Addressing Maralexa’s Tremendous Comment
Maralexa, first of all, I would like to thank you for your tremendous comment to my Hub “The Ten Commandments; The Ethos of God, or the Edict of Man?”. I hope that you share it with those whom you may make acquaintance. Any good influence then will surely come from God.
In addition to that, I want to thank you for your gracious compliment, and for your reasonable queries.
In addressing your points below, before I endeavour to elaborate and qualify (with references) my viewpoints set forth in my Hub, let me begin with My General Response by answering your questions found at the end of your comment.
“Are we thinking along the same lines but just saying things a little differently? Or, have I misunderstood your excellent comments and questions?”
My general response: Maralexa, I do most certainly believe that we are thinking “along the same lines”, to a very large degree! If my Hub was not completely clear, it is due to my writing style and philosophising (which asks question of us all), not your conception of the ideas I put forth.
I shall now continue in sequence.
1. Maralexa Comments: Religion is the organization of people around a set of beliefs in a supreme being. Many religions have become so full of rules and traditions that the religion no longer resembles the initial tenets of the belief. So some people may be quite right that religions were developed to include rules made to control the masses. And, frankly, I doubt this happened surreptitiously.
My response to number 1: I agree, and I might add that I consider most changes to have been done at least underhandedly, if not downright surreptitiously. Even if the holders of the written Word of God controlled the “commoner” with fear, there would still have been an uprising; It was just that they had no way of knowing what was being done to the scriptures because they did not have access to them.
2. Maralexa Comments: If we accept that God was (would be) willing to guide us by subterfuge instead of divinely, then we suggest he is not pure love and truth.
My response to number 2: I agree with your deduction here, but I did NOT attempt to suggest that God would ever guide us with subterfuge or deception. I am lately however, as my “study in comprehension” (personal belief) progresses, considering that “like water” in a river, “love” assumes many gentle forms, gliding gently over rocks and around bends. It will flow quicker when the stream is shallow and thin, and then slow down in the deep and wider portions, without seemed effort, protest, or cavitation - but when water is confined in a restricted space (not to suggest that God is restricted*) it immediately become like unto a solid mass, exerting whatever pressure it is subject to, equally in all directions. This is an inherent property or characteristic of water - to be able to transmit extremely powerful forces - enough to move mountains, such as in the science and application of hydraulics commonly used today.
I am also considering (again, personal belief) the model lesson to be learned in the oriental circular representation of Yin and Yang. In this depiction, the Yin and the Yang move fluidly in union with one another. As one moves, it displaces the other exactly the same amount, something like there being opposition in all things. 2 Nephi 2:11“For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.”
The thing that is difficult to grasp (and perhaps where the term “out the yin-yang” is derived) is that both the Yin and the Tang have a small portion of each other in them, even though each has only ONE master. I think this applies more to us Human beings than it does to any God, because all humans are sinners and fall short of the glory of God.
Note that God may be *Restricted in one sense of the word, specifically in the sense that God cannot lie, or else he would then cease to be God.
Alma 42:22 "But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God."
Please note that I use many references from the Mormon faith, because “we” acknowledge that the Gospel of the Lord, wherein the Plan of Salvation is the premise, has been “dispensed” numerous times, to numerous peoples (whether directly from God Himself, or through His mouthpiece, i.e. Prophets) from the beginning of time; Adam and Eve were taught the Plan of Salvation, so was Noah, and Moses, and Abraham, and Matthew, and Mark, etc. We also acknowledge that we are living in the “Latter-days”, and that the Gospel has been “restored” according to the original meaning, and that the Plan of Salvation is still its obvious premise (and totality, as I understand). We believe that we are presently in the LAST DISPENSATION of the fullness of the Gospel. We also believe that the Bible is the Word of God, as far as it has been translated correctly, so I also frequently draw from that venerable reference.
3. Maralexa Comments: God does not “want to control us” . He wants us to choose and commit to following him. To learn about him and thereby, know how to lead our lives according to the 10 Commandments or the 1 Commandment stated by Jesus.
My response to number 3: I agree, that is why we are given the ability and privilege of “Agency”. I now quote 2 Nephi 2:27 “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”
I might add however, that Jesus gave MORE than just one commandment. I can see that He in fact gave many more to us as He ministered. One example is for us to forgive people seventy times seven, as found in Matthew 18:21-22 “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Even though He did not use the word “command”, He still gave “instruction”, indeed instruction necessary for our salvation (and redemption). He also instructed us to partake of the Sacrament when he clearly stated in Luke 22:19 “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
You may be thinking about in your reference above of when Jesus answered a certain lawyer in Luke 10:25-28 “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”
Note the semicolon use after “all thy mind”, as well as the secondary and subsequent subject which follows [being] “thy neighbour”. This represents the TWO major or all-encompassing commandments, with the first part being consistent with first of The Ten Commandments. Jesus states the FIRST (and greatest) commandment AGAIN in Matthew 22:37 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
Note also that as we love God with all our heart, etc. it follows that we will do all that He tells us to do, including keeping the Sabbath Holy, etc.
Note also that it is accepted that the first four of the Ten Commandments specifically represent our relationship with Divinity, and the following six represent our relationship with others. Here, we are reminded again that it is PARAMOUNT to FIRST love God, and then, by virtue of this, to love our neighbour. People (perhaps in their haste) tend to WHITTLE down the “summary” of The Ten Commandments and lose sight of this IMPORTANT HIERARCHAL FACT.
4. Maralexa Comments: God tempers us (just as gold is tempered/refined to make it pure) through trials and afflictions, in order for us to learn Patience, and patience strengthens us and shows us our true Character, which in turn shows us that not only have we prevailed through trials but that our Hope is certain, we can have faith in our hope and certainty in God’s love and never ending care.
