A tremendous truth, and the lynchpin of Gospel understanding, is that you lived before this life! You once lived as a son or daughter of God in a pre-earth state of existence where you were trained and prepared for your current mortal test. You have always existed as intelligence, but your Father in Heaven took that intelligence and clothed it with spirit, begetting you as one of His special spirit children. Since He is your literal spirit Father, He endowed you with a part of Himself, including His awesome potential. As in mortality children grow to become like their parents, so, too, may you become like your Father in Heaven.
Think of it, you are the literal offspring of God! He is your Father! He did not merely create you out of nothing for arbitrary purposes. He has nourished and loved you, raising you from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity in His holy presence.
Fix this in your mind: You once knew God, your Father, lived with Him, and may become like Him! What truth could be more soul-stretching and satisfying? You share your Eternal Father’s DNA. You are part of His family. Because of your divine lineage, have untapped potential that will take eons to realize. But realize it you may. Indeed, it was Jesus Christ, your spirit Brother who has ascended to become your Savior, Lord, and King, who commanded us: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Our Father is not stingy or jealous. He wants us to become like Him just as His perfect Son Jesus did. Achieving the Father’s level of perfection is, as we have just seen, a commandment for every true follower of Christ. Because of Jesus’ perfection, our Father appointed Jesus to stand as an intermediary to help the rest of us climb the ladder back to Heaven, which is our true home and destiny.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell once observed:
“The pattern of calling, blessing, expanding, reassuring, and endowing are reflective of the generosity as well as the gentleness of God our Father and his son, Jesus Christ!
“Astonishingly, to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe! If only you and I can avoid being offended by their generosity” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meek and Lowly,” BYU Address, October 21, 1986).
Do you want the secrets of the universe? Do you want to be like God? You can, if you will follow the path outlined by Christ and rely upon His saving grace and salvific power.
It is one of Satan’s greatest lies that you can become like God through your own effort without the redemption of Jesus Christ or obedience to eternal law. This is flagrantly false. It is a twisted counterfeit of true Christian doctrine. This teaching is had among occultists in all parts of the earth. When Satan told Eve she would be like God, he did not lie. His lie was that she could do it on her own without the Savior.
I repeat: It is true that we may become like God, for we are commanded to do just but, but it is wrong that we may do it on our own without Jesus Christ. We cannot sit on a mountain meditating and hope to achieve enlightenment. We cannot join ourselves to occult Theosophy and think it will allow us to rise. We cannot achieve deification through study, physical effort, or any agency on our part. We simply cannot do anything of our own free will that will cause us to evolve into a god.
From Adam and Eve to the present, the only way we can overcome the effects of the Fall and come off conqueror is through Christ the Redeemer. If we follow Him in faith and obedience, we are told by scripture that we will indeed become like God and be His heirs. The Apostle Paul taught:
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17).
Those who choose Christ, enter into the gate of baptism by proper authority, who receive all ordinances appointed in the Gospel, and who endure to the end of their lives in faithful obedience and bringing forth good works, will be “glorified together” with God and are appointed as His “heirs” and “joint-heirs with Christ.” This is not pagan doctrine; this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Even more strongly than “heirs,” Jesus called us “gods,” confirming a teaching given by Him to the ancient Hebrews. When confronted by the wicked Jewish leaders about His claim to be the Son of God, Jesus responded:
“Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
“If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
“Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (John 10:34-36).
I ask my fellow Christians, was Jesus mistaken? Is the Bible wrong? Of course not! The Lord said “the scripture cannot be broken.” Jesus was in fact quoting scripture that He had personally given as Jehovah. It taught: “Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (Psalm 82:6).
The words are there in black and white, plain as day, clear as crystal. But most who have read the Bible have interpreted these passages incorrectly, being blinded by the false creeds of man designed to stunt spiritual growth and shackle us to Satan. Alternatively, many Christians have never read the Bible and rely wholly upon the word of their pastor, priest, or bishop. And how many pastors preach this Biblical doctrine that fell from the lips of Jesus and His apostles that we are literal children of God, that we may be “gods” like Him, and that we lived before?
It is liberating to know we are the literal spirit children of the God of the universe and that He wants us to be like Him! It is empowering to know our potential as His heirs and as His beloved children. We hail from His lineage, which is the lineage of the Gods. Elder Delbert Stapley once proclaimed:
“Regardless of man’s claims to the contrary, God is still God; Christ is His son – His Only Begotten Son in the flesh. He is in the express image of His Father’s person, and is our Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and King. The scriptures teach us that we are descended from the lineage of the Gods; therefore, we are created in their likeness and image, in both spirit and body, and we are endowed with like character traits, qualities, and powers. We are not the product of evolution from some lower organism of life as man speculates and would have us believe.”
True words. Each syllable reverberates with power. They have the ring of truth and all who possess discernment feel it in their bones and know deep inside themselves that they were made for so much more than the fallen world tells them.
The Bible affirms that we were there with God, our Father, before the world was created. Wise Solomon wrote:
“The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before the works of old.
