Monday, March 19, 2012

The Gospel, Pure and Simple, Part 2:The Plan

This is in response to my original post and the comments and questions that came as a result. Although it was not my intention to get into these deeper subjects, I realize that I was quite vague. I also realize that some subjects need to be addressed to clarify. I am splitting these up into more manageable portions.

Do you know what this is? I could draw this on any chalk board in any LDS meeting house and everyone would know exactly what this is.  It is the Plan of Salvation.

For those not "in the know" here is what this image represents.

In this image we see a broader glimpse of our existence. First, we lived with our Father in Heaven. We were all there, his spirit children. We wanted to be like him. He wanted that too. He presented a plan to help us achieve this desire.

We would be given mortal bodies. We would be given agency. We would be tried and tested. We would suffer but we would also learn and grow.

Part of this plan was the "fall". This is when Adam and Eve partook of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and were cast out of the Garden of Eden. If this had not happened none of us could be born. But in this fallen state we would not be able to return to our Father.

To redeem us from our fallen state, there would be a Savior, Jesus Christ. He would atone for us and make it possible to return. But not everyone would be saved. Through our choices, we might become separated from our Father forever.

To make a long story short, Lucifer offered a different plan, a plan of force with him taking the glory. There was a war and he and his followers were cast out of Heaven. They will never have bodies or progress. They are limited. But they are allowed to tempt us.

Lucifer became Satan and tempted Eve, hoping to destroy the plan. He failed, of  course. Now we are here, mortal and struggling. But we are never alone. Help is always available if we have the faith to ask for it.

When we die, we move to the Spirit World. This is divided into Spirit Prison and Paradise. Here we await Resurrection and the Final Judgement. All those who had bodies will be resurrected and will never die. This is immortality.

When we are judged we will receive a "degree of glory". Those who have proven themselves most worthy will be in the Celestial Kingdom with our Heavenly Father. Here we will be able to live as families, continue to have children, learn, progress, etc. This is eternal life.

Satan and his followers will go to Outer Darkness.

(A few Biblical references: Rev. 12:7-17, Jer. 1:5, Acts 17:28-29, Jude 1:6, Gen 3:22, John 10:34, 2Cor 3:17-18, 1John 3:2, John 5:25, 1 Peter 3:18-20, 1Peter 4:6, Luke 23:43, Rev 14:13, 1 Cor 15:40-58, 2 Cor. 4:17   a few Modern-Day Revelations: D&C 88, D&C 138)

This is a very simplified crash-course for background reference. I realize it does not directly answer the original questions. But it is relevant. And it helps explain why I didn't like the anecdote that inspired my first post.

I will post the follow-up to this also.


Kristi said...

Ok i read both posts but there is a lot here this will take some time to answer but I'll get to work on it.

Kristi said...

Man you sure gave me some homework to do here! I'll cut and paste in answers to each paragraph... Paragraph 1: Jer 1:5 means does not mean that he knew us personally. It means that he knew who he would make, how he would make that person. It also presents my viewpoint. He knew who would be justified and sanctified before they were even created. Not because he knew the choice that they would make but because he would choose to save them. Read vs 6. He doesn’t desire or seek the role that God has given him. Wanting to be like God was the reason that Satan was thrown out of heaven and it was the sin of Adam and Eve that lead to the action of eating the fruit. Isa 14:14, Gen. 3:5

Kristi said...

Paragraph 2: Not sure what you mean by agency. A job? This sure looks like salvation by works to me. Tried and tested and then we either come out victorious or failures? God’s word is clear that we are all sinful failures apart from Him. Romans 3:20-25.
Paragraph 3: Wait you are all about our ability to choose salvation but part of God’s plan was that Adam and Eve would choose to sin? God planned for us to sin and put us in a fallen state but then he let us decide if we wanted to be saved from it? You can’t have it both ways! Or do we only have the free will to choose salvation? God is sovereign in everything or you have to be more in control of your life than he is. If you are more in control then you are putting yourself in God’s place.

Kristi said...

Paragraph 4: No objection here except that I don’t believe we have the power to make that choice apart from the work of the Holy Spirit.
Paragraph 5: Not sure what you mean by bodies or progress. You mean never earn their salvation? Yes I agree but you can’t earn yours either. Ok yea I’m being a little sarcastic. Sorry

Kristi said...

Paragraph 6: “Help is available.” Your view of God makes me sad! It’s as if he’s just sitting on the sidelines powerless to do anything until we ask for his help. And once we are strong enough, smart enough or whatever then he does the rest. God loves us too much to wait until we ask for help. He knows that we are dead in our sins without him so he brings us back to life through the death, resurrection and perfect sacrifice of Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ.
Paragraph 7: No scriptures to support “spirit prison” but I THINK I’m ok with this.

Kristi said...

