Questions on omnipresence

February 27, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 11:25 am   Category: Theology

We have discussed often omniscience and omnipotence and there meanings in relation to the reality of our Father in Heaven. Less discussed is Omnipresence. The LDS Guide to the scriptures defines omnipresence simply as “God’s ability to be present everywhere through his spirit.” [1] Robert Millet opines, in his article ”What is our Doctrine?” a sort of clarification to this. He says “Our Father in Heaven is indeed omnipotent, omniscient, and, by the power of His Holy Spirit, omnipresent.” [2]

It is unclear what Millet means in this, though if his opinion is that the Holy Spirit (the third member of the Godhead) is omnipresent in a physical way, he is in disagreement at least with one prophet of the Church, Joseph F. Smith, who said “The Holy Ghost as a personage of Spirit can no more be omnipresent in person than can the Father or the Son, but by his intelligence, his knowledge, his power and influence, over and through the laws of nature, he is and can be omnipresent throughout all the works of God” [3] President Marion G. Romney concurred with this assessment, noting that God is “in spirit, and power, and influence—an omnipresent person” [4] Others also shared this view. [5]

To add to the Confusion, Francis M. Gibbons [6] opines that Jesus Christ “through the Light of Christ, … is omnipresent.” [7] and others held that Christ was omnipresent in other ways as well. [8]

And with that tangled introduction, my friends, that leads me to my questions.

1. If Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have just as much capacity to be omnipresent as our Father in Heaven, what is the need for the Holy Ghost?

2. Why can not Heavenly Father or Christ be our comforter, answer our prayers, or interact with us directly via their omnipresent power and influence?

3. What are the Limits of Divine Omnipresence?

4. If we can not stand the presence of God, due to our unworthiness, and he is omnipresent, is God withholding his presence from us for our protection or is it only the perceived presence of God we can not withstand in sin?

_______________________________________________________________________________
notes:

[1] see here

[2] see the First full paragraph of page 29, here

[3] (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], p. 61). As quoted here The lesson for the Aaronic Priesthood adds it’s own clarification: “the person of the Holy Ghost can be in only one place at a time, but his power and influence can be omnipresent—present everywhere at the same time.”

[4] see here

[5]McConkie also concurs that God the Father “by the power of his Spirit, is in and through all things. (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Lord God of the Restoration,” Ensign, Nov 1980, 50) as does President Monson, who notes God “is omnipresent in spirit and power and influence” (Thomas S. Monson, “An Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign, Jul 1984, 69)

[6] Former secretary to the first Presidency, and author of an often ignored but excellent biography of David O. McKay at least the equal of the current one by Prince.

[7] See here . For the sake of brevity, I will not even begin to get into my lack of understanding of differentiation between the Light of Christ, The Gift of the Holy Ghost, the Influence of the Holy Ghost, etc…

[8]for example, Hugh Nibley said “In its sweep and scope, the Atonement takes on the aspect of one of the grand constants in nature—omnipresent, unalterable, such as gravity or the speed of light. Just as for them, it is always there, easily forgotten, hard to explain, and hard to believe in without an explanation. But we are constantly exposed to its effects, whether we are aware of them or not, and to ignore it can be fatal” (Hugh W. Nibley, “The Atonement of Jesus Christ, Part 4,” Ensign, Oct 1990, 26)

46 Comments »

  1. I tend to think that there is the personage of the Holy Ghost and then the matter of the Spirit. Often they are equated but I don’t think they ought be. I’d note that by drawing a distinction many theological problems and even texts (such as the Lectures on Faith) are resolved.

    The nature of the Holy Ghost is, I think, the biggest theological problem in LDS theology. Yet it receives relatively little focus oddly.

    Comment by Clark — February 27, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

  2. Off the top of my head I might say that there is something to the Spirit (with a capital S) that allows a level of communication that makes Him functionally omnipresent. Perhaps there is something to being unembodied that allows such communication to take place.

    Very interesting thoughts.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — February 27, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

  3. Clark, innitially, I really wanted this post to be about the HG, but I got tied down to just the simple aspect of omnipresence, and have decided to take the HG on it small bites, like this one.

    and your point reminds me of a few other questions I had, regarding omnipresence.

