In the context of the doctrine of exaltation, which says that God was a man who was exalted to Godhead, and Jesus after him, interpret Phillipians 2:6, which says that Jesus was "in the form of God" and "thought it not robbery to be equal with God"?

2 Answers 2


Hmm, the LDS scriptures (the KJV) does not say that. It reads, speaking of Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

In this case, the Bible translation matters. These verses are about Jesus' condescension.

Mormons definitely believe that becoming like God is something to aspire to.

  • 4
    Surely the Greek matters far more than any translation? Have LDS scholars commented on the Greek?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 7:27
  • 2
    I'm looking for more elucidation on that verse from an LDS perspective. I've changed the text in the question to reflect the KJV text. Thank you for correcting me.
    – Andrew
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 13:30
  • @curiousdannii the Greek is morphe, which is repeated in "form of a sevant" but not in "likeness of a man."
    – Andrew
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 13:32
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    @curiousdannii The apostles didn't speak Greek, the Greek itself is a translation. Remember that the LDS consider the words of living prophets to be of more worth than the words of dead prophets.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 3:55
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    @ShemSeger Um, no, most of the apostles probably did speak Greek, and Paul definitely did, see Acts 21:37-39. And even if you were right, focusing on the English like this would be a further step away from the real words of the Apostles. If you want to focus on the words of the living prophets then please write another answer that does so, because this answer really just looks like a personal opinion.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 3:59

Paul taught that when the Savior was born into mortality, He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). Jesus Christ gave up His premortal status “in the form of God” and was born into mortality “in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6–7). In the Book of Mormon, the idea of Christ descending below all things is called “the condescension of God” (1 Nephi 11:16; see also verses 17–33; Psalm 22:14; Isaiah 53:12).

Joseph, Mary, Jesus For unto Us a Child Is Born, by Lynne Millman Weidinger

According to Elder Tad R. Callister of the Seventy, “God the Son traded his heavenly home with all its celestial adornments for a mortal abode with all its primitive trappings. He, ‘the King of heaven’ (Alma 5:50), ‘the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth’ (Mosiah 5:3), left a throne to inherit a manger. He exchanged the dominion of a god for the dependence of a babe. He gave up wealth, power, dominion, and the fullness of his glory—for what?—for taunting, mocking, humiliation, and subjection. It was a trade of unparalleled dimension, a condescension of incredible proportions, a descent of incalculable depth” (The Infinite Atonement [2000], 64).

Chapter 45: Philippians and Colossians New Testament Student Manual, 2014

  • Perhaps I misunderstand the doctrine of exaltation- I was under the impression that all (good) men may become like God according to that doctrine. Was Jesus already God before he was born, and are all men in like form of God before they are born?
    – Andrew
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 4:33
  • Jesus was not exalted before he was born. Christ is literally the oldest spirit child of the father. The eldest spirit brother of every human being born on earth. Exaltation requires more than simply being good. There are going to be a lot of good people who aren't going to be resurrected.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 4:45
  • The phrasing "God the Son traded his heavenly home..." Made me think he was God before. I know not all good men will, which is why I said "may". Is there a relation between his exaltation and the primacy of his birth?
    – Andrew
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 5:50
  • @Andrew I'm not sure why I said, "There are going to be a lot of good people who aren't going to be resurrected" in my previous comment. That's completely false. Everyone will be resurrected, but not all will be exalted. We all traded our heavenly home, and we were all gods (small 'g') before: "Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." (Psalms 82:6), but exaltation is something we must earn, hence the creation of the Earth, and our mortal existence.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 14:07
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    @Andrew I can see where the confusion comes from. Christ was, 'exalted' as a spirit to the station of God of the whole Earth, but he had not yet been 'exalted' as the Gods on high, what the members of the Church most commonly associate 'exaltation' with. The difference is in the literal definition of exaltation, and the doctrinal definition of exaltation as it applies after the resurrection.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 16:30

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