More Mormon Heresy: God is Not a Great Old One

Azathoth

As I understand the creedal view of the Fall, God’s Plan A for humanity was to live with him in eternal righteousness and bliss.

His creation was perfect, because he is perfect. Everything, including humanity, was exactly as it ought to be. But then Adam and Eve ate a fruit that they were specifically asked not to eat — so instead of paradise, we get murder and starvation and rape and smallpox, and then we all die, and everybody goes to hell forever (because it’s our fault too) unless we get right with Jesus.

Leave aside the question of why God cares so much about this particular rule. If God meant for us to live with him in paradise, and that plan was wholly contingent on humans staying away from a particular tree, then putting Adam and Eve and the snake in the garden, together, unsupervised, with the no-no tree dead in the middle, seems like a pretty glaring oversight.

I realize I’m oversimplifying this. Most Christians view the tree and the serpent as a deliberate test of obedience — but what possible purpose could such a test serve? He was omniscient, and they were only what he created them to be, so it isn’t as if they might surprise him. And they were created perfect — there’s nowhere to go from there but down — so it can’t have been for their benefit. The idea that this was all a “test” makes him sound like a kid who got bored of his ant farm and decided to smash it — but only a troubled kid would blame the ants.

This isn’t a doctrine that we can just lay aside as a “mystery”. It requires either a god who is pointlessly cruel, or a god whose mind is so incomprehensible that he can hardly be called good, or even sane by human standards. And sure, God’s ways are not our ways — but if your god’s morality is truly, bewilderingly alien, you should consider the possibility that you might be worshipping Azathoth by mistake.

The Mormon view of the Fall solves a lot of these problems; but it does so by relaxing some pretty important theological assumptions.

(Which is why the rest of Christendom doesn’t buy it, and furthermore won’t let us join in any reindeer games).

Plato starts from the idea that everything has a cause, and all causality must funnel down to an Absolute, an “uncaused cause” — and that’s what he calls “God”. Which means creation has to happen ex nihilo: God absolutely must be the very first thing that ever existed, and the cause of everything else, because that’s what Plato defined the word to mean. (The question of why all of Christendom decided to take so many theological premises from a pagan is an interesting one that I will leave to the reader — here’s a good place to start.)

But if you’ve committed to creation ex nihilo, you have to start with a flawless creation (because God is perfect and would not create anything imperfect), and explain how we got from there to the smoldering tire fire that is human mortality, without implicating God in any way. One really convenient way to do that is to assume that we had it coming — that Adam and Eve provoked God’s righteous wrath, and it’s all their fault.

Of course, then you’re stuck trying to explain why the punishment was so horrible, and why it’s still going on even though Adam and Eve have been dead a while. So then you have to come up with a concept of inherited guilt, and then you need a doctrine of depravity to explain why God’s idea of justice makes no damn sense to the rest of us, and then you’ve got a god whose morality is completely orthogonal to our own.

It’s a bit like the geocentric model (another iffy Greek idea that was official Christian doctrine for a while). When you start from flawed premises, your model can only go so far before it starts to need some serious hammering to make it fit the world as you observe it. In this case, insisting on God’s perfect omnipotence means relaxing your assumptions about his perfect justice and goodness — but you can’t do that, since that interferes with the Platonic ideal as well — so you have to come up with more and more expansive definitions of “perfect justice and goodness”, and you end up with something incomprehensible and kind of scary.

Mormons get around these difficulties by rejecting the assumption that everything necessarily has a cause.

In Mormon cosmology, God and matter and intelligence just are, and always have been. What God created was pattern, order, and meaning — and while he’s omnipotent, it still takes time and effort to get things done. But that’s true in either model: instead of snapping his fingers and resetting the server, he had to sacrifice his son to redeem us from the fall. Instead of saying “let there be earth”, he made it in six days (subject to some nebulous definition of “days”).

So God’s creation will be perfect, when it’s done — and it’s going exactly as he intended — but we aren’t wedded to the idea that Eden was the high point of human existence and we screwed it all up. It’s not as philosophically tidy as the creedal view, but fortunately God is not required to partake of the Platonic form of Philosophical Tidiness.

Why does any of this matter?

Because the most powerful engine of opposition to religion is people’s emotional disgust with this inscrutable Augustinian elder god. It isn’t that modern people are less likely to accept supernatural factual propositions: religiosity is down in the West, but belief in UFOs, ghosts, astrology, and ESP are as strong as they’ve ever been. It’s accepting moral nonsense that people find so distasteful — and rightly so.

A god who is perfectly omnipotent, but only questionably, theoretically “good”, is a basilisk — and it might claim your allegiance, but it doesn’t really deserve it. Of course, the gospel does require us to occasionally suspend moral judgment and trust that God knows better than we do (which is a bridge too far for some people) — but it’s because God has a broader view of the facts in question, not because God’s notion of morality is fundamentally alien to our own.

He is, in fact, good — and in a very homely, human sense that doesn’t take a lot of explaining. It’s only incomprehensible in its scope.

One of the worst memes to come out of the “Mormon Moment” was the perception that we want to blur the distinctions between ourselves and mainstream Christianity — that we just want to be included and accepted like everybody else. But the differences in our teachings really are quite profound. We place a lot of emphasis on playing nice — and we should! — but we should also admit that to accept the gospel is to reject some ideas that other Christians (at least theologically minded Christians) consider fundamental — with the obvious corollary that those ideas are false and ought to be rejected.

I just wish we were more okay with being different. We’re not weird. Azathoth is weird.

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More Mormon Heresy: God is Not a Great Old One

39 thoughts on “More Mormon Heresy: God is Not a Great Old One

  1. I met a lot of people on my mission who rejected Christianity in favor of their own flavor of spiritualism, consisting of their own ideas of “cosmic energy” or karma or what have you. I was a bit confused why someone would choose a religion they made up on the spot over one that has existed (in some form) for thousands of years. Your comment about moral nonsense shed some light on that for me.

    1. I admit I have a tendency to look down my nose at people who subscribe to some homespun “spiritual-but-not-religious” worldview, but looking at it this way makes it easier to cut them some slack. If the choice is between embracing moral nonsense, or fumbling around for something that makes more sense to you, they’re probably making the right call.

      1. Let’s not start to talk about fallacies, unless you want to address your rather slipshod interpretation of Creedal Christianity. Also, your belief that God simply “is” does not line up with what Joseph Smith taught a few weeks before he was murdered. According to his teaching, God simply “isn’t.” He was once a man that became a God.

        If you start with the belief that God didn’t create ex nihilo, you have a whole new set of problems that you have to deal with, especially if you subscribe to the notion that we were all “intelligence” co-eternal with God before we were spirit. If we are in some fashion co-eternal with God, there is some aspect of ourselves that is independent of God. Thus, if we succeed at reaching an exalted state, we have something of which to boast. If we fail, we can’t blame it on God, and thus we have to accept the fact that we were simply, in an eternal cosmic sense, flawed goods.

        Also, one must deal with the idea that if at some point in the past, God was an intelligence and I was also an intelligence, there was either another God directing and guiding our existence, or there was no God at all. Even if there was another God directing our co-eternal existence, all that solution does to the conundrum is push the problem back one generation, for that other God was at one time nothing more than intelligence, too. And we are back where we started. Either no God or a Different God.

        So Mormonism is a strange form of deistic atheism. There is no God in the sense of a Christian First Cause, and thus there really isn’t any God at all governing the universe, just men who happened to succeed in “life.” And just like here on Earth where the influential and powerful among us don’t technically create anything, rather they “organize,” “oversee,” “guide,” and “direct” all life and all matter, in the Heavens there is really nothing more than influential and powerful men organizing, overseeing, guiding, and directing “stuff” that they did not, nor even have the power to, create. In a way, the Mormon God is nothing more than a “sorcerer’s apprentice” standing on a cliff controlling all matter with his wand.

        In Mormonism, at best, Man is God. And to a Christian, that is just another way of saying there is no God at all.

