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A Mortal Man Before God Or God Before A Mortal Man?


David Waltz

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In a recent FAIR thread (http://www.fairboards.org/index.php?showtopic=19170 ) I took some heat for suggesting that Dr. Mouwâ??s Tabernacle apology had a few problems. After a fair (no pun) amount of discussion, the conclusion reached by most (?) was that Dr. Mouw did in fact get some important points of doctrine wrong, but that his apology embraced more than this.

I would now like to address one of the doctrinal points that many Latter-day Saints contend was misunderstood by Dr. Mouw: that our God and Father was once a mortal man before He become God.

First, Dr. Mouw stated that he reached this conclusion specifically from â??Mormon leadersâ? and also from BYU professors Robert Millet and Stephen Robinson.

I shall leave the â??Mormon leadersâ? for another post, and focus on the two BYU professors. I am not privy to the personal conversations that Dr. Mouw has had with Dr. Millet, but Dr. Mouw was certainly left with the impression that the teaching â??God was a mortal man before he became Godâ? was not part of the â??officialâ? teaching of the CoJCoLDS. Yet Dr. Millet seems to maintain (at least in his published writings) that the teaching is indeed part of the â??officialâ? teaching of the CoJCoLDS, for he recently wrote in a book (The Mormon Faith, 1998), whose stated purpose was to â??emphasize what most people know least about the Latter-day Saintsâ??their doctrine and their theologyâ? (p. viii), that:

â?¦the Latter-day Saints believe that God the Father is an exalted man, a corporeal being, a personage with flesh and bones. They do not believe that he is a spiritâ?¦Joseph Smith taught in 1844 that God our Father was once a mortal man, that he lived on an earth, died, was resurrected and glorified, and grew and developed over time to become the Almighty that he now is. To say this another way, they teach that God is all-powerful and all-knowing, but that he has not been so foreverâ?¦ (Page 29)

So, unless Dr. Millet had changed his views on this matter before his discussions with Dr. Mouw, it sure seems Dr. Mouw totally misunderstood what Dr. Millet was attempting to convey.

However, Dr. Robinson is not as clear on this in How Wide the Divide? (1997), though he is certainly clear that God became man, he does not state that God was a mortal man before he was God (at least I have not seen it), and his wording is such that the co-author, Craig Blomberg, concludes:

Nevertheless, Robinson again proves encouraging by noting that no text of the LDS scriptures or any other revelation officially and canonically teaches this doctrine of a once-mortal god (other than, of course, the human Jesus). (Page 106)

So, is the doctrine that doctrine that God the Father was a man before he became God OFFICIAL CoJCoLDS doctrine? Personally, I would argue that it is no more â??officialâ? than Brigham Youngâ??s Adam-God doctrine, and at least one highly respected Latter-day Saint philosopher/theologian (Blake Ostler) embraces the same view.

With the above as my functioning premise, I shall proceed to develop my thoughts on why I believe that the doctrine that God the Father was a mortal man before he became God is problematic within the LDS paradigm.

Grace and peace,

David

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I'm looking forward to seeing how you address infinity in your thoughts.

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With the above as my functioning premise, I shall proceed to develop my thoughts on why I believe that the doctrine that God the Father was a mortal man before he became God is problematic within the LDS paradigm.

Grace and peace,

David

David, ye olde Beach Bum, I'm all ears for your comments and why it is problematic. Maybe I'll learn a thing or two.

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I think that it might be a false dichotomy. Why?

Because if the scriptures are true than we are gods as we speak. I dont see why you cant be mortal and a god at the same time.

We are the same species as the Father. I see no reason why He couldnt have been both? Christ was God before the World was, I think we were gods too. We just arent as fully developed yet.

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Why I believe that the doctrine that God the Father was a mortal man before he became God is problematic within the LDS paradigm.

I shall start with two great teachings from the Book of Mormon:

First, â??Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth? â?¦God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his peopleâ?. (Mosiah 13:34; 15:1-5; 1 Nephi 11:16, 26; 2 Nephi 4:26; 9:53; Jacob 4:7).

Second, Jesus Christ was God before He became man (2 Nephi 26:12; 2 Nephi 31:21); and is the God referred to above.

Now, from the Bible we learn that, â??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 likewiseâ? (John 5:19).

It seems to me the teaching that God the Father was man before He became God, contradicts what Jesus explicitly tells us in the Gospel of John when coupled with the two above teachings from the Book of Mormon.

Is it not LDS teaching that Jesus had to be God in order to provide an infinite atonement?

Did Jesus in actuality do something His Father did not do (i.e. condescend from Godhood to manhood to redeem us)?

Next, we learn the following:

For I know that God is no partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity. (Moroni 8:18)

By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them. (D&C 20:17)

We know that it took the condescension of an infinite God to provide an infinite atonement, and we are informed that God is â??unchangeable from all eternity to all eternityâ?, and from â??everlasting to everlastingâ?. When these truths are coupled with great example of Jesus as outlined above, is it not troublesome to postulate that God the Father was a man before He became God?

Grace and peace,

David

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Dang! I was going to post a message, and then DCP's post, and if he won't "do" theology on a message board, I would be an idiot to try to do so. Oh, well.

But this issue is not problematic for me.

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With the above as my functioning premise, I shall proceed to develop my thoughts on why I believe that the doctrine that God the Father was a mortal man before he became God is problematic within the LDS paradigm.

Grace and peace,

David

David, ye olde Beach Bum, I'm all ears for your comments and why it is problematic. Maybe I'll learn a thing or two.

:P 2 Tim. 4: 3

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

<_<

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Why I believe that the doctrine that God the Father was a mortal man before he became God is problematic within the LDS paradigm.

I shall start with two great teachings from the Book of Mormon:

First, â??Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth? â?¦God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his peopleâ?. (Mosiah 13:34; 15:1-5; 1 Nephi 11:16, 26; 2 Nephi 4:26; 9:53; Jacob 4:7).

David, I can see how this can be confusing, but, really, it is pretty simple. Jesus Christ, as Jehovah, was the God of the Old Testament. As you know, in LDS theology, Jehovah was appointed, by the Father, to be the God of Israel and in so doing, He acted in the Father's name as if He were the Father. So, Jehovah was God and it was He who would come to earth and redeem His people.

Second, Jesus Christ was God before He became man (2 Nephi 26:12; 2 Nephi 31:21); and is the God referred to above.

Yes, it is true that Christ was God before His mortal life. However, He was not equal to the Father. He was appointed from the very beginning, in the preexistence, to be the Son, but He was not yet exalted. He was given the power of the Father to act in His stead. It is not inconsistent with LDS theology to assume that many had achieved the level of god in the preexistence, but they had different callings on earth.

We believe that all of us are literal spiritual sons and daughters of God, as was Jesus. One of the main differences between us and Him, however, is that, in mortality, only Jesus was the literal offspring of God in the flesh, thus making Him the only begotten. Christ is unique in His deity for this reason. It is important to understand that Christ was not exalted until sometime after His resurrection, which is the state of the Father, an exalted, resurrected being.

Now, from the Bible we learn that, â??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 likewiseâ? (John 5:19).

This is consistent with LDS belief. Christ was under the direction of the Father.

It seems to me the teaching that God the Father was man before He became God, contradicts what Jesus explicitly tells us in the Gospel of John when coupled with the two above teachings from the Book of Mormon.

Whether the Father became an exalted being in the same manner as Jesus or in the manner in which we all can is not known, and frankly irrelevant, in the end, it is the same.

Is it not LDS teaching that Jesus had to be God in order to provide an infinite atonement?

Did Jesus in actuality do something His Father did not do (i.e. condescend from Godhood to manhood to redeem us)?

He may have. However, Joseph Smith hinted that the verse in John may be an indicator that the Father served in the same role as Christ in His mortal life.

Next, we learn the following:

For I know that God is no partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity. (Moroni 8:18)

The role of "God" is without beginning. However, "eternity", does not necessarily mean without beginning, it can simply mean, "endless".

By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them. (D&C 20:17)

"infinite" can mean, "limitless". "Eternal", as described above, can mean, "endless" and, as the Doctrine & Covenants says, "Eternal is also a name for God.

We know that it took the condescension of an infinite God to provide an infinite atonement, and we are informed that God is â??unchangeable from all eternity to all eternityâ?, and from â??everlasting to everlastingâ?. When these truths are coupled with great example of Jesus as outlined above, is it not troublesome to postulate that God the Father was a man before He became God?

Not really. When looked at in the correct light it is quite reasonable, and consistent.

Best,

T-Shirt

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Why I believe that the doctrine that God the Father was a mortal man before he became God is problematic within the LDS paradigm.

I shall start with two great teachings from the Book of Mormon:

First, â??Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth? â?¦God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his peopleâ?. (Mosiah 13:34; 15:1-5; 1 Nephi 11:16, 26; 2 Nephi 4:26; 9:53; Jacob 4:7).

Second, Jesus Christ was God before He became man (2 Nephi 26:12; 2 Nephi 31:21); and is the God referred to above.

Please keep in mind that Jesus was a God without a physical body at that time (Ether 3:14-15), unlike the Father, who already had a physical body (D&C 130:22). Notice that Jesus does not mention himself as being â??perfectâ? prior to his resurrection (Matt 5:48), but that he does include himself after his resurrection (3 Nephi 12:48). The Father was â??perfectâ? (Gr. â??completeâ?) because He had a resurrected body while the Son did not until after his resurrection.

Now, from the Bible we learn that, â??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 likewiseâ? (John 5:19).

So this must mean that The Father was born as a mortal (Luke 2:6-12), was submissive to his mortal guardians (Luke 2:51), ate fish and honeycomb (Luke 24:42), slept (Matt 8:24), spoke Aramaic (Mark 15:34), was crucified (Matt 27:35), was resurrected (John 20:26-30), and ascended to His Father (Acts 1:9; 7:55), right? Or â??did Jesus in actuality do something His Father did not doâ??

It seems to me the teaching that God the Father was man before He became God, contradicts what Jesus explicitly tells us in the Gospel of John when coupled with the two above teachings from the Book of Mormon.

Really? How? Jesus did all the things he did and yet the scripture clearly says â??Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for everâ? (Hebrews 13:8 ).

Doesnâ??t this contradict the idea that Jesus changed from Godhood to being a man? How can Jesus be always the same and yet change from premortal Godhood to being a man?

Is it not LDS teaching that Jesus had to be God in order to provide an infinite atonement?

Yes.

We know that it took the condescension of an infinite God to provide an infinite atonement, and we are informed that God is â??unchangeable from all eternity to all eternityâ?, and from â??everlasting to everlastingâ?. When these truths are coupled with great example of Jesus as outlined above, is it not troublesome to postulate that God the Father was a man before He became God?

No. If the unchangeable Jesus Christ can go from being a mortal man to being a "perfect" God, why not the unchangeable Father?

