Deep Waters: Creatio ex nihilo, creatio ex materia and creatio ex deo are all true doctrines


For background on this post, please first read Lehi’s model of the universe.  This article begins where that one left off.

creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing)

Everything originally came from outer darkness, or out of the lake of fire and brimstone, into the inner light or sphere which is the kingdom of God (the created Universe.)  Everything in the created Universe (the sphere) has agency.

All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.  Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.   (D&C 93: 30)

This means that everything placed by God within the sphere of light exists, while everything without the sphere of light (in outer darkness) has no existence. In other words, what exists outside of the sphere of light?  Nothing exists outside of the sphere of light. The sphere of light is all there is. There is nothing else outside of it.  And yet, it is just from this “nothing” that God created the Universe and it is from this “nothing” that He is continually expanding His kingdom, for the sphere is growing.

Existence, as used in the above scripture, does not mean life. It does not mean that within the sphere of light things are alive and outside of it things are dead.  Instead, existence means “the state or fact of having being especially independently of human consciousness and as contrasted with nonexistence.”  A dead thing, after all, although dead, still exists. However, an empty spot, in which there is nothing there, has “no life neither death,” which is Lehi’s description of what is found outside of the sphere of light, meaning that an endless void is out there.

Creatio ex nihilo, therefore, is a true doctrine, as God created (past) the whole created Universe from that which does not exist (the “nothing”) and is continuing (present) to expand His Universe by creating more Universe from that same “nothing.”  This creative act out of “nothing” will continue on forever (future).

Note: more information concerning this non-existent state outside of the sphere of light can be found in the article Lehi’s model of the universe.  That article described the “nothing” in terms of a material or an existence.  Nevertheless, in actuality, there was nothing out there, not any substance, material or existence.  Each time you read in that Lehi article the words exist, existence, substance, material, compound or any other term that indicates some type of material or thing in regards to outer darkness, it should be read as if there were quotation [“”] marks around it.

Also, the Lord makes it plain that if there is no agency, there is no existence, therefore all things inside of the sphere of light have agency and existence, whereas outside of the sphere of light—which is the location known as outer darkness—there is no agency and no existence, in other words, there is nothing. Agency is a gift of God given to us at the moment we came into existence (when we entered the sphere of light from outer darkness.)  When the Lord states “otherwise there is no existence” it presupposes that there are things that exist (on the one hand) and that there is also nonexistence (on the other hand), in other words, that there is an opposition in all things, including the state of existing and not existing.  Not existing is just as real as existing is and by giving us His definition of what are things that exist (independent truth and intelligence placed by God within the sphere of light and given agency) God has also given us the key in determining where such nonexistence is located (outer darkness.)  For a more in-depth treatise on agency, see The role of free agency in political systems, as well as The faith of God, part ten: The relationship of faith to agency (power) and Deep Waters: What would have happened if Lucifer had won the vote? )

Lastly, all truth and intelligence placed in the sphere is independent, meaning that these are individual bits, or individuals. Outside of the sphere, the void is a single mass, with no individuality or independence.  Inside, the Universe is made up of independent individuals.

creatio ex materia (creation out of pre-existent matter)

The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth; and no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments. He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things. Man was also in the beginning with God.  Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.  All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.  Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.  And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.  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.  The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.  The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.  Light and truth forsake that evil one.  Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed  man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.  And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.  But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.  But verily I say unto you, my servant Frederick G. Williams, you have continued under this condemnation; you have not taught your children light and truth, according to the commandments; and that wicked one hath power, as yet, over you, and this is the cause of your affliction.  (D&C 93: 26-42)

There are but two fundamental materials that make up the created Universe: spirit and element.  The scriptures call these two materials by different names according to what aspect of the material is being described.  And so we have fire (spirit) and brimstone (element), light (spirit) and truth (element), intelligence (spirit) and truth (element), wisdom (spirit) and knowledge (element), that which acts (spirit) and that which is acted upon (element).  We also have Spirit of truth (spirit of element) as well as descriptions of intelligence as both the light of truth (spirit of element) and light and truth (spirit and element).  (It is interesting to note that the scriptures never speak of truth of light or truth of spirit [both element of spirit], only of light of truth and spirit of truth [both spirit of element].)

The term “intelligence” throws everyone off.  For most LDS, when asked what an intelligence is, according to the scriptures, they would probably say it is the third part of us that is neither spirit nor element, that is our fundamental being, and which is neither created nor made but exists from all eternity.  This definition, of course, is an invention on their part, as the scriptures do not describe a third part of our being.  The scriptures only describe two parts of us: spirit and element.  The reason why the word “intelligence” is so confusing is that the Lord uses it to mean more than one thing, even in the above quoted scripture.

Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.  (D&C 93: 29)

Intelligence, in this sentence, is referring to the “nothing” that has no existence located in outer darkness.  It is the compound-in-one, good-for-nothing “substance” described by Lehi and referred here by the Lord as intelligence.  (It is useful to refer to “nothing” intelligence as a “substance,” although a substance would technically be something.  Just keep in mind that I’m not actually saying it is a substance when I use the term “substance.”)  This “nothing” intelligence has no purpose and cannot be created or made, as it would destroy God and His purposes were He to create nothing (“something” that has no purpose according to Lehi.)  This “nothing” intelligence is also described as the “light of truth,” which allows us to understand that it is the compound-in-one substance from which the light (spirit) part was extracted from the truth (element) part, in the godly splitting operation which continuously makes an opposition in all things at the lake of fire and brimstone.

All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. (D&C 93: 30)

Intelligence in this sentence refers only to the spirit material that is split from the compound-in-one “nothing” intelligence.  Truth (element) and intelligence (spirit) are then the fundamental building materials, preexisting prior to the creation (formation or organization) of the Universe.  This process is creatio ex materia and is ongoing as the Universe both expands and is re-organized into its various stages of development.

There are two other uses of the word “intelligence.”  One meaning is of a spirit body, such as the spirit bodies of men, which were “organized before the world was.”  (See Abraham 3: 22.)  Another meaning of intelligence is “something” intelligence, as opposed to “nothing” intelligence:

The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.  (D&C 93: 36)

Whereas the “nothing” intelligence is the light of truth, the “something” intelligence is light and truth.  To recap: the “nothing” intelligence is the original “nothing”, namely, spirit and element compounded into one “substance,” good for nothing, not existing, and found outside the sphere of light in a region called outer darkness.  This “nothing” intelligence cannot be created or made by God (or anyone else.)  Creatio ex nihilo occurs at the lake of fire and brimstone whereby this “nothing” intelligence is split into two fundamental materials: spirit and element (or light and truth).  This creates the opposition in all things.  It is now “something” intelligence, meaning, it has purpose, existence, agency and can be useful for constructing or organizing an entire Universe (creatio ex materia.)

creatio ex deo (creation out of the being of God)

There are two ways or senses in which all things were and are created out of the being of God.  One is that everything came from the same nothingness, the “nothing” intelligence, including God:

Man was also in the beginning with God.  Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.  (D&C 93: 29)

The “beginning” referred to in this scripture is the very first beginning, when we were part of the compound-in-one “nothing” intelligence that cannot be created or made.  We were there, in our uncreated nothing state, and God was there, too, in His uncreated nothing state.  We were all as one body. We did not exist as individuals, but as part of a single mass of nothingness, and in fact, we did not exist at all.   A portion of this mass was brought out of outer darkness before us, becoming the individual we now know as God.  Thus, God was brought out first.  Then, later, He brought us out along with all of the rest of the created Universe, so that we now all exist as individuals.  But keep in mind that originally, we all were part of the same whole, the same mass of nothingness, including God.  Thus, as the “nothing” intelligence literally was/is a part of the being of God and we were/are a part of it, too, creatio ex deo is a true doctrine.

Another way we are created out of the being of God is through the Light of Christ.  The Light of Christ is the (extended) body of God.  Through it He is able to both be in one single location at a time and also everywhere at once (omnipresent).  Although the Light of Christ is a creation of God, it has been endowed with all of His vast powers, knowledge and all other attributes in their fullness.  This is one of the reasons why the Light of Christ is indistinguishable to modern Christians from the real God that created it.  Nevertheless, as it is the arm of His power, extended throughout the Universe, it can be considered an extension of His very being, allowing Him to be both the one and the infinite at the same time.  It is the Light of Christ that has organized (creatio ex materia) and that maintains the entire Universe.  In this sense, creatio ex deo is a true doctrine:

Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.  This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom; which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—he that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth; which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.  As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; as also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; and the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.  And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—the light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. (D&C 88: 3-13)

God does it all

To summarize, God splits the nothingness of outer darkess into its two component parts, spirit and element, bringing the single-mass nothingness (singular intelligence) into individual somethingnesses (a plurality of intelligences), from nonexistence into existence, placing the individual spirit and element bits within the growing sphere of light (the created Universe) and granting both components agency.  This creative act occurs at the lake of fire and brimstone, is in reality creatio ex nihilo and is ongoing.  As the singular nothingness was/is part of the being of God, this creative act is also creatio ex deo.

