Unity of God


A uni-verse [the One-Story]; a tale being told:

The world does not consist of “things”, but of interactions — and it is the interactions that give the appearance of “things”.  All “things” are fundamentally a verb.  But the base-“stuff” of all creation [at the deep-down and far-in level] — the noun, is the same.  What makes the variety of created things that we can observe in the universe consists of the “verb” the one-thing is doing.

Like a whirlpool, we appear as a static-and-solid form — but what we are is actually quite dynamic-and-fluid.  Your body’s cells are in a constant process of dying-out and replacing themselves:  every  moment, every day, every month — year-by-year.  Most of what you “know” was experienced by cells that have long-since been sloughed and replaced with new ones.

When you eat or breathe — your cells [which are communities of atoms] are designed so that they will be put in close proximity to the food or air [which are also communities of atoms] under conditions conducive enough for the right kind-of chemistry to happen — and allow some of these atoms to trade places.

Your skin does not separate you from the world — it’s the bridge through which the external environment flows into you, and you into it.  Because of your skin, you have a definite form/shape that others can recognize, but [as the whirlpool is a constant flow of water] the whole world is constantly moving through you.  All the cosmic radiation, all the water, food, and minerals, all the air, even the feelings and sensations — are a stream of everything, flowing right through “You”.  And you spin that stream into a constant form — a wave that I can wave to, and call “You”.

This is why you can take the particles of my body, bury them in the ground, and have them go on to become:

  • the fiber of a toadstool
  • the lignin of an oak tree
  • the petals of a dandelion
  • the keratin of the hair of a rabbit
  • starch in a potato
  • O2 for you to breathe
  • and CO2 to buffer your blood

But none of that would cause the “Me” [the stream of consciousness and torrent of particles that you would have seen, experienced, and known as “Me”] to be lost.  When resurrected, I cannot get ALL of the particles that made-up my body — because during the decades of living, there were never any ONE set of atoms that were ever “mine”.

Some of the particles I “had” as a child already went on to become part of something/someone else before I even died.  And some of the atoms that “belonged” to me at the time of death were fertilizing a blade of grass before the time appointed for the resurrection.

“I” am not the particles of my body — I can’t be the “pieces” because those are constantly changing [even right now, at this very moment].  My cells are each a constant flow of atoms and electrons:  from the environment, through me, and back-out again.

“I” am this unique arrangement of nucleotides, amino acids, and minerals — a spell(ing) of alphabetic compounds [A-T-C-G; Met-Lys-Cys-Thr-Arg-Phe; C-H-O-Na-Fe-Ca-P].  The “Me” is the energy that informs [or gives form] to that dynamic stream [or flow] of particles — making them constantly appear as the continuous form everyone perceives and relates to as Me.

The power of the resurrection does not give me the same particles back — because those are irrelevant.  There never were any “specific pieces” that made me, “Me” anyway.  The power of the resurrection is the moment when my unique arrangement of particles is made physical again.

The Supreme Being [the Ultimate Doing], the principle verb:

“Being” is a verb word — and we are Human-beings, and God is the Supreme-Being.  God is that this-or-that one Actor or Actress who is being “God” — rather, God is the “verb” that we can all do [see The Doctrine of Identity].

Those who obtain the ability to do the works of God, to be the Supreme Being — will be the ones who have the capacity to reorganize their physical form and keep it in the kingdom of God.

On the other hand, those who fail to obtain this ability will lose all power to maintain the highly-organized state of “existence”.  Their physical body [the “pieces”] will go on to provide form for other creations, while their spirit/consciousness [the “energy” that informs the pieces] will be lost to entropy, becoming an indistinguishable bit of the cosmic radiation background.

Which category you find yourself in depends entirely upon which “spirit doth possess your body at the time that ye go out of this life,” because that’s the “same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world,” — whether that be

  • the spirit of the devil
  • or the spirit of the Lord

[see Alma 34:34-35 and A person, being evil, cannot do that which is good].