        If you take the essay that I linked above as a starting point for more research, you’ll begin to see that this same doctrine has been taught in just about every generation. The Greeks taught it as “Man is the measure of all things.” The Renaissance Italians adopted it. This is basically the message of the Kabbalah. You will even catch hints of it in movies today. This is the message that the fictional English teacher in Dead Poets Society is teaching to his students.

        This concept is the “wisdom of the world” spoken of, warned against, by Paul. It is occult. It is the great “mystery” shared through the ages in secret rituals behind closed doors. It you don’t believe me, I know a full-fledged follower of Aleister Crowley (who was once a Mormon) who told me point blank that the great mystery of his religion is, and I quote, “Man is God.”

      2. Let’s not start to talk about fallacies, unless you want to address your rather slipshod interpretation of Creedal Christianity.

        Sure, lets address it. What did I get wrong?

  2. “Humans are only what God created them to be.”

    Nope…everything is only what God created it to be, except humans. We are in God’s image, and thus like God, we have the ability to act according to our own volition, according to our own will, according to our ability to use reason rather than instinct.

    Humans are the only thing that has the choice to be NOT what God created us to be. And that makes all the difference.

    This is a minor point, but I think a lot of the problems both Creedal Christians and especially Mormons encounter when dealing with the Adam and Eve narrative is to take it literally. As a metaphor, it teaches a very powerful message. But it is a metaphor that unfortunately is too easy to ride too great a distance. Ride that metaphor too long, and it will quickly lead into some very dark places.

    The Gnostic variations on this tale are evidence of that.

    1. If your most serious problem with the post is a “minor point”, I’ll call that a success.

      But I think you’re trying to have it both ways: if there is truly “no aspect of us that is independent of God”, then we -can’t- be anything other than what he wills for us to be. Everything that determines our decisions — our minds, our circumstances, our will — is wholly rooted in Him, because he’s the ultimate cause of everything, full-stop. Either we have free will or we don’t.

      1. As it pertains to our origin, there is no aspect of us that is independent of God. But from that point on, we are given the option to choose a path independent of God. Why would God do this? Well, if you had the power to create beings to worship you, would you create beings that have no option but to worship you? Or would you create beings that could experience all the great things you offer, like love, compassion, mercy, etc, and endow those beings with the freedom to worship you only if they choose to do so?

        See…if there were a God that DIDN”T allow Free Will, the capability to act outside the will of God, that God would be a real sick character, a megalomaniac. A God that crafts a bunch of beings in his own image, and then gets off on watching them act as slaves to their programming. Yuck.

        Seen in this way, the screwed up world is the collateral damage of creating a being that also has the potential to experience real life. (Eternal life…)

        But if you seriously believe an omnipotent First Cause precludes human free will, I think even as a Mormon, you still face the same issue, unless Intelligence can progress to Spirit, and then to Flesh without relying on God. If an Intelligence can walk the road alone, then an Intelligence can have free will. But as a Mormon, you read things in the Book of Mormon that say things like: “we are nothing but the dust of the earth and owe all we have to God.” So it doesn’t seem like intelligence can walk the road alone. So, you necessarily bang up against the same problem you think Christians bang up against.

        My position is that there is a First Cause, and therefore we truly do owe our entire existence to God, even our ability to not choose to be what God made us to be.

        The way I see the Mormon position is that while humans do have free will, and therefore can be something that God does not want them to be, there is also some quality within them that God did not put there. And since Intelligence is eternal, that quality, whether it be good or bad, is nobody’s fault at all. It isn’t even the Intelligence’s fault. It is just there. And that quality has to play a role in how receptive or not receptive that entity will be to God’s will. If I am a truly obedient person, it is because that eternal quality makes it easier for me to be so, and I have something of my own of which I can boast. And if I am an awful person, I am so partly because that is just the way it is. Thus, I have an excuse, a real legitimate excuse, for sin.

      2. All I can do is repeat myself at this point: where does your free will come from, if your mind, your spirit, your will, your environment, your genetics, all of it is engineered by God? When you make a choice, what part of you is independent (i.e. other than what God made it)?

