The Attributes of God

by Rocky Hulse

July 2011

I was reviewing some research files the other day to answer a question posed to me on Facebook about Mormonism. I came across an information sheet comparing the “Attributes of God,” between the beliefs of Christianity to the beliefs of Mormonism, by a good friend of ours: John Farkas of Berean Christian Ministries.

John has graciously told me that I may quote and use any of his work, so I’m going to draw heavily on his work and add some of my own. I will also provide some of the Mormon referenced quotes in brackets [ ] for those who certainly don’t have access to some of these books.  You will want to keep this newsletter close to the front door as a reference when the Mormon Missionaries show up. The abbreviations for the Mormon reference documents will be at the end of the comparison.

God the Father

CHRISTIANITY: (As taught in the Bible)

1. Eternal – no beginning, no end, has always been God (Psalms 90:2; Psalms 93:2; Deut 33:27) 2. Only one God, there are no other gods, the only One (Is 43:10; Is 44:6, 8, 24; Heb 6:13) 3. Is Spirit (John 4:24; 1:18; 6:46) 4. Is not a man, never was mortal (Hosea 11:9; Num 23:19; Ps 90:2) 5. Is not married (The Bible says nothing about God being married).

MORMONISM: (As taught by the Mormon Church)

1. God was once a mortal man who has a father, and infinite grandfathers – back to infinity (TPJS p. 345, 373 [“If Abraham reasoned thus—If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also.”]; JD 6:3; STC p. 152; GP p. 305) 2. One of many Gods (TPJS p. 370-371; STC p. 152; MD p. 576-577 [“Three separate pesonages—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God, it is evident, from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists. To us, speaking in the proper finite sense, these three are the only Gods we worship. But in addition there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and thus are gods.”] ) 3. Has a body of flesh and bones (D&C 130:22 [“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s…”]) 4. Is an exalted man (ACM p. 129-132; GP p. 305; TPJS p. 345 [God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!]) 5. Is married, there is a mother in heaven (ACM p. 129-132 [“By definition, exaltation includes the ability to procreate the family unit throughout eternity. This our Father in heaven has power to do. His marriage partner is our mother in heaven. We are their spirit children, born to them in the bonds of celestial marriage.”] ; GP p. 11, 19; AF p. 443).

Jesus Christ

CHRISTIANITY: (As taught in the Bible)

1. Eternal – no beginning, no end (Heb 13:8; Is 43:3, 11 with Luke 2:11; 2 Sam 22:32 with 1 Cor 10:1-4; Is 44:24 with Col 1:19 & Heb 1:2; Ex 3:14 with John 8:58; Is 9:6; Rev 1:8, 22:20; Jer 10:10; Ps 90:2, 93:2; Deut 33:27) 2. The only begotten Son of the Father (John 3:16, 18; 1 john 4:9) 3. Became man by miraculous conception (Matt 1:18-23; Luke 1:34-35) 4. His death and blood cleanses us of all sin (1 John 1:7; 1 Pet 3:18; 1 Cor 15:3) 5. He is the Son of God (1 John 4:15). 

MORMONISM: (As taught by the Mormon Church)

1. God’s first spirit child (which means he didn’t always exist); progressed to be a God (GP p. 11 [“The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ (see D&C 93:21), so he is literally our elder brother (see Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 26)”]; TPJS p. 345-346; ACM p. 129-132; MD p. 129; AF p. 472) 2. Is the spirit brother of Lucifer, Satan the devil (GTTA p. 15 [“The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind.”]; MD p. 192-193; Moses 5:13; GP p. 17-18) 3. Has a literal father – in the same way we have (FHEM p. 125-126; MD p. 546-547 [“These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.”],742) 4. Man must atone for some of his sins (MD p. 92; DS Vol 1, p. 133-138 [“Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievious that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ.”]) 5. Jesus is a son of God, one of many (Alma 36:17; Moses 1:13, 5:13, 6:68; GP p. 11 [“Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ…, so he is literally our elder brother…”]; AF p. 473).

 Man

CHRISTIANITY: (As taught in the Bible)

1. Cannot become a God (Is 43:10; Is 44:6, 8: Is 48:11) 2. Spending eternity with God is a gift, not earned (Eph 2:8-9; Gal 2:16-21; Rom 11:5-6; Titus 3:5) 3. His spirit was created by God (Zec 12:1; Is 42:5; John 3:6; Is 64:8).
 
