Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Jesus: Lord of the Old Testament

While some critics allege that Latter-day Saints don't believe that Jesus Christ was and is God, that is mischaracterization of our beliefs. The Book of Mormon declares that He is the very Eternal Father, and that He and the Father are One God. We disagree with how modern mainstream Christianity has redefined (IMHO) the oneness of Christ and the Father (see my essay on the oneness of God, for example), but it is outrageous to suggest that we do not fully recognize and honor the divinity of Jesus Christ. In fact, some of the same critics who accuse us of not fully accepting the divinity of Jesus Christ go on to criticize our belief that He was Jehovah, the Lord who spoke to prophets in the Old Testament. In fact, we believe that He was the Creator of the earth under the direction of the Father, something that doesn't seem to be taught widely, even though it is proclaimed in the New Testament (Heb. 1:1-3, Col. 1:15-18, Eph. 3:9). How that squares with not believing that He is and was fully divine, I don't know.

For those who have been challenged about our belief in Christ as Jehovah (a title that does not necessarily always refer to Him, but typically does), FAIRLDS.org has a recent and helpful essay, "Jesus: Lord of the Old Testament" by David Ferguson.

Query: If you were to explore the writings of the earliest Christians, do you think you would find significant evidence that LDS views on Christ are supported or challenged? For example, would we find the earliest Christians speaking of Christ as one Being of the same substance as the Father and without body, parts and passions? Would the idea of Christ as Creator and Lord of the Old Testament be utterly unsupported? Or would we find that He was viewed as a distinct Being who was one in mind, purpose, and will with the Father, yet subordinate to the Father?

3 comments:

T said...

You know, I just read that last week. ^_^ I've been on a FAIR/FARMS reading binge for a while, and I like learning all this. It helps my testimony stay strong.

Anonymous said...

Probably the reason is because the idea of absolutely divine is so extremely absolute that nothing short of a Niceine (sp?) God could possibly live up to it. At this point, we're arguing about the definitions of adjectives, and even more importantly the description of the postulates behind our belief systems (I'm pretty sure "absolutely divine" isn't in the Bible), so dialog will be more than a little tricky. Of course, people who don't necessarily believe or understand how "absolute" is being used in this case will almost certainly take the wrong message, in which case it is misleading at best.

Nathan said...

In answer to your query it would depend on what early christian writings you were reading. If you read those in Mormonism and Early Christianity I think you most certainly would. Defining which period and sects represent early christianity would be the other challenge. As a LDS taking a course in christianity at a non-lds university I found many parallels. I also learned though that you have to do a lot of reading to discover historian bias! A fact our baptist professor took pains to alert us too (he waited to reveal his "baptist bias," as he called it,till later in the semester, which revealing I thought admirable).