God in the Making: How Science Supports That We Can Become Like God

MR says: What a fascinating look into what it means to be a child of God and how our experiences in this life all point toward our divine potential.

The following is an excerpt from The God Seed by M. Catherine Thomas.

That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

(D&C 50:24)

In this life, we unfold from birth to adulthood in predictable, recognizable stages. We grew by stages in the world before and will, in the post-mortal world, continue growing in divinity. The plan is that we develop until we come “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

Of special interest in recent years have been studies in the higher stages of the development that can emerge in adulthood. Whereas it was thought not so long ago that adults don’t undergo much psychological growth once they reach physical maturity, studies in developmental psychology show that they can undergo growth that has significant spiritual implications. These studies provide us with a broad overview of our own developmental possibilities, giving us a reference point for where we’ve been, where we are, and where we can go spiritually. The studies give us hope that, in this very life, we could actually “mature” out of some of the afflictions particular to the stage we may currently find ourself in and enjoy more of the benefits of the higher stages. 

More specifically, the progression of stages outlines development from the egocentricity of the child (everything is about “I,” “me,” and “mine”), continues through the ethnocentricity (“our group is better than theirs”), to what might be called a global-centric, even cosmic-centric, stage, which is characterized by high levels of compassion and spiritual sensitivity for all living beings. 

We will also see that the lower stages of development are heavily influenced, even run by, the programs of the ego, which create anxiety and suffering. We will observe that each ascending stage of development can allow us to experience life more abundantly, freer of the afflictions of the spiritual immaturity of the ego, increasingly able to see ourselves and others more clearly, to feel more deeply, and to become more aware of joy in life. Not surprisingly, there is a high correlation between happiness and higher spiritual development. And it helps to see, lest we become impatient, that we are at every stage always beings in process.

With practice, traveling the developmental path results in our becoming like the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, having developed His attributes and powers. If we can discern the path and gain some sense of how to proceed, ultimately we will be filled with the joy that accompanies eternal life, because “when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” and “be purified even as he is pure” (Moroni 7:48). 

Lead image from Meridian Magazine.

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To learn more about our divine potential, get The God Seed from Deseret Book.

For behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! — D&C 19:10

We believe many things but don't always know how to implement them. We believe that human beings can grow into Gods; we accept the importance of coming to Christ and also of awakening our divine attributes and powers — but how to do that seems obscure. In recent years, studies in adult developmental psychology have cast unexpected light on the path to Godhood. They illustrate that human beings already possess the potent seeds for unfolding into more highly developed beings.

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