Friday, March 4, 2016

My thoughts on the eternal battle

So today, whilst scrolling through the realm of Facebook, I stumbled across this picture with a quote by Holland:
Don't get me wrong, I love Elder Holland as much as any member and usually look forward to his talks (although the Adam and Eve talk from last year was strange for reasons that I am sure someday I will explain here). My problem is with this particular quote, most specifically the beginning sentence
"The future of this world has long been declared; the final outcome between good and evil is already known."
Now, it doesn't seem like a bad quote in the beginning, it is nice to think that good will always triumph over evil and even nicer to believe that there is hope for the future. Only that isn't how I read it. I see this quote as standing in complete contradiction to the teachings of the Church and I do not see it as any hope for the future, at least not the future for any mortal and earthly human.

I learned (and I could be wrong because I am not perfect) that there is no predestination, that is the stance I BELIEVE the Church supports. Yes, God is all knowing, but we still choose our own paths. He hasn't orchestrated our lives. He might have a plan for us and he might put opportunities in our paths, but we still get to choose. If we didn't choose 1) we would not have agency and the reasoning for Jesus would be null and 2) He would be the cause of the evil/bad/sinful deeds we perform.

This is of course on a personal scale but if we widen it to a larger view, God cannot control the future of the world without controlling the future of the people who live on it, since we are very good at screwing it up. Even if his plan for the future is ingrained in the natural processes built into the planet, we have found a way to destroy those as well. Just as in our personal lives, He can have a PLAN for the future of the world, but cannot implement that plan without removing the agency of the people.

Later in the full quote described in the picture it states that one power (presumably good) has already beaten evil. The battle is over and has been for a long time. Now I assume this is possible. It could be like a star whose light only reaches us after it has been dead for a millennium. While this may be the case, I do not believe it is, as the battle of good and evil is still being waged. The physical embodiment of one or the other might be gone/destroyed/whatever but the abstract ideology of good v. evil is within each sentient living thing. The eternal, large scale victory might have been decided, but as long as the ideological battle continues we cannot declare the conflict finished.

I feel as if Holland's quote is, on this subject, narrow-minded. Obviously there is a plan for the future and God, our understanding of the good has a plan for how good triumphs over evil, but it is only a plan. There is no way to fully implement this plan unless He has full control over the lives and decisions of every person, which is in direct conflict with the beliefs of the Church as a whole.

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