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Category Archives: Theology

I was shocked to discover that Mormons believe that Joseph Smith’s consent is required for anyone to enter Heaven

The source for this fact is a sermon by one of their most honoured Presidents, Brigham Young, immediate successor to Joseph Smith and notorious polygamist (55 wives) and racist (believed black-skinned people were cursed and did not participate fully in salvation), delivered in the Salt Lake City Tabernacle headquarters and recorded in the Mormon Journal of Discourses, 7:289. The Journal Of Discourses is an esteemed Mormon publication once validated by the Mormons as a kind of inspired commentary on Mormon teaching. The Mormons now officially state that The Journal is not canonised even though it contains hundreds of sermons from Church Presidents whom they say directly speak for God.

Brigham Young said

no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. 

Typical Cult Behaviour

It is typical cult behaviour that the founder is venerated and assumes a central importance as a necessary supplement to, equal to or superior to Jesus, with the effect that texts authoured by the cult leader supercede or interperet The Bible. This is what has happened with Mormonism and their many texts: The Book Of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl Of Great Price and so on.

The blasphemous importance given to Joseph Smith is seen here in this assertion by Brigham Young that Joseph Smith’s consent is required to enter heaven. Other outlandish exaggerations applied to Smith are, for example that his (Smith’s) mind expands as eternity; and only God can comprehend his (Smith’s) soul” (Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9 Apr. 1837, Church Archives).

While Mormons do not officially state that Joseph Smith was sinless, they are shockingly, required to believe by supposed revelation from God, that Joseph Smith never did anything wrong in his personal conduct, let alone make any error  in The Book Of Mormon or in his many doctrinal statements.

Early Mormon leaders displayed a blasphemous magnification of Joseph Smith attributing their salvation to Smith: Heber Kimball, a significant senior Mormon leader who was contemporary with Smith, wrote, supposedly directly under the inspiration of the Mormon Spirit, that his (Kimball’s) salvation was assured because of his loyalty to Joseph Smith.

As this Mormon writer reports for us:

Brigham Young said, “I feel like shouting hallelujah, all the time, when I think that I ever knew Joseph Smith” (Journal Of Discourses 3:51). Significantly, Brigham’s last mortal words were, “Joseph! Joseph! Joseph!” (Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985], p. 399).

Mormons may see this magnification of Joseph Smith as normal, but Christians immediately notice the blasphemous tone of Kimball and Young’s remarks, which displace Jesus from his rightful place as the centre of our praises, the source of our joy in God, the One who is essential to know,  our welcomer into Heaven, the security of our Salvation and as the name which should be called on by those entering the afterlife.

To this may be added the Mormon assertion that Smith the the final prophet, not Jesus, that Smith’s revelations will never become corrupted or lost, but Jesus’s revelations and Bible were so lost and corrupted, and that Smith’s revelations are more extensive than that of Jesus, clearly blasphemous, since Jesus is God.

Defence Of Smith

Mormons defend Smith by asserting that The Bible teaches that the consent or acknowledgement of The Biblical Apostles is required for Christians to enter heaven and that therefore Mormons are only applying normal Apostolic prerogative to Smith, exactly the same as The Bible does. That defence is found here .

The scripture that Mormon apologists rely on is Matthew 19:28

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Unfortunately for Mormons, this scripture does not apply to the Last Judgement. The Apostles will not be issuing consent for anyone to enter heaven; that privilege applies to Jesus alone as only He has defeated death and obtained redemption and atonement for mankind. Therefore Jesus and only Jesus has the right to issue consent to Heaven, as only He has made the way to heaven open.

In short The Apostles do not have either the right, capacity or privilege to act as Judges in the Last Judgement. They have neither earnt that right nor been granted it. These prerogatives apply to Jesus alone. Joseph Smith will not participate in this action despite the blasphemous claims of Mormons.

Millennium

The scripture in question, Matthew 19:28 applies to the Millenium in which the faithful servants of Jesus will be given privilege to rule over cities and regions as viceroys to Jesus. Jesus will at that time be reigning in Jerusalem from Mt. Zion where His throne will be located. From this scripture we see that the Disciples will have privilege to rule over the nation of Israel and, one may infer, be located there also.

Here’s another scripture where Jesus talks about the Millenium and how  His faithful servants will rule over various numbers of cities.

Conclusion

Mormon apologists apply Biblical scripture incorrectly in order to justify their blasphemous claim that Joseph Smith will participate in The Last Judgement. In doing this Mormons display the typical behaviour of a cult in magnifying their founder to usurp the proper place of Jesus.

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I’ll flesh this out a bit more at some point, but one of the common (misguided) teachings associated with the (misguided) concept of Generational Curses is that Generational Curses come about as a result of iniquity. You can read a representative presentation on iniquity and its supposed generational effects here from a dangerously deluded  afficionado of the Generational Curses meme.

Iniquity, in the Generational Curses line of (misguided) thinking is sin of a special, particularly nasty kind that causes God to smite the iniquitous offender with a Generational Curse that persists indefinitely down the family line unless ‘broken’ by special prayers of repentance, specifically naming the iniquity of one’s distant ancestor and asking forgiveness for it.

Commonly, Freemasonry (for example) is said to be one such iniquity that causes God to initiate a Generational Curse on this or that family and it is the responsibility of the Christian to ‘break’ the curse by first discovering its existence and then specifically naming it in a prayer of repentance.

Alternatively, during so-called Prayer Ministry, a minister may supposedly ‘discern’ through the Holy Spirit the existence of a Generational Curse, then ‘take authority’ over it and vicariously break it through their own prayers.

This whole Generational Curses thing is redolent with falsehood, but just for now what I want to say is that Jesus has already taken away the iniquity of all believers. This being the case, even if Generational Curses exist (which they do not) they have already been ‘broken’ by Jesus, so there is no need for any believer to have to ‘break’ them themselves.

Look at Isaiah 53:5-6

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Quite plainly, Jesus Messiah has taken iniquity away from all believers. We are free ! We don’t need to be cleansing ourselves of our own iniquity because Jesus has already done so ! That’s Good News.

And here’s the scripture that turned on the light-bulb for me: Zechariah 3:3-5

Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and [b]will clothe you with festal robes.”

Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by.

It seems quite straight-forward.

Jesus has taken our iniquities away from us, acting as our High Priest, making atonement for our sins.

We are free !

Now enjoy your freedom.

There is no iniquity on you.

Thanks to Jesus.

All you need to do is receive His salvation.

 

Hiking the glorious Overland Track in the Central Highlands of Tasmania I came into Pelion Hut and on the notice board I read the following quote by the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, swelling in the present moment and feeling truly alive.

Miracles And Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh wouldn’t have a clue what he is talking about in relation to Miracles.

Miracles are supernatural events in which the normal physical laws of the Universe are suspended or transcended by a Higher Power. Walking on water, exemplified by Jesus, is an excellent example of this.

What Thich is describing – the swelling in the present moment and feeling truly alive is an example of mindfulness. 

Mindfulness, while a most beneficial practice, is not miraculous. The physical laws of the Universe are not overcome or transcended by mindfulness. Hence mindfulness is not a miracle. Swelling in the present moment and feeling truly alive is not a miracle.

Walking on water, on the other hand, is in fact miraculous. That’s why the person who did it, Jesus, is worth listening to. He is capable of transcending the physical laws of the Universe. This marks him as someone extraordinarily special.

Thich Nhat Hanh, on the other hand, for all his achievements including significant contributions to the Peace Movement during difficult times, should not be listened to in regard to spiritual teaching.

This is because Thich Nhat Hanh doesn’t know the difference between something as basic as what is a miracle and what is not. Since Thich is not capable of even this basic level of discernment it is apparent that he is not capable of any deeper levels of analysis.

Blind

Consequently it is plain that Thich Nhat Hanh is a blind guide.

Avoid him.

Reliable

If you would like some reliable spiritual teaching, I recommend this clear-minded passage by Jesus, who knows what a miracle is, what a miracle isn’t and who performed a great many astounding miracles himself including raising Himself from the dead and ascending into heaven in the presence of hundreds of witnesses.

Also In This Series

An Audience With Geshe Ngawang Gedun in which Geshe provides his insights into the teachings of Jesus.

 

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses claim there will only be 144,000 people in Heaven. They base this belief on Revelation 7  and Revelation 14 in which the 144,000 are mentioned.

A cursory reading of Revelation 7 quickly shows that there is an additional multitude of people to the 144,000 described there as worshiping before the throne of God. The Jehovah’s Witnesses describe this second group as The Earthly Class or Great Crowd which is an additional group of people, also all Jehovah’s Witnesses, who throughout eternity live in a perfect paradise on Earth, but who do not actually go to Heaven and who never have any personal contact or experience with God during that eternity.

Misplaced Literalism

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are quite mistaken to think that Heaven is limited to 144,000 individuals. If one takes the number of 144.000 to be a literal number then one is obliged to take all the information about the 144,000 literally. In doing so we find that that the 144,000

  • Are Jews
  • Number precisely 12,000 each from 12 specified tribes of Israel (but not all the tribes – the tribe of Dan is missing)
  • Have the Lamb’s Name and The Father’s Name written on their foreheads
  • Are male
  • Are virgins
  • Follow The Lamb wherever He goes

Taking this passage literally we find that the only people who are in Heaven are male, Jewish virgins. How many Jehovah’s Witnesses meet this criteria ?

In addition to being male, Jewish virgins, everyone in heaven has two names literally written on their foreheads and follow The Lamb wherever He goes all the time. Surely this is somewhat inconvenient  for both Jesus and for the 144,000, stumbling over each other for all eternity.

So we can easily see that taking a literal view of the 144,000 creates insurmountable problems with the text.

144,000 As Symbolic

The number 144,000 has a suspiciously symbolic look to it, being 12 x 12 x 1,000 with the numbers 12 and 1,000 both being highly significant Biblically.

The structure of the number 144,000 denotes completeness. Firstly, the 12 Tribes are multiplied by 12, meaning that the ‘twelve-ness’ of elect Israel is emphasised. None of the twelve Tribes of Israel are missing from Heaven. The subsequent multiplication by 1,000 is an intensifier signifying great magnitude. The total symbolism simply means all the elect of Israel will surely be saved and that there will be a very large number of them.

The magnitude of 1,000 is present in both the overall count of all elect Israel (144 x 1,000) and in the count by each individual tribe e.g For Judah 12,000 are present (12 x 1,000). This indicates that the salvation of Israel is both complete and in great magnitude by tribe as well as by nation. All of Israel is present, all of Israel is present in great magnitude and each individual tribe of Israel is present and fully accounted for in great magnitude, saved by their covenant Lord who promised to do so. All are present who should be present. None are missing who should not be missing.

To give just one example of the symbolic use of 1,000 in scripture consider Psalms 50:10 in which we read – “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” As the Blog Scripture Revealed notes:

Now don’t you think there are more than a thousand hills on earth? Is the passage implying that God does not own the cattle on hill one thousand and one? Of course not. What is being conveyed is that the Lord owns all the cattle on all the hills, not just on a thousand hills

As Scripture Revealed goes on to say :The number one thousand (1,000) symbolizes “immensity,” “fullness of quantity” or “multitude.” It then provides numerous examples of this application in Scripture.

The number 144,000 applied to Israel is a symbolic way of saying that none of Israel whom God intends to save will be missing.

First Fruits

A further aspect of the 144,000 in Revelation 14, is that the 144,000 are a first fruits, which means that they are representative of a larger group. The identification of the 144,000 as a First fruits is of itself proof that more than 144,000 are in Heaven. And this is precisely what we find in Revelation 7 where we see that in addition to the 144,000 there is  a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

The description of the great crowd as being  from every nation, tribe, people and language shows that they are Gentiles. The Jewish saved are a firstfruits of the total saved population of humanity. So we see in Revelation 7 that there are two basic groups of people worshiping before God’s Throne: Jews and Gentiles

144,000 – The Fulfillment Of God’s Promises To Israel

The 144,000 of Revelation 7 show that God will be faithful in his promises to Israel to save them, thus honouring the covenant he made to Abraham and confirmed with Isaac and Jacob.

The Apostle Paul describes it this way in Romans 11: that Israel will certainly all be saved once God has completed His mercy among the Gentiles but that Israel is currently experiencing God’s judgement at present – a breaking off from Christ and a hardening of their hearts. But Israel indeed will be saved and restored due to God’s faithfulness. And this is what we see described in Revelation 7: Jews and Gentiles alike worshiping God in Heaven.

Revelation 7 does not show two classes of saved as Jehovah’s Witnesses would say, one of which, the 144,000, is supposedly superior to the other, The Great Crowd. No. Rather the passage describes two multitudes of people in heaven: one Jewish and one Gentile – the same groups that Paul describes in Romans 11.

Genre

The basic error that Jehovah’s Witnesses have made is to apply a literal interpretation to a passage which is intended to be understood symbolically. They have failed to recognise Genre. The Book Of Revelation is written in a Genre known as Apocalypse in the same way that Psalms is written in a genre known as Poetry and the Pastoral Letters in a genre known as Epistle. Epistle being pastoral letters should be interpreted literally. Poetry and Apocalypse, on the other hand, are figurative genres. To select arbitrary elements from symbolic texts and interpret them literally is an invitation to poor interpretation.

Why Specify ?

It may be reasonably asked if two multitudes are present in Revelation 7, then why specify only one of them using a symbolic number ? Isn’t this proof that the use of the specific number 144,000 is to be taken literally ? Indeed, Jehovah’s Witnesses take this very line of argument.

The question is reasonable and I think a partial answer to this is that Gentiles are not numbered by tribes in The Bible whereas Israel is so numbered. Thus, The Holy Spirit, in His inspiration of scripture can individually list the Israelite tribes and number them as a way of indicating The Lord’s individual care and oversight of all Israel and His commitment to save them. It also allows The Holy Spirit to omit Dan in such a list which leads to interesting speculation of why this might be the case.

A similar specific listing of Gentile nation, tribe, people and languages would obviously require thousands of pages to render fully and so is not done. Having said this, the symbolic number 10,000 or 10,000 times 10,000 used in other parts of Scripture might indicate the greatness and diversity of the Gentile multitude, so I agree there is no compelling reason why a symbolic could not be used for them also.

While this could be cited as a reason to indicate that the 144,000 should be taken as a literal number, we have seen that doing so creates insurmountable problems with interpreting the text. Specifically, the 144,000 are all male, Jewish, virgins. Are we really to believe that only male, Jewish, virgins will go to heaven ?

How many Jehovah’s Witnesses fit this category ?

The Mormon Church claims to be a Christian Church. In this post I will use Biblical criteria to evaluate Mormon teaching and practices. We will see that the Mormon Church is not Christian.

The table below compares key Mormon beliefs with Biblical criteria for a false gospel. We can see that Mormonism is clearly a false gospel and is Satanically inspired.

In Satan’s first interaction with humanity, he did two things: Firstly, Satan caused Adam and Eve to doubt and reject the Word Of God and instead embrace his own false teachings. Secondly, the incentive Satan provided to Adam and Eve to reject God’s Word was the promise from Satan that they would become Gods.

Mormonism precisely emulates the teaching of Satan. Mormon teachings cast doubt on and ultimately reject  The Bible in order to replace God’s Word with false Mormon teaching and the false promise that human beings can become Gods.

The Mormon church is a direct and obvious replay of Satan’s first deception of humanity. The Modus Operandum of Satan is clearly present in Mormonism.

False Gospel Mormon Church Notes
Satan casts doubt on and contradicts the Word of God Bible doubted and contradicted.

Mormon church teaches that The Bible is only true insofar as it is correctly translated, the practical meaning being that The Bible is only true insofar as it agrees with Mormonism.

Mormon Church  teaches that The Bible is incomplete, and so introduces new, false doctrines which are contradictory to The Bible via the Book Of Mormon

Therefore, in practice, Mormonism teaches that The Bible is no longer the Word of God and invites a transfer of trust to the Mormon church and its false doctrines.

Genesis 3:1 The serpent…said to the woman, “Did God really say…’ (doubt)

Genesis 3:2-5 The woman said to the serpent, God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree … or you will die.’”

You will not.. ,”  the serpent said to the woman [1]For God knows [2] that when you eat of it…you will be like God…[3]

[1] Satan contradicts the Word of God

[2] Satan casts doubt on God’s character implying God has given them an incomplete Word,

[3] Satan uses the groundwork of doubt and contradiction of God’s Word to introduce false doctrine and a transfer of trust from God to Satan

Satan tells Humanity than they can be like God Mormon doctrine of Exaltation says that Humans can become like Gods and indeed become Gods Genesis 3:2-5   Satan tells Adam and Eve that they can be like God.

From the above we can clearly see the Satanic inspiration and methods present in Mormonism.

The following table shows that Mormonism bears the other hallmarks of a false gospel and false church.

False Gospel Mormon Church Notes
Satan appears as Angel of Light Mormon teaching sourced in Revelations of Angels of Light

Joseph’s Smith’s First Vision described by Mormons as the  foundation of church;

Smith experienced a huge number of Angelic visitations receiving false doctrines from them

2 Corinthians 11:13-14

“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”

False Apostles preach a Different Jesus Mormon church teaches that Jesus is the brother of Lucifer Bible teaches that Jesus is the creator of Lucifer and indeed the entire Universe.

Colossians 1:15-17 

16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

False Apostles boast about their Visions Smith was constantly relating his visions and describing their clarity.

These visions became the doctrine of the Mormon Church.

Smith remarked late in his life, “It is my meditation all the day & more than my meat & drink to know how I shall make the saints of God to comprehend the visions that roll like an overflowing surge, before my mind”

Colossians 2:18

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.

2 Corinthians 11:17-18 – 12:1

False Apostles boast they are better than Biblical Apostles Joseph Smith said he was superior to Paul, Peter, John, indeed all men that ever lived, and even in one important respect superior to Jesus

“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam…Neither Paul, John, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (Church History vol 6, pp. 408-409).

Incredibly, Mormons also believe that Smith taught that no-one may now enter heaven without the permission of Joseph Smith.

no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are

2 Corinthians chapters 10,11 and 12 describe the boastful character of False Apostles: they boast of their geneology, their sufferings, their devotion to Jesus, their proficiency at public speaking, their visions and revelations and how they are superior to the true Apostles of Jesus.
Interaction With The Dead Completely Forbidden Mormon church practices Baptism For The Dead

Mormon publications encourage children to welcome visitations from the dead

Mormon church teaches that dead ancestors assist and communicate with the living.

Mormon church teaches that visits of the deceased may come to you and speak with you, for example to request baptism.

Appearances of deceased spirits in the Mormon Temple are expectedwelcomed , encouraged and celebrated.

Fourth Mormon Prophet Wilford Woodruff told followers in 1887, “The dead will be after you, they will seek after you as they have after us[ in the Mormon Temple in St. George, Utah] (Journal of Discourses 19:229).

Bible teaches that communication with the dead is a spiritually defiling practice that should be strictly avoided.

Anyone who enabled communication with the dead was punished by stoning and faced God’s personal, immediate and certain wrath 

It is amazing then, that Mormon sources teach that their venerated leaders communicated with dead people and performed wishes according to their actions.

The gladness  that Mormons describe when encountering the spirits of the deceased and the welcome afforded to them in their religious ceremonies is in complete opposition to Biblical teaching.

Divination Forbidden Joseph Smith translated Book Of Mormon using Divination and, according to Mormon sources, Smith and his family were steeped in the practice of divination at the time Smith was visited by the False Angels in the so-called First Vision Divination is a “foretelling future events, or discovering things secret by the aid of superior beings, or other than human means.”

Deuteronomy 18:10-11

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,  or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.

Hosea 4:12

My people consult a wooden idol,
    and a diviner’s rod speaks to them.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray;
    they are unfaithful to their God.

(Divination rods quoted approvingly by Mormon Sources)

Secret Doctrines A Feature Of False Gospel Mormonism has secret worship rituals and secret knowledge The Bible associates secret ways with the ungodly and openness with the godly.

All Old Testament Temple rituals were publicly known and described. Mormon Temple rites are kept secret

2 Corinthians 4:1-2 

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways… On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

Jesus’ Death On The Cross Is Unimportant Mormonism says Jesus’ atonement occurred in the Garden of Gethsemene,
not on the cross.On page fourteen of his book, “Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson,” the thirteenth president of the LDS Church stated it was in the Garden of Gethsemane that Christ “suffered as only as God would suffer, bearing our griefs, carrying our sorrows, being wounded for our transgressions, voluntarily submitting Himself to the iniquity of us all.Benson further stated  “It was in Gethsemane that Jesus took on Himself the sins of the world, in Gethsemane that His pain was equivalent to the cumulative burden of all men, in Gethsemane that He descended below all things so that all could repent and come to Him”(Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pg.15).In his book “The Promised Messiah,”Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie wrote, “Forgiveness is available because Christ the Lord sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane as he bore the incalculable weight of the sins of all who ever had or ever would repent” (pg. 337).On page 552 of the same book McConkie continues by saying, “In a garden called Gethsemane, outside Jerusalem’s walls, in agony beyond compare, he took upon himself the sins of all men on condition of repentance.”

On pages 127-128 of McConkie’s “The Mortal Messiah,” he wrote, “And as he came out of the Garden, delivering himself voluntarily into the hands of wicked men, the victory had been won. There remained yet the shame and the pain of his attest, his trials, and his cross. But all these were overshadowed by the agonies and sufferings in Gethsemane.

It was on the cross that he ‘suffered death in the flesh,’ even as many have suffered agonizing deaths, but it was in Gethsemane that “he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.”

The Bible summarizes the true gospel as ‘the message of the cross’

1 Corinthians 1:18

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Further Information

This section provides additional detail on the tables above.

Mormon Church Rejects The Bible

Mormons strenuously object to claims that they reject The Bible, often stating that they study The Bible as much as or more than The Book Of Mormon.

While Mormons do indeed read The Bible, they do so through the lens of Mormonism. The Bible is understood only via Mormon pre-suppositions. Mormons do not let The Bible stand alone or speak for itself.

As an example of Mormon rejection of The Bible, the following is taken from an essay by an influential early Mormon leader, Orson Pratt, one of the Twelve original so-called Apostles of Mormonism. Pratt states that The Bible is hopelessly corrupted and therefore useless.

DIVINE AUTHENTICITY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON, NUMBER 3

By Orson Pratt

One of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

THE BIBLE AND TRADITION, WITHOUT FURTHER REVELATION, AN INSUFFICIENT GUIDE

who, in his right mind, could, for one moment, suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the whole Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original? Who knows how many important doctrines and ordinances necessary to salvation may be buried in oblivion in some of the lost books? Who knows that even the ordinances and doctrine that seem to be set forth in the present English Bible, are anything like the original?

Pratt’s attitude to The Bible is clear: it is corrupted and unreliable, INSUFFICIENT, unfit to be followed by itself. That’s where, of course, The Book Of Mormon, like Satan comes in:  to supposedly clarify and in practice supplant the supposedly insufficient and unreliable Word Of God

Official Mormon publications make it clear that The Bible is subordinated to The Book Of Mormom. Here is an excerpt from the current Offical Mormon Encyclopedia which is maintained by the Mormon Brigham Young University.

The Latter-day Saint use of the Bible differs from the Judeo-Christian norm because it is not the sole LDS source of authority (see Scriptures: Authority of Scripture). The Bible is interpreted and understood by Latter-day Saints through four important means: (1) other LDS scriptures, which enrich and give perspective to an understanding of biblical teachings; (2) statements of modern prophets…

IS THE BIBLE COMPLETE?

Latter-day Saints revere the Bible as the word of God revealed to humankind. However, Joseph Smith recognized that translations do not reflect totally and exactly the original words and intentions of the ancient prophets and other biblical writers.

Latter-day Saints accept rather explicitly what the Bible now says, they realize that more is to be accounted for than is available in the extant biblical record.

