Personal Online Journal

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Exaltation or Theosis

I have a good friend investigating the LDS church.  She had a concern about our teachings about becoming like God.  Here are a few thoughts that I am bringing together for her.

Some references in the Bible to becoming like God.

"Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together." (Isa 41:23)

"I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." (Ps 82:6)

Jesus used this very scripture when accused of blasphemy, "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" (John 10:34)

Here are a few resources that I trust to give an accurate representation of LDS beliefs on exaltation.

LDS topic, "Becoming Like God"
"The Divine Potential of Human Beings: The Latter-day Saint Perspective" by Jeff Lindsay
"Mormonism and the nature of God/Deification of man" at

A quote from C.S. Lewis about becoming "gods"
The command “Be ye perfect” is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were “gods” and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creatures, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to Him perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what he said. (Macmillan, 1952, p. 174)
 One of the main objections I have heard to this teaching is that we are elevating ourselves to be like God. In April 1989 our prophet Ezra Taft Benson taught us to "Beware of Pride. This talk has been taught and re-taught many dozens of time since then.  We are taught that to gain our lives, we are to lose them in the service of our God by ministering to our neighbors.

1 comment:

ji said...

"We are taught that to gain our lives, we are to lose them in the service of our God by ministering to our neighbors."

Yes, the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

We won't find our exaltation in the celestial kingdom of our God by focusing on that exaltation and our wonderful and blessed future state. No, we'll find our exaltation by trying to live like Jesus taught us, loving our neighbor and being obedient to our covenants, and our exaltation will be a gift given by a loving God, not an achievement we earned or a payment we deserved.

Not doubtful disputations about exotic topics, but for me, faith, hope, and charity, all centered in Jesus Christ.