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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shocking Statements in the LDS Scriptures: An Apologist Explains Why They May Actually Be Somewhat Compatible with the Bible

I'm about to share a troubling excerpt from a rather annoying blogger. This writer has compiled a list of "shocking statements" in the LDS scriptures that are clearly at odds with mainstream Christianity, for they point to the divine potential of humans and hint at some deep doctrines about which we actually know very little (you know, doctrines involving terms such as "gods"). LDS folks and investigators exploring the LDS scriptures might run into these passages and be confused, so by presenting them here with my response, I hope I will just be inoculating people. Using some advanced apologetic techniques and even a touch of logic, I intend to show that these passages, troubling and revolutionary as they may seem, are in some ways compatible with the Bible, when viewed through the right lens and given the right framework for understanding. It may seem like an impossible task, but stick with me on this one. So here's the excerpt:

Shocking Statements in the Mormon Scriptures about "Gods" and the "Divine Potential" of Humans


The Mormon scriptures contain numerous disturbing statements strongly at odds with several established doctrines of modern normative Christianity regarding what Mormons call "the divine potential" or "divine nature" of human beings. Rather than give my spin, I will let the Mormon scriptures--the "standard works" that form the foundation of official Mormon doctrine--speak for themselves. I will also present a few quotes from widely recognized and respected Church leaders affirming these doctrines. Then I will ask Mormons if they can explain why their doctrines are so out of whack with the rest of Christianity.

From the official Mormon Scriptures (all references use the Mormon Church's 1979 printing of the Mormon "Standard Works"):
  1. "I said, Ye are gods? . . . he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came." - Spoken by the Mormon Jesus. The LDS Church has never questioned this verse, never repudiated it, and still prints it and teaches it. Enough said! (Mormon Standard Works, Vol. 2, p. 1346)

  2. "[We are] the sons of God, and . . . when he [Christ] shall appear, we shall be like him." - Like him?? Like Jesus, the Son of God? (Vol. 2, pp. 1557-8)

  3. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" - Humans sitting with Christ in his throne? (Vol. 2, p. 1569)

  4. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." The text then speaks of "the glory which shall be revealed in us." - Joint heirs? Glorified together? Folks, I'm not interpolating - this is what the Mormon scriptures say! (Vol. 2, p. 1426)

  5. "God is God of gods, and Lord of lords" - Once again, enough said! (Vol. 1, p. 271)

  6. "[T]here be [those] that are called gods . . . (as there be gods many, and lords many)" - This verse of officially canonized Mormon scripture came from an early Church leader. (Vol. 2, p. 1447)

  7. "Thou hast made him [mortal man] a little lower than the angels [originally "gods"!], and hast crowned him with glory and honour." - This example nicely illustrates the principle of change in the Mormon scriptures. The word "gods" was used in the original version of this verse, but some felt that the use of "gods" in this verse was just too controversial, and so it was later "translated" to give a more socially acceptable result: "angels." As shameful as this kind of scriptural cover-up is, even the watered-down version reinforces the lofty status of mortals as potentially divine beings, linked to angels and destined for glory and honor in Mormon doctrine. But I say we should hold Mormons accountable for what this verse originally said: "gods"! (Vol. 1, p. 718)

  8. "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." - No wiggle room here! (Vol. 1, p. 768)

  9. In one passage of Mormon scripture, Jesus prays that his followers "may be one as we [Christ and the Father] are"! Shortly after that, he prays "that they also may be one in us" and then offers this zinger: "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." Again, the LDS Church refuses to repudiate this passage. It is a core part of what Mormons are asked to believe, being in one of their cherished "standard works" and commonly used. If this passage doesn't expose the monumental gap between the norms of modern Christianity and LDS theology, I don't know what does. Absolutely shocking. What's even more shocking is that most Mormons don't even see the problem with this kind of doctrine or recognize how far it strays from the rest of Christendom. (Vol. 2, p. 1345-6)

  10. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." - Honestly, I'm not making this up! (Vol. 2, p. 1489)

  11. "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness . . . Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature. . .. Wherefore . . . give diligence to make your calling and election sure." (Vol. 2, p. 1551) This troubling passage also reminds us of the Mormon idea, typically found in the context of many of the previous passages, that diligence or obedience is needed in the quest to receive the gift of "the divine nature" or "godliness."

There are further passages in these volumes of scripture that reinforce these doctrines. Mormons will tell you that they don't know much about it, which is true, but there's no denying that it is taught in the Mormon scriptures and that it is far removed from the acceptable standards of normative Christianity. Mormons will say that it is not part of the core teachings that are discussed in their classes, their General Conferences, and Church publications, but it is there, indisputably, and Church leaders have frequently referred to it. Here are some quotes from respected Church leaders and theologians:
  1. "Jesus Christ . . . become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself."

  2. "Do we cast blame on him [God] because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men, and then later as gods? Although God has adopted this course out of his pure benevolence, . . . he declares, 'I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.'"

  3. "The Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god."

  4. One leader taught that in the beginning men were "made like God, free from suffering and death," and that they are thus "deemed worthy of becoming gods and of having power to become sons of the highest."

  5. "But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. . . If then we have been made sons of god, we have also been made gods."

  6. "The Word was made flesh in order that we might be enabled to be made gods.... Just as the Lord, putting on the body, became a man, so also we men are both deified through his flesh, and henceforth inherit everlasting life."

  7. "He [Christ] became man that we might be made divine."

So, Mormon teachings in official scriptures and the teachings of early Church leaders and theologians, are far different from normative Christianity today. So how do you account for the huge gap between what you Mormons believe and teach, and what the rest of the established Christian world has? Your doctrine regarding the "divine potential" of human beings is simply shocking, disturbing, and unacceptable from the standards of normative religion, and this fact needs to be faced and understood.
Well, I hope that hasn't shaken your faith too bad. Hang on folks, because I'm going to apply my skills as a Mormon apologist to show that these shocking doctrines aren't entirely remote from the Bible and original Christianity. Hold on just a second while I get my spinnamometer out and, uh, let's see. I can bear my testimony of the Gospel . . . trust that warm feeling you're getting now . . . well then, turn up the heat -- any better? Not working? OK, let me try this. Let's check out the sources cited above. Ah, that's it. Let's see, the 1979 printing of the LDS standard works, volumes 1 and 2 - ah, that would be the Old Testament and the New Testament.

So here are the chapter and verse citations, instead of the page numbers from the LDS printing of the King James Bible, given in the same order presented above: John 10:34; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 3:21; Romans 8:16-18; Deut. 10:17; 1 Corinthians 8:5; Psalm 8:4-5; Psalm 82:6; John 17: 11, 20-23; Philippians 2:5-6; and 2 Peter 1:3-4,10. Others could be cited. In Psalm 8, by the way, the Masoretic (Hebrew) text has "gods" but the King James translators decided to put down "angels" instead.

As for the Church leader quotes, well, it turns out they are all from the early Church of Jesus Christ, from men recognized and respected by modern mainstream Christianity as genuine early Christians, not heretics or apostates. (Hey, this whole thing looks rigged! Talk about annoying!) The quotes, in order, come from Irenaeus (two quotes), Saint Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, Saint Augustine, and Saint Athanasius (two quotes). The quotes were compiled by Stephen Robinson in Are Mormons Christians? (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991, pp. 60-70), with a slight correction on the first quote from Irenaeus. The relevant excerpt from Robinson with sources for the quoted early Christian leaders are given on my LDSFAQ page, "Theosis, the Divine Potential of Mankind: LDS and Early Christian Perspectives." So who was that annoying blogger I mentioned?

Boy, that was a close call! Instead of having to do a lot of hand-waving to make the quotes from the LDS scriptures somehow appear consistent with the Bible, I just had to point out that they actually were from the Bible, the largest source of LDS scripture. Whew! And the wacko quotes from Church leaders, in this case, turn out to be wacko quotes from early Christianity, whose doctrines are sometimes remote from the socially acceptable standards of today, but in this case appear to be remarkably close to that of the Bible and strangely close to some controversial doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Wow, it's almost like some sort of Restoration occurred. But that's just one possible explanation. I'll leave it to you to sort things out.

Sorry if I shook anyone's faith, but sometimes it's best to face these important theological issues head on.

I should also add that we really don't know much about this doctrine and what it really means. I would be more comfortable if the scriptures said our destiny was to be glorious angels or something, but that jarring word "gods" is hard to avoid. But being godlike Beings does not detract from the glory of the Father but adds to it. We do know that all glory is to the Father and that we are and always will be subservient to Him. We are the fallen, weak mortals who are saved by a perfect and always sinless Savior, acting on behalf of His even greater Father (John 14:28: "My father is greater than I"). See also John 5:19. I see no scriptural or logical basis for the allegation that we think that people will one day worship us or that we somehow replace God. We worship God the Father and always will. Those who do inherit all things from the Father and sit with Christ in his throne and become "like him" nevertheless--and of course--worship God and give glory to Him (and the Savior). Consider Doctrine and Covenants 76:
92 And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things--where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever;
93 Before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever.
Even those beings the Lord chooses to call "gods."

Jan. 31 Update: I should note, as I have in the comments already, that I don't think the early Christian fathers whose writings are extant were just early Mormons who saw everything the way we do. The philosophical issues they faced and debated were much different than those relevant today, and the assumptions and paradigms that they had, in addition to the revealed word of God, surely affected their viewpoints in many ways. They were also writing in a time when the Hellenization of Christianity was well underway and apostolic leadership had already been lost. However, there are persistant references to human deification or theosis that at least appear to reinforce what we understand the scriptures to teach on this topic. My reading of their writings suggests that when they talk of mortals becoming "gods," it is a reference to participating in the grace of Christ and being made, by grace, more like Him, for we are sons and daughters of God with the potential to receive the divine nature. This, however, is what I believe is the core of the LDS doctrine: a recognition that we are actual children of God (see Acts 17: 28-29 and Heb. 12:9) with the potential to become somehow "like" Jesus and more like the Father, sharing in their fullness. They are the Creators and sources of grace, life, and salvation, and we are the grateful recipients of their mercy, but in receiving these blessings, we become more like them and thus the scriptures dare use the term "gods" to describe an intrinsic potentiality in mortal man, enabled by the grace of the Messiah. We are sons and daughters of God, undeserving recipients of grace and mercy, allowed to share in the blessings of Eternal Life and become "joint heirs" with Christ, having that intrinsic divine potential revealed through Christ, thereby becoming what the scriptures and some early Christians called "gods"--I find that fully compatible with LDS doctrine and believe that the early Christian fathers, in spite of seeing some things differently, would see an awful lot of common ground with modern LDS views on the divine potential of human beings.

77 comments:

Pops said...

Priceless!

Clean Cut said...

I also appreciate the distinction that Stephen Robinson makes in "How Wide the Divide?" between "gods" with a lowercase g, and "God" with the uppercase G.

jackg said...

Jeff,

I am looking forward to reading this post. I scanned it, and am really interested in what you used for any exegesis of the text you will offer...or is it all eisegesis? Perhaps, you'll allow me the same time for a rebuttal as you took for getting this out.

Praying for you...

jackg said...

Okay, Jeff, I read it. I'm glad you have supporters like pops who thinks what you write is priceless. Hmmm...I see no attempt at exegesis, just proof texting. Good luck to you, Jeff. I'm praying for you. I truly am.

Bookslinger said...

jackg: You're problem is that you don't take the Bible at face value. You and most all "mainstream" modern Christians, are using an interpretation of the Bible that was developed starting in the 4th century.

If you _really_ believed what the Bible _actually_ says, not just a "post-4th century" interpretation, then you'd also believe the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.

The reason you can't countenance "Mormonism" is that you don't accept the Bible for what it really and actually says.

Your version of Christianity is congruent in standing to 1st century Christianity as Pharisitical Judaism was in the 1st century AD to the Law of Moses. IE, claiming a heritage of a valid origin, but having an admixture of man-made philosophies that have completely masked the essential truths at the core.

As the Pharisees of Jesus' time were to Moses, you are to the 1st century apostles.

By the way, how much income do you expect to make as a preacher/minister/evangelist some day?

Adam B said...

Wow. That was awesome. When I first read those scriptures/quotes on divine potential, I assumed he was quoting the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants and early LDS Church leaders. Interesting to note that apparently "Modern Normative Christianity" doesn't believe the whole Bible to be from God. Just the parts that fit their current beliefs.

ntf said...

jackg proves the point that in this world people believe what they want to believe, regardless of evidence against them. Whether out of fear or hatred, he will never open himself up to alternative ways of thinking, and in the least can't appreciate another person's point of view. I have found other religions fascinating and respect the sacrifices and faith of those of other faiths. I appreciate the research you did on this site. I too will pray for you: That you will be blessed with what you need, not simply to fall in line with my school of thought. I hardly see how the latter is a Christian approach to prayer.

Andrew Hansen said...

I loved this post, loved jackg's 'typical christian' response, and how ntf actually summed up what someone who truly embraces what Christ taught would say. So great! Loved this post and the comments. I check your blog every day Jeff, and on a personal note, your blogs, testimony and explainations of insincere and false doctrine from exmormons and 'haters' helped save my testimony and my family. I pray for you too, and thank God for you!

Anonymous said...

Man, I don't even know where to start with this. Let me just say briefly, Mormons have some of the most creative sausage making I've ever seen when it comes to Biblical texting (I won't call it interpretation) and fanciful view of Christian Church history. Very creative I must say but using the techniques and faux intellectualism displayed here isn't going to get Mormons any closer to the truth. This approach keeps the folks down at the wards happy along with all of the other folk doctrines.

Fizwittle said...

Amen, Anon! All Jeff has done is cite early Christian sources and Jewish and Christian scriptures in support of the concept of theosis. That doesn't stand up against, uh, your name calling and eye rolling.

Anonymous said...

I hope you all can help us where Jeff has failed as a result of proof texting because surely all those references to the divine potential mean something else. No need to address all the references in a single post, go ahead and do a post for each reference and demonstrate how proof texting did not bring out the true meaning.

Mormanity said...

What about the faux intellectualism of Father Jordan Vajda, the Roman Catholic scholar whose work comparing ancient Christian theosis to modern LDS doctrine gave him added respect for the LDS claim of a restoration? Father Vajda eventually made a huge sacrifice in pursuit of truth and today is Brother Vajda.

The ancient doctrine of theosis is one that is worthy of much study and pondering, and provides some evidence for LDS claims of divine restoration, though there is uncertainty about just what the ancients believed and how broadly disseminated those beliefs were. At least in some parts of early Christianity, some aspects of theosis appear to have been real doctrine, not heresy, though there is much we don't understand yet and surely differences in our limited modern understanding versus what was understood at various times in the past.

So JackG, what do you think the five early Christians I quote meant? Is there a fundamental difference between what the Bible teaches on this toppic and what the other modern LDS scriptures teach?

I'm not asking for your extrapolations about what blasphemies you think we believe. I'm asking where the Bible and the early Christians I quoted differ from the doctrine of divine potential of human beings - the concept that we are actually children of God with the potential to become more like our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus, even glorified beings partaking of the divine nature in a way that somehow can be called "gods." I know you and most modern Christians reject that doctrine, but isn't it possible that it is a little closer to early Christianity and the Bible than our critics let on?

Andy said...

Jeff, I applaud your efforts in trying to be a Mormon apologist. However, if I were you, I'd keep your day job. Your fellow followers of Joseph Smith's religion may view you as an intellectual heavyweight, those outside of Mormonism view scholastic attempts such as this as laughable. Why do I say that? I'm glad you asked. Let me explain.

First, if I were your teacher I'd give you and "F" on your paper for citing no references after quoting the early church Fathers. This is grade school stuff here. If you quote someone, give the references. You could follow the example of Joseph Smith followers over at FARMS like K. Codell Carter who wrote the piece "Godhood" and he cited the references. I gather you are getting your information from him.

Second, I did look up three references mentioned in my large volume collection of the early Church Fathers. After I got past the third refernce I couldn't justify any more time in this "goose chase". Your quotes aren't matching up with what I am reading in the works of the Irenaeus and Clement. Be a good researcher and look them up and read what is written before and after the reference. You might be in for a big surprise.

No, my faith isn't shattered one bit. Matter of fact, it's strengthened after reading the writings for myself. Everytime I read the writings of these men from the first three centuries I see a faith shown in historical, orthodox Christianity that is traceable going all the way back. I don't read anywhere from these writings the teachings of Mormonism. You like to do research? See if you can find anything from the early church fathers that coincides with what Joseph Smith said at the King Follet Discourse. And, please, cite your references. It really is hard to take Mormon scholarship serious. I leave you with the words of Tatian on the nature of God the Father. He and the others Father don't believe in your Mormon god as defined in D&C 130:22

“Our God did not begin to be in time: He alone is without beginning, and He Himself is the beginning of all things. God is a Spirit, not pervading matter, but the Maker of material spirits, and of the forms that are in matter; He is invisible, impalpable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. (Tatian, Address to the Greeks, Chapter 4)

Mormanity said...

Andy, maybe you didn't notice that post did give readers information on the sources: "The quotes were compiled by Stephen Robinson in Are Mormons Christians? (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991, pp. 60-70), with a slight correction on the first quote from Irenaeus. The relevant excerpt from Robinson with sources for the quoted early Christian leaders are given on my LDSFAQ page, "Theosis, the Divine Potential of Mankind: LDS and Early Christian Perspectives." Does that help? Details are given there.

rameumptom said...

Great job, Jeff.

Isn't it amazing how many traditional Christians can claim a literal belief in the Bible, yet then seek a non-literal explanation of the verses you provided?

This one is going to go into my use file....

Mormanity said...

Andy, I do realize that recorded writings of the early Christian fathers do not reflect 100% Mormon doctrine--in fact, we expect differences. Many already had inherited a variety of Hellenistic perspectives and much had not yet (and still has not yet) been revealed, so we have to fall back upon our own understanding and logic on many issues.

I don't think Irenaeus understood or taught our views on the premortal existence, for example, and may have been closer to an ex nihilo view on the Creation.

But if you look at the sources in context, while their relevance to the LDS perspective may vary, I don't think it's fair to say that they are advocating something entirely other than theosis.

Let's take the example of Justin Martyr. Robinson's work just quotes a tiny snippet from him, so it's fair to wonder what was really being said. OK, so let's read the entire chapter where the quote is taken from. You can see it online at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.cxxiv.html. In this case, anyway, the case for the LDS perspective is surprisingly strong. In fact, Justin Martyr quotes Psalm 82 and shows that it is not just an LDS prooftext stripped of context, but argues that it does indeed teach the divine potential of human beings. Those who claim we are completely misreading Psalm 82, and misunderstanding Christ's quotation of it in John 10, now need to explain why Justin Martyr seems to see it our way as well.

Well, I'm curious to hear your explanation as to how we are takiing Justin Martyr completely out of context. The context looks pretty interesting to me.

Mormanity said...

While Augustine said and did a lot of things we don't agree with, I think all of us can at least be intrigued by the fuller context of what he said regarding "gods." You can read it at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf108.ii.L.html--not the same translation Robinson used, but very similar. Augustine points out there there is a big difference between those who become "gods" by grace versus Christ and the Father, who are gods by substance or inherent nature. I actually like his argument here and feel that it is relatively close to what the LDS scriptures actually point to. We are fallen creatures, dependent entirely on the mercy of the Father and the Atonement of the Son. There is a difference, of course(!), and while they share all they have, we will always be subservient and will naturally give all glory to them.

Fleeting_Thoughts said...

Very interesting read.

The point that sources are left out by the original blogger and then Mr. Lindsey gets a talking to about research methods is ironic indeed.

Roxy said...

You know, I am saddened by those negative comments about our beliefs. Usually I would get really upset, but not this time. All I sensed from reading those comments was a lot of hatred. And I just wonder why? It's sad.

Anonymous said...

I think the BOM falls in line with the Bible so well in many things is because it was copied from the KJV of the Bible. I have seen numerous Youtube videos on this and some noted people talking about how the names were changed in the Bible to make a new book of scripture.

Andy said...

Roxy,

It's always hatred when someone doesn't agree with the Mormon program, right? The Mormon people need to grow up and get rid of their persecution complex. Joseph Smith made it very clear to the world in Joseph Smith History 1:18-19 and in numerous passages in the Book of Mormon on what he thought about Christianity. Christianity was minding it's own business until Joseph Smith came on the scene and said the whole world was wrong except for him. I call that the epitome of arogance and heresy. He'll have eternity in hell to think it over next to Brigham Young, Gordon Hinckley and many others who the LDS people think are going on to be gods on their own personal "Kolob" to procreate for all eternity.

I am saddened that so many millions of people have been led astray by this false prophet because they were duped into believeing his story on many accounts. Mormons have swallowed the King Follet Discourse and what he taught there, so they will have to live with the eternal consequences. You and the other Mormons won't be able to blame Joseph Smith for spending eternity in outer darkness. You'll only be able to blame yourself. Yes, you may have a testimony, but it's based on the false teachings from a false prophet.

There is no anger here. What do I have to be angry about other than spiritualy stirred at seeing Mormons being lied to? No big deal, right? I did the study on Mormonism, read the LDS Scriptures, etc, and knew in short order that this was heresey with a capital "H". I have a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ that is my sole reason for existing and being today. ALL of my sins have been forgiven, my name has been written in the Lamb's Book of Life and I have been given the gift of eternal life NOW through Jesus Christ all bases on what He has said in His Word - the Bible. The same is available to you and the other Mormons.

Andy said...

Jeff, you and the rest within the heresy of Mormonism are in violation of LDS Articles/Creeds of Faith No.8. You aren’t translating the Bible correctly. To put it in other terms, Mormonism has once again displayed improper exegesis of Psalm 82:6/John 10:34 and have taken wild liberties with eisegesis. I know that this text is one that the Mormons run to when attempting to prove almost anything they want from the Bible when they want to use the Bible. When the Bible doesn’t agree with what they say…well, just cite ole’ no.8 from the LDS creeds and move on to further revelation from the beloved inspired prophets like Brigham Young who was really spot-on doctrinally in his revelations from the Mormon god on/near Kolob.

You and the rest of Joseph Smith’s followers aren’t alone in wild eisegesis of favored “pet” verses that in reality don’t help the LDS cause. The next time any of our Mormon readers get a knock on their door from Jehovah’s Witnesses, instead of ignoring them or being rude, invite them in and ask them their take on Psalm 82:6 and be prepared for some exciting enlightenment that is sure to expand the mental horizons of even the most educated Mormon.

Anyone can prove whatever they want from the Bible if they set out to do it. For example, I can prove to you that Jesus has a sword for a tongue and that God the Father is a rooster all from Bible Scripture. Is any of that true? Nope! It is if I don’t use proper exegesis of a text in relation to other texts.

The context of Psalm 82 is judges – rulers of Israel (verse 1; see also Deut 1:15-17). Notice the small “g” for gods. Deity is a big “G”. Idols or anything that is not God are false gods. These Jewish judges are also referenced in Exodus 21:6; 22:8-9. The judges were God’s representatives. God is speaking of their office – not their essence. They became as “gods” in the eyes of the people – “mighty ones”. Was Moses “a god” in Exodus 7:1? He was in the eyes of Pharaoh. Was Moses “a god” in the LDS view here in this text? No, he wasn’t.

Look at verse 7. Taking your conclusion, were men attaining exaltation in the Old Testament? Did anyone become a god in the Old Testament? Do gods die like men? You think one day you will become a god? Do you plan on dying? Can an LDS god die after attaining exaltation? Right….that’s what I thought. It’s not in the LDS program (as Spencer Kimball used to say it).

James Talmage isn’t even in the camp of modern Mormonism when they reference Psalm 82:6 as an exaltation text. He says:

“Divinely appointed Judges called ‘gods’: In Psalm 82:6, judges invested by divine appointment are called ‘gods’. To this the Savior referred to His reply to the Jews in Solomon’s Porch.” (Jesus The Christ, James Talmage, page 501)

Andy said...

(Cont’d)

Let’s now look at John 10:34 where Jesus is quoting Psalm 82:6. Again, let me ask you these questions in regards to the modern Mormon spin of this text being an exaltation text.

1. Does Mormonism teach men are gods now? (No!)
2. Were the Jewish religious leaders (judges) who were the murderers of Jesus actually “gods”? (No!)
3. Jesus is speaking in the present tense – “Ye ARE gods”. Was there men who became gods before Jesus?
4. Are any of these Jews that Jesus referred to as “gods” (judges) in fact, gods now or did they die like men as stated in Psalm 82:7? Right, they are deader than dead. So much for exaltation.

Joseph Smith isn’t the “brainchild” behind the doctrine of exaltation. You know who is? Satan. He hatched this one all by his lonesome in Genesis 3:5 when he told a big “whopper” lie saying, “ye shall be as gods”. No, ole’ Joe didn’t stumble on something new here. This lie has been around for a long time.

Somehow, I don’t find these official statement from an LDS Church Manual fitting anywhere in the Bible texts mentioned above on what it takes to be a god in the Mormon program.

“Can you now see how temple marriage allows you to be like God to a degree right now, and not just in the life hereafter? Can you see that since you have power to give both the physical and spiritual endowments of life, you are engaged in the same work as God? Can you see that by doing what God does, you can become as he is? (Achieving a Celestial Marriage, page 63)

“Parents will have eternal claim upon their posterity and will have the gift of eternal increase, if they obtain the exaltation. This is the crowning glory in the kingdom of God, and they will have no end. When the Lord says they will have no end, he means that all who attain this glory will have the blessing of the continuation of ‘seeds’ forever. Those who fail to obtain this blessing come the ‘deaths’, which means that they will have no increase, forever. All who obtain this exaltation will have the privilege of completing the full measure of their existence, and they will have a posterity that will be as innumerable as the stars of heaven.
“The Father has promised us that through our faithfulness we shall be blessed with the fullness of his kingdom. In other words we will have the privilege of becoming like him. To become like him we must have all the powers of godhood; thus a man and his wife when glorified will have spirit children who eventually will go on an earth like this one we are on and pass through the same kind of experiences, being subject to mortal conditions, and if faithful, then they also will receive the fullness of exaltation and partake of the same blessings. There is no end to this development; it will go on forever. We will become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by our own offspring. We will have an endless eternity for this.” (Achieving a Celestial Marriage, p.132)

Andy said...

Jeff,

How much time have you spent reading the Ante-Nicene Church Fathers? Their writings are massive and extensive. I would be more than happy to completely load up your blog with quote after quote from these men in how they don't believe anything that Mormonism teaches today. You quote Clement, Irenaeus, Martyr and others. Have you read all the rest of their writings to see if what they said adds up to what you think it does? I doubt it.

I will tell you that the writings of these men is not Scripture and infallible. What can be looked at as authoritative and infallible is the written Word in the Bible and that was done above on Psalm 82 and John 10. Those Scriptures have to be taken into context in light of other Scriptures: scripture interprets scripture. God's Word (the Bible) does not teach exaltation the way the Mormons see it. God the Father has stated repeatedly especially in Isaiah chapters 41-48 that He is the only God and there are not NOW or EVER going to be anyone else becoming God besided Him. You can either take His word for it or not. You have agency/freewill.

You like to use logic - great. Let's use it here with Justin Martyr and Augustine. Origen was denounced for his wild thoughts and out-of-line reasoning. He snapped out of it eventually. However, people like Arius were defiant to the end. He was excommunicated for believing that Jesus was a created being by God the Father - that's right - the same belief that Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses have today. Arius taught that Jesus was not equal to the Father in nature and essence. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are carrying on the 2nd century of the Arian heresy right to this very day.

