Talk:D&C 67:1-14

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Seeing God

I have always been interested in the promise in the scriptures to see God. I certainly look forward to this promise. I don't have the references off-hand but I think there are several promises in the Doctrine and Covenants like this.

Some of the promises, as this one in verse 10, seem like an explicit promises to see God in this life. Not having seen God, I ask myself, is this simply because I haven't stripped myself from jealousies and fears, and humbled myself before God? (Knowing my faults, this seems like a good explanation.)

Or, is it the case that I am thinking of seeing God with the carnal or natural mind, and that with a spiritual mind I have seen God. This seems like a reasonable explanation as well for I do know that God is. The knowledge that God is, as I read this verse, is the promise given in this verse to those who see God spiritually.

--Matthew Faulconer 15:51, 19 May 2005 (CEST)

  • The footnote to "see" in this section links to some of the other verses that reference seeing God. Doctrine and Covenants 93:1 lists other qualifications of those who will see his face. MJ
Hi MJ, Thanks for the link to the footnotes. They were helpful. I was interested in D&C 97:15-16. I'd like to get off the discussion page and put something on the commentary page but I'm not sure how to write this up. Anyway, I wonder if the promises in these two verses (D&C 67:10 and D&C 97:16) are both promises for the same thing and that if we go to the temple with a pure heart that this promise is fulfilled. --Matthew Faulconer 20:58, 21 May 2005 (CEST)
This relates to your point in the first post, that seeing God is not, in all cases, necessarily understood as the physical manifestation of his person. David B. Haight in October 1990 address cites verses 15 and 16 of section 97 and says "It is true that some have actually seen the Savior, but when one consults the dictionary, he learns that there are many other meanings of the word see, such as coming to know Him, discerning Him, recognizing Him and His work, perceiving His importance, or coming to understand Him." Understood in this light, I think an individual may frequently see God while serving in the Temple. MJ 16:47, 23 May 2005 (CEST)

I started working on this one again. But didn't get too far. Next step--try to understand what natural, carnal and spiritual mean. Here are a list of interesting scriptures to look at: Mosiah 3:19, Alma 36:4, Rom 15:27; 1 Cor 2:14, 1 Cor 3:1, Rom 7:14, D&C 67:12, Moses 1:11, 1 Cor 15:44, D&C 29:35. --Matthew Faulconer 07:45, 9 Jan 2006 (UTC)

Is seeing spiritually really seeing?

Thinking about this more I think it is important not to interpret "seeing spiritually" as not really seeing. I take D&C 67:11-13 and Moses 1:11 as together suggesting that no one sees God except with spiritual eyes. --Matthew Faulconer 06:42, 11 Jan 2006 (UTC)

