Question for Christians

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Postby Yebra » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:25 pm

Ok, so I've been doing some thinking and even taking the core bits of Christianity as true, I really don't get why it's such a good message. I'm having particular trouble with the Resurrection. I can't understand how it works - I don't understand how it makes God good or worthy of worship or why Jesus' sacrifice has any meaning.

Isn't Jesus just a scapegoat? An animal loaded up with our sins and sent into the desert to die? Why is he any more profound than that? More to the point, seeing as Jesus is himself God, isn't he sacrificing himself to appease...himself? If God is omnipotent can't he just wave "wages of sin" thing anyway? Why does the apparently 'kinder' god of the New Testament still requires blood? Isn't it worse that he doesn't care whose blood than if he actually needed me to suffer for my own sins?

More to the point, what am I being saved from? I can't see an origin for original sin that isn't in itself a massive screw-up on God's behalf. I don't understand why someone rescuing me from a problem that is ultimately their fault in the first place is worthy of admiration.

I know it's a bit of a cliche but I really am interested in finding out how you guys see this. At every point I'm seeing something that looks like it could have been a coherent story but it's missing the crucial element that makes it make sense. Is it just me missing something? Fill me in here.
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Postby lyons24000 » Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:10 pm

Ok, so I've been doing some thinking and even taking the core bits of Christianity as true, I really don't get why it's such a good message. I'm having particular trouble with the Resurrection. I can't understand how it works - I don't understand how it makes God good or worthy of worship or why Jesus' sacrifice has any meaning.
The entire reason that the Message of Christ is good is for a number of reasons. First, Christ proved himself to the death, that he could keep perfect integrity. Second, he can now sympathize with us--he knows exactly what we go through. (Hebrews 4:15) Third, he proved himself obedient to death; in fact, learning obedience from the things that he suffered. He was then granted to give us everlasting salvation. "Although he was a son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered; and after he had been made perfect he became responsible for everlasting salvation to all those obeying him.” (Hebrews 5:8, 9) Last, because of his resurrection, salvation has been fully opened to us (1 Corinthians 15:17) and we now have a hope of a resurrection.-1 Corinthians 15:16-21
Isn't Jesus just a scapegoat? An animal loaded up with our sins and sent into the desert to die? Why is he any more profound than that?


The sacrificing of an animal was a temporary cover for our sins. That is why the High Priest had to sacrifice an animal continually. They just couldn't cover our transgressions. However, Christ was a perfect sacrifice. Therefore, his blood was not a temporary cover for our sins. His blood, more powerful then that of any animal, was sufficient to gain back that which was lost.-Hebrews 9:11-14, 24-28
More to the point, seeing as Jesus is himself God, isn't he sacrificing himself to appease...himself?
Not to start an argument, but Christ isn't God.-Mark 10:18; John 14:28; 20:17; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3
If God is omnipotent can't he just wave "wages of sin" thing anyway? Why does the apparently 'kinder' god of the New Testament still requires blood? Isn't it worse that he doesn't care whose blood than if he actually needed me to suffer for my own sins?


God doesn't wave the wages of sin thing because sin is plain wrong. God, being surpassingly good, has to do something to pay for sins because sin is a debt. He cannot just forgive that debt without something being paid. He still requires blood because "the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls because it is the blood that makes atonement by the blood in it. God says that the life is in the blood and that is why he needs the blood.-Leviticus 17:11

The thing is, it isn't that God "doesn't care whose blood" was shed. We cannot get salvation and forgiveness for ourselves. It had to be someone perfect. That was Jesus.-2 Peter 2:22; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22
More to the point, what am I being saved from? I can't see an origin for original sin that isn't in itself a massive screw-up on God's behalf. I don't understand why someone rescuing me from a problem that is ultimately their fault in the first place is worthy of admiration.
You are being saved from sin and death. (Romans 3:25; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57; Ephesians 1:7) You are wrong about the original sin part. God had nothing to do with Satan the Devil deciding to turn against God and incite Adam and Eve to eat from the fruit. God gave Satan, Adam, and Eve freewill and they chose to use it wrongly. That is why all are dying through Adam. Saying that the problem we find ourself in is God's fault is saying that it was wrong for God to give us freewill. God put the tree in the garden as a test to see if Adam and Eve would obey. Satan screwed that up. It is the fault of the three wrongdoers, not God's fault.
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Postby Luet » Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:43 am

Not to start an argument, but Christ isn't God.-Mark 10:18; John 14:28; 20:17; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3
I think it would be more appropriate in this forum to state, that you believe that Christ is not God; or that not all religions believe that Christ is God. That would be a better way to not start an argument.
God doesn't wave the wages of sin thing because sin is plain wrong. God, being surpassingly good, has to do something to pay for sins because sin is a debt. He cannot just forgive that debt without something being paid. He still requires blood because "the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls because it is the blood that makes atonement by the blood in it. God says that the life is in the blood and that is why he needs the blood.-Leviticus 17:11

The thing is, it isn't that God "doesn't care whose blood" was shed. We cannot get salvation and forgiveness for ourselves. It had to be someone perfect. That was Jesus.-2 Peter 2:22; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22
The thing that I think you missed in this explanation is the word Justice. You kind of said it without saying it. But it is God's sense of justice that will not allow him to break his own laws.
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Postby neo-dragon » Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:55 pm

I'm Christian but I've asked myself some of the questions that Yebra is asking as well. Let me play devil's advocate ( almost literally in this case). Was putting the tree in the Garden really a fair test? I mean, what would you say about a parent who "tests" his children by leaving them alone in a room with a bunch of fun toys and one loaded gun after making them promise not to touch the weapon? Should the kids be punished when one of them gets shot? Sure they probably didn't fully understand the consequences, but it's a test of obedience and trust, not understanding, right?

