Talk:Alma 42:1-31

From Feast upon the Word ( Copyright, Feast upon the Word.
Jump to: navigation, search

Verse 42:5[edit]

Related to the question on verse 5:

Why would partaking of the tree of life have meant that Adam could not have had a space for repentance? What is the connection between mortality and an ability to repent?

Not sure but if we take this idea to its conclusion it would seem to suggest that we cannot repent once we have resurrected. This is consistent with the idea that there is a final judgment at that point--since the possibility of further repentance would suggest that any judgment is not final.

I wonder if the answer to the question has something to do with being subject to our own will (see verse 7)--though then this raises the question of why you can't be subject to your own will and be immortal, so I'm not sure that answer gets us anywhere. --Matthew Faulconer 07:29, 4 February 2007 (CET)

Verse 42:10[edit]

Hi Travis and all, I removed the question:

Alma 42:10 This statement implies that man is inherently evil, Is it possible for man to do good? (I believe that man may learn self control and overcome the carnal man.)

I think I am missing the point of this question. On the face of it it seems like you are asking if it is possible for anyone to do anything good. I am sure there is more to your question than this but I'm missing it. Can you clarify? Or maybe another person has a suggestion for improving the question?

Note: one more thing. Please do not use the first person (e.g. you say "I believe") on the commentary page. The reason for this is that we are working together to write a single text on the commentary page. See Site:Policies. Note that if you would like to post a comment about the scriptures in the first person you can do that on your user page (see Help:User pages) or here on the discussion page. If you post it on a user page and you think it is directly relevant to the scripture you are welcome to post a link to it from the relevant links section of the commentary page. Again for more info please see the Site:Policies.

Thanks, --Matthew Faulconer 04:59, 25 Sep 2005 (UTC)

Verses 42:11-15[edit]

Rob, I don't see the point of the question "Do any other religions teach this?" I propose removing it because it is off-topic. I don't feel too strongly on this one. What do you think? --Matthew Faulconer 06:26, 28 Sep 2005 (UTC)

I suppose what I was thinking was that this seems to be a pretty significant and maybe unprecedented claim, a teaching that might seem totally foreign to most mainline Christian churches. So, what can we say about the significance and unique nature of this teaching? Not sure, but I'll bet if you tried to teach that to a non-LDS Christian, it wouldn't be something they'd heard or even feel comfortable with. --Rob Fergus 13:23, 29 Sep 2005 (UTC)

I am fine with saying in the exegesis that one way to read this is that there is a logical possibility that God could cease to be God and that this reading goes against the traditional understanding of God. I'm not so comfortable with this in the questions section because it, to me anyway, is a question, not about the scripture, but about what other churches believe. I think we should stay focused on what the scriptures say versus comparing our beliefs to what other churches believe on this site.

Maybe my bias is showing through here, but I don't think that my desire not to see this as a question is based on my opinion on the issue of God ceasing to be God. Note that if you feel strongly about it I am okay with leaving the question as is--at least for a while.

It is true though that I don't think there is a logical possibility that God could cease to be God. (I think we would both agree there is no probabilistic possibility that God could cease to be God. And, I don't think it would make a lot of sense for someone in 70BC to make a claim asserting a logical possibility where there is no probabilistic possibility. --But I admit I am talking past what I know here.-- Whereas a reductio ad absurdum would be a perfectly normal and familiar type of argument to someone of that time period.

BTW, I also disagree entirely with the external link. I happen to think that most everything about it, but especially the conclusion, is wrong. But I am fine with linking to it and I don't really think we should debate on what points secondary source suceed or fail on this site. I am happy to talk about why by e-mail if you are interested in discussing.

--Matthew Faulconer 09:40, 30 Sep 2005 (CEST)

I'm all for exploring this farther and seeing how far we can take it. Go ahead and take away that question if you like...but I think it raises what may be a huge difference between LDS and traditional Christian theology, making it noteworthy. If you think that kind of note belongs in the Exegesis section, rather than the questions section, that's fine with me... --Rob Fergus 15:34, 30 Sep 2005 (CEST)

Ok. I am going to make the note in the exegesis rather than in the question. Let me know if you think this works. As always, feel free to revise. --Matthew Faulconer 06:18, 5 Oct 2005 (CEST)

Rob, please take a look. Let me know if I represented the other side fairly since, as I already admitted above, I am of the opinion that this verse does not imply that God could cease to be God. --Matthew Faulconer 04:58, 5 Oct 2005 (UTC)

