Home > God, Grace, Jesus, Mormonism, Salvation > “You are from beneath; I am from above”

“You are from beneath; I am from above”

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The LDS “Plan of Salvation” is the core of all of its major and distinctive doctrines. One of the reasons for this is that it helps us understand what they believe about God and why, as well as their view of man.

According to Mormonism, we all existed as spirit beings with God before we came to earth in physical bodies. This is commonly referred to as the pre-existence. Simply stated, we were not created, but rather begotten in the spirit and therefore of the same type or species of being as God but at a different level of progression.

It is taught that at one point in time, God was once a man just like we are and was able to progress to the level of godhood that he enjoys now. This too can be our future if we follow the LDS system for salvation or “exaltation” as they say. In this post I don’t want to address the issue of the nature or progression of God, rather I want to speak of the idea that we all existed with God in the pre-existence before coming to earth.

Following LDS teaching, I lived with God as one of his spirit children and I was faced with a decision during the war in heaven to either follow Lucifer or Jesus. Anyone here on earth with a physical body chose to follow Jesus. Those who did not were cast out of heaven along with Satan now roam the earth as spirits.
To state the doctrine in a simple way…we all came from heaven and if we do what we are supposed to do here on earth, we will return there when we die.

In the course of my usual Bible study I have come across a couple of verses that to me teach something all together different.

We will start with 1 Corinthians 15:46-49.

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

Notice that just as Adam was from the earth, so are we. The Man that is from heaven is spoken of in the singular form and is the Lord.

John 3:31
He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

John 8:23

And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

These passages in John point us to the fact that Jesus himself declares that He alone is from above and consequently above all. Our place of origin is this world, while His is not.

Why is this significant? Why take time to write about this? The answer is simple.
When we believe in doctrines that elevate or exalt us to the same divine origin as God it devalues Him and sets us up on a pedestal we don’t deserve to be on. The Bible is clear that we are created beings while Jesus is the only begotten of the Father. That means that naturally, only Jesus is of the same nature as God the Father. It is only through the principle of adoption that we become children of God and that is only possible when we see and accept our true state as sinners before a perfect and holy God and ask him to apply the blood of Jesus in our lives to wash away our sin.

Update:
A few days after posting this, a friend pointed out to me that John 6: 38-46 is another demonstration of this idea that Jesus claimed to be the only Man who came from heaven. Note also that it appears that the Jews of the time had no comprehension or teaching of a pre-existence. This is demonstrated by their confusion in verse 41-42.

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God. Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.

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Categories: God, Grace, Jesus, Mormonism, Salvation
  1. September 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Interesting … it sounds as though your interpretation of the Bible verses is very literal.

    In your opinion, then, where were our spirits before this earth? And where will we go after this existence?

  2. September 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I don’t see a problem with literal interpretations of the Bible. It is not the only way to look at scripture but it is a valid method.

    This post only touches on the idea of a pre-existence as outlined by LDS doctrine and not what comes after death. Perhaps I will address that in the next few days.

    To start I think it is important to note that in the creation account the making of our spirits is not discussed. Again, remember the difference in the terms created and begotten. Mormonism would say that our spirits were begotten by Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Genesis says that God created Adam from the dust of the earth and then “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7) It would appear that Adam’s spirit was created with the very breath of God at the moment it was put into him.

    Scripture tells us that God knew us before we were born.(Jeremiah 1:4-5) and all our days were written in His book before one of them came to be.(Psalm 139:16) This fits just fine into the Christian view since we believe in a God who is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent and sovereign. He is not bound by time like we are and can see from beginning to end, knowing who we are in an intimate way.

    It also tells us in Psalm 139:13-15 that God created our inmost being and knit us together in our mother’s womb.

    Another interesting passage would be Job 15 where Eliphaz a friend of Jobs tries to point out some of his bad judgments by asking him some questions to which the answer is obvious. “Are you the first man who was born? Or were you made before the hills? Have you heard the counsel of God? Do you limit wisdom to yourself?”
    The second question has to do with existing before the world was formed but though the question is perhaps rhetorical, the context puts the answer as no.

    Taking these passages into account, I would say that we were created in our mother’s womb and at the beginning of that process; God puts his breath of life into us. When reading the Bible it is important to let scripture interpret scripture. That is why I try to use as many verses as possible or as space allows. It is not good to insert doctrines where they are not truly there. This is something that I saw happen many times when I was LDS.

    I have yet to find any Biblical evidence or reasoning that has even remotely convinced me of the LDS view of both the pre-existence and the after-life.

  3. September 30, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Seems to me that the Bible teaches that we are still-born, spiritually speaking. Jesus talks about us being “born again” – that is, we were once born physically, but it’s not until we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord that we become born spiritually.

    It IS interesting that Mormonism teaches that we are ALREADY godly – if for no other reason than that that is exactly opposite of what Jesus taught (like so many other things in Mormonism). And you’re right; it does elevate the Mormon opinion of him/herself so that she looks right past Jesus as an answer. What more could Satan want?

    Examples of the idea that we are spiritually dead:

    Colossians 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses”

    Romans 5:21 “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    Some examples of Jesus teaching the opposite of Mormonism:

    Just One God and one way to have eternal life: “…this is life eternal, that they might know thee THE ONLY TRUE GOD, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3)

    no marriage in heaven: “…in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” (Mat 22:30, 12:25; Luke 17:27, 20:34-35)

    Jesus is not Satan’s brother, but his creator: “… by him (Jesus) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” – (Colossians 1:16-17)

    No need for a “restored” church or gospel: “…I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18) ”

    Family not most important: “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:35-37)

    Jesus not a separate god from the Father: “…Who (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God…” (Colossians 1:15) and

    “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” Philip said: “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” and “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:7-9), and “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

    etc

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