Mountain Man

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    Mountain Man reacted to zil in Growing in the Celestial Kingdom w/o the Adversary   
    Important caveat: 1 Corinthians 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
    In light of that (which I believe is more than "oh, it's gonna be so great"; rather it's "you cannot imagine"), we know precious little.  Personally, I think there are better things to worry about.  That said, easy question first: What will be our work? To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
    The rest is speculative, but...  Satan's "plan" was not to remove opposition, it was to remove agency - a whole different matter.  Further, his "plan" was "a [lie] from the beginning".  It never would have worked.  It was a scam.  I suspect he knew that (though he may have convinced himself that if he just knew all that God knew ("give me your power"), he could figure out a better way than the one God proposed).
    Regarding opposition, I suspect opposition is an eternal principle, not just something for this Earth, nor just for mortality.  (Moses 4, Genesis 3, etc.: "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil...")  That God is beyond temptation does not mean opposition doesn't exist, it just means that he's perfect and has made temptation subject to him rather than the other way around.  IMO, all those in the celestial kingdom will be the same, and they will not "arrive" at the celestial kingdom until they have learned everything they need to know (which I think is everything) to be there.  In other words, I think post-mortality will be a whole lot of learning until we have reached the full measure of the glory wherewith we are quickened (or for those in other kingdoms, as much of it as they're willing to reach) - godhood will not be an instantaneous change.
    Finally, I don't believe opposition along the lines of "sin" is necessary for growth.  My ignorance and a teacher's knowledge and cooperation between us are enough for me to learn.  Indeed, I think the lack of any opposition ought to make that kind of learning easier.  Some learning is easier through experience, but I suspect none of us will lack the requisite experience (the plan will see to that).
    Those are my initial thoughts and some are things I haven't spent much time on, so they're open to change.  And like I started with: it's mostly speculation and we're not equipped to understand the celestial kingdom right now.
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    Mountain Man reacted to Traveler in Adam & Eve and other Miracles - Symbolic, Literal, or Both?   
    Greetings Mountain - I am a scientist and an engineer and I am also an active 5th generation member with a personal conversion to LDS covenants, doctrine and theology.  I am by training a physicist and mathematician that works in the field of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence.  It is my opinion that the question of literal or symbolic understanding is the wrong question and will lead to poor conclusions.  First off, language itself is symbolic - so also are written words which introduces a second level of symbolism.  There is in reality no such thing as "literal" meaning.  What there is - is interpretations.  For example the word tree is a symbolic word that conveys a meaning that is spoken and then understood.  Seldom is the understood meaning preciously identical to what was spoken or written - there are many different kinds and species of trees.   There is more to understanding the symbolism of language than just understanding each word and how they are put together in language.  Each word heard or read has what we call an array of extent of possible meanings when it is interpreted by the receiver.  But when it is spoken or written there usually is a singular intended meaning.  It is called the intent.  So there is a difference between the extent of possible meaning and the intended meaning.  Sometimes something that is spoken or written will have multiple intended meaning - sarcasm is a fine example of communications with multiple meaning.
    Another form of speech that often or usually has multiple meaning is called poetry.  A great deal of ancient scripture is written specifically in poetic format indicating that the intended message is Gnostic or hidden and requires divine assistance to grasp the intended understanding or meaning.  Genesis for example is written in an ancient Hebrew poetic format - which would indicate that the intended message is somewhat hidden within the textual symbolism used.  This type of communications with man is not strange to G-d or to Jesus Christ.  Jesus taught by parables that were specifically intended to have hidden messages for the faithful that would be lost or confused by those that do no have eyes to see and ears to hear. 
    The economy of divine communication is very interesting in that G-d always employs multiple witnesses - with different symbolism.  An example is the dream of Pharaoh that were interpreted by Joseph.   In fact Joseph tells Pharaoh that the two dreams are one (the Hebrew term ehad) and that the message was doubled so that Pharaoh would "Know" that the message was from G-d. 
    Lets consider another message in scripture call the epoch of Noah's ark.  It is interesting to me that scriptures do not call it Noah's boat but rather use the word ark.  This is the exact same term used to describe a sacred relic in the temple called the "ark" of the covenant which definitely was not a boat.  I personally believe that the reason the term ark was used in scripture was for special symbolic meaning.  A meaning that I believe will not be uncovered by literal analysis.  The epoch of Noah's ark is simple enough for a child to understand yet challenging enough for a disciple studying to be able to devote a lifetime of study, prayer and meditation to discover much hidden to the unprincipled that see only what is at the surface. 
    I wish you well in your journey of discovery - and for the record - I believe the empirical witness that is interpreted by the scientific community is much more consistent than are the interpretations of scripture by the religious community that tends to have an agenda of apostasy.