Arius was put out of fellowhip for his heresy. Now, I stated this to you to show that your view in what you believe some of these statements from the Fathers means is not what Mormonism wants it to be. If Justin Martyr and Augustine believed that human beings could become like the Father and become God/as God/a god or whatever, they would have been promptly denounced and excommunicated if they didn't wise up in short order. They weren't so what does that tell you? It tells me that what they said was not perceived or taken the way that Mormons like yourself or over at FARMS are reading it.

This same point is demonstrated in the Mormon view of James "faith without works is dead" spin. The Mormons think that James is in their camp, but he's not. Why? James epistle would never be in the Biblical canon if it conflicted with what God had already stated through the numerous writings of Paul that works plays no part in one obtaining salvation. Works is only the product of a salvation that has already taken place. James and Paul were in agreement and in the same camp. The Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses have decided to spin this into a salvation-by-works theology when it's simply not the case.

Likewise, the early Church Fathers aren't in the camp with the Mormons. If they were here today they would look Thomas Monson straight in the face and tell him that he is anathema.

Jeff, you're right, Irenaeus isn't in the Mormon camp when it comes to the LDS view of the creation. He is in the camp with Hippolytus and the other Fathers with EX NIHILO. I leave you with this:

“The Logos alone of this God is from God himself; wherefore also the Logos is God, being the substance of God. Now the world was made from nothing.” (Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresis, Chapter 28)

ando49 said...

hi Andy. you really know your stuff. Pity i think it's irrelevant. No wonder people are leaving mainstram christianity in droves with your kind of reasoning. i'd rather hear a single line of truth from an inspired representative of God than read a treatise full of convoluted contortions from unispired post apostolic christians. The way I see it, Christ looked like one of us in the flesh and he had the potential to be a God, then why is it such a big deal to believe that we can do the same? We were told to be "perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect". What excites me about Mormonism, is that it teaches that we can all share in the divine gift, which is eternal life. I wouldn't be interested in any other form of christianity if it devalued my potential.

Anonymous said...

Andy, I don't think you have too much to be worried about. Less than 2% of US population is counted as LDS and that is counting every inactive and child on the rolls. No exodus from Christianity to Mormonism. 13 million is world wide number of LDS and more than half are inactive. Mexico alone has 70% inactive.
Missionary numbers have remained about the same for the past 25 years.
I am sure the world does not have much to be worried about with the spread of Mormonism.

Anonymous said...

Andy,

Keep focused here. The discussion is about man's divine potential. I think that you were going to demonstrate how Jeff was prooftexting.

Mormanity said...

Andy, did you read what Justin Martyr said about Psalm 82:6? Of course none of these mortals called "gods" were glorious resurrected beings - yet. Just as each sinner is a son or daughter of God by virtue of Who our Father in Heaven is, they do not fully become a son or daughter of God until they are born again and receive the Holy Ghost and the blessings of salvation. It's a matter of potential and promise.

Look, mortal Christians say they are saved and have eternal life. That's wonderful. But they still bleed and die, they still sin, and they still live in some pretty dismal settings. We can say we are saved, but it's a matter of futurity and promise. Technically, no, we're not yet saved until we are resurrected and safely in the Kingdom of God. But if we have repented of our sins and accepted Christ in a covenant relationship and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are on the path to being true Saints, true sons and daughters of God who receive of His fullness, truly saved souls, and indeed, true "gods" in the sense taught by early Christian fathers. They may not have known or publicly discussed the concept of eternal families, which is a heavy but marvelous one that is compatible with the scriptures. But they definitely recognized that the scriptures point to the divine potential of humans s "gods." Justin Martyr and others spoke of humans being deified, and understood Psalm 82:6 to not just be a random lliterary device, but an important hint about our destiny as sons and daughters of God. If children, then heirs, joint heirs with Christ, glorified with him, having glory to be revealed because our spirits are offspring of God and we have divine potential. All biblical doctrine. Given our divine heritage and potential, "gods" is the jarring word that the scriptures and early Christian fathers used.

I'm sorry that so many remnants of early Christianity have lost that doctrine (Orthodox Christianity still has at least part of it). Given that loss, it will naturally sound strange and heretical when refreshed.

Let me ask this: If we didn't believe that families can be eternal but that we were just single, unmarried beings in the eternities participating in eternal life, would you still be offended by our use of the term "gods" to describe that state? Is it the idea of having families, raised to give glory to the Father and to advance His work and His glory, that is your ultimate objection here?

Anonymous said...

I love the "sound bit" that was suggested by an author that LDS need to get our "message" into smaller, easier understood words so others can "get it" and then ask for more.

Here is the "sound bit" message--

Jesus Christ organized a church
Men changed it
It has been brought back

Now my "bit" the pattern of God has been to speak to men he calls prophets and it is THEIR work to share what they are supposed to with us.

I'm so thankful that God is the same- and still speaking to us, as to me-- we REALLY need Him, and his guidance etc. The last days (seconds in time relation?) are upon us. We need to get our lives in order so we can have peace in our hearts- love our neighbors and our Heavenly Father. Gramajane

Anonymous said...

Gramajane, that sounds like that joke when someone of another language does not understand what you are saying, Just speak slow and loud and they will get it.
Sound bites won't help erase the problems people have with the history of the Church or with the Current belief system. Speak loud or soft or fast or slow, it will be the same. Kinda 'arrogant' ( to use a term someone just leveled at a non member on here) to think that if you just explained it in simpler terms people would then convert. Problem is the message not the delivery.

Anonymous said...

Gramajane, that sounds like that joke when someone of another language does not understand what you are saying, Just speak slow and loud and they will get it.
Sound bites won't help erase the problems people have with the history of the Church or with the Current belief system. Speak loud or soft or fast or slow, it will be the same. Kinda 'arrogant' ( to use a term someone just leveled at a non member on here) to think that if you just explained it in simpler terms people would then convert. Problem is the message not the delivery.

Mormanity said...

Also, Andy, regarding that whopper told by Satan, did you notice how it is followed up by a statement from God? Gen. 3:22: "The man is become as one of us" because now he knows good and evil. Satan tempted Adam and Eve to transgress a law, and part of his argument was that by gaining knowledge they would become as gods. Once the transgressed, God observed that they had "become as one of us" - as gods, in one aspect, that of having knowledge of good and evil. Seems more like a factoid than a whopper.

Do you ever wonder who the "us" is in Genesis? Once you recognize that God the Father and Jesus Christ (sometimes called Jehovah) are two Beings yet one in purpose and will, contrary to the post-biblical formulations that gave rise to the mostly-correct creeds, then it's easy to make sense of the "we" and "us" in Genesis. In whose image and physical likeness are our physical bodies created? Not someone without body, parts, or passions, but the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, who was resurrected with a tangible glorified body that He still has, and who in this form is clearly "in the express image" of His and our Heavenly Father.

As to the charge that we are Arians, I disagree. Arius's position involved many points that we sharply disagree with. We believe Christ and the Father are eternal beings, for example. For details, see "Are Mormons Arians?" While he was excommunicated, no one in that day said he wasn't Christian, and scholars and theologians today do not deny that he was a genuine Christian. The noted Protestant scholar, F.F. Bruce, for example, in New Testament History (1972), pp. 302-304, 321-322, 325, accepts Arius as Christian. Because he lost the debate about some metaphysical issues on the nature of Christ, no one that I'm aware of said that he had been worshipping "a different Jesus". Do you?

Again, I recognize that the writings of early Fathers on human deification have a different flavor that the modern LDS view. But it is, nonetheless, human deification that they are talking about - about participating in the divinity of Jesus and putting on the divine nature. You can argue that we take this too far compared to them, but surely there is a relationship that must at least be considered interesting, especially in a world that has largely lost this ancient concept of theosis.

I would argue that some Latter-day Saints take the concept too far. I'm much more comfortable with what President Hinckley said which is basically that we don't know much about this. I prefer we stick with official doctrine here, especially the scriptures. And in that light,, I think the LDS position is at least somewhat compatible with the view of early Christians (whose writings came from time devoid of aspostolic leadership, already rife with apostasy and the Hellenization of Christianity) and certainly compatible with the Bible.

Mormanity said...

Where we may be closest to the early fathers is in the concept of being and becoming "sons of God," whichh is often associated with being "gods." Absolsutely a small "g", as I also explain on my page on theosis. In the LDS perspective, our divine potential is due both to being actual offpsring of God, as Paul taught (Acts 17:28-29 and Heb. 12:9), with divine heritage, plus being able to become more fully sons and daughters of God by being born again and growing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ to become more like God.

I find no support for any claims about mortals ever being worshipped. All glory is to the Father, and we are eternally subservient and subordinate to Him. So yes, I think what some people say we believe is very remote from early Christianity, but the concepot of human deification by participation in the grace of Christ and becoming true sons and daughters of God seems to form a nice bridge between the ancient and modern versions of theosis/human deification.

Anonymous said...

