Title: Jesus Christ, Eternal God: Heavenly Flesh and the Metaphysics of Matter
Author: Stephen H. Webb
Publisher: Oxford University Press
On a blustery April afternoon in 1844, Joseph Smith stood before a congregation of thousands and fought the wind. (Or did he simply channel it?) We’re still fighting that wind today. It shuffles the scattered notes of the men who scribbled the funeral sermon Smith preached at the top of his lungs. In the midst of creaking tree branches, sentence fragments and misspellings, Willard Richards seemed to catch hold of something crucial Smith was claiming, caught hold enough to put the gist of it in Smith’s journal:
“If men do not comprehend the character of God they do not comprehend themselves.“1
Smith had his finger on the pulse of the deepest questions of theology. At least since Genesis (“let us create man in our own image”) humans have wrestled with two fundamental questions well-phrased by Catholic theologian Stephen Webb:
“First, what features of human nature—mind, body, soul, gender—best reflect God’s nature? Second, what features of God best provide the source of the image in which we are created?” (177, see also 148, 192, 274).