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Becoming Like God, Pt. 2 (Gospel Topics Essay Series)

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July 11, 2021 1:08 pm

Becoming Like God, Pt. 2 (Gospel Topics Essay Series)

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July 11, 2021 1:08 pm

Hey Fireflies! Welcome to this bonus episode of Outer Brightness: From Mormon to Jesus. The Apostate Paul here. I’m recording a new intro for this episode, because since Matthew the Nuclear Calvinist and I recorded this episode on July 1, the state of affairs has changed. So in this intro, I’m going to provide a quick timeline.

In 2012 or 2013, the LDS Church began publishing Gospel Topics Essays designed to allow church members to learn about difficult topics in LDS Church history and doctrine directly from the Church’s official website, rather than other online sources. These essays have the imprimatur of the First Presidency of the LDS Church and acknowledge the reliance on the work of scholars in crafting the essays.

In the early 2000’s, when I was in the midst of my period of deep questioning and wrestling with my Mormon beliefs—what many call a faith crisis—there were many online apologetics resources, FAIR, SHIELDS, Ask Gramps. I remember that in the discussion boards, if someone posted an article from one of those resources in response to a question, it was often lamented that LDS Church leadership did not put their stamp of approval on those answers. Struggling members wondered if they could trust the apologetic resources. Many surmise that The Gospel Topics Essays were designed to do just that—to inoculate church members against difficult topics.

The relationship of the LDS Church to the essays, however, has been thorny. The essays are not easy to find on the website, and you won’t stumble on them unless you know what you’re looking for. Many who have left over the past 7-8 years have cited the essays as sources that caused them to question their beliefs and noted that when they spoke with local ecclesiastical leaders about the essays and the questions they caused, many local leaders were not even aware of their existence.

On June 23, Fred Anson shared with us that one of the Gospel Topics Essays—the one titled “Becoming Like God”—had disappeared from the LDS Church’s website, but was still available in the Gospel Library app available for mobile devices. Matthew and I had already discussed doing a series of episodes on the essays, so we fast tracked this one. We recorded this episode on July 1st.

At that time, the link for the “Becoming Like God” essay was still on the website:, but it redirected to a different essay titled “Are Mormons Christian?” The disappearance of the “Becoming Like God” essay was widely noted in online ex-Mormon communities, and many were speculating that maybe the LDS Church was seeking to distance itself from the doctrines discussed therein—doctrines which perhaps more than any other LDS doctrines place Mormonism outside the mainstream of orthodox Christian beliefs. The fact that the link redirected to an essay aimed at answering the question “are Mormons Christian?” furthered that speculation.

On Tik-Tok, an ex-Mormon named “Exmo Lex” noted that the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Newsroom section of the LDS Church website expressly denies that Latter-day Saint scripture or doctrine teaches that exalted Mormons will get their own planets, even though LDS leaders have taught that as doctrine for almost two centuries and as recently as 2018, when current LDS prophet and president, Russell M. Nelson taught the traditional LDS doctrine on this point when he said,

"A fourth gift from our Savior is actually a promise—a promise of life everlasting. This does not mean simply living for a really, really, really long time. Everyone will live forever after death, regardless of the kingdom or glory for which they may qualify. Everyone will be resurrected and experience immortality, but eternal life is so much more than a designation of time. Eternal life is the kind and quality of life that Heavenly Father and his beloved Son live. When the Father offers us everlasting life he is saying in essence, “If you choose to follow my Son, if your desire is really to become more like him, then in time you may live as we live and preside over worlds and kingdoms as we do."

It seemed odd that the LDS Church would seemingly be distancing itself from this doctrine, but the LDS Church has repudiated core doctrine and practice before.

Over the weekend of July 3 and 4th, the essay in the mobile app began to disappear for those users whose apps had completed content refreshes. On the website no longer rerouted. It simply became circular, such that if you clicked the link for “Becoming Like God” you landed on another page with a link to “Becoming Like God.” It’s almost as if the LDS Church was trolling and the link became like the “eternity mirrors” in the sealing rooms of their temples.

Then on July 7th, the essay appeared back online. I used’s Wayback Machine to pull a version from May 18th and compared it to the July 7th version to see if edits had been made. The only change was the removal of the original publication date of February 2014.

So for now we close this odd bit of Mormon History still unsure why the essay disappeared for a couple weeks and which declaration of the LDS Church should be taken as doctrine: that made by the LDS Newsroom staff or that made by the current prophet and president of the church.

Even so, Matthew and I read each section of the essay in this episode and discuss it.

Link to “Becoming Like God” Gospel Topics Essay

Link to FAQ’s # 11 & 12

Link to Russell M. Nelson’s 2018 Christmas Devotional Address

Link to referenced podcast episodes about Origen


Your right and fireflies's the second part of the multipart episode on the LDS church is gospel topics essay titled becoming like God. If you have listened to part one, you may wish to go back and do so in this part will bring you the next two parts of the essay. How have ideas about divinity shifted over Christian history and how were ideas about deification introduced to Latter Day Saints. Sorry I scroll down too far. So I am not, however, ideas about divinity shifted over Christian St., Latter Day Saints beliefs would have sounded more familiar to the earliest generations of Christians and they do too many modern Christians. Many church fathers, influential theologians of teachers and Christianity spoke approvingly of the idea that humans can become divine. One modern scholar refers to the ubiquity of the doctrine of deification. The teaching that humans could become God in the first centuries after Christ's birth church father Irenaeus. He died about two asserted that Jesus Christ did his transcendent love become what you are, that he might bring us to be what he is himself. Clement of Alexandria, circa 8152 15 wrote that quote the word of God became man that on this plan for man to become God." Basil the great, also celebrated this prospect not just book being made like to God." But quote highest of all being made God."

