Posted in Theocosmology by Mike Stay on 2007 July 13

Joy, glory, and knowledge

Here’s the passage that refers to element and spirit:

D&C 93:33-34 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; and when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.

In the Book of Mormon, joy is used almost interchangeably with glory. Nephi says

2 Ne 33:6 I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.

C.S. Lewis’ sermon The Weight of Glory discussed an apparent paradox:

I turn next to the idea of glory. There is no getting away from the fact that this idea is very prominent in the New Testament and in early Christian writings. Salvation is constantly associated with palms, crowns, white robes, thrones, and splendour like the sun and stars. All this makes no immediate appeal to me at all, and in that respect I fancy I am a typical modern. Glory suggests two ideas to me, of which one seems wicked and the other ridiculous. Either glory means to me fame, or it means luminosity. As for the first, since to be famous means to be better known than other people, the desire for fame appears to me as a competitive passion and therefore of hell rather than heaven. As for the second, who wishes to become a kind of living electric light bulb? (ibid., p. 5)

He concludes that it is the joy of a child in finding favor with his father, being “famous with God.” Being known of God as opposed to the opposite:

In some sense, as dark to the intellect as it is unendurable to the feelings, we can be both banished from the presence of Him who is present everywhere and erased from the knowledge of Him who knows all. We can be left utterly and absolutely outside—repelled, exiled, estranged, finally and unspeakably ignored. (ibid., p. 7)

Spencer W. Kimball said, “Real intelligence is the creative use of knowledge” (CR, Oct. 1968, p. 130. Emphasis mine.)

Hofstadter examined creativity in his book Metamagical Themas ( He talks about Knuth’s Metafont package: in that program, a font has lots of different properties that can be adjusted. There’s an enormous space of letters that can be expressed by these parameters, but they are nowhere close to encapsulating all the forms we recognize as, say, the letter ‘A.’ Coming up with a new parameter, for Hofstadter, is creativity–and yet, ironically, such creation must arise exclusively as the result of some deterministic process. He implies he could not have written any other book than the one he did–but within the book, a few pages away from this claim, he talks about how we continually conceive of worlds slightly different than our own, such as one where the state line between Illinois and Indiana is a few miles to the west of where it is here.

In the section on parquet deformations, he mentions the “flickering” effect of looking at a Necker cube. My brother Doug suggests that agency and qualia are part of the same mystery. We have no idea how perception of shape or color arises in the mind, nor how independent action arises: but we can choose to see the cube with its top toward us or away from us.

In Moses, God says that

Moses 1:39 …This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

In other words, what God prefers to spend his time on is creating more gods. Even Richard Dawkins couldn’t take offense at that doctrine. God is an adult of the species, a father in the literal sense. What can we guess about producing minds that last forever?

Greg Egan has treated artificial minds and immortality in several of his stories. In Orphanogenesis, artificial minds are run on a computer, and when they become self-aware, the computer revokes all authority for the mind to be modified from the outside; the consequence is that some minds descend into eternal madness. A rejection of truth is a rejection of reality. My guess is that a faulty view of the universe leads to eternal madness–outer darkness–if left unchecked, so in mercy, God checks it.

Was there ever a time or a place where an atonement couldn’t reach? Where all the minds were destroyed? Nephi writes about how we’d share Satan’s fate if not for the atonement in 2 Ne 9. There was clearly fear among the premortal spirits contemplating mortality (Rev. 5:3).


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