About Mormonism

Investigating Mormonism from many different angles

  • Top Clicks

    • None

Philosophies of Men in Mormon Theology

Posted by nebula0 on March 24, 2009


I wouldn’t take delight in pointing out striking similarities between Platonic and Mormon thought it if weren’t for the fact that a persistent tactic in Mormon apologetics is to accuse orthodox Christianity of being nearly hopelessly infused with these ‘philosophies of men’ corrupting the purity of the gospel.  As that is the case, I want to point out a couple of places in which Mormonism fits better with Platonic philosophy than does orthodox Christianity (see Plato’s Timaeus). 

First of all: creation ex nihilo.  In orthodox Christianity, God creates the cosmos out of nothing and according to his own rules, this is creation ex nihilo.  According to Mormonism God created the universe out of pre-existent materials and according to pre-existent laws of the cosmos, the creation was more of an organization or building.  Now your immediate inclination may be to suppose that the Mormon view is closer to an authentic ancient Hebrew belief and that the orthodox Christian creation is a Greek notion- and that would be wrong.  According to Platonism, the  universe was created by a being called the demiurge who created it out of pre-existing materials and according to pre-existing rules.  Sound familiar? 

Another thing that I would point out is the Platonic notion that as the universe was being put together, there was a sort of life force or soul present in the things created, that this life-ness was present in the things put together before they were materialized.  Now if you know Mormon theology, you know that God formed all things spiritually before they were formed physically.  Compare that to the Platonic concept I just described and now compare that to the orthodox Christian notion that God infused life into the world in a single instant after physical creation.

I’m just saying, maybe the pot shouldn’t call the kettle black too quickly here…

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Philosophies of Men in Mormon Theology”

  1. Seth R. said

    It’s not really so much about what particular ancient Platonists did or did not believe about the universe. It’s about the system of logical assumptions and categorizations they set in place. Christian philosophers then ran with those categorical assumptions and reached different conclusions than the origianl Platonists.

    It’s the framework that Mormon scholars typically attack, not the particulars. The conclusions in this instance aren’t half as important as how you got there.

  2. nebula0 said

    Okay Seth, give us an example. Normally when I hear an attack on an idea in Christianity as ‘Platonic’ it’s the concept that is attacked as such, not the methdology.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: