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« How Can I Know God Is Providing? | Main | Links Mentioned on the 4/20/16 Show »

April 19, 2016

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So, my initial response to this would be

"What do you mean by 'son of God'?"
"What do you mean when you say 'He died for our sins?"

The use of Christian language here does not really tell me what they believe about those two doctrines.

This really comes down to what we mean when we refer to things. When someone says "Jesus", who are they referring to? Let me illustrate with an example.

Imagine you are walking down a street with a friend, and you see a man walking his dog. He is lavishing affection on the dog. In response, you reply, "Boy that dog surely has a great owner." Your friend, who knows the dog, says, "You're out of your mind, the dog's owner is a terrible man who beats the dog every day!"

What you didn't know, is the man who was walking the dog was the hired dog walker. The dog's owner was at home.

You and your friend have both used language describing the "dog's owner", but you were referring to very different things. Your statement referred to the man physically with the dog who happened to be a hired helper whereas your friend was referring to the dog's actual owner.

So when Mormons and Christians use the name "Jesus", are they referring to the same person? On Mormonism, Jesus is not the eternal God. He is a created being who came into existence a finite time ago. He also did not provide atonement for our personal sins but only for original sin. Jesus was not born of a virgin, but was conceived through literal intercourse between the Father and Mary. Finally, Jesus is not the unique Son of God because all of us are God's sons in exactly the same way.

None of these statements are true on Christianity. Even though Mormons use the same name, "Jesus", they are referring to a very different person. In fact, the person they are referring to does not actually exist.

After reading through the rest of the article, it boils down to a lot of question begging.

Since the article does not establish good reasons for believing that the book of Mormon is "another testament of Jesus Christ in book form, just like the Bible!", the other statements do not follow until we can establish the truth of statement #3. And that needs to be established by point #2 of which we have historical evidence to the contrary.

"The" son of God or A son of God?

Isn't it true that you believe Jesus is the brother of Lucifer? How can that be when the Bible teaches that Jesus is the uncreated Creator of EVERYTHING, including Lucifer (John 1.3; Col. 1:16)?

Well, if I had said "Mormons don't worship Jesus," and they corrected me and said they did, I'd say, "I stand corrected."

But I probably wouldn't say, "Mormons don't worship Jesus." I'd be more likely to say something like, "I don't think the Mormon view of who and what Jesus is is entirely accurate."

Is it possible that God's people are found in various orthodox, cults and fringe groups? I think so. Not because of the groups, but because God transformed the group member's nature through the New Birth in spite of the group. But at the same time I believe the Born Again will eventually choose truth over error after hearing it.

It is especially hard to pry loose a lifetime of indoctrination people frantically cling to by arguing doctrine. But placing your spin on what they believe might help.

The intent of any particular member of the LDS is not in question here, rather, the overall claim by the Church of LDS is what is under review as it referents the term *worship* and the term *God*. None of us in our complete experience nor our journey’s complete story can be or ought to be entirely defined by every last nuance of our own particular Church’s programmatic posture. Given such, this is not about the intents of any particular member of the Church of LDS.

On a pure theory of reference, we come to the specific terms of *worship* and of *God*. It is a peculiar state of affairs that such terms find the Muslim not only more coherent but also more complete than the LDS [*only* on point of *reference* regarding the term *worship* and the term *God*....] in that the Muslim withholds any and all *worship* from all except the One True God – the Underived, the Uncaused, the Necessary, what David Hart (again in reference) describes as “…..the infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality….” That the LDS claim the motion of *worship* in reference to something or someone other than *God* – to any derived, caused, and contingent entity reveals a certain “something” that is both concerning and misguided.

Being careful with our terms:

First, on the Muslim and the theory of reference, recall the word "*only*" in the last paragraph delineating the very limited boundaries of said analysis. On the whole the LDS have far more of the Revealed God than does the Muslim. Then, moving on and - yet again - being careful with out terms: While God creates the Imago Dei, God does not compel us to *worship* the Imago Dei. That the Imago Dei finds its source, order, and end – its final felicity, its true good – in and by finding itself, our very humanity, not only filled with God – with All Sufficiency – but also in and by being found within God – within All Sufficiency – is not, on any possible terms, a coherent compulsion to *worship* the Imago Dei. The semantics of the Incarnation is, in part, not in whole, the semantics of the actualization of the Imago Dei and there is no possible state of affairs – no possible world – (where “the Adamic” is concerned) where such will not obtain in that it is God Himself – All Sufficiency Himself – and nothing less – which satisfies the demands of Necessity. No contingent means will do. Ever. In any possible world. It is God and no less which must descend, pour, fill, glorify, raise to fullness.

To miss those unavoidable lines is to miss Christ – God in Man, Man in God – and of course the term *God* there means nothing less than just that – God Himself – doing to Man, to “the Adamic”, what God and no other can, on point of metaphysical necessity, *do*.

Still being careful with our terms:

To *worship* the Imago Dei just is to worship that which is derived. While sourcing the metaphysical terminus of the Imago Dei to God – to D.B.H's “infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality” allows the Christian to surpass the philosophical and intellectual sloppiness of all Non-Theistic accounts of reality, such sourcing *still* does not find God compelling Man to *worship* something or someone – anything/anyone – other than Man’s only proper and true End, Man’s only proper and true Means, Man’s only proper and true Good – namely Uncreated Goodness Himself.

While the Muslim withholds *worship* from all but God Himself, the LDS find themselves granting *worship* not to He Who Fills us and to no other, not to He Who sustains us and to no other, but, rather, to God and to that which is filled, to that which is sustained, to that which is other than God.

Christ is not, on the view of the LDS, the Eternal, Uncreated God. Christ is a creation of God (on their view). Having known God as God, they yet worship a creation. Romans 1 comes bellowing in (on that very narrow boundary, not on the whole).

Whereas, here inside of our own contingent being within our own contingent world we find the Necessary Being when we find Christ and, therefore, we *worship* Christ. As in:

Though we are factually compelled into the triune – into the “Triune God” – by logic, by Scripture, by reason, by love’s three unavoidable interfaces (within our own experience of love vis-à-vis all which sums, simply, to our experience of self and of other and of the totality of such in the singularity of the us, as it were, here within our own Imago Dei), by those same three inescapable vertices within all that is mind/perception (within our own experience of all that is mind/perception here within our own Imago Dei) – and by the demands of “The Necessary” (metaphysically speaking) for satisfaction upon any and all contingent X’s constituting “the Adamic” (again metaphysically speaking) – which nothing less than the Necessary can ever satisfy – though we, again, are factually compelled by such pervasive and unyielding lines into the Triune God – it is *still* that case that once we make the move to jettison the unavoidably triune and therein jettison (from all our equations) God In Christ reconciling the world to Himself as only He can – well then it’s all a proverbial “wash” so to speak as the uniqueness of the Christian Genre becomes (eventually) unmistakable when compared to all other paradigms. Only in and by Christ do we find God Himself – the All Sufficient Himself – the Necessary Being Himself – descending, pouring, filling, lifting, and thereby glorifying His beloved – literally “through and through” – to the bitter ends of Time, to the bitter ends of Physicality, to the bitter ends of the beloved – the Adamic. Logic, reason, Scripture, the nature of being, the nature of our own insufficiency, the nature of mind and perception, and the nature of love all testify that, on point of necessity, nothing less will do.

Here, again, within our own contingent being inside of our own contingent world we find the Necessary Being when we find and spy Christ and, therefore, we *worship* Christ. As in:

“Theology must, to remain faithful to what it knows of God's transcendence, reject any picture of God that so threatens to become at once both thoroughly mythological and thoroughly metaphysical, and insist upon the classical definitions of impassibility, immutability, and nonsuccessive eternity. This is in no way a contradiction of the story of God as creator and redeemer and consummator of all things: because God is Trinity, eternally, perfectly, without any need of negative probation or finite determination. God does not have to change…….. in order to love us or show us mercy – he loved us when we were not, and by this very "mercy" created us – and so, as love, he can overcome all suffering. This is true in two related and consequent senses: on the one hand, love is not originally a reaction but is the ontological possibility of every ontic action, the one transcendent act, the primordial generosity that is convertible with being itself, the blissful and desiring apatheia that requires no pathos to evoke it, no evil to make it good; and this is so because, on the other hand, God's infinitely accomplished life of love is that trinitarian movement of his being that is infinitely determinate – as determinacy toward the other – and so an indestructible actus purus endlessly more dynamic than any mere motion of change could ever be. In him there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning because he is wholly free, wholly God as Father, Son, and Spirit, wholly alive, and wholly love. Even the cross of Christ does not determine the nature of divine love, but rather manifests it, because there is a more original outpouring of God that – without needing to submit itself to the order of sacrifice that builds crosses – always already surpasses every abyss of godforsakenness and pain that sin can impose between the world and God: an outpouring that is in its proper nature indefectible happiness. These are matters to be addressed later, but here I can at least offer a definition of divine apatheia as trinitarian love: God's impassibility is the utter fullness of an infinite dynamism, the absolutely complete and replete generation of the Son and procession of the Spirit from the Father, the infinite "drama" of God's joyous act of self-outpouring – which is his being as God. Within the plenitude of this motion, no contrary motion can fabricate an interval of negation, because it is the infinite possibility of every creaturely motion or act; no pathos is possible for God because a pathos is, by definition, a finite instance of change visited upon a passive subject, actualizing some potential, whereas God's love is pure positivity and pure activity. His love is an infinite peace and so needs no violence to shape it, no death over which to triumph: if it did, it would never be ontological peace but only metaphysical armistice. Nor is this some kind of original unresponsiveness in the divine nature; it is divine beauty, that perfect joy in the other by which God is God: the Father's delectation in the beauty of his eternal Image, the Spirit as the light and joy and sweetness of that knowledge. As Augustine says of the three persons, "In that Trinity is the highest origin of all things, and the most perfect beauty, and the most blessed delight. Therefore those three are seen to be mutually determined, and are in themselves infinite, that is, infinitely determined as the living love of the divine persons – to "one another" – to which infinity no moment of the negative or of becoming or even of "triumph" can give increase. Hence God is love.” (D.B. Hart, “The Beauty of the Infinite – The Aesthetics of Christian Truth”)

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