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Names and Titles of God the Father

by Glade L. Burgon

Known names and titles of God the Eternal Father are limited in number, especially when compared to the names applied to Jesus Christ (see Jesus Christ, Names and Titles of). Latter-day Saints understand the Godhead to consist of three separate individuals: the Father; Jesus Christ, his Son; and the Holy Ghost (D&C 130:22). Therefore, when the need exists to distinguish God the Father from the other two members of the Godhead, Church members select from the names found in scripture.

GOD. Among Latter-day Saints, the title "God" generally identifies God the Father. Occasionally, God may refer to the unified Godhead of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (cf. 2 Ne. 31:21; D&C 20:28) and at times to each member individually (AF, pp. 159-63). This characteristic makes the attempt to distinguish the Father from Jesus Christ in scripture very difficult at times. Significantly, Jesus' declarations that he and the Father are "one," and to know one is to know the other, indicate that the unity or "oneness" of the Godhead—in purpose and mind and testifying of one another—is of primary worth and seems to diminish the importance of making distinctions among its members. The scriptures teach that a person will come to know the Father by first knowing Christ (John 14:6-23; D&C 84:35-38; 93:1-22; 132:12). Jesus' instructions that his believers are to be "one" with him as he is "one" with the Father are basic to his doctrine (cf. John 17:1-26; 3 Ne. 11:32-36).

FATHER, FATHER IN HEAVEN. The name-title "Father in Heaven" refers to the director of creation and Father of the spirits of all mankind (MFP 5:26-27). Jesus used the terms "my Father," "our Father," and "the Father" when teaching about and praying to his Father. The Aramaic word 'abba (father) has carried over into English translations of the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). In the Book of Mormon, the resurrected Jesus continually used the title "Father" when referring to the Father in Heaven (e.g., 3 Ne. 11:11; 19:20-23). In some instances, however, Father may refer to the Son (see Jesus Christ: Fatherhood and Sonship). According to both the New Testament and Book of Mormon, faithful souls who are converted to Jesus Christ and who make personal covenants with him are spiritually reborn, becoming "his sons and his daughters" (e.g., Mosiah 5:7; cf. 1 Cor. 4:15; 2 Cor. 6:18; MFP 5:27-31).

GOD THE FATHER. The combination of the title "God" and the appellative "Father" specifies the Father of Jesus Christ and of all spirits. Latter-day Saints worship God the Father and Jesus Christ and pray to the Father in the name of Christ as directed by the Lord (D&C 88:64).

ELOHIM. The commonly used term for "God" or "gods" in the Hebrew Bible is 'elohim, a plural form whose singular is 'eloah or 'el and has the meaning of "lofty one" or "exalted one." Early Church leaders adopted the policy of designating God the Father by the exalted name-title "Elohim" (cf. MFP 5:26; see Elohim; Name of God). This terminology has continued down to the present.

JEHOVAH, LORD, LORD GOD. The term "Lord," printed with capital letters in many English versions of the Old Testament, is a substitute for the name Jehovah (yhwh in the Hebrew Bible). Even though Latter-day Saints identify Jesus Christ as Jehovah (3 Ne. 15:3-5; cf. D&C 110:1-4; see Jehovah, Jesus Christ), they utilize the title "Lord" for both the Father and the Son, as is common throughout scripture. The title "Lord God" in the Hebrew Bible is a compound of 'elohim preceded by either yhwh (Jehovah) or adonai (lord or master). This combined name-title refers mainly to Jehovah in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and in other latter-day scriptures, "Lord God" can mean either the Father (e.g., Moses 4:1-4) or the Son (Mosiah 3:21).

AHMAN. In two revelations to Joseph Smith (D&C 78:20; 95:17), Jesus Christ referred to himself as "the Son Ahman," allowing the possibility that "Ahman" may be a word meaning God, and one of the names of the Father (see Ahman). The name also appears in a compound place name, Adam-ondi-Ahman (D&C 116:1; 117:8, 11).

MAN OF HOLINESS. Adam learned by revelation that one of the names of God the Father is "Man of Holiness" (Moses 6:57). Enoch also recorded God's words: "Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name" (Moses 7:35; see Endless and Eternal).

In the Bible and latter-day scripture, other titles for God carry valuable meaning: "Father of Spirits," "God of all other Gods," "Endless," "The Living God," and "Lord of Sabaoth [Hebrew for "Hosts"], which is by interpretation, the creator of the first day, the beginning and the end" (D&C 95:7).

Bibliography

Talmage, James E. AF. Salt Lake City, 1915.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, God the Father, Names and Titles

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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