13
May
09

Exaltation and Eternal Life

     Once again in the recent General Conference there were a number of references to exaltation and eternal life.  For example, Elder D. Todd Christofferson said,   “If we are faithful to the covenants made there, we become inheritors not only of the celestial kingdom but of exaltation, the highest glory within the heavenly kingdom, and we obtain all the divine possibilities God can give (see D&C 132:20).”

     D&C 132:20 says:  “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things aren’t subject unto them.  Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” 

     In a similar vein Elder Quentin L. Cook said:  “The desire of our hearts, of course, is not only to acquire salvation and immortality but also to attain eternal life with a loving Father in Heaven and our Savior in the celestial kingdom with our families.”  This is in the same vein because eternal life equals exaltation and thus equals becoming a god.  (For example, as the True to the Faith Manual explains eternal life it simply says, “eternal life, or exaltation.”)

     With eternal life and exaltation regularly referred to and striving for it is regularly encouraged, it is puzzling to me that a common reaction I have received from Mormons when I asked them are they striving to become a god is denial!  Some have been quite fervent in saying that if they remain obedient, they might become like god, but they don’t think that they will become a god.  In fact this reaction has been so common that I find it refreshing when a Mormon agrees with this foundational teaching of Mormonism!  When that happens, we can at least talk about that issue and not debate whether or not Mormonism teaches that.

     Do me a favor.  The next time you are with your LDS friend or family member, ask them if they are striving to be a god.  I would be curious if you get the same reaction I often get.

     And to my LDS friends – is asking that question in anyway offensive – if it is asked sincerely and politely?

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32 Responses to “Exaltation and Eternal Life”


  1. May 13, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Mark, there’s just a big difference to me in striving to be like God (with a capital “G”) and becoming a god (lowercase “g”). I DO strive to become like God, and in the process of sanctification and exaltation, I’ll naturally become a “god”–but becoming a “god” isn’t the primary goal. I’m not striving to be a “god” in as much as I’m striving to be like God.

    Our belief that we can become divine (theosis/deification) and become like God should not be taken to mean that we mortals will become independent, eternal “Gods” worthy of worship someday, but rather gods by the grace of God–the One we will worship for all eternity.

    There’s a big difference. Frankly, it doesn’t matter to me what word (ie: gods) one uses to refer to exalted beings, as long as it’s not taken to mean that we mortals will become independent, eternal “Gods” worthy of worship someday, but rather gods by the grace of God–the One we will worship for all eternity. Yes, we take the scriptures more literally than you, such as being “partakers of the divine nature” (2nd Peter 1:4) and “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), but our belief certainly can’t be described as unbiblical.

    I understand for that for you, you probably don’t grasp the distinction since you (as a Traditional Christian) believe in a great ontological divide/barrier between God and man. But since Latter-day Saint Christians do not subscribe to that (post-biblical) belief, we believe God’s work is to bridge the divide between mortal man and divinity through the at=one-ment of Christ. Thus, we’re not under the same constraints as you.

    And although C.S. Lewis was not a Mormon, he certainly understood and accepted a notion of theosis (not necessarily the LDS notion but a notion nonetheless) more strongly than is usually discussed today. Here’s how he put it:

    “It may be possible for each of us to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden, of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you may talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and corruption such as you now meet if at all only in a nightmare.”

  2. May 13, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I forgot to include the link to the C.S. Lewis quote:
    http://www.jberryman.com/quotebookLewis.html

  3. 3 Observor
    May 13, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I’m not going to comment on the main topic (exaltation to godhead), but I will make an observation about something else tucked in here. “…to attain eternal life with a loving Father in Heaven and our Savior in the celestial kingdom with our families.”

    I have subscribed to the Ensign for a year. In nearly all articles, I have noticed that “family” is revered as much as the Saviour. There is a great emphasis on performing temple rites, baptism and sealing, so that the family can spend eternity together. My impression is that this goal is greater than, or at least equal to, spending eternity with the omnipotent and glorious God, the One before Whose throne we will cast our crowns.

    I don’t see anywhere in Scripture where families will be together after our time on earth, other than gathered before God in *singular* admiration of Him. We will know one another, as we know each saint in Heaven, but in no greater measure.

