Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is Eternal Life?

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.   10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

Eternal life is the desire of every Christian and most human beings probably entertain some hope of such a life.  A life without the troubles we associate with mortality.  Atheists on the other hand dismiss anything they can't put their eyes or hands on and choose not to believe in that which they don't physically see.    This philosophy is in reality just a choice not to believe and is at its core based on a fallacy.  The declaration to say their is no God is to say that they have somehow reached into the deepest corners of space and time to say there is no one else.  How can they know?  They can't.  Yet all of creation displays a greater order.  The deeper into space we look the more we see it. 

Even though denying to believe some spark will exist in the mind of almost every person at one time or another.  There is an impending time when reality of death enters the conscious mind.  When disease, old age and other infirmities cause suffering, death becomes a blessing. When the unexpected and untimely passing of the youth or healthy occurs it causes us to ask why and grieve more intensely.

Agnostic philosophy grounds itself in a limited view of reality, while Christian teachings expand to the eternal realm that we may not fully see. What ideology or theology exist to explain this vast unseen eternity of endless time and space?   What could we imagine such a life to be?

In my faith, our latter day scripture has a verse that says, "That same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there only it will be coupled with eternal glory." This is to say that families will continue to enjoy their relationships in an eternal setting.   Husbands and wives that make eternal covenants and keep them will be able to continue their relationship to each other and to their children.  We don't know or understand the full scope of this teaching but we can begin to see why these relationships are so important and why God placed us on earth and gave us an opportunity to form them.  

Classical theism on the other hand has determined that all family relationships as we know them end at death as we join some eternal realm of joy as singles in the presence of the creator. 

There is no exploration of eternal possibilities because their has been no revelation in the classical theistic dogmas.  Until Joseph Smith opened the heavens as a prophet of God no new information had come into theology of what our eternal live could be.

Part of the covenant promise revealed in the restoration of the gospel to those that are faithful is that marriage will continue in the eternities.  All people will have opportunities that may have been missed in mortality due to circumstances out of their control.  In the Biblical statement that "neither the man without the woman or the woman without the man" is very definitive doctrine. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were married by God for all eternity, as death did not exist.  We understand this to be eternal, and neither man nor woman can be exalted to the type of eternal life that God desires for us or that we might desire without the other.

Imagine the vastness of endless space and time. Thousands of years ago, even hundreds of years ago, philosophers could not begin to see what we have seen with things like the Hubble telescope.  That is galaxies without number. What could we be doing with all that time and in all that space?  

With no shortage of materials or limitations other than natural eternal law there is no end to creation. Traditional doctrines make no mention of creation other than this earth. Classical Theism has created a one planet creator, a static being with no ability to increase.  The doctrinal mis-interpretations of a single book of scripture here on this earth limits their view to such a doctrine.  Due to their closed view they have made Jesus Christ the savior of a single planet as well.

Theology of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ addresses some of the important things that God gives us here on earth that will continue with us in the next life. Adam and Eve were literally given a world.  Imagine a married couple with their own world.   The primary purpose of this world was to multiply and replenish it with life.  What is to stop that event from being repeated?  As God ordained marriage men and women were intended to be together as co-creators here on earth and the eternities.  Her we learn something of the responsibilities associated with creating life and nurturing it.  Isn't that what God has done?
Here on earth we have been given the power of procreation. We actually participate in the creation of new life.  As parents unite in love for one another, children usually enter their lives as a natural event. We create families.  There is nothing strange or unusual about it.  It is a natural law of science and humanity that as long as we don't use our scientific discoveries to tamper with it, creation of new human beings occurs.  Men and women are created in the image of God.  This pattern is also the expression of His image and likeness. God as a natural being in his existence is supernatural in his power.  Where we have a limited number of children he has an unlimited number.  Why does traditional theology believe in a celibate deity?

Fatherhood and motherhood pertain to godliness when honored as such. Traditional or classical doctrines taught in the Christian community speak of God as a mysterious being that cannot be related to as a family member.  In calling him father, it is more symbolic than meaningful and fatherhood does not apply to him in the definition and context that we use it in current language.

To a Latter Day Saint, fatherhood is a part of literal natural creation.  We are introduced to it here in mortality if we so choose. Eternal creation is governed by unchanging laws.  The fatherhood of God is literal and it is possible because motherhood. This is an eternal truth as well. They are inseparably connected.  We have eternal parents not a single parent.

Our spiritual existence before birth was a creation of such a dimension. It stems from a loving relationship, not a superstitious speaking into existence. Earth life is a process of extending a partial experience of those powers to us, God's children.  Being created in his image and because of his love for us, life here in mortality is a teaching and learning phase of eternity.
When we form these relationships and serve those we have made a covenant with, we develop the capacity through Christ's grace to love like he does.  
There is no reason to believe that death separates those that marry and remain faithful to the ideals that God has established in his commandments and covenants. Adam and Even were married in the Garden of Eden.  There was no"until death do you part" in whatever ceremony God performed as there was no death at the time.

A Latter Day hymn proclaims,"there is no end to creation".  Why would there be?  The elements and minerals that compose the most basic chemistry of our cells of our bodies have existed for time and eternity untold, yet they are present in us.  Even as they die and are replaced they are not destroyed.

Doctrinal misunderstandings of the New Testament have caused much of Christianity to not see that that families are eternal. God is glorified as his creations expand when those that He loves join Him in his endeavors. Eternal life is family life in its highest and most holy degree unbounded by the limitations that we as mortals experience.  We can scarcely comprehend it but it is real and someday we will understand it if we so desire. This is the Celestial kingdom of our God.

The amazing thing is that as we live the teachings of Jesus Christ we quickly discover that they bring us happiness and peace in the here and now. The truth of these principles leaves no doubt that the other teachings of Christ and his witnesses will carry us to the great eternity with a continued existence of even greater happiness.

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