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TOM - I'm sure that you have answered similar questions like these before. But more than just a question...I'm curious if you could help me find some references/quotes etc. that teach about the following. There is the question as to how God the Father became God...do we have any modern day revelation on this...quotes from prophets perhaps? Do we have knowledge of God's spiritual birth, mortal life, death, and resurrection?
The bigger question to me than, is there more than one God?...is the question of, is there more than one Christ? Does each God have a Christ? When we attain the status of a God ourselves will we have to have a Christ to save our creations? Or, is Christ's Atonement to infinite that we can use that Atonement for our creations too? Do we have any references or quotes to support our knowledge that you know of?
My biggest question is...is it possible that Christ is the only "Atoner" ever? We know that his atonement was retroactive for the people on this earth that lived before him...so is it possible that his infinite atonement is the atonement that all gods use and have ever used even before he actually performed it on this earth? Is it possible that Jesus Christ Suffered for the sins of God the Father?
Also...with the thought of "divine investiture"...if Christ can say he is the Father, doesn't it work the other way around too? Can the Father also say that He is the Son and therefore has also performed the Atonement...I guess this ties back to my other question of does there need to be multiple atonments? does every god/creator need to have their own atonement for their own creations???
JOEL - There are no "official" LDS teachings for most of these subjects, especially any from modern day prophets. There are some quotes from past prophets:
In the King Follett discourse Joseph Smith was refering to the concept of the eternal progression of both man and God. He said:
"My Father worked out His kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to My Father, so that He may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt Him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take His place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of His Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all His children.
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make himself visible—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another. " (King Follett discourse)
"Remember that God, our heavenly Father, was perhaps once a child, and mortal like we ourselves, and rose step by step in the scale of progress, in the school of advancement; has moved forward and overcome, until He has arrived at the point where He now is." (General conference, Oct. 6, 1853, JD1:123)
"Brigham Young explained that God the Father "has passed the ordeals we are now passing through; he has received an experience, has suffered and enjoyed, and knows all that we know regarding the toils, sufferings, life and death of this mortality, for he has passed through the whole of it, and has received his crown and exaltation." (JOD)
Elder Lorenzo Snow:
"Through a continual course of progression, our heavenly Father has received exaltation and glory, and he points us out the same path; and inasmuch as he is clothed with power, authority, and glory, he says, "Walk ye up and come in possession of the same glory and happiness that I possess." (In Tabernacle, Oct. 1857)
President Snow coined the phrase:
"As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be"
Soon after his return from England, in January, 1843, Lorenzo Snow shared this couplet with the Prophet Joseph Smith. This was in a confidential interview in Nauvoo. The Prophet's reply was:
"Brother Snow, that is true gospel doctrine, and it is a revelation from God to you."
In regards to the Father's creations, in a vision given to Moses, the Lord said:
"Worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose,there are many (worlds) that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man" (Moses 1:33, 35).
Joseph Smith taught that old physical worlds pass away while new ones are being formed (Moses 1:35, 38), that each system of worlds has its own laws (D&C 88:36-38) and Jesus Christ is the creator of all these worlds (D&C 76:24; 93:9-10).
"That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.(D&C 76:24)
King Benjamin tells us that the atonement applies to those who are sons and daughters of God making them free from sin:
"And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives." (Mosiah 5:7-8)
The atonement must apply to any who are called "begotten sons and daughters unto God", otherwise they would not be called such. This means the atonement that Jesus performed on this earth is effective for all people living on all the worlds He created in this universe.
In a poetic paraphrase of Doctrine and Covenants 76, Joseph Smith wrote that Jesus Christ was not only the Creator but also the Savior of these worlds:
And I heard a great voice bearing record from heav'n,
He's the Saviour, and only begotten of God -
By him, of him, and through him, the worlds were all made,
Even all that career in the heavens so broad,
Whose inhabitants, too, from the first to the last,
Are sav'd by the very same Saviour of ours;
And, of course, are begotten God's daughters and sons,
By the very same truths, and the very same pow'rs.
(Times and Seasons, 1 Feb. 1843, 82-83)
Concerning the universality of the Savior's work, Elder Marion G. Romney declared,
"Except for his mortal ministry accomplished on this earth, his service and relationship to other worlds and their inhabitants are the same as his service and relationship to this earth and its inhabitants" (Improvement Era, Nov. 1968, 46).
So as far as we know Christ's atonement covers everyone on every world that has existed or will exist in this universe. People of other universes, past and future, may have their own separate Godhead and Savior who will atone for their sins. But there is only one God the Father and Jesus Christ that we worship in this universe.
Jesus did not atone for the sins of the Father. The only way I could see that God the Father would be called "the Son" is if we are speaking of Him in regards to His heavenly parents. Some have speculated that God the Father might have been the Savior for the inhabitants in His parent's universe as you suggested.
And if we are to become gods it makes sense that we would be the creators of a universe of our own with it's own savior.
Understand that most all I have said here falls under the category of inspired speculation or assumption rather than "official" church doctrine, although they may indeed be true concepts. Latter-day prophets in this century have pretty much avoided such little understood principles and have concentrated on more simple well established doctrines that will actually have some impact on our own progression.