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 Post subject: The Snow Couplet
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:41 am 
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So, this has probably been brought up before on the forums, but I think it will spark lively discussion so I'm bringing it up again. I'm talking of course of Snow's couplet: "As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be."

Now, I'm technically still an Elder, though I haven't been in attendance for quite some time. I started with a Protestant / Baptist background, pretty much an Atheist, and reluctantly persuaded that no God existed, the materialistic view was correct, and we're all just atoms waiting to disintegrate. I became involved with the Church in a time and way which while at first made me think it more true, ended up making me think it all false (details are irrelevant). I distinctly remember thinking that so many things were just flat out WRONG because they contradicted a LOT of what I "knew" to be in scripture, and especially this notion of multiplicity of gods? I was told it was all a cult straight from Hell, and frankly, that seemed to make a lot of sense -- at first.

But I'm curious and inquisitive by nature. And I just can't let a matter rest without investigating it. So I started to. And the more I did the more I found something VERY shocking to me -- it not only seemed to hold up, but it seemed to hold up REALLY well -- and I began to wonder if our modern day "mainstream" interpretations were WRONG. I even found strong support that the scripture we have today HAS been altered, and to say that many "plain and precious truths" have been lost wouldn't seem very far fetched.

(As a small example, one can clearly see references to the Divine Council in not only the OT, but in the repeated references to the Elohim ("gods") as being mankind, and in the OLDEST passages -- such as Psalm 82 -- and one can CLEARLY see a strong aversion to accepting the ramifications in the change of Deuteronomy 32:8 to use "sons of Israel" rather than "sons of God". In short, once one dispossesses a bias against it and looks at the underlying source language and not the translations, the idea that we're "elohim" and God is the GREAT Elohim, seems to be VERY plainly taught. Likewise, the idea of premortal existence seems to be plainly referenced by Job 38:7. That these passages are not even teaching these points, but just mentioning them by way of identification, only seems to strengthen the case. Combine this with clear early teaching by Iraneus and others that support the same, and the amount of evidence just piles up to where it becomes very substantial.)

I even recall recently looking into the King Follet discourse and finding that, contrary to what I'd been told and what seemed to be the case on first glance, Joseph Smith presents a rather intriguing argument that Genesis 1:1 has been altered from the original revelation given to Moses, and that his argument has been badly preserved in the record due to a combination of being recorded based on notes and to those who made the recording not understanding well what he was stating. (When this just so HAPPENS to also agree with ancient writings like the Kabbalistic interpretations and the Zohar, it just further strengthens the case.)

So, to get to my point, the concluding point of Snow's couplet seems VERY well supported, and I've in general found that the more I look the more I find that the support of peculiar beliefs of the Church to be at the very least, worthy of serious consideration.

All but that first part: "As man now is, God once was". I can't find a shred of support for this anywhere in scripture. And I recall a rather interesting point from an apologetic that, unlike most apologetics, seemed to actually consider it rather than just immediately cite a verse and move on. His point was that the God of the Bible seems to be completely self-sufficient. He does not give praise or glory to another. He does not rely on the grace of another. In short, it's really difficult to see that he was ever not perfect.

So, while it seems one can, of course, logically deduct from "as God now is, man may be" to "As man now is, God once was", and while it could even be perhaps said to fit into the general tenor of what I've found great support for, I've so far been unable to find anything to lend credence to it. Nor do I find it at all convincing that what was REALLY meant was just that God became Jesus, since that doesn't well support the couplet, what Joseph Smith said, and it wouldn't be a revelation either since that's well accepted and attested. Heck, I've even found more to lend credence to Adam-God than to it (especially if one considers rightly so that God is a title, but that's a matter for another forum post.) When you add to this that the Church today even, while not outright proclaiming it to be heretical, seems to be reluctant to embrace it, it naturally places me in a quandary. Joseph Smith seems to come to it in the King Follet discourse well enough, so it doesn't seem it's just Snow either.

So my question is a simple one: is there anything outside of LDS discourse (so excluding the couplet, excluding the King Follet discourse, etc.) that could lend credence to the idea that God was once a man? Or, alternatively, is there good reason to see the first part as just stating God became Jesus, being incarnated in the flesh?

I can definitely see how, like I said, it supports the general tenor of the goal of the Gospel being exaltation so we can fully fulfill our divine potential, as creative agents, and even how our eventual goal could be to have worlds we are responsible for, even to which we could be Gods ourselves to. I don't actually find any of this necessarily heretical, especially when understood in the right context, but when its coupled with the complete lack of support, it does seem like its one of those that is either a beautiful truth in some profound way, or a damnable lie.


