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Christian Defification Doctrine


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#21 Daniel Peterson

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 09:11 PM

Very worthwhile treatments of the matter of deification include Keith Norman's Duke University doctoral dissertation, "Deification and the Content of Athanasian Soteriology," which has been republished by the Maxwell Institute and is available on line:

http://mi.byu.edu/au...s/?authorID=400

and Father Jordan Vajda's thesis at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, "Partakers of the Divine Nature," which has also been republished by the Maxwell Institute and is also available on line:

http://mi.byu.edu/au...s/?authorID=435

Father Vajda has, of course, since been received into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

P.S. I always get a kick out of evangelicals claiming that they possess a doctrine of deification superior to that of the Latter-day Saints. It's only recently that a tiny percentage of them have discovered that such a doctrine even existed in early Christianity. Sorry. We do well on this one. They don't.
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#22 DanGB

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 08:49 AM

Father Vajda has, of course, since been received into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

P.S. I always get a kick out of evangelicals claiming that they possess a doctrine of deification superior to that of the Latter-day Saints. It's only recently that a tiny percentage of them have discovered that such a doctrine even existed in early Christianity. Sorry. We do well on this one. They don't.

When you say "we", are you referring to the Church or the LDS apologetic community? And when you say "well", how do you measure it? As convincing argument and/or thesis?

I wonder on this because as members we know that Joseph Smith was very specific when he said:

"It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself"

And yet who will forget the national interview w President Hinckley on this very issue when he obviously wanted to avoid it's discussion and said "we don't know much about that".

As a Church, we rarely discuss this in any depth or length either publically or within our own meetings. So I am interested in or by what perspective "we" (whoever that means) have done well?


FMI, who is Father Vadja and what is his story? Have never heard of him or it before but sounds interesting.

[Finally, no offense to my bros and sisters in Utah but, go Frogs! Fantacizing for an all Texas BCS game this year!]
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#23 volgadon

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 09:11 AM

Brigham Young: "[T]hat God the Father was once a man on another planet who 'passed the ordeal we are now passing through. . .'"

Brigham Young, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997), 29.

Did Christ not have to overcome temptation?
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#24 DanGB

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 04:58 PM

Did Christ not have to overcome temptation?

Not sure what you are getting at that comment.
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#25 WalkerW

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 05:18 PM

And when you say "well", how do you measure it? As convincing argument and/or thesis?


I find it interesting that Joseph Smith taught deification long before Evangelicals even knew it was taught by the early Church Fathers.

I wonder on this because as members we know that Joseph Smith was very specific when he said:

"It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself"

And yet who will forget the national interview w President Hinckley on this very issue when he obviously wanted to avoid it's discussion and said "we don't know much about that".


Considering the Joseph Smith quote is pretty much the extent of our knowledge on the subject, I think Pres. Hinckley was right.

FMI, who is Father Vadja and what is his story? Have never heard of him or it before but sounds interesting.


http://www.lds.org/l...0004d82620aRCRD

The relevant part:

The conversion of Jordan Vajda, a fine young man who had been a Catholic priest, is instructive. When he was in grade school, he had Latter-day Saint friends in his class who shared with him their love of the gospel. At age 13 he found an offer from the Church for a free Book of Mormon. He sent for it, and two sister missionaries responded. They were surprised that he was only 13 and had requested the Book of Mormon. He was impressed with what they taught and what he felt, but after discussions with his family, he decided to become a priest in the Catholic Church. As he prepared to be a priest, he remained interested in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He studied at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He became acquainted with many who take the position we are not Christians, but he also associated with the students at the Latter-day Saint institute of religion at Berkeley. He decided to write a master’s thesis on why some people maintain that we are not Christians. This was primarily an academic pursuit. He became a priest in the Dominican order and had assignments in Arizona and then at the University of Washington. There he came in contact with our missionaries.

After being taught by them and praying sincerely, he received inspiration that he should resign as a Catholic priest and be baptized and confirmed into the Church of Jesus Christ. His letter of resignation expressed his love and appreciation for the Catholic Church and then stated:

“Why am I doing what I am doing? To put it most simply: I have found a fuller truth and goodness and beauty in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After years of study and reflection, I have come to believe that the LDS Church is the only true and living Church of Jesus Christ, guided and led by living apostles and prophets.

“I believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, called and ordained for this, the dispensation of the fullness of times. I love the Book of Mormon; I believe it to be the word of God for us in these latter days.

“I can no longer deny my feelings, my heart, my conscience. I cannot deny the confirming witness of the Holy Ghost, which has come after much prayer and soul-searching. At this point in my life, at this moment, as I look forward to and prepare for my convert baptism, I have found a happiness greater than I ever imagined possible.”

This good man is active in the Church, has been to the temple, teaches the Gospel Doctrine class in his ward, and has a management position in a hospital in Seattle.


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#26 DanGB

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 05:36 PM

Considering the Joseph Smith quote is pretty much the extent of our knowledge on the subject, I think Pres. Hinckley was right.


Why? Was JS ambiguous in his teaching? When he declares it as the "FIRST PRINCIPLE", he is very clear as to it's importance and then goes on in great detail of how God became God and how we will as well.

Why would their be any hesitation on behalf of any of our succeeding prophets? I read it and it is quote clear to me. Is there any reason to shy away from this teaching publically?
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#27 WalkerW

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 05:45 PM

Why? Was JS ambiguous in his teaching? When he declares it as the "FIRST PRINCIPLE", he is very clear as to it's importance and then goes on in great detail of how God became God and how we will as well.


The first principle is knowing the character of God. Knowing the fine details of his mortal past is not the first principle.

Knowing for sure that we are literally in God's image is quite a distinction from the majority of Christianity, who struggle to explain the nature of the Trinity.

Why would their be any hesitation on behalf of any of our succeeding prophets? I read it and it is quote clear to me. Is there any reason to shy away from this teaching publically?


What more do you want him to say? We don't know anything about God's past, except that He had a mortal probation like Christ. That is the extent of the knowlegde we have.

Edited by WalkerW, 14 November 2009 - 05:47 PM.

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#28 Daniel Peterson

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 05:53 PM

I'm unfamiliar with Joseph Smith's detailed account of how the Father became God. Is there a divine biography or autobiography available somewhere?

When you say "we", are you referring to the Church or the LDS apologetic community?

Although I'm not sure that I know precisely what "the LDS apologetic community" might be, and how its interests might diverge from those of the Church, I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say "both."

And when you say "well", how do you measure it? As convincing argument and/or thesis?

Wow. I hadn't realized that my simple statement was so abstruse.

I meant, obviously, that this is a Mormon claim that has excellent support in the ancient evidence.

I wonder on this because as members we know that Joseph Smith was very specific when he said:

"It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself"

I'm not clear as to why this causes you such wonderment, and don't quite see what you think this has to do with what I said.

And yet who will forget the national interview w President Hinckley on this very issue when he obviously wanted to avoid it's discussion and said "we don't know much about that".

I won't. Nor will I ever be permitted to.

But, again, I don't see the relevance, nor why this should plunge anybody into deep confusion as to what I said.

As a Church, we rarely discuss this in any depth or length either publically or within our own meetings. So I am interested in or by what perspective "we" (whoever that means) have done well?

I get the impression you're really straining here.

FMI, who is Father Vadja and what is his story? Have never heard of him or it before but sounds interesting.

He's a former Dominican priest turned Latter-day Saint who, while still Catholic, did a master's thesis on the Mormon doctrine of deification that has been published (and now placed on line) by the Maxwell Institute. Had you read it, perhaps you would find my remark somewhat less inscrutable.
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#29 volgadon

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 01:07 AM

Not sure what you are getting at that comment.


