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Monday, December 11, 2017

Answering the Futurist

According to Futurist Speaker, Thomas Frey is google's top rated futurist speaker.  In this article, he attempts to present 10 questions that he claims neither science nor religion can answer. Well, Mr. Frey, I will, in this entry, present you with the answers to your questions.  Thankfully God has revealed the answers to every question through His chosen servants, prophets, apostles and so forth.  In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we celebrate knowledge, even scientific knowledge and we are counselled, in the words of the prophet Joseph Smith, as follows. "Thy mind[...,] if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity." In another revelation, the Lord commanded, "...seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith."

With that in mind, I will present the answers to your questions drawing on revelation from God through His servants. Here we go.

Question 1: Why are there exceptions to every rule?

To begin with this, there aren't. To be fair, I will go as far as to agree that there does seem to be an unending supply of exceptions all the laws, theorems, postulates and so forth we are aware of. But I promise you there are some things that do not have an exception. Some other time I'd love to discuss what those are but I'll at least start out by explaining why there are so many exceptions. Tad R. Callister, in His book, The Infinite Atonement, refers to justice and mercy as follows: "There are certain laws of the universe that are immutable, that are without beginning of days or end of years. They were not created by an intelligent being, nor are they the product of moral thought, rather they are eternal, co-existent realities with the intelligences of the universe. These laws are immutable in that they cannot be altered or modified in any form. They unchangeable from eternity to eternity. They are self-existing, self-perpetuating laws to which even God himself is subject."

This is not to suggest that God is not omnipotent, but that the reason He is omnipotent is because He is omniscient. He has perfect and infinitely complete mastery over the laws of justice and mercy. Therefore, he can work within those laws to accomplish anything He desires. This principle is more fully explained in a passage in the Book of Mormon in Alma chapter 4 where a wise man was selected to be at the head of the government to "enact laws according to the laws which had been given, and to put them in force..." God works the same way. He enacts and enforces laws that are in agreement with the immutable laws of justice and mercy.

How does this explain exceptions?  One of example is in 1 Nephi chapter 4 in the Book of Mormon. God commands Nephi to obtain scriptures from Laban, a wicked political leader who did whatever he wanted whenever he wanted without regard to God's commands or the well being of others. Normally God's command is 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'. However, this law, as is the case with all others, must be enforced in agreement with justice and mercy. In the case of Nephi and Laban, God commanded Nephi to decapitate Laban when he was in a drunken stupor because, as Nephi was instructed, "it is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief." It was justified because Laban had previously been given multiple chances to give up the scriptures to Nephi willingly (and God had commanded Nephi to get them) and he refused each time. It was merciful because if Laban has been allowed to stay alive and thereby continually keep the scriptures from Nephi, he would have piled up that much more violation of those immutable laws and been guaranteed to suffer a fate worse than death, but Nephi was able to do as God commanded. So justice and mercy were both satisfied.  Every exception is based on the same principle, satisfying immutable laws of justice and mercy.

Question 2: Why Do Logic and Reason Fail To Explain That Which is True?

This one is pretty simple. Our understanding of logic and reason is flawed to begin with because, of the first point, made above. We have a limited and often flawed understanding of everything and God does not. His logic and reasoning are perfect and ours are not.  As God said in Isaiah 55: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." A parallel to this, on a much smaller scale, is the view of a city you can get from ground level versus a view of it from a mountain top. Any time we can see all the details of something from a broader perspective and how all it's details work together to form the whole, our logical approach to managing said thing will change because we see it more clearly and correctly than we would have from a limited point of view. Our logic fails to explain that which is true because our logic is flawed. When we align our perspective perfectly with God's our logic will no longer be flawed and everything will makes sense.

There is a youtube video that addresses the question "Where did God come from?" The man reminds the asker that asking where God came from assumes that there was a time that He did not exist. He corrects the premise of the question by reminding the asker that, in the same way the the person who builds a computer is not one of the components of the computer, God is not a component of the universe. It's not like a 2D entity in a 3D world, rather more like a 3D entity in a 2D world, conceptually. The person who made the computer is outside of it, independent of it and capable of manipulating it as they please because they are not affected by the computer itself, but are the force affecting the computer. In the same way, God is not affected by the universe, He created it and exists independent of it and, therefore, sees the universe (or, as I believe, multiverse) as it truly is. We exist as a part of the multiverse and therefore are incapable of perceiving it from our own logic and reasoning as it truly is. We don't see things are they are, we see them as we are. If we want to see things as they are we need to obey God and in doing so, become like Him and thereby see everything the way He does.

Question 3: Is the Universe Finite or Infinite?

I'll get right to the answer on this end and then give evidence. It is infinite. As God tells us in Moses chapter 1: "worlds without number have I created." His creation is infinite. The reason why this is so hard to grasp is partially illustrated by the above point (kind cool how each point so far helps to answer the next question). As opposed to God who lives independent of time, our existence is bound by time moving forward. We can't comprehend the idea of "infinite" because absolutely everything we perceive has a beginning and an end, a creation (perhaps more accurately referred to as organization) and an eventual destruction (or dispersion/decay). This is not the case with God or His creation and, similar to the last statement in the above answer, when we do what He asks of us, we will learn how to become the kind of beings who can comprehend the idea of "endless" or "infinite".

