What is the scope of God's creation?


MrShorty

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To go along with some of the other recent discussions about the nature of God and creation and cosmology, I have seen a couple of different themes that have caused me to wonder just what we think (if we all think the same thing) about the scope or extent of our Father's creation. I'm not quite sure how to explain what I am thinking here, but a few examples might show the idea I am trying to convey. From smallest to largest:

1) One discussion talked about us "creating planets". Is our Father's/Christ's creation limited to the Earth/Solar system, and everything outside of that is beyond what He created?

2) The scriptures say that God created the Sun, Moon, and stars and placed them in the firmament of heaven. With a couple of notable exceptions (I will come back to them), every star, cluster, nebula, object that we can see naked eye is within our own Milky Way galaxy/"island universe". Is God's creation limited to a single galaxy?

Pertaining to this case, the notable exceptions are the Andromeda galaxy and the Triangulum galaxy (and maybe a few others, but definitely those two), both of which can be seen naked eye (when modern light pollution does not interfere). When I look up and see these clouds of light, am I looking beyond what our Father has created? When I pull out my telescope and observe any of the dozens of galaxies that my 150 mm diameter mirror will allow me to see, am I finding things that my Father did not create?

I have seen some suggest that God must exist within the universe, so He cannot have created the entire universe, so this model might make sense if that is true. This also might appeal to those who believe in a "steady state" "the universe has always existed" "matter is eternal" kind of universe.

3) Did God create the entire observable universe? No matter what tool I devise, I cannot see anything beyond what the Father created. Does this place the Father (and the Son and our premortal selves) in a "place"/"dimension" outside of our universe?

I'm sure there are other variations, but hopefully that gives some sense of what I am pondering. Personally, I am partial to something along the 3rd example -- that God through Christ created the entire observable universe. This suggests to me that the universe's existance (as I can see it, anyway) does not extend back in time indefinitely -- there must have been some beginning point. Whether the big bang's hypothesis that time and space were "created" together, I don't know. Since this kind of observation is beyond my mortal ability, I find it difficult to impossible to conceive of what "state" the universe was in before its creation, or to conceive of God's state outside of that universe.

My hypothesis is that few LDS will go with a narrow scope of creation like 1. I would be curious, though, what we might think beyond that.

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@MrShorty 

First off I am convinced that the explanation of the creation in scripture is not an explanation of the creation of our universe.  In fact, I am not sure that the scriptural account is applicable to anything that many think it to be.

First off – our galaxy is far bigger than any ancient society conceived the entire universe to be.  Our galaxy is over 150 light years across.  That means that if one was traveling at the speed of light and traveled to the far edge of our galaxy, it would take more than a single life time and in the process, they would pass more stars and planets than they had numbers defined for counting.  Just within the last 2 years it was discovered that our galaxy is part of a supercluster of hundreds of thousands of galaxies.  The supercluster we live in is bigger than the universe was conceived to be just a puny 100 years ago, (not much more than a normal single lifetime)

The point I am making is that it has been thousands of years since religion added even a single thought to our understanding of the universe and yet science is adding incredible knowledge at a yearly breakneck speed in comparison.

The scriptures talk about the creation of heavens – not the universe or even a galaxy but the heavens (plural). I am not sure anyone in our modern society even knows what an ancient heaven referred to.  For example, who know what the 7th heaven is.  Let me help.  In the creation of many (most) of the ancient calendars it was believed that the sun would, over the course of a year, pass through 6 gates to heavens on its journey across the sky.  Each gate defined a month of progression at the horizons for the sun rise and set.  This is how we ended up with a 12-month year. The 7th heaven was considered invisible and where G-d resided.  It is interesting to me that most of the stars in the sky were not even in one of the 6 seeable or defined heavens.  My whole point in this explanation is to reinforce that I do not believe we have a very good understanding of what a heaven was to the ancient to whom the scripture account of creation of the heavens was given.

Already my post is too long and I have hardly even began to scratch at the surface of the difference in scriptural understanding and even what is taught in a kindergarten science lesson.