    A. If HF is omnipresent via his spirit, and I am like HF, am I omnipresent via my spirit?

    B. If HF is omnipresent via his spirit, does that mean that my spirit is part of his spirit? (Since spirit is matter, and assuming two bits of matter can not fill the same space at the same time.)

    Comment by Matt W. — February 27, 2007 @ 12:44 pm

  4. Eric, if that is correct, then is there an advantage to not having a physical body?

    Comment by Matt W. — February 27, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

  5. My dear friend,

    You have hit on one of the deepest doctrines that has plagued mankind and the church especially for hundreds of years. Last week I was studying this exact topic for my lesson on the Holy Ghost in gospel essentials class. We did not talk much on the subject in class for the sake of ill intent or confusion but I did study this unique problem out for the week prior to the lesson. Here are my thoughts-

    I found it very hard to distinguish between the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ. They both seem to be the same thing! In fact, like you said, if it is the light of Christ within us that quickens our understandings, what is the purpose of the holy ghost unless they are one and the same? John 14:16-17 states that the “spirit of truth” is Jesus Christ. Section 93 of the D&C verses 9-11, 23-26 states that Jesus Christ is also the “spirit of truth” who came down out of heaven and dwelt with man in the flesh. Now that we have established that fact, here is where it gets really interesting, or confusing, depending on your own mind-

    Go back to John 14 and read verse 26. It states that the “comforter” is the “holy ghost”. Now flip to the next chapter and read 15:26. It states that the “comforter” is the “spirit of truth”. So to complete the cycle- The “spirit of truth” is Jesus Christ who is the comforter who in fact is the holy ghost which turns out to actually be the glory of Christ or the light of christ which is in all things except for that which is in outer darkness! Because the holy ghost is sometimes called “it” (2 Nephi 33:2), I would have a hard time trying to picture an actual being called that.

    The “Lectures on faith” even teach that the “Holy Ghost” is nothing more than the mind and will of god and that there are only two actual beings who constitute the godhead. Another view to look at is that if the holy ghost is an actual being and separate member making up the godhead, how come he is never mentioned as sitting down on the throne where Christ and God sit to reign for all eternity? Why do the scriptures never say that this third member will reign with The father and Son in eternity? Maybe because that third member- the holy ghost is actually in us and is us! Each one of us has power- spiritual power, it exists inside of us. Our spirit is made up of the same spirit of the Father- because he is our father. When we get baptized and recieve the holy ghost we very well could be just recieving more light of Christ which gives us power. This power is the same power of God and thus God is omnipresent because we carry out his mind and will which is in us in the form of the light of Christ.

    Also, the words or will of god which proceeds from the fathers mouth in heaven is called the Spirit of Christ (holy ghost) read-

    44 For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.
    45 For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
    46 And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.
    47 And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father.

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 84:44 – 47)

    Confused?….ya, me too!

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 27, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

  6. I’m something of a heretic on this subject. I’m inclined to reject the notion that the Holy Ghost is a personage at all; any personality we might detect in the Holy Ghost is merely transmitted from either the Father or the Son. As a nonpersonage, the Holy Ghost can literally be omnipresent. That alone is sufficient to claim that “God” is omnipresent, although one could also allow that the Father and Son are indirectly omnipresent through the medium of the Holy Ghost.

    Comment by Last Lemming — February 27, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

  7. I tend to agree with Clark’s perspective on this.

    Comment by J. Stapley — February 27, 2007 @ 1:06 pm

  8. …I would also say that the role of angels in Mormon theology figure into this somehow as well.

    Comment by J. Stapley — February 27, 2007 @ 1:11 pm

  9. J. I find your agreement with Clark surprising considering your feelings regarding the spirit body on other threads. So are you here saying there is a difference between a spirit and a personage of spirit?

    And I am not sure what you are implying with the angel comment. Are you saying the Godhead is not actually omnipresent via their own personal influence, but via some expansive army of workers?

    Comment by Matt W. — February 27, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

  10. LL, stone the heretic! Just kidding, so in your example the Holy Ghost is no more than the influence of the Holy Ghost, which is really the influence and power of the Father and Son, and is something like radio waves?

