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There are quite a number of verses that seem to contrast the LDS teaching of exaltation, where man may become like God and God was once like man, in submission to a God like Him on a different world somewhere.

The most difficult ones to reconcile with this theology are in Isaiah 43, 44 and 45.

"Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me." Isaiah 43:10

"'I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me." Isaiah 44:6

"Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none." Isaiah 44:8

"I am Yahweh, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God." Isaiah 45:5

"Surely, God is with you, and there is none else, No other God." Isaiah 45:14

"I am Yahweh, and there is none else." Isaiah 45:18

"Is it not I, Yahweh? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me." Isaiah 45:21

"I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me" Isaiah 46:9

There are more on this page here, which is where I got these, so I don't know what translation they are.

How does the LDS church respond to this?

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Perhaps it would be better to ask how the LDS church interprets verses that suggest there is one and only one God. I imagine they will say that these verses are indicating there is only one God with whom we should be concerned. –  Narnian Dec 23 '13 at 20:51
    
@Narnian That is only one possibility I could see as being the answer. I don't want to lead the answer anywhere specific. So I just ask "How do they respond?" –  fredsbend the Grinch Dec 24 '13 at 0:14

4 Answers 4

The ones in the Old Testament are actually quite easy to reconcile. Latter-day Saints believe Jesus Christ to be the God of the Old Testament. In other words, Moses spoke with the antemortal Christ. Our Heavenly Father created worlds by Jesus Christ. And "beside me there is no God" as read in Isaiah would be spoken by Jesus Christ, who is our only Savior.

And it is consistent that there is no other like God. No other Gods concern us. We worship God our Heavenly Father only, and subject ourselves to His will. No other god, "as there be gods many," is of concern to us.

Quite frankly, Latter-day Saints do not focus on or even discuss other gods and worlds as they are not pertinent to our salvation. There are lots of questions lately about the topic of exaltation, which is fine, but be reminded that not much is understood about it and it is not our concern in mortality. We simply do our best, keep the commandments, and follow the Savior to return home where we want to be. We "hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection to be raised unto life eternal." (Moroni 7:41) That is our concern.

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Sorry about the influx of questions, but I'm currently doing some reading about this. And then your answers and comments spark additional thoughts. I hope you are on vacation already... :) –  Narnian Dec 23 '13 at 21:54
    
@Narnian Haha, yes, I'm already on vacation. And the questions aren't bad... they just aren't discussed among Latter-day Saints much and tread close to the "speculation zone" which they try to avoid since LDS are very particular about true doctrine. But I think many Saints wonder on these things occasionally. –  Matt Dec 23 '13 at 22:17
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I don't buy the "we're not concerned with them" argument. I own a Subaru. My neighbor owns a Subaru. I may not care what happens with his car, but if I said, "There are no other cars like mine," I would be incorrect. In other words, not caring about something does not excuse someone from having to explain it. –  Jeff Dec 23 '13 at 23:27
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@Jeff Probably for the same reasons that parents say "Because I said so" is why God makes no other gods our concern: because He said so. –  Matt Dec 24 '13 at 18:53
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@Jeff A better analogy would be how each of us have parents. While there are technically nearly an innumerable number of parents in the world(living and dead), each of us only ever have one Mom and one Dad. That there are others is merely a technicality which changes nothing. Similarly, no matter how many gods there are, only my God is the god with whom I interact. Technically, there are other gods, but practically there is only one. We aren't concerned with the other gods because they do not matter to us. –  Daniel Cook Dec 26 '13 at 19:09

Isaiah was speaking to Jews who had developed a habit of mixing worship of their God with the pagan gods of other nations, most prominently the Canaanites, but also Phoenician, Syrian, Philistine, and Egyptian gods, and included rites that were contrary to provisions of the Law of Moses. The Greeks of roughly this same period were were still worshipping the planets as gods. It was common in Egypt, Persia, and later, Rome to deify kings and rulers who were no wiser or more divine in their conduct than any other mortal and perhaps even less so than most, because of the tendency to flattery and sycophancy that have always attended high social position.

