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Only Gods go to Heaven

Inspiration comes in strange places. I was listening to a talk at the weekend that caused me to reflect upon a fundamental principle of Mormonism: that humans can become gods. The talk was on the ancient Sumerian kings of Ur.

A few (and only a few) kings of ancient Mesopotamia became gods, allowing them to ascend to heaven upon their deaths. This is no small deal as all other kings and people, good or bad, descended to the Netherworld (like Hades, not a pleasant place). This is sometimes hard for people to fathom, but it is a fact in most of the ancient world (including that of the Old Testament) that heaven was the abode of the gods and the gods only.

In Christian thought, it is Jesus who changes this, unlocking the gates of Hades and allowing all to enter the abode of the gods. Mormons simply understand the literal implications of this revolution: if heaven is the House of God, then those that dwell there are gods.

It is interesting to note that the Egyptians were the anomaly in the ancient world, having a postive and celestial view of the afterlife. Abraham, anyone?

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Blogger Geoff J said ... (March 22, 2005 1:24 AM) 

Nice citation, Ronan.

It reminds me of the scriptural term "the gates of hell shall not prevail against them". Why does Hell have gates? Certainly not to keep people out. It's to keep them in. So this doctrine you mention truly is the "good news". We can prevail against those gates and join the gods in heaven.


Blogger Dave said ... (March 22, 2005 2:35 PM) 

There's another side to the story though. Hades or the land of the dead in ancient religion was just a dull and dreary place, whereas in Christian theology it became a place of great suffering. Here, LDS doctrine returned to earlier models, with the "non-exaltation" kingdoms being not fire and brimstone but kingdoms of glory (albeit of a lower degree). Only a few terribly evil souls, in the Mormon view, end up really suffering in the hereafter.


Anonymous J. Stapley said ... (March 22, 2005 6:00 PM) 

Dave: Only a few terribly evil souls, in the Mormon view, end up really suffering in the hereafter.

Eternally, that is. There are plenty of those who will suffer for their own sins in Hades.

I reminded of the Greek form of the Gospel of Nicodemus. In which the Lord decends into Hades or Hell (bumping into both Beelzebub and Satan or Satan and Hades depending on the translation) in order to liberate the saints.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (March 23, 2005 3:56 PM) 

This has always been a brain scratcher for me. I always wondered how it all works there... Thou shalt have no other gods before me...(big G or little g, I don;t have my books open?)

but... we will become Gods? How does ths fit in with ETERNAL progression... It was with this concept that I came up with my Amway approach to heaven.

Since God the Father is all knowing, but eternal progression is ...well... eternal. I came up with my Amway theory.

This may not work for everyone, but it reconciled it to me. (not that I like Amway, nor do I think the good lord condones it) If God is all knowing, then his progression must be...in the progression of his children. For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortalilty and eternal life of man.

So as we progress he increases in glory, and he always remains a step ahead of us. Always to have no other gods before him. I know there are some other great quotes about others, but that we only care about our God. SO what happens is that as we become Gods, and go through the whole process, spirits, earth, exhaltation, increase in glory, God increases in glory.

It is like a giant Pyramid scheme. I just wish I could have gotten higher up in the pyramid.

SO maybe I am way off base.. but it worked for me. At some point, we can just stop working, and we will just hold motivational conferences for other Gods and the money... I mean the glory will just keep rolling in.

Wanna be in my downline? I am working on double diamond.


Blogger Ronan said ... (March 23, 2005 4:39 PM) 

Which is why so many Mormons do Amway! Now I understand...

Seriously, I have a hard time imagining that God uses us for his own benefit. I have always believed that his grace is selfless, and that the Plan of Salvation is a plan and not a scheme.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (March 25, 2005 12:48 PM) 

Pyramid plan then? I don't think it is that way for his own gain, I think it just happens that way in the name of order. That is the beauty of the plan.

I agree with you that God's motivation would never be to do anything for personal gain. An increase of glory just happens to be a side benefit, and keeps it all in perspective. He will always be our superior. However somehow I doubt we will care about rank and position once we are there... I can only imagine that our interests will only consist of working to bring to pass the immortalilty and eternal life of man.

Maybe I am way off base... Or maybe not, wanna buy some soap?


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