Jesus Christ/Relationships

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The relationship of Jesus Christ to His Father and to humanity

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Question: Do Latter-day Saints ("Mormons") consider Jesus to be the brother of Satan?

We believe Jesus is the divine Son of God and that Satan is a fallen angel, but that God is the Father of all

Some Christians claim that since Latter-day Saints consider Jesus and Satan to be "brothers" in the sense that they have the same Father, that this lowers the stature of Christ, or elevates that of Satan. Some go so far as to imply that the LDS "really" worship or revere Satan, and are thus not true "Christians."

Jesus, Satan, and all humanity share God the Father as their spiritual sire. However, moral agency led Jesus to obey God the Father perfectly and share fully in the Father's divine nature and power. The same agency led Satan to renounce God, fight Jesus, and doom himself to eternal damnation. The remainder of God's children—all of us—have the choice to follow the route chosen by Satan, or the path to which Christ invites us and shows the way.

Divine parenthood gives all children of God potential; Christ maximized that potential, and Satan squandered it.

To choose the gospel of Jesus Christ and the grace that attends it will lead us home again. If we choose to follow Satan's example, and refuse to accept the gift of God's Only Begotten Son, our spiritual parentage cannot help us, just as it cannot help dignify or ennoble Satan.

In December 2007 the Church issued the following press release on this issue:

Like other Christians, we believe Jesus is the divine Son of God. Satan is a fallen angel.
As the Apostle Paul wrote, God is the Father of all. That means that all beings were created by God and are His spirit children. Christ, however, was the only begotten in the flesh, and we worship Him as the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. [1]

Latter-day Saints do not believe the extra-biblical doctrines which surround many Christians' ideas about God, such as expressed by the Nicene Creed

LDS doctrine does not subscribe to traditional creedal trinitarianism. That is, the LDS do not believe the extra-biblical doctrines which surround many Christians' ideas about God, such as expressed by the Nicene Creed. Specifically, the LDS do not accept the proposition that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are "of one substance (homoousios) with the Father," as the Nicene Creed declares.

Rather, LDS doctrine teaches that God the Father is physically and personally distinct from Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son. The Father is understood to be the literal father of His spirit children.

LDS believe that Jesus Christ's role is central to our Heavenly Father's plan. Christ is unique in several respects from all other spirit children of God:

It is technically true to say that Jesus and Satan are "brothers," in the sense that both have the same spiritual parent, God the Father

God the Father also had many other spirit children, created in His image and that of His Only Begotten. These children include all humans born on the earth. Some of God's children rebelled against Him, and contested the choice of Jesus as Savior. (See D&C 76:25–27). The leader of these children was Lucifer, or Satan. Those spirit children of God who followed Satan in his rebellion against Christ are sometimes referred to as "demons," or "devils." (See Moses 4:1–4, Abraham 3:24–28).

Thus, it is technically true to say that Jesus and Satan are "brothers," in the sense that both have the same spiritual parent, God the Father.

Cain and Abel were also brothers, and yet no Bible reader believes that they are spiritual equals or equally admirable

However, critics do not provide the context for the idea that Christ and Lucifer were brothers. Cain and Abel were also brothers, and yet no Bible reader believes that they are spiritual equals or equally admirable. In a similar way, Latter-day Saints do not believe that Jesus and Satan are equals. The scriptures clearly teach the superiority of Jesus over the devil and that Michael (or Adam) and Lucifer (Satan) and their followers fought against each other (See Revelation 12:7-8) to uphold the plan of the Father and the Son.

Finally, while it is true that all mortals share a spiritual parent with Jesus (and Satan, and every other spiritual child of God), we now have a different, more important relationship with Jesus. All of God's children, save Jesus, have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). In sinning, they abandon and betray their divine heritage and inheritance. Only through Jesus can any mortal return home to God the Father. This return becomes possible when a sinner is born again, and adopted by Christ, who becomes the spiritual father to those whom He redeems. (See Romans 8:14–39.)

Critics also ignore the Biblical references that imply that Satan is one of the "sons of God." (See Job:16, Job 2:1)

Cautionary Note to Members

An Anti-Mormon poster at the 2004 Mesa Easter Pageant betrays its poor understanding of what "Mormonism" actually teaches.

Elder M. Russell Ballard cautioned members of the Church:

We occasionally hear some members refer to Jesus as our Elder Brother, which is a true concept based on our understanding of the premortal life with our Father in Heaven. But like many points of gospel doctrine, that simple truth doesn't go far enough in terms of describing the Savior's role in our present lives and His great position as a member of the Godhead. Thus, some non-LDS Christians are uncomfortable with what they perceive as a secondary role for Christ in our theology. They feel that we view Jesus as a spiritual peer. They believe that we view Christ as an implementor for God, if you will, but that we don't view Him as God to us and to all mankind, which, of course, is counter to biblical testimony about Christ's divinity…
Now we can understand why some Latter-day Saints have tended to focus on Christ's Sonship as opposed to His Godhood. As members of earthly families, we can relate to Him as a child, as a Son, and as a Brother because we know how that feels. We can personalize that relationship because we ourselves are children, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. For some it may be more difficult to relate to Him as a God. And so in an attempt to draw closer to Christ and to cultivate warm and personal feelings toward Him, some tend to humanize Him, sometimes at the expense of acknowledging His Divinity. So let us be very clear on this point: it is true that Jesus was our Elder Brother in the premortal life, but we believe that in this life it is crucial that we become "born again" as His sons and daughters in the gospel covenant. [2]

Early Christian Evidence

An anti-Mormon protester at October 2002 LDS General Conference does little to help others understand LDS doctrine properly.

The early Ante-Nicene Church father Lactantius wrote:

Since God was possessed of the greatest foresight for planning, and of the greatest skill for carrying out in action, before He commenced this business of the world,--inasmuch as there was in Him, and always is, the fountain of full and most complete goodness,--in order that goodness might spring as a stream from Him, and might flow forth afar, He produced a Spirit like to Himself, who might be endowed with the perfections of God the Father... Then He made another being, in whom the disposition of the divine origin did not remain. Therefore he was infected with his own envy as with poison, and passed from good to evil; and at his own will, which had been given to him by God unfettered, he acquired for himself a contrary name. From which it appears that the source of all evils is envy. For he envied his predecessor, who through his steadfastness is acceptable and dear to God the Father. This being, who from good became evil by his own act, is called by the Greeks diabolus: we call him accuser, because he reports to God the faults to which he himself entices us. God, therefore, when He began the fabric of the world, set over the whole work that first and greatest Son, and used Him at the same time as a counselor and artificer, in planning, arranging, and accomplishing, since He is complete both in knowledge, and judgment, and power... [3]

Many things he here taught are not considered "orthodox" by today's standards. However, Lactantius was definitely orthodox during his lifetime. Amazingly, many things here correspond to LDS doctrine precisely in those areas that are "unorthodox." For example,

1. "He produced a Spirit like to Himself," namely Christ. Christ, in this sense, is not the "co-equal," "eternally begotten," "same substance" "persona" of the later creeds.
2. "Then he made another being, in whom the disposition of the divine origin did not remain." God made another spirit who rebelled and who fell from his exalted status. He is the diabolus.
3. Christ is the "first and greatest Son." Not the "only" son.
4. Lastly, since the diabolus and Christ are both spirit sons of God, they are spirit brothers.

Non-LDS Christian Stephen H. Webb: The "sameness of Jesus" and humanity

Non-LDS Christian Stephen H. Webb wrote:[4]

Mormonism can be a controversial topic for many non-Mormon Christians, but I have come to the conclusion that no theology has ever managed to capture the essential sameness of Jesus with us in a more striking manner. [5]:83

Question: Do Mormons believe that Mary was still a virgin when Jesus was born?

