On a particular day in the life of Jesus, "one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:… And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he" (Mark 12:28,28,32).
All of Christianity believes there is just one God but most of them also believe that this one God is composed of three distinct and separate beings known as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Yet, while saying that the Father is not the Son or the Holy Ghost, nor is the Son the Father or the Holy Ghost, nor is the Holy Ghost the Son or the Father, most Christians believe that there are not three Gods but one. But exactly how three people can be one God no one is really able to explain except to say that this is what the Bible teaches.
Furthermore, they believe that this Triune God created the earth and the entire universe where nothing had existed and on the sixth day He created man, both male and female, in His likeness and gave them dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-31). However, since God is immortal and man is a created being, most Christians are of the firm belief that man was not made in the physical image of God but rather that he is made in the likeness of God's personality, possessing the same abilities of thought, speech, passion and reason that God has. But despite these similarities most people believe that God and man are separate and distinct creatures from one another just as a mouse is different from a lion.
On the other hand, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that we were born as spirit offspring to God in heaven long before the earth was ever formed and that we are literally in His image just as any earthly child resembles the physical image of their parent. Furthermore, they believe that the firstborn of God in this pre-earthly world was a male child whom we know today by the name of Jesus Christ. As such, Latter-day Saints believe that God is literally our Father and that Jesus is actually our eldest brother.
Since this is clearly at odds with what most traditional Christians believe, and all Christians claim to base their beliefs on what is contained in the Bible, the question becomes: Is there any biblical evidence to support the LDS doctrine that Jesus is our brother instead of Him being an indescribable part of an incomprehensible triune God?
Christians point to John1:1-2 which reads, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God" as evidence that Jesus is God and, if that is so, then they contend that Jesus could not possibly be our brother since He is God and we are mere, sinful mortals.
Furthermore, John goes on to say that "All things were made by him (the Word) and without him was not anything made that was made." Since Adam and Eve were "made" and Jesus, who is eternal, meaning that He has always existed, made all things, then it's easy to infer that Jesus made man. And if that is true, then most Christians find it hard to understand how Mormons can say that Jesus is our brother.
Since this is very simple logic and, if such an interpretation is correct, then it should easily be supported throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament. To see if it does, let's first examine exactly what it was that John said.
John begins his gospel by stating that "in the beginning was the Word." All Christians are in agreement that "the Word" spoken of here is Jesus Christ and, in fact, this is the clear meaning when read in context.
Next he says that "the Word was with God" and John repeats that statement in verse two. Then he says that "the Word was God." So we learn that in the beginning Jesus - who is the "Word" - is both with God and is God. If we say that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are all one God, it would be incorrect for John to write that Jesus is God and, at the same time He is with God. Yet, John is very careful to clearly make the distinction that Jesus is not only God but that He is also with God, therefore there must be something more to this statement than simply saying there is only one God and that Jesus is that God.
As we look further into the scriptures we read that on the morning Jesus rose from the grave, Mary Magdalene went to touch Him and "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17).
Notice that Jesus told Mary that He had not yet ascended "unto my Father… and to my God" then He added that the Being He was going to was the same being who is our Father and our God. Clearly, the Being we claim as our God is the same Being that Jesus likewise calls His God. But this doesn't make sense if we say there is only one God and that one God is Jesus. That is the same as saying that Jesus is His own God.
Yet, since the scriptures clearly state that Jesus is God, then which God was Jesus ascending to?
The answer is found in Hebrews 1:8-9 which reads: "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
When speaking about the Son, God the Father calls Jesus "God" and says that His throne "is forever and ever." That clearly states that Jesus is God. But then the Father continues, saying "therefore God (speaking about the Son) even thy God hath anointed thee…" In other words, even though Jesus is God, He has a God who is greater than Him. Jesus didn't anoint Himself. It was His God who anointed Him. And, throughout the scriptures we read of how Jesus Himself worshiped this God and subjected Himself to the same God we are commanded to obey.
When He was on the cross "at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34). Clearly Jesus wasn't calling out to Himself, and it's inconceivable to think that Jesus was just merely using the name of God in an offhand, colloquial way. Jesus was in unimaginable, excruciating, pain and, as such, His cry to God was genuine and sincere. At this time of greatest need, Jesus did not seek to draw upon the strength of His own divinity but, instead, cried out to someone who was greater than him. He cried out to His God.
However, most Christians are so conditioned to believe that the Father and the Son are the same God that they reject the idea that the Father is greater than the Son or that the Son is in any way inferior to the Father. To their way of thinking, if the Father and the Son are both God, then they are both equal in power, glory, dominion, and might. Yet the apostle Paul clearly taught, "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God" (1 Corinthians11:3). Here it is stated in unmistakable terms that, just as Christ is our head and we are to be in subjection to His will, so also Christ has a head over Him to whom He is obedient, and that head is God.
It was Jesus Himself who taught that when He comes again He will not come in His own glory but in the glory of His Father (Matthew 16:27). When showing the apostle John a revelation about what will happen to those who go to heaven, Jesus said "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God , and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God , and the name of the city of my God , which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God " Revelations 3:12, emphasis added).
If Jesus is part of a triune God then He would have said "I will make them a pillar in my temple, and I will write upon them my name, in my city which shall come down from my heaven." But that's not what He said. He clearly indicates that He has a God to whom He gives reverence and obediently subjects Himself (see 1 Corinthians 15:28).
Then who is this God that is the head over Jesus? Numerous times Paul taught that Jesus has both a Father and a God (1 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3; 3:14; 1 Peter 1:3) and that it is the same Father and God we have. Paul explained, "But to us there is but one God, [who is] the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and [there is also] one Lord [who is] Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him" (1Corinthians 8:6, see also Ephesians 4:6, emphasis added). "That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:6, emphasis added).
