The faith of God, part twelve: Truth


Continued from part eleven.

Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth; and truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; and whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning. (D&C 93: 23-25)

Here the Lord defined what truth is. He also defined, in the same sentence, what a lie is. Just about everyone understands this. If a man goes into a convenience store and robs it, taking exactly 10 dollars, and I see it happen and witness to its occurrence, I’ve spoken the truth. If I say he took exactly 11 dollars (more than the truth) or exactly 9 dollars (less than the truth), I’ve spoken a lie. In the economy of heaven, truth has bounds or limits, whereas the liar from the beginning has unlimited freedom to create fables.

Now get this: the word of God is the seed of faith, yet the word of God is truth, which is knowledge. How can faith be knowledge and knowledge be faith?

Knowledge creates faith and faith creates knowledge

That sounds like a reasonable statement, as the word of God, which is truth (knowledge), when planted in the heart of man and watered by the Spirit creates faith and faith eventually produces fruit (knowledge), however, it’s a bit simpler (or more complicated, depending on your viewpoint) than that.

Two types of knowledge*

There is the type of knowledge that you can see with your own two eyes and ascertain with a perfect surety that it exists. This is the first type. This can be termed perfect knowledge. This type of knowledge makes faith dormant in that thing, for the object of faith was to produce such fruit.

The other type of knowledge is awareness of something that really does exist, with witnesses or testimonies or evidence, but which you still haven’t seen with your own two eyes. This can be termed imperfect knowledge.

Faith requires imperfect knowledge

The word of God (the seed of faith) is imperfect knowledge which eventually produces the fruit of perfect knowledge. Imperfect knowledge does not nullify faith, only perfect knowledge makes faith dormant. This is why the obtaining of more and more of the word of God, through revelations, prophecies, visiting angels, visions, dreams, tongues, etc., only has the effect of increasing one’s faith. The more imperfect knowledge we obtain, the greater our faith can become, and the greater our faith becomes the more perfect knowledge we can obtain, or in the case of God, create.

God possesses all knowledge, both perfect and imperfect

Here is the kicker: it is because of God’s imperfect knowledge that he is able to have, maintain and increase his faith. More on this later.

God sees all the fables

Everything that isn’t the truth (what really was, what really is and what really will be) is a fable or a lie. Truth has limits, fables do not. Therefore, there are an infinite number of versions of what wasn’t, what isn’t and what won’t be. (Comic book fans might say these are alternate universes or alternate versions of reality, etc.) At any rate, God can see all the truth as well as all the fables. In fact, the devil’s ability to create fables or tell lies comes from the the Father’s ability to see the lies as well as the truth. The difference is that God presents lies as lies and truth as truth, whereas Satan presents the truth as lies and lies as truth.

Most people have an easy time dealing with the past and present when it comes to the gospel. Where people choke are the future elements of it. How can God tell the future? How can he know what will happen before it does? These and other questions like them are a great mystery to many people.

Some people invent theories such as predestination to explain how he does it. Others just don’t think about it, taking it on faith that this is just how it is and no one will understand it until the Millennium.

The one thing to keep in mind, though, is that God does not violate free agency. Ever. Therefore, theories like predestination are patently false, as they violate one of the revealed laws of heaven. And we know that if God violated one of his own laws he’d cease to be God, so that doesn’t quite work.

Back in the teacher’s quorum

I remember one Sunday being taught by my teacher’s quorum adviser a lesson which really shook up the quorum. The man said, “In the pre-existence, God could have pointed to people and said, ‘You will be saved. You won’t. You will. You will. You won’t.’ etc. He has foreknowledge of all things and knows beforehand who will be saved and who will not.” I don’t know how new this guy was to the gospel, but he seemed pretty sure of himself and no one shot him down. Nevertheless, I didn’t buy the argument, despite myself being new in the gospel.

This idea of his, though, is not unique. I have found many people believe the same thing. Some people try to explain away the problem of a person’s agency (which poses a problem to this line of thinking) by saying that God simply knows us so well that he can tell what we are going to do before we do it, like a parent knows the habits of a child.

The future is uncertain

Contrary to what these people believe, though, the future is uncertain. As we make choices, right or wrong, we are statistically more or less likely to make more right or wrong choices. However, despite statistics, repentance always offers us a way out, unless the last door to salvation is finally closed by us.

