How Could Jesus Pray To Himself?
This is a question often asked by Christians who read the Bible thoughtfully. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes called Mormons, have a solid answer to this question, which is a very good question. It is answered in response to those who have been taught there is only one God and that they are not the fully distinct beings which the Mormons teach of.
When Joseph Smith was fourteen years old, he went into the woods near his home to pray. He had been trying to decide which church to join, and had read in the Bible that if someone needed wisdom, he could ask God, and God would answer him. He had decided to do just that.
As he prayed, a bright light descended from Heaven and stopped above him. In it, he saw two personages. The first one pointed to the other and said, “This is my beloved Son. Hear Him.” The speaker was God the Father, and He was introducing His Son, Jesus Christ. From this vision, which eventually led to the restoration of the Savior’s complete church to the earth, Joseph learned that God and Jesus were separate beings.
Once a person realizes that Jesus was not likely to be praying to Himself, he can read the New Testament again and realize the Bible is very clear on this subject. The trinity was canonized in the fourth and fifth centuries after meetings in which religious leaders worked out an agreement, changing the minds of a few who disagreed and expelling those who refused to back down. It was not taught in the Bible at all. Even among those who believe in it, there are differences of opinion as to what it means, but it is often used to illustrate how Mormons and other Christians are different. Let’s look at a few of the scriptures talking about this subject and which are often presented to Mormons:
One scripture sometimes used by people who accept the trinity is John 14:7:
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” Some Christians feel this proves God and Jesus were the same person. However, reading the verse in context demonstrates this is not at all what the Savior was saying.
In verse 10, Jesus says, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” Here, Jesus Christ clearly says he isn’t speaking for Himself, but for God, and it’s God doing the works, not Him. This makes it very clear they are separate beings. Jesus promises to pray to God to ask God to send a comforter to His apostles when He’s gone, something that would not be necessary if they were the same person. But in verse 20, we learn exactly what Jesus means when He talks about being in the Father:
“At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” If the previous verses had the meaning that “I am in my Father” meant they were the same person, then the next phrase, “And ye in me, and I in you” would mean the apostles were also the same person as Jesus, making it far larger than a trinity. Jesus uses similar phrasing often, instructing the apostles to be one with each other as He is one with His Father. What He meant, obviously, was to be completely unified in love, doctrine, and purpose.
The testimony of Stephen is even more clear about the separateness of Jesus and God: “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55-56)
Dallin H. Oaks, a Mormon apostle and a scholar, said:
In common with the rest of Christianity, we believe in a Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. However, we testify that these three members of the Godhead are three separate and distinct beings. We also testify that God the Father is not just a spirit but is a glorified person with a tangible body, as is his resurrected Son, Jesus Christ.
When first communicated to mankind by prophets, the teachings we now have in the Bible were “plain and pure, and most precious and easy” to understand (1 Ne. 14:23). Even in the transmitted and translated version we have today, the Bible language confirms that God the Father and his resurrected Son, Jesus Christ, are tangible, separate beings. To cite only two of many such teachings, the Bible declares that man was created in the image of God, and it describes three separate members of the Godhead manifested at the baptism of Jesus (see Gen. 1:27; Matt. 3:13–17).
In contrast, many Christians reject the idea of a tangible, personal God and a Godhead of three separate beings. They believe that God is a spirit and that the Godhead is only one God. In our view, these concepts are evidence of the falling away we call the Great Apostasy. (See Dallin H. Oaks, “Apostasy and Restoration,” Ensign, May 1995, 84.)
So the answer to your question is that He did not pray to Himself, which would indeed be an odd thing to do. He prayed to His Father in Heaven, just as we do, and as He taught us to do.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 12:27 am and is filed under Array. You can follow any responses to this entry through the http://jesus.christ.org/1003/how-could-jesus-pray-to-himself/feed feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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