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Jeff K.

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Deuteronomy 4:35 -- correcting Mormon views of God

July 20, 8:53 AM

9 commentsShareThisRSS Email Print According to Mormon Web site www.lds.org, Latter-Day Saints teach that Jesus and God the Father are two different beings--two different gods. In Mormon belief, Elohim (God the Father) is the literal parent of Jehovah (Jesus). But does this central teaching of Mormonism stand up to biblical scrutiny?

Deuteronomy 4:35 speaks quite clearly on this matter: "To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him." (NKJV) On first glance, it may not look very definitive. In fact, you might be wondering why you should even continue reading. As you translate the above passage into Hebrew, the problem for the Mormon belief about Elohim and Jehovah becomes more evident.

In the NKJV, the word translated as "LORD" is known as the tetragrammaton (YHVH in Hebrew). The word translated as God is Elohim in Hebrew. Remember, in Mormon theology Jesus is YHVH, and God the Father is Elohim. But, here in Deuteronomy 4:35 we see that "YHVH hu haElohim" or "Jehovah, He is Elohim." The Bible identifies Elohim and YHVH as the same God, the same being! This is a direct contradiction to Mormon theology.

The other problem for Mormon theology here is that the end of the verse says that there is none other beside Him (God). This statement of monotheism denies the Mormon idea that there are infinite gods. In fact, it has rightly been noted that Mormonism is the most polytheistic religion in the world, with new gods being created ad infinitum. Scripture clearly shows that aside from God, "there is none other besides Him." Notice the singular "Him," not plural "them" (which would allow for two beings: father Elohim and son Jehovah).

Deuteronomy 4:35 is one of many texts we can use to show our Mormon friends, family and acquaintances the truth about who God is. It is helpful to be able to show this verse in the Hebrew, as the English is less demonstrative, so I will include a link below with the original language available.

Mormons God size problem

Jehovah, Elohim, Father.... Does the word define context or does context define the word?

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YHVH hu HAElohim means that Jehovah is the God, not that he is Elohim, which is the name of the Father. The devil is in the details.

I am not sure I am following the difference.

Do LDS think Elohim is just a title, or is it a name?

Exactly what or who do LDS think Elohim is?

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I am not sure I am following the difference.

Do LDS think Elohim is just a title, or is it a name?

Exactly what or who do LDS think Elohim is?

Elohim is the name title of God the Father, as Jehovah is the name title of the Son (Jesus Christ)
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I am not sure I am following the difference.

Do LDS think Elohim is just a title, or is it a name?

Exactly what or who do LDS think Elohim is?

I think you will get a variety of answers. For me, "Elohim" is simply a Hebrew word used in various ways referring to deity. We adopted the word and very specifically and deliberately assigned it to God the Father as a matter of uniformity and convenience in discussion. I don't believe "Elohim" necessarily refers to God the Father in the OT in every instance.

Likewise with Jehovah.

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I think you will get a variety of answers. For me, "Elohim" is simply a Hebrew word used in various ways referring to deity. We adopted the word and very specifically and deliberately assigned it to God the Father as a matter of uniformity and convenience in discussion. I don't believe "Elohim" necessarily refers to God the Father in the OT in every instance.

Likewise with Jehovah.

This is also my understanding.

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According to Mormon Web site www.lds.org, Latter-Day Saints teach that Jesus and God the Father are two different beings--two different gods.

If LDS.org states this so flatly, why no link? I suspect this hack "examiner" is framing the discussion this way to further his polemical purposes, not as a way of furthering understanding.

Second, though Mormons use the terms Jehovah and Elohim in a distinctive way, we do not claim that our usage is derived from the Bible nor found there. To attack us as though we were claiming such is mindlessly imposing the Protestant paradigm of authority onto Mormonism, which is a clear misreading. Our Jehovah/Elohim distinction is simply a clear way for us to distinguish between Father and Son.

The other problem for Mormon theology here is that the end of the verse says that there is none other beside Him (God). This statement of monotheism denies the Mormon idea that there are infinite gods.

Really? So simple as that? Where does Mormonism claim infinite Gods? http://en.fairmormon.org/Infinite_regress_of_Gods%3F

Plenty of respectable Biblical scholars have come to quite different conclusions about monotheism in the Bible.

"the high mythology of some biblical traditions is often softened by a backreading of monotheism, a principle that developed only relatively late in the biblical period." -See Michael Coogan, "The Great Gulf Between Scholars and the Pew" BR 10:03

Oxford Companion to the Bible, 524-25

“the line between monotheism and polytheism should not be too precisely drawn... Not dissimilar are the monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam: all admit the existence of subordinate divinities… But if these traditions are not monotheistic, no religion (as opposed to theology) is. The term monotheism loses its meaning. Monotheism, Yehezkel Kaufmann observed [a Jewish scholar of the history of Israelite religion], postulates multiple deities, subordinated to the one; it tolerates myths of primordial struggle for cosmic supremacy. Two elements distinguish it from polytheism: a conviction that the one controls the pantheon, and the idea of false gods.”