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To be frank alot of these posts have gotten wordy and difficult for me to understand as it is so late and I should get to be bed, so I am going to be breif and hopefully will have some comments when I get up tommorrow. The teaching of multiple gods, that we can become gods, or that God was once a mortal man (outside of Jesus) is simply unbiblical. There are tons of places in the Bible where God simply tells us that he alone is God and that there is no other. I will provide a short list and hopefully we can discuss this in the future.

The Plurality of God

Isaiah 37: 20, 41: 4, 43: 10-11, 44: 6-8, 24, 45: 5, 12, 14, 21-22, 46: 9

Deuteronomy 4: 35-39

2 Samuel 22: 32

John 17: 3

1 Thessalonians 1: 9

1 Timothy 1: 17

Changing of God

Numbers 23: 17-19

Malachi 3: 6

Jeremiah 10: 10

1 Timothy 1: 17

Psalm 90:2

Isaiah 44: 24

God Was Once Man

1 Kings 8: 27

John 4: 21-24

Psalm 90: 2

Hosea 11: 9

John 1: 18

Mathew 6: 6

I especially like the passages of Isaiah. I will talk to you all hopefully tommorrow. If not for sure sometime before the end of the weekend. May God soften the hearts of all of us here on this board and may we seek the truth of God with all of our hearts.

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There are tons of places in the Bible where God simply tells us that he alone is God and that there is no other.

As long as you append "for us to worship" then there is no disagreement. The Isaiah 40-45 set is in the context of "for the Hebrews to worship" and notice also that 1 Cor 8:4-6 shows that despite the existence of many real and divine gods (as opposed to idols), to us there is one God.

Here is a list of verses (not comprehensive) that say there is a plurality of Gods.....

Gen 1:26 "And God said, let us make man in our image..." The Creator (Jesus Christ, not the Father as per Hebrews 1:3) is speaking to another God(s).

Gen 3:22 "Behold the man is become as one of us..."

Exodus 20:3-4 The first two of the Ten Commandments. The first commandment says not to have any other real and divine Gods (check your Hebrew Lexicon on "gods" in verse 3)

The second commandment says not to have any idol gods (check your Hebrew Lexicon on "graven image" in verse 4).

If the Plurality of Gods doctrine is false, then there is no need for the first commandment making only nine commandments in all.

Deuteronomy 32:8-9 NEB The Hebrews distinguished between the Gods EL (The Most High God) and Jehovah (The Lord, who is Jesus Christ)

"When the Most High [EL] parceled out the nations, when he dispersed all mankind, he laid down the boundaries of every people according to the number of the sons of God; but the LORD's [Yahweh's] share was his own people, Jacob was his allotted portion. Deuteronomy 32:8-9

Isaiah 9:6 Jesus is called God and Father BUT John 20:17 Jesus is NOT God THE Father

John 1:1 Jesus is God. BUT John 20:17 Jesus has a God

John 7:16 Jesus said the doctrine was not his but the Father's. If the trinity hypothesis is true, then the doctrine would also be Jesus'.

Matthew 6:9 Jesus said (present tense) to pray to the Father in heaven. Not to himself (he was on the earth at the time).

Matthew 24:36 Only the Father knows when Jesus will come again.

John 17:11, 20-22 The ONLY Bible verse that describes how the Three are "one" and "in each other. One in purpose only.

Hebrews 1:3 Jesus' Godhood is an exact copy or replica of the Father's Godhood (check your Greek Lexicon for "express image" in that verse).

Hence, while the trinity hypothesis DOES state that the Three are separate individual Persons, the Bible contradicts the trinity hypothesis saying that their "Godhood's" (Being, nature or essence of Gods) are separate and not the same.

Hebrews 1:8 God the Father (a God) refers to Jesus Christ as a God (another God)

1 Corinthians 8:4-6 While there are idols AND real divine Gods, to us there is God the Father AND the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. See Exodus 20:3-4 above...

Rev 1:5-6 KJV (and other versions as well) Jesus has made us kings and priests unto God AND his Father.

See also Ephesians 1:17

etc.

Even the ECF taught the plurality of Gods. Would you like to see some of those quotes?

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There are tons of places in the Bible where God simply tells us that he alone is God and that there is no other.

As long as you append "for us to worship" then there is no disagreement. The Isaiah 40-45 set is in the context of "for the Hebrews to worship" and notice also that 1 Cor 8:4-6 shows that despite the existence of many real and divine gods (as opposed to idols), to us there is one God.

Here is a list of verses (not comprehensive) that say there is a plurality of Gods.....

Gen 1:26 "And God said, let us make man in our image..." The Creator (Jesus Christ, not the Father as per Hebrews 1:3) is speaking to another God(s).

Gen 3:22 "Behold the man is become as one of us..."

Exodus 20:3-4 The first two of the Ten Commandments. The first commandment says not to have any other real and divine Gods (check your Hebrew Lexicon on "gods" in verse 3)

The second commandment says not to have any idol gods (check your Hebrew Lexicon on "graven image" in verse 4).

If the Plurality of Gods doctrine is false, then there is no need for the first commandment making only nine commandments in all.

Deuteronomy 32:8-9 NEB The Hebrews distinguished between the Gods EL (The Most High God) and Jehovah (The Lord, who is Jesus Christ)

"When the Most High [EL] parceled out the nations, when he dispersed all mankind, he laid down the boundaries of every people according to the number of the sons of God; but the LORD's [Yahweh's] share was his own people, Jacob was his allotted portion. Deuteronomy 32:8-9

Isaiah 9:6 Jesus is called God and Father BUT John 20:17 Jesus is NOT God THE Father

John 1:1 Jesus is God. BUT John 20:17 Jesus has a God

John 7:16 Jesus said the doctrine was not his but the Father's. If the trinity hypothesis is true, then the doctrine would also be Jesus'.