 

The Traveler

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You are definitely correct that the worldviews surrounding the authors of scripture did not even begin to understand the immensity of the universe. According to Wikipedia, the Andromeda galaxy was originally thought to be some kind of "cloud" or nebula, and it wasn't until well into the 20th century that observations placed it so much farther away that anything we had observed within our galaxy and eventually led to declaring that it was a galaxy "island universe" outside of our own Milky Way. I cannot claim any special knowledge or understanding of exactly how the ancients viewed and understood the universe (the "heavens"), but it seems that they must have understood quite differently from how I understand the universe.

That mostly makes me question to what extent scripture is a suitable source for trying to understand how God fits in my, modern view of the universe (with millions of galaxies in every direction and such). Maybe the entire scriptural creation narratives end up distilling down to "God created/organized something, somehow -- including man in his own likeness and image (whatever that means -- and maybe it only means, as prisonchaplain pointed out in a recent thread, that God is approachable)" but has no real meaning beyond that. Perhaps part of my interest in this thread is to separate the worldview of the ancients out of the creation narrative and place the creation narrative into my own worldview. Part of that could be recognizing, as you note, that the ancients really had no idea how vast the universe is.

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33 minutes ago, Traveler said:

Our galaxy is over 150 light years across.  That means that if one was traveling at the speed of light and traveled to the far edge of our galaxy, it would take more than a single life time

To pick a small but important nit: If you were traveling at light speed, you would traverse any distance -- even the entire universe -- in zero time. If you could travel arbitrarily close to light speed, you could cover any distance at all in an arbitrarily short time. Of course, time would still pass for those at your target, so if you're going someplace a thousand light years away, they're still going to age 1000 years, even if the trip is instantaneous for you.

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3 hours ago, MrShorty said:

One discussion talked about us "creating planets". Is our Father's/Christ's creation limited to the Earth/Solar system, and everything outside of that is beyond what He created?

Elder Scott seemed to be under the firm impression that ALL in the universe was created by our Father and his Christ.

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28 minutes ago, Vort said:

Elder Scott seemed to be under the firm impression that ALL in the universe was created by our Father and his Christ.

 

It would seem that others (Parley P. Pratt) had the firm impression that there are "other" G-ds involved in the rule (creation?) of this universe.  The scriptures imply a plurality of G-ds (let us – our image) were involved with the creation of man.

 

The Traveler

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59 minutes ago, Vort said:

Elder Scott seemed to be under the firm impression that ALL in the universe was created by our Father and his Christ.

I would agree with Elder Scott on this. It usually leads me to envisioning God as someone existing outside of our universe, which I find difficult to envision in any meaningful way (maybe our universe, like the galaxy in Orion's belt from MIB, is "inside" of some "trinket" our Father has hanging around).

 

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4 hours ago, Vort said:

Elder Scott seemed to be under the firm impression that ALL in the universe was created by our Father and his Christ.

I'm not quite sure how you come to that. How do you know what Elder Scott meant by "all"? (Or whatever words he used) God Himself used words like eternal to mean things differently than we tend to mean them at times.

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8 hours ago, MrShorty said:

Is our Father's/Christ's creation limited to the Earth/Solar system, and everything outside of that is beyond what He created?

Does anyone think this? If they do they probably haven't ever cracked the scriptures.

8 hours ago, MrShorty said:

2) The scriptures say that God created the Sun, Moon, and stars and placed them in the firmament of heaven. With a couple of notable exceptions (I will come back to them), every star, cluster, nebula, object that we can see naked eye is within our own Milky Way galaxy/"island universe". Is God's creation limited to a single galaxy?

As this is not really taught, I'm not sure how anyone can know.

8 hours ago, MrShorty said:

Pertaining to this case, the notable exceptions are the Andromeda galaxy and the Triangulum galaxy (and maybe a few others, but definitely those two), both of which can be seen naked eye (when modern light pollution does not interfere). When I look up and see these clouds of light, am I looking beyond what our Father has created? When I pull out my telescope and observe any of the dozens of galaxies that my 150 mm diameter mirror will allow me to see, am I finding things that my Father did not create?

I doubt we can see beyond God's creations. Just my view though. Who knows. But I doubt it.