In addition … [Mormon] scriptures also declare that some parts of the original biblical text have been lost or corrupted …Joseph Smith commented on the Bible’s incompleteness: “It was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled” (TPJS, pp. 10-11).

He later said, “Much instruction has been given to man since the beginning which we do not possess now…. We have what we have, and the Bible contains what it does contain” (TPJS, p. 61).

The Prophet Joseph further stated, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (TPJS, p. 327).

Thus, the elements of mistranslation, incompleteness, and other errors weaken the Bible… Latter-day Saints… revere the Bible, especially in the context of [Mormon] scriptures… which have much to say about the Bible and how it is to be interpreted,

Mormons will tell you that you can know that Mormonism is the true Christian Church by just praying to God and asking Him. At that time, they say, you will experience a burning sensation in the chest accompanied by feelings of peace which they call the Burning Bosom. This, say Mormons, is proof that the Mormon Church is the true Christian Church and the true church of God. Here is an LDS member saying so on the official LDS website.

This is despite the fact that Joseph Smith himself said he had made incorrect decisions based on such a Burning Bosom experience and the senior leader Boyd K. Packer in the 1983 LDS Ensign magazine in an article titled “Candle of the Lord” admitting that relying on the Burning Bosom can easily lead to following Satan or one’s own emotional impulse. Packer wrote as as follows:

Be ever on guard lest you be deceived by inspiration from an unworthy source. You can be given false spiritual messages. There are counterfeit spirits just as there are counterfeit angels. Be careful lest you be deceived, for the devil may come disguised as an angel of light.

The spiritual part of us and the emotional part of us are so closely linked that it is possible to mistake an emotional impulse for something spiritual. We occasionally find people who receive what they assume to be spiritual promptings from God, when those promptings are either centered in the emotions or are from the adversary.

Boyd K. Packer, “The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, January 1983. Mr. Packer in his address offered no way to discern between the emotional, Satanic and Godly witnesses.

To assist Mr. Packer, the best way to discern between the Godly, Satanic and emotional impulses is to evaluate your proposed course of action against The Bible. Because The Bible was produced by The Holy Spirit, any advice from the Holy Spirit will never contradict The Bible because The Holy Spirit will never contradict Himself.

In my opinion it is very easy to tell that the Mormon Church is not a Christian church. And that is because in the First Vision of Joseph Smith in which he received his first messages from the spirit world he was told to reject all the Christian Churches and all Christian belief.

Later accounts say that when the personages appeared, Smith asked them “O Lord, what church shall I join?”[10] or “Must I join the Methodist Church?”[27] In answer, he was told that “all religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom.”[30] All churches and their professors were “corrupt”,[31] and “all their creeds were an abomination in [God’s] sight.”[15]

Here then is the basis of Mormonism: Reject all Christian Churches and all Christian belief. Would that message come from Jesus ?

Existing Christian belief would be replaced with a message which would later be given to Smith. This became The Book Of Mormon and associated other Mormon teachings.

The ninth president of the Mormon Church, David O. McKay, said that “the appearing of the Father and the Son to Joseph Smith is the foundation of the Church.” (Gospel Ideals, p. 85).

Given the foundation of Mormonism, it is easy to see that the Mormon Church is not Christian, but Anti-Christian.

Mormonism was Satan’s attempt to replace American Christianity with a counterfeit. Joseph Smith lived in an area which was in the peak of a major Christian revival. Mormonism was Satan’s attempt to undermine that revival and distract Americans from following the true Jesus.

Add to this the Satanic nature of Mormon’s core message – which is that Humans can become Gods by following Mormonism – plus the consideration that its major spiritual practice, Baptism for the Dead, is a means of occult interaction with the deceased – and I think it is clear that Mormonism is exposed as a Satanic enterprise.

I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.it…. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:3-14)

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospelwhich is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (Galatians 1:6-9)

A few weeks ago I had a chat with a neighbour who is a Mormon who kindly gave me a bit of a run-down on the Mormon faith. I made some notes on our conversation

The reasons my neighbour gave to become a Mormon were that Traditional Christianity has splintered into a number of sects; only the Mormon church has a living prophet; your dead ancestors can get go to heaven and that the Bible has been changed and corrupted whereas the Book Of Mormon has not.

I’ll give a brief response to each reason to become a Mormon first, then a more detailed response below.

Brief Response

  1. Traditional Christianity Has Splintered Into Dozens Of Competing Sects

 

You mentioned that traditional Christianity has splintered into dozens of competing sects whereas the Mormon Church has remained one church. The continuity of Mormonism as a single church with a single doctrine proves that it is the true Christian Church.

Unfortunately Mormonism has also splintered into dozens of competing sects.

Wikipedia currently lists 86 Mormon sects. (Google Article List Of Denominations In The Latter-Day Saints Movement).

If traditional Christianity is discredited and unreliable because of the proliferation of sects then so is Mormonism and there is no reason to become a Mormon.

  1. Only The Mormon Church Has A Living Prophet

You said that one of the great benefits of being a Mormon is that the Mormon Church has a living prophet to provide leadership, revelation and guidance to the church. The current living Mormon prophet is apparently Thomas Monson who was born in 1927.

Unfortunately for Mormons and for Thomas Monson, the Church of Jesus Christ already has a living and eternal prophet and that person is not a Mormon. 

The living prophet of the Church Of Jesus Christ is Jesus Christ. The Bible clearly explains that Jesus is the High Priest of His church, and that He has this position forever because He has an indestructible life. Quite obviously, Jesus is alive. Since Jesus is alive there is no need for any successor to Him and indeed there can never be any successor to Jesus.

 

Since Christians already have an eternally living and perfect High Priest and Prophet, namely Jesus Christ Himself, there is no reason to accept any other High Priest or Prophet and therefore no reason to become Mormon. 

 

3. Dead Ancestors Can Get Saved

You indicated that a big benefit of becoming a Mormon is that my dead ancestors can get saved by actions I can perform on their behalf, such as being Baptised for The Dead.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to get Baptised for The Dead. The Bible is clear that people are judged for their own works and do not gain any benefit from the works of others and also that there is no hope for salvation after death if that person has refused salvation prior to death.

Given this, Baptism for the Dead does not provide any incentive to become a Mormon, and is in fact a disincentive to become a Mormon, as it violates the teaching of Jesus as found in The Bible.

In fact, the Bible’s clear overall teaching is to deter believers from having any interaction or interest in the dead at all and in fact to avoid any interactions with them at all. Baptism for the Dead violates the boundaries that God has set up for our protection from harmful interaction with the Spirit World.

4. The Bible Has Become Corrupted

You mentioned that there are many different Bibles and therefore no-one can be really sure which Bible is the real one whereas the Book Of Mormon has remained the same ever since it was written and will never change. The unchanging nature of the Book Of Mormon proves that Mormonism is the true Christian Church.

Unfortunately the Book Of Mormon has indeed changed over time. Even Mormon websites acknowledge this, simply noting that the changes are merely clarifications and do not affect Mormon doctrine. See For example Fair Mormon here

Since the Book Of Mormon exhibits minor changes in different editions, it is no different to The Bible which also exhibits minor changes in different editions. Hence The Book Of Mormon does not exhibit any special textual constancy and therefore does not provide any compelling reason to become a Mormon.

Detailed Response

  1. Traditional Christianity Has Splintered Into Dozens Of Competing Sects

You mentioned that traditional Christianity has splintered into dozens of competing sects whereas the Mormon Church has remained one church. The continuity of Mormonism as a single church with a single doctrine proves that it is the true Christian Church.

Unfortunately Mormonism has also splintered into dozens of competing sects.

Wikipedia currently lists 86 Mormon sects. (Google Article List Of Denominations In The Latter-Day Saints Movement).

If traditional Christianity is discredited and unreliable because of the proliferation of sects then so is Mormonism and there is no reason to become a Mormon.

  1. Only The Mormon Church Has A Living Prophet

You said that one of the great benefits of being a Mormon is that the Mormon Church has a living prophet to provide leadership, revelation and guidance to the church. The current living Mormon prophet is apparently Thomas Monson who was born in 1927.

Unfortunately for Mormons and for Thomas Monson, the Church of Jesus Christ already has a living and eternal prophet and that person is not a Mormon. 

