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. If they do, 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 experience in a way that only modalism can offer any insight into; and deification and exaltation are the closest the human imagination can come to understanding what God offers us.
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