Wasn't Christ tempted, did he too not have to go through the same ordeal in that regard, as does every man who ever lived? Does God not have to follow the rules he himself set?
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#30 DanGB

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 12:04 PM

Wasn't Christ tempted, did he too not have to go through the same ordeal in that regard, as does every man who ever lived?


Forgive me, but still not following what specific point in this thread you are getting to with this comment.

Does God not have to follow the rules he himself set?


Interesting question. If, as JS clearly defines, God (our Heavenly Father) was a man like us first, (W)ho's rules was he following when he was a mortal man to get to His exalted state?

Is there any other answer than he was following his God at that time?
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#31 DanGB

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 06:08 PM

I'm unfamiliar with Joseph Smith's detailed account of how the Father became God. Is there a divine biography or autobiography available somewhere?


Putting aside your flair for the dramitics, whose or what specific comment are you addressing here? I am unfamiliar with anyone, including myself making such a claim. I would like to know first before I respond to the rest of your post, but with dramatics, sacasm, and arrogance aside.

Thanks
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#32 Daniel Peterson

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 09:14 PM

I would like to know first before I respond to the rest of your post, but with dramatics, sacasm, and arrogance aside.

Never mind. If your preference is to insult me and criticize my character, you can do so without my participation in the game. B-o-r-i-n-g.
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#33 SearchDog

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 10:25 PM

None of us believes that any of us are going to become infinite.

I don't know how that statement can be attributed to either Christian/Catholic or Mormon doctrine.

We are infinite right now, in spite of being mortal. Our spirits are infinite. We existed before this life and we will exist after this life.

The point is that our spirits were not always Godly, but that through God's plan we can become as God is.

It's a big universe. What happened here on earth is not the first time God commissioned a Father/Son pair possessing His Spirit to create a family in God and Christ; and it will not be the last time according to LDS doctrine.

The stars and planets we see being formed will one day be allocated to righteous beings from the priesthood, just as the solar systems we see being destroyed were once inhabited by beings who were tested in the fires of human existence and refined into Gods and Lords in the Spirit of God.

God's family colonizes and grows and moves on to greater glories. Not all of His children make it, but even those spirits are not destroyed. They are left behind in eternal darkness, aka, an infinite separation from God.

Brigham Young: "[T]hat God the Father was once a man on another planet who 'passed the ordeal we are now passing through. . .'" Brigham Young, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997), 29.

Ditto; Brigham was right.

The words of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Pratt, and others. Smith and Young were prophets according to Mormons, so it's simply a matter of whether or not you believe what they taught.

I believe in the words of the prophets (over scholars) because their words are the word of God.

Edited by SearchDog, 15 November 2009 - 10:32 PM.

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#34 DanGB

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 10:44 PM

Never mind. If your preference is to insult me and criticize my character, you can do so without my participation in the game. B-o-r-i-n-g.

Pot, kettle, black somewhere in there I see!!!
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#35 SearchDog

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 11:11 PM

The first principle is knowing the character of God. Knowing the fine details of his mortal past is not the first principle.

Knowing for sure that we are literally in God's image is quite a distinction from the majority of Christianity, who struggle to explain the nature of the Trinity.



What more do you want him to say? We don't know anything about God's past, except that He had a mortal probation like Christ. That is the extent of the knowlegde we have.


Taking it up from Christ’s life as the example, Christians should be able to see that he lived and died for us that we in the priesthood, like Him, would enter into the glory of eternal Fatherhood in Christ.

Some Christians call Christ their Father, which is a possibility only through His marriage to the Church, and miss the fact that the Son has hence become a Father. So than, why is it so difficult for them to see that God generates and regenerates Himself within a family progression of Son and Church in every earthly settlement throughout the universe?

I think it is because they fail to see that we are not the center of the universe, but a replication of God in Christ.

