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by Charles R. Harrell

Theogony refers to the origin of God and has been a subject of religious inquiry throughout the ages. Ancient peoples, notably Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, developed elaborate genealogies for their various gods, rationalizing and mythologizing the birth and characteristics of each. This is in contrast to the monotheistic, Judeo-Christian view that God is eternal, uncaused, and without origin. The traditional argument states that if every effect has a cause, there must be a first cause that has always existed, and that is God.

The LDS theogonic view is unlike all others. It is based on a doctrine of eternal existence of all intelligent beings (D&C 93:29) coupled with a belief in their eternal progression (see D&C 93:13-14). By embracing truth and light, uncreated intelligence is capable of growing in knowledge, power, and organization until it arrives at the glorified state of godhood, being one with God (see Godhood; Deification). This process known as eternal progression is succinctly expressed in the LDS aphorism, "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become" (Lorenzo Snow). Adam was told by God, "Thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons" (Moses 6:67-68).

Also see What Do Latter-day Saints Mean When They Say God Was Once a Man? for more discussion on this subject.

(See Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About the Godhead home page)


Bruce R. McConkie. "Behold the Condescension of God." New Era 14 (Dec. 1984):34-39.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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