An interesting discussion. For what it's worth, this is one of those things I view simply as a figure of speech. It's kind of like me telling one of my kids, "If I didn't worry about you, I wouldn't be your father!" I think the statement goes to the nature of God's personality, not the nature of his existence. --Eric
Eric, makes sense. Do you think that the second interpretation (starting "Others believe Alma's comments do not imply that God could cease to be God) is consistent with your understanding? Does it need to be augmented or made more general? Alternatively we could create a third interpretation. In my view though, like the supreme court, we should try to reduce the number of possible interpretations by having fewer general interpretations verses many specific ones. --Matthew Faulconer 18:40, 5 Oct 2005 (CEST)
Yes, that's perfectly consistent with how I understand it. I wasn't trying to throw another possibility into the mix. --Eric 19:56, 5 Oct 2005 (UTC)

OK, I've edited to reflect my understanding of both views...hope it works, but feel free to clarify if I've misstated either position. These two views are interesting, but do seem to reflect two entirely different set of metaphysical assumptions. The first one sees Alma's teachings as making some fundamental claims about the nature of the universe--that there are fundamental laws that are eternal and binding, even for divine beings--something which would seem to be in harmony with teachings about the eternal progression and the divine potential of human beings. According to this view, repentance is necessary because of the nature of how the universe operates. I'm not sure the second view does not seem to offer the same insights and relies on the claim that God cannot cease to be God to make its point. If Alma is really making this second argument, I'm not sure his logic is all that compelling. Justice can't be denied. Why? Because God can't cease to be God? What does denying justice have to do with God being or ceasing to be God? To me, the argument only makes sense if there are divine laws that God is bound to. But feel free to enlighten me further.

For those who espouse this second interpretation, how do you see it relating to Lehi's arguments in 2 Ne 2:13? Do Lehi and Alma make the same logical assumptions to make similar arguments? --Rob Fergus 14:54, 6 Oct 2005 (CEST)

As I see it the second view is consistent with any of the following (not mutually exclusive) beliefs about God. a) God by nature is just. It therefore doesn't make sense to think of God as someone who would deny justice. b) Someone who wouldn't always be just couldn't be God. It doesn't make any sense then to think that God could deny justice. c) Justice depends on universal laws built into the fabric of the universe. In reality justice cannot be denied--not even by God. d) God could deny justice but then he would become someone who was no longer God. Given this, it doesn't make sense to expect that God might deny justice. d)I'm not sure exactly what principles God acts under and which he determines but I am confident that it doesn't make sense to think of God as unjust. e) other options I haven't yet thought of.
In other words, the first interpretation rests on a certain view of God's nature. The second doesn't much. In the second interpretation, it could be the case that God could cease to be God but that point isn't used here to explain why it is that justice is important.
Your point on whether the second interpretation is compelling is more difficult to address. We may not be able to look at these two interpretations in isolation since the role each plays in Alma's arguments depends on the larger structure of the argument we see Alma making. Disagreeing on the larger structure of the argument may lead us to disagree on what is or isn't compelling. In my mind I find the claim that God wouldn't or couldn't deny justice pretty compelling all by itself. On the other hand, I believe that the first interpretation can't be compelling without understanding what it means for God to cease to be God and since I don't think it is obvious what it does mean and Alma doesn't explain it as part of his argument, I don't find that intperpretation as leading to a compelling argument.
Finally I'm not sure how to address your question about 2 Ne 2:13 but I am interested in thinking more about that verse. I don't at face value see the logic between the two the same but I haven't thought a lot about it.
--Matthew Faulconer 19:14, 6 Oct 2005 (UTC)
PS I liked your edits. Thanks!

OK. I took another crack at editing last night. I think it improved the second interpretation by making it more straightforward. Also I avoided the word eternal in the first interpretation since I think that could potentially be confusing--since eternal is defined in the D&C as something like "God's." At this point I think I'm no longer in a good position to say how to improve the commentary there. I am too close to it right now. I hope others will continue to improve but I will take a break on this topic for a while. --Matthew Faulconer 14:24, 7 Oct 2005 (UTC)

Not sure if this latest edit makes the logic more clear or not...would it help to show this as a formal logical argument? I think it still isn't clear why there is a connection between destroying justice and God ceasing to be God. Why can't God just do whatever He wants, justice or no? --Rob Fergus 17:06, 7 Oct 2005 (CEST)

I don't think Alma explains the answer to your question--under either interpretation. I can think of lots of possible answers (see my a-e options above) but they would all be my possible answers rather than what I think Alma is saying in this verse. Formally laying out the logic may be helpful. --Matthew Faulconer 19:12, 7 Oct 2005 (CEST)