Defending the Faith: 'Pleased as man with men to dwell'

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  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Dec. 11, 2013 7:03 p.m.

    I'm more than a little bit astonished that Athanasius—assuming the quote in the article is accurate—basically said something 1600 years ago that affirms one of the most controversial doctrines of the Restored Gospel: the doctrine of exaltation, or that man can in fact become like God through Christ and the power of his atonement. It's deeply ironic that the man who is largely responsible for the Nicene Creed could be quoted as having said something that is so diametrically opposed to what Nicene Trinitarian Christians profess.

    Good job, author.

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Dec. 8, 2013 4:26 a.m.

    @ Layton, Utah
    philosophies of man, mingled with scripture...misinterpretation, uninspired by the Holy Spirit. Just one more indisputable reason for modern, living Prophets to give us pure truth.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Dec. 7, 2013 11:48 p.m.

    All the words don't mean a thing if you don't keep your own.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Dec. 7, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    As to whether the Savior had colic as a baby, it is notable that he was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief."

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Dec. 7, 2013 10:35 a.m.

    When I sing the song, I quickly substitute "not much" for "no" crying He makes. I do it quietly with a smile. Merry Christmas!

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 1:47 p.m.

    RE: Mouw, “we say the same things".
    … if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; … the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, … and to cleanse from all unrighteousness. (Alma 7:14).

    True,Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God(John 3:3); …. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29 );… and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.(1 John 1:19).

    RE: Jsthor, Calvinist theologian would say about?

    The Orthodox Church understands theosis as a union with the energies of God and Not with the essence of God which always remains hidden and unknown. However, the experience of the Church testifies that this is a true union with God. Orthodox Christians) believe there are three persons in the Godhead, each divine, distinct and equal. The Father God is the eternal head; the Son is begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. See( Athanasius creed, on Tri-unity)

    (theotetos*=Godhead,KJV) lives in bodily form(Col 2:9 NET) Or,In him dwells all the completeness of the *Godhead bodily. Jesus’is forever the God-man.

  • jsthor St. George, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    "God became man" so declares the ancient Christian formula, "so that man might become God." Also, the statement quoted by St. Athanasious the Great --- both statements with which I agree. I wonder what Richard Mouw, the prominent Calvinist theologian would say about these statements.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 6, 2013 9:04 a.m.


    "....He does not save us "in" our sins, but "from" them, indicating true repentance necessary to access the Atonement fully...."

    The essential premise of the doctrine of atonement is that God for some vague reason demands that full punishment be suffered for sins committed. In Christian belief, Jesus voluntarily serves as proxy but with one crucial hitch. You have to believe in him which leaves a lot of people out in the cold.

    That grim suggestion should give a Christian pause to wonder why Jesus devoted so much time, effort, and words teaching how people should treat others and not be so wrapped up in themselves. Seems like an uneconomical effort if all he had to offer was a shortcut to personal salvation.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    During baby blessings in Church I've heard some cry and some not make a sound.


    Loosen up a bit. No one ever claimed that these Christmas carols were supposed to be gospel doctrine. Just enjoy the music.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 6:31 a.m.

    "The scientific and analytical among us, as they claim to be, aren't much fun to be around this time of year."

    Why not? One doesn't have to be an actual "believer" to participate in the cultural rituals and enjoy the social benefits that such cultural practices bring to a society.

    Santa Claus visits our house every year and I quite enjoy the jolly old fat man...though I have never seen him or his eight tiny reindeer. He is still one of my all-time favorite mythical heroes. Furthermore, the message of peace on earth that the story of the Christ child brings to the world is quite valuable.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2013 7:42 p.m.

    IMO I grant poets and composers artistic license to bring to pass the songs and poetry in their hearts into the world for us to enjoy or ignore. I love carols, poetry about Christmas, yet do not look to them for doctrine.

    I think we are blessed by God to worship what or who we wish. Christmas was decreed by someone to at or near winter solstice but from what I have read it probably was spring, as shepherds were in their fields keeping watch.... Who cares? I love the snow, ice cycles, and all the rest of the stuff.

    I believe in the greeting bequeathed upon us all of Peace on Earth, good will to men (probably mankind).

    The scientific and analytical among us, as they claim to be, aren't much fun to be around this time of year no spirit of Christmas for them, too mushy and not believable.Better cold hard facts, that's the ticket. Might I suggest coal for you to study?

  • DRay Roy, UT
    Dec. 5, 2013 6:25 p.m.

    Quoting further, Mouw spoke of our common “faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness” (Alma 7:14). “When it comes to the redemptive work of Christ,” he concluded, “we say the same things.”

    --difference would possibly be, that we believe He does not save us "in" our sins, but "from" them, indicating true repentance necessary to access the Atonement fully, and the works we do in this life are important as is our faith.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 5, 2013 4:10 p.m.