    Comment by Matt W. — February 27, 2007 @ 1:27 pm

  11. in your example the Holy Ghost is no more than the influence of the Holy Ghost, which is really the influence and power of the Father and Son, and is something like radio waves?

    And every other form of EM waves, and gravitational waves, etc. In short, I view the Holy Ghost as the figurative embodiment of all the laws of the universe that the Father and the Son had to master in order to achieve godhood. They could not be God without the HG because then there would be no law, etc per Alma 42. The HG could not be God (to Mormons) without the Father and the Son because it would have no ability to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I suppose the HG I describe could still be God to other religions, as it bears a striking resemblance to the God “without body, parts, or passions, whose circumference is everywhere and whose center is nowhere” we used to hear so much about.

    Comment by Last Lemming — February 27, 2007 @ 2:05 pm

  12. Matt #4,

    If my top of the head guess is close to right then perhaps there would be an advantage in ‘communication’ to those who did not have a body.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — February 27, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

  13. “The Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ…seem to be the same thing.”

    I think McConkie saw the same dilemma when he came up with the idea of the Holy Ghost using the Light of Christ to carry out His mission, i.e. comforting God’s children and bearing witness to the truth. Unfortunately, he didn’t go into the mechanics of how this works; and, although this clears up some questions, it raises others, several of which have been mentioned here.
    p.s. And who was it that appeared to Mohonri Moriancumer anyway?

    Comment by larryco_ — February 27, 2007 @ 3:54 pm

  14. Matt,

    #1 – there is need because Scriptures speak of need.

    #2 – Absolutely

    #3 – Limitations? I don’t see any.

    #4 – Everything is within God’s realm. He is everywhere. But God limits where sinful people can be within His creation.

    And Matt, may I say thanks to your post . . . for being transparent about difficulties in LDS theology. This is the first time I read an LDS friend share questions about the framework. Of course, I am little read.

    Comment by Todd Wood — February 27, 2007 @ 5:45 pm

  15. Todd, I don’t believe we as an LDS people have all the answers to everything, and I feel we don’t need to pretend to have the answers. It is something I quite enjoy about President Hinckley. He is perfectly willing to say “I don’t know.”

    Comment by Matt W. — February 27, 2007 @ 7:49 pm

  16. I fail to see how this is a complex doctrine or big problem that defies easy explanation. Lets take a look at the Scriptures:

    D&C 130: 22…the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

    The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit, no physical body.

    2 Ne. 32:2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost? 3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ.

    Angels can speak with the power (i.e., authority) of the Holy Ghost, as can people (i.e., inspired people, speaking under the influence of the Spirit, ecstatic prophets, etc.).

    3 Ne. 11:27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one….36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.

    The Holy Spirit is united in purpose and intentions with the Father and the Son and is given authority to bear witness of them.

    So there you have it: The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit who bears the authority of the Father and Son to bear witness of them, and the Holy Ghost can commission angels to assist himself in inspiring mortals. In other words, the Holy Ghost can be in more than one place at one time because there are legions of authorized angels acting in his capacity and authority.

    Attempting to conflate the light of Christ and anything else in an effort to make the Scriptures agree with philosophical notions of omnipresence is a mistake. The philosophical notions of omnipresence are not attested to in the Scriptures.

    Comment by Kurt — February 28, 2007 @ 6:04 am

  17. Two more scriptures to look at. I like the notion that the Holy ghost is actually plural to mean holy ghosts or hloy angels. Ministering angels speak the mind and will of god. They speak the words of Christ and testify that the Father and Son are one in purpose. Does not this sound like they are the holy ghosts? Also, I have been debating on what exactly the “gift of the holy ghost” is. I am beginning to lean towards the gift being having access and power to interpret and speak with the tongue of angels. Read-

    58 And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 5:58)

    27 And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.

    (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 7:27)

    The last verse sounded as if the holy ghost himself is nothing more than angels that testify in the spirit of truth!

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 28, 2007 @ 7:40 am

  18. In my opinion:

    The primary purpose of the Holy Ghost is to complete the quorum of the Godhead, e.g. to be a tie-breaking vote in cases where (in principle) the Father and the Son might disagree.