And Jesus does seem like a scapegoat. There's a reason why we have that expression, why people used to actually punish a poor goat; because human beings do seem to have a fundamental need to place all our guilt and shame on an external figure and make ourselves blameless by disposing of it. Just tossing this out there as food for thought, but given that this appears to be human nature, doesn't it seem possible that the significance of Jesus' death was created after the fact in order to serve such a purpose?
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Postby Slim » Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:05 pm

I agree with a lot of what lyons said. I also disagree with the traditional Christian view of the Trinity and Original Sin. But I also want to say what I believe in my own words.

I believe that if Adam and Eve didn't eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they would have never had children. There would not be any good nor evil, joy nor misery. But they did eat and mankind fell, but I believe that it is all so we may have joy.

I believe we are punished for our own Sins and not for Adam's mistakes. We don't need to repent for eating the forbidden fruit. But we all sin, and we all die. Heavenly Father knew from the beginning what would happen, and had already prepared a Savior and had provided The Plan of Salvation for us.

Heavenly Father could not wave the cost away. If God destroys Justice, He would cease to be God. Besides that, sinners would be happier outside of God's presence than to live with Him for eternity in their sins.

In Old Testament times, the people sacrificed animals as a symbol of the great sacrifice yet to come. The animals didn't actually cover their sins, but was to remind them of the Messiah. I believe that after Jesus came, we no longer sacrifice animals, but instead we take the Sacrament (other faiths may call this Communion or The Lord's Supper) to remind us of the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us.

Jesus Christ has no mortal father. His father is our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ never sinned, and was the only perfect person to live. No one else could pay the price for the sins of another, because no one can even pay for his/her own. Because of His mortal mother, he could die. But because of His immortal Father, he could come back from death, never to die again.

I believe that because of Christ's resurrection, he made it so all of us will be resurrected. Our bodies will be made perfect, and we will never die again.

I believe that Jesus Christ took upon himself the sins of all mankind, and that we can become clean from sin if we repent and follow Him. When we are clean, we can live with our Heavenly Father and have Eternal Life.

References:
The Fall: 2 Nephi 2:22-25
Scapegoat: Lev. 16:21-22
Lamb: Exodus 12:5, Isaiah 53
Law of Moses points to Christ: Gal 3:24-25, Alma 25:15-16
Sacrament to Remember Christ: Moroni 6:5-6
The Resurrection: 1 Cor. 15:20-22, Alma 11:42-43
The Atonement: Alma 34:8-9
Last edited by Slim on Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby lyons24000 » Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:49 pm

Because of His mortal mother, he could die. But because of His immoral Father, he could come back from death, never to die again.
This is proof of how removing one little letter can alter the entire meaning of something. I haven't stopped laughing yet! :lol:
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Postby Slim » Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:32 pm

lol. :oops:
I better change that...
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Postby Rei » Sat Sep 13, 2008 6:35 pm

I haven't read the above responses yet, but here is my understanding coming from a Catholic/Mennonite background.

There are a few key points you bring up. One is the idea of Jesus as a scapegoat. Another is Jesus as God and what does that achieve. And another is why die at all?

We can begin with Jesus as a scapegoat. Simply stated, Jesus is a scapegoat in the very literal sense of the concept. And when Jesus died on the cross, he was performing the same function of carrying the sins of the people and destroying them in his death. In that way, his being a scapegoat is a very good thing for humanity.

There is a question, then, about what sins exactly are being destroyed by Jesus' death in particular. That goes back to God's covenant with Abraham where he promises the land of Canaan and to make him a great nation. God told Abram to cut several animals in half as well as sacrifice some birds and lay them in a path. Then, at night, God passed between these as a torch and a burning censer. This was a formula for a type of a covenant that Abram would have been familiar with, and typically both parties would pass through the path, sealing both in the covenant. If one party failed to fulfill their part in the covenant, that party would sacrifice their life. It is significant, then, that only God passes through the blood, and not Abram as well. This means that if either party should break the covenant, it is God who will have to pay the penalty. Because we believe we are the spiritual children of Abraham, we are part of that same covenant. And when we sin, we break that covenant. Therefore, in order to be forgiven and the debt of duty repaid (for our lives are forfeit as soon as we break the covenant) we need to turn to the only one who could fulfill that end of the covenant. That is why it matters very much whose blood was needed and why it had to be Jesus -- God -- who had to die, and why his sacrifice is once and eternal.

So what Christians are being saved from is their end of the covenant they break by sinning against God. That leaves the question of why should you enter into that covenant and what are you being saved from if you were never part of that covenant? This is where Original Sin comes in. It has been suggested that if there were no Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and therefore no command to obey and no ability to sin, it would be impossible for us to actively love God. And by that, our worship and love would be little better than that of a puppet who is only able to do what their strings direct. It is the option to not obey that makes the obedience a choice, and which makes it significant when we choose to obey.

Further to that, we must look closer at story of the Fall. When God tells Adam not to eat of the Tree, he says that he will die. This death we know to be a spiritual death which comes of breaking a covenant with God (this covenant is between creator and created). Part of the nature of such a covenant is that it is inherited by his children, and his children's children, and so on until the reparation for the covenant is made. When God curses the Serpent, who is the devil, after the Fall, he tells how the terms of the reparation may be made: he states that the Serpent will strike the heel of Eve's child, who is Christ, and that Christ will crush his head. If this were never met, then all of humanity would die a spiritual death and be forever cut off from God.

This means that the crucifixion is not only a payment for the covenant that the was broken by the line of Abraham, but it also covers the failure to obey God and therefore the active decision to not love him that was Original Sin.

And that was a lot longer than I intended. I hope it's at least a bit helpful.

Really, if you want a far better and clearer discussion of your questions, I would strongy point you to C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. Lewis really does an excellent job of explaining things.
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Postby anonshadow » Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:56 pm

I'm a little bit of an unorthodox Christian, but I look at it this way:

Christ died to remind us and to provide us with a good reason to how to face sin. He isn't a scapegoat; he reached so many people during his life, and provided an example of a devout and just and merciful human being, and then provided us a good example through his death. Jesus was strong, so we should be do.