Latter-day Saints believe in the virgin birth

It is claimed that Latter-day Saints believe Jesus was conceived through sexual intercourse between God the Father and Mary, and that Mary therefore was not a virgin when Jesus was born. It is also claimed that Latter-day Saints reject the "Evangelical belief" that "Christ was born of the virgin Mary, who, when the Holy Ghost came upon her, miraculously conceived the promised messiah."

Often used as evidence are a handful statements from early LDS leaders, such as Brigham Young, that directly or indirectly support this idea. However, such statements do not represent the official doctrine of the Church. The key, official doctrine of the Church is that Jesus is literally the son of God (i.e., this is not a symbolic or figurative expression), and Mary was a virgin before and after Christ's conception.

At the annunciation, Mary questioned the angel about how she could bear a child: "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" (Luke 1:34; the expression "know" in the Greek text is a euphemism for sexual relations). Nephi likewise described Mary as a virgin (1 Nephi 11:13-20), as did Alma1 (Alma 7:10).

Latter-day Saints believe Jesus was the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh

Latter-day Saints do believe that Jesus Christ was literally the Son of God, not the son of Joseph or even the son of the Holy Ghost. (see 2 Ne 25:12 and DC 93:11) As Ezra Taft Benson stated,

[T]he testimonies of appointed witnesses leave no question as to the paternity of Jesus Christ. God was the Father of His fleshly tabernacle, and Mary, a mortal woman, was His mother. He is therefore the only person born who rightfully deserves the title “the Only Begotten Son of God.”[6]

What the Church has not taken a position on is how the conception took place, despite speculations by various early Church leaders

The canonized scriptures are silent on how the conception took place—even Nephi's detailed vision of then-future Messiah is veiled during the part where Mary conceives (1 Nephi 11:19).

Some early leaders of the Church felt free to express their beliefs on the literal nature of God's Fatherhood of Jesus' physical body

For example, Brigham Young said the following in a discourse given 8 July 1860:

"...[T]here is no act, no principle, no power belonging to the Deity that is not purely philosophical. The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood—was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." [7]

Jesus shared God's genetic inheritance without necessarily requiring a sexual act to combine that inheritance with Mary's mortal contribution

But are these types of statements official Church doctrine, required for all believing Latter-day Saints to accept? No—they were never submitted to the Church for ratification or canonization. (See General authorities' statements as scripture.)

Critics have noted that this statement, and others like it, can be read to indicate there was sexual intercourse involved in the conception of Jesus. Regardless of this speculation--which goes beyond the textual data--Brigham Young's view may be seen by some contemporary Latter-day Saints as correct in that Jesus was literally physically the Son of God, just as much as any children are "of our fathers." Modern science has discovered alternative methods of conceiving children--e.g., in vitro "test tube" babies--that don't involve sexual intercourse. Thus, though processes such as artificial insemination were unknown to Brigham and thus likely not referenced by his statements, it does not necessarily follow from a modern perspective that the conception had to come about as the result of a literal sexual union. It is certainly not outside of God's power to conceive Christ by other means, while remaining his literal father. (Put another way, Jesus shared God's genetic inheritance, if you will, without necessarily requiring a sexual act to combine that inheritance with Mary's mortal contribution).

Ezra Taft Benson taught:

He was the Only Begotten Son of our Heavenly Father in the flesh—the only child whose mortal body was begotten by our Heavenly Father. His mortal mother, Mary, was called a virgin, both before and after she gave birth. (See 1 Nephi 11:20.) [8]

Benson's emphasis is on both the literalness of Jesus' divine birth, and the fact that Mary's virginal status persisted even immediately after conceiving and bearing Jesus.

