Zelophehad’s Daughters

I Know Something God Doesn’t Know

Posted by Kiskilili

47 Responses to “I Know Something God Doesn’t Know”

  1. 1.

    Ok, blank post?

  2. 2.

    I think we are supposed to guess what someone could possibly know that God doesn’t.

  3. 3.

    The answer is…nothing.

  4. 4.

    I don’t know what it is, but there must be something. Otherwise it’s meaningless to say I’m eternally female and God is eternally male.

  5. 5.

    You calling Jacob a liar?! (2 Ne. 9:20)

  6. 6.

    Yes. I’m making a movie about him called Jacob the Liar.

  7. 7.

    Didn’t you already post this awhile back?

  8. 8.

    Yes, but it was taken down by demons.

  9. 9.

    I wish I had something brilliant (or funny) to say, but I just think this is a fabulous post.

    I can’t wait to see what other, smarter and funnier, people come up with.

  10. 10.

    I know how to microwave a burrito so big and so hot that not even God could eat it. Unless Adam Richman of Man v. Food is indeed God…

  11. 11.

    I don’t understand this:

    I don’t know what it is, but there must be something. Otherwise it’s meaningless to say I’m eternally female and God is eternally male.

    What does maleness and femaleness have to do with Knowledge?

  12. 12.

    If gender is eternal–and men and women are inherently different–then obviously a female would know things then males don’t know and vice versa.

    I guess the female would know what it feels like to give birth–without removing a rib from anyone?

  13. 13.

    What does maleness and femaleness have to do with Knowledge?

    Maybe not cognitive knowledge, but certainly experiential knowledge. If we’re going to posit some kind of essential eternal gender differences, it follows that a male God can’t entirely comprehend what it is to be female.

  14. 14.

    I admit it: I’m a liar. In fact, I am lying to you now.

  15. 15.

    Lynette, you just restated the thesis. Are you saying you can’t comprehend things you haven’t personally experienced? What if gender difference is essentially uncomplicated. Maybe it’s no more complicated than 2.543+1.327. I have never (before now) personally experienced this math problem, but I can comprehend it. Or maybe it’s like a flavor of Gatorade, let’s say yellow-green flavor. there’s not really much there to comprehend.

    So why does gender have to be hard to comprehend?

    Further, I have eternally been me, god has eternally not been me, so even though I am male, if your argument worked for females, it would work equally well for males.

  16. 16.

    Further, I have eternally been me, god has eternally not been me, so even though I am male, if your argument worked for females, it would work equally well for males.

    Ahh, once you get into retreading old arguments, you then start pulling out the old responses ;)

  17. 17.

    .

    I’m just going to be patient and wait for either God or Tiresias to comment on this post.

  18. 18.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiresias

    Tiresias (Greek: ?????????, also transliterated as Teiresias) was a blind prophet of Thebes, famous for clairvoyance and for being transformed into a woman for seven years. Different stories were told of the cause of his blindness, the most direct being that he was simply blinded by the gods for revealing their secrets.

  19. 19.

    I’m interested to know which aspect of the post (or Kiskilili’s #4) that people find most objectionable: that men and women are eternally, essentially different, or that the (therefore, presumably) essentially male God can not completely comprehend femaleness.

    I think I disagree with both, by the way–and I assume so does Kiskilili.

  20. 20.

    Matt’s right that the larger background to this problem is a tension between the universal and the particular in God’s identity. But gender is a site of particularly acute tension since we’ve identified it as the single aspect of identity that can never be transcended.

    Recall that even the physiological characteristics from which race is socially constructed such as skin color may change as a result of people’s behavior (see the BoM). Think how this same paradigm is mapped onto sex by some early Christian thinkers: eventually, as women are perfected, they’ll shed their imperfections, including their femaleness, and turn male—that is to say, more like God.

    But this idea is anathema to FamProc-compliant Mormon Orthodoxy.

    Let’s suppose God/Tiresias knows equally well what it’s like to have a penis and a vagina, to be masculine and to be feminine. Maybe he empathizes particularly well with women suffering severe menstrual cramps or experiencing miscarriages. (I assume in the same way Heavenly Mother is intimately familiar with short penis anxiety.) Maybe his masculinity is exclusively performative—every day he wakes up and chooses to manifest himself as a male and to behave in masculine ways. Perhaps he makes certain not to be as nurturing as he might be, since nurturing is a feminine activity.

    Then his gender is arbitrary, not essential.

    Our God is not a universal God. He’s a male. Whatever of his other unique experiences and traits he has transcended, he has not transcended his maleness.

    I maintain that I know something God doesn’t know. Some aspect of my experience is inaccessible to God.

  21. 21.

    Kiskilili-
    After I read your comment I heard myself say aloud, “KaPow!’

    I don’t know why.

  22. 22.

    No doubt that was the influence of Heavenly Mother. She’s been wondering for some time now why it seems she has quite a bit more gender than DH.

  23. 23.

    Kis- Our God is not a universal God, he is an individual one. I am not the same individual God is. I am different. So obviously, some aspect of me is inaccessible to God. The question is really whether those essential differences matter. Which of course, you and I have no way of knowing. I believe they do not. You believe they do.

    Oh well.

  24. 24.

    I should add, that in some less common conceptions, our God is not an individual, but is really a council of individuals acting in Harmony, ranging from number between 3 and an infinite number.

  25. 25.

    The Church believes that one of those differences matters, a lot. It structures our identities here and in the eternities. It’s fine to reject the eternal significance of gender to identity as long as you also realize you’re crumpling up the FamProc and chucking it in the garbage, as it were.

    The Church that structures absolutely all of its participation and theology around gender has no right to turn around and tell me gender just doesn’t matter. I’ll believe that when a female prophet gets up in GC and prays to Heavenly Mother.

  26. 26.

    I should add that in some even less common conceptions God is a coven of anywhere between 13 and 66 women.

  27. 27.

    Well you probably don’t because He can read your mind.

  28. 28.

    Well I probably do because my feminine wiles are beyond his comprehension.

    I guess I’m confused. On the one hand, gender (whatever it is) is SUPER important to God’s eternal identity. On the other hand, gender makes absolutely NO difference whatever in God’s experience of the universe. So which is it?

  29. 29.

    Essential gender matters when it’s for making sure you, female, know and stay in your place in the eternal hierarchy. Gender isn’t so absolute and essential as to imply any kind of a limit on the male God.

  30. 30.

    Why are they mutually exclusive?

  31. 31.

    Exactly, CRW!

  32. 32.

    This has been a most interesting thread of comments, especially 25, 28 and 29. Some hard-shelled food for thought.

  33. 33.

    So you don’t know?

  34. 34.

    Do I know why it’s a paradox to say God’s masculinity is both incidental to his identity and constitutive of his identity? Yes.

  35. 35.

    So you’re changing #28?

  36. 36.

    You can’t have both P and not-P, last I checked.

  37. 37.

    35 I don’t think it’s Kiskilili who needs to change on this one. Unless I am missing a third option it looks like you have two options in following the paradox to it’s logical conclusion: either man is in error or God is. Now, I am just a heathen but it seems the sporting thing to do is entertain the idea that man is. Failure to entertain the idea gives rise to speculation on the (no doubt) apocryphal rumors that LDS Seminary teachers implant a miniscule bomb in their students brains, programmed to detonate should their students ever entertain the idea that the Church was mistaken in any facet.
    I realize that I used the word “entertain” three times – making it sound like dinner and a movie with heresy may be on the menu- I assure you I mean no disrespect and the dinner in question included no items that violate the WoW. If that helps.

  38. 38.

    Interesting but a paradox is not a logical proof.

  39. 39.

    But a logical contradiction is. Howard, I see you dropping a lot of naysaying one-liners, but I have yet to see you actually defend a position about the gendered nature of God or the eternal nature of gender. Do you see a way to resolve this paradox, or are you just here to tell us that you know something Kiskilili doesn’t know?

  40. 40.

    Is this a debate? This has not been shown to be a logical contradiction nor do I think it can be but it is an interesting attempt.

  41. 41.

    I don’t think the word “interesting” means what you think it means.

  42. 42.

    What does it mean?

  43. 43.

    “Interesting” is when the most tenacious commenters are not the ones with the most cogent arguments.

  44. 44.

    I like to think that God (as a union of our HF and HM) does experience maleness and femaleness. But HF alone does not experience femaleness with anything other than empathy.

    But I also like to think that as an individual, God (HF and HM) doesn’t really experience me in any way other than empathy. Although God may have felt sorrow, they haven’t felt my sorrow. Not specifically.

    Although it does cut the wind from the whole omniscient thing sails, it does seem to better align with Godhood being a state in our progression, as we better empathize and love others (who’s experiences we never actually have ourselves).

  45. 45.

    Let me play devil’s advocate for a minute.

    Last month, Adam posted a short critique of gay marriage. His argument was that a theory of gay relationships requires an acknowledgement that gender differences matter — some people want to have relationships with same-sex partners, and those are not the same as relationships with opposite-sex partners. But if this is the case, then same-sex relationships are not the same as opposite-sex relationships, and need not be treated the same under law. (That’s my paraphrase of Adam’s argument.)

    My critique of Adam’s post was that sameness and difference may matter differently in different contexts. We don’t think that a Mormon is the same as a Catholic. But we do think that they should have identical employment rights.

    The same could be argued here, couldn’t it? A male God who was an engineer in His mortal life, and who also had sufficient intelligence and power, could fully understand people who had different subsets of experience. He could fully understand lawyers, for instance. He could fully understand heathens. And He could fully understand women. In that case, His own personal experiences and past would be both constitutive of His being, but also irrelevant in His ability to understand others. (This is sort of like my Nethack theory of eternal progression.)

    Now, just because such a being *could* fully understand others, doesn’t mean that He necessarily *does*, or that an institution purporting to act in His name reflects this. Or that it’s even a really good idea to conceptualize one’s deities in this manner. I’m just saying that I don’t think it’s impossible for gender to be both constitutive of God’s identity, and also irrelevant in His ability to understand humans.

  46. 46.

    Here’s where I get confused: what does it mean to say God’s gender is eternal? That he’s always been masculine and always will be?

    Or, looked at differently, if God changed into a female tomorrow, what about him would be different?

    A. He wouldn’t be any different. He wouldn’t understand “femininity” any better than he already does. And he wouldn’t behave any differently than he currently does.

    But then it’s completely hollow to say gender is eternal. Gender is eternally meaningless.

    B. His experience and knowledgde would be exactly the same, but he would behave differently. Gender is 100% performative–it has nothing to do with anything inherent. In other words, it’s arbitrary.

    But then it’s problematic to say the system is just, let alone essential. On what basis are gender assignments being made, since they’re not inherent and only have to do with identity to the degree that they come with moral imperatives for how people act?

    C. His personality would change. He would behave differently because his experience of the cosmos would change in some fundamental way.

    This option seems the most likely to me. To conclude that I know something God doesn’t know makes the most out of the ideas that God is gendered and God is just.

    Gender is limiting. God is gendered. God is limited.

  47. 47.

    Or, another way of articulating my objection is this:

    Maybe God was an engineer in his mortal life. But nobody is saying he was also an engineer in the pre-mortal existence and will be an engineer for eternity, and that his being an engineer precludes his ever being a lawyer, ever.

    If we were saying that, it might be valid to wonder whether God really knows what it’s like to be a lawyer as well as he knows what it’s like to be an engineer. Because if he does–if he knows perfectly what it means to be a lawyer and knows everything lawyers know–why is it that he can never, under any circumstances, be a lawyer?

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