Theosis: “The Mormon view is altogether different.”

LostFoundThis has been going on for far too long. BYU Professor Robert Millet, as part of his continuing apologetic for the Mormon doctrine of exaltation (i.e., faithful Mormons becoming Gods), perseveres in asserting that this doctrine did not originate with Mormonism, but was taught by the early (Christian) church fathers. Dr. Millet said as much in the 1998 book, Latter-day Christianity: 10 Basic Issues. He said it at a 1998 Church Educational System Fireside (as reported by Richard and Joan Ostling in The Power and the Promise: Mormon America, 312), and more recently, he said it as a guest lecturer at Fuller Theological Seminary. According to Mormon blogger Jana Riess who attended the class at Fuller, Dr. Millet

“was willing to be vulnerable and admit it outright when he didn’t know something – a humility which, when we’re talking about the speculative frontiers of Mormon theology, is a pretty important quality. ‘I don’t know what to do with that’ was what Bob said in all honesty about the first half of the uncanonized Lorenzo Snow couplet that ‘As man is; God once was.’ Mormons don’t focus on that, and we’re not at all sure we believe it.

“The second half, however – ‘As God is, man may become’ – is still alive and well in Mormon belief, and Bob showed how the idea of theosis or deification has roots in orthodox (and Orthodox, big O) Christian theology, quoting heavyweight Church Fathers like Justin Martyr, Ireneaus, Athanasius, and Augustine.”

Dr. Millet is not the only Mormon to make this assertion, of course. Mormon author Stephen Robinson has suggested it in at least a couple of his books; Mormon apologist Daniel Peterson called Joseph Smith’s restoration of this “authentically ancient Judeo-Christian doctrine” a miracle; the Mormon Church notes the teachings of the patristic fathers in its 2014 essay “Becoming Like God”; and rank and file Mormons comfortably repeat the claim that the Mormon doctrine of exaltation is believed by Orthodox Christians (for example, one commenter on another blog discussing Mormonism noted, “you have taken an idea that each Mormon will get his own planet, yes it was said by an authority of the Church. But no one counts that particular statement as a full explanation of our understanding of Theosis. As you well know Orthodox Christians have a similar understanding of that of Latter day Saints.”).

trinity-1170x380In fact, while some (Christian) church fathers spoke of believers’ “deification,” the doctrine they spoke of (theosis) does not parallel the Mormon doctrine of exaltation.

By way of explanation, Orthodox Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware, Bishop of Diokleia, said:

“It is clear to me that C.S. Lewis understands the doctrine of theosis in essentially the same way as the Orthodox Church does; indeed, he probably derived his viewpoint from reading such Greek Fathers as Athanasius. On the other hand, the Mormon view is altogether different from what Lewis and the Orthodox Church believe.

“Orthodox theology emphasizes that there is a clear distinction — in the current phraseology ‘an ontological gap’ — between God the Creator and the creation which He has made. This ‘gap’ is bridged by divine love, supremely through the Incarnation, but it is not abolished. The distinction between the Uncreated and the created still remains. The Incarnation is a unique event.

“‘Deification,’ on the Orthodox understanding, is to be interpreted in terms of the distinction between the divine essence and the divine energies. Human beings share by God’s mercy in His energies but not in His essence, either in the present age or in the age to come. That is to say, in theosis the saints participate in the grace, power, and glory of God, but they never become God by essence.” (Quoted in Ostling, 311)

Christian theologian Rob Bowman wrote a 5-part blog series exploring the problems inherent in the claim that the Mormon doctrine of exaltation is a restoration of an early Christian doctrine as taught by the patristic fathers. He concluded,

“Joseph Smith’s doctrine of exaltation was not in any meaningful sense a restoration of a lost doctrine of theosis. The doctrine of theosis was never lost, and the doctrine of deification taught by the church fathers was radically different from the doctrine Joseph Smith taught. Joseph taught that God was once a mortal man who became exalted to Godhood, and that we can do the same thing and become Gods of the same nature and powers as our God. The church fathers taught that God is the only uncreated, eternal Being, existing eternally and unchangeably as God, and that he created human beings to become ‘gods’ in the sense that they may be adopted as his children and receive immortality as the gift of his grace.”

It’s very disappointing that the Mormon Church and its representatives continue to mislead people with faulty assertions regarding the Christian doctrines related to the nature of God. It’s disappointing, but sadly, not at all surprising.

