Becoming a God over a Planet? Ancient Jewish Views *Update*

LDS poster Maklelan at the CARM discussion board (*Update* and more recently at the MADB discussion board) cited an interesting ancient Jewish source that comments on the potentiality for man to rule over future Earths. Here are excerpts of it from the MADB posting:

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The reprobates at CARM and elsewhere have long enjoyed pointing and giggling at the LDS idea of stewardship over other worlds as an element of exaltation. Without exception this argument is raised simply in an effort to make other people think “Ew, weird,” and to try to make Latter-day Saints stutter and equivocate to try to minimize the damage the idea may have on people previously unaware of it. What these “Christians” don’t know, and what many Latter-day Saints unfortunately also don’t know, is that this doctrine is not original to Joseph Smith or Mormonism. … If we travel all the way back to the fourth century we find the following:

The Holy One, blessed be He, will in the future call all of the pious by their names, and give them a cup of elixir of life in their hands so that they should live and endure forever. . . . And the Holy One, blessed be He, will in the future reveal to all the pious in the World to Come the Ineffable Name with which new heavens and a new earth can be created, so that all of them should be able to create new worldsThe Holy One, blessed be He, will give every pious three hundred and forty worlds in inheritance in the World to Come. . . . To all the pious the Holy One, blessed be He, will give a sign and a part in the goodly reward, and everlasting renown, glory and greatness and praise, a crown encompassed in holiness, and royalty, equal to those of all the pious in the World to Come. The sign will be the cup of life which the Holy One, blessed be He, will give to the Messiah and to the pious in the Future to Come.

 Midrash Alpha beta diRabbi Akiba BhM 3:32

 

 This is part of the Jerusalem Talmud, which was completed around 380 CE. This text was extant for some time before being abridged into the talmudic corpus. The doctrine is attributed to Rabbi Akiba, widely considered to be the most pious and orthodox of early rabbis. The text is no doubt pseudeponymous, but it derives from the same historical context as the early Christological debates. This doctrine is older than, or contemporary to, the formal doctrine of the Trinity. 

This post is not intended to assert that this doctrine is true simply because it is found in the rabbinic texts. It is not intended to argue that this doctrine is a part of modern Judaism, either. It is simply intended to show that this conclusion was considered logical and pious enough to be attributed to one of the greatest rabbis of all time. It’s not weird, and it’s not unbiblical. It fits perfectly into the worldview of early Judaism and is not precluded or rejected in any Christian or Jewish literature that predates the 19th century CE. Latter-day Saints need not try to minimize the proliferation of this doctrine or feel at all defensive about it. It has chronological priority to the majority of the fundamental doctrines espoused by those who do the denigrating. Those who criticize it are simply ignorant of the history of the doctrine and need to spend more time with their Bibles and less time with Bob Betts and Walter Martin.

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7 comments on “Becoming a God over a Planet? Ancient Jewish Views *Update*

  1. Dan Rowley says:

    I wonder why these type teachings are not in the cannon of scripture Holy Bible

  2. James says:

    Because the writers of the Holy Bible either didn’t know about these ideas or chose to not include them in the writings that were long afterwards canonized.

    So what?

  3. Maklelan says:

    Just to clarify for the sake of those reading, I’m not Elds. We actually disagree on some things. I’ve never used any other name on any other blogs or message boards, though.

    • James says:

      Thanks Mak. You told me over at MADB but I forgot to change it here.

      I hope you don’t mind me quoting you in my other post (actually, making an entire post out of your words!)

    • Maklelan says:

      This note about the rabbinic text is from one of my posts, by the way. Elds didn’t post it.

      And feel free to quote me whenever you want, as long as it’s not when I’m being a jerk or saying something stupid.

    • James says:

      Ah, thanks. I made the appropriate change.

  4. jr says:

    On the site “Parchment and Pen”
    Credo House Ministries
    Parchment & Pen Blog

    “Did Joseph Smith Restore Theosis? Part Four: Esoteric Jewish Theology and Joseph Smith’s Doctrine of Exaltation.”

    Rob Bowman says that the quote from Midrash Alpha Beta di Rabbi is from the 8th-9th centuries and that is comes from medieval Kabbalism. That it is mystical Jewish tradition, not a core belief.

    Bowman also says that it is not an ancient Jewish belief and that there is nothing in ancient Jewish writings about a belief in people being blessed to be able to create worlds.

    Just wondering if there is any more information on this subject and information on the Midrash Alpha Beta di Rabbi.

    Bowman is critical to LDS so I am interested if what he says is some what correct or is he just trying to discredit this source by putting his spin on it, and what the LDS say about it to make LDS look bad.

    Thanks for your time.

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