What exactly the early church fathers meant when I spoke of becoming God is open to interpretation, but it is clear that references to deification became more contested in the late Roman period were infrequent by the first known objection by church father teaching deification came in the fifth century by the sixth century teachings on becoming God appear more limited in scope as the definition provided by pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (or correctly deification" deification is the attaining of likeness to God, in union with him so far as is possible. Why did these beliefs fade from prominence. Changing perspectives on the creation of the world may have attributed to the gradual shift toward more limited use of human potential.

The earliest Jewish and Christian communities on the creationist and that God had organized the world out of pre-existing materials, emphasizing the goodness of God in shaping such a life-sustaining order, but the incursion of new philosophical ideas in the second century led to the development of a doctrine God created the universe XD hello out of nothing. This ultimately became the dominant teaching about the creation within the Christian world in order to emphasize God's power. Many theologians reason that nothing could've existed as long as he had became important Christian circles to assert that God had originally been completely along creation and accretion X. Nilo widened the perceived goals between God and humans became less common to teach either that human souls that existed before the world or that they could inherit and develop attributes of God in their entirety in the future. Gradually, as the depravity of humankind, and the immense distance. Sorry the immense distance between creator and creature were increasingly emphasized the concept of deification baited from Western Christianity not remain a central tenet of Eastern orthodoxy. One of the three major branches of Christianity general thoughts on this section of Matthew, there's there's a lot of references there that I want to read in depth because they make a lot of claims as an exotic names like entirety of the early church talked about not creating everything from materials and that there is a reference or an ally, look at honoring that reference that's pretty bold statement there. Well I can tell you what the references you write. That was the footnote on the one on second okay hold on 19 talks about accretion X Nilo came only the dominant teaching so the footnote is for information on the second century context that gave birth to creation X Nilo C Gerhard may creationist creation X Nilo the doctrine of creation out of nothing in early Christian thought, published in 2004, so that is the book that Latter Day Saints will often reference. That that footnote here being in here makes me wonder if if Blake Ostler wasn't involved in in writing this because he references in his various articles that he has written on creation X, Nilo, that book extensively. He Critiques William Ln., Craig and Paul companions chapter and the new Mormon challenge on creation X Nilo by reference to that book. It's a single book.

It's it's $94. I think on Amazon, so I'm not to buy a really good chunk of it on Amazon. You know by looking inside that link that they have their own Amazon but I linked to a book review of it by Paco Penn who is a Christian philosopher in our episode notes for our creation X Nilo part one.

So if listeners want to check that out. You can see what Paul compound has to say in response to Gerhard may think it's a good read, but you're right, there's a lot of references here to church fathers and what they may or may not have taught. I think the the kind of equivocation that's provided at the beginning of one of the paragraphs when they say what exactly the early church fathers meant when they spoke of becoming God is open to interpretation.

I've I would argue that it's not really if you read the church fathers.

So, for example, base site Basil the great and say that he also celebrated this prospect prospect not just quote being made like to God but highest of all being made. God okay though the equivocation that I see him in in that statement, what exactly the early church fathers met when they spoke becoming God is open to interpretation, it is problematic because what they what they would like to do seems a slide in their the preexistence of souls right which is something that the church fathers outside of origin expressly deny so I thought it would be interesting to quote from Basil the great. I have a little bit of a lengthy quote from him but I hope it will be instructive.

I'm quoting Basil the great, from his homily to and it's in the complete answer Nicene Nicene and post-Nicene church fathers collection which I have on Kindle and he's commenting here on the phrase in Genesis 1 to that the earth was invisible and unfinished of the earth was formless and void, as translated in the KJV, so I'll just go ahead and read what he has to say. It's gonna be a little bit lengthy but I think it'll be instructive to what is what the author of this essay has done in trying to present. Basil is somebody who is an early proponent of theology that was the same as is out of Latter Day Saints where he's not so Basil the great says in the few words which have occupied us this morning. We have found such a depth of thought that we despair penetrating further such as the forecourt of the sanctuary.

If the portico of the temple is so grand and magnificent. If the splendor of its beauty. Thus, dazzled the eyes of the soul. What will be the holy of holies.

Who will dare to try to gain access to the innermost shrine who will look into his secrets to gaze into it is indeed forbidden us the language is powerless to express what the mind conceives, however, since there are rewards and most desirable ones reserved by the just judge for the intentional load of doing good. Do not let us hesitate to continue our researches.

Although we may not attend to the truth if with the help of the spirit.

We do not fall away from the meaning of holy Scripture. We shall not deserve to be rejected, and with the help of grace, we shall contribute to the edification of the church of God, the earth, says holy Scripture was invisible and unfinished the heavens and the earth were created without distinction. How then is it that the heavens are perfect whilst the earth is still unformed and incomplete in one word what was the unfinished condition of the earth and for what reason was invisible, the fertility of the earth as its perfect finishing growth of all kinds of plants, the offspring of tall trees, both productive and sterile flowers, sweet stents and fair colors, and all that which is which. A little later at the voice of God came forth from the earth to beautify her their universal mother is nothing of all this yet existed. Scripture is right in calling the earth without form.

We could also say of the heavens that they were still imperfect and had not received their natural adornment since at that time, they did not shine with the glory of the son and of the moon and were not crowned by the quires of the stars. These bodies were not yet created. Thus, you will not diverge from the truth and saying that the heaven also heavens also were without form earth was invisible for two reasons. It may be because man spectator did not yet exist, or because being submerged under the waters which overflowed the surface it could not be seen since the waters have not yet been gathered together into their own places where God afterwards collected them and gave them the name of Steve's what is invisible. First of all that which are fleshly.

I cannot perceive our mind.

For example, than that which visible in its nature is hidden by somebody, which conceals it like iron in the depths of the earth. It is in this sense, because it was hidden under the waters that the earth was still invisible. However, as light did not yet exist, and as the earth lay in darkness because of the obscurity of the air above it should not astonish us that for this reason Scripture calls it invisible. He goes on to say, but the corrupters of truth and the editors of the ancient Christian commentary on Scripture series suggested that here.

Basil is talking about the just grab it real quick. This is just the Basil is here talking about the Manichaeans, but the corrupters of truth who incapable of submitting their reasons holy Scripture distort I will the meaning of the holy Scriptures pretend that these words mean matter, for it is matter, they say, which from its nature is without form, and invisible, being by the conditions of his of its existence without quality and without form and figure the artificers submitting it to the working of his wisdom, clothed with a form organized and thus escape being to the visible world. If matter is uncreated. It has a claim to the same honors as God, since it must be of equal rank with him and that's the most up to quote here that's the exact charge that the where making Matthew about LDS teachings about intelligences right so I'll quote again that the part from Basil the great. If matter is uncreated. It has a claim to the same honors as God, since it must be of equal rank with him. Is this not the student. The summit of wickedness and extreme deformity. Without quality, without form shaped ugliness without configuration to use their own expression would should enjoy the same prerogatives with him who is wisdom and power and beauty itself, the creator and demiurge of the universe. This is not all.

If matter is so great as to be capable of, capable of being acted on by the whole wisdom of God. It would away raise a typo Stasi's to equality with the inaccessible power of God, since it would not be able to measure by itself. All the extant of the divine all the extent of the divine intelligence if it is insufficient for the operations of God, then we will fall into a more absurd blasphemy.

Since we condemned God for not being able, on account of the want of matter to finish his own works, the poverty of human nature has deceived these reason there's each of our crafts is exercised upon some special matter. The art of the Smith upon iron that of the carpenter on wood and all. There is the subject of the form and the work which results from the form matter is taken from without. Art gives the form and the work is composed of the same time of form and of matter such as the idea that they make for themselves of the divine work the form of the world is due to the wisdom of the supreme artifice or matter came to create, to the creator from without, and thus the world results from a double origin it is received from outside its matter and its essence and from God. Its form and figure they thus come to deny that the mighty God has presided at the formation of the universe and pretend that he has only brought the crowning contribution to a common work that he is only contributed some small portion to the genesis of beings they are incapable from the debasement of their reasonings of raising their glances to the height of truth here below. Archer subsequent to matter introduced into life by the indispensable need of them will existed before leaving latest beta supply one of nature's imperfections would existed before carpenter and took possession of it and transformed it each day to supply nuance and made us see all the advanced advantages derived therefrom, giving the order to the sailor the winnowing fan to labor the last of the soldier, but God before all those things which now attract our notice existed after casting about him in his mind in determining to bring into being. Time which had no being imagined the world, such as that ought to be uncreated matter in harmony with the form which you wish to get it. She assigns to the heavens. The nature adapted for the heavens and gave to the earth. In essence, in accordance with its form he formed as he wished, fire, air and water and gave each the essence which the object of its existence required. Finally, he welded all the diverse parts of the universe by links of indissoluble attachment and established between them so perfect a fellowship in harmony with the most distant, in spite of their distance appeared united in one universal sympathy. Let those men therefore renounce their fabulous imaginations who, in spite of the weakness of their argument tends to measure a power is incomprehensible to man's reason as is unutterable by man's voice God created the heavens and the earth. But not only half he created all the heavens, and all the earth creating the essence with the form he is not an inventor figures, but the creator even of the essence of beings.

Further, let them tell us how the efficient power of God to deal with the past. Passive nature of matter, the latter furnishing the matter without form, the former possessing the science of the form without matter, both being in need of each other. The creator in order to display his art matter in order to cease to be without form, and to receive a form so just wanted to read that. I know it's long. I hope that the point of it was clear because the essay here quotes Basil the great as someone who was early presenting a doctrine similar to what the Latter Day Saints believe about the nature of humanity and yet here in this passage where Basil is commenting on Genesis chapter 1 verse two he makes it very clear in contrast to those whom he is critiquing. He does not believe that beings and matter existed co-eternal coequal with God as Joseph Smith taught any thoughts on that quote Matthew or what I share here ethics return on its those as you're reading it really it drives on the message that we are saying earlier that you can't take a quote or even a belief even if you understand properly what they're saying. The context we can take a singular belief in someone's theology extracted out of the context of the rest of their theology. And so it is in this section of the gospel topics essay to make the assertion that as people changed from this this idea God created the universe out of material to this change to believe in the God created out of nothing. That's when that's also Wednesday, Osos was no was not emphasized or ceased to be taught so there and they're making this connection of these two are likely basic which may be the case so but the fact is, is that we know from early fathers that there there was debate as to like creation, and even each nursing also, people Had harbor no longer earth kind of use of their work that you know these things were like set stones, but to say oh yeah, he said that we could become God's enemies basically the early church taught the Mormon the LDS view of the Osos and it's just been phased out over time in us. That's like a gross you know abuse of kind of the entire belief system of the early church, and so we really have to be careful in NAI's. I'll be frank and say that a lot of Christians do not cut to where you know Baptists will pull a quote out of enough from an early church fathers.

They see they were all Baptists or you know every does that will take a quote from Isaiah see they were all Orthodox and they were all Roman Catholic but it's like you know I don't think you can point is a dominant denomination states all the electric scholars were just like that. This is to nearest there is a there is differences in beliefs and you know the specifics of theology grooving on more specific over time.

So from this event, and stable. They taught just for you but it changed our timelessness. Yet, it's just not correct and I wanted to bring out to. I wanted to bring up the part where it says that yeses kind of died out over the Roman.

I think it said I didn't give a specific time but but if I wanted a quote from and admitted the Eastern Orthodox, he stole teaches the Osos conservator product theology today that I wanted actually bring up to that's okay and she wanted, yet something else to say about the quote I wanted to bring up Aquinas because these 13th-century I think diligent is like one of the doctors of the of the Roman Catholic Church. Isaac, one of the main theologians of their church. We see where that cocoa I have a summa Filho GA so it's first part of the second part of this summa Filho GA is question 112 12. The cause of grace.

And so what is going to question and answer consequence doesn't assume this is kind of my key grades of objections in response to them in subjection one of this article.

One is a sockeye winter God alone is because of grace. Objection 1B rights, it would seem that God alone is not the cause of grace is written in John 117 grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, the name of Jesus Christ is understood not merely by nature. Assuming, but the created nature. Nature assume therefore creature may be the cause of grace, so he's he's kind of like there is bring up the subject that only the divine is because of grace, not just you know I not that human nature because Jesus is both divine and human, so I can't be human nature also cause grace so he responds, he says, I answer that nothing can act beyond its species. Since the cause must always be more powerful than expected.

Now the gift of grace surpasses every capability of created nature. Since it is nothing short of a partaking of the divine nature which exceeds every other major and thus it is impossible to any creature should cause grace for it is is necessary that God alone should deify bestowing a partaking of the divine nature. I have participated lichens as it is impossible to anything save fire shooting Kindle essay not quote so he's using a lot of stuff. Space-based think that the creature can give grace because the creatures they affect know God is the cause.

So, just as a fire because of something to start on fire and not the opposite. You know you can jam grace from the creature because the creature is the effect of God is the only source cause of grace. And he says, for it is is necessary that God alone should give five stowing a partaking of the divine nature by likeness, as it is impossible to anything save fire shooting Kindle so you would hear Tom's point is this, saying that God is deify mix is partakers of the divine nature. So so this idea that the Osos was completely was completely removed and also the Western church after the Roman. This is not true.

That's wild in the medieval period that he's talking about this and it's it's it's the love I think the language change little bit in the last it was really talking about becoming like God or becoming gods. It's more about adoption noises or speak about adoption coming partakers of the divine nature, but it's essentially talking thing minute and the Reformation. It's a lot of it is adoption and sinks dictation. But is this idea that our particular divine nature know God is transforming us become making us like Christ. So it's not that was lost.

You know I is just that the language to explain the doctrines kind of changed over time and allow Latter Day Saints quickly jump on me when I say that essay will see they change what your electric Scott, the language change that means the doctor take and it's like, well, no, I don't think so. I mean look at scientists, you know, like scientists, a lot of them to develop new terms to be more specific to explain some thing is Artie well understood not to do. Not that they don't understand how this thing might work exactly. Although that does change or time but a lot of times a use different terms. Explain the same thing as lesser theologians are going or not. They're not coming was brand-new, or changing what's caught in its essence, they're just trying to add more specificity and more more clarity to what is Artie Taught and so when they talk about grace and means of grace and these are essentially talking at the same thing is that God God changes us and transform us become children of God, yeah.

Really. Good point.

I liked what you said about the point you made about Aquinas and and that that the teaching of the Osos properly understood continued even in the Western church. One of the things of the section of the essay does is, it kinda introduces this kind of approach and and in the rhetoric that Latter Day Saints abused for a long time, which is no to accused the early church of falling into apostasy by way of adopting Greek philosophy and the section makes that charge pretty explicitly so one thing that I would caution Latter Day Saints thinkers and scholars there on now is if I have some authority that caution them just noting something that I've noticed as I as I left the Latter Day Saints faith and started studying for myself. I did recognize before I left this kind of rhetorical device that Latter Day Saints use on James E. Talmage uses it in the great apostle's book the great apostasy which is all about this idea that Greek philosophy tainted the Christian church so one of the things I would that I would caution that was recorded pretty extensively earlier talk produce insulin earlier about origin and we talked about his philosophical education. Yes, he's considered one of the most important Christian writers, especially the early. The early first few centuries, but their ideas of his which largely come from his interaction with Greek philosophy and his attempts to sis systematize and synthesize his two types of learning right from the Scripture and from philosophy that his teachings on intelligences in the preexistence of souls come and you he also goes on to talk about the earth and the moon and the stars and the sun all also having spirits like humans do. So that's that's out of Greek philosophy as well.

So what I'm what I'm trying to point out here is that back charge that old Christian theology, fellow Christians, thinkers, and then teachers fell into apostasy.

As a result of imbibing from the bottle of court of Greek philosophy. That's a sword that cuts both ways because some of the really integral fundamental aspects of what this essay is saying about human nature come from the integration of Greek philosophy and in in one of the paragraphs that it's footnote 18 for those listeners want to look it up and in the essay. They cite the bit line says the earliest Jewish and Christian commentaries on the creation assumed that God and organize the world out of pre-existing materials, emphasizing the goodness of God in shaping such a life-sustaining order.

Footnote 18 when you look up footnote 18. They cite to the second century church father Justin Martyr who said quote we have been taught that human beginning a key in the beginning did of his goodness for man's sake created all things out of unformed matter. That's in Justin's first apology cited in Robertson Donaldson at the Nicene fathers 165 so I'll make the point again.

Justin Martyr was a trained Greek philosopher. Much of the things that he discusses and writes about our coming out of that understanding that he has from Greek philosophy.

So it's it's a double-edged sword to try to say Greek philosophy got its clutches into Christian theology and made it go awry, which is the normal Latter Day Saints claim because like I said before, a lot of the things that Latter Day Saints believe come from that interaction with Greek philosophy come from the Gnostics, the Manichaeans, and so are they are church fathers who to more of an extent than others imbibed at the bottle of Greek philosophy. Absolutely, there are, they were trained in it.

That was their education so they thought. Like Greek philosophers are there early church fathers who have backgrounds in groups that were considered heretical like the Manichaeans with Augustine, for example, and some of that thought that from earlier earlier in their lives seeps into their thinking. Later, as Christians guess that happens doesn't mean that the church fell away completely into apostasy. No it does not make it incumbent on us if were going to cite church fathers to support our beliefs, as Matthew was saying earlier to not rip things out of context and try to understand a person's whole theology.

Yes, it makes it incumbent upon us to do so as greatly to China next.

It seems like from whatever from what I understand is a go of the early church fathers.

They didn't see Greek philosophy is like all express anything I can eject into Christianity and change. It is more like I have Christianity here this this tradition, a state this pastime either by our forefathers. How can I use the tools that I've learned as a philosopher to defend the faith. You know like a lot of most of the early church writings were defending against Gnostics or against, you know, I guess pagans against the other religious groups in the heretics known areas in the story is in all these other people came along, so they didn't see it wasn't seen as something is changing the fate I think if they were people what really: lock pushback on their cheating is so drastically that was Christianity more is like they're using philosophical arguments to support what they believed and I see no one. Aquinas to it's like I read a lot of I know I've been starting to read his summa theology, a very first part God and divine simplicity of God and is not in this like yes on reading so I started you can find it I will, but you have to understand that he's he's taking a quick Bible teaches already and say okay here's my philosophical arguments that been in all the support and buttress what Scripture teaches him and to explain why it makes sense and I think that's valid. You know, as always, you start off but what does the Bible teach what you know and then he say okay here's why it makes sense to know the least you know to to me that seems like it's it's an okay way to do it but the weight legal wrong as you say, EJECT the Bible and you start out with my own ideas to come up with inclusion philosophy as to what God is. That's free that's dangerous and also to understand the philosophy is not infallible in all regards God's revelation is available so it diffuses proper place in its can be useful but yes I would barely project during our inventing a religion that absolutely really good really good thoughts there. I think it's also important to contextualize the lives of these early church fathers and I'll do that quickly. By by way of referring back to origin. As we mentioned, he was a very well trained Greek philosopher who also put a very high emphasis on the revelation of God in the Old Testament and the New Testament and she was during the DC in persecution of the church. He was tortured horribly and they didn't kill him, they would torture him, but wanted to keep him alive because they thought here is this great defender of the Christian faith and by that I mean the Romans Roman authorities.

Here's this great defender of the Christian faith.

He's well respected among them, and he's well respected among our philosophers because of his training if we can get him to recant the faith through torture. It will be a big win for us know why were they trying to achieve a win by torturing origin because Christianity was viewed as a disruptor to the Roman peace.

The Pax Romana right and so they throughout the history of the Roman Empire in those early centuries of the church is it's kind of gaining ground.

There were various horrible persecutions by the Roman authorities of Christians and then you would have some good emperors who wouldn't persecute Christians and then you have another Emperor who would decide to persecute Christians and in so you you contextualize origins life right part of the arguments that Justin Martyr especially in later origin or making with regards to Greek philosophy is that they're trying to argue that actually what we have in the deposit of the faith in the Old Testament is the revelation of the one true God, and that everything that Plato and others agreed philosophy understood actually came from Moses. First, those are the arguments that they're trying to make and then making that argument to try to say hey were not really trying to disrupt the Pax Romana right we want to coexist here with you and we want you to understand what were trying to say here so there there there. What I mean by contextualize it understand that the there under the sword. One and and also there there trying to make peace with those who are critiquing them.

Those who are putting them to the sword, so it's important to contextualize all of that early church history when you're when you're talking about them. Been trying to understand what the early church fathers are saying who they're interacting with in their and their dialogues in the things of their writing and why all of that is important listening to our brightness, contrast, drawn my God, to walk with Jesus when he does this is really a measurement born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, commonly referred to as the Mormon faith.

All of us have left that religion and have been drawn to faith in Jesus Christ based on biblical teaching. The name of our podcast brightness reflects John 19 which calls Jesus, the true light which gives light to everyone you found life beyond Mormonism to be brighter than we were told in the light, we have is not our own.

Thus, our brightness purpose is to share our journeys of faith God has done in drawing us to his son. We have conversations about all aspects of the transition fears, challenges, joys, and everything in between. Glad you found us and we hope you'll stick around Christ that brings us to the next section of the suggests more comments on the section method. So the next section is how were ideas about deification introduced to Latter Day Saints. The earliest Latter Day Saints came from a society dominated by English-speaking Protestants, most of whom accepted both ex-Nilo creation and the Westminster confession's definition of God is being is a "without body, parts or passions" they likely knew little or nothing about the diversity of Christian beliefs in the first centuries after Jesus Christ ministry or about early Christian writings on deification of revelations received by Joseph Smith diverged from the prevailing ideas of the time and taught doctrine met for some re-open debates on the nature of God creation and humankind. Early revelations to Joseph Smith taught that humans are created in the image of God and that God cares intimately for his children.