  3. Just as a note, I reread something I wrote in my comment above. I worded something in a clumsy way. Aleister Crowley was not once a Mormon. The follower of Crowley whom I spoke with had once been a Mormon. Sorry for any confusion I caused.

  4. Old Lamps. For some reason I can’t reply directly under your comment, but here goes.

    All I can do is repeat myself also. God gave man the ability to say “no.” No other creature has this, unless you want to believe in a Hell for dogs, and a Hell for dandelions, and a Hell for Camellia Sinensis. (Apparently those who enjoy Camellia Sinensis in this life will go to Hell, but I think the plant itself has a pardon.)

    God engineered us to be in a certain relationship with Him. That is what we were engineered to be. We were not created spiritually broken. We were created to be in a spirit relationship. But because we were crafted in His image, we had the right to reject that relationship. And “Adam” did reject it. And thus, our actions from that point on are not engineered by God in any way. We have Free Will.

    The goal is to return to that original spirit relationship. In other words…be “born again” of the Spirit.

    The Spirit is broken in us. It is dead. It needs to be quickened. We can experience that and be brought back into right relationship, and have eternal life. (Present tense intentional, because John says so in his Epistles.)

    The difficulty in understanding this comes partly from taking the Adam and Eve story too seriously. We know from science that we have evolved from lesser forms. We are created from dust, from element. Who would’ve thought that the Bible itself would vindicate Darwin. Well…it does. The Creation account in Genesis is about the best description of evolutionary processes that the ancient world, in all their ignorance, could have ever come up with. (It even says that the water brought forth all life, and then it goes on to say that the earth brings forth life. It is describing natural, evolutionary processes.)

    There was no pre-existence. The Garden of Eden is simply a metaphor for human life in its earliest, instinct-based state, before the species was endowed with reason and intellect, thus becoming truly in God’s image, thus making us capable of looking at ourselves objectively, outside of the view God has for us. In other words, we had the capability to fall. We can return to this state through being spiritually reborn. And the beautiful thing is that when we return to this state, we get to take our reason and intellect, our ability to enjoy life, with us. We won’t just be instinctual animals. We are to be spiritually reborn in this life, but until the flesh (and with it, sin) dies, we won’t fully experience the hope we now have in Christ Jesus. We aren’t fully redeemed until we lose this flesh. That day will come. Paul kind of talks about this stuff.

    The story of Adam and Even is a metaphor for the human condition. If you think it is literal, you are going to be led astray.

      1. Because he looked at himself and thought, “Look at me. I am God. I can handle this on my own.”

        And each human being that is born into this world has to work through the same experience. We are born selfish creatures. We have to be in order to survive infancy and childhood. But when we become adults (at whatever point that may be…it varies for everyone) we must see things differently. It isn’t a matter of just ceasing to act selfishly. Mere change of action is not enough. That is certainly better than nothing, but we need that spiritual rebirth. That is the awareness of who we are and what we are in relation to God. It needs to happen at the spirit level, not just the intellectual level. The only thing any religion can give you is the intellectual understanding of this reality. Nothing can make it happen at the spiritual level. It is a gift from God.

        Some people never get over this selfishness, this pathetic attempt at being God. And they kill, rob, and rape. Some people never get over it, but they are not cruel people, so they create religions to “be good.” Like Mormonism. Like Luciferianism. Like Kabbalah. Like Freemasonry. Like quite a few others. The occult: the transmission of secret knowledge through ritual and oath, the acquisition of which enables the initiate to ascend to higher and higher levels of existence. This is the occult, my friend.

        You can put Jesus at the door as a greeter, but that doesn’t change the fact that when you enter inside, the deeper and deeper you go into the building, the less and less Christian it appears to be. Man is God. That is the root of Mormon doctrine. You may believe Man must become God, but you basically get the same thing.

        You can disagree of course, but from the Christian point of view…if Man is God then there is no God. Satan’s lie leads inevitably to the denial of the existence of the “I Am.”

      2. Ok, but how did Adam *decide* that he was God and could do it on his own? He wasn’t born selfish — he was born a flawless creation of a flawless God. So what gave him the idea that he was God and could do it on his own? Was it his God-given intellect that got it wrong? Or his God-given will? Or something in his God-given circumstances?