Original sin to me, similarly, is that as humans began to develop conscience and knowledge, they began to have a choice between good and bad. That's represented by Eve eating from the tree of knowledge. That wasn't in defiance of God--it was the only way to create true worship. How can you worship if you don't have the choice to do otherwise?

Yes, there are many grey areas within good and bad--but there are things that I think all people can agree are bad. Rape, murder, greed, adultery... and we're all tempted at some point or another to engage in an act we know is wrong. When we're tempted, we should remember Jesus, who chose to do what was right, and not falter just because it would be easier to.



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Postby Yebra » Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:48 pm

Hi all, thanks for taking the time to gives answers. I think I'm getting a better picture of how you guys see it so thanks for widening my understand there.

The whole Garden of Eden thing always seemed to me a story about enlightenment - gaining knowledge and the burden that comes with that. The fact that it's generally treated as a 'bad' series of events always seemed bizarre to me. Slim, am I right in thinking the 'Garden of Eden not a bad thing' is generally the Mormon take? How widely is this shared?

And Slim, you mention Jesus' can come back from the dead because of his immoral father, but resurrection isn't a unique event even within the Gospels, am I missing something there?

Naturally we're getting some crossed signals from different beliefs here, an interesting division I think I'm seeing is whether or not Jesus was always part of the plan.

My question is if he was always part of the plan, why was there a delay between the fall and Jesus' appearance? Jesus seems a clever loophole to get around the rules about sin. I can understand God not wanting to break his own laws, but why, given infinite knowledge, would He create a rule that later on he'd have to twist around? This only really makes sense to me if Jesus wasn't part of the plan but required later - which Rei, if I'm reading you right (and there's every possibility that I'm not), you're saying Jesus' appearance is only necessary because the covenant with Abraham was broken? That would work nicely for me.

Lewis is on my list of things to read when I'm somewhat nearer a real library again. I'm just being lazy and and figured I'd fire questions off you guys before I did my next bit of reading.

I've got a few questions on a different area if anyone's feeling helpful. What is the general feeling on Hell? How integral is it to your theologies? A place of suffering or merely of sadness like Hades? Or nothing at all? I'm assuming that Aquinas's notion that heaven is a more enjoyable place because those in it can watch the suffering below ("That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell.") has gone out of style, although I'd be interested in any takes on that quote.

I ask because I have difficulty accepting Jesus as even a good person while he seems to be walking around threatening people with violence. Take the end of the parable of the Sheep and the Goats:
"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Matthew 25:46)
I'm working from the New International Version but the translation seems to usually come out as something like that and there's a few other examples of similar lines elsewhere. Now yes, it is a parable, but it's a parable about what will happen to real people come judgement. How can eternal punishment ever be justified for finite crimes? I have problems imagining a Jesus who thinks this is entirely reasonable not being a pretty scary person and that's reinforced by other parts where he seems to think that thoughts are as bad actions and should be punished as such. How can someone who believes thoughtcrimes should be punished be anything other than concerning, even if they are divine?
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Postby Eaquae Legit » Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:13 pm

Rei suggested Lewis because he is both very easy to read (his voice is conversational) and because he puts a lot of that together for you. His going over heaven, hell, Christ, and salvation is a complete package.

For me, hell is what happens when God respects an individual's choice to reject Him. God is generally regarded as the ultimate cause of all things good, so withdrawing himself completely from a person would leave only bad behind, I guess. I believe only God knows who's actually rejected him and who's rejected a caricature of him or a distortion or a misunderstanding, and I believe He is merciful. I suspect we'll find a lot of people in heaven who we'll be surprised by.
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Postby Rei » Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:30 pm

Yebra, to be fair on the Original Sin question, you will find in some medieval texts it described as "that happy sin which brought wisdom". As for the sacrificial element, I believe that a sacrifice from the line of Eve is made necessary when God states the prophecy that someone will destroy the devil. At that point, though, it is not a clear necessity that that someone be God. It becomes necessary that God should be the sacrifice (through Jesus, who is both a child of Eve and God himself) with the covenant with Abraham.

As for hell, I tend to agree with Ali as to the nature of it. If heaven is experiencing the love of God, like heat and light, then hell is the absence of the love of God, just as cold and dark are not then elements themselves, but the simple absence of heat and light.

As our priest said at Mass, last week, I do not think that God points and laughs at people in hell. And contrary to that snippet of Aquinas, I don't think that God would approve of his children doing so either.
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Postby lyons24000 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:18 pm

Yebra, you're so fun. Keep the questions coming. I love it!
The whole Garden of Eden thing always seemed to me a story about enlightenment - gaining knowledge and the burden that comes with that. The fact that it's generally treated as a 'bad' series of events always seemed bizarre to me. Slim, am I right in thinking the 'Garden of Eden not a bad thing' is generally the Mormon take? How widely is this shared?
I, although, not a Mormon know (or believe I know) that Mormon's believe that Adam and Eve could not have children unless the Fall happened. And I don't think any other religious group believes that.

The reason why others don't believe that is because God gave Adam and Eve two commands: Do not eat from the tree and have children. Why would he give them two conflicting commands. You either break one or break the other. Most religions don't believe God would do that. Why?

