What if God was One of Us?

by: Bored in Vernal

January 9, 2011

NT SS Lesson #3

Welcome, once again, to the “Gospel Speculation” class. Since I am not a Ward Sunday School teacher, I am under no obligation to stick to the lesson manual or even stay true to the stated purpose of each lesson. Rather, I write these columns to entertain myself, and as motivation to keep up with the weekly reading. I expect that, in most wards, the emphasis for this lesson will be on the birth of the Savior. However, the manual also includes provision for discussion of his youth and preparation for his ministry. Of course, there is little enough provided for the gospel scholar on this subject. But there is an interesting tidbit found in D&C 93, which has piqued my interest in theosis.

In the Latter-day Saint tradition, theosis is the process of becoming a god.* This doctrine has two aspects to it. The first is that human beings, through the process of sanctification, can become pure and attain enough knowledge to be coequal with God after resurrection. The other aspect is that God was once human like ourselves, and went through this same process. This is also known as “couplet theology,” after a ditty formulated by Lorenzo Snow/Brigham Young: “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”

In a talk given at the 2008 Sunstone symposium, Hugo Olaiz discussed his observations that although early Mormon thinkers have vigorously debated and elaborated upon this doctrine, there is a distinct change in how we approach it today. The first half of the couplet, the one dealing with the progression of God, has become nearly invisible, and while we retain the possibility of deification for man, it is reimaged as “eternal progression,” with its bolder implications being tamed. Michael Quinn, the respondent to Olaiz’ talk, dramatically defended both aspects of couplet theology. He warned against deemphasizing our early teachings to ally ourselves with the evangelical Christian movement, thus trading our birthright for a mess of pottage.

It seems to me that there is little danger of being able to escape our unique perspective of deification, especially when we consider Latter-day scripture such as the section in question. Here we have what seems to be a description of Jesus Christ himself going through the process of theosis, by going “from grace to grace.” In my mind this is somewhat confusing. Some questions that come up as I ponder this lesson are as follows:

  • What does the scripture mean by “he received not of the fulness at first?”
  • Was Jesus fully a God before coming to earth?
  • Was Jesus a God before obtaining a resurrected body?
  • Does verse 14 put Jesus in a subordinate position to God the Father?
  • Does D&C 93 fit well with Luke 2:40-52 (our sole New Testament passage about the Savior’s youth), or does it go beyond what was intended?

I hope that some of you are ready to put your speculator hats on and add your thoughts and impressions on these questions!

____________________________

*See Mormon Heretic’s post Eastern Orthodoxy: Theosis/Deification. The comments contain an interesting discussion on whether Mormon couplet theology can properly be considered theosis.

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79 Responses to What if God was One of Us?

  1. Stephen M (Ethesis) on January 9, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    Just a stranger on a bus.

    Trying to get home.

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  2. DavidH on January 9, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    I did play that song once for gospel doctrine class(as prelude music), about 12 years ago. I got mixed reactions, mostly positive.

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  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Evangelical, Wheat & Tares Blog. Wheat & Tares Blog said: New Post! What if God was One of Us? http://bit.ly/fTNJEK #mormon […]

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  4. BrianJ on January 9, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    “Was Jesus fully a God before coming to earth?
    Was Jesus a God before obtaining a resurrected body?”

    What if I change your question? take out the “a” and just ask, “Was Jesus fully God before…”?

    What if there is no such thing as a God, or this God and that God? There’s only one God, and you are either it or not?

    That’s what I believe. Jesus prayed at one point that his disciples could be one with him and one with the Father the way that Jesus and the Father were already one…one God, that is.

    So that’s how I view theosis: not a graduation ceremony where we are hooded, capped, and sprinkled with a special powder that gives us extra powers, then sent on our way to make something of our godliness. No, I think theosis occurs when we become one with God, and thus we are God—right alongside everyone else who is also God.

    (Thus, after changing your questions as I describe above, my answer to both is “yes.”)

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  5. Bishop Rick on January 9, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    I have always been amazed at how easily LDS accept the doctrine that Jesus is the God of the OT, but never stop to wonder how that can be when he never came to earth, received a body, participated in celestial marriage (I understand this will be debated), was resurrected or any of the other things that are required of us other than baptism. He also didn’t have the veil placed between him and God like we have, giving him yet another advantage…in other words, he didn’t have to walk in faith. Let’s also not forget that his body wasn’t restored after his resurrection. He still had wounds.

    I can go on and on about this, but the bottom line is the stories don’t add up.

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  6. Bishop Rick on January 9, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    Point I was trying to make was trying to make is Jesus never did the prerequisite things before he would have been the God of the OT. This doesn’t deserve a dislike, it deserves discussion. I’m not saying anything that isn’t true here. If there is an explanation, I would like to hear it, and Book of Moses is not an explanation.

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  7. Bored in Vernal on January 9, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    You are right, I sure would like to discuss this further. Does anyone know what the Mormon apologist stand is on how Jesus got to be a God before being resurrected? Brian, I can see how your explanation would work, but Jesus and the body of believers becoming one in God is not compatible with the Mormon divinization concept. We explain the intercessory prayer by saying that they become “one in purpose.”

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  8. BrianJ on January 9, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    BiV: since I wasn’t clear before, let me clarify: I don’t see any contradiction between what I wrote and the “one in purpose” explanation; i.e., there is only one God because there is only one purpose. Those who wholly accept that purpose are brought into that companionship/communion.

    I am by no means promoting anything like the homoousia of traditional Christianity or the annihilation of self in Islam.

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  9. LDS Anarchist on January 9, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    What does the scripture mean by “he received not of the fulness at first?”

    Well, He came not to Earth in a fully formed, adult, resurrected, celestialized body of flesh, bone and spirit, but instead came in a body of flesh, bone and blood which started out small and grew larger and larger until it finally achieved adulthood, then changed (after death) into a resurrected adult. This is what receiving “grace for grace” and continuing from “grace to grace” means.