In fact, it has rightly been noted that Mormonism is the most polytheistic religion in the world, with new gods being created ad infinitum.

Nice use of the passive voice. Who noted it? Where? What's their background, and experience in the history and definition of monotheism?

Most scholars who investigate these issues (as opposed to polemical hacks) conclude that monotheism is quite difficult to define, and one Evangelical scholar has categorized Mormonism as being what's called "functional monotheist" a term oft applied to the Israelites as well.

“Mosaic monotheism, like that of the following centuries (at least down to the seventh century [b.c.e.]) was … practical and implicit rather than intellectual and explicit.… The Israelites felt, thought, and acted like monotheists”

Tigay, J. H. ( (quoting Albright) 1996). Deuteronomy. The JPS Torah commentary (434).

As Kaufmann observed: “Monotheism need not inevitably [prohibit the worship of lower divine beings].… The One is not necessarily ‘jealous’ in a cultic sense. There is room in monotheism for the worship of lower divine beings—with the understanding that they belong to the suite of the One. Thus Christianity knows the worship of saints and intercessors, as does Islam. Nor did later Judaism shrink from conceiving the scapegoat as a propitiatory offering to Sammael.… [but] the bearers of biblical religion sensed that for the folk the cult is decisive: whatever is worshiped is divine. A plurality of worshiped objects is calculated to foster the erroneous notion of a plurality of divine realms; hence the monotheistic idea needed to be complemented by a monolatrous cult. Even if the cult of idols, satyrs, the dead, etc., did not intend to encroach on the domain of the One, such an outcome was virtually inevitable. The monotheistic idea could never be firmly established with the folk at large unless it were complemented by cultic exclusiveness” (Kaufmann, Religion, 137, 147).

This article is just more of the same. Shallow "research" and strawmen.

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In the NKJV, the word translated as "LORD" is known as the tetragrammaton (YHVH in Hebrew). The word translated as God is Elohim in Hebrew. Remember, in Mormon theology Jesus is YHVH, and God the Father is Elohim. But, here in Deuteronomy 4:35 we see that "YHVH hu haElohim" or "Jehovah, He is Elohim." The Bible identifies Elohim and YHVH as the same God, the same being! This is a direct contradiction to Mormon theology.

Hang on a second, why is it when we LDS make the claim that we disagree with the Trinity Doctrine because it states that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are the same being we are accused of misrepresenting what the Trinity means, but an Evangelical Christian can make that claim and is taken as being correct? Or have I missed something?

Do I smell a double-standard in the room?

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Hang on a second, why is it when we LDS make the claim that we disagree with the Trinity Doctrine because it states that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are the same being we are accused of misrepresenting what the Trinity means, but an Evangelical Christian can make that claim and is taken as being correct? Or have I missed something?

Do I smell a double-standard in the room?

We don't critique using the right level of language precision. Classical Trinitarianism posits one being (ousia, substance, essence) in three separate and distinct personages.

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We don't critique using the right level of language precision. Classical Trinitarianism posits one being (ousia, substance, essence) in three separate and distinct personages.

But that is not what the article is saying, it makes the case for not only one being (however they want to define it) but also one personage:

The other problem for Mormon theology here is that the end of the verse says that there is none other beside Him (God). This statement of monotheism denies the Mormon idea that there are infinite gods. In fact, it has rightly been noted that Mormonism is the most polytheistic religion in the world, with new gods being created ad infinitum. Scripture clearly shows that aside from God, "there is none other besides Him." Notice the singular "Him," not plural "them" (which would allow for two beings: father Elohim and son Jehovah).

So, as far as this article is concerned, my questions still stand, and poses another one: Does the author of this article not understand the classical Trinitarian doctrine?

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But that is not what the article is saying, it makes the case for not only one being (however they want to define it) but also one personage:

Not so. The Hebrew Bible as currently frequently makes the equation that Jehovah is Elohim. Protestants generally do not consider these two name/titles to be two different personages of the Trinity, but that doesn't mean he thinks there is only one personage in the Trinity.

Just because I think Tommy Monson and the President of the Church are one and the same doesn't mean I think there is only one personage in the First Presidency :P

The author, misguided though he may be, is simply saying that Mormons don't equate Elohim with Jehovah, and the Bible does.

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Usualy adinfinentum I get from individuals or printed material given me via Trinitarian supporters which states:"Within The Nature [being=what makes God what He/it it is] Of The One GOD there exits 3 persons..." , so it sounds like that that there is an "outer" nature of GOD because those 3 "persons" reside "within" the "nature" [being = what makes what he/it is] of GOD. From my limited being a person on the street understanding of "nature" but I understand it to be - "What makes a object/thing what it is". Make any sense ?.