The living prophet of the Church Of Jesus Christ is Jesus Christ. The Bible clearly explains that Jesus is the High Priest of His church, and that He has this position forever because He has an indestructible life. Quite obviously, Jesus is alive. Since Jesus is alive there is no need for any successor to Him and indeed there can never be any successor to Jesus.

The Bible is also clear that the Church of Jesus Christ has no need for any revelatory prophets following Jesus because Jesus is the perfect revelator of scripture and of God, being the unique Son Of God and God Himself

Furthermore, Jesus is obviously a far better prophet and priest than Thomas Monson because Jesus is God and Thomas Monson isn’t.

Who makes the better prophet and priest  ? God or someone who is not God ?

If you had a choice between having God as your Priest and Prophet or someone else, who would you choose ? I choose Jesus. You can too. Why don’t you ? Why not do it now ?

Since Christians already have an eternally living and perfect High Priest and Prophet, namely Jesus Christ Himself who is God, there is no reason to accept any other High Priest or Prophet and therefore no reason to become Mormon. 

Why should Mormons wish to strip Jesus of his titles as High Priest or His church and final revelatory prophet and award them to someone else ? This is straight-forward blasphemy.

I now invite Mormon readers to renounce the false Mormon prophet and priest and accept the true Prophet and Priest of the Church of Jesus Christ, who is Jesus Christ, in his unique, sole, proper and full authority and Lordship.

The Mormon so-called living prophet cannot meet the needs of the church. I have a continuous daily need for revelation and guidance. This cannot be provided by a human being like Thomas Monson. The Christian Church currently numbers approximately Two Billion people. If Mr. Monson gave each of us a one minute face to face meeting it would take him approximateky 3,805 years to meet each one. If there was an additional 15 second turnover time between each person, then the process would take approximately 4,756 years to complete. I would be long dead before my one minute interview came to pass. Monson cannot give me, or anyone else the continuous guidance, revelation and comfort that we need.

This is why we need Jesus Christ to be our Prophet and High Priest. Since Jesus is God, Jesus is omni-present and can and does dwell personally live with His people. Jesus lives in me and in every believer. Therefore I have access to continuous guidance, revelation, wisdom and comfort from my living Prophet and High Priest, Jesus Christ. Mormons do not get anything remotely like this from Thomas Monson.

Dear Mormon, can you see how you are being ripped off and deprived of spiritual blessings by awarding your devotion to a human being ?

In this linked article, a Mormon explains that the church needs a living prophet because the communion of mankind with God was lost when Adam and Eve sinned. While it is true that the fall of mankind did indeed sever the continuous personal communion of mankind with God, that communion is restored by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

That is the meaning of atonement – to make peace between feuding parties. Jesus Himself is the peace of mankind. He has reconciled God and humanity together. He is our Priest, our Prophet, our sacrifice, the gift, the Altar and our Atonement. He is our all-in-all. He is our peace with God. Mormonism has deprived you of your spiritual blessings in Jesus by giving you a fake Jesus and a deficient view of the Atonement, to state merely the beginning of the travesty of Mormon belief.

The church of Jesus Christ does indeed need a living prophet. It has one: Jesus.

I invite you now to make the true Jesus Lord of your life and renounce the fake and imposter prophets Jospeph Smith and Thomas Monson along with the false faith of Mormonism.

3. Dead Relatives Can Get Saved and Go To Heaven

You indicated that a big benefit of becoming a Mormon is that my dead ancestors can get saved by actions I can perform on their behalf, such as being Baptised for The Dead.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to get Baptised for The Dead. The Bible is clear that people are judged for their own works and do not gain any benefit from the works of others and also that there is no hope for salvation after death if that person has refused salvation prior to death.

Given this, Baptism for the Dead does not provide any incentive to become a Mormon, and is in fact a disincentive to become a Mormom, as it violates Bible teaching, which is the teaching of Jesus.

The Apostle Paul does indeed reference the pagan practice of people Baptising for the dead, but does not endorse it as a Christian practice. He did the same in Acts 17 when explaining to the pagan Athenians that the Unknown God was actually Jesus.   Paul didn’t worship the Unknown God himself thus endorsing the pagan practice. Rather he used their pagan practice as a bridge to explaining the truth about Jesus who is God who has revealed Himself and made Himself known. Similarly, the pagan practice of Baptism for the Dead is not endorsed, but is used as a bridge this time to under-informed Christians to explain that the Resurrection of Jesus was both real and a bodily resurrection. In a like manner to the Athenian example,  Paul would not himself Baptise for the Dead or endorse this practice.

In fact, the Bible’s clear overall teaching is to deter believers from having any interaction or interest in the dead at all and in fact to avoid any interactions with them at all. Baptism for the Dead violates the boundaries that God has set up for our protection from harmful interaction with the Spirit World.

Mormons frequently interact with the dead during their ceremonies for Baptism for The Dead and it is incredibly disturbing that Mormons encourage their children to expect and welcome visitations from the dead. What more evidence does one need to see that the Mormon church is rife with occult and spiritually defiling practices ? It is obvious that this practice marks Mormonism as a false church established by a false prophet.

4. The Bible Has Become Corrupted

You mentioned that there are many different Bibles and therefore no-one can be really sure which Bible is the real one whereas the Book Of Mormon has remained the same ever since it was written and will never change. The unchanging nature of the Book Of Mormon proves that Mormonism is the true Christian Church.

Unfortunately the Book Of Mormon has indeed changed over time. Even Mormon websites acknowledge this, simply noting that the changes are merely clarifications and do not affect Mormon doctrine. See For example Fair Mormon here

Since the Book Of Mormon exhibits minor changes in different editions, it is no different to The Bible which also exhibits minor changes in different editions. Hence The Book Of Mormon does not exhibit any special textual purity and therefore does not provide any compelling reason to become a Mormon.

The Pearl Of Great Price is another book of Mormon Scripture which has undergone changes, significant changes occurring in 1878, 1900 and 1976. These changes are freely admitted by LDS leaders and members (Google the BYU Masters Thesis An Analysis Of Textual Changes In The Pearl Of Great Price). While fully accepted as a divine work by the major LDS denomination, large parts of Pearl are rejected by various LDS branches, especially the Book Of Abraham.

On the Book Of Abraham, Smith (i.e. Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism) supposedly translated this from Egyptian papyrus texts in his possession. Professional Egyptologists have inspected Smith’s papyri and find them to be standard Egyptian Funerary texts thus rejecting Smith’s supposed translations  as a blatant fraud. Please compare this to The Bible in which all of its translations from Greek and Hebrew are regarded by impartial professionals as academically honest.

A third Mormon Book Of Scripture Doctrine and Covenants has undergone extensive and continuous revision. Mormon Elder Boyd K. Packer, President of The Quorum Of the so-called Twelve Apostles of the LDS (i.e. Latter-Day Saints, the official term for the Mormon church) from 2008-2015 discussed the changes to  Doctrine And Covenants in a general conference:

Of course there have been changes and corrections. Anyone who has done even limited research knows that. (See the article at Fair Mormon ‘Doctrine and Covenants’).

Mormons accept The King James Version of The Bible as Scripture whilst simultaneously considering it to be corrupted and unreliable. I suspect Mormonism stands as unique in canonising works as Holy and Sacred whilst simultaneously considering them corrupted and unreliable.

Of course, Joseph Smith also produced his own version of The Bible called The Joseph Smith Translation. This is accepted by some, but not all,  LDS branches. The major LDS denomination accepts only some parts of the JST and incorporates those into The Pearl Of Great Price. A somewhat ambiguous view of the JST appears to exist within the main LDS denomination with  Bruce R. McConkie  of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles 1972-1985  saying, “The Joseph Smith Translation, or Inspired Version, is a thousand times over the best Bible now existing on earth”,  yet remaining doctrinally-bound by his church to accept only parts of the JST whilst fully affirming the inferior and more-or-less corrupted King James Version as sacred scripture.(Google Wikipedia article on The Joseph Smith Translation)

In summary, all the LDS Holy Books exhibit changes in their various editions. These changes are freely admitted and endorsed by LDS leadership.. Logically then there is no  reason to become a Mormon based on the supposed unchanging nature of their sacred texts. Because LDS allows its leadership to create, revoke or change scripture at any time the LDS have no requirement for constancy in their sacred scripture, so there is none.

