Mormons! They’re so pleasant, for regular readers Chris Shearer and Jim Ferris are going to be familiar conversation partners. In our previous discussion Jim made an effort to defend Mormon polytheism in light of the Bible’s strict monotheism, which we’re about to read again without my editorialising (for people who remember the conversation fresh they can skip the first two messages and join part three):
doesn’t it say in Genesis….and God said….Let US create man in our image. After OUR likeness…Both MALE and FEMALE? Pretty self explanatory and self evident. Scripture is boatloads full of evidence showing that God the Father and God the Son are 2 separate individuals. Two Gods right there. In response to your claim, God not being eternal if he ever existed as a man, as according to LDS belief Not true. We are all eternal beings according to LDS doctrines. We are all without beginning or end as we all existed as Intelligence’s before we were born as spirits. To say Chris’ material is inaccurate is just an opinion. It all comes down to interpretation of “words” / “symbols” is all. At the end of the day…
Further. There is No other God for us other than the God we worship as God the Father. No Other….and there will never be any other for us. This is not contradictory to any scriptural context anywhere. Christ commands that we must become as He is. Simple…
I appreciate the reply, Jim. Although notice how you’ve responded, and I write this in love, my friend, you’ve replied to my exposition of Scripture not by explaining the verses which deny polytheism in Psalms, Colossians, Isaiah and Revelation, but rather, you’ve moved on into another portion of Genesis. The verses used by fair Mormon weren’t used fairly, they’d been removed from their context to make them say things the original writer didn’t intend to say. Revisit Psalm 86 with me once again: “Among the gods there is none like you, Lord” Okay, fair Mormon won’t continue reading any further, you and I can however, “no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvellous deeds; you alone are God.”
“You alone are God.” After which I presented Colossians 1:15-18, Isaiah 41:4, Isaiah 44:6, Isaiah 48:12, Revelation 1:8, Revelation 1:17, Revelation 2:8, Revelation 3:14 and Revelation 21:6 (just an array of Scripture which remain internally consistent). We’ve even found Jesus Christ Himself teaching these figures in the Psalms aren’t gods, rather they’re the people “to whom the word of God came.” Did Joseph Smith, or any of the other presidents of the church of latter-day saints, teach other gods, true gods, who could be found in the book of Psalms? If so, that’s demonstrably false. If however it’s an idea that’s popular on the street level, just an idea which Mormon apologists use, not necessarily drawn from their church authority, wouldn’t they have to drop their misinterpretation of the “gods” of Psalms in light of Jesus’ word. Nonetheless, let’s jump right into Genesis together.
In the text you’ve stressed “us”, “our”, “male” and “female”, however, buddy, the “us/our” verses have always been understood in Christian congregations in light of God’s being one in essence, yet existing eternally and as three divine persons. Two separate individuals would fit snugly into the Scripture hereabouts. Notice no tension arises by a God who is ONE in Their essence and the material I’ve already shared for yourself and Chris to research, there’s however massive tension in the material when you inject Mormon polytheism into the mix. You’ve also capped “male” and “female”, perhaps you believe there’s something of a “male/female” dilemma in the verses of Genesis (I’d really welcome some clarity from yourself here). Anyhow, to provide you with somewhat of an answer, in Luke 24:39, we’re taught by Christ upon Their return in glory: “Look at [the marks in] My hands and My feet, [and see] that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see; a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” Cross reference Luke alongside of John 4:24: “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” So, God is spirit, and spirits don’t have flesh and bone, they’re invisible, and God? He’s residing in unapproachable light, any “male/female” dilemma wouldn’t lead me in reading Genesis to punt towards other gods or goddesses so to account for the male/female gender, rather, I’d simply understand “image” to be meant in a clearly specialist way.
You existed as “intelligence”? That would mean to write you didn’t exist as you are now, correct? [rereading this, I realize it could be read as a bit of an insult. Totally not my intention, I’ll say when it is. 😛 ] You’ve always existed in some fashion, albeit not as yourself, for example, before the creation of our earth, you weren’t Jim, were you? In the same style, as exulted men, gods too would’ve had to have existed in fashions, modes, therefore, as I’ve stated, god wasn’t always god in Mormonism. My Mormon friends might reply by writing “He existed!” however, that’s not the same as saying he existed AS GOD, rather, originally it was pointed out, in LDS theology, god wasn’t always god. He may have been matter/intelligence, that’s not to write they were god however, in the same way, you’re not god now, true? You’re not the alpha and omega. You exist, and you existed, you’re not in the form of god as of now however. Yet, Jesus, according to the Bible, existed in the form of God for all eternity (Philippians 2). Again, assumptions behind Mormon theology operate under the B-theory of time, which isn’t sustainable (simply reasoning from premises to conclusion so to accept the B-theory of time as accurate requires an A-theory of dynamic time to arrive at our conclusions).
Even in the above video it’s pointed out how in The King Follett Sermon Joseph Smith was quoted to have said “it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how He came to be so; for 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.” Once again. “God came to be God.” Clarity on the matter would be welcomed.
I’m thankful both yourself and Chris are studious and thoughtful and are trying to ground your views in the Bible, and yet, when you’ve explained “There is No other God for us other than the God we worship as God the Father. No Other….and there will never be any other for us. This is not contradictory to any scriptural context anywhere.” That’s not biblical, sir. That’s contrary to the Bible, which teaches how you, Chris, myself and all of creation are going to worship the Son just as they worship the father. Revelation chapter five reads: “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever!” Cross reference Revelation with the use of the Greek προσκυνέω (pronounced pro-scan-eh-who), as found throughout the Gospels, as it’s rightly translated as worship. Doubting Thomas himself even proclaimed “The Lord of me, and the God of me!” in their famous encounter with the risen Jesus. Who was Jesus the God of? Thomas. Does Thomas have two Gods, the Father God and the Son God, since that’s in direct contradiction to Mormon theology. Christ received worship from people throughout the New Testament, in fact, worship directed towards Christ was considered giving honour to the Father. Even the angels are found to be worshipping Jesus (Hebrews chapter one):
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. The Son Superior to Angels For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again,
“I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.” In speaking of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” But about the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
If you have a Bible handy, join me in following the writer on Hebrews, since they’re making references to the Old Testament.
Cross reference with me from the portion of Hebrews which says “Let all God’s angels worship him [Him meaning the Son]”, and read that in light of Luke chapter four, verse five until eight: “The devil led him [Christ] up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
Notice in the above we’re confronted by something of a formula:
1). The angels are told to worship the Son.
2). Jesus teaches Satan (the fallen angel) only God should receive worship.
It’s interesting, and yet, mysterious, however, everything comes together by continuing on into Hebrews: ““He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” But ABOUT THE SON HE SAYS, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
Where’s the writer drawing their quotation from? From [Psalms] chapter forty-five: “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
Notice The Father in Hebrews firstly commands angels to worship His son, after which He addresses His son by “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever;” You’re not purely involved with Heavenly Father, rather, Jesus Christ is the lord of you and the God of you (just as Thomas exclaimed). Lastly, and I mean this in the best humour, so please don’t think I’m meaning to be rude or unsympathetic to you, but your opinion that my opinion of Chris’ opinion being inaccurate is merely an opinion is just your opinion. Writing something like the thing you have written is like trying to punch someone, only to have your own fist loop around and bop you on the nose. Not only can anyone who reads the verses in context see they’re inaccurately understood by fair Mormon, but even Jesus said it’s inaccurate.
There are rules by which we can accurately interpret words and symbols, it’s not a free-for-all. There’s grammar, genre, context, syntax. You and I shouldn’t casually rip Psalms into pieces and put gods that never were into the mind of the original author. Fair? Try and stay with me here, because not only have we examined Psalms, Isaiah, Revelation and Colossians, which each teach about one God, who beside there’s no other, we’ve also went into Hebrews, the Gospels, more of Revelation and more of the book of Psalms. You’ve tried answering my points by reading polytheism into Genesis, however, not only does a plurality of persons who each possess the same essence comfortably account for ALL of the verses we’ve already studied (whereas one verse in Genesis interpreted in light of LDS theology only creates contradiction), but also, a classical rule of proper hermeneutics is to read unclear verses in light of clear ones, not clear verses in light of unclear verses. Again, God bless you, Jim. I hope we discuss these things more.
[Chris jumps in hereafter to defend their buddy. Sadly their reply (again taken from the Fair Mormon website) was so massive you’ll probably end up avoiding it.]: http://www.fairmormon.org/archive/publications/reconsidering-psalms-826?
The reply is much appreciated, Chris. Before I read the material provided, which again is from the people over at fair Mormon, I’d like to ask, if you know, who wrote this article? I’m not meaning to ask who they’ve named in their footnotes, but rather, who composed this article? Do they speak or read ancient Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek, because they begin their essay by making some authoritative statements about the language. Has the writer of this essay chosen to remain anonymous? [The Watchtower cult does likewise].
In addition, just rereading your original message, which again, was a straight copy and paste from the fair Mormon website, can you notice how they’ve added the Bible translation (e.g. KJV, NIV) for all of their references but one. Take a look at your first message. When it comes to the quote in which somebody inserted “all” into the text, they provide no translation. Reread with me…. “Among all the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works (Psalms 86:8)” No ESV, no NIV, and yet they added the reference to every other quotation. It appears to be a fabrication. Should you and I be reading an eighteen page, 7000+ word essay from a website which appears to insert words into the Scriptures?
Briefly, because I’m being so fair as I’m able, just read this section of the article (maybe do a key word search), the article you’ve shared: “the Jewish audience then “took up stones again to stone him.” [with regards to the gospel of John] Their declaration of His crime of blasphemy was grounded in the charge that “thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” This charge is not new to Jesus here. In John 5:18 he is accused of saying “that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.””
Now, I’m not going to lecture anybody on the Hebrew/Aramaic of the Bible, however, I can go into the Greek, and the people behind fair Mormon have simply not understand either the Greek or the context in reading John 5:18, perhaps because in the English translations of John 5:18 Jesus is described as “breaking” the Sabbath (due to which it sounds like an insult or accusation). It’s due to their inaccurate understanding of the Greek that they see this as “an accusation” against Jesus. Rather, Jesus is described in the Greek as “loosing” the Sabbath, which He had authority to do, being Lord of the Sabbath. Let’s go into John chapter five:
“So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defence Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he [loosing] the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”
Who said this? Who’s meant to be speaking in the above when “loosing” and “making Himself equal to God” are mentioned, it’s not the Pharisees, it’s not an accusation, it’s John. John was writing about the implications of Jesus’ behaviour, they weren’t writing Jesus broke the Sabbath, instead they’re writing he had both the authority to loose the Sabbath, in addition to writing how Jesus was making Himself equal to God. Fair Mormon missed this entirely. I look forward to discussing these important issues further, Chris.
Perhaps then I’ll try and strip back on the information I have found on fair Mormon etc. And simply speak with you in regards to what I think. When we speak of ‘gods’ and the difference between the Godhead within Mormonism which is sometimes accused of being polytheism, and the Trinity of traditional Christianity which can be traced back to the first council of Nicea and can be accused as being a non biblical post apostolic teachings. Of course the word trinity is not in the Bible but we can find certain verses which defend the trinity. But we can also demonstrate that the book of Mormons teaching on the Godhead is not polytheism.
Alma 11: 26 And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God?
27 And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God.
28 Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God?
29 And he answered, No.
2 Nephi 31: 21 the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God.
Though the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are described as one God there is nothing in the Book of Mormon to suggest that these three are of one substance.
In 3 Nephi 11:7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
Heavenly Father introduces Jesus Christ which shows us that they are three separate beings. There are many other verses in the Bible and book of Mormon demonstrating the unity of the Godhead as three separate beings. Does that mean we believe the same thing but just use different titles for are beliefs.
You’ll notice the above in Islam especially, because their sources aren’t inspired, and because their religion does deflate itself, believers are more than likely to play one statement in their supposed revelatory writing off against another, as if their entry somehow clarified the other (and not vice versa). Jim tried to defend polytheism from the Bible, Chris went in another direction, trying to prove monotheism from the Mormon sources (day’s night and night is day). Chris decided fairly speedily that he wasn’t going to defend the article he shared, instead they wrote on the Trinity, which I can’t blame cult members for doing, as Christians are often so poorly equipped in terms of defending the truth of the Trinity that cult members only have to hint at mentioning the Triune nature of God and Christians are falling to pieces. They’re taking on the path of least resistance, and that path only comes about because we’re underprepared.
Nonetheless, Chris uses the Mormon sources in an attempt to make Mormons monotheistic, they’ve insisted how the understanding of the Godhead in Mormonism is “accused of being polytheism”, the accusation he insisted isn’t accurate however. Now, whenever I’ve been writing on YouTube or elsewhere where there’s an audio or video in the above, I’ve got a habit of just watching the video a second time, because more often than not, sources which provide answers to the difficulties we’re having can be found right there. Let’s end today’s conversation with the video we’re debating on, a video which as we go is going to be referenced more and more.
― T. C. M