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God our Father

Biblical Framework

Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent
God the Father has all power over heaven and earth and all things in them (Matthew 19:26). God the Father’s dominion is incomprehensible to man (2 Corinthians 2:14 and Matthew 6:8).

Father of All
Every mortal human being has a biological father and mother, and through them acquires a body of flesh and bones. As the sons (and daughters) of God (Hosea 1:10) the spirits of men and women were created by God the Father in heaven through a process that is unknown (Hebrews 12:9). This intimate relationship with God the Father is illuminated in the Bible through references to him as “Abba,” Aramaic for “father” (Romans 8:15-16 and Galatians 4:6-7).

Body and Spirit
Man was created in the image of God both spiritually and physically (Genesis 1:26-27). God’s body is physical (Genesis 9:6), although perfected and glorified beyond all human comprehension (Hebrews 1:1-3). God the Father has substance and shape (John 5:37). Jesus proclaimed God the Father as one of the two witnesses (men) testifying that Jesus was the Christ (John 8:17-18). God the Father has a spirit, just as the men and women whom he created in his image have spirits (John 4:24).

God the Son, Jesus, was born in the flesh to Mary and lived among the men and women of his time. The form and appearance of Jesus was in the “express image of his [God the Father’s] person” (Hebrews 1:1-3). Some men have seen God the Father (Acts 7:55-56). The physical nature of the Godhead has been revealed to mankind. (Exodus 24:10-11, 31:18, and 33:11, 23; Numbers 22:9-12, 20 and 23:4, 16; Deuteronomy 23:14, and 1 Kings 9:2-3).

Adversity, Suffering, and Death
God the Father, working through his son Jesus Christ (the God of the Old Testament) brought adversity to the Israelites as instruction, chastisement, and punishment (Exodus 32:14, Judges 9:23, Judges 10:7, and 1 Chronicles 21:14-15). David spoke of the trials that will come as a result of the Lord’s ministry to man (Psalm 78:49-50 and Psalm 119:75), while Job experienced firsthand how the Lord allows certain afflictions to come upon mankind for what might appear at the time to be no reason at all (Job 12:14-25). God knows what is best for his children and will never give them more than they are capable of managing through reliance on him (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Because God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, he can cause or prevent all adversity, suffering, and death. He cares for all of his children individually in ways that are inexplicable, and he causes or allows adversity, suffering, and death according to his infinite wisdom. God provides for his children the experiences needed to reach their full potential as his sons and daughters, and in this he preserves their free will.

Incomprehensible God
God the Father fulfills his purposes in ways that are frequently incomprehensible to man. God’s wisdom and understanding are infinite. His goals and purposes are infinite in scope. Those of mankind are pitifully limited. For example, Samson pursued women who were not of his faith, vexing his mother and father and violating the Mosaic law. Nevertheless, what Samson was doing “was of the Lord” (Judges 14:3-4). God does not fail in his purposes, however incomprehensible his methods and however distant from human understanding his goals. Whether it be allowing the transgression of Adam and Eve to commence the plan of salvation in the Garden of Eden or using the sinful nature of man to carry out judgments against an offending nation, God’s purposes will be satisfied.

The Family of God
The family is ordained of God both in heaven and on earth (Ephesians 3:14-15). Mankind is taught to pray that God’s will “be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10). According to conventions of the period, women are referred to directly in the scriptures much less frequently than men. Yet no one supposes that women did not play a vital role in the family, or that family did not play a vital role in the culture (1 Samuel 8:1-2). There may come a time for some in mortality when one’s earthly family is an obstacle to embracing the gospel of Jesus Christ—in those instances the savior made clear the choice that should be made and the angst that may follow (Matthew 10:34-37).

Mormon Doctrinal Clarification

Unity and Supremacy
God the Father (God, Heavenly Father, the Father) is the supreme member of the Godhead. The Godhead consists of three personages:

  • God the Father, who is a divine personage with a glorified body of flesh and bones;

  • Jesus Christ, who is a divine personage with a glorified body of flesh and bones, the first-born spirit son of God the Father, and the only begotten (mortal) son of God the Father; and

  • The Holy Ghost, who is a personage of spirit in the form of a man.

These three personages are in such perfect harmony and are so divinely unified in purpose and divine love that they are correctly referred to as one God. While the tangible bodies of God the Father and his son Jesus Christ resemble those of men, they are glorified and perfected beyond human comprehension. God the Father is the creator of all things, the father of Jesus Christ (in human flesh as well fullness the characteristics of love, mercy, charity, truth, power, faith, knowledge, and judgment, having all power, all knowledge, and from whom all good things come (Gospel Principles [Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2009], 6). All men and women, whether in the premortal, mortal, or post-mortal realms, are the spiritual sons and daughters of God the Father.

Free Will
God the Father knows intimately each one of his spirit children. He gave to each of them moral agency (free will), the most precious of all spiritual capacities. Exercising this capacity, all men and women choose for themselves in their premortal, mortal, and eternal states. God the Father knows, loves, and teaches each of his spirit children; however, he does not compel them.

Eternal Progression
Some of Heavenly Father’s spirit children choose to enter mortality, the state through which all who seek eternal progression and increase must pass. Adversity, joy, suffering, and death are encountered in mortality. Heavenly Father causes or allows these and other conditions of mortality to befall his spirit children. His purpose is for men and women, by their own choice, to progress toward perfection. His methods of instruction are often incomprehensible to man.

Eternal Increase
God the Father is the father of all, and, like a righteous and loving father on earth, he is willing to bequeath the power of eternal increase (eternal procreation) to those of his children who are willing to pass through the trials necessary to be become worthy of this power.

See chapter4 in The Biblical Roots of Mormonism for a more comprehensive explanation, scriptural references and commentary on God our Father

See the Sword SeriesTM paper God Our Father for a summary

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