Is the God of Mormonism the God of the Bible? Is the Christ of Mormonism the Christ of the Bible? Ephesians 4:15 "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" and I will endeavor, as God enables, to do just that. God loves Mormons and non-Mormons and Christ died for both. He is looking for honest, searching hearts wherever He may find them.
The very heart of any position claiming to be Christian is what it teaches about God and about Jesus Christ. If one has a wrong view about God, then it is easy for wrong doctrine to flow from this fatal flaw.
Let us then kindly and objectively see what Mormonism teaches about God and what the Bible teaches about God. Is the God of Mormonism the God of the Bible?
The heart, the very quintessence of Mormon doctrine, the embryo from which Mormonism was spawned, the sustenance which nourishes it, and the goal for which earnest Mormons strive is their belief in God.
"We believe in a God who is Himself progressive whose majesty is intelligence; whose perfection crosses in eternal advancement - a Being who has attained His exalted state by a path which now His children are permitted to follow, whose glory it is their heritage to share. In spite of the opposition of the sects, in face of direct charges of blasphemy, the Church proclaims the eteranl truth, 'As man is, God once was: as God is, man may be". (1)
Here, in the Articles of Faith , one of Mormonisms most treasured books, we have the hub of their teaching: What is it? God was once a man and He earned or attained or progressed His way to being God. Man, in turn, may also earn, attain or progress his way into being a God. This is one of the fundamental reasons for the good works Mormons do, for their church and temple work.
Lest someone still thinks this is not what Mormonism teaches, let me again quote - from their own sources - none other than prophet Joseph Smith: "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!.. I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see." (2)
From still another Mormon source: "Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth that God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through a school of earth life's similar to that through which we are now passing. Remember that God our Heavenly Father was perhaps once a child, and mortal like we are and rose step by step in the scale of progress in the school of advancement." (3)
Do we now understand clearly what Mormonism teaches about God and about man? Prophet Smith and his followers teach that God was not always God, and that He had to earn, progress, work, attain His way to being God. He was once a man just like us before He ever became God. We too may work, progress, earn and attain our way to being a god. "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be."
The Bible is the original revelation about God, preceding the Book of Mormon by many long centuries. In any conflict of views the Bible must have precedence over the Book of Mormon as well as any other of the sacred books or teachings of Mormonism.
Now let's compare the God of the Bible with the God of Mormonism. First of all, there has never been, there is not now, and there never will be any but the one true and only God.
God's Word declares in 1 Corinthians 8:5,6 "For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." In this verse the apostle Paul is referring to pagan pantheism, which included many gods and idols. He declares emphatically that there is only one God, the God known to us true believers in Christ."
Even more devastating to Mormonism, however, is the word of God in Isaiah 43:10 "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."
Look carefully also, at Isaiah 46:9 "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,"
Now it is clear that God declares that He is the one and only true God, in this universe or any other. There is no other God. This is the very same God in Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
God made all possible worlds, universes, planets, stars and He is the one and only Goid of them all. There are no other Gods in existence anywhere. He alone is the one and only true God. There was no God before Him. there is no other God now, and there never will be any other God. He is the first and the last.
One of the primary names of God, Jehovah, means in essence, self-existent one; one who has life originally, permanently, and forever, within Himself.
God, then, was never a man, never mortal, but was always God. He is not now an "exalted man," as Mormonism claims. God explicitly declares, "For I am God, and not man." (Hosea 11:9)
Because God plainly declared in Isaiah 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." Therefore the Mormon creed, their main thrust, "As man is, God once was, as God is, man may be," is totally untrue according to the Bible. It is not of God. "Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me"
God did not attain His way to being God and He was never a man. He always was God. Psalm 90:2 says "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God."
Now we all know that everlasting means without end, enduring forever. Then what does "from everlasting," mean? Exactly the same, applied to the past. God was God from everlasting past, just as He alone is God now, and just as He alone will be God in the everlasting non-ending future!
This is utterly contrary to the Mormon teaching that "as man is, God once was; as God is, man may be. "We cannot have it both ways. Either we believe this or we believe the Bible.
Mormonism says God was once man. God's Word says God was always God, never man, from everlasting eternity past. Mormonism says God had a beginning. God's Word says He did not.
Mormonism says there are many Gods and will be more. God's Word says there never has been, is not now and never will be any other God.
Mormonism says man can become a god. God's Word says there will never be any other God. Christianity, biblically and historically, has always been polytheistic, believing in more than one God. Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament, nor Jesus, nor His disciples, nor early Christians, as proven from church history, ever taught that there was more than one God. [Polytheism is one in three persons]
Thus far in this chapter, we have contrasted the God of Mormonism with the God of the Bible. We have discovered that the God of the Mormons and God of the Bible seem to have little in common. To be sure, Mormons refer to God in some biblical terms which cloak the glaring and fatal differences from the unwary, but when they call their God "eternal" they have a totally different meaning than the Bible does. When Mormon writings give glowing accounts of "the eternal God, mighty Creator, everlasting Father," and so on, these wonderful words do not mean what they seem to say. They have no true relation to the one true God of the Bible, whose very name as revealed to Moses is "I AM." underlying the fact that God always was, is now, and forever shall be the one and only God!
In the second part of this discussion on the fatal flaw we ask another question: Is the Christ of Mormonism the Christ of the Bible?
As the Mormons have done with God, so have they done with Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is God the Son. God came down to earth in human flesh to shed His blood for our sins and conquer death for us by His bodily rsurrection.
