The nature of God in Mormonism is a package deal, with several attributes that might be called logical conclusions of the others. This isn’t surprising, but it’s worth acknowledging since normal, everyday discussions about the nature of God between Mormons and Christians will typically focus on the whole package rather than one specific aspect of it. However, for my purposes here I am attempting to break this package down into smaller pieces for discussion even though they are very often treated as the same. For instance, Mormonism teaches that God (or Heavenly Father) is an exalted man who achieved Godhood. This logically includes the ideas that:
We can see that each aspect of this Mormon concept of God brings up its own issues and concerns that need to be fleshed out and addressed. Last time, I looked at the Mormon belief that God was not always divine but rather became God at some point in the past. Today, I’m going to look at the Mormon belief that God has a physical body.
There’s no question that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth remains far and away the most pivotal event in human history. The movement spawned by his students in the wake of his ministry started as a small cult within Judaism and, over the following 2,000 years, both literally and repeatedly changed the world. The three branches within Christianity today (Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy) comprise the largest religion in the world with adherents numbering more than 30% of the world’s population or over 2.2 Billion people. “Who was Jesus?” has become one of the quintessential “big questions of life” alongside things like “Is there a God”, “Why am I here?” or “What is the meaning of life?”
The new movie, The Case for Christ, based on the worldwide bestselling book of the same name, follows former atheist Lee Strobel as he uses his journalistic skills honed through a career as the legal editor for the Chicago Tribune to disprove the newfound Christian faith of his wife Leslie, but the material presented in this movie and in the book is not just for the skeptic, the atheist, or the agnostic. Regardless of your faith, or lack of, the life, ministry, and claims of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded by his students stand in stark contrast to many of your assumptions. Many of these assumptions will be addressed in the movie:
Lastly, Christians. We do not need to believe that Christianity is true in spite of the evidence. The evidence actually supports the truth of Christianity and that evidence doesn’t disappear when our mood is not there or when hard times in life come or go. Knowing that your faith can be proven as objectively true rather than a preference or relative truth can solidify your faith in ways you’ll never imagine.
I’ve heard it said that human history swings on the hinge of a stable door in Bethlehem. Ultimately, you must decide whether or not you want to reject or follow Jesus, but make that decision based on the evidence surrounding his life (and there is a ton of evidence), not on shallow assertions or the sloganizing that gets passed around the culture.
The Case for Christ opens today, click here to find tickets.
As a fiction writer on the side (“on the side” of my apologetic and comparative religion studies which are “on the side” of my full-time day job – which means I barely ever get time to work on it), I once started work on a novella similar in theme and purpose to C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce. In fact, my short pitch for the story was that it was “a simultaneous tribute to and argument against C.S. Lewis.” Without digressing too heavily on the details of my own story, during the first revision pass I realized that my heaven was not heavenly enough and my hell was not hellish enough. Oddly enough, that’s precisely my main complaint about The Great Divorce. Before starting the rewrite in earnest, I wanted to do some research on different takes of heaven and hell from a Christian worldview. My goal was to give portrayals of both that were biblically accurate while giving, to the best of my ability, a clear sense of the thrill and wonder or horror of heaven or hell, respectively, and at the same time showing why the Christian doctrine of hell is more than just divinely authorized sadism. Among my planned reading were gems like Randy Alcorn’s Heaven, Dante’s Inferno, Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell, and Hank Hanegraaff’s Afterlife. Also among them was a little book that I’d stumbled across on Amazon, My Hope in Hell by Jens Reuter. The book had very few reviews but a high average and was only $8. Why not, right?
I was expecting a defense of the doctrine of hell as a necessary means of satisfying God’s justice. Boy, was I wrong.
Rather than a defense of a particular interpretation, or a systematic examination of what the bible says about hell, I very quickly found that My Hope in Hell would be more accurately described as a structured version of a confused and emotionally loaded journal entry, the thoughts and summarized studies of someone wrestling with an aspect of his faith that he finds unacceptable.
Writer, artist, lay theologian, student of comparative religion.