    Was Jesus fully a God before coming to earth?

    Yes.

    Was Jesus a God before obtaining a resurrected body?

    Yes.

    Does verse 14 put Jesus in a subordinate position to God the Father?

    Is not Jesus both the Father and the Son? Can you be subordinate to yourself?

    Does D&C 93 fit well with Luke 2:40-52 (our sole New Testament passage about the Savior’s youth), or does it go beyond what was intended?

    See my answer to the first question.

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  10. Bored in Vernal on January 9, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    The Prophet Joseph Smith explained: “We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 181.) On another occasion, the Prophet said, “No person can have this salvation except through a tabernacle.” (Ibid., p. 297.)

    Also, from lds.org:

    “The true doctrine of the Godhead was lost in the apostasy that followed the Savior’s mortal ministry and the deaths of His Apostles. This doctrine began to be restored when 14-year-old Joseph Smith received his First Vision (see Joseph Smith—History 1:17). From the Prophet’s account of the First Vision and from his other teachings, we know that the members of the Godhead are three separate beings. The Father and the Son have tangible bodies of flesh and bones, and the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit (see D&C 130:22).

    Although the members of the Godhead are distinct beings with distinct roles, they are one in purpose and doctrine. They are perfectly united in bringing to pass Heavenly Father’s divine plan of salvation.”

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  11. Bishop Rick on January 9, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    anarchist,

    That sounds more like an evangelical answer than an LDS answer. Do you have evangelical roots?

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  12. FireTag on January 9, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Your Section 93 is Section 90 in the CofChrist edition and has always been one of my favorite Scriptures to contemplate. However, we never had couplet theology, especially the first part. We’ve taught that Jesus received of the fullness during His mortal life because it is important that, as BR notes, He not start out life with a supernatural edge.

    I think there is a lot of room for growth in our understanding of these ideas, so I welcome the discussion.

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  13. Mr Q&A on January 10, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    I will attempt to answer Bishop Rick’s comment regarding OT Jehovah.

    I understood this as Divine Investiture of Authority, God knowing what his First Born was forordained to do, bestowed upon him the authority to act on his behalf prior to his condescension.

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  14. Bookslinger on January 10, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    I’m just getting through re-reading 2nd Nephi. As evidenced by his writing, Nephi understood the separateness of the Father and the Son. Therefore, this separateness must have been understood by the other prophets of Old Testament times. I can’t fathom Nephi having a greater understanding of the plan of salvation than, say, Moses or Elijah.

    Either the OT writers chose not to make the separateness clear (as clear as Nephi made it), or else those who maintained the O.T. documents (presumably during apostate times) edited those documents to the point where the separateness was taken out. After all, the Savior did say that many plain and precious parts had been removed.

    Even the OT itself makes reference to books we no longer have “Chronicles of the Kings” (other than the current “Chronicles” and “Kings”), and others.

    The Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls already prove that changes, intentional or not, did creep in. Nephi’s quotes of Isaiah (if one accepts them as authoritative, which I do) also show that the King James (or Masoretic Texts upon which it is based) has some things missing.

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  15. BrianJ on January 10, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    ” Nephi understood the separateness of the Father and the Son. Therefore, this separateness must have been understood by the other prophets of Old Testament times.”

    That seems like quite a logical leap. Why make this definitive equation between Nephi and others? What if Nephi just asked questions that others didn’t ask, and therefore got answers that others didn’t get? There is nothing in any of our texts to indicate that “everything Nephi knows, Moses knows better.”

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  16. Justin on January 10, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    BiV asked (#7): Does anyone know what the Mormon apologist stand is on how Jesus got to be a God before being resurrected?

    From here:

    Having a body is necessary for a fullness of joy (DC 93:33). The Holy Ghost is also God, but does not at present have a body in LDS doctrine.

    It was necessary that at some point Jesus receive a body, but the specific time in which He did so is not particularly important. (To travel overseas, one needs both a passport and an airplane ticket. It doesn’t matter in which order one gets the passport or the ticket, but one must eventually have both in order to reach one’s destination.)

    If a specific sequence is an absolutely requirement, then all Christians would need to explain how Christ’s atonement could be efficacious to those who were born, lived, and died prior to His crucifixion. The fact that the atonement was effective should caution us against adopting an absolute requirement for sequence concerning Christ’s receipt of a physical body.

    Critics ignore that the gospel teaches us what we must do to fulfill God’s commandments and purposes. It does not spend much time telling us what Jesus was required to do—clearly, he had many duties and abilities which far outstripped ours. That is why he was God and Savior before we came to this earth, and why we must rely upon his grace for salvation.

    What does the scripture mean by “he received not of the fulness at first?”

    The accompaining question would be, “What is the ‘fulness’ of which he eventually received?” I think the revelation had in mind John 1:14, 16 which says,

    14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth…
    16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

    Thus, connecting the Savior’s attainment of the fulness with our eventual attainment of the same.

    Also, in D&C 93, verse 14 states that Jesus was called the Son of God because he received not of the fulness at the first. Further, verse 11 mentions him “coming and dwelling in the flesh.”

    Therefore, I think that the fulness of which he eventually received is associated with the fully-formed, adult, resurrected, celestialized body of flesh, bone and spirit that the Father possesses. This he did not receive at first as LDSA pointed out.

    Was Jesus fully a God before coming to earth? and Was Jesus a God before obtaining a resurrected body?

    I think that he was — therefore the real question is, “Why do LDS hold to the definition of ‘God’ as a resurrected/celestialized parent?” because Jesus was clearly not this thing before his physical birth or before his resurrection.

    Does verse 14 put Jesus in a subordinate position to God the Father?

