Early Church Fathers and Mormonism


#1

I observed that Mormon apologists now defend Mormonism by using early Church Fathers. I was wondering if any apologists here can give a rebuttal to these quotes.

We may become gods…
*
“And we have learned that those only are deified who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue”
(Justin Martyr, ca. 160, First Apology 21, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:170)

“all men are deemed worthy of becoming ‘gods,’ and of having power to become sons of the Highest”
(Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho 124, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:262)

“Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God”
(Theophilus, ca. 180, To Autolycusv 2:27, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:105)

“And again: ‘God stood in the congregation of the gods, He judges among the gods.’ (Psalms 82:1) He (here) refers to the Father and the Son, and those who have received the adoption”
(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 3:6:1, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:419)

“Therefore, as I have already said, He caused man (human nature) to cleave to and to become, one with God. . . . And unless man had been joined to God, he could never have become a partaker of incorruptibility.”
(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 3:18:7, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:448)

“It is not possible to live apart from life, and the means of life is found in fellowship with God; but fellowship with God is to know God, and to enjoy His goodness. Men therefore shall see God, that they may live, being made immortal by that sight, and attaining even unto God”
(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 4:20:5-6, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:489)

“Or how shall man pass into God, unless God has (first) passed into man?”
(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 4:33:4, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:507)

“we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods”
(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 4:38:4, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:522)

“It is then, as appears, the greatest of all lessons to know one’s self. For if one knows himself, he will know God; and knowing God, he will be made like God . . . But that man with whom the Word dwells does not alter himself, does not get himself up: he has the form which is of the Word; he is made like to God; he is beautiful; he does not ornament himself: his is beauty, the true beauty, for it is God; and that man becomes God, since God so wills. Heraclitus, then, rightly said, ‘Men are gods, and gods are men.’”
(Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor 3:1, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:271)

“Whence at last . . . it is that knowledge is committed to those fit and selected for it. It leads us to the endless and perfect end, teaching us beforehand the future life that we shall lead, according to God, and with gods; after we are freed from all punishment and penalty which we undergo, in consequence of our sins, for salutary discipline. After which redemption the reward and the honours are assigned to those who have become perfect; when they have got done with purification, and ceased from all service, though it be holy service, and among saints. Then become pure in heart, and near to the Lord, there awaits them restoration to everlasting contemplation; and they are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Saviour.”
(Clement of Alexandria, ca. 195, Stromata 7:10, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:539)

“it will be impossible that another god should be admitted, when it is permitted to no other being to possess anything of God. Well, then, you say, we ourselves at that rate possess nothing of God. But indeed we do, and shall continue to doonly it is from Him that we receive it, and not from ourselves. For we shall be even gods, if we shall deserve to be among those of whom He declared, ‘I have said, Ye are gods,’ (Psalms 82:6) and, ‘God standeth in the congregation of the gods.’ (Psalms 82:1) But this comes of His own grace, not from any property in us, because it is He alone who can make gods.”
(Tertullian, ca. 200, Against Hermogenes 5, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 3:480)

“And thou shalt be a companion of the Deity, and a co-heir with Christ, no longer enslaved by lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease. For thou hast become God . . . these God has promised to bestow upon thee, because thou hast been deified, and begotten unto immortality.”
(Hippolytus, ca. 225, Refutation of All Heresies 10:30, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 5:153)*


#2

*“I am of opinion that the expression, by which God is said to be ‘all in all,’ means that He is ‘all’ in each individual person. Now He will be ‘all’ in each individual in this way: when all which any rational understanding, cleansed from the dregs of every sort of vice, and with every cloud of wickedness completely swept away, can either feel, or understand, or think, will be wholly God; . . . when God will be the measure and standard of all its movements; and thus God will be ‘all,’ for there will no longer be any distinction of good and evil, seeing evil nowhere exists;”
(Origen, ca. 225, De Principiis 3:6:3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 4:345)

“And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God is the God, as it is written, ‘The God of gods, the Lord, hath spoken and called the earth.’ It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for He drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. The true God, then, is ‘The God,’ and those who are formed after Him are gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype.”
(Origen, Commentary on John 2:2, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 9:323)

“Now it is possible that some may dislike what we have said representing the Father as the one true God, but admitting other beings besides the true God, who have become gods by having a share of God. They may fear that the glory of Him who surpasses all creation may be lowered to the level of those other beings called gods. We drew this distinction between Him and them that we showed God the Word to be to all the other gods the minister of their divinity . . . As, then, there are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords, but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ”
(Origen, Commentary on John 2:3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 9:323)
*

