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]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.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (New Testament - 1 Corinthians 15:22)[;]
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.)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
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.)
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)4The 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."