The Mormons teach that Jesus Christ is a God named Jehovah, another God, different from God the Father whose name is Elohim. The Bible uses these names interchageably as applied to the one true God and Jesus Christ, as indicated in Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD [Jehovah] our God [Elohim] is one LORD [Jehovah]:"
However, the Mormons' teaching concerning Jesus Christ is that "Christ the Word, the Firstborn, had of course attained unto the status of Godhood while yet in pre-existence." (4)
Contrary to Mormon teaching, Christ always was is now and forever shall be, God. He did not attain to being God for there was never a time when He was not God.
Of course, Christ had a human beginning insofar as becoming a man through the virgin birth. However, consider Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Here God's Word calls Jesus Christ "God, The everlasting Father." (See also Jeremiah 32:18)
That's right, Jesus Christ is that one, true and eternal God, manifested in the flesh (see John 1:1, Tim. 3:16). Christ is called God numerous times: "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28); "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (Heb. 1:8). Since God declared in Isaiah 43:10 (and in numerous other places) that He is the one and only God, and that there will never be another, Jesus Christ, then there is either a false god and no god at all, or He is that one true God revealed in the flesh as the Son of God.
Another prophecy concerning Jesus Christ the God man, Micah 5:2 "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." This "from everlasting" definitely means from all eternity past, without any beginning, as we have already discovered.
John 1:1 states "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." In John 1:14 we see that " the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." making Christ and the Word synonymous. John 1:1 teaches us that Christ was the Word and He was with God and that He was (not became) God. Again, here in the first verse of John's Gospel, we see that God was God from the beginning (which here has the sense of meaning "from all time.") and so Jesus Christ was God from the beginning, from all time!
Jesus Christ accepted worship as God on many occasions because He was God. For example: Matthew 28:9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him."
Now God has absolutely forbidden the worship of any other god, in biblical passages such as Exodus 34:14 "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:" The fact that Jesus permitted, encouraged and accepted worship identified Him as God, and there is only one God who has been and will be God, "from everlasting to everlasting."
Not only is the God of Mormonism not the God of the Bible, but we also have to affirm that the Christ of Mormonism is not the Christ of the Bible. The Mormon's teaching about God and Jesus Christ lead us to still more error in the doctrine - the doctrine of salvation.
The Mormon belief that "as man is, God once was: as God is, man may be" lends itself to unsaved man's deception that he can somehow earn his salvation, or help earn it. This belief fosters the idea that man can become one of God's sheep by ignoring his sin nature and acting like a sheep, which is as futile as a pig acting like sheep in order to become a sheep.
We need to have our nature changed by the new birth, and thus receive a new nature: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). No church, baptism or great amount of good works can change our nature or pay for past sins. We must turn to Jesus alone for salvation, knowing that His shed blood will cleanse us from all sin. Simultaneously, as we call believingly on Him, He will enter our life to change our nature from within. This makes us true children of God. "Nothing in our hands we bring, simply to His Cross we cling."
Salvation is ours through the grace of God: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
The grace of God of which Mormons sometimes write is far removed from the grace of God of which the Bible speaks. The Mormon concept of grace consists in part of doing church, temple and religious good works and so making oneself worthy of the grace of God. Biblical grace is extended freely to the totally undeserving, as in the case of the thief on the cross (see Luke 23:39-43). As we call on Christ, undeservingly but believingly, He responds with instant salvation. Then as He enters our lives and makes us children of God, our lives are changed by Christ from within. We receive a new nature, new desires, new love and new power. Behold the mad murderer, Saul. who became the magnificant missionary, Paul, after one vital encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus.
One of the most puzzling things for Christians to understand and accept is that Mormon friends will use the same terminology but mean something entirely different.
So many Christians, tragically, never look behind the words of sincere Mormon friends who declare to them that they have accepted Christ as their Saviour, and love Him. Of course, they may add, they have a little more light., truth, or a higher salvation, since they are Mormons and in the Mormon church!
Mormons use the same "Christ," but in using the word they are thinking of someone or something entirely different, unless they don't know Mormon doctrine. In that case he is not a Mormon at all, except in name. If he truly accepts the Christ of the Bible, he will soon thirst for an oasis of true Christians, and will leave the Mormon church.
In any event, if you have a Mormon friend, love him and be patient with him as you would want him to be with you and as Christ is with you . However, probe gently but carefully into his testimony until you discover which Christ he is trusting, and whether or not he believes there is more than one God.
A true Mormon must believe Mormon scriptures such as Joseph Smith's Pearl of Great Price: "And the Gods ordered, saying: Let the water under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered; And the Gods pronounced the dry land, earth; and the gathering together of the waters, pronounced they, great waters; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed." (Avbraham 4:9,10).
To believe that other gods even exist is polytheistic paganism, not Christianity. It is a denial of the Word of God. We really must choose, as must our Mormon friends, to believe either the biblical God or Mormonism's gods. They are mutually exclusive.
The intensely religious but lost, Pharisees made a fatal error. They worshiped God under His correct name, did many good works for Him, belonged to the worship system God had established, prayed much, gave much, prospered much, were extremely religious, and had priests in their church. The Pharisees appeared as angel's themselves to be right, to be in one true "church" serving God, but they were tragically wrong. They never truly accepted Jesus Christ as God and remained forever lost, with the exception of a few who trusted Jesus.
In Matthew 24:23-24, our Lord spoke the awesome words: "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Facts alone can never open eyes. However the Holy Spirit does use facts, and this is written in the love of Christ that he may, through these facts, open many eyes to deliverance and salvation.