Paragraph 8: This is a purely Mormon doctrine. I see no evidence for “degrees of glory” or any scripture that justifies the view that anyone is more or less worthy than another. Only evidence that we are all sinners deserving of death apart from Christ’s work of salvation. We are either saved or not saved. There is no super extra saved group. I also see nothing in the Bible about living as families, having children, etc. Heaven is a place where we will worship God. The things that you are talking about are temporary things. You want heaven to be a place where life is a perfect and easy version of this life but salvation and the Bible are not about us. They are about HIM. When you look in Rev and other places, Heaven is a place where God is worshipped and everything else is finally behind us and done. No more separation from Him.
Paragraph 9 : I think that I agree but it would depend on your definition of Outer Darkness. You and I don’t always have the same definitions for things. :)

Kristi said...

Response to verses given as support: I didn't get to all of them because there were a lot! And a few that I did not see a significant difference between your view and mine. Let me know if you think I missed an important one. Acts 17:28-29 Are you sure that you want to quote the Athenian poets as support for your viewpoint? Paul is quoting Epimenides, Cleanthes, and Aratus. He then says that if they (the Athenians) believe that they are children of the gods then they must realize that the gods are not the stone idols that they are worshipping. They must know that there is more to God thna that.
John 10:34 The word translated here as ‘god’ is ‘elohim’. It is used for false gods, angels and in a few spots as men who were serving God as judges over others, sort of like the title Lord was used to describe God or non-divine kings. In context, Jesus is saying that instead of taking offense at someone calling him by this title they should truly try to learn if He is who he claims to be.
2 Cor 3:17-18, 1 John 3:2 You see us as becoming like God as in another little god. I read this and see that HIS PEOPLE are being sanctified – made holy. These verses are clearly about Christians, not all of humanity. Your interpretation of these verses shows a man exalting, and man glorifying view. We are here to glorify HIM!
John 5:25 How can the dead hear? Sounds like something that must be done for them first.
Rev 14:13 is clearly about those who die physically for their faith in Christ.
1 Cor 15:40-58 is a description of our spiritual life. Go back to 1 Cor 15:20-24. He is saying the same thing in another way. He is reiterating an illustration. Wouldn’t vs 46 disprove your idea of “spirit children”? and vs 47 “The first man was from the earth” Vs 49 is a great description of how we were born in our sin natures but we are given new natures in Christ. Vs 50 is saying that sinful men cannot inherit heaven.

Kristi said...

OK wait 1st answer... I phrased that poorly. I said "knew us personally". A better way to put it is that he did not know us in the sense that he had conversations with us or that we were already in existence. It means he knew who he would make and what his plan were for each person.Now that we are created we certainly can know him personally by His grace.

Unknown said...

I see that I left a few holes in my explaination. I DID say that it was very simplified.
After Jesus was crucified he went to the spirit world and arranged for the spirits in prison to be taught the gospel. They had the chance to accept Him. It is hader to change when we are spirits.For example,those with addictions, etc. are still bound by them. However, those who never heard of Christ during their mortal lives will still have the chance to "be saved" so to speak. That is what baptism for the dead is all about. providing that ordinace for those who were not able to be baptized in life.

As for Acts 17, Vs 22- the end of the chapter explains ressurection, who is ressurrected and why. 31 especially expresses the infinite nature of the atonement, that all men will be raised from the dead. 1 Cor 15 gives grest detail abvout this also, as well as explaining that not all will be raised in the same kind of bodies. Those who have proven themselves worthy will have celestial bodies. The D&C references explain this further.

I also neglected to explain adequately about Satan. He didn't just want to be like God. He wanted to force mankind to obey, force everyone into salvation. And he wanted all the glory for bring this plan to pass. That was his real desire and his real crime. He wanted to usurp God and replace him. God's plan to let us choose is out of love. He knows we can not learn and grow if we are forced to do anything. Jeremiah was not fighting God, he was doubting himself. God was reassuring him, not forcing him.

Unknown said...

I also want to make one thing very clear. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints did not come about because a group of religious leaders disagreed about what the Bible said and voted on what to accept as doctrine. It did not come about because someone was at odds with the teachings of the current denominations and wanted to run things their own way.

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to a young, uneducated boy and called him to be a prophet, just as Moses (Exodus3:1-6, 33:11) and Samuel (1 Samuel 3) and others throughout the Bible (Gen 6:9,22:11 Matthew 16:19, Acts 9:4) were called directly by God. He instructed Joseph Smith on what was true and what was corrupted. He built His true church, not based on only what was recorded in the modern Bible but what had been lost. God can do it because it is HIS. He has always made corrections and restorations when the time was right and he has done so again to prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Kristi said...

