Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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Treasures In the Heavens: Some Early Christian Insights into the Organizing of Worlds
HUGH NIBLEY The canonical writings and the apocrypha have a good deal to say about "treasures in the heavens." If we compare the "treasures" passages in a wide sampling of these writings, including those of Qumran, Nag Hammadi and the Mandaeans, it becomes apparent that "treasures in the heavens" is a part of a much larger picture, a "cosmist" view of the plan of salvation which was rejected by the official Christianity and Judaism that emerged triumphant in the fourth century but seems to have been prevalent throughout the Near East in an earlier period. There is no better approach to the study of this strange and intriguing doctrine than an examination of the Treasures in Heaven. We begin with the surprising fact that the Treasures in the Heavens were not allegorical but real. That the life-giving treasures of earth, particularly the golden grain that was anciently kept in a sacred bin, really comes from the sky is apparent to everyone.1 The miracle of the bounties of heaven literally pouring from "the treasure-houses of the snow . . . the terrible storehouses" is an awesome sight and a joyous one.2 But without a benign intelligence to administer them, the same elements that bestow life on man can wreak frightful destruction; hence it is plain that a measure of knowledge, skill, and benevolence is necessary to convert the raw elements into useful gifts.3 Thus when one speaks of treasures in the heavens, one means not only the vast secret chambers of the rain , snow, and hail, but also the deep hidden wisdom and the power necessary to control them; God's treasury is a source not only of the elements that sustain life but also of the light and knowledge that endow them with that power.4 The life-giving fusion of divine wisdom with primal element is often described in religious texts as a fountain, as "the overflowing waters which shine" coming from the "Treasure-chest of radiance" along with all the other shining treasures.5 "Thou hast established every fountain of light beside thee," says Baruch, "and the treasures of wisdom beneath thy throne hast thou prepared."6 The concept is 76. Treasures in the Heavens: some early christian insights into the organizing of worlds.