8 hours ago, MrShorty said:

I have seen some suggest that God must exist within the universe, so He cannot have created the entire universe

Huh? That makes no sense to me. What kind of strange logical rules are being applied by "some"? And where do they get the idea that God "must" exist within anything?

8 hours ago, MrShorty said:

This also might appeal to those who believe in a "steady state" "the universe has always existed" "matter is eternal" kind of universe.

Matter being eternal is a matter (pun intended) of doctrine.

8 hours ago, MrShorty said:

3) Did God create the entire observable universe? No matter what tool I devise, I cannot see anything beyond what the Father created. Does this place the Father (and the Son and our premortal selves) in a "place"/"dimension" outside of our universe?

If other gods (God's Father, God's Children, God's siblings, etc.) are also creating worlds without end (which seems to me to be the obvious thing) then the idea that one could not observe them no matter what device once created seems pretty silly. Of course I also think it silly to consider the idea of what sort of device would be needed to do so, and in pursuing such ideas one runs the risk of stepping into a Tower of Babel type situation. Of course one could also buy into some sort of multi-verse or multiple dimensional theory or some such. Which...maybe.

As it is, these sorts of concepts are mostly unrevealed and therefor the speculation is moderately pointless beyond the mere "I wonder" factor. What we do know? God's created unending. He has created worlds without number. We, if exalted, will do the same.

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15 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I'm not quite sure how you come to that. How do you know what Elder Scott meant by "all"? (Or whatever words he used) God Himself used words like eternal to mean things differently than we tend to mean them at times.

I guess you can decide for yourself.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/truth-the-foundation-of-correct-decisions?lang=eng

Quote

What have we learned from the scientific approach to discovering truth? An example will illustrate. Try as I might, I am not able, even in the smallest degree, to comprehend the extent, depth, and stunning grandeur of what our holy Heavenly Father, Elohim, has permitted to be revealed by the scientific method. If we were capable of moving outward into space, we would first see our earth as did the astronauts. Farther out, we would have a grandstand view of the sun and its orbiting planets. They would appear as a small circle of objects within an enormous panorama of glittering stars. Were we to continue the outward journey, we would have a celestial view of our Milky Way spiral, with over 100 billion stars rotating in a circular path, their orbits controlled by gravity around a concentrated central region. Beyond that, we could look toward a group of galaxies called the Virgo Cluster, which some feel includes our Milky Way, estimated to be about 50 million light years away. Beyond that, we’d encounter galaxies 10 billion light years away that the Hubble telescope has photographed. The dizzying enormity of that distance is suggested by noting that light travels 700 million miles an hour. Even from this extraordinary perspective there would not be the slightest evidence of approaching any limit to God the Father’s creations.

Ten billion light years away would be nearing the limits of creation, if we assume the universe to be no more than 13.6 billion light years apart (which does not take an inflationary model into account -- but I doubt Elder Scott was consciously taking that into account). Elder Scott's final sentence appears (to me) to confirm that he credits all the creation in the universe to our Father.

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57 minutes ago, Vort said:

Read it/heard it before. And what I "decide" is that there's nothing new here. Mostly he quotes scripture.

58 minutes ago, Vort said:

Ten billion light years away would be nearing the limits of creation

Since when? And by what source do you claim this to be true? I understand creation and the universe to be eternal. Never ending. Since when does eternal and never ending have limits?

1 hour ago, Vort said:

if we assume the universe to be no more than 13.6 billion light years apart

I assume no such thing.

Perhaps we could say "the known universe to be..." and there might be some validity to the assumption, but then the limitation is merely what we know. Which as we well know, what we know is meaningless to the reality of existence in the universe.

1 hour ago, Vort said:

Elder Scott's final sentence appears (to me) to confirm that he credits all the creation in the universe to our Father.

I feel quite confident (though, of course, this speculation of mine is just as faulty as what I am accusing your speculation to be) that if directly asked, that Elder Scott would readily accept the logical idea that "no limits" is a perspective thing, and literally ascribing "no limits" to God's creations is problematic. It is beyond our comprehension, I agree. But I go back to word usage, which I think one has to in these types of discussions. We're discussing impossible things (from our mortal minds) and trying to apply reason to them. We can't understand, really. And so we use (and are even given by God) words that we can understand, at least in the way that we need to.

