My painting. Richard W. Linford
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My painting of Jesus smiling on a family.
Question. What is The True Nature of God the Father?
Answer. Jesus Christ was [and is] the perfect manifestation of the perfect Father’s person, personality, and his loving kindness and care.
After generations of prophets had tried to teach the family of man the will and the way of the Father,
usually with little success,
God in His ultimate effort to have us know Him,
sent to earth His Only Begotten and perfect Son,
created in His very likeness and image,
to live and serve among mortals
in the everyday rigors of life.
Question. What is Jesus Christ’s assignment from The Father? Answer. To stand in the place of and represent Our Heavenly Father to us His children. To come to earth with such a responsibility, to stand in place of Heavenly Father —speaking as He would speak, judging and serving, loving and warning, forbearing and forgiving as He would do —this is a duty of such staggering proportions that you and I cannot comprehend such a thing. But in the loyalty and determination that would be characteristic of a divine child, Jesus could comprehend it and He did it.
Question. Who gets the honor and glory? Answer. The Son did and does all he saw and sees the Father do, says all the Father asks Him to say, and gives all praise and honor and adulation to the Father. Then, when the praise and honor began to come, Jesus humbly directed all adulation to the Father. “The Father … doeth the works,” He said in earnest. “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever [the Father] doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” [ John 14:10; John 5:19]. On another occasion He said: “I speak that which I have seen with my Father” [ John 8:38]. …
Question. But aren’t we estranged from Our Heavenly Father and the Son? Answer. No. Our Father is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, as is His Beloved Son. … Some in the contemporary world suffer from a distressing misconception of [God our Eternal Father]. Among these there is a tendency to feel distant from the Father, even estranged from Him, if they believe in Him at all. … Through a misreading (and surely, in some cases, a mistranslation) of the Bible, these see God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son as operating very differently, this in spite of the fact that in both the Old Testament and the New, the Son of God is one and the same, acting as He always does under the direction of the Father, who is Himself the same “yesterday, today, and forever.” 1 …
Question. What did and does the Father do? Answer. Feed the hungry, heal the sick, rebuke hypocrisy, plead for faith. What did and does the Son do? Answer. That which the Father does. So feeding the hungry, healing the sick, rebuking hypocrisy, pleading for faith —this was Christ showing us the way of the Father, He who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness.” 2 In His life and especially in His death, Christ was declaring, “This is God’s compassion I am showing you, as well as that of my own.” In the perfect Son’s manifestation of the perfect Father’s care, in Their mutual suffering and shared sorrow for the sins and heartaches of the rest of us, we see ultimate meaning in the declaration [and summary]: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” [ John 3:16–17].
Question. What then is Our challenge and opportunity? Answer. Do what Our Savior did! FEED THE HUNGRY HEAL THE SICK REBUKE HYPOCRISY PLEAD FOR FAITH BE MERCIFUL BE GRACIOUS BE SLOW TO ANGER BE LONG-SUFFERING BE FULL OF GOODNESS BE COMPASSIONATE CARE PERFECTLY SUFFER MUTUALLY WITH THEM SHARE SORROW WITH THEM FOR THE SINS AND HEARTACHES OF THE WORLD TEACH MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN TO BELIEVE ON THEM DIRECT ALL HONOR AND GLORY TO THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY GHOST
Question. Is God the Father the Supreme Being, the ultimate Creator, Ruler, Preserver of all things? Answer. Yes. Our Heavenly Father is the Supreme Being in whom we believe, whom we worship, and to whom we pray. He is the ultimate Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of all things. He is perfect, has all power, and knows all things.
Question. Does Heavenly Father have form and substance? Answer. Yes. Like His Son, He too has a glorified body of flesh and bones. He “has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” ( Doctrine and Covenants 130:22).
Question. Is Heavenly Father the literal father of our spirits? Answer. Yes. He is The Father of Our Spirits. He is your Father and my Father. One of life’s great questions is “Who am I?” A beloved Primary song helps even little children answer this question. We sing, “I am a child of God, and he has sent me here.” The knowledge that we are children of God provides strength, comfort, and hope.
Question. Did early Christians know and teach anthropomorphic doctrine about God The Father? Answer. Yes. And as His children, thru the power of the resurrection we shall become like Him. Scholars have long acknowledged that the view of God held by the earliest Christians changed dramatically over the course of centuries. Early Christian views of God were more personal, more anthropomorphic, and less abstract than those that emerged later during Christianity’s creedal stage.
Question. What happened to change the doctrine held by early Christians? Answer. Apostolic authority was lost and in grave error Christian doctrine about the anthropomorphic doctrine of God the Father was merged with Greek philosophy. The key ideological shift that began in the second century, after the loss of apostolic authority, resulted from a conceptual merger of Christian doctrine with Greek philosophy. Latter-day Saints believe the melding of early Christian theology with Greek philosophy was a grave error. Chief among the doctrines lost in this process was the nature of the Godhead. Latter-day Saints hold that God the Father is an embodied being with the attributes ascribed by the earliest Christians. That belief is consistent with the early Christian views of God, yet it differs from the later creeds.
Question. So we are literal children of God? Answer. Yes. We are all literally children of God, spiritually begotten in the premortal life. As His children, we can be assured that we have divine, eternal potential and that He will help us in our sincere efforts to reach that potential.
Question. So the living, resurrected, exalted, glorified man God the Father is the Supreme Creator. Yes. Through the living, resurrected, exalted, glorified man God the Son, Jesus the Christ, Jesua, the Holy Messiah. Our Father is The Supreme Creator Heavenly Father is the Supreme Creator. Through Jesus Christ, He created heaven and earth and all things in them (see Moses 2:1).
Question. So all things bear witness of the Father and of the Son? Answer. Yes. Alma said, “All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” ( Alma 30:44).
Question. Then Our Heavenly Father is The Author of the Plan of Salvation for His children? Answer. Yes. Our Father in Heaven is The Author of the Plan of Salvation Our Father in Heaven wants us to dwell with Him eternally. His work and glory is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” ( Moses 1:39). In order to make this possible, He prepared the plan of salvation. He sent His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to loose the bands of death and atone for the sins of the world: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” ( John 3:16).
Question. Is it true, then, that Our Heavenly Father’s sacrifice of His Beloved Son is the greatest expression of His love for us? Answer. Yes. This sacrifice of Jesus Christ by His Father is the greatest expression of our Father’s love for us. Question. How can we know Heavenly Father? Answer. Pray to Him. Know and obey and follow His Son. How can we Come to Know God the Father? As children of God, we have a special relationship with Him, setting us apart from all His other creations. We should seek to know our Father in Heaven. He loves us, and He has given us the precious opportunity to draw near to Him as we pray. Our prayers, offered in humility and sincerity, are heard and answered. We can also come to know our Father by learning about His Beloved Son and applying the gospel in our lives.
Question. So once again, you are saying that we can know Our Heavenly Father by knowing His Son? Answer. Yes. The Savior taught His disciples: “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. … He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” ( John 14:7, 9).
Source – quoting Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Grandeur of God,” Ensign, Nov. 2003, 70–73.