  5. I know you are really trying to pull out my ideas and see how far they stretch, and I do love this kind of discussion. But are you one of those Mormons that are actually really excited about the occult aspects of the faith? I’ve met people like that. They think Mormonism should go further in embracing this part of their doctrine. Just wondering. You seem to keep ignoring it when I bring it up.

    You are making the false assumption that God-given intellect, will, and circumstances must always operate in accordance with the will of God. Why should that be? An omnipotent God has the power to create something that isn’t a slave to his omnipotence. What is so hard about that to believe? Haven’t you ever heard the story of Pinocchio?

    Do you have kids? Don’t you ever just sit back and let your kids trash the house in their play, knowing full well that you can clean it all up when they’ve gone off to bed?

    Bad analogies, I know, because they lack the omnipotent being, but still…If I were an omnipotent father, I could tell the kids, “do this,” and when they fail to do it and proceed to trash the house, nothing at all has happened to challenge my omnipotence. Did I want them to trash the house? No. Did I create circumstances in which the house may get trashed? I sure did. Am I no longer omnipotent? Did the children not have free will in their actions?

    Of course not.

    You are having trouble with this probably because as a Mormon you only say God is omnipotent, but you don’t really believe it. You don’t have a real understanding of what that looks like because your God is fixed in a particular place by a physical body, and your God could, as the Book of Mormon states, cease to be God should he do certain things.

    That is because your God isn’t law itself, your God is in compliance with law. Your God isn’t justice itself and mercy itself. Your God acts justly or merciful, in accordance with the definition of those words. When he is being merciful, he is being merciful according to the principle or law of mercy, which exists outside of him. It is independent of him. He only comes into compliance with it.

    Your entire paradigm is fundamentally flawed. And thus, you run into these problems.

    1. I’m ignoring the ooga-booga “occult” accusation because it’s just association fallacy, lumping us in with belief systems that are spooooky.

      And your parenting analogy is irrelevant, because it completely ignores the reason there’s a problem: you, as a father, are -not- omnipotent, and we’re not arguing that you’re the Uncaused Cause of everything your children are (their will, cognition, and environment).

      So again, what made Adam decide to rebel?

  6. Adam decided to rebel.

    What makes you decide to rebel when you do rebel? God? Satan? Are you going to blame it on them?

    So, you might say…if God is the source of Adam’s will, then God gave Adam a rebellious will.

    No…the one doesn’t follow the other. This is your problem. God gave Adam the freedom to choose. That doesn’t therefore mean that God is responsible for Adam’s choices. Or that he is even the cause of Adam’s choices. But again…enough with the Adam talk…it is a metaphor! You have ridden the metaphor too far, and therefore it begins to break down into this piddling nonsense.

    You can ignore the occult accusation all you want by hiding behind your “association fallacy” charge. That is kind of childish. Mormons try to claim they have Christian doctrine by relying on the same fallacy.

    “Look…we have the name of Jesus in the name of our Church….we’re Christians! We believe different things about Jesus then the rest of the entire Christian world, but we are Christians because we invoke the same name!”

    Yes…the original association fallacy was committed by Joseph Smith.

    1. People don’t make decisions for no reason (unless they’re mentally ill or unwise or impulsive, none of which Adam was, because he was perfect). So what was his reason?

  7. I am just curious about your title for this post…”Great Old One.” Where did you get that? Are you referring to the “Ancient of Days?” Or am I mistaken.

  8. John

    If God created man with free will than one must conclude that he knew many would reject him, as he is omniscient. So, what was the reason for it?
    You give the common answer, that he simply wanted to created something that had chosen to worship him rather than being forced. He also say that a God that only created things that have no choice is a sick god. But what of one that only created being for the purpose of his personal amusement and pleasure?
    What this describes is not a loving God, but a narcissistic jerk who thinks of nothing but himself. His creations have meaning only in as far as they give him what he wants; and if they don’t choose to he just throws them into the tortures of hell as an object lesson to others, and thus still gets what he wants.

