William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Was God Ever A Sinner?

The question was put:

"In the San Francisco Chronicle interview, President Hinckley was asked:

Q: There are some significant differences in your beliefs. For instance, don't Mormons believe that God was once a man?

A: I wouldn't say that. There was a little couplet coined, "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become." Now that's more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don't know very much about (San Francisco Chronicle, April 13, 1997. p. 3/Z1).

Most ever "Prophet" before Mr Hinckley took the office was sure about this point..

God the Father was once a man on another planet who "passed the ordeals we are now passing through; he has received an experience, has suffered and enjoyed, and knows all that we know regarding the toils, sufferings, life and death of this mortality" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 1997, p. 29).

God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. . . . (Teachings of the Presidents: Joseph Smith, 2007, p. 221).

"The Spirit of the Lord rested mightily upon meâ??the eyes of my understanding were opened, and I saw as clear as the sun at noon-day, with wonder and astonishment, the pathway of God and man." Elder Snow expressed this new found understanding in these words: "As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be." Later the Prophet Joseph Smith assured him: "Brother Snow, that is true gospel doctrine, and it is a revelation from God to you. . ." (Search These Commandments, Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide, 1984, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pp. 151-152)

I rescently asked this question based on this subject:

Are you a sinner, Can you perceive a time when you could be exalted and become as God was when He was first exalted? Can you perceive that you would advance in that exaltation? That you might have the opportunity to organize a world and populate it with your own Spirit children? But Heston you are a sinner that much I have seen you admit!!! So if you grow to that priesthood office of godhood wouldn't the mortals in your "creation" say that once their father in heaven was a sinner? Wouldn't they be right? Therefore in mormon theology isn't it right to believe that the Father was once a sinner?

I never gor ans answer so now I bring this question here.. May I please have an answer?"

To which I responded:

I do not profess to know whether God was ever a sinner. But I really think it does not matter. So what if he was? Does that remove all basis to worship him and follow him and have faith in him? I think not. I think the reall debate should not be about whether God was once a sinner, or whether LDS doctrine teaches or ever taught that he was. What we really ought to be discussing is why it should matter philosophically/theologically. It seems to me that most evangelicals who get all upset about LDS beliefs in this regard are going from the premise that God can never change, that if God ever sinned he can never be viewed as perfect, and that if God is either changeable or imperfect he either ceases to be God or else is no being worth worshipping. While it is true that some of these notions have Biblical support, the Bible is neither a flawless nor a complete document. If it were, there would hardly be any debate about it.

The decision of whether to hold that God could only be God if he never changed is an arbitrary one. Certainly an arbitrary and capricious God would not be a being worth worshipping. But that does not mean that God can never change.

I would speculate that the doctrine of an unevolving, never-changing God likely developed as part of a human desire for order. Our natural tendancy is to adopt those beliefs which are the least complicated; we are uncomfortable with revisions, as they take mental work and adjustment.

Just as human beings can forsake sins they once committed, it seems to me they would be capable of improving indefinitely, to the point where, millions of years later, they were sufficiently enlightened and able to no longer sin.

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