Book of Abraham/Kolob
Kolob in the Book of Abraham
What is Kolob? I've heard that Mormons believe God lives there.
The Church answered this question as posed by Fox News succinctly:
- 'Kolob' is a term found in ancient records translated by Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith did not provide a full description or explanation of Kolob nor did he assign the idea particular significance in relation to the Church’s core doctrines.
"Kolob" is the name given to the star closest to the throne of God in Abraham 3:3. It is introduced in an effort to teach Abraham that there is a hierarchy in all things. There are many stars, and one star is "closest" to God. In a similar way, there are many intelligences, or moral agents, some greater than others. The greatest of these is God.
Thus, "Kolob" is introduced in a rather peripheral way in an effort to teach about the supremacy of God:
- Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other...And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all. (Abraham 3:18-19, italics added)
In an effort to make the Church look bizarre, many critics mock the idea of "God living on the planet Kolob." This is false as God does not live on Kolob. Kolob plays no real role in LDS doctrine or discourse. The only other mention comes from a 19th century hymn, which uses Kolob in its first line to describe the glorious life of those who return to God:
- There is no end to glory;
- There is no end to love;
- There is no end to being;
- There is no death above.
Because LDS theology believes in a God with a physical body, it is not surprising that one might speak of God's location in physical space. Creedal Christian critics who believe in a God without "body, parts, or passions" exploit this difference in perspective to make LDS beliefs seem blasphemous or bizarre. But, to speak of God as having location is no more strange than to speak of Jesus' physical location in Bethlehem or Jerusalem during His mortal life.
- [note] Fox News, "21 Questions Answered About Mormon Faith," (18 December 2007). off-site
- [note] William W. Phelps, "If You Could Hie to Kolob," Hymn #284. off-site
Best articles to read next
The best article(s) to read next on this topic is/are:
- Kevin L. Barney, "Kolob as Sirius," bycommonconsent.com (18 November 2006). off-site
- John Gee, William J. Hamblin and Daniel C. Peterson, “‘And I Saw the Stars’: The Book of Abraham and Ancient Geocentric Astronomy,” in John Gee and Brian M. Hauglid (editors), Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 2006),1–16. ISBN 0934893764. off-site direct off-site
- Michael D. Rhodes and J. Ward Moody, “Astronomy and the Creation in the Book of Abraham,” in John Gee and Brian M. Hauglid (editors), Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 2006),17–36. ISBN 0934893764. off-site direct off-site