Matthew 6:9 Jesus said (present tense) to pray to the Father in heaven. Not to himself (he was on the earth at the time).

Matthew 24:36 Only the Father knows when Jesus will come again.

John 17:11, 20-22 The ONLY Bible verse that describes how the Three are "one" and "in each other. One in purpose only.

Hebrews 1:3 Jesus' Godhood is an exact copy or replica of the Father's Godhood (check your Greek Lexicon for "express image" in that verse).

Hence, while the trinity hypothesis DOES state that the Three are separate individual Persons, the Bible contradicts the trinity hypothesis saying that their "Godhood's" (Being, nature or essence of Gods) are separate and not the same.

Hebrews 1:8 God the Father (a God) refers to Jesus Christ as a God (another God)

1 Corinthians 8:4-6 While there are idols AND real divine Gods, to us there is God the Father AND the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. See Exodus 20:3-4 above...

Rev 1:5-6 KJV (and other versions as well) Jesus has made us kings and priests unto God AND his Father.

See also Ephesians 1:17

etc.

Even the ECF taught the plurality of Gods. Would you like to see some of those quotes?

\

I think that one of the major misassumptions that you are making is that Elohim, Jehovah, and YHWH are different people. They are not. They are refering to One God. It is like us refering to God as God, Lord, Mighty One. They were not names persay, but rather different ways of expressing a God that we cannot properly express through our lack of worthy language. This is how the Isrealites named their children, to mean something and describe them. We cannot simply describe God with one word. I can provide the Hebrew meanings for you, I just have to get to my Lexicon and talk to my brother who has studied Old Testament Hebrew in Seminary.

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Hello T-Shirt,

Thanks for responding. You wrote:

TS:>>David, I can see how this can be confusing, but, really, it is pretty simple. Jesus Christ, as Jehovah, was the God of the Old Testament. As you know, in LDS theology, Jehovah was appointed, by the Father, to be the God of Israel and in so doing, He acted in the Father's name as if He were the Father. So, Jehovah was God and it was He who would come to earth and redeem His people.>>

Me: From an LDS perspective, I pretty much agree with the above. I would add that though the Son was the primary representative of the Godhead in the OT, the Father and HG are not totally absent, and as the BoM makes quite clear, these three are one God.

TS:>> Yes, it is true that Christ was God before His mortal life. However, He was not equal to the Father. He was appointed from the very beginning, in the preexistence, to be the Son, but He was not yet exalted. He was given the power of the Father to act in His stead.>>

Me: The Father begat, and the Son was begotten, so yes, the Son â??was not equal to the Fatherâ?. However, I would argue that Jesus Christ was the Fatherâ??s First-Begotten, so He did not have to be â??appointedâ? to be the Son.

TS:>> >>It is not inconsistent with LDS theology to assume that many had achieved the level of god in the preexistence, but they had different callings on earth.>>

Me: IMHO, this seems to be pure speculation, and I see no evidence for such in the Quad.

TS:>>We believe that all of us are literal spiritual sons and daughters of God, as was Jesus. One of the main differences between us and Him, however, is that, in mortality, only Jesus was the literal offspring of God in the flesh, thus making Him the only begotten. Christ is unique in His deity for this reason. It is important to understand that Christ was not exalted until sometime after His resurrection, which is the state of the Father, an exalted, resurrected being.>>

Me: You sure seem to be saying that Jesus Christ was NOT fully God before He came to earth to die for our sins; this in turn implies that He was NOT fully God when He provided the infinite atonement. This does not make sense to me for two reasons: 1.) the BoM clearly states He was one God with the Father and the HG, indicating He was fully divine; and 2.) only an infinite God could provide and infinite atonement.

TS:>> The role of "God" is without beginning. However, "eternity", does not necessarily mean without beginning, it can simply mean, "endlessâ?¦"infinite" can mean, "limitless". "Eternal", as described above, can mean, "endless" and, as the Doctrine & Covenants says, "Eternal is also a name for God.>>

Me: I sincerely doubt the BoM and D&C passages I cited were referring to the â??role of Godâ?; I am quite sure they referred to actual personsâ??in fact D&C 20:28 makes this clear. As for what â??eternityâ? and â??everlastingâ? mean I think the context of the verses I referenced is pretty clear, they both have a â??fromâ?/â??toâ? context, (i.e. a past/future) not merely a future context.

On a side note, if one accepts that the words you mentioned do â??not necessarily mean without beginningâ? then one could argue that intelligences, the elements, etc. may have had a beginning and are eternal only in the sense that they are â??endlessâ?.

Grace and peace,

David

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Me: The Father begat, and the Son was begotten, so yes, the Son â??was not equal to the Fatherâ?. However, I would argue that Jesus Christ was the Fatherâ??s First-Begotten, so He did not have to be â??appointedâ? to be the Son.

Considering Abraham 3:18, perhaps there is a good case for both to be true at the same time? The spirit child Adam who was begotten by the Father could have been 'appointed' or chosen from among the existing intelligences available for this creation.

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Me: You sure seem to be saying that Jesus Christ was NOT fully God before He came to earth to die for our sins; this in turn implies that He was NOT fully God when He provided the infinite atonement. This does not make sense to me for two reasons: 1.) the BoM clearly states He was one God with the Father and the HG, indicating He was fully divine; and 2.) only an infinite God could provide and infinite atonement.

