(MOBILE FRIENDLY)

Mormonism and Eternal Truth

Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
(Henri-Frederic Amiel)

COMPARING THE MORMON JESUS
WITH THE BIBLICAL

The aim of this article is to examine and compare Mormon and biblical teachings concerning who Jesus is, and in what manner He is related to God.

THE ORIGIN OF CHRIST

As a Mormon I was taught that mankind, Jesus and the angelic beings were all the marital offspring of God and His heavenly wife, in a pre-mortal existence. In other words, Jesus was our biological brother.

But Christ told another story altogether. He was emphatic about having had a different origin to that of mankind. He said that He had come from heaven, whereas mankind was of the earth:

“And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” (John 8:23, KJV)

Isaiah 45:12 and Genesis 1:26-27 back up Christ’s claim. They reveal that God had only created man after He had created the world and all that was in it. This indicates that prior to that point in time mankind had not existed; as one cannot create something that already exists. The Bible also says that God had created the angels (prior to the creation of the world). So they were not His biological offspring either.

“Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts … Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created.” (Psalm 148:2-5, KJV)

Joseph Smith maintained that bara, the Hebrew term for “create,” means to re-arrange already existing material. But scholars disagree.

JESUS AND GODHOOD

LDS Doctrine and Covenants 93:36, says that God’s glory is His intelligence. And Mormonism maintains that Jesus attained godhood in His pre-existence by acquiring the necessary degree of intelligence.

“By obedience and devotion to the truth he [Jesus] attained that pinnacle of intelligence which ranked him as a God, as the Lord Omnipotent, while yet in his pre-existent state.” (Mormon Doctrine, Bruce R. McConkie, Page 129).

We have three problems here. Firstly, according to Mormonism’s law of eternal progression (upon which all their doctrines are based), one cannot attain godhood unless one has first taken on a physical body and lived as a mortal man. The LDS’s answer to that is that Christ came down to earth to fulfil the remaining requirements for His godhood, as well as to atone for our sins. But this means that He wasn’t fully a God until He had completed His life on earth. And as we will discover further down, the Bible teaches that Jesus was both fully God and fully man.

Secondly, although we do not deny that Christ was intelligent, the Bible never mentions a word about His intelligence having anything to do with His glory or His deity. That was Joseph Smith’s idea. But the God of the Bible has a different value system to that of fallen man. Don’t forget that when Moses asked Him to reveal His glory to Him, God showed Him His goodness:

“And he [Moses] said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he [God] said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name [all that He is] of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” (Exodus 33:18-19, KJV)

The above scripture indicates that God’s glory depicts the sum total of who He is (just as His name does). God mentions that He will proclaim His name, His graciousness, mercy and goodness. (What made me really love God with all my heart, was His goodness. And to my way of thinking His goodness is a combination of all of His traits. The same goes for Christ.)

Thirdly, the biblical Jesus never ever said that he was “a God,” as Mormons claim that He was. What He consistently said was that He was in God and that God was in Him. In other words, He and God were one in nature and essence:

“… Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” (John 14:9-11, KJV)

“… He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” (John 12:44-45, KJV)

“I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30, KJV).

“For it pleased the Father that in Him [Christ] should all fulness dwell.” (Colossians 1:19, KJV)

Mormon doctrines only came into being at the time that Joseph Smith declared himself to be the modern day prophet of God. By then the Bible had been thoroughly tried and tested. And when compiling his Mormon doctrines on Jesus, Joseph included some of the general teachings from the Bible, and cast others aside. Then he added his own ideas. And he ended up with a very different Jesus (c/f The Mormon Jesus and The Jesus of the Bible).

The Mormon God and the Mormon Jesus (as well as mankind and the angelic beings) all had the same origin (intelligent matter) and the same potential. (There is a link to an article on the basic Mormon doctrine of eternal progression at the end of this page.)

GETTING OUR FOCUS ON REALITY

Common sense tells us that the Creator has to be far greater, and more complex in every way, than that which He has created. It would be impossible for mere created beings to have the inherent ability to even begin to imagine, let alone understand, the ins and outs of who their Creator is. He is way above us. But God wanted us to know Him. So through His prophets in the Old Testament, and the Lord Jesus Christ in the New, He has revealed to us as much of Himself as we are able to comprehend::

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:1-3, KJV)

The Bible clearly explains that God is spirit (John 4:24); that His presence fills the heavens and the earth (Jeremiah 23:24); and that no man has seen Him as He really is, as He is surrounded by unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). These teachings are backed up by other scriptures, in a progressive revelation of God throughout the Bible

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John 1:18, KJV)

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh …” (1 Timothy 3:16, KJV)

THE WORD OF GOD

Jesus was God’s Word, i.e. God’s expression of Himself, robed in flesh.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1, 14, KJV)

“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:6-7, KJV)

As Philippians 2 quoted above says, Jesus was equal with God. Let us not forget that He said:

“… Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” (John 14:9-11, KJV)

“I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30, KJV).