For more information on the important doctrine of theosis and continuing unsupportable Mormon claims, see:

Godhood and Theosis by Bill McKeever
Did Joseph Smith Restore Theosis? (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5) by Rob Bowman
Orthodox Wiki: Theosis

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Early Christianity, Lorenzo Snow, Nature of Man, Truth, Honesty, Prayer, and Inquiry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Theosis: “The Mormon view is altogether different.”

  1. falcon says:

    The problem, in terms of “understanding”, is that the LDS simply repeat what they’ve heard their leaders say. There really isn’t any independent thought or research; checking things out for themselves. But that’s sort of the pattern we see in religion in general. People put their faith and trust in the leaders they have chosen to follow. I’ve often repeated what Dr. Walter Martin use to say; “Question everything that you are told, even what I tell you.”
    It doesn’t matter if it’s the teachings of the “health and wealth” preachers or some new age guru touting the miracles of crystals. I know this article is addressing the topic of “Theosis” but for me it really comes down to what people believe and why they believe it. Within this is the concept of who people trust for their information and who they follow.
    I was always interested and entertained by Shawn McCraney and his “Heart of the Matter” program. His program was an apologetic ministry to Mormons. Shawn then decided to go after Evangelical Christianity and specifically orthodox Christian doctrine. My point is that he was way off the well trodden path set down for centuries and picked-up on un-orthodox teachings. From what I read, Shawn’s was a work in progress.
    It’s an important to have an appreciation of history. Do a review of the research as is the approach that is time tested.

  2. Mike R says:

    Mormons like Mr. Millet have cleverly gained ground in snowing people about Mormonism being true Christianity . But thanks to Christian researchers ,what Millet has been trying to do has been thoroughly exposed . The Mormon church is a false prophet led organization which seeks to convince non LDS that Mormonism is first century Christianity restored . To accomplish this feat there must be some connection to New Testament body of Christ scraped up to show as evidence of that claim and Mormons like Millet accomplish this by squeezing Mormonism into the New Testament and/or the period of early church history shortly thereafter . But it’s not a good fit .On many important doctrines it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole .

    We pray for the Mormon people , they are truly the victims of a broken trust — their leaders have proved to be not trustworthy as guides concerning some very important issues . Mormons can be free of such men , they simply don’t need them to gain a right relationship with God .

  3. historybuff says:

    Members of the LDS Church may choose to dance around their doctrine that man may become god and God was once man, especially with non-Mormons, but the facts are clear: It’s a doctrine.

    The Church acknowledges that God was once as we are now, and that men and women can become Gods like Elohim is now. Admittedly, the Church is vague about how Elohim progressed from man to God, but the Church is more certain about our present prospects of Godhood:

    “Lorenzo Snow, the Church’s fifth President, coined a well-known couplet: “As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.”43 Little has been revealed about the first half of this couplet, and consequently little is taught. When asked about this topic, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley told a reporter in 1997, “That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don’t know very much about.” When asked about the belief in humans’ divine potential, President Hinckley responded, “Well, as God is, man may become. We believe in eternal progression. Very strongly.” “

    Some LDS may wish to soft-pedal this doctrine (or other facts about the LDS Church, like Joseph Smith’s polygamy or his use of “rocks” to produce the Book of Mormon, for that matter) by arguing that this is just a public relations ploy by “rogue” LDS officials in the Church office building, and does not represent the position of the Prophet. After all, it was announced on the Church’s web site under “Gospel Topics.”

    Recent announcements from LDS Church Headquarters, however, nullify that argument, bluntly stating that these disclosures by the Church are sanctioned at the highest level:,

    It’s now very difficult for Mormons to deny the facts. Regarding the “seer stone” Joseph Smith used to produce the Book of Mormon, for example, the Church’s own Salt Lake Tribune noted how Mormons are coping with the truth:

    “Latter-day Saints are reacting to Tuesday’s first-time-ever release of photos of Mormon founder Joseph Smith’s chocolate-colored “seer stone,” as a Facebook commenter puts it, with “humor, cynicism, denial, avoidance and panic.” “

    Mormons may have trouble supporting the claim that early Christians believed God was once man, and that man may become god, but they can no longer sidestep around their own doctrine.

  4. historybuff says:

    To clarify, it really should be noted how LDS leaders have attempted to distance themselves from their doctrine that God was once a man, and that man may become a God. Suffice it to say that the prime example of this is former Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley sidestepping the doctrine during a Larry King television interview:

    “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it. I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don’t know.”

  5. falcon says:

    Has anyone heard this one from a Mormon? “Everything we believe is in the Bible.”
    The young Mormon man that I’ve had some rather intense back-and-forth with on fb posted that. He believes it. What I wonder about is if everything the LDS believe is in the Bible, why did they need a “restored gospel”? Think about it.
    Does the Bible teach that God was once a man and that men can become gods? Does the Bible teach that the Mormon god lives near the planet Kolob? Just examine the LDS doctrine of God and ask if that is what the Bible teaches? There have been all kinds of heretical teachings but even the early heretics didn’t come up with that one.
    Are these Mormons thinking that they are of the same substance as the Father? Any attempt to make the LDS doctrine in any way related to orthodox Christianity is nonsense.

  6. Mike R says:


    ” Everything we believe is in the Bible .”

    Yes there are some Mormon leaders who have claimed such a thing . Did you want references ?

    Of course it is important that your Mormon friend explains what he means . How about this : Does he claim that the Bible actually teaches every Mormon doctrine ? ( “teaches” is the key word here, because the Bible merely mentioning something proves nothing ) .

  7. falcon says:

    I don’t consider this young man to be “dishonest”, but you and I know it’s a form of deception. It’s the same thing when LDS claim to believe in the “trinity” or that the Mormon god is “eternal”. There’s a video out there from the missionary training center that basically teaches the missionaries to not “answer the question that is asked but the one that should have been asked” by a prospect. The trainer covers himself by labeling the questioner as being negative. It’s just an excuse for lying. I believe in Mormon-speak, this type of misdirection or obfuscation is known as “lying for the Lord”.
    There’s a reason why, with sects like the LDS, that it’s important to get them to define their terms. They are famous for co-opting the language in order to sound just like basic orthodox Christianity. I think the above article gives ample demonstration of this.
    When I got into these intense back-and-forth postings on fb I think for me it was equal parts to get him to consider some things and begin thinking, but it was also to bring some information to his “friends” on fb who know nothing about Mormonism. LDS use fb as a way to recruit. The things that are posted are all very generic and a way to troll for prospects. It’s also a way to present Mormonism in a way that doesn’t really represent accurately what the sect believes, teaches and practices. At one point he suggested that I come and visit his church to learn what it’s really about. I’ve been down this road many times on MC with idealistic LDS who probably are coming into some information contrary to what they’ve been taught. It reminds me of what former LDS bishop Lee Baker says about when he was confronted for the first time about Joseph Smith’s claim to have done more than Jesus to hold a group together.
    I feel that it’s important that the average person out there receives some pertinent information regarding Mormonism.

  8. falcon says:

    Here’s the money quote among several very good ones in the article:

    “‘Deification,’ on the Orthodox understanding, is to be interpreted in terms of the distinction between the divine essence and the divine energies. Human beings share by God’s mercy in His energies but not in His essence, either in the present age or in the age to come. That is to say, in theosis the saints participate in the grace, power, and glory of God, but they never become God by essence.” (Quoted in Ostling, 311)

    Those who want a good explanation of what the early Church faced in beating back the heretics can consult Christian History magazine issues 51 and 85. In issue 51 the topics come under the heading “Heresy in the Early Church” and issue 85 “Debating Jesus’ Divinity”. A good quote that summaries what the early Church faced is, “…….whether Christ is of the same substance (homo-ousios) or a like substance (homoi-ousios) to God the Father is a matter of importance to all Christians….”

    The debate, which was very intense, is of great importance because it separates Jesus from the category of a created being, to that of being God incarnate, not “a” god. The Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons see Jesus as a created being. Christians see Jesus as the Word of God. An explanation that I like, and I hope I don’t have my toes up to the line of heresy, is that Jesus is the Eternal Word who was in the Father. One Church Father explained that the Word or Wisdom came forth from the Father. The Holy Spirit then, proceeds from the Father and the Son.
    It’s an explanation that takes into account that there is One God but in the God Head there are three distinct persons, but not three gods.
    Bottom line is that we are not of the same substance of God. We are created and while we may take on some of the attributes that God shares with us, we are not in essence the same as God.

  9. Mike R says:

    In the article above , Mormon Jana Riess mentioned Mormon Pres. Lorenzo Snow’s famous little couplet , which reads : ” As man is , God once was ; as God is man may become .”

    She mentioned that Mr. Millet said about the first half of the couplet : ” I don’t know what to do about that .”

    That’s a strange comment coming from a Mormon academic like Millet . Mormons are somewhat uncomfortable admitting in public interviews that God was not always God as it shines a light on how far from the Bible Mormon leaders have drifted from the truth about our Creator . Jana Riess also attempted to side step that part of Mormon doctrine by saying :

    ” Mormons don’t focus on that , and we’re not all sure we believe it .”
    (Notice she said “we” — does she speak for Mormons? )

    Once Joseph Smith succumbed to pride and fantasy by thinking he could become a God , then it was necessary to reduce God to a ordinary man like him , a man who worked His way up to finally becoming Almighty God who created heaven and earth . By teaching that about God , Joseph Smith could rationalize his quest for Godhood more easily and sell it to his flock more convincingly . Sadly, this egregious belief became an important doctrine in Mormonism .

  10. Mike R says:

    The little couplet that Mormon leader Lorenzo Snow coined was mentioned in this thread . It reads :
    ” As man is , God once was; as God is man may become .”

    Mormon author Jana Riess mentioned what Mr Millet said about the first half of the couplet :
    ” I don’t know what to do about that .”

    Jana Riess then said about that part of the couplet : ” Mormons don’t focus on that , and we’re not at all sure we believe it . ”

    These are two very interesting statements coming from two knowledgeable Mormons , but is not surprising to those who minister to the Mormon people because this type of dodging of a important Mormon teaching is not isolated by any means . Mormon leaders the last few decades in an effort to appear more Christian have worked hard at denying , dodging , or downplaying in public venues some of the teachings introduced by their colleagues in the past . While the first half of Snow’s couplet accurately reflects a Mormon belief about God ( God was not always God etc ) , still this one of the teachings by their leaders which makes many Mormons uncomfortable upon learning of it . In advertising the Mormon gospel this teaching just does not sell well , and hence the dodging or downplaying of it is necessary in order for Mormon Missionaries to proselytize more effectively .

    I also find it interesting how Jana Riess says , ” …. and we’re not at all sure we believe it .”
    Why does she say “we ” ? Fact of the matter is that there are many LDS who still believe in this teaching today , and Mormon leaders have taught it , and repeated it for years and years .

    So Mormons skilled in P.R. like Mr Millet keep on going with their salesmanship . Non LDS can put Millet in his proper place when they learn that as a non General Authority of the Church he has no weight when it comes to establishing Mormon doctrines .

  11. Mike R says:

    Can they make up their minds ?

    In a Church manual designed for the Melchizedek Priesthood Course of Study — 1946 , the Mormon doctrine that Mormon males could become Gods no different than their Heavenly Father is a God .
    One way this doctrine was validated in the book was to cite early Christian fathers :

    ” The teachings on this doctrine as given by the early Christian fathers are so NEARLY IDENTICAL with those of the Latter Day Saint prophets that one would find difficulty in trying to tell which came from which age .” ( p. 109 )

    Yet Robert Millet , in his book , ” The Mormon Faith — A new look at Christianity ” ( 1998) said :

    ” A study of the Christian church reveals that the doctrine of the deification of man was taught at least into the fifth century by such notables as Irenaeus, Clement, of Alexandrai, Justin Martyr, Athanasius , and Augustine . Latter Day saints would probably NOT AGREE WITH MOST of what
    was taught about deification by the early Christian church leaders …..” ( p 175 ) .

  12. historybuff says:

    Good grief, Mormons! (Attention Robert Millet and Jana Riess, this means you, too.)

    I thought that when the Prophet has spoken, the discussion is over. According to the Church itself, on its own web site, with the concurrence of the Prophet and the Council of the Twelve, —

    “God “was once as one of us” and “all the spirits that God ever sent into the world” were likewise “susceptible of enlargement.” Joseph Smith preached that long before the world was formed, God found “himself in the midst” of these beings and “saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself” and be “exalted” with Him.”

    How many times do the Church’s highest leaders have to explain to you what the doctrine is, and that it is not negotiable? How many times must the Church’s highest leaders explain that what they put on their web site comes straight from the Prophet and the Quorum of the Twelve?

    When they say “As man is, God once was,” and “God was once as one of us,” they really, REALLY mean it. Get with the program.