Once inside the sphere of light, split into spirit and element and granted agency, God organizes these fundamental bits into spirit and physical bodies.  This creative act is creatio ex materia and is ongoing.  As the Light of Christ is (essentially) part of the being of God (an extension of Him) and as we are organized (created) by and of the Light of Christ, it being in us, powering us and maintaining us (and all other things), this creative act is also creatio ex deo.

Previous Deep Waters article: Deep Waters:Lehi’s model of the universe

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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26 Comments

  1. I want to thank a couple of fellow LDS bloggers for inspiring me to research ex nihilo creation and ultimately to write this post. I had been blog surfing and came across a recent a post on someone’s blog (I can’t recall the blog) in which the standard Mormon stance of choosing ex materia creation over ex nihilo creation was defended. I didn’t think much of it as this was what I’d been taught since joining the church. Then, about a week later, I came across the Biblical Evidence Against “Ex Nihilo” Creation post on the LDS Doctrine blog and was again presented with the same typical Mormon defend-creatio-ex-materia propoganda. The chronological proximity and anti-ex-nihilo creation stance of both posts got me thinking and realizing that I had never really checked to see if such a view was consistent with my scriptural findings. So, I did some research and this Deep Waters post is the result.

  2. Joseph Smith argues that God didn’t even create our spirits, that they were pre-existent, otherwise God would have created Himself. To wit:

    If that were so, the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house tops that God never did have power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself. Intelligence exists upon a self-existent principle; it is a spirit from age to age, and there is no creation about it. Moreover, all the spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible to enlargement.

    http://mldb.byu.edu/follett.htm

  3. Joseph Smith’s position was that, God being unable to create intelligences/spirits, the same being pre-existent, God nevertheless *organized* intelligences/spirits.

  4. […] able to determine), and, in like manner, His right-brain-heart is outer darkness.   See the post, Deep Waters: Creatio ex nihilo, creation ex material and creation ex deo are all true doctrines, for more on this […]

  5. Is there a difference between “created” and “made” in the scripture where it says that intelligence could neither be CREATED OR MADE?

  6. That is an interesting question. Here are the 1828 definitions of create and make.

  7. Couple questions that you may not be prepared to answer — I was just reading over these posts today:

    Where did God reside prior to the formation of the inner sphere of light [law] of his left-brain?

    It seems that if the timeline of the created universe is run backwards, we arrive at a point where God finds Himself in outer darkness, looks around, and uses His imagination to form a sphere that then goes on to expand.

    Or in other words — how would He be able to form the created universe from its non-existent state?

    On what principle was this possible for Him but not for any “thing” else in outer darkness?

    Did He form the created universe and then enter into it, or did He form the universe “around” Himself?

  8. Another way we are created out of the being of God is through the Light of Christ. The Light of Christ is the (extended) body of God. Through it He is able to both be in one single location at a time and also everywhere at once (omnipresent). Although the Light of Christ is a creation of God, it has been endowed with all of His vast powers, knowledge and all other attributes in their fullness. This is one of the reasons why the Light of Christ is indistinguishable to modern Christians from the real God that created it. Nevertheless, as it is the arm of His power, extended throughout the Universe, it can be considered an extension of His very being, allowing Him to be both the one and the infinite at the same time. It is the Light of Christ that has organized (creatio ex materia) and that maintains the entire Universe. In this sense, creatio ex deo is a true doctrine:

    You quoted D&C 88 — but also, concerning creation ex deo — there is D&C 76:23-24 and 93:9-10

    For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father — That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

    and

    The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men. The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.

  9. Your questions remind me of a scripture:

    Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God. (Jacob 4: 8 )

    You are right in saying that I am unprepared to answer these questions. However, I will give it as my opinion, concerning your last question, that God did not first form our Universe and then enter into it, but that He formed it around His person, for it seems to me that He would always have been at its center.

    As for as your other questions, I have no opinions one way or another. I can see God coming into existence through the action or awareness of another god (His own father), entering a Universe created by this other god (His father), just as we came into existence through the action or awareness of our Father (God), entering a Universe created by someone other than ourselves (God our Father). But I don’t put anything past God. By that I mean that it would not surprise me to learn that God came into existence and began the creation of this Universe without any assistence from any other god, nor without coming into the already created Universe of another god. Just because we can’t conceive of such an occurrence, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, for He does things differently than we do.

    Again, I can see God, once being brought into existence (by action of another god and in the Universe created by another god), progressing as we do progress, through stages, and then when achieving godhood, going off and creating His own Universe. But I also can see God coming into existence as an all powerful God, from the get-go, and not going through any stages of progression, whatsoever, and again, from the get-go, beginning to build His Universe around Him.