    Even some well-meaning Christians speak of loved ones waiting on the “other side”. I just don’t see that supported by the Bible.

  4. May 14, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Probably because we know it’s a loaded question the way you are asking it.

  5. 5 jm
    May 14, 2009 at 7:14 am

    ex·alt
    Pronunciation: \ig-ˈzȯlt\
    Function: verb
    Etymology: Middle English, from Latin exaltare, from ex- + altus high — more at old
    Date: 15th century
    transitive verb
    1: to raise in rank, power, or character
    2: to elevate by praise or in estimation : glorify
    3obsolete : elate
    4: to raise high : elevate
    5: to enhance the activity of : intensify <rousing and exalting the imagination

  6. 6 ADB
    May 14, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Observer,

    “I have noticed that “family” is revered as much as the Saviour.”

    While I believe your point is to stress that families are a wonderful blessing from God and indeed make up the fabric of society, and a whole host of other positive benefits, the above statement strikes me as dangerous. If that is the case in this publication, does that not border on idolatry?

    I guess I’m also not sure of the point you’re making. Are you saying that the Ensign’s emphasis on family gives it more credibility than the Bible?

  7. 7 GB
    May 14, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Some ideas have been around for a very long time. Some are in very early Rabbinic texts, which shows that they were a part of formative Judaism, and did not originate with Mormonism. Here’s one text (Midrash Alpha Beta diR. Akiba, BhM 3:32):

    “The Holy One, blessed be He, will in the future call all of the pious by their names, and give them a cup of elixir of life in their hands so that they should live and endure forever. . . . And the Holy One, blessed be He, will in the future reveal to all the pious in the World to Come the Ineffable Name with which new heavens and a new earth can be created, so that all of them should be able to create new worlds. . . . The Holy One, blessed be He, will give every pious three hundred and forty worlds in inheritance in the World to Come.”

  8. 8 GB
    May 14, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    I found the following on one of my favorite blogs. Enjoy!

    Ten years ago, Mark D. Nispel wrote “Christian Deification and the Early Testimonia,” an article in Vigiliae Christianae, 53 (1999): 289-304, where in he noted a peculiarity that Western Christendom virtually ignored the early Christian conception of mankind’s potential as becoming gods, and in fact, being gods. Eastern Christianity’s main theological diet was, in fact, this very doctrine. And the main scripture used was Psalm 82, usually against the Jewish contenders against the fledgling Christian faith.

    Bishop Alexandria, in point of very fact, noted that the theology of Christ and the incarnation more than made it certain that “the description of salvation as ‘becoming god’ as a logical…”proof for the divine nature of Christ,” was one of the pillars of early Christianity. (p. 290)

    In using Ps. 82: 1, 6-7, the Christians mentality was “…the use of these texts required that all believers in some way be considered gods.” (290).

    Nispel, in fact, shows that the use of ps 82:6 time and time again in the later fathers of the East demonstrated the ultimate goal of salvation was the obvious “becoming god.” (292). This is, of course, because Jesus quoted this psalm in John 10 to refute his accusers.

    The early “Testimonia” of Christianity concerning the divinity of Christ against the Jewish polemics was gathered together of all sources in the Old Testament which demonstrated the Christological aspects of the prophecies concerning Christ, and in the process, the actual salvation of mankind as gods along with the Divine Christ. (293-4).

    In Africa, Nispel notes, that Tertullian taught that since Christ appropriately quoted the Psalm as proof that even mankind were gods, it was entirely logical that He, being God-sent, was at the very least, a Son of God. Therefore the title God can and was shown to be part of Christ’s makeup and character.(294)

    Scripture was not afraid to designate mere himans as gods, therefore how much more so the Divine Christ, God’s very son? “ The requirement, as it were, of this argument, as also in the Gospel, is the mino premise that righteous men or believers are called gods.” (295). Justin contended that Christians, who are “from Christ, who begot us unto God, like Jacob, and Israel, and Judah, and Joseph, and David, are called and are the true sons of God.” (296) He literally meant “the ‘sons of god’ are also worthy of becoming gods… those who are deified are those who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue.” (297)

    More interesting still is the exegesis presented by Irenaeus that the very incarnation of Jesus “makes possible the adoption of sons, by immortality absorbing mortality and incorruption corruption.” (298) Adoption of sons to God as “becoming the son of God… is intimately related to becoming god. For the despising of the incarnation has the result that such people ‘defraud human nature of the ascent unto God’ made possible by the Word of God becoming flesh. This ascent relates again to the Holy Spirit who is the ‘ladder of ascent to God – scala ascensionis ad Deium – for it is by the Spirit that one ‘ascends’ to that which is perfect. And for Irenaeus, salvation is the ascent by which Christians become perfect in likeness to God through the Spirit and the Son. And to become perfect in likeness to God is to ‘become god.’” (299)

  9. 9 Joseph S.
    May 15, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    The OrthodoxWiki on Theosis:
    http://orthodoxwiki.org/Theosis

  10. 10 Joseph S.
    May 15, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Theosis: Partaking of the Divine Nature
    http://www.antiochian.org/node/16916

  11. 11 Joseph S.
    May 15, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.
    —St. John, I John 3:2

    It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship. . .
    —C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

    Jesus answered: Is it not written in your Law: I said, you are gods? So the Law uses the word gods of those to whom the word of God was addressed, and scripture cannot be rejected.
    —Jesus, John 10:34-35

    And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.
    —St. Paul, I Cor. 15:28

    Now you together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it.
    —St. Paul, I Cor.12.27

    But to all who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to all who believe in the name of him who was born not out of human stock or urge of the flesh or will of man but of God himself.
    — John, 1:12-13

    You should pray like this: Our Father. . .
    —Jesus, Matt. 6:9

    God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.
    —Genesis 1:27

    . . . the Spirit and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God. And if we are children we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory.”
    —St. Paul, Rom. 8:15-17

    The Bride is only for the Bridegroom.
    —John the Baptist, John 3:29

    . . . the two will become one body. . . This mystery applies to Christ and the Church.
    — St. Paul, Eph. 5:31-32

    You are not a human being having a spiritual experience—you are a spiritual being having a human experience.
    —Wayne Dyer

    They (those who love him) are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers.
    —St. Paul Rom. 8:29

    God became man, so that man might become God.
    —Early Christian Proverb

    I am the vine, you are the branches.
    —Jesus, John 15:5a

    For the Son of God became man, that we might become God.
    —St. Athanasius, De inc.

    God said to this hairless monkey, “get on with it, become a god.”
    —C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

    Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit.
    —St. Paul, 2 Cor. 3:17-18

    I am the light of the world.
    —Jesus, John 8:12

    You are the light of the world.
    —Jesus, Matt. 5:14

    …if God has made you son, then he has made you heir.
    —St. Paul, Gal. 4:7

    The center of the soul is God.
    —St. John of the Cross, The Living Flame of Love

    The Kingdom of God does not come visibly, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is, ‘ because the kingdom of God is within you.
    —Jesus, Luke 17:20b-21, NIV

    He has called men gods that are deified of His Grace, not born of His Substance.
    —St. Augustine

    For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the Spirit like God.
    —I Peter 4:6 RSV

    Know that I am with you always, yes, even to the end of time.
    —Jesus, Matt. 28:20

    “the Word became flesh and the Son of God became the Son of Man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God”
    —St. Irenaeus, Adv Haer III 19,1

    I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, he will perform even greater works.
    —Jesus, John 14:12

    Souls wherein the Spirit dwells, illuminated by the Spirit, themselves become spiritual, and send forth their grace to others. Hence comes . . . abiding in God, the being made like to God, and, highest of all, the being made God.
    —St. Basil the Great, On the Spirit.

    Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known.
    —St. Paul, I Cor. 13:12

    You, therefore, must be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    —Jesus, Matt. 5:48

    Christ has no hands but yours.
    —St. Teresa of Ávila

    The glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
    —St. Paul, Col. 1:27

    (God) said that we were “gods” and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him-for we can prevent Him if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for.
    —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 174-5

    The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons… From the beginning until now, the entire creation has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.
    —St. Paul, Rom. 8:19, 22-23

    let us become the image of the one whole God, bearing nothing earthly in ourselves, so that we may consort with God and become gods, receiving from God our existence as gods
    —St. Maximus the Confessor

    May they all be one, Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me, and I am in you, so that the world may believe that it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory which you gave to me, that they may be one as we are one. With me in them and you in me, may they be so completely one that the world will realise that it was you who sent me, and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.
    —Jesus, John 17:21-23