My response to number 4: I agree. Just as God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6), so does He give us the ability to (in effect) temper ourselves. We are mere labourers in the vineyard, but God gives the increase. God is always the progenitor of all that is good and expedient for our profit. We can never truly appropriate, reserve, or usurp God’s power, but we can allow it to bloom in our lives. All the Glory to God.
5. Maralexa Comments: We will not be judged according to God’s “rules” and we will not be judged according to what we do, have done, or not done and will not do. We will not be judged and then sentenced “according to the rules we have been given”, we will be judged by the degree to which we have followed God on a day-by-day basis.
My response to number 5: I concur with your understanding of, and reliance upon, a REDEEMER, but I may differ slightly on your presumption of what a SAVIOUR is. First of all, Jesus Christ is both the Saviour AND Redeemer of mankind - I’m sure we agree on that. Secondly however, I believe that when for instance, someone commits adultery and then, through a broken heart and a contrite spirit (Psalms 34:18) the adulterer repents and then diligently follows the recipe for salvation, atoning with Christ (i.e., he fully repents and then follows all of God’s commandments) in order to qualify for Christ to “know” him (as in the parable of the ten virgins, five being wise and the other five being foolish, see Matthew 25:1-13) in the Day of Judgement, and therefore BE his advocate to the Father rather than declare that He knows not him, and closes the gate on him, then the adulterer will have been forgiven and the Lord will remember His sins no more. Such is the grace, and mercy of God. But having said that, if the person commits adultery again, he is STILL a adulterer, and his previous sins will also be held to his account. Of course he can again repent and be again forgiven, but he gambles that his time will not come before he is able to do so; here I reference Moroni 6:8 “But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven”, and Mosiah 26:30 “Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me. ”From the Bible, 2 Peter 2:20 “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” Also, from D&C 42:24-26 “Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out. But he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive; But if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out.” Finally, 3 Nephi 20:28 “And they shall be a scourge unto the people of this land. Nevertheless, when they shall have received the fulness of my gospel, then if they shall harden their hearts against me I will return their iniquities upon their own heads, saith the Father.” God’s justice is always tempered with His mercy, but neither mercy can rob justice, nor can justice rob mercy. In conclusion, the “meat” of the matter is revealed in Alma 42:25 “What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.” Alma 42 also reveals the plan of redemption. The entire chapter, of course, must be read to be seen in proper context.
6. Maralexa Comments: This will direct us to different areas of responsibility in heaven. Our sentence of heaven or hell is based on our Salvation by our belief that Jesus is the son of God and knowing that through him (his suffering and death for us) we are guaranteed a place in heaven. I believe that God gives everyone a chance to be redeemed. But those who choose to live through eternity on their own power, will be given the opportunity to do so. Without God. And that is hell.
My response to number 6: I agree, everyone does have the chance to be redeemed. Further to my thoughts on the Saviour in point 5, above, I submit that there are many “saviours” in this world that teach many good tenets to follow, but there is only ONE Redeemer. ONLY those who FOLLOW the tenets of the Saviour Jesus Christ - only those who repent and then continually strive to completely follow the veritable Plan of Salvation AND redemption, administered by God, enduring to the end - will be “Redeemed” into the eternal presence of our Father most high and His Son, Jesus Christ. Alma 42 describes the plan of redemption very well.
Do not be astonished, for there ARE multiple heavens. Deuteronomy 10:14 “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.”
There as well ARE Three Degrees of Glory, corresponding to the three heavens.
2 Corinthians 12:2 “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.”
It is now opportune for me to quote Dallin H. Oaks Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Mormon) when he made an address in the April 1995 conference (find the transcript at http://lds.org/general-conference/1995/04/apostasy-and-restoration?lang=eng&query=April+conference) “Following the necessary experience of mortal life, ALL sons and daughters of God will ultimately be resurrected and go to a kingdom of glory. The righteous—regardless of current religious denomination or belief—will ultimately go to a kingdom of glory more wonderful than any of us can comprehend. Even the wicked, or almost all of them, will ultimately go to a marvelous—though lesser—kingdom of glory. All of that will occur because of God’s love for his children and because of the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ, (D&C 76:43) who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands”. Here is some more Latter-day scripture; this is a bit of a heavy read, but I submit that it is a very enlightening truth, all of which can be reconciled with Biblical scripture, in my estimation. It is fascinating, really. We find in the Doctrine and Covenants, specifically D&C 76:30-119, a revealing look at “Perdition”, and the “Three Heavens” (totalling four main categories of judgmental assignment).
7. Maralexa Comments: I don’t think we “veritably” develop as “unique” individuals, so much as we inevitably develop as “uniquely His”, as opposed to those who do not choose to come to God.
My response to number 7: I think you are correct; when we atone with God, we become more like Him, and this, as you suggest, may be the more important thing to remember. However, in addition to this, we also do indeed “veritably” develop as “unique” individuals. Let me use the example of the olive tree; each individual tree always has its own recognizable differences, to its owner, but again as you suggest, the greater fundament of truth is that they are essentially the same tree, for they are part of the same family (whether by lineage, or by adoption, in a Biblical sense), each being olive, and presumably, each being “cared for” with equal zeal by its owner (for it rains on the wicked as well as the righteous, just we all have the invitation to become joint-heirs in the Kingdom of God.) Another example is the snowflake - all are different in features, but each is really the same, because they are of the identical ilk. BOTH notions are true.
Thanks again Maralexa, especially for joining “my study in comprehension” (as I call my faith “in action”), and I wish you continued success in your writing as well.