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Dear Gramps,

I was reading a response to one of your questions where you state that the term perfection is ‘relative’. I was wondering if you could please elaborate on that..I’ve been reading a lot of Bruce McConkie’s work where he states that there is an ‘absolute’ stopping place of knowledge (perfection) when we reach godhood. Thank you,

Chelsea

 

Answer

 

Dear Chelsea,

The word ‘perfection’ in the English language is defined as freedom from fault or defect, and as an unsurpassed or unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence. So it denotes a sense of the absolute–that which cannot be improved upon. However, the original terms for perfection in the Holy Bible refer more to completeness than to flawlessness.

Used in Job 11:7

Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

for instance, it is translated from the Hebrew term ’takliyth’, which also has been translated as end, consummation, completion or completeness.

In Job 15:29

He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.

the word perfection is from the Hebrew ‘minleh’, which is translated into English as gain, wealth, or acquisition..

In the New Testament, the word perfection found in 2 Cor 13:9

For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.

is translated from the Greek ‘karatisis, which connotes a strengthening, or a perfecting of the soul.

When we use the English word perfection, as you quoted from Elder Bruce R. McConkie, we normally understand it to mean something that is beyond improvement. However, the meaning of the term perfection as translated from the original languages of the Bible has a somewhat different connotation relating more to wholeness or completeness.

If you look at the quotation to which you refer—

“As a matter of fact, the word perfection is a relative term. We will never cease to learn and to progress within the sphere to which we will be assigned as a result of the degree of righteousness and obedience to God that we will have achieved during mortality.”

in the sense of an absolute, and realize that man will never cease to learn, then he could never achieve perfection according to the modern dictionary definition because he is continually improving upon himself by the acquisition of new knowledge.

If or when we come to the point of acquiring all knowledge, which would only be granted to exalted beings, we will still continue to progress, grow, and be enlarged by having increased kingdoms, powers and dominions, etc. So, perfection remains a relative term.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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