    Let us applaud and give thanks that we have become not only Christians but Christ himself. Do you understand, my brothers, the grace that God our head has given us? Be filled with wonder and joy—we have become veritable Christs!
    —St. Augustine of Hippo

    He has given us all the things that we need for life and for true devotion, bringing us to know God himself… through them you will be able to share the divine nature.
    — II Peter 1:3-4a

    The Only-begotten Son of God, wanting us to be partakers of his divinity, assumed our human nature so that, having become man, he might make men gods.
    —St. Thomas Aquinas

    In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.
    —St. Paul, Ephesians 4:13

    … when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.
    —2 Thess. 1:10a, KJV

    Souls wherein the Spirit dwells, illuminated by the Spirit, themselves become spiritual, and send forth their grace to others. Hence comes . . . abiding in God, the being made like to God, and, highest of all, the being made God.
    —St. Basil the Great, On the Spirit.

    “the highest of all things desired is to become God.”
    —St Basil the Great

    … the fully-trained disciple will always be like his teacher.
    —Jesus, Luke 6:40

    Morality is indispensable: but the Divine Life, which gives itself to us and which calls us to be gods, intends for us something in which morality will be swallowed up. We are to be remade. . . . we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy.
    —C. S. Lewis, The Grand Miracle, p. 85.

  12. May 16, 2009 at 5:05 am

    Actually, that was my point *exactly*! I think Mormons idolize the family.

    I am writing as a non-Mormon who has subscribed to the Ensign to try to understand why a family member converted.

  13. 13 ADB
    May 16, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Got it. I appreciate the clarification. Has subscribing helped?

  14. May 17, 2009 at 1:59 am

    ABD, yes it has helped tremendously to subscribe to the Ensign. While I appreciate all the secondary-source material written ABOUT Mormonism, it helps to read primary-source material. There can be no mistaking what the LDS church teaches, when you read transcripts of their bi-yearly convention and monthly articles. I’ve been surprised to learn that they are not as outlandish as some Christians would lead you to believe. On the other hand, it is very apparent that their beliefs are far outside the pale of orthodoxy. Many of the terms they use have far different meanings than the same words used by traditional Christianity.

  15. 15 geoff456
    May 17, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    n2b,

    i am curious about your statement: “I think Mormons idolize the family”.

    didn’t you say that you were subscribing to the Ensign to try to understand a family member’s conversion? family is obviously important to you! Family is very important to me, too.

    I,as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ,realize that my earthly family is an extension of my heavenly home. Father in Heaven put us into families because it is the most stable, desirable unit on earth. Who do you love more than your wife and kids? (on earth)

    I love the devotion to family that our church teaches. I can’t even think why you would use the word “idolize”, but to each his own!

    geoff

  16. 16 markcares
    May 19, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Why do so many Mormons deny that Mormonism teaches that they can become gods?

  17. May 19, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    I don’t know what you’re talking about Mark. I didn’t deny that “Mormonism” teaches that we can become gods. I just tried to clarify for you what that does and does not mean. Please see my first comment above. Becoming a “god” is not the same thing as becoming “God”. Do you mind restating the difference in your own words so that I can be sure you are not misunderstanding the LDS position?

  18. May 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Mark, I think most Mormons don’t deny it. But we also don’t think the notion can really be captured well by a cheesy cartoon on YouTube. Which is typically where most of us assume that your camp is coming from.

  19. 19 markcares
    May 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Clean Cut:
    I don’t know if I can state it any clearer than in my original post. the most common answer I get from Mormons is I will becomke lie god but won’t become a god.
    I have a few questions on your first comment. Sorry it took so long to get back to you. They are in regard to this paragraph you wrote:
    “Our belief that we can become divine (theosis/deification) and become like God should not be taken to mean that we mortals will become independent, eternal “Gods” worthy of worship someday, but rather gods by the grace of God–the One we will worship for all eternity.”
    Since God was once an exalted man, is it your belief that he became a god by the grace of his god?
    Gospel Principles states the following about the spirit children that those who are exalted will have: “These spirit children will have the same relationship to them as we do to our Heavenly Father. They will be an eternal family.” Since the relationship will be the same, doesn’t that mean that these spirit children will worship their Heavenly Father as you worship your Heavenly Father?

