Question: What does it mean to Mormons when Jesus is declared to be the "alpha and omega"?

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Question: What does it mean to Mormons when Jesus is declared to be the "alpha and omega"?

Latter-day Saints reject the interpretive baggage of the Greeks and Reformers, and claim that Christ is eternal, but not in the sense that the philosophers explain it

Alpha and Omega (Α Ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, respectively. Jesus Christ refers to himself by this title four times in the book of Revelation (1:8; 1:11; 21:6; 22:13). The title also appears in the Book of Mormon once (3 Nephi 9:18) and the Doctrine and Covenants thirteen times (19:1; 35:1; 38:1; 45:7; 54:1; 61:1; 63:60; 68:35; 75:1; 81:7; 84:120; 112:34; 132:66).

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism explains:

Equivalent to the Old Testament term "the first and the last" (e.g., Isaiah 44:6), alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Just as no letters stand before alpha or after omega, so there are no other gods in this creation other than that represented in Jesus Christ. He encompasses all, from beginning to end; he extends beyond all extremities and categories.

Jesus Christ is the beginning because he created the earth; he is the end because he is our advocate with the Father at the final judgment.

When early Christianity—a religion based in Hebrew theology—encountered the Greek philosophical world, Greek-thinking converts tried to harmonize the two worldviews. The Greek worldview came from the writings of philosophers like Plato, who postulated that nothing that is perfect can be physical, and so forth. This collision between Hebrew and Greek paradigms resulted in a redefinition of the Hebrew/Christian God into one acceptable to Greek thinkers. God, according to the philosophers, had to be uncreated, eternal (in the philosophical sense of existing outside of time), and unique (in the sense that he is completely different than human beings).

Modern Christians—who have inherited the Greek worldview as interpreted by the Protestant reformers—use a select set of Bible verses to enforce this interpretation. To them, the "Alpha and Omega" passages in Revelation indicate that Jesus was uncreated and existing from all eternity in a triune form (three persons, but one God).


To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here

Notes