This is the part of religion I hate (i.e. having to speculate), but I'll toss in my .02

this in turn implies that He was NOT fully God when He provided the infinite atonement.

While I personally believe Christ was fully God before coming to earth (though I haven't worked out the theological implications yet :P ), I'll try and defend this possible perspective. Perhaps God's literal fatherhood of Crist's mortal body made Christ fully God when he performed the atonement? Any thoughts on that idea?

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Hi Jerubaal,

Good to see you participating in the discussion. You posted:

>>While I personally believe Christ was fully God before coming to earth (though I haven't worked out the theological implications yet), I'll try and defend this possible perspective. Perhaps God's literal fatherhood of Crist's mortal body made Christ fully God when he performed the atonement? Any thoughts on that idea?>>

Me: Dr. Robert Millet in a recent book had some very interesting comments that I think are relevant to our discussion:

That God has a physical body (D&C 130:22) is one of the most important of all truths restored in this dispensation: it is inextricably linked to such doctrines as the immortality of the soul, the literal resurrection, eternal marriage, and continuation of the family unit into eternity. In his corporeal, or physical nature, God can be in only one place at a time. His divine nature is such, however, that through his Holy Spirit, his glory, his power, and his influence fill the immensity of space. His Holy Spirit is the means by which God is omnipresent and through which law and light and life are extended to us (D&C 88:6-13.) (Getting At The Truth â?? Responding to Difficult Questions about LDS Beliefs, 2004, p. 107 â?? emphasis mine.)

Me: As I have argued many times in the past it is the â??divine natureâ? which ultimately makes God GOD. IMHO, it is this â??divine natureâ? that the Son shared (and continues, of course, to share) with His Father before, during, and after His infinite atonement. Does this make sense?

Grace and peace,

David

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Me: From an LDS perspective, I pretty much agree with the above. I would add that though the Son was the primary representative of the Godhead in the OT, the Father and HG are not totally absent, and as the BoM makes quite clear, these three are one God.

I agree. We only disagree on what, "one God" means. For a simple explanation see Gen. 2:24:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Do you think this is to be taken literally? Are husband and wife literally one flesh?

And of course, John 17 describes their oneness very well also.

Me: The Father begat, and the Son was begotten, so yes, the Son â??was not equal to the Fatherâ?. However, I would argue that Jesus Christ was the Fatherâ??s First-Begotten, so He did not have to be â??appointedâ? to be the Son.

In LDS theology, Christ is both the first begotten and the only begotten. In my opinion, LDS are the only ones with a logical explanation for this. Christ was the first begotten in the spirit, in the premortal world, and He was the only begotten in the flesh, in the mortal world. Whether He was appointed before or after He was begotten in the spirit is not really important, but He was chosen to be the Father's representative on the earth.

You and I are both literal sons of God. The difference is that Jesus is also the Son of God in the flesh.

TS:>> >>It is not inconsistent with LDS theology to assume that many had achieved the level of god in the preexistence, but they had different callings on earth.>>

Me: IMHO, this seems to be pure speculation, and I see no evidence for such in the Quad.

Yes it is speculation, but it is not inconsistent with LDS doctrine. Psalms 82 speaks of Gods who will die like men. In an LDS context, this makes perfect sense. The Book of Abraham speaks of 'Noble and great ones", which it does not specifically refer to as, "gods", but it is a possibility. And, then there is D&C 121:32:

According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest.

So, I would not call it pure speculation.

Me: You sure seem to be saying that Jesus Christ was NOT fully God before He came to earth to die for our sins; this in turn implies that He was NOT fully God when He provided the infinite atonement.

I don't particularly like the term, "fully God". It is nowhere found in the Bible. I stand by my statement that Christ was not exalted until after He was resurrected. I would say that He had to be God, and He had to be sinless.

This does not make sense to me for two reasons: 1.) the BoM clearly states He was one God with the Father and the HG, indicating He was fully divine;

Yes, but John 17 explains how we can be one with God as well.

and 2.) only an infinite God could provide and infinite atonement.

Whether Jesus was fully God, as you view it or not, does not preclude Him from being an infinite God. An infinite God is a limitless God, and as Christ was given the power of His father, He was limitless.

TS:>> The role of "God" is without beginning. However, "eternity", does not necessarily mean without beginning, it can simply mean, "endlessâ?¦"infinite" can mean, "limitless". "Eternal", as described above, can mean, "endless" and, as the Doctrine & Covenants says, "Eternal is also a name for God.>>

Me: I sincerely doubt the BoM and D&C passages I cited were referring to the â??role of Godâ?; I am quite sure they referred to actual personsâ??in fact D&C 20:28 makes this clear. As for what â??eternityâ? and â??everlastingâ? mean I think the context of the verses I referenced is pretty clear, they both have a â??fromâ?/â??toâ? context, (i.e. a past/future) not merely a future context.

Have you read D&C 132:20, concerning those who achieve exaltation?

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 are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.

So, from an LDS perspective, these terms do not necessarily mean, "without beginning".

On a side note, if one accepts that the words you mentioned do â??not necessarily mean without beginningâ? then one could argue that intelligences, the elements, etc. may have had a beginning and are eternal only in the sense that they are â??endlessâ?.

I suppose that is possible, except that LDS believe that intelligence and matter cannot be created, therefore it cannot have a beginning.

D&C 93:29:

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.

Best,

T-Shirt

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There are tons of places in the Bible where God simply tells us that he alone is God and that there is no other.

As long as you append "for us to worship" then there is no disagreement. The Isaiah 40-45 set is in the context of "for the Hebrews to worship" and notice also that 1 Cor 8:4-6 shows that despite the existence of many real and divine gods (as opposed to idols), to us there is one God.

Here is a list of verses (not comprehensive) that say there is a plurality of Gods.....

Gen 1:26 "And God said, let us make man in our image..." The Creator (Jesus Christ, not the Father as per Hebrews 1:3) is speaking to another God(s).

Gen 3:22 "Behold the man is become as one of us..."

Exodus 20:3-4 The first two of the Ten Commandments. The first commandment says not to have any other real and divine Gods (check your Hebrew Lexicon on "gods" in verse 3)

The second commandment says not to have any idol gods (check your Hebrew Lexicon on "graven image" in verse 4).

If the Plurality of Gods doctrine is false, then there is no need for the first commandment making only nine commandments in all.

Deuteronomy 32:8-9 NEB The Hebrews distinguished between the Gods EL (The Most High God) and Jehovah (The Lord, who is Jesus Christ)

"When the Most High [EL] parceled out the nations, when he dispersed all mankind, he laid down the boundaries of every people according to the number of the sons of God; but the LORD's [Yahweh's] share was his own people, Jacob was his allotted portion. Deuteronomy 32:8-9

Isaiah 9:6 Jesus is called God and Father BUT John 20:17 Jesus is NOT God THE Father

John 1:1 Jesus is God. BUT John 20:17 Jesus has a God

John 7:16 Jesus said the doctrine was not his but the Father's. If the trinity hypothesis is true, then the doctrine would also be Jesus'.

Matthew 6:9 Jesus said (present tense) to pray to the Father in heaven. Not to himself (he was on the earth at the time).

Matthew 24:36 Only the Father knows when Jesus will come again.

John 17:11, 20-22 The ONLY Bible verse that describes how the Three are "one" and "in each other. One in purpose only.

Hebrews 1:3 Jesus' Godhood is an exact copy or replica of the Father's Godhood (check your Greek Lexicon for "express image" in that verse).

Hence, while the trinity hypothesis DOES state that the Three are separate individual Persons, the Bible contradicts the trinity hypothesis saying that their "Godhood's" (Being, nature or essence of Gods) are separate and not the same.

Hebrews 1:8 God the Father (a God) refers to Jesus Christ as a God (another God)

1 Corinthians 8:4-6 While there are idols AND real divine Gods, to us there is God the Father AND the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. See Exodus 20:3-4 above...

Rev 1:5-6 KJV (and other versions as well) Jesus has made us kings and priests unto God AND his Father.

See also Ephesians 1:17

etc.

Even the ECF taught the plurality of Gods. Would you like to see some of those quotes?

Those first two verses in Genesis God was talking to the other two parts of the triune God (One God, three parts).

Also, talking about the first commandment God was refering to anything that we put before him in our lives. These are idols and include money, pride, interpersonal relationships, ect. This is more of the beginning of love the Lord your God above all things. Anything that we put first in our lives are the "gods" we serve. Mark 12: 30.

To be perfectly honest with you the triune God is something hard for me to understand. All that I know that there can only be one God. Period. There are many cases that show this but I think that one of the most clear ones is:

Isaiah 41: 10-11 "...before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."

This text could not be any clearer. It does not say there was no God formed in this universe or world. I find it hard to explain this because it is self explanitory. No other commentary should be needed on this verse so I will stop.

The other thing that tells me that although there is One God that there are three parts is the verses in the Bible that tell us that each individual part is God. I think that you would be able to find those verses because from my understanding you would say that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. If you do not agree with each of the three being God I can provide scripture for you.

You might say that the EFC once taught that there was a plurality of God, even though I have never heard of this. But I think that we can both agree that our religions have both done and taught things that were wrong, or do I need to bring up the polygamy issue? If they did once teach it; 1) they were wrong 2) they no longer teach it.

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Hi T-Shirt,

Hope you are enjoying this discussion as much as I am. It is always a pleasure to dialogue with someone who is both knowledgeable and charitable. Before addressing the bulk of your post, I first want to comment on the last portion; you wrote:

>>I suppose that is possible, except that LDS believe that intelligence and matter cannot be created, therefore it cannot have a beginning.

D&C 93:29:

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.>>

Me: Personally, I have always divided the above verse into two distinct sections: 1) â??Man was also in the beginning with Godâ?; and 2.) â??Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can beâ?.

Notice that it is â??intelligenceâ? and not â??intelligencesâ?; a distinction I believe is a very important one. Concerning â??intelligenceâ?, two LDS authors wrote:

The terms light, truth, Spirit, and intelligence are frequently used interchangeably throughout the scriptures. An awareness of the synonimity of these terms aids one as he seeks knowledge and understanding from the scripturesâ?¦

The Lord revealed that God's glory (light and truth) is manifested through the Lord Jesus Christ. All light and truth emanates from Him and is the power by which evil is overcome. As noted earlier, the power to overcome evil is obtained by keeping the commandments of the Lord. By so doing we become spiritually closer to the Savior and qualify ourselves for the obtaining of the intelligence that flows from Him.

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith explained this concept as follows:

We very frequently quote from one of the revelations the words of the Lord to this effect, that "The glory of God is intelligence," and I wonder if we ourselves really comprehend what it means. We stop in the middle of a sentence. That is not the end of the sentence, for the Lord says, "The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words light and truth." And then he adds that "light and truth forsaketh that evil one."