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 Post subject: Re: The Snow Couplet
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:42 am 
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cwisefool, It is probably necessary to identify what sort of general thought realm you wish to use. If you are Mormon the fact that the Mormon prophet said it is better justification than any other source. What different authority are you looking for and why do you trust that?

If there were beliefs and traditions long ago which were left out of the Bible would they be trustworthy? It is possible that things were left out because they were not trustworthy.How to decide?

Belief in becoming like God as presented by Irenaeus is standard Christian belief in the larger older traditions. It is sometimes lost to small modern groups with a overly narrow view of faith alone or perhaps too much antiMormon focus.

Most Christian's approach to scripture is to interpret pieces in terms of the whole. The Deuteronomy use of council of Gods imagery needs to balance with the followup statement in the chapter about the gods of the nations (assigned by God in the earlier verse you referenced) are no gods at all , there is only one real God.

Perhaps the approach of trusting the direction of the whole Bible is too conventional. Are you hunting for fragments which could be clues to some other body of writing? There are in fact lots of other writings of all kinds. Go ahead and read away. Perhaps you will be back to dc 132 for an explanation. How would you evaluate the trustworthyness of dc132?


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 Post subject: Re: The Snow Couplet
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:54 pm 
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cwisefool wrote:
(As a small example, one can clearly see references to the Divine Council in not only the OT, but in the repeated references to the Elohim ("gods") as being mankind, and in the OLDEST passages -- such as Psalm 82 --

Also, this is the basis of the Q Continuum from Star Trek the Next Generation. It could be one of the forgotten archetypes from the human sub-conscience, overshadowed by the other archetype that we are playthings tempest-tossed by gods.

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 Post subject: Re: The Snow Couplet
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:20 am 
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cwisefool wrote:
'm curious and inquisitive by nature. And I just can't let a matter rest without investigating it.


So what you're saying is that Joseph Smith had God given translation powers and didn't mess up the translations of the facsimiles?

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 Post subject: Re: The Snow Couplet
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:46 am 
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There is scriptural support for it.
In Genesis man partakes of the fruit of the tree of knowledge and becomes as God, knowing good from evil.
Jesus tells us that we are joint heirs with him.
Peter tells us that we will be partakers of the Divine nature.
Yada yada yada

But once you realize that all religions are just man made fluff, the concept becomes rather inconsequential. You are right now god, or as close to it as you will ever become. Dead is dead.

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 Post subject: Re: The Snow Couplet
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:10 am 
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Thank you to all who posted. I can see this is a forum where civil discourse is in play, which is far too rare these days. I've been given a lot of food for thought.

Concerning the "dead is dead" comment, I will just say that I no longer believe this. Even the word "death" itself seems to convey a separation, not extinction, if you trace its roots. I personally am becoming more and more convinced (you could say faith not knowledge, but stronger than tentative by now) that we have an existence before this life and an existence after. And that, by itself, even without any more specifics, gives me great hope and also imparts to me a sense of responsibility for how I live my live, what I prioritize, and so on.

It seems strange to me, and has seemed stranger still as time goes on that we've thrown out millennia of bedrock assumptions that mankind has had in the past few hundred years. And I'm not convinced that we've done so on the basis of sound logic.

What is DNA but source code? Evolution can't answer how DNA itself originated, so to say that it answers where we come from seems to say too much. What does source code imply but a programmer? What of the hundreds of times it seems some message we hear, some seemingly happenstance moment provides deep insight that connects with us on a deeply intricate level, that unfolds to us quietly profound truths. The "sharp shooter fallacy" seems too easy an answer, for what if the bullets form a picture so intricate, so, at times, beautiful, that the very image itself seems to quietly whisper "there is more". What if this life is a testing ground, a way to show us what we are truly made of, who we are? A way to challenge and test us. I will admit that it seems many have lives where it seems not to be a test, but torture, but I must also admit that is seemingly more proof of evil than we'd want to admit.

If one really looks at things, one finds that, as C.S. Lewis wisely observed, and I thought it foolish when I first read it, but see it as all too true the more I learn (and which, alas, I cannot recall exactly, so my poorer words will have to suffice): the philosopher-scientist, having climbed every ascent, risen above all superstition, surmounted all ignorance, is surprised to find that the theologian has been there long before him, often having taken the same journey, and greeting him with a knowing smile.