Works/Doings of the Flesh [which will have an end]:

now the works of the flesh are manifest
which are these

  • covenant-breaking
  • sexual misconduct
  • ritual impurity
  • indulging the pleasures of the senses
  • idolatry
  • use or administration of pharmakeia
  • enmity
  • contention
  • jealousies
  • fiery anger
  • partisanship
  • dividing into divisions
  • and sects
  • envyings
  • murders
  • intoxication
  • engaging in revelry and debauchery

and other things of like kind
of which I tell you now
as I have also told you before
that they which do such things
shall not receive inheritance in
the kingdom of god

[Galatians 5:19-21]

and

because their hearts are set
so much upon the things of this world
and aspire to the honors of men
[and] they do not learn
this one lesson —

that the rights of the priesthood
are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven
and that the powers of heaven
cannot be controlled nor handled
only upon the principles of righteousness
that they may be conferred upon us
it is true
but when we undertake to

  • cover our sins
  • gratify our pride
  • gratify our vain ambition
  • exercise control
  • exercise dominion
  • exercise compulsion

upon the souls of the children of men
in any degree of unrighteousness
behold
the heavens withdraw themselves
the spirit of YHVH is grieved
and when it is withdrawn

amen

to the priesthood
or the authority
of that man
behold
before he becomes aware of it
he is left unto himself
to kick against the pricks
to persecute the saints
and to fight against god

we have learned
by sad experience
that it is the nature
and disposition
of almost all men
as soon as they get a little authority
as they suppose
they will immediately begin
to exercise unrighteous dominion

[D&C 121:35-39]

Upon death, we will each of us find that the laws of physics which had [until that point] allowed us to:

  • force air into our lungs by manipulating air pressure differences between our chest cavity and the atmosphere
  • force gases to exchange at our lungs and tissues by taking advantage of the partial pressures of the various gases
  • prevent our bodies from going right through physical objects [including the ground] by relying on the electromagnetic repulsion of the electrons surrounding our body and the electrons surrounding the other objects
  • rob food of its low-entropy/high-energy value by chemically stripping the carbons and the electrons from the fats and starches and giving back out high-entropy/low-energy waste products
  • etc.

will have ceased to work “just so”.

The present, mortal environment does not respond to the informing commands of our spirit out of respect for our level of righteousness.  Rather, in His mercy, the Lord has commanded the physical elements here to allow us to push them around and force them — regardless of righteousness or our lack thereof.

They are presently voluntarily-submitting to God’s request — and this is why we are presently able to manipulate the elements that make up our mortal existence, according to a specific set of laws that we’ve observed, studied, and defined as “The Laws of Physics”  [see The seeds of the powers of godliness].

Upon death — God’s merciful probation with the physical elements ends.  The elements will again respond as they always have — according to the principles of free-agency, consent, and respect.  If we have not learned to command our will in the universe according to the principles of righteousness — then we will find ourselves in an awful situation in the afterlife.  For it will be impossible for your spirit [your “soul” or “consciousness”] to force the elements to do anything against their will.

You will find yourself with an insatiable desire to eat, the feeling of unquenchable thirst, the perpetual sensation of suffocation — but have no way to alleviate the feelings.  You will find yourself pulled-down by gravity into the central portion of the earth’s outer shell — a place of immense heat and crushing pressure, a “spirit prison” or hell [see Teachings on hell and the spirit world].

Once at the center of hell, gravity pushes you equally in all direction.  Therefore, your body will act like an astronaut’s does while in orbit.  You will have no power to move this-way or that-way.  There is nothing your spirit could “act upon” in order to move around.

In fact, the only way you will be able to “move” at all is by Satan moving you around [as he desires you to be moved] by pulling on the chains of hell attached to the base of your head [see How to receive what you ask for].

This makes you entirely subject to him — which is the very definition of “damnation”:

if they be evil
to the resurrection
of endless damnation
being delivered up to the devil
who hath subjected them
which is damnation

[Mosiah 16:11]

Works/Doings of the Spirit [which will continue in perpetuity]:

but the fruit of the spirit is

  • charity
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • gentleness
  • goodness
  • faith
  • meekness
  • moderation and self-control

against such
there is no law

[Galatians 5:22-23]

and

no power or influence
can or ought
to be maintained
by virtue of the priesthood
it can only be by

  • persuasion
  • patience
  • gentleness
  • and meekness
  • and genuine love
  • kindness
  • pure knowledge

[…]
the holy spirit shall be thy constant companion
and thy scepter
an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth
and thy dominion
shall be an everlasting dominion
and without compulsory means
it shall flow unto thee forever and ever

[D&C 121:41-42, 46]

Divinity is found in being bound to the most, serving the most, and being connected to the most – not vice-versa.  The nature of reality, rather than being monotheistically ONE, is [on its basic, fundamental level] polytheistically MANY.  A plurality of intelligences.

The revelation of God in the scriptures is that the governing Power of existence is a Personage that relates to the universe with [what the Hebrews called] “chesed” – the loving-kindness and compassion of a God who relates to us with the level of intimacy that is only the result of “beriyth” – or a covenant.

God is not self-existent – for He does all things, including creation, through voluntary covenant with free entities.  Creation was an act of council – of covenant between free and independent agents.  This actually means that He is bound to all things.  And a “self-existing” Being is independent and cannot be bound.

This is why God could “cease to be God”.  Our heavenly Father is “God” because of the covenant He has bound Himself into, with us.  His covenant relationship with creation means He exists for/because of us – not Himself.  Likewise, all things exists because they have bound themselves in covenant with God.  That’s why those who breach the terms of this covenant return to “their own place” in outer darkness – where there is no existence.

Neither the elements of the universe, nor God, are self-existing or independent — because the existence of both parties is a covenant relationship with the other.  Both we and God are self-inter-dependent, one with another.

The unity of God, then, comes as a product – not as an ex nihilo starting point — but a result.  Faith, common consent, persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, charity, etc. are not some stop-gap measures or some temporary/transient states-of-mind that we can drop once we’re “with God”.

For even the Gods must have and keep faith and must persuade and cooperate – for these things are the very fabric of the trusting engagement and co-valent, covenant relationship between all things [see Deep Waters: What would have happened if Lucifer had won the vote?].  At the very bottom [the root or base], Reality is plural and “God” is the unity, order, and cooperation that emerges from that.

Each of our Stories contributes to the Uni-story — One-verse in a Multi-verse:

The universe is a fragmented web, an ornate arabesque of energy, a flow of information that moves through all the variety of interconnected “things” – as wind or water moves.  And we are sym-phonic beings — and should not be content with mono-tony:  rows-and-rows of uniform, conformed, industrialized, factory-farmed, marketed, commoditzed sameness.

All of our “mono-“s [mono-theism, mono-culture, mono-gamy] share the common feature of being less robust and less diverse caricatures of a natural and diverse state of Reality.  All of our –archy’s and –ism’s are just temporary, arbitrary, and illusionary attempts to control things that are what they are because they are natural, diverse, and without someone to “rule” it all.

Statists want to see God as “ordered”, “ordering”, “imposing”, etc.  They pattern Him after the cosmic monoarch because they arise from cultures that were predominately monoarchy-s — and “chaos” or “undirected activity” is a problem that causes them anxiety and fight-or-flight stress.  But there is nothing to be feared from “chaos” — for it is only the unknown we fear when we look upon chaos, nothing more.

It’s not about a battle between “chaos vs. order” — that’s the wrong debate.  It’s about fearing the chaos or desiring the order — pitting one against the other.

LDS are at a bit of an advantage [theologically-speaking] over other Christians in this regard — because the creation of earth in our mythos is said to be an organization of “matter unorganized“.  Pre-existing material, arranged and put to good use.  In our creation myth — the Gods come into a space of chaos, and give it power — give it a purpose worth fulfilling.

But it’s not about “fighting” chaos with order or about embracing chaos “over” order.  For example, the family is an ordered unit.  The higher entropy [greater disorder, “chaos”] state would be for each of the members to exist as separate ego-islands, unto themselves.  Yet we order ourselves into families — and are protected against the effects of entropy by virtue of our organization as a community [called “family”].

And our brains aren’t active by virtue of having some “King Neuron” who runs the whole show — rather it has its strength according to the number of connections running between all the neurons together.

All enduring communities are organized in a more fractal, nature-like interplay and cooperation between the unique units.

I don’t want not to be “anti-order” — rather anti-archy: the imposed order, force, coercion, or compulsive order.  Any “-archy” is that linear, meccano-like corporate conformity and mono-tonous sameness.  It says to tie-up all your sticks into neater and tighter bundles, making sure they are all the same size and length — it’s strong like a brick-wall is strong.

Any an-archy says, let things organize theirselves as they will naturally tend to when they’re left alone — like the cellular cooperation within and between a body’s organs, like atomic cooperation between fundamental particles.  The life in this universe is absolutely built-upon the enduring qualities of such interactions and communities.

Human interactions, then, become less of an oppressive power-pyramid — and something more like a dance, something that we could imagine to be fun to experience with others [see Gimme some a that Mormon-hippie love, with a side of anarchy].

It works like nature does [which can seem “chaotic”, depending on how you look at it] — without an outside foreman being habitually obeyed by the “underlings”.

The very people who fear chaos and therefore try to use means of imposed order — end-up causing more chaos.  When order is imposed, when interactions are controlled — from above or from outside [out of obligation or “duty”] things get out of a natural equilibrium or balance — and get more out of control.

Until we end-up spending all our energy fighting to control what our attempts at control have caused.  These will always tend to dehumanize the very people it’s seeking to “serve” by “giving them order” — and those it tends to dehumanize most, are the ones who think they lead it.