    RE: Craig Clark, "In *Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet(Malachi) has written: ".'"( MT 2:5).

    Fulfilled Prophecy is what separates the Holy Bible from all other books.

    (Jesus)…born of Mary at* Jersusalem … who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost(Spirit) and bring forth a son yea, even the Son of God. ( Alma 7:10).

    The fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, *made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Gal 4: 4-6)

    *made= (ginomai), Virgin Birth.

    Jesus is not God’s Son in the sense of a human father and a son. God did not get married and have a son. God did not mate with Mary and, together with her, produce a son. Jesus is God’s Son in the sense that He is God made manifest in human form (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is God's Son, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:35

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    Dec. 5, 2013 2:32 p.m.

    The song may be more accurate than we think. My experience with babies is when they are newborn there is very little crying. Maybe unless there is a medical issue. So the idea that the newborn babe is not crying is most likely an accurate illustration of what that night was like. I think this song speaks about the day/night of birth.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 5, 2013 2:18 p.m.

    The Nativity is such an iconic event in popular lore that it’s pictured in minute detail until we almost feel the chill in the winter night air and smell the hay in the manger. Artists have been doing that for us for centuries and our culture is richer for it.

    Oh Little Town of Bethlehem was penned as a poem by a 19th century minister recalling his visit to the Holy Land. Neither that carol, nor any other, depends on precise historical detail. The creative ingredient is the power of imagination. That’s what gives us music of sweeping lyrical beauty. It’s not history but every Christmas, I still find the words deeply stirring.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2013 1:16 p.m.

    I don't have a problem with the idea that Jesus might not have cried in the imagination of the song writer. He probably didn't cry all the time. He was probably a peaceful baby. Or, do we prefer the idea that he had colic and never, ever stopped crying?

  • Kazbert VAIL, AZ
    Dec. 5, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    Us mere mortals exhibit an astonishing diversity of traits, and in degrees. It isn’t so far fetched that one individual, especially one endowed greatly from on high, would exhibit the best of all those traits. In that regard He would be “superhuman” in character, though fully human in body. To the extent that wisdom requires experience, He would need to grow in wisdom over time, yet there is another kind of wisdom – a listening heart – which Christ would exhibit strongly from birth. We also need to be careful to what we assign the title “virtue.” For example, stoicism is often portrayed as a virtue, yet mourning with those who mourn – including weeping from sorrow – is an aspect of charity and is not a weakness. Christ did weep for us, bled for us, and died for us. And the Christ-child being a babe not yet able to form words would, of course, cry to alert his parents to His discomforts such as hunger, thirst, pain, or sorrow. Beyond that, I feel to cut the lyricist some slack to establish a tone or mood, even if the facts are not quite right.

  • jimhale Eugene, OR
    Dec. 5, 2013 11:43 a.m.

    We don't even know whether there were cattle present. Indeed, cattle seem unlikely to have been in a stable associated with an inn in that part of the world. Why would it be there? Except in the imagination of the northern European writer of the lyric?
    The bleating of goats or the baa of some sheep - maybe.
    And what exactly does cattle lowing sound like. I grew up among them. But I've never heard lowing.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 5, 2013 9:30 a.m.

    I love Mark Twain’s ‘recollection’ of his own birth. Upon being born, he knew right off that he was the most pure and innocent person in the room and immediately told everyone so.

    The Christmas carol verse of the newborn Jesus not crying was probably never intended to be believable. But it is a more pleasant picture than that of a crying infant getting on the nerves of us so-called adults. More importantly, it fits the story of Jesus as one of redemption or transformation as one chooses to believe.

    Merry Christmas and good humor to all.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 5, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    The irony of the ‘superman’ line is rich…

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Dec. 5, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    I love those scriptures in Alma that were quoted in the article. Perhaps another scripture that could be included is Luke 2:52 - "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."

    With this scripture, Jesus was not born into mortality knowing everything apparently; he also had to go through the same "human" process of learning and growing. Amazing He increased in wisdom without sin as well. I don't know how many mistakes I've made before I could increase in wisdom... thank goodness for the atonement.

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    Dec. 5, 2013 7:51 a.m.

    This may be a trivial comment, but I have also been bothered (ever since I was a child in fact) by those lines from Away in a Manger. We simply don't know how much crying Jesus made, or for that matter, if cattle lowwed. Also ever since I was a child I realized that there is no scripture that tells us that the wise men were three in number so the "three wise men" have always annoyed me. (Then again, there aren't any scriptures about the little drummer boy either. I'd eliminate that song. Sorry if I ruined everyone's Christmas.) Just one more: From the primary song about Jesus' return, "Will earth be white with drifted snow, or will the world know spring?" Having grown up in Hawaii, this line never resonated. Plus, ever since I was about 8, every time I had to sing this, I complained that the northern and southern hemispheres have opposite seasons. Now I'm back to listening to Handel's Messiah.