Tag Archives: Perfection

50 Questions: The Bible, part 3

14 Apr

On another blog Tim has been writing answers to a series of questions asked by a Latter Day Saint named Greg Trimble. The list was titled 51 Questions That Might Lead You To Mormonism. So far Tim has posts 5 parts in his series, and I don’t know how many more it will take to answer all 51. However, in part 4 he mentions another list of questions that was made back in 2001. This was titled 50 Questions to Ask Mormons. So, I have decided to follow Tim’s example and make a short series to answer these 50 questions.

I will answer the questions in the order they are given and in the categories they are sorted into. Each post will be less than 1000 words, so only a few questions will be answered in each.

Read 50 Questions: Prophets, part 1; Prophets, part 2; Mormon Scriptures, part 1; Mormon Scriptures, part 2; Mormon Scripture, part 3; Mormon Scripture, part 4; The Bible, part 1; The Bible, part 2


QUESTIONS 36-41

  1. How can God be an exalted man when Numbers 23:19 says that God is not a man? 

Because He is not a man, but an exalted man; In other words he is not mortal and no longer subject to the temptations of mortality.

This is kind of like saying that a person is not a child but an adult. It does not deny the process by which they became an adult, but makes a clear distinction between the two states.

 

  1. Why does the Mormon Church teach that Elohim had sexual relations with Mary to produce Jesus when both Matthew and Luke teach she was a virgin (The Seer, January, 1853, p.158)? 

I find it interesting that the First Presidency published a rejection of many doctrines that Orson Pratt and published in The Seer, and Orson Pratt himself admitted that it was not from revelation that he come to his conclusions, but from personal reasoning. (Deseret News, Aug. 23, 1865, 373; http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/deseretnews2/id/16087).

While it is true that this doctrine is not specifically rejected, and it is true that Brigham Young seemed to agree with it, it has never been part of the official doctrine of the church. Some have believed it, others have not, and neither side is said to be right or wrong, but rather that we simply don’t know.

 

  1. Why does the LDS Church teach that Jesus paid for our sins in the garden of Gethsemane when 1 Peter 2:24 says it was on the cross?  

1 Peter 2: 24

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

 

The church does not teach this. The doctrine of the atonement teaches that it began in the garden, where He took on Him the sins of the world; and then it continued to the cross, the tomb, and was finally completed with his resurrection. All of it is part of the atonement and the payment made.

Peter says He bore our sins on the tree, but He took them on Him in the garden and carried them to the cross to complete the atonement.

Also note that it is by His stripes that we are healed, which is a reference to the scourging whip before he was taken to the cross.

 

  1. Why did Bruce McConkie write that a man may commit a sin so grievous that it will place him beyond the atoning blood of Christ (Mormon Doctrine, 1979, p.93) when the Bible says that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7)? 

1 John 7: 7

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

 

Notice that we must be walking in the light to be cleansed. Elder McConkie taught that there are some sins that put us beyond the light. To commit those sins is to forever walk in darkness.

John also tells us that “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3: 15) Clearly murder puts us beyond the saving power of the atonement, as a murderer hath not eternal life.

Jesus himself said “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Matthew 12: 32) This gives us a second sin which will not be covered by the atonement.

 

So, the faithful who remain in the light, striving to live righteously, will be cleansed from all their sin. But the those who stray too far from that light will find themselves forever lost in darkness, from which there is no cleansing.

 

  1. Why does the LDS Church teach that man first existed as spirits in heaven when 1 Corinthians 15:46 says that the physical body comes before the spiritual? 

There is a difference between spirit and spiritual. The spirit came first, than the physical body. Once we are resurrected and glorified our spirit and physical body is joined and we become a spiritual being.

 

  1. Since Jesus statement, “Be ye therefore perfect” (Matthew 5:48) is in the present tense, are you perfect right now? Do you expect to be perfect soon? According to Hebrews 10:14, how are we made perfect? 

First of all, the first two parts of this question are not really asked for honest and beneficial discussion. I will say, however, that the term perfect in Matthew refers to being complete, or fully finished. This is not possible until after the resurrection, which is why Jesus tells us in Matthew to be perfect as the Father is, but in 3 Nephi says to be perfect as he and the Father are (3 Nephi 12: 48). So, since none of us are resurrection, none of us have been fully perfected yet.

 

As to Hebrews, it very rightly points out that only through Christ can anyone be made perfect. However, it also rightly states that this perfection is only given to those who are sanctified, and so I would ask how we are sanctified.

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