3D shadows:
    longer vid, good for a quiet/peaceful/meditative night.

    ok – I’ll stop now.

  7. 7 Eric Nielson March 22, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    This is counter to my point in the op (that there is value in seeing God as absolute). But the failure to see the lack of freedom in the face of absolute foreknowledge drives me nuts. I at least give Jamie credit for owning up to the consequenses of that belief (determinism). While you may know what is on TV tonight, and not cause it – that does not make the TV free! The TV in not able to choose what it will show you. It is just a dumb device that is not able to do anything of its own will. If we are not able to do anything either we are just dumb devices as well. But again, at least Jamie owns it.

  8. 8 Jamie Turner March 22, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    yes, it’s determinism, but it is self-determinism… here’s a question for you, do you believe that people had free will in the past? the past is set in stone, and yet, free will exists in the past (even though the past cannot be changed)… just another way to look at it.

  9. 9 Jamie Turner March 23, 2012 at 12:13 am

    one more comment – the frustration with determinism, the past/future set in stone, we are who we are, being trapped by ourselves kind of thing – the idea that sure, we make our own choices, but those choices stem from some deterministic unalterable timeless character… to say you are “trapped” by that is the wrong way of looking at it, you are only trapped if your character is a bad one… it could also be freedom – steadfast …”O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness!… like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable…”

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking…” – -Marianne Williamson

    Is God Himself deterministic?
    (Old Testament | Malachi 3:6).. For I am the LORD, I change not…
    (Old Testament | Exodus 3:13 – 14)
    What is his name? what shall I say unto them?.. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM…

    deterministic/unchanging seems to be a God-like attribute, no? so long as you are steadfast in the right path… (otherwise it’s being stiff-necked)

  10. 10 ji March 23, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Eric, you write, “But the failure to see the lack of freedom in the face of absolute foreknowledge drives me nuts.” I’m one of those who would drive you nuts — I see no incompatibility with man’s agency and God’s foreknowledge. The scripture tells us that God sees everything — past, present, and future before him — and also that man is free and an agent unto himself.

  11. 11 Eric Nielson March 23, 2012 at 6:42 am


    I think your example of the past is a bit silly. A fixed past is not evidence against free will, only against ….. I don’t know …. time travel? Other than that I find your comments consistent. Determinism is not a trap at all. We still may have the full sensation of freedom whether we have it or not. We could (perhaps) be held morally accountable for who we are at some level. People who feel this way may be more likely to call it moral agency rather than free agency.


    I think those interpretations of scripture are to absolute.

  12. 12 Jamie Turner March 23, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Sorry, I’m not very good at explaining myself, I was trying to point out that free will and determinism exist concurrently in the past (the past is unalterable), so the two are not mutually exclusive.

    I do think it is more than just a sensation of freedom. We agree that determinism is not a trap – something that is not trapped is free. Left to ourselves we would be trapped, through the atonement we are made free, changed from a carnal and fallen state, we can change – I don’t know if I can say it clearly, but if part of our eternal “I am that I am” character is an ability to change for the better- I think our ability to change makes us free. Eternal progression is freedom.

    Emergence – “I am that I am”, but who we are is who we are with others. (If we are kind, we are kind to others, if we are angry we are angry with others etc. etc.) We are defined, not just by our self, but by our interactions with others – we can be changed by others, learn from others – our relationships set us free… we’re like a big hunk of clay that left to itself could only form itself into what it thinks up itself – but when the clay allows itself to be formed by others the possibilities are infinite…emergence – the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts through the products of interactions: 1 bird + 1 bird = 2 birds + singing + eggs + flying formations + arguments + love + an infinite number of things. Our interactions and ability to learn and change around others is genuine freedom I think, so that all we need is that eternal propensity to change + others who will change us, and we’re set.

    sorry for another long rant, I used to have issues with the idea of realistic freedom too, but I’ve changed my views since then.

