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I think we’re Manicheans. And I think it originates in our rejection of creation ex nilho. Through its rejection and our insistence on individual agency, we have already made a major dent in God’s omnipotence. (Although, strictly speaking, omnipotence only means that one can do all that is logically possible to do, and it is logically impossible to make another independent agent will against their will.)

Thus, I don’t see that a Manichean perspective has any problems in Mormon theology. I also think that first 2 Nephi passage affirms it. If there must be opposition in all things, then evil must be an independently existing entity.

"The question is not why a perfect God would create a universe with so much evil in it. The question is why a perfect God would create a universe at all."

The old Platonic concept of God postulates a God who is perfect, unchanging, and wants for nothing.

Under this static view of God, there can be no change. For God, being already perfectly self-sufficient, wants for nothing, and doesn't need to create anything additional to himself. Indeed, God cannot make any alterations since that would be altering perfection.

The static Greek idea of perfection asserts that any change from "perfection" must be a change into imperfection.

So again, under the old Christian idea of God, the real mystery is not why the universe is the way it is, but that there is a universe in the first place.

Some very interesting ideas. We must realize that we can only look at it from a mortal standpoint. As far as we're concerned God is perfect. As far as the council of gods goes.?.?.? Moses 1:39 states that there is more to do. He has not yet reached his full glory and he is striving to reach it.

On Evil. I think it is independent. Yes there must be two. You have to have more then one to be independent, you have to be independent from something.

Both of the cited scriptures can be read as supporting the other view as well. The difference between the Augustinian and the Manichean view seems to be minute. But sometimes small differences have tremendous consequences.

Anyways, I am not sure how useful either view is.

I agree that good and evil are implications rather than a precondition of the creation. Good and evil are not creatures, nor are they things. Hence they are nor created per se.

Good and evil emerge as soon as creatures that begin to understand the consequences of their choices.

As evil requires freedom and responsibility suffering and evil are not the same thing.

That does not let God off the hook with respect to the suffering on earth. But that question is not relevant in my life. God's responsibility for suffering is not something that I can change or that would require a change of behavior on my part. Suffering just is and we have to respond to it.

I find it interesting that Genesis, Malthus, and Darwin explain suffering the same way. Because of sex and procreation in an environment that is characterized by scarcity, we will be miserable on this earth. That irks secular and religious optimists, which does not make it any less true.

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