Thursday, July 1, 2010


I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak (Alma 26:11-12)

I used to think of my nothingness as simply a power ratio: God has infinite power, I have none. Now, I also see it as a goodness ratio: God has infinite goodness, I have none (cf Mosiah 4:5). That’s not too say that I have no good in me, or that I’ve never done good things. Rather, He is the source of the good that I do. I’m like a transparent ghost in a long-exposure photograph, whereas God is opaque. He is always good. I am good temporarily, fleetingly. The times I sit still long enough to appear in the picture, I am simply mimicking the model He provides.

So why does this matter? Why is a goodness ratio different than a power ratio? For me, it connects the two: God is powerful because He is good. I have the same type of power He does: the ability to act, rather than just be acted upon (cf 2 Nephi 2:14). But the magnitude of His power is so much greater than mine because He constantly uses this power for good. I try, but I falter. This helps me see that I am like Him, we come from the same mold. Moreover, I can become like Him, not just in form, but in actual content.


  1. Interesting. I had never given much thought to nothingness, other than that it meant...nothing. Satan is able to exercise influence over us (not sure if this could be considered power), but God's power (Priesthood) will always be stronger than whatever the adversary uses. It's an unfathomable honor to have God entrust this power to his children to help us understand how to be good.

  2. To be sure, influence is power. In D&C 29:36, God calls it honor:

    And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;

    When we honor Satan, we give him power. Likewise with God. However, given the chance, Satan will betray us; God will exalt us. God is stronger because he is constant, whereas Satan is fickle & chaotic. Almost by definition, Satan is someone who can abide no order. He proved in the pre-existence that he can have none of Christ's light within him; hence, he goes to outer darkness. (As a side note, I've always thought it an oxymoron to say "Cain will rule over Satan in outer darkness." No one rules in anarchy.)

    It's interesting that you flip this idea around and say that God honors us with Priesthood. He, then, is giving us power. I like that. I need to model that better with my teacher's quorum.

  3. Interesting thoughts. So God's plan is to enable us with power. Satan's was and always will be to take away our power (to act/agency). When we honor God, He gives us power to do good. The more good we do, the more "power" He has as well...both sides of the ratio increasing.