Church leaders' statements on the literal paternity of Christ were often a reaction to various ideas which are false

  • they disagreed with the tendency of conventional Christianity to deny the corporeality of God. They thus insisted that God the Father had a "natural," physical form. There was no need, in LDS theology, for a non-physical, wholly spirit God to resort to a mysterious process to conceive a Son.
  • they disagreed with efforts to "allegorize" or "spiritualize" the virgin birth; they wished it understood that Christ is the literal Son of God in a physical, "natural" sense of sharing both human and divine traits in His makeup. This can be seen to be a reaction against more "liberal" strains in Christianity that saw Jesus as the literal son of Mary and Joseph, but someone endowed with God's power at some point in His life.
  • they did not accept that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were of one "essence," but rather believed that they are distinct Personages. Thus, it is key to LDS theology that Jesus is the Son of the Father, not the Holy Ghost. To a creedal, trinitarian Christian, this might be a distinction without a difference; for an LDS Christian it is crucial.

Bruce R. McConkie said this about the birth of Christ:

God the Father is a perfected, glorified, holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says. [9]

In the same volume, Elder McConkie explained his reason for his emphasis:

"Our Lord is the only mortal person ever born to a virgin, because he is the only person who ever had an immortal Father. Mary, his mother, "was carried away in the Spirit" (1 Ne. 11:13-21), was "overshadowed" by the Holy Ghost, and the conception which took place "by the power of the Holy Ghost" resulted in the bringing forth of the literal and personal Son of God the Father. (Alma 7:10; 2 Ne. 17:14; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38.) Christ is not the Son of the Holy Ghost, but of the Father. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 18-20.) Modernistic teachings denying the virgin birth are utterly and completely apostate and false. [10]

Note that McConkie emphasized the literal nature of Christ's divinity, his direct descent from the Father, and the fact that the Holy Ghost was a tool, but not the source of Jesus' divine Parenthood.

Harold B. Lee was clear that the method of Jesus' conception had not been revealed, and discouraged speculation on the matter

Harold B. Lee said,

We are very much concerned that some of our Church teachers seem to be obsessed of the idea of teaching doctrine which cannot be substantiated and making comments beyond what the Lord has actually said.

You asked about the birth of the Savior. Never have I talked about sexual intercourse between Deity and the mother of the Savior. If teachers were wise in speaking of this matter about which the Lord has said but very little, they would rest their discussion on this subject with merely the words which are recorded on this subject in Luke 1:34-35: "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

Remember that the being who was brought about by [Mary's] conception was a divine personage. We need not question His method to accomplish His purposes. Perhaps we would do well to remember the words of Isaiah 55:8-9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Let the Lord rest His case with this declaration and wait until He sees fit to tell us more. [11]

Question: What scriptures explain the Mormon view of Jesus' divine Sonship?

Although the Bible contains numerous examples of the separate nature of the Father and the Son, there are only a few instances where all three members of the Godhead are described as separate and distinct

How do members of the Church understand the divine Sonship of Jesus Christ, and the relationship between the Father and Son, since there is only "one God"?

Although the Bible contains numerous examples of the separate nature of the Father and the Son, there are only a few instances where all three members of the Godhead are described as separate and distinct.[12] The best example is the baptism of Jesus Christ (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-32). In all but John's account all three members of the Godhead are identified: the Father bearing witness "from heaven" (Matt. 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22), the Son "coming up out of the water" (Mark 1:10), and the "Holy Ghost descending in a bodily shape like a dove" (Luke 3:22). All three members of the Godhead are clearly separate entities who, in this instance, are physically separated also.

John provides another scriptural witness that "there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [Jesus Christ], and the Holy Ghost"

John provides another scriptural witness that "there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [Jesus Christ], and the Holy Ghost" (1 Jn. 5:7). John adds that "these three are [actually] one,” apparently meaning one witness because they, like the witnesses of the spirit, the water, and the blood "agree in one" (1 Jn. 5:8). Bible scholars have noted that 1 Jn. 5:7 and 8 are not found in the early Greek manuscripts and may therefore be of questionable authority. Whether or not these verses are authentic, it is clear from other Bible passages that the Father and the Son are in fact separate witnesses. John himself records in John 8:17-18 and 28-29:{{{4}}} that Jesus taught: "It is written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me... I do nothing of myself; but as my Father taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone, for I do always those things that please him.”