When the Lord looks to the future, he sees everything: what will happen, what won’t happen, what can’t happen, what might happen, what probably will happen, what probably won’t happen. Because he sees every possible variation of the future, the truth is in there somewhere along with all the fables. How does he determine what is the truth and what is fable? In a word: FAITH.

The sight of God has divisions

Although God sees all things, both past, present and future, his sight has divisions. For example, he sees all the fables, but not in actuality, as they don’t exist. He sees them in his mind’s eye, or using the incredible imagination that makes up his mind. The truth, however, past and present, actually exists or existed, and he sees or saw them in reality.

When the sight of God is turned to the future, however, the foreknowledge of God (and faith of God) comes into play. Remember, there are two types (or stages) of knowledge: perfect and imperfect. All truth that has existed and exists is perfect knowledge. All truth that will exist is imperfect knowledge. (The reason is because of agency, which is an open variable.) Nevertheless, imperfect knowledge is capable of generating faith and faith is capable of producing perfect knowledge. Therefore, God, when he sees the future (that which will occur) with his mind’s eye (as it is not yet a reality), sees it “with an eye of faith” until it becomes a reality. (See Ether 12: 19; Alma 5: 15 and Alma 32: 40.)

The other things he sees, the fables, he has no faith that they will happen, thus, they do not occur, as faith is what makes things happen, or that makes things reality.

This same principle applies equally to man as to God, which is why faith saves us.

Footnote

* The prophets of the Book of Mormon emphasize that there are two states or types of knowledge: perfect and not perfect.

Next Faith of God article: The faith of God, part thirteen: How charity fits in

Previous Faith of God article: The faith of God, part eleven: Why knowledge doesn’t save

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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3 Comments

  1. […] LDS Anarchist, “The Faith of God, Part 12: Truth,” […]

  2. I just finished reading what you have in this series. It’s highly thought-provoking and causes me to seek greater understanding of the principle of faith. I have a question: are we to understand that faith is necessarily faith in God? The reason I ask is rooted in Ether 12:4:

    “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place on the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.”

    Obviously there is a lot there but I want to focus on the idea of “hope for a better world.” This “better world” appears to be equated with “a place on the right hand of God.” So is this better world a future world? Or is it possible a better world right now? The idea of establishing Zion makes me think it could be a better world right now. This hope comes of faith. What are we to make of people, who have no belief in God, no hope of a place on the right hand of God, and therefore no faith, but still hope hope for a better world? People read about and strive for utopias, peaceful tomorrows, true equality and freedom, without even mentioning God and sometimes denouncing people who believe in God (like John Lennon’s “Imagine”: Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today). Just curious what you think about that.

    Additionally, something that has recently been playing on my thoughts is that those who have charity believe all things and hope all things. You stated that as we passively accept and believe more, our faith can increase. And since believing a lie is not believing a thing (because a lie is false and therefore not real, nonexistent, not a thing) as our faith increases, so should our charity, because we’ll rejoice in truth and believe and hope for more things. I hope this came out right.

  3. Chris, I’m glad to read that this series is stimulating.

    “I have a question: are we to understand that faith is necessarily faith in God?”

    In the modern vernacular, we use the word faith interchangeably with belief, but faith as mentioned in the scriptures is a gift of God. It has three ingredients (belief, word of God, Holy Spirit) and is centered in God (or Christ). So, when speaking of the scriptural gift of faith (and not our modern common usage of faith as belief) my understanding is that yes, faith is necessarily faith in God.

    “So is this better world a future world? Or is it possible a better world right now?”

    My understanding is that it is both. Obviously, if there were enough people who possessed charity among us, Zion could be established now. But even if you alone obtain charity, while everyone around you goes to hell in a hand basket, you still will inherit a better world, even this world at a future moment, for you will inherit the earth with the rest of the meek.

    “What are we to make of people, who have no belief in God, no hope of a place on the right hand of God, and therefore no faith, but still hope hope for a better world?”

    There are many who envision a utopian society and think they can do it on intellect and belief alone (no faith in God needed). Many anarchists, in particular, believe this. Mankind alone CAN do much to create idyllic settings and near-utopias. The problem is that we are not alone. Satan is among us to sow discord. We need to cast him out of our presence in order to achieve peace among the people. This can’t be done except through God. If Satan were not a reality, then mankind could do it without religion. And this is where they go wrong, for they reject both the existence of God and of Satan, which sets them up to be captivated by (subjected to) Satan. They end up casting out God, the only power that can deal with the devil, who remains among them.

    Btw, I like your thoughts on charity.


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