Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Exaltation and Mere Christianity

July 17th, 2009 by G.

God’s purpose is to make us over in His image and exalt us to godhood. This truth of Mormon Christianity offends creedal Christians. Maybe even outrages them.

I don’t get why.

Deification and exaltation are just developments of mere Christianity. The most outrageous aspects of deification and exaltation are already present in mere Christianity and, indeed, are those elements of mere Christianity which most outraged the Jews and the learned Pagans in antiquity. I’m talking about things like the Incarnation.

Creedal or conciliar Christians say that Mormons slight God’s omnipotence. Curiously, though, it is they who say that He is powerless to exalt mankind.

But, they say, neither can God make a rock so heavy that He cannot lift it. Saying that God cannot do logically impossible things isn’t a real limit on God’s power. And it would be logically impossible to bridge the gulf which exists between us and God.

Oh, really? But in fact the gulf has already been bridged. Jesus is God become a man, remember? Jesus spit. Jesus pissed. Jesus scratched his scabs. Jesus cried. Jesus puked at the smell of His diarrhea. And the man Jesus recrossed that gulf again: “I see the heavens opened and Jesus sitting on the right hand of God.” Incarnation is outrageous; deification is a cavil in comparison.

But God can’t sin, you say? Jesus took on all of our sins, and expunged them. When He washes me clean, I am without sin, and this isn’t mere bookkeeping. I really am without sin. The Atonement is outrageous; exaltation is a blip in comparison.

But why would God want to exalt us, they say? Indeed. Why would God care for a ignorant, backwater tribe in the Middle Eastern deserts? Why would God care about me? Why would God care about the sparrow’s fall?

And perhaps mere Christians should really think about what they think salvation is. At worst, they should think of deification and exaltation the way I think of modalism. Modalism is not technically true, but the real unity of the Godhead is beyond mortal understanding in a way that only modalism can offer; deification and exaltation are the closest the human imagination can come to understanding what God offers us.

Here are some related threads:

Pelagian taint
the God we hold hostage
condescension and exaltation

Comments (13)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: ,
July 17th, 2009 09:52:35
13 comments

Ben Pratt
July 17, 2009

Ooh, Adam, this gave me chills several times.

You’re exactly right: the very idea of Incarnation or Atonement is preposterous and crazy, awesome and stunning, and yet He came and did what His Father willed.


Tom Anderson
July 17, 2009

Awesome post Adam. I have nothing to add.


Marc Bohn
July 17, 2009

Very interesting ruminations Adam.


Jason Echols
July 17, 2009

Am I the only one wondering why I’m forced to comment here rather than at that other place that, you know, first directed me to this diary? It’s a unique set-up you’ve got going on here, AG. What’s up with that?


Adam G.
July 17, 2009

Everything I do, JE, I do it for you.


Agellius
July 17, 2009

I for one am not offended by the idea of God making us gods. Nor am I offended by the Muslim belief that Jesus is not God, nor the Buddhist belief that there is no God. Certainly those beliefs differ from those of the faith which I believe is true (the Catholic faith, for those who don’t know), but I don’t see that as cause for offense.


Vader
July 17, 2009

I appreciate your attitude, Agellius. Honest differences in belief of this kind should not be a cause for bad feelings. I find transubstantiation (for example) at odds with my beliefs, but I can’t call it strange compared with some of my beliefs or with other beliefs we both share, nor does your belief in it prevent me from trying to be a good neighbor to you.


Derek
August 11, 2009

Ex-mormon myself and currently without any affiliation to any religion….man does it feel good. Oh, and to answer your question:
“God’s purpose is to make us over in His image and exalt us to godhood. This truth of Mormon Christianity offends creedal Christians. Maybe even outrages them. I don’t get why.”

You freakin brainwashed loons, if everyone who, in your or Gods eyes, becomes a God then God is no longer special and is just one of many and Mormons have created this sense from this con artist Smith that people become Gods (of course mormons get special treatment I am sure, jeez). So your logic is that there are millions or billions of Gods out there. Nice fantasy, do they meet to discuss topics at their annual God conference in the sky near the big dipper?

How right the world would be without the pressure, ignorance, or prejudice of one’s faith over another. Mormons happen to be outskirts of reasonable thought that’s why mainstream Christians don’t get you. Been there done that and baptized for the dead. I look back and feel so stupid!

Derek


Vader
August 11, 2009

Derek,

I’m sorry you feel such bitterness.

The issue of whether God can be a community of countless persons and still be special is discussed in another post. Look for “Diversity of Perfections.”

That’s assuming you’re really interested in a discussion rather than trolling.


Adam G.
August 11, 2009

Vader,
I thought you physicists were supposed to discard your assumptions in the face of contrary evidence?


Vader
August 11, 2009

I do that with particles. With people, I give the benefit of the doubt longer than is entirely rational.

Then I do the force choke thing.


Derek
August 13, 2009

Gah! Aack, aack, aack, aa . . . [drops to the floor, dead]


Vader
August 13, 2009

Apology accepted, Troll Derek.

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