But there are conflicting ideas at play and at one end of the spectrum or the other these conflicts need to be resolved. Either God is the only one or else there must be needs a "limit" of some sort to his creations, in that others have created things as gods that He has not. Either God was mortal and worked His way through a mortality to His exaltation or He did not. If He did, then someone else created that world wherein He worked through mortality. If He did, as one idea proclaims, then the other idea (that God created literally "all" the universe) cannot be. If, upon exaltation, we will create things, then by default someone else must not be creating said things. In fact, from a certain point of view, one could argue that Christ created this world and therefore His father did not. Of course they are the same, and we can look at God's progeny someday creating things as being in the same category (being one with God, and therefor anything we do, He does), but that, as I'm saying, is related to the words and the meaning of them. The oneness of God the Father and God the Son is an example of words and their meanings and how we can't always take things at face value. The scriptures call God the Father and God the Son one. Taken at face value, we wouldn't be as likely to be rejected by the "Christians". My reading of Elder Scott's view (based on my understanding of the complexities that have been given us related to the matter) is that interpreting his words to mean literally "all" would be akin to taking a talk wherein he spoke of the oneness of the Father and the Son and declaring that Elder Scott seemed to believe that they were physically the same. We know, from other gospel teachings, that he would not be meaning that. I think it fairly plain (though, perhaps, not quite as obvious as the oneness idea) that the same thinking can be applied to his teachings here.

I know I've read all sorts of crazy views and ideas online that interpret these sorts of things in different ways, and it very much depends on how one takes the meaning of the words. I take Elder Scotts' meaning, apparently, differently than you do. The fact is that neither one of us can really say for sure though. ;)

 

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15 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Does anyone think this? If they do they probably haven't ever cracked the scriptures.

I don't know if anyone does or not -- probably not many if any. I think I just needed this example to help me understand what I am talking about here -- the smallest scope I could think of for creation.

15 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I doubt we can see beyond God's creations. Just my view though. Who knows. But I doubt it.

I doubt it as well. However, based on technological advances, I do not have trouble hypothesizing that, with the right technology, I could see all the way to the "edge" of the universe and back in time to observe the beginnings of the universe. If I can see to the edge and to the beginning of the universe, where does that place God? What is His nature if He exists before the universe exists?

15 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Huh? That makes no sense to me. What kind of strange logical rules are being applied by "some"? And where do they get the idea that God "must" exist within anything?

Maybe it is just me who sees this kind of logic in statements like

 

14 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

 If He did, then someone else created that world wherein He worked through mortality. If He did, as one idea proclaims, then the other idea (that God created literally "all" the universe) cannot be.

These are the kinds of statements that lead me to some form of God is within the universe. This could also lead to a similar question to the OP -- what is the "scope" of the word universe. Does "the universe" only refer to our "observable universe". Or does "the universe" refer to something bigger than the "observable universe" which, in my head, deteriorates into a debate over what "universe" means and I get lost in the semantics.

15 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Matter being eternal is a matter (pun intended) of doctrine.

D&C 93 talks about "the elements" being eternal. As Traveler noted regarding ancient scripture, how much of this is based on a 19th century view of the nature of matter (when the beginnings of modern atomic theory were just getting started, but well before our modern understanding of element and atom and such). Modern, mainstream cosmology clearly believes that "matter" as we know it has a beginning. If God built the universe out of some pre-existing raw materials, what was the nature of those materials? I feel like I should also mention the question of what "eternal" means, because we sometimes talk about eternal as referring to something besides "time" -- in particular when discussing D&C 19. Perhaps matter is eternal is referring to something other than its relationship to time.

15 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Of course one could also buy into some sort of multi-verse or multiple dimensional theory or some such. Which...maybe.

I find myself frequently in this realm of thought, though I find that it really boggles my mind. So...Yeah, maybe?

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21 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

D&C 93 talks about "the elements" being eternal. As Traveler noted regarding ancient scripture, how much of this is based on a 19th century view of the nature of matter (when the beginnings of modern atomic theory were just getting started, but well before our modern understanding of element and atom and such). Modern, mainstream cosmology clearly believes that "matter" as we know it has a beginning. If God built the universe out of some pre-existing raw materials, what was the nature of those materials? I feel like I should also mention the question of what "eternal" means, because we sometimes talk about eternal as referring to something besides "time" -- in particular when discussing D&C 19. Perhaps matter is eternal is referring to something other than its relationship to time.

 

You may be interested in comparing the 88th section of the D&C with Abraham chapter 3.  The reason is because these two pieces of scripture are covering the same subject matter in the genre of the culture to which the revelation was given.  The D&C was given in a time of Newtonian concepts and Abraham was given when Abraham was in ancient Egypt under Pythagorean concepts first appeared in human history.  I could provide more detail but the point is clear.  G-d speaks in a way man understands (according to language and culture).  One could write a book on understanding scripture and revelation based on what can be learned in this comparison of just these two chapters. 

 

The Traveler

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3 hours ago, MrShorty said:

I doubt it as well. However, based on technological advances, I do not have trouble hypothesizing that, with the right technology, I could see all the way to the "edge" of the universe and back in time to observe the beginnings of the universe. If I can see to the edge and to the beginning of the universe, where does that place God? What is His nature if He exists before the universe exists?

There is no edge to eternity. :)

3 hours ago, MrShorty said:

These are the kinds of statements that lead me to some form of God is within the universe. This could also lead to a similar question to the OP -- what is the "scope" of the word universe. Does "the universe" only refer to our "observable universe". Or does "the universe" refer to something bigger than the "observable universe" which, in my head, deteriorates into a debate over what "universe" means and I get lost in the semantics.

All of the above?

3 hours ago, MrShorty said:

D&C 93 talks about "the elements" being eternal. As Traveler noted regarding ancient scripture, how much of this is based on a 19th century view of the nature of matter (when the beginnings of modern atomic theory were just getting started, but well before our modern understanding of element and atom and such). Modern, mainstream cosmology clearly believes that "matter" as we know it has a beginning. If God built the universe out of some pre-existing raw materials, what was the nature of those materials? I feel like I should also mention the question of what "eternal" means, because we sometimes talk about eternal as referring to something besides "time" -- in particular when discussing D&C 19. Perhaps matter is eternal is referring to something other than its relationship to time.

Interesting thought.

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On March 2, 2017 at 10:14 AM, MrShorty said:

To go along with some of the other recent discussions about the nature of God and creation and cosmology, I have seen a couple of different themes that have caused me to wonder just what we think (if we all think the same thing) about the scope or extent of our Father's creation. I'm not quite sure how to explain what I am thinking here, but a few examples might show the idea I am trying to convey. From smallest to largest:

1) One discussion talked about us "creating planets". Is our Father's/Christ's creation limited to the Earth/Solar system, and everything outside of that is beyond what He created?

2) The scriptures say that God created the Sun, Moon, and stars and placed them in the firmament of heaven. With a couple of notable exceptions (I will come back to them), every star, cluster, nebula, object that we can see naked eye is within our own Milky Way galaxy/"island universe". Is God's creation limited to a single galaxy?

Pertaining to this case, the notable exceptions are the Andromeda galaxy and the Triangulum galaxy (and maybe a few others, but definitely those two), both of which can be seen naked eye (when modern light pollution does not interfere). When I look up and see these clouds of light, am I looking beyond what our Father has created? When I pull out my telescope and observe any of the dozens of galaxies that my 150 mm diameter mirror will allow me to see, am I finding things that my Father did not create?

I have seen some suggest that God must exist within the universe, so He cannot have created the entire universe, so this model might make sense if that is true. This also might appeal to those who believe in a "steady state" "the universe has always existed" "matter is eternal" kind of universe.

3) Did God create the entire observable universe? No matter what tool I devise, I cannot see anything beyond what the Father created. Does this place the Father (and the Son and our premortal selves) in a "place"/"dimension" outside of our universe?

I'm sure there are other variations, but hopefully that gives some sense of what I am pondering. Personally, I am partial to something along the 3rd example -- that God through Christ created the entire observable universe. This suggests to me that the universe's existance (as I can see it, anyway) does not extend back in time indefinitely -- there must have been some beginning point. Whether the big bang's hypothesis that time and space were "created" together, I don't know. Since this kind of observation is beyond my mortal ability, I find it difficult to impossible to conceive of what "state" the universe was in before its creation, or to conceive of God's state outside of that universe.