When we have the Spirit of the Lord we have intelligence -- light and truth... It is pure intelligence, if you please, and he who has it has the power to discern between right and wrong, truth and error, and he will follow righteousness. (CR, October 1933, p. 60) (Otten & Caldwell, Sacred Truths of the Doctrine & Covenants, Vol.2, p.101, 142, 143.)

Me: Intelligence = light = truth = Spirit = â??the power of Godâ?, which according to D&C 88: 11-13 proceeds from God; that this â??intelligenceâ? is uncreated, I have no doubt.

More later, after breakfast. :P

Grace and peace,

David

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Hi T-Shirt,

Iâ??m baaaaaaaaaaackâ?¦

You posted:

>>I agree. We only disagree on what, "one God" means. For a simple explanation see Gen. 2:24:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Do you think this is to be taken literally? Are husband and wife literally one flesh?

And of course, John 17 describes their oneness very well also.>>

Me: No, but they certainly share in â??oneâ? humanity (i.e. each are 100% human). Dr. Robert Millet and Dr. Joseph Fielding McConkie come very close to what I believe oneness within the Godhead entails:

As Latter-day Saints we go to great lengths to establish that the Father and the Son are separate and distinct personages, that they are not somehow magically intertwined, not merely two manifestations of the same person. And yet, it is worth stating that our Heavenly Father and his Beloved Son are infinitely more one than they are separate; they happen to be separate in person. They are one in glory, one in purpose, one in focus and mission, and one in the sense that they both possess all of the attributes of godliness in perfection. The Prophet also taught that they are one in mind, and that their oneness of mind is assured and maintained through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. The Father and the Son possess â??the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power, and fullness-filling all in all; the Son being filled with the fullness of the mind, glory, and power; or, in other words, the spirit, glory, and power, of the Father.â? (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Joseph Smith â?? The Choice Seer, p. 330 â?? emphasis mine.)

>>In LDS theology, Christ is both the first begotten and the only begotten. In my opinion, LDS are the only ones with a logical explanation for this. Christ was the first begotten in the spirit, in the premortal world, and He was the only begotten in the flesh, in the mortal world. Whether He was appointed before or after He was begotten in the spirit is not really important, but He was chosen to be the Father's representative on the earth.

You and I are both literal sons of God. The difference is that Jesus is also the Son of God in the flesh.>>

Me: One of the most underrated (IMHO) LDS scholars had this to say:

It is customary to speak of Jesus Christ as "the Firstborn in the spirit, and the Only Begotten in the flesh." The qualifying phrase, "in the flesh," while not scriptural, is added to emphasize the uniqueness of Jesus' mortal birth. However, scripture suggests that Christ did not simply become the Only Begotten at mortal birth, he was the Only Begotten from the beginningâ??not just the beginning of this earth, but perhaps from the beginning of all of the Father's creative endeavors as a resurrected being (Moses 1:32-33, 35). (Rodney Turner, â??The Doctrine of the Firstborn and Only Begottenâ?, in The Pearl of Great Price: Revelations From God, p.108 â?? emphasis mine.)

>>Yes it is speculation, but it is not inconsistent with LDS doctrine. Psalms 82 speaks of Gods who will die like men. In an LDS context, this makes perfect sense. The Book of Abraham speaks of 'Noble and great ones", which it does not specifically refer to as, "gods", but it is a possibility. And, then there is D&C 121:32:

According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest.>>

Me: Angels and even mortal men are certainly referred to as â??godsâ? in the Quad; however, my point is that only the Father, Son, and HG are termed â??the one Godâ?. This is a very important distinction IMHO.

>>So, I would not call it pure speculation.>>

Me: I retract the â??pureâ?.

>>I don't particularly like the term, "fully God". It is nowhere found in the Bible. I stand by my statement that Christ was not exalted until after He was resurrected. I would say that He had to be God, and He had to be sinless.>>

Me: By â??fully Godâ?, I mean that the Father, Son and HG possessed ALL of the divine attributes that makes one GOD.

>>Whether Jesus was fully God, as you view it or not, does not preclude Him from being an infinite God. An infinite God is a limitless God, and as Christ was given the power of His father, He was limitless.>>

Me: Perhaps I am a bit dense, but if one possesses the infinite attributes of God, how could that person not be fully God?

>>Have you read D&C 132:20, concerning those who achieve exaltation?>>

Me: I have read this very instructive verse, and it reminds me of something Irenaeus wrote way back in the 2nd century:

His wisdom [is shown] in His having made created things parts of one harmonious and consistent whole; and those things which, through His super-eminent kindness, receive growth and a long period of existence, do reflect the glory of the uncreated One, of that God who bestows what is good ungrudgingly. For from the very fact of these things having been created, [it follows] that they are not uncreated; but by their continuing in being throughout a long course of ages, they shall receive a faculty of the Uncreated, through the gratuitous bestowal of eternal existence upon them by God. ...man, a created and organized being, is rendered after the image and likeness of the uncreated God... we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods...He shall overcome the substance of created nature. For it was necessary, at first, that nature should be exhibited; then, after that, that what was mortal should be conquered and swallowed up by immortality, and the corruptible by incorruptibility, and that man should be made after the image and likeness of God, having received the knowledge of good and evil. (Adv. Her. 4.38.3-4 - ANF 1.521-522).

Grace and peace,

David

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I hope that this adds to the conversation, but I believe that before the resurrection, Christ was under the complete supervision of God the Father, but afterwards, not as much. I'm not saying that Christ is no longer subordinate to his Father, but Christ, because of his body, became more independent.

I realize that I might be phrasing my thoughts in a way they can be misconstrued, but so be it.

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Hi T-Shirt,

Hope you are enjoying this discussion as much as I am. It is always a pleasure to dialogue with someone who is both knowledgeable and charitable.

Thank you for the kind words. I must say that there are a small handful of posters on this board that I actually look forward to reading comments from, and you would be one of them.

Me: Personally, I have always divided the above verse into two distinct sections: 1) â??Man was also in the beginning with Godâ?; and 2.) â??Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can beâ?.

Notice that it is â??intelligenceâ? and not â??intelligencesâ?; a distinction I believe is a very important one.

I would not say that you are wrong on this, but, at the same time, I don't see quite the distinction that you do. Section 93 speaks of the agency of man, in conjunction with uncreated intelligence which was to "act for itself".

Concerning â??intelligenceâ?, two LDS authors wrote:
The terms light, truth, Spirit, and intelligence are frequently used interchangeably throughout the scriptures. An awareness of the synonimity of these terms aids one as he seeks knowledge and understanding from the scripturesâ?¦

The Lord revealed that God's glory (light and truth) is manifested through the Lord Jesus Christ. All light and truth emanates from Him and is the power by which evil is overcome. As noted earlier, the power to overcome evil is obtained by keeping the commandments of the Lord. By so doing we become spiritually closer to the Savior and qualify ourselves for the obtaining of the intelligence that flows from Him.

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith explained this concept as follows:

We very frequently quote from one of the revelations the words of the Lord to this effect, that "The glory of God is intelligence," and I wonder if we ourselves really comprehend what it means. We stop in the middle of a sentence. That is not the end of the sentence, for the Lord says, "The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words light and truth." And then he adds that "light and truth forsaketh that evil one."

When we have the Spirit of the Lord we have intelligence -- light and truth... It is pure intelligence, if you please, and he who has it has the power to discern between right and wrong, truth and error, and he will follow righteousness. (CR, October 1933, p. 60) (Otten & Caldwell, Sacred Truths of the Doctrine & Covenants, Vol.2, p.101, 142, 143.)

Me: Intelligence = light = truth = Spirit = â??the power of Godâ?, which according to D&C 88: 11-13 proceeds from God; that this â??intelligenceâ? is uncreated, I have no doubt.

I would agree with al of this.

T-Shirt

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By â??fully Godâ?, I mean that the Father, Son and HG possessed ALL of the divine attributes that makes one GOD.

Of course, my position on this would depend on what you mean by attributes. Granted, they each have sufficient attributes to be called God and to act for God, but the Son and the Holy Ghost are not the same as God the Father.

Whether Jesus was fully God, as you view it or not, does not preclude Him from being an infinite God. An infinite God is a limitless God, and as Christ was given the power of His father, He was limitless.>>

Me: Perhaps I am a bit dense, but if one possesses the infinite attributes of God, how could that person not be fully God?

A baby has all the attributes of man, but he is not fully man.

Have you read D&C 132:20, concerning those who achieve exaltation?>>

Me: I have read this very instructive verse, and it reminds me of something Irenaeus wrote way back in the 2nd century:

His wisdom [is shown] in His having made created things parts of one harmonious and consistent whole; and those things which, through His super-eminent kindness, receive growth and a long period of existence, do reflect the glory of the uncreated One, of that God who bestows what is good ungrudgingly. For from the very fact of these things having been created, [it follows] that they are not uncreated; but by their continuing in being throughout a long course of ages, they shall receive a faculty of the Uncreated, through the gratuitous bestowal of eternal existence upon them by God. ...man, a created and organized being, is rendered after the image and likeness of the uncreated God... we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods...He shall overcome the substance of created nature. For it was necessary, at first, that nature should be exhibited; then, after that, that what was mortal should be conquered and swallowed up by immortality, and the corruptible by incorruptibility, and that man should be made after the image and likeness of God, having received the knowledge of good and evil. (Adv. Her. 4.38.3-4 - ANF 1.521-522).

Irenaeus could have been a Mormon. Seriously though, looking at this quote, and considering D&C 132, logic would say that if God is eternal or uncreated, and that because of God, man may become eternal or uncreated, then God may have had a beginning similar to that of man.

My best,

T-Shirt

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David, I don't know what happened, but part of what I wrote disappeared. Let me see if I can remember:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Do you think this is to be taken literally? Are husband and wife literally one flesh?

And of course, John 17 describes their oneness very well also.

No, but they certainly share in â??oneâ? humanity (i.e. each are 100% human).

Yes, but all humans share in one humanity. A man and a woman share in one humanity before they are married, yet Genesis requires that they become one flesh after they are married.

The Father and the Son are one in the same manner that husbands and wives are to be one. It is not a literal oneness.

Dr. Robert Millet and Dr. Joseph Fielding McConkie come very close to what I believe oneness within the Godhead entails:

I agree with Millet and McConkie. They went on to say:

The lecture goes on to state how mortal man-frail and weak and in constant need of divine intervention-may grow and develop into a similar spiritual union with the gods. That Holy Spirit which conveys the mind of God is shed forth upon all who believe on his name and keep his commandments; and all those who keep his commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of him who fills all in all; being filled with the fullness of his glory, and become one in him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one.
Angels and even mortal men are certainly referred to as â??godsâ? in the Quad; however, my point is that only the Father, Son, and HG are termed â??the one Godâ?. This is a very important distinction IMHO.

I agree with this.

My best,

T-Shirt

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