In the book of Mormon prophet saw the finger of the Lord and was astonished to learn that human physical forms were truly made in the image of God in another early revelations unit who "walked with God" in the Bible, witnessed God weeping over his creations when unit asked how is it that thou canst weep, he learned that God's compassion towards human suffering is integral to his love.

Joseph Smith also learned that God desires that his children receive the same kind of result of the existence of which he partakes as God declared, this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. In 1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon experienced a vision of the afterlife. In the vision they learned that the just and unjust alike would receive immortality through universal resurrection, but only those who overcome by faith and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise would receive the fullness of God's glory and be God's even the sons of God.

Another revelation soon confirmed that the same shall be filled with his glory and received their inheritance and be made equal with him Latter Day Saints use the term exultation to describe the glorious reward of receiving one's full inheritance as a child of heavenly father which is available through the atonement of Christ by obedience to laws and ordinances of the gospel. This striking view of each humans potential future was accompanied by revealed teachings on humanity's past Joseph Smith continue to receive revelations he learned that the light or intelligence at the core of each humans soul was not created or made, neither indeed can be. God the father of each human spirit. God is the father of each human spirit. I'm sorry because only spirit elements separate inseparably connected receive a fullness of joy. She presented a plan for humans to receive physical bodies and progress through their mortal experience toward the fullness of joy, earthly birth and is not the beginning of an individual's life. Man was also in the beginning with God. Likewise, Joseph Smith taught that the material world has eternal roots fully repudiating the concept of creation. Ex-Nilo earth, water, etc. all these had their existence in an elementary state from eternity, said Smith in 1839 sermon God organize the universe out of existing elements Joseph Smith continue to receive revelation on the themes of divine nature and exultation during the last two years of his life in a revelation recorded in July 1843 that link exultation with eternal marriage. The Lord declared that those who keep covenants, including the covenant of eternal marriage will inherit will inherit all the heights and depths. Then, says the revelation shall they be God's because they have no and they will receive a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

The following April, feeling he was never quote member in the mirror relationship to God than at the present time."

Joseph Smith spoke about the nature of God and the future of humankind to the saints who had gathered for a general church conference. He used the occasion, in part, to reflect upon the death of the church member named King Follett who had died unexpectedly.

A month earlier when he rose to speak. The wind was blowing so Joseph asked his listeners to give him their profound attention, and to pray that the Lord may strengthen my lungs and stay. The winds intelligent until my message has been delivered what kind of being is God.

He asked human beings needed to know. He argued because quote if men do not comprehend the character of God. They do not comprehend themselves" in that phrase, the prophet collapsed. The goal for centuries of confusion had created between God and humanity. Human nature was at its core divine God was at God was as one of us and all the spirits that God ever sent into the world were likewise susceptible of enlargement. According to Joseph Smith. He preached that long before the world was formed. God found himself in the midst of these beings and sought proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have the privilege to advance like himself and be exalted with him. Joseph told the assembled saints. You've got to learn how to be a God yourself in order to do that the saints needed to learn godliness or to be more like God.

The process would would be ongoing and will require patience, faith, continuing repentance and obedience to the commandments of the gospel and reliance on Christ like ascending a ladder. Individuals needed to learn the first principles of the gospel and continue beyond the limits of moral knowledge until they could learn the last principles of the gospel when the time came. Joseph Smith's" it is not all to be comprehended in this world. It will take a long time after the grave to understand the whole." That was the last time the prophet spoke in general conference.

Three months later a mob stormed Carthage jail and martyred him and his brother Hiram Matthew thoughts on the section a lot of thoughts just long article yeah so but even just the first sentence overall argument thoughts. I mean it's pretty, pretty accurate but I'm ever being taught about, you know, keep all discourse and enters a V-neck and the finger of God be made. Note to brother Jared right in the book of Mormon so yeah that that's consistent with what I remember being taught Latter Day Saints back to beginning. Like I said the first sentence so it's is correct when it says it here their earliest Latter Day Saints camp was cited only by English Protestants. Most of them accepted but ex-Nilo creation in the Westminster confession's definition of God as being without body, parts or passions so there there is a long patristic tradition and there's a lot a lot of understanding in the Western Christianity, not just in reclamation but even in the medieval Catholic tradition about this idea, God is without body parts, passions, and but as a latter-day St. never talked about study with action because I just read that and thought it means like all God's dislike nothing like he does. Nobody does not parse is not passions noise like these, like there's really there's there's a reason why they set up there that God is about body parts passions is without body. You know he's got experience of these unlimited in this space you know like humans were limited, so our spirit is limited set of audit God's spirit is no without bounds.

So God doesn't have any kind body and he doesn't waste whatever I think that's pretty easy to understand the parts or passions part is really difficult Latter Day Saints understand this. Don't know what that means they can make. I can order 16 parts is just anybody maybe body was a hold parts of the parts of the body, but the parts sing God is not parts is to say that God stupid and simple and it means that whatever is in God is God and a something that's that. I was sitting recently.

I that I really find fascinating. So when we talk about God. We can speak in our we can attribute that attributes or adjectives to God.

I God is merciful area, not God.

God he asked.