Furthermore, independent experts in Egyptology have cross-checked Smith’s translation of Mormon scriptural sources and consider them to be blatantly fraudulent. Surely no other faith has had to endure such direct embarrassment to their prophetic and scriptural basis.

Because of Smith’s obvious fraud it can be seen that Mormonism is not a true church, it is in fact a false church with a false prophet and is a cult.

Overall, it is plain that the Mormon scriptural basis is hopelessly degraded and provides no incentive for anyone to become a Mormon.

Jesus Has A God, Therefore He Cannot Be God

My material for this post is largely drawn from John Gill’s exposition of John 20:17

In order to prove that Jesus cannot be God, Muslims draw attention to John 20:17 in which Jesus clearly says He has a God.  How, they ask, can God have a God ? Here is John 20:17

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

The answer to how Jesus can have a God lies in recognising that Jesus is God in Human form. Jesus was truly human. Being human, Jesus can have a God.

Can God come to Earth if He wants to ? Of course He can.

If God came to Earth could he have flesh and bones and choose to eat and sleep ? Of course He could. Therefore God can come to Earth in human form.

But God would not stop being divine just because He came to Earth in human form. He would still be God. But He would also be a Human who can eat and sleep and do all the things that Humans do.

So if God came to Earth as a human he would retain his divine nature but also have a human nature. He would have two natures during the time He was on Earth: A Divine nature and a Human nature.

Can God Limit Himself ?

God can control Himself in much the same way that I control myself, for example, when I play with my children I choose to limit my strength so that I do not hurt them when I play with them. In a similar way, when Jesus came to Earth he decided to temporarily limit Himself in certain ways. Jesus still had divine attributes but he chose not to use some of them during His time on Earth while He walked with us as a truly human being.

The self-limitation of Jesus does not diminish God because all the Divine Attributes remain fully active in The Father and The Holy Spirit, the other two Divine Persons who share the single Divine Life.

Identification and Dependence

During the period of His earthly life Jesus chose to make Himself dependent on The Father just as all of humanity is dependent on Father God. In this way, Jesus identified with humanity. He became one of us and shared our limitations and dependence on God while yet retaining His divine nature. For this reason of dependence it is possible for Jesus to say that He has a God. Jesus made Himself dependent on The Father, and so like all with a human nature Jesus was dependent on The Father.

Jesus had two natures: a divine nature and a human nature. He retained possession of His divine nature, but chose not to use most of his divine attributes. He lived His life on Earth constrained by the limits of human nature which he took on Himself when he entered His earthly existence.

This does not mean that Jesus never exercised His Divine Attributes or power while on Earth. For example, Jesus healed people and did other miracles by His own power. (See John 5:19, Matthew 8:26-27, Matthew 14:25-32).

The passage in question, John 20:17, thus contains a second reason why it is possible for Jesus to talk about ‘My God and Your God’ and this reason relates to the truth of Jesus’ identification with humanity.

The reality of identification works two ways. Because Jesus shared our humanity, He identifies with us, but humanity also identifies with Jesus. This means that however The Father chooses to treat Jesus in relation to His humanity then you and I obtain the privilege of being treated by The Father in the same way that The Father treats Jesus.

This identification means that since the Father has declared Jesus Not Guilty of sin, then we also can be declared Not Guilty of sin if we identify with Jesus, i.e. choose in faith to accept Jesus as our representative before The Father. Furthermore, because Jesus was resurrected from the grave and from death by The Father, then we also can be, and will be, resurrected from death and the grave (Barzakh) if we choose to identify with Jesus. Again furthermore because Jesus ascends to The Father, those who identify with Jesus and become part of the Umma of Jesus will also obtain the privilege of ascending to heaven with Jesus to be in the presence of The Father.

This truth of humanity’s identification with Jesus, how The Father rewards the Umma of Jesus with the same privileges as Jesus is reported in a truncated form In The Qu’ran Surah Al-Imran:3:55.

“O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection.

It was this third aspect of identification, that of Ascension, that  Jesus was specifically referring to in this passage of scripture including John 20:17. Jesus had been declared Not Guilty by The Father after His ordeal on The Cross, consequently had been resurrected from death and the grave and was just about to ascend to The Father.

The woman wanted Jesus to stay behind on earth with them and clung on to Him but Jesus told them something greater was in store for humanity, namely His ascension, which all believers in Him, all His Umma would have the privilege of doing also. But He, Jesus, had to ascend first to make the way for them.

The statement of Jesus ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” teaches His Umma that His ascension makes our ascension possible because of His identification with humanity and our identification with Him.

Amen! Thanks to be to God an Our Lord Jesus Christ !

So, Jesus statement I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God is indeed, as Muslims state, a clear indication of Jesus’ humanity. This humanity came about because Jesus voluntarily chose to make Himself dependent on The Father (see Phillipians 2:5-8).

The statement my Father and your Father…my God and your God is also a powerful statement of truth regarding Jesus’ identification with humanity, by which humanity can be declared Not Guilty before God and obtain resurrection and ascension, which is entry to Paradise.

The Nature Of God

God exists as three persons who share a single divine life or essence. Since God exists as three persons, one (Jesus) may choose to come to Earth while the others remain in heaven. Additionally, the One who comes to Earth can choose to make Himself dependent on the One(s) who remains in Heaven. In this way, Jesus can truly call The Father His God whilst yet retaining His own divine nature.

The self-limitation of Jesus does not diminish God because all the Divine Attributes remain fully active in The Father and The Holy Spirit, the other two Divine Persons who share the single Divine Life.

Because there is only one Divine Life, God is One.

Today I picked up a book sitting on my friend’s kitchen table. It was a biography of Mohammed entitled ‘The Life Of Mohammed’ by Abdul Ahmed Siddique. You can read the publisher’s note on the book here

Flicking through the pages I chanced upon a bold-face heading on the section devoted to Mohammed’s triumphal military entrance into Mecca. The heading read:

Magnanimity Unparalleled In The Annals Of Mankind

A few lines below was the sub-heading:

Only Four People Were Executed

The people of Mecca must have been glad that they were invaded on a day when Mohammed felt especially and uniquely magnanimous and hence only executed four of them.

Of course, Mohammed’s behaviour in executing ‘only’ four people was not magnanimous but barbarous: especially when one considers that one of those executed was a servant girl named Fartana, executed merely for name-calling and singing satirical songs  directed against Mohammed (see Ibn Hisham, Ibn Ishaq, Alfred Guillaume (translator), The life of Muhammad: a translation of Isḥāq’s Sīrat rasūl Allāh, p. 550)

In executing a mere slave-girl for mere name-calling Mohammed displays not magnanimity, as characterised by the severely deluded Mr. Siddique but psychopathic narcissism.

A Better Example Of Magnanimity

As an example of a person who did indeed display magnanimity at severe personal cost, please consider the example of  Maria Nice  who forgave Alisson Lima dos Santos who murdered her son Rafael da Silva. You can watch the video here

Maria Nice is a Christian who, like uncounted millions of Christians before her, has followed the example of Jesus who forgave those who persecuted, tormented, tortured and killed Him. This is what Maria Nice said to the young man who killed her son.

“You are forgiven in Jesus’ name. I am a Christian, and I am forgiving you, and I will keep praying, Alisson. […] And you are going to discover that God that I serve. […] I don’t have a drop of hate for you, Alisson.

Not Quite So Magnanimous

Once Mohammed’s daughters Fatima and Umm Kulthum were riding on a camel. An enemy of Mohammed named Al-Huwayrith intentionally goaded the camel, causing Mohammed’s daughters to be dangerously thrown to the ground. Mohammed had him killed. (see Ibn Hisham, Ibn Ishaq, Alfred Guillaume (translator), The life of Muhammad: a translation of Isḥāq’s Sīrat rasūl Allāh, p. 551)

You can read here about the young  Saudi Arabian woman, Fatima Al-Mutairi, killed by her Muslim family for simply being a Christian. Like Jesus and Maria Nice, this young woman forgave her enemies in the face of personal suffering and did not execute any one at all.

