Friday, October 23, 2009

Father, God, Lord: Who is Whom?

"Terms like Father, God or Lord have wide and variable application. (In our viewpoint), a variety of divine beings are referred to by these various terms.”

I have always viewed this as the primary reason we have no systematic, simple theology of God. Christianity in general views Father, God and Lord as distinguishing titles for one “entity”; Mormonism views them as descriptive conditions with limitless application. Also, the concept of divine investiture of authority (allowing someone to speak for God) is rooted in our practical church experience, as counselors in presidencies, apostles, High Councilors, etc. are understood often to be representing and "speaking for" their direct Priesthood authority. The complexity of such a construct makes it impossible to know with absolute certainty exactly who is speaking in each and every instance of divine visitation - and, more specifically, whose words are being spoken. Add “as far as it is translated correctly” and the complexity gets even more difficult to unravel.

At various times, HTs can represent the quorum/group leadership, the Bishop, the Stake President and/or the 1st Pres. - depending on what message they are providing. High Councilors represent the SP, but they can speak by assignment of the Bishop - thus representing the Bishop AND the SP at that time.

It can be hard enough in the mortal church to figure out whose words are being spoken, especially if the speaker doesn't give explicit attribution. Figuring it out in the scriptures is almost pointless, imo. "God" is good enough for me, in nearly all cases.

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