My hypothesis is that few LDS will go with a narrow scope of creation like 1. I would be curious, though, what we might think beyond that.

Strictly by scripture, the most detail is in regards to the creation of the earth. Elsewhere god mentions that he has created more earths than there are sands in the sea, and that he formed the heavens (however the term heavens seems rather open ended to me). He has also said that "all things are before me". And that there is a star which is used for regulating/ruling/measuring all others.

I also find Gods ability to show alternate futures to be interesting.

Also what is given in the temple.

I also find instances where interactions with heavenly beings are described to be very interesting, especially accounts as detailed as joseph smiths.

 

I imagine it will hinge a lot on how one views the term "heavens" . For me that is talking more of what is there and forming/organizing it. For sure gods hand encompasses much more than the earth. Id say it very solidly covers all that we can see from our world. (basically projecting the creation of our world out onto the cosmos, or something very similar to it).

 

Unfortunately he doesnt give any statements that have any good paralell or similarity to a big bang event or an ex nihilo event or a sudden universal change of state... Altho there might possibly a reference to something of that nature in the statement about how how both the earth and the heavens shall pass away in revelations (altho in my first opinion is that it is more in regards of the natural cycle of stars and planets and the galaxies.. If it has literal meaning). Now i have no doubt that God has such power that he can bring about such events.... He just doesnt obviously state that he did or did not.

Against such he has said that spirit/matter is not created or destroyed. This may pose a problem for ex nihilo theories, but there are big bang theories that do keep with the law of the conservation of energy.

 

On alternate dimensions/realities/universes- first off God doesnt straight out say yea or nay to it in our scriptures, and not much is said that would support it... However there a couple of intrigueing bits that might.

First off it would be very very convenient, and would conveniently allow multiple gods while still having one god sort of stuff.  It would account for time being different for God than Man.  It might account for the "all things are before me"; perhaps it is easier to see everything inside a certain space-time if one is outside of it, but has the means to interface with ? It could also possibly have some weight with statements such as Gods ways are not mans ways (or gods time for that matter)... Or on the other hand, god just might have the perfect Big Brother system.

Quantum physics seems to sorta kinda to point in this direction.... But not like how its popularized in sci fi. Altho it could help explain how god can show alternate futures

When the angel visited joseph and js said he saw a corridor or channel through which the angel ascended back to heaven ... Was that to a differentvpart of our universe/reality or a door to a different one?

 

 A lot of fun stuff to think about, but not many solid answers.

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On ‎3‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 10:21 AM, MrShorty said:

D&C 93 talks about "the elements" being eternal. As Traveler noted regarding ancient scripture, how much of this is based on a 19th century view of the nature of matter (when the beginnings of modern atomic theory were just getting started, but well before our modern understanding of element and atom and such). Modern, mainstream cosmology clearly believes that "matter" as we know it has a beginning. If God built the universe out of some pre-existing raw materials, what was the nature of those materials? I feel like I should also mention the question of what "eternal" means, because we sometimes talk about eternal as referring to something besides "time" -- in particular when discussing D&C 19. Perhaps matter is eternal is referring to something other than its relationship to time.

I find it interesting that the ancient Egyptians believe that time did not define what was eternal but rather that eternal mean more along the line that something was unchangable in the hear and now regardless of any power operating on it.  The term used by the ancient Egyptians does not come up in my spell check and I do not want to take the time to look it up - but Joseph used the exact same term in the D&C to mean things eternal.  It may also be a fun exercize to figure out how Joseph learned the use of that term.

 

The Traveler

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40 minutes ago, Traveler said:

that eternal mean more along the line that something was unchangable in the hear and now regardless of any power operating on it.

