Mormon Beliefs on Creation: the Earth, the Universe?


#1

(I’m not understanding) Can someone explain what the LDS belief is on how the earth was created. How and/or who created it? How and/or who created the universe? Can all Gods be traced back to “one” God? Was there an original God? What is the biblical understanding for the questions above?

Pork


#2

This is gonna be good :smiley:


#3

:popcorn:


#4

#5

Hello,
I think most LDS thinker would say that the aspect of creation thought that most distinguishes the CoJCoLDS from other Christian churches is the rejection of Creation ex Nihilo. I personally believe that this is the greatest (in its far reaching and also wonderful consequences) departure in ALL of LDS thought from Christian thought.

Most folks who have been LDS for more than 30 years might speak of God the Father’s, Father especially if they read comments from earlier LDS leaders on these ideas (an idea I have never heard mentioned over the pulpit in church or general conference - I have been a LDS for only 16 years or so). I will not espouse such an idea as I along with Blake Ostler and many others reject it.
See:
web.archive.org/web/20101031162108/http://www.smpt.org/docs/ostler_element1-1.html

  1. However, the problem is not so much the Bible as it is Mormon scripture. The Mormon scriptures say that “there is a God in heaven who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God…” (D&C 20:17). "The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end "(D&C* 20:28). When the term eternal is conjoined with infinite and from everlasting to everlasting, it is pretty clear that it means without beginning or end. The notion of infinity usually means unlimited, without bounds.
  2. There are other Mormon scriptures that are even clearer: “Behold I am the Lord God Almighty, and endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is this not endless?” (Moses 1:3) “For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity” (Mormon 8:8). Further, Joseph Smith stated in 1840 that: “I believe that God is eternal. That He had not (sic) beginning and can have no end. Eternity means that which is without beginning or end.” Given this clarification, it seems pretty clear to me that these scriptures mean that God has always been God in the same unchanging sense without beginning. Are the King Follett discourse and President Snows couplet simply inconsistent with scripture? It seems to me that there are several possibilities here.

So, with that caveat out of the way …
I believe that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit worked together to create the universe and those who inhabit it. That this creation was done from eternally existing “matter” and “intelligences.” This “matter” and “intelligences” are not acted upon except for by the divine power of God. That God formed this “matter” into what we typically call matter. And formed individual intelligences into spirit/soul/human (there obviously being ordinary created matter as part of what is a human, but the most important being “intelligence.”)
It might be worth mentioning that there are temple allusions to an additional involvement in the creation of this earth. I do not have any problem with this as pre-mortal spirits existed as spirits before the creation of the earth in LDS thought.

Anyway, the idea that God acted long ago in the presence of “eternal intelligences” and “eternal matter” has far reaching consequences for LDS thought. It is a true distinction that I think must be maintained based on our scriptures and teachings. I am sympathetic to the thought from a Catholic that a concept of God that does not include that He created ex nihilo (from absolutely nothing) is limiting God somehow. I think it is true and is necessary to explain things, but I respect the desire to unbound God in ones theology.

Charity, TOm

P.S. The bulk of Ostler’s essay linked above is about the Trinity. If you have some huge curiosity concerning LDS theology/thought Ostler’s 3 volumes Exploring Mormon Thought are IMO unparalleled in their engagement of the issues.


#6

Toms link gave me a headache :mad:. I should have read the Twilight books instead. They make more sense. So Tom, if God was once a man made of flesh and bones here on earth, how did He create the universe(s) from earth? Did He have a spaceship or something that could take Him? Im very curious because True Scripture states otherwise.


#7

Welcome back Tom. Has been a few years.

God’s role in Mormon creation theology is based on the belief in a limited, or anthropomorphic god.


#8

Tom, while emphaaizing the eternal nature of the Mormon Gods, I think you should not leave out that Mormonism teaches the same about yourself. That is, you have an eternal nature that is no different than your Gods. Mormon teaching makes it that everyone has no beginning and no end, so the point that you believe this about your Gods, isn’t really a unique attribute of God for Mormons. Just makes your God another guy, and Mormons just another god, albeit in the making.


#9

Read their scripture called the Book of Abraham. :slight_smile:


#10

Tom, welcome…sounds like you are a catholic.com revert?

Do I understand then in LDS theology:

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit existed before the creation of the Universe?

And that they created the Universe together?

And that they have always existed and they themselves were never created?

If true above, does LDS understand this from the bible alone, the BoA alone or both together?

In your answer above you state “I believe”. Are you really saying “LDS believe” or is it your personal belief?

Tx, Pork


#11

[quote="RebeccaJ, post:9, topic:306856"]
Read their scripture called the Book of Abraham. :)

[/quote]

I did get a copy of the BoM. Thought I should read this first. :confused:


#12

A Mormon friend and I have been discussing the concept of God in Mormon vs. Catholic thought lately. He is very much opposed to the God of classical theism. He holds that space and time have existed eternally. Do you believe the same, Tom?

When I showed my friend that Thomas Aquinas never posited creation ex nihilo for his argument for an unmoved mover, he was blown away. A lot of people don’t understand that Aquinas isn’t simply making an argument for the first domino in a chronological chain of events, but an eternal acting principle that is necessary at every instant to sustain the universe. It isn’t a god that just got the ball rolling then went off somewhere else.


