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Hebrews 12:9 and the Mormon Doctrine of Preexistence

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Hebrews 12:9 and the Mormon Doctrine of Preexistence

Robert M. Bowman Jr.

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

Hebrews 12:9 refers to God as “the Father of the spirits,” but says nothing about when these “spirits” started to exist. Traditionally, Christians believe that a human being has both a spirit (on the “inside”) and a physical body (on the “outside”). By “the spirits” Hebrews may be referring to the departed spirits of the righteous who are with God now awaiting the resurrection (see Hebrews 12:23). We know that “Father of the spirits” does not mean that God literally procreated our spirits, because immediately before this verse it says, “It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons. But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Hebrews 12:7-8). Just as John and Paul both taught, in Hebrews being God’s “sons” is a special privilege given to those who follow Jesus (see also Hebrews 2:10-14).