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Christological question


Henzelli

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Ok. I actually posted this on another forum, because I know the Mormon members that frequent it are rather knowledgeable in their faith, but I want a multitude of sources to help corroborate any answer I might get. So I'm reposting the question here.

As per my understanding, Mormonism teaches that Jesus as the Son is a fundamentally separate being from God as the Father as opposed to the Trinitarian formula where God and Christ are the same being in different persons (a la the hypostatic union).

(If I'm wrong on my understanding of Mormon Christology, call me out on it and help explain it to me. I'm confused about it and this question only feeds my confusion.)

If this is a correct interpretation of Mormon Christology, how does this reconcile with 3 Nephi 11:1-14, but specifically verse 14?

My understanding of this text is as follows:

There is a multitude of the people of Nephi and suddenly a voice calls out (that I take to be God as the Father) announcing the arrival of His "Beloved Son" (identified later as Jesus Christ, 3 Nephi 11: 10 "Behold I am Jesus Christ").

Jesus identifies himself referencing OT prophecy and NT prophecy (verses 10-11), causing the multitude to "(fall) to the earth" (verse 12).

(No problem so far. Patrilineal relationship between God as the Father and Christ as the Son)

And then the part that I have issue with: verses 13 and 14:

"And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying: 14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world."

If I read this passage correctly, verse 14 in particular explicitly equates Jesus (the speaker) as being of the same being and person as God, which would seem to imply the hypostatic union of the Trinitarian formula, which is denied by Mormon theologians in explaining Mormon Christology so far as I have managed to gather from my own research.

As I said, this passage in particular confuses me. If it stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of Mormon Christology, please correct me. Otherwise, please explain? Thanks! :P

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Since I'm up at this hour I will give it a shot. I am certainly not a theologian by any means, and don't pretend to know everything about God and religion, but having been raised LDS, this is my understanding.

God the Father is a being of flesh and bone and is the "ultimate" (for lack of a better word) God of this realm.

Jesus Christ is the God of this earth, having organized it under God the Fathers' direction. Jesus (pre-existent) was the God of the Old Testament, and therefore, God of Israel. (He was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God (two Gods)... and then later the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us...John 1-3)

The Holy Ghost is the spirit of God and is also separate but has no body.

I find it easier to understand and explain scripture with the LDS view of 3 distinct persons compared to the Trinitarian or hypostatic union. But that's probably because of the way I was taught, and also because there are no triune beings that we comprehend here in this life.... unless you count personality disorders, but I think that would be a wholly separate topic.

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"And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying: 14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world."

Jesus is the God of the whole earth, as in "Jehovah" of the Old Testament. He is still the Son of God the Father, the Heavenly Father of our immortal spirits. He asserts this has been so "from the beginning" (verse 11):

"And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning."

He is the God of the whole earth, preparing it (us) for entering the presence of God the Father, whose will He submits to and to whom He has commanded us to pray.

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Thanks for the replies. :P

I still am not quite sure how the idea of the eternal pre-existence of Christ meshes with the several exhortations in 3 Nephi 11 that seem to equate God and Christ as a single being.

While I can understand the underlying idea behind God being of flesh and blood, fathering a child, and then that child being the Christ, also a divine figure of flesh and blood, I can't quite rectify the idea with the Old Testament portrayal of a single God for Heaven and Earth and all Creation. If Christ is the God of the whole earth, even the God of the Old Testament, somewhere amongst the Deutorocanonical books of the Old Testament there should be a passage alluding to this distinction. I do not interpret the passage from John as providing this distinction, but rather accept the RCC's interpretation that the Word is the will of God and it is made manifest in Christ (which also meshes with the hypostatic union).

I guess that while I can understand the basic argument, I am simply having trouble seeing its validity in scripture (either Biblical or BoM) in that such a distinction is never clearly made, and certainly is not supported by any pre-Christian archaeological and/or anthropological findings in the Holy Land concerning any kind of dualism in pre-Christian Judaism, which you would expect if such a duality between an all-encompassing Heavenly God and a separate terrestrial God existed.

If such a clear distinction is made in the BoM, please understand that I have yet to read the whole thing. I have so far focused on the arrival of Christ and then after, and haven't really read into the first half of the BoM describing the transposition from Jerusalem to the Americas.

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This has gotten what I think is surprisingly little examination from the board. So, let me give it a shot.

The LDS understanding of the Godhead is that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are distinct and separate personages.

This expression leads to the astonished complaint, "But doesn't that make the LDS polytheististic, instead of monotheistic?" And for those in the know, the ancillary question, "But what about 2 Nephi 31:21?"

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

(Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 31:19 - 21)

And the answer is, "No, it doesn't make us polytheists, and it doesn't contradict 2 Nephi 31:21."

The fact of the matter is simply this: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one God. Worship one, and you worship all. Worship all, and you worship each one. They are not plural, they are singular, nevertheless they are each of them separate from one another. We pray as Jesus counseled, "Our Father who art in Heaven...", yet the prayer may as well be directed toward Jesus or the Holy Ghost. This is no different in effect from the way the Trinitarians picture their prayers being handled. If they "pray to Jesus" then by virtue of The Trinity they pray to the Father and the Holy Ghost at the same time.

Where we kind of get off the bus with respect to the Trinitarian world is simply this: while for LDS it is possible to imagine the nature of God, by reference to human terms such as a presidency of three men; for Trinitarians imagining the nature of God, there simply is no concrete reference that can be used, nor a reasonably accurate portrayal possible. Some have greatly enjoyed this problem of imagination, chortling about how the matter of incomprehensibility was a plus: "That's the beauty of it!" Others are simply in reverential awe over how "deep" it is. The LDS, on the other hand, see how it all clicks in to the scripture where Jesus says:

3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and

Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

(New Testament | John 17:3)

Hope this helps.

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I sent a PM to you with a link to a piece that has a good explanation of the evolving doctrine on deity as revealed and taught by Joseph Smith. I'm not sure that it would be considered orthodox by LDS, but I don't find it to be biased in any particular direction.

As I stated previously, I was raised in the Church and it's my understanding that a belief in the plurality of Gods is the correct terminology rather than being described as polytheistic, as traditionally defined. Due to the general understanding of the development of deity by Joseph Smith, the references in the BoM that seem to be distinctly Trinitarian in nature are mostly dismissed as inadequate in description, or interpreted as the Father and Son being one in the sense that they are of one mind. This is possible as there are other references that not only describe the Father and Son as two distinct personages, but also confound the two in making the Son the Father. I hope you will read the page I linked and offer your comments.

Edit: The piece I linked may also answer your question regarding the distinction of the Father/God and Son/God and that evolution from Jewish monotheism.

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If you find theologically precise arguments, you should check out Blake Ostler's books and review of How Wide the Divide.

Mormonism doesn't treat the unity of the Trinity as an ontological unity of substance*, and some LDS have found "social trinitarianism" (as laid out by Plantinga, IIRC) to be a very apt description of the LDS view.

I see no compelling reason why references to Jesus as God (whether in the Book of Mormon or Bible) or to God as One necessitate ontological unity. That's more of an assumption than an argument.

I don't know what Justdreamin linked you to, but David Paulsen probably addresses it in his book review/article Early Mormon Modalism and other Myths.

* I doubt you can find any official or semi-official comments about this, since most LDS General Authorities have more important things to do than pontificate and split theological hairs. Most LDS with the background and interest to deal with the subject reject ontological unity, or at least its implications. That said, I seem to recall someone (perhaps on the blogs) arguing that there was a way ontological unity was compatible with LDS views of the Trinity, but I can't recall who or where.

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Ok. I think I understand it, and I think I've pinpointed in my mind where the fundamental difference arises from.

In Catholicism, God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one being (ie essence) in three distinct persons, only one having physicality--the hypostatic union.

In Mormonism, God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one being (ie essence) in three distinct persons, but with two having physicality--pluralistic monotheism without the necessity of the hypostatic union, as Christ and God can stand side-by-side and still be the same essence.

I can also see how various scriptures could be interpreted this way and support the argument.

I haven't yet read the links (I'm going to in a second). Hopefully I hit the nail on the head with my (brief) outline. It's probably oversimplified, but I think I understand it now. I'll see if I have any further misunderstanding after I read the articles and people maybe respond more.

* I doubt you can find any official or semi-official comments about this, since most LDS General Authorities have more important things to do than pontificate and split theological hairs. Most LDS with the background and interest to deal with the subject reject ontological unity, or at least its implications. That said, I seem to recall someone (perhaps on the blogs) arguing that there was a way ontological unity was compatible with LDS views of the Trinity, but I can't recall who or where.

Apart from very early writers, you won't really find much official or semi-official comments about the nature of the Trinity in Catholicism either. There are books written specifically from an apologetical standpoint that deal with it in great detail, but you won't find arguments about the Trinity in any encyclicals or Church councils (pastoral or ecumenical) after the suppression of Nestorianism round about the fifth century. Probably at the point of the Schism between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, you'll find more documentation concerning the nature of the Trinity (as the filioque was a major point of contention between East and West), but just like in the LDS Church, the people with the background and the knowledge to split theological hairs have better things to worry about generally.

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I also found this statement by Van Hale interesting,trying to just sort out a definition of what we would call our belief in deity. He goes through the original article explaining all the definitions of the belief in Father/Son/HG, and comparing them to LDS belief.

"Two other terms worth examining are homoousion and homoiousion, which are two Greek terms very prominent in the theological controversies of the fourth century. Homoousios was the term used in the Nicene Creed to identify the substance of the Son as the substance of the Father. That is, the Son was considered by some as homoousios (of the same substance) with the Father. The term homoiousios, on the other hand, was used by some opponents of the Nicene Creed to declare that the Son was not of the same substance, but rather of like substance with the Father. For example, three glasses of water are of like substance (homoiousios). When they are poured into a pitcher the water is the same substance (homoiousios). Homoiousios might well be used in defining Mormon doctrine, which does declare the Father and Son to be of like substance, but not of the same substance"

Additionally he explains monotheism, polytheism, tritheism, henotheism, unitarian, binitarian, trinitarian, monarchian, and then the one I posted here as a quote.

Can anyone here tell me if I can link to this site, or how does that work? Thanks

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I read the article you posted, JustDreamin, and decided to go ahead and post a response here because of your discussion of homoousion/homoiousion.

In reading your article, and then reading the comment you posted just now, I came to the realization that the separation between the divinity/humanity of Christ that seems apparent in the Mormon idea of deity was condemned in the fifth century as Nestorianism. Both the Orthodox and Catholic Churches condemn Nestorianism, and I believe this is a primary reason that the Catholic Church ceased recognizing Mormon baptism as valid, and eventually declared Mormons as being outside the community of Christ (vis-a-vis, the Catholic Church says that most Protestant Churches and Eastern Churches have an element of truth, and so salvation is almost assured for them, but for Mormons and Pentecostals and Seventh Day Adventists that deny the Trinitarian God, salvation is pretty much nixed for most).

Now, using the same water/glass example, I think it fits better as an explanation for homoousion than it does for homoiousion, because you can take the pitcher to be the all-encompassing concept of God, and pour it out into three different glasses. The substance within the glasses is the same, and it can all be poured back into the pitcher. But no matter how many times you pour into the glasses and back into the pitcher, the substance remains the same, and the glasses remain distinct from each other.

Utilizing such an illustration makes it easy to understand the trinitarian concept of God without having to invoke and explain hypostasis. In regard to Stargazer's comment earlier about the "beauty" or "deepness" of the mystery of hypostasis, utilizing this specific example takes away any necessity for awe, beauty, and/or deepness of the trinitarian view and makes it a very simple explanation.

I still have to read the other articles posted, as I only got to read the one posted by JustDreamin, but I'm plodding through it and still plodding through the BoM. I'm planning on tackling Doctrine and Covenants next and then the Pearl of Great Price. To be honest, I'm also about to call the Mormon Temple here in town to see if I could sit down with a missionary to ask some questions. :P I'm finding Mormon Christology and theology in general to be incredibly interesting (though the more I figure out and understand, the more I am certain that I do not agree with it. But the academic in me is yearning to learn!).

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"the separation between the divinity/humanity of Christ that seems apparent in the Mormon idea of deity was condemned in the fifth century as Nestorianism"

Since the poster hasn't given a public link, I'm still not sure what you read. But Mormonism has no division between the divinity and humanity of Christ, no two-nature doctrine. In fact, Mormonism gets in trouble for uniting divinity and humanity too closely.

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I'm just not entirely sure what the rules are about linking to other sites, but here is the particular peice that goes into depth about LDS deity. Anyone who is interested in reading it can go here

I tried to bump a little business to this thread Henzelli, but inadvertantly only succeeded in getting attention for myself :P

Also, I am thinking about your last post Henzelli. Off the cuff I'm not sure that the Nestorianism definition fits us either, as we do not make so much of a difinitive distinction between Christ as God and Christ as a man with divine nature. As far as I know, we believe that Christ, born of Mary, was the son of God before he was concieved as well as after he was delivered. He descended below all in the flesh in order to experience all things in life as a man, but ultimately to lay down his life as a God and to take it back up again as our Savior and redeemer and the intermediary between mortals and His Father, God. We don't put much emphasis on Christ being separated between his earthly flesh, and his Godliness.

I really don't know if we actually fit into a mold perfectly as far as this subject goes, which I hope will give us some leeway come judgement day! ;)

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I have enjoyed the discussion thus far. I would like to add a few comments.

1) No understanding, no meeting of the minds can occur if one party sees person and being as synonymous, and the other does not. As a Catholic, I try to avoid the word being in discussions with LDS because of the apparent difficulty that the word being presents. Unfortunately, it is not always avoidable. A lot of English theological formulae use the word, and most importantly, a major English translation of the Nicene Creed. I don't know if I have ever seen the distinction between being and person successfully explained for the Latter-day Saint. But I would like to give it a try.

If the Latter-day Saint should wish to understand what Catholics mean by being, they must know that it is distinct from person. In our theology other synonyms for being include words that we would never use for person. These would be substance, existence, and essence. All persons are beings. But so are minerals, plants, and animals. We cannot equate being as synonymous with person. All persons are beings but all beings are not persons. Being describes what a thing is, not who a person is. I understand that in English, being has developed a colloquial use that is misleading with how it has been used in Catholic theology. It is necessary to accept this inconvenience if we would delve into the precise Catholic meaning of the word, being, in her theology.

At the Council of Nicea, the Son is defined as One in Substance with the Father. This very precise, difficult and philosophical way of saying it became necessary to separate what Catholics believed then and now, from what the Arians believed then. Prior to the Christological formulations which naturally followed from these debates, one could not easily explain how Christ/God hungered, was weary, learned, and finally died. His subordination to the wishes of His Father in Heaven, taken together with some of these imperfections led the Arians to suggest that Christ could not be fully God, in the same sense as the Father. In contrast to the eternality of the Father, the Arian went so far as to say that Christ was created.

By saying that the Son has always been One in Substance, Essence, Existence, or Being with the Father, the Church forever separated Herself from those who would cast the slightest degree of difference between the eternal divinity of the Father and the Son. I have tried to briefly present the Arian view to the best of my ability. I do not consider it to be an absurd or incredible position to take. If the Catholic Church, guided as I believe She is by the Holy Ghost, had embraced the Arian doctrine, as a simple layman, I would embrace it too. By insisting upon One Being, the Church was clearly not trying to tell the followers of Arius that Christ and the Son were the same Person. Being cannot be synonymous with person. No, the Church was compelled to pass on the Apostolic faith which permitted no diminishing of the divine nature to the Person of the Godhead who wondrously came to live in Mary's womb. It is because of the infinite identical nature of God's attributes that we must affirm that any Person who perfectly has the divine nature is One Existence. There can only be One of this nature and therefore the unity of the Three Persons of the Godhead is inevitable. God is Three and God is One. Triunity. We are happy to insist upon distinction in Persons and One Being, Substance, Existence, or Essence.

Mormons believe in progression. Becoming more and more perfect. I am not trying to criticise that for sake of this discussion. I am pointing out that if you impose that view of the nature of God on to Catholic theology, you can never understand why Catholics insist that God is One Being. The One Being is a direct result of the fact that God, in our view is infinite perfection. Perfection beyond perfection. I would be satisfied if arguments that take place between Mormons and Catholics would center upon this difference. I would not consider myself qualified to enter the fray. But I would be delighted if a better view of our mutual differences would enable parties on both sides to gain more respect, and realize that if something seems unintelligible, ridiculous, or absurd, it may be that we are imposing a Catholic foundation on a Mormon structure or vice versa.