#13

Also, this article on the trinity by Feser shows that Ostler is mistaken in claiming that the doctrine of the trinity is incoherent. What I would give to have them meet and debate.

edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/02/trinity-and-mystery.html


#14

I would agree with Tom that the LDS doctrine of pre-mortal existence is the foundation teaching which influences LDS thought all the way down the line. All of the empirical evidence we have, through observing the world around us, points to the fact that everything that exists has a prior cause. LDS teaching ignores this principle, believing that “intelligences” and “matter” are co-eternal with God, having somehow come into existence of their own power. They exist apart from God and therefore are not dependent upon God for their existence. Yet God was dependent upon pre-existing “intelligences” and “matter” in order to “organize” and populate the world in which we live. This is absolutely opposed to God’s omnipotent nature.

The question I have is that if God was first a man, who then progressed to godhood, how is it that Jesus was first God before he became man? Was he a man who became God who then became man once again?

Thanks.


#15

It was not my intention to give you a headache.
Mormon’s believe in God spaceships, God Spaceship is stupid, Mormons false, no headache.
Catholic’s taught unbaptized infants go to hell (nice hell, Limbo), this is a horrible belief abhorrent to virtually all folks (Catholics included) who walk the face of the earth, Catholicism is false. No HEADACHE.

Of course despite the ubiquitousness of Catholic teaching concerning Limbo before 3-4 decades ago, was it Tradition or just tradition or just … ??? Bring on the headache.

I do not believe that God flew off an earth He created in a spaceship so he could create the same earth he just left.
Charity, TOm


#16

I do not believe that God when creating what we call the universe did so with a body of flesh and bone. As mentioned in Ostler’s link, I believe God the Father like God the Son became man upon the world He created. This world creation occured BEFORE He possessed a body of flesh and bone.
And thank you for the welcome. I hope I can get TOmNossor to work again, but I could not post or send PMs even.
Charity, TOm


#17

I think this is a frequent observation and it is one of the more difficult places in which Ostler and others depart from the majority of folks in the pew.
The Father is the Fount of Divinity. The Son and the Holy Spirit are eternally in communion with Him. They possess the divine properties from eternity AND were thus involved in the creation of the known universe.
The eternal intelligences that existed other than Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were not in communion with Them.
Ontologically there is similarity, but the disconnect from the past will FOREVER be a truth. Through the work of Father, Son (atonement) and Holy Spirit we may be brought into this communion, but it will still be true that in the past we were not part of the communion AND there is no past in which they were not in communion. We rebel; they never have and never will.
The schism between the members of the Trinity and mankind is this gap. The universe was created and Christ died to bridge this gap, but God’s action through the atonement and … is necessary to make this happen.

So, I reject the idea that God the Father is any other guy AND that God the Son and God the Spirit are just any other guys.
Charity, TOm


#18

[quote="Porknpie, post:10, topic:306856"]
Tom, welcome....sounds like you are a catholic.com revert?

Do I understand then in LDS theology:

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit existed before the creation of the Universe?

And that they created the Universe together?

And that they have always existed and they themselves were never created?

If true above, does LDS understand this from the bible alone, the BoA alone or both together?

In your answer above you state "I believe". Are you really saying "LDS believe" or is it your personal belief?

Tx, Pork

[/quote]

Lots of questions here.
Concerning the universe. I believe that God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) created the universe as we know it from eternal matter and eternal intelligence. We have no experience or contact with this eternal material as mere humans. That being said, eternal intelligences and eternal matter had "existence" "when" God created the universe. So one could properly say that there is a sense in which the universe outside of God is eternal in Mormon thought and the universe outside of God did not exist in any way in Catholic thought.
I offer the above because there are three senses of universe that are appropriate here.
1. All that exists, including God. In this case the universe is eternal because God is eternal and God didn't create God He just exists.
2. All that exists, not including God. In this case the universe in Catholic thought is created ex nihilo by God, but in LDS thought it is "organized" in the act of divine creation.
3. All that we as humans perceive with our senses and instruments and .... In this case God created our universe in both Catholic and LDS thought.

Source of LDS theology?
This is huge question. We have four standard works accepted as scripture not just the Bible.
And we have teachings of past and current leaders.
It is clear that the standard works are at the top (though they are not a systematic theology). It is clear that the current teachings of the general authorities are above the past teachings. Beyond this there has never been a document like the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).

It is my opinion that orthodoxy (right theological thinking in the LDS paradigm) is not of great value in the LDS paradigm.
You are not Catholic if you reject Catholic dogma. There is very little if anything similar to this in LDS thought and practice.

In my answer I tried to present some of the spectrum of thought within the CoJCoLDS, but I focused on my thought. I am certainly not alone in my theological positions. I would say among the 2-3 thousand LDS folks who have read Ostler a significant percentage agree with him about as much as I do (which is not completely).

I really do not know what to tell you. Our critics sometimes effectively state that attacking LDS theology is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. Assuming your point is to learn and not attack, there is a great deal that can be embraces/rejected/..., but I doubt you would come to believe exactly as I do or as someone else does. Not having a list of dogmas and a CCC leaves a great deal of fluidity in our thought.

And thank you for the welcome!!!
Charity, TOm


#19

Just a little correction. The Catholic Church has never taught that unbaptized infants go to hell. And the concept of Limbo (not even close to hell) has never been a doctrine, but rather is a theological theory created to explain what happens to an innocent person born into original sin who is unbaptized. I believe the offical stance is that we don’t know but commend them to the all-merciful God in whom we hope and pray for their salvation. I don’t know of anyone who believes they are lost.


#20

So this is now very confusing. “God was once as we are now…” Again, was he God who became man so that he could become God again? And are you saying that God was, in the beginning, different than all of the other “intelligences” that coexisted with him from eternity. And if he was, how so?


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