Monday, 14 December 2015

Satan's grievance - or, giving the Devil his due

My understanding is that - however unwise - it is not irrational to reject salvation.

Damnation is a rejection of The Good, and a rejection of the possibility of Good; especially in the sense that damnation is ultimate and isolated subjectivism.

My understanding of Satan's grievance is that he was made a Son of God without his consent; and became conscious to find himself in a world in which all Goodness, all meaning, purpose and all possible relationships are God's creation and therefore operate in accordance with God's rule and plans.

There is no other world - except the world of chaos (outwith creation) and the world of the ego, which has some residue to the primordial, non-conscious entity from-which God made Satan his child.


My (Mormon metaphysical) understanding is that God the Father found himself as the only conscious intelligence among many primordial unconscious intelligences - and God's primal decision was to make us, these unconscious intelligences, His Children; and making us His children was (from Man's perspective) His primal act

(I am leaving aside the role of Heavenly Mother in this, for simplicity and also because I am unsure of it - but naturally She was vital in the generation of God's children.)

It is important to recognise that this primal act was, necessarily, done without our consent - because we were not capable of consent until after we had become children of God. Furthermore, God's motivation in making us his children is open to interpretation: there are those of us who know that it was done from love, and for our progression and elevation to a fully-divine status such as has been achieved by Jesus Christ, and may be achieved by others.

But there are others - Satan is one - who resent being made children of God, resent being presented with a fait accompli of an ordered universe; and who believe that God made us His children from selfish, not loving, motives - perhaps that He created us to serve and worship Him - as creatures to Lord it over, to Boss about, that we were created as inferiors to make God feel important... that kind of interpretation. 


Satan is intelligent enough to know that by rejecting God's Goodness, he has rejected all possibility of Goodness; by rejecting God's order - meaning, purpose, plan - he is rejecting all possibility of order; by rejecting God's family, he is rejecting all possible relationships and choosing ultimate, existential isolation...

But this knowledge does not lead Satan to repentance, nor even to sadness; but instead to greater hatred of God and resentment of his own predicament.

Thus far Satan's choice is a choice to reject salvation, Goodness and relationships - but thus far Satan would be the main person to suffer (although God clearly grieves deeply at the loss of a loved Son, the ultimate rejection by a loved Son). Thus far, Satan's choices are mainly a matter for sorrow and sympathy.

But Satan went beyond this sad situation, to wish for others to make the same choice as himself - despite that Satan knows for sure that this choice can lead only to misery, loneliness, futility. And in doing this, Satan made the active choice of evil.

Satan's attaining of consolation and taking of pleasure from the contemplation of others being induced to choose misery, loneliness, futility... his attempt to achieve this outcome by dishonesty - by selection, distortion and outright lies...

It is this choice that makes Satan - and those others who have made his choices and who, more-or-less, serve him (or at least unite in opposition to God) - from a cause for pity into an evil that is abhorrent, and which must be fought and defeated.  


4 comments:

  1. I am not a member of the LDS Church, but I have had many interesting conversations with members.

    "My understanding of Satan's grievance is that he was made a Son of God without his consent; and became conscious to find himself in a world in which all Goodness, all meaning, purpose and all possible relationships are God's creation and therefore operate in accordance with God's rule and plans."

    It was explained to me that Lucifer's grievance was that his plan for salvation was rejected and that the plan of salvation by Jesus was chosen by God the Father.


    "My (Mormon metaphysical) understanding is that God the Father found himself as the only conscious intelligence among many primordial unconscious intelligences - and God's primal decision was to make us, these unconscious intelligences, His Children; and making us His children was (from Man's perspective) His primal act."

    I am confused if our creation on Earth is the first creation or part of a chain of eternal progression. Is there LDS Church position on the matter?



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  2. @Fred:

    "It was explained to me that Lucifer's grievance was that his plan for salvation was rejected and that the plan of salvation by Jesus was chosen by God the Father."

    That was the immediate cause, but I am talking abut the general (distal) cause of this immediate problem, that led up to the 'War in Heaven'. Also, I am not articulating an official LDS doctrine here, but my own intuitions and inferences. These are compatible with Mormonism, but certainly not 'official' Mormonism. (I am a believer, but not a member of the LDS church.)

    "I am confused if our creation on Earth is the first creation or part of a chain of eternal progression. Is there LDS Church position on the matter?"