  13. falcon says:

    We’ve had LDS show-up here over the years that seem to be making up their own version of Mormonism. These can be hardcore TBM types, chapels or the more “flexible” internet Mormons. These folks just seem to want to fill up their doctrine dance card with solo performances doing their own jig. I like what one BYU professor said, “In Mormonism, you can believe whatever you want. You just can’t teach it.”
    The LDS sect folks have a difficult time settling on doctrine because their leadership has been so incredibly inconsistent. How many of these LDS believe that their god lives on or near the planet Kolob? Now that’s not doctrine but it’s off-the-wall stuff like Joseph Smith saying there are men on the moon and Brigham Young besting him by saying people live on the sun……. well you can’t jam too many more crazy Mormons uncles into the LDS attic.
    My broken record seems to be that these folks believe what they are told and are putting their trust in men who don’t know much but have very creative imaginations.

  14. Mike R says:

    adding to what historybuff said , here’s a quote from a church manual where it says that Joseph Smith upon hearing Lorenzo Snow give his couplet aid the following to Lorenzo :

    ” Brother Snow , that is true gospel doctrine , and it is a revelation from God to you .”
    [ Search these Commandments — Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide , 1985 p 152 ]

    So the line , ” As man is , God once was ” , is gospel doctrine according to Joseph Smith .

    It seems that Jana Riess and Robert Millet and some other Mormons are being influenced to
    doubt or even deny a doctrine of the Mormon gospel . If so that would’nt be the first time that this has happened , Mormons have worked hard at trying to look more Christian and a little less Mormon
    in the public eye recent years , and some doctrines taught by their leaders have to be pushed into the closet in order to better accomplish that .
    It looks like the Mormon doctrine of God not always being God is another one of them .

    The Mormon people have been tossed to and fro for such a long long time now . May they dismiss their leaders and learn gospel doctrine from those who they can trust as guides , namely
    Jesus’ apostles in the New Testament .

    That’s my prayer for these precious people who have been detoured by men in S.L.C. Utah into accepting erroneous doctrines about God the Father and also Jesus . But that’s what false prophets do , they detour people from the truth . Jesus pre warned everyone living in the latter days about this — Mark 13:22-23

    note : in my post yesterday at 6:56 pm I forgot to list the reference for the Church manual I quoted from . It’s ” The Gospel Through The Ages ” and it was recommended by Church leaders for the Melchizedek Priesthood Course Study .

  15. falcon says:

    Just to borrow a little from Mike’s mantra, folks really need to be cautious about who they listen to. The LDS folks are absolutely convinced that their “prophet” has been selected by God to communicate truth to them. In fact, I’d be willing to bet any Mormon a senior coffee at McDonalds that they are more interested in what their “prophet” says than what’s in any of the books they identify as “scripture” including the KJV of the Bible.
    I’m one who believes in a full gospel approach to the Word. So I would advance the idea that there are born again believers in Christ today who have the gift of prophecy and could be said to be prophets. However if we pay attention to what the NT teaches in First Corinthians chapters 12-14, it’s very obvious there’s more than one prophet, it’s a Gift of the Holy Spirit and that believers are to test what a prophet says. There’s no rubber stamp or veneration of a man or women who has been granted this gift. These prophets don’t prophesy out of their own imaginations and they don’t speak forth messages that are contrary to sound doctrine.
    So my point is that first of all folks need to be doing some work of their own when it comes to knowing God’s Word and also what theologians have had to say on various topics through out the centuries. Now this really grinds your average LDS because they will say something like “that’s just the utterances of men”. Well wake-up Molly and Mike Mormon because some folks with heavy duty intellectual horsepower and the leading of the Holy Spirit have some very significant information to share, especially when it comes to the doctrine of the Father, Son, Holy Ghost, salvation and man.
    Cults and aberrant sects prey on the ignorance of people.

  16. Mike R says:

    Lorenzo Snow’s couplet ( “as man is , God once was ; as God is man may be ” ) should make Mormons uncomfortable . It is a example of Joseph Smith’s personally apostasy , and those who succeeded him in leadership after his death did’nt change course from his egregious teachings about God . Sadly, these men caused their flock to fall into the ditch they had dug — Matt 15:14 .

    The Mormon people deserved better .
    Mormonism is not the answer .