From these and other verses, the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus not only has Father in heaven but that same Father is also His God who is over Him in authority and to whom Jesus subjects Himself in obedience. Furthermore, this God is not only the Father of Jesus but He is also our Father. If both Jesus and we have the same Father then that makes Jesus our brother because we belong to the same household (see Ephesians 2:19). And Jesus Himself has verified this. Notice again what He told Mary Magdalene: "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."
The word "brethren" means "brother," and in numerous other scriptures Jesus refers to us as His brethren (Matthew.25:40; Matthew. 28:10; Matthew: 12:50; Mark 3:35), Although there are many scriptures that tell us we are "the children of God" yet, it never mentions that we are the children of Jesus. Then which God are we the children of? The answer is: God, the Father, not God the Son.
Jesus had many titles but one of them is "the Son of God" and the Jews were angry at Him when he referred to Himself that way because they felt He was making himself equal with God (John 5:18). Yet the scriptures are just as plain when it says that we too are the sons of God. The scriptures tell us that Jesus was lead of the Spirit (Matthew 4:1) and Paul tells us "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14 ). "And if children, then heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8:17).
If Christ is an heir of God then He cannot be the Father. Furthermore, if Jesus has always been God and has always had all things in common with the Father, then how can He inherit anything? But if He is truly a Son of God, then it makes sense how a son can eventually inherit what his father has. And if we are also sons of God and are a "joint-heir with Christ" then that makes us sons of the same Father, thereby making Jesus our brother. Notice that the scriptures say that we will be joint heirs with Christ, the Son. That means we will share the same inheritance that Jesus received. Furthermore, we will not be joint-heirs with the Father. Instead, we will inherit what the father has just as Jesus also inherited what the Father has. And John verifies this when he wrote, "BEHOLD, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1). Notice who's calling us "the sons of God." It isn't Jesus, it's the Father and the same Father that Jesus has.
And what is it that we will inherit? Jesus explained that when He comes again he shall gather "all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:33-34).
Jesus explained that we shall inherit a kingdom, but whose kingdom will it be? Will it be the kingdom of the Father, the kingdom of the Son, or both?
Paul answered this question when discussing what will happen when the end comes. He said "when he (Jesus) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father… And when all things shall be subdued unto him (i.e., Jesus), then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God (the Father) may be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:24, 28).
The Revised International Bible translates these verses thusly: "Then the end will come, when he (Jesus) hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power… When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all" (RIV)
The Contemporary English Version renders verse 28 "After everything is under the power of God's Son, he (Jesus) will put himself under the power of God, who put everything under his Son's power."
The Amplified Bible states "when everything is subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also subject Himself to [the Father] Who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all [be supreme]."
If, after Christ subdues all things, he then delivers "up the kingdom to God, even the Father" and then subjects Himself to the Father so that it is the Father who is supreme over all things then that means we will inherit the kingdom of the Father, not that of the Son thereby making us heirs to the same Father that Christ is heir to.
What this scripture also clearly states is that, by subjecting Himself to the Father, Jesus is making Himself inferior to the Father. Furthermore, the reason the Son will place Himself in subjection to the Father is so that the Father will be supreme over all things. But that is just the opposite of what Christians believe when they say that the Father and the Son are both equal in power and authority.
Paul explained that Christ came to earth "to the end [that] he may [e]stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father God" (1 Thessolonians 3:13, emphasis added). He further wrote "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him" (Ephesians 1"17). This is why Paul wrote "And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:11). Notice that Paul says the reason why every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord is not to glorify Christ but to glorify "God the father." And the reason why is because it is "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ [who is] the Father of glory."
It was the Father who sent His son to preach about the kingdom of God (Luke 9:2; Galatians 4:4; 1 John 4:9) and it was Jesus who taught that, "this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God , and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3, emphasis added).
While Jesus is God, the scriptures plainly teach that there is only one true God and that is the Father who sent His Son, Jesus, to save us from our sins. Jesus is not the Father of glory but because of His faithfulness and obedience to His Father, the Son has inherited His Father's glory. As sons of God, if we too are obedient to that same God whom Jesus obeyed then we shall likewise obtain "the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessolonians 2:14) and "appear with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:4) and also be glorified together with Him (Romans 8:17).
However, there are those who say that Mormons diminish the glory of God by trying to bring Him down to our level rather than us rising to His. They say that we worship a God whom we have made in our own image rather than worshipping a God who is trying to make us in His image. Yet, just the opposite is true. Rather than diminishing His glory, to understand that Jesus is our brother actually increases our love and admiration for Him, knowing that, because of His great love for us, He was willing to sacrifice His own life for us so that we might live. Rather than bringing Him down to our level, we are in awe of His God-like qualities so much so that we seek to emulate His example as a way to become more like our Father. It is the words of Jesus that we study and follow and He is the one we look to for a redemption from our sins.
On the other hand, the God of traditional Christianity is an unknowable God precisely because He is different from us. As such, we can't really relate to Him because we can't comprehend Him. But to know that we are literally made in the image and likeness of God, that He is actually our Father and that Jesus is truly one of us and considers us His brethren, makes God seem more real and more personal. It helps us understand why they love and care about us so much and it gives us a greater appreciation for all they do for us.
Knowing that Jesus is our brother inspires us to conform to His image and instills within us a greater desire to become more like Him. Anyone who has ever had a big brother they looked up to and wanted to be like understands this attitude of reverential worship that Mormons have for Jesus. Far from diminishing the glory of the Father and the Son, it binds us closer to them when we realize that all of us truly are the children of God.