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The Father as a Savior

exaltation god savior

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#1 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 05:23 PM

So I was reading in the Christian General Beliefs Board and came across this from Vort:

I just reread that last comment by Stephen and realized I didn't address his understanding that we and God "are all the same species, God having progressed from a man." This is based on a couplet from Elder Snow ("As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become") and some elements of the record of Joseph Smith's discourse at the funeral of King Follett. This is a pretty slender base on which to construct a robust understanding of LDS belief. I think it's indisputable that orthodox LDS doctrine teaches that our Father was once a man (meaning a mortal being) who, through a process of exaltation, attained his Godly state. (Note that I am not proclaiming this as doctrine, just as my understanding of our doctrine. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.)

What is nowhere stated or even implied is that God was once a flawed, sinful man, as we are flawed, sinful men and women. On the contrary, of the vanishingly few scriptures we have that seem at all to touch, however tangentially, on this point, the best idea we have is that the Father may have stood in the same position as our Lord and Savior now stands. Since no one who can call himself a Christian disputes the perfection and divinity of Christ, the idea that the Father may have stood in that same place or function should raise no questions about his divinity or perfection, whether or not you believe it.


I thought I’d open up a new topic in the LDS Gospel Discussion board to respond to it, as it really is a discussion of LDS beliefs, and also that thread was too long anyhow. Finally, the debate I intend may not have been appropriate there.

I’d like to also add that I’m not necessarily arguing with Vort here. What he says is true. The implications are, perhaps, as he says, and he’s clear in the first paragraph that we don’t know (which is my entire contention). That being said:

Concerning the doctrine, I find the self-effacing, “we’re sorry for our doctrine even among ourselves”, argument decidedly bothersome. That is to say, I do not find statements supporting this thinking very convincing, and logically, it makes little sense.

Here’s the argument from the King Follet Discourse:

The argument stems from this: “...what the Father did. The answer is obvious--in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again.” And “What did Jesus do? Why, I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. I saw my Father work out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom I shall present it to my Father so that he obtains kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt his glory. And so Jesus treads in his tracks to inherit what God did before. It is plain beyond disputation.”

This implies that the Father did just the same as Jesus, and therefore must have been a Savior himself, sinless, perfect, etc...

But also in the discourse we read: “Here, then, is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God. And you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves--to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done--by going from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you are able to sit in glory as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.” We also have plenty of scriptural and other sources that talk about us following the Savior and doing as He did, etc…

So here’s where the logic doesn’t work for me. If we must become gods, the same as all gods have done, the same as Jesus has done, the same as God the Father has done, then we would, according to the above, all have to be Saviors, perfect, sinless, etc... We know this is not true.

We are to do to be the same as the Savior, and the Atonement allows for this to happen. If it works in that direction, then could it not reasonably work up the chain too? In other words, could not the idea of, “doing the things my father did” be as symbolic as our following of the Savior. Literally we cannot be like the Savior, but we can be “like” the Savior.

We also know that with the atonement our sins are washed clean. How does this apply to us but would somehow be inappropriate for God the Father?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not arguing that God was a sinner, or that he wasn’t a Savior. What I’m arguing is that IF He was a sinner, and IF he wasn’t a Savior, wherein does the doctrine of exaltation cause a problem for us in that regard? How does that diminish his perfection now? I can see that being a problem with other Christian theologies, but they think the whole idea of man becoming a god is blasphemy.

If we can progress from principle to principle until we become perfect, wherein do our previous sins play a role? Will we somehow be less perfect, less glorious, less honored? Will our eternal posterity, our worlds without number, have less respect for us because at one time, in our blip of mortality, we made mistakes? The logic just doesn’t work out for me.

I do not deny, in any regard, that God may have lived a sinless life like the Savior. But the whole point of making that kind of an argument is to somehow apologize for our belief that we can become like God.

As I understand it, and as the King Follett Disc. speaks to, the order of exaltation will always give glory upward. God will have all the glory from all of His works, and all of the works that all of his exalted children work, and so forth. The same for anyone who becomes exalted. We will have glory from our works, and from the works of our posterity, onward forever. Am I wrong? God having been through the mortal experience and having repented of imperfections and having been atoned through the same process as us would not, logically, diminish his glory. And he would give all his glory to His Father, who gives all His glory to His Father, and onward.

In short, I would contend that, doctrinally speaking, the appropriate argument would be that we just don’t know.

I could go on, but...well, there’s a start. Have at it.

#2 Anddenex

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:30 PM

I saw my Father work out his kingdom with fear and trembling,


I don't believe anybody was apologizing for our doctrine, however I do believe others were seeking to be as tactful as possible in the explanation they provided.

