Nature of God – LDS View
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints view of the nature of God can be clearly seen in its founder Joseph Smith conference sermon which was combined with the funeral of Elder KIng Follett, known as the king Follett discourse. Joseph Smith talking about the character and nature of God said
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in your heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and you who uploads all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible – I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form – like yourself in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image, and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked, and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another”(1)
He also said
“In order to understand the subject of the dead, for the consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; far I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see.
These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for certain to the character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible”(1)
Joseph Smith taught that God has not always been God and that God himself was once a man like us who became God.
Some Mormon apologists respond when quoting the discourse that this is not part of their standard works. However these are the teachings of their founder at an official conference and has been quoted often by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as been authoritative.
Doctrine and Covenants 130 : 22 states that God has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as a man’s.
“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.” (2)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believe in a council of Gods and that you can become a God,
Abraham 4 : 1
“ And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.”(3)
Nature of God – Biblical View
The Bible teaches that God created the first man adam (4). That God created man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils (5).
The bible says that God is eternal and has always existed, “from everlasting to everlasting”(6). It also teaches that there is only one God, “before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me”(7), and that God is spirit (8). In fact God said that he “doesn’t even know of any other Gods” (9).
The bible is clear that mankind has violated his eternal law and that all have sinned, that’s what sin is. A violation of God’s commandments.
Some of the commandments are; You “shall not worship no other Gods” (10). “You shall not commit adultery” (11). Jesus expanded this commandment and said “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (12) and “you shall not steal” (13). We have only looked at three of God’s commandments. The bible summarises God’s commandments as “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and will all your mind” (14) and “you shall love your neighbour as yourself” (15).
If anyone is honest with themselves they would admit to breaking God’s Holy law. This leaves man in rebellion to its creator. The Bible even describes our good deeds as “filthy rags” (16).
God is just and holy and because of his justice the bible tells us that all lairs, thieves, adulterers and sexual immorality will not inherit the kingdom of God (17). The “wages of sin is death” (18). Physical death as well as spiritual death. The second death in the Bible is described as a “lake of fire” (19) and “everlasting punishment” (20).
However the Good News is that God has not left man in his fallen state. God has shown his infinite love and mercy towards man. Man is not deserving of his love and mercy and God doesn’t owe man anything. However God brought about man’s redemption through Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ the second person of the divine godhead, who had existed from all eternity before the world was (21). The creator of all things stepped into his own creation to bring about man’s redemption. Jesus was not just a prophet and or a good teacher but was the God man (22). He was the first sinless man (23). He voluntarily laid down his own life (24) and died on a cross to pay the penalty for man. However he was resurrected (25), defeating death and now offers a free gift of everlasting life (26).
Since man is in rebellion against God man can only be saved by grace through faith so that no man can boast (27)
- Joseph Fielding Smith, ed., Teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith, page, 345 – 347
- Doctrine and Covenants 130 : 22
- Abraham 4 : 1
- Genesis 1 : 27
- Genesis 2 : 7
- Psalm 90 : 2
- Isaiah 43:10
- John 4 : 24
- Isaiah 44:8
- Exodus 20 : 3
- Exodus 20 : 14
- Mathew 5 : 27 – 28
- Exodus 20 : 13
- Matthew 22 : 37
- Matthew 22 : 39
- Isaiah 64 : 6
- 1 Cornithians 6 : 9 – 11
- Romans 6 : 23
- Revelation 20 : 14
- Matthew 25 : 46
- John 1 : 1 – 3 & John 17 : 3 – 5
- John 1 : 14
- Hebrews 4 : 15
- John 10 : 18
- Luke 24
- John 3 : 16
- Ephessians 2 : 8 – 9