Is God the only murderer?

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Okay, so I was having a discussion with some people and the following question came up.

Much discussion did then ensue.

Assumption: God exists and has the ability to control any of the happenings in our Universe.

Question: Is God responsible for every death ever?

I’m sure the topic of free will will enter into this debate, so let me add something to think about before we begin.

If I am capable of stopping someone from dying, am I guilty by my inaction if I allow the death to proceed?

Thoughts?

24 thoughts on “Is God the only murderer?

  1. I have always wondered about your statement that God can control any happening in the entire universe. Can he really? I believe that he can foresee everything from the beginning to the end, but with the existence of free will, can God really control everything to such an extent your question suggests? I have usually believed that he doesn’t.

  2. If God is subject to limitations is certainly pertinent to some discussions, but this question explicitly defines His powers in order to avoid clouding the water with tangential conversations.
    Maybe we should start another thread discussing the limits to God’s power?

  3. The Backslider,

    If he can’t control everything because of free will, then how can he see everything (assuming of course that there are numberless possible outcomes for all the numberless choices everyone makes)?

    rick,

    Interesting question, especially when you consider that he may very well interfere and occasionally prevent someone (but not everyone) from dying.

  4. Yep, He is responsible. However, I don’t think you could call Him a murderer.

    By definition, murder is the killing of one human being by another human being.

    God, not being human, doesn’t fit the definition.

    In addition, if God is the creator of life, He is free to do with it as he wishes.

  5. Was God once as we are now?
    I heard that in a popular LDS couplet, and if so does a person who was once human remain human by definition?

    I don’t really expect an answer to that, but what other term can be applied to the person/entity responsible for many (if not all) deaths? Nature? God?

    Also, if a person is the creator of life, does that really give them free reign over the lives of those whose lives he is responsible for?

    Are parents free to kill their children?
    Are we not literal spirit children of Him, given the LDS version of the Universe?

  6. rick said: “Was God once as we are now? I heard that in a popular LDS couplet.”

    The LDS church just recently published a paper which absolves them from any doctrine that was spoken by a previous GA. We will need to wait and see if a current GA speaks on this topic to see if it is still considered a belief of the LDS religion. It might fall into the category of tradition instead.

    Kim – Are you assuming that the person who is dying is important enough for God to care if they live or die? What would make a person important enough for God to interfere?

  7. Hmmm…. let’s see…

    If we are assuming the LDS doctrine regarding the plan of salvation, life, death, etc. to be true, then only one thing really matters.

    God, regardless if he is ‘super-human’ or some other type of being, has the ability to negate the effects of physical death. We believe he will do this for all living creatures, humans included.

    We mortal humans, on the other hand, have no such ability.

    So, is he responsible, sure. It is because of him that death is part of the plan. Regardless of the method used, one day we will all die. Is God a murderer, no.

  8. One other thing to consider is that to God, death is merely an event from one stage of existence to another. It is my opinion that he sees death as he does birth and resurrection, as nothing more than gateways between stages of existence.

  9. I think it’s a little more than that Kim. Death ends the mortal probation period for us. If we accept “Life” as the time to prepare to meet God, what happens when that preparation is ended pre-maturely?

    So, although the event of death is the ending of one stage and the beginning of another, the circumstances surrounding that event are important to consider. That’s why we have different classifications for types of death and attach different meanings to them whereas we don’t with birth.

  10. “we have different classifications for types of death and attach different meanings to them whereas we don’t with birth.”

    Isn’t there something about being ‘born in covenant’ being different or having a different status?

  11. I don’t think so. The reason being that if you take two children, one BIC the other not, and they both die before the age of accountability they will both receive the same status in the afterlife. BIC does nothing extra.

    I believe certain members attach meaning to that status. Some may feel that being born in the covenant is like getting a spiritual head start in life.

  12. If we accept “Life” as the time to prepare to meet God, what happens when that preparation is ended pre-maturely?

    For billions of people, it means they use the Spirit World (and/or the pre-mortal existence) instead.

  13. The point I was making is that this life isn’t a time to prepare to meet God for those who die before the age of accountability and for those who never hear the gospel. So, the idea that this life is the time to prepare to meet God isn’t an absolute one.

  14. And the point I was making is that we are not the ones who define what an individuals preparation needs to be. That belongs to God.

    If an infant lives to be a day old and then dies of natural causes, who is to say that this infant didn’t do all the preparing that was necessary for them to do?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but you are evaluating the experiences you have had in your life. You are evaluating how much you have learned and how beneficial that would be to someone else. You are then concluding that anyone who is deprived of similar experiences isn’t getting all of the benefit out of life that they could have.

    But the unknown here is that we don’t know what experiences each individual needs to prepare to meet God. For that infant, all they could need by way of preparation would be that single day they were given. We really have no way of knowing.

  15. If an infant lives to be a day old and then dies of natural causes, who is to say that this infant didn’t do all the preparing that was necessary for them to do?

    Right. Which means, this life wasn’t the time for him/her to meet God. That preparation was done before or will be done in the Spirit World.

    Perhaps we are both saying the same thing.

    . . . you are evaluating the experiences you have had in your life. You are evaluating how much you have learned and how beneficial that would be to someone else. You are then concluding that anyone who is deprived of similar experiences isn’t getting all of the benefit out of life that they could have.

    Correct me if I’m wrong . . .

    You’re wrong. ;)

  16. Cool, I can live with that (being wrong).

    But I disagree about the first thing. A part of preparing to meet God involves getting our mortal body, experiencing the second estate, and dying.

  17. Perhaps, but I don’t think that’s what Amulek meant when he said “labors”.

    I also don’t see how something that is a free gift is part of our own efforts to prepare to meet God. After all, Amulek says, “this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God”, not for God to prepare men to meet him.

  18. “I also don’t see how something that is a free gift is part of our own efforts to prepare to meet God. “

    I can see where you’re coming from. I have just always thought that it’s a necessary step, therefore part of the preparation.

  19. I have just always thought that it’s a necessary step, therefore part of the preparation.

    Sure. Having a body is necessary. Doing anything beyond that is not. Or rather, it’s not necessary for everyone.

    What would be the experience threshold for preparation?

    I’m not sure I understand what you are asking.

  20. Well,

    If we take the case of the infant who dies a day after birth, you’re saying that they really didn’t do any preparing to meet God.

    So, I’m wondering, in your opinion, how much experience someone needs to have in order for life to have been a time of preparation? There must be a cutoff or a threshold.

    And, what counts as experience? Does someone need to experience the sensation of their five senses at least once? Does someone need to be able to make a single decision, or perhaps a dozen? It is related to opportunities to commit sin?

  21. If we take the case of the infant who dies a day after birth, you’re saying that they really didn’t do any preparing to meet God.

    No, I am saying they didn’t use this life to do any preparing to meet God.

    So, I’m wondering, in your opinion, how much experience someone needs to have in order for life to have been a time of preparation?

    I don’t know. Presumably sometime around eight years old, but I would guess God would ultimately be the judge of that since he can discern thoughts, intents, desires, and the like.

    Does someone need to experience the sensation of their five senses at least once?

    As a mortal? I don’t think so. Assuming of course, we have all five senses once resurrected.

    Does someone need to be able to make a single decision, or perhaps a dozen?

    I presume it would be related to how much preparation the person made in the premortal life.

    It is related to opportunities to commit sin?

    Exclusively? I doubt it.

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