I happen to agree with President Hinckley's response regarding our Heavenly Father and the question he was asked, as he replied -- something to this nature, "There isn't much said. I don't believe we have much written about the Father."

In King's Follett discourse there is plenty of information to ponder, for example the quoted part in this response. The question that automatically enters into my heart is -- How did our Savior see our Eternal Father in Heaven work out his salvation with fear and trembling?

Puts a whole new spin on this. As you said, we don't know.

#3 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:43 PM

I don't believe anybody was apologizing for our doctrine, however I do believe others were seeking to be as tactful as possible in the explanation they provided.


Right. I hoped I made that clear in my preamble, and why I opened a new topic instead. My seeing it as an apology is not related to Vort's statement directly, but it reminded me of much I have read, both in the past in this forum and on other sites, that does come across that way.

The question that automatically enters into my heart is -- How did our Savior see our Eternal Father in Heaven work out his salvation with fear and trembling


Interesting. Hadn't thought of that. But, possibly, as the Savior was a God, the Great Jehovah even before coming to earth and taking upon Himself mortality, it's reasonable to presume that, just the same as the Father, He saw all--past, present and future--and therefore could say such and mean it literally. Very interesting.

#4 mikbone

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 08:51 PM

So here’s where the logic doesn’t work for me. If we must become gods, the same as all gods have done, the same as Jesus has done, the same as God the Father has done, then we would, according to the above, all have to be Saviors, perfect, sinless, etc... We know this is not true.

I could go on, but...well, there’s a start. Have at it.


This topic has been discussed on a multiplicity of threads. I still love it. It is the most profound doctrine that we have as a written record (as far as I can tell). And it is a very mis-understood doctrine.

I have made it my personal journey to read the scriptures, church history, commentary, and intrepret the temple narative with this single concept always in the back of my mind.

Here are a few lines that may have some application.

Sermon delivered at Nauvoo temple grounds on Sunday August 27, 1843 Franklin D. Richards "Scriptural Items"
Holy Ghost in Probationary State
Joseph also said that the Holy Ghost is now in a state of Probation which if he should perform in righteousness he may pass through the same or a similar course of things that the Son has.

Joseph Smith, June 16 1844, as recorded in the George Laub Journal
But the holy ghost is yet a Spiritual body and waiting to take to himself a body. as the Savior did or as god did or the gods before them took bodies for the Saviour Says the work that my father did do i also & those are the works he took himself a body & then laid down his life that he might take it up again.


AND

Matt. 5: 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

3 Ne. 12:48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

When looking at the 2 above verses, you may ask yourself this question. Why is the wording different in these 2 verses? Is it by coincidence or on purpose?

Finally, compare and contrast John 5:19 & 3 Ne 27:21


http://www.lds.net/f...-his-hands.html

Edited by mikbone, 27 March 2013 - 10:01 AM.

"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value" - Thomas Paine

#5 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 09:35 PM

This topic has been discussed on a multiplicity of threads. I still love it.


I think topics that haven't been discussed at some level or another are probably difficult to come by. :) But it there can be 40 different threads all running on homosexuality... Well, I'd rather talk about this sort of thing anyhow.

#6 RipplecutBuddha

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 08:19 AM

Matt. 5: 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

3 Ne. 12:48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

When looking at the 2 above verses, you may ask yourself this question. Why is the wording different in these 2 verses? Is it by coincidence or on purpose?


As far as I have known, the difference is quite deliberate and for a good reason. In Matthew, Christ was yet mortal, thus not perfect. He was very much capable of physical death; something he demonstrated as an essential part of the Atonement.

However, in 3 Nephi, Christ was resurrected, and thus not only perfect spiritually, but physically as well, no longer subject to mortality or any of its laws, including death of any kind.

#7 Maureen

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:00 AM

...In Matthew, Christ was yet mortal, thus not perfect....


Really? How do you define perfect?

M.
I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who - is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has was once an are. - Milton Berle

Sound, balanced teaching is a must. Our default should be to partake. Our default should be to live in joy, not condemnation. Our default should be to love, not to correct, to encourage, not to criticize. (Quote from prisonchaplain)

#8 Dravin

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:11 AM

Really? How do you define perfect?

M.


Did you not read his whole post?

However, in 3 Nephi, Christ was resurrected, and thus not only perfect spiritually, but physically as well, no longer subject to mortality or any of its laws, including death of any kind.


Hindsight is all well and good... until you trip.

#9 Maureen

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:30 AM

Did you not read his whole post?


Yes, that's why I want him to define "perfect".

M.
I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who - is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has was once an are. - Milton Berle

Sound, balanced teaching is a must. Our default should be to partake. Our default should be to live in joy, not condemnation. Our default should be to love, not to correct, to encourage, not to criticize. (Quote from prisonchaplain)

#10 RipplecutBuddha

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:20 AM

Yes, that's why I want him to define "perfect".

