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Marriage commandment


Henzelli

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I was reading another topic (Why do we have to be married?) and thought to myself, that while I had read as an anecdote elsewhere that marriage was required for exaltation (a concept I could ask a million questions about in another thread), it hadn't really struck me that such a requirement would actually be a commandment in the LDS Church. It was when I was reading the topic mentioned above that I had to furrow my brow.

Now, in the Catholic Church, the word "vocation" gets thrown around a lot, and each sex has three vocations:

Male:

1. Single

2. Husband/Father

3. Priestly/Monastic

Female:

1. Single

2. Wife/Monastic

3. Mother

Now, these three recognized vocations are grouped specifically to illustrate a point concerning the Catholic view of vocations, which helps in explaining why women can not be an ordained member of the Church's hierarchy, in that the highest vocation a man can take is the Priestly or Monastic vocation. He either lives his life in service to God ministering to the people, or he lives his life in service to God in complete submission apart from the world. A woman, when entering the Monastic life as a nun, marries herself symbolically to Christ, hence why it is secondary and equal to being a wife. She lives her life in submission to Christ as a woman lives her life in submission to a husband. There is no option for a woman to minister. Yet, being a father is secondary to being a priest, while being a mother is the highest vocation a woman can take, because she fulfills the symbolic role of bringing sacred life into the world, just as Mary fulfilled her sacred and highest vocation of bringing Christ into the world.

Yet all three vocations for both sexes are completely optional (over simplified, the Church teaches that everyone has a calling to one of the three), yet none are required for salvation. I understand that exaltation is a belief unique to the LDS Church and does not have a parallel in Catholicism, but in the Catholic faith, one who is single, one who has taken a monastic life, or one who is married are all equally entitled to the fruits of the Kingdom of God. One does not make one holier than any other.

As an example, only seventy-eight out of 266 Pontiffs have been declared "Saint" with less than five others still being called "Blessed" (the pre-requisite to canonization as a saint). These seventy-eight were called to the highest vocation a man can be called to, yet they represent less than a fraction of the list of saints that came from other vocations, mostly those called to single life. Are even the Saints higher in heaven than the rest of the dead who have found salvation? No. The Saints are simply those that attained a special grace, humility, and purity in life--a holiness that is a constant reminder that the holiness of Christ is attainable, and not simply a lofty ideal to aspire to.

So....why is marriage required for the highest level of heaven and exaltation in Mormonism? To me, at least, when Christ calls everyone to be brothers and sisters and to found His Church as a Church of Bishops, he is calling on everyone to recognize that nothing divides us from each other, and no matter our station or vocation in life, we will all be judged equally at the Day of Judgment.

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I was reading another topic (Why do we have to be married?) and thought to myself, that while I had read as an anecdote elsewhere that marriage was required for exaltation (a concept I could ask a million questions about in another thread), it hadn't really struck me that such a requirement would actually be a commandment in the LDS Church. It was when I was reading the topic mentioned above that I had to furrow my brow.

Now, in the Catholic Church, the word "vocation" gets thrown around a lot, and each sex has three vocations:

Male:

1. Single

2. Husband/Father

3. Priestly/Monastic

Female:

1. Single

2. Wife/Monastic

3. Mother

Now, these three recognized vocations are grouped specifically to illustrate a point concerning the Catholic view of vocations, which helps in explaining why women can not be an ordained member of the Church's hierarchy, in that the highest vocation a man can take is the Priestly or Monastic vocation. He either lives his life in service to God ministering to the people, or he lives his life in service to God in complete submission apart from the world. A woman, when entering the Monastic life as a nun, marries herself symbolically to Christ, hence why it is secondary and equal to being a wife. She lives her life in submission to Christ as a woman lives her life in submission to a husband. There is no option for a woman to minister. Yet, being a father is secondary to being a priest, while being a mother is the highest vocation a woman can take, because she fulfills the symbolic role of bringing sacred life into the world, just as Mary fulfilled her sacred and highest vocation of bringing Christ into the world.

Yet all three vocations for both sexes are completely optional (over simplified, the Church teaches that everyone has a calling to one of the three), yet none are required for salvation. I understand that exaltation is a belief unique to the LDS Church and does not have a parallel in Catholicism, but in the Catholic faith, one who is single, one who has taken a monastic life, or one who is married are all equally entitled to the fruits of the Kingdom of God. One does not make one holier than any other.

As an example, only seventy-eight out of 266 Pontiffs have been declared "Saint" with less than five others still being called "Blessed" (the pre-requisite to canonization as a saint). These seventy-eight were called to the highest vocation a man can be called to, yet they represent less than a fraction of the list of saints that came from other vocations, mostly those called to single life. Are even the Saints higher in heaven than the rest of the dead who have found salvation? No. The Saints are simply those that attained a special grace, humility, and purity in life--a holiness that is a constant reminder that the holiness of Christ is attainable, and not simply a lofty ideal to aspire to.

So....why is marriage required for the highest level of heaven and exaltation in Mormonism? To me, at least, when Christ calls everyone to be brothers and sisters and to found His Church as a Church of Bishops, he is calling on everyone to recognize that nothing divides us from each other, and no matter our station or vocation in life, we will all be judged equally at the Day of Judgment.

Simply put, we believe that Adam and Eve were married by the Lord, and that marriage is ordained of God. Paul also stated that "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.". So to be "in the Lord", and complete, a man must be with woman, and a woman must be with a man, and that means marriage.

I am sure there are other things to make reference to, but I have to run and just don't have the time for a detailed post.

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...

So....why is marriage required for the highest level of heaven and exaltation in Mormonism?

...

Our book of Doctrine and Covenants, which is canonized scripture to us, says this:

D&C 131:1-4

1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.

D&C 132:28-34

28 I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me and my Father before the world was.

29 Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.

30 Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins

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...

Now, in the Catholic Church, the word "vocation" gets thrown around a lot, and each sex has three vocations:

Male:

1. Single

2. Husband/Father

3. Priestly/Monastic

Female:

1. Single

2. Wife/Monastic

3. Mother

...

Interesting topic :P

As I see LDS thought on this topic we would develop the phases a bit different

Male:

1. Single/Child of God

2. Husband/Father/Servant of God

3. Priest/King/Becoming like God

Female:

1. Single/Child of God

2. Wife/Mother/Servant of God

3. Priestess/Queen/Becoming like God

And rather than being vocations, these would be phases or steps of progression where each step brings us closer to our goal of learning to be like God, each step being a preparation for the next. We will not complete this progression in this life, but all will have the opportunity to complete this progression if they desire to.

Just my take on the subject.

-SlackTime

Edit - I forgot to add that marriage is one of those steps that brings us closer to what God wants us to be. If we are to learn to love like Heavenly Father, then we must learn what Fatherhood (or motherhood) is all about. Therefore it is a step forward and a necessary step in our progression.

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Henzelli, We will all be judged equally. God does not love one of us better than another. Yes, we do believe all must be married to be exalted, and all will have the opportunity to marry. If it doesn't happen in this life, it will happen in the next. This is our belief for those who struggle with SS attraction. If they can remain faithful and obedient to God's commandments, their burden will eventually be lifted and they will have all blessings, including marriage.

Part of exaltation is the ability to be "fruitful". Eternal increase. This must only happen within marriage. This life is a small lesson, or representation, of things to come. Just as we marry in this life, and then are blessed with children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc., it is a representation of eternal increase.

Also, as we believe there is a pre-existent life, there are spirits waiting to be born. It is our responsibility to help bring them here, so that they can also continue on their progression. Again, marriage is essential, according to God's commandments, to do this. This is also why we see the power to pro-create as something not to be trifled with. As all children deserve to be born into a home with a married father and mother, we have a grave responsibility to do all we can to see that this happens.

