"Mormonism is almost indistinguishable from mainstream Christianity in terms of its surface and essence; but is significantly different in the underlying metaphysical explanations of key terms.
This comes across in many well known ways – but an aspect I hadn’t previously noticed is that Christian ‘Love’ (or ‘Charity’ in the Authorized/ King James Bible – which is a translation of Agape) is conceptualized very differently from those types of Christianity which have a Classical Theology based on Greek and Roman philosophy.
CS Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves (1960) in which he distinguished Affection (Storge; pronounced stor-gu) = Familial love; Friendship (Philia); Eros (Erotic love) and Agape (Charity). Much of the book prepares the ground for demonstating that Agape is an utterly distinct form of love from – and not to be confused with – any of the other three ‘natural’ loves.
However, I suddenly realized that for Mormons, Agape is not a distinct form of love; but in fact a completed and divininized version of Storge, or Familial love.
Thus, the focus of Mormonism is on a Heavenly Father – who is a literal (not metaphorical or adoptive) Father, and a Mother in Heaven who is his celestial wife; Jesus Christ as their first born Son, now grown to equal divinity; and men and women as literal children of God, and literal (but only embryonically divine) brothers and sisters to Christ.
For Mormonism; men and women are divine – in part and weakly, but divine in origin and scope – and the difference in stature between men and women and God the Father and/ or Jesus Christ is ultimately not of kind or quality; but a matter of degree.
A truly vast difference of degree, for sure! But in the end a quantitative difference – because each Man’s destiny (or potential) is to (eventually, at some probably very, very distant time – and only if he chooses to, and chooses well) become of the same stature as God (although always under His authority, being intrinsically His child).
However for Lewis, as for most Mainstream Christians – the difference between God and Man is absolute and unbridgeable: the difference between The Creator (ex nihilo – creating everything from nothing) – omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, un-embodied, living outside the universe and outside of Time… And A Creature, who is none of these, and never can be.
Agape – for Classical Theology – is thus an abstract Love, not of this world, a ‘divine energy’ as Lewis terms it; and Agape is a pure Gift, because God has no need for us, no need for our love or for anything else, no need for anybody or anything to love. God is seen as utterly self-sufficient, imperturbable. If we do not love God then he loses nothing by it.
Therefore Agape is, for mainstream Christian theologians, a purely disinterested (impartial) love.
But for Mormonism all this is a philosophical error illegitimately imposed upon revelation – which depicts God as a passionate being, a God with strong wishes and desires, and (in The Pearl of Great Price) a God who weeps with compassion and empathy.
The Mormon God does not ‘need’ Men for His own existence – but he does need Men in a creative sense: in order to grow, to expand the circle of loving relationships at the divine level.
Put it this way: God may not need Man but He deeply wants Man – and deeply yearns for men and women to progress spiritually to become of the same qualitative stature as Himself – on the same level (much as a grown-up mortal child may mature to be on the same level as his earthly Father). This is, indeed, God’s greatest wish; and the reason for creation.
The Mormon theologian thus sees Heavenly love (Agape) as the apotheosis, the ideal extremity and perfection, of Storge or Familial love. And the Mormon Heaven is a place of divine families, loving each other in the same way, but to a greater and more consistent degree and across a greater scope, than the best of earthly mortal families.
So, perhaps this is another of the ways in which Mormonism strikes mainstream Christians as seriously wrong – in terms of misinterpreting, misrepresenting and in general ‘selling-short’ (as they see it) Agape.
While in contrast, from the Mormon perspective; the classical philosophical concept of Agape is probably regarded as an unreal, artificial, essentially-incomprehensible abstraction; and therefore something which is in reality (as Familial love) much simpler, more concrete, comprehensible, and down to earth – and a matter of our personal experiences and innate yearnings."
Minä vastasin professori Bruce Charltonille seuraavasti:
"Excellent and interesting, Mormon view makes a lot of sense. Jesus was a Jew, who taught Judaism, and Christianity has come to its present liberal state by distancing itself from Judaism, in essence by becoming apostate religion. In Judaism, and thus in original Christianity, man is not special in itself, not much in the eyes of God, not much different from animals, and there maybe beings in the universe who are more intelligent and advanced than us, in every way superior when compared to us. Man is made special when God talks to us, chooses to communicate with us, and engages in mutually effective and warm relationship with man that raises and develops both man and God higher, but of course man much more than God. God offered this relationship to many other peoples before Jews, but they rejected it. It was too demanding and they had to make too much sacrificies, they always found varying reasons to reject it, e.g. some people said, "We have to desist from robbing and murdering? No way, we get much of our wealth by robbing and murdering. We have always robbed and murdered, it is our way of life." Jews accepted God's offer both because they were ready to make more sacrifices than other people, and partly because of ignorance; they didnt know how much sacrifices they had to make in the future, hence they became the Chosen people. Jews therefore became Chosen people partly because of imperfection, which is typical to all men. In Jewish and original Christian theology, Satan is a "god" of abstraction and power. Satan is philosophically and wants to be philosophically at the center of the universe, he wants to rule and control the universe. God is philosophically either somewhere at the outer edges of universe or a presence that fills the universe with meaning, purpose, life and affection. To Satan men are abstract and insignificant objects and tools, to which he directs his will to power. Satan is extremely status sensitive, and his ultimate purpose is to displace God and take his place, the highest place. Satan takes without reciprocation, wants without limits, expands without limits and is endlessly greedy. Satan wants to trample people under his feet, crush their will and souls, dominate them and demands absolute obedience from them. Satan tries to achieve this often with indirect ways, by influencing men from behind the scenes, so that men dont notice Satan's influence. Gods wants to give, raise men higher, reciprocate mens good will, wants to have relationships with men and subsume benevolently the universe and everybody in it with godliness, as much as possible without removing free will. God cares about people, loves them."