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God in a Box or Pyramid? (Part 5 of 8)

As humans, we try to understand God, and sometimes we put him in a box.  But would a pyramid be a better idea?  Benjamin Shaffer & David Patrick of Christ’s Church share their feelings on the Adam-God theory and talk about cubes & pyramids to describe God.

Benjamin:  Open up the scriptures anywhere, including the Doctrine and Covenants, which you think would be more clear because it’s more recent, and you will find plenty of instances where–just go ahead and get yourself three highlighter colors, and try to decide exactly which member of the Godhead to speaking at any given moment. You’ll find that it’s an impossible task. They switch off in ways that are quite convoluted and confusing. Go to the Book of Mormon and read what Abinadi says in his descriptions of God, and some people say this sounds very Trinitarian.

They get rather confused. Well, wait a second, which individual do you mean? I think that this is just a wrong way of approaching the question of what is God. We’re trying to put him in a box and we’re trying to put him in this box that’s based on American individualism, where the individual is so paramount. The whole point of the Godhead, the whole point of them being one–and when we say the Father and the Son are one God, I mean, phrases like that appear in the scriptures. How can they be one if we’re constantly trying to turn them into separate individuals? So I guess what I’m trying to say is yes, we do believe that there are such things as individuals. We’re not completely rejecting that but, I think that that really breaks down when you start talking about God. I know this is an outside source, but if you if you go to Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis talks a lot about maybe our problem is that we’re so two dimensional. Individuals are like squares, we keep thinking squares, squares squares, and that each square is separate from every other square. In order to really comprehend the Godhead, you have to recognize that there are a cube. That means that you’ve got to get away from this two dimensional thinking, where we’re so fundamentally focused on squares and how every square is separate, how every square is individual. You know what a cube is made out of six individual squares. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t one shape. It’s not. It is one thing.

GT:  So you know, that’s interesting that you said squares because I thought you were going to go with pyramid. Because in your presentation you said you represented a pyramid. Can we talk about that?

Benjamin:  Sure. So oftentimes we look at the Godhead as a triangle, right? There is plenty of Trinitarian, especially iconography. We have the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. It’s that triangle shape. But we’re talking about this as a hierarchy or generations of the gods, which creates this plurality of the gods situation. So instead of seeing it like a triangle, I kind of want to turn it three dimensional. When you turn a triangle three dimensional, all you see is the line. But I’m saying the Godhead isn’t a two dimensional shape. It’s a three dimensional spiral. So that as it goes down through these generations of the gods–the Godhead. Yes, you can view it as a triangle if you’re thinking two dimensionally. But if you’re thinking three dimensionally, it’s more that God’s ways are one eternal round as its described. So then there’s no problem with there being multiple generations of the gods: Elohim, Jehovah, Michael, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost and essentially by theory on and on, throughout eternity. Each person takes on those roles, fulfills those principles. Jesus is never called, for example, Jehovah, we like to point out. We don’t believe that the title Jehovah applied to Jesus Christ before His resurrection, but there is a reference in the Doctrine and Covenants, saying that the voice of Jehovah came saying, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ.” [This] is in the Doctrine and Covenants. But the title, Jehovah, if these are all priesthood titles can be applied to Jesus when he takes that role. So again, instead of just thinking Father, Son, Holy Ghost as a two dimensional thing, and when we think of it as this spiral, we recognize that each of these roles, each of these titles can be adopted by a different member of the Godhead at a different time.

What do you think of this explanation?  Check out our conversation…

Benjamin Shaffer and David Patrick describe the Adam-God doctrine as a three-dimensional object rather than the two-dimensional triangle of the trinity or godhead.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with David & Benjamin!

384: Documentary Hypothesis & Adam-God

383: Intro to Adam-God Theory

382: Scriptures of Christ’s Church

381: Intro to Christ’s Church

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Documentary Hypotheses & Adam-God (Part 4 of 8)

The Adam-God doctrine identifies Elohim and Jehovah as separate beings.  However, the Documentary Hypothesis states that these two names were used interchangeably for the same god in the Old Testament.  I asked 2 members of Christ’s Church how they dealt with that issue with regards to the Documentary Hypothesis.  Apostle David Patrick and Seventy Benjamin Shaffer share how they deal with this issue.

