The Ascension of Abraham: A Mortal Model for the Climb to Exaltation


Abraham, Exaltation, Faith


Talmudic literature proclaims, “We do not see things as they are.” Rather, “we see things as we are.” This profound statement reminds us that our vision is often blurred by our mortal misjudgments and forgetfulness; we forget that we are in fact the sons and daughters of God, the literal offspring of Deity. The Talmudic aphorism is an invitation to introspection, an adjustment of our lens, before we give serious thought to another person, particularly one so enlightened as Abraham, who we are told has entered into his exaltation (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:29). We can learn much from viewing Abraham as he moves through secular history on a horizontal human plane, from birth to death. His noble life serves as a model for the process of deification, seen in his divine nature and conscientious covenantal choices. Abraham was one of the “noble and great ones” who was “chosen before” he was born (Abraham 3:22–23) and has now reached exaltation (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:37). Indeed, we should follow the Lord’s admonition to “look unto Abraham [our] father” (Isaiah 51:2) as we ourselves strive to qualify for godhood.

Original Publication Citation

Fred E. Woods, “The Ascension of Abraham: A Mortal Model for the Climb to Exaltation,” Religious Educator, vol. 23, no. 2 (Spring 2022): 47-63.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Brigham Young University




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor