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Latter-day Saint belief in the divine potential of man

Divinity, or divine nature, relates to deity, or the nature of God. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in a plan of eternal progression through which people can develop characteristics of divinity. In other words, men can become God-like.

The teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ include the belief in the divine potential of men and women, who were spirit children of Heavenly Father during the premortal existence, or premortal life in heaven. The belief is that God the Father is the Supreme Being and Supreme Ruler of the universe, and that progress through choices and growth in understanding by His spirit children occurred during premortal life in varying degrees, based on each individual spirit's inclination toward truth, light, love, and faith.

Latter-day Saint teaching is that Jesus Christ was the Firstborn of Heavenly Father during the premortal life, and that Christ's ability to obey truth, perceive light, and act in love and faith distinguished Him in that premortal existence as being God-like. In fact, Christ, The Son of Man became a God during the premortal existence and serves as the executor of God's will, the creator of worlds without end. Because of Christ's love for Heavenly Father's other spirit children, He offered to accept the mission on earth of acting throughout His life in a sinless way and overcoming the eternal law of justice by suffering the punishment for the sins of all of mankind through the infinite atonement, which only He would be able to accomplish. He was not only a spirit son of God, but the physical offspring of God the Father, inheriting power over death and the power to suffer in a magnitude far greater than mortal man could suffer. Thus, Christ's mission became a foreordained part of the Plan of Salvation for all of mankind.

The Latter-day Saint belief is that Christ's divinity and sinlessness qualified Him to return to the presence of Heavenly Father after His death, inheriting a resurrected and perfected body and rejoining with the Father in being omniscient, omnipotent, and omni-benevolent. They love all of mankind unconditionally. Thus, Christ offers a way whereby others of God's spirit children may be perfected. Because of the atonement, as men and women repent and rely wholly on the merits of Christ's grace, they can develop some of the attributes of God, such as patience, purity, and charity. After death, all people go to the Spirit World, where progression continues. In the Spirit World, people still have agency, the ability to learn, the ability to make choices. At the resurrection, all will receive a perfected, resurrected body; this is Christ's gift to all mankind. After the resurrection comes judgment, wherein men and women are assigned kingdoms and mansions in heaven commensurate with their faith and deeds on earth. Progression continues, as the souls of men proceed to gain ever more knowledge. Through eternal progression, characteristics of deity, or divinity, can be forever added upon. Men and women can become as God, sharing His attributes. When Christ said that the righteous could inherit all he has, he meant all, including his attributes.