Mormonism is known for its many doctrines which are contrary to Christian theology. Such doctrines include tritheism–the belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate individual gods, not Triune where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are individually by nature the one and the same God. Other doctrines include God as a physical fleshly being with bones, the spiritual brotherhood of Jesus and Lucifer, water baptismal regeneration, and many other doctrines that run contrary to Christian theology. Here in this blog we will look into a doctrine of Mormonism which truly stands out and deviates from Christian orthodoxy: The plurality of gods. The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, Jr. introduces the doctrine to us in the Journal of Discourses volume six, page 5, “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.” Is it true that there is a multiplicity of gods in Heaven? What does the Bible say about this doctrine, if anything at all? Lastly is there any philosophical problems with this doctrine? Let us begin and find some answers.
The first question: Is it true that there is a multiplicity of gods in Heaven? The answer is a resounding no. Mormonism, however, do have a key passage in the Bible which they believe makes their case. In I Corinthians 8:5, “For even though there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords)…” Joseph Smith appeals to this passage in a attempt to show us that there are actually many gods who exist other that the God of the Bible. In verse 4, however, we see the Apostle Paul state that there is actually one God, ” Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one.” So is there only one God or many gods? Both cannot be true! It sure seems at this point that the multiplicity of gods doctrine is not fairing very well biblically so far.
Now we move on the second question: What does the Bible say about this doctrine, if anything at all? Well, as we have seen in the previous paragraph, there is really no scriptural proof at all. I Corinthians 8:5 was the closet thing to supporting the doctrine of many gods, but in light of verse 4 we see that there cannot possibly be many gods when the Apostle Paul clearly states to us that there is only one God. Even though something or someone may be called a god and lord, in actuality there is only one God according to the Bible. In Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Hebrew Shema, we read, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!” This is the doctrinal declaration which Jews, Muslims, and Christians all agree and give their amen to. Other scriptural passages seem to dismiss this plurality of gods doctrine as well. For example, in the book of Isaiah from chapter 40 to chapter 47 it is full of declarations of their being only one God, such as we see in Isaiah 44:8b we read, “You are my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.” This verse alone demolishes the existence of a plurality of gods, however, we cannot hang our theological position on this verse alone. In Isaiah 43:10 we read, “‘You are My witnesses’, says the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before me no God was formed, nor shall there be after Me.” We read here from the very words of God Himself that there is no other gods but Him. This clearly debunks the teaching of a plurality of gods because according the God Himself there was no gods in existence before Him, which is impossible since God never had a moment when He didn’t exist which automatically disqualifies the idea of any gods existing before Him. Furthermore God makes it clear that there will be no gods formed after him, which means He will never create any other god(s) or promote anyone to Godhood. So we see God debunking two theological ideas in Mormonism:
1. The plurality of gods.
2. The teaching that Mormons can become gods themselves in the afterlife.
Therefore I think we can safely conclude that there is no plurality of gods in existence. Only the one true God exist and is forever praised, amen.
Last but not least we need to answer the question: Is there any philosophical problems with the Mormon doctrine of the plurality of gods? I definitely think there is. As Charles Darwin attempted (and failed) to explain the origin of species on purely evolutionary grounds, we must ask Mormons the question: In Mormonism what is the origin of the gods? Unfortunately I have yet to hear or read an answer to that question. Joseph Smith in Journal of Discourses suddenly introduces to us this plurality of gods, but does not tell us who is the First Cause of the chain of gods that exist. In Theism, particularly in Christian Theism, we know that the Cause of the existence of the universe, plant life, animal life, and human existence all are caused by God. The universe, plant, animal, and human life are contingent whereas God is a necessary being. The universe, plant, animal, and human existence are dependent upon God, otherwise none of these could exist for they cannot exist in and of themselves. God’s existence does not depend on anyone else for there is no god but Him. So who or what caused the chain of gods? Sadly in Mormonism there is no Uncaused First Cause like there is in Christianity. We seem to be left with an infinite regress of gods, which means that no matter how far back you go in the chain of gods you never arrive at the First Cause. This probably explains why Mormonism teaches Henotheism, which is the belief in many gods, but worship only one of the pantheon of gods. Mormonism chooses to worship God the Father, not all the plurality of gods because He is the Creator.
Thus in light of the Bible and philosophical reasoning we can conclude that there is no reason to believe in the existence of a plurality of gods in Mormonism. We have seen biblically that there is only one God. In the Hebrew Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4 we see the proclamation and declaration of there being only one God. Throughout the book of Isaiah we read over and over again from chapter 40 through chapter 47 that there is one God and there is none like Him; neither was any God in existence before Him nor will there be any gods to come into existence after him. In I Corinthians 8:4 the Apostle Paul teaches that there is only one God, even though there may be other so-called deities that are called lords and gods. Philosophically we have seen that Mormonism has the daunting task to explain the origin of the plurality of the gods, but have failed to address this issue so far. Since Mormonism does not have an Uncaused First Cause to explain the origin of the gods, Mormonism is left with a infinite regress of gods. This is contrary to Christian theology and philosophical reasoning metaphysically. So we must judge the plurality of gods in Mormonism as false and heretical on both biblical and philosophical grounds.