  20. May 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Meh…

    It all goes to the same place anyway in the end. So it’s all good as far as I’m concerned.

  21. May 19, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Mark, sometimes Latter-day Saints are sloppy in this understanding as well, but you need to capitalize the “G” in your phrase “become like god”. Let me correct this so that I can agree with the statement: We can become like God (uppercase), but we will not become God. However, we can become a god (lowercase).

    The difference is that the term “god” here is used to describe humans who will have become divine through the sanctification that comes through the atonement of Jesus Christ. “God”, on the other hand, is the one source of worship and glory and power in the universe. There is a clear difference between God and myself, after all, none the least of which was His mortal experience was undergone while divine, such as Christ (who was God and sinless while he dwelt on the earth) whereas I am clearly a fallen mortal.

    You asked: “Since God was once an exalted man, is it your belief that he became a god by the grace of his god?”

    Mark, you seem here to be understanding Joseph Smith’s King Follet discourse in the same way that some Mormons understand it, but which I personally think they are wrong to do so. I don’t believe Joseph Smith was teaching here that God was not one God, or that he was once EXACTLY like us–that is, not God. Rather, he teaches that the first principle of the gospel is to know the character of God, and that he is in the form of a man and we can talk with him as one man talks to another. It is not that God was once not God. Further, a careful reading of the KFD makes clear that the Father had a mortality like Christ’s where he already had divine powers over life itself as a mortal.

    Personally, when I read the King Follet discourse I go with the explicit rather than the implicit. Yet many people read it, or Lorenzo Snow’s couplet, as if Joseph was contradicting the Bible, when clearly Joseph said he was going to prove his teaching from the Bible. Therefore, I feel a truer understanding of the couplet “As man now is God once was, as God is man may become” can be gained by putting a different slant on it. I see it more in the light of “As man now is, Christ once was, as Christ is, man may become”. You see Mark, you also believe that God was once a man. Christ was God, and he became man by taking upon himself mortality. The Word was God and the Word became flesh.

    In other words, Joseph never taught that the Father’s mortal experience was exactly like ours, but rather like unto Christ’s mortal experience. Christ never sinned. I do. He is now glorified. He did what he did to allow us to share in all the Father has as “joint heirs” and to partake of the “divine nature”–fully biblical–but I do not believe I will ever become independent of God. I will worship Him forever. Perhaps I will share in his work and power as I pass the eternities (who knows, maybe even organizing planets?), but it will always be as an extension of His power, not of my own. What we may or may not do throughout the eternities is less important than the understanding that we will never be independent of Him.

    I realize I still have a different view of theosis/deification than you must, since I’m not under the constraint of a strict wall of separation between the “uncreated” God and the “created” us, that are you under. In my view, Christ’s Atonement breaks down that barrier and literally puts us “at one” with God, just as described in John 17. I don’t see how that oneness could be truly possible with such a huge gulf placed between the human and the divine. Christ’s work truly is to make us divine. And in my view this is an enhancement of the greatness of the infinite power of the Atonement.

    You need to understand that there is quite a plethora of opinions/interpretations within Mormonism. Sure, there are many who like to engage in speculation far beyond our official and concrete doctrine—but it would be a caricature to say that the Church has made an official interpretation of the King Follet discourse. Frankly, I’m amazed that so many Mormons themselves interpret it the way they do without any careful reading first, but rather by bringing assumptions to the text that Joseph himself never teaches.

    Rather:

    “We believe that the apostle Peter’s biblical reference to partaking of the divine nature and the apostle Paul’s reference to being ‘joint heirs with Christ’ reflect the intent that children of God should strive to emulate their Heavenly Father in every way. Throughout the eternities, Mormons believe, they will reverence and worship God the Father and Jesus Christ. The goal is not to equal them or to achieve parity with them but to imitate and someday acquire their perfect goodness, love and other divine attributes.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317272,00.html

  22. May 19, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    correction to a typo: I don’t believe Joseph Smith was teaching here that God was ONCE not God

  23. 23 markcares
    May 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Clean Cut:
    Thanks for the answer. I have to say it raised a couple of more observations.
    I find it interesting the weight you put on God and gods (lower-case). In my 1979 edition of Gospel Principles the statement is made: “We can become Gods like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation.” Later editions dropped that. Would you consider “Gods” a typo or did a real shift take place?
    I also fird it surprising that you qualify orgaining planets with a maybe in light of “As we acheive a like marriage we shall become as they are and begin the creation of worlds for our own spirit children.” (Achieving A Celestrial Marriage, p. 1)
    It’s also interesting that you use large-case God with Jesus. Ovber the years, many Mormons have explained the passages about one God as saying that there is one God for this world, Heavenly Father. Do you believe that there are two “Gods”? if so, how do you explain the one God passages?