Dozens more examples of  Christians forgiving enemies who have killed their family members can be found just by Googling Christian forgives murderer’

In this Christians emulate the example of Jesus, the unparalleled magnanimous and mericiful example to humanity who prayed  Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing, even as his enemies were torturing and killing Him on the cross, and who did not order any of them to be executed.

Last year I spent some time discussing The Trinity with my Muslim friend. These are some notes I made from our discussion.

  1. Christians Worship Three Gods

Christians do not believe in three Gods. Christians believe God is One

As Jesus said:

“The most important one (i.e commandment),” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a]

The idea that Christians worship Three Gods is a misconception contained in the Qu’ran in Surah An-Nisa 4:171

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion… do not say, “Three”;… Indeed, Allah is but one God.

The Qu’ran incorrectly describes Christian belief. This means that The Qu’ran is in error and hence does not come from God.

2. Jesus Was Born By God Having A Sexual Relationship With Mary

Christians do not believe that Jesus was born by God having a sexual relationship with Mary. Christians believe that Jesus was born by God’s Power acting through The Holy Spirit, in other words by a miracle of God. See Luke 1:31-35 where Gabriel converses with Mary.

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus…

 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…

The idea that Jesus was born by God having a sexual relationship with Mary is a misconception found in The Qu’ran which also states that Christians believe that Mary is a God (see Qu’ran 5:116; 5:75; 6:101) Christians do not believe that Mary is a God.

Once again, The Qu’ran incorrectly describes Christian belief. This means that The Qu’ran is in error and hence does not come from God.

3. Son Of God Is Not a Divine Title

Muslims correctly state that Son Of God is used of several people in the Bible. As well as Jesus the term Son Of God is applied to Adam, Angels and the nation of Israel. Therefore, say Muslims, the Title Son Of God has no special significance and does not mean that Jesus is Divine.

In fact, the Bible teaches that Jesus has a unique kind of Sonship with the Father, which is Divine. In John 3:16 the Bible says;

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The Greek word translated one and only is monogenes which means ‘unique kind’. Jesus said that He had a unique kind of Sonship with God (Matt. 11:27) and the Jews stoned Jesus for Blasphemy when He said he was the Son Of God as he was claiming equality with God. As John 5:18 says:

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

For a modern-day equivalent of ‘Son’ being used in different ways between different people, consider a man with two sons, one adopted and one family-born. Both are properly and correctly called Son but they are different kinds of sons.

The Bible uses monogenes to differentiate in a similar way between the Sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac is a family-born, natural son, born by Abraham with his wife Sarah, whereas Ishmael is born to Abraham in a different and fractionally more distant family relationship, via Sarah’s maidservant  The Bible calls therefore Isaac monogenes, Abraham’s only son via Sarah, whom Abraham especially loves and who was born through a direct promise by God and conceived miraculously when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90 years old, well past the normal years of child-bearing or conception.

 Ishmael, born through Sarah’s maidservant Hagar, and neither promised by God, nor conceived miraculously, has a different status in the family. See Hebrews 11:17

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son.

Isaac is called the one and only son (monogenes) even though Abraham had two sons because Isaac is the one and only son born through his wife Sarah.

So, Son Of God is applied to Jesus in a unique way in the Bible, indicating the Divinity of Jesus. Indeed this is the way that the Qu’ran understands the meaning of Son Of God, as a Divine Title (see Qu’ran 5:116)

4. Jesus Did What Only Humans Need To Do

Muslims correctly state that Jesus did what only humans need to do such as eat and sleep. Therefore, Muslims say, Jesus must be human and cannot be Divine.

In fact, the Bible presents two sets of proofs about Jesus:

  1. Jesus is a Human Being
  2. Jesus is Divine

The proofs that Jesus is Divine are many. Among them are these: Jesus forgave sins (Luke 7:48), answers prayer (John 14:13-14), accepts worship (John 9:38-39, John 20:28-29), claims eternal existence (Rev. 1:17-18), claimed to do miracles by His own power (Luke 8:40-46), claims to have ownership and command of God’s Angels (Matt. 25:31), claims to cause resurrection (John 11:25), claims to be Lord of The Holy Day (Luke 6:5), used God’s name as His own name (John 8:58, Exodus 3;14) and directly claimed to be Father God Himself (John 14:6-9).

All these attributes and powers belong to God alone. Since Jesus claimed the rights, name, power and attributes of God, then Jesus has claimed to be God.

5. Three Cannot be One, Therefore The Trinity is Illogical

Muslims correctly state that Three cannot be One. Therefore, Muslims state, the Trinity is illogical as The Father, The Son and The Holy spirit are Three and not One.

Christians do not believe that three can be one. Christians believe that three ones can be one. Expressed mathematically this is:

1 x 1 x 1 = 1

How many ones on the left hand side ? Three

How many ones on the right hand side ? One

Are these expressions equal ? Yes.

So three ones can be one.

Therefore the Trinity is logical.

6. One Thing Cannot be Three Things At Once, Therefore The Trinity Is Illogical

Muslims incorrectly believe that Christians think that one thing can be three things at once. Specifically Muslims state that Christians believe that Jesus is the same as the Father who is the same as The Holy Spirit, since they are all God. Since it is obvious that one thing cannot be three things at once, they say, therefore that the Trinity is illogical.

In fact, Christians believe that Jesus and The Father and The Holy Spirit are NOT the same as each other.

So, in this case the Muslim objection to the Trinity is based on a misunderstanding of what Christians believe about the Trinity.

Christians believe that the Trinity is three distinct persons that share the same Divine Life. This sharing of the Divine Life or Essence is what makes God One. There is only one Divine Life in the Universe. Hence God is One.

When Christians say that Jesus or the Holy Spirit is a person, we don’t mean that they are persons in exactly the same way that Human Beings are, though it is accurate to say that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Divine Persons. The theological term for person is the Greek work Hypostasis which has the basic meaning of ‘individual reality’ or ‘particular instance of a general type’.

The theological definition of The Trinity is ‘three hypostases in one essence’.

The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are One because they share the same Life or Essence.

Muslims will typically assert that this formulation is ridiculous and self-contradictory. How can three distinct things have a shared existence ?

There are many useful analogies of The Trinity in the Universe which can assist us to see that the Trinity is a reasonable and non-contradictory concept.

Molecular Resonance

A strong analogy of The Trinity is provided by the phenonemon of Molecular Resonance.

The basic idea is that Resonating Molecules exist in multiple forms simultaneously, each form having the same Chemical Composition. In other words resonating molecules exists in multiple simultaneous hypostases of the same essence. This is identical in concept to The Trinity.

For example, Nitrate, NO3 has three resonance structures. It exists in all of these forms simultaneously.

As Wikipedia puts it, It is a common misconception that resonance structures are transient states of the molecule, with the molecule oscillating between them or existing as an equilibrium between them. However these individual contributors cannot be observed in the actual resonance-stabilized molecule. The molecule exists in only one form – the resonance hybrid.

In other words, resonating molecules exist in all three forms simultaneously and have exactly the same shared essence.

Here is how Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity describes how Molecular Resonance overcame his objections to reasonableness of The Trinity. This experience is also described in his book, ‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’

Essentially, the building block of every physical object is an atom, a positively charged nucleus orbited by tiny, negatively charged electrons.  Atoms bond to one another by sharing their electrons, forming a molecule.  Different arrangements of the electrons in certain molecules are called ‘resonance structures.’  Some molecules, like water, have no resonance while others have three resonance structures or more, like the nitrate on the board.

Although the concept was easy enough to grasp, the reality proved to be baffling.  Mrs. Adamski concluded her lesson by commenting, ‘These drawings are just the best way to respresent resonance structures on paper, but it’s actually much more complicated.  Technically, a molecule with resonance is every one of its structures at every point in time, yet no single one of its structures at any point in time…

How could something be many things at once?  Many different things?  We were not talking about the attributes of something like a steak, which can be hot, juicy, thick, and tender all at once.  We were talking about separate spatial and electrical arrangements.  What the professor said would be akin to saying that Nabeel is eating steak in Texas while simultaneously napping in a hammock in the Caribbean.  As wonderful as each would be individually, it made no sense to say I might be doing both at once.