    No - there is scope for either view, and both views are held by devout Mormons.

    There is also an intermediate view - expressed by Orson Scott card for example - which is that there (probably) are other creations, but these are utterly separate and nobody knows anything about them, there is zero interaction between them - and they have no practical relevance to our situation

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  3. God - the original computer programmer!

    I know little about the Mormons, but reading your blog, I immediately thought of the Osiris, Isis, Horus, Seth myth.

    Osiris - a dying and resurrecting God
    Isis - mother Goddess
    Horus - the good son
    Seth - the bad son

    Not exact equivalents, but close enough to make me wonder about the human mind, or even soul. It is fascinating that similar stories should be found in different cultures at different times. Links between cultures, or some sort of intuited memory or hard wired programme?

    If the latter, then perhaps God always intended this. Perhaps, after He ensured humanity was spread across the earth (after the Tower of Babel), the programme ran, and each culture came up with a religion based on the truth of the inner programme, but filtered through their own cultures and capacities for understanding?

    As well as the basic programme, God could, and did, intervene from time to time in the lives of His children when He thought they were capable of understanding a truer version - so the Osiris myth might be a middle version, with earlier versions, and later or truer versions. Christianity is Judaism +, with God adding the "+" when He judged people were ready for it, but not before.

    In relation to Judaism and Christianity, biblical scholars refer to different dispensations, or time periods of the Bible. In each of these time periods, God had expectations of His children, which they kept failing (as children do), but each time God offered a new beginning/new dispensation or time period, with new expectations (as parents do).

    Christianity may be seen as the most perfect, or the most true version of religion (reality). In the current age, the whole planet knows of Christianity and has the chance to embrace it as God's most true version of reality offered so far. This is not to say that it can't get more refined, and truer. I think this is why Revelation is written in such a symbolic way, but also as a simple, magical story. It is placed as the last book of the Bible (on purpose), and probably written in the only way that John could have understood it at the time. It may have even been told to John in crystal clear language, but his own capacity for understanding the great spiritual concepts was limited, so he could not make it into anything but a coded magical tale. I think that this was no accident - God meant it to be so. We can get at some of the truth in Revelation, but not all of it.

    As Revelation unfolds before us in real time, we will see clearly what it actually meant. I think that we will see that what it said was true all along, but that we did not have the (spiritual) capacity to grasp the full significance. People will be saying things like, "Of course, it's so obvious now, why on earth couldn't we see it properly before?"

    The concept of theosis comes in here. Spiritual awareness/advancement will enable a clearer understanding - capacity increasing.

    My mind has just run on, and I typed what came into my head. There may be inconsistencies or thoughts that I might not agree with tomorrow, but I do find to let the mind run on can sometimes bring up concepts for development and discussion (either with self or others).


    Here's a link to the Osiris myth for anybody who does not know it:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osiris_myth

    Here's a link to a religious timeline:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_religion#Prehistoric_period_.28300th_millennium_to_34th_century_BCE.29

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  4. Another thought - God made Adam and Eve leave Eden before they could eat from the tree of life. They weren't fit to have immortality and be permanently with God.

    Genesis 3:22

    And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."

    After disobeying God and eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I assume that they were at their lowest in terms of spiritual growth. Down the generations has been the journey back up to God.

    It is not until later when humanity has been given the dying and resurrecting God to take away their sins, not because they've earned it, but because they have been given it freely by believing, that the bible offers the possibility of the final return to God and immortality (dispensation of grace). All the other dispensations may be seen as partial failures, but perhaps humanity learned enough each time to move on to the next dispensation.

    Revelation 2:7

    Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

    "victorious" - perhaps equals spiritually advanced enough to accept the Christian religion with Christ as Saviour, but not necessarily any more than that. Perhaps, there is more to learn, more ways to advance.

    2 Peter, 4

    Through his glory and integrity he has given us his promises that are of the highest value. Through these promises you will share in the divine nature because you have escaped the corruption that sinful desires cause in the world.

    Escaped by believing in Christ as the Saviour and letting Him bear all our sins.

    "share in the divine nature" - so this is why the Mormons say that they can become like God - that it is the plan, and has been all along. It offends other denominations though, who declare that God is always higher, that humans are not intended to become equal, or co-rulers with God.

    Instinctively (or may be human programming), I feel that it is wrong to expect to equal God. I'm very uncomfortable with the idea.

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