In my next response, I'll continue to my second observation on this thread. I have some concerns about a little confusion regarding the hypostatic union as I understand it to mean. I also hope to expand a little on my claim that, "It is because of the infinite identical nature of God's attributes that we must affirm that any Person who perfectly has the divine nature is One Existence." I suppose I am too ambitious. Few have been reading this thread heretofore. Oh well. It'll keep me out of trouble for a few hours anyway!

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3DOP's preface taken from above

I have some concerns about a little confusion regarding the hypostatic union as I understand it to mean. I also hope to expand a little on my claim that, "It is because of the infinite identical nature of God's attributes that we must affirm that any Person who perfectly has the divine nature is One Existence." I suppose I am too ambitious. Few have been reading this thread heretofore. Oh well. It'll keep me out of trouble for a few hours anyway!

2) I don't quite find myself free to agree with this definition of "hypostatic union":

In Catholicism, God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one being (ie essence) in three distinct persons, only one having physicality--the hypostatic union.

Henzelli,

Hi and welcome. I heartily approve of the way you have respectfully inquired about LDS beliefs without compromising your own or denigrating theirs. This is not always and easy balance to maintain. To the hard part, I do not propose myself as a spokesman for Catholic dogma, but it seems to me like there is room for confusion among our LDS friends by the way you describe the Hypostatic Union. If one were not careful it could almost read as though the hypostatic union consisted not of the union of the human and divine nature in Christ, a creation which came into being at the moment of conception, but instead the eternal union of the Blessed Trinity.

Ludwig Ott, in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma puts it succinctly and clearly:

"The divine and human natures in Christ are united hypostatically in Christ, that is, joined to each other in one Person." "The Hypostatic Union of Christ's humane nature with the Divine Logos took place at the moment of conception."
---pp. 144 and 150, TAN Publishers (1974)

Taking my lead from this, I want our LDS friends to know that the Hypostatic Union is about two natures in one Person. I thought it is exclusively Christological, not Trinitarian. But please correct me if you think I am the one that is confused through misreading or my own false view of the Church's real teaching.

Moving on, I want to continue for just a little with my emphasis on the importance of making a distinction between being, what a thing is, and person, who a thing is. Perhaps this is an oversimplified definition. Boethius gives the classical philosophical definition of person, but at some point, we have to arrive at a place where uneducated-non philosophers like me can see, however imperfectly, why we cannot equate being with person and still understand Catholic theology. Personhood is individual and unique to that person, which is why the person properly gets his own "Proper Name". Being, essence, existence and substance are not unique to persons.

When the Hypostatic Union was being defined at the Council of Chalcedon, a little over a hundred years after Nicea, we learn that just as Christ was eternally one in existence with the Father, in time he became consubstantial with us: "...we confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in human nature, truly God and the same with a rational soul and a body truly man, consubstantial with the Father according to divinity, consubstantial with us according to human nature." In Creation, two Persons, or any two things can be different but have the same essential nature. That would be consubstantiality. In animal and plant reproduction they do so, "after their kind". That means they have the same nature, but the limitations of created nature permit differences by which we identify individual things or persons. A parent has a child and they are consubstantial, having the same nature, but the child is His own person, differences are apparent to those familiar.

In Uncreated Nature, Catholics hold that God has every perfection in an unlimited way. This means that any Person who is God will have all of those same perfections. The Uncreated Nature or Being cannot be divided or multiplied. It can only be One and identical. As to their Divinity, there can be no apparent differences between the Nature of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost. If God had not sent His Son into the world as a man, with the Holy Ghost to follow, it seems difficult to imagine how He could have revealed to us that there are Three Persons in One Nature. This is the highest and holiest mystery that God has revealed to us about Himself. God is a community. He has never existed in solitude. And yet God is Three Persons in One Being, One Indivisible Existence. I know this will not persuade anyone who is not already close to being Catholic to embrace the dogma. It is for the purpose of showing why we have to insist on the distinction between person and being. It is also for the purpose of helping those who have the qualifications to realize that substance and person are not where our difference begin. If you don't understand why I said "Uncreated nature...cannot be...multiplied", that shows very well why that is where any meaningful dialogue between our faiths would need to begin.

Regards to all. Thanks for the thread Henzelli! I hope to see you around.