  24. May 19, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Good questions Mark. I base that emphasis solely on how it is used in the Standard Works, including D&C 138. I also wouldn’t put it passed the writers (whoever the nameless curriculum writers are) of Gospel Principles or any other manual to not only include a typo, but also to make an assertion that the scriptures themselves do not make. This happens from time to time when members themselves make assumptions based on the implicit rather than the explicit, and I don’t think it’s very wise to do that. I feel that the explicit provides the stronger argument.

    You also ask a very important question: “Do you believe that there are two “Gods”? if so, how do you explain the one God passages?”

    I want to give you the best answer I can and I don’t want to be misunderstood, so please allow me to refer you to “That They May Be One As We Are One” on my own blog. It deserves a careful reading.

  25. May 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    One explanation is simple enough.

    When I am a god, I will be “one” with the Father and Son, even as they are “one” with each other.

    Viola! One God. Problem solved.

  26. May 19, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    If only it were that simple Seth! Even though they want us to be a part of that relationship, I don’t believe the Godhead will have more than those three divine persons–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

  27. May 19, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Depends on your read of Mormon history.

    My point is that we Mormons really don’t need to be going into fetal position just because some Evangelical dredges up a bunch of Journal of Discourses quotes. Even the oddest doctrinal positions from past prophets and authorities are not completely indefensible. And we need not trip over ourselves to divorce from those views. They are possibilities doctrinally for Mormons, like it or not. And we’d better get used to simply defending them.

    Your view of the Trinity may be correct. Then again, it might not be. I see no problem with that. I’ve never liked how traditional Christianity has painted itself into an indefensible doctrinal corner that it really can’t get out of. Unless Mormons are fixing to play the role of “Traditional Christianity – The Sequel” we would do well not to follow their example.

  28. 29 GB
    May 19, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Can someone explain the many references to multiple divine beings?

    Ex. 15:11 Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

    Deut. 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:

    Josh. 22:22 The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the Lord, (save us not this day,)

    Ps. 82:1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
    • • •
    6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

    Ps. 86:8 Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.

    Ps. 136:2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

    Ps. 138:1 I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.

    Dan 2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

    Dan. 4:8 ¶ But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,
    9 O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.
    • • •
    18 This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.

    Dan 11:36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

    John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
    35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

    1Cor 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
    6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

    Shall we look at NT scriptures that separate God the Father from the Lord Jesus Christ? Here are some of them of them.

    Eph. 1:2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
    • • •
    17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

    1 Thes. 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • • •
    3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

    2 Cor. 1: 2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

    Col. 1: 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

    1 Thes. 3:11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.
    • • •
    13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

    2 Thes. 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, aunto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
    2 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Rom. 1: 7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Rom. 15: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    1 Cor. 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

    2 Cor. 11:31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.

    Gal. 1: 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

    Eph. 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

    Eph. 6:23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Philip. 1:2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Philip. 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    Col. 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

    2 Thes. 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

    1 Tim. 1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

    2 Tim. 1:2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Titus 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

    Philem. 1:3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    1 Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

    2 Jn. 1:3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

    Explain away!

  29. December 17, 2009 at 12:38 am

    I just love your weblog! Very nice post! Still you can do many things to improve it.

  30. December 3, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Pretty insightfull post. Never thought that it was this uncomplicated after all. I have spent a good deal of my time looking for someone to explain this topic clearly and you’re the only person that ever did that. Thanks a lot! Keep it up!

  31. 32 Seth R.
    December 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Mark,

    You may want to consider turning off the commenting function on some of your old posts as a way to prevent spammers.

    This is the third spam post you’ve received on an old post in the past two days.


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