What Mormons Believe About God

What we believe about God is probably the most important thing about us. Because our whole world view starts with our concept of God and what we think about God shape so many different elements of our lives. And so let’s take a look at what Mormonism teaches about God so that we can compare our own beliefs. To begin with, Mormons believe that God has not always been God. At one point he was a man who lived on the world very much like us. And Joseph Smith put that like this. 

“God himself was once as we are now… It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for certainty the character of God… that he was once a man like us yea that God himself the father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.”

And a later prophet of Mormonism summarized that Doctrine in a famous saying “As man now is God once was”. By contrast, the Bible teaches that God has always been God. For example, take a look at Psalm 90:2 “before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the Earth in the world, from beginning to end, you are God.” So what the Psalmist is saying is that long before everything else existed, God was still God. One translation puts it like this: “from Everlasting to Everlasting you are God”.

And one other thing that the Mormon Church teaches about God is that God the father is an exalted man. So the Mormons believe that even though God was once a human being like us, he did not remain in that human state but he progressed until he became a God. That’s what the Mormons call exaltation. You can see that in the rest of that quote from Joseph Smith:

“God himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man and sits enthroned in Yonder heavens.”

But the Bible teaches that God is not a man nor was he ever a man. Look at Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man so he does not lie, he’s not a human so he does not change his mind. “So what Numbers is saying is that God doesn’t have all the failings that are part and parcel of human life. And that’s not because he’s an exalted human or some highly evolved form of human; that’s because God isn’t human at all.

Another thing the Mormon Church teaches about God is that God the father has a physical body of flesh and bone. For example, a training manual that’s published by the LDS church found on their website lds.org called Gospel Principles says “God’s eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones.” Now it make sense that they would think that because if God was or is a man, then you would expect him to have two arms, two legs, internal organs, all the rest, if he’s really an exalted man. But the Bible teaches that God is not a physical being but that God is a being of spirit. John chapter 4 makes this clear. Jesus simply said “for God is Spirit”. Now it doesn’t say God has a spirit but God is spirit and by definition that means he’s not embodied. Now consider Jeremiah 23:24: God says, “Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” Now it would not be possible for God to be everywhere in heavens and earth if he had a physical body, even an exalted one.

Now here’s another thing that the Mormon Church teaches about God and that is that human beings can become like God is now. Earlier I quoted you that saying from the Mormon prophet “As man now is, God once was.” Well here’s the second half of that saying “As God now is, man may become.” So if God was really once a man who became God, that makes sense that others could do that as well, that we could possibly become gods ourselves. But the Bible teaches quite clearly that we’re a completely different kind of being from God. That God Is not a human, exalted or otherwise, and that we could never become deities ourselves. In fact the Old Testament prophet Isaiah condemns in the strongest terms those who fail to maintain that distinction between the kind of being God is and the kind of being we are. In Isaiah chapter 14, it talks about a king who thought he could become like God. The king said “I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the most high.” But the prophet responded “Instead you’ll be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths.” So human beings can’t become gods and they’re condemned if they think that they can because that’s actually an insult to the glory and the uniqueness of the one being who actually is God. So hopefully this brief overview in this session helps you understand better than what the Bible says and what your own beliefs are about the nature of God.