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3DOP, you have a stellar comprehension of the hypostatic union and the Catholic understanding of the Trinity (I confess I'm not always the most articulate when trying to describe certain points of Catholic doctrine to those who may be unfamiliar with certain concepts). And thanks for the remarks on my respectful attitude--I always try incredibly hard to maintain a reverent attitude for my own beliefs without infringing on others', and this requires a certain level of respect. If I cannot give this respect, I do not in any way expect it from someone else, so it is better to simply close my mouth if I fear that I will start getting disrespectful. :P

That being said, when I read the first part of your dual post hours ago, I had something that I was going to add, but have since forgotten because I wanted to read the rest of what you had to say. :sorry:So now I feel like I just cheered myself (oh the egoism of youth!) without anything to add. Hmm...maybe justdreamin will be able to jump in and get the conversation going again after my unfortunate mental freeze.

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In Catholicism, God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one being (ie essence) in three distinct persons, only one having physicality--the hypostatic union.

In Mormonism, God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one being (ie essence) in three distinct persons, but with two having physicality--pluralistic monotheism without the necessity of the hypostatic union, as Christ and God can stand side-by-side and still be the same essence.

Nah, you're being too Catholic, and definitely too neoplatonic. All this essence and being and substance stuff is just made up. It confuses us with mumbo jumbo. None of it makes sense.

It is quite simple for us, though the scriptures sometimes state it ambiguously. But hopefully, this will explain why.

Imagine three perfect parents who are perfectly linked and unified in purpose. As a kid, did you ever go to Mom when Dad said "No"? These parents do not and cannot do that because they are in perfect communication, for lack of a better analogy.

You talk to one, you talk to all three. One speaks, he speaks for all three.

Us kids always get the same answer from Mom and Dad. It's really that simple.

We have an idea called "Divine Investiture", where the savior sometimes speaks AS the father with his authority. But that's ok, because he DOES have that authority. It is called the Priesthood.

Sometimes in scriptures you get one speaking for the other.

And remember that though the Father organized the worlds, and is the father of our spirits, the Son is the "Father" of our salvation. He made it possible to bring about our salvation, so he is our "Father" in a sense too.

If you want it in theological terminology, think of a "social Trinity" kind of structure. That's getting close. Three persons unified in the purpose of "raising the kids"- ie: bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life (ie: exaltation, theosis) of man.

We want and He wants, us to all grow up and be just like Dad. Honestly, it's that simple.

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"Two other terms worth examining are homoousion and homoiousion, which are two Greek terms very prominent in the theological controversies of the fourth century. Homoousios was the term used in the Nicene Creed to identify the substance of the Son as the substance of the Father. That is, the Son was considered by some as homoousios (of the same substance) with the Father. The term homoiousios, on the other hand, was used by some opponents of the Nicene Creed to declare that the Son was not of the same substance, but rather of like substance with the Father. For example, three glasses of water are of like substance (homoiousios). When they are poured into a pitcher the water is the same substance (homoiousios). Homoiousios might well be used in defining Mormon doctrine, which does declare the Father and Son to be of like substance, but not of the same substance"

No! No! don't go there!

You'll fall off the earth into the pit of neoplatonic hocus pocus slime and have your brain eaten by dragons!

Substance is for alchemy. Trust me, you cannot turn lead into gold.

Give me a scientific definition of "substance" please.

Heck, I'll settle for any definition that actually makes sense. 40 years of studying this stuff, I haven't seen one yet.

Three PERSONS just like you and me and somebody else. What exactly do we share that is "substance"?

If we share substance with eachother, it sounds awful YUCKY to me. I will keep my own substance to myself thank you.

Edit: justdreamin- you asked for it! :P

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"the separation between the divinity/humanity of Christ that seems apparent in the Mormon idea of deity was condemned in the fifth century as Nestorianism"

Since the poster hasn't given a public link, I'm still not sure what you read. But Mormonism has no division between the divinity and humanity of Christ, no two-nature doctrine.

Exactly.

You have to stop thinking like a Catholic.

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3DOP

I love you, but the problem is neoplatonism.

Abstractions like "being" "Substance", "essence", etc. have absolutely NO meaning to us. We do not have the cultural context you do. You even said it yourself- you complained about English.

Just imagine Wittgenstein taking on this problem about "Being" or "Essence". The entire problem is incompatible with modern linguistic philosophy and is only intelligible to a Thomist. Honestly.