I guess I'm just getting more confused about what you believe...Acts17:22 diesn't say anything about resurrection. It says that God has been in control throughout human history. I don't see infinite atonement anywhere in those verses. I do see judgement but that's not equal to atonement. Baptizing on behalf of the dead was something that the Corinthians did that Paul was using to illustrate the foolishness of their doubts about the resurrection of the body. Yes the body is resurrected but not at all in a form or way that we can see or understand now. That's what vs 36-41 are talking about. It's not saying that these are the kinds of bodies available! Gosh with that view of the verses you could make a case for reincarnation!!! Read them in context! Yes he wanted to be like God and even greater than God. I do not say that he was fighting God. I say that he was not SEEKING God. BIG difference. The dead cannot seek life and so they certainly cannot fight life either. You read this work of God as forcing someone against their will. I see it as God changing someone who doesn't even realize that they need changing. Can you see the difference? You are representing my view as being a vicious thing by an uncaring God. I see it as he saves someone who is so lost, so blind, that they don't even know that they need help. I see a tremendous amount of love in that. We cannot learn and grow when we are dead. That's where we differ. Do you believe that you were dead in your sins or just very sick? I think that I understand your viewpoint because I once had a similar one, but I know look at that view as being man-centered and man-exalting. It turns salvation into something that man does for himself. According to my former view (and your current view?) God does 99% and then he has to stand in the corner wringing his hands until FINALLY someone loves Him back and does the remaining 1%. I don't think that God is so weak and powerless that he would stand beside someone he loved and then let them fall into hell. I don't think that man has the ability to do ANYTHING to save himself. It is entirely the work of God. I've already shared scriptures that i believe support this. And just to state it again... I'm not saying that you do not rest on Christ for your salvation. I'm just saying that you have a different view of how you come to salvation and trying to explain mine.

Kristi said...

I need to go to bed but I've been sucked in again... About your last comment....Are you saying that the LDS church did not come about through church splits and so that makes it better? Well I would say that Mr Smith certainly split from his church, right? Yes denominations have been created through splits and fractures but they split because they believe something is so vitally important that they must fight the current reigning viewpoint. I would say that you would agree with that. They don't form new truths, they believe that the view in which they are a part of has lost sight of the truth and must be taught to look again to God and his word. Luther is an example, if he had not fought the heresies of the Catholic church then you might still have to fight for the freedom to believe differently than they do. Does the formation of a denomination provide evidence for its authenticity. If so then then the Mormon faith above many others must be seriously and deeply questioned.

Ok looking back at my previous comment... I was unclear again and jumped around too much... What I meant to type... "yes SATAN wanted to be" ... And "I do not say that Jerermiah was fighting"... Sorry. I'm tired and I need to go to bed!

Your last paragraph is simply a statement of your beliefs about the formation of the LDS church. I have already expressed my doubts about the formation of the BofM in our past conversations. I will say in brief that is contradictory to the teachings of the Bible or at some points just copies of lengthy chunks of the Bible. I do not say this to irritate or upset you. I'm just saying that I see nothing in it or about it that provides any evidence for authenticity. God does not ask us to have a blind or unreasoning faith. He came to open our eyes. Yes some things take faith but the BofM flies in the face of history, the Bible, reason, etc. The Bible does not. I know from conversations with other Mormons that you are not alllowed to question or study these things apart from the LDS church's answers.

From my point of view the LDS faith is repeatedly self contradictory.

Kristi said...

Wait I just read that again!! "Satan wanted to force everyone to salvation" Wow! No wonder you find my view so offensive! Though I must say again that "force" is not at all what I see God as doing! Where do you get the idea that Satan wanted to force salvation on anyone? An LDS text becauseI have no idea where you would find that in my Bible?
For me the point when I had to change was when I realized that I did not like the idea of God doing the work of salvation in me before I even knew what it was. I realized that I didn't like it because before that I was one of the chosen ones who GOT it! Before that I thought that I finally understood and was changing and doing the right things! That's pride. Until we realize that we cannot do anything then we try to hold the power of salvation in our own hands. We may only claim that 1% as our own but it's still saying that through that 1% I earned my salvtion.

I've GOT TO GO TO BED! good conversation though!!

Kristi said...

Dog gone it! I keep trying to stop reading about all of this but it is very interesting! I thought that this made a good summary of what I believe about some of the verses we looked at vs what you believe.

Unknown said...

I did write a post a while back about faith and works. I think it might help explain a little more.

I have also been thinking about this claim that Mormons views are contrary to the Bible. I disagree. I think our views are contray to the agreed upon interpretations of the Bible.

For example, most Christians believe in the Trinity, God in three forms or something like that. (I don't get it and no one has been able to explain it in a way that makes any sense to me!) We believe in the Godhead, a unified group with God the Father at the head, Jesus and the Holy Ghost. To us, they are distinct and seperate but unified. Jesus is Jehovah, the creator of the world, working under the direction and authority of the Father. When I tell people this they are often shocked. Mouth hanging open and everything! Why? The New TEstament is full of example of Jesus praying to his Father, making distinction between them, etc. But for hundreds of years people have agreed to accept the concept of the Trinity. If you read the Bible without every hearing that concept would you get it from reading the Bible? or would you only see it if someone used select verses to explain it that way?