    Honestly, I am not seeing a being that really deserves worship.

  9. Shematwater: You are not describing a God that I have described, either. You are describing the strawman God that atheists and Mormons alike love to describe when trying to destroy the Christian understanding of God. Elder Holland recently pulled the same general trick in an Ensign article about the Godhead. (By the way….Godhead does not mean “Eternal Presidency,” as Holland thinks. The “head” part of Godhead does not in anyway refer to the concept of governance (eg…head of the English department). “Godhead” comes from the Old English “godhede,” and it means “divine nature.”

    How can the Mormon God deserve worship? He deserves it in the same way a celebrity or a politician or a successful businessman deserves praise and honor here on planet earth: He earned it. And you must earn it, too. Otherwise, your afterlife will involve spending eternity separated from your family, acting as a ministering angel (servant), serving those who are living out their eternity in the blissful state of their plural marriages, creating world without end, sending spirit children by the millions to earths of their own, knowing that many of them will be forever lost to you.

    Now that sounds like a Hell indeed, for both the exalted and the unexalted alike.

    1. I notice you don’t actually say anything to refute what I said, but prefer to avoid it through casual dismissal. Not a very convincing tactic. So, please, tell me what is wrong with my reasoning.
      First, was God’s purpose in creating us only for his own amusement or not? If not, than please explain what his purpose was.
      Explain how creating something for the sole purpose of having it worship you is not acting out of self pleasure.
      If you can effectively demonstrate this than you have an argument; otherwise you are simply avoiding the issue.

      As to LDS doctrine, we worship God because we trust Him and believe in Him. Why do we trust and believe? Because He has proven Himself to us. As God tells us in Malachi 3: 10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and PROVE ME NOW HEREWITH, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
      We have proven God and have found His promises to always be fulfilled in love and mercy. That is why we worship Him, and that is why He wants us to worship Him.
      Your comparison to celebrity or businessman is not accurate. It is the love and devotion a child feels towards their Father. We come to Him in trust and faith because He is our Father, and for no other reason. We worship Him because He has proven His faithfulness in keeping His promises.

      And as to eternity, ask any parent here on earth and most will tell you that the fear that their children would stray, and even possibly become criminals, would not deter them from having a family. Even those who have had children in prison, most would not change the fact that they had children in the first place. Yes, they sorrow over the children that have failed, but even that sorrow brings with it a measure of joy at being a parent. That is what eternity is, just on a perfect and much grander scale.

  10. “Explain how creating something for the sole purpose of having it worship you is not acting out of self pleasure.”

    That is a good question. But think about this: You start with the assumption that the Mormon God is somehow more comprehensible than the Christian God. So does Jeffrey Holland. I would agree that the Mormon God is more comprehensible, because the Mormon God is basically one of us. (I am remembering a song from the 90’s…”what if God were one of us…just a slob like one of us……).

    In order for the Mormon God to be God, the Mormon God must procreate, because the very definition of Godhood is “eternal seeds, eternal increase, eternal lives…” whatever you want to call it. If the Mormon God ceases to procreate, his eternal progression ceases, and in Mormonism, a cessation of eternal progression and eternal increase is called damnation (see D&C 132).

    Therefore, in Mormonism, God is creating more and more children to maintain his status as God. If he ceases to create, he ceases to progress, and he basically enters a state of damnation. So while he isn’t creating something to have it worship him, he is actually creating for a more selfish purpose: to extend his sphere of power, influence, and Godhood. (This is my work and my GLORY, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.) His exalted children only add to his power and glory. This increase continues forever and ever and ever.

    1. John

      “That is a good question.”

      Then why don’t you answer it? You have again sidestepped to avoid any direct scrutiny of your doctrine, and have tried to distract the discussion by turning the conversation to our doctrine.
      So, what is your aversion to direct discussion and scrutiny of your beliefs?

      As to God being God, your attempt to narrow the meaning of godhood, and then to turn it around on itself makes your statements meaningless. One does not become a god through the bearing of spirit children; they acquire the power to bear spirit children by becoming a God. So, you are making a backwards argument.
      It is like saying that person who stops having children stops being an adult.