As long as someone brought up a charge about people leaving mainstream Christianity I'd like to add a couple of points. One of the biggest problems/concerns in Mormonism is the large numbers of "inactive members" on the rolls of the LDS organization. While I can't source it, the number given amounts to two-thirds of those on the rolls. That's pretty dismal. My guess that the percentage of the one-third that is active in the LDS church that are actually doing the god program full-out is small.
As long as Mormons stay within the intellectual box of Mormonism, they're never going to find accuracy and truth when it comes to the main Mormon charges that the Bible is corrupt and that there was a great apostasy after the original apostles died.
As an example, my friend Andy who is posting here, spent several weeks walking a Mormon through the historical writings surrounding the doctrine of the Trinity and the Council of Nicea.
Mormonism basically makes the charge that the Council created the doctrine. So Andy walks this Mormon back to a time pressing right-up to the era of the apostles examining the writings expressing the doctrine of the Trinity.
So the Mormon gives-it-up and admits the obvious that the doctrine was taught and accepted by the Church from the get-go. He had to admit that the LDS church was in error with its claims.
So what's a poor Mormon to do when his beliefs are contrary to the historical evidence. It's called cognitive dissonance. Well the Mormon has got to find a creative way to make it all fit, when it doesn't. So it's back to "I bear my testimony."
When a Mormon stands before Christ on the day of judgment and bears his testimony that includes the rejection of God for another god there isn't going to be any Celestial kingdom and forever families or personal planets to rule, it's going to be separation from God for eternity.
Mormonism is not in the Bible, so Joseph Smith said the Bible was corrupted. At the point that a Mormon excepts this premise, they can be taught anything and they'll believe it because they believe that the Bible can't be trusted. Without the steady rudder of God's Word, the Mormon meanders around through a sea of continuous and changing revelation.
Salt Lake City Mormonism is a particular brand of Mormonism that bears no resemblance in fact to other Mormon groups like the Community of Christ or Temple Lot. Joseph Smith's son was the leader of the CoC and Joseph Smith's first wife Emma was a member. Does that group embrace the doctrine of progressing to godhood or any of the other heretical doctrines promoted by Brigham Young like polygamy? No!
Until Mormons are willing to do some independent investigation and not run away from information that makes them fell uncomfortable, they are doomed to repeat the folk doctrines and catchy little slogans promoted withing Mormonism.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:45 AM,

Keep focused here. The topic is about man's divine potential. Counter points about Jeff's prooftexting prowess would be appreciated.

GotTonsils said...

Anon @8:45, thanks for bearing your testimony that Mormonism ain't true. I guess that's what that cold feeling in your bosom means, eh?

Anonymous said...

Nice quote from Wikipedia's article on theosis:

St. Maximus the Confessor wrote, "A sure warrant for looking forward with hope to deification of human nature is provided by the incarnation of God, which makes man god to the same degree as God himself became man.... Let us become the image of the one whole God, bearing nothing earthly in ourselves, so that we may consort with God and become gods, receiving from God our existence as gods. For it is clear that He who became man without sin (cf. Heb. 4:15) will divinize human nature without changing it into the divine nature, and will raise it up for his own sake to the same degree as He lowered himself for man's sake. This is what St Paul teaches mystically when he says, '...that in the ages to come he might display the overflowing richness of His grace' (Eph. 2:7)."(page 178 PHILOKALIA Volume II)

Anonymous said...

Thanks 8:45. They won't get it though. Their Fact proof screen went up when you entered.

C.J. said...

Andy--if you have such a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then perhaps you should start following His admonition not to "shut the Kingdom of Heaven in men's faces". There are many paths to God. Jesus doesn't specifically address many issues, but one issue He does address is the specific requirements of salvation. He doesn't say anything about belonging to the "wrong" denomination, but he does say an awful lot about treating each other with respect. We reach the Narrow Gate when we treat each other with love and compassion--the kind of love and compassion we'd wish to receive ourselves (see Matt. 25).

And this goes for Jackg, too: if someone's telling you that you're being offensive, you are. If you're upsetting people, or making them feel defensive, or acting in such a way that--whether you intend it or not--you're being perceived as full of hate towards others different than yourself, you're not following Jesus' guidance.

Andy said...

CJ said:

"Andy--if you have such a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then perhaps you should start following His admonition not to "shut the Kingdom of Heaven in men's faces". There are many paths to God. Jesus doesn't specifically address many issues, but one issue He does address is the specific requirements of salvation. He doesn't say anything about belonging to the "wrong" denomination, but he does say an awful lot about treating each other with respect. We reach the Narrow Gate when we treat each other with love and compassion--the kind of love and compassion we'd wish to receive ourselves (see Matt. 25)."

Well, CJ, you're right. I do have a deep, personal relationship with Christ. Deep enough to love Him enough to be stirred in my soul when I read or listen to people of false religions distort his teachings. That same love for my Savior is then channeled toward my fellow man to take the time to warn him of his false teachings. To not warn or try to reason with Mormons on important issues like this is not the loving thing to do. If one doesn't care or love people, then they simply don't bother to even say anything. That person just stands by and let's them just glide right into outer darkness while laughing all the way.

No, there aren't many paths to God. This isn't theosophy. I know modern day Mormonism likes for the individual to create its own form of Mormonism like picking the food for your plate at a buffet. There is only one path to God the Father and it's through the Son as stated in John 14:6. Salvation is through Jesus Christ ALONE as stated in Acts 4:12.

I didn't mention anything about denominations so don't put words in my mouth. Mormonism isn't a denomination within Christianity. I know the LDS Church keeps dreaming that one day that will happen, but as long as the Mormons keep throwing around the idea that one day you will be a god where you will have your own planet procreating children who will then worship and pray to you...well, you can forget about being part of Christianity. The Mormons are not going to be gods/God/a God or whatever. The Scripture is clear. You can either accept it or reject it. The choice is yours.

Andy said...

(Cont'd)

CJ,

I gave a stern warning as to the eternal destiny of anyone who thinks they are going to become a god. That hurt your feelings and you don't think it's respectful? I need to follow Christ's example in treating people who think like Mormons? Okay, I'll be happy to do that. I will use the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:13-33.

"woe unto you...hypocrites, blind guides, whited sepulchres full of dead men's bones, serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell."

You reach the "narrow gate" by choosing the correct Savior - not your defintion of it. Again, this isn't "CJonism". Mormons have a counterfeit Christ (2 Cor 11:4). By the way, the "narrow gate" is Matthew 7:14 - not Matthew 25. CJ, your spin and definition of how to reach the narrow gate (shall we call it CJonism instead of Mormonism) doesn't line up with the teachings of your reprobate prophets.

"Now, all Latter-day Saints are not going to be exalted. All people who have been through the holy temple are not going to be exalted. The Lord says, 'Few there be that find it.' For there are two elements: (1) the sealing of a marriage in the holy temple, and (2) righteous living through one's life thereafter to make that sealing permanent. Only through proper marriage - and I repeat that - ONLY THROUGH PROPER MARRIAGE can one find that strait way, the narrow path. No one can ever have life, real life, in any other way under any other program." (Spencer Kimball, Achieving a Celestial Marriage, page 274)

CJ, for some reason I am having trouble finding the Lord Jesus Christ talking about what Mr. Kimball is speaking of anywhere in Matthew 7 or any other place in Scripture. Please help me find it and bring me out of darkness to this wonderful light. Until then, I stand with the Apostle Paul as he stated to anyone who accepts another gospel brought forward by an angel that is different than the one given to us in the Bible as stated in Galatians 1:6-9:

"...let him be accursed" (anathema)

Anonymous said...

CJ, you are being offensive. Just because you don't like the message, don't blame the messenger.

Pops said...

This all reminds me of the old saying:

"One man's exegesis is another man's eisegesis, and vice versa." [It sounds like something Yogi Berra might have said.]

It reminds me also of the reaction of a religious leader in Joseph Smith's locale when the 14-year-old boy spoke to him of the marvelous manifestation he had received. In Joseph's words, "I was greatly surprised at his behavior; he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them."

I, too, would really expect a messenger of the Lord to approach a wandering soul with love and empathy rather than contempt and hostility.

I have a testimony that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God, that the Father and the Son appeared to him in vision and called him to the great work of restoring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth in order that the promise that was made to Abraham might be fulfilled. That testimony is a rich tapestry that comprises authority, reason, and experience - including numerous instances of spiritual confirmation - over a number of decades. It does not revolve about some anonymous person's interpretation of some obscure Biblical passage - sorry to disappoint you.

Anonymous said...

I guess Jeff wasn't prooftexting after all.

Mormanity said...

So Andy, after I explained that we worship the Father and always will, and stated that I see no foundation to the claim that anyone will ever worship us ordinary mortals, you come back and say we're all damned for believing that people are going to worship us. Again, that's not what the LDS scriptures teach nor what I bellieve.

Let me ask again. Is your real problem with what I believe the idea that families can persist into the eternities? If it weren't for that, if we were just single beings in God's kingdom, would the concept of being called "gods" with a little "g" - as I've already stated - still offend you to the point where you would still say we are damned and can't possibly be Christian, no matter how much we seek to worship and follow Christ?

I'm curious.

Or is our lack of worthiness to be Christian in your eyes due to our failure to pass your Grand Theology Quiz? I suspect that is the real issue. If we believe in Christ, worship Him, and seek to follow him, but have errors in our thinking about what heaven is like or the nature of God's substance or some other metaphysical issue of importance to you, then does our faith and sincere worship count for nothing? And are you absolutely sure you've got the correct answer key to the Grant Theology Quiz that believers in Christ must pass in order to be saved?

