James Rudd, Fort Collins, Colorado
Who Was the God of the Old Testament?
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint’s (Mormon) polytheistic view of the Godhead is the pre-incarnate Jesus had been a man on another planet, qualified for Godhead, was given the planet Earth to rule over by one of a long line of Elohim and became known as YHVH. In Mormon theology, YHVH gives up Godhead to become the man Jesus the Christ and was then resurrected by Elohim to become YHVH again. Mormon theology can and does say that YHVH is the only God for mankind to worship because this is his planet and we should worship no other Gods before him, but posits that they are hundreds, thousand, millions or perhaps billions of Elohim on other planets. Therefore the Shema can be logically interpreted as saying that YHVH is the only god to be worshipped and is above all other Gods, at least for mankind on Earth in Mormon theology.
Trinitarianism, a melding of deification and personage in the Godhead, can also be forced to define Jesus as the God of the Old Testament. Arianism, the belief in one creator God, can not and does not define Jesus the Christ as YHVH in the Old Testament. However, a smattering of small groups of Binitarians, those who believe there have been two gods forever, often do claim that pre-incarnate Jesus the Christ is YHVH in the Old Testament and mankind has never interacted with the Being that is the Father (one of the Elohim in Morman theology) because they do not understand Jesus’ statements about how mankind had interacted with YHVH, his Father. This theology does severe damage to the plain understanding of the Shema in Deut. 6:4-5. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD (YHVH) our God (Elohim) is one LORD (YHVH): And thou shalt love the LORD (YHVH) thy God (Elohim) with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Logically if Jesus is the God of the Old Testament, then he must be telling the nation of Israel that they need to worship him above all other God’s, including his Father, in direct contrast to his statements in the Gospel accounts. Yet most Binitarians avoid this logical conflict by applying the concept of a uni-plural noun, a nonexistent non-sequitur, to the name YHVH. Stating that the pre-incarnate Jesus was the God of the Old Testament can be logically consistent in Mormon and standard Trinitarian theology, but not for Arians or Binitarians, as this paper shows.