When fear drives your actions — it doesn’t quite matter what the goal is, how noble or honorable it may be — fear is still driving, and it will lead nowhere worth going.

Next Article by Justin:  My letter to Prolife Christians about the HHS Mandate

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The Will of God and Faith


Romans 9: 6-24 [English Standard Version]:

…it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.”

And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad — in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls — she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written [in Malachi], “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

What shall we say then?  Is there injustice on God’s part?  By no means!  For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will? But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?  Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this? Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory — even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

The two historical cases:

Looking at Paul’s logic — because God chose one of Abraham’s spouses over the others, it follows that claiming descent from Abraham was not sufficient to make one an heir to God’s promise:

And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Further because God chose one of Rebekah’s twins over the other, claiming descent from Isaac was not sufficient to make one an heir to God’s promise.

And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord.  And the Lord said unto her, two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

NOTE:  However, Rebekah was told that the older would serve the younger.  Given the Lord’s vernacular for presidency/leadership as voluntary servitude – perhaps this was a misunderstood revelation, and that misunderstanding led things to play out the way they did.  Just a thought.

The extrapolated case:

From these two historical cases, Paul theroizes that it is then likewise true that claiming to be “of Israel” cannot demonstrate that a person is right with God [or justified].

The implication made by using Abraham and Isaac as examples, is that being a justified believer is still a function of God’s choice [like choosing Sarah’s son over Hagar’s, and choosing one of Rebekah’s sons over the other].   He either made you for glory or for wrath and you are in no place to dispute His choice for you.

This is the Calvinistic doctrine of “irresistible grace” — wherein they conclude that it is not possible for humans to have any role in justification — because how could we do anything more than God could do Himself?

What about faith?

However, Paul consistently stresses “faith” as the means of access to God and to a justified state with Him:

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.  Is he the God of the Jews only?  is he not also of the Gentiles?  Yes, of the Gentiles also:  Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

and

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

and

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

and

But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

and

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Faith = Word of God + Belief + the Spirit:

So, if humans have access to God by virtue of faith — then it must still be God’s irresistible choice as to who “gets faith” and who does not — right?  To answer this question, it requires one to look at Alma’s preaching on the subject of faith that is found in Alma 32:

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.

Equating the word of God with a seed is also done in Luke 8: 11;  1 Peter  1: 23; Romans 10: 17; and Galatians 3: 2-9.  The farmer analogy is quite accurate.  The right-brain-hearts of humans are soil, which can be at varying degrees of receptiveness for the seeds, which are the various doctrines of God, the devil, and of men.  The faith that will justify a person with respect to God comes as the ever-good seed is allowed to germinate and grow in the right-brain-heart.

Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart,

This “place” is given in the right-brain-heart.  It involves the concept of yielding [Mosiah 3:19] or being lowly, humble, and teachable.  Broken soil [or a softened right-brain-heart] is a result of a person humbling him/herself — thereby having a broken heart or contrite spirit.  This is equivalent to being “poor in heart” — which Alma observed that the Zoramites were:

of whom were poor in heart, because of their poverty as to the things of the world.

In their case, worldly poverty had brought them to this “lowliness of heart” state:

And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?

Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed — yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty.

So, Alma describes two options for softening the right-brain-heart:  a person may wait for certain circumstances to bring about a state of humility [or soft ground], which will make him/her open and receptive to the word — or a person may exercise self-motivation by virtue of the power of the word alone [motivated by the promises of the Lord], and give place for that seed on his/her own.

Also, if a person’s circumstances do not cause him/her to be humble and they cannot seem to humble themselves before the Lord, then the Lord provides another tool for a man or woman to obtain the required humility:  fasting and prayer.

Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

This is how the ancients did it, because this is how it is done.

Continuing one with Alma’s preaching in chapter 32:

behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed,

The seed Alma spoke of was:

the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works.

This is the ever-good seed.  Any seed that is planted and persuades a person to believe in and plant this ever-good seed, is also a good seed.  While any seed that is planted and persuades a person not to believe in and plant the ever-good seed, is not a good seed.  None of this has anything to do with religion or churches.  All seeds are judged to be good or evil by how they measure up to the ever-good seed and whether they point people towards, or away from, it:

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

Continuing on in Alma 32:

if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord,

Unbelief is equated by Alma with resistance.  Resistance requires effort or work.  It means to oppose with force. The opposite of resisting would be to bow, give in, submit, succumb, surrender, or yield.  All of these words imply a lack of effort or ceasing to work.