  13. 13 Blake March 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Bookslinger: As far as I can see, the 3d metaphor doesn’t explain how free will of the type that requires alternatives can be consistent with God’s foreknowledge. If God knew at t1 that X would do A at t2, then there is only one possible future that is consistent with that fact. However, an open future requires at least two possible futures. Yet the only future that is consistent with “God knew at t1 that X would do A at t2” is that X does A t2. X does not have power to do anything other than A at t2 since that would require changing the facts that God knew at t1 — and no agent has such power at t2.

    As far as I can see, the 3d metaphor could only explain why we would be ignorant of the fact that we aren’t free.

    Jamie: Free will doesn’t exist in the past if the past was determined at that past time.

  14. 14 Jamie Turner March 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I agree with bookslinger –
    (Book of Mormon | Alma 40:8) – all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.

    I don’t think we understand what time really is… I think the past/present/future are all descriptions of the same thing shone in a different light – everything is connected in a giant cause/effect net – LaPlace Demon kind of thing.

    To me, a random future – random/unpredictable by the past – could only happen if it were uncaused – and something that not caused – or not determined – cannot come from agency, because the point of free will is that we “determine” our own actions. If it is not “determined” by anything, it is not the will of anything, it is not a choice of anyone’s – it’s not agency imo. To me agency is determining one’s own actions – it requires determination… I’m not sure how free will could exist if it was not deterministic… the point of robot vs. free being is “who” determines it, not “if” it is determined… self-determination is free will – but it is determination.

    Sorry, not trying to be contentious, I do enjoy listening to other viewpoints – fleshing it all out and all that!!!

  15. 15 Eric Nielson March 24, 2012 at 9:33 am


    Your statement that something that is not trapped is free I think shows what you are missing. It requires more than a lack of coercion to be libertarian free will.

    It also seems to me that real change in people as you describe would require an open future that is not fixed. And thus cannot be absolutely known.

    Also, I think you are starting to hit on one of the real dilemmas here, and that is the phenomenon of choice. That is a toughy. What really happens when a choice is made? James suggests that those who prefer free will should embrace randomness and chance as explanations, and I think he may be right. Our motivation to act in spite of partial information seems to play a big part in what free will and choice are..

  16. 16 Sean Peterson March 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    This is a great topic!

    bookslinger: I love Flatland! I didn’t realize there were other Flatland geeks out there. Cool. I think it is a great way to sort of put into perspective God’s abilities v. mans limitations. I’ve used this analogy a lot thoughout my life.

    Jamie: I actually agree with you about using the “past” analogy. Again, we need to break away from the limited thinking that time constrains us to. God is not limited in any way by time. I haven’t checked out your links yet but I will shortly.

    I like to also use the analogy of a book. God has the entire book in front of Him. He has placed us all on a specific page of the book. Maybe he did this all at once from His perspective. But we are the authors of the words on the pages in which we live.

    Eric: Deep thoughts man. I don’t know if I can keep up with all the thinking that has gone on with this blog post and comments, but I do tend to boil it all down to a simple question. Is God ever surprised by anything that we do? I think that is a different thing than God determining what we do. I think there is a different type of meaning of “knowing” that we maybe do not comprehend.

    I love the wonderful execution of The Creation and The Fall as an baseline analogy. It is against God’s nature to create man in a fallen state, and yet The Fall was necessary to fulfill the purposes of our earth life. Therefore He allowed man to bring about The Fall through his agency. It was God’s perfect way of establishing the circumstances that were required. Does the word “knowledge” or “foreknowledge” describe fully God’s understanding coupled with His capacity to lay off if you will? I don’t think it does. I think “infinite wisdom” gets us a little closer, but with a shroud of our own inability to comprehend. In the same vein, I think that God operates personally in our own lives. There is nothing we can do that will ever surprise God, or catch him off guard. And He certainly intervene’s in answering our prayers and guiding our lives. But He has somehow given us the pen and made us authors of our own lives, and we cannot therefore escape responsibility for our own choices.

    Is there a better word for all of that? I suspect there is in the Adamic language. But for now, we need to somehow infuse the word faith into all of this, and I believe that is where the peace and comfort comes from.

  17. 17 Eric Nielson March 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm


    Thanks for stopping by. The question of God being surprised is interesting. Is the story of Jonah and Nineveh such an example? God was going to destroy Nineveh, and apparently their repentance changed His mind. One might wonder if prayer can change God’s mind. If the future is absolutely known, and God is static, then why would one bother praying – since in such circumstances there is nothing that you or God can do to change what simply will happen.