Would it be just or loving to condemn a person for doing what you planned for him to do? God is a God of love. (1 John 4:8 ) All his ways are just. (Psalm 37:28; Deuteronomy 32:4) It was not God's will for Adam to sinl he warned Adam not to do that. (Genesis 2:17) God did allow Adam the freedom to choose what he would do. Adam chose to rebel against God, despite the warning that death would be the result.
And Slim, you mention Jesus' can come back from the dead because of his immoral father, but resurrection isn't a unique event even within the Gospels, am I missing something there?
There are only a few resurrections recorded in the Bible. Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, and Paul resurrected people. (Peter may have but I don't think he did.) Jesus' resurrection was different in that he would never die again. (Romans 6:9) Everyone else who was resurrected eventually died again. That is why his resurrection is unique. Another reason for that, too, is that Christ earned his resurrection for himself by proving his integrity. Everyone else was resurrected mainly for the comfort of other people.
Naturally we're getting some crossed signals from different beliefs here, an interesting division I think I'm seeing is whether or not Jesus was always part of the plan.
Jesus was always part of the plan from the moment Adam and Eve sinned. Jehovah God told Satan "I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel." (Genesis 3:15) That is the first prophecy recorded in the Bible immediately after the Fall.
My question is if he was always part of the plan, why was there a delay between the fall and Jesus' appearance? Jesus seems a clever loophole to get around the rules about sin. I can understand God not wanting to break his own laws, but why, given infinite knowledge, would He create a rule that later on he'd have to twist around? This only really makes sense to me if Jesus wasn't part of the plan but required later - which Rei, if I'm reading you right (and there's every possibility that I'm not), you're saying Jesus' appearance is only necessary because the covenant with Abraham was broken? That would work nicely for me.


I don't want you to think that I'm ignoring this but I can't answer because I don't know the answer. I can only give my own opinions and I don't want to do that! Maybe Luet can help here.
I've got a few questions on a different area if anyone's feeling helpful. What is the general feeling on Hell? How integral is it to your theologies? A place of suffering or merely of sadness like Hades? Or nothing at all? I'm assuming that Aquinas's notion that heaven is a more enjoyable place because those in it can watch the suffering below ("That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell.") has gone out of style, although I'd be interested in any takes on that quote.
See my post about hell here: It's closer to the bottom of the page[/quote]
I ask because I have difficulty accepting Jesus as even a good person while he seems to be walking around threatening people with violence. Take the end of the parable of the Sheep and the Goats:
"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Matthew 25:46)
I'll take this in sections. Eternal punishment doesn't have to mean that the person being punished is conscious at all. Eternal death is punishment enough. The reason people nowadays do not feel that way is because it has been indoctrinated in them for years that there has to be some type of physical punishment or else it isn't punishment. Just because they believe that doesn't mean it is true. The Bible even teaches that "The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all..." (Ecclesiastes 9:5) Also notice that Jesus did not say that the righteous will go away into eternal bliss but eternal life. We can also look at it as opposites. The "eternal punishment" is the opposite of "eternal life". Therefore, the "eternal punishment" can be "eternal death".

Although I believe that to be true, I am not flaunting it around as absolute truth because not everyone will agree with my assessment. Therefore, I ask that you don't attack me for it! :)

Anyway, in one of those verses you quoted, Matthew 5:21-22, says "fire of hell". However, the original Greek word there is "Gehenna". That word did not mean hellfire, as many believe today. Gehenna was a garbage dump outside of Jerusalem where the bodies of people considered too worthless for a proper burial were thrown. Either they would fall all the way to the bottom (where it was on fire) and their bodies consumed, or they would fall on a ledge where bugs and other creatures would consume their flesh.

At one point, Jesus said something like "And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,
where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' "-Mark 9:47, 48

While many claim that this verses supports the doctrine of hell. However, this is a quote from Isaiah 66:24 which says, "And they will actually go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that were transgressing against me; for the very worms upon them will not die and their fire itself will not be extinguished, and they must become something repulsive to all flesh.”

Now, if you look closely, Jesus was not talking about hell, he was speaking of Gehenna! We see that from Mark 9:47 where he literally says, "Gehenna" (as said above, many translate this hellfire). However, what happens in this Gehenna, which Isaiah 66:24 is talking about and which Jesus applies the Scripture to?

The carcasses of the men are being consumed by worms which do not die. Also in Gehenna, the fire which was to consume the trash thrown in there was never put out, they kept it going 24 hours a day. The men do not keep going on but the worms and fire do! This cannot be used to prove the doctrine of hell. However, what about other Scriptures that talk about eternal torment in fire?

Well, in Jude 7 it says, "So too Sod´om and Go·mor´rah and the cities about them...are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire." Sodom and Gomorrah are not literally burning today but they are completely destroyed. So evidently, "everlasting [or eternal] fire" is eternal destruction, as many Bible scholars have come to realize.

So, do not look down on Christ Jesus or God Jehovah because of what men teach.
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Postby Jebus » Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:26 am

Rei suggested Lewis because he is both very easy to read (his voice is conversational) and because he puts a lot of that together for you. His going over heaven, hell, Christ, and salvation is a complete package.

For me, hell is what happens when God respects an individual's choice to reject Him. God is generally regarded as the ultimate cause of all things good, so withdrawing himself completely from a person would leave only bad behind, I guess. I believe only God knows who's actually rejected him and who's rejected a caricature of him or a distortion or a misunderstanding, and I believe He is merciful. I suspect we'll find a lot of people in heaven who we'll be surprised by.
So how does someone reject God? Simply by not believing in him, or are good works an acceptance of God as God is all that is good?

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Postby Jebus » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:00 am

I really should have read the last two sentences in the above post. But in any case, I'm interested on what you think on the matter, even if you're unsure it is the ultimate truth.

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Postby Slim » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:58 pm

Yes, that's right. We believe that the fall was a good thing, and that they wouldn't have had children. There are other things I could say, but that's a big one.

And, like lyons said, Jesus' resurrection was permanent. Those He and others brought back to life died again eventually. But because Jesus Christ was resurrected, that opened the way so that everyone will be resurrected. Like Him, our spirits and our bodies will reunite, never to be separated again.

I believe that Jesus Christ was always part of the plan, even before the creation. So why the "delay between the fall and Jesus' appearance? I don't know why He was born the time He was born. But I do know that his atonement works just as well for those before His time and after. Jesus Christ has always been, and will always be the way to our Heavenly Father.

