Sunday, September 29, 2013

Quote of the Day

"When I don't go to church, ya'll come over like you think my house is on fire".--Bro. N. Lay, recent convert 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fellowship With The Father

3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (New Testament, 1 John, 1 John 1)

Back before my time at BYU, I remember hearing about some doctrinal clarification provide by Elder Mcconkie which served to clarify some teachings by Bro. George Pace who was a popular BYU educator, speaker and writer of the book now called, "Knowing Christ".


From what I was told, (interesting that I am aware of the issue at all), Bro. Pace spoke at BYU a lot about developing a personal relationship with Christ.  Whether it was intended or not, I think there were a lot of BYU students setting goals to receive a visitation by Jesus Christ and then being disappointed when it didn't happen in the months and few years ahead. 

Wikipedia reports that Elder Mcconkie spoke at BYU some time after the publishing  of Bro. Pace's book, without mentioning the book or Bro. Pace's name, but directly clarifying the doctrine that  regarding striving for a personal relationship with Christ vs. striving for a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. 

I see parallels between the message by recently excommunicated Bro. Snuffer and Bro. Pace. I can see that setting a goal to receive a visitation from Christ could lead to religious extremism as Elder Mcconkie rightly said; or disappointment.  I remember it being explained to me that what we should be seeking is a relationship with our Father in Heaven through Christ and not Christ alone, to the exclusion of the Father.

Many Protestant's have a limited concept of Heavenly Father and His relationship to God the Son. This is a major defining factor for LDS theology. The reason is that God the Father sent Christ to condescend to our sinful level. Accordingly, many people conclude, 'Christ is in me, therefore, I'm finished and I'm saved.' 

What they may not understand is that Heavenly Father sent Christ to save us "from our sins" and not just "in our sins"; and the road of repentance and sanctification is just beginning. Christ condescends to our sinful level to "rescue/save" us, but then we must then allow Christ to "draw us", "raise us" up to the level and perfection of Our Heavenly Father.

Seeking a personal relationship with Christ at the exclusion of the Father may lead to other unfortunate consequences.  Because Christ condescends to our sinful level, we may be tempted to see God in our image instead of allowing God to changing and transform ourselves into His image.

Case-in-point: I remember a roommate at BYU who wrestled in High School tell me he couldn't wait to see Christ face-to-face because then they could then enjoy a good wrestle together.  I don't mean to belittle the point.  Both Joseph Smith and Jacob in the Bible enjoyed a good wrestling.   It's just that wrestling is not the first inclination I can see myself having when I'm standing at the judgement bar.

Honestly, I have never thought to set a goal like this (see Christ). My goals are more concerned with keeping specific commandments and developing and maintaing certain good habits.  Goals come with a timetable, and I don't think its proper to put God on our timetable. We need to put ourselves of His timetable. 

The Holy Ghost is every bit a member of the Godhead as Jesus Christ or God the Father. I am happy, grateful and content to enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost in my life.

I'm not saying, I don't desire to see the Savior as Paul did or Nephi in the Book of Mormon. I just don't put God on a timetable by making a specific time-based goal about it.


I decided to become a Doctor in 6th grade. I used to see other students wear scrubs to schools to signal to others their interest in the health professions. I knew I was going to be a doctor, and I had no interest buying and wearing scrubs knowing I'd be wearing them for a long long time to come.

In the same way, I know I'm gonna see the Savior and Live Eternally. I just want to do my home teaching 100% this month. I'd be happy and content with that goal. I had some non-LDS friends over for dinner with the sister missionaries tonight. I'd love it if they would come to accept the invitation to attend church. In reality, I'm happy just remembering to read the scriptures and praying every day.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Raising Children to the Lord

My wife spoke on this last week at Church and this week at Stake Conference.  She said "children ask, 'how do I know God is real?".  Parents can take their children to the temple where they can see something concrete- "the House of God" and then they can feel and recognize His Spirit there.  


Before, we left it up to the Church programs to take our children to the temple.  Before, children would see their parents go to the temple.  Today, parents should take their children with them from time to time.

Scripture records 2 events of Jesus Christ's childhood.  Both involve the Temple.  The first is when Mary and Joseph present Jesus at 8 days old in the temple.  The second is when Jesus is found at age 12 to be asking and answering questions in the temple; doing His Father's work.

Also, parents must provide a good example of gospel living.  We must be found following  the prophet, praying together, reading scriptures, FHE ect. We should also magnify our Church callings and participate in charitable service.  If we don't take the gospel of Christ or the words of the Living Prophet serious, why should they?

