HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

The Jewish Encyclopedia says that the etymological meaning of the verb (“create”) is ‘to cut out and [to] put into shape’ [fashion], and thus presupposes the use of material.”47 He then extrapolates the theological point that God’s creation involved a fashioning “out of pre-existent material.”48 He adds later: “The etymology of the verb ‘create’ implies creation from pre-existing materials.”49 Modern linguists and exegetes have repeatedly shown that using etymology to establish word meaning is misguided.

Claus Westermann agrees: Genesis 1:1 does not refer to “the beginning of something, but simply The Beginning. Everything began with God.”65 Another Old Testament scholar, R. K. Harrison, asserts that while creatio ex nihilo was “too abstract for the [Hebrew] mind to entertain” and is not stated explicitly in Genesis 1, “it is certainly implicit in the narrative.”66 

John 1:3 unambiguously states that all things—that is, “the material world”—came into being through the Word.124 The implication is that all things (which would include preexistent matter, if that were applicable to the creative process) exist through God’s agent, who is the originator of everything.125 This is borne out by the fact that though the Word was (ên), the creation came to be (egeneto).126 Raymond Brown comments: “Thus the material world has been created by God and is good.”

 

According to Joseph Smith himself, the first person to speak in tongues was new convert and future LDS president Brigham Young at Smith’s parents’ house in 1830. See Donna Hill, Joseph Smith: The First Mormon (New York: Doubleday, 1977; repr., Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1999), 152. There were two fascinating episodes in early LDS history that helped to perpetuate the idea that supernatural manifestations were following the Saints. The first involved prophesying, speaking in tongues, and visions for two days at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple in March 1836, although William McLellin seemed to think it had more to do with the amount of wine consumed and David Whitmer called it the “grand fizzle” (see Prince, Powers From on High, 127-29). The second legendary “manifestation” took place in August 1844 after the death of Joseph Smith. While Brigham Young was making the speech t

creatio continua,

2 Peter 3:5, which speaks of God creating “from water” and “by water.”
If matter were not itself created ex nihilo by God, then there would be something over which he lacked power, which contradicts his omnipotence. This argume
This psalm is presented as a polemic against all other gods and perhaps specifically against the Canaanite pantheon. In contrast to texts that speak of Yahweh’s council, there is no discussion here about a future action to be taken (e.g., Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; 1 Kgs 22:19-23). Furthermore, Yahweh invites no discussion and solely makes a decision to condemn the gods. S

Joseph Smith himself seemed to hold a different view. On one occasion he determined that a bad angel had appeared to a woman rather than a true angel of light because it gave her a revelation that contradicted a former revelation (See TPJS, 214-15).

 

prevail. We also sense that evil is a parasite on this; it is something that perverts, twists, and soils the good. Th can do that without being a mere negative

Only an omnipotent Creator can solve the problem of evil. I

I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods.”


moral laws are a form of communication, an activity by which one mind through statements conveys meaning to another mind. For moral laws are found explicitly in imperatives (e.g., “One ought to keep one’s promises”) and commands (e.g., “Keep your promises”) and, implicitly, in descriptions (e.g., “Keeping promises is good”). Third, there is an incumbency to moral laws. As Gregory Koukl puts it, moral laws “have a force we can actually feel prior to any behavior. This is called the incumbency, the ‘oughtness’ of morality…It appeals to our will, compelling us to act in a certain way, though we may disregard its force and choose not to obey.”31 Fourth, when we break a significant and clear moral rule, it is usually accompanied by feelings of painful guilt and sometimes shame. For we are cognizant of our moral failure and realize that we deserve to be punished. Only sociopaths succeed in overcoming their conscience completely. Fifth, moral laws are not material.

The latter is no option, for an infinite regress of sovereigns would mean that no sovereign in the series would ever be the sufficient condition for the authority passed on to the sovereign who follows him.33 The former is an option, but if this illustration is truly a parallel to th

“One ought to do what is morally right for its own sake even when no human person will ever know and no human person will ever be harmed i
This is called the Euthyphro Dilemma, because it seems that whichever option of the two one chooses, one chooses an undesirable answer. For if one answers the question by saying that something is good because God loves it, then “goodness” is merely the result of God’s power and will and is thus arbitrary. In other words, if God says that child torture is right, it’s right; but if God says that child torture is wrong, it’s wrong. On the other hand, if one embraces the second horn of the dilemma—God loves it because it is good—then there is a standard of goodness outside of God to which even he is subject. But this would mean that God’s commands are not the foundation of morality.

But even if DCT is an option for classical Christians, it cannot be so for Mormons. For the LDS God is not the Creator of the universe on whom all reality depends. The LDS God is in precisely the same position as the gods whose moral authority Socrates thought problematic; and the Latter-

conclusion that the LDS God is justified in issuing his commands. As political philosopher Hadley Arkes has pointed out, “The young boy who loses his first fight understands instantly that the success of his opponents cannot itself establish that they were ‘right’ or ‘justified’ in beating him up.” That is, “power cannot be the source of its own justification: the fact that some men may have been successful in seizing and holding power over others cannot itself establish that they were justified in imposing their rule.”41 Like many classical Christians, I do not find DCT (or its modified version defended by Adams) to be an adequate justification for the moral law.42 But that does not mean that God is not the ground of the moral law. It simply means that it is not his commanding that gives the moral law its authority. In other words, the moral law does depend on God, but not because God issues moral commands and is the all-powerful Creator of the universe. Rather, it is because God’s nature (or character) is such that it is eternally and perfectly good. That is, God’s commands are good, not because God commands


