Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: Reconsidering the emotions of God’

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Published: Thursday, Jan. 30 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

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george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Any one with a brain the emotion is the first to get information. But Christ gave us a good idea. What we do with it is up to us.

Potsdam, 00

This article looks like being a little ahead of what is up next Sunday School.
That is a wonderful thing to do.

However, it cannot be true that the body of a person is reasonable evidence of emotions alone.

Our devine origin is more than just having a body of flesh and bone,
we are God's offspring in so many other ways that could reflect emotions.

Sadness is not confined to physical expressions, it is not confined to spiritual expressions,
it must have some center of origin, say may be within the "heart" or as we learn intelligences where not made neither could be ?

Now if we are talking about our devine home, here in the open regardless to what others believe, we should include what we have in the scripture,
such as : Enoch having seen God being sad, was not on earth for that experience, neither was the Lord a resurrected being at that time. You could argue it was Heavenly Father being sad, but then again would deny the Lord having emotions before his ministry on earth.

Just saying, the Prof has a nice saying, but should not be afraid to bring out the real issue.

Buena Vista, VA

Of course, I believe that Jesus could feel emotions before he was born, and I also believe that we can feel them after we die; in both cases, without a body.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Another excellent article! One reason I embraced my religion is that I believe that God defined Himself very well in the scriptures (the verses Dr. Peterson used are excellent examples) and not man struggling to define their God.

KTC John
Wetumpka, AL

If Joseph Smith is correct, even a spirit personage is composed of matter. Thus, there is a "body" so to speak whether the personage is in a pre-mortal, mortal, or post-mortal condition. Consequently, there is a "body"---- a personage of spirit in a confined image, capable of experiencing emotions regardless of the stage of existence.

1.96 Standard Deviations

KTC John:

To piggy back on your comment, Job 38 refers to the pre-mortal existence and the Sons of God shouting for "joy." Apparently some degree of emotion was experienced before we took on a "tabernacle of clay." D&C 93:33 clarifies that spirit and element, inseparably connected, can receive a fulness of joy.

Also, Ether 3 has an account about the spirit body of Christ and involves Him touching stones. Apparently spirit bodies have some sort of substance to them that allow them to touch tones. Additionally, the spirit "substance", if you will, is such that it can still dwell within us according to D&C 130:22.

Interesting stuff!

Holladay, UT

Sadness is not confined to physical expressions, it is not confined to spiritual expressions,
it must have some center of origin, say may be within the "heart" or as we learn intelligences where not made neither could be ?

A close reading of Doctrine and Covenants 93:29 tells us "intelligence" was not created or made, neither indeed can be. It is singular not plural.

Holladay, UT

Great article, as usual, brother Peterson. Thank you.

Potsdam, 00

Hoping I am allowed to make mention of another scripture such as this one in plural :

Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones (Abraham 3)

We are not confined to a limited view about who we were when it comes to the scriptures.
They must be read in comparison to each other, the one not less important to the other.
To sum it up again, I was never without emotions no matter what time you would place me back then. We can claim that God having a body may express emotions, but this is not necessary, since emotions come from the individual as having existed before the "pre-existence" and before "earth-life". Why would we then have these scriptures, if that was not to be true ? I am not making up a new religion here, it is all what we got from Joseph Smith, Paul and Isaiah and and and.

We talk little about it, since we run a test here on earth, but good things to ponder about. After all it is about us.

Westland, MI

1.96 standard deviations,

Job 38:7 refers to the pre-mortal existence and "all the sons of God shouting for joy."

These "sons of God" were the holy angels and not pre-mortal men.

If man and woman preexisted then it would have read "all the sons and daughters of God" shouting for joy.

Only Jesus Christ preexisted.

Also, the resurrected Christ wept twice in 3rd Nephi 17:21-22 when visiting Central America.

Potsdam, 00

Michigander, the scriptures explain to us what first (sons and daughters were to be understood by)and second (that an angel of god was a spirit son also).

There is no assumption for this one :

That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son
(DC 76)

For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth...And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them.
(Moses 3 )

The Caravan Moves On
Enid, OK

It absolutely inconceivable for any rational, well-read/well-studied Biblican student and disciple of Jesus Christ to claim that God is, like many of them claim in their religious creed(s), a being "without....passion" when the Bible so clearly testifies, and I quote, that "God is love".

Love is an emotion. As a matter of fact, love is THE crowning emotion. It is the emotion which trumps all others. Without love, can anything truly be worthwhile or have any value?


So to claim that one believes the Bible and yet also claims that God is devoid of passion is beyond contradictory.

I literally thank God that I know better.