  17. falcon says:

    I think what the LDS need to do is to go back in history and examine the splits within the early Smith church. It all started when Smith decided to do a power move and change the revelations contained in the Book of Commandments to the Doctrines and Covenants. A group that had signed-on early blew the whistle on Smith’s heavy handed approach to changing the sect they had joined. He was labeled a “fallen prophet” for deviating from the original revelation. Later, after Smith’s death, another group emerged that did not recognize Brigham Young as the leader. So what an LDS ought to do, and it’s available on the internet, compare and contrast the different forms that Mormonism takes.
    It would be quite enlightening for the average LDS to examine the fundamental doctrines of these groups, most importantly, the doctrine of God. One of the hallmarks of Mormonism are the various sects and groups all claiming the true restored gospel.
    I think a better plan for the LDS member is go back to the Bible, read it as a child would, and discover the gospel that was not lost and is the only pathway to the Father.

  18. TJayT says:

    I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I was just listening to a bunch of content that Alpha and Omega Ministries put out on Sermon Audio pertaining to theosis and thought it to much of a coincidence not to share.

    I have to agree with Sharon on this one despite being LDS myself. While it’s true that both Eastern Orthodox theosis and LDS exaltation believe in a perfecting of the saints through Christ I feel the Mormon belief that we share God’s uncreated essence (and therefore his full divine nature up to and including the power of creation) makes our beliefs too different to draw any meaningful or lasting parallels.

    Honestly I’m surprised by just how many LDS apologists continue to bring up Theosis in light of that one glaring difference. I suppose one could argue that if Orthodox Christianity believed in creation Ex Materia than theosis and exaltation would look quite similar, but to me that’s like saying if Islam believed in the deity of Christ than their view of God would look quite similar to the Christian view. The analogy changes the basics to much to make a good use of the analogy.

    That’s this guy’s two cents on the matter at any rate.

  19. Mike R says:


    I hope you and your family have been well . I was hoping that if we heard from you again you would no longer be in the Mormon church , having exchanged Mormon apostles for the ones in the Bible . I will keep praying !

    I personally think the reason that some Mormon apologists keep bringing up this issue is simply because it’s another attempt to infer that the prophets , apostles , and their flock in the Bible were Mormons . While there be some similarity between the “former day ” Saints in the Bible with Mormonism’s “latter day ” Saints , what Mormon leaders have done with their teachings about God ( for one example ) was to run way past what the Bible’s prophets / apostles taught .
    That is a red flag to me considering the counsel of Matt 24:11 , so I’m staying anchored to the safe and firm doctrinal foundation that is the Bible .

    That’s how I see the reason for this issue of theosis being resurrected by some Mormons .
    Take care .

  20. makeitshine says:

    When I was still Mormon but starting to seek outside a Woman pointed something out to me. It was that I really couldn’t even get past the book of Genesis where it says that God “CREATED” man just like he created the trees and cows and everything else.

    So for Mormons: Is Man the only “creature” that shares in the essence? What about Cows, or trees? There’s a problem here and a blurred line between God and creation.

    Now we have Jesus who is both created and uncreated (man and God) we know he is unique precicely because he says he is! He is the Alpha and Omega. He also claims be be not only older than Abraham, but he calls himself the I AM when referring to his age. If you read this verse in the original it says that Abraham WAS (genesthai translates – came to be) and Jesus is I AM. (John 8:58) How do you explain that if they were both equally floating around in the pre-mortal existence.

    BTW I’m a former Mormon studying Eastern Orthodoxy. There were so many mental gymnastic I used to do and all have now dissapeared. I really recommend the book “Christ the Eternal Tao (Way)” by John Damascene Although there are great differences in theology of Orthodoxy and Mormonism there are a lot of wonderful similarities.

  21. TJayT says:

    Hi Mike! Glad to see you’re still around. I’m surprised anyone remembers me 😉

    Hi Makeitshine! Sorry I’m just answering now, I didn’t see your post before 🙂

    You asked: Is Man the only “creature” that shares in the essence? What about Cows, or trees? There’s a problem here and a blurred line between God and creation.

    Assuming your question wasn’t rhetorical I would imagine most Mormons would argue from modern revelation we know that man is the only creature that shares in God’s essence because we are the only creation that’s spirit is formed from “Intelligence” (what that exactly is of course is a debate). No other creation shares this trait, and therefore don’t have divine potential. You are right to point out that Mormonism does draw a far less distinct line between Creator and creature.

    Next you asked: He (Jesus) also claims be not only older than Abraham, but he calls himself the I AM when referring to his age…. How do you explain that if they were both equally floating around in the pre-mortal existence.