Old Testament

Many who espouse the Triune concept point to Old Testament scriptures as proof that there is only one God (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 43:10-12; 44:6-8; 46:9) but these verses, as originally written, made no such claim. Although our King James Version (KJV) states in Genesis 1:1 that, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” the Hebrew identified Eloheim as the creator. Eloheim is the plural form of eloah (as used in Isa. 44:8) which means God or Deity. Thus eloheim literally means Gods or Deities and Genesis 1:1 could be translated: "In the beginning Gods created the heavens and the earth" (see Abraham 4:1). Use of "us" and "our" in Genesis 1:26 further justifies this conclusion.

Examination of the Hebrew text also helps us understand Isaiah's references (chapters 43 and 44) to one God. Isaiah 43:10-12 in the KJV reads: "Ye are my witnesses saith the Lord [Jehovah in Hebrew]... understand that I am he: beside me there was no God [Eloheim in Hebrew] formed neither shall there be after me. I even I am the Lord [Jehovah] and beside me there is no saviour.... ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord [Jehovah], that I am God [El]." Knowing that Jehovah was Jesus Christ (see 1 Cor. 10:4), we are confronted with a contradiction. Paul the apostle later taught that "there is but one God, the Father... and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things..." (1 Cor. 8:6, see also 1 Tim. 2:5). If Jesus as Jehovah was saying that he was the only God then the Father could not logically also be the only God and still be separate from Jesus Christ. The Hebrew wording clarifies the meaning of these verses. The last portion of Isaiah 43:10, for example, reads: "who has formed a god or poured out an image [i.e. idol] to no profit?" (Hendrickson Interlinear Bible) Thus, the Lord is not claiming to be the only God in existence but is warning Israel not to uselessly worship false idol gods (see also Isa. 17:7-8; 42:8,17; 43:12; 44:6-18). When these chapters are read in context in the KJV, it is clear that Isaiah's reference to forming god is speaking of graven images of metal and wood. Isaiah 44:8-18 makes it unmistakably clear that the prophet is condemning idolatry and not a belief in more that one god.

Isaiah 43:12 is also clarified when examined in Hebrew. The Hebrew reads: "Ye are my witnesses saith Jehovah, I (or I AM), El (short form of Eloheim) and no other eloheim [gods}}; in this case false gods] no none are like me.” This verse actually uses three names for deity together. The contraction of Jehovah-Eloheim (translated LORD God in the KJV) is a similar, commonly found, grouping of names found in the Hebrew Old Testament. It appears that these compound name-titles were an attempt by ancient writers or scribes to refer to more than one member of the Godhead by a compound name (Articles of Faith, p. 49). Thus the Hebrew of the above verse might more accurately be rendered "Ye are our witnesses saith Jehovah and Eloheim and no other gods are like us.”

Although references to Christ's sonship are somewhat rare in the OT, they nevertheless exist

Although references to Christ's sonship are somewhat rare in the OT, they nevertheless exist. {[b||Daniel 3|25}} describes a fourth individual in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace whose form was like a "Son of God [Elah].” Proverbs 30:4 speaks of the "son" of the creator and Daniel 7:13 refers to the glorious coming of the "Son of man" (compare John 3:13 andMoses 6:57). Hosea 11:1 was quoted by Matthew 2:15) as a prophecy that God's "son" would be called out of Egypt and we should not forget that Isaiah's famous messianic prophecy foretold the birth of a son who would also be known by the titles "everlasting Father" and "mighty God" (Isa. 7:14; 9:16).

New Testament

Although the New Testament also speaks of the "oneness" of the Godhead (John 10:30; 17:11,21,22; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 1 Jn. 5:7), the context of the verses generally provides the key to a correct interpretation. John, for example, quotes the Savior's reference to his own oneness with the Father but also indicates that the disciples need to be one (using the same Greek word) with himself, God, and other believers (John 6:56; 14:20; 17:11,21-22; 1 Jn. 3:24; 4:13,15). The context of many of Paul's references to oneness make it clear that he is speaking of a oneness of mind and spirit. Paul speaks, in 1 Corinthians 2:16, of having "the mind of Christ.” He likewise tells the Philippians "stand fast in one spirit with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1:27; see also Gal. 5:22-25 and 1 Cor. 1:10). Paul also made frequent reference to a oneness of the saints (again using the same Greek word) with God and Christ as well as with other members (Rom. 8:1; 12:16; 15:6; 1 Cor. 3:16;6:17; 10:17; 12:13; 2 Cor. 5:17;6:16; Gal. 2:20; 3:28; Eph. 1:10; 3:17; Phil. 1:27; Col. 1:27; 2:10; Heb. 2:11). It is especially significant that Paul used the same verbal construction as Christ used in saying, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30) to describe his relationship to Apollos. He wrote, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.... Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one..." (1 Cor. 3:6,8). From the above cited references it should be clear that both John's and Paul's concept of "oneness" was not that of a merging of substance but was an expression of unity of purpose, mind, and heart. Modern scripture also confirms this interpretation (D&C 35:2; 50:43; 130:22).

Jesus Christ taught: "And now... I come to thee, Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one [in purpose and unity] as we are." (John 17:11)

Scriptural examples

Here are some New Testament scriptural examples that illustrate the separate nature and substance of the Father and the Son:

  1. God spoke from heaven while Christ was on the earth - Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; John 12:28-30
  2. God is a separate witness of Christ - John 5:36-37; 8:17-18
  3. Christ was "with" God in the beginning - John 1:1-3,10,14; 6:38; 16:28; 17:3,52; 20:21; 1 Jn. 4:14; Eph. 3:9
  4. Christ is God's Son - Mark 9:7; John 3:16; 9:35-37; 17:1; 20:17,21,31; Eph. 3:14; Heb. 1:6; 5:5
  5. Christ prayed to his Father - Matt. 6:6-9; 26:39; 27:46; Luke 23:34; John 12:27-28; 16:26; 17:10-11
  6. Christ was seen standing at the right hand of God - Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 10:12; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rev. 3:21
  7. The Father committed all judgment unto the Son - John 5:17-20,22-23; Rom. 2:16; 2 Tim. 4:1
  8. God anointed Jesus Christ - Acts 10:38; Heb. 1:9
  9. God honored, blessed and glorified Christ - Matt. 12:18; John 5:26; 12:23; 17:1,24; Acts 3:13; 5:30-31; 2 Pet. 1:17-18; Phil. 2:9
  10. Jesus was raised up by God - Acts 5:30-31; 1 Pet. 1:21
  11. God and Jesus are plural (we, our, us) - Gen. 1:26; Isa. 6:8; John 14:23; 17:11,22
  12. God "sent" Christ to atone for us - Mark 9:37; John 3:16; 5:24; 6:38; 7:28-29; 8:42; 12:44-45; 17:3-4,6-10,18,25; 20:21; 1 Jn. 4:14
  13. Christ asked men to pray to God in his name - Matt. 6:6; Col. 3:17; Heb. 7:25-26
  14. Christ spoke of his Father in heaven - Matt. 10:33; 16:15-19; John 14:12; 20:15-17.
  15. Only God knew the exact time of the end; Christ did not then know - Mark 13:32; Matt. 24:36
  16. God the Father is Christ's God - Mark 15:34; John 20:17; Eph. 1:17; 1 Pet. 1:3
  17. Christ's will and doctrine were separate from God's - Matt. 26:39-42; Luke 22:41-42; John 5:30; 7:16-17; 14:10
  18. Christ did his Father's not his own work - Luke 2:49-50; John 17:3-4
  19. Christ came in his Father's name - John 5:43
  20. Christ came from and returned to God - John 14:12; 16:27-28,30; 1 Pet. 3:21-22
  21. The Father was "greater than" the Son - John 10:29; 14:28; 1 Cor. 15:28
  22. We come to the Father only by the Son - John 14:6
  23. Christ will deliver up the kingdom to God - 1 Cor. 15:24
  24. Christ is mediator between God and men - 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:5; 12:24

