Question: What scriptures explain the Mormon view of Jesus' divine Sonship?

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Question: What scriptures explain the Mormon view of Jesus' divine Sonship?

Although the Bible contains numerous examples of the separate nature of the Father and the Son, there are only a few instances where all three members of the Godhead are described as separate and distinct

How do members of the Church understand the divine Sonship of Jesus Christ, and the relationship between the Father and Son, since there is only "one God"?

Although the Bible contains numerous examples of the separate nature of the Father and the Son, there are only a few instances where all three members of the Godhead are described as separate and distinct.[1] The best example is the baptism of Jesus Christ (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-32). In all but John's account all three members of the Godhead are identified: the Father bearing witness "from heaven" (Matt. 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22), the Son "coming up out of the water" (Mark 1:10), and the "Holy Ghost descending in a bodily shape like a dove" (Luke 3:22). All three members of the Godhead are clearly separate entities who, in this instance, are physically separated also.

John provides another scriptural witness that "there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [Jesus Christ], and the Holy Ghost"

John provides another scriptural witness that "there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [Jesus Christ], and the Holy Ghost" (1 Jn. 5:7). John adds that "these three are [actually] one,” apparently meaning one witness because they, like the witnesses of the spirit, the water, and the blood "agree in one" (1 Jn. 5:8). Bible scholars have noted that 1 Jn. 5:7 and 8 are not found in the early Greek manuscripts and may therefore be of questionable authority. Whether or not these verses are authentic, it is clear from other Bible passages that the Father and the Son are in fact separate witnesses. John himself records in John 8:17-18 and 28-29:{{{4}}} that Jesus taught: "It is written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me... I do nothing of myself; but as my Father taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone, for I do always those things that please him.”

Old Testament

Many who espouse the Triune concept point to Old Testament scriptures as proof that there is only one God (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 43:10-12; 44:6-8; 46:9) but these verses, as originally written, made no such claim. Although our King James Version (KJV) states in Genesis 1:1 that, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” the Hebrew identified Eloheim as the creator. Eloheim is the plural form of eloah (as used in Isa. 44:8) which means God or Deity. Thus eloheim literally means Gods or Deities and Genesis 1:1 could be translated: "In the beginning Gods created the heavens and the earth" (see Abraham 4:1). Use of "us" and "our" in Genesis 1:26 further justifies this conclusion.

Examination of the Hebrew text also helps us understand Isaiah's references (chapters 43 and 44) to one God. Isaiah 43:10-12 in the KJV reads: "Ye are my witnesses saith the Lord [Jehovah in Hebrew]... understand that I am he: beside me there was no God [Eloheim in Hebrew] formed neither shall there be after me. I even I am the Lord [Jehovah] and beside me there is no saviour.... ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord [Jehovah], that I am God [El]." Knowing that Jehovah was Jesus Christ (see 1 Cor. 10:4), we are confronted with a contradiction. Paul the apostle later taught that "there is but one God, the Father... and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things..." (1 Cor. 8:6, see also 1 Tim. 2:5). If Jesus as Jehovah was saying that he was the only God then the Father could not logically also be the only God and still be separate from Jesus Christ. The Hebrew wording clarifies the meaning of these verses. The last portion of Isaiah 43:10, for example, reads: "who has formed a god or poured out an image [i.e. idol] to no profit?" (Hendrickson Interlinear Bible) Thus, the Lord is not claiming to be the only God in existence but is warning Israel not to uselessly worship false idol gods (see also Isa. 17:7-8; 42:8,17; 43:12; 44:6-18). When these chapters are read in context in the KJV, it is clear that Isaiah's reference to forming god is speaking of graven images of metal and wood. Isaiah 44:8-18 makes it unmistakably clear that the prophet is condemning idolatry and not a belief in more that one god.

Isaiah 43:12 is also clarified when examined in Hebrew. The Hebrew reads: "Ye are my witnesses saith Jehovah, I (or I AM), El (short form of Eloheim) and no other eloheim [gods}}; in this case false gods] no none are like me.” This verse actually uses three names for deity together. The contraction of Jehovah-Eloheim (translated LORD God in the KJV) is a similar, commonly found, grouping of names found in the Hebrew Old Testament. It appears that these compound name-titles were an attempt by ancient writers or scribes to refer to more than one member of the Godhead by a compound name (Articles of Faith, p. 49). Thus the Hebrew of the above verse might more accurately be rendered "Ye are our witnesses saith Jehovah and Eloheim and no other gods are like us.”

Although references to Christ's sonship are somewhat rare in the OT, they nevertheless exist

Although references to Christ's sonship are somewhat rare in the OT, they nevertheless exist. {[b||Daniel 3|25}} describes a fourth individual in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace whose form was like a "Son of God [Elah].” Proverbs 30:4 speaks of the "son" of the creator and Daniel 7:13 refers to the glorious coming of the "Son of man" (compare John 3:13 andMoses 6:57). Hosea 11:1 was quoted by Matthew 2:15) as a prophecy that God's "son" would be called out of Egypt and we should not forget that Isaiah's famous messianic prophecy foretold the birth of a son who would also be known by the titles "everlasting Father" and "mighty God" (Isa. 7:14; 9:16).