Furthermore, they fail to see that our Savior Jesus who has been glorified as a Father in God will never again experience death or be called to sacrifice Himself for another population of humans on another planet.

Neither do Christians have a doctrine for the continuation of the Holy Family after this earth ceases to exist. They ridicule the words of God's prophets who have spoken on the matter of Christ's priesthood extending into the future as family units in an inheritance of planets.

And each of those yet to be inhabited places will have a Savior chosen from among the Sons of Christ.
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#36 mfbukowski

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 11:39 PM

I don't know how that statement can be attributed to either Christian/Catholic or Mormon doctrine.

We are infinite right now, in spite of being mortal. Our spirits are infinite. We existed before this life and we will exist after this life.

The point is that our spirits were not always Godly, but that through God's plan we can become as God is.

It's a big universe. What happened here on earth is not the first time God commissioned a Father/Son pair possessing His Spirit to create a family in God and Christ; and it will not be the last time according to LDS doctrine.

The stars and planets we see being formed will one day be allocated to righteous beings from the priesthood, just as the solar systems we see being destroyed were once inhabited by beings who were tested in the fires of human existence and refined into Gods and Lords in the Spirit of God.

God's family colonizes and grows and moves on to greater glories. Not all of His children make it, but even those spirits are not destroyed. They are left behind in eternal darkness, aka, an infinite separation from God.


Ditto; Brigham was right.


I believe in the words of the prophets (over scholars) because their words are the word of God.

CFR on "colonizing other earths". And the spirits who "don't make it" going into outer darkness? Not Mormon doctrine.

It's a big universe. What happened here on earth is not the first time God commissioned a Father/Son pair possessing His Spirit to create a family in God and Christ; and it will not be the last time according to LDS doctrine.

Please show me that "doctrine" in the standard works. Chapter and verse please.

Edited by mfbukowski, 15 November 2009 - 11:41 PM.

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#37 WalkerW

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 11:53 PM

This is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to a local pastor, touching on this God as a man subject:

A Brief Note on God’s Past

I’m not going to touch very much of this subject because it is one of which we have little information. It is equivalent to "What was God doing before He created everything?" Joseph Smith taught, "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret…I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see."70 This causes a great stir among Christians today, as it did in his day. Considering I have given exhaustive attention to God’s nature, I don’t see any real purpose in discussing God the Father once being a man. Christians without a doubt accept John’s proposal that "the Word was God…and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." (John 1:1,14) If Christ, who was deity, was made mortal for a time, why is it blasphemous in any way, shape, or form to say the Father did something similar, especially when we review Christ’s words: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise?" However, the idea that God has not always been God disturbs many. It should be mentioned, though, that several scribes recorded this sermon. Wilford Woodruff’s diary serves as the backdrop for this particular quotation. But we find in Thomas Bullock’s record Joseph saying, "friend it is nec[essary] to understand the char[acter] & being of God for I am going to tell you what sort of a being of God. for he was God from the begin of all Eternity." A couple other records are silent when it comes to "I will refute that idea." Bullock’s notes contradict Woodruff. Blake Ostler has researched these variants and their implications in depth and has come to an understanding called monarchial monotheism, though his personal views are just that: personal. Because of these variants, it is difficult to historically establish what was being taught. Various Church leaders have had their opinions on it, but nothing official has been declared regarding God’s mortal past. The late President Hinckley in a recent interview was asked if Mormons believed God was once a man. In response, he said, "I wouldn't say that. There was a couplet coined, "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become." Now that's more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don't know very much about…I don’t know that we emphasize it. I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse...I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it."71 The point: we don't know. For me to attempt an explanation would be nothing more than me arguing my personal speculation.

70. Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
71. David van Biema, "Kingdom Come," TIME Magazine, 4 August 1997


Edited by WalkerW, 15 November 2009 - 11:56 PM.

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#38 WalkerW

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:00 AM

I also wrote about God being anthropomorphic:

Anthropomorphism or Spirit Essence

In his famous, yet controversial King Follett Discourse, Joseph Smith declared, "If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible, -- I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form -- like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another."43 Yet, the Westminster Confession of Faith, a product of the Protestant Reformation, professed the immaterial nature of God without mistake: "There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions…In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son."44 Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant, complex man; a kind of Christian-influenced Deist. I agree with his criticism when he wrote, "To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise…At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But heresy it certainly is."45 To deny God of "body, parts, or passions" is to strip away the personality and transform Him into an abstract, Platonic ideal. Shaye J. D. Cohen (Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University) wrote, "The God of the Hebrew Bible is very different from the supreme God of Plato or Aristotle. The former is an anthropomorphic being capable of anger, joy, and other emotions, who created the world and continues to direct human affairs. The God of the philosophers, however, was a much less human and much more abstract figure, incapable of emotion, and far removed from the daily concerns of humanity. Many Jews tried to combine these two conceptions, or, more precisely, to reinterpret the God of the Bible in the light of the ideas of the philosophers, especially Plato…This approach to scripture was developed even further by Origen, Ambrose, and other fathers of the church."46 He explains that an anthropomorphic God is "a God who has the form and emotions of humans…The God of the philosophers is a different sort of being altogether: abstract (the Prime Mover, the First Cause, the Mind or Soul of the Universe, etc.), immutable and relatively unconcerned with the affairs of humanity."47 It is this anthropomorphic, as well as anthropopathic God that the LDS revere. Such an idea was present in Talmudic sources, demonstrating "that Jews in the Talmudic period, just as their Biblical predecessors, did believe in an anthropomorphic God. Not only that, but this belief stayed with Jews that were not influenced by philosophic rationalism. In other words although Jewish philosophers condemned an anthropomorphic God, those Jews who were not living in a 'philosophic' atmosphere continued with their ancestors' belief in an anthropomorphic God. The evidence for the persistence of an anthropomorphic God among Jews is found in a letter of Bishop Agobard of Lyons stating that Jews in his time, the ninth century, believed in an anthropomorphic God."48 The early Christian Father and scholar Origen, who certainly was not an advocate of an embodied God, confirms the truth that an anthropomorphic doctrine was found in both Jewish and early Christian circles: "The Jews indeed, but also some of our people, supposed that God should be understood as a man, that is, adorned with human members and human appearance. But the philosophers despise these stories as fabulous and formed in the likeness of poetic fictions."49 Notice it was the philosophies of men that rejected this notion, not the Jewish and Christian sects of the early centuries AD.

An anthropomorphic God (or, technically, theomorphic humans) is well-attested in scripture. LDS understand the "image" (tselem) and "likeness" (dymut) of Gen. 1:26 to involve a physical resemblance, just as it does in Gen. 5:3: "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness (dymut), after his image (tselem); and called his name Seth." God also speaks in anthropomorphic terms. We know that the Lord would speak with Moses "face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." (Ex. 33:11) To Moses He said, "you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen." (Ex. 33:23) The plural "my backs" is rather confusing to some, especially those with anti-anthropomorphic presuppositions. Some scholars have suggested "my backs" refers to the afterglow of God’s glory. However, theophanies such as Ezekiel’s demonstrate an man-like deity: "The heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God… And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about." (Ezekiel 1:1, 26-27, emphasis mine) Isaiah’s vision is nearly identical: "I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple." (Isa. 6:1) While the explicit phrase "appearance of a man" is not found in Isaiah’s vision, his depiction of God "sitting on a throne" and wearing a robe is nothing short of anthropomorphism. Christ’s resurrection in the New Testament and His ascension with His body should be convincing evidence of God’s anthropomorphic nature. John in his first epistle gave his witness of Christ’s physical resurrection by proclaiming, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life." (1 John 1:1; emphasis mine) This was a physical deity who ascended to heaven with this very body that was seen and handled by His followers. Following the resurrection of Christ and knowing of the eventual resurrection of the saints, Paul testified that Christ "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body." (Phil. 3:21; emphasis mine) It must be pointed out that "in 1st century Judaism and in the NT, there was the belief that the righteous get new, glorified bodies in order to enter heaven."50 Elder Holland in his previously mentioned address rhetorically asked of our critics, "If the idea of an embodied God is repugnant, why are the central doctrines and singularly most distinguishing characteristics of all Christianity the Incarnation, the Atonement, and the physical Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? If having a body is not only not needed but not desirable by Deity, why did the Redeemer of mankind redeem His body, redeeming it from the grasp of death and the grave, guaranteeing it would never again be separated from His spirit in time or eternity? Any who dismiss the concept of an embodied God dismiss both the mortal and the resurrected Christ. No one claiming to be a true Christian will want to do that."51