    I agree with Clark that the Holy Ghost and the power of the Holy Ghost are necessarily distinct.

    I consider ‘the spirit’ (sense 1) in its most abstract sense to be a physical medium like light that is capable of being modulated for both good and evil, but is normally indistinguishable from background noise.

    Then ‘the Spirit’ (sense 2) or ‘the light of Christ’ is that medium as modulated by divine (or at least righteous) activity.

    Then ‘the Holy Ghost’ is a personal member of the Godhead who influences or modulates the spirit in furtherance of divine purposes in much the same way as the Father and the Son.

    Comment by Mark Butler — February 28, 2007 @ 7:51 am

  19. Larryco_: I think the spirit of Jesus Christ is the only acceptable answer to the Mohonri question. What implications do you think that has?

    Comment by Matt W. — February 28, 2007 @ 8:19 am

  20. Kurt:

    I’m Down with all your scriptural references, BUT an somewhat dissatisfied by the following conclusion:

    the Holy Ghost can be in more than one place at one time because there are legions of authorized angels acting in his capacity and authority.

    So the Holy Ghost (or Heavenly Father) is, in this situation, only as omnipresent as a corporate CEO, who’s influence is felt at all levels of the corporation? Does this mean God does not know how I am feeling, what my personal needs are, etc? (I disagree with this idea.) Is the still small voice not the Holy Ghost then? Is the gift of the Holy Ghost the assistance of angels?

    Believe you me, I am not attempting to use any “philosophical notion of omnipresence” that I amaware of.

    Comment by Matt W. — February 28, 2007 @ 8:24 am

  21. Mark, a very interesting answer. With your two definitions of spirit, where does my own spirit come into play?

    Comment by Matt W. — February 28, 2007 @ 8:27 am

  22. LL: re The HG could not be God (to Mormons) without the Father and the Son because it would have no ability to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

    So are you saying the Father and the Son could bring to pass without the HG?

    Comment by Matt W. — February 28, 2007 @ 8:29 am

  23. Eric #12,

    I guess I agree, but mainly because I believe those scriptures that say no unclean thing can stand in the presence of God, and that God’s presence includes his communication with us.

    Comment by Matt W. — February 28, 2007 @ 8:33 am

  24. Matt W said:

    So the Holy Ghost (or Heavenly Father) is, in this situation, only as omnipresent as a corporate CEO, who’s influence is felt at all levels of the corporation?

    How would He be present in any other way? People like to use all sorts of analogies, but they all fall flat. If we believe that the Father has a resurrected body and that spirit bodies are composed of spirit matter and are not amorphous ethereal infinitely expandable globs, then there is no omnipresence in the philosophical sense of being all-pervasive.

    Does this mean God does not know how I am feeling, what my personal needs are, etc? (I disagree with this idea.)

    No. The point of discussion is God’s omnipresence, or the lack thereof, not His omniscience. We have no idea what the means of divine observation or communication are. We arent talking about that, its a different subject, and I am not suggesting God is not omniscient.

    Is the still small voice not the Holy Ghost then?

    The “still small voice” is a characterization of how the Holy Ghost, and Lord, communicates with people. The Holy Ghost does not communicate with people via loud and bombastic signs that scare and intimidate (e.g., thunder, lightning, earthquakes, tornadoes per Elijah), it communicates via a still small voice that people have to choose to listen to and do.

    Is the gift of the Holy Ghost the assistance of angels?

    The gift is the right to have the Holy Ghost abide with you, and to enter into a relationship with it such that it assists you in the Sanctification process (e.g., baptism of fire).

    Comment by Kurt — February 28, 2007 @ 8:43 am

  25. Kurt, thanks for the response.

    A CEO’s influence is only indirectly omnipresent within the corporation, and is often ignored. I think it is reasonable to claim a more direct omnipresence of HF. Could not God’s power be directly omnipresent, where God, being at point X, is petitioned for assistance by me in San Antonio, TX and God helps me. Or, in the case of the Holy Ghost, when I ask if the church is true, is the HG omnipresent in it’s capacity to communicate, and thus answers me directly, as opposed to asking an angel to tell me the church is true?

    You make a very good point about omniscience and omnipresence, it is a mistake to conflate the two. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I think I’ve covered the other points.

    Comment by Matt W. — February 28, 2007 @ 9:14 am

  26. Matt (#20),

    I believe the term ‘my spirit’ is similarly ambiguous. There is (1) your intelligence / personality, (2) your intelligence augmented by a spirit body, and (3) the spiritual influence you have on your surroundings. [Not everyone believes that (1) can exist independently of (2) of course.]

    As a matter of parsimony, I cannot believe that each person’s spiritual influence is carried to his surroundings via physically independent media. It seems rather that all spiritual influences are carried via the same medium.

    So presumably if one has any sort of immediate spiritual influence on others, it is by the same medium that carries all other spiritual influences, for both good and evil. Hence the need to take care and ‘try the spirits’ as the scripture says.

    Comment by Mark Butler — February 28, 2007 @ 9:14 am

  27. Mark, once the second paragraph began, I have no idea what you exactly mean. Any chance of dumbing it down a bit for clarity?

    Comment by Matt W. — February 28, 2007 @ 9:25 am

  28. A quick thought on the gift of the holy ghost.

    I am starting to lean towards the idea that the gift of the holy ghost is the ordinance itself which “empowers” you with abilities- spiritual abilities. These include the power and authority to prophesy, heal and speak with the same power and conviction as do the ministering angels speak with.

    I further believe that everyone has the right to the constant companionship of the spirit as long as they listen to that spirit but until they become empowered with that spirit through a holy ordinance by priesthood authority they have not the gift of the holy ghost.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 28, 2007 @ 9:45 am

  29. Matt says:

    …in the case of the Holy Ghost, when I ask if the church is true, is the HG omnipresent in it’s capacity to communicate, and thus answers me directly, as opposed to asking an angel to tell me the church is true?

    Why wouldnt a holy angel who has been commissioned by the Holy Ghost say the same thing the Holy Spirit, or God the Father, or Jesus Christ say themselves if they were in fact there? That is my read on the “Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one” statement. They are united as one because they all have the will of the Father by choice.

    Using your CEO in a corporation analogy, if everyone in the corporation is divinely united in purpose, intent and will with the CEO, then everyone in the corporation is doing the will of the CEO all the time. And if they have been authorized to do his will, then its the same thing as him doing it.

    Comment by Kurt — February 28, 2007 @ 11:11 am

  30. Kurt: I guess I’ve been led to believe that these Angels:

    1) have independent agency
    2) are pre-existant beings or at least pre-final judgment beings
    3) and thus are not one as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one.

    Also, could we thus ask the local angels to help us rather than HF? I don’t think so.

    Further, it seems somewhat impersonal.

    I am not opposed adamantly to this idea, and it makes since in some cases (the creation of the earth, for example) but it seem to me that HF or the HG being in a single definite location and answering prayer via long range comunication seems more probable than some sort of angelic courier service. Maybe I just like my cell phone too much though…

    Would you say then, that when christ healed the synagogue leaders son from a distance that there were angels doing the work, and no Christ. (Sorry if I just butchered this story, I am going from memory only.)

    Comment by Matt W. — February 28, 2007 @ 11:33 am

  31. Matt,

    I am simply saying that the Holy Ghost is a divine person that exists at one place at one time but that we feel his influence and the spiritual influence of others through some sort of shared physical medium.

    By ‘medium’ I mean something between us, perhaps comparable to the electromagnetic field, except presumably with a much higher propagation velocity. I can’t imagine the Spirit is limited by the speed of light.

    Comment by Mark Butler — February 28, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  32. I think I pretty much agree with you on this Mark. That leaves my questions #1 and #2. Your answer for #1 was a fine answer, but somewhat incomplete for me.

    I believe one 1 and 2 are inter-related, and that the assumptions in #4 above probably reveal the way I lean on this..

    Comment by Matt W. — February 28, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

  33. Matt says:

    1) have independent agency

    Sure they do, but these angels would chose to exercise their agency to do the Father’s will, just as Jesus did/does. Their will is reconciled to the Father’s will, so they are entrusted 100% and will do the Father’s will 100%, just as Nephi#3 was granted great authority because he would not do anything that was not the Lord’s will.