Bringing this concept into modern thought, we have not observed or found this kind of matter (to my knowledge). In Joseph Smith's day (if he was even aware of the developments in Atomic theory), the smallest units of matter would have been atoms and maybe molecules. In our day, we know that even atoms are not unchangeable -- all of our nuclear technologies (for good and ill) are based on the ability to change one atom into another. Even creation of stars depends on changing atoms. We can even see that subatomic particles can be changed. From Einstein's work, we cannot even say that matter and energy are unchangeable, as we see how matter and energy can be converted into each other. I will admit here to a definite lack of knowledge about subatomic and quantum physics, so I don't know how far down we have gone. But it seems that we have not, yet, found "something" that cannot be changed into another "something". According to this definition of eternal, we have not yet found something that is eternal.

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On 3/2/2017 at 10:14 AM, MrShorty said:

To go along with some of the other recent discussions about the nature of God and creation and cosmology, I have seen a couple of different themes that have caused me to wonder just what we think (if we all think the same thing) about the scope or extent of our Father's creation. I'm not quite sure how to explain what I am thinking here, but a few examples might show the idea I am trying to convey. From smallest to largest:

1) One discussion talked about us "creating planets". Is our Father's/Christ's creation limited to the Earth/Solar system, and everything outside of that is beyond what He created?

2) The scriptures say that God created the Sun, Moon, and stars and placed them in the firmament of heaven. With a couple of notable exceptions (I will come back to them), every star, cluster, nebula, object that we can see naked eye is within our own Milky Way galaxy/"island universe". Is God's creation limited to a single galaxy?

Pertaining to this case, the notable exceptions are the Andromeda galaxy and the Triangulum galaxy (and maybe a few others, but definitely those two), both of which can be seen naked eye (when modern light pollution does not interfere). When I look up and see these clouds of light, am I looking beyond what our Father has created? When I pull out my telescope and observe any of the dozens of galaxies that my 150 mm diameter mirror will allow me to see, am I finding things that my Father did not create?

I have seen some suggest that God must exist within the universe, so He cannot have created the entire universe, so this model might make sense if that is true. This also might appeal to those who believe in a "steady state" "the universe has always existed" "matter is eternal" kind of universe.

3) Did God create the entire observable universe? No matter what tool I devise, I cannot see anything beyond what the Father created. Does this place the Father (and the Son and our premortal selves) in a "place"/"dimension" outside of our universe?

I'm sure there are other variations, but hopefully that gives some sense of what I am pondering. Personally, I am partial to something along the 3rd example -- that God through Christ created the entire observable universe. This suggests to me that the universe's existance (as I can see it, anyway) does not extend back in time indefinitely -- there must have been some beginning point. Whether the big bang's hypothesis that time and space were "created" together, I don't know. Since this kind of observation is beyond my mortal ability, I find it difficult to impossible to conceive of what "state" the universe was in before its creation, or to conceive of God's state outside of that universe.

My hypothesis is that few LDS will go with a narrow scope of creation like 1. I would be curious, though, what we might think beyond that.

D&C 131; " There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes;

 We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter."

What we can see is just a finite portion of God's realm.  In fact, this realm is not God's realm at all, He dwells in a purer realm that we do not have access to. We do not understand the nature of that realm.  We assume it is like this realm but it may only be in appearance like this one.  As far as we know, the laws that pertain to this realm, the laws of nature and physics etc, may be totally different than in God's purer realm.  It has not been revealed to us, probably because we are not capable of understanding it while in the flesh. I would say that if one can describe it while in the flesh then we are not talking about God's realm.  We cannot look up to the sky and say. 'there is God over there, or over there.'  It is not a place seen with these eyes.

Ponder the possibility that the matter existed in a more purer form that we cannot understand right now and then God saw a space and took of the purer matter and spiritually created the universe which then, some how, created this less pure material and form of existence that was designed for this existence.  When all is said and done He may reorganize the material back into its spiritual form, of which we cannot comprehend right now, to make it eternal (purer form) again.

We know that man cannot reach to the heavens, like the tower of Babylon, and find God.  That is the wrong place to look.

 

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@Eydis I was really surprised by my reaction to your post, and I had to sit on it for a couple of days. My reaction looks something like this. If the raw materials God used to create observable matter are beyond our observation -- how different is this from creation ex nihilo? On the one hand, there is a strong philosophical and theological difference around the question of whether or not God used some pre-existing raw material to create the universe. But, from the point of view of this observer, it seems like I would observe the exact same thing either way.

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2 hours ago, MrShorty said:

@Eydis I was really surprised by my reaction to your post, and I had to sit on it for a couple of days. My reaction looks something like this. If the raw materials God used to create observable matter are beyond our observation -- how different is this from creation ex nihilo? On the one hand, there is a strong philosophical and theological difference around the question of whether or not God used some pre-existing raw material to create the universe. But, from the point of view of this observer, it seems like I would observe the exact same thing either way.

Well, there is the phrase creatio ex materia.

Consider what it means to be "transfigured".  Consider the process Moses went through to be able to see God's realm and then back.  There is a process that has to take place to move from one to the other, a change of the materials. Often the change as described as physically moving like falling from a high mountain or place or being "caught up".

In guide to the scriptures, Transfiguration means; " The condition of persons who are temporarily changed in appearance and nature—that is, lifted to a higher spiritual level—so that they can endure the presence and glory of heavenly beings. "

If it can go in one direction it can go in the other as it did with Moses.

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@Eydis &  @MrShorty

One interesting possibility could do with dimensional space time.  If there was another dimension that intersects our 3 dimensions – most everything in that other dimensional space would be invisible to us.  In addition, an intelligent being existing in all 4 dimensions would have great advantages.  Besides being invisible (and appearing only when they wanted us to see them) – such a being would have access to all points in our 3 dimensional universe without having to “transcend” any other points.  For example, a 4 dimensional being would be able to perform repairs on our organs (like heart) without cutting tissue to expose the area needing repair.  In fact, the whole procedure could be accomplished while we are conscious and without us sensing or knowing of it.

In the subatomic universe, particles that we call bosons display characteristics of particles that could possess additional dimensions.  Light particles are called photons and are bosons.  It is very possible that we have been dealing with some elements of spirit matter without realizing it.

 

The Traveler

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@Traveler: A fascinating idea. I find some hypotheses around the idea of multiple dimensions very interesting. The main question I have is whether or not to consider these other dimensions as part of our universe or not. If they are created as part of our universe (most of what I understand about multiple dimensions suggests that they are part of our universe), then does God need to exist outside of all of those dimensions so that He can create them? Does each dimension exist independently of the other dimensions, so that God's home dimension exists before our dimension?

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On 3/12/2017 at 10:24 PM, MrShorty said:

@Traveler: A fascinating idea. I find some hypotheses around the idea of multiple dimensions very interesting. The main question I have is whether or not to consider these other dimensions as part of our universe or not. If they are created as part of our universe (most of what I understand about multiple dimensions suggests that they are part of our universe), then does God need to exist outside of all of those dimensions so that He can create them? Does each dimension exist independently of the other dimensions, so that God's home dimension exists before our dimension?

If that is the theory, then I think they likely exist independently but can interact.  For example, Adam's body was created and then the breath of life was added. Also, we existed as spirits before the construction of this world.  Lucifer was given power to influence the elements of this world, he didn't have the power automatically.  Ultimately, we don't know enough about it to say.

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  • 2 months later...

Resurrecting this old thread, I came across this 7 year old essay by Blake Ostler today: http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/The-Challenges-of-Non-existent-Mormon-Theology?offset=1&max=1

The paragraph that stood out to me was the paragraph at the top of page 2 that says:

The primary task of Mormon theology for the foreseeable future is to assess its relationship to naturalism and the scientific worldview. Many Mormons view God as located within and limited by our "particular universe," which began some fourteen billion years ago with the big bang and is thus subject to all of the limitations of natural law. Others see God as transcending the existing natural universe because God is the organizer not only of this universe, but of many others. God's relationship to the natural universe, whether God had a beginning of his divinity, and whether God is at the mercy of limitations of natural laws, remain major issues for Mormon thinkers to work out.

He seems to see a similar question to the one that I opened with, suggesting two overall answers within Mormonism -- God is within our universe or God transcends our universe. He seems to presuppose the Big Bang (or some variation of the Big Bang) and does not include some variation of an "uncreated always existing universe" that some might prefer.

Myself today, I prefer the latter of Ostler's options -- the God who transcends the existing natural universe. But I don't think I really know if that is truth or not.

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