    Throne-sharing is a key to understanding the monotheism of Christianity. In heaven, there exists perfect unity. There, connectedness is emphasized — whereas here, the separateness is emphasized.

    Does D&C 93 fit well with Luke 2:40-52 (our sole New Testament passage about the Savior’s youth), or does it go beyond what was intended?

    I do not think it goes beyond what was intended.

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  17. Bishop Rick on January 10, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Mr Q&A #13

    I see a couple of problems with that premise.
    1. You are confusing foreordination with predestination. What you describe is predestination

    2. I thought LDS do not believe in predestination.

    Bookslinger #14

    The concept of the messiah being the son of God was not introduced until the NT. It would appear that no prophet in OT times would have known this, including Nephi.

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  18. LDS Anarchist on January 10, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    rick #11,

    I don’t have evangelical roots. My link in #9 pointed to the Book of Mormon and my statement was a vertabim quote from that book of scripture. Do you consider the Book of Mormon to be evangelical literature?

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  19. Bishop Rick on January 10, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Justin #16

    It seems out of step with the plan of salvation. In the pre-existence, we were all equals (Jesus and Satan included). The plan was to come to earth, gain a body, get baptized, prove your worthiness, get your reward (which includes becoming Gods/Goddesses).

    Why would anyone be exempt from this process?

    Of course, the Plan itself seems out of step.
    Has anyone thought about how the plan requires Satan?
    Without Satan there is no plan. How can that be?

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  20. Justin on January 10, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    You are presupposing a lot of things that my comment points out aren’t a given.

    We assume that “becoming Gods/Goddesses” is our “reward” for being good Mormons in this life [or never having the chance to be] — but where in the scriptures did you get this understanding? Or as I put it in #16:

    The real question is, “Why do LDS hold to the definition of ‘God’ as a resurrected/celestialized parent?” because Jesus was clearly not this thing before his physical birth or before his resurrection.

    Likewise, it is assumed that the “Plan” requires Satan — but where in the scriptures is that stated?

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  21. Bishop Rick on January 10, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    Anarchist #18

    Your link does point to the BoM, but what you said is an evangelical interpretation, not a quote. I’m pretty sure LDS do not interpret that chapter as proof that God and Jesus are the same being.

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  22. BrianJ on January 10, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    Bishop Rick, 19: “In the pre-existence, we were all equals (Jesus and Satan included).”

    Can you help me understand what you base this on? Thanks.

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  23. Bishop Rick on January 10, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    It’s not assumed that becoming Gods/Goddesses can be the reward, its taught.

    Without Satan, there is no temptation, no opposition in all things. Thus, Without Satan there is no plan. This is not an assumption, its right out of the scriptures.

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  24. Bishop Rick on January 10, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    BrianJ 22

    The scriptures.

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  25. LDS Anarchist on January 11, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    Rick #21,

    What I wrote was, “Is not Jesus both the Father and the Son?” I linked the words both the Father and the Son to Mosiah 15: 2, which reads,

    And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—

    The words I quoted verbatim from this scripture were “the Father and the Son”. My addition to this quote was “Is not Jesus both”. You say that what I wrote was “an evangelical interpretation”. Yet, if you look at the chapter heading, we read, “How Christ is both the Father and the Son”. How does what I wrote differ from what the chapter heading says? Also, are you implying that that chapter’s heading is an evangelical interpretation? Or, are saying that Abinadi (and thus the Book of Mormon) is wrong on this point? That Jesus is not both the Father and the Son?

    That’s a lot of questions to ask, I know. I’ll sum it up by asking this: Do you believe that Jesus is both the Father and the Son and how does Abinadi’s words fit into your view?

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  26. LDS Anarchist on January 11, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    typo correction: …how do (not does) Abinadi’s words…

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  27. Mr Q&A on January 11, 2011 at 7:31 AM

    Bishop Rick #17

    I see no contradiction between my comments in #13 and the LDS position. Gift, Blessings and assignments have often been bestowed upon what someone is foreordained to do.

    God Invested his Authority in his First Born Son, This gave Christ capacity to create this Galaxy, place man & woman on the earth along with living things.

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  28. Mike S on January 11, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    Bookslinger #14: …As evidenced by his writing, Nephi understood the separateness of the Father and the Son. Therefore, this separateness must have been understood by the other prophets of Old Testament times. I can’t fathom Nephi having a greater understanding of the plan of salvation than, say, Moses or Elijah.

    I suppose this depends on how strict of a definition of “translate” you apply to the Book of Mormon. If Joseph Smith did a “strict” translation, where he actually went through each character/symbol on the plates and translated them to English, then your comment makes more sense.

    However, we know that the process was much “looser” than that. JS was more “inspired” by the presence of the plates, but generally wasn’t even looking at them directly when he was dictating to his scribes. Things therefore crept in to the translation from JS’s own experience – words like Alpha and Omega and adieu – KJV version of Biblical quotes – 16th century English – etc.

    Seen this way, as images and concepts filtered through JS’s mortal mind into a specific English dialect, it all makes more sense. This resolves the dilemma which you point out.

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  29. BrianJ on January 11, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    Bishop Rick, 24: Prove it. Convince me. Lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Show me a sign.

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  30. Justin on January 11, 2011 at 8:43 AM

    Rick:

    It’s not assumed that becoming Gods/Goddesses can be the reward, its taught.

    That wasn’t the question I raised. Again, “The real question is, ‘Why do LDS hold to the definition of “God” as a resurrected/celestialized parent?’ because Jesus was clearly not this thing before his physical birth or before his resurrection.

    In the beginning, Jesus was God. My point was — this calls into question the definition of “God” that your comments seem to indicate you subscribe to.

    Without Satan, there is no temptation, no opposition in all things. Thus, Without Satan there is no plan. This is not an assumption, its right out of the scriptures.

