Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Study of the LDS Church - 3.4 The Doctrine of Satan

**Make sure you've read this post first!

Today should be short and sweet. We are going to look at the LDS teaching regarding Lucifer/satan. I’m not going to spend much time on it because I do not feel that satan deserves too much of our focus, but it is important that you understand how he fits into the equation of Mormon beliefs.

Lucifer was one of the spirit children of Elohim right along with Jesus, you and me. Yep…Jesus’ little brother in the pre-mortal state. Jesus and Lucifer were given the task to decide how mankind should be redeemed. Jesus suggested that he take on the form of man and leave it up to humans to decide their own fate (maintaining free will). Lucifer wanted to be the savior by forcing redemption into the picture. Jesus won and therefore was chosen to be Savior of the world. This decision made Lucifer angry and he rebelled against God. All pre-mortal beings were given the choice to either side with Lucifer or God and those that sided with Lucifer were tossed out of heaven and their punishment was to exist without ever being given a body to reside in (remember…they were pre-mortal, so they were waiting on a body to inhabit). Without a body, there can be no resurrection in the afterlife, as believed by the LDS faithful. Therefore, satan and his minions are condemned to a life without God, or hell.

Now, there are some similarities between the LDS teaching and the Christian teaching of Lucifer’s fall from glory. Both will agree that he was the “son of the morning” and that there was a power struggle in heaven where Lucifer wanted to overthrow God and take His place. They will also agree that 1/3 of those present followed Lucifer and were cast down with him to suffer the same eternal punishment as their leader.

However, a major problem that Christians have with the LDS teaching is that Lucifer and Jesus were brothers. It is all one big problem wrapped up within the LDS doctrine of pre-existence as well as who Jesus is to begin with.

Christians, however, typically adhere to the teaching that Lucifer was one of the archangels who basically got too big for his britches and wanted more power. When he rebelled, Michael and the army of angels tossed him out with God’s blessing.

Colossians 1:16: For by him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him[Jesus], and for him [Jesus]. If Jesus created all things, he cannot possibly be the brother of Lucifer.

Ezekiel 28:13-19: Tells a story of the fall of the “anointed cherub” (Lucifer). Isaiah 14:12-15 confirms that story. If Lucifer were a cherub (one of the types of angels), he could not possibly be a “spirit child” or the brother of Jesus--especially since Jesus created all things, including the angels.

I’m really not going to go into this just because firstly, you’ve had a rough mind-blowing previous three sessions. Also, I’m not going to give satan much time. He gets enough as it is. Thirdly, the problem is not so much with the story of Lucifer/satan but in the difficulties in resolving the two issues of pre-mortality and who Jesus is. However, I thought that this would be an interesting teaching for you to be aware of when you are speaking with your LDS associates.

You can ask a number of questions concerning the fall of Lucifer to become satan, but you must understand that since they have redefined who angels are, who Jesus is, and created pre-mortality, much of your argument will not stand in their eyes and actually will most likely not make any sense to them. I would suggest proving the Sovereignty of God and Jesus and the actual plan of salvation before focusing on details of angels.

Now take a bit of a breather. We’re going to dive into the doctrine of Salvation when we return. You’ll need a bit of a rest before diving into this heavy topic following the week you have already had in this study!

Study of the LDS Church - 3.5 The Doctrine of Salvation


MyKidsMom said...

Very interesting Kaye. Thanks for making it easy on us;) I admit my brain is trying to assimilate this stuff, and it's not easy to do. Just wandering why anyone would want to make something so simple hard to understand. Does the average LDS person know all this, and are they able to keep it all straight? Or maybe it's just like the usual Bible stories we learn as a child and it all seems plausible to them. Hmmm

Kaye said...

I too was completely shocked when I learned all of the teachings that they adhere to that seemed completely peculiar to me...because they are nothing like my beliefs. Pair this with the fact that I knew some LDS members at my place of employment and the idea that it was strange that those people believed these teachings.

However, you are correct in thinking that all of the LDS members who do know these teachings have (mostly) been taught them from childhood by people whom they love and trust, who are teaching it out of love and trust because they truly believe its accuracy. They do not question it, and many of the things that don't make sense logically, they chalk up to faith. While I'm all for faith, it seems that faith should not be completely contrary to logic or the natural order of things.

You are also correct in thinking that not all LDS members know all of the teachings of their church. Many believe fully those things they are told, but aren't necessarily given all of the information. In fact, the LDS church teaches that people should, like children, receive the milk before the meat and therefore wait until people are quite committed to the church and the teachings they are aware of before they are given more detailed, harder-to-believe information, which would seem ridiculous (possibly) before they have become involved in the church.

I'm glad you're continuing to hang in with me through this study. It really has opened my eyes to how to help reveal the truth to those who are LDS members as well as strengthened and confirmed my personal faith. I hope it will do the same for you.