For example, I believe that after Adam and Eve were commanded to offer sacrifices, they were taught that it was a symbol for the sacrifice of the Son of God. They were taught the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they taught them to their children.

Or, maybe I don't understand what you mean about Jesus being a "loophole" around sin, and what you mean about God needing to "twist around" a rule he made.

---

When we speak of hell in my faith, we can be speaking of a couple different things. One we also call "Spirit Prison," and this is the place the spirits of those that didn't follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will be taught the gospel, but there will still be those that won't repent.

Jesus Christ loves us and that is why He suffered for us. When he took our sins, he bled from every pore. Yes, even small sins will separate us from God, but that why Jesus Christ atoned for us-- so that we could repent and live with our Heavenly Father again.

But as I said, there will be those that won't repent. During the Millennium, they will suffer as Christ did for their own sins.

But we believe that when the scriptures speak of "endless torment," it is because "endless" is one of God's names. We believe that at the end of the Millennium, the punishment will end. They will be the last to be resurrected. When they are resurrected, they still won't be in Heavenly Father's presence, but they will still receive a (smaller) degree of glory.

The second way we speak of hell is a permanent hell, which we call "Outer Darkness." This is where Satan and his angels go. Only very few others will end up there.

And on your quote, I think that the type of people who go to heaven aren't the people who gain pleasure in watching others suffer. In fact, I would say that seeing the wickedness and suffering of others is the only way those in heaven will still feel pain.

References:
Fall a good thing, and Adam & Eve wouldn't have had children: 2 Nephi 2:22-25, Moses 5:10-11
Jesus Christ chosen from the beginning: Abraham 3:27, Moses 4:1-2
Permanent Resurrection: Alma 11:45, 1 Cor. 15:51-55
Adam taught meaning of sacrifices: Moses 5:6-8,12
Suffering of the wicked: Doctorine & Covenants 19:16-19
Endless Torment defined: Doctorine & Covenants 19:6-12
Resurrection of the unjust: John 5:25-29, Rev. 20:12-13, Doctorine & Covenants 76:81-86
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Postby Jebus » Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:19 am

I really should have read the last two sentences in the above quote. But in any case, I'm interested on what you think on the matter, even if you're unsure it is the ultimate truth.

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Postby Slim » Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:15 pm

Sorry Jebus, I missed your posts. So, your question was, "How does someone reject God?"? In terms of what? In general anytime we sin. But rejecting God in terms of going to hell, not repenting of our sins.

But then your next sentence seems to try and get at something more. If I understand you right, you are asking about people who do good things, but don't believe in God. Is that right?

I believe that to be clean from sin and receive Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father, we must live the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (ie, Faith in Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, etc.) In other words, yes, belief is important. But I also do believe that everyone will be taught the gospel and given an opportunity to choose to either accept or reject it.
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Postby Jebus » Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:30 pm

Bah, I don't remember quoting myself, I think I was trying to edit that post, not quote it, and therefore it wasn't a snooty attempt to make you respond, Slim.

Anyway, if you believe that everyone will be "taught the gospel and given an opportunity to choose to either accept or reject it", which I assume you mean in some form of afterlife since it'd be impossible to accomplish that on earth, what is the point of missionaries or attempting to convert people in this life?

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Postby Slim » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:22 pm

lol. Failure! :D

Anyway, that was part of what we talked about in "Why?," but it looks like you disappeared during that conversation.

But to summarize -- According to what I believe to be true, yes, most of the teaching would go on in the Spirit World. But it is better to follow the gospel here because we will have a huge advantage than if we wait. When we die, we will still be the same people, and will want to make the same decisions. Also, blessings come to those who follow the gospel before we are dead. We don't have to wait until we are in heaven to have peace and joy.
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Postby CezeN » Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:12 am

Yes, that's right. We believe that the fall was a good thing, and that they wouldn't have had children. There are other things I could say, but that's a big one.

And, like lyons said, Jesus' resurrection was permanent. Those He and others brought back to life died again eventually. But because Jesus Christ was resurrected, that opened the way so that everyone will be resurrected. Like Him, our spirits and our bodies will reunite, never to be separated again.

I believe that Jesus Christ was always part of the plan, even before the creation. So why the "delay between the fall and Jesus' appearance? I don't know why He was born the time He was born. But I do know that his atonement works just as well for those before His time and after. Jesus Christ has always been, and will always be the way to our Heavenly Father.

For example, I believe that after Adam and Eve were commanded to offer sacrifices, they were taught that it was a symbol for the sacrifice of the Son of God. They were taught the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they taught them to their children.

Or, maybe I don't understand what you mean about Jesus being a "loophole" around sin, and what you mean about God needing to "twist around" a rule he made.

---

When we speak of hell in my faith, we can be speaking of a couple different things. One we also call "Spirit Prison," and this is the place the spirits of those that didn't follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will be taught the gospel, but there will still be those that won't repent.

Jesus Christ loves us and that is why He suffered for us. When he took our sins, he bled from every pore. Yes, even small sins will separate us from God, but that why Jesus Christ atoned for us-- so that we could repent and live with our Heavenly Father again.

But as I said, there will be those that won't repent. During the Millennium, they will suffer as Christ did for their own sins.

But we believe that when the scriptures speak of "endless torment," it is because "endless" is one of God's names. We believe that at the end of the Millennium, the punishment will end. They will be the last to be resurrected. When they are resurrected, they still won't be in Heavenly Father's presence, but they will still receive a (smaller) degree of glory.

The second way we speak of hell is a permanent hell, which we call "Outer Darkness." This is where Satan and his angels go. Only very few others will end up there.

And on your quote, I think that the type of people who go to heaven aren't the people who gain pleasure in watching others suffer. In fact, I would say that seeing the wickedness and suffering of others is the only way those in heaven will still feel pain.