    2) are pre-existant beings or at least pre-final judgment beings

    Sure.

    3) and thus are not one as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one.

    Why not? How does one conclude that independent agency precludes unity with the Father?

    Also, could we thus ask the local angels to help us rather than HF? I don’t think so.

    No, the angels are not acting in their own capacity, they are commissioned by the Lord, hence the OT instances of angels refusing to give their names when questioned, to avoid angel worship.

    Further, it seems somewhat impersonal.

    Rather subjective argument. Frankly, I would be a lot more comfortable with angels hanging about than God Himself. He has got to be terribly busy doing much more important things than listening to my horribly redundant prayers about my rather selfish desires.

    Would you say then, that when christ healed the synagogue leaders son from a distance that there were angels doing the work, and no Christ.

    I really have no idea, but why not an angel? If Christ sends an angel, or an authorized angel attends to his request, how is that “no[t] Christ”? We talk about the Priesthood on mortals being the authority of God and if we are wileing it righteously and are inspired, then it is the mind and will of the Lord. Then how would that be any different from authorized angels going and doing the Lord’s work?

    Comment by Kurt — March 1, 2007 @ 7:29 am

  34. Why not? How does one conclude that independent agency precludes unity with the Father?

    Sorry, I lacked a bit of clarity.

    If we are in our pre-final judgment state and the objective of our existance is to be like our Father in Heaven, I think we can not be like our Father in Heaven prior to that state and thus can not have “unity” with him. Perhaps I am mistaken about the purpose of the plan of salvation, and starting incorrectly, have ended up at the wrong location, but this is what I am seeing.

    Comment by Matt W. — March 1, 2007 @ 8:07 am

  35. So are you saying the Father and the Son could bring to pass without the HG?

    No. In my last post, I also stated that “[t]hey could not be God without the HG because then there would be no law, etc..” Whereupon I cited Alma 42, but two other scriptures make the point more clearly. The first is 2 Nephi 2:13:

    And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

    As for the source of law, see D&C 88:7-13:

    7…This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
    8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
    9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
    10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.
    11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
    12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to bfill the immensity of space—
    13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

    In anticipation of Kurt’s reminder that the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost are not the same thing, I simply disagree. It makes no sense to me that a unembodied personage is needed to utilize the medium of the Light of Christ. The Father and the Son can do that themselves. Therefore, it seems more reasonable to me that the Light of Christ itself as described in D&C 88 is the essence of the HG.

    Nor do I like the idea of the HG as a tiebreaker. I view each member of the Godhead as having veto power, making a tiebreaker unnecessary.

    Comment by Last Lemming — March 1, 2007 @ 8:49 am

  36. Unity with the Father and Son in the context of 3 Ne. 11 quote back in comment #13 does not require the person to be post-mortal, judged, resurrected, glorified and exalted. It is referring to the kind of unity spoken of in Hela. 10 with respect to Nephi#3. Also, how can a Holy Spirit, who is a spirit without a body be explicitly labeled as “at one” with the Father and Son be post-mortal, judged, resurrected, glorified and exalted? Cannot. So, the unity definition doesnt require it.

    Comment by Kurt — March 1, 2007 @ 8:58 am

  37. Ll: I am more interested in how you respond to D&C 130:22… That would be where I really go a seperate way from you, my friend.

    Comment by Matt W. — March 1, 2007 @ 9:11 am

  38. Kurt, fairly stated, I will have to mull it over.

    Since I can not argue about the omnipresence of God’s power in this since, may we focus on the omnipresence of God’s ability to communicate?

    For clarity’s sake, do you feel that HF or the HG can communicate over long distances with us, or that they use Angels in this case as well, and can they communicate with the angels over long distances or do they need to use a sort of courier system?

    Comment by Matt W. — March 1, 2007 @ 9:14 am

  39. For clarity’s sake, do you feel that HF or the HG can communicate over long distances with us, or that they use Angels in this case as well, and can they communicate with the angels over long distances or do they need to use a sort of courier system?

    Celestial 802.11g

    I have no idea.

    Comment by Kurt — March 1, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

  40. I am more interested in how you respond to D&C 130:22…

    Well, the short answer is that I am, as I began by saying, a heretic on this subject and you might as well start chucking those stones.

    The first long answer is that I wonder if the orthodox interpretation of that verse really encompasses all of the implications of a literal reading. A physical HG is precluded because it could not “dwell within us,” which I interpret to mean “occupy the same space as our physical bodies.” That implies that as a discrete spiritual personage, the HG can literally occupy the same space as our physical bodies (just as our own spirits presumably do). But do we really believe that this is how the Holy Ghost operates? I did not read any of the above comments to advocate a HG who jumps around from one body to the next, imparting comfort and enlightenment as he goes.

    Which brings me to the second long answer; I think there is a plausible definition of “personage” that conforms to my ideas. My favortite definition of “personage” comes from WordNet via Dictionary.com:

    a person whose actions and opinions strongly influence the course of events

    .

    Then, of course, we have to define person. This is a stretch, but if the law can recognize a corporation as a “juridical person,” (an organization with rights and responsibilities under the law) why could we not recognize the Holy Ghost as a “canonical person,” (in this case, an entity filling a necessary role in the Godhead) without imputing to it the humanness usually associated with “persons” and “personages?”

    Hey, in a theology in which “endless” does not mean that there will be no end, this isn’t that far out there.

    Comment by Last Lemming — March 1, 2007 @ 1:19 pm

  41. Wow. Matt got Kurt to join in on the theological speculating! Not bad speculations either Kurt — I have heard others say similar things.

    Kurt – My reservation about this sort of Corporate/Team/Courier model you are suggesting is that I really do believe that there is direct communication between God and us. I think God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Ghost can all personally hear all of my thoughts and prayers. Now of course human brains couldn’t do that but I believe that Divine minds can. I posted on this very subject before (and actually some people objected in favor of the courier model you like.)

    The other concern I have is with your assertion that angels (particularly pre-mortal spirits who are angels) are one with God. Now it is pretty clear that Jesus was one with the Father prior to his mortality here; but of course Jesus was already divine before he came to this world. I am of the opinion that Jesus’s Godhood is due to the fact that he was completely one with the Father. So I don’t find it feasible that other pre-mortal human spirits were also one with the Godhead and yet not divine as a result. Do you have an opinion on that subject?

    Comment by Geoff J — March 1, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

  42. I think God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Ghost can all personally hear all of my thoughts and prayers.

    In Kurt’s defense, he did say he agrees with this, as it is God’s Omniscience. We were more discussing communication coming back the other direction, to which he responded he didn’t know, which is a beautifully acceptable answer.

    The Angels mainly came up not as a means of communication, but as a means of putting forth God’s power in the working of miracles.

    I concur with the issues in your second paragraph, but am not dead set on any of the concepts put forth, one way or another. I am more favorable to what Mark Butler has said, than to other solutions, but am not settled at all on the matter.

    Comment by Matt W. — March 1, 2007 @ 8:50 pm

  43. Ah, good catch Matt. So the idea is that the impressions and revelations and whatnot we get could be delivered by angels.

    I actually posted on a variation on that theme at one point here. that post was based on a talk by Elder Oaks. The major difference is that Elder Oaks indicated the Holy Spirit was the delivery service and that it delivered messages to us from angels in addition to messages from God. That is sort of the inverse of what Kurt suggested.

    Comment by Geoff J — March 1, 2007 @ 9:11 pm

  44. Actually, after a great deal of in-depth research, I have determined that divine communications are in fact via Celestial Fax. cf. Zech. 5:1-2.

    Comment by Kurt — March 2, 2007 @ 6:34 am

  45. I’m way late to this discussion, but came across it recently. Some things to consider about D&C 130:22, central to this discussion:

    http://feastupontheword.org/D%26C_130:21-23#Exegesis

    Comment by Christopher Bradford (Grasshopper) — January 9, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

  46. What about John 14:7 …where it talks about a person being “in each of the Godhead.” I think this is accomplished by the light of Christ our love can be in each of them and vice versa. this could have all sorts of possibilities.

    Comment by tanya — February 10, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

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