Thursday, January 17, 2008

First Article of Faith

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

This is the first Article of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are twelve more but this is the one on which all the others rest. It serves as the foundation for all that we believe. These three separate entities constitute what the Apostle Paul called the "Godhead." The fact that we Latter-day Saints believe in them and revere them as Divine places us in league with most of the Christians in the world. It is what Christians of the various sects believe about them that creates troublesome divisions in the Christian world.

This is an interesting quote from the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 31:21 "And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen."

We believe that the Father is a father. We believe that the Son is a son. We believe that the Holy Ghost is a "ghost" or "spirit" - without a physical body. We believe as Paul, that these three form a "Godhead." We believe as Nephi, that these three constitute one "God." Nephi's declaration is confusing only if we insist that the word God always describes a single entity, rather than a harmonious trio. Like most words, this one has more than one meaning, and means different things to different people. It is a word loaded with intrigue. It is at the same time, common, useful, important, and dangerous. It is a trigger in the mine field of misunderstanding so prevalent in the Christian world.

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