Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Study of the LDS Church - 3.1 The Doctrine of God

**Make sure you've read this post first!

So who is the God of the LDS church? They say that his name is Elohim, the word most often used for “God” in the Old Testament. Let’s look further into the deity of Mormonism.

God the Father of humanity as we know it was once a man just like us and still maintains a flesh-and-bone body (or tabernacle) as mankind does. He lived his life according to the rules and regulations set forth by his god before him (the same truths the LDS church teaches) and has been obedient enough through the process to become exalted as a god himself. And so he created the universe and all that we know as his own realm to reign. In Doctrines & Covenants 130:22 you can read, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.” The teachings of the traditional Christian church that God is of a spirit or immaterial form is an apostate teaching according to the LDS church. This explains why Joseph Smith saw the personage of God in his First Vision.

Let’s look at the scripture where this is derived:

Genesis 1:26-27 states, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Since man was created as flesh and bones, it reasons that God must also be of flesh and bones.

In Exodus 33:11 we can see, “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.” If Moses saw God face to face, God must have a face, right?

John 14:9 shows Jesus saying, “…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” So just as Jesus was clothed in flesh, the Father, like him, must have flesh.

Hebrews 1:3 teaches, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” So not only does Jesus have the express image of his Father, but is sitting at God’s right hand. A spirit body cannot have a hand, can it?

So, now we’ve seen the LDS support for God having a tangible body, let us now examine the polytheism of Mormonism.

The LDS church, when using the word “Trinity” does not have the same definition as orthodox Christianity. They believe that the three personages are literally three separate beings and are unified in perfection and purpose. You also must realize that the belief that God had a father, that HE had a father, and so forth. And each god had multiple spirit children who had a chance to become a god, so there are many gods in existence throughout time and space. This is partially acquired by reasoning through a finite mind, but there is also scripture that they feel backs up this reasoning:

Gen 1:26-27, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Since man was created as flesh and bones, it reasons that God must also be of flesh and bones.” If you read the Pearl of Great Price you will see that Moses 3:4 says, “I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth,” indicating a singular God, but Abraham 4:1 states, “AND then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.” indicating a clear plurality of god. The remainder of the 4th chapter of Abraham states “Gods” at the beginning of each statement, creating a polytheistic point of view.

And thus the works of the LDS members. They are all following the tenets of their faith with the intention of moving up the spiritual ladder to become worthy enough to become gods themselves, like their Elohim did.

What is the evidence that they too can become gods? They use the following scriptures most often in this defense:

Psalm 82:1, 6: God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
Acts 7:55-56: But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
1 Corinthians 8:5: For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

So what does the Bible say about all of the above arguments. I’m pretty sure you already know, but for the sake of stating the argument side by side, we’ll lay it out here:

Genesis 1:26-27 teaches neither the glorified man story of God or the presence of other gods. It is simply a statement made within the Godhead of the Trinity.

Let me step outside the box of teaching here to tell you something. If you don’t “get” the Trinity, let me try to summarize it for you in the best way I have seen done. I will immediately admit that the word “Trinity” or “Triune” is no where in the Bible. It is a concept that encompasses truths contained in the Bible though. I will take a moment to show you those:

  1. The is only one God. (Isaiah 43:10; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6; 2 Samuel 7:22; Psalm 86:10)
  2. The Father is God (Ephesians 4:6; Malachi 2:10)
  3. Jesus is God. (Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16; John 20:28; John 10:30; John 14:9)
  4. The Holy Spirit (aka Holy Ghost) is God (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
    If you have any questions regarding these truths, please reference the scriptures given. If you have any further questions following reading them, let me know.

Okay, back to disputing the God doctrine of the LDS faith.

So if you look at Genesis 1:26-27 and see the plurality of the language, it can be taken that all three persons of the Trinity were around for creation and therefore, the “us” and “our” verbiage indicates the plurality of His glory. As for the image of God, an “image” does not constitute an exact replica in every way. In fact, go look in a mirror. You will see an image of yourself. Does that image have a flesh and bone body? No…it is just a representation (a “picture” if you will) of you.

The following scriptures back of the idea that God is not a man, not even a glorified one:
John 4:24: “God is a Spirit…”
Add to that a quote from Jesus stating that spirits do not have flesh—Luke 24:39: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have”
Hosea 11:9: “…for I am God, and not man;…”
Numbers 23:19: “God is not a man, that he should lie…”
Isaiah 45:12: “I have made the earth, and created man upon it…”
1 Timothy 1:17: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God…”
Colossians 1:15: “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
John 1:18: “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (also contradicts Smith’s claim of seeing the glorified body of God in the First Vision)

Even the Book of Mormon claims that God is in spirit form:
Alma 22:10: And Aaron said unto him: Yea, he is that Great Spirit, and he created all things both in heaven and in earth. Believest thou this? (notice no plurality of gods here…a contradiction in the LDS teaching)
Alma 31:15: Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever. (notice that this also backs up the idea that God never was a man…another contradiction to their own teaching)

As far as God having a face in Exodus 33:11, is this not an expression of being close and intimate (face to face)? If God is claimed to be of flesh and bone because He has a face (Exodus 33:11) or a right hand (Hebrews 1:3), we must also assume that He has some other attributes that are not exactly human such as feathers and wings (Psalm 91:4). Or could it just be that the writers of the Bible were personifying God? When your God is infinite and uncontainable, it is hard to describe Him with finite minds and words. Therefore, the writers do the best they can with what they are familiar with…that of the human body (or birds in some cases).

Joseph Smith did have a bit of an “out” to John 1:18 (seen above) to explain why he could communicate with God as Prophet. In Doctrine & Covenants 84:21-22, you can see this explanation: “And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.” Unfortunately, this does not do much to explain his First Vision, as he did not have the authority of the priesthood at the time of the First Vision in 1820. This is one that seems to stump us all.

The Book of Mormon even teaches a single godhood for the three entities! In Alma 11:44 you can see, “…Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God…” and in Mormon 7:7, we read, “…unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God…” which is actually contrary to the teaching of the church itself.

Lets look at the progression of mankind into gods:
Psalm 82:1, 6 seen above is actually a scene of condemnation. God is punishing the judges for taking on roles like gods unto mankind. If you read this entire chapter, it clearly leaves you with the feeling that you do not want to be associated with these “gods.”
In Stephen’s vision in Acts 7 of seeing both God and Jesus, point out that he claimed to see the glory of God, and Jesus standing by. There were not two separate bodies seen.
1 Corinthians 8:5 could be a difficult one…unless you read verse 4 just before it and verse 6 just after it…indicating in both places that there is but one God. Here Paul is referring to entities who are called gods but not called God. The difference is huge.

And the progression of God himself? How about looking at Malachi 3:6: “For I am the LORD, I change not…”

The fact is that the LDS doctrine of God is much more difficult to believe than the Christian one. Many contradictions within Mormon scripture makes the faith a very confusing one and often you can stump members of the LDS church using their own scripture, as they have never seen the contradictions for themselves.


So I haven’t asked enough questions yet? Let me refresh:

  1. The book of Alma in the Book of Mormon teaches that God is a spirit (see above) and is comprised of three personages as one God. This is not what the LDS church of today teaches. Which, then is wrong…the Book of Mormon, the "most accurate book ever written," or the church’s current teachings?
  2. Why isn’t Elohim (God) being once a mortal man discussed in the Book of Mormon? If it is the fullness of the everlasting gospel, I would expect that to be included.
  3. Here’s one not included in the above discussion, but is a sore spot and difficult to answer for some LDS members: Brigham Young taught that God was once Adam and then Michael, and then the Ancient of Days (Doctrine & Covenants 27:11). Did you know that Ancient of Days is a name of God in Daniel 7? So did Adam turn into God? When did this happen? Where is the break in the storyline from Adam to Godhood? If this is not true, was Brigham Young, a Prophet of the LDS church wrong?
  4. If Elohim had a Father, and he had a father, and he had a father, who was the first father and where did he come from? Who started this whole cycle?

Wow…this was a long one today. Are you starting to see people's refusal to call the LDS church one of a Christian denomination? It takes more than just Jesus' name in your church's name to be Christian.

Take a bit of a breather and I’ll see you again on Saturday!

Study of the LDS Church 3.2 - The Doctrine of Jesus


Adam Pastor said...

Greetings Kaye

I am no Mormon, however I noticed your comments concerning the Trinity e.g. I will immediately admit that the word “Trinity” or “Triune” is no where in the Bible.

On the subject of the Trinity,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you to reconsider "The Trinity"

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

Kaye said...

Welcome to the study, Adam. I appreciate you stopping in and for your comments.

I just wanted you to know that I have presently watched 1/2 hr of the 2 hour video, which I will finish at a more opportune time for me. I am certain that the video continues to build upon the theory they are presenting, but I will certainly watch to find out all that there is to say regarding that theory.

However, I have to say that nothing in the first 1/2 hour of the video has really made me reconsider my belief in the Trinity. It is not because I am not willing to listen, but it is because I can reference back to those scriptures noted under the "Jesus is God" section of the lesson above. I cannot deny those verses. After watching the video, I tried to see them from the point of view of the video, and I just cannot resolve them with that concept. The only way to resolve them that makes sense to me is via the Trinity.

This is how I try to explain the Trinity to others(keep in mind this is my feeble attempt, so it isn't perfect, but it's the best analogy that I can create)...

We are comprised of a mind (I'm speaking of a conscious-thought creating mind...not the organ of the brain), a physical body, and a soul (think, conscience and emotions here--you "heart"). Those three parts can act independently of one another (my heart and head often disagree on matters; I can think with moving; I can also move without a conscious command of "move, move, move"), but those three parts are all me. They all work together for the same purpose (being me), but they all have different roles in who I am and they are not limited to the confines of the others. That's harder to put into writing than to verbally explain. However, to me that makes sense. I know that those three parts of me are separate from one another, yet are all me. None of them are meant to do the job(s) of the others. They are all required, however, to complete me. Without a body I am incomplete (which is why God will restore us with glorified bodies). Without a "heart" (emotions, etc) I am an android. Without a mind, I'm not even sure how that would work, but it couldn't possibly.

So while all of these things are one person (me), they all do co-exist and none of them are less of me than the other.

Okay, have I thoroughly confused you with my explanation?

Thanks for the link. I will continue watching it at a later time and let you know my final thoughts on the entire presentation.

Hope to see you on here more frequently!