GT:  As I understand the Documentary Hypothesis, the idea is the first five books of Moses were written by four different authors.

Benjamin: Right.

GT:  The J author refers to God as Yahweh; E [author refers to] Elohim because this is the point that I want to make here. I might be getting this backwards. In the Northern Kingdom, they referred to God as Elohim and then in the Southern Kingdom they referred to God as Jehovah.[1] And then the editors according to the Documentary Hypothesis combined them all. Really Jehovah and Elohim are really two names for the same for the one and only God. And if you go to the Hebrew, they basically alternate behind between Jehovah and Elohim as the same person. And so Mormons are heretical, because we say that Jehovah and Elohim are two different people but historically, especially in the in the five books of Moses (I hope I’m getting this right) the Southern Kingdom referred to Jehovah, the Northern Kingdom referred to Elohim but they’re really the same person. So how would you respond to that issue?

Benjamin: Textual criticism is a big rabbit hole to go down, a big gospel tangent.

GT:  Sure.

Benjamin:  And it is complicated, but I do have a couple things that I could say to that. First of all, we do believe in this unity of godliness. Jehovah is in Elohim as in El, right? These are different titles as David [Patrick] is explaining. Right? You can use those titles. Sometimes you can use those titles somewhat interchangeably. This is actually another evidence for the Adam-God Doctrine. If Michael is a title of God with God right in the name right there then you could call any of them by any of those titles without being incorrect.[2]

[1] I got it backwards.  Southern Kingdom called God “Elohim” while Northern Kingdom called God “Jehovah” according to Documentary Hypothesis.

[2] It should be noted that El means “god” in Hebrew.  Therefore the name Michael could be written as Micha-El, which includes El (God) as part of Michael’s name.

Benjamin talks further about how the Documentary Hypothesis might support the idea that Laban was helping put together the Torah under King Josiah.  What do you think of his explanation?  We’ll also talk about how Christ’s Church deals with evangelicals who like to ambush Mormons at places like the Manti Pageant over the Adam-God doctrine.  Check out our conversation….

Mormons believe Elohim & Jehovah are 2 different beings, while the Documentary Hypothesis says Elohim & Jehovah are 2 names for the same god.
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Scriptures of Christ’s Church (Part 2 of 8)

Christ’s Church was organized in 1978.  In our next conversation with Apostle David Patrick and Seventy Benjamin Shaffer, we will learn more about their basic beliefs and find out that they have an even larger canon of scripture than the mainstream LDS Church.

GT:  So you guys believe in the Book of Mormon. It sounds like you believe in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Benjamin:  Yeah. So when it comes to the canon of Scripture, we actually have a very expansive body of Scripture that we draw from. While it’s true that we don’t actually publish our own editions, that’s a lot of work.

GT:  And a lot of money.

Benjamin:  And a lot of money. We generally, of course, use the ones printed by the LDS Church. But then on top of that, we use a lot of other materials. We’ve used the Book of Jasher, for example, or the otherMidrash. I’ve put together a little booklet for people to insert in their scriptures called the Addendum to the Doctrine & Covenants, which has eight of the uncanonized revelations, or that weren’t canonized, I guess in the mainstream LDS church, but that we also accept and use and then there’s a whole other body…

GT:  John Taylor’s revelation, is that’s one of them.?

Benjamin:  That’s one of them, John Taylor’s 1886 revelation is, of course, one of the ones that I guess was controversial for the mainstreamers, but we accept that as a revelation. It’s well established historically, at the very least.

For those of you interested in these 8 revelations, they are posted at the Church of Christ website.  We’ll also talk about claims of priesthood authority for their church.  Check out our conversation….

Christ’s Church has a larger canon of scripture than the mainstream LDS Church.

Don’t miss our previous conversation with David & Benjamin!

381: Intro to Christ’s Church