Mercifully, our God loves her like that. But not only that, but God is mercy is love is justice. So when we sin is not God. He actually is stands but at the same time God is not a combination of a bunch of different things. You know sake take a giant pocket and he throw injustice. Dawn Mirsky thrown love and compassion, throwing perfection stuck and then you get God testing of the church never stopped. That's what it means you don't have to listen Patrick as you have specialism exactly so and end uses argument one of the LDS discussion groups. I said can you get to an infinite God by adding finite parts, you know, could you keep adding finite parts and eventually become infinite, and so on.

Penelope will try to use mathematics and stuff like that and they said well you can have an infinite series like will yeah I exactly, that has to be without end. But you never really resentenced to know and likely an infinite series in any particular point is just a really big number cited ninth and has to be either infinite is infinite. No, you can't add enough finance to actually arrive at a point where it existed because if you tried to chop off that infinite series at any point. It's not asked to keep going, but that's not possible, so when they saw it. When our understanding God is there single God is he's always been infinite relaxing enter you're not can't make something finite into it and so when I say Gaza parts the same. Got a simple, at least he's not made of parts like a car, you know like if you try to make a car like like a Jeep you have to take the tires distinct axles of transmission and the engine block radiator and all these parts and construct and inform them and put them together and then you get a car so the sum is greater than its parts and without those parks the car is not carpal God's not a way you know God is not made up of parts that stick them all together you get God, whether physically or metaphorically or metaphysically let God's attributes. God is just. God is just simply God is hard for us to understand but but I think it's study is valid. It says is a long tradition. Understanding that in the Western church and when we say God is not passions doesn't mean God doesn't have any emotions.

God certainly does have about and we see throughout the only testaments that God demonstrates his luscious demand, but at same time a passion is something that that is a result of an external stimulus discount alive. Explained to me is that you know when we see somebody who's in pain. Are we our emotions are changed and affected by that we have an external response to that or something is disgusting or evil. We have change in our in our sections and how we respond to God being somebody doesn't change it. Who knows all things past and future who's seen everything he he doesn't change his emotions from moment to moment, you know, and he doesn't. He's not a capricious God doesn't doesn't flip-flop a lot so he always hates evil. He always loves good sows are just examples of how God has eternal hatred of sin and eternal love for his people and for God's son and so that's that's why Christians say without body parts, passions, and I think if Latter Day Saints were really study these things out apart from the body part they might they might be more amenable to understanding why Christians say the guys about body parts passions because I did. I had no idea what it meant the states as of the more I studied at Michael KNX become incensed and tight Scripture and so justice summarily dismissed you hundreds of years of theologians.

In discussing this reading Scripture, and an understanding just say well it makes no sense whatever this kind of data do I get a lot of states that sat at you and I had a slight God stupid loud anyway believe that it's it's very dismissive and a tad disrespectful so I wanted settlement that puts Westminster confession and end of the confession. I subscribe to is the grand grandson. The lessons or confessions of an extended a little bit. This is I really get invited I was sitting in the MTC.

What 25 years ago now 24, 25 years ago now and reading through Talmage's book the great apostasy appreciated talks about the British vessel and what is talking about this whole body parts and passions piece from the from the Westminster confession of faith that you know I talked earlier about theocentric theology and anthropocentric theology and how Latter Day Saints come to a way of thinking about theology that is anthropocentric that is human centered become by a naturally because of of of what LDS theology is, and I remember reading that I think is you set as well and being like body body parts. My arms on the guys without arms, legs and and passions. Human passions right so like you, I brought my anthropocentric theology to try even trying to understand that passage from the Westminster confession of faith in what it's saying about God Ray and I had a completely wrong view as you just described of what that's actually what the what the Christian theologians who wrote that the news that are actually saying about the nature of God.

So I really resonate with with the your desire for Latter Day Saints to engage Christian theology and Christian understandings of theology in ways that are charitable, not in ways that are polemical which which they kinda come to naturally as well. Really try to really try to understand what is your those you for your dialoguing with mean when they say things.

One of the one thing I kinda wanted to hone in on in this section as well as a few but the first one is there's this line that says is referring to doctrine and covenants section 132" from us as they shall be sheltered, then shall they be gods, because they have no and that they will receive a continuation of the seeds for ever and ever.

Was that mean continuation of the seeds. Matthew was your understanding is Latter Day Saints. That meant that meant that just as we are God's spiritual children and he created us know we will re-become God's says then shall he be gods because the land so it will become God's people continue see you just like God crated us and how all details of how that works like you know if you would also need to create a Savior to save your children in on in the process continues on and on and on audible go to that conclusion, but is not explicit but I think that's kind of the natural, logical follow-up to that, I think you're right. I I did a search of the gospel, the LDS Gospel library app that I have on my phone to try to see what church leaders LDS church leaders taught about what that means. There wasn't a whole lot.

There were about four general conference addresses all of which were in relation to human procreative powers being kind of analogous to divine procreative powers and that and so the been the idea here is that only those who are exalted in LDS theology to godhood have that continuation of being able to have procreative powers in the hereafter.

So I think that when you start talking about that topic. Latter Day Saints can get a little squeamish. Maybe I'm not sure why it is part of their theology, and it's something that they actually according to this essay is something that actually should ennoble them according to the essay about what their potential is.

But they become a little squeamish about it and will will touch them out a little bit later in me.