    Many Mormons seem to take the view of the King Follett Sermon (see part one and two) and see God coming into His Father’s Universe just as man did and then going through progression until He finally achieves godhood, then creating His own Universe.

    I’m okay with that view, but I’m equally okay with a Being that is God from the get-go and who builds His own Universe without spending any time learning lessons in any one else’s, nor without any help from anyone else.

    If we look at Jesus Christ, how He came into existence, the scriptures teach that Christ is the “Creator of all things from the beginning.” This means that Christ was the very first creation of God, or the first thing (after God) that was brought into existence from the nothing. Once brought out, Christ created all things. Now, the question may be asked, was Christ a god when He created all things? The answer is, of course, yes. But what about the time between Christ being brought into existence and the time when He began creating the next thing that would occupy the Universe? During this interval, did Christ go through a progression until He achieved godhood, or was He almighty God from the get-go, from the instant He came into existence?

    If one answers the question with progression, then we find ourselves with a problem, for there was nothing upon which to progress. There was only God and Christ and nothing else. There was no earth or sun or moon or anything else upon which to learn lessons and be tried and learn things, for there was nothing that existed in which to learn. Progression only works, as pertaining to Christ, if Christ came into existence in some other God’s Universe and then went through the steps there until He achieved godhood, then came to a spot in outer darkness and began creating our current Universe.

    Such an idea, though, is a strange thought: that Christ was created by God but then brought into some other God’s Universe until ready to start creating our God’s Universe. God doesn’t strike me as the type of Being that relies upon anyone else for anything, such as anyone else’s Universe (although the principle of charity, of course, applies fully among the gods). So, I would say that it is more likely that God, relying upon His own power and wisdom, brought Christ from the nothing as a fully functioning God, or God from the very beginning.

    Now, if that is so, that Christ was brought into existence as a God, needing no progression whatsoever to obtain godhood, then surely God our Father could do the same. And if He (God the Father) could be brought into existence as an already almighty, all-knowing God, then who is to say that He couldn’t (or didn’t) bring Himself into an existence, without anyone else’s help, and then start creating this Universe, beginning with Christ, who He also brought in as a from-the-get-go God?

    Interestingly enough, in comparison with the non-existing nothing, which has no power and no knowledge and no awareness, etc., any amount of power, knowledge, etc. that is possessed by an existing thing, makes the thing, essentially, an almighty, all-knowing god. So, the instant God came into existence, regardless of the amount of His knowledge and power, He was all-powerful and all-knowing, for only He existed to be compared with the non-existing nothing. Whatever new thing was brought into existence after He came into existence, would only add to His knowledge and power, keeping Him an almighty, all-knowing God. The very fact of Him being the first, makes and keeps Him God from the beginning (when compared to the nothing and also to all created things that come after Him.)

    Also, Jesus, when coming into existence (as the first created thing after God), would come in by seeing or knowing God, which was the only other thing in existence. Therefore, he came in already knowing all there was to know, meaning that He was all-knowing from the get-go, just like God. Those who would come much later, would not come in as all-knowing gods, for there needed to be a space to learn all that already existed, necessitating a progression. But for God and Christ, being Gods from the get-go seems to be a real possibility.

    Anyway, I’m just tumbling thoughts around from these questions you’ve asked. The only opinion I have is the first one I wrote at the start of this comment.

  10. I too agree with:

    I will give it as my opinion, concerning your last question, that God did not first form our Universe and then enter into it, but that He formed it around His person, for it seems to me that He would always have been at its center.

    and

    Interestingly enough, in comparison with the non-existing nothing, which has no power and no knowledge and no awareness, etc., any amount of power, knowledge, etc. that is possessed by an existing thing, makes the thing, essentially, an almighty, all-knowing god. So, the instant God came into existence, regardless of the amount of His knowledge and power, He was all-powerful and all-knowing, for only He existed to be compared with the non-existing nothing. Whatever new thing was brought into existence after He came into existence, would only add to His knowledge and power, keeping Him an almighty, all-knowing God.

    Concerning the later quote — God’s “all knowing-ness” is in relation to His circumstances [much like you related on the charity post about bearing all things, believing all things, etc.].

    Meaning, God knows all that there is to know, or knows all that exists [in the created universe]. When He was just alone [in His left-brain-mind], He knew only Himself, and therefore knew all things. As the universe expands, He “learns” the new things — still retaining that original “all knowing-ness”, but now knowing relatively more than He did at an earlier time.

    Again, more thoughts that I have been tumbling around — not necessarily directed at LDSA, though I expect him to be the only one that might respond:
    1)

    All truth and intelligence placed in the sphere is independent, meaning that these are individual bits, or individuals. Outside of the sphere, the void is a single mass, with no individuality or independence.

    How could God [meaning the originator of the first sphere of light, which I speculatively hold to be our heavenly Father, not His Father, etc.] distinguish Himself enough to form the initial sphere of the created universe around Himself — given an environment of “nothing” that lacks a component of individuality or self? [Admitting that this may again be a Jacob 4:8 kind of answer].

    2) Is the personage we are referring to as “God” — the one that created the sphere of light — the male personage of Heavenly Father only? As far as the “as above, so below” principle can be used — I’m looking at these posts for a place to fit gender [or masculine and feminine principles] into things.

    Have you thought on that subject while you were working on these posts? I’m thinking that “compound-in-one” includes compounding the gender principles. The “substance” is neither alive or dead nor male or female, etc. Gender is an endowed characteristic that takes is given when individual particles are formed at the lake of fire and brimstone, given agency and existence, etc.

    Did “God” create the universe solely as a male personage [masculine principle] — or wouldn’t a female component have been needed [I’m thinking along the lines of Wisdom in Proverbs 8]?

  11. Something else popped into my head from your questions. I wondered if “as above, so below” applies to sleeping, as well. It is kind of hard for me to imagine God sleeping. God and His kingdom are of light, and light is associated with wakefulness or “on,” while the dark is associated with sleeping, or “off.” I cannot imagine God sleeping while residing within the kingdom of light, or while the light is on. However, if God has a “sleep mode,” just as we do, I would suppose that it occurs in outer darkness. If all things cycle, or pulsate, perhaps even God does. In other words, it would not surprise me if at some point God leaves the Universal seed—that He has planted and grown to maturity and whose fruit He has enjoyed for a very long time (to us an eternity)—to go to another part of the field (outer darkness) to plant another Universal seed. And it would not surprise me if God plants a Universal seed by starting from absolutely nothing. By that I mean that He goes to sleep, becoming one (again) with the nothingness. God is the Universal seed, after all, and seeds are known to remain dormant for long periods of time. So, I wonder if God goes to sleep by ceasing to exist, to be awoken at some later period as a fully mature God, even the God seed, to start again the process of growing another Universe to maturity.

    Such a thought could explain how God could spontanteously and suddenly become aware of His existence, apart from the rest of the nothingness. If this is merely how God sleeps, there would be a mechanism by which He inevitably wakes up—for example, perhaps the very act of ceasing to exist creates a disturbance in the nothingness, which disturbance acts like a wave or some such thing that eventually reverberates off of spheres of light, making its way back to the source an eternity later, and causing a barely distinguishable difference upon the spot in the nothingness that was God, causing Him to wake up, or come into existence—so that there would be no danger of His being forever sleeping or dormant. Such a thought might explain the re-birth doctrine of the gospel, as well as the rebirth pattens of Earth in which night and day alternate creating new days punctuated by nights instead of one continuous day, all these things being patterned after the cyclic life of God Himself.

    After all, if God has all power, then He must have power to sleep. And if He has power to sleep, then He must use that power, for if He has a power that He doesn’t use, what purpose does the power have? It would serve no purpose, whatsoever, therefore, God must use all the powers He has according to His divine purposes.

    Also, just as Jesus descended below all things, so God must be able to descend below all things, and must also descend below all things (for having a power and not using it serves no purpose.) What is below all (created) things? Outer darkness. Although the scriptures say that the darkness does not comprehend the light, surely God can comprehend the darkness, as well as He comprehends all (created) things. Yet how could God comprehend the darkness, which is so unlike God, even anti-God? Perhaps by becoming one with the darkness by going to sleep in it.

    Justin asked, “Have you thought on that subject while you were working on these posts?”

    To be honest, whenever I go back and re-read some of the posts I’ve written on this blog, I don’t remember how I came up with them. They have been like itches that I had to scratch, which I did by writing them, but then the itch goes away and I kind of just forget about it, moving on to some other topic. I can’t recall what I was thinking when I wrote the above post but I’m pretty sure that gender was not on my mind. If it had been on my mind, I probably would have written about it, because that would have been another itch to scratch.

    There is God the Father (male), God the Son (male) and God the Holy Ghost (female). God appears to be a term embracing any exalted male or female. D&C 132: 20 says that “then shall they be gods,” referring to both men and women. It doesn’t mention goddesses. So, the exalted men will be gods and the exalted women will be gods (not goddesses.)

    As gender is not a part of the nothingness, as you have pointed out, gender then must be an act of choice in the instant of creation, for the Universe works upon the principle of agency. The Father chose maleness, the Son maleness and the Holy Ghost femaleness. Given the same set of circumstances, our nature is such that we choose the same things. So, I would imagine that it is the same for exalted beings. God the Father, is, by His nature, a male personage and if He could start all over again, from the nothing, I would suppose that He would choose, yet again, to be male. And so on for all other beings, each one choosing the same gender that they initially chose to be.

    The female God, the Holy Spirit, was definitely involved in the creation of all things, as all things are done by the power of the Holy Ghost, so both genders were involved. But it is all according to perspective. If you look at only the Father, we get a male God. If you look at only the Son, a male God. If you look at only the Holy Ghost, a female God. If you look at all three, a male/female God.

    Gender is both real and an illusion. Men are men, sure, but they are composed of spirit (that which acts, or “the male stuff”) and element (that which is acted upon, or “the female stuff”). Same with women. Sure, they are women, but are composed of “male” and “female” particles. The Holy Ghost is a woman, yet is entirely composed of a “masculine” substance (that which acts, or spirit). Jesus started out with male-only substance (spirit) and then took femaleness upon him (physical element). So, God (regardless of gender) seems to embrace both genders at the fundamental levels. Only at the macro level do we appear to be more male than female, or more female than male. But even there He embraces both genders by commanding us to become one flesh, mixing it all up once more.

  12. Now, in case someone brings up the ceasing to exist thing—namely, that I’ve previously written about what would happen to the Universe if God were to cease to be God, or lose all power, and thus, such musings as I wrote in the above comment cannot be true for if God goes to sleep by ceasing to exist, then it would undue everything and cast all things into outer darkness, etc.—well, I’m only saying that sleep may happen after everything is mature. By this, I mean that after everyone who remains in the kingdom has received an inheritance.

    To further explain, until we receive an inheritance, we are on borrowed breath. Everything is lent to us by God. The doctrine of nothingness is a doctrine of our actual nature, meaning that we are still, essentially, nothingnesses. We possess nothing, having not, yet, received an inheritance in the kingdom. That inheritance comes at the day of judgment to those who inherit the kingdom of God. At that point, we become possessors and not just borrowers for a time. This is why those who do not receive an inheritance return to outer darkness. They return because they remain nothingnesses, having gained no power, no possession, no faith to keep themselves here. This is why the scriptures say, “if the knowledge of the goodness of God at this time has awakened you to a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state—”. The sense of our own nothingness is not a figurative expression. It is literal. It means that we are nothingnesses that have been brought into the created Universe and lent gifts, for a time, which gifts allow us to remain here. After that time, if we have not exercised faith to obtain salvation, these gifts will be taken back and we will feel the full nothingness of our nature, which is why we will have no power to remain in the Universe and must return from whence we came (back to outer darkness).

    The sense of our own nothingness is important because it helps to humble us, which humility helps to obtain the broken heart and contrite spirit, etc., and ultimately to obtain salvation and an inheritance.

    However, after the entire Universe has matured and the inheritances have been given out (and the devil and his angels kicked out), so that no longer does any part of the Universe exist on borrowed power from God, but on their own power and faith, it may be that God can leave it and go to sleep (as explained above) without the Universe falling back into outer darkness. This is because once the inheritances are given out, we cease being nothingnesses, because we finally possess something, even something we can call our own.

  13. Only at the macro level do we appear to be more male than female, or more female than male. But even there He embraces both genders by commanding us to become one flesh, mixing it all up once more.

    I’ve heard an explanation of the macro/micro expressions of gender that compares the gender principles to the charges of an atom.

    For example, both sodium and chlorine atoms contain both positive and negative particles [protons and electrons] — that’s micro. But on the macro scale — one is said to be a positive ion and the other a negative ion. When combined together [commanded to become “one flesh” as it were] — the two complimentary charges form an ionized [strong] bond.

    God has patterned our individual parts after the same manner. Each person containing both masculine and feminine components in the physical and mental make-up — but on the whole being either male or female.

    Just like it is necessary for our individual male and female parts to be eternally combined [spirit and element inseparably joined in the resurrection] — whole male and female personages are also to come together, become one flesh, and continue inseparably joined as one flesh.

    So, I wonder if God goes to sleep by ceasing to exist, to be awoken at some later period as a fully mature God, even the God seed, to start again the process of growing another Universe to maturity.