MORMONISM: (As taught by the Mormon Church)

1. Can become a God (ACM p. 129-132; D&C 132:20; JD 6:4; AF p. 430 [“In spite of the opposition of the sects, in the face of direct charges of blasphemy, the Church proclaims the eternal truth: ‘As Man is, God once was; as God is, man may be.’”], 473, 529; GP 301-304) 2. Spending eternity with God is earned (MD p. 540 [“All men are commanded to believe the gospel, repent of their sins, enter in at the gate of baptism, get on the strait and narrow path, and endure to the end in righteousness by obedience to all the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”]; #3 The Articles of Faith; Moroni 10:32-33; 2 Nep 9:23, 25:23) 3. Spirit is procreated (GP p. 11, 14, 302; MD p. 589 [“Pre-existence is the term commonly used to describe the pre-mortal existence of the spirit children of God the Father. Speaking of this prior existence in a spirit sphere, the First Presidency of the Church (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund) said: ‘All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity’; as spirits they were the ‘offspring of celestial parentage.’ (Man: His Origin and Destiny, pp. 351, 355.) These spirit beings, the offspring of exalted parents, were men and women, appearing in all aspects as mortal persons do, excepting only that their spirit bodies were made of a more pure and refined substance than the elements from which mortal bodies are made.”]; AF p. 472).

The Nature of God

CHRISTIANITY: (As taught in the Bible)

1. Father, Son and Holy Ghost are One God (1 John 5:7; Is 44:6; Rom 8:8-11; James 2:19; Rom 3:30; Matt 28:19) 2. God, men, angels and devils each have a different nature (Num 23:19; Hosea 11:9; Is 42:8; Ps 8:6; Heb 2:7; Cor 6:3; Is 12:12-14; Ez 28:11-19).

MORMONISM: (As taught by the Mormon Church)

1. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost, are three separate Gods (TPJS p. 370 [“I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years. I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural; and who can contradict it?”]; D&C 130:22) 2. Gods, men, angels, and devils, are of the same nature, except they are at different levels of progression (MD p. 192-193 [“The devil (literally means slanderer) is a spirit son of God who was born in the morning of pre-existence. (D. & C. 76:25-26.) Endowed with agency, the free power of choice, he chose the evil part from the beginning, thus placing himself in eternal opposition to the divine will. He was ‘a liar from the beginning.’ (D. & C. 93:25.) Obviously he gained for himself great executive and administrative ability and had a sufficiently compelling personality to influence for ill a myriad host of other spirit offspring of the Father. His position was one of great power and authority. He was ‘an angel of God’ who ‘became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.’ (2 Ne. 2:17; D. & C. 76:25.) When the plan of salvation was presented—the plan whereunder the spirit children of the Father would be enabled to gain tangible bodies and, if faithful in all things, progress to a like status with their Father—and when the need for a Redeemer was explained, Satan offered to come into the world as the Son of God and be the Redeemer. ‘Behold, here am I, send me,’ he said. ‘I will be thy son.’ But then, as always, he was in opposition to the full plan of the Father, and so he sought to amend and change the terms of salvation; he sought to deny men their agency and to dethrone God. ‘I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor,’ he continued (Moses 4:1-4.). With the rejection of his offer and the choosing of the Beloved Son to be the Redeemer, Satan made open warfare against the Lord. ‘Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; And he became Satan, yea even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.’”], 238-239; GP p. 11, 14, 17-18; ACM p. 129-132; GTTA p. 15; TPJS p. 345-346, 370).

Do not be deceived!

In the book of John, Chapter 17 verse 3 we find the following, powerful scripture: “3. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” It is quite clear from the evidence provided in this newsletter, that there is a major disconnect between Christianity and Mormonism with respect to who God is and Jesus Christ His Son.

Biblically, God is eternal and has no beginning; is singular in His being; is a spirit; is not, nor never has been, a man. Mormonism on the other hand, claims God was once a man; is just one of many Gods; has a body of flesh and bones; is in fact an exalted man himself; is married.

Biblically, Jesus is eternal and has no beginning; is the only begotten of the Father; became man by a miraculous birth; cleansed us from all sin through His Blood; and, is the only Son of God. Mormonism on the other hand claims Jesus is just the first born spirit child of God and all of mankind and the demons are also spirit children of God; that Jesus  and Lucifer are spirit brothers; was sired by God who is an exalted man the same way that all mortal children are sired by their fathers, his blood didn’t atone for all sin; and, Jesus is the son of God just like all men are sons of God.

Biblically, man cannot become a God; spending eternity with God is a gift that cannot be earned; man’s spirit was created by God. Mormonism on the other hand teaches that man may become a God; eternal live is earned; and, every spirit of man was procreated in a pre-earth life by God having celestial marital relations with his wife.

Biblically, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are One God; that God, man, angels, and devils each have a different nature. Mormonism on the other hand, claims that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate Gods, with untold other Gods in the universe; that God, man, angels, and devils are all spirit children of God, but are now assigned to different levels of “eternal progression,” codeword for becoming a “God.”

Abbreviations: ACM = Achieving a Celestial Marriage; AF = Articles of Faith (the book); D&C = Doctrine and Covenants; DS = Doctrines of Salvation; FHEM = Family Home Evening Manual, 1972; GP = Gospel Principles; GTTA = Gospel Through the Ages; JD = Journal of Discourses; MD = Mormon Doctrine; STC = Search These Commandments; TPJS = Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.