“I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
“When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
“Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
“While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
“When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
“When he established the clouds above: When he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
“When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
“Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
“Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:22-31).
I personally don’t know how it could be any plainer. You lived “before the works of old,” “before the mountains were settled,” and when the Lord “had not made the earth.” When the seas and the heavens were created, you were there. You rejoiced to learn of the Father’s Plan of Happiness and you were “by him” and “rejoicing always before him.”
The Lord also explained to Jeremiah that before he was conceived in his mother’s womb, He knew him and had ordained him to great works (Jeremah 1:5). How did He know him? You can’t know what has not been created yet, but you can know what is and was. He knew Jeremiah because Jeremiah was there with Him in pre-mortality, just as Solomon was. You were there, too, and God knows you perfectly.
Dear reader, you lived before! Your pastor won’t tell you this. Your bishop would call it a lie. Your priest would tell you to stop believing in fables. They are like the pharisees who condemned the Christ and crucified Him on a tree. They rejected plain doctrine, too. They did not want to believe in their potential. They did not want the abundant life that Christ promised them, which abundance begins with a correct knowledge of God and our real relationship to Him.
It was the Savior who taught: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent” (John 17:3). That same Savior, who urged us to know Him and God, called God, “my Father, and your Father; and . . . my God, and your God” (John 20:17). Was Jesus wrong? Is God not truly our Father? If He’s not really our Father, then why did He teach this? He plainly taught that the Creator is our Father and God and His Father and God. If we follow Christ, we must believe these core verities.
There is nothing to fear in believing Jesus’ words and in taking them at face value. Why not believe that His Father is also your Father? Why not trust that knowing Jesus is knowing the Father? Why not simply have faith that God is our Father and that we are intended to become like Him? Is there any harm or danger in believing what Jesus believed, taught, and lived?
Again, I say, there is nothing to fear in believing the Bible. False priests may oppress you and revile you and tell you that you are going to hell, but they did the same thing to our Savior for teaching these very same doctrines. Satan always uses religious authorities who have clouded minds and hardened hearts to castigate truth-tellers and to conceal the real meaning of God’s word.
Yet, God’s word is plain and easy to understand. It proclaims that we are the children of God, that He is our Father, that we are His heirs with Christ, and that we lived before and will live again after this life. What powerful ideas! What motivation! What a thrill it is to know who we really are and that we are properly sons or daughters of the greatest Being in the universe!
There is nothing more life-changing than to comprehend our true origin, our Parent-child relationship to God, and our divine potential. Because these truths burn so brightly in my soul, I wrote a book called The Lineage of the Gods to testify of and expound them. The Lineage of the Gods is replete with quotations from men more inspired than I who have testified in soberness that we lived before, that we have something of God’s divinity in embryonic form inside us, and that, if we give ourselves completely to Christ, His atoning grace will bring us back to our Father where we will embark on an even greater journey of upward progression.
The following statements are just a few found in my book. A prophet of God, President Lorenzo Snow, once said:
“I believe that we are the sons and daughters of God, and that He has bestowed upon us the capacity for infinite wisdom and knowledge, because He has given us a portion of Himself. We are told that we were made in His own image, and we find that there is a character of immortality in the soul of man. There is a spiritual organism within this tabernacle, and that spiritual organism has a divinity in itself, though perhaps in an infantile state; but it has within itself the capability of improving and advancing, as the infant that receives sustenance from its mother. Though the infant may be very ignorant, yet there are possibilities in it that by passing through the various ordeals of childhood to maturity enable it to rise to a superiority that is perfectly marvelous, compared with its infantile ignorance. Why and how is it that this is accomplished? Because it possesses the susceptibilities and the capabilities of its father. So in regard to ourselves. There is a divinity within ourselves that is immortal and never dies. Thousands and thousands of years hence we will be ourselves, and nobody else, so far as our individuality is concerned. That never dies from all eternity to all eternity” (President Lorenzo Snow, General Conference, April 10, 1898; The Lineage of the Gods, 73).
Who can argue with this logic? It’s as simple as 2 + 2 = 4. And, more importantly, it is scripturally substantiated.
The fact that we may eventually progress to become like God is not only perfectly reasonable, it’s the very path that Jesus Christ followed to become the Redeemer. He did not begin His life in full perfection; though, because of His unique situation of being begotten by the Father in the flesh, He had greater immediate capacity than the rest of us, including power over death which was indispensable to fulfilling the Atonement. And, yet, Jesus attained His mortal perfection and confirmed His pre-mortal titles of Lord and King through the same perfect obedience He commands us to have (Hebrews 5:8-9). Elder Bruce R. McConkie once explained:
“Though [Jesus] has now attained unto that exalted state in which he is described as being “from everlasting to everlasting” (D&C 61:1) and “from all eternity to all eternity” (D&C 39:1) – as will eventually be the description and state of all those who gain exaltation (D&C 132:20) – yet, as a conscious identity, he had a beginning. He was born, as were all the spirit children of the Father. God was his Father, as he is of all the rest. For him, as for all men – and he is the Prototype – the eternal spirit element that has neither beginning nor end, and is self-existent by nature, was organized into a spirit body. He was one of “the intelligences that were organized before the world was.” (Abr. 3:22.) He was and is the Firstborn of the Father.
Jesus commands us to follow Him and be like Him. Why do we refuse to believe we can become like Him when He commands us to do just that?
President Ezra Taft Benson affirmed the reality of our divine origin and potential:
“We believe God to be the personal Heavenly Father to all mankind, that all mortal beings are literally His spirit offspring. We worship God as a personal, all-knowing, all-powerful being, endowed with all the attributes of perfection. As God’s literal offspring, we believe man to be His only creation blessed with His image and His likeness” (Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, 126; The Lineage of the Gods, 76).
Think of it – we are “God’s literal offspring”! How incredible! And how truly comforting. Another time, President Benson said:
“Our doctrine of God is clear. He is our Heavenly and Eternal Father. We are His literal children. Through righteous living according to His plan we can see God and become like Him” (Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 4-5; The Lineage of the Gods, 79).
President Gordon B. Hinckley further stated:
““We sing, “I am a child of God” (Hymns, no. 301). That isn’t just a figment, a poetic figment—that is the living truth. There is something of divinity within each of us that needs cultivation, that needs to come to the surface, that needs to find expression. You fathers and mothers, teach your children that they are, in a very literal way, sons and daughters of God. There is no greater truth in all the world than that—to think that we have something of divinity in us” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley, 77; The Lineage of the Gods, 77-78).
Again, I ask, why did Jesus continually refer to God as His “Father” if it is not true? Why does the Bible say we are the children of God if it is a lie? Why did Malachi say “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” if it is false (Malachi 2:10)? It’s time to take the Bible at face value and follow our Lord in believing that God is really our Father.
The great scholar and religious authority, President Joseph Fielding Smith, remarked:
“Man is the greatest of all the creations of God. He is his offspring. We are all his children. It was made known through the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, who saw it in vision, that the inhabitants of this earth and other worlds are begotten sons and daughters unto God. That ought to put an end – so far as Latter-day Saints are concerned – to all this nonsense prevailing in the world regarding the origin of man.
“Man, I say, as the offspring of God, is the greatest of all his creations. He is greater than the moon, the sun, and the stars, which are the work of the fingers of God, and are made for the benefit of man. It is man’s place to rule, and stand at the head of all other dominions, powers, creations, and beings, which the Lord our God has created” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, 62-263; The Lineage of the Gods, 84-85).
Nothing compares to man because man is in the image of God, the greatest of all, and comes from His direct lineage. We would be His mere playthings – arbitrary creations – if He simply snapped us into existence one day. But logic refutes this demeaning idea. It lessens both man and God. Instead, the truth beckons us to embrace our Parent-child relationship with our Eternal Father and reach upward to the heavens.
Finally, I quote from President Lorenzo Snow again. He testified:
“[T]he Spirit of God fell upon me to a marked extent, and the Lord revealed to me, just as plainly as the sun at noonday, this principle, which I put in a couplet: “As man now is, God once was; As God now is, man may be.” That fulfilled Father Smith’s declaration. Nothing was ever revealed more distinctly than that was to me. Of course, now that it is so well known that it may not appear such a wonderful manifestation; but when I received it, the knowledge was marvelous to me. This principle, in substance, is found also in the scriptures. The Lord said to John, as recorded in the third chapter of his Revelation: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne”” (President Lorenzo Snow, in Clyde J. Williams, ed., The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, 2; The Lineage of the Gods, 71-72).
It is marvelous indeed! We have a Lord and a God who, through experience, know what mortality is like. Through experience, They have overcome and stand before us showing the way to perfection and eternal life. It is a black mark upon Christendom that they have largely rejected the Lord’s teachings regarding man’s origin and glorious potential to become just like Him and our Heavenly Father. I urge you to embrace the Bible in its fulness, accepting with joy the fact that you are a literal son or daughter of God Almighty and that you may, through the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ, become like Him and be a joint-heir of Heaven with your Lord Jesus Christ.
This article is not a commercial for my book, though it is a unique volume that I wish every human alive would read. It is, rather, a fervent witness from the bottom of my soul of the special station of man. We are the literal children of God! You are His son or daughter. You lived with Him before you came to earth. Yes, you lived before!
You have eons of glorious memories to unlock one day. You have countless friends whom you have forgotten that you need to become reacquainted with after this mortal life ends and you graduate into eternity. You have your true self to find, comprehend, and embrace. And, one blessed day, you will comprehend God and acknowledge Him as your literal Father in whose arms you were once held and raised and loved.
The Lord loves you. Your Father loves you. You once knew Them personally and lived in their holy presence in preparation for this very moment in which you would prove that you would follow them in the face of opposition. If you follow Christ’s injunction to “come unto me” (Matthew 11:28) and become “even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27), you will inherent eternal glory alongside your Savior.
April 9, 2022