As belief is an entirely passive act, any effort whatsoever on a person’s part will stand as an obstacle or impediment to the formula for obtaining faith.  It is like someone pushing you and simply allowing yourself to be pushed — or being in a river that is pushing you downriver and allowing yourself to be carried along.  No effort.  This is belief.

The moment there is resistance [in the slightest degree] to that push, even to just change the direction of travel one inch, it will decrease belief — ultimately turning it into its opposite [disbelief or doubt], which is a state of resistance to the Spirit of the Lord.

behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves — It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

This is a formula — akin to a scientific equation or cooking recipe.  Following the steps with the outlined ingredients will always produce the same result.  If a person varies one step or another — or rationalizes that a certain step is not required — or puts in some of their own effort into the formula — anything different causes “user error” and faith will not result.

The desire to believe:

But what can a person a person do if he/she is having problems with the formula?  There are certain signs following them that believe.  The purpose of these signs is to give the professed believer [and also the church] a means to discern justified believers in Christ [saints, who possess faith] from non-justified believers in Christ [Christians, who do not possess faith] — this is the fruit by which you may know them.  If one finds that he/she is not able to:

In my name they shall do many wonderful works; In my name they shall cast out devils; In my name they shall heal the sick; In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf; And the tongue of the dumb shall speak; And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them; And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.

or

And these signs shall follow them that believe — in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover; And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.

Then Alma advises that:

But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words

What will “awake and arouse your faculties”?  This was mentioned earlier in describing how to soften the soil:

  • One could be compelled by circumstances to have a desire to believe.
  • One could be motivated by virtue of the promises of the Lord in His word to desire to believe.
  • One could fast and pray until a desire to believe stirs in his/her right-brain-heart.

Again, “let this desire work in you” is the same as being in that river of water that is pushing you downriver, and instead of resisting, just allowing yourself to be carried along.

God’s will is your faith:

God works according to the faith of the children of men — meaning according to the formula outlined above.  Thus, the doctrine of God saving people by virtue of His will and choice is true.  However, that He works according to our faith means that His “choice” cannot be outside the bounds of an agent’s faith.

There is no such thing as something operating solely according to the will of God without the context of our faith.  Things operate solely according to the faith of agents — and this is God’s will.  This is why, for example, when Alma and Amulek were beholding the destruction of the saints by fire — and Amulek says to Alma:

How can we witness this awful scene?  Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us [which power comes by faith], and save them from the flames.

we read that Alma replies:

The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand.

Because Alma and Amulek had the faith to stop the destruction — the Spirit needed to tell them that they should not use their gift because there was a wiser purpose in letting the saints die.  Should it be the case that God’s will can be done without regard for an agent’s faith — then there would have been no purpose in the Spirit telling Alma anything.  Alma would have just stretched forth his hand and watched as the flames kept on burning [Much like what many LDS experience with priesthood healings, etc.].

The principle is that God must act where there is faith, so the Spirit had to tell Alma not extend his hand [not to exercise his faith] so that the destruction would not stop.

Also, there are two examples from Paul.  In 1 Corinthians 14, he gives a command that members of the church who possess the gift of tongues refrain from using their gift in church meetings whenever a member with the gift of interpretation of tongues is not present:

…let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church;

No such instruction would be needed unless the gifts are available to be used at will by those who have faith.  If the gifts worked according to God’s will and choice alone, then the Spirit would simply not manifest tongues in cases when an interpreter was absent — and no one would need instruction from Paul.

Also, in Acts 21, we see Paul in a similar circumstance as Alma and Amulek.  Paul is told twice, through the gift of prophecy, not to go to Jerusalem.  In the wording of the Alma 14 story we could say:  “The Spirit constraineth Paul that he must not go forth unto Jerusalem.

And finding disciples, we tarried [at Tyre] seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

and

And as we tarried [at Ptolemais] many days, there came down from Judæa a certain prophet, named Agabus.  And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.  And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.

Yet, while Alma and Amulek chose to submit their faith to what the Spirit had told them — Paul chooses otherwise.  Exercising his faith — Paul feels it better to die at Jerusalem for the name of Jesus Christ.  When the people saw that Paul could not be persuaded, they acknowledged that:

The will of the Lord be done.

And His will is done — in these examples and in the example of exercising faith unto salvation.  It is God’s will that people work according to their faith — and His will is done when faith is used.  With respect to salvation, God chooses every person that He has the power to choose — and He only has power where there is faith.  Thus He “chooses” all those who have faith.

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Previous Article by Justin:  The Tribal Church

See also:  The Faith of God Series, FPR post on LDS Cessationism, T&S post on LDS Cessationism, and W&T post on Alma 32