    The Traveler
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    Mountain Man reacted to zil in Adam & Eve and other Miracles - Symbolic, Literal, or Both?   
    I ignore probably 99.999% of science (a fraction of which is known to mortal men), because "Who cares, let’s focus on what is important."  If you want to study one science or another, go for it.  But asteroid compositions and the latest rocket designs and such don't impact my daily decisions.  There are so many things to study in mortality, that I have no problem with anyone studying almost anything.  IMO, apparent conflicts between science and revealed truth is nothing more than evidence of our own ignorance.  I choose to trust revealed truth and acknowledge that we have no clue how God brought many (most?) things to pass, and how he did it isn't the point - the Bible isn't a world-building manual, it's a faith-building manual.  Personally, I believe Adam and Eve were real people created as described in scripture* and that the endowment is overflowing with symbolism meant to teach us about a lot more important things than how Adam and Eve passed their time.
    *Note that the D&C leaves no doubt they were real people, not symbols or fictional characters.  As for how they were created, I believe the scriptural description is completely accurate - as far as it goes.  Whether I understand it, or how much of the irrelevant-to-me bits were left out, is a whole 'nother (unanswerable) question.
    And I think the same thing about every other scriptural story that some people see as "far fetched".  Some people willfully limit their capacity to believe in the miraculous and in powers beyond their comprehension.  For example, I believe Christ walked on water (or slightly above it so that he appeared to be walking on water).  I believe he was able to do that because he understood the various natural forces (laws of physics and other laws) needed to accomplish the goal, and used them the same way an airplane builder understands and uses natural forces to enable the plane to fly despite the fact that gravity really wants it to stay on the ground.
    Those who think they must choose either science or faith are severely limiting themselves (and severely misunderstanding what faith is).  I find that life is far better when I let go of skepticism, which is only good for areas where self-preservation is the goal.  Where self-expansion is the goal, I believe all things are possible (by definition), even the things science doesn't yet understand.
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    Mountain Man reacted to LeSellers in Adam & Eve and other Miracles - Symbolic, Literal, or Both?   
    And here's at least one of the problems we Saints have with the Gospel:
    We don't know the doctrines of the Church, and assume things that are not part of the doctrine are.
    To wit: there is nothing in scripture or anyplace official that indicates the earth was created in 7 day, years, months or millennia. All we know is that there were seven creative periods. And we don't know much about even that, since we have three differing accounts of the creation.
    We are not "Creationists" as are many in the Christian world: we do not have, as doctrine, a position on evolution, for instance. There are two official statements to that effect, and nothing to the contrary. Most LDSs are anti-evolution, but the Church is not.
    So, while what we do know is not always in agreement with science, there are very very few places where doctrine and science are at odds.
    So, who cares? Let's focus on what is important.
  5. Like
    Mountain Man reacted to MrShorty in Adam & Eve and other Miracles - Symbolic, Literal, or Both?   
    I think one of the more interesting examples is the book of Job. From what I can see from those who study the sources and transmission of scripture, there is some good evidence that the book of Job is a work of fiction. The events described in this book did not really happen.
     I sometimes think that we struggle with the question of what it means when we say that scripture is "true". Does "true" mean "scripture (or original autographs of scripture) is an inerrant, factually correct history of events that actually happened?" Sometimes we want "scripture is true" to mean that. Can fiction and myth be "true"?
    Can scripture be true even when the factual parts of the text are discredited by science? As one who enjoys science fiction, I find that much of what I like about sci-fi are the themes of human nature, government, and such that are explored. These truths are not dependent on the science in sci-fi being exactly right. If we do learn that "transporters" are impossible as Star Trek envisions them, that will not invalidate the themes around human nature that the authors and filmmakers have explored.
    If I may, I liked this statement from this Anglican priest discussing the book of Job ( )
  6. Like
    Mountain Man reacted to Jane_Doe in Adam & Eve and other Miracles - Symbolic, Literal, or Both?   
    I am a professional scientist (an ecologist, to be specific), and a faithful member of the church.  I find that both roles actually enhance me overall, because they address different aspect of life.
     Like looking at a forest from a scientific standpoint, I see so much marvelous complexity working together in such interact ways, science can only roughly approximate-- remember, science by definition doesn't actually prove anything, but just disproves stuff.  Looking at the same forest from a spiritual standpoint: I see a marvelous masterpiece with the fingerprints of deity all over.  Spirituality tells me why things are- something science never can.  Science tells me the how things are- understanding the mechanism which is not elaborated on in scripture (after all, the point of scripture is talk about God, not the chemical structure of rubisco).