      1. “Explain how creating something for the sole purpose of having it worship you is not acting out of self pleasure.”
        You assume a definition of worship that I don’t agree with. You assume worship brings pleasure to the entity being worshiped. Why do you assume this? Because you are thinking about it in human terms, which is the same way you think about God. To be worshiped as a king, or as Pharaoh, or as Caesar is something that boosts self-pride and self-conceit. It is a very pleasurable sensation to be lauded and praised.
        I have been puzzling over your name: shematwater. I think I have figured it out. Your name is Shem Atwater. However, when I first saw it, I focused in on the “shema.”
        Shema. The Shema is a Hebrew prayer. It comes from Deuteronomy 6. Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.
        The Jewish concept of God’s Oneness isn’t just that God is one. It is so much deeper than that. I think you should research the Greek word “logos.” When John says that in the beginning, the Word was with God and the Word was God, he is saying the Logos was with God and the Logos was God. Logos is the actual Greek word in that verse.
        In Greek philosophical circles before Christ, Logos was a very profound concept. John knew precisely what he was saying when he said the Logos became flesh. He was saying the one eternal principle in the universe from which all things, tangible and intangible, flow and to which all things return took upon itself mortal flesh.
        There is only one Logos. By definition, the moment you have more than one, you are no longer dealing with the logos.

  11. Is there no mystery in an endless regression of Gods stretching back in time into infinity?

    There is more mystery (in other words, confusion and contradiction) in the Mormon conception of God than there is in the Christian concept of God. Far more.

    deadtothelaw.wordpress.com

  12. John

    First, I am well aware of the Hebrew Shema. Shem is the Hebrew word for name and is used in many Jewish Prayers, as it is part of the informal title of God in that religion (HaShem – literally ‘the name’). I have also attended Jewish synagogues and have sung the Shema in Hebrew.

    I am also fairly familiar with the concept of the Logos. While it has some truth to it, it is a distortion of truth, and thus I do not accept it completely. As to the first chapter of John, I am sure it is no surprise to you that Joseph Smith corrected that chapter of many errors that had crept into the text. The most significant one is as follows.

    “In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.”

    So, the Logos is not God, but the gospel, or the eternal truths of existence. There is only one gospel.

    Finally, you again side-step the question through semantics. Rather than addressing the issue you try to say that it doesn’t exist because you have a different definition of worship and pleasure than I do. I simply use the dictionary for my definition. So, to play your game:

    Taken from dictionary.com
    Worship (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/worship?s=t)
    1. Reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.
    3. Adoring reverence or regard.

    Pleasure (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pleasure?s=t)
    1. The state or feeling of being pleased.
    2. Enjoyment or satisfaction derived from what is to one’s liking
    6. A cause or source of enjoyment or delight

    So, is it your contention that God receives no satisfaction when people show reverent honor or homage to him? That the worship that his creations give him is not a source of delight or satisfaction?
    We know from 1 Chronicles 29: 17 that God “triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness.” So, if you want to argue that God gets no pleasure from our worship, than you have to also say that worshiping is not a part of living upright.

  13. I hardly think what I was doing could be called an attack. I was presenting a view that challenged your own. You were presenting a view that challenged mine. No harm done, or so I thought. I wish you well, and will leave your site in peace. Thanks for the conversation.

  14. Mormonism subscribes to a seemingly endless regression of gods and “Creedal Christianty” subscribes to a God without a beginning. Both are mysterious and apparently nonsensical to me.

    Maybe I missed some nuances to the argument but I feel like the problem is that any religion has to deal with a lack of information at some point. We aren’t fundamentally any smarter than the children of Israel were thousands of years ago (despite humanity’s massive modern-day collective ego), faith still has to be a factor. If you go down the rabbit hole far enough with any creed or religion, you’ll hit an “it’s a mystery” wall. It’s an issue that causes a lot of people to reject religion altogether, because not knowing, especially in the age of information, is very uncomfortable.

    It’s still worth discussing of course; I believe there is a lot of knowledge we *can* derive and it has been an interesting conversation.

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