Are you saying D&C 67:11-13 and Moses 1:11 support your assertion that it's important not to interpret "seeing spiritually" as not really seeing? If so, can you elaborate? It seems to me that one cannot see God with natural eyes, so it's not possible to see God in the same sense that I see a chair. But, as you asked originally, if I see God in the sense that the scriptures describe, will I know that I have seen him? Would it be a different type of experience than "seeing God's hand" indirectly when I have spiritual experiences in the temple, or would it just be a more intense version of the same type of experience? I tend to believe it would be a different type of experience, something more similar to the type of experience we have seeing with our natural/physical/sensual eyes, but I'm not sure I can make a strong case for this belief.... --RobertC 16:35, 11 Jan 2006 (UTC)
On this point--
Are you saying D&C 67:11-13 and Moses 1:11 support your assertion that it's important not to interpret "seeing spiritually" as not really seeing? If so, can you elaborate?
My point was that in reading these two verses I get the idea that everyone who sees God sees God with spiritual eyes. Joseph Smith, Moses and others saw God. I believe any interpretation which would lead us to interpret that type of "seeing God" as somehow less real than normal seeing is a bad interpretation.
I agree generally with your statements.
I think Moses 1:13-14 may be helpful to the discussion. I get two points from this. First, it seems to me that these versus, together with the others, suggest that seeing spiritually is akin to seeing carnally. I'd have to think about exactly how to defend that statement, but for now I'm just throwing that out there. The second point I get from this is a bit longer.
A big point, I think the main point, of recording in the scriptures the experience of people seeing God is to testify of God's reality. This is a possible key to understanding why the scriptures tell us that people have to be changed somehow in order to see God. The fact that we have D&C 129 suggests that early church members were interested in the question of how to know when you think you saw a heavenly being, whether you really did. One way such an experience could be false would be if a devil appeared and told you he was God. You would really see something but it wouldn't really be God. Following this line of reasoning, the point of explaining that a change is required to see God--that we must see him spiritually--is to support the testimony that the experience of seeing God is genuine. I'm afraid that my original interpetation suggested that seeing God maybe isn't much like natural seeing and in that case it could be that I have seen God and just didn't recognize it as such. But, to me that leads us in the direction of using the fact that the scriptures tell us that we have to see God with spiritual eyes to downplay the reality and significance of the experience of seeing God. What the scriptures actually are trying to do, I am suggesting, by telling us that we have to see God with spiritual eyes is to strengthen the testimony of the reality of those who saw God.
--Matthew Faulconer 16:18, 12 Jan 2006 (UTC)
I added a lexical note to Moses 1:14 in an effort to capture part of your first point above. Please proof it to see if it's worth keeping or needs to be modified, I'm not sure I did a very good job.
I think I follow your second point. Are you saying that if the scriptures didn't mention the change required when Moses saw God, we might be left (in light of D&C 129) with more doubt about whether it was really God appearing to Moses or whether Moses just thought he saw God when it was really just Satan deceiving him? I know you're making a larger point than just this, but is this statement consistent with what you're saying? --RobertC 14:00, 15 Jan 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that is consistent with what I was saying. What I am wondering here is if the idea of seeing God with spiritual eyes may, in the context of our culture, seem a little different that it did in other cultures. I'm thinking that in our culture, where we deny both God and Satan, the claim of seeing God is met with the question of whether the person really saw God or whether the experience was the product of their own imagination. In such a culture to say you saw God with "spiritual" eyes might suggest that this wasn't really seeing. But in a culture where non-natural experiences (not sure the right words here) with both good and evil spirits, are discussed and believed in --in such a cultural--the concern may not be so much whether the experience was the product of the person's imagination but whether the experience was the product of an evil spirit, e.g. Satan. In that case it would seem that the point of explaining that we must see God with spiritual eyes is a way of explaining how such an experience differs from an inauthentic version where an evil spirit masquerades as God. --Matthew Faulconer 05:10, 16 Jan 2006 (UTC)
Nicely articulated. --RobertC 08:54, 16 Jan 2006 (UTC)

not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.

I'm beginning to think that this phrase really only properly applies to knowing that God is. My reason for thinking that is that carnal and natural both modify mind. It seems then that spiritual is meant to modify mind. But I think the scriptures generally talk about seeing with spiritual eyes not with a spiritual mind. It makes more sense to think of knowing with the spiritual mind.

Though that is the reading I think makes the most sense, i don't actually think that it changes really the purpose of the verse either way. Even if this particual phrase only applies to knowing that God is, the reason that they will know God with their spiritual mind (versus a carnal or natural mind) is because they will see God with their spiritual eyes--as we see from D&C 67:11-13 and Moses 1:11.

--Matthew Faulconer 07:10, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)

Interesting ideas. Alma 36:4 comes to mind as support to what you're saying (I think it supports, I'll have to think about this more carefully, when I have more time). Here are some other verses with carnal and spiritual in them. --RobertC 16:24, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)

Verses 11-14

I wrote:

The point of these verses seems to be to explain why promises previously given--promises to see God--hadn't yet been fulfilled

I'm not sure if this is right. It seems like this is true from the context but I'm not sure if that earlier promise to these (or some of these ) people is recorded. Any suggestions? --Matthew Faulconer 07:29, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)