    Also what of the weeping God of Mormonism? Why should God ever weep? This is why the creeds insist on a God who is without a body and without passion. So that they can have a God who is outside of time and space, and thus would become a static being who cannot be moved.

    Yet, it seems there is some utility to believing in such a God, apparently there is peace in this belief. We need not worry in the least about anything. God is absolute and in Heaven, thus all is well on earth.

  18. 18 wreddyornot March 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    We know enough about time to know that it has an arrow, a direction, always.

    There was a past that has been determined, a present where we make choices, and there will be a future. Even in dealing with God that is the case.

    Is it in humility that the prophets and scribes of sacred history say “all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men”?

    Also, saying “all is as a day” is still a measurement of time, so the scripture, taken literally, would be nonsensical. Even in Sagen’s illustration, there was an event, then another, then something else happened, then something else, etc. Time moved; it wasn’t static.

    When I was in my thirties some thirty years ago, I started grappling with determinism and free will more seriously. After prayerful searching, I came upon an article by Blake (“The Mormon Concept of God”) that gave me some ideas that I have cherished ever since.

  19. 19 Eric Nielson March 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm


    I agree completely. Thanks for commenting. Blake’s article is outstanding. For me the turning point was understanding that freedom required more than a lack of coercion.

  20. 20 Jamie Turner March 25, 2012 at 10:25 am

    A study on the conditional nature of prophecy is indeed interesting, or things like – if He were all-knowing He would not ask “Adam, where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9) Of coarse you can always argue that these are rhetorical/emblematic in nature, or merely needed threats to open the eyes of the stubborn and are therefore not indicative of a lack of knowledge on God’s part.

    JST show God does not make mistakes – or need to repent – these accounts, when properly translated, suggest we are occasionally shown where alternate routes would take us if left unchecked.
    Ex: (JST | Jeremiah 26:Entry – Amos 7:3)JST, Jeremiah 26:13 (compare Jeremiah 26:13) (The Lord does not repent; men repent.) 13. Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and repent, and the Lord will turn away the evil that he hath pronounced against you.
    JST, Amos 7:3 (compare Amos 7:3) (The Lord does not repent; men repent.)
    3. And the Lord said, concerning Jacob, Jacob shall repent for this, therefore I will not utterly destroy him, saith the Lord.

    The point of prayer, of all of it – is that we might change. We don’t change God’s mind, we change our own mind, we learn to think things through, we learn to be teachable, we learn to reach up to higher powers, we learn the consequences of different paths should we take them, we learn how to communicate, and how to participate in a reciprocal relationship.

    When I read through the many scriptures on the omniscience of God –

    and consider where the idea leads – of doubting God’s presence/power/knowledge/love – or doubting the completeness of any of God’s attributes, I am left thinking that such ideas – ideas that create worry/insecurity/doubt– that destroy peace, faith, and hope, and suggest that God is less than He is – sorry, but these ideas could have only come from one source… we can worry about ourselves, but we need not worry about God.

    I believe in a God who is unchanging in His love – of coarse a loving being would weep over His children, would be compassionate, and have emotion. Unchanging does not equate to being uncaring. I do not see God as being a lifeless rock, but rather a being of infinite understanding, infinite compassion/appreciation, filled with infinite love and joy – fully alive, fully aware, fully animated – nothing rock-like about it, but rather the opposite – rocks know nothing – a fullness of knowledge is a fullness of life.

    Yes, freedom is more than a lack of coercion, we must have the ability to act – to be self-causal, self-determining. That God knows who we are, and where our potentials lay, in no way diminishes our ability to determine our own actions…. Knowing something is different than causing it – To think that God is limited by the observation paradox or Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle or something similar is a bit silly I think…

  21. 21 Eric Nielson March 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Speaking of conditional things, Abraham 3 has God saying we will prove them to see if they will do what He commands. Of course if He were outside of time He would have always known exactly what we would do. No need for Him to see if anything. Also our culture seems to have what I feel is a proper understanding of patriarchal blessings. These blessings being contingent on our behavior.

    The point of the prayer question is that if the future is fixed, then there is nothing God can do to change it. What will happen will happen regardless of how or if we pray.

    There is nothing in my stress or worry whatsoever about God. Yet, I do feel that bizarre, inconsistent, absolute definitions regarding God can have its own negative consequences.

    The purpose in bringing up emotions and God, is that if God is outside of time in some eternal now, it would not make sense for Him to weep in one moment and not weep in another moment. He is in an eternal now so there is no sequence. He would have always known from all eternity those conditions – it makes little sense to weep about it now,

    God actually becomes more alive if He is progressing through time with an open future. This in comparison to a static eternal now with a fixed future. One seems much more alive than the other.

    None of this is a limitation on God. A fixed future with an eternal now only implies a limitation on us. The only aspect of freedom we would really have is the lack of coercion. This is necessary but not sufficient for freedom the way I would see it.

    But again, the original post suggests that if a belief in an absolute God helps, then it is ‘true’. My feeling is that there are many aspects where God is absolute. I just feel that he is in time and space, and that the future is open. An embodied, passionate God who is working out the immortality and eternal life of His children who are agents.

  22. 22 Jamie Turner March 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Abraham 3 is fascinating – there are many different ways to interpret scriptures, which is where difficulties arise… to me Abraham does not yet fully know who he is, or what he is capable of – so he is told that he is one of the noble and great ones –
    (Pearl of Great Price | Abraham 3:22 – 23)
    the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones…Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born…

    “prove” is often grouped with/along the same lines as tempt, Entice; Temptation; Tempter; Test; Try.

    it’s part of the refining process through which we come to a full understanding of our self. God knew who Abraham was, it was Abraham who did not know… I think life’s tests are for our own benefit, we prove to our self who we are, and then we can come to see our final destination as being just. things like Alma 14:11 – sounds to me like the judgements were already there, just waiting for the actions to make it official/undisputed.

    Visualizing existence without time is hard – similar to 2D vs. 3D – even now though, when I look at someone, I see more than just where they are in the present – I remember their past, see the accumulation of good and bad memories with them, and imagine what the future might bring… I think there are very few people who live/think only in the present without mixing thoughts/emotions of the past & future in with it. My grandfather’s demensia effects his ability to separate past/present/future – you can’t tell him “we’re going to visit next week” because he will expect you to be there within the hour, or he will look long and hard at Heather (the younger version of me) and me… old memories are vivid, and seem to have happened minutes ago for him… interesting that he is going through this before crossing through the veil.

    For now we see through the glass darkly… but one day we will know. Thanks for the thoughts, it is interesting to think about.

  23. 23 bookslinger March 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    There is a phrase, but I can’t seem to recall where I read it, (outside of the “time is only measured unto man”), which is:

    “Time is a local phenomenon.”

    Our 3D universe operating in a linear time fashion is a “bubble” in a set of larger or additinoal dimensions. Those additional dimensions may consist of more dimensions of _time_, not just additional dimensions of space.

    Blake, the reason I used 2d to 3d to 4d reasoning, is so that we may apply it to the dimension of time also. What if time really isn’t 1d at all, but is 2d?

    Joseph Smith (in the KF discourse) said that time (and existence) was more like a ring, no beginning or end, than a line segment or infinite line.

    The word “eternal” and “eternities” as applied to Heavenly Father do not mean merely “infinite” in time. They can also mean _outside_ of time.

    ( I also have to admit that this is all “looking beyond the mark”, too.)

    I stil need to look up which episode of Star Trek DS9 that had Sisko having a dialogue with the worm-hole aliens who exist outside of our linear time.

    Here’s another semi-explanation of agency and foreknowledge: Choose any particular single choice or action you’ve taken in the past, are taking now, or will take in the future. This can be said of it: You always made that choice. You always do make that choice. You always will make that choice. You always did it, you always do it, you always will do it.

    The purpose of mortal life is a probation or test, plus learning experience. But, If God knows the outcome, then supposedly he could just tell us what we _would_ have done/chosen, and then just applied the consquences. But somehow, the _experience_ matters, and we have to _find out for ourselves_ what our choices are.

