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What is it like to be a God?

06 Jul

The following is a talk I gave at church a few months ago.

Mormonism stands out amongst the Christian denominations by its belief in everyone’s potential to become gods. What is a god, and why would we want to become one?

Ancient and modern mythology

Religions throughout the earth’s history have attempted to understand deity, often using common objects and concepts to try to make sense of such a supernal being. For example, ancient Egyptians worshipped a host of gods such as Ra (the sun god). Ancient Greeks and Romans also had their pantheon of gods, each of whom had a mixture of supernatural abilities and human frailties.

Modern culture has been inspired by these ancient myths and legends, as can be seen in the current popularity of superhero movies, comics and television series. Our lives are surrounded by mythology, and we can easily find it alluring, entertaining or even inspiring. However, this mythology can confuse us as to the attributes of our Heavenly Father, the one and only god we worship.

Common (mis)understanding of godhood

In the Church, when the topic of godhood comes up, comments usually revolve around the ability to create worlds and populate them with spirit children, thus taking on a role similar to that which our Heavenly Father currently holds. Critics of the Church often use a caricature of this belief, stating that we believe in creating and ruling our own worlds, being worshipped by their inhabitants. We may speculate until the cows come home, mostly without the support of scriptures. Ultimately, however, we really have no idea what we’re talking about, unless we are intimately acquainted with God the Father.

How do we come to know the Father?

Short answer: Through the Son and the Holy Ghost. John 14:5-11

5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the away, the btruth, and the life: no man ccometh unto the Father, but by me.

7 If ye had aknown me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the aFather; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

10 Believest thou not that I am in the aFather, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

11 Believe me that I am ain the bFather, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

And in John 18:9:

Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.

Finally in John 5:19-23:

19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he aseeththe bFather do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

21 For as the Father araiseth up the dead, and bquickeneth them;even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath acommitted allbjudgment unto the Son:

23 That all men should ahonour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that bhonoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

The Father never intervenes personally amongst his children, he always does so through His Son, Jesus Christ. Within this simple pattern is an important lesson: if we know the Son, we know the Father. Their unity is so perfect and complete that the discovery of Jesus Christ is literally the discovery of the Father of our spirits.

Here is yet another lesson: it is the unity between the Father and the Son that defines godhood. Even before He took on mortal flesh, Jesus was a “God” (see chapter 4 of Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage). Did he reach godhood through worthy deeds? Did he receive special powers and abilities that gave him this lofty title? No, he became God because he was One with the Father.

Christ’s invitation has always been, and always will be, to become one with Him and the Father. That is godhood: unity with God. The concept of becoming a supreme being with mighty powers, independently of God the Father, belongs to the realm of Hollywood and makes no theological sense. Godhood is not about abilities and powers, it is about knowledge, purpose and identity.

Since all of God’s children have the potential to become gods, and godhood requires a perfect unity with God the Father, what does it say about the relationships between each other? As Jesus explained, we are to become one with each other, just as He is one with the Father. Godhood is not an independent pursuit. It is not the prize of a competitive race. Instead, it is the ultimate community project, the result of unlocking the infinite human synergy.

Does unity entail a loss of identity? This is similar to asking whether a husband and wife who are intimately united have lost their individuality. To the contrary, each of their individuality is enriched by the individuality of the other. That is the beauty of the plan of salvation: each intelligence that participates in it is unique and distinct from all others, including the Father of our spirits, God the Father!

This diversity is so glorious and beautiful that the Father, God himself, seeks to become One with us, giving us all that He has so that we may join in this ever-increasing richness and beauty.

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2 Comments

Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Religion

 

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2 responses to “What is it like to be a God?

  1. Francis Vessigault

    March 22, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I read the above statement. The person in the blog who said that Godhood is not based on powers and abilities is false. I am a Temple Endowed Elder and Godhood according to doctrine and covenants 132 is the ability to bear spirit children based on divine principles of righteousness. The reason Heavenly Father has the knowledge as to how to bear spirit children and create billions of stars that constitute our 294 billion stars Milky Way Galaxy is because His knowledge and abilities are based on his power of the Priesthood, because He uses the Priesthood of Eternal godhood with the purpose of promoting the ultimate happiness of all of us, His children so that through His Divine son Jesus Christ, the faithful Temple covenant Keepers will return to Him and become Exalted with the Son Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
    Although, I am a convert, returned missionnary and Temple endowed Elder, I know that when I will be Exalted to eternal godhood through the Mercy of Christ, my Lord in addition to keeping all the Temple Covenants of Exaltation, I noticed, based on principle experience in my life that any type of Priesthood power that I possess, it is based on my understanding of correct divine principle and the desire to use Heavenly Father’s priesthood powers in righteousness to bless His children.

    Going to the Temple is not so much about God the Father Eloheim and His Son Jehovah. Yea, it is about Them as Supreme Creators of our current universe.
    But although, I am mortal now, imperfect, I know that through my faithfulness to Sacred Temple covenants, I will in Billions of years in the distant future become like the Savior, my Lord.
    Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ both practiced the Law of Celestial Marriage as They Have their Female Wives with Them. 1 corinthians 11:11 “Neither is the man without the woman, neither is the woman without the man in the Lord.
    In that instance, the title Lord may refer to God the Father, but it refers to the Savior Jesus Christ who complied to the law of eternal marriage and still complies because He follows what Eloheim told him to do. The Son of God inherits Godhood and recently gained Godhood, a process that His Father God inherited Billions of years ago.
    Do you think that Mary, Martha, the sisters of Lazarus’relationship with the Lord and Mary Magdalene’s relationship with the Son of God were casual. Never. God never sends faithful men to Earth without sending righteous women to be at their side. Mary, Martha and Mary Magdalene very deeply loved Jesus Christ so much and there is every reason to know that these holy women were and are sealed in everlasting love to the LORD, the Savior. The above scripture from 1 corinthians 11 verse 11 is an absolute proof that the Lord practiced what He preached. I know that people of worldly background never like to hear the matter that the Lord is married but single. I TOTALLY REJECT THE NOTION THAT THE LORD AND SAVIOR IS UNMARRIED SINCE ETERNAL LIFE IN CELESTIAL GLORY IS CONTINGENT ON THE LAW OF ETERNAL MARRIAGE AND ALL PROPHETS LIKE ADAM AND HIS WIFE EVE FOLLOW IN GLORY THAT COMMANDMENT, TO MULTIPLY AND REPLENISH THE EARTH, NOW AND IN THE FUTURE ETERNAL STATE.

    I love Eternal Progression as it propels me in magnifying my talents and in using the Priesthood in love in raising my daughter. I give all Glory to my Heavenly Father in the Name of His Son.

     
    • nicolasconnault

      March 23, 2013 at 3:15 am

      Francis, I think you missed the point I am making in this article. I’m talking about unity with God. I’m not denying that godhood entails more power, I’m saying that this power is God’s (Elohim’s) power, and we only have access to it through becoming one with him.

      I’m also arguing that we will never become independent gods, doing what God currently does on our own.

      I’ll even go one step further and suggest that the “continuation of the seeds” and “eternal increase” mentioned in doctrine and covenants still refer to God’s power: he is the bearer of spirit children. When we become one with him, his increase becomes our increase.

      I try not to spend much time discussing concepts that are neither taught clearly in the scriptures nor regularly in general conference. The idea that we will have spirit children of our own is one of those concepts.

       

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