In the essay, but I wanted to note that this citation to doctrine and covenants 132 verses 19 to 21 of the full quote the full verse 20 which says then shall they be gods, and this is talking about a couple a man who marries a wife under the new and everlasting covenant in its sealed upon them by the Holy Spirit of promise and its marriages performed by someone or as priest of the authority of those of the verses kind of leading up to it that then they shall be gods because they shall have no and therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them, then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the Angels are subject unto them, so a couple things. First of all what you were talking about Matthew with you can just add infinite attributes to something that is finite and end up with an infinite but that is what this passage seems to want to do. You know, other than to be everlasting to everlasting, because they continue by one asked the question says that be gods because the Angels are subject to them. Who are these angels that are going to be subject to Latter Day Saints, who are exalted yeah I can add this idea that it was people who receive special glory but and receive exaltation now. I thought of it yet and I was that's exactly explicitly said about I think it's heavily implied, especially from D&C 76 so I think it is explicitly stated, at least by the prophet Joseph Smith is quoted in the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

She said gods have an ascendancy over the Angels who are ministering servants in the resurrection summer raised to be angels.

Other are raised. Others are raised to become God's these things are revealed in the most holy places in the temple prepared for that purpose. Many of the sects cried out, quote oh I have the testimony of Jesus.

I have the spirit of God the way with Joe Smith. She says he is a prophet but there are no there to be no profits or revelations in the last days" stops are the regulator says that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. So, by your own mouth you are condemned, but to the text.

Why gather the people together in this place for the same purpose that Jesus wanted to gather the Jews to receive the ordinances and the blessings and the glories that God has in store for his saints.

I will now ask the assembly and all the saints if you will now build this house and receive the ordinances and blessings which God has in store for you were really not bill them to the Lord, bless this house and let him pass. I am still these blessings upon another. People so Joseph Smith taught explicitly but yeah that some people will be raised to be angels to serve those who are exalted as God's and nurse that I knew someone else I knew but is of the essence really urging their spouse taken to the temple that I don't want to go to the social kingdom and just being Angelina.

I want to get to the highest low and I have there was had a and a member was that a second advertisement. I guess to say or don't say, but like Kelly a PR kind of thing from the discharge response as you know, I want the best thing available to me. Eldest, visionaries talk to me and they said they offered me that I could become like God. And that's what I wanted like him so there's this kind of theirs is appealed to wanted Latter Day Saints to become wanted to become just exactly like God is after.

Now I made a point but he said that Arambula dabs that the whole of that there would be some angels who resurrected Angel people who will be resurrected. Angels rather than God's yes of the other the other statement from the section of the SM of the commandants is like descending a ladder. Individuals need to learn the first principles of the gospel and continue beyond the limits of moral knowledge until they could learn the last principles of the gospel when the time came.

It is not. Not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph said it will take a long time after the grave to understand the whole so couple of comments here earlier in the section they had quoted Joseph Smith is saying if men do not comprehend the nature of God.

They do not comprehend themselves, and that then they make the claim in that phrase, the prophet collapsed the golf that centuries of confusion had created between God and humanity. So they're saying that Joseph Smith collapsed the creator creature distinction that we talked about earlier on, but then they go on to say that is like sending a ladder and take forever in the eternities to really get there one I want to refer our listeners back to if you haven't listened to them.

If you have go back and listen to it again. Our episode becoming perfect which is a response to book of Mormon, central. I think that's a really critical epicenter to listen to when thinking about this topic but the statement that it's going to take a really long time after grave to understand the whole kind of. It demonstrates that the Gulf actually exists because we recognize and then just list listeners recognize and Joe Smith realized that his listeners recognized that and there's this real difference between me and God, how you're saying I can become God and he's like, well, it'll take a while people. This can take a good long time. Even after the grave for that to happen, so they just this kind of self defeating the whole argument of all that that the distinction is collapsed. Yeah that's good that's good point there's not a point that you said that I thought was interesting. Boston yeah like so when you attend church history to know Tennessee similar seasonal VCs interesting trends that happen. You know like baptism early on in the church was related question of sins so you people that would see baptism is like Kelly to get into heaven regard like they would wait as long as possible to get baptized is like a if I get baptized right on my deathbed you all get all my sins forgiven and then I get into heaven right so there's a lot that and so like when you see you know when you see Catholic theology in the early medieval Catholic theology.

They really focused a lot penance you know like you know works really started to grow into the sports and so then he stabbed this idea. Purgatory starts to develop because yeah they saw similar gaps in God's perfect and finally become a Christ. That's no house I could happen and so they develop this idea purgatory that there be a time you know I got work, so you'd be purging in oak purgation of your sins subject you could become perfect and actually endure God's presence and it would become like in a burning fire.

The planets, to pastors of perspectives three and they know then then then you had this practice of like well you want your ancestors to survive.

Centuries and millennia and purgatory right so if you say so many prayers. Mary articulates can also display good work settle, release them from purgatory for so many years and in and by the time Reformation there were these and other is a gross abuse of indulgences that grew that even the Catholic Church recognizes an abuse where you can pay money and then he could get some of the out of purgatory for some millennia and saw that was used to fund the building of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and I really up so I people that kind of come spark the start of the Reformation. So you see in you stealing a lot of trends, like where an idea tennis grows over time and there's a response to it.

Like you said Joe Smith, and those who followed them saw this is gap between us. God so how do how do we get from us to God is through grace. You know like God just change us miraculously, like he just glorifies ice power will know we have to obey these laws and ordinances gradually go up the ladder. You know by our own efforts of repentance eternities and eventually will get there in the last that's the one Mike dropped out his wallet as long as you're doing your best to try. Eventually you get there, but you really have no guarantee of that. You know that you that what you doing now events good enough so that when he gets the other side you can continue going to be in the next year and known each other side, not couple sorry nine year you stuck in a terrestrial kingdom. I guess it that Mrs. Lada sat on the part is dead and gone to the next section.

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