    To speculate with you — I would imagine that God can return to outer darkness anytime He enters His right-brain-heart. Since the current created universe in which we reside is His left-brain-mind — He is the only power holding it in existence. Currently, were He to no longer engage His left-brain-mind — to “sleep” in His right-brain-heart for a time — the universe would cease to exist [sort of like a grand-scale Idealism].

    However, I find your point interesting that once all creations in the current universe have received their inheritance — our Father may be able to leave the universe, it being fully matured. Once He has given us all things [all that He possesses], then it is our mental engagement [left-brain-mind] that will keep the universal sphere expanding.

    This would then leave God free to rest from HIs labors [sleep] — as He counseled in the beginning to do. Completing the “one eternal round” by then “awaking” to create another universal sphere around His mind.

  14. Assuming a process where one particle is created at a time and then formed into spirit bodies and physical things [as opposed to whole spirit bodies entering the created universe whole-sale] — were the initial events of creation all of the “God” particles coming in and taking form as the personage of God? Followed all the particles of Jesus’ spirit body — and then all the particles of the Spirit’s spirit body? etc.

  15. Well, I kind of see it happening this way:

    God comes into existence, splitting the most fundamental (smallest) bit of nothingness into a bit of spirit and a bit of element, connecting the two together in another fashion to create the spirit and element halves of God. This is God the Steward Spirit and a concern Element.

    He then splits another bit of nothingness into a bit of spirit (Jesus, a Steward Spirit) and a bit of elemental Concern. Jesus’s bit of elemental Concern, though, gets given and attached to God’s bit of Steward Spirit and added to God’s other bit of Concern element. God now has a Steward Spirit and two Concern Elements. Jesus is a single Steward Spirit. Jesus, in His first act, has given glory to God, by giving of Himself (His Concern Element) to God. Jesus is now in the Father, literally, as Jesus has given of Himself to God.

    God then commands Jesus to create the Universe. Jesus splits another bit of nothingness into a bit of spirit (the Holy Ghost, a Spirit Steward) and a bit of elemental Concern. The Holy Ghost’s elemental Concern is given to God. God has a Spirit Steward attached to three Elemental Concerns. Jesus is still a single Steward Spirit. The Holy Ghost is a single Steward Spirit. Jesus and the Holy Ghost are one with God, having given of their Elemental Concerns to God.

    Jesus and the Holy Ghost then continue to split nothingnesses into bits of spirit and element, building the spirit and physical body of God (arranging the spirit and elemental concerns) according to the directives of the Father.

    That is how I imagine it would happen, which is probably not how it happened, given that God’s ways are not man’s ways.

    After God’s spirit and body are created, I don’t have any idea how it would proceed, though I agree that the creation of Jesus’ spirit would precede the creation of the Holy Ghost’s spirit. It may be that first comes the creation of Jesus’ spirit body, then the creation of the Holy Ghost’s spirit body and then comes the creation of the Holy Spirit. But it also may be the the Holy Spirit is next created and then Jesus’ spirit body and the Holy Ghost’s spirit body is created from the Holy Spirit. (I lean more towards this latter sequence.)

    Re the creation of the Holy Spirit, or Light of Christ, meaning that which fills the immensity of space: just as the elemental portion of Jesus and the Holy Ghost is given to God, making His physical body extremely dense with physical matter (full of truth), I would imagine that the elemental portion of the Holy Spirit would also go to God, adding to His physical body density.

    Then, when the creation of all things in the Universe is to proceed, spirit bits would be taken from the Holy Spirit and elemental bits would be taken from the physical body of God to form spirits and bodies of planets, stars, people, animals, plants, etc., filling the immensity of space with an endless variety of things.

  16. One more thing. I suspect that the Light of Christ, or Holy Spirit, is probably composed entirely of non-steward spirits. God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are the three Steward Spirits, or Intelligences, that are stewards over the Light of Christ. My reasoning is that the Light of Christ is never considered a personage. Only spirits that have steward intelligences are considered personages. So, the Light of Christ must be composed entirely of non-steward intelligences. Its duty, then, is to obey the three Stewards over it, not to take initiative on its own. If our own spirit bodies are composed of intelligences bound by covenant to a steward intelligence, it may be that we, the steward intelligences, come directly from outer darkness and the intelligences bound to us by covenant come directly from the Light of Christ. This makes sense to me because these intellegences bound to us are, by nature, obedient to the steward, which is the very nature of the Light of Christ. So, in the end, if the steward intelligence is ejected from the kingdom, the other intelligences that composed the spirit body remains, for it, also, returns from whence it was taken, namely the Light of Christ.

