Infographic created by Nate Sala

Christianity Infographic (Jpeg)

1 COMMENT

  1. Great diagram, although not much in it I can agree with. Kind of makes me think – “What is the point?”
    If we are an ex-nihilo creation of God, what are we? What makes us independent? Do we have any choice? And what is the point of your version of Christianity?

    I just don’t get it, sorry.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Thanks! I appreciate it. I found out about infographics in a tech class I took two semesters ago and thought they looked pretty cool.

      Anyway, these are some great questions. I haven’t thought about them exactly in the way you phrased them before so thanks for that.

      If we are an ex-nihilo creation of God, what are we?

      Contingent beings created from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:47). And since our physical bodies came from the earth they will return to it when we die (Gen 3:19; Ecclesiastes 3:20). But we possess souls “breathed” into the dirt by God and we are promised eternal life if we put our trust in Jesus. So it follows that the physical dies but the immaterial (soul) carries on; as Paul said, “we… prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

      What makes us independent? Do we have any choice?

      Interesting questions. Were you asking in light of creatio ex nihilo? I’m not sure I see the connection there. Well, the Bible gives us many indicators that we possess the freedom to make decisions. In this way we are free to do what we want. Here are a few examples: Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; Psalm 25:12; Isaiah 65:12. Also, if we think about it for a second, every single time someone sins (i.e. fails to follow God’s moral will), this implies that they had the freedom to do it. Certainly if God doesn’t want us to sin (2 Peter 3:9) and does not grant freedom to us then none of us ever would.

      What is the point of your version of Christianity?

      It’s not about us, Andrew. It’s all about God. Revelation 4:11 says that we were created for His pleasure. “For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever” (Romans 11:36)! To answer your question simply, Andrew: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. That is what we were created for and that is our ultimate purpose.

  2. OK – let’s see how this all fits.

    I assume you read “dust” to be the particles that make up our earth. So the process of a mother eating provides the particles (elements) that make up the cells of a baby’s body. Then, after birth we continue to grow and replenish our bodies from the “dust” of the earth.

    So far, so good.

    What Gen 2:7 actually says is:-
    “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

    The breath of life (let’s call it a spirit), together with the body of the “dust” becomes a living soul – the soul is both. That is what it says,

    However, nothing says that this “breath of life” (spirit) did not exist prior to being given life as a living soul.

    Indeed Jeremiah was told (1:5) that he was known of God before he was formed in the belly – his eternal “breath of life” (spirit) that God “breathed” into his body, was known to God, and he was ordained of God.

    • Andrew,

      Thank you very much for the discussion. You articulate your views extremely well!

      I have some thoughts:

      If what you’re suggesting is that the soul is both flesh and spirit (kind of a more Thomistic way of looking at it), I’m fine with that characterization. The distinction that I was making is that the soul survives the dying body such that, as Paul said, we can be apart from our bodies and be with the Lord. This would indicate that there are two substances in distinction to each other. They can certainly work together in symbiosis but one can detach, as it were, from the other and survive while the other cannot.

      I see where you’re going with the passage in Jeremiah. If I understand you, since God knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb, then Jeremiah must have existed before he was conceived; which is probably why it seems like you’re implying that God’s “breath of life” refers to preeminent souls waiting to be embodied physically on earth. (At least, I think that’s where you’re going with this. Please correct me if I’m misunderstanding you).

      The problem I see with your interpretation is in two areas:

      First, there’s no indication that the nismat hayyim or “breath of life” is supposed to designate particular preexisting souls. If that were the case, then animals also have preexisting souls since the same Hebrew phrase designates their “breath of the spirit of life” in Genesis 7:22. So either we agree on your interpretation which means animal souls also preexist before being embodied or maybe your view is importing too much into “breath of life”; which simply designates God’s life-giving act of creation.

      Second, there is another equally valid interpretation of Jeremiah 1:5 that affirms my view of creatio ex nihilo while remaining consistent with the rest of the Bible; that is, the Lord via his foreknowledge (explained in other areas like Romans 8:29; 11:2; and Acts 2:23) “knew” Jeremiah before He created him; that is, He knew He would appoint Jeremiah to be a prophet – which is the end of the sentence in Jeremiah 1:5. I think it’s clear that Paul disagrees with your characterization of preexistent souls when he discusses, in 1 Corinthians 15:46-47, the order of man’s existence: first natural (i.e. from the earth) and then spiritual, not the other way around. Also, there is no explicit biblical evidence that anyone existed before they were created by God.

      So, all put together, I think I have more reasons to hold to my interpretation of Jeremiah 1:5 over yours.

  3. My question about independence has to do with ex-nihilo creation since it supposes that we are entirely a creation of God – a part of Him. If that is the case we are not independent.

    I write computer software for a living – it does what I created it to do. If it makes an error it is because either I made a programming mistake, or the hardware misfunctioned.

    Now either God made us to be sinners, or we are somehow independent. I go with the latter – we are eternal beings that God is helping on a journey by creating a means whereby we can become like Him.

    We fail because our natural state – as you referenced in 1 Corinthians – is against God. We seek to do our will, and not the Father’s. We need to be converted to doing His ways. And move from our natural state to a spiritual (or Spirit led) one.

    I asked because the last person I had a debate with about whether my Jesus was his Jesus was a Calvinist. And they believe entirely in predestination. We are preprogrammed to be either saved, or not saved. You seem to believe much of what he believed, but it would appear not that bit.

    • Hello again!

      I’m not sure I understand how it follows that because we are created by God we are not independent. And I think part of the issue is that the computer software analogy is unhelpful. If you created a software program that possessed genuine freedom to choose then there would be no problem here.

  4. You say, “It’s not about us,”

    I say it is all about us. God created the heavens and the earth for us. He did it so that we could become like Him. He instituted laws and ordinances that lead us to Him.

    And the glory, and honour, for all that He has done, and continues to do, for us – are His. We will glorify Him forever as we learn, grow, progress, and become (as Christ says in John 17) one with Him and His Christ.

    I believe in a God who has done everything He has done for me. A God who seeks for me to progress and become all that I can be.

    Not one who made me as some way of agrandising His own self.

    • With all due respect, Andrew, I don’t see how you could read the Bible and draw the conclusion you just made. Besides the verses I already cited, both Psalm 19:1 and 97:6 tell us that what God has created speaks of His glory. Proverbs 16:4 says the Lord has made everything for Himself. Colossians 1:15 says all things were created for Him. I don’t see those passages as being ambiguous.

      Also, from my perspective, your comment about God aggrandizing His own Self is utterly upside down. Self-aggrandizement means to exaggerate one’s worth, which then smuggles in the negative connotation that God is not as worthy as He wants Himself to appear to be. Self-aggrandizement, or “showing off” (as I’ve heard other Mormons describe it), is trying to look at my view of God as if He were like a man. But that’s just it, Andrew. In my view God is not a man; nor was He ever a man. And anything that reflects His great worth and magnificence (like the created order) is perfectly justified; because He deserves every last ounce of praise and honor that mankind can give Him.

      • “because He deserves every last ounce of praise and honor that mankind can give Him.”

        I completely agree with this (except for your spelling of honour 😉 )

        But your comments beg a question. What is God? And, how will you praise Him for Eternity?

        .