Sunday, February 13, 2011

CGtM: The God Father Part 1

When it comes to discussion about religion, there really isn't any question more fundamental than “Who/what is God?”  Hindus, for example, believe that God (Brahman) is essentially the limitless consciousness forming the basis of Reality itself, and that the “self” is like a wave in the ocean; appearing for a brief moment but is soon absorbed into the greater ocean of Brahman.  Now, as you can see, the Hindu God is very different from the Christian God.  I aim to show that the Mormon God (or gods, as it were) is just as different from the Christian God as Brahman.

The Mormons believe Father God is the “Eternal God of all other gods before this world was…” (D&C 121:32).  According to the LDS website (lds.org), “God is the Supreme and Absolute Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is all-powerful and all-knowing, and He is full of love, mercy, charity, and compassion.”  That said, the Mormon God is not transcendent, he exists within the confines of time and space.  As stated before, God the Father is “as tangible” (ie. physical, can be seen, touched, etc.) as a man’s body.  D&C 130:3 also states that “the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion and is false.”  This implies that the Father and the Son can’t live in a man’s heart because they are as real as your Great Aunt Dorothy.   And it’s silly to believe that Great Aunt Dorothy lives in your heart.

According to LDS Scripture, God the Father was once a man.  D&C 130:22 tells us, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.”   He then progressed to godhood as described in the Mormon doctrine of Exaltation: that a man may be exalted to godhood if he or she is baptized, married in a Temple, and keeps the commandments (D&C 132:20, “Then shall they be gods…”).  What this means is that there are indeed many gods in Mormonism, although Mormons claim they only worship “God the Father” of the Bible.  If one looks through the book of Abraham in Pearl of Great Price, one will find many usages of the word “Gods” in plural, especially taking part in the Creation.  See also D&C 76:58, 121:28, 132:17-20,37.

The God of Christianity is vastly different from the God of the Latter Day Saints.  First of all, there is only one God in existence.  Isaiah 43:10, “before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”, 44:6,8, “Thus saith the LORD of the King of Israel…I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God…Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any.”, 46:9. “I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me.”

Secondly, Christians believe God is transcendent.  He is beyond time and space, having created all of time and space.  The Bible supports this claim: 2 Peter 3:8, “…one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”, Psalm 41:13, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting.”, Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God...”.  Also, in Biblical Christianity, God has never been, is not, and will never be human.  Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man…”, 1 Samuel 15:29, “And also the Glory of Israel [God] will not lie or have regret, for He is not a man.”, Psalm 8:4, “What is man that You are mindful of him…”, Hosea 11:9, “for I am God, and not man; the Holy one in the midst of thee.”, Malachi 3:6, “I am the LORD, I change not” (ie. from man to godhood).  Also, John 4:24 explicitly states, “God is a spirit…”, and Luke 24:39 supports this by defining “a spirit” as a being who “hath not flesh and bones…”.

Christians also believe in the doctrine of the Trinity: that God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three personages in one entity (being).  Mormons, on the other hand, believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate entities (beings).  There’s a lot to unpack in the Trinity, so I’ll leave that for a later post.

And who believes the “old sectarian notion”?  That’s right, Biblical Christians: Ephesians 3:16, “…Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in Him.”

As I have shown through both religions’ scriptures, Mormonism and Christianity have vastly difference concepts of God the Father.  It’s important to note that like the God of Christianity and Brahman, the God of Christianity and the God of Mormonism cannot coexist.  In Part 2, I will explore some of the logical implications of both religions’ models for God the Father.

Note: I encourage everyone reading my blog to look up any scripture I cite.  As Levar Burton, host of the popular 90's children's show Reading Rainbow, used to say: "But don't take MY word for it."

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