    The Light of Christ, then, in a very real sense, is in all things, etc., as the scripture says, if, indeed, all spirit bodies found within this Universe are composed from it. Only the steward intelligences, then, are on trial and capable of being removed from the kingdom.

  17. I think my commenting “itch” has been scratched — thanks.

  18. Consider this video series on Ex Nihilo and Ex Materia

    The series starts out with questioning whether or not free will can exist in the context of Ex Nihilo creation. It discusses the history of the doctrine, philosophical implications, scriptural interpretations and so forth. Enjoy.

  19. LDSA:

    I was re-reading the comments between you and I above — and I found,

    If we look at Jesus Christ, how He came into existence, the scriptures teach that Christ is the “Creator of all things from the beginning.” This means that Christ was the very first creation of God, or the first thing (after God) that was brought into existence from the nothing. Once brought out, Christ created all things.

    and then,

    The female God, the Holy Spirit, was definitely involved in the creation of all things, as all things are done by the power of the Holy Ghost, so both genders were involved.

    So — was Christ created by the power of the Holy Ghost? If so, then He was not the second thing in our created universe [because She would’ve had to have been before Him]. If not, then “all things” were not done by the Holy Ghost [because She didn’t create Christ].

    Thoughts?

  20. My guess [that popped into my head as I first thought-up this question] is that the Holy Ghost was the 1st personage brought into existence after God the Father formed the sphere of light around His own consciousness — thus Christ was next formed as the offspring of the union between a male and a female God [Christ as the “firstborn“] — then He, through the power of the Holy Ghost, created all things.

  21. Justin, I’ll have to think more about this topic and then get back to you. The Godhead is ordered: first the Father, second the Son and third the Holy Ghost, so it seems strange that the Holy Ghost would be brought out before the Son, yet having the Son being spiritually born of the Father and Holy Ghost also makes sense. Perhaps this is another case of the principle of the first being made last and the last being made first? But then how did the Holy Ghost become spiritually born? Or, perhaps there is no separation between male and female in godhood, so that when the Father comes into existence, the Holy Ghost, as the female aspect of His godhood, comes into existence at exactly the same time, since they are one God? Whatever is the answer, these are interesting mysteries.

  22. This:

    But then how did the Holy Ghost become spiritually born? Or, perhaps there is no separation between male and female in godhood, so that when the Father comes into existence, the Holy Ghost, as the female aspect of His godhood, comes into existence at exactly the same time, since they are one God?

    was pretty much my guess when I thought-up the question in the first place.

    I think that there has to be a female-component that equally-counters the male-component of God the Father — and I think the Holy Ghost fulfills that role best in the Godhead as it’s been revealed to us.

    Which would make God [as Christ] the offspring of God as Father and God as Holy Ghost — which is the opposite of the more traditional characterization of the Godhead that I was taught in Catholic school, which was that God as Holy Ghost was the product of God as Father and God as Son joining in fellowship with each other.

  23. But then wouldn’t there need to be a female component to Christ, as well? And if we are patterned after the Father, then would not we also need a male or female counterpart with which to come out of the darkness? And if so, then that would boost one of the positions of OWIW’s post, The Fulness of the Father, regarding the composite nature of man. (Which position he uses to boost his belief that only monogamy is morally right.)

  24. The dual-polarity/complementary gender theory [which I’ve heard from others as well as OWIW] only supports heterosexual marriages — I don’t think it prescribes monogamous ones. And besides, even if it does, it would be true mono+gamy — with no justifiable causes for divorce and no re-marriage after the death of a spouse [i.e., only-one marriage — not one-at-a-time marriage]. And I haven’t heard any in the pro-monogamy crowd propose true mono+gamy.

  25. creation ex nihilo is not a true doctrine according to ol joe jr

    “Now, the word create…does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence, we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos-chaotic matter, which is element…. Element had an existence from the time [God] had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning and can have no end”

  26. In his 2009 book, John H. Walton, an Old Testament scholar who, in the end, agrees with Joseph Smith:

    “If we are to reach an understanding of an ancient text such as Genesis 1, we have to be able to think about the issues the way [the Israelites] would have. A foundational issue is the way people think about existence. In the ancient world, they believed that something existed when it had a role and a function in an ordered system. This is in stark contrast to our way of thinking, that something exists when it has material properties. In the ancient world, to cause something to exist involves giving it a function and a role. In the Hebrew, the word translated “create” (bara’) expresses this very idea. So, “In the beginning period, …God created (gave functions to) the cosmos.” Thus in Gen 1:2, the narrative starts with no functions (not with no matter), and assigns functions by separating and naming.”


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