Unknown said...

I didn't truly realize until your recent comments that you believe in a limited Atonement. I have to say that shocks me a little. I DO believe in an infinite Atonement. I believe that Jesus took upon himself every sin for every person. Even more, I believe he has taken on himself our pains and sorrows. EVERY pain for EVERY person. I know in the depths of my soul that everyone is a beloved child of God and that he knows them. He comforts them in their times of need. And, yes, he allows them to suffer. Suffering helps us to be humble, to rely on God, to learn empathy.
I also have no doubt that God has planned and prepared for every contengency and not one person who has ever lived will unfairly damned or exalted.

Unknown said...

Kristi said...

As for the issue of whether or not I am interpreting the Bible correctly I have to say that you have repeatedly taken verses out of context or even quoted verses that seem to disagree with your own viewpoint. If I am misrepresnting scripture then tell me where. You are not addressing the places where I point out the inconsistencies. Particularly my comment that begins "response to verses given as support".

Kristi said...

Yes I do believe in limited atonement.

Kristi said...

About the trinity... That's a BIG difference between us that would take more explenation then I have time for right now. I'll come back to it later. My current devotional was just talking about this so I have a lot to say. :)

Kristi said...

I think that we are running out of common ground!! Haha

Unknown said...

Acts 17:28-29, Psalms 82:6, Hebrews 12:9, John 20:17, Hosea 1:10, Romans 8:16-17, Matt 5:48, Matt 6:9, Eph 4:6, John 10:34 all suggest that we have a divine nature, that we are children of God. I read Acts 17 as Paul using somthing familiar to the people to teach them. 'Your poets say this, did you know it's true?'

John 5:25, 1Peter 3:16, 4:6 are all about those who died without the chance to hear the gospel being taught in the spirit world.

1 Cor 15 (and 2 Cor 3:17-18)explains not only that we will be resurrected but how. In a certain order (Christ first, etc) It also explains that our mortal bodies are corrupt and will die but when we are ressurrected we will have bodies that will never die. Leading up to verse 40 we learn that not all bodies are the same. Those who recieve the Celestial Kingdom will have a celestial body. (I have to add that "glory" here doesn't mean the same as praise or honor This is a body that (among other things)can exist in the presence of God. Those in other kinds of bodies could not withstand God's presence.

Kristi said...

Paragraph 1 I know that's what you believe about these verses but why is my view is wrong. Acts 17 stuff... He does not say they are right at all. You are assuming that. His point has nothing to do with the character or nature of man. He's talking about recognizing the character and nature of God.
Psalm 82 the word gods comes from Elohim and is used to describe all sorts of characters. I have already answered this one. And in context these gods are not people to aspire to. They are deserving of judgement.
Heb 12 Haven't you ever called someone father who did not actually give birth to you? It's a sign of respect. A sign of their authority. An illustration of that persons role in your life. same thing here. Same for John 20's use of brothers. If we are literal children of God then why are we not perfect and holy as he is? Your children have the same nature and body as you do. It is younger but essentially equal. If we are his literal children then you must claim the ability to achieve holiness and perfection apart from Him just as (according to your view) he achieved it alone. This is not salvation! It is polytheism with humanity as the chief object of worship.

Hosea 1:10 again children is clearly figurative. You would not argue that they were literally sand on the seashore would you?

Rom 8:16-17 In vs 15 we are called adopted! That doesn't sound like we are literally his offspring! And before that we were called slaves! Slaves to what? Sin!

Matt 5:48 yes he demands perfection. None of us can achieve it. This is why we need the death and resurrection of Christ in our place. Again i ask, do you believe that you were dead in your sins or just very very sick?

Matt 6:9 Yes we are in a sense adopted (gal 4:5) and he becomes our heavenly father though we were once sons of wrath (eph 2:3)

Verses about our adoption...
John 1:12. He gave the right to become sons only to some
Rom 8:23, rom 9:4, eph 1:5, gal 4:5
Scripture interprets scripture. We are not all born as sons of God or why would anyone need "adoption"?

Just a couple of verses about our slavery to sin and then slavery to Christ..John 8:34-36, Rom 6, Titus 1:1, James 1:1

I'm going to stop here because I am tired. Late night last night :) I am spending too much time on this. You can't admit that I make sense because The LDS church says that it is a sin to question the BofM etc. We are just butting heads at this point. I am more confident than ever that the Mormon faith is not scriptural and in the sufficiency of scripture alone. The LDS faith repeatedly contradicts and adds to scripture. You say it is my poor interpretation. I say it's that I actually read all of it and read it in context!!