I was perplexed, and what made it even worse was that no one around me seemed bothered in the least.  I looked around the room, agape at their blind acceptance.

But was it really blind?  The professor was teaching rarefied science, describing the subatomic world.  At that level, things happen that make no sense to those of us who conceptualize the world at only a human level.  Even the apparently simply idea of atoms is baffling when we think about it.  It means that the chair I am sitting on is not actually a solid object, innocently supporting my weight.  It is almost entirely empty space, occupied only in small particles moving at incomprehensible speeds.  When we think about it, it seems wrong, but it’s just the way things are in our universe.  There’s no use arguing about it.

I turned my glance away from the other students, concluding they had not blindly accepted a nonsensical concept.  They had just realized before I did that there are truths about our universe that do not fit easily into our minds.

My eyes rested on the three seperate structures of nitrate on the wall, my mind assembling the pieces.  One molecule of nitrate is all three resonance structures all the time and never just one of them.  The three are separate but all the same, and they are one.  They are three in one.

Water

Liquid Water has the chemical  composition H2O.

Solid Water (Ice) also has the chemical composition H2O. In other  words Ice and Water share  the same essence.

Water is a hypostasis of the general essence H2O. Ice is a second hypostasis of the same essence. Gaseous Water (steam) is a third hypostasis of the same essence.

Water, Ice and Steam are not identical, but they have the same essence. They are three hypostases of the identical essence and may be composed of exactly the same identical molecules as anyone who has observed the melting, boiling and condensation of H2O starting from a block of ice can attest.

The analogy of the three Hypostases of Water is not a perfect anology of The Trinity but it demonstrates the basic reasonableness of The Trinity, that there can be three individual and distinct realities that have a shared existence.

Triple Point Of Water

The analogy is improved still further by the phenonemon of The  Triple Point Of Water.

The triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases (gas, liquid, and solid) of that substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium.[1] For example, the triple point of Mercury occurs at a temperature of −38.83440 °C and a pressure of 0.2 mPa.

Very strong points of analogy between The Trinity and The Triple Point Of Water are described as follows. You can read more at this link.

1. Both the Triple Point and the Trinity possess a singular nature with three coequal but distinct hypostases.

The triple point and the trinity both have a singular essence and possess three hypostases which have real distinctions among them.

For example, the three states of water at the triple point are conjoined by a common molecular structure, yet ice, steam, and water are quite different in their physical properties such as density, compressibility, electrical conductivity, et cetera. Because the coexisting phases at the triple point possess a distinctive set of physical properties, the union of one into three occurs without loss of identity of the hypostases 

The Trinity is also a single essence containing three hypostases which are able to merge without loss of identity. There is an infusion of three-into-one in both models.

2. Interdependence Between The Hypostases At The Triple Point Are Closely Analogous To Interdependence In Relationships in the Trinity.

The interdependence of hypostases at the triple point are analogous to the sense of relationship found between members of the trinity. Each hypostasis at triple point derives and sustains its character by mutual collaboration with the other two hypostases.

In other words, thermodynamic hypostases at the triple point cannot exist independently of one another, but are interlocked in a state thermodynamic equilibrium. This symphonic blending is similar to the relations between the persons of the Trinity.

The Trinity is defined by a self-contained mutuality of relations, and no one person of the trinity is or can be without the others. There is a coequal sharing of the singular divine essence without intrinsic subordination of any person.

The undivided essence belongs equally to each of the persons and each possesses all the substance and all the attributes of deity. The same could be said for the triple point phases, as no state of matter is more fundamental than another, nor is water any less itself because it exists in three coincident forms.

Molecular Resonance, The Triple Point and The State Phases Of Water all provide useful analogies of The Trinity which demonstrate that the Trinity is reasonable and without self-contradiction.

7. Jesus Has A God, Therefore He Cannot Be God

My material for this section is largely drawn from John Gill’s exposition of John 20:17

Muslims fairly draw attention to John 20:17 in which Jesus clearly says He has a God in order to prove that Jesus cannot be God. How, they ask, can God have a God ? Here is John 20:17

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

The answer lies in recognising that Jesus is God in Human form. Jesus was truly human. Therefore He can have a God.

Can God come to Earth if He wants to ? Of course He can.

If God came to Earth could he have flesh and bones and choose to eat and sleep ? Of course He could.

But God would not stop being divine just because He came to Earth. He would still be God. But he would also be a Human who can eat and sleep and do all the things that Humans do.

God can control Himself in much the same way that I control myself, for example, when I play with my children. When I play with my children I choose to limit my strength so that I do not hurt them when I play with them. In a similar way, when Jesus came to Earth he decided to temporarily limit Himself in certain ways. Jesus still had divine attributes but he chose not to use most of them during His time on Earth while He walked with us as a truly human being.

During the period of His earthly life Jesus chose to make Himself dependent on The Father just as all of humanity is dependent on Father God. In this way, Jesus identified with humanity. He became one of us and shared our limitations and dependence on God while yet retaining His divine nature. For this reason it is possible for Jesus to say that He has a God. Jesus made Himself dependent on The Father.

The passage in question, John 20:17, contains a second reason why it is possible for Jesus to talk about ‘My God and Your God’ and this reason relates to the truth of Jesus’ identification with humanity which we mentioned above.

The reality of identification works two ways. Because Jesus shared our humanity, He identifies with us, but humanity also identifies with Jesus. This means that however The Father chooses to treat Jesus in relation to His humanity then you and I obtain the privilege of being treated by The Father in the same way and The Father treats Jesus.

This identification means that since the Father has declared Jesus Not Guilty of sin, then we also can be declared Not Guilty of sin if we identify with Jesus, i.e. choose in faith to accept Jesus as our representative before The Father. Furthermore, because Jesus was resurrected from the grave and from death by The Father, then we also can be, and will be, resurrected from death and the grave (Barzakh) if we choose to identify with Jesus. Again furthermore because Jesus ascends to The Father, those who identify with Jesus and become part of the Umma of Jesus will also obtain the privilege of ascending to heaven with Jesus to be in the presence of The Father.

This truth of how The Father rewards the Umma of Jesus with the same privileges as Jesus is reported in a truncated form In The Qu’ran Surah Al-Imran:3:55.

“O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection.

It was this third aspect of identification, that of Ascension, that  Jesus was specifically referring to in this passage of scripture around John 20:17. Jesus had been declared Not Guilty by The Father after His ordeal on The Cross, consequently had been resurrected from death and the grave and was just about to ascend to The Father.

The woman wanted Jesus to stay behind on earth with them and clung on to Him but Jesus told them something greater was in store, namely His ascension, which all believers in Him, all His Umma would have the privilege of doing also. But He, Jesus, had to ascend first to make the way for them.

The statement of Jesus ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” teaches His Umma that His ascension makes our ascension possible because of His identification with humanity and our identification with Him.

Amen! Thanks to be to God an Our Lord Jesus Christ !

So, Jesus statement I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God is indeed, as Muslims state, a clear indication of Jesus’ humanity. This humanity came about because Jesus voluntarily chose to make Himself dependent on The Father (see Phillipians 2:5-8).

The statement my Father and your Father…my God and your God is also a powerful statement of truth regarding Jesus’ identification with humanity, by which humanity can be declared Not Guilty before God and obtain resurrection and ascension, which is entry to Paradise.

There is nothing illogical or contradictory about this because God exists as three persons who share a single divine life or essence. Since God exists as three persons, one (Jesus) may choose to go to Earth while the others remain in heaven. Additionally, the One who comes to Earth can choose to make Himself dependent on the One who remains in Heaven. In this way, Jesus can truly call The Father His God whilst yet retaining His own divine nature.

The self-limitation of Jesus does not diminish God because all the Divine Attributes remain fully active in The Father and The Holy Spirit, the other two Divine Persons who share the single Divine Life.

Because there is only one Divine Life, God is One.