While you and I both agree that we are not saved by works, maybe you believe that we saved by words instead? Gotta pass Andy's Grand Theology Quiz to get to heaven? How many wrong guesses on details are allowed before basic faith in Christ no longer helps?

Anonymous said...

Can someone expound on this living together as families thing? As I understand it, parents will have their children with them, as children and be a united family. But what I don't get, is how is that possible when those children have children of their own and those grandchildren have children and so on and so on. So, how is it that you can somehow live as a family with the billions of people that your family is part of?

Anonymous said...

Families are linked together somehow - don't know the details, but might just be an extension of the extended family concept we know here.

But the really interesting part of the eternal family concept is the idea that a married couple can have spirit children. Almost no info is available on this, of course.

Anonymous said...

Another link you might like:
The Bible, Justin Martyr and Monolatrism. Relevant to the discussion here.

jackg said...

ando49 makes the best statement in this entire dialogue: "What excites me about Mormonism, is that it teaches that we can all share in the divine gift, which is eternal life. I wouldn't be interested in any other form of christianity if it devalued my potential."

We have a couple of things going on here. First, we see that for the Mormon "eternal life" is something other or more than being in the presence of God. "Eternal life" is being a god and creating worlds, thus fulfulling "potential." Such a view is once again NONBIBLICAL. Mormonism presents as a man-centered theology as opposed to God-centered. I will baseline this thinking: living in the presence of God and praising Him forever is not good enough for me." So, what Jesus offers isn't good enough, so let's jump on the JS bandwagon and become gods. Forget what God says in Isaiah abou the fact that there were not any gods before Him nor will there ever be. Let's create an AOF to put the Bible in question and then make up our own theology. Beautiful!

What's funny is how Christians are characterized as saying mean things, burning fields, and being downright hurtful. Oh, let's not judge bookslingers attitude and method and, hey, we really love it when Jeff takes off his gloves! Purely hypocritical.

Bookslinger, sometimes you say the most stupid things, but when you tried to say that I can't countenance Mormonism because I don't truly beleive what the Bible says is downright laughable. The BOM and D&C? Bring in the POGP. Have you actually read it? PURE HERESY THE WHOLE LOT OF THEM.

ntf,

I think Andy has proven how Mormonism is built on heretical teachings, so maybe your sentiment is meant for the Mormons. You see, I have already allowed God to open me up to an alternative way of thinking: He took me from Mormon thinking to Christian thinking. You see, ntf, I used to fight Christians the same way Jeff and all the Mormons on this blog site are doing. I used to use the same lame arguments and eisegetical approach and explanation of scriptures just like Jeff (okay, not as sophisticated as Jeff), but I was parroting the LDS leaders with the best of them. My mind WAS closed. It took more than a decade to be deprogrammed. But, God did it in His miraculous way, and He can do it for Jeff and all other Mormons on this site.

This post is an attempt to support the teaching that men are born to be gods. What happens is that basic presuppositions are overlooked. For this argument to make sense, Mormonism has to begin with the faulty premises that God had a beginning, that He operates within time, that He created out of preexistent matter, and that He is subject to laws. Sorry, but this is not the God of the Bible, but the god of JS.

Praying for Mormons...

ando49 said...

jackg said
"This post is an attempt to support the teaching that men are born to be gods. What happens is that basic presuppositions are overlooked. For this argument to make sense, Mormonism has to begin with the faulty premises that God had a beginning, that He operates within time, that He created out of preexistent matter, and that He is subject to laws. Sorry, but this is not the God of the Bible, but the god of JS."


Jack, I believe you are a sincere person and I understand your sentiments. One day the corporeal God will hold you in his arms and give you a big hug and bless you for your faithfulness. If you are content with being a ministering angel for eternity then the privilege will be yours. If you left Mormonism because you believed everything in the quote you left above, then you left for the wrong reasons. I’m sure there must be another reason(s).

JS did not teach that God had a beginning, he said that intelligence is eternal and that god is the supreme intelligence. Did god become so without effort? You criticise JS for revealing that god progresses. You believe that Christ is God, right? Do you believe that he grew in wisdom and glory in coming to earth and gaining a body and enduring the trials of life? He progressed. Not to say that he wasn’t a god before that, but he still progressed. The same is true for us. He set the example to follow. When you talk about things having a beginning, time, matter, God, this is rather futile, because as mere mortals we cannot comprehend eternity; it’s all relative. JS used the parable of the ring to describe eternity, saying it has no beginning or end. The gospel of John talks about Christ being in the beginning with God. Doesn’t that convey a sense of chronology? Things did not stay the same after that and they never will. Believe it or not, matter is eternal. Ask any physicist and they will tell you that prior to the big bang, matter existed as form of energy, a form we do not yet understand. Spirit perhaps? You say we believe God is subject to Laws. Well believe it or not, the whole point of the atonement is for mercy to overcome justice/law. God would be forced by consistency to his own laws to shut us out of heaven without the mercy applied by his Son. Maybe JS was onto something. Maybe there is a law of progression to which all intelligences are subject to (at least in this creation). Maybe when you Jack, are creating your own universes (assuming you get tired of being a ministering angel after a few billion years, you will design a universe without Laws. Hold onto you hat.

I believe that the limitations you place on the power of the atonement, limiting our potential to worshipping at the throne of god for eternity, is an unintended insult to Christ. He promised far more than this. He promised you a mansion in the kingdom of our Father, just for starters.

I used to be a Presbyterian. I could never go back to it after knowing the glorious truths revealed in the restored gospel.
Bless you Jack, bless you Jeff, bless you Andy.

rameumptom said...

I find it sad that Jeff shows that Mormon beliefs, such as the divinity of mankind, is in the Bible, and then people like JackQ insist it is non-biblical. Apparently, some cannot or will not read what is posted. It is dishonest.

At least acknowledge that the concept of theosis or the divinity of mankind is a possible reading of the Bible, since Jeff did show a dozen Bible quotes stating it.

And it is ancient Christian belief, as both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox believe in a form of theosis. While it may not include eternal families, it is a lot closer than different.

Finally, someone mentioned that Mormons believe others will not be saved. That is a ridiculous lie! LDS believe in a near universal salvation. Even murderers and adulterers who accept Christ's atonement will be saved in a kingdom of heaven. What we focus on, though, is exaltation. The highest form of salvation, which includes theosis.

It is also disingenuous for those attacking this, to claim we believe we will be over God. We won't. He will always be our God. Jesus will always be our Savior and Lord. That will never change.

If we're going to have a discussion, can we stick to actual facts? Please, no more of the tired false witnesses brought on by the imaginary fears of those who really do not understand LDS doctrine, but attempt to foist upon us their own fables!

jackg said...

ando49,

You, as are most Mormons, are very sincere and kind people, as well. But, there is a fundamental problem with your perception of how we view eternity in the presence of God. First of all, we have never been, are not, and will never be ministering angels (another erroneous premise that sets up the false teaching of premortal existence). You see, we believe in becoming children of God, and that happens when we are justified by our faith. We enter into a new relationship with God, and then we begin the road of sanctification, which is being restored into the original image of God which humanity shared in prior to the Fall. In short, God begins the work of restoring us back to the state of holiness that Adam and Eve shared; otherwise, they could not have stood in His presence. Becoming God-like in His character does not equate to becoming gods, procreating, and creating worlds; again, you have to arrive at such a doctrine through faulty presuppositions and by relegating the Bible as unauthoritative in order to make room for the teachings of JS et al. I'm sorry that you have bought into the heresies of JS, ando. But, as you know, you are operating out of your brokenness, and that's why you believe the lie packaged in the terms of "not limiting God" etc.

So, tell me, ando, was it only the thrill at the thought of becoming a god that hooked you? Eternal marriage (a "new" covenant that somehow trumps the "new" covenant of the Bible, which is Jesus Christ). Ando, as beautiful as celestial marriage sounds, it is not a biblical concept. The only marriage ever referred to in the Bible is the marriage between Jesus Christ and the Church. Once again, Mormonism is exposed as a man-centered religion and not as God-centered. As I see it, God doesn't deserve to be the center of your existence--you are. I know you'll argue that I don't know what I'm talking about, but I used to think just like you. BTW, there is no wrong reason for leaving Mormonism.

Praying for you ando49...

Mormanity said...

JackG wrote: "This post is an attempt to support the teaching that men are born to be gods.... For this argument to make sense, Mormonism has to begin with the faulty premises that God had a beginning, that He operates within time, that He created out of preexistent matter, and that He is subject to laws. Sorry, but this is not the God of the Bible, but the god of JS."

Huh? The biblical/LDS doctrine of divine potential does not require speculation about any alleged beginnings of God (who is Eternal). It does not require speculations about the origins of matter or the nature of the Creation. It does not require hairsplitting over whether God's perfect mercy and justice means that he is made less by being subject to laws or principles. The LDS doctrine under discussion here is the concept of theosis, the potential for man to put on the divine nature and become, in some sense, "gods." As with Paul in 1 Cor. 8, there is but one God for us, as there was for Isaiah, and only One Creator, though there be other divine beings in the Heavenly Council and in heaven - beings like angels, cherubim, and "gods" or "lords" who give glory to the God of gods and Lord or lords (Deut. 10:17).