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So....why is marriage required for the highest level of heaven and exaltation in Mormonism?

On the other thread, I answered essentially that it's because the image of God is a married couple. Here is some additional reasoning from Christian history....

Marriage..."is good practice for life as a god." Clement of Alexandria in Wagner, After The Apostles, 180

Clement insists that marriage and procreation are an intrinsic and positive part of God's plan for the human race. He frequently cites Genesis 1:28 ("Increase and multiply") and regards human procreation as an act of co-creation with God: "In this way the human being becomes the image of God, by cooperating in the creation of another human being"...Indeed, Clement is even capable of regarding marriage as, in some respects, superior to celibacy. The celibate who is concerned only for his own salvation is "in most respects untried." By contrast, the married man who must devote himself to the administration of a household is a more faithful reflection of God's own providential care. David G. Hunter, Marriage in the Early Church, 1992, 15, cf. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 7:12:70; Instructor 2:10:83

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So....why is marriage required for the highest level of heaven and exaltation in Mormonism? To me, at least, when Christ calls everyone to be brothers and sisters and to found His Church as a Church of Bishops, he is calling on everyone to recognize that nothing divides us from each other, and no matter our station or vocation in life, we will all be judged equally at the Day of Judgment.

While I was born Mormon I obviously cannot speak for the Church. Perhaps this doctrine is satisfying to Catholic theologians but for someone like myself I find Joseph Smith's Mormonism far more satisfying. Just as I could see early Christianity and perhaps Catholicism as a step up from Judaism, Mormonism seems even more comforting still. And perhaps a new doctrine will come along that supercedes and transcends Mormonism. It seems to me that many religions are born because they give increased meaning and explanation to peoples lives. As the religion becomes more established, it begins to stagnate philosophically and seeks to maintain control of the hearts of its congregation through a new found social power to coerce through fear and intimidation.

To state some obvious problems I have with the Catholic doctrine,

1) What is the advantage of being called to the highest calling of celibacy. I guess I just don't see the payoff and from my perspective it just looks like a bad deal. And if I have no choice in what my calling is, I'd feel cheated if celibacy were my calling instead of family life. As a man the pain of living a celibate life would require a better explanation for me to be happy about it. While I'm a not a woman, forfeiting the oppurtunity to have children, would appear to me to be a very difficult cross to bear for many women and would require a more satisfying explanation. Evolution seems to me to have created a desire in many women to have children in many women comparable in strength to my desire as a man to have sex. And the disparity does not end there. While the path of fatherhood seems to clearly be the more painful path through life, the earthly satisfaction of continuing your genetic line (which is enough to motivate most earthly beings) is still small compared to the potential eternal satisfaction of fatherhood and motherhood. What could be greater than this?

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Ah! So many responses! Let me try and hit the main talking points. :P

Simply put, we believe that Adam and Eve were married by the Lord, and that marriage is ordained of God. Paul also stated that "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.". So to be "in the Lord", and complete, a man must be with woman, and a woman must be with a man, and that means marriage.

I am sure there are other things to make reference to, but I have to run and just don't have the time for a detailed post.

Catholics likewise believe that marriage is ordained, hence our belief in sacramental marriage--permanent and without divorce. However, we do not teach that you will remain married when you die. The New Jerusalem will have different laws and customs than those found on earth, and so we find it useless to conjecture the status of any earthly institution once you are dead, which is why we allow a widow or a widower to remarry.

Our book of Doctrine and Covenants, which is canonized scripture to us...

That's why we believe it.

Thank you for the D&C quote. I was expecting someone to post it. But, as in any discussion on any topic, I prefer one that has apologetic explanations for the scripture rather than the scripture by itself. Thanks for the D&C reference though. ;)

As I see LDS thought on this topic we would develop the phases a bit different

Male:

1. Single/Child of God

2. Husband/Father/Servant of God

3. Priest/King/Becoming like God

Female:

1. Single/Child of God

2. Wife/Mother/Servant of God

3. Priestess/Queen/Becoming like God

And rather than being vocations, these would be phases or steps of progression where each step brings us closer to our goal of learning to be like God, each step being a preparation for the next. We will not complete this progression in this life, but all will have the opportunity to complete this progression if they desire to.

The idea of continuing where you left off in the next life is another unique Mormon doctrine that I couldn't begin to suppose about. However, while I can understand the progression idea as being fundamental to the Mormon idea of progression, I can't say I would ever seek to be like God. God as my eternal Father is a far more comforting idea than to have God as my potential equal.

Henzelli, We will all be judged equally. God does not love one of us better than another. Yes, we do believe all must be married to be exalted, and all will have the opportunity to marry. If it doesn't happen in this life, it will happen in the next. This is our belief for those who struggle with SS attraction. If they can remain faithful and obedient to God's commandments, their burden will eventually be lifted and they will have all blessings, including marriage.

Part of exaltation is the ability to be "fruitful". Eternal increase. This must only happen within marriage. This life is a small lesson, or representation, of things to come. Just as we marry in this life, and then are blessed with children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc., it is a representation of eternal increase.

Also, as we believe there is a pre-existent life, there are spirits waiting to be born. It is our responsibility to help bring them here, so that they can also continue on their progression. Again, marriage is essential, according to God's commandments, to do this. This is also why we see the power to pro-create as something not to be trifled with. As all children deserve to be born into a home with a married father and mother, we have a grave responsibility to do all we can to see that this happens.

If we are all judged equally, then why are there three levels of heaven with only one that brings us face-to-face with Christ? And if we are "exalted" and in this heaven for eternity, why is it necessary to be fruitful and multiply in heaven? I agree that procreation must only happen in marriage, but I do not see the point in continuing once we go to heaven, especially if I end up in heaven and have to continue "seeking" the highest Exaltation (which I thought could only be given in a Mormon Temple. Do they have those in heaven?)

1) What is the advantage of being called to the highest calling of celibacy. I guess I just don't see the payoff and from my perspective it just looks like a bad deal. And if I have no choice in what my calling is, I'd feel cheated if celibacy were my calling instead of family life. As a man the pain of living a celibate life would require a better explanation for me to be happy about it. While I'm a not a woman, forfeiting the oppurtunity to have children, would appear to me to be a very difficult cross to bear for many women and would require a more satisfying explanation. Evolution seems to me to have created a desire in many women to have children in many women comparable in strength to my desire as a man to have sex. And the disparity does not end there. While the path of fatherhood seems to clearly be the more painful path through life, the earthly satisfaction of continuing your genetic line (which is enough to motivate most earthly beings) is still small compared to the potential eternal satisfaction of fatherhood and motherhood. What could be greater than this?

In the letter of Paul in which he states that "man is not man without woman" and vice-versa, he also admonishes man in that, in his decision to marry, he necessarily pulls his heart away from God. This does not diminish his holiness, but he must by necessity focus on his family and God at the same time. The Catholic vocations requiring celibacy allow one to focus entirely on God all the time and comport themselves in a manner befitting such a vocation. The Mormon equivalent provided by SlackTime maintains a focus on the self through all three. The three equivalent phases (I know they are not official, but for the sake of argument....) maintain a common theme of self improvement, whilst the Catholic vocations maintain a common evolution of dedication to God. As a single person, you are self-obsessed and self-concerned. As a married person, you must focus on your family, but you learn to love and cherish to a far greater degree than you could have as a single person. And within a vocational order, you focus entirely on God. The reason a woman's highest vocation is to be that of mother is, as I said before, because she is fulfilling the same role as the Blessed Virgin in bringing new life into the world.

