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Need Doctrinal Help!

Don - July 15, 2010

My brother sent me this email – I thought maybe some of you had some thoughts and insights!

“Sunday, in HP’s group, I taught the lesson and stated that Christ had the power to raise himself from the dead…and he did (see John 10:17-18 and paragraph 2 on page 61 of the GP manual). Monday at our old fogies FHE one of the guys said he had always thought that God the Father had raised Christ from the dead, and then cited/quoted several NT passages that confirm that. He asked me to research it and see what I could find. Here are several references (there are many more): Acts 2:32; 4:10;10:40; I Cor 15:15; I Peter 1:21; Romans 4:24….Well, I’ve been looking and, except for the ‘logical’ explanation that Christ had the power to lay down his life and pick it up again and that would make him the Redeemer/’Atoner’ and he received that power/authority from his Father (Luke 10:22); or argue that ‘as far as the Bible is translated correctly’ and the KJV was ‘translated’ by those who believed in the Triune godhead, I can’t find anything very concrete! Checked NT Commentary by McConkie, Answers to Gosp Quest by Jos Fielding and looking on line but not finding anything at all…I’m stumped. Suggestions? I’m open to your scholarship!!!”


  1. It seems that only Paul writes that God raised Jesus from the dead. All the other references I find note simply that Jesus rose from the dead.

    Comment by Dan — July 15, 2010 @ 10:58 am

  2. (Shaking magic 8-Ball)

    Ok I have your answer Don:

    “Sources hazy, try again later”

    Well there you have it! Scholarship at its best.

    Comment by Geoff J — July 15, 2010 @ 11:00 am

  3. Power to do something does not necessarily mean power to do something without the assistance of anyone else.

    I believe it was Brigham Young who taught that resurrection was an ordinance, and even if Jesus had the power to resurrect himself without anyone else present, it would presumably be in the proper order of things for the ordinance to be performed with the proper officiators.

    There is the interesting case where Joseph Smith changed the account of Matthew in the JST so that it agreed with Luke with regard to _two_ angels present at Christ’s resurrection (cf. Matt 28:2, Luke 24:4).

    Comment by Mark D. — July 15, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  4. Evidence for the idea of resurrection as ritual dates back to Nauvoo.

    Don, you might like Joseph Smith’s comments in the KFD and Sermon in the Grove source materials.

    Comment by J. Stapley — July 15, 2010 @ 11:32 am

  5. It was done by the power of God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, by those having authority.

    Comment by MCQ — July 15, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

  6. SWK also referenced BY in a more recent address.

    Comment by Aaron R. — July 15, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  7. The most shocking part of this post is that there is an old fogies FHE. I thought I would finally be free from the guilt of not holding FHE once my bad kids left the house. Now you’re telling me someone is going to want me to do FHE with other old fogies?!?

    Comment by Jacob J — July 15, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

  8. These quotes may be helpful:

    President Marion G. Romney said:
    “By the power of the priesthood Jesus gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, strength to the lame, and healed all manner of diseases. He raised from the dead the son of the widow of Nain. (See Luke 7:11–15.) He even resurrected himself by the power of the priesthood.” (Marion G. Romney, “Priesthood,” Ensign, May 1982, 43).

    George Q. Cannon
    “Who resurrected Jesus? In dealing with this subject, care should be taken not to advance mere opinions. (Quotes John 2:19,21; 5:25-28; 10:17-18)…From these passages it is evident that the Savior had the power of the resurrection within Himself and held the keys. This power He has received from His Father; for as He says: ‘As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.’ (“John 5:26John 5:26.)” (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 31.)

    Comment by Jared — July 15, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

  9. anyone else curious as to why only Paul writes that God raised Jesus?

    Comment by Dan — July 15, 2010 @ 7:29 pm

  10. I have wondered this too. If resurrection is an ordinance, it sounded logical that Father was raising His Son, for how could Son perform the ordinance for himself. But then again, whatabout the whole “Jesus had life in himself, being the Son of God (kind of half-god)” -thing. I guess Father could resurrect whoever He want’s, so why was it important for Christ to be a son of God? Had it to do more with atonement than resurrection?

    Comment by Niklas — July 16, 2010 @ 3:19 am

  11. Paul isn’t the only one who asserts that God raised Jesus…see Acts (written by Luke) 2:32;4:10 and 10:40 as well as I Peter 1:21.

    Comment by Larry — July 17, 2010 @ 10:55 am

  12. oops, don’t know why I thought Acts was written by Paul. My bad.

    Comment by Dan — July 17, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  13. I had a similar question come up in my EQ lesson yesterday. When we receive the priesthood are we actually provided with God’s power, or are we given permission to call down power from heaven?

    Or does the distinction matter?

    Either way, Jesus’ resurrective powers derived from the Father. Whether Father granted Him the ability at birth or at the time of resurrection, I don’t think you’ll find Jesus claiming full credit.

    Comment by Thaddeus — July 19, 2010 @ 10:40 am

  14. I’m not sure any of these distinctions matter, but I always understood that the priesthood conferred authority on the bearer to act in God’s name, not God’s power directly. As I understand it, this is why we are supposed to say, “By the authority of the _______ priesthood,” not, “By the power…” when performing ordinances.

    Checking sources confirms no such distinction, however. Power and authority appear to be used pretty much interchangeably to me.

    Comment by MCQ — July 19, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

  15. All claim to the contrary notwithstanding, there is something doctrinally perverse about the idea of anyone resurrecting themselves. It goes against the whole tenor of the gospel, and the idea that Jesus is in any way a real example for us.

    Jesus Christ is significant precisely because he _needs_ the Father. If Jesus didn’t need the Father, his godhood would be theologically superfluous. Why in the world would there be three independent beings, each with absolute power, who had no actual need for each other? Isn’t one God good enough?

    In fact, I would say that if Jesus didn’t need the Father in some fundamental way (and the Father the Son), and the Holy Ghost, then we would have no claim to monotheism whatsoever, but rather to a perverse form of tritheism.

    It is not an accident in my opinion that the scripture says, “Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end” (D&C 20:28).

    If Jesus Christ really could resurrect himself in his own right, that scripture isn’t quite true. It would have to read something more like: “Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three Gods, separate and independent, and only one of them is relevant to your salvation”.

    Comment by Mark D. — July 19, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

  16. I agree with that, Mark D. Well said.

    Comment by MCQ — July 20, 2010 @ 2:48 am

  17. First time commenting, long time lurker.
    With regards to #’s 13 and 14, and whether the priesthood power is either channeled or used with the possessor’s discretion, I was struck the other day by our lesson in Sunday School. We were talking about Elijah, and in 1 Kings 17:1 he says, “…there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to MY word.” (emphasis added.) I read that as saying that once he had been given the power, it was his actions and decisions that were the deciding force.

    Comment by Antihero — July 20, 2010 @ 7:28 am

  18. Thanks MCQ

    Comment by Mark D. — July 20, 2010 @ 7:37 am

  19. I don’t know the answer to the question concerning how the Savior was resurrected. I don’t know for sure if it was accomplished by priesthood power; maybe it is a matter of “faith”.

    Comment by Jared — July 20, 2010 @ 8:47 am

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