By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog
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Your Monday Morning Theological Poll:
True or False:
The earth must be baptized with water and with fire in order to be prepared for its celestial glory.
Please explain what you have learned through your Urim and Thummin below.
Aaugh!! Conflicting beliefs… colliding in head… limited flood… baptismal immersion… sentient earth in Enoch’s vision… poetic license… cannot… hold it… together… Khaaaaaannnn!!!
I chose true, but in all honesty, this was one of the hardest for me to pick between and I’m still not sure I really chose the right one.
True, because I think it it what I’ve been taught. Noah’s flood baptized the earth, and it will be burned eventually. I have no idea why.
I have never understood this “doctrine”, aside from obvious symbolic parallels. Is the Earth “living”, and if so, why does it need to be baptized? Did it transgress? If the Earth, as a living thing, needs baptism, what about other living things like lions, sheep, insects, etc.? And what about the simple fact that there is not enough water on Earth to cover the land completely–is a partial flood sufficient? Is therefore partial baptism sufficient for humans (i.e. not complete immersion)?
When we take poetic symbolism too literally, chaos ensues. Now, if our finite minds can’t comprehend possibilities that allow such things as Earth baptisms and burnings to find literal fulfillment, then the opposite must also be plausible: that our sure knowledge of how certain things are (nature of celestial living, the applicability of Christ’s atonement intergalactically), or how they must be done (ordinance of baptism by immersion), could be short-sighted.
My take: humans need baptism because God said they do; one possible reason is that baptism can be seen as a publicly-witnessed symbolic step effectuating a covenantal relationship with Deity wherein a person promises to love and serve God in return for blessings and salvation from sin and death. The Earth, being neither alive nor sentient doesn’t need baptism or burning (refining). I’m _not_ saying that burnings won’t occur in preparation for the return of the Savior, but I certainly hope that the entire Earth doesn’t need to be burned, at least in the literal sense (think of all the CO2 and dangerous toxins released into the atmosphere! Think of the resulting famines and erosion and havoc to ecosystems and food chains!)
I don’t believe that there was a literal flood of “the whole earth,” unless the the earth was baptized as an infant early in its development. And I don’t believe that “baptism by fire” means literal fire. At least, it didn’t for me when I was baptized.
I think it’s likely that some sort of change will occur to prepare the earth for celestial glory, and it may very well be akin to what we call fire (bright, energy, heat, etc) but I don’t know what it will be. My urim is cloudy and I broke my thummin.
Literally or Metaphorically or Allegorically?
Matt W: All three: the earth must be Literally Metaphorically baptized by Allegorical fire.
That is always the reaction I am going for. Yay!
Matt W., BrianJ, maybe we should consider all permutations:
Metaphorically baptized by Allegorical fire.
Allegorically baptized by Allegoric fire.
Literally baptized by Allegorical fire.
Allegorically baptized by Literal fire.
Can’t be too careful.
By what authority?
When is the age of accountability for the earth?
Can it be baptized after it dies?
How about being ordained to the priesthood (if it is male), and being sealed in the temple?
Genesis 1:6 seems to suggest the Earth was covered in water (full immersion?)
I went with True because I think it’s what will happen (or has happened) not necessarily because it MUST happen. (Does the Earth even have agency?)
If only we could ask some Kolob people what happened to their planet.
True. Think of it this way: The Earth needed to be clensed of sinful humans. The first time it was done by the flood. The second time will be with the fire that accompanies the Second Comming.
Then it will be clean enough to eventually enter into a celestial condition.
How about being ordained to the priesthood (if it is male),
I think she is known as Mother Earth.
And yeah. I went with true.
Read the Book of Moses.
The earth has a spirit. When Adam and Eve fell, they pretty much took the earth with it. It’s fallen and needs to be sanctified and justified too. I don’t think it has so much to do with humans being sinful as it does that everything here, including the earth’s spirit, has been separated from God.
If the earth must be baptized because it has a spirit, would not every living entity need to be baptized? Dogs, cats, plants, etc?
Baptism is a symbol of a covenant reserved for beings who have the capacity to make the covenant. I do not believe that the earth has that capacity.
NCNT, by brain has been spinning on this as well. I voted true, because I have been taught this all my life, and there appears to be significant support for this position. However, I lean towards an allegorical, symbolic baptism by water and fire.
When we are baptized, it is symbolic of death and resurrection. We are told about being baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost, but that is symbolic as well, with the “fire” most often being the “burning in the bosom”, as I understand that concept.
So, ultimately, I have reservations about a literal burning of the earth by fire. but can’t rule it out, just as I lean towards a limited flood narrative, but wouldn’t want to bet my eternal salvation on it.
Thanks, John C, for making these quizzes for extra credit and review, and not binding on our souls for eternity.
I voted false. This idea seems like doctrinal speculation run amok. Like SteveS (#3) wrote, where does this idea stop? Do other living things need baptism (and other saving ordinances)? What do faith, sin, and repentance mean to a squirrel, or to an amoeba, or to the planet earth? The idea turns the notion of agency and accountability on its head.
It is all symbolic. Is the earth actually sentient enough to know right from wrong, and require baptism? How about a guppy? Is it considered baptized, because it is submersed in water? After all, when the Great Flood occurred, was there a giant priesthood holding planet/sun, which said, “having been commissioned of …. I baptize thee with flood water….amen”? I don’t think that was in it anywhere.
Otherwise, next time I see a whole bunch of people in the swimming pool, why don’t I just accept the fact they were just baptized?
I just think it’s sad that since being baptized the earth has been such a poor member missionary, never once inviting Venus or Mars over to meet the elders or even for FHE.
The Living Christ
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