Theosis (Mormon Style)

Mormons believe that all human beings are the literal children of God, and thus have the divine potential to become like Him.  Some have noted that the doctrine is not broached as frequently today as it used to be.  But it is still discussed.

Some relate to the theosis doctrine better than others.  Michael Vinson, in Dialogue (Dec 2009) asks the question:  “Where is the appeal in becoming a god.”  He then notes, ” . . . the thought of having to watch  . . . millions of birds die every day (commenting on Matthew 10:29) without saving any is a little more than I can handle.  Of course, it isn’t just the sparrows–it’s the young mothers with cancer, the fathers caught in crippling accidents, the premature passings of children who haave lived too little in life, repeated daily by the millions around he world.  It’s the awesome responsibility to watch and listen over the whole earth but not to intervene that mystifies me.”

On a more positive note, social philosopher (and non-Mormon) Richard Rorty liked the concept of theosis and some of the theological speculations that emerge from the doctrine.  According to his wife (who is Mormon), “He thought that eternal progression was just great.  He liked the idea of a religion that builds into its expectation for its members progression on their part.  He liked its evolutionary aspects.”  “He saw Mormonism, in terms of this evolutionary theme, presenting God as a aspirtation for human development, not something in comparison to which human beings are devalued.”

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