    Satan’s role is not now, nor ever was, necessary for the Father’s plan to work. During the Millennium, Satan will be bound for a thousand years. That’s a lot of time in which people will not be tempted by him. It “works” b/c, according to Lehi, mortal humans cannot act — save they are enticed by the one side or the other [not one side and the other].

    Satan, though unnecessary to the Father’s plan, is nevertheless allowed to remain in the created universe b/c the Father has given him a purpose — that of the tempter. Only things that have purpose remain in the kingdom of God. When Satan and his angels have fulfilled their purpose [after the probation is ended and the final day of judgment comes] they have no more purpose in the plan of the Father, and since they have no faith or agency [meaning they have no power to remain in the Father’s created universe] they must “return again to their own place” from whence they came — outer darkness.

    If having a “Satan” figure was just as necessary to the plan as having a “Savior” figure — then that would imply that Lucifer made the greater sacrifice.

    If you’re correct, then in the council in heaven, when the Father presented His plan to us, He would have said something like, “My plan requires one of you to be a Savior and redeem all of mankind that exercises faith and also that one of you become a devil and be cast out of the kingdom into outer darkness after performing the work of providing an opposition. Are there any volunteers for the Savior and devil positions?

    Such a scenario in which the plan contained a need that one of God’s children commit spiritual suicide and become a devil in order for the plan to work would naturally repel all of God’s children from it. You’re implying that God is not capable of devising a plan that is able save all of His children.

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  31. Mike S on January 11, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    BrianJ / Bishop Rick:

    We were NOT equals in the pre-existence. It’s like saying that all callings are “equal” in the Church – just different roles. No one has the RS president sit on the stand. No one stands up when a SS teacher comes in the room. There is a very strict hierarchy.

    The same thing occurred in the pre-existence according to Abraham.

    22Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the bnoble and great ones;

    23And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

    This doesn’t sound very “equal” to me. Even at the spirit level, God’s creations are NOT equal.

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  32. Bookslinger on January 11, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    Biship Rick and Brian J:

    2 Nephi 31:11-12 makes clear that Nephi, who lived in OT times, knew the separateness of the Father and the Son. At least that’s how I read it.

    In a couple places, Nephi states explicitly that he saw Christ face-to-face. Nephi heard the voice of the Father, verse 11. In verse 12, he quotes the Son referring to the Father. So I think it’s clear that Nephi distinguished between the two.

    Also, Jacob 4:4-5 indicates that _all_ the “holy prophets” before “us” (ie, Jacob’s family), worshipped the Father in the name of Christ.

    In my opinion, the separateness was not totally new in NT times. Though it may have been restored, because it may have been lost during the various periods of Jewish apostasy.

    However, I still assert that Nephi and Jacob indicate that at least all the _prophets_ of OT times understood the separateness.

    It’s the Trinitarian “sameness” that was introduced as new after the close of the New Testament.

    My question is whether the rank-and-file Jews knew of the separateness in OT times. But I’m settled that the prophets knew.

    Mike S: “Seen this way, as images and concepts filtered through JS’s mortal mind into a specific English dialect, it all makes more sense. This resolves the dilemma which you point out.”

    I don’t see that wiggle-room in 2 Nephi 31:11-12, and Jacob 4:4-5.

    I think the more likely scenarios are that: a) either the OT prophets didn’t inform the rank-and-file about the separateness of the Father and Son, or b) the OT prophets did know and write about it, but it was edited out during Jewish periods of apostasy.

    If the 1st and 2nd century saints knew of the separateness of the Father and Son (which I think they did), it got lost again during the Christian apostasy, and was finally gone by the time the Nicene and Athanasian creeds were established.

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  33. BrianJ on January 11, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    Bookslinger: Thanks for responding. I don’t find your exegesis of Jacob 4 to be convincing that all—or even any—of the other OT era prophets knew of the “separateness” between the Father and the Son. I remain agnostic on that point.

    I never questioned whether Nephi made that distinction; it seems almost certain that he did.

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  34. Mr Q&A on January 12, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Justin,
    I see the Satan issue as a necessary consequence, I would give another example but… (Adam & Eve)

    I think I remember your position on this from a priveous comment, that Christ would have eventually instructed Adam&Eve to partake of the Fruit.

    I still don’t think your argument carries any weight, The Sacrifice of Christ is essential to the plan, so by your reasoning God would have explained that some will need to kill the Son of God (volunteers please raise your hand). God selected the time when presenting his plan would create the perfect chain reaction, necessary consequences fall into place.

    I don’t think the LDS definition of God is resurrected etc, I would define God as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence. We require the resurrection because we are fallen.

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  35. Bishop Rick on January 12, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    Justin #30

    “Rick:

    It’s not assumed that becoming Gods/Goddesses can be the reward, its taught.

    That wasn’t the question I raised.”

    Actually it was a question you raised, and I answered it.

    “Again, “The real question is, ‘Why do LDS hold to the definition of “God” as a resurrected/celestialized parent?’

    I don’t think that is the real question. The answer holds no sway on this topic.

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  36. Bishop Rick on January 12, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    Anarchist #25

    “The words I quoted verbatim from this scripture were “the Father and the Son”. My addition to this quote was “Is not Jesus both”.

    You took those verbatim words out of context. The chapter referenced does not say that Jesus and God are the same being. Your interpretation is like unto an Evangelical.

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  37. Bishop Rick on January 12, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    Anarchist #25 Part II

    “Do you believe that Jesus is both the Father and the Son”

    No

    and how does Abinadi’s words fit into your view?

    They back me up.

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  38. Bishop Rick on January 12, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    Mr Q&A #27

    Ok, I’ll give you that one.

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  39. Justin on January 12, 2011 at 5:51 AM

    Me (#20): “We assume that ‘becoming Gods/Goddesses’ is our ‘reward’ for being good Mormons in this life [or never having the chance to be] — but where in the scriptures did you get this understanding?

    Rick:

    Actually it was a question you raised, and I answered it.

    That it is assumed that Godhood is the reward for being good Mormons in this life is not a question. The question pertaining to that statement was “Where in the scriptures did you get that understanding?”

    Me (#16, 20, 30): “The real question is, ‘Why do LDS hold to the definition of “God” as a resurrected/celestialized parent?

    Rick:

    I don’t think that is the real question. The answer holds no sway on this topic.

    Two of BiV questions in the OP ask about the nature of Jesus being God before attaining the “reward” that you define as “Godhood”. If you insist on the “reward” being the very definition of “God”, then Jesus cannot have been God in the beginning.

    Is that your stance?

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  40. Justin on January 12, 2011 at 5:59 AM

    Mr Q&A (#34):

    I think I remember your position on this from a priveous comment, that Christ would have eventually instructed Adam&Eve to partake of the Fruit.

    I don’t know that I’ve commented that position — but I don’t know that I disagree with it either.

    I still don’t think your argument carries any weight, The Sacrifice of Christ is essential to the plan, so by your reasoning God would have explained that some will need to kill the Son of God (volunteers please raise your hand).

    My point was that [according to the conventional understanding] each character had to sacrifice [Savior and Satan]. So, who wants to go to earth, suffer and die a mortal death, but be guaranteed eternal glory at God’s right hand? Oh yeah, and who wants to never go to earth, suffer and die a greater, eternal death, and be guaranteed an eternity in outer darkness?

    If that is the case, then we should thank God that Lucifer was willing to do that — b/c I know I sure would have never volunteered for that necessary position in the “plan”.

    I don’t think the LDS definition of God is resurrected etc, I would define God as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence. We require the resurrection because we are fallen.

    I think that’s an interesting position. Thanks for answering the question I raised.

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  41. Bishop Rick on January 12, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    Justin #39

    “…then Jesus cannot have been God in the beginning.
    Is that your stance?”

    Yes

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  42. LDS Anarchist on January 13, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    Rick #37,

    Jesus, before He was born, appeared to the brother of Jared as an unembodied Spirit, and said the following:

    Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. (Ether 3: 14)

    Does this scripture also back up your view that Jesus in not the Father and the Son?

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  43. LDS Anarchist on January 13, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    typo: is not, not in not…

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  44. LDS Anarchist on January 13, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    Mr Q&A #34,

    You stated: I still don’t think your argument carries any weight, The Sacrifice of Christ is essential to the plan, so by your reasoning God would have explained that some will need to kill the Son of God (volunteers please raise your hand).

    My understanding is that no one could kill the Son of God. His was a voluntary, self-sacrifice.

    No man taketh it [His life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10: 18)

    So, no one was needed to be selected to kill the Son of God. Had He come down in a time of righteousness, among a just and righteous nation, He could have just as easily suffered, died and resurrected, and still fulfilled the plan. The wickedness inspired of Satan is not necessary for heavenly Father’s plan to be fully enacted.

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  45. Bishop Rick on January 13, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    Anarchist #42

    “Jesus, before He was born, appeared to the brother of Jared as an unembodied Spirit, and said the following:

    Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. (Ether 3: 14)

    Does this scripture also back up your view that Jesus [is] not the Father and the Son?”

    Yes it does. You can’t just read one verse and take it out of context as you have done. Other verses describe that Jesus was the father of the earth and all that dwell therein.

    So its pretty obvious that when Jesus states that he is the father and the son, that he is stating that he is the son of God and father of earth. This is not what you are saying. You are saying that Jesus and Heavenly Father are the same person, and this is not the case.

    Has nothing to do with him being his own father.
    After all, Jesus is not from West Virginia.

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  46. Justin on January 13, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    So — Jesus was not God in the beginning?

    I’ll assume that John 1:1 backs up your claim?

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  47. Mike S on January 13, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    Bookslinger:

    I suppose my comment (#28) wasn’t clear enough. Your point was how much Nephi may or may not have understood the separateness of the Father and the Son as compared to OT prophets. Granted there are the BofM verses you have quoted suggesting that there is a difference, but at the same time there are verses suggesting they are the same person.

    However, the issue is deeper than an interpretation of verses and has to do with WHERE the verses we are interpreting come from. There are two ways JS could have brought forth the BofM: an exact word-for-word translation, or else under inspiration where concepts were essentially filtered through his mind but expressed how he might express them.

    For an exact word-for-word translation, then your arguments concerning Nehpi’s level of knowledge vs OT might make sense. However, there are problems with an “exact” scenario. For much of the dictation of the BofM, JS wasn’t actually looking at the plates, but they were covered up and out of sight. An “exact” translation also runs into problems such as the inclusion of French words (adieu), Greek words (Alpha and Omega), and English mistranslations from the KJV of the Bible into languages used by people who lived many centuries prior to that in the Americas.

    The way these problems go away is if we accept that JS was inspired as to concepts by the presence of the gold plates near him, but that he expressed these concepts in language that made sense to him (ie. an American living in early 19th century New England). If we accept this, then when his mind is exposed to the concept of God and Christ, he would necessarily express this in a manner that made sense to him.

    If this second scenario is more correct, than the comparison between whether Nephi’s knowledge was more or less complete than OT prophets is somewhat moot, as it’s really comparing JS’s knowledge in the context of his time and experience (ie. First Vision, etc) with that of OT prophets.

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  48. BrianJ on January 13, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Mike S: fwiw, I agree almost completely with your analysis in 47, except I don’t see the French or Greek words as a problem. The entire English language is filled with French and Greek words, so Joseph merely used particular ones that best fit the sentiment or meaning of what he was translating; in some cases that was “adieu” and in others it was “king” or “beast” or “city.” Is there another reason you find French or Greek words problematic?

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  49. Mike S on January 13, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    BrianJ:

    Perhaps he did the same in many areas – ie. used word that best fit the sentiment of what he was translating. Perhaps when he had the image of God and Christ, and having had the First Vision, he wrote what he felt was best to describe it. In this case, wondering exactly what mindset Nephi had about things might be a bit problematic, because it is filtered through Joseph Smith.

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  50. Mike S on January 13, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    I suppose the real issue is that we don’t actually have the gold plates. This is unlike the Bible, where we can compare our English edition with source documents to find the “real” meaning and perhaps improve meaning as we find source documents closer to the original.

    In the case of the Book of Mormon, we don’t actually have the “source documents” to compare our English translation. And, in reality, from most published accounts, it appears as if Joseph Smith wasn’t actually looking at them either as he dictated to his scribes. I think he was “inspired” as he dictated. Whether it was a direct “translation” in the modern sense that we use the word, I don’t know. Therefore, it makes questions like that posed above hard to answer.

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  51. BrianJ on January 13, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    Mike S: Right. I follow you on all of what you say in 49 & 50. I just don’t see how “adieu” or “alpha and omega” added to those problems or created additional problems in any way, but that’s what I understood you saying in 47. I may be missing something, but it seems that if you take “adieu” out of the BoM, you haven’t changed the translation question one bit.

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  52. Bishop Rick on January 13, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    Justin #46

    “So — Jesus was not God in the beginning?
    I’ll assume that John 1:1 backs up your claim?”

    My belief that Jesus was not the God of the OT has nothing to do with the literal interpretation of scriptural verses.

    If you don’t have the ability to step beyond single verses or even chapters and books. Read the entire NT anywhere there is the voice of Jesus. Then read the OT anywhere there is the voice of God, and tell me those are the same people. You cannot honestly do this, because they are 2 completely different personalities.

    Now, that said, I will play your game and just use the verse you quote, and we will assume that Jesus actually was the God of the OT.

    John 1:1 states that Jesus was God.
    Great, he was God of the earth.

    It also states that Jesus was with God.
    In this case, God is Heavenly Father.

    So yes, John 1:1 also backs me up that Jesus and the Father are not the same person.

    Let me try to make this more simple for you to understand. Because I exist, I have a Father. I also happen to have children. Therefore it is accurate for me to claim that I am the Father and the Son, but stating that does not mean that I am the same being as my father.

    Are you getting this yet?

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  53. Bishop Rick on January 13, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    FWIW, here is the JST version of John 1:1

    “In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.”

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  54. Mr Q&A on January 13, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    Anarchist

    I have always interpreted John 10:18 as meaning, whilst Christ had the power to prevent the crucifixsion he stayed his hand and offered himself as a sacrifice. Innocent slaughter was always part of the plan, OT sacrifices symbolised this.

    I agree the wickedness was inspired of Satan, the foreknowledge of God predicted all that Lucifer would try to do in an effort to frustrate the plan of God. Lucifers role was never explained to him, he fulfilled his part of the plan as God knew he would.

    Bishop Rick

    I agree that the tone is extremely deferent between the OT God & Christ however I do not believe this is because they are from two different authors. If we agree that Jesus is now God, has he come up with some better way? Is what the previous God did useless ? Rather I believe as premortal spirits we were assigned as specific window to come to earth, and that we have specific lessons to learn in this window of opprunity, and therefore God adjusted his approach for these individuals.

    Even from the time of the restoration till now his approach has changed, one is not better than another but it is specific to us.

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  55. Aaron R. on January 14, 2011 at 4:48 AM

    MrQandA, is it possible that rather there being a better way that God is repeatedly trying to reveal his gospel through fallen people in such a way that it inevitably gets distorted. The message is the same but the context in which that message is recevied shapes in ways which create for us radically different religious cultures. In this regard it is possible that there is a teleological trajectory to the gospel’s progress, i.e. that each new revelation brings us closer to the Good News as God sees it.

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  56. Justin on January 14, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    So yes, John 1:1 also backs me up that Jesus and the Father are not the same person.

    Rick, I think that you are confusing the comments made by LDSA with the comments made by me.

    I am challenging your definition of “God” as being the “reward” for married, resurrected Mormons [see comment #39]. That you can state that, “John 1:1 states that Jesus was God [#52]” — is my point.

    If Jesus was God in the beginning, then [to answer BiV’s original questions (2) and (3)] Jesus was God before mortal birth and before his resurrection. Therefore, the definition of “God” you used in #19 is challenged.

    So yes, John 1:1 also backs me up that Jesus and the Father are not the same person.

    Again, you confuse me with LDSA. That is the conversation you are having with him. Identifying our Father in heaven with the same personage of Jesus Christ is not a claim I’ve ever made here [Nor do I think it is LDSA’s point FWIW, but I won’t speak for him].

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  57. Bored in Vernal on January 14, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    Justin, your point is well taken. I can accept that John 1 shows that Jesus was God in the beginning, before mortal birth and resurrection. However, we are taught that mankind must be resurrected in order to attain godhood. Thus it becomes confusing to understand how Jesus could have been considered God before going through this essential step. In what way was he different from us? And does this mean that we will never attain exactly the same level of God-ness that Jesus has?

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  58. Justin on January 14, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    I’m not sure I have all the answers, but I think that given the pre-mortal Christ and the Holy Ghost both being Gods — I know enough to reject the definition of “God” as “resurrected adult who had been a good Mormon mortal”.

    Whatever level or designation that is required to designate one as a God — it is clear that Jesus and the Spirit attained such without going thru the LDS “Plan of Salvation(TM)” chart. That’s enough for me to know, and so I haven’t delved further to obtain a more concise definition — however this post peaked my interest in seeking after such a definition.

    To answer your other question, when a saint is made a joint-heir with Christ, sharing in all that the Father has — how could anyone not be the same level of God-ness as anyone else?

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  59. LDS Anarchist on January 14, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    The requirement of resurrection before exaltation only applies to fallen man. Neither Jesus nor the Holy Ghost were/are fallen men.

    The scriptures give many definitions of godhood, all of which are just aspects of the same thing. For example, “to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent”, to receive “all that my Father hath”, to become one with God and Christ (“that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one”), etc.

    The definition of a god, given in D&C 132: 20 equally applies to the non-resurrected Jesus and the Holy Ghost, as well as to all resurrected, exalted people of Earth.

    I think the scripture that makes people trip up in thinking that a resurrected body is required for godhood is D&C 93: 33-34.

    For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; and when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.

    This scripture is talking about man, not divine beings, so we assume that it must apply to heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Ghost, making the Holy Ghost (who is a Personage of Spirit) less of a God than the Father and Jesus less of a God prior to His resurrection. After all, if you don’t have a fulness of joy, how can you be a God?

    Yet, surely Jesus possessed a fulness of joy as a Spirit Personage. And surely the same can be said of the Holy Ghost. How is it, then, that they can be Gods without having tabernacles of physical bodies?

    The answer lies in that all things are subject to Them (D&C 132: 20). This is accomplished through the fulness of the Holy Spirit (I’m not referring to the Holy Ghost), which Spirit fills the immensity of space and is in all, above all, below all, etc. Unembodied Gods, then, are connected to all physical element found in the Universe, through the Holy Spirit, thus receiving a fulness of joy. This is why Alma said:

    And he will take upon him death, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

    Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

    Jesus already comprehended mortality even before coming down to earth. Same goes for the Holy Ghost and ever other god of Spirit. None of these beings are lesser gods.

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  60. Mark D. on January 14, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    The very first principle of rational theology is that there is only one uppercase G God. A world with more than one God is nonsense. You can have a world with more than one god, or gods who work together as God, but you positively absolutely cannot have more than one supreme power in the universe.

    So if the question is Jesus Christ fully God, or God his own right, unless you adopt unusual semantics, the answer is not in a universe where any other being is fully God or God in and of his own right. That is why the scripture says:

    Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are aone God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen. (D&C 20:38)

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  61. Bishop Rick on January 15, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    Justin #56,

    “Again, you confuse me with LDSA. That is the conversation you are having with him. Identifying our Father in heaven with the same personage of Jesus Christ is not a claim I’ve ever made here”

    Well, if that is the case, then we have been talking past each other this entire dialogue.

    “[Nor do I think it is LDSA’s point FWIW, but I won’t speak for him].”

    Well that part’s not true. That has been LDSA’s stance this entire thread, and I mistakenly thought you were defending his position.

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  62. Bishop Rick on January 15, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    MrQ&A #54,

    “Even from the time of the restoration till now his approach has changed, one is not better than another but it is specific to us.”

    With all due respect, I think that is nonsense. Truth is eternal. The Gospel is eternal. God is eternal.

    God hasn’t changed at all. Man has changed, The church has changed.

    Change is an invention of Man, not God.

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  63. Bishop Rick on January 15, 2011 at 2:23 AM

    LDSA #59,

    “The requirement of resurrection before exaltation only applies to fallen man. Neither Jesus nor the Holy Ghost were/are fallen men.”

    This notion makes no sense. This implies that being born makes you a fallen man.

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  64. Bishop Rick on January 15, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    Mark D #60,

    “You can have a world with more than one god, or gods who work together as God, but you positively absolutely cannot have more than one supreme power in the universe.”

    This doesn’t leave much room for that “eternal progression” thing where people are given kingdoms to create and rule over for infinity.

    Justin #56,

    “I am challenging your definition of “God” as being the “reward” for married, resurrected Mormons”

    Here is the bottom line:

    If man was sent to earth to suffer and toil in the pursuit of perfection, just to be a dumb and happy person forever, then I say, “No Thanks!”

    Why the hell are we sent here if its not to eventually “become like our father in heaven?”

    What are we, toys?
    or
    Are we actually children of a heavenly father?
    If we are children of a heavenly father, then it makes sense that we can become like him (a God) or else we are just toys created for his amusement.

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  65. Justin on January 15, 2011 at 6:23 AM

    Rick:

    [61] Well, I’m glad we cleared that up. However, from what I’ve read from LDSA elsewhere — I still maintain that he does not believe the personage of our Father in heaven to be the same personage as Jesus Christ. Perhaps there has been another case of misunderstanding [Alas, the perils of talking to people online].

    [63] Doesn’t being born to mortal parents by virtue of being conceived by mortal seed make a child mortal at the time of conception? Isn’t this what made Jesus different? The seed of his conception was not the corruptible seed of mortal humans — but was the incorruptible seed of the Father and the Spirit. [I’m asking in ernest — not trying to prove a point].

    [64] I’m not saying that mortal humans don’t become Gods [see #58] — I’m saying that our pattern can’t be the very definition of “God” b/c there is precedent in Jesus and the Holy Ghost — who are designated as “God” without going thru our Mormon “Plan of Salvation(TM)” flow chart.

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  66. Mark D. on January 15, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    B. Rick: “a God” (with an uppercase G) is a grammatical error. There is only one God, infinite and eternal.

    That is not to say that we cannot become like any other exalted individual. It just means that either Arianism is true or there is no individual who has ever been an uppercase G God in his or her own right.

    Jesus Christ is not God with an uppercase G, he represents God, as part of the Godhead. His Heavenly Father (as an individual) is not God with an uppercase G, he represents God, as part of the Godhead. Same with the Holy Ghost.

    The alternative is to suggest that “God” with an uppercase G isn’t the supreme power and force for good in the universe, and that there is none.