I'm deviating from my own topic so I'll wrap up, but it isn't that we stuff God into the gaps so much as we try desperately to avoid having to give a place to even allow the serious possibility of this reality being created. And we do this despite the fact that for almost all of recorded history the opposite stance was taken. Is it because we know so much we've conclusively disproved the supernatural? When we don't know even know how the universe didn't annhiliate itself (matter-antimatter assymetry problem), the universe seems to behave VERY strangely when you look too far under the hood (consider quantum mechanics, especially the Copenhagen interpretation), light has an oddly central role in an intriguing number of physics equations, and the list goes on. Even Einstein wisely said he wanted to know God's thoughts. Even Descartes starting from what he could not doubt and building upwards from scratch derived God. We don't often mention that though, do we? And when we do we're quick to point out immediately that surely that particular part was reached too hastily, that particular portion is merely a symptom of its time. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, for there is no man and there is no curtain. It's as if we don't want to give even the merest scholarly consideration for the very possibility of an assumption that humanity took for granted, that forms a very important argument for the very freedom upon which our country was founded! And yet everywhere a wink, everywhere a whisper that this universe has a purpose, and yet we repeatedly shout it does not, that we do not, that we are meaningless atoms. And with what warrant? Occam's razor? Instead of proclaiming the wiser course of Socrates that we know we do not know, we shout loudly we know, we know, we are the generation that knows all! We define the rules to exclude the possibility of the supernatural, and then proclaim we don't find it and it is not. Is not this circular reasoning? Wouldn't we be much more honest to say that we don't know? Ah, but then we have to admit the possibility, and we don't want to do that. Because that has certain possible implications that we don't want to consider. I do not wish for the dogmatism of the past where men would shed each other's blood over a dot or a tittle, over this interpretation or that, but I can't help but think that our pretense to certainty is but an obvious case where the lady science doth protest too much.


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 Post subject: Re: The Snow Couplet
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:13 pm 
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cwisefool wrote:
...... form a picture so intricate, so, at times, beautiful, that the very image itself seems to quietly whisper "there is more". What if this life is a testing ground, a way to show us what we are truly made of, who we are? A way to challenge and test us. I will admit that it seems many have lives where it seems not to be a test, but torture, but I must also admit that is seemingly more proof of evil than we'd want to admit.......



Cwisefool, I share your sense that our experience suggests some sort of more to it than the material construction. I think we search that out because it is not obvious and apparent. We experience a sense of purpose so perhaps exploring that can be a doorway for that exploration.

We all experience life as a test sometimes but that surely is not a complete picture of purpose. Perhaps a more complete picture would include growing people into full individuals. Life should include growing as individuals into full and vital groups with strong honest relationships between individuals. We should grow into individuals who can meet life with wonder pleasure and curiosity.Perhaps that all adds up to the traditional Christian view that we are to be able to enjoy God forever.

I was thinking about your first question about our possible likeness to God and thought Steelheads list of scripture observations made a useful simple reference point.
He said:
There is scriptural support for it.
In Genesis man partakes of the fruit of the tree of knowledge and becomes as God, knowing good from evil.
Jesus tells us that we are joint heirs with him.
Peter tells us that we will be partakers of the Divine nature."
.....
I think that becoming like God in Genesis must be one of the most slap in the face ironies in the Bible. Yes Adam and Eve gained a something in common with God but they also found fear, pain, hard labor to be able to live at all, and then death. With these mortal suffering the follow up events makes clear that though they learned something they retained lots of ignorance and with all this a new companion, evil in their heart.

I think this ironic presentation of our races start becomes a theme referenced later in the Bible quite a number of times. We are like God in somethings and are supposed to be. But in fact we are unlike God in many things. Perhaps some of the ways we are unlike God are just natural. It is strongly suggested that some ways we are unlike God are not at all the way it is supposed to be. There are seriously seriously undesirable ways we are unlike God.

From what I read in the Bible our differences from God are not all explained. It is clear however that when the book says we are like God , our difference from God is taken for granted. The book focuses upon the project God has for us to participate in overcoming evil. Our doing that is a deeply creative action. It is an action we do with God and sharing Gods love. It is the most pressing way in which we are called to become like God.


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 Post subject: Re: The Snow Couplet
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:03 pm 
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I suppose on depends on which angle you define God from. If “Intelligent Design,” & considering intelligence as “ability to adapt to change,” (Hawking), then evolution shows God/nature to becoming increasingly intelligent - or going backward in time - less intelligent.


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 Post subject: Re: The Snow Couplet
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:56 am 
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cwisefool wrote:
…(snip)...

So my question is a simple one: is there anything outside of LDS discourse (so excluding the couplet, excluding the King Follet discourse, etc.) that could lend credence to the idea that God was once a man?...(snip)...

There are certainly ample resources that support the ancient traditions of gods being simply "evolved" humans...and likewise, it is reasonably supported that God is a synthesis of gods and therefore God evolved from humans. Perhaps Socinianism or Pelagianism best supports your desire for an extra-LDS discourse?...though they arguably are echoed by LDS doctrine.

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