Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Fall

1 Corinthians 15:22
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

My Thoughts
Often people take from this scripture that Adam brought this awful thing upon us, death. That the presumed mistake of one man would be allowed to condemn us all to the torture of Earth life.

Wouldn't it make more sense that God presented choices, knowing the outcome and had a plan?

Death was always part of the plan.  The plan was not for mankind to live forever in the garden with everything handed to them.

Did God create Eden to be the eternal home of man and then when man messed it up he then had to come down to Earth to save them from the mess one guy made?  Or was that always the plan for man to fall from the paradise God had created to have a place to grow and learn?

2 Nephi 2:22-27
22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

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.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet, April 2015 General Conference
“...from the moment those first parents stepped out of the Garden of Eden, the God and Father of us all, anticipating Adam and Eve’s decision, dispatched the very angels of heaven to declare to them—and down through time to us—that this entire sequence was designed for our eternal happiness.”

Elder David A Bednar, Therefore They Hushed Their Fears, April 2015 General Conference
"Upon hearing the voice of God after partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve hid themselves in the Garden of Eden. God called unto Adam and asked, 'Where art thou? And [Adam answered], I heard thy voice … , and I was afraid' (Genesis 3:9–10). Notably, one of the first effects of the Fall was for Adam and Eve to experience fear. This potent emotion is an important element of our mortal existence."

Elder D Todd Christofferson, Why Marriage, Why Family, April 2015 General Conference
"At least four things are needed for the success of this divine plan:

"First was the Creation of the earth as our dwelling place. Whatever the details of the creation process, we know that it was not accidental but that it was directed by God the Father and implemented by Jesus Christ—“all things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”11

"Second is the condition of mortality. Adam and Eve acted for all who had chosen to participate in the Father’s great plan of happiness.12 Their Fall created the conditions needed for our physical birth and for mortal experience and learning outside the presence of God. With the Fall came an awareness of good and evil and the God-given power to choose.13 Finally, the Fall brought about physical death needed to make our time in mortality temporary so that we would not live forever in our sins.14

"Third is redemption from the Fall. We see the role of death in our Heavenly Father’s plan, but that plan would become void without some way to overcome death in the end, both physical and spiritual. Thus, a Redeemer, the Only Begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, suffered and died to atone for Adam and Eve’s transgression, thereby providing resurrection and immortality for all. And since none of us will have been perfectly and consistently obedient to the gospel law, His Atonement also redeems us from our own sins on condition of repentance. With the Savior’s atoning grace providing forgiveness of sins and sanctification of the soul, we can spiritually be born again and reconciled to God. Our spiritual death—our separation from God—will end.15

"Fourth, and finally, is the setting for our physical birth and subsequent spiritual rebirth into the kingdom of God. For His work to succeed to “[exalt us] with himself,”16 God ordained that men and women should marry and give birth to children, thereby creating, in partnership with God, the physical bodies that are key to the test of mortality and essential to eternal glory with Him. He also ordained that parents should establish families and rear their children in light and truth,17 leading them to a hope in Christ."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

No Man Shall Add to or Take Away

Many discount the idea that there could be more scripture than just the Bible because of Revelations 22:18
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Summary of things I have found on this topic:
  • John is referring to the book he was writing, Revelation, not the entire Bible.  (“the words of the prophecy of this book”)
  • The Bible is a compilation of books, which was compiled after John wrote this statement.
  • Many of the books of the Bible were written after Revelation.
    • Shall we deny those books are false, because they were “added” after Revelation?
  • The book of Deuteronomy also says something similar.
    • 2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
    • Shall we deny the rest of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament because this was stated in Deuteronomy?

