One of the logical implications of knowing that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are distinct Beings is that humankind has a special relationship to God and have an opportunity to become more like Him. We are His children and as His children we can grow and develop, gaining attributes of our Divine Parent. In essence, understanding God and Christ as separate individuals with the Father hierarchically superior to the Son in authority leads to the belief in the theomorphic nature of humankind.
Most of Christianity, at least in formal theological teachings, believes that Jesus Christ is not a distinct Being from the Father – a distinct manifestation but not a separate corporeal Being. If our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are separate individuals – They are! – and if Christ is the Son of God – He is! – then all children of our Father have the potential to become more like Christ. The Savior prayed to His Father in the last hours of His mortal ministry: “Neither pray I for these [His Apostles] alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:20-22).
If Christ is a Son of God – He is – and we are children of God – we are – then we really can be joint-heirs with Christ of all that our Father has! That is quite a promise. This pleading for oneness with the Father is thus not just metaphorical. Christ pled that His Father would bless His apostles and all those who believe and follow Christ’s teachings with the same oneness that He and the Father share. This does not diminish the power or authority of God or Christ for their power and authority are endless and eternal. Rather, it shows our true relationship to God; we are His children and He loves us not just as a perfect God loves but as a perfect Father loves.
This is all what was so revolutionary about what was re-taught in bright clarity to the world when Joseph Smith, a young man of 14, saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. It upended not only the world’s misconceptions of the nature of God but also of the world’s misconceptions of the nature of men and women and of their divine potential.
Note: This post was directly influenced by Elder Christoffel Golden, Jr.’s talk at the April 2013 General Conference.