Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mormon Doctrine on the Adversary

This post was inspired by On Satan in the Book of Mormon by Kevin Barney at By Common Consent. Kevin's post points out that the Book of Mormon presents an post-Jewish-exile-OT and NT concept of Satan and asks if there are any pre-Jewish-exile sources that support the NT/BOM concept of Satan.

The problem with looking at the BOM this way is that we don’t have the Brass Plates. Just like the Brass Plates contain more information on the nature of Christ (e.g. writings of Zenoc and Zenos), they likely contain more information on the true nature of Satan.

We also must remember that Israel at the time of Jesus to now were in a state of Apostasy. Therefore, the Bible likely accrued unfortunate inclusions and exclusions. Several examples include an excluded section from 1Samuel and the apocryphal Book of Jasher now translated by Donald Parry and JH Parry, respectively, from Dead Sea Scroll Papyrus. Consequently, we don’t know if OT teaching about Satan, as currently found, really reflects what the pre-exile Israelites understood about the nature of the adversary.

And, we shouldn’t forget that Israel rebelled against Moses and refused the higher law, which the patriarchs like Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Melchesidek enjoyed. Consequently, they were given a preparatory law (the Law of Moses) to prepare them to receive the higher law of Christ at his coming. According to the Pearl of Great Price Book of Moses, we understand that the Patriarchs were the first Christians and had revealed to them the true nature of both Christ and Satan. Also, I think modern Christianity is guilty of being kinda arrogant. We assume we know so much more about the nature of God than the ancients. I think we errently conclude that since the Israelites were under the preparatory Law of Moses that the Patriarchs like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Melchesidek new even less about the God than Israel. Unfortunately, we don’t know what they believed because the Bible starts with Moses.

According to the Pearl of Great Price book of Moses and Abraham, we realize that Adam was the first Christian. Adam was taught about the mission of Jesus Christ, was baptized, and was able to receive the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ even before it had happened (Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world). The Book of Mormon also teaches that the people could have a hope in Christ as if he had already come.

Also, we must remember that Christ is called a High Priest after the order of Melchesidek. This points out that the priesthood of the patriarchs like Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Melchesidek is of a higher and “more excellent” order than the Priesthood of Aaron (of John the Baptist) which was in general operation to administer the Law of Moses. The Priesthood of Aaron has the authority to baptize with water, but the Melchesidek priesthood has the power to baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost. Accordingly, Jesus Christ didn’t establish a new order of priesthood but restored the higher priesthood and knowledge, as it existed anciently.

There is pre-exile-OT teaching that supports the NT concept of Satan. Isaiah prophesies of the future destruction of Babylon by comparing it’s fall to the Fall of Lucifer from the heavenly council to Earth (who became Satan) and the eventual fall of Satan from Earth to Outer Darkness. Satan and the angels that follow him will not be joined with their mortal followers because through Christ, even the wicked will be resurrected (resurrection of just and unjust of those who kept their first estate). (See Isa. 14: 12-16).

John the Revelator continues the vision of Lucifer fall from Heaven during the Great War in Heaven, which continues on the Earth in which he draws “a third part” of our brothers and sisters with him. (See Rev. 12: 4).

I recognize that all this may be difficult to follow because there are quite a number of new concepts for non-LDS including: anti-mortal existence, heavenly council, Lucifer->Satan, War in Heaven, literal physical resurrection, ect.
Mormon Doctrine on Lucifer/Devil/Satan/Adversary:
1. He existed at the creation in the pre-mortal existance
2. He is a spirit son of God known as Lucifer "light bearer" or "son of the morning."
3. He was a member of the heavenly council
4. He opposed God's plan, the agency of Man, and the role of a Messiah
5. He wanted to take God's place
6. He drew "a third part" of our spirit brothers and sisters to his side
7. He instigated the "war in heaven"
8. He was overcome by the testimony of Jesus Christ
9. He was cast out of heaven to Earth with his angels and continues to attempt to frustrate the plan of God.
10. He is permitted by God to have some power which, in the end, serves God's purposes.
11. He is a personage of spirit, in the appearance of a man without a physical body.
12. He and his followers can place thoughts into our minds and exibits some ability to manipulate physical objects as we permit them.
13. Satan and his angels can possess us, or exibit control over us as we permit them.
14. He has no vail over his memory, but retains all memory from before the creation.
15. He is crafty, cunning, a liar, and miserable.
16. He attempts to deny his existance, or alter the reality of his nature.
17. A powerful encounter with God is often accomplanied by an encounter with Satan (Joseph Smith and "First Vision", Immaculee Ilibagiza "left to tell").
18. He establishes false religious, government, economic, science and philosophy to blind and bind man.
19. He is called the accuser and causes us to feel ashamed, not just guilty.
20. He promotes sexual sin, the destruction of the family, social darwinism, and murder for money and power.
21. He seeks to confuse and hide the reality of who man is-- a son of God.
22. He will be defeated and in the end go to Outer Darkness with his angels.


Servant of the Most High said...

"He is a spirit son of God known as Lucifer "light bearer" or "son of the morning.""

Where in the bible do you draw the conclusion that Lucifer was "a spirit son of God?"

BRoz said...

Eph 3:14-15 For this cause I bow my knees unto the aFather of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

This just aknowledges that Lucifer was created by God as all things were. But there is a difference in being a child of God in this sense and becoming child of Jesus Christ which means you are not just a creation but have accepted Christ. Lucifer ofcourse fell from heaven and now has become a child of hell.

Servant of the Most High said...

The mormon doctrines teach that Lucifer was the spirit brother of Christ do they not? Christ made it very clear that those of whom are His brothers obey His commands. How then does Lucifer fit in?

When told "your mother and brothers are here, Jesus replied, who are my mother and brothers? Those who obey my commands."

The fact is Lucifer is a created being, that is for sure. However he does not share the royal bloodline of Christ in the flesh or the spirit. This is a simple and relativley plain biblical truth that the LDS church has distorted time and time again. Virtually all heresies start with a perversion of the character of God, and this is one of many.

BRoz said...

Again, let me clarify. Satan is not a child of Jesus Christ or a brother of Christ in the context you give. According to LDS doctrine, Lucifer was considered a child of God in the context of being created by God as we are created by God as well.

You know that God created all things, therefore he created Lucifer. But, Lucifer rebelled and became Satan and a child of hell.

LDS never talk about Satan and Jesus being brothers. That is only something that anti-LDS people and those who are ignorant of our doctrine bring up over and over again ad nausea.

Jesus is God, while Satan is an fallen angel. That has always been the LDS view.

About the nature of God. You talk in your comment about being created vs. uncreated. You are making an assumption that Christ was uncreated. Yet, it says that Christ was begotten. Isn't that a synonymn for created? So, what is going on here? Well, it just so happens that the opposite of created is not eternal and visa versa.

The spirit of Christ was uncreated and co-eternal with the Father, Christ could still be begotten the Son of God and still be considered God.

But in the same way, the spirit of lucifer and all men and angels were also not created from nothing but are co-existent with God and have no beginning and likewise will have no end.

Lucifer was initially created a spirit son of God and later rejected God and fell, God did not created Lucifer from nothing. If you believe that then you are saying that God created evil, or created a defective creation or is guilty of giving a gun to a serial killer or is playing dice with the universe.

BRoz said...

When I say, had no beginning, I mean, our spirits have always existed and at some point we were created as sons of God, but creation mean formed, organized, cut out from pre-existing materials. God does not create out of nothing.

When Christ the creator made wine he did it by changing water to wine. When christ provided food for the 4000 and 5000, he started with pre-existing materials and multiplied them. But he did not create from nothing.