Our speculative discussion in the last post has me thinking about the implications of total unity vs. individuality. This is a doctrinal question that touches most every important part of our spiritual and religious lives. It is at the heart of the tension between our unity as a community striving to become a Zion people and our individuality, our unity as couples or families vs. individuality, and the unity of the Godhead vs. their individuality. If we are to become one with God then what becomes of our individuality?
I suspect that most of us disregard this Oneness talk as purely figurative and really imagine ourselves as individuals that will happen to agree with God on all things if we are exalted. I think this assumption might be a mistake. It seems to me that the unity God wants with us is more literal than that. Some religions believe the righteous will be completely swallowed up in a Oneness with God and lose any individuality in that oneness. This concept is distasteful to most people I think. And in Mormonism it just doesn’t work (at least on a physical level). Our modern scriptures just won’t allow for it:
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.
(D&C 130: 22)
I recently cooked up an analogy that I think might help here. It is comparing the individual members of the Godhead to cells in a person. Each cell in our bodies is individual after all, but they are all part of the (emergent?) One that is us. In a perfect body (like a perfect resurrected body for instance) each cell works in perfect unity for the purpose of the entire body. If we compare the Godhead to that one body and the individual members to the parts that make it up then we have multiple that parts that are One God. This works especially well with the common Mormon belief that our Father in Heaven also has a Father who has a Father going on for who knows how long. All could be part of the One God in this scheme I think.
This may not be an earth-shattering idea, but I think it could help provide a foundation to answer other questions that come up as we unpack the concept of spiritual progression from where we have come from to where we can eventually go. Plus, it might help help us better understand the eternal struggle we face in mortality between the group and the individual.
(Note: Check out my comment #4 below. I’ve decided it is more interesting than this post. I think I’m on to something… G)