Articles of Faith: One

5 Mar

In my last post I went over the origin and history of the Articles of Faith. Today I will discuss briefly the first of the Articles, as given below.

We believe in God, the Eternal Father; and in His Son, Jesus Christ; and in the Holy Ghost.

Now this is a very simple statement, but it is filled with important information and suggestions.

First, I find it interesting that Joseph Smith chose to affirm our belief in these three first. He could have started with any number of doctrines, but specifically listed our belief in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost first. This is significant as it establishes this doctrine as the foundation of all other doctrine. Before we express belief in anything else we declare our faith in God and Christ.

Second, this statement simply dispels all claims that we do not believe in Christ or God. Many people, even in the time of Joseph Smith, claim we are not Christian and do not believe in Christ. This is not as prevalent anymore, but I think Joseph Smith statement this as he did so that there could be no doubt as the fact that we believe in the God and the Christ of the Bible.

Third, I note that Joseph Smith does not affirm the trinity. He lists the three members of the Godhead as individuals with no indication of them being one. This is significant as it implies a rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity as taught in other Christian faiths. So, while affirming the existence of these three beings he is not affirming the trinity as others understand it.

Fourth, this statement clearly teaches the relationship between the Father and the Son. There is the Father, who is the Father of all spirits and stand supreme; then it is not just ‘the son’ but ‘His Son’ that we believe in, declaring that very personal and intimate family relationship that they share. The relationship of the Father and son is also clearly stated in John 20: 17 “…but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” The Father is our Father and our God, but not in the same intimate relation that He is the Father and God of Christ, and the first Article of Faith clearly and simply states this relationship.

So, this first Article is simple and yet profound. It declares the Godhead to be the foundation doctrine of the Gospel; It proves us to be Christians and believers in Christ; It separates us from the rest of Christianity in our understanding of God; and it teaches us the relationship between the Father and the Son.

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