To those of any faith or religion or creed or nationality.....if you believe that God is a loving, personal, caring being, you are my friend.

layton, UT

RE: 1.96 Standard Deviations, … no one can see me and live. (Ex 33: 18-20)… The LORD often appeared, but not in His full shekinah glory. Gen. 17:1.

(Jacob): for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." (Genesis 32:30); Jacob struggled with the Angel and prevailed; Hosea 12:3-4.

… the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend" (Exodus 33:11) … he (Moses)endured, as seeing him who is invisible (Heb 11:27)

--- "… Jesus standing on the right hand of God" (Acts 7:55); "Hebrew Idiom." a figure of speech like, "he's my right hand man." In the Hebrew this idiom denotes power and strength.

J S, Lectures on Faith, Q. What is the Father? A. He is a personage of glory and of power. (5:2.). What is the son? First, he is a personage of tabernacle.

RE: The Caravan Moves on, “God is Love”, 1John 4:16 ho theos agape estin can only mean "God is love," not "love is God" as Christian scientist would confusedly say. Or,,John 4:24 pneuma ho theos can only mean "God is spirit," not "spirit is God."

Harwich, MA

If God had any emotions whatsoever how could he allow the atrocities that happen day to day around the universe to his children? Young, old, male, female. Starving children, homeless families freezing in the streets, etc. etc. This isn't a case of "agency" it's a case of neglect and apathy towards humanity. I choose not to worship such a God.

The Caravan Moves On
Enid, OK

@ sharrona - layton, UT "RE: 1.96 Standard Deviations, … no one can see me and live. (Ex 33: 18-20)… The LORD often appeared, but not in His full shekinah glory. Gen. 17:1."


What you're saying, in essence, is that God "dumbed himself down". Such a think is beneath God. He knows who he is and as a perfect being will never lessen himself.

As far as your attempted refutation of my statement regarding "God is love", you have missed the mark entirely. God IS full of love, which is what the New Testament scripture I was referring to means. I simply said it is utter nonsense to say that God is without passion and yet also claim to believe the Bible, which clearly says that God loves all of us.

Midwest City, USA, OK

The though of Heavenly Father possessing love and concern in the same (or at least a similar) sense to us seems essential to the purpose and concept of mortal and eternal life. If God is indifferent to us, what is there to gain in worshipping Him? What joy is heaven and what misery is hell but arbitrary rewards or punishments otherwise?

And if God has no body, for what purpose was Jesus Christ resurrected in one? Does Jesus have a body, and not Heavenly Father? Or if God is but a single entity, did He resurrect himself only to shed His resurrected body at some point and without mention?

Central Texan
Buda, TX

A couple of my favorite examples that demonstrate the depth of God's (Christ's) emotion -- his caring for our well-being and his sorrow for those who refuse his sacrifice:

Isaiah 9-10 (2 Nephi 19-20) "... but his hand is stretched out still."

Matt. 23:37, 3 Nephi 10:4-6, D&C 43:24 "O, ye nations of the earth (or Jerusalem or Israel, etc.), how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not!"

Danbury, CT


"If man and woman preexisted then it would have read "all the sons and daughters of God" shouting for joy."

Only in the last few decades of the 20th Century have we begun to specifically call out "men and women" or "sons and daughters" when referring to all people of both genders. "Sons" is a term in many languages as well as in Middle English meaning both men and women.

How do you know for sure we weren't all there??

Why do people that die and come back tell us that they had a feeling of "returning home"?

Central Texan
Buda, TX

@Dennis -- You're attitude is not uncommon. Sam Harris famously uses the same argument as the crux of his Atheist Manifesto. But in that attitude there is a presumption as to what God's purposes are with this whole mortal existence. Atheists roundly dismiss "believers", in their feebleness or ignorance, for inventing Diety to suit any number of purposes, yet will easily fall to the logic of "If God exists, he would do thus and thus -- He doesn't do thus and thus -- therefore, He doesn't exist" (or even if he DOES exist, I don't want to have anything to do with him).

Let's assume God stepped in to prevent all murders and other heinous crimes, and this was the norm throughout our mortal existence. I'm guessing that Sam Harris would likely have cited that because an old lady is allowed to fall and break her hip, or that a young boy is killed after riding his bike into traffic, is sufficient evidence that God does not exist or at least that God is not good.

Phoenix, AZ

All the different opinions and interpretations of the different posts here just goes to show that no one knows. It is all subject to ones imagination and determined by what one wishes it to be. And this is what the world wars over: man's silly superstitious attraction for religion and soothsayers venality to exploit it. Good luck.

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