Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Adam [& Eve*]’s Transgression

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression. (Pearl of Great Price - Article of Faith #2)
We memorize this Article of Faith and we know that:
... all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual ((Book of Mormon - Helaman 14:16)[; and]

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (New Testament - 1 Corinthians 15:22)[;]
but recently, while pondering these concepts, I have became more aware of the fullness of the Atonement in that both physical and spiritual death have been ENTIRELY overcome so that, in the end, not one soul shall remain physically OR spiritually dead because of our first parents’ transgression.

Let me explain.

We are very clear that the resurrection overcame physical death because every soul who ever lived shall likewise be resurrected, but sometimes we are not as clear that the atonement also overcame the spiritual death that resulted from Adam & Eve’s actions. In other words, the first spiritual-death is vanquished when every soul (good or evil) appears before the bar of God at judgment. Here is scriptural support:1
Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death. (Book of Mormon - Alma 42:9; bold emphasis added.)

And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment–seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God. (Book of Mormon - 2 Nephi 9:15; bold emphasis added.)

... And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day. (Book of Mormon - 2 Nephi 9:22; bold emphasis added.)

And these things doth the Spirit manifest unto me; therefore I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment–seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam; and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil; (Book of Mormon - Mormon 3:20; bold emphasis added.)

... there is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body, and be brought to stand before God, and be judged according to their works. (Book of Mormon - Alma 40:21)

... the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice. (Book of Mormon - Alma 42:23; bold emphasis added.)

And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death. (Book of Mormon - Mormon 9:13; bold emphasis added.)

But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord. Yea, and it bringeth to pass the condition of repentance, that whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them again a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness. Therefore repent ye, repent ye, lest by knowing these things and not doing them ye shall suffer yourselves to come under condemnation, and ye are brought down unto this second death. (Book of Mormon - Helaman 14:17-19; bold emphasis added.)
How is it that all men and women, in our various gradations of sin and corruption, can stand before God at the last day? Is it because justice has been satisfied in full by Christ’s atonement? That He paid every possible price in advance?2
Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice. (Book of Mormon - Mosiah 15:9)
BUT THEN does the second spiritual death (in gradations3) come to those who will not accept the gift of mercy because they cannot (in self-will?) abide the law of the gift-giver’s abode?
For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory. ... And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 88:22-24, 32)4
The gift of the atonement is unfathomable in that He can stand betwixt us and justice. Perhaps someday we shall begin to comprehend the heights and depths of what that means!

* And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (New Testament 1 Timothy 2:14)

1. Other supporting references: (Book of Mormon - 2 Nephi 2:10; 2 Nephi 9:10-12; Alma 12:15-16; Mormon 9:13-14; Helaman 14:15-16; etc.)
2. Recognizing there is a class of souls who shall not be forgiven: New Testament - Matt. 12:31-32; Luke 12:10; and Doctrine & Covenants 132:27.
3. Doctrine & Covenants 76:86-88
4. See also, Book of Mormon - Mormon 9:1-6

NOTE posted October 4, 2013: I recently came across Tad R. Callister's, The Infinite Atonement (chpt. 6), wherein he says all this in a clearer, more eloquent way."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Approaching Zion Project"

I have begun following the "Approaching Zion Project" initiated by Sam Brunson at Times and Seasons*. His second post raises a major issue for him, being what he terms: Nibley’s generalizations about people and his mischaracterizations concerning the rich.

For those who share his concerns, I submit that the same charges of generalization and mischaracterization could be levied against every prophet, and even, the Father and the Son, themselves. Isn’t Nibley just déjà vu the scriptures? Has he said anything more than others have said? as in:
THE LORD: And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. (Old Testament Deuteronomy 31:16)

ISAIAH: O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord; yea, come, for ye have all gone astray, every one to his wicked ways. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 12:5)

ISAIAH: HEAR ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness. ... Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; (Old Testament Isaiah 48:1, 4)

ISAIAH: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Old Testament Isaiah 53:6)

JEREMIAH: Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. (Old Testament Jeremiah 51:17)

JESUS: And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (New Testament Matthew 19:24)

GOD: Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. (New Testament Hebrews 3:10)

JACOB (bro. of Nephi): But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:30)

HELAMAN: AND thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him. Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity. ... O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world! Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom's paths! Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide. (Book of Mormon Helaman 12:1-2, 4-6)
This is just a minuscule sample. In addition, we could do a scripture search of the terms: “this people” or “my people” and witness how consistently general, God seems to remain. Why generalizations? Could it be the BIG picture? the unending déjà vu of things? a perpetual warning? a scriptural perspective of predispositions?

* (This déjà vu is an elaboration on my comment #49.)