References:
Fall a good thing, and Adam & Eve wouldn't have had children: 2 Nephi 2:22-25, Moses 5:10-11
Jesus Christ chosen from the beginning: Abraham 3:27, Moses 4:1-2
Permanent Resurrection: Alma 11:45, 1 Cor. 15:51-55
Adam taught meaning of sacrifices: Moses 5:6-8,12
Suffering of the wicked: Doctorine & Covenants 19:16-19
Endless Torment defined: Doctorine & Covenants 19:6-12
Resurrection of the unjust: John 5:25-29, Rev. 20:12-13, Doctorine & Covenants 76:81-86
I disagree about the whole if we didnt sin we wouldnt have joy or children thing. I mean, God does say that because we sinned he would greatly increase womens pains of childbearing. If they werent gonna bear children to begin with, he wouldnt say increase, Am I correct?????
Also, I dont take books that aren't of the bible as the true word of God :(
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Postby CezeN » Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:12 am

Yes, that's right. We believe that the fall was a good thing, and that they wouldn't have had children. There are other things I could say, but that's a big one.

And, like lyons said, Jesus' resurrection was permanent. Those He and others brought back to life died again eventually. But because Jesus Christ was resurrected, that opened the way so that everyone will be resurrected. Like Him, our spirits and our bodies will reunite, never to be separated again.

I believe that Jesus Christ was always part of the plan, even before the creation. So why the "delay between the fall and Jesus' appearance? I don't know why He was born the time He was born. But I do know that his atonement works just as well for those before His time and after. Jesus Christ has always been, and will always be the way to our Heavenly Father.

For example, I believe that after Adam and Eve were commanded to offer sacrifices, they were taught that it was a symbol for the sacrifice of the Son of God. They were taught the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they taught them to their children.

Or, maybe I don't understand what you mean about Jesus being a "loophole" around sin, and what you mean about God needing to "twist around" a rule he made.

---

When we speak of hell in my faith, we can be speaking of a couple different things. One we also call "Spirit Prison," and this is the place the spirits of those that didn't follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will be taught the gospel, but there will still be those that won't repent.

Jesus Christ loves us and that is why He suffered for us. When he took our sins, he bled from every pore. Yes, even small sins will separate us from God, but that why Jesus Christ atoned for us-- so that we could repent and live with our Heavenly Father again.

But as I said, there will be those that won't repent. During the Millennium, they will suffer as Christ did for their own sins.

But we believe that when the scriptures speak of "endless torment," it is because "endless" is one of God's names. We believe that at the end of the Millennium, the punishment will end. They will be the last to be resurrected. When they are resurrected, they still won't be in Heavenly Father's presence, but they will still receive a (smaller) degree of glory.

The second way we speak of hell is a permanent hell, which we call "Outer Darkness." This is where Satan and his angels go. Only very few others will end up there.

And on your quote, I think that the type of people who go to heaven aren't the people who gain pleasure in watching others suffer. In fact, I would say that seeing the wickedness and suffering of others is the only way those in heaven will still feel pain.

References:
Fall a good thing, and Adam & Eve wouldn't have had children: 2 Nephi 2:22-25, Moses 5:10-11
Jesus Christ chosen from the beginning: Abraham 3:27, Moses 4:1-2
Permanent Resurrection: Alma 11:45, 1 Cor. 15:51-55
Adam taught meaning of sacrifices: Moses 5:6-8,12
Suffering of the wicked: Doctorine & Covenants 19:16-19
Endless Torment defined: Doctorine & Covenants 19:6-12
Resurrection of the unjust: John 5:25-29, Rev. 20:12-13, Doctorine & Covenants 76:81-86
I disagree about the whole if we didnt sin we wouldnt have joy or children thing. I mean, God does say that because we sinned he would greatly increase womens pains of childbearing. If they werent gonna bear children to begin with, he wouldnt say increase, Am I correct?????
Also, I dont take books that aren't of the bible as the true word of God :(
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Postby lyons24000 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:00 am

CeZen, that was a very good answer.

The Scripture he was refering to is Genesis 3:16.

"To the woman he said: 'I shall greatly increase the pain of your pregnancy; in birth pangs you will bring forth children, and your craving will be for your husband, and he will dominate you."
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Postby Yebra » Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:47 pm

Ok someone explain the afterlife to me. Maybe it's a failure of imagination but I can't possibly imagine anything that could keep me occupied for all eternity without fundamentally changing me - in which case what's the point in applying any judgement from this life?

Slim, I'd have no problem accepting the Gospel if I'd died and it was being taught to me by celestial beings in the afterlife - that would to me fufill my want of proof. My question would then be if we're going to be provided with evidence anyway, why bother making it so hard to get it right in this life? There are hundreds of religions and 34,000 branches of Christianity, all of which contain people who feel personally reassured that theirs is the correct version - under those conditions I think it's unrealistic for God to ask people to pick the right one. If it's all going to be made clear surely that could be cleared up a bit first? Thomas got to put his hands in the wounds, why do some people get extraordinary evidence to back up extraordinary claims and others told to go with faith?
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Postby Slim » Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:13 am

What, "increase" can't mean 0 to many? ;)
But you are right, I believe in more scriptures, so I don't have to rely only on an interpretation of the Bible. :)
Believe what you like, that's fine. I also like learning how others see things. But this is what I believe.

Anyway, "Why aren't all the answers just given to us?" It's all about Eternal Progression -- the idea that we can change ourselves and become a bit better than what we were before.

One of the things I believe is that we lived as spirits before we were born, literal children of our Heavenly Father. We could only grow spiritually up to a point. The purpose to life is so that we can gain a physical body and to grow spiritually by choosing good over evil. It's easy to follow God when you are living with Him, so we need to be separate from Him to really show that we will freely choose good and reject evil. I believe we chose to be born, and our memory of pre-earth life was hidden from us.

Life is a test. There are thousands of choices for religions and churches-- but I know that if Heavenly Father wants us to do something, He will provide a way.