“… He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” (John 12:44-45, KJV)

CHRIST THE SON

One of the titles of Christ is the Son of God. But He also called Himself the Son of Man.

If you look up the word son in a Bible concordance you will notice that it was frequently used in a figurative way, to emphasize the characteristics or nature of the person concerned. And in those days everybody knew that. For instance, in Mark 3:17 Jesus called James and John “sons of thunder,” indicating that they had explosive temperaments. Just so, when Jesus called Himself the Son of Man, He was not implying that He had been fathered by a man. Rather, He was indicating that although He was deity, because of having taken on flesh He was subject to the frailties of man, such as fatigue, hunger, thirst and so on.

In the eyes of the people of those days, the term the Son of God described someone who had the nature of God. That was why the Jewish leaders took offense when Christ used this term for Himself, as well as when He referred to God as His Father. In their eyes He was making Himself equal with God. And their immediate response was to accuse Him of blasphemy.

Just like languages change with the times, so do customs and terms of speech. There is a well referenced, easy to read article on this site, that will enable you to understand the meanings of some of the biblical terms of speech that have most frequently led to mistaken ideas. It will give you a far clearer understanding of the Bible, in particular of Christ, especially when it comes to terms such as firstborn, only begotten, Father, and so on. You will find it here: Understanding Hebrew Terms of Speech.

It is because of their misunderstandings about terms of speech that were in use at the time the Bible was written, that Joseph Smith taught that we were all God’s literal offspring in a prior existence. Unfortunately there is insufficient space here to go through all these terms of speech with you, so I would encourage you to read the abovementioned article.

THE VIRGIN BIRTH

Mormon teachings also differ radically here, from those of the Bible. They maintain that because Christ is called the only begotten Son of God, this means that God the Father came down to earth and begot Christ by impregnating the virgin Mary physically. But this is blasphemy. And this is why it is so important to understand the terms of speech that were used in biblical times.

For a full article on this subject, click here: The Mormon Version of the Virgin Birth.

Nowhere does the Bible say that God physically fathered Jesus Christ. Here are the two scriptures in the gospels that relate to His conception:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21, KJV)

“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35, KJV)

As can be seen, this was a genuine, miraculous virgin birth. Christ’s embryo was formed within the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Ghost (translated from the same Greek term used for Holy Spirit).

CHRIST IS THE SOURCE OF LIFE

Just as God is the source of life, so is Jesus.

“In Him (Jesus) was life …” (John 1:4,KJV)

“For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26, KJV)

Mormonism does not seem to connect the dots, in that God created everything through Christ. So Christ is our Creator as much as God is our Creator. But then, they do not believe that we were created, only re-arranged. Such is the effect of the doctrine of eternal progression.

CHRIST, THE CREATOR

Christ created and upholds everything that exists. His might, ability and power are beyond our comprehension.

“For by Him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist [i.e. are held together].” (Colossians 1:16-17, KJV)

However, on page 169 of Mormon Doctrine, Bruce McConkie (member of the LDS Quorum of the 12 Apostles) claims that Jesus Christ was assisted in the creation of the earth by mankind, when they were still in their supposed pre-existent state. He names in particular Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Peter, James and John, and Joseph Smith. The references he gives are POGP Abraham 3:22-24 and Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1, pages 74-75.

But you will not find this teaching anywhere in the Bible. It is blasphemous. And what is more it doesn’t fit in with Mormonism’s own basic doctrine of eternal progression. If man had a pre-existence where he was able to assist in the creation of the world, how come his “progression” to manhood on earth, made him regress instead of progress. Every single one of those men who supposedly helped to create the world, including Joseph Smith, lost their so-called ability to create when they “progressed” to manhood, the next leg of their journey of progression to godhood.

It is a fact that Mormon teachings consistently give both God and Christ the appearance of being far less than they are, and mankind far more than we are. The reality is that apart from the grace, mercy and power of God, we would have no hope.

“But He [God], being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned He His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh …” (Psalm 78:38-39, KJV)

CONCLUSION

There is a vast difference between the Jesus of Mormonism and the Jesus of the Bible. And with the different Jesus comes a different God … an unbiblical being of eternal progression.

The only way to the real God is through the real Jesus:

“All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27, KJV)

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7, KJV)

The following articles have a bearing on what we have been discussing:

This site is dedicated to helping Mormons understand the Bible.

Copyright © 2018 by Yvonne Gibbs. All rights reserved.

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