Lastly, we have had children with learning challenges. Devin was dyslexic, Faith had speech delay, and Claire is reading delayed.  Instead of settling that our children will just have a learning disability in these areas, we identified their areas of weakness, and then we provided extra targeted  tutoring and therapy in those areas. Now these weaknesses have become strengths.  Devin writes stories. Faith won't stop debating us, and Claire is just finishing reading the Book of Mormon before she turns 8. 

In the same way children can have learning challenges, they can also have spiritual weaknesses.  Instead of giving up and settling that our children will never develop their own testimony, we can identify their weakness and provide targeted spiritual training and tutoring through Family Home Evenings, Christian service activities, and the help of Home Teachers and youth advisors. 



Notes from Stake Conference

Real Growth


adding to priesthood 
active membership
activation and rescue
making and keeping covenants
mighty change of heart
increasing active and dedicated 
building the kingdom
making and keeping covenants

temple attendance
sacrament meeting attendance
possession of recommend
priesthood ordination
missionaries
tithe payers

unmeasurable- scriptures, prayer, FHE
simple things = measurable things
those who pray ask 'Lord what should you have me do'

Learning Duty, Act, Share
Ordinances Focus=Power, Protection
Magnify Priesthood Power
Ward Council

Commit to a few actions
follow up at council meetings


Testimony, Flint and steel
gospel knowledge is magnesium shavings and tinder
spirit is sparks
ignite a flame 
but need to feed the fire
small sticks before logs

align with will of God
establish the cause of Zion
City of Zion
Say nothing but Repentance unto this generation 

Repent = change to a better direction
inspired invitations to act
invite, commit, follow up
read, pray, church, baptize
watch for the hand of the Lord
He will be working with you

Things to invite the spirit and build faith
pray, use priesthood, tell me about your feelings about God, tell me about baptism.  Spirit will help them remember.
Power- spirit convincing them
Wisdom- spirit telling us what to do

Matin Luther taught falsely that there is no priesthood between you and God
Gods plan involves agency.  Ordinances is how we select the blessings we want
Without the temple the whole Earth would be wasted at His coming.
Faith is confidence in Christ
Our faith is not blind but based on knowledge.  We know Christ.  We have done His will and know of the doctrine.
We are willing to do whatever God requires of us.

Miracle of selecting stake president. 2 men discover the will of God in 2 hours.  No executive search 100%

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Peter and Apostolic Succession

1. PETER

Regarding Peter as "Rock". YES! "Rock" does refer to Peter.  Let me clarify something. It is easy in a Protestant vs. Catholic debate to get bogged down in false dichotomies. But LDS are not Protestant.  I  just want you to understand that Latter-day Saints have no problem with Peter being the "Rock" that Christ built His Church upon.  But for us its not a Peter vs. Revelation thing.  LDS believe Peter, keys, revelation and Jesus Christ were the rock; just not the Papacy. Allow me illustrate what I mean with the following chart.

Definition of Rock:
Catholic:  Peter, Priesthood Keys, Papacy
Protestant: Jesus Christ
Latter-day Saint: Peter, Priesthood Keys, Revelation, Jesus Christ 

Peter was authorized to receive the mind and will of Christ via revelation, thus the Church remains built upon Christ through Peter and Peter's authority and not upon the "philosophies of man mingled with scripture".  LDS believe in the authority of Peter as the Chief Apostle of Christ's Church together with James and John the Revelator who were given keys by the laying on of hands by Jesus Christ Himself and other Transfigured beings (Moses and Elijiah) from previous covenants and dispensations.

What LDS would not agree with is the Tradition that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome and that Peter's keys and authority were passed down through the Papacy.  LDS believe Peter acted not as Bishop of Rome but as Chief Apostle and President of the Church of Jesus Christ.   Peter held primacy over the Church, but not as a bishop or a Pope.

After Peter's death the keys and authority rested with John the Revelator.  Like Moses and Elijiah, John the Revelator was made a Translated being such that Rome could not kill him (he will eventually die at some point as all must die before Resurrection).  This is precisely why John was exiled to Patmos while Rome killed off everyone else.

22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. (New Testament, John, John 21)

When Joseph Smith was called to open a New and Final Dispensation as prophecied by Daniel 2, Ezekiel 37, Isaiah 29, Acts 3:21, Rev 7, etc, During the process of Restoration, Peter, James and John appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and bestowed upon them the keys and authority of the Holy Apostleship.  So, also in the LDS Church like the Catholics, we believe in the importance of an unbroken line of authority following a period of Apostasy that follows a pattern of human weakness throughout the Bible (Adam ----> Apostasy, Noah ----> Apostasy, Abraham ----> Apostasy, Moses ----> Apostasy, Peter ----> Apostasy, Joseph -----> Second Coming)

So, what do Catholics think of John the Beloved/Revelator.  Why wouldn't he be the natural successor to Peter; not just as Bishop of Rome but the entire Church?  

Apostasy happened quickly. In fact John the Revelator said that the Dragon would devour the child as soon as it was be born.  The child (Christ) was caught up into heaven and the woman (Church) fed into the wilderness (Apostasy) (Rev 12:4-6).

And finally, I would again remind you of the importance of Revelation. The same "still small voice" of God that came into your heart promising to lead you to the truth also leads the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ.

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (Old Testament, 1 Kings, 1 Kings 19)

32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (New Testament, Luke, Luke 24)

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (New Testament, John, John 14)

3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 12)


2. CHURCH COUNCILS

 

"You have alleged before that the Church Councils were not based upon revelation from God.  Have you ever considered the Council of Jerusalem in Acts chapter 15?"

 

"It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, ..." [Acts 15:28]


LDS love Acts 15 and embrace the doctrine of Church Councils.  Acts 15 as well as Acts 2 are excellent examples of Church church councils.  However, the ecumenical councils of Nicea, Constantiople, Trent etc. differ in several critical areas.  The councils were not unanimous and the failure to arrive at unanimity led to schism.


You questioned before why it took so long for the LDS Church to grant priesthood to black members. Joseph Smith was way ahead in apposing and prohibiting slavery of any type or form.  In the LDS Church there was no good and bad slavery.  LDS opposition of slavery in Missouri is what led to the Mormon War and the Gov. Boggs Mormon Extermination Order. 


Joseph Smith it is believed  decided on a policy to limit priesthood to blacks temporarily until hearts changed both inside and outside the Church.  God is not racist, but He knows many of us are and were.  Remember also that LDS gain the highest heaven by baptism and we also offer priesthood and all temple blessings by vicarious proxy. So, ultimately no one misses out on any blessing.


But while the LDS Church started out way ahead on racial issues, after the Civil Rights Movement the LDS Church fell behind. The reason why is because the Apostles were not unified on this issue yet.  However, when a special manifestation was received, unanimity was realized and only then did the Church move forward.


Here is what a honest and humbled Elder McConkie who was one of the 12 Apostles said at the time:


"Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world."


"It doesn't make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles."


Again, the Councils of Christ Church only move forward with unity.



3. SINFUL MEN


You made a comment about men in the Church being week and sinful by nature. While LDS do not teach that our leaders are infallible, we do teach what Paul taught that members of the Church and Church leadership should be held to a minimum standard.  What is that standard? 1 Cor 11:5.


11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 

12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 

13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 5)



fornicator: no sexual sin

covetous: pay tithes

idolater: accept Christ as Savior

railer: no spousal or child abuse

drunkard: no taking any substance to get high or loaded 

extortioner: no defrauding your neighbor


These virtues are the basis for membership in the LDS Church, they are the basis for spiritual worthiness to enter an LDS Temple.  Any of these sins are the basis for immediate removal from leadership position and church discipline and excommunication.  Virtue together with Charity makes pure religion. 


27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (New Testament, James, James 1)


The Bible always differentiates "wine" (grape juice) with "strong drink".  When Jesus turned water to wine he made juice (not ex nihlo). The comment on its quality was because Ancient people add water to dilute juice that is too sweet for their pallet.  If you leave wine out in the air, it turns to vinegar and not alcohol.


When Noah became a "winebibber", noah cultivated grapes and produced grape juice.  Ham was the first to ferment Noah's wine. After Noah unkowingly drank and became drunken, Ham mocked his father to his other brothers and brought upon him and his descendants a cursing.



4. APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION


"So, what are your thoughts on Apostolic succession?  "


I love apostolic succession just not Papal succession. After the betrayal and death of Judas, the 12 filled the vacancy in their quorum. Then with the persecution and death of Apostles,  we see the calling of additional Apostles: Paul, Barnabas, James (Brother of Jesus), Silas, Apollos, and Epafroditus.


After Peter, James and John conferred the Holy Apostleship on Joseph Smitt and Oliver Cowdery, the keys and authority continue on in the Church in an unbroken line of succession.  I and all LDS prieshood holders can trace our priesthood back to Jesus Christ and keep a line of authority when ordained.


Only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has living 12 Apostles and Seventies.  The following link talks about the earliest known Christian Church discovered in Rihab, Jordan with a floor mosaic dedicated to the 70 disciples.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/jordan/2106752/Worlds-oldest-Christian-church-discovered-in-Jordan.html



5. JOSEPH SMITH


"on a guy who dug up golden plates in the ground, wouldn't show anybody, used magical rocks to translate them out of a hat, couldn't reproduce the translations when they were lost, and who had a wide reputation in his community as a conman who spent his days charging people money to search for buried treasure?"


