The LDS apostle’s published quote on God

I just read this.  So I was not imagining things during general conference this past weekend.

I know that in describing Him we can use the terms omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent.

Those concepts are difficult for me to thoroughly comprehend, but I understand His love (312).

Finding Peace, Happiness, Joy(Deseret Book, 2007) by Richard G. Scott

Naturally, I have lots of questions.  Is this statement by the LDS apostle inspired?  Authoritative?  Trustworthy?  Do the LDS general authorities in 2007 define God with these three words?  Does Richard really mean what I think he means? 

I really need some help here, friends.

7 comments

  1. To me, it seems that Richard is saying that the Jesus he worships now, has no boundaries (inifinite) in knowledge, power, and space. But perhaps the omnipresence is fulfilled through the Spirit.

    Geoff, thanks for dropping in. What do you think the LDS apostle is saying?

  2. Todd: What do you think the LDS apostle is saying?

    Well I can assure you Elder Scott doesn’t mean that Jesus has no boundaries to his resurrected body. He certainly does not define the terms “omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent” based on the absolutist definitions Augustine gave us (which were heavily influenced by Greek-philosophy rather than prophets). So my guess is Elder Scott means at least that Jesus has all the knowledge and power and influence he needs to bring about all of his purposes for humankind. I think that is what the Bible tells us too though.

  3. Geoff, I just read this today by Brad V Brase:

    “Latter-day Saints do not believe that God must be immaterial for Him to be omnipresent. The omnipresence of God simply refers to the all-pervading power, glory, and influence He exercises through the Holy Spirit and not the ubiquity of His personal being or physical body. He is omnipresent by virtue of the light of Christ “which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space–the light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed” (Doctrine & Covenants 88:11-12).

    “God is omnipotent in that He can do all things. He is omniscient in that He knows and sees all things. God’s personal being does not have to be everywhere for Him to be all-seeing or all-knowing, for His eyes can see beyond the reach of His almighty arm. Just as you or I can see all things transpiring within a room of our own home without our body physically filling its entire airspace, God can see all things throughout His vast universe without filling the immensity of its space with His immediate person or being. As the Psalmist wrote, ‘The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all inhabitants of the earth” (Psalm 33:13-14). The scriptures also reveal that “God is in heaven, and thou [mortal man] upon the earth” (Ecclesiastes 5:2). Clearly, the being or personage of the Lord does not fill the universe, yet as He resides in His heavenly abode, He can see all of His creation.”

    Omnipresence
    Yet if God has physical eyes like you and me, how can he see everybody at once?

    And if God has a body like you and me, does it mean that he spatially fills one spot in vast heaven, like each of us fill one spot on this speck called earth?

    Omniscience
    If God knows all things, does this mean all past things, all present things, and all future things? Are you suggesting that the LDS apostle did not intend this meaning? If not, then why does he feel led to use the word?

    Obviously, the LDS Church is distinctive because of modern-day LDS prophets and apostles. Which prophet or apostle first used these expressions–“omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience” for God? And did the Spirit give them these words or are they borrowed from somewhere, even before Joseph Smith’s time?

    Curious, I would like to know how and when these words were first coined.

  4. Todd: Yet if God has physical eyes like you and me, how can he see everybody at once?

    The term “seeing” is often synonymous with comprehending, understanding, or being fully aware of. It seems that is what Brase meant.

    If God knows all things, does this mean all past things, all present things, and all future things?

    Most Mormons seem to believe this. (I happen to think the future does not exist to be known but I am admittedly in the minority in that opinion.)

    Which prophet or apostle first used these expressions–”omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience” for God?

    Joseph Smith first used them. They are common English religious terms after all even if different denominations have used the terms to imply various differing nuances for hundreds of years. (Remember, Joseph Smith’s First Vision came as the result of him approaching God about which of the competing religions was right.)

  5. Most Mormons seem to believe this. (I happen to think the future does not exist to be known but I am admittedly in the minority in that opinion.)

    I am trying to logically think my way through LDS doctrinal authority. If the LDS apostle stated omniscience as I defined it, then his statements must not be as authoritative as your interpretation of the standard works. Correct me if I am wrong.

  6. If the LDS apostle stated omniscience as I defined it, then his statements must not be as authoritative as your interpretation of the standard works.

    I should point out that I never said any modern apostles authoritatively declared that omniscience is as you defined it in comment #4 — I simply acknowledged that many (or even most) Mormons seem to assume it is. The truth is that we don’t have any authoritative and detailed revelation on that particular subject so there is room for some personal interpretation of the term omniscience until such authoritative and specific revelation is given.

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