Adam God Theory
A typical response to the Adam God Theory is "The problem with "Adam-God" is that we don't understand what Brigham meant." What Brigham Young had to say regarding Adam as God, has been contested,debated and misunderstood since this doctrine was revealed to the Saints in the infancy of Brigham Young’s tenure as Prophet. Is Adam a god? Some scholars like Dr. Nibley have made statements to the effect that it was true doctrine, however few people understand it. He never goes on to offer an explanation. I decided I would take a stab at it and offer my own theory on what Brigham could have possibly been driving at.
It is important to understand that the word “God” as it is understood has lost its meaning in modern understanding. The Hebrew understanding of the word “ēl” has been translated simply to mean “God” which is understood in modern thought as a self explanatory word referring only to the Almighty. Hebrews understand this word very differently, to them they understand it to mean “power and authority” of a legalistic religious sense. At times it refers to the creator, and at times it does not. Throughout scripture the root of ēl is used contextually and at times refers to those who god has granted his authority to. In the case of Psalm 82, referring to those who hold the priesthood, the root of this word is used in its plural form (elōhîm). “Ye are gods and children of the Most High.”
The earth was created in three stages or epochs. The first epoch, involves the spirit creation, or the spiritual earth, in this stage the intelligences were organized into spirit bodies. The second epoch involved the creation of the physical earth and its preparation to sustain human life forms. The third epoch was the stage in which life forms came to the earth, including our first parents Adam & Eve. No single creation account is an entirely definitive, continuous record. Each account provides us with pieces of different events within the creation story. In the Genesis account, there are actually two accounts. Moses’ first account, found in Genesis, chapter 1 is a description of the first epoch or spirit creation. His second account found in Genesis, chapter 2 describes the third epoch. In this third epoch, the earth was still in a terrestrial state. Abraham’s creation account beginning in Abraham, chapter 4 starts just as the first epoch is drawing to a close, it than goes on to describe the second epoch, which is the birth and development of the physical earth.
The Pauline account describes three states of being; he compares them to the Sun, Moon and Stars, each differing in glory from the next. Two of the states of being or epochs are mentioned as Celestial and Terrestrial. As it was previously stated, no account has ever been completely definitive.
The commandment given to our first parents before their fall from the paradisiacal Garden of Eden can be very plainly understood, if it is read carefully and in context.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
Adam was to procreate, and to have dominion over all the earth. In this essence Adam received his power and authority and was given godhood over the earth. The
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
The key is the word used for “sorrow” which is atsav meaning to labor, toil, to sweat, to do something very hard. Again, Adam is given dominion over this Patriarchal society. Thus his godhood in the traditional sense is preserved. As a consequence of the fall did Adam loose his exaltation in the Patriarchal framework of eternity? Contrariwise, Adam is at the very head of this patriarchal chain. Just after the fall, the words ring very clear.
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.
We have evidence that Adam’s state of godhood was taught in the way of textual evidence. Journal entries of the Saints, particularly Brigham Young's secretary L. John Nuttall recorded his interpretation of this doctrine as it was presented to him in the temple, but we can not be certain if he, or any of the other saints who recorded similar entries in their diaries & journals had an accurate understanding of the veracity of the principle being taught.