"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Saturday, January 30, 2016
The Unbiblical Mormon Doctrine of the Pre-Existence of Souls
The Mormons hold to a doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul. That is, that the soul of each human being existed first in the spiritual realm. In their own words, "Before we were born on the earth, we lived in the presence of our
Heavenly Father as His spirit children. In this premortal existence, we
attended a council with Heavenly Father’s other spirit children." They claim that this doctrine is taught in Ecclesiastes 12:7: "[After death] the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it." That is, Mormons claim, if it is returning to God, then it must have been with Him before it was incarnated in a body. Note that this isn't a form of reincarnation, since the Mormons do not claim that the soul existed in another body before its present incarnation.
However, as is their wont, the Mormons are being very selective in their use of Bible proofs. Another thing that God says on this matter can be found in Zechariah 12:1: "Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him..." Here, the prophet clearly described the contemporaneous creation of, and incarnation of, a man's soul. So, when a Mormon asks where the soul was before its current incarnation, the answer is that it wasn't anywhere, any more than the body was somewhere before its conception.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon is describing a circumstance analogous to ordering a pizza. When you order the pizza, it doesn't yet exist. Rather, it is prepared and then given to you. If you then return the pizza, let's say for being burnt, you do indeed give it back, because it existed before you returned it, not because it existed before you ordered it. In the same way, God creates the soul within the new body, apparently at conception (see Psalm 51:5), and it then returns to its Maker upon death. There is no time of spiritual existence prior to incarnation.
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43