Our future potential as "gods" does not refer to beings who replace God the Father and Jesus Christ, but who dwell with them and remain subservient to them. This concept is controversial, so controversial that you and Andy seem to feel that accepting it makes faith in Jesus Christ null and void and sends its believers to hell.

I know, I know - if we don't have exactly the same theology as you and believe in details about the next life that match up with yours or interpret some scriptures in a different way, then it must be a different Jesus we worship and thus we're no better than idol worshippers, right? It's the old Grand Teology Quiz that people have to pass to get to heaven.

Take a look at 2 Peter 1 again. Can you really miss the concept of progress toward godliness that is taught there, with the goal of putting on the divine nature? Look at Romans 8. What is this about being sons of God, about having glory within us to be revealed, and becoming joint heirs with Christ? Isn't that something glorious? When we consider what God offers to those who follow him, we may be able to grasp why the scriptures use the "g" word for our potential future.

We are promised that we can receive "the fullness of God" through the grace of Christ (Ephesians 3:19). Christ said that we can become one with Him, as He is one with the Father (John 17:20-23). Paul said that Christians can become "joint heirs with Christ" and be glorified with Him (Romans 8:14-18). He challenged us to pursue the example of Christ "who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (Philippians 2:5,6). Peter said that through Christ, we can "put on the divine nature" and receive great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:3-4). Those who follow Christ can become "like Him" (1 John 3:2), can "inherit all things" (Rev. 21:7), and can be kings and priests before God (Rev. 1:6), sitting with Christ in His throne (Rev. 3:21). This is entirely consistent with LDS doctrine. Thus, when Christ and others use the term "gods" to describe humans, we naturally know it doesn't mean replacing God, but as Justin Martyr explained, it is a reference to what we may be as sons and daughters of God.

He is our Heavenly Father, we are his offspring (Acts 17:28,29), and through Christ we as his children have the potential to overcome our mortal natures and grow up to become - uh, puppies?

Mormanity said...

Theosis is a controversial topic and you can choose to interpret the Bible and early Christian writings differently. Even if we're interpreting all those verses incorrectly, believing in theosis shouldn't get someone cast to hell if they believe in Jesus Christ and have faith in Him. Or do you disagree with that?

The LDS goal is to return to the presence of the Father. What He chooses to offer us there and have us do in His kingdom is His business--and I'm not going to complain, whatever it is.

Does faith in Christ coupled with errant views about heaven and eternal life negate the benefits of faith and send errant believers to hell?

rameumptom said...

Jeff, if inerrant views send people to hell, then Christ and God are not as loving as the Bible portrays them to be.

This would mean that ANY inerrant view would cause us to fail. And given the various forms of faith in Christianity (note the hundreds of denominations) and that they all differ to some degree, then by this standard, we're all going to rot in hell forever.

Personally, I see the Bible as giving three requirements: 1. Faith in Christ, 2. Repentance, 3. Obedience as an outward expression of that faith.

Anything else required for general salvation is non-Biblical.

Now, if one wants to discuss various levels of heaven/salvation based upon greater faith and obedience, etc., THEN we can have a good discussion. But that has nothing to do with making claims of people burning in hell.

I see God as giving a near universal salvation through faith. If Mormons will burn in hell, simply because their views are somewhat different, yet they demonstrate an abiding faith in Christ and God, then is God really as loving as the Bible claims him to be? Or should we begin believing in an angry God that really is not interested in basic faith, but is interested in who can pass the Grand Theology Test?

1. Do you believe in Jesus? No? Burn in hell.

2. Do you believe in the Trinity? No? rot in hell.

3. Do you believe that mankind is saved by grace and faith, except they also have to fit within our criteria? No? Suffer in hell.

I just cannot seem to understand the claims of some Christians who first claim you only have to believe to be saved, but then add dozens of other criteria that are not mentioned in the Bible as criteria for salvation. If I'm to be condemned for following Joseph Smith's teachings, shouldn't other Christians be condemned for following the teachings of St Augustine or Pat Robertson?

cipher said...

Mormanity,

Great illustration. Also, I can't imagine how much work it is to read and thoughtfully respond as opposed to simply copy and paste canned responses.

velska said...

I mean no disrespect, when I say, that either the original author had his tongue deep in his cheek or he's not quite right in his head.

Well, it's amazing, how one-sided one can see issues, statements and circumstances &c when you have already decided what they mean and are not willing to read the text and really think, ponder and pray about what it means.

Thanks for strengthening the case that 1) the Bible is among Mormons' standard works, and 2) theosis is firmly rooted in the Bible:

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."

ando49 said...

Jack said
"there is a fundamental problem with your perception of how we view eternity in the presence of God. First of all, we have never been, are not, and will never be ministering angels"

Jack, when was the last time you were in heaven? You sound like you've been there lately.

Jack also said
"You see, we believe in becoming children of God, and that happens when we are justified by our faith. We enter into a new relationship with God, and then we begin the road of sanctification, which is being restored into the original image of God which humanity shared in prior to the Fall. In short, God begins the work of restoring us back to the state of holiness that Adam and Eve shared; otherwise, they could not have stood in His presence. Becoming God-like in His character does not equate to becoming gods, procreating, and creating worlds;"

OK, so we become pure like Adam and Eve, then what?

Jack also said
"as you know, you are operating out of your brokenness, and that's why you believe the lie packaged in the terms of "not limiting God" etc."

I sense you are the one with the self esteem problem. I've never been richer.

Finally Jack said
"So, tell me, ando, was it only the thrill at the thought of becoming a god that hooked you? Eternal marriage As I see it, God doesn't deserve to be the center of your existence--you are. I used to think just like you."

Huh? I'm sure there's a psychological reason to explain your mental state, but as I don't know your personal situation, I'll leave that to the experts.

Anonymous said...

Once agian we see the tired, old, sectarian notions...

A God without body, parts, AND PASSIONS.

It this is what I must believe as an evangelical, I want no part of it.

Anonymous said...

I am not understanding how a family can be a family in heaven. Children marry and form their own family, and then their children marry and form their own family. Everyone is connected, and they become part of your family. So it makes no sense that you will live as a 'family' in the here after. Since this is what Mormons always tell everybody about their religion, how Mormons are different as they are sealed and will be a family for the eternities, can't someone explain how that is supposed to work? I mean more than then, we are not sure thing. It is one of the central themes of Mormonism and joining the Church. It is the pitch the missionaries give at the the door. It is the main reason for your temples. The best answer I got was, We don't know. No one? No one can answer how your family can be an eternal family?

Creek said...

Anon "I am not understanding how a family can be a family in heaven."

I've never met anyone who could explain the Trinity...and I'm Catholic.

I've never understood how you can say a few words and go from eternity in hell to eternity in heaven...and I used to be a born again Christian.

There are many things in the Bible that defy explanation, especially if you claim to take it literally.

Perhaps a loving God who is omniscient can make it happen? I don't understand that, either.

Anonymous said...

Jack or Andy, are you going to answer Jeff's questions?

Theosis is a controversial topic and you can choose to interpret the Bible and early Christian writings differently. Even if we're interpreting all those verses incorrectly, believing in theosis shouldn't get someone cast to hell if they believe in Jesus Christ and have faith in Him. Or do you disagree with that?

The LDS goal is to return to the presence of the Father. What He chooses to offer us there and have us do in His kingdom is His business--and I'm not going to complain, whatever it is.

Does faith in Christ coupled with errant views about heaven and eternal life negate the benefits of faith and send errant believers to hell?

Anonymous said...

One of the main tenets of the religion is eternal families, and no one has the slightest idea of how a family can be eternal?
It really doesn't seem it should be one of those things that is unknown, or not yet revealed. It is the one big reason Missionaries get in the door. So, how it is that no one has any idea how it works? I have been searching for this answer for some time, and always get the same one. No one is sure, no one can explain it, no one knows. I can not accept that no one knows, not as this is touted so much as a major distinction between LDS and other religions.

Sofia's Primary Ideas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sofia's Primary Ideas said...

Jeff... I admire you. What a tedious job you have defending that which shouldn't have to be defended.

As for "how can families be eternal?"... I have a few questions in return, how will God resurrect us? How did Moses part the red sea? How does God let an earthquake happen in Haiti and kill so many? How did God heal those that looked on the serpent? How did Christ heal the lepers?... details, details, details.

Instead of putting so many question marks in our lives, we should let them be periods. God knows how. There is a living prophet on the earth today that receives revelation. There are holy temples again on the earth. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our beloved Savior. We are divine children of a loving Father who we will worship forever and praise always.

Families can be together forever by the sealing power of God. Elijah and many other prophets had this power to seal things on earth and in heaven. That is "how".

If all these anti's are parents, I ask - don't you want the best for your children? Why wouldn't Heavenly Father want the best for us? Jeff is amazing to take the time to answer all this "hatred". And yes, it is hatred. God have mercy on your souls.

Anonymous said...

Amazing, in the same breath as saying HF wants the best for us you talk about the destruction of Haiti. Uhm, kinda contradicting yourself there.
Again, complete failure to explain how a family can live as a family in the here after. You added nothing to the conversation. Typical, when someone asks a question of some importance about a belief, the answer is a resounding emptiness. It would have just been better had you not answered Sophia. Seriously, the whole, let's not dwell on what we preach but don't know is getting a little used up.
How about some meat behind the talking points?

ando49 said...

