Can Men Become Gods?

The idea that man may become a god is not found in any of Mormonism’s Standard Works. Nevertheless, the statement; “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become” is an accurate expression of LDS teaching. The expressions was coined by the fifth LDS President Lorenzo Snow. We need to know that the LDS President is also their “living prophet.” In this position Snow declared, “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.” (June 1840) Although this statement is not in Mormonism’s Standard Works, it would seem to me that the President/Prophet of the Mormon Church should know what they believe.

Here is what the Mormon church says about the President of the Church:

The President of the Church presides over all priesthood quorums and the general membership of the Church. President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency explained: “He is the senior Apostle on the earth. He has been ordained and set apart as the prophet, seer, and revelator to the world. He has been sustained as the President of the Church. He is the presiding high priest over all the priesthood on the earth. He alone holds and exercises all the keys of the kingdom under the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the head of this Church and is the chief cornerstone” (“Continuing Revelation,” Ensign, Aug. 1996).

The Latter-day Saints teach that God was once a mere mortal man. It also declares that man has the potential to become a god. The LDS Church teaches that eternal life is the exaltation to godhood. LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie said, “Thus those who gain eternal life receive exaltation. . . They are gods.” (Mormon Doctrine, pg. 237).

In his book titled The Gospel Through the Ages, LDS Seventy Milton R. Hunter wrote, “No prophet of record gave more complete and forceful explanations of the doctrine that men may become Gods than did the American Prophet.” (page 115) Mormons claim that achieving Godhood was a common teaching among early Christians. This brings us to an important question, why did we have to wait for Joseph Smith to find out about it? To have successfully hidden such a doctrine would totally impossible.

Mormons argue that godhood is not a teaching peculiar to Mormonism, but history proves that it is. It is true that there was one who tried to push this doctrine, but I don’t think they want to be identified with him. Through the serpent, Satan made the claim that if they ate the forbidden fruit they could become as gods.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5)

There are two Mormon sources that tell us that in April, 1844, Joseph Smith preached to a congregation of 20,000 that, “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” (JOD 6:4; TPJS p.346). Brigham Young, the second prophet and president of the Mormon Church, confirmed this in a message at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on August 8, 1852, when he said, “The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like Himself” (JOD 3:93).

Biblical Denial

The Bible is very clear, no one, not even a Mormon, can ever attain the attributes of deity. Isaiah 43:10 says, “I am He; before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.”

Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders can say whatever they want, but the all knowing God of the Bible says that He knows of no other gods.

Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. (Isaiah 44:8)

No mortal, not even Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, has ever become a god, nor will they ever.

The God of the Bible adamantly declares that He is the first and the last. From eternity past to eternity future, there will never be a true God besides the one God as presented in the Bible.

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me… (Isaiah 45:5)

Mormon Rebuttal

Mormons use passages like as John 10:34 to try and counter these biblical truths.

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? (John 10:34)

Jesus is responding to the blindness of the religious leaders of his day. In rebuking them, He quotes from Psalm 82:6 which reads, “I have said, Ye are gods.” Mormons interpret this to mean Jesus Himself said that men could become gods. First of all, it does not say, “Ye can become Gods.” The text says, “Ye are Gods” which is present tense. Even Mormons don’t believe that they are Gods right now.

To properly understand this passage you must first understand what the word “gods” means. All we have to do is let the Bible interpret itself.

Like most of those who try and teach false doctrine from the Bible, the Mormons take the verse in Psalm 82 out of context. The psalm is actually a rebuke of those who are unjust judges. The Mormons are quick to quote verse six, they don’t quote verse seven. Verse seven says the gods “shall die like men.” If this passage is talking about gods in the sense of Mormon doctrine, there is a major problem. These gods can die and will die. If this it true, the eternal life of the Mormons is not very eternal.

The gods of Psalm 82 are men who God has chosen to rule over other men. The Hebrew word translated gods here is“Elohim.” It is often translated “judges.” We see this in Exodus 21:6 which says, “Then his master shall bring him unto the judges [Elohim] …” We see another example is Exodus 22:8 which reads, “If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges (Elohim) …”

Many Mormons will not accept this interpretation with suspicion. Because of this, let me quote one of Mormonism’s most respected scholars, Apostle James Talmage. In his book Jesus The Christ, Talmage tells us that Jesus was referring to divinely appointed judges. He wrote, “Divinely Appointed Judges Called ‘gods.’ In Psalm 82:6, judges invested by divine appointment are called ‘gods.’ To this the Savior referred in His reply to the Jews in Solomon’s Porch. Judges so authorized officiated as the representatives of God and are honored by the exalted title ‘gods’” (p. 465).

Mormons also use I John 3:2 to support their claim that men can become Gods.

Beloved, now are ye the sons of God, and it doeth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him. (1 John 3:2)

They insist that to be “like Him” means they will have all of the attributes of God Himself. I assume that if we are able to have all of the attributes of God, it means we will be omnipotent because God is omnipotent. In truth, it is impossible to have more than one omnipotent being. How could one omnipotent being do something contrary to another omnipotent person? One of them would have to be less powerful than the other. It is contrary to the very meaning of the word. There are too many passages in the Bible that teach that there is only one God for this interpretation to be true. Even the Book of Mormon teaches that there is only one God, and that He is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

Conclusion

I would like to ask Mormons who think they will someday become Gods of their own realms, “Did you or could you make the heavens and the earth?” That is exactly what the God of the Bible did. If you did not, or if you cannot, you will perish.

But the Lord is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting king: at His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. (Jeremiah 10:10-11)

If, as the Bible and the Book of Mormon declare, there is only on true God, the Mormons who “become gods” will be false gods. It the God of the Bible is the only living God, the Mormons who become gods will be dead gods. If you hope to become a god and you didn’t create the heavens and the earth you can expect to perish.

Some may say this is talking about pagan idols. An idol is anything that is exalted above, or equal to God. Listen to what God says about other gods:

For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. (Psalms 96:5)

All the gods of the nations as idols, whether they are hewn from wood, or stone, or “exalted” through good works are idols, and they will all perish.

Bruce McConkie, “. . .only those who obey the fullness of the gospel law will inherit eternal life” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 237). I doubt that most Mormons even know what the “fullness of gospel law”