New Testament

Although the New Testament also speaks of the "oneness" of the Godhead (John 10:30; 17:11,21,22; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 1 Jn. 5:7), the context of the verses generally provides the key to a correct interpretation. John, for example, quotes the Savior's reference to his own oneness with the Father but also indicates that the disciples need to be one (using the same Greek word) with himself, God, and other believers (John 6:56; 14:20; 17:11,21-22; 1 Jn. 3:24; 4:13,15). The context of many of Paul's references to oneness make it clear that he is speaking of a oneness of mind and spirit. Paul speaks, in 1 Corinthians 2:16, of having "the mind of Christ.” He likewise tells the Philippians "stand fast in one spirit with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1:27; see also Gal. 5:22-25 and 1 Cor. 1:10). Paul also made frequent reference to a oneness of the saints (again using the same Greek word) with God and Christ as well as with other members (Rom. 8:1; 12:16; 15:6; 1 Cor. 3:16;6:17; 10:17; 12:13; 2 Cor. 5:17;6:16; Gal. 2:20; 3:28; Eph. 1:10; 3:17; Phil. 1:27; Col. 1:27; 2:10; Heb. 2:11). It is especially significant that Paul used the same verbal construction as Christ used in saying, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30) to describe his relationship to Apollos. He wrote, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.... Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one..." (1 Cor. 3:6,8). From the above cited references it should be clear that both John's and Paul's concept of "oneness" was not that of a merging of substance but was an expression of unity of purpose, mind, and heart. Modern scripture also confirms this interpretation (D&C 35:2; 50:43; 130:22).

Jesus Christ taught: "And now... I come to thee, Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one [in purpose and unity] as we are." (John 17:11)

Scriptural examples

Here are some New Testament scriptural examples that illustrate the separate nature and substance of the Father and the Son:

  1. God spoke from heaven while Christ was on the earth - Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; John 12:28-30
  2. God is a separate witness of Christ - John 5:36-37; 8:17-18
  3. Christ was "with" God in the beginning - John 1:1-3,10,14; 6:38; 16:28; 17:3,52; 20:21; 1 Jn. 4:14; Eph. 3:9
  4. Christ is God's Son - Mark 9:7; John 3:16; 9:35-37; 17:1; 20:17,21,31; Eph. 3:14; Heb. 1:6; 5:5
  5. Christ prayed to his Father - Matt. 6:6-9; 26:39; 27:46; Luke 23:34; John 12:27-28; 16:26; 17:10-11
  6. Christ was seen standing at the right hand of God - Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 10:12; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rev. 3:21
  7. The Father committed all judgment unto the Son - John 5:17-20,22-23; Rom. 2:16; 2 Tim. 4:1
  8. God anointed Jesus Christ - Acts 10:38; Heb. 1:9
  9. God honored, blessed and glorified Christ - Matt. 12:18; John 5:26; 12:23; 17:1,24; Acts 3:13; 5:30-31; 2 Pet. 1:17-18; Phil. 2:9
  10. Jesus was raised up by God - Acts 5:30-31; 1 Pet. 1:21
  11. God and Jesus are plural (we, our, us) - Gen. 1:26; Isa. 6:8; John 14:23; 17:11,22
  12. God "sent" Christ to atone for us - Mark 9:37; John 3:16; 5:24; 6:38; 7:28-29; 8:42; 12:44-45; 17:3-4,6-10,18,25; 20:21; 1 Jn. 4:14
  13. Christ asked men to pray to God in his name - Matt. 6:6; Col. 3:17; Heb. 7:25-26
  14. Christ spoke of his Father in heaven - Matt. 10:33; 16:15-19; John 14:12; 20:15-17.
  15. Only God knew the exact time of the end; Christ did not then know - Mark 13:32; Matt. 24:36
  16. God the Father is Christ's God - Mark 15:34; John 20:17; Eph. 1:17; 1 Pet. 1:3
  17. Christ's will and doctrine were separate from God's - Matt. 26:39-42; Luke 22:41-42; John 5:30; 7:16-17; 14:10
  18. Christ did his Father's not his own work - Luke 2:49-50; John 17:3-4
  19. Christ came in his Father's name - John 5:43
  20. Christ came from and returned to God - John 14:12; 16:27-28,30; 1 Pet. 3:21-22
  21. The Father was "greater than" the Son - John 10:29; 14:28; 1 Cor. 15:28
  22. We come to the Father only by the Son - John 14:6
  23. Christ will deliver up the kingdom to God - 1 Cor. 15:24
  24. Christ is mediator between God and men - 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:5; 12:24


Notes

  1. This wiki article was initially based upon an entry in Michael Hickenbotham, Answering Challenging Mormon Questions: Replies to 130 Queries by Friends and Critics of the LDS Church (Horizon Publishers & Distributors, 1995) (now published by Cedar Fort Publisher: Springville, UT, 2004), 77–79, 81-83, and 107.. ISBN 0882905368. ISBN 0882907786. ISBN 0882907786. Due to the nature of a wiki project, it may have been expanded, edited, and emended since then.


Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims