Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Deification of Man in the Bible

I've been very interested in the idea of deification ("make god" Latin: Deus = God. Facio=to make) of man for a long time. Joseph Smith taught that the ultimate purpose of man is to become exalted as deified beings, as gods. (See, for example, D&C 76:58; 132:20). This doctrine, as taught by Joseph Smith, was completely radical and unorthodox. Since his time, however, much investigation has been done to show that it was widely believed in early Christianity. (See

A survey of the New Testament reveals that it is, in fact, a New Testament doctrine. Below are some scriptures found in the Bible that show some attributes that will be/are held in common between Jesus Christ and the exalted saints. This list is also found on the site mentioned above, and was compiled in part be myself. (I am an editor at

Please compare these descriptions of Jesus Christ to those of the saints in the following Bible passages:

AspectJesus ChristThe Saints

Crown Rev. 14:14James 1:12, Rev. 2:10, Rev. 4:4,10
White robeMatt. 17:2, Mark 9:3, Luke 9:29Rev. 6:11, Rev. 7:9-14

ScepterHeb. 1:8Rev. 2:26-27
Secret NameRev. 19:12Rev. 2:17
ImageCol. 1:15, Heb. 1:3, 2_Cor. 4:4Rom. 8:29, 1_Cor. 15:49, 2_Cor. 3:18, Col. 3:10

ThroneRev. 3:21Rev. 3:21
Heir of GodRom. 8:17Rom. 8:14-21, Gal. 4:1-7
Possession of "all things"Matt. 11:27, John 3:34, John 13:3, John 16:15, Heb. 1:2 Rev. 21:7, Rom. 8:32, 1_Cor. 3:21, 2_Cor. 6:10

Title of "son"Heb. 1:5, Heb. 5:5, John 3:161John 3:1-2, Phil. 2:15, Rom. 8:14, John 1:12, Gal. 3:26

King and priestJohn 1:49, Heb. 3:1Rev. 1:6, Rev. 5:10
PerfectMatt. 5:48Matt. 5:48
One with God and one in Glory
John 14:11, John 17:20-21, John 10:30John 14:20, John 17:21-23

Deification is also discussed in the following biblical scriptures:

Please look over these and add any to the list in the comment area that you think also teach this doctrine. This doctrine, to use Joseph Smith's words, "tastes good" to those who are not proscribed by man made creeds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As you have said, ancient proto-orthodox Christians commonly believed in salvation by deification. However, I join Dr. Peterson in carefully pointing out that our doctrine is not a direct replica of theirs, for they were often influenced by ex nihilo ideas, and therefore did not push it as far as we do.
Nonetheless, Joseph Smith restored an ancient doctrine and was not to shy to say "gods" like our modern Evangelicals are, and as the ancient Christians were not.