Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More on Psalm 82

I received a thoughtful reply on a previous post concerning the LDS understanding of Psalm 82. The commenter stated that the men are promised by God to become angelic but not become like god and become gods themselves and literally have Eternal Life or life and existence like God. This commenter like most well-meaning evangelicals parroted the typical response that "wasn't that Satan's plan to become like God?"

http://ldsdoctrine.blogspot.com/2008/04/psalms-826-ye-are-gods.html

The passage Ps. 82: 1-8 says and means in English and in Hebrew: "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." To the LDS, there is a big difference between being God and being a god. Don't misunderstand that point. There is also a big difference between being a god and being an angel or angelic.

Now you are trying to tell me that Ps. 82: 1-8 doesn't really mean what it is saying. "Ye are gods" doesn't mean gods and being children of the Most High God really doesn't mean that and God being our Heavenly Father doesn't really mean that God is our Father in the literal sense. And in Gen. 3: 22 doesn't really mean what it says when "the gods" say that "man has become as one of us." Neither does the Bible mean what it says when Christ promises us that through Him we can know God and be like Him (Lev. 20: 7)(Matt. 5: 48)(1 Jn. 4: 17)(John 17: 3)?

Good thing that Christ verified the meaning of this very important passage in defending His divine Sonship. The pharisees asked Jesus Christ to plainly state His messiahship. When He did they wanted to kill Him for blasphemy which they errantly defined as man considering himself a god. Christ in John 10: 34, directly quotes Ps. 82: 6 and says if God referred to men as gods in Ps. 82: 6 then how can it be blasphemy for Christ to declare He is the Son of God.

Now about Satan. His plan was not just to be a god. Satan wanted to take away our agency and force us to choose the right here on Earth. No one would be lost. However, no risk, no reward. We would return to be in heaven in the same state we were before. But in return, Satan wanted Gods glory for himself. Satan wanted to take God's place.That is not what LDS Doctrine is about at all. God will always eternally remain our God and Eternal Father. But as gods, we will not only live with God but will be empowered to participate in the work of creation with God.

Heavenly Father promises through Christ that we will be made "better than the angels" (Heb. 1: 4). Christ promises that those who overcome will be given to "sit in His throne with Him" and not just circle the throne. We will be "glorified together" with Christ and will be "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8: 17).

If your religion only promises you that you that the highest reward in the next life is becoming an angel; and if your religion defines eternal life as endlessly circling God's throne and no more; and if your religion says that family relationships do not last forever and that love and relationship is finite and ends at death; then you are being short-changed from the fullness of blessings that God has promised in the scriptures. The scriptures reveal that men really are children of God (not pets), and God really is our Father. And that it does not threaten God for us to mature and become like He is but it adds to His glory; because Our God is a God of gods, a King of kings and a Lord of lords; He is the Most High God.

5 comments:

T said...

Hello.

While I'm not a member of the LDS church, I have been studying and trying to learn more about the church and its doctrines over the past few months.

I have a couple of questions spurred by your last sentence, and recent studies of God's character and God's power and authority (the priesthood).

God
In the King Follett Sermon, Joseph Smith states "God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens." In reading other church documents at lds.org, this understanding of God's character and nature has been echoed by many of the prophets that followed Smith.

Priesthood
In Chapter 8 of Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, they quote Smith, saying, "The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years [see Joseph Smith Translation, Hebrews 7:3]. The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam's authority."

" 'Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually.' [Hebrews 7:3.] The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not by descent from father and mother; and that priesthood is as eternal as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life. …"

Questions
I've been turning these quotes about God and the priesthood around in my head for a while. If "God Himself was once as we are now" it seems logical to conclude that he had a father and a mother. The priesthood, or God's power and authority, is "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life".

1. How can one reconcile God's character, as "an exalted man" with a beginning, and his authority, which has "neither beginning of days nor end of life"?

2. Did God's authority come from something or someone greater?

BRoz said...

1. God the Father is an eternal being and has no beginning and no end.. Therefore in that sense He is without father or mother. So, how could Joseph Smith teach that God the Father was as man now is? Just as Jesus Christ came to Earth and was encarnate and considered fully man and at the same time fully God, so God the Father was fully God even as He passed through mortality as Christ did. Christ Himself said that he could do nothing but what He had seen his Father do.

2. God's authority has existed with Him forever. God has been and will always be our Heavenly Father. While Our Heavenly Father was encarnate did He have a Heavenly Father? Yes. Does that make Our Father's authority less? No! Being God isn't king of the mountain, nor does God take orders from his Heavenly Father. Being God means like Christ you don't have to take orders but you have become an agent unto yourself and do those things you have seen your Father do before He even would have to ask you. God teaches us that those who require to be commanded in all things are slothful and unwise servants. The same rule applies at work.

3. How does this apply to man? According to the King Follet Sermon, the spirits of men also have had no beginning and likewise will have no end. Our spirits are coexistent and coeternal with God. So in the same sense each of us are without father and mother. This is the significance of the Psalm 82 which says "he are gods"

4. Some Christians make a big deal about created vs uncreated things. According to some only God is uncreated. But while the Bible says that God created all things it doesn't say that God wasn't also created. What I am getting at is the opposite of created is not eternal. Something can be created and eternal at the same time. That is because creation is not from nothing but means formed, cut out, or organized from preexisting materials like a clay pot or a house. Creation is not ex nihlo or from nothing. Therefore Christ was begotten but is still God. In the same way man has been formed from the dust but God says "he are gods and all of you are children of the Most High God".

4. God will always remain Our God and all glory and Honor are His alone. But God is a God of gods, a King of kings and a Lord of lords. Becoming like Our Father in Heaven simply means that we will join with Him in His work of creation. Our salvation and exaltation does not detract from his glory but adds to it. Does the success of your children disrespect or take away from a parent?

BRoz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T said...

Thank you for the thorough response. I appreciate that you took the time to answer my questions.

LDS.ORG treats eternal life and exaltation as synonyms. Ultimately, I think this may be where my confusion lies.

You state, “Just as Jesus Christ came to Earth and was incarnate and considered fully man and at the same time fully God, so God the Father was fully God even as He passed through mortality as Christ did.”

If my understanding is correct, you are saying that God the Father was fully man and fully God, just as Jesus Christ was fully man and fully God. Is this what you are stating?

If God the Father was fully a god (and the God) as he "passed through mortality", in what sense would Joseph Smith have been accurate in stating that God is an exalted man? If he is already a god and the God, would there be a purpose in being exalted?

I ask these questions with the understanding that godhood comes at the same time as exaltation or after exaltation. Is this understanding correct?

Thanks for your patience. I’ve never thought about many of these things and it is challenging me in many ways. Perhaps I'm even over thinking things.

Thanks again,
John

BRoz said...

Joseph Smith taught in King Follett that God and the spirits of man are co-eternal. The spirits of man have been created or organized as children of God. This could have occurred by our making a covenant with God that He be our Eternal Father. Covenants extend eternally forwards and backwards in time, thus God becomes Our God from Eternity to Eternity since noone ever was or will be. God had progressed to exaltation and eternal fatherhood and has the power within him to make us eternal parents like Himself.

My point is, that man doesnt become gods. Man can become eternal parents. Men are already considered gods as it is our species and refers to our eternal potential. Men are gods in embryo but our value as a human embryo resides in that infinite potential.

God is not a static being but dynamic and continually growing and creating. He is unchangeable in the fact that He has never deviated from His perfect course. And those who follow that same course through Christ will be able to claim the same thing.

Thus, children of god, mature to become spiritual parents themselves. But gods is our species and eternal parenthood our potential.

The Bible really means children when it speaks of children and it really means Father when it says Father.