Often the argument against an embodied God is "God is a spirit." (John 4:24) Due to Christ’s acknowledgement that "a spirit has not flesh and bones" in Luke 24:28, many draw the conclusion that God is a spirit and therefore must not have a body. However, modern translations correct the error of the added "a," seeing that there are no indefinite articles in Greek. The passage is thus "God is spirit." This fits with other Johannine phrases such as "God is light" (1 John 1:5) and "God is love" (1 John 4::P and has nothing to do with corporeality or lack of it (technically the word "spirit" itself doesn't suggest incorporeality. The Greek pneuma means "wind, air, or breath": none of which are immaterial). In all three cases, it is a qualitative predicate nominative and describes a quality of God’s character. This is easily seen by the context in which the worshipper is told to "worship him in spirit and in truth." The manner of worship must be spiritual. This is also made evident in the previous chapter, in which Christ tells Nicodemus, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter in the kingdom of God. Whatsoever is born of flesh is flesh and whatsoever is born of spirit is spirit." (John 3:5; emphasis mine) Here, we have embodied humans instructed to be "born again" or "born of the Spirit." Those born of spirit are described as spirit. Considering other Johannine passages tell us to take on other qualities of God ("walk in light" in 1 John 1:5 and "love one another" in 1 John 4:11), this verse should be understood in similar fashion. Attempting to view it in a way dealing with corporeality is to abuse and distort the context of the verse. Quoting T.N.D. Mettinger, Margaret Barker points out that "'The concept of God advocated by the Deuteronomistic theology is strikingly abstract. The throne concept has vanished and the anthropomorphic characteristics of God are on the way to oblivion. Thus the form of God plays no part in the D work of the Sinai theophany.' Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple is the clearest expression of the new theology, and shows the older beliefs being rejected...Any idea of the visible presence of God was abandoned and the older anthropomorphism was replaced by abstract ideas."52 We can therefore see that the divine anthropomorphic aspects of deity were lost and eventually replaced with the philosophies of Xenophanes, Plato, and other great (but not revelatory) Greek minds.

43. Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith
44. Chapter II: Of God, and of the Holy Trinity, The Westminster Confession of Faith, 1646
45. Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, Aug. 15, 1820
46. Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, vol. 7 of the Library of Early Christianity, 1987
47. Ibid.
48. Meir Bar-Ilan, "The Hand of God: A Chapter in Rabbinic Anthropomorphism," Rashi 1040-1990: Hommage a Ephraim E. Urbach, Congres europeen des Etudes juives, 1993
49. Origen, "Homilies on Genesis," (3:1) Ante-Nicene Fathers
50. Commentary on Matt. 17:2, 3sn, New English Translation Bible, 1st ed.
51. Holland, "The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent," Ensign, Nov 2007
52. Barker, "Temple Imagery In Philo: An Indication Of The Origin Of The Logos?" Templum Amicitiae: Essays on the Second Temple Presented to Ernst Bammel, JSOT Press: Sheffield, 1991


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