"Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees” (Matthew 16:6)
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day had impeccable moral standards. Jesus Himself approved of their moral convictions, for he told people to do as the Pharisees taught (though not what they did -- Matthew 23:3). But Jesus also said, “beware of the yeast of the Pharisees” (Matthew 16:6-12). There was some invisible ingredient in their teaching, inconspicuous though it might seem, which drastically affected the whole.
Latter-day Saints (popularly known as Mormons) are admirably moral people. However, their morality does not make them right, any more than the Pharisees were right. I believe there is also yeast in their teaching, which has a pervasive influence in fermenting the whole.
This yeast may be found in a key passage in the book of Mormon, where the prophet Lehi “explains” the fall of man to his sons:
And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:22-25)Earlier in the same passage, Lehi amplifies on this theme:
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body, it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness, nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. (2 Nephi 2:11)Essentially Lehi is claiming that joy cannot exist without misery, righteousness cannot exist without wickedness, nor good without sin.
This premise seems quite reasonable, even obvious. But some wildly strange theology follows logically from this innocuous-sounding statement, as follows.
God existed before anything was created. God has always been righteous and good, even before the Creation. But according to the book of Mormon, righteousness cannot exist without wickedness, nor good without sin. Therefore wickedness and sin must have existed, even before Creation. If sin existed before anything was created, it follows that God Himself must have sinned. But sin involves disobedience (1 John 3:4), just as Adam sinned by disobeying God. So if God sinned, then He must have disobeyed an even higher God. The same argument applies in turn to this higher God, so that there must be another God who is higher still – and so on without end.
The reasonable premise has grown into a monstrous conclusion, namely, an infinite ladder of “Gods” of which our God is one of the lower rungs. The invisible yeast has puffed up the whole lump of dough.
How then may we respond to this “yeast”?
It is NOT TRUE that there must be an “opposition in all things”. It is NOT TRUE that good requires the existence of evil, any more than life requires the existence of death. It is the Devil’s lie that good requires evil, because Satan wants to perpetuate evil. We fail to perceive the lie because Satan’s influence is so pervasive in this world that we cannot even imagine a world without evil.
Strictly speaking, the opposite of good is not evil. It is more correct to say that the opposite of good is formlessness, chaos, nothingness. God created good out of nothing, not good out of evil (Genesis 1:2-4). Evil impedes good, just as friction impedes motion or resistance impedes electric current. But motion can certainly exist without friction, and current without resistance. So good can certainly exist without evil.
Just as good does not require evil, so joy does not require misery. Joy comes through creation of good. This is why the morning stars sang and the sons of God shouted for joy at the creation (Job 38:7).
Adam did NOT “fall that men might be”. Eating the forbidden fruit added NOTHING positive to humanity. A simple example illustrates this. Young men and women who are virgins have no first-hand knowledge of sex. They may have learned a great deal about sex (in sex education classes, for instance), without having personal experience. Now, if unmarried men or women have intercourse out of wedlock, they then gain experiential knowledge of sex. Does this knowledge add to their maturity or build their character? Quite the contrary! This first-hand experience merely serves to corrupt their natural, pure, holy enjoyment of sex in its proper context. This is exactly what happened when Adam ate of the fruit. His eating did not confirm, but rather corrupted his fundamentally godlike nature (Genesis 1:27).
Prayer: Father, in you there is no darkness (1 John 1:5), and never was in any other age or realm or eternity. You are not a man, and never were (Numbers 23:19). You are all in all (1 Cor. 5:27-28, Hebrews 2:8), and above all, not just this world, but all worlds spiritual or physical, be they heavens or heavens above heavens (Deut. 10:14, Neh. 9:6). You are YHWH, the Self-Existent One, and were never created nor begotten by any other being. . You are creator of ALL things (Rev. 4:11). There are no higher Gods (Isaiah 44:6-8), You sit at the top of all hierarchies.
Father, You see that many who sincerely seek You have been deceived by false prophets, men who were puffed up in their fleshly minds, intruding into things they had not seen (Col. 2:18). Father, only You can un-deceive them. Father, vindicate Yourself, just as you vindicated yourself on Mount Carmel in the eyes of the Israelites (1 Kings 18).
Copyright © 2002 CrossPollen
Last Revised: April 27, 2002
CrossPollen Main Page || top of page || CrossPollen e-mail