M.


okay, during Christ's mortal ministry, he was spiritually innocent due to his divine nature and freedom from sin. However his intended mission required that he be capable of both sin and death. In order for that to happen he could not be spiritually or physically perfect.

Perfection, by definition, indicates a state of unchanged existence. After all, if it's perfect, it's as good as it can possibly be. If it were possible to be better, it wouldn't be perfect. If it were less than it could be, it wouldn't be perfect either.

Thus, a being capable of change cannot, by definition, be perfect. You and I are not perfect because we can improve and degrade both spiritually and physically.

So, during Christ's ministry he was spiritually innocent, but not perfect. His freedom from sin was as good as it could ever be. However, his body and spirit were still both capable of being less or greater than they currently were. As I said earlier, he had to be subject to physical death in order to die. A perfect body cannot die. He had to be capable of sin in order to be tempted. A perfect being cannot sin. This is part of the promise of immortality and salvation given to us through the resurrection.

This is precisely why in the gospels Christ never equates himself as equal with the father during his mortal ministry, but instead demonstrates his subjectivity to the will of the father in all things. Then in 3 Nephi we read the verse where Christ says "Be ye therefore perfect, even as I, or your Father in Heaven is perfect.

It was not until after his resurrection that Christ became a fully and whole perfected being. Again, this is part and parcel with the doctrine of resurrection available to us all because Christ made it available to us through his own process of perfection on our behalf.

Edited by RipplecutBuddha, 27 March 2013 - 10:51 AM.


#11 mikbone

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:22 AM

Or... It could be that atonement makes one perfect.
"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value" - Thomas Paine

#12 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:37 AM

A perfect body cannot die.


In theory, I have a problem with "cannot" and omnipotence. Jesus as I see it, was omnipotent, even in mortality. His death was something that He allowed. His body is something He lay down and then took up, by His own will.

That his body was capable of death is clear, but that death was mandatory by other than His choice is not. The fact that He put Himself into a mortal body that is capable of death in the first place was by His will. All things of heaven and earth were and are subject unto Him. He, in turn, subjects Himself to the will of the Father, which may also be viewed as a composite will and how we may understand that He and the Father are one.

I contend that Jesus was, in fact, perfect, even in mortality. That the allowed state of hunger, pain, and death were not indicative of imperfection, but an allowed state that did not define his true nature.

If I put on a blindfold, it does not make me blind.

#13 Anddenex

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:39 AM

These are the times I really wish I could go back and ask, "Brother Joseph, what did you mean by this?" And actually hear it from the words spoken from his lips. Yes...Yes.

#14 Anddenex

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:49 AM

If I put on a blindfold, it does not make me blind.


It appears, from my frame of reference, we are splitting hairs.

Although I understand the analogy, I think putting a blindfold on, and a spirit body putting on a mortal body are decisively different.

A mortal body, by definition, is imperfect. His capacity to die, at his own volition, and to take up a body were given to him by his Father; thus, the comparison, IMO, becomes irrelevant. The question, was his mortal body perfect? I would have to agree with Ripple, no.

He easily could have translated himself, as people who live during the millennium will be translated and never taste of death; however, the body is still imperfect. He felt pain, he felt sick, and him being God is what made it possible that he could suffer such and still remain alive.

We know, via doctrine, his body changed from a mortal corruptible body, into an immortal glorified body.

#15 mikbone

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 11:06 AM

Now remember - when Jesus Christ stated, "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I." he was not talking to the general public. He was talking to the elect that had survived the destruction after his death and the 3 days of darkness. I doubt, that He was advocating that we only become resurrected. Everyone, even sons of perdition are going to be resurrected. More likely He was advocating that we follow his example.

Edited by mikbone, 30 March 2013 - 06:24 PM.

"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value" - Thomas Paine

#16 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 11:12 AM


We also know that with the atonement our sins are washed clean. How does this apply to us but would somehow be inappropriate for God the Father?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not arguing that God was a sinner, or that he wasn’t a Savior. What I’m arguing is that IF He was a sinner, and IF he wasn’t a Savior, wherein does the doctrine of exaltation cause a problem for us in that regard? How does that diminish his perfection now? I can see that being a problem with other Christian theologies, but they think the whole idea of man becoming a god is blasphemy.

If we can progress from principle to principle until we become perfect, wherein do our previous sins play a role? Will we somehow be less perfect, less glorious, less honored? Will our eternal posterity, our worlds without number, have less respect for us because at one time, in our blip of mortality, we made mistakes? The logic just doesn’t work out for me.