If life wasn't hard, we couldn't grow. (Another reason I feel the Fall was a good thing.) If we were supposed to have all the answers, Heavenly Father could just remove the veil and let us simply remember our pre-mortal life. But that would spoil the main purpose to life -- choosing good over evil for ourselves.

Miracles can and do happen. But even with a miracle, if we do not have faith, it will not benefit us. This is probably why miracles typically happen after one has faith. Also, Satan can do his version of miracles to deceive us. I don't know why God gives some spectacular miracles. Perhaps we each need to learn something different. But I do know that we still need faith.

I also believe that if we succeed in following Jesus Christ faithfully, then we will be able to inherit Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father. We will be kept occupied because Eternal Progression will be able to continue there. Husbands and wives will be together and will have become like our Heavenly Parents and will be able to raise spiritual children of their own.

------
See also:
Pre-mortal life: Abraham 3:22-25
God provides a way: 3 Nephi 3:7
Faith + Miracles: Ether 12:6, Alma 32:17-19, Doctorine & Covenants 63:7-11, John 6:26, Matt 12:38-41
Celestial Kingdom/Eternal Progression: Doctorine & Covenants 137:7-10, 131:1-4, 130:2, Romans 8:16-17
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Postby lyons24000 » Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:45 pm

Anyway, "Why aren't all the answers just given to us?" It's all about Eternal Progression -- the idea that we can change ourselves and become a bit better than what we were before.
I believe the answer to that question is: "I have many things yet to say to you, but you are not able to bear them at present." (John 16:12) However, if we "Keep on asking, it will be given [us]; keep on seeking, and [we] will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to [us]." Yes, the Bible even promises us that if we ask for wisdom, it will be given to us. How? Through the holy spirit. The holy spirit will bring back all things to our minds and teach us all things.-James 1:5; John 14:26
One of the things I believe is that we lived as spirits before we were born, literal children of our Heavenly Father. We could only grow spiritually up to a point. The purpose to life is so that we can gain a physical body and to grow spiritually by choosing good over evil. It's easy to follow God when you are living with Him, so we need to be separate from Him to really show that we will freely choose good and reject evil. I believe we chose to be born, and our memory of pre-earth life was hidden from us.
You see, the Bible does not teach the pre-existance at all. In fact, it speaks against such a thing. Jesus Christ did exist in the heavens before he came to earth, but nobody else. That is why Jesus Christ could tell the people of his day, "You are from the realms below; I am from the realms above. You are from this world; I am not from this world." (John 8:23) If everyone had been in heaven before they came to earth, then that would have to include Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac. In fact, the BIble says of them: "Yet not that case alone, but also when Rebekah conceived twins from the one man, Isaac our forefather: for when they had not yet been born nor had practiced anything good or vile..." (Romans 9:10, 11) We see here that before Jacob and Esau were born they had not done anything good or bad, which would have to be the case if they were alive before coming to earth.
Life is a test. There are thousands of choices for religions and churches-- but I know that if Heavenly Father wants us to do something, He will provide a way.
Life is a gift, not a test. God gave us the gift of life because he is good. (Genesis 1:26-30; 2:7-9, 18-24) There are many choices of religions and churches but there is only "one lord, one faith, one baptism.
If life wasn't hard, we couldn't grow. (Another reason I feel the Fall was a good thing.) If we were supposed to have all the answers, Heavenly Father could just remove the veil and let us simply remember our pre-mortal life. But that would spoil the main purpose to life -- choosing good over evil for ourselves.
Our main purpose in life is to worship God. God has put eternity into our hearts. He has given us a desire to live forever. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Further, we each have a spiritual need. (Matthew 5:3) We need spiritual things in our lives, we cannot live on the physical for very long. (Matthew 4:4) That is why people are happy when they worship God, whichever God they worship because they fill that they are personally fulfilling this Psalm, Psalm 144:15.
I also believe that if we succeed in following Jesus Christ faithfully, then we will be able to inherit Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father. We will be kept occupied because Eternal Progression will be able to continue there. Husbands and wives will be together and will have become like our Heavenly Parents and will be able to raise spiritual children of their own.
We can never become like God. Even Jesus was only a reflection of God, never fully like Him. (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3) That is why God told the prophet Isaiah, "Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none." (Isaiah 43:10) There has never been another God and there never will be another God. No one can be just like him. There is no one higher then he is or even equal.

Also, marriage in the heavenly realm is not possible. The Bible says that death severs in the marriage bond. (Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:39) Jesus Christ, when he was on earth, commenting on those resurrected says of marriage, "For in the resurrection neither do men marry nor are women given in marriage but are as the angels in heaven." "For when they rise from the dead, neither do men marry nor are women given in marriage, but are as angels in the heavens." (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25) Death is it. As wonderful as it may sound, there is no sealing to continue with one another. That is why the Bible says that a woman who is a widow or a man who is a widower can get remarried. Hardly would that be the case if they were sealed to someone else.-Romans 7:3; 1 Corinthians 7:39
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Postby lyons24000 » Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:45 pm

Sorry, this was a double post. Ignore it, will ya? :D
Last edited by lyons24000 on Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Rei » Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:17 am

Lyons, the purpose of this thread is not to debate amongst ourselves who is right and who is wrong. It's fine to say where one understanding differs from another, but it is not appropriate to shift debate to who is right or wrong from answering the questions posed from our own perspectives.

Yebra, regarding getting bored of eternity, I've been working through an idea recently which is related to that. It's related to the idea of love, and that evil is the absence of love, and that in heaven there will be no absence or lack of love. So it will essentially be the same as earth, with the only difference that it will be a true copy (where this is only the shadow copy) and love will be present in everything. I've written a fairly long post on the subject here as pertaining to disability, but you may find some of the ideas transferable.
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Postby Luet » Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:08 pm

Lyons, I think your posts would go over a lot better if you focused on responding to questions that were asked and didn't post just to contradict someone else (in this particular thread). Also, maybe if you worded things as "I believe..." so it doesn't come off as condescending.
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Postby shadow_8818 » Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:03 pm

Yeah thats all lyons does
Daniel- you know speaking in the third person has proven that your crazy.
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Postby lyons24000 » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:00 pm

At least I use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation!

