In my efforts to understand things as they really are and in the obtaining of such knowledge (& as mentioned in a previous post): The thing I know of myself now more than ever is that my knowledge is so incredibly limited. For those who do not know me, I am currently preparing to be a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Amidst my preparations for said mission (and for life in general) I have been reading things to broaden my knowledge of not only gospel principles but to understand to the best of my ability the needs of others I will come into contact with and their level of prior knowledge. Additionally I attend meetings with current full time missionaries and the people they are currently teaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Proselyting also includes coming into contact with those rejecting knowledge of a Saviour and His teachings- which too, is normal on the mission and in life- and is obviously allowed. We personally approve of allowing all people to have the same privilege of worshipping their own understanding of God according to the dictates of their own consciences. We believe all people are allowed to select how they exercise their innate ability to choose.
For myself -as a citizen -and not as a person of my faith, one thing I have distinctly recognised amongst those who do not hold a belief in any form of Deity -is the appearing inability to understand their own lack of understanding (and yes, I’ve been there, we all choose arrogance- often ignorance, and we all fall short of understanding). A common denominator I’ve recognized in said people is a genuine belief that they hold a greater understanding than that of a Supreme Being having lived aeons of years prior to their existence. Things I commonly hear are phrases like “I’m such a deep thinker, there can’t be a God,” “If God is all powerful, why is there so much death of innocent lives?” “How could one create all the things around us? Sounds like magic. What about science?”
Two things need to be understood: We have been given the freedom to choose and God has infinite knowledge.
I’m not going to write in depth about our ability to choose. We have been placed on this earth as a trial of our faith and to use the ability of choice according to our desires- to progress. Bloodshed in the world is indeed not the choice of God, but of humans. He is all powerful and knowledgeable and as a result he knows the things that are going to come to pass. His knowledge is not the reason things come to pass.
Amongst my reading list is a book titled ‘Jesus the Christ’ by James E. Talmage. I read the following last night and it perfectly illustrated these thoughts I consistently have regarding the above.
“God’s Foreknowledge Not a Determining Cause.—“Respecting the foreknowledge of God, let it not be said that divine omniscience is of itself a determining cause whereby events are inevitably brought to pass. A mortal father, who knows the weaknesses and frailties of his son, may by reason of that knowledge sorrowfully predict the calamities and sufferings awaiting his wayward boy. He may foresee in that son’s future a forfeiture of blessings that could have been won, loss of position, self-respect, reputation and honor; even the dark shadows of a felon’s cell and the night of a drunkard’s grave may appear in the saddening visions of that fond father’s soul; yet, convinced by experience of the impossibility of bringing about that son’s reform, he foresees the dread developments of the future, and he finds but sorrow and anguish in his knowledge. Can it be said that the father’s foreknowledge is a cause of the son’s sinful life? The son, perchance, has reached his maturity; he is the master of his own destiny; a free agent unto himself. The father is powerless to control by force or to direct by arbitrary command; and, while he would gladly make any effort or sacrifice to save his son from the fate impending, he fears for what seems to be an awful certainty. But surely that thoughtful, prayerful, loving parent does not, because of his knowledge, contribute to the son’s waywardness. To reason otherwise would be to say that a neglectful father, who takes not the trouble to study the nature and character of his son, who shuts his eyes to sinful tendencies, and rests in careless indifference as to the probable future, will by his very heartlessness be benefiting his child, because his lack of forethought cannot operate as a contributory cause to dereliction.
“Our Heavenly Father has a full knowledge of the nature and disposition of each of His children, a knowledge gained by long observation and experience in the past eternity of our primeval childhood; a knowledge compared with which that gained by earthly parents through mortal experience with their children is infinitesimally small. By reason of that surpassing knowledge, God reads the future of child and children, of men individually and of men collectively as communities and nations; He knows what each will do under given conditions, and sees the end from the beginning. His foreknowledge is based on intelligence and reason. He foresees the future as a state which naturally and surely will be; not as one which must be because He has arbitrarily willed that it shall be.”—From the author’s Great Apostasy, pp. 19, 20.”
The above passage actually made me flip out as I was reading it on the train. I smiled and nodded profusely and may have even whispered a little ‘Yes!’ out loud. I am so incredibly at peace when another understands things and even has the ability to write the same agreed understandings of my heart on their paper.
Prior to my reading I was thinking about scientists. I was thinking about my inability to create or experiment with elements of the earth and how incredibly far we have come so far as science can tell. My knowledge of science is a seed, the knowledge of a scientist is a tree. Then I thought, scientists? They should be considered mini-scientists comparative to a Supreme Being. If a person detests the knowledge of Deity in His infinite understanding and ability to create -as a literal result of believing in science -how can one possibly believe in scientists? Surely a measured earth of 4.5 billion years old comprising of humans living to roughly 73 years has come thus far scientifically as a result of those two common factors alone: Time. Understanding time has been one of my weaknesses up until January this year (however, I still struggle). In the last six months I have actively learnt more than in my entire life as a result of exercising my time efficiently. I understand now more truth than I have ever understood. With this in mind, I consider the life of a scientist (or my limited understanding of a person dedicating themselves to the practice of a science) -copious study, time, energy & practice to understand elements of the earth & the humans in which it consists- often claiming to facilitate and better the lives on the earth in which we reside (and dependent on the denomination of science the planets in which we don’t reside). If God has lived for aeons of years prior to a scientist- surely he has done the same? Surely his knowledge of matter is far greater than that of a scientist? Miracles should not be considered as deviations from the ordinary course of nature so much as manifestations of divine or spiritual power. How limited is our perceived knowledge, how limited is our perceived spirituality- how limited is our power.
I’m going to leave the following thoughts: In your study, in your genuine seeking for divine guidance and knowledge- you will only receive a witness after exercising your faith. I abundantly have been blessed with repeated witnesses of these truths. I know without any doubt whatsoever that we do in very fact, have a loving Heavenly Father. He lives. He is existent. These things I know. This knowledge and active pursuit in attaining confirmation of this knowledge will change your entire life. This I promise you. I’m going to ask those reading this with these genuine desires to make one simple commitment. This week- kneel and pray, asking God the Father your desires to know of His existence and anything you wish to share with Him and close your prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. For any further direction pertaining to prayer and anything listed in the above, feel free to be in contact x