Question: How did Christ achieve deification before mortality?

It was necessary that at some point Jesus receive a body, but the specific time in which He did so is not particularly important

It is claimed that Latter-day Saint doctrine, which teaches that a physical body is necessary for a fulness of glory, is inconsistent, since Jesus was God prior to his mortal birth. However, having a body is necessary for a fullness of joy (DC 93:33). The Holy Ghost is also God, but does not at present have a body in LDS doctrine.

It was necessary that at some point Jesus receive a body, but the specific time in which He did so is not particularly important. (To travel overseas, one needs both a passport and an airplane ticket. It doesn't matter in which order one gets the passport or the ticket, but one must eventually have both in order to reach one's destination.)

If a specific sequence is an absolutely requirement, then all Christians would need to explain how Christ's atonement could be efficacious to those who were born, lived, and died prior to His crucifixion. The fact that the atonement was effective should caution us against adopting an absolute requirement for sequence concerning Christ's receipt of a physical body.

Critics ignore that the gospel teaches us what we must do to fulfill God's commandments and purposes. It does not spend much time telling us what Jesus was required to do—clearly, he had many duties and abilities which far outstripped ours. That is why he was God and Savior before we came to this earth, and why we must rely upon his grace for salvation.


  1. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Answering Media Questions About Jesus and Satan," Press release (12 December 2007). off-site
  2. M. Russell Ballard, "Building Bridges of Understanding," Ensign (June 1998), 62. off-site
  3. Lactantius, Divine Institutes 2.9. in Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 10 vols. (1885; reprint, Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004), 7:52–53.
  4. "Webb is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He is a graduate of Wabash College and earned his PhD at the University of Chicago before returning to his alma mater to teach. Born in 1961 he grew up at Englewood Christian Church, an evangelical church. He joined the Disciples of Christ during He was briefly a Lutheran, and on Easter Sunday, 2007, he officially came into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church."
  5. Stephen H. Webb, "Godbodied: The Matter of the Latter-day Saints (reprint from his book Jesus Christ, Eternal God: Heavenly Flesh and the Metaphysics of Matter (Oxford University Press, 2012)," Brigham Young University Studies 50 no. 3 (2011).
  6. Ezra Taft Benson, "Five Marks of the Divinity of Jesus Christ," From a fireside address given at the University of Utah Special Events Center on 9 December 1979.
  7. Brigham Young, "Character of God and Christ, etc.," (8 July 1860) Journal of Discourses 8:115. (See also Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:238.; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:218.; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 11:268..
  8. Ezra Taft Benson, "Joy in Christ," Ensign (March 1986), 3–4. (emphasis added) off-site
  9. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 742. GL direct link
  10. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 822. GL direct link
  11. Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1996), 14.
  12. This wiki article was initially based upon an entry in Michael Hickenbotham, Answering Challenging Mormon Questions: Replies to 130 Queries by Friends and Critics of the LDS Church (Horizon Publishers & Distributors, 1995) (now published by Cedar Fort Publisher: Springville, UT, 2004), 77–79, 81-83, and 107.. ISBN 0882905368. ISBN 0882907786. ISBN 0882907786. Due to the nature of a wiki project, it may have been expanded, edited, and emended since then.