TRUE GOD FROM TRUE GOD
by Mrs. Darwin
A number of years ago, my husband and I had a conversation with some very nice Mormons who were taking us through the standard points of their presentation. Most of it was fairly unmemorable, but what I do remember of it had to with an discussion over the concept of everyone becoming some kind of minor deity in the Mormon conception of heaven, with Jesus as the literal firstborn of the Father. Doubtless I’m mangling a core aspect of Mormon theology, but I’ll recount the conversation as best I can.
“But does Jesus have the same will as the Father?” my husband asked.
“Yes, of course?”
“But is their will one, or is two different wills agreeing?”
The missionaries conferred for a moment.
“They have two separate wills that agree.”
“Well, agree with what? If they agree, that means there’s some outside will to which they’re conforming. So what higher good are they agreeing with? We’re not even talking about the same god here. I don’t want to bother with any lesser gods—I want to go straight to the top. That’s the God I worship.”
We hear numerous stories from antiquity of gods producing gods—Zeus has children almost too numerous to count, and he in turn was at strife with his father Cronos. God from god, gods at odds with gods, divine parents and children squabbling just as epically and pathetically as mere mortals, their quarrels emphasizing their essential division.
But Jesus, the Son, is not a lesser god than the Father, always in conflict for domination or a lesser entity grudgingly doing the will of the greater. Instead, the Father and Son are so intimately connected, so essentially one, that the distinction between them flows from their relationship: the Father generates the Son; the Son is begotten of the Father. The Son is “born of the Father before all ages”. Their relationship exists outside of time, an eternal effusion of true creative love begetting true love, their will always one. And the love proceeding from this generation is so true and so creative, it is its own person—the Holy Spirit. “True god from true god” is a trinitarian statement: The father, true God, begetting the Son, true God, and from that begetting proceeds true God, the Holy Spirit. One true God, three persons.
I carry within myself both the externally generated relationships of Mother and of Daughter. My mother and I don’t exist only in relation to one another. Though I can only be a mother because I was first a daughter, my motherhood isn’t generated by hers, though sometimes it is a tribute to hers and sometimes a direct protest. She too is a daughter, in relation to a different mother. My mother’s will and her daughters’ wills are sometimes at odds—we all try our best, but none of us could be described as the true mother or the true daughter.
Nor am I eternally begetting my own daughters. They are the proceeding of the creative love between my husband and me, but they definitely have wills of their own. We share a human nature, but no one would speak of our relationship as “true human from true human”. Humanity, by its nature, is individual, divided. Our wills are united only inasmuch as they’re united in something higher than us, in God’s will.
Jesus isn’t just “god from god”, some eternal divinity co-existing with the Big Father. He is God. There is no division in God, only relationship. As humans, relationship by definition entails division, separate entities sharing (sometimes contentiously) a common family or goal. These fractured mortal relationships are only a shadowing of the essential unity of relationship in God: three persons, one will, true God from true God.
What are your thoughts? What else can we learn from “True God from true God”?
Mrs Darwin blogs with her husband at DarwinCatholic.
Read all the entries in the Blog Series: Credo: Professing the Creed for the Year of Faith.