Spirits/Intelligences: An infinite number of them or not?

June 7, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 9:40 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,Theology

I finally started reading that copy of Truman Madsen’s Eternal Man that has been sitting on my bookshelf for the last couple of years. Eternal Man is an interesting little set of short theology and philosophy essays aimed at laymen. It was published in 1966. In the second chapter of the book Madsen makes the following assertions about the minds/souls/intelligences/spirits of all people:

The quantity of souls is fixed and infinite.
There is no beginning to us.
Mind has no birthday.
No one is older or younger than anyone else.
We have always been separate from, and coexistent with other intelligences.
Creation is never totally original.
Immortality is not conditional — it is inevitable and universal.
Death does not destroy the self.
Suicide is just a change of scenery.
No self can change completely into another thing.
No one will ever lose their mind or consciousness.
Nothing is something we never were and never will be.

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How Many Degrees of Glory?

March 25, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 1:09 am   Category: Eternal Progression

On Matt’s “crazy things you believe” thread several people mentioned that they don’t believe there are actually three degrees of glory, but instead see the three degrees of glory from D&C 76 as being symbolic of an infinite gradation of glory in the world to come (as Matt suggested in #5 of the original post). Although I have argued for an infinite gradation of glory in the next life, I have not abandoned the traditional three degrees. Here’s why. (more…)

On My Creeping Universalism

January 28, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 8:20 pm   Category: Bloggernacle,Eternal Progression,Life,Theology,Universalism

Questions like this one don’t create any anxiety for me these days. I blame it on my creeping universalism.

By creeping universalism I mean this: I just can’t bring myself to believe in permanent divine punishment anymore. I know some people believe in it and I don’t begrudge them their beliefs — I just think they are wrong. Don’t misunderstand — I believe in divine justice. That is largely why I don’t believe in permanent punishment. If our souls are eternal I just don’t think there is anything we could do in 70 years here that would warrant infinite punishment. So I think people pay in some fashion for every sin they refuse to repent of; I just think that process won’t take forever. So when someone asks if I will end up in the highest kingdom of heaven (whatever that means) I feel confident in saying “yup”. I just think y’all will end up in the same condition too. (Heck, I now vaguely suspect we may have always been in that condition before our sojourn here on this planet as well…) That is what I mean by my creeping universalism. (more…)

Questions On Our Eternal Being

June 11, 2008    By: Matt W. @ 7:48 am   Category: Eternal Progression

One of the most prominent and appealing concepts throughout our religion is that of continual eternal progression. Another important concept in our religion is the eternal nature of matter as opposed to ex nihilo creation. I would venture to say that these two concepts are widely agreed upon among all my co-religionists.

Some other concepts don’t merit such unanimous support. Sometimes, this is due to the slippery nature of the language we’ve given ourselves. For example, there is the question of what eternal means in these scenarios. Is it never ending progression, or is it Progression like God? Is matter never beginning and never ending or is it God’s matter? Is there a distinction between these two or isn’t there? Is there sometimes a distinction and sometimes no distinction? (more…)

Yet Another Reason Foreknowledge Doesn’t Help

March 10, 2008    By: Jacob J @ 12:53 am   Category: Eternal Progression,Foreknowledge

Awhile back I posted on God’s decision making process and examined some reasons that foreknowledge does not render decision making trivial. On that thread, Mark made the following comment and I mentioned my intention to dedicate an entire post to the same point:

Knowledge of possible futures does not seem to be much of an advantage. As each one is conditioned on the free will of multiple parties, choosing an actual direction to take is still reduced to an exercise in risk management and statistics. (Mark D)

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What is final judgment?

June 26, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 1:49 am   Category: Eternal Progression,Theology

Eric recently asked me how final I think “final” judgment is. The short answer is that I don’t think final judgment is very final, at least not in the traditional sense. There is nothing too earth shattering about this; the term “final judgment” is not scriptural to begin with. There are, however, lots of scriptural references to a time of judgment when all people will stand before God to be judged according to their works, and these scriptures must mean something. I am one of those heretics that believes in the continuation of free will after judgment, progression between the kingdoms of glory (i.e. the possibility of eternal progression for all but the SofP), and even the logical possibility of God’s downfall. In a personal theology with so much change and opportunity after resurrection, it becomes interesting to ask what meaning (if any) final judgment still retains. This is the question I intend to address in this post. (more…)

On the necessity of marriage (a theological conundrum)

June 13, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 10:56 pm   Category: MMP,Theology

1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this border of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.
(D&C 131)

There is an interesting theological conundrum in Mormonism that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention. The above passage is the first part of it. The doctrine taught in section 131 teaches that a person cannot be exalted singly and separately — rather a man must be sealed to a woman (and vice versa) for either to exalted. (more…)

God as a Person

May 30, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 12:23 am   Category: Eternal Progression,Theology

God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man,
and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret.

There is no debate over whether or not God is a person. On that point everyone agrees. The trouble begins when we try to pin down what it means to be a person and whether or not God can have all the characteristics we attribute to him and still be personal.

The Setup

The “otherness” of God so commonly stressed in traditional Christian theology creates problems in this regard. Our notions of what it means to be a person are derived from our experiences with other people. If God is radically unlike us, it becomes difficult to explain how he is still a person. (more…)

Graphing Eternal Progression

April 7, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 3:33 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,Theology

Due to some confusion I caused myself in the last post, and also due in part to the following [il]logical problem, I have developed 5 graphical models of eternal progression that are possible alternatives which I believe are the only models there are, from a reductive standpoint. [1]
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3 variations of the same question: The problem of infinity and beginningless spirits

April 6, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 12:26 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,Theology

1. The two track Question: If Spirits are without beginning, God has always been God, and Time is Infinite, Why did God wait forever(an infinite amount of time) to begin the Plan of Salvation? How can he ever introduce the plan of salvation if it takes him forever to do so?

2. The God via self-effort (one track) Question: If Spirits are without beginning, Time is Infinite, and God Developed himself to be God via self-effort and obedience, it took him forever(an infinite amount of time) to do this. How can God ever reach the time where he is who he is, if it takes forever to get there?

3. The infinite regress of Gods (one track) Question: If spirits are without beginning and God became God by going through a process just like we are now, even down to the fact that he had a God like we do, and his God had a God, etc etc. God had to wait forever for his God to make him God, so how can God now be God if it takes him forever to become such?

One Shot or Many? a post on MMP and mercy

February 28, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 3:15 pm   Category: MMP

Geoff has written on this topic numerous times, and as I’ve always wanted to bite the hand that feeds me, to see what it’s like, here goes… (more…)

Divine succession and the capacity of man

November 8, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 7:31 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,Theology

In my last post which outlined the newly named Royal Empathy theory of atonement I mentioned that one important assumption of that theory was the notion taught by Joseph Smith that our Father in Heaven was a savior on a previous world. J. Stapley chimed in with support for the theory and also provided some of the quotes from Joseph Smith that teach the idea that Jesus only became as the Father is by performing an atoning work for us as the Father did before him on a previous world. Here are the key quotes as Stapley presented them in that thread: (more…)

Is there such a thing as spirit birth or not?

June 18, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 6:37 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,MMP,spirit birth,Spirits/Intelligences,Theology

An interesting side discussion popped up in a recent post on the topic of spirit birth. In that thread I mentioned: “I think the evidence against some kind of literal spirit birth (especially a viviparous birth like our mortal birth) is much stronger than any evidence for it.” Since the answer to this question has major implications about the nature of the Father, Jesus Christ, and even us I think it is worth looking at. In this post I will discuss the evidence I am aware of against the idea of literal/viviparous spirit birth, the evidence in favor, and since today is Father’s Day I will also mention some of the implications of this question concerning the “fatherhood” of the members of the Godhead. (more…)

What are “intelligences”?

June 1, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 3:55 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,Spirits/Intelligences,Theology

Joseph Smith introduced the idea of “intelligences” in both modern scripture and in non-canonized sermons. In this post I want to explore what exactly it is that “intelligences” are. I don’t expect to come up with definitive answers because I don’t think enough has been revealed to find such, but I do hope that a fruitful discussion will ensue that helps us all sort out the various ideas that relate to the concept of intelligences. (more…)

Guest Post: Qualifying for the Telestial kingdom?

May 16, 2006    By: Administrator @ 2:33 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,Theology

[The following is a guest post from Jacob, a thoughtful Mormon from Oregon who I met at this year's SMPT conference.]

In a recent series of posts, Geoff has been discussing various models of the plan of salvation, and as you might expect, advocating his favorite “multiple mortal probations” model. During that discussion, the question of telestial salvation came up a number of times, and Geoff graciously offered to host this guest-post of mine on one aspect of that subject. My question is geared toward the more traditional models of the plan of salvation.

In the Church, there seem to be two main camps on telestial salvation: (more…)

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