Be careful when you use Latinate terms: they are often more restrictive than LDS
doctrines. This is the problem with the term omnipotence. It's understood in a
mechanical way (that's one reason Latin is not a good language for religion; it
was better for armies and bureaucrats) ;-)

But that raises the philosophical dilemma of free will. We LDS do *not* believe
God is omnipotent in the sense the Romans used this term -- we believe he's
subject to "natural law," and we believe that even spirit is a type of matter.
That means we don't believe in the supernatural, but, to coin a word, the
metanatural. There's a world of difference.

Now with omniscience, which may be the term you meant to use, it's not quite as
bad, but we also have to understand that the telestial world in which we live has
only 1 dimension to time. You can't read apocalyptic texts like Daniel, parts of
Isaiah and Revelation, not to mention Ezekiel and Matthew 24, without realizing
that there might be more than one approach to time. So "omniscience" is lacking in
meaning for Latter-day Saints. Just as I said, speculating of course, and in terms
of my own background, mathematicians fwiw recognize that there are potentially
stable solutions to chaotic, nonlinear equations (think of the weather, or cream
swirling in a cup of cocoa). If you track some of these functions in a particular
cross-section (using either time sampling or some other factor) you see a stable
pattern, which is known as an attractor (actually a "strange attractor" for
chaotic functions, not to be confused with an astronomical term of the same
name).  The implication of this is that the end of a process which is chaotic in
our "time as an arrow" universe, when plotted in a dimensional space that is a
superset of 1D time, can be an attractor.

But I know I'm getting perhaps needlessly technical. The point is that
"omniscience" has certain connotations which are cultural and which may not
(indeed, I believe they do not) fully describe *how* God knows and what it really
means to say that He knows "all things" without falling back on "magical" or
"supernatural" solutions which is a God of the gaps approach, trying to fit God
into a box we can understand.

Geoff FOWLER wrote:

> >>> After intense thought, Marc favored us with:
> >This is also true, but it's a logical extension of the first, not
> >something that's said explicitly to be inspired. I know it's a nit,
> >but I think the Lord uses historical events, he doesn't "cause"
> >them, else we wouldn't have free will*. His plan is so elegant
> >that His kingdom will come regardless of what choices humanity
> >makes.
> But you are forgetting one truth: God is Omnipotent - he knows all. He
> knew and planned for Joseph Smith to be born in the United States near
> the hill Cumorah where the golden plates were buried and sealed up to
> come forth by His power. Additionally, He knew that Joseph would
> eventually give in to Martin's harangues and give up the 116 pages of
> the Book of Lehi. Yet, God provided a way for his work to be
> accomplished, DESPITE the choices made by men. While He might not
> directly "cause" historical events, per se, He can and will certainly
> intervene (remember Alma the Younger) if necessary. Knowing all, He can
> plan around the mistakes of men.
> As far as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin go (as well as perhaps
> others of the Founding Fathers), their drift toward deism and away from
> institutionalized Christianity may have been as much due to the corrupt
> sects of the day as any other. Perhaps history knows them as such
> because they sought to distance themselves from false Christianity. I
> guess we will find out when we leave this earthly sphere and see them on
> the other side. Perhaps having been finally taught the fulness of truth
> in the spirit world, they fully embraced it (and at least some of them
> did; else why appear to Wilford Woodruff and request that their work be
> done for them?).

Fair enough, and nothing I wrote should be taken to contradict your last
paragraph. What I am saying is that it can be dangerous to try to understand
Divine means in human, secular terms. There are two extremes here, and we have to
steer the strait of Styx between them, so to speak. One extreme is biblical
literalism, such as conservative Protestants believe in, where they retroject
their modern cultural assumptions back into the scriptures (this is how
trinitarianism and anti-anthropomorphism arose, for instance). The other extreme
is the "new history" approach in liberal Mormonism, where people like Brent
Metcalfe and Tom Murphy try to equate what BM in particular calls "prophetic
truth" with "historical truth." This is also known (I think BKP said this) as
"tripping over their own professionalism." There is a middle ground where have to
admit we don't always know what scriptures mean. Handy for us we have a prophet
around, as only a prophet can "re-read" an earlier prophet's statements and apply
them to his own jurisdiction. That's a fundamental difference between us and both
the liberals and the literalists.

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give lustre, and many more people
see than weigh.” – Lord Chesterfield

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

///  ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at  ///
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