Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Element and Intelligence

"You ask the learned doctors why they say the world ws made out of nothing and they will answer "Doesn't the Bible say he created the world?" They infer from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the word baurau (sic), which does not mean ot create out of nothing, it means to organize the world out of chaos - chaotic matter, which is element and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time he (God) had. The pure principles of element which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning and can have no end." - History of the Church 6:308-9

"Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age and there is no creation about it." -The King Follett Sermon, Joseph Smith Jr.

2 Ne 2:14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted
upon.


D&C 93:27-36 And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments. He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things. Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation. For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy. The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.

After reading some more about what Joseph Smith was taught and taught about creation and matter. There is some interesting stuff here. It seems that Joseph Smith identifies two primordial and eternal substances that on one hand are called light/spirit/intelligence and on the other is element. Both are eternal. Element can be recycled. I don't think intelligence is recycled as there is no reincarnation. The relationship of these things I don't know. Whether one can be converted into the other I don't know. Joseph says element is the substance "in which dwells all the glory". Well the glory of God is intelligence. So again, maybe it is the intelligence/spirit/light that is the eternal part. I thought it interesting that both light and element are required to come together to achieve a fullness of joy.

LDS Doctrine teaches of the eternal nature of the spirit and that all mankind are spirit children of God who is our Heavenly Father. Joseph Smith taught that intelligence or the spirit of man was not created but is self-existent and co-eternal with God. However, beyond this, it is unclear by what mechanism (adoption or gestation) man is considered spirit children of God. This question is like the ultimate nature vs. nurture debate. Recent LDS General Authorites have said that our “intelligence was clothed in spirit bodies.” Brigham Young is quoted as saying, “He created man, as we create our children; for there is no other process ” (JoD 11:122-123). Joseph Smith “But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house tops that God never did have power to create the spirit of man at all” (Follett).

Whether man is inherently composed of a similar eternal substance as God, man was spiritually gestated and generated by God or both, the philosophical importance of either scenario is the equality and eternal potential of man. Once you start believing that man is a created being not unlike the dungbettle or the ape, it doesn’t take long for some to begin believing that God made them better then others.

There are some out there which may criticize a belief in eternal element or eternal intelligence by appealing to science. Current science claims they have discovered the background radiation thought to be left behind from the Big Bang which scientist believe was a creation of everything out of nothing. Personally, I don't think that LDS need to argue over over the Big Bang because these same scientist are also looking for "dark energy" and "dark matter" which they theorize to make up over 96% of the mass-energy of the Universe. Therefore, if scientists can't even see, measure, or explain 96% of the Universe, then I am sure we have much to learn still about the 4% we can see.

12 comments:

Eric Nielson said...

I like this addition to your recent posts. I have been reading.

BRoz said...

Thanks Eric, I like your stuff on eternal spirits (literal literal vs literal adopted). I really could go either way actually. Both the principal and the mechanism are important. BY said the same mortal mechaism was used to transmit the attributes of our heavenly parents. But that still to me leaves it ambigouous. I mean attributes are transmitted via nurture (adoption) just as well as nature if you are made of the same stuff already. Although recent comments by GAs talk about "clothing intelligence in spirit bodies.". Such a description seems to suggest a more literal mechanism.

BRoz said...

Recent GAs “intelligence clothed in spirit bodies” BY “He created man, as we create our children; for there is no other process ” (JoD 11:122-123).
JS “But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house tops that God never did have power to create the spirit of man at all” (Follett)

Anonymous said...

Where in LDS scripture does it say there is "no reincarnation"?

I notice you invoke many NON-scriptural quotes from various sources. Keep in mind, these are not authoritative. They are not LDS doctrine. They are the "personal, though well-considered, opinion[s]" of these Church leaders (see lds.org "Approaching Mormon Doctrine") and many of them are not only wrong, but misleading and problematic on many levels.

David B said...

Thank you, I have written several posts on "Approaching Mormon Doctrine." I don't necessarily consider any particular quote I listed as "wrong". The sources of my quotes are from scripture, general conference, King Follett with is in the Joseph Smith manual.

I don't think that LDS do believe in reincarnation in the sense of coming back as a cow or someone else. But if you consider the Archangel Michael coming to Earth as Adam a reincarnation, then ok, but that's not how I was using the term. I was thinking more in terms of a process by which the consciousness of a person was completely destroyed and the spirit material of that person was recycled into another consciousness.

Please let me know exactly what you didn't like. I am always open to changing things in a post.

Anonymous said...

There is a great talk by W. Cleon Skousen that he gave at a mission conference in Texas several years ago that addresses many of your questions about intelligences and element. You may find it worth the read/listen. It's called "A Personal Search for the Meaning of the Atonement".

I know it is available on CD and DVD and it is also included as an appendix in one of his books titled "The First 2000 Years".

He basically outlines how the atonement actually works and his insight is based on 7 years of guidance and tutoring from Elder John A Widstoe who was an apostle and Doctor Skousen's mission president.

He elaborates on several of the scriptures you have referenced as well as teachings by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

It's a great starting point to explore some very powerful insights into the nature of God and our relationship to Him.

David B said...