Anonymous said "Again, complete failure to explain how a family can live as a family in the here after."

as i see it, we enjoy the same sociality in heaven as we do here. in my case, my children have grown up and have started their own families. We still visit each other and enjoy a great depth of friendship and love. I joy in their growth as parents. if we are all worthy of eternal life, we will continue to enjoy that sociality. my children here will always be my children, even though they will go on to have their own dominions in the eternities. i believe we will be met by our forebears when we leave this life. I believe the answer to your question is very simple. I'm not sure why you couldn't answer it yourself? of course, none of this can be proven, as can nothing that has been recorded in the blogs on this topic. you either believe it, or you don't. you obviously don't. i allow you the privelage to believe what you want. I see earth life as a prototype for eternal life, but that's my logic. This just happens to be a tenet of the LDS church.

Kimberly said...

Rameumptom had mentioned Roman Catholic theosis. This is mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church Section 460:

_Why Did the Word Become Flesh?_
The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature" - 2 Pt 1:4.

"For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God." - St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939.

"For the Son of God became man so that we might become God." - St. Athanasius, De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B.

"The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4.
--

As a Catholic, I believe that becoming a god means being perfected through Christ. We partake in divinity when we participate in the sacraments. Purgatory is a final time of purification so that we may be perfected before we enter Heaven.

In Catholicism, being a god does not mean that we become worthy of worship (which is what I think most people get stuck on), but that we are perfected and transformed to share in the divine life.

To the LDS readers, how does this match up with LDS teaching?

Clean Cut said...

"To the LDS readers, how does this match up with LDS teaching?"

Perfectly. That is exactly what I believe. And that is what I believe Jeff was trying to say in the original post.

rameumptom said...

Anon,

You asked about how we can be families in the eternities.

Well, given that many Christians believe that there will be a change in us, where we will not care one iota about earthly relations in the heavens, LDS take the view that those relationships still do matter. In this short earth life, we encounter our biggest sorrows and hopes with one another. Those bonds are, in the sealing, promised to continue. The bigger picture also sees us as expanding our family through having spirit children.

Yes, we're talking huge family groups. But the difference will be in the different kingdoms of heaven. The highest kingdom will have a fullness of joy, love and familial relationships. Imagine the closeness of the Godhead. The Godhead is the closest relationship of any beings, where they are sealed by eternal bonds of celestial love. That is the kind of relationship available in the celestial kingdom. Regardless of whether Christ is in heaven or on earth as a mortal, he was still intimately bound to the Father in the Godhead. Such a relationship can be expanded to millions or billions in a family relationship.

Will there be relationships of love in the lower kingdoms? Yes, of course. But they will not be linked by the fullness of celestial love and glory. And there will be limits to those relationships.

Now, back to Jeff's post. He wasn't trying to prove anything. What he was trying to show was that LDS beliefs can be found and supported by teachings in the Bible. Only the most derelict of Bible readers could miss that point. It isn't that those verses prove the LDS right, but that it shows the LDS reading is as valid as any other.

Alan said...

Whose interpretation of the Bible is correct? And how shall I know it? Jeff's essay is very convincing to me. What if I lack the intellectual capacity to come to the same conclusion about what the Bible says as Anonymous or jackg? Am I to be damned for all eternity because I am not as smart as them?

Bookslinger said...

jackg:

I'll repeat:

You don't believe what the Bible actually says. You believe a post-Nicean (325 AD) interpretation of the Bible.

You believe a 1685 year old tradition that has been built up around the Bible.

There... How do YOU like it when people tell YOU what YOU believe? How does it feel to be dished back some of the stuff you dish out?

LuckyMatt said...

To jackg, Andy, and a bunch of the Anonymous commenters:

I want to thank you, and jackg especially, for praying for all of us Mormons. I for one can certainly use all the help from prayer that I can get. In Jesus' teachings in Luke 18:9-13 I certainly identify with the publican. Rather than thanking God that I am not like others, I continually feel compelled to admit that I am a sinner in need of the mercy that Jesus--and only Jesus--so freely offers. The closer I draw to the Savior, the more stark the contrast becomes between His infinite goodness and my weakness. So I need the prayers of all of you, and thank you for them.

I don't believe that there is a people on the earth who more sincerely love, appreciate, and worship Jesus Christ than the members of His true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The godly walk I have observed among my fellow latter-day saints is a reflection of their earnest faith in, adoration of, and emulation of our Divine Master and Example. And it's as it should be, for we seem to be the only people on earth who begin to appreciate just how very high God intends to lift us up, in His work to make us into all we can be, to become joint-heirs with His Holy Son and share in all He has. Only those who truly comprehend the gift being bestowed can fully appreciate the gift. I assure you that no one understands more plainly how much they need the grace of Jesus Christ than do the latter-day saints. The realization of this only grows, the longer we follow the path of the Master.

As I contemplate the seemingly infinte expanse between where I stand now and what the Savior intends to make of me, I am humbled beyond measure and filled with immense gratitude--yet my gratitude still falls far short of what it would be, were there not the mortal limitations on my understanding that there are. I thank God for prophets like Adam, Abraham, Israel, Moses, Paul, Peter, Lehi, Nephi, Mormon, Moroni, Joseph Smith, and Thomas S. Monson, who have peered into eternity and comprehend so much more than I do--for it is the words of these holy men who have helped me to have a vibrant hope and faith in Christ, whose grace has begun the process of sanctification and making a new heart within me. My lifelong quest as a disciple of Jesus Christ is simple: to worship Him with my thoughts, my words, my deeds, and my whole soul, and to do all I can to assist Him in bringing my family and the rest of the human family to Him, that through Him we might all dwell together in godly happiness that has no end.

Jeff, thanks for doing your part in this same quest. It is obvious that you are driven by the same sincere love of God and the human family that I feel. I am only beginning to understand that apologetics is exhausting, tedious work. Keep up the good work.

jackg said...

ando49,

It's not a matter of how you or anyone sees it, but what the Bible teaches about it. So, I will end by saying what I have stated all along, the problem with Mormonism is that the Bible isn't authoritative for its adherents. "New revelations" and "prophets" trump what God Himself has revealed.

Blessings to you...

K. Ray Johnson said...

What a nerve this has struck. Apparently Joseph Smith is "Known for good and evil among all nations" just here on one little blog. Jeff, what's your record number of comments on a post?

jackg said...

K Ray said, "Apparently Joseph Smith is "Known for good and evil among all nations"

Question for you: Does this affirm for you that JS is a true prophet?

Bookslinger,

Let me know when you've done some of your own exegetical work rather than merely repeat the absurd attempts at "translation" by your leaders.

Praying for you guys...

rameumptom said...

Your insistence of "absurd translation" is astounding. It shows you have not really studied the issue. Many Christian churches believe in theosis, including the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox. Also, many non-LDS scholars have discussed theosis, including Margaret Barker.

While there are differences, there are more similarities. LDS belief that we can become like God, still establishes that God is greater than us all. He shares what He will, and that deifies/glorifies/sanctifies us.

I suggest you read up on theosis at wikipeida: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosis

Here are some excerpts:

St. Athanasius of Alexandria wrote, "God became man so that man might become god." [the second god is always lowercase] (On the Incarnation 54:3, PG 25:192B)


“To restore man, who has been laid low by sin, to the heights of divine glory, the Word of the eternal Father, though containing all things within His immensity, willed to become small. This He did, not by putting aside His greatness, but by taking to Himself our littleness. . . . The humanity of Christ is the way by which we come to the divinity.” (Thomas Aquinas, Compendium of Theology, §1-2)

"Now the gift of grace surpasses every capability of created nature, since it is nothing short of a partaking of the Divine Nature, which exceeds every other nature. And thus it is impossible that any creature should cause grace. For it is as necessary that God alone should deify, bestowing a partaking of the Divine Nature by a participated likeness, as it is impossible that anything save fire should enkindle." (Summa Theologiae I-II.112.1)

Protestants are generally less aware of the doctrinal line of thought of theosis, except for Methodists and Wesleyans, whose religious tradition has always placed strong emphasis on sanctification. Generally speaking, the Methodist/Wesleyan doctrine of sanctification is roughly equivalent to the Catholic/Eastern Orthodox concept of theosis. Early during the Reformation, thought was given to the doctrine of union with Christ (unio cum Christo) as the precursor to the entire process of salvation and sanctification. This was especially so in the thought of John Calvin.[2]

Henry Scougal's work The Life of God in the Soul of Man is sometimes cited as important in keeping alive among Protestants the ideas central to the doctrine. In the introductory passages of his book, Scougal describes "religion" in terms that evoke the doctrine of theosis:

"... a resemblance of the divine perfections, the image of the Almighty shining in the soul of man: ... a real participation of his nature, it is a beam of the eternal light, a drop of that infinite ocean of goodness; and they who are endued with it, may be said to have 'God dwelling in their souls', and 'Christ formed within them'."[4]

Theosis as a doctrine developed in a distinctive direction among Methodists [3], and elsewhere in the pietist movement which reawakened Protestant interest in the asceticism of the early Catholic Church, and some of the mystical traditions of the West. Distinctively, in Wesleyan Protestantism theosis sometimes implies the doctrine of entire sanctification which teaches, in summary, that it is the Christian's goal, in principle possible to achieve, to live without any (voluntary) sin (Christian perfection).