This means that God is the being who has the best collection of great-making properties that any being can possibly have, not that he has every possible great-making property one may think of. For example, choosing good over evil is a great-making property, but being necessarily good is also a great-making property. Yet no being can both have the ability to choose good over evil and necessarily always choose good (i.e., not have the ability to choose good over evil). Thus, these are not compossible great-making properties—for no being can have both of them together. Consequently, the fact that God “lacks” the ability to do evil does not count against his moral character. Third, even though God is necessarily good, it does not follow that he is not a free moral agent. Granted, his actions must be consistent with true moral principles, but he is free to choose what actions to engage in, including actions that are not necessitated by his goodness. For example, the

As C. J. Labuschagne points out, the Hebrew word for “one” (echad) in Deuteronomy 6:4 refers to “somebody who has no family, and, applied to Yahweh, this means that He does not belong to any family of gods. This aspect distinguishes him from all other gods. Furthermore the confession that Yahweh is a Single One was directed against the concept of divine famili

It should be kept in mind that orthodox Trinitarianism has always been careful to maintain a functional subordination of the Son and the Spirit to the Father. The Son and the Spirit are included within God’s own identity precisely as the Son and Spirit of God. The

Peterson claims that Jesus was only accused of making himself “a god,” since the Greek word theos in John 10:33 lacks the definite article.175 Although this translation is grammatically possible, it is weakened by the fact that this is a response to Jesus’ claim: “I and the Father are one” (10:30). Why would the Jews conclude that by claiming to be “one” with the Father, he was actually claiming to be a second god?176 On the other hand, Jesus’ claim is naturally understood in terms of inclusion within the unique identity of the One God (Deut 6:4). Peterson is correct to insist that Jesus is not the Father, but he misses the fact that Jesus identifies the One God of the Shema as both the Father and the Son.

when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” As Young points out, in Palestine the leaves of the oak (quercus), of which is a species, are narrow and (unlike those of other “oaks”) do not naturally fall from their branches.101 Without this knowledge, AV Isaiah’s rendering of 6:13 must have seemed to Smith as likely as any; therefore, it is hardly surprising that he unquestioningly incorporated the AV translators’ misinformed rendering into his own text (2 Nephi 16:13).102 As in the case above, scholars disagree on the correct understanding of the final word/phrase of Isaiah 8:20b: “Surely, those who speak like this ” Both Wildberger and Watts are convinced by Driver’s suggestion to read as “magic” or “power to overcome” while Clements and Kissane seem also to favor a translation of similar derivation (“witchcraft”).103 However, not all commentators on Isaiah are convinced, and for whatever reason, the opinions cited above have failed to find a place in current English translations, where the straightforward understanding of as “dawn” is retained.104 But neither of the above options are taken by the AV

Aquinas thought to evade the implications of this position for the finitude of the past by asserting that the temporal series of past events is merely potentially, but not actually, infinite. But this claim is plainly false, for in order to be potentially infinite, the past would have to be finite but growing in a backward direction, which is absurd. Moreover, Ostler overlooks the fact, pointed out by Kretzmann, whom he cites, that Aquinas did in fact accept these arguments as probability arguments for the finitude of the past, even if he thought they fell short of absolute proof.189

Corresponding to the mythological conception of deity is the magical character of the pagan cultus. Magic is an art whose purpose is to move occult powers to act in a desired manner. It utilizes means which are automatically efficient, irrespective of the will of the gods…The power of magic transcends the gods: they themselves employ it, for they too are in need of this almighty instrument which is independent of them and their will. The gods are great magicians, and there are even skilled specialists in this art among them.68

God does not employ magic but simply issues his decree. A

God uses fire to tell people no images

There are at least three important truths about objective ethics. First, they are necessarily person-related. That is, moral laws have only to do with persons (humans and angels are persons, as would be Klingons if they existed). It is silly to say that nonpersonal things can act morally or immorally (e.g., no one would seriously propose that a rock is acting immorally if it falls on someone’s head). Second, ethical laws are necessary. That is, they could not have been otherwise. It is not the case that it just happens to be wrong to torture innocent people for fun but that it might have been the case that it was right. Objective ethical laws are necessary laws.

Inevitably, when the atheist concludes that evil and the existence of God are logically incompatible, it is because the atheist has made some assumption about the nature of God or evil that the theist is free to reject.
said that there must necessarily be “an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11, 15); that is, evil and


the doctrine of creation ex nihilo exacerbates the problem of evil by making God an accessory before the fact
the doctrine of creation assumes that God’s word alone is what brings the universe about—not simply God’s word acting on previously existing matter. Psalm 33 declares that it was simply “by the word of the Lord [tô logô tou kyriou]” and “the breath of his mouth” that “the heavens were made”; he “spoke” or “commanded,” and it was “created/established [ektisthêsen]” (6, 9).105 There are simply no preexisting conditions to which God is subject; it is God’s commanding word that brings creation into being.106 As Bruce Waltke states, the Old Testament does not present an “eternal dualism” of God and primordial matter.

We have an intuitive sense that there is a way that things are supposed to be, a good that should prevail. We also sense that evil is a parasite on this; it is something that perverts, twists, and soils the good. This intuitive sense about the priority of good to evil is best accounted for by the intentions of a wholly good and transcendent Creator. But if evil is simply a constituent p