There is some great stuff in that talk but also some false doctrine. God doesn't need to "satisfy the intelligences". And the atonement is not a qualitative atonement but infinitely and eterally quantitative. I don't know that anyone living can appropriately comprehend it fully.

mattkc said...

if you look at the properties of intelligence...anything that can act, or follow laws has intelligence. Even the elements obey law, if we go back to our primordial state in the spirit. We were born of our heavenly parents. Where did the material come from to form our spirits? From the elements found on the planet which our heavenly parents live. Just as the elements of this earth once celestialized will form the spirtual bodies of our spirit children, it is all one.

Donnie said...

What makes you think God or JC doesn't have to satisfy The intelliGences? He has to satisfy many laws that he did not create. Also does intelligences have independent thought? Or before we were spirits were we just floating around as "nothing" or intelligences without independent thought? If you believe before we were formed as spirits we didn't have independent thought you open the door or reincarnation because we read that God has the power to destroy the soul and that the soul is the spirit and body united. If you believe we did have independent thought then JC does have to "satisfy" intelligences because those intelligences are simply allowing eternal laws. As far as JC atonement being eternal and infinite etc that is correct as far as we are concerned but what
about JC father? He performed an infinite Atonement for his realm of beings also. Or what did Jesus mean when he said I only do what I saw the father do? Just as eternal punishment means Gods punishment (d&c) can we not say that the atonement of JC follows the same idea of eternal? There are spirits yet to be created that will not use JC atonement IMHO.

Anonymous said...

We were born from God and our Heavenly Mother. Intelligence is with God and in God and part of God (Light and Truth)never created and is self existent))does not float in space, it originates within God. No other place. There is no such thing as Intelligence floating in space chaotic and without law and order, it has always existed with law and order. (never a mess)God never grabbed it in his hands and shoved it into his Immortal Body of flesh and spirit. We were actually spiritually created (spirit Body) inside the womb of our Immortal mother (she having a body of Spirit and flesh) just as you were born in physical earthly matter by your earthly mother. But, we were created spirit beings, not yet with a physical tangible body of bone. On the other hand Adam and Eve were created seperately from you and I. They were created with bodies of spirit and bone, as Immortal beings. They, while in the Garden partook of the fruit that had the element of blood just as an apple you eat has elements of othe r properties. Intelligence is the power or spark of life in all things. Knowledge is not Intelligence. They are two seperate things.

Bill said...

A young Cleon Skousen once posed a question to his Mission President, John A. Widsoe. He asked how, within the bounds of science, Jesus could heal the lame and the blind,or how a man could move a mountain. Elder Widsoe answered, by offering the meaning of a scripture, and told the Elder he would find the scripture in the Book of Mormon. Elder Skousen looked for the matching scripture the remaining days of his Mission. A few years after returning home, he had occasion to speak with Elder Widsoe again. This time the young Skousen was told to look in 2nd Nephi, where he eventually discovered verse 14 in chapter 2. Here then is a hint which he gave to Elder Skousen. "There are two components with which all of God's creations are built. They are element and intelligence". How does this help us in understanding verse 14? Which of these two basic components, has the ability to act, and which is to be acted upon? What ability is possessed by a creator, which empowers a relationship between elements and intelligence? How does God use this union to create or to heal? Elder Widsoe said that it involves "honor"... and the ability of a God to attach intelligence to an element thus allowing the element to be given a command and because of honor, the element will obey perfectly.

Troy Brooks said...

In the original Hebrew, this initial verse of the first chapter of Genesis contains seven words which carry within themselves a sense of independence. These divinely revealed words do not say that in the beginning God “formed” or “made” the world out of certain raw materials. No, the heavens and the earth were created. This word “created” is “bara” in the original. So that in the beginning God bara the heavens and the earth. This word “bara” is used three more times in Genesis 1 and 2: (1st) “And God created [bara] the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that moveth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind” (1.21); (2nd) “And God created [bara] man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (1.27); and (3rd) “And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created [bara] and made” (2.3). To “create” is to “call the things that are not, as though they were” (Rom. 4.17). These sea-monsters and living things not only had physical bodies but also had an animated life within them. They therefore required a direct creative act of God. Thus it is only reasonable that the Scriptures should use the word “created” rather than the word “made” in these passages. In similar manner, though man’s body was formed out of the dust of the ground, his soul and spirit could not be made out of any physical material, and hence the Bible declared that “God created man in his own image.”

In the first two chapters of Genesis three different words are used for the act of creation: (1) “bara”—calling into being without the aid of pre-existing material. This we have already touched upon; (2) “asah”—which is quite different from “bara,” since the latter denotes the idea of creating without any material whereas “asah” signifies the making, fashioning, or preparing out of existing material. For instance, a carpenter can make a chair, but he cannot create one. The works of the Six Days in Genesis are mainly of the order of “asah”; (3) “yatsar”—which means to shape or mold as a potter does with clay. This word is used in Genesis 2.7 as follows: “And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground.” Interestingly, Isaiah 43.7 illustrates the meaning and connection of all three of these words: “every one that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made.” “Created” signifies a calling into being out of nothing; “formed” denotes a fashioning into appointed form; and “made” means a preparing out of pre-existing material.

The words “In the beginning” reinforce the thought of God creating the heavens and the earth out of nothing. There is really no need to theorize; since God has so spoken, let men simply believe. How absurd for finite minds to search out the works of God which He performed at the beginning! “By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God” (Heb. 11.3). Who can answer God’s challenge to Job concerning creation (see Job 38)?

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This heaven is not the firmament immediately surrounding the earth; rather, it points to the heaven where the stars are. It has not undergone any change since it was created, but the earth is no longer the same.