What we believe about God is probably the most important thing we can believe. Everything else in a world view starts with our concept of God. So let’s try to understand what Mormonism says about God so we can compare our own beliefs.
Mormons believe God the Father has not always been God.
Mormons believe there was a time when God was not God – he was actually once a man. Joseph Smith said, “God himself was once as we are now…. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for certainty the Character of God,…that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.” A later prophet of Mormonism summarized that doctrine in a famous saying: “As man now is, God once was.”
By contrast, the Bible teaches that God has always been God.
Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.
Mormons believe God the Father is an exalted man.
Mormons believe God did not remain in his mortal human state. He progressed to become God. That’s what the word “exalted” means to Mormons. Here’s more from that same Joseph Smith quote: “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!”
But the Bible teaches that God is not a man, nor ever was a man. It teaches that God doesn’t have the failings that human being have. The reason is not just because he is a highly evolved or exalted human, but because he isn’t human at all.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
Mormons believe God the Father has a physical body of flesh and bone.
A training manual called Gospel Principles, found on the Mormon Church website, states that God’s “eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones.” It makes sense they would think that because if God was a man, he would have a human body: 2 arms, 2 legs, internal organs, etc.
But the Bible teaches that God does not have a body, but is a spirit. It doesn’t say, God HAS a spirit, but God IS spirit. By definition this means he is not embodied.
John 4:24 For God is Spirit….
Mormons believe human beings can become like God is now.
The second half of that earlier saying: “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.” If God was once a man who became God, it makes sense that others can do the same thing.
But the Bible teaches that God is a far different kind of being from us. Human beings can’t become gods. That’s an insult to the uniqueness and glory of the one being who really is God. The prophet Isaiah condemns in the strongest terms those who fail to maintain this distinction. He quotes a king who thought he could become like God:
Isaiah 14:14-15 ‘I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’ Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths.