Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Use of sources/Natural before spiritual

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Natural before spiritual?

A FairMormon Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes

Author's Claims

One Nation under Gods, page 380 (hardback and paperback)

  • Paul said that "the natural (or physical) comes first, then comes the spiritual, yet Brigham Young said that "people are 'made first spiritual, and afterwards temporal [i.e. fleshly].'"

Author's Sources

Endnote 25, page 603 (hardback); page 601 (paperback)


The author is here presumably referring to 1 Corinthians 15:46. This scripture reads (using the NIV, which the author seems to be quoting):

"The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual."

That this is about the resurrection is clear from the context:

[v. 42] So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory, it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

Many versions of the NIV also add "The Resurrection Body" as a title for this section.[1]

Thus, the "spiritual body" here discussed is the resurrected body. Its label 'spiritual' cannot mean that it is just spirit (i.e., non-physical) since Jesus' body could be felt and handled, and He explicitly noted that "a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Luke 24:39).

This has nothing to do with Brigham's discussion of a pre-mortal 'spirit body', which precedes mortal life and the resurrection discussed by Paul. Brigham said:

Our Father in Heaven begat all the spirits that ever were, or ever will be, upon this earth; and they were born spirits in the eternal world. Then the Lord by His power and wisdom organized the mortal tabernacle of man. We were made first spiritual, and afterwards temporal.

ONUG's unfamiliarity with LDS doctrine is manifest. Both aspects of the doctrine are taught early in the Doctrine and Covenants:

31 For by the power of my Spirit created I them [mankind]; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal—

32 First spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, first temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work....(DC 29:32).

President Young was discussing the first half from pre-mortal to mortal life (first spiritual, secondly temporal); while Paul was discussing the second half from mortal life to redeemed resurrection (first temporal, secondly spiritual).


  1. Kenneth L. Barker (general editor) NIV Study Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2002), 1798; NIV text is (C) copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.