The mention of other (true) gods of other worlds, universes, or some post-mortal time who were not to be worshipped would have been needlessly confusing to his principal audience, as advanced teaching often is to those who have not mastered the basics.

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I remember once speaking to a foreign audience through a translator. She had difficulty whenever I used certain colloquial expressions such as "cut to the chase". Our language is full of these, but over centuries, in ancient texts, we struggle to interpret them properly which is why the old testament is so difficult for us. We cannot fully understand the customs, culture and idioms of the day.

The phrase "no God beside me" may be equivalent to our current expression "no one can hold a candle to him" or "out of my league". This is why Isaiah can use it faithfully while Paul can still write to the Corinthians "there be gods many and lords many". He doesn't mean people equal in authority to Christ, but those who may appear or claim to be so. Likewise, Christ quotes the psalmist "Ye are Gods" meaning we are children of God - not equal to Him. Later Christ will pray to the father on several occasions - the intercessory prayer, Gethsemane, and on the cross addressing him as The Father or "Eloi". Clearly he is not praying to Himself, but is addressing his Father, who "gave all things into (his) hands" (John 13:3). The Father (God) put the Son (God) in charge and this was witnessed at the baptism of Christ when the Father spoke, and sent the Holy Ghost (also God?). I hope this is helpful. :)

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I suppose it is possible that "there is no God like me" is a colloquialism, but do you have any evidence that it actually is? If not, then we probably should read it plainly. Otherwise, we could propose that to any passage of Scripture. Also, what about all the other verses listed? –  Narnian Aug 12 at 19:13

Here's something I took from another website that can help explain the question.

Isaiah 44:6 reads:

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Passages such as Isa 44:6,8 and 45:5,21 that read "no God beside me" or a variation of that phrase are traditionally interpreted by mainstream anti-Mormons as meaning that other than Yahweh no form of deity exists at all, including exalted men. This type of interpretation at first seems obvious, but after considering similar passages in other parts of scripture it is clear that this interpretation is incorrect.

For example, Isaiah 47:8-10 depicts the city of Babylon as saying:

Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:

For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.

These passages use the exact same phrase as Isa 44 and 45, yet they certainly do not exclude the existence of any city other than Babylon. The city of Ninevah would be very upset if this were the case, as Zephaniah depicts Ninevah in Zephaniah 2:15 as saying:

This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.

Again it is clear that this phrase does not exclude the very existence of other cities. Using these parallel phrases makes it clear that Isaiah is not excluding the very existence of any other deity when he quotes Yahweh as declaring "there is no God beside me." There are, in fact, several scriptures in the Old Testament that imply that Yahweh is in fact one of a number of Gods, albeit supreme. Compare the following passages from the KJV, NIV and ESV versions of the Bible:

And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? aor to thy faithfulness round about thee? (KJV Psalms 89:5-8)

The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings [fn. Lit "sons of god(s)]? In the council of holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. O LORD God almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you (NIV Psalms 89:5-8).

Among all the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works (Psalms 86:8).

God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment (ESV Psalms 82:1)

God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. (KJV Psalms 82:1)

These scriptures speak of divine beings, "gods" who are the "sons of god(s)" who are heavenly beings who dwell in the skies. These cannot be idols or false gods. Yahweh dwells among them, reigns over them, and holds judgment in their midst.

Hope that helps!

(Source: fairmormon.org)

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Labeling people with differing opinions as "Anti-Mormon" is absurd. We do not refer to Mormons as "Anti-Protestant". Would it not be better to speak more honorably of other people instead of just labeling them in such a derogatory manner? –  Narnian Mar 24 at 13:18
    
Anti Mormon isn't so much regarding anyone that disagrees with our faith. It's more talking about people who are fanatical in spending their time trying to bash, criticize, and find fault in the church, and it's their obsession. It's kind of a cultural slang term, but yeah I understand how it could be interpreted that way. –  ExCrispy Mar 25 at 23:15
    
So, according to your second paragraph, virtually all of mainstream Christianity is labeled as "Anti-Mormon", because they view those verses as indicating there is only one God and no other? –  Narnian Mar 26 at 11:54

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