Answering Mormon Objections

#69

That’s already been discussed. It means that God came to make us partakers in the Divine nature, to open the way for us to be with Him in heaven.

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#70

How much of the Divine Nature do Catholics believe man can partake of in the next life? Will such a partaker be able to raise the dead and create a world, for example?

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#71

Nope. We don’t become gods independent of God. We partake in the Divine nature being unified with His will and having eternal life, but we aren’t gods by nature.

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#72

The first part has already been explained on this thread and the previous 15 times Mormons have brought it up in CAF.

Christianity believes in the trinity; one God and three persons. One of the persons, the son, became man.

Christianity has never taught that God was a man, and therefore man can become God as Mormonism teaches.

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#73

OK. I would then say the significant part is “set themselves up.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that its leaders are called by God and do not “set themselves up.” This calling is further removed from the individual “discernment” process that other churches use in that those already called of God ask God who should be called. No LDS leader after Joseph Smith COULD be accused of “setting themselves up,” because they were chosen by God through others already chosen by God.

Concerning Joseph Smith, I already offered my thoughts on this:

Joseph Smith had a large group of followers who believed he was a prophet of God. He rejoiced when the 3 witnesses and the 8 witnesses were called to share in his burden. He also taught regularly after this that revelation was to be received by EVERY member of the church not just by leaders. His actions are not the actions of someone who seeks gain and adulation. Over and over again he spread the responsibility for the restoration to others and deemphasized his uniqueness.

There are important aspects of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that were only experienced by Joseph Smith or a small group of individuals (such as the 3 witnesses or the 8 witnesses or a handful of other groups who attest to miraculous foundational events). With the exception of Joseph Smith, all these groups were called by God through other people and they all stand as witnesses to the divine origins of Joseph’s original call.

The events experienced by Joseph Smith and these foundational groups are directly analogous to events like the appearance of Christ in the upper room, the encounter of God with Moses, and other Biblical occurrences that necessarily happened to single individuals or small groups. The CoJCoLDS is set apart from the other communities that recognize events like these by the teaching that the WITNESS is to be had by ALL and by the fact that continued leadership is chosen by God through current leadership.

If you desire to avoid Priestcraft, where can you worship other than by yourself with your Bible or Koran or … that has less than the CoJCoLDS?

Charity, TOm

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#74

[quote="Stephen168, post:65, topic:518299, full:true"]

This was the quote I was hoping to respond to, but had lost from our previous conversations!!! Thanks.

The Greek "πιο κοντά" as used here means closer, near, more intimate with God. It is associated with the relationship we possess when God raises us to immortality. Alternatively, it could be associated with the location we inhabit relative to God, but that is unlikely. It does not mean “less than” because we only approximate becoming what God is. Irenaeus believes that being eternal (God) and being created (us) is a difference and it has consequences. But Irenaeus’s point is that God overcomes these consequences to make us gods AND when we are immortal we are close (like a father and a son, like friends, like spouses) to Him. Irenaeus in the next section continues to explain that he is talking about the “created” aspect of man vs. the eternal aspect of God and how God overcomes this. We should not condemn God because he made us first as man and later gods.

I disagree with Irenaeus concerning the ex nihilo nature of creation, but he like those before the 4th century does not limit the final state of deified mankind. He unlike modern Catholics (for example @ lilypadrees ) boldly declares that mankind will become gods.

There are things not in the ECF that as a LDS I believe, but the restoration of “public revelation” as the tool God uses to lead His Church anticipated and predicted this. What was unknown by Joseph Smith and early LDS was how much of our beliefs that are criticized as uniquely LDS or unbiblical would be found in the writings of the ECF.

After Tertullian embraced “the new revelation” the authority that became the Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox) Churches claimed that “public revelation” ended. The ONLY thing the authority did/would do was preserve the faith. This is why CHANGE in the Catholic tradition (like what I documented above in Augustine that everybody seems to have skipped over) is so problematic.

I can respond in more detail if it is important to you (and not just a shotgun blast), but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not claim to be infallible and irreformable. We do claim to receive “public revelation” from God to directly guide us. We are a restoration of the ancient Church, but we didn’t expect to find ALL of our beliefs in the ECF. Catholicism is on a very different footing and the ECF are not Catholics.
Charity, TOm

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#75

How convenient that you ignored the analysis of how “make us gods” doesn’t really mean gods in the CoJCoLDS sense.

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#76

Exactly. The Mormon belief relies on the rejection of God as the uncreated creator (creation ex nihilo) and man as his creation; as held by the ECF.

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#77

While Mormons claim their unique beliefs were held by the early church fathers, they can never prove it because they are not there. I’m sure the claims will be repeated as it has before without proof.

Hegesippus warned us about Joseph Smith.

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#78

Nor were the ECF Mormons.

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#79

I started by recommending a Catholic book Deification and Grace by Keating. He would not agree with the Catholic Answers documents because there is simply too much to the belief in deification to reject the "make us gods" label as is done so frequently.

I stand by the statement:

** Before the fourth century there is not a single ECF who limited the final state of deified man. There are many ECF who boldly say that mankind will be made gods. There are many ECF who claim that Christ became what we are so that we might become what He is. But, when they make the BOLD claims unlike the fourth century and later writers they do not claim that the final state of men who become gods is limited.**

You will need to spell out the analysis that I ignore better. I suspect I either disagree with what you claim MUST be part of the LDS "make us gods" truth AND/OR I disagree with what is claimed the ECF taught.

The only thing I can think you are referring to is here in this post of yours:

The “mistranslation” argument ignores the bulk of the statements and context and … in the ECF so that Tim Staples may quibbling over the use of a capital “G” or a lower case “G.” I am sure I have responded to this before (and thought I had here, but alas no). Tim Staples is wrong about what the ECF taught. In addition to this, when I say that “mankind can be made gods” I always use the lower case “g” and I always save the upper case “G” for God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and/or God the Trinity. As Ostler has carefully explained (and backed up by the teachings of Joseph Smith), God is always above those who are made gods. Those who are made gods are in communion with God. So I am unaware of anything I have missed.

What Tim Staples and you miss and what most Catholics who reflexively reject the idea that mankind can become gods is that the early ECF do not support the limited deification embraced by the modern Catholic Church. Daniel Keating is better, but even his assessment relies upon a belief that many ECF are somehow so interested in “turning a phrase” that the miscommunicate their true feelings. I think the exchange formula is real and the words mean what they mean. If Christ became what we are then we are to become what He is. Modern Catholics seem to be unable to acknowledge this without substantial qualifications. I can elaborate upon Keating’s words if it is important to you. It is quite remarkable what he does. That being said, his presentation is MUCH better than Tim Staple’s.

Charity, TOm

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#80

You’ve never provided any evidence that the church fathers believed in deification by nature, only said they do. Where is that evidence?

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#81

We agree it would seem. I said the ECF were not Catholic and you said "Nor were the ECF Mormons."

I agree that the ECF were neither Catholic nor Mormons!!!

That being said, they boldly declared that men can become gods.

They did not embrace the concept of original sin Augustine INVENTED and for which he is condemned by many Eastern and Western scholars.

They also do not evidence that they believe God the Father was ever someone who walked as a man (like God the Son did), which I a belief I have that most LDS have.

But, the CHANGE in Catholic theology without revelation evident in the history and theology books is a much larger problem for a church that claims to descend from the ECF and NOT possess the ability to receive "public revelation" than it is for a church that claims to be restored by God and to receive "public revelation" to inform our theology.

I point to the ECF because it is REMARKABLE how much of criticized supposedly “unique” LDS theology is present in the ECF. Joseph Smith and the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints didn’t have access to the ECF. The absence of the ECF texts lead the Catholic Church to so deemphasize the idea that men can become gods that you and my late mother balk when you hear the words of CCC460. And in this same absence, the CoJCoLDS boldly declared this.

Charity, TOm

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#82

I maintain that this is quite solid.
“Did Christ partake of our nature?” The Catholic must say yes. Christ is homoousian with mankind.
Are we to partake of the divine nature? The Catholic must say yes. 2 Peter tells us this.

The ECF before the 4th century said that Christ partook of our nature so that we could partake of the divine nature. They didn’t equivocate or run from what is called the “exchange formula.”

Will you?
Did Christ partially partake of our nature and thus we partially partake of His nature?
Did Christ fully partake of our nature and thus we fully partake of His nature?

The Catholic cannot resolve the above well!!!

The LDS looks at this differently, but I embrace what the ECF before the 4th century say about the final state of deified mankind, the Catholic rejects this.
Charity, TOm

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#83

Yes! Christ became man in all but sin. As such, we will become of God’s nature through grace.

Nope. Christ did not become man in as far as He was compelled to sin.

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#84

Christians believe in Theosis. This means we becomes one with God through his grace. We do not shed our natures and become absorbed into God as pantheism would describe it, rather God works in our nature whereby our energies might be united to his energies flowing from him allowing us to partake or participate in his divine nature. But this is not, nor does it imply, that we are transformed (or rather, “transubstantiated”) into it. St. Paul talks about this in Colossians:

We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy (ἐνέργειαν) Christ so powerfully works (ἐνεργουμένην) in me.
Colossians 1:28-29

Do you as a Mormon believe that our natures become “transubstantiated” into Elohim’s nature, so that we actually become the same being as he does? Of course you don’t, and I think you’re intentionally overstating your doctrine here about what it means to be partakers in the divine nature because of your beliefs about it, which though very different from Christians beliefs, are not what you’re implying them to be.

For Mormons, partaking of the divine nature allows us to become deities equal God the Father (who is just an exalted man in Mormonism) and by becoming deities we can rule over our own worlds and produce our own children to worship us. This doctrine is in direct contrast to Christian teachings as Christianity is a monotheistic religion, whereas Mormonism is a polytheistic religion.

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#85

It would seem that you think Christ only partially partook of our nature and did not fully partake/participate in our nature. And thus when you see the exchange formula in the early church you believe that the ECF are consistent in that Christ partially partook/participated in our nature and we also partially partake/participate in His nature. I think that makes the ECF MUCH more consistent than Catholic scholar Daniel Keating makes them out to be, but I think there are non-Catholic aspects of your thought here.

First, did Christ become homoousian / consubstantial with mankind?

It would seem you would say no.

Second, what of the human nature before the fall? Is this not our TRUE nature? Is this not what is restored to us? Are you saying that our sin will FOREVER mare us and is not completely?

I really do not know what your position is here. The idea that human “ousia” is with_sin and divine “ousia” is without_sin does not align with my understanding of Catholic thought. I think MODERN Catholics believe that Adam and Eve without_sin had a perfected human “ousia” and that Christ fully and completely partakes/participates in this human “ousia.” This I think is the Catholic teaching.

Charity, TOm

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#86

We will be perfected in heaven, restored to our pre-fall nature (I believe that’s the teaching) but Adam and Eve weren’t gods before the fall.

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#87

Tom has already pointed out two beliefs (creation ex nihilo and original sin) held by the Catholic Church and the Early Church Fathers, but rejected by Mormonism. Tom has not been able to point out any unique Mormon beliefs held by the ECFs. The Early Church Fathers were Catholic and never Mormon.

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#88

Two points in response…

  1. I don’t intentionally overstate Latter-day Saint doctrine, nor any other.

  2. Latter-day Saint (or Mormon as you say) teaching is Christian teaching since Latter-day Saints are Christians. Perhaps a better way to make the point I think you wish to make is to perhaps contrast Latter-day Saint teaching as non-Trinitarian Christian or non-Orthodox Christian. Though not Trinitarian Christians, we are Christians through and through.

Take care and God bless!!

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