Amos 3:7
7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Elder Jeffrey R Holland, My Words...Never Cease, April 2008 General Conference
“Some Christians, in large measure because of their genuine love for the Bible, have declared that there can be no more authorized scripture beyond the Bible. In thus pronouncing the canon of revelation closed, our friends in some other faiths shut the door on divine expression that we in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hold dear: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the ongoing guidance received by God’s anointed prophets and apostles. Imputing no ill will to those who take such a position, nevertheless we respectfully but resolutely reject such an unscriptural characterization of true Christianity.
“One of the arguments often used in any defense of a closed canon is the New Testament passage recorded in Revelation 22:18: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of … this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” However, there is now overwhelming consensus among virtually all biblical scholars that this verse applies only to the book of Revelation, not the whole Bible. Those scholars of our day acknowledge a number of New Testament “books” that were almost certainly written after John’s revelation on the Isle of Patmos was received. Included in this category are at least the books of Jude, the three Epistles of John, and probably the entire Gospel of John itself. 1 Perhaps there are even more than these.
“But there is a simpler answer as to why that passage in the final book of the current New Testament cannot apply to the whole Bible. That is because the whole Bible as we know it—one collection of texts bound in a single volume—did not exist when that verse was written. For centuries after John produced his writing, the individual books of the New Testament were in circulation singly or perhaps in combinations with a few other texts but almost never as a complete collection. Of the entire corpus of 5,366 known Greek New Testament manuscripts, only 35 contain the whole New Testament as we now know it, and 34 of those were compiled after A.D. 1000. 2
“The fact of the matter is that virtually every prophet of the Old and New Testament has added scripture to that received by his predecessors. If the Old Testament words of Moses were sufficient, as some could have mistakenly thought them to be, 3 then why, for example, the subsequent prophecies of Isaiah or of Jeremiah, who follows him? To say nothing of Ezekiel and Daniel, of Joel, Amos, and all the rest. If one revelation to one prophet in one moment of time is sufficient for all time, what justifies these many others?”
“One Protestant scholar has inquired tellingly into the erroneous doctrine of a closed canon. He writes: ‘On what biblical or historical grounds has the inspiration of God been limited to the written documents that the church now calls its Bible? … If the Spirit inspired only the written documents of the first century, does that mean that the same Spirit does not speak today in the church about matters that are of significant concern?’ 5  We humbly ask those same questions.
“Continuing revelation does not demean or discredit existing revelation. The Old Testament does not lose its value in our eyes when we are introduced to the New Testament, and the New Testament is only enhanced when we read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. In considering the additional scripture accepted by Latter-day Saints, we might ask: Were those early Christians who for decades had access only to the primitive Gospel of Mark (generally considered the first of the New Testament Gospels to be written)—were they offended to receive the more detailed accounts set forth later by Matthew and Luke, to say nothing of the unprecedented passages and revelatory emphasis offered later yet by John? Surely they must have rejoiced that ever more convincing evidence of the divinity of Christ kept coming. And so do we rejoice.”

Moses 1:38
38 And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.

Alma P Burton, Follow the Brethren, Ensign October 1972
“Ministers of the Christian world have proclaimed that God has ceased to speak from the heavens, that he has ceased to reveal himself to man. This claim is made by some because of a misinterpretation of a statement recorded by John in the book of Revelation,”

“John’s statement is in full force and cannot be denied. But the reader must remember that the declaration by John refers only to the book of Revelation and not to other books written by John or other writers in the Bible.
“When John wrote the words quoted above, the books of the New Testament had not yet been compiled into a single publication. They were separate writings that later became our New Testament as we know it today. There was no intention that John’s words should refer to any other book of scripture than Revelation.”
“Thus one of the great purposes of continuing revelation through living prophets is to declare to the world through additional witnesses that the Bible is true. “This is written,” an ancient prophet said, speaking of the Book of Mormon, “for the intent that ye may believe that,” speaking of the Bible. 8 In one of the earliest revelations received by Joseph Smith, the Lord said, “Behold, I do not bring [the Book of Mormon forth] to destroy [the Bible] but to build it up.” 9
One other point needs to be made. Since it is clear that there were Christians long before there was a New Testament or even an accumulation of the sayings of Jesus, it cannot therefore be maintained that the Bible is what makes one a Christian. In the words of esteemed New Testament scholar N. T. Wright, “The risen Jesus, at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, does not say, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to the books you are all going to write,’ but [rather] ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me.’ ” 10 In other words, “Scripture itself points … away from itself and to the fact that final and true authority belongs to God himself.” 11 So the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge for Latter-day Saints. They are manifestations of the ultimate source. The ultimate source of knowledge and authority for a Latter-day Saint is the living God. The communication of those gifts comes from God as living, vibrant, divine revelation. 12

Articles of Faith 1:9
9 We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

April 1981 General Conference, Howard W Hunter, No Man Shall Add to or Take Away
“A careful reading of each of these admonitions makes it clear that man is not to make changes in the revelations of the Lord: man is not to add to or take from the words of God. There is no indication or intimation that God could not, or would not, add to or take from; nor would any reasonable person with a belief in the divine powers of God consciously believe that God would be so restricted. Without question he would have the right and power to give additional revelation for the guidance of his children in any age and to add additional scripture.”
“May our vision not be so narrow that we would relegate revelation to only the ancients. God is merciful and loves his children in all ages and has revealed himself to this time in history.“

President Hunter’s entire talk deal with the topic of these scriptures and not adding to scripture.

President Ezra Taft Benson, “A New Witness for Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 1984, 8
“When used together, the Bible and the Book of Mormon confound false doctrines”