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Saturday, February 9, 2008

What Do Mormons Believe? - God the Father

There seem to be a lot of people these days, that get all wound up when we try to claim we're Christians. We say, "We believe in Jesus Christ; isn't that the basic thing that distinguishes us from, say Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Hindus?"

"No! You believe you can become Gods," they retort.

They view this as heretical; we don't see the problem. I think it boils down to our conception of who God is.

Many outside our faith see Him as a faceless, nebulous mass, who has no personality, passions, body parts, etc. He has all power and can therefore be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. He is often represented as an unknowable, and unpredictable force and he created us so he would have groupies to worship him.

Let me assure you, Mormons do not hope to become this sort of "God."

We view Him as a parent. He is a nice person. He has a distinct face and a real, corporeal body. Although He is omniscient and omnipotent, we know that he uses this power primarily for the advancement of his sons and daughters. His work and His glory, he tells us, is "to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man." Moses 1:39

He loves us because we are His children. We are not just 'things' he created so that we would constantly worship Him. As children (instead of creations) we have the capacity, inherent within us, to become like Him. Each of us does -- not just Mormons.


Thaddeus said...

I love writing these articles, but it's hard to gauge how well I'm covering the topics, and besides, I was hoping to open more of a two-way dialog.

I know there are a lot of people in the background reading my treatises. What feedback do you have for me? Any spiritual insights?

What questions do you have?

Eric Nielson said...

I like you approach so far.

Jancisco said...

I think they are wonderful. I don't have anything to add, thats why I'm silent. But i read them all.

Megan said...

You almost make it sound like worshiping God is not a good thing (in this particular article, that is). I believe that what you intend to say, is that we worship God because we owe Him everything (and more) and it is truly awe-striking that we can become like Him. It's certainly not that worship is bad, but it's not our sole purpose or reason for existence. We worship as a part of our own progression to deity.

Thaddeus said...

Thank you, Megan. That is an important distinction. Worship is a means, not an end.

We do worship the Father, in that we love Him and respect Him, and we try to emulate His perfect character. And we do all of this so we can become like Him.

Why do kids worship basketball players and idolize rock stars? It isn't to perfect the art of worship, but because they hope to become NBA players and band members themselves.

Elissamae said...

Thadeus...I really like your

RTC said...

Repeat: If god is omnipotent, as you just explained, then why the whole "plan"? If you go the either/or route, god is either omnipotent (thus, no need for a plan) or semi-potent but bound by laws (thus a need for a plan). IMO, you can't have it both ways.

Thaddeus said...

God has all power, but He is bound by his honor. For example, He won't lie. This is not to say He lacks the capacity to lie. It is just not in His character to do so.

He will not defeat the law of justice. He has the ability, but doing so would be a foolish mistake and God is not a fool.

He will never force a man to obey Him.

God is God because he has such self-control and wisdom. We are here to learn this stuff ourselves.

RTC said...

So god is not omnipotent. Again, this really is an either/or prospect: god has to have all power (by definition) or his power must be limited. My suggestion: go with the aloof, deistic god, not the personal, loving god. It's far more defensible logically (e.g., god is all powerful, but also hands off - he/she/it created everything, then just let it develop naturally; that's much harder to argue against from an atheistic standpoint than a personal, creator god).

Thaddeus said...

Ha ha. I am not interested in a more defensible argument. I am interested in reality. LOL!

So you're saying that a god who has all power has to do everything? Even make stupid decisions? Or else his power is not limitless?

You're joking, right?

RTC said...

Note to Thaddeus: The most logical and rigorous position is reality. You can no more claim your god is reality than I can claim my invisible pink unicorn is reality (except in the phenomenological sense, which is not a universally shared reality).

Second part:
No, I'm saying a god that is omnipotent cannot be bound. That is a definitional issue. Let me give examples:
Assertion 1: I can fly under my own volition, any time, any where.
Assertion 2: But it only works during daylight hours.

If 1 is true, 2 is false. If 2 is true, 1 is false. 1 and 2 cannot both be true.

In god terms:
Assertion 1: God is omnipotent.
Assertion 2: God is bound.
If 1 is true, 2 is false. If 2 is true, 1 is false. 1 and 2 cannot both be right.

Here's how you can respond:
Assertion 1: God is omnipotent.
Assertion 2: God chooses to be bound. (this would imply god is omnipotent but willfully becomes semi-potent; not sure why a god would do that, but hey, it's your position, not mine)


Assertion 1: God is not omnipotent.
Assertion 2: God is bound.


Assertion 1: God is omnipotent.
Assertion 2: God pretends to be bound to deceive his children (why? no idea)

The following do not work logically:
Assertion 1: God is omnipotent.
Assertion 2: God is bound by the rules of godhood and must follow those rules.

Assertion 1: God is not omnipotent.
Assertion 2: God has no bounds.

Thaddeus said...

I have made my point.

RTC said...


I see. You declare victory even though you've lost the war. Genius!

Reminds me of Ender Wiggin's last battle in Battle School - he was losing but went through the ritual of victory anyway, winning a lost battle.

Megan said...

Thaddeus never said that he'd "won". (And, for the record, I don't think these discussions are "winning" or "losing". The point is to discuss Mormon beliefs and clarify doctrines that non-Mormons are misinformed about.)

What he said is that he's not going to reiterate his point, as he's already made it.

Jancisco said...

It is interesting to me to see the fruits of both lives in this dialogue. I appreciate rtc opening up to show what motivates him and his general attitude toward life.

I also appreciate the calm, confident faith that is shown in the responses.

You decide which life you would prefer.

"An angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God. And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind."
(2 Nephi 2: 17-18)