In His Debt/Grace, Tanyan LDS JEDI KNIGHT.

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The problem is that the article uses the word 'being' in its definition of being a 'person', not as 'nature or substance'.

Where is Emporer Consantine and his advisers and those 318 church leaders and lobbyists from outside the forum to help us with the terminology ? :P .

Tanyan - LDS JEDI KNIGHT.

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Mormons God size problem

Jehovah, Elohim, Father.... Does the word define context or does context define the word?

And with only reading the very first verse i find a very big problem with this translation; it says the lord "himself" is God, whearas the k.j.v translation simply says the lord is God. Not "himself" , boy! one little word can change the entire meaning of a complete chapter! :P

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So I suppose I am safe in saying that LDS don't think that Elohim, actually means the Father, it can mean other things?

Seems Jesus could be considered Elohim.

What about the Holy Spirit, could he be considered Elohim as well?

I suppose I would like to know what Elohim actually means to LDS.

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So I suppose I am safe in saying that LDS don't think that Elohim, actually means the Father, it can mean other things?

Absolutely.

Seems Jesus could be considered Elohim.

Dang straight.

What about the Holy Spirit, could he be considered Elohim as well?

I don't see why not.

I suppose I would like to know what Elohim actually means to LDS.

Depends on the context. In modern casual use, it's a title given to the Father to distinguish between the two deities. Since the retractors of the Old Testament (in my view) didn't distinguish between the Father and the Son (El and Yahweh were conglomerated into one deity), they obviously used Elohim for Yahweh, since it is the Hebrew word for God, god, or gods.

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It's an incredibly short-sighted and ignorant rendition of our views. First, he has us slavishly following a formula of his own making. When I read the scriptures of the Old Testament, I don't draw any distinction between Jehovah and Elohim. We use the latter term only for convenience, fully recognizing it as virtually the same as "God."

The oneness of God is such that it doesn't matter. When Adam fell, the Father ceased from speaking to man. Jesus/Jehovah became man's intercessor with the Father, and it will remain so until the end of the Millennium. It would be foolish as it is pointless to go through the Old Testament and attempt to separate the two. The words of one can easily be applied to the other and vice versa. Most Christians also buy into the separate identities of both the Father and the Son, so again Bean is wasting time and space trying to make a distinction that is relevant to no one but himself.

In LDS theology, the Father and Son are ONE. Thus, any statement made by either can apply to either or both. We don't worship different gods, neither do we acknowledge other gods. All those who become like God, and gods themselves, are also a part of the same oneness. If one wished to nitpick, one might ask whom the Lord was speaking in Psalms 110:1-2: "The Lord saith unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies they footstool." If "there is none other besides Him," to whom was he speaking?

Bean is living proof that anyone can create a blog and mouth off their opinions. I recommend that he not debate Latter-day Saints who know what they're talking about and confine his comments to the ignorant and misinformed.

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According to Mormon Web site www.lds.org, Latter-Day Saints teach that Jesus and God the Father are two different beings--two different gods.

If LDS.org states this so flatly, why no link? I suspect this hack "examiner" is framing the discussion this way to further his polemical purposes, not as a way of furthering understanding.

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/bd/g/43

"When one speaks of God, it is generally the Father who is referred to; that is, Elohim. All mankind are his children. The personage known as Jehovah in Old Testament times, and who is usually identified in the Old Testament as LORD (in capital letters), is the Son, known as Jesus Christ, and who is also a God."

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http://scriptures.lds.org/en/bd/g/43

"When one speaks of God, it is generally the Father who is referred to; that is, Elohim. All mankind are his children. The personage known as Jehovah in Old Testament times, and who is usually identified in the Old Testament as LORD (in capital letters), is the Son, known as Jesus Christ, and who is also a God."

Ah, thanks. It's still not as flat as the poster claims (i.e. the distinction between the two, however expressed, does not equate to polytheism, following scholarly standards. There's no conflict or disunity, only a one-ness. But I don't expect the poster to be trying to understand, only drive a wedge.)

And of course, I'd note the intro to the Bible Dictionary itself has always said, "It is not intended as an official or revealed endorsement by the Church of the doctrinal, historical, cultural, and other matters set forth." :P

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Ah, thanks. It's still not as flat as the poster claims (i.e. the distinction between the two, however expressed, does not equate to polytheism, following scholarly standards. There's no conflict or disunity, only a one-ness. But I don't expect the poster to be trying to understand, only drive a wedge.)

I disagree. It says that Jesus Christ is "also a God", meaning that there are at least two gods, meaning a plurality of gods, meaning more than one God, meaning polytheism.

polytheism â??noun

the doctrine of or belief in more than one god or in many gods.

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