    Perhaps agency is a matter more of self-discovery. Or in other words, agency may be a “local phenomenon” as time is.

    @Blake: Your logic omits or ignores the (alleged) fact that to God, or anyone existing on/in the higher dimensions of time, there is no difference or interval between t1 and t2. The difference, or interval, between t1 and t2 is only significant to someone who is limited to 1-dimensional time in a 3-dimensional space.

    Someone in a higher dimension of time can view and experience t1 and t2 simultaneously, like someone in 3d-land can comprehend both the inside and the outside of a house in flat-land simultaneously.

    In Moses 1:27, Moses was able to view (behold) every particle of the earth simultaneously. It says he discerned it by the Spirit of God. I take that literally and physically. Just as the 3D Carl Sagan looked down and beheld the 2D flat-land on his table, I think Moses may have, either virtually or in reality, been taken to the next higher dimension, and looked down upon the 3D earth.

    How did Moroni appear within Joseph Smith’s bedroom, seemingly out of nowhere? Just as Carl Sagan illustrated a 3D apple going into, or intersecting flat-land, Moroni may have transitioned from a higher dimension into the 3D space of the Smith home.

    I don’t know if 4D space itself is outside of our linear-time, or if there is yet a 5th dimension which is necessary to inhabit prior to being able to comprehend all time as one moment.

  24. 24 bookslinger March 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    re: God existing outside of time and space.

    I think He exists _both_ inside and outside, that He inhabits both, with flesh and bones, as tangigle as man’s. But by traversing higher dimensions, it appears to us that He can be everywhere at once, with infinite capacity to be aware of each of us individually, hear our prayers, and interact with us.

  25. 25 bookslinger March 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Blake, I think a possible rejoinder to your logic also contains a point of semantics. In analyzing your logic: If God knew at t1 that X would do A at t2, then there is only one possible future that is consistent with that fact. However, an open future requires at least two possible futures. Yet the only future that is consistent with “God knew at t1 that X would do A at t2″ is that X does A t2. X does not have power to do anything other than A at t2 since that would require changing the facts that God knew at t1 — and no agent has such power at t2.

    I don’t think agency requires more than one “possibility” as seen from a higher dimension of time. It only requires the appearance of such from within our reference frame.

    I don’t think agency requires an “open future” as seen from a higher dimension of time. It only requires the appearance of such from within our reference frame.

    In other words, along with time, “agency” may also be a “local phenomenon.” But since we don’t exist in, nor see from, the reference frame of higher dimensions, the agency is real to us. And in order for agency to be real to us, the knowledge that God has must be kept from us.

    I agree that it’s a paradox, but it’s a _seeming_ paradox. It’s a paradox to us because we can’t compehend what God comprehends from his vantage point.

    Those who inhabit the Celestial Kingdom will be able to look down upon that crystal planet, and use it as a Urim and Thummim to see lower kingdoms. I suppose that at that point they will comprehend more than we do now about multiple dimensions. Those who are in the Church of the Firstborn in the CK (the exalted ones, the top-most of the 3 divisions within the CK) will also each have a stone with which to view higher kingdoms, and they will likely comprehend even more.

    As per Section 76 and the book of Revelation, the Church of the Firstborn eventually move on and become gods themselves. It is at that point where I believe they not only comprehend, but can inhabit and move within the higher dimensions.

  26. 26 Jamie Turner March 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I agree that “agency is a matter more of self-discovery”
    “…[The Lord] knows, being omniscient, how we will cope with affliction beforehand. But we do not know this. We need, therefore, the refining that God gives to us, though we do not seek or crave such tribulation.”—Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience (1980), 38

    – there are actually some good articles/statements on about God’s foreknowledge (I need to remind myself to just go to before making wild speculations about things – so here is what I should have done from the get-go)

    Maxwell talks about how in an ex-Nihlo creation a conflict between agency and foreknowledge does in fact exist, but there is no conflict between omniscience and agency when you get rid of the ex-Nihlo idea:


    – “Latter-day Saints also know that God did not create man ex nihilo, out of nothing. The concept of an “out of nothing” creation confronts its adherents with a severe dilemma. One commentator wrote of human suffering and an “out of nothing” creation: “We cannot say that [God] would like to help but cannot: God is omnipotent. We cannot say that he would help if he only knew: God is omniscient. We cannot say that he is not responsible for the wickedness of others: God creates those others. Indeed an omnipotent, omniscient God [who creates all things absolutely—i.e., out of nothing] must be an accessory before (and during) the fact to every human misdeed; as well as being responsible for every non-moral defect in the universe.” 6

    “Of course, God is not “responsible” for our human misdeeds! How vital, therefore, the “plain and precious” truths of the Restoration are in order to see things as they really are instead of being puzzled.

    Restoration correctives provide emancipating perspectives! The revelations, when “pressed down, and shaken together,” emphasize that man is, at once, an intelligence or spirit coeternal—but certainly not coequal—with God (see Abr. 3:18). Thus, doctrinally, we are positioned very differently, because “God is neither the source nor the cause of either moral or natural evil.” 7 God is thus the organizer of eternal intelligences, which can neither be created nor destroyed (see D&C 93:29). Furthermore, God will not coerce men since all intelligence is free to act for itself “in that sphere in which God has placed it. … Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man” (D&C 93:30–31)..”
    so rejecting Ex-Nihlo means that “God is neither the source nor the cause”, so there is no conflict between omniscience/omnipotent and agency when we consider that we are not created or made – God knows us, but did not cause us, therefore we have agency.

    – concerning prayer:
    “…But first may I mention two hard, reflective hang-ups that occur in the discussion of prayer in the wider world and which have not only been resolved but dissolved for us if only we will. There is first the notion that God, being all-knowing, is therefore unchanging. Since He knows all that will occur, having, it is said, absolute foreknowledge, prayer is pointless. For if God knew yesterday what is happening today, including all that I am going to do, it is pointless to ask that it be changed. One can insist that his foreknowledge is not a cause. One can still ask, “But am I a cause truly, if in fact the eventuations could not have been otherwise?”

    The heritage of prayer in this church teaches us that however we settle the question of foreknowledge there is point in reaching up to that person, not a thing, who is himself free and has used his freedom to forbid to himself the use of force. He is not a computer, I am grateful to report. He is a conscious being. And it is our relation in freedom to his freedom that does make a difference. Our history is replete with instances again and again of the inevitable, as it seems, not happening because of the intervention of our prayers and his response.

    But there is a second confusion. Surely God, being God, must know what is best for us. If we pray and ask him to change his mind, he would hardly be wise to answer yes. If we pray for our own hurt, God, being a loving God, would do well to answer us no for our good. If we are simply praying to remind him of what he already intends, why pray at all? A kind of intellectual lockjaw comes from such reflection.

    One would almost gather from diaries and journals which report firsthand experience, that his will can be swayed. In part because the very prayer process changes us, and God can respond to the change; and in part because in the two-way relationship that exists we are to learn and grow through his response.”

    – so the point of prayer is not to change the future or to change God’s will, but “the very prayer process changes us, … we are to learn and grow” – we’re the ones who change/learn/grow through prayer I think.

    …”In our deepest prayers, when the agency of man encounters the omniscience of God, we sometimes sense, if only momentarily, how very provincial our petitions really are; we perceive that there are more good answers than we have good questions; and we realize that we have been taught more than we can tell, for the language used is not that which tongue can transmit.”- Maxwell –

    “Seeking to be neutral about the gospel is, in reality, to reject the existence of God and His authority. We must, rather, acknowledge Him and His omniscience if we want our children to see life’s choices clearly and be able to think for themselves.” – D. Todd Christofferson

    anyways, lots of good quotes on it on just the good old site.

  27. 27 watch tv shows online free streaming April 7, 2012 at 9:51 am

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  28. 28 Alex Bramwell May 11, 2012 at 12:34 am

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  29. 29 Nathan January 13, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I initially read the title of this post as “An absolute God- and worry-free life.” I guess that’s how Korihor saw it—a God-free life is a worry-free life! 😉

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