Joseph Smith was told by the Angel Moroni from the beginning that "good or evil would be spoken of him by all people".   Yes, Joseph Smith has and always will be a very polarizing person.  It is hard for anyone to stay on neutral ground with him.  Joseph Smith's neighbors either loved him or hated him.  In reality, what you say about  Joseph Smith reveals more about you than about him.  Yes, scripture came forth from out of the Earth.  Yes, scripture  was translated with the use of the Urim and Thummin and not a cadre of theologians.   Yes, Joseph Smith did not retranslate the Book of Lehi after his enemies stole and altered the transcript in an attempt to discredit him.  No, Joseph did show the golden plates to 11 witnesses.  Yes, I think I will take a fallible Joseph Smith adolescent sin of "glass looking" over the much more serious adult sins of many Catholic Popes and priests documented over the centuries.


It would be nice for God to give us an obvious outward sign that the Book of Mormon is true except that Jesus Christ sent us the Holy Ghost and wants us to receive the Holy Ghost and ask in the name of Christ and receive "a more sure word of prophecy" and witness by the Holy Ghost.



6. Pre-Existence

Any more thoughts on the Pre-existence of the spirit of man?  1. Does not challege God's "first-ness", "uniqueness", and "before-ness".  2. Man is still a created and contigent being.  3. Man can then be both created and eternal. 4. Eternal Life is more than making it back to heaven and living with God from whence we came.  5. The eternal nature of intelligence that becomes spirit solves the atheists problem of Satan's creation. 6. Pre-existence allows for a fully just and legal infomed consent. 7. Genesis 1 discusses the spiritual creation of man on day 6 and then in Genesis 2 the physical creation of Adam's body on day 7.


                                               

 

 

 

 


Friday, September 06, 2013

Pre-existence and Creation

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (New Testament, Matthew, Matthew 16)


I really love this passage of scripture and I respect its significance and respect all those who also love and respect this scripture. When you and most other Catholic's cite Matt 16:18-19, I can tell this one scripture serves as the basis of belief for many honest Catholics. If the Bible says that Satan could never prevail over the Church, anything outside or apart from the Church is heresy and apostasy. End of story. Everything else must be overlooked.


However, In context of verse 17, Christ told Peter that his testimony and witness that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God was not based on "flesh and blood" but via revelation by Our Heavenly Father. The keys and authority to receive revelation from God is the rock upon which Christ's Church was to be built; not Greek philosophy, theology degrees, divided ecomenical councils, creeds and man's wisdom (Isa. 29:14).


17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (New Testament, Matthew, Matthew 16)


The Church of Christ built on revelation and not "flesh and blood" would never be prevailed against.  Unfortunately, discovering that the Roman Empire could not destroy Christianity, the Empire decided it would control it, and began to "change the times and the laws"; defining doctrine by divided ecumenical council and not unifying revelation. The Roman Empire gave us an authorized version of Christianity and then enforced it.


21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; ... 23 Thus he said, The fourth beast (Rome) shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. ....

25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws (apostasy): and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (Old Testament, Daniel, Daniel 7)


Truely, had the Church remained built upon revelation, Satan and the Roman Empire would never have prevailed against it bringing in the Dark Ages of the Great Apostasy.   However, the Bible pattern is clear.  God established His covenant with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Peter and each time man fell away from the truth.  God didn't leave us but we are the ones who left God.


44 And in the days of these kings (NOT Rome) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Old Testament, Daniel, Daniel 2)


The basis for my knowledge that the Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's only true church on the Earth is based on sound reason but also clear and  unmistakable revelation by God the Father after much prayer, study,  pondering, and revelation by the Holy Ghost to both my mind and heart.  The same spirit that came to you promising to lead you to the truth.


I have read the Book of Mormon and prayed and asked God the Eternal Father in the name of Christ if it is His word, and I have received a spiritual and divine manifestation that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I am sorry if you need flesh and blood artifacts before you would believe and not simply pray and ask. This is not an easy question considering the changes that would need to be made and the adversity that comes.  Understandably, it can be much easier to be of another faith.  God is still leading you to the truth.


10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, 2 Nephi 33)



OTHER POINTS

I think you got my main point that a "doctrinally unsophisticated" minority of Pre-Creedal Christians Justin Martyr and Origen understood certain scripture to be teaching about pre-existence. I agree with you that  the majority of "learned" Post-Creedal theologians may more generally disagree but early Jewish teaching and the Earliest Church Fathers supported a pre-existence of the spirit. 