Question 4: Why Does Anything Exist?

The answer to this is pretty simple as well. If you look again in the book of Moses, God says, in chapter 1 verse 39, about His creation, "This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man[kind]." When considering why anything exists, remembering the One who created "anything" created it all for us, His children! What a beautiful truth! Everything he created was made for the sole purpose of bringing to pass our immortality (existing forever in our bodies) and eternal life (becoming like God and truly living as He does).

Question 5: Why Does Time Exist?

As The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "The great Jehovah [Jesus Christ] contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth, pertaining to the plan of salvation, before it rolled into existence, or ever ‘the morning stars sang together’ for joy; the past, the present, and the future were and are, with Him, one eternal ‘now;" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 220; History of the Church, 4:597) God exists independent of time, space and matter. He created all of it. To be honest, it's actually merciful that we are living dependent of time. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God by partaking of the forbidden fruit, they were in a permanently spiritual state of unGodliness and thereby were incapable of dwelling with God, separated from Him forever, placing them and all of their posterity (all of mankind) in an endless state of decay. If you look at Alma 12 in the Book of Mormon, Alma explains why God placed cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the tree of life after they partook of the forbidden fruit. "And now behold, if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life they would have been forever miserable, having no preparatory state". This would violate the laws of justice and mercy because it would have meant that God had made a means to have us, His children, become like Him, only to allow that plan forever nullified and impossible to fulfill. Time exists because God mercifully gave us time to learn from our mistakes and follow His counsel to us while making it impossible to take short cuts or cheat by changing history and thereby violate justice by affecting our own well being at the cost of others well being.

Question 6: Why Do Humans Matter?
A quick answer here. Refer to Moses 1:39 and Romans 8:16-17. We are the children of the Creator of the Universe. That's why we matter. We are meant to one day become like Him (see 3 Nephi 27:27, Book of Mormon) and therefore have the same power over time, space and matter that He does.

Question 7: Why Are Humans So Fallible?

Explaining the fall of Adam and Even a little more in depth will answer this one. Reading through the first few chapters of Genesis will give the full story but when God put Adam and Eve on the earth, He gave them two commandments. Multiply and replenish the earth (i.e. have children) and do not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When they indulged in Satan's temptation to eat the fruit and thereby disobeyed the latter, it caused a change in their bodies that made them and all of yet to be born mankind subject to weakness in varied forms, death, spiritually incapable of residing with God forever and without any memory of our life with God prior to our mortality (which is why we needed Jesus to be our Savior, but that's a conversation for another day). Without any memory of our pre-earth life and Satan around to tempt us to sin as much as he pleases, even the Holy Ghost, whose role is to speak to our minds and hearts to guide away from temptation, can only keep us away from temptation as much as we pay attention to Him. Every choice to either heed the Holy Ghost or Satan is entirely up to us. God will never force us to choose one way or the other and Satan is not allowed to. This has obviously resulted in every last human being making more than plenty mistakes. For more information on this, talk to a Mormon missionary.

Question 8: Do Human Accomplishments Have Long Term Meaning?

Absolutely. Yes. They Do. In the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 27:26 to be exact, Jesus says "all things are written by the Father". Whether this is directly or via delegation, it does say one thing for sure. Since there are no qualifiers to that statement, it tells us that God is aware of and knows absolutely everything about everyone and everything that ever happens to us, as well as everything we ever do, think, believe, say or feel, is recorded somewhere. If God the Supreme Intelligence of the Universe, sees fit to remember absolutely everything about us, including what we do, then I'd take that as a sure sign that it all has immense meaning which we will completely understand at some point.

Question 9: Why Is The Future Unknowable?

The short answer is the future is knowable. Of course, you have to learn to discern the voice of the Holy Ghost in the mind and heart, as briefly mentioned earlier, because the Holy Ghost always speaks the mind and will of God to us, but as you get better at that, the more you will be able to learn what the future holds because God knows the future perfectly. His omniscience allows Him to anticipate and predict the future with perfect, detailed, intricate accuracy and arrange the past, present and future any way He pleases. If you can get to the point where you can recognize and heed every single prompting you get from the Holy Ghost, you will be able to know whatever God sees fit to reveal to you about the future.

Question 10: What Is The Purpose Of Death?

1 Corinthians 15:22, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." In other words, because of Adams transgression, we all die, but because of Jesus Christ conquering death we will all be resurrected. Death, the separation of body from spirit, is part of the process by which our bodies are renewed and perfected by Jesus. The reason we die is because of Adam, but the purpose of it is to transform us into a perfect body. See also Alma chapter 40 for more on this.

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Whether Mr. Frey reads this or not. I hope it does some good for someone. God has all the answers to every question we can imagine. If we are humble and pay close attention to him for long enough, we can get them all too.