The reason I can't accept the Mormon commandment to marry is because all our hearts should focus solely on God. But, God understands that there is a necessary biological need to marriage and procreation. So He allows us to do so without diminishing our virtue. But those of us who are not necessarily called to marry or have children may find our vocation in the priestly life or monastic life or even just remaining chastely single. The Mormon view seems to pull too much attention onto the self to truly comport ourselves and our attention fully on God.

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[...] I forgot to add that marriage is one of those steps that brings us closer to what God wants us to be. If we are to learn to love like Heavenly Father, then we must learn what Fatherhood (or motherhood) is all about. Therefore it is a step forward and a necessary step in our progression.

Also (from the heretical realm of the Steussites), in regards to learning/teaching/stepping/growing:

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matt 19:6, amongst others)

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. (John 17:22)

Gots to learn to be one.

----------------------

[...]

If we are all judged equally, then why are there three levels of heaven [...]

I assume you're insinuating there should be more gradients (in which case, I agree, although I think we

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The idea of continuing where you left off in the next life is another unique Mormon doctrine that I couldn't begin to suppose about. However, while I can understand the progression idea as being fundamental to the Mormon idea of progression, I can't say I would ever seek to be like God. God as my eternal Father is a far more comforting idea than to have God as my potential equal.

You say that you understand the progression idea as being fundamental, but then you say you think we desire to be equal to God, but then you do not understand at all. I can never be equal to God for God is no more static than I am. I become like God and He remains my Father. All I do is done with an eye single to His glory. Whatever I achieve, I achieve to Him. If I raise my son to be a good father, does that not enhance me? Am I jealous of my son's children or do I love them as their grandfather and glory in them? I do not seek to replace or be equal to God, God makes me like Him that I may partake of His glory and I in turn give glory back to Him, Forever and ever.

- SlackTime

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You say that you understand the progression idea as being fundamental, but then you say you think we desire to be equal to God, but then you do not understand at all. I can never be equal to God for God is no more static than I am. I become like God and He remains my Father. All I do is done with an eye single to His glory. Whatever I achieve, I achieve to Him. If I raise my son to be a good father, does that not enhance me? Am I jealous of my son's children or do I love them as their grandfather and glory in them? I do not seek to replace or be equal to God, God makes me like Him that I may partake of His glory and I in turn give glory back to Him, Forever and ever.

I think you misunderstood the point I was making.

I understand that the nature of deity in the Mormon religion is contingent upon this progression idea. I understand that there is a relationship there.

But, as an extension of this argument, Mormonism (as has been presented to me, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) teaches that God, though He is our Father, was at one time mortal like us, and glorified Himself in heaven and was granted dominion over this creation. This applies to humanity as well, and gives rise to the doctrines of eternal progeny and multiplication (hence the eternal marriage and eternally having more children) etc. etc. but ultimately allows for humanity to become of like substance of the Father. I understand that this view of progression would allow for God to continuously progress as well, and therefore, just like your younger sibling may one day be the age you are now, the two of you will never be the same age, at the same time, progression allows for humanity to one day be of equal stature as God is today, though God will forever be further in His progression than we are.

This comes back to my fundamental point that, unlike the Buddhist concept of Nirvana, this Mormon precept of progression from which much of the Mormon concept of heaven seems to have a derivative origin, progression internalizes a selfish, ego-centric spirituality. The Buddhist Nirvana is an exercise in freeing the self from bondage so that the soul may join in unity with the universe, sacrificing and suppressing the ego to allow oneself to join with this universal constant. Progression, on the other hand, internalizes personal reward and glory etc. etc. so as to attain a universal divine wisdom for oneself, not to join with such a divinity. As I understand it, and as it has been explained to me, it seems that progression and the various commandments that are part of the final "exaltation" serve only to exalt the ego rather than suppress it, which is the ultimate goal of any of the Catholic vocations--to suppress the ego in ultimate service of another.

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Sorry bruddah I have a hard time accepting the Catholic view on marriage. One who counsels (priests) on marriage should be aptly married and know the ups and downs of such. The Lord can't be so hypocritical.

Hypocrisy relies on one representing themselves as something they're not. No priest claims to be an expert on marriage, and none will pretend to be; any advice given is either 1) common knowledge, or 2) is backed up by sociological and psychological findings. Part of the Catholic seminary involves sociology and psychology classes because there are certain things a Priest will be expected to counsel someone on that they will have no personal experience with. There is no hypocrisy in Catholic marriage counseling.

But the counseling is necessary because of the sacramental nature of Catholic marriage. The Priest won't marry a couple if he feels they are not committed wholeheartedly to each other and have the willingness to learn the humility and patience necessary to make a life-long marriage work. The fact that it is common knowledge that these things are necessary does not diminish my ability or your ability to talk to friends who are talking about marriage and be able to make at least an educated guess on how well the marriage can be expected to work. The Priest, through lengthy and intensive counseling, will be able to make similar assessments.

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I think you misunderstood the point I was making.

I understand that the nature of deity in the Mormon religion is contingent upon this progression idea. I understand that there is a relationship there.

But, as an extension of this argument, Mormonism (as has been presented to me, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) teaches that God, though He is our Father, was at one time mortal like us, and glorified Himself in heaven and was granted dominion over this creation. This applies to humanity as well, and gives rise to the doctrines of eternal progeny and multiplication (hence the eternal marriage and eternally having more children) etc. etc. but ultimately allows for humanity to become of like substance of the Father. I understand that this view of progression would allow for God to continuously progress as well, and therefore, just like your younger sibling may one day be the age you are now, the two of you will never be the same age, at the same time, progression allows for humanity to one day be of equal stature as God is today, though God will forever be further in His progression than we are.

This comes back to my fundamental point that, unlike the Buddhist concept of Nirvana, this Mormon precept of progression from which much of the Mormon concept of heaven seems to have a derivative origin, progression internalizes a selfish, ego-centric spirituality. The Buddhist Nirvana is an exercise in freeing the self from bondage so that the soul may join in unity with the universe, sacrificing and suppressing the ego to allow oneself to join with this universal constant. Progression, on the other hand, internalizes personal reward and glory etc. etc. so as to attain a universal divine wisdom for oneself, not to join with such a divinity. As I understand it, and as it has been explained to me, it seems that progression and the various commandments that are part of the final "exaltation" serve only to exalt the ego rather than suppress it, which is the ultimate goal of any of the Catholic vocations--to suppress the ego in ultimate service of another.

No, I still think you are missing something. Perhaps it is because you are expressing the view as seen from the "outside" that you miss important developmental axioms internal to our Church structure. The Church trains up leadership to the ideal that Christ set forth in Luke 22.

25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.

26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

Thus any rise in "status" within the Church is taught to come with a greater stewardship and become a greater act of service. I have never known a newly called Bishop to be someone who was seeking the job. I have never met a Stake President who didn't recognize that his call was a call to service, not of aggrandizement.

My favorite scripture in the D&C addresses the call to service. You'll find it in D&C 121:34-46. I recommend it to you for study in understanding LDS views on leadership.

Whatever role God has for us in the Eternities, it will be but a greater call to stewardship, and thus a greater act of service. Remember when I said that our goal was to become "like God"? He who showed us the way, Jesus Christ, is the perfect example of selfless service and letting our actions and service glorify God. He is our examplar. He said that He had become one with the Father, Christ did this by unifying His will to that of his Father. We must do the same. If we want to put on the image of Christ, we must come to become like Christ in service, and mind, and in faith. Thus, "this is life Eternal, to know God, and Jesus Christ whome He sent." To know them we must become like them.

Is not God the greatest of all? Then, according to Christ He must be the servant of all. If we want to become like God, then we must learn to serve and submit.

- SlackTime

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