I do not deny, in any regard, that God may have lived a sinless life like the Savior. But the whole point of making that kind of an argument is to somehow apologize for our belief that we can become like God.

As I understand it, and as the King Follett Disc. speaks to, the order of exaltation will always give glory upward. God will have all the glory from all of His works, and all of the works that all of his exalted children work, and so forth. The same for anyone who becomes exalted. We will have glory from our works, and from the works of our posterity, onward forever. Am I wrong? God having been through the mortal experience and having repented of imperfections and having been atoned through the same process as us would not, logically, diminish his glory. And he would give all his glory to His Father, who gives all His glory to His Father, and onward.

In short, I would contend that, doctrinally speaking, the appropriate argument would be that we just don’t know.

I could go on, but...well, there’s a start. Have at it.


I don't think you are wrong. I think it is a powerful statement of your faith in Christ, to believe that if you have faith you could be one with Christ. I think there is a fracture in faith when one believes that they could not be totally saved and receive all that God and Christ have.

Receiving all means exactly that, to receive all. It means to receive the glory of all the things that have been done before, including the glory from being a Savior. Of course, if one is not worthy to be in the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom the one doesn't receive all. So, it is predicated on doing all the things that are necessary to be in the highest level. What are the additional steps beyond mortality to get to that point? Those details we don't know.

But, what we do know is that the power of Christ and God is to be able to pass glory from one to the other. And Christ has the ability to do glorious things for someone who hasn't done it for their self, like what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane. If we have faith in Him, then we have faith in His ability to pass glory and to experience others experiences without having done it himself. It is a God-like quality to have that ability, by His example. So, we too, if we receive all that God has, will have the ability to experience things we did not do our self but as if we did them. This would allow us to do as we see the Father did. And this would allow the Father to "do" all the things that were done before Him, making Him without beginning or end.

#17 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 11:25 AM

It appears, from my frame of reference, we are splitting hairs.

Although I understand the analogy, I think putting a blindfold on, and a spirit body putting on a mortal body are decisively different.

A mortal body, by definition, is imperfect. His capacity to die, at his own volition, and to take up a body were given to him by his Father; thus, the comparison, IMO, becomes irrelevant. The question, was his mortal body perfect? I would have to agree with Ripple, no.

He easily could have translated himself, as people who live during the millennium will be translated and never taste of death; however, the body is still imperfect. He felt pain, he felt sick, and him being God is what made it possible that he could suffer such and still remain alive.

We know, via doctrine, his body changed from a mortal corruptible body, into an immortal glorified body.


I am, absolutely, splitting hairs. I'm not entirely convinced of the p.o.v., but do find it interesting to think about.

The blindfold analogy was imperfect, certainly. But I still wonder about the validity of calling the Savior imperfect, even in mortality. Could He not have, theoretically, in His power, without translating Himself, maintained an eternal state of mortality with no pain or hunger or aging or death? Did He not have the power to command the elements of even His body to not succumb to such things?

It is His eternal omnipotence that allows this thought, in my opinion.

I don't see any reason to not refer to the Savior as perfect in mortality, in spite of the 'corruptible' nature of the body He had. Splitting hairs, yes. But is that not the nature of the entire discussion? :) Examining the difference between the Savior's statements about being perfect in the two hemispheres is splitting hairs.

#18 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 11:28 AM

No remember when Jesus Christ stated, "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I." he was not talking to the general public. He was talking to the elect that had survived the destruction after his death and the 3 days of darkness.

I doubt, that He was advocating that we only become resurrected. Everyone, even sons of perdition are going to be resurrected.

More likely He was advocating that we follow his example.


This is a very valid point and indicative of the whole hair-splitting thing. All statements by the Savior telling us to be perfect are, clearly, not meant physically. Good thought.

#19 Anddenex

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 11:50 AM

Did He not have the power to command the elements of even His body to not succumb to such things?


I assume this is the subject in question. Would a perfect body succumb to anything? Would he need to have command over the elements of his body if they were perfect?

Just some other thoughts

#20 The Folk Prophet

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 12:02 PM

I assume this is the subject in question. Would a perfect body succumb to anything? Would he need to have command over the elements of his body if they were perfect?

Just some other thoughts


Which leads to another question...silly to even ask, but......

If a god has perfect command over all elements, would he (or she) not have power over his (or her) celestial body too? In other words, if he (or she) so desired, could he (or she) reshape its image or size? This is a different question than WOULD he (or she) ever do such a thing. And, being omnipotent, could a god not lay down a celestial body and take it up again at will? Doctrinally we can say with clarity that we will not ever be separated from our resurrected bodies. But does this mean we could not (if omnipotent) or simply that we will not?




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