One of life’s great questions is “Who am I?” A beloved Primary song helps even little children answer this question. We sing, “I am a child of God, and he has sent me here.” The knowledge that we are children of God provides strength, comfort, and hope.
Scholars have long acknowledged that the view of God held by the earliest Christians changed dramatically over the course of centuries. Early Christian views of God were more personal, more anthropomorphic, and less abstract than those that emerged later during Christianity’s creedal stage. The key ideological shift that began in the second century, after the loss of apostolic authority, resulted from a conceptual merger of Christian doctrine with Greek philosophy.
Latter-day Saints believe the melding of early Christian theology with Greek philosophy was a grave error. Chief among the doctrines lost in this process was the nature of the Godhead. Latter-day Saints hold that God the Father is an embodied being with the attributes ascribed by the earliest Christians. That belief is consistent with the early Christian views of God, yet it differs from the later creeds.
We are all literally children of God, spiritually begotten in the premortal life. As His children, we can be assured that we have divine, eternal potential and that He will help us in our sincere efforts to reach that potential.
Heavenly Father is the Supreme Creator. Through Jesus Christ, He created heaven and earth and all things in them (see Moses 2:1). Alma said, “All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44).
Our Father in Heaven wants us to dwell with Him eternally. His work and glory is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). In order to make this possible, He prepared the plan of salvation. He sent His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to loose the bands of death and atone for the sins of the world: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This sacrifice is the greatest expression of our Father’s love for us.
As children of God, we have a special relationship with Him, setting us apart from all His other creations. We should seek to know our Father in Heaven. He loves us, and He has given us the precious opportunity to draw near to Him as we pray. Our prayers, offered in humility and sincerity, are heard and answered.
We can also come to know our Father by learning about His Beloved Son and applying the gospel in our lives. The Savior taught His disciples: “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. … He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:7, 9).
We draw near to God the Father as we study the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets and as we give service. When we follow God’s will and live as He would have us live, we become more like Him and His Son. We prepare ourselves to return to live in Their presence.
R. Val Johnson, “Worlds without Number,” Ensign, August 2013
“Rejoice in Our Knowledge of the Godhead,” Ensign, February 2005
“The Father and the Son,” Ensign, April 2002
“Heavenly Father,” Lesson Helps for Teaching Children
“The Godhead,” Stories from General Conference, episode 47
“The Father and the Son,” The Latter-day Saints Channel Q&A, episode 56