Divine Embodiment : The Earliest Christian Understanding of God
Early Christians in Disarray : Contemporary LDS Perspectives on the Christian Apostasy
Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies ; Brigham Young University
Though God’s self-disclosures to Joseph radically contradicted the established Christian creeds, it is critical to note that Joseph never claimed that what he learned about God’s nature was “new” truth, hidden by God until the nineteenth century. To the contrary, Joseph testified that his view was a restoration of the biblical and primitive Judeo-Christian understanding of God, an understanding that was lost because of a “falling away”—an apostasy—from the truths once held by the earliest Christians.
My study of the relevant evidence convinces me that Joseph is correct: biblical writings and the documents of formative Judaism and primitive Christianity consistently portray God as an embodied person, humanlike in form. In this paper, I detail this evidence, showing that the later Christian loss of the knowledge that God is embodied resulted from the attempt of early Christian apologists to reconcile their beliefs with their dominantly Greek culture. [From the text]