Posted on: May 31, 2023 Church Background, Evangelizing

The nature of God.

Christianity and Mormonism, two distinct religious traditions, offer contrasting perspectives on the nature of God, which play a foundational role in shaping their respective beliefs. Mormons often like to portray their faith as another ‘branch’ of Christianity, but in essence, the Mormon view of God differs radically from the picture of God one finds in the Bible.

While both traditions share common elements, such as a reverence for Jesus Christ, understanding God’s nature sets them apart. At the heart of this divergence lies the Christian belief in monotheism—the existence of one God—and the Mormon belief in the plurality of gods, accompanied by the concept of humans potentially attaining godhood.

The Christian View

‘The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’

Christianity is based on the belief in a single, all-powerful God who exists beyond our world but is also present in our everyday lives. Christians embrace monotheism, the understanding that only one God is eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. This belief is grounded in numerous biblical passages that explicitly affirm the oneness of God.

For instance, Deuteronomy 6:4 states, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This verse, known as the Shema, is a foundational declaration of the Jewish faith and is embraced by Christians.

Isaiah 43:10 declares, “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me,” emphasizing the exclusivity and singularity of God’s divine nature. Similarly, Isaiah 44:6 proclaims, “I am the first, and I am the last; besides me, there is no god.” These verses, along with many others, reinforce the belief in the Christian understanding of God’s nature.

The idea of there being many gods and the possibility for humans to become gods themselves doesn’t fit with the way Christians understand God’s nature according to their traditional beliefs.

The Mormon View: Plurality of Gods and Human Potential

God was once a human.

According to Mormon theology, God the Father, known as Elohim, once existed as a mortal on another planet or realm. Then, through progression and divine exaltation, God attained godhood and governed the universe. This understanding is based on the concept of eternal progression, which posits that all beings have the potential to evolve and become like God.

Mormons often cite the scripture Doctrine and Covenants 132:20 to support this belief. It states, “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue.”

This verse suggests that by adhering to the principles and ordinances of the Mormon faith, humans can attain godhood and inherit eternal life.

Mormonism teaches that certain fundamental realities have always existed and cannot be destroyed, even by God. Simply put, according to Mormonism, God originated from the universe rather than the universe arising from God (although He did shape this planet using existing material).

In the Mormon belief system, God is considered just another being in the universe, similar to humans.

Unlike the biblical view, where God is responsible for creating and sustaining matter, energy, natural laws, human nature, moral principles, salvation, and much more, Mormonism attributes these responsibilities elsewhere.

Surprisingly, from the Mormon perspective, God is not in control of the universe as the universe controls Him. It’s also important to note that the Mormon God is not all-powerful and therefore does not align with the God described in the Bible.

Contrasting views

These contrasting views on the nature of God have significant implications for the overall theological frameworks of Christianity and Mormonism. The Christian emphasis on God’s eternal, uncreated nature reflects a belief in His absolute sovereignty and supremacy. It underscores the idea that human beings, while created in the image of God and capable of spiritual growth and transformation, are distinct from God and will never attain the exact divine nature.

In contrast, the Mormon belief in the potential for human deification elevates the status of humanity and presents a unique perspective on the relationship between God and His children. It suggests that through faithful living, individuals can progress toward godhood and participate in the divine’s ongoing creative and governing work.

Final Thoughts

When conversing with Mormons, Christians should prioritize sharing the central tenets of their faith. Emphasizing the belief in the one true God, eternally existing and without equal, can help provide a clear foundation for dialogue. Quoting relevant biblical passages, such as Deuteronomy 6:4 and Isaiah 43:10, can help articulate the Christian understanding of God’s nature and reinforce the belief in monotheism.

It is essential to approach these discussions humbly, recognizing that Christians and Mormons draw upon their respective scriptures and traditions to support their beliefs.

Therefore, while firmly standing by the Christian understanding of God, Christians should be open to listening to and understanding the Mormon perspective, even if they may ultimately disagree.

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