Ep58-We Shall Be as He Is: The Mormon Doctrine of Deification (pt 2) - Of God and Gods Ch 11

Topics Discussed:
Arguments That Essential Divine Properties Cannot Be Shared with Humans
     - Can a Fulness of Divine Power Be Shared?
     - Can Divine Sovereignty Be Shared By Humans?
     - Are Deified Humans Worthy of Divine Worship?

Show Notes:

Arguments That Essential Divine Properties Cannot Be Shared with Humans

“I suspect that the most powerful resistance to the doctrine of robust deification arises not from the scriptural argument but from the metaphysical assumptions that are brought to the biblical texts which control how they are read. These assumptions are based on a complex of beliefs which entail that there can be at most one divine being. These assumptions arise from scriptural language and statements that have been taken to implicitly entail metaphysical monotheism”

“I will review three broad arguments given by Wainwright and critique them.
1. The first argument concludes that there cannot be more than one all-powerful person and that any being who can count as a divine person must be all-powerful.
2. The second argument assumes that God is the sole causally necessary and sufficient condition of all else that exists and argues that, if God causes everything else that exists, then there can be at most one such God. Thus, divine sovereignty cannot be shared with humans.
3. The third argument assumes that necessarily God is that being which can demand total devotion and that any such being must be more perfect than any other being; it concludes that there can be only one such being.”

• Can a Fulness of Divine Power Be Shared?

“It would be possible to impugn deification in the Mormon tradition if it could be shown that there is any attribute that is essential for sharing the divine nature and arguing that the attribute in question is necessarily unsharable”

Competing omnipotents problem...

“If it is true, then divine power cannot be shared because at most one being could possess divine power. However, if omnipotence is rendered coherent by defining it as maximal power, then maximal power is sharable. The question whether more than one divine being could possess divine power is answered by suggesting that the divine power emerges from the relationship of unity among the divine persons. If divine power arises only in a united relationship of agreement of wills, then any divine person who attempted to compete with another divine person by exercising a choice to do something at odds with another divine person necessarily would not be able to exercise divine power. ”

“The subsidiary argument for (O3) is as follows:
(O3a) Necessarily, if the will of an omnipotent person conflicts with another person’s will, the latter’s will is thwarted by the former’s will.
(O3b) Necessarily, if a person’s will is thwarted by another’s will, then that person is not omnipotent.
(O3c) Therefore, if there are two omnipotent persons and their wills conflicted, then neither would be omnipotent since their wills could be thwarted.”

“A maximally powerful being can have its will thwarted and yet be maximally powerful, provided that the state of affairs in question requires the cooperation of another free being to bring it about. Thus, premise (O3b) is false and the argument is defeated.”

• Can Divine Sovereignty Be Shared By Humans?

“The argument is roughly that, if the Godhead can accomplish its will without me, then anything I could do to accomplish the same thing would be totally superfluous. For example, for the class of acts that God can accomplish without my cooperation, if I pray that God’s will might be done, my prayer does nothing. God can accomplish whatever I pray for without me. If I then align my will with God’s will, my will adds nothing to accomplish what God can already bring about without me.”

“The concept of deification entails that I share the divine power with the Most High God. Does it also entail that the deified human being share divine sovereignty with the Most High God? Divine sovereignty can be defined as follows: Any being that accomplishes whatever it wills within the scope of maximal power is sovereign.”

“William Wainwright has constructed an argument to the effect that there cannot be more than one divine being with effective, productive causal power based on the premise that God’s causal creativity is the necessary and sufficient condition for the existence of everything else.”

• Are Deified Humans Worthy of Divine Worship?

“Wainwright argues that any being who can be considered fully divine must be understood as uniquely worthy of worship.”

“I suggest that worshipworthiness itself derives from something more fundamental than the mere requirement that the being who issues the commands is the most powerful and knowledgeable being possible. Might does not make right, and we ought never to worship sheer power. Rather, God’s worthiness to be worshipped, and the authority to issue commands, arises from the supreme love and sheer giving grace that characterize the divine persons in the Godhead.”

“Their authority is the authority of love, and the fact that they ought to be worshipped arises from the gratitude that is proper toward beings who have given us all that we have and who therefore stand in relation to us as supreme benefactors.”

Who says what is 'proper' though? That seems very cultural and open to interpretation. Is 'authority of love' and oxymoron? We will always be grateful, but is that the same as subservient?

“Could deified humans be worthy of worship in this same sense? Humans can never be worthy of worship apart from unity with the Godhead. But neither could the Father or the Son. However, humans can participate in the nature of the one God that is worshipped. We can be worthy of worship to the extent that we are one with the Father and the Son as givers and receivers of love to others with whom we seek to share this self-same divine love”

“...we will always trail behind as those who have been lifted to divinity by their superior love and knowledge. When we are deified, they will have progressed further to yet another glory, from glory to glory—and they will bid us to follow and show us the way out of their love for us. We will never surpass them.”

“While from our own perspective we will never be separately worthy of worship, from the perspective of those who see only Christ in our countenances we may become worthy of worship that is passed through to God and the Lamb. Just as Moses was God to Pharaoh (Ex. 7:1) and Aaron (Ex. 4:10), we may be regarded as gods to those who look to us for their salvation.”....Clarify what you mean by that because in traditional Mormon thought that means our spirit children on our own planet or universe.


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