    I’ll have to do more study on this. However my first inclination is to say that Jesus isn’t really addressing how old he is. He’s saying that he was A) Existent when Abraham was alive and B) He is God, I AM being a stand in for the name of God (as you obviously know). I see no real contradiction here. But like I said I will look deeper into this point.

    Might I add what little I have been able to study of the Orthodox faith I have loved. Unfortunately it looks like Christ the Eternal Tao isn’t in eBook form (which is how I do the majority of my reading now a days) so I won’t be able to get to it right away. I have added it to my wish list however, so thanks for the tip!

  22. makeitshine says:

    TjayT- sounds like you are open which is great! Aren’t we all still on a journey? I myself had a pretty long list of things that were wrong with “Christianity” (from your other post) but turns out it was just problems with certain “Christianities” that I had assumed was all Christianity so I won’t go into that! The more thinking and researching I did the longer my list of mormon problems grew in comparison (talking only theology problems here) I’m very interested in the hard and deeper questions and theological implications of it all because morality is all the same.

    You said –
    “Assuming your question wasn’t rhetorical I would imagine most Mormons would argue from modern revelation we know that man is the only creature that shares in God’s essence because we are the only creation that’s spirit is formed from “Intelligence” (what that exactly is of course is a debate). No other creation shares this trait, and therefore don’t have divine potential. You are right to point out that Mormonism does draw a far less distinct line between Creator and creature.”
    I love thinking about this stuff (and science + quantum physics). My best guess on what intelligence is, is self-consciousness. You won’t need modern revelation for this, because its Orthodox – I don’t have any problem believing that our consciousness is connected to the mind of God. Kind of like being plugged in to the matrix, but that doesn’t have to mean that we are in any form self existent. I do agree with you that humans have a special place, and special connection or self consciousness that animals don’t share, being made in the image of God – having the ability to become Icons. BUT truly God is all in all, we just can’t see him there. (not pantheism though) If our eyes were opened we would see him in the trees, the rocks, however those things can’t fully express what God is, which is a communion of Love. Only humans were created with this faculty. At the end of the days though we are a still a creation who are at this moment and for all eternity only existent because God is still creating us. Eastern Orthodoxy focuses on moving from ego-consciousness (our fallen state) to God-consciousness through the aquisition of the Holy Spirit (aquiring the mind of Christ) while at the same time not denying salvation by faith (no sola though – lol). In a way I guess you can say our consciousness is “creating” our own reality right now, but the reality we see is corrupt and full of death since the fall. It’s an existence where we appear separate from God.

    Anyways well I hope I gave you some new fun stuff to think about and if you ever need any reading material I seriously have about a million books all highlighted with “solutions” to all my former theological problems haha. Not that I have it all figured out yet but hey it’s a start! I love the Tao book the most, one of those that you go back to and read tidbits of, but the author did do a special where he went over parts on ancient faith radio if you like listening to things –

  23. makeitshine says:

    Oh there was one more thing also I wanted to point on – Creation Ex-nihilo. It’s not well understood by most, but especially Mormons….

    Tjayt said – “I suppose one could argue that if Orthodox Christianity believed in creation Ex Materia than theosis and exaltation would look quite similar”

    Well we actually kind of do, but not really, its just a matter of defining things…..Creation Ex-nihilo simply means God was in need of nothing “but himself” to create the universe.

    Himself being:
    Father (I relate this to the supreme mind- the source of all divine activity)
    Word, (Son) (the agent through which God acts)
    Spirit (the accomplisher and perfector of divine activity – Holy Spirit is the Spirit OF the Father and not a separate being or entitiy).

    The fathers were fighting against the idea that God used some self existent block of inanimate whatever to make the world. Trust me, anything you can think of, they already worked out, you just need to understand them better.

    So you see, Orthodox do believe that the creation is made from Spirit (or matter -same difference), but spirit IS the spirit of God and not a separate being. Father, Word, and Spirit are one being, (3 persons – also very misunderstood) one mind, one action. And yes Theosis is STILL very different.

    Now Joseph Smith teaches that Spirit is finer matter, and that God the Father and Jesus organized this spirit into the universe, but since they are also made of Spirit-matter the higher God above them must have organized the world they live in and their spirit-matter bodies right? I’m guessing this “Spirit” they are talking about is the separate person of the Holy Spirit though?? which is also a God who must have been existent before them in the same form forever Is the Holy Spirit the only thing that really is the unchanging eternal ACTUAL God? Do you see the problems growing? This is so very confusing.

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