I think you also got my point about "bara", "ktizo", and"sunistanĂ³" are verbs which describe God's creative activity in terms of building, shaping, forming, cutting out and putting together.  But, we can agree that this point alone does not, by itself, prove nor disprove pre-existence or ex-nihlo.


As far as interpreting Jer 1:1, Col 1:17, John 9:2, Rev 12:7, Job 38:7, Jude 1:6, Rom 9:13, etc. We can honestly disagree about interpretation of context as well as interpretation of the direct passage.  I guess we will have to agree to disagree about whether or not scripture discussing a pre-existence "war in heaven", "calling and election" (2 Pet 1:10) and a "first estate" involve and apply to a pre-existent spirit of man. 


With regard to 1 Cor 1:17; I think the pre-existent Christ can still be "before" all things and does not rule out a pre-existence of the spirits of mankind. We know Satan and the angels pre-existed and this fact doesn't challenge God's "first-ness", "unique-ness" or "before-ness",


But, I think one of the best scriptural cases for the pre-existence of the spirit of man goes back to the creation story itself and serves as the reason behind an early Talmudic Jewish belief in pre-existence.  


4 ¶These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 

5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: (Old Testament, Genesis, Genesis 2)   


Genesis 1 discusses the 6 days of creation and the creation of man on day 6.  Then on the 7th day in Genesis 2, God tells that all creation was created spiritually before it was created physically.  And then we are told during day 7 that God forms the physical body of Adam and plants the Garden of Eden.  The spirit of man was created on day 6 of creation and then the spirit of Adam was placed in Adam's body on day 7. This is how some Jews understand it or understood it.   No need to divide up the account into 2 parts for the common and priestly class.  


"I do not think St. Paul had the benefit of such a degree of philosophical education".   


 "The problem is that the Hebrew language and its dialects simply were not sophisticated enough to allow for complex discussion of abstract concepts.  In the ancient world, only the greek language was."


On one hand you suggest pre-existence reflects a "hellenic, platonic, gnostic and pagan view" but then on the other hand you say the Paul wasn't Greek enough?  When Christ Himself appears to you and the Holy Spirit is your guide,  I don't think there is much that Paul's Pharisaic background or Greek philosophy could add would have been of much value.  I don't think the Greek language was necessary for the Apostles to fully communicate the true nature of divinity.


Concerning LDS Scholarship on 2nd Macc 7:24.  Yes, this passage as stated does support "ex-nihlo".  So does Shepherd of Hermas 1:6.  But if we are going to cite Pseudepigrapha and Apocrypha then you would enjoy the following link:  


http://chapmanresearch.org/PDF/Pre-existence%20Doctrines%20From%20Ancient%20TextsNF.DOC%20[Compatibility%20Mode].pdf



"a stale mish-mash of old, tired gnostic and manichean heresies that were re-promulgated by a charismatic leader."


Nothing tired about the belief of the pre-existent and eternal nature of the spirit of man.  Nothing tired about believing in eternal marriage, and family relationships. People generally already believe this in their heart.  When talking about doctrine and orthodoxy: Catholics and Protestant preachers deny these fundamental truths but I consistently have heard them turn around and preach these doctrines over the pulpit to their congregations again and again. Attend any funeral.


The intelligence of man being co-existent with God  and the pre-existent nature of the spirit of man does not make man equal with God. God is still unique and man is still created and contingent.  The purpose of this doctrine just means 1. the spirit of man was formed out of intelligence which is the same co-existent material as God. This is how we are considered God's offspring.  God is the most intelligent 2. the spirit of man is a different creation than other of God's creations. 3. Unlike the other creations, mankind as the offspring of God, can potentially be exalted by God and continue in and fully realize its eternal nature.  You cannot become eternal. You either are eternal or you are not. Even though it is not manifest here what we shall be and what and who we are.  We know when He appears we shall be like Him.  4. This doctrine does not diminish God but elevates man and honors God who is a God of gods, King of kings and Lord of lords. 


Finally, the co-existence of intelligence of which our spirits were formed in the pre-existence solves the atheist problem of evil.  Atheists love to exploit the problem of evil to create doubt which is a consequence of ex-nihlo. If God created Satan ex-nihlo then God created a defective spirit in creating Satan.  Or, God gave a mass murderer a gun when He allows Satan to act on the Earth.  However, God has organized and allows all spirits to act according to their own will for a time. However, the essence of what Satan is has always existed and is responsible to itself and will receive the reward according to its actions.  Mankind was also given full legal informed consented before coming to Earth (another important reason for pre-existence).