A little lesson:

If you press the key with a ">" and a little dot (we call that a "period"), it helps matters a lot only when you use it at the end of a sentence. Also, if you press "shift"+"?" when asking a question, that helps, too!

Note: When you press the key that has the little dot called a "period", do not press the "shift" key or a "period" will not appear.

Also, when you come to a sentence where there is a slight pause, press the key with "<"+"Shift" and it makes a "comma". Those are helpful, too!

Now for the review. Try it!
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Postby shadow_8818 » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:05 pm

at least I don't look for errors in other peoples work
Daniel- you know speaking in the third person has proven that your crazy.
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Postby surditate_vero » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:36 am

Please don't argue. Can we keep this civil, please?

Shadow: All we're asking is that since we all take the courtesy of using proper grammar and syntax, that you do the same in your posts.

Lyons (and everyone else, myself included): If shadow perturbs you so, you don't have to respond to his posts.
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Postby Taalcon » Wed Dec 17, 2008 2:26 pm

Of course it would take a religion thread to pull me out of lurker mode ;)

I'm going to simplify and lineally present my LDS belief and understanding of key elements of the need for and blessings that come from A Savior. Bear with me, some foundations are necessary to understand first. I will not be presenting references here. If desired, feel free to email/pm me.

The Plan of Happiness

In the beginning, we were with Our Father, but we were not like Him. A few of the key differences were:

a) He had a physical body
b) He had full freedom to act (supreme agency), and Experience that came from that.
c) He was immortal (could not die, spirit and body would not be separated)
d) He was Pure.

In our state by His side, we would not be able to attain those elements, which were the foundations for recieving all the rest of the blessings He enjoyed. Being Our Father, he set forth the Plan that would make all those things possible. Knowing we would err, a Savior was established as an integral part of the plan. We agreed to this plan. All who have been born, or will be born, agreed to the terms. We recognized the need to accept the Savior to fulfill Our Father's purpose, "To bring to pass the immortality and Eternal Life [type of life that God lives] of man."

So to get the plan started, a School was created. A place for us to come to gain our bodies and our experience. The pre-mortal Jesus Christ, under the direction of the Father, created the Earth.

Then, to keep the forward progression of the plan, two of Our Father's noble children were sent to the Earth to start it out. For all intents and purposes, consider them Adam and Eve. Through them came us. We sin, and separate ourselves from the divine.

This is where our decisions come into play: having Atoned for our personal Sins as well, Christ instituted what I like to call the "Atonement Personal Acceptance Plan", the way we acknowledge the Gift, and reap the full benefits thereof, which include
1)personal cleansing of Sins
2)and 'exalting', or lifting us to a state of being higher than we were when the whole thing began, the beginnings of Life as Our Father Is

The way we show our acceptance is:
a) Faith in Jesus Christ as the Atoning One
b) Repentance - doing what we can to turn our lives around to live as He lived
c) Baptism and covenant making by a "legal administrator" of the Kingdom of God
d) Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost as a perpetual purifying and cleansing agent and guide.
e) Enduring to the End, staying on the Path.

This is what is meant by the Good News of the Gospel, that "Death and Restoration to the presence of God have been accomplished for us through the Atonement of Christ, and through the Atonement a way has been provided for us to be cleansed from our Personal Sins, and become as Our Father is if we accept the Atonement according to the Savior's terms."

Thus, one who takes full advantage of the Atonement will, following this life:
a) Have a perfected physical body
b) Have full freedom to act in all things
c) Be Immortal as our Father and Savior are
d) Be Pure as They are as well

All the rest of the blessings come from those.

The understanding of a God, a Heavenly Father who not only has the Power to bring us to His level, but the Love to devote His existence to helping us accomplish that, that we may experience the fulness of Joy and freedom that He experiences, is a great source of comfort and Joy for me.

I don't for a moment intend this to be a comprehensive list nor explanation of all the blessings and benefits that come from Christ's Atonement. Books and books have been written on the subject. This just places a bit of context in the whole 'big Picture" of the whys and hows of our existence, and purpose of life, according to my understanding and personal conviction.

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elfprince13
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Postby elfprince13 » Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:00 pm

Something that should be mentioned, since the word is being tossed around a lot in this conversation, is that the English word sin was originally an archery term meaning to miss the mark......I wouldn't be at all surprised if it shared etymology with sine. Anything we do that misses the mark of what God intended for us is a "sin" as is anything that interferes with a healthy relationship with Him. It's NOT some arbitrarily decided act of "badness"

Yebra, your question/comment about denominations is also a good one. There's a saying that sums things up pretty well,
In Essentials, Unity; in Non-essentials, Liberty; in All Things, Charity.
We're not saved by having perfect doctrine, we're saved by pursuing a relationship with God. The closer to the truth your beliefs are, the easier it is to pursue that relationship, but since no one in this world has a perfect understanding of God, we're all in the dark to some degree.

I'm a little late in the topic to discuss the "isn't Jesus just a scapegoat?" issue, but I'd like to throw in my $0.02 anyway.
I see Jesus as the greatest love story in history, between God and the human race. He created us so that he could love us, and we could love him, but we rejected that and turned our back on him, to do as we chose. But rather than turning us out into the cold, like we deserve, he came to us and said "Its ok, I still love you, I forgive you, I will take the punishment in your stead, as long as you still love me" But it wasn't just any punishment, he chose to submit himself to the cruelest form of execution ever invented by mankind. God, who had never been alone in all of space and time chose to experience all the loneliness and suffering of the human race, because he loved us. How can I turn my back on such love? For that would be to say to Him "all you did for me, everything you suffered, it means nothing, I don't want your gift"
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"But the conversation of the mind was truer than any language, and they knew each other better than they ever could have by use of mere sight and touch."
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