***God has a body


*“We shall inquire, however, whether the thing which Greek philosophers call asomaton, or 'incorporeal, ’ is found in holy Scripture under another name. For it is also to be a subject of investigation how God himself is to be understood, – whether as corporeal, and formed according to some shape, or of a different nature from bodies, – a point which is not clearly indicated in our teaching.”
(Origen, De Principiis 0:9, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 4:241)

“The Jews indeed, but also some of our people, supposed that God should be understood as a man, that is, adorned with human members and human appearance. But the philosophers despise these stories as fabulous and formed in the likeness of poetic fictions.”
(Origen, Homilies on Genesis 3:1, in Fathers of the Church 71:89)*

Lastly, according to recent studies they say, most scholars are starting to agree that in Judaism and early Christianity there were two deities. Margaret Barker is often quoted.

theway.org.uk/back/431Barker.pdf
thinlyveiled.com/barker/tradition.htm


#3

The major issue between Mormonism and Catholicism concerning the doctrine of deification is not so much with the doctrine itself (for both embrace it), but rather, lies in the difference over the doctrine of God.

For recent discussion on deification go here:

defensorveritatis.net/?cat=6

Grace and peace,

David

articulifidei.blogspot.com/


#4

according to recent studies they say, most scholars are starting to agree that in Judaism and early Christianity there were two deities. Margaret Barker is often quoted.

What scholars? Certainly not Catholic or I daresay any Christian scholars. Are you an atheist or a mormon? Furthuremore this should be on another thread, don’t you think?


#5

“And we have learned that those only are deified who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue”
(Justin Martyr, ca. 160, First Apology 21, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:170)

“all men are deemed worthy of becoming ‘gods,’ and of having power to become sons of the Highest”
(Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho 124, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:262)

It should be noted that Justin Martyr, Origen, and Clement of Alexandria were highly influenced by Platonism. All you have do is read the first few chapters of Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho to understand this.

Platonism is antithetical to Mormonism in every way. There is one god of all, source of all ideas, all reason, all creation. Reason (logos) itself was seen as the word of God, emanating from him.

So when Justin talks about being divinized, he is talking about union with the Word of God. The divine reason or logos.

Platonism was instrumental in the conversion of many in the ancient world (Justin, Augustin, Clement of Alexandria etc…), because the Word described in John chapter 1 was seen to correspond to the “Logos” of the Platonists.

This is the problem with Mormons. They do not understand the intellectual and philosophical background of the early church fathers.

God bless,
Ut


#6

Here is a quotation from Justin Martyr’s dialogue with Trypho chapter 11:

“There will be no other God, O Trypho, nor was there from eternity any other existing” (I thus addressed him), "but He who made and disposed all this universe. Nor do we think that there is one God for us, another for you, but that He alone is God who led your fathers out from Egypt with a strong hand and a high arm. Nor have we trusted in any other (for there is no other), but in Him in whom you also have trusted, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob.

From what I know of Mormonism, God the Father, is the God on this world only. He existed as a man on another plannet, then ascended into godhood. This process will be repeated by all Mormon men in good standing. After they die, they will tak possession of their own planets and be a god to the people they populate that world with. Their spirit children.

The quote I provided above directly contradicts this.

God bless,
Ut


#7

I am not an atheist nor a Mormon; and I believe this thread is proper as I needed clarity on this, an apologetics approach.


#8

Thank you.


#9

Deification, theosis in the Greek, is not only a doctrine of Mormonism; it is a doctrine of Catholicism and of Eastern Orthodoxy and of many other churches. The problem is their concept of God and consequently what they understand deification to mean. They believe that God is a man. He was once what we are now and we will become what He is. The Church Fathers on the contrary taught that God always was God, He always was as He is, and He will always be God. What Catholicism says is that since God is spirit(mormons do not agree) then God can exist in His creation. Deification in the Catholic sense is God living within each person with a profound communion between us and God. God fills us with His Grace(Himself) and makes us like(not the same) unto Himself. The Catechism mentions deifying Grace.

1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the *sanctifying *or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:48

And here it mentions that we become gods.

**460 **The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”:“For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”


#10

The big difference is that we do not “assume” a second nature personally–our “divinization” occurs via our “adoption”–our becoming a member of the Body of Christ.

Contrary to Mormon theology, in which God starts out as a human…in some impossible infinite progression…

DJim


#11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.