Friday, May 08, 2009

Creation: Bring Into Being

One major theological difference between Evangelicals and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on the meaning of creation. Evangelicals interpret the Bible to say that God is eternal and self-existent and that everything in the universe came into existence out of nothing "ex nihlo." LDS on the other hand understand the Bible to teach that God brought everything in the universe into being. Or that in other words, God formed, organized, put together, and arranged everything both visible and invisible for operation in the Universe. But which is called spirit or intelligence is, according to universal law, self-existent and eternal and therefore does not need to be brought into existence because intelligence and spirit has always existed. If the LDS view is correct, then what is the Biblical and logical support for the LDS view?

John 1: 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Not anything was made that was made, suggests not everything that exists needed making. Spirit or what is called intelligence is self-existent. The verb for make here, which is used 3 times in this verse, is ginomai" or "gegonen." This word means "to make" which means "bring into being" and not "bring into existence." The root is used in the phrase "and it came to pass" or "it happened that." Some Bible version render this "without him nothing exists which exists" but this interpretion ignores the meaning of the Greek verb and the proper Greek tense.

Col. 1: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Here the Greek verb for create is "ektisthe" or root "ktizo" means to fabricate, form, or make. Again this is the same as the Hebrew word "bara." And yes, God did arrange all things visible and invisible (like physical laws and forces) for operation in this universe. But this does not exclude that other things are eternal and self-existent as God is.

Col. 1: 17 . . . all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (were put together).
The verb for "consist" is "sunesteken" or root "sunistao" again in the Perfect tense which means "are set together" or "were put together."

Zech 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
God formed man within him like a potter forms a pot or a builder builds a house.

Rev 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Some versions say "they are and do exist" but to say that would ignore the proper Greek tense.

Rom 4:17 As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Some version again try to use the word exist by saying "and calls into existence things that don't yet exist." However, to do that requires them to ignore the Greek tense.

Heb. 3: 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
The author of Hebrews says God is the Great Builder of all things. No blasphemy there.

Rom. 9: 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Isa. 64: 8 But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”
Paul and Isaiah say God is the Great Potter. No blasphemy here either.

D&C 93: 29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
John 6: 6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
Remember, the story of creation does not discuss the creation of angels. If you believe that there are no other self-existent things in the universe, then you have to explain how it is that God brought Satan into existence out of nothing. Did God mess up? Did God give a mass murderer a gun knowing full well what Satan would do with his free will? Rabbi Kushner in his book "Why bad things happen to good people" that you either have to accept that God doesn't care, or that the universe is like a clock and God can't stop it. But the intelligence and will of Satan had no beginning as do all self-existent souls. God did not give satan Satan will. Instead, God gave Satan agency or every chance to choose good, but Satan proved to himself and all of us just what he is made of.

Exodus 3:14 (KJV) And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Just as God says He is a God of gods, a Lord of lords, and King of kings; is Christ saying that He is the Great Self-Existent One of all self-existent beings?

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