Skip to content

Joseph Smith's Image of God

August 27, 2008

The scriptures make clear that our eternal destiny rests on a proper understanding of who God is.

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (I John 5:20-21)

Jesus said, “If ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24)

The following quote from A. W. Tozer highlights the imperativeness of having a right view of our high and holy God.

Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them. Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry, for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is – in itself a monstrous sin- and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness. Always this God will conform to the image of the one who created it and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges (A. W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy, pp. 1-3)

A. W. Tozer said that the idolatrous heart will substitute the true God for one made after its own likeness. He also said that this God will conform to the image of the one who created it and will be according to the state of the mind from which it emerges.

What was the image of God that Joseph Smith conceived of in his heart and mind?

“I want to ask this congregation-every man, woman, and child, to answer the question in their own heart, what kind of being God is? I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is. I am going to inquire after God; for I want you all to know him and to be familiar with him; I will go back to the beginning, before the world was, to show what kind of being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. That is the great secret. If the vail was rent to-day, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible, -I say, if you were to see him to-day, you would see him like a man in form-like yourselves, in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked, and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another.

“I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity, I will refute that idea, and will take away and do away the vail, so that you may see. It is the first principle of the gospel to know for certainty the character of God and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and 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.

“Here, then, is eternal life-to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you,-namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one, -from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.

“My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take higher exaltation and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself.

“In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. When we begin to learn in this way, we begin to learn the only true God and what kind of being we have got to worship. The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself. I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal with our Father in heaven. I might with boldness proclaim from the house-tops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself.” [Emphasis mine] (Joseph Smith, “King Follet Discourse”, April 6, 1844, Nauvoo, Illinois; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 345-349, 353-354).

What saith the scriptures?

“But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes…thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself, but I will reprove thee…” (Psalm 50:21)

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he; before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me” (Isaiah 43:10).

“I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).

“Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any” (Isaiah 44:8).

“Who is he that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? …Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof? …Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud…and thick darkness…hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place? …hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depths? have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all… canst thou send lightnings? Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart? Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven? Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it…He beholdeth all high things; he is a king over all the children of pride” (Job. 38-41).

“Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in; that bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity… To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power, not one faileth…Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding (Isaiah 40:21-28).

That is MY God… From everlasting to everlasting, the same yesterday, today, and forever, who has existed from eternity past to eternity future, the self-existent One who reveals Himself to be a consuming fire, rock of salvation, Almighty, Magnificent, arrayed in splendor, who is called Wonderful, Counselor, and Prince of Peace; the Creator who flung a million stars in space with one breath and filled the depths of the earth with boiling lava, then in tenderness made the lilly and the firefly, the gurgling brook, and the gentle fawn.

He is Jehovah-Jireh, my provider. El Shaddai, my strength-giver, Nourisher, and Satisfier. He’s Jehovah-rapha, my Healer, Jehovah-nissi, my Victory Banner. He’s Jehovah-Shalom, my Peace, Jehovah-raah, my Shepherd, Jehovah-shammah, my Always Present Lord…an ever-present help…in His presence is fullness of joy, at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:11). He is the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy, who dwells in the high and holy place, yet also with those who are of a contrite and humble spirit, “to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isa. 57:15).

This is the one true God, my Maker, my Redeemer, and my Soul-Satisfier, who is worthy of all my heart’s worship, constant devotion, and love.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 10, 2008 1:12 pm

    Great work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: