We had a great discussion in class about the misconceptions that people have about God. Article 2 of the constitution of the church (verses 17-27) deal with the nature of God. The three greatest truths of all eternity are that 1) There is a God in heaven and He is your heavenly Father, 2) Jesus is His Son, the Christ sent to save mankind from their sins, and 3) The Holy Ghost speaks the will of God to man and testifies of the Father and the Son.
Some of the misconceptions that the students identified were as follows:
He has no body
The Father, Son, Holy Ghost are all the same person
His justice is misunderstood (too strict)
His mercy is misunderstood (God is too merciful- you can do whatever you want)
He does not exist
He is not involved in your life- the Deist God who wound up the universe, set it on the shelf and is not overly concerned about the state of affairs here on earth
Jesus is a woman- interesting that a student would be aware of the Shaking Quakers & the revelation involving Leman Copley!
Jesus is not in charge- other Gods rule- each class had a different list
God will save all men regardless of their state (a subset of the too merciful God), a Universalist theology
There were others to add to this list, but this will suffice. We had a marvelous discussion asking the question, “what would a culture look like that believed in this sort of God?” We had some great answers to this question and illustrated them as best we could. We saw that the Puritans had in many respects, followed the too much justice model of Jesus Christ. We discussed the pros and cons and compared the Puritans with our society today. What would the Puritans say of American Christianity in 2010? I believe they would be appalled at how much the pendulum has swung to the other side of the too merciful/Universalist Jesus.
As we illustrated several of these misconceptions and how when we do not understand the character of God we can easily be led astray, we then used the Book of Mormon (article 1 of the constitution of the church) to illustrate a correct understanding of the Savior.
Does the Book of Mormon address the idea that God does not have a body? We took a look at 3 Nephi 10-27 to address not only that misconception, but also the Deist philosophy as well. What about the God who saves all of His children regardless of belief or obedience to Him? Nehor takes on this role in Alma 1. The nonexistent God who says do whatever you want? 2 Nephi 28 and Alma 30 take that head on.
Is God’s justice so severe that we have no chance? Lamoni is a perfect illustration of how God can forgive even the worst sinner. Alma the Younger says that he was the vilest of all sinners (Mosiah 28:4). I really like the last verse in 3 Nephi. It reads, “Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.” (3 Nephi 30:2 emphasis added)
Is there a chance? You bet there is. Repent and come unto Christ – understand who He is and what He wants for you in your life.