We are theologically a modern invention with no greek context. Their distinctions just don't fit.

We need another vocabulary to speak about it, but I am not sure we can get there.

Again, we are trying to close the loop, but this time the divide is bigger than the Grand Canyon. And this issue gets directly to the bottom of it!

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One more and then I will shut up for a while.

How does one observe being, substance or essence?

How could one establish that anything is of "one substance" with anything else, or more importantly NOT of the same substance?

What would decide the argument if I said something was of the same substance as something else, and you disagreed?

Shall we try it? I think plants and people are of the same substance. I think God and man are of the same substance. I think their essence is the same.

Please show me I am wrong. How can we decide who is right?

It is all a category mistake. It is like arguing if virtue is green or blue, or courage is red or orange. Because one can speak a phrase, it doesn't mean it means anything.

To me, it seems like arguing about subspecies of griffins or unicorns.

I honestly want to see if this is solvable.

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One more and then I will shut up for a while.

How does one observe being, substance or essence?

How could one establish that anything is of "one substance" with anything else, or more importantly NOT of the same substance?

What would decide the argument if I said something was of the same substance as something else, and you disagreed?

Shall we try it? I think plants and people are of the same substance. I think God and man are of the same substance. I think their essence is the same.

Please show me I am wrong. How can we decide who is right?

It is all a category mistake. It is like arguing if virtue is green or blue, or courage is red or orange. Because one can speak a phrase, it doesn't mean it means anything.

To me, it seems like arguing about subspecies of griffins or unicorns.

I honestly want to see if this is solvable.

I'm thinking that we were just trying to define terms more than actually proving the terms are real. I understood Henzelli's question to be how LDS define the Godhead, as there seems to be contradicting phrasing in the BoM. So specific terms aside, I'm attempting to just describe what LDS believe as a regular member, having no theological background. (I might not be doing a very good job!) So, in my next post I'm going to give it a final shot! (I will most likely deserve another shot from you when I'm done!:P)

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I just finished reading through "The Blessed Trinity" from the Catholic Encyclopedia and I've got to say that, for me, it was quite a chunk to bite off!! After reading this, as well as what both of you (Henzelli and 3DOP) posted, I have to agree that unless we know the definition of each other's terminology and can formulate an understanding of certain words long enough to then gain an overall understanding of the doctrine, we won't be able to communicate effectively. So, I appreciate the detailed, yet understandable explanations, as I was unaware of these particular definitions. As an aside, I have gained an appreciation of the saying of St. Jerome "The true profession of the mystery of the Trinity is to own that we do not comprehend it." :P Although I think that I do understand the basic premise, it is not something I can fully comprehend because it is a foreign concept to me, and I find no tangible example to link it with. I am sure you can say the same about the LDS perspective, with the members of the Godhead being so humanized they can almost pass as not so distant relatives.

At this point I have to reiterate that I am not an apologist, a theologian or even a very well versed LDS. I tend to base what I know on what I learned growing up in the Church, some of which, I have come to realize, is tradition or doctrine that is no longer expounded on in church. Also, there seems to be more and more of a "smorgasbord" mentality in the LDS Church consisting of picking out the parts of doctrine that one feels they agree with and are comfortable with, and ignoring or completely discarding the parts that they have no affinity for. This may be true of other denominations as well, I don't know. This may be why I might give you one interpretation of the LDS Godhead and someone else on this board will give you another. The King Follett sermon of Joseph Smith will give you the basic view about what God and Christ are. I think you will think it blasphemous from beginning to end. I have a difficult time with it myself. This does not mention the Holy Ghost, but later the Holy Ghost is defined as a man without tabernacle, or body. IMO, the definition of the Godhead was progressive or evolutionary and this is why the earlier writings by Joseph Smith seem more Trinitarian. Finishing up very simply, the LDS doctrine is that God the Father is an exalted man of flesh and bone who was once a mortal like us and eventually became God. Jesus Christ is also God, an exalted man who was the Father/God in the Old Testament, Father of this earth, Father of our spirits, and then became the Son when he was born to Mary and is our Savior. The Holy Ghost is a man without a body who is God's influence and who's presence is conferred upon us when we are baptized. They are one God in mind and purpose, but 3 separate persons and can be in different places at the same time. ...and I'm stickin' to it! ;)

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