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  67. Bored in Vernal on January 15, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    The alternative is to suggest that “God” with an uppercase G isn’t the supreme power and force for good in the universe, and that there is none.

    I’m not sure I understand what you are saying here. Are you saying that the sharing of power among multiple gods is the same as having none?

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  68. Bishop Rick on January 15, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Justin

    [65] “Doesn’t being born to mortal parents by virtue of being conceived by mortal seed make a child mortal at the time of conception? Isn’t this what made Jesus different? The seed of his conception was not the corruptible seed of mortal humans — but was the incorruptible seed of the Father and the Spirit.”

    I really don’t think this applies as we all were created in the pre-existence via the same process. Birth had not taken place yet.

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  69. Bishop Rick on January 15, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    That should have read:
    “Mortal birth (or conception) had not taken place yet.”

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  70. Bishop Rick on January 15, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Mark D

    [66] “B. Rick: “a God” (with an uppercase G) is a grammatical error. There is only one God, infinite and eternal.”

    Since we don’t even know if ANY God exists for sure, your statement is false.

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  71. Bishop Rick on January 15, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    BiV

    [67] “I’m not sure I understand what you are saying here. Are you saying that the sharing of power among multiple gods is the same as having none?”

    I think what he is saying is that you either have an all powerful God or you have Shared-Power Godhead. In other words, someone/thing has to have the last word. Is it a God, or is it a Godhead?

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  72. Bishop Rick on January 15, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    I agree with that statement BTW.

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  73. LDS Anarchist on January 16, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    Rick #63,

    This implies that being born makes you a fallen man.

    This brings to mind a scripture:

    And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good. (Moses 6: 55)

    …and so on and so forth.

    Justin #65, I seem to be writing gobbledygook on this thread. My gut feeling is that if I expound the above scripture, it will be to no avail as I will continue to be misunderstood. Would you care to do the honors and unfold the meaning of the above scripture to us all in light of Rick’s statement? If not, no problemo.

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  74. Mark D. on January 16, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    I’m not sure I understand what you are saying here. Are you saying that the sharing of power among multiple gods is the same as having none?

    No. I am saying that the whole idea of “God” with an uppercase G is incoherent if there is more than one. So you can say that God is ultimately just one individual (Arianism) or you can say that God is ultimately the Godhead composed of more than one individual, but you positively absolutely cannot compare the Judeo-Islamo-Christian conception of God with anything there is more than one of.

    As soon as you do that, now you are talking about “gods” not “God”. I can imagine the theological disputes from two and three thousand years ago echoing in my head – my god is better than your god, no mine, no there is a pantheon of gods, and the most high god rules over them all, no the most high god is God, and the rest are also rans, no the pantheon of true gods working together are God, no only three individuals who each have an identical nature, etc.

    Either way, the only thing anyone can take seriously as the Supreme Being is something that there is ultimately only one of. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost together make a perfectly viable Supreme Being. The Father only – that is Arianism. The three members of the Godhead plus others exalted to the same level, that is either NT Christianity or Mormonism.

    But unless you are going to start photocopying universes off where each exalted individual governs his own universe in an unmarried state completely apart from his spouse, family, and relations (call it poly-Arianism), the idea of multiple Supreme Beings [sic] is ridiculous.

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  75. Bishop Rick on January 16, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    Anarchist [73]

    How about citing a real scripture.

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  76. Justin on January 16, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    LDSA [#73]: “Would you care to do the honors and unfold the meaning of the above scripture to us all in light of Rick’s statement? If not, no problemo.

    I don’t even know what the comments are talking about anymore.

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  77. Mark D. on January 16, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    I can’t say I am a fan of Moses 6:55, not by a long shot, but by LDS standards it certainly seems like a real scripture to me. That said, I think that the first clause stakes out a pretty bizarre position in Mormon scriptural theology. It can hardly be a sin to do what God has explicitly commanded. Mosiah 3:19 is much clearer:

    For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

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  78. J on January 19, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Re: #45

    “So its pretty obvious that when Jesus states that he is the father and the son, that he is stating that he is the son of God and father of earth. This is not what you are saying. You are saying that Jesus and Heavenly Father are the same person, and this is not the case.”

    To add to the discussion, let’s look at Amulek’s discussion with Zeezrom:

    And Zeezrom said again: Who is he that shall come? Is it the Son of God?
    And he said unto him, Yea.
    And Zeezrom said again: Shall he save his people ain their sins? And Amulek answered and said unto him: I say unto you he shall not, for it is impossible for him to deny his word.
    Now Zeezrom said unto the people: See that ye remember these things; for he said there is but one God; yet he saith that the Son of God shall come, but he shall not save his people—as though he had authority to command God.
    Now Amulek saith again unto him: Behold thou hast lied, for thou sayest that I spake as though I had authority to command God because I said he shall not save his people in their sins.
    And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.
    Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?
    And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last

    And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else.

    Is Amulek just wrong here?

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  79. Dave P. on January 21, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Amulek is not wrong, because the Book of Mormon and church history were altered to change the identity of God. If you read Nephi’s vision in the original Book of Mormon, he describes Mary as the “mother of God,” and several other instances wherein he describes them as being one and the same. The Father because of the spirit and the Son because of the flesh; two separate parts of the same being (the Fifth Lecture on Faith explains it well).

    In Joseph Smith’s only firsthand, hand-written account of the First Vision, he saw one Person, “the Lord.” Masonic infiltrators who worshiped many Gods convinced Joseph Smith to publish the second edition of the Book of Mormon that creates many Gods (but some things weren’t changed and still survive, like Amulek’s statements), and the church has been under condemnation for that ever since 1837. The original Book of Mormon (also in Nephi’s vision) talks about plain and precious truths being taken from, then restored to the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible.

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