Friday, April 25, 2008

Two Creations - Two Yuds

Starting in Abraham chapter three, verse 22, God shows Abraham the pre-existence with the spirits of men. Abraham is then shown the spiritual creation and the planning of the physical creation, as ordered by God. The above spans from Abraham 3:22 through 5:5.  This process was seven periods long, in the likeness (or pattern) of what was going to take place in the physical creation. At the end of these seven periods there was still no physical creation, as the scripture states there was no “rain upon the earth” because there was no earth yet, and God had not yet “formed a man.”

Then in the remainder of the Book of Abraham, Adam’s spirit is placed into a body, and then he is introduced into the Garden of Eden

Which means we have a more detailed description of the spiritual creation and planning. This is a pattern that the physical creation would follow. Then when describing the physical creation the description is truncated, we just jump to the point where Adam is in the garden. And we see that Adam and all the children of Adam will be created before the end of the sixth (physical) creative period. (LINK)

The doctrine of two creations, a spiritual and a physical, is well established in LDS theology. Supporting this doctrine is the Book of Abraham. Genesis is less clear, at least in the English.

However, as Rashi points out, that when describing the one creation the Hebrew word וַיִּצֶר (“Yasar” - with one Yud - the first creation) is used. “Yasar” is rendered “formed” in our King James version. The letter “Yud” (י) is a symbol of creation. When man is described as being placed on the earth, the word has a spelling of וַיִּיצֶר (with two Yuds). This alternative spelling signals that this is a second creation (the physical). A point that is overlooked in English, but pointed to in the Hebrew. And of course this is all clarified in the Book of Abraham. (Rashi on Gen 2.)
Thanks to Kerry Shirts and Prof. Hamblin for directing me to Rashi's commentary.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two Story Temple

Check out the new web site by Professor William J. Hamblin over at THINGS UNUTTERABLE. He just posted a great post about the possibility that there was a second story on the Jerusalem Temple, and some other interesting insights. Here is the link: A Second Story to the Jerusalem Temple?.

Be sure to bookmark his site. Prof. Hamblin's work, in my estimation, is the best coming from Provo these days. He has the insight that so many scholars seek, pretend they have, and yet never achieve.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Three Adams

Prof. Hugh Nibley said the following about the three stages of Adam:

 “We are taught in the Kabbalah a great deal about the three Adams. There is the celestial Adam, who was Michael before he came here; the terrestrial Adam, who was in Eden; and the telestial Adam, after he had fallen, who was down low. The Kabbalah also tells about Jacob's ladder. Joseph Smith taught that it represented the three stages of initiation in the temple, the three degrees of glory…” [1]

Adam is the type that we humans follow in life. We come from a pre-earth life, from holier spheres. We come to this life and take upon ourselves a fallen and mortal nature. Then through the atonement of Christ, we repent and are sanctified to receive one of the three degrees of glory. The degree to which we are sanctified is up to us.

This is the purpose of the temple. We have the model in stone. The plan is taught. The ordinances of each degree are administered therein. The law that is required to receive each degree is taught and accepted by covenant.

And if we are faithful, we follow Adam to join the Family of God, as a joint heir with Christ.
There is no other way.

[1 - Hugh Nibley, Don E. Norton , Approaching Zion, Chapter 11, Deseret Book.]

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Baptism and Kingdoms of Glory

One of the many doctrines for which I find no allies, is the idea that a person must be baptised, either in person, or by proxy, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. By “Kingdom of Heaven” I mean heaven with its three main degrees of glory. ( See John 3:5)

I approach this topic carefully, I am fully aware of church leaders who have had a different opinion on this topic, President Joseph Fielding Smith, being the main one. However, I am unaware of any official declaration from any First Presidency on this topic, so I feel free to see things differently. Add this topic to the list which includes; death before the fall, evolution, the earth’s age, etc..

My thesis is that the temple is the template of the Plan of Salvation. It is the Plan of Redemption laid out in stone. It is how the universe and eternity work. Prof. Hugh Nibley said:

“This scale model of the universe is the temple. Of course, the word for temple in Latin, templum, means the same thing as template: a plan marked out on the ground by the augur's staff…” [1]

All true temples mark out four divisions of space, three are sacred space, and one is reserved for the profane. Three are inside of the sacred space, and one is without. In common LDS parlance they are the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial kingdoms. Each of these kingdoms has a direct correspondence to one of the three sacred spaces in the temple. This is the message of the temple. The Holy of Holies is the Celestial Room, The Holy Place is the Terrestrial Room, the Court is the Telestial Room. These are all descriptions of the resurrection. The baptismal font or "Laver," or "Molten Sea" are located in the Telestial section.

In Solomon’s Temple, the first section within the sacred space corresponds, by illistration or imagery, to the Telestial kingdom. This space was outdoors, suggesting to the mind that it is related to this world in which we live. How does it differs from the world outside of sacred space? It is redeemed, saved, or atoned for. Only those within the sacred space are heirs of salvation, and that is done through repentance and baptism (principles and ordinances). Within the sacred space of the Telestial portion of the temple baptisms are preformed. An initiate can’t advance to the Terrestrial sacred space until the ordinances of the Telestial kingdom are complete. The same is true for entering the Celestial portion of the temple.

The Prophet Joseph Smith is criticized for making up the word “Telestial.” It was his made-up word. It has to do with receiving the initial ordinances, or mysteries.

“ Teleiomai  [relating to the telestial kingdom] means to be introduced into the mysteries… [a] teleiotes is a person who has been initiated into some degree or other of the mysteries…” [2]

"Telos" means initiation, it is the gate, the first degree.

Baptisms, whether for the living or the dead are always done in the Telestial Kingdom (this life, or the space in the temple that corresponds to the Telestial Kingdom).

All this being said, the church is charged with building the Celestial Kingdom. The work of preparing the worlds of the Terrestrial and Telestial kindoms will not be done until the millenium.

We will inherit the kingdom that is represented by the place in the temple, that teaches the principles we are willing to live. When we live those principles, we accept the ordinances of that level of sanctification, and inherit that kingdom or glory. We can’t go to that kingdom of glory and reject the principles or the ordinances of that kingdom. (see D&C 88:24)
[1] Hugh Nibley, Don E. Norton, Temple and Cosmos: Beyond This Ignorant Present, Deseret Book, The Meaning of the Temple.
[2] Temple and Cosmos, Hugh Nibley, Deseret Book, Pg# 28