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Dear Gramps,
From Romans 9:13-24—

13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles

* Does God create beings just to condemn them?
* If God created all things, then Satan is his creation.
* If Satan is God’s creation then God knew from the beginning that he was a “vessel of wrath fitted to destruction.”
The Bible says that Satan took a third of the host of heaven with him to become the devil and his angels. God is declared to be omnipotent, omniscient and all loving in the Bible. If he knew from the beginning that he was creating “vessels of wrath fitted for destruction” how is this just?
Taylor, from  Safford, Arizona

 

Dear Taylor,
“* Does God create beings just to condemn them?” Of course not. The thing to bear in mind is that when God creates something, it is not like the creation of man. Man can only create inanimate objects. And of course he creates them out of preexisting material.
All of God’s creations are also made out of preexisting material. There was never anything that was made out of nothing. But God’s creations are a trinity in nature. They are all composed of three essential components: intelligence, spirit and matter. Concerning the concept of intelligence, the scriptures tell is that—

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence (D&C  93:29-30).

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Man is the prime creation of God. As a matter of fact, the spirits of man are the literal offspring of God. When spirits are born of God they are endowed with pre-existing intelligence. In fact every creation is intelligent–to one degree or another, since there is a spectrum of intelligence as indicated by the following scripture—

And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all (Abr  3:19).

Now the concept of intelligence implies intelligent action, for which there must be some responsibility. So God recognizes the agency (responsibility) of his creations, limited to the sphere in which He has created them. Thus He has said—

All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence (D&C  93:30).

So God’s creations are not automatons; they have the ability to use their intelligence in acting on their surroundings and are free to do so, and they are also responsible for what they do. So God does not create his children just to condemn them. He creates them to bless them, to honor them, to teach and instruct them, to imbue them with His Spirit, so that they will take full advantage of their opportunity to grow to an eternal adulthood, to mature to be like their Father in Heaven. He is anxious to bless His children. However– if they are disobedient, for their own good they must be punished. The punishment itself is a blessing, designed to have them change their ways and become obedient to their Father so that they may yet inherit all that He has promised them.
“* If God created all things, then Satan is his creation.” Indeed, Satan is a creation of God in the same sense that all the other spirit children of the Father are creations of God. Satan’s name is Lucifer, meaning light bearer.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Isa  14:12)

As a “son,” the scriptures confirm that Satan was a son of God. As a “son of the morning” we are to understand that he was among the first born sons of God. We also learn that he was in authority before God—

And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son, And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him–he was Lucifer, a son of the morning (D&C  76:25-26).

But Satan also was not created as an automaton, but as a son of God with the potential for great power and authority. However, using the agency of the intelligence that was part of his makeup, he chose pride, arrogance and the determination to replace God as the ruler of the universe. Thus, for the actions for which he was responsible he was thrust down to hell and became the devil, the enemy of all righteousness.
“If [God] knew from the beginning that he was creating “vessels of wrath fitted for destruction” how is this just?” God created Satan, but He did not create the intelligence that was the fount of Satan’s character. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. God would have been unjust not to have recognized the agency, or the responsibility for the thoughts, words and actions that each of His creatures initiates. The fact that God has foreknowledge—

O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it (2 Ne  9:20).

The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord (D&C  130:6-7).

—does not imply predestination. Though God knows what we call the future, man is still responsible before God for the decisions he makes, because they are the work of his own mind, and effect the thoughts, words and actions of those who interface with him, either for good or for evil.
Gramps

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