Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More than Heaven and Hell

Many interpret the Bible to say that one must only confess Jesus is the Christ to qualify for salvation. The Bible also states that at some future date "all knees shall bow and all tongues shall confess that Jesus is the Christ." Does this mean that everyone despite our comportment in this life will be saved and go to heaven. Well, yes and no. This issue comes down to our understanding of salvation and heaven.

Paul discussed the redemption of the the body at the time of the resurrection by describing differing states of quickening, "there are bodies Celestial... Terestrial... and Telestial." These states are likened unto the differing glories of the sun, moon and stars in magnitude respectively. So, according to Paul all men will be resurrected, saved from hell, and redeemed to some level of glory by the grace of God. But, only those who are raised to Celestial glory not only receive salvation from hell but also exaltation.

What is the Mormon concept of heaven, salvation, and exaltation? Mormons believe that one who qualifies for the highest degree of Celestial glory will, together with their spouse to whom they have been married for time and eternity, live with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. They will receive perfect glorified bodies, will be able to progress in intelligence, power, and have eternal increase until they have become like God. They will have Eternal families and enjoy the same sociality enjoyed in this life. Some consider this concept of heaven and salvation as heresy, sacrilege, and blasphemy.

What about that scripture that says "they neither marry, nor are given in marriage?" Well, that is correct. After the resurrection there is no more marriage. Marriage is something to be done on earth before death and resurrection. Though the keys given to Peter, "what is bound on earth will be bound in heaven." Do you really believe in your heart-of-hearts that your wife and children will be nothing to you in the next life?

I desire an eternal family and eternal progression in the next life and these are things that other faiths have no concept of. Mormon missionaries are not telling people that they are going to hell if they don't become Mormons but that there is more to the next life than just heaven and hell. Ask yourself. What does you’re religion teach about the what heaven in like? What have you always felt it will be like? Do you want to just be saved from hell, or do you want an Eternal family and Eternal progression? Mormon's believe that all people will get exactly what they expect. If you expect to live in heaven, with Christ, with no family relationships, and serve him forever, that is exactly what you're going to get. That idea of heaven is only runner-up to what Mormon's and God's Word teach is possible.

(Gen. 1: 27) "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth."
(Gen. 3: 22) "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil."
(Ps. 82: 6) "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High."
(Isa. 41: 23) "Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil."
(Matt. 16: 19) "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
(Matt. 22: 30)(Mark 12: 25) "For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven."
(John 10: 34) "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?"
(John 17: 3) "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
(1 Cor. 2: 9) "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
(1 Cor. 11: 11) "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord."
Paul tells of glories like the sun, the moon, and the stars (1 Cor. 15: 39-41). He also speaks of the “third heaven” (2 Cor. 12: 2). Jesus spoke of “many mansions” or kingdoms (John 14: 2).
(Rom. 8: 17) "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ."

Not believing in God is too risky.

Theist, Atheist, Agnostic. Lets weight the risks and benefits. What do you get if you believe in God and God does not exist? A good, happy life. A few restrictions. However, I do not regret avoiding smoking, drinking, lying, cheating, stealing, killing, fornicating, idoliterating or adulterating. Oh, and I have to pay 10% tithing. But church has been a nice social club and is worth the money. Believing in God helps me and inspires me through the hard times.

So what do you get if you believe in God and God exists? All of the above and a chance at Eternal rewards. What do you get if you do not believe in God or don’t know and God does not exist? I get to do what I want but have to learn from my own mistakes. I risk suffering adversity alone. I make up my own rules. I risk hurting others and risk have regrets. But when I die, I die and its over. There may hope in reincarnation. What do you get if you do not believe in God or don’t know and God does exist? All of the above and the risk of Eternal punishment.

Hey, I am partly a theist because of what I get out of it. If there is an after-life and if there is a God, I want to be ready to meet Him and be judged by Him; my actions, thoughts, and desires. What do I loose? Well, so far I have everything I have ever wanted. And even when bad things happen in my life, some lose, some adversity, my faith in God strengthens me, and gives me hope. What hope? That If I do what I believe God wills me to do in this life that the things that matter most: family, friends and ability to love will go with me into the next life. Rabbi Kushner a renowed Jewish Rabbi in a BYU talk of the year in 1995 said that believing in God gave him value as an individual and self worth to think that the supreme intelligence, being, and power of the universe cared about what he ate for breakfast, who he slept with, what clothes he wore, and what he did on Sunday.

Agnostics declare ignorance or the reality of God's existance. They, in many cases, honestly conclude that they do not have enough circumstancial evidence one way or another to convince them of God's existence. Well, this is also a risky position.See, an agnostic is making a big assumption. He is counting on that his ignorance of God’s existence justifies him from any penalties. But, if God does exist, it’s God who makes the rules and not man. There is a chance that ignorance will not be an acceptable excuse for violating God’s rules. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isa. 55:8)

Proof of God's Existence

Link1Link2It is impossible for man to prove God’s existence. It is like-wise impossible for man to disprove God’s existence. Man acceptance of God is based on faith, hope, and imperfect knowledge because if he were to have a perfect knowledge of God, he would be god. “Eternal life is to know God” Eternal life equals life as god. Also, rejection of God is also based on faith and imperfect knowledge. And, just as Dr. Lund argues, an Atheist would have to be a god to prove that God does not exist.

Gerald Lund states about an antangonistic and agnostic character in the Book of Mormon: "Korihor will consider only evidence that can be gathered through the senses. In such a system, it is much easier to prove there is a God than to prove there is not a God. To prove there is a God, all it takes is for one person to see, hear, or otherwise have an experience with God, and thereafter the existence of God cannot be disproved. But here is what it would take to prove there is no God: Since God is not confined to this earth, we would have to search throughout the universe for him. We assume God is able to move about, so it would not be enough to start at point A in the universe and search through to point Z. What if after we leave point A, God moves there and stays there fore the rest of the search? In other words, for Korihor to say that there is no God, based on the very criteria he himself has established, he would have to perceive every cubic meter of the universe simultaneously. This creates a paradox: In order for Korihor to prove there is no God, he would have to be a god himself! Therefore, in declaring there is no God, he is acting on "faith," the very thing for which he so sharply derides the religious leaders!Gerald Lund's "Countering Korihor's Philosophies." (Ensign, July 1992)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Faith vs. Science

This is the age of science and technology; the new age of reason. Superstition has given way to observation, instrumental analysis and rational interpretation. The language of mathematics describes our universe with which we can now determine the past and predict the future. The evidence is overwhelming, and even miraculous. Everyday, physicists and mathematicians are performing experiments that predict and describe the behavior of atoms down to their fundamental elements. However, according the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, when it comes down to it, math really cannot tell you 100% exactly what’s going on. But it gets you really close. So, we take it as a matter of faith that math will unlock all mysteries and even, one day, will grant us salvation and immortality. Math is the perfect language, and science the power of creation; the voice and will of god.

Look at what organized religion has given us: prejudice, intolerance, and war. When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the masses concluded, "god is punishing the wicked." Rational thought tells us regions on the Gulf of Mexico are prone to strong hurricanes, which may or may not be influenced by global warming and a complex 60-year Atlantic Ocean Climate cycle and the poor are most susceptible. But, when disaster strikes, we can do something about it and alleviate suffering, and prevent catastrophes like this from happening again. Science can be altruistic and is not always “survival of the fittest.” However, I don't remember any scientific organizations contributing to hurricane relief.

Depite this Utopian hope, here is something in my heart that believes in God. Science will not ever invent an instrument to prove or disprove God’s existence. God has already invented it-- the human heart. Geneticists tell us we are pre-programmed to believe in God and they are diligently searching to find the god gene and see what happens when they delete it. I suppose I must have an overactive God gene then, because despite the "miraculous" scientific evidence, I will continue to put my faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. His words hold the true answers to life and salvation. And there is ample evidence of that in my life and in the lives of millions.