The Atonement and Fall: Part Two

Providing Agency For Man

For a message about the atonement and the fall, the atonement is the rectification of the breaking of a universal law, in which the outcome is known in general terms as, “the fall.” This atonement is also the blessing of the entire human family throughout all the eternities. So much of how we allow the atonement’s reach to be for us in the eternities, depends on our faithfulness according to the light and knowledge we have and receive here. In other words, we are to do the very best we can, with what we have and are given.

This fall, which started in the garden of Eden, made possible the birth of sin into this world, through disobedience and introducing an unhealthy substance to the bodies of Adam and Eve, namely, the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This poisoned fruit, coupled with their disobedience of the given commandment, introduced sin, and made their future sins to stick to and apply itself to their bodies, because in this state, they now understood the difference between good and evil, and could be fully accountable. Christ’s atonement would no longer be automatically applied to them because they ‘knew’ no sin in their previous innocent state. They would now have to actively supplicate and seek out the Lord and His forgiveness. 

Having deliberately disobeyed the Father, and partaking of this unhealthy food, they were then fallen, and this change allowed them to fully and actively exercise the gift of agency, which is the ability to do anything good in this fallen world, choosing the right.

Before the fall, Jesus’ forthcoming atonement covered them in any wrong choices they may have made unknowingly, because they were innocent, not comprehending the difference between right and wrong. Their choice to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a transgression, because they had been specifically told by God not to do it, even though they didn’t fully understand why. Therefore, partaking is called a transgression, rather than a sin, because they didn’t understand the difference between good and evil.

Such was their predicament in being innocent, without wisdom or knowledge. Therefore, Eve needed to partake of the fruit, and Adam also, to learn for themselves, and progress from grace to grace through the atonement of Jesus Christ. It was once they understood the opposites of right and wrong, that they could then learn from their mistakes, and repent of them.

As is stated in LDS doctrine, partaking of the fruit gave their bodies the ability to have children, through the effect the fall had on them. God, who is without sin, and who cannot create anything in sin, had to create them in this state of innocence, to then try them with the commandments to not partake of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, which would bring about sin, and a knowledge of sin for Adam and Eve, but also to multiply and replenish the earth.

Even as the atonement was already part of God’s plan before sending us to this earth, so too was the fall. Heavenly Father is not capable of sin, so He could not create Adam and Eve into a fallen state, to carry out His purposes for His children, which purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Truly this fall, which not only changed Adam and Eve by introducing eventual death to their bodies, and the ability to have seed, or children, it also changed the earth into a corruptible state, bringing about entropy and decay.

Christ is the rectification of this fall, using it to further the growth and potential of mankind, through turning something hard and sorrowful, into something good and meaningful, even glorious, by learning from our mistakes and repenting. So is this life.

Indeed, the Tree of Life planted in the garden of Eden was God’s pinnacle creation in the garden, in terms of plant life, and man, the pinnacle of his creation, even after the image and likeness of Himself and His Son Jesus Christ. The tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was originally planted there by God as a fig tree, but through the evil influence of Satan and his devils, who were purposely cast down to earth, they wrought upon it, and it became unclean, thus unfit for Adam and Eve’s bodies to partake of.

There is always a little bit of bad to everything good, and a little bit of good to everything bad, so we know in the Garden of Eden, this had to be, for there is always opposition in all things. With a bit of bad to a greatness of good, or a lot of bad to a little of good, we know that all things must be a compound in one, for if not, it must needs be as dead or as naught. Our task is to choose the better part, or good.

The tree was there, and Satan cast down to earth by God, to start the process of earth life for His children, that they could suffer, have joy, learn, grow, have children, and progress, all toward the purpose of becoming more like Him.

The Atonement takes something which would by itself be the destruction of mankind (the fall), and raises mankind’s course upward into the celestial realms, where attainment to godhood is made possible. For as a child can become like their parents, so too can we, as literal children of our Father in Heaven, become like Him.

As was God’s plan in the beginning, He wanted us to be like Him, and to do this, we had to pass through mortality as He once had, walk in the path wrought out by our Savior through His holy atonement, and come unto Him, repent and keep His commandments.

With such a glorious gift as this, is it any wonder that those who understand this atonement and live by it, truly rejoice in their love and relationship with our Savior? Our Savior lives! He is the course of true joy and happiness! He understands all of us and our needs and concerns, and cares perfectly. How? Through the atonement. Because He experienced it. He also carries us, and lessens the burdens we carry, only to the degree we can bear, that we too can experience growth from trial. This is essential. We need to go to Him, and not try doing things by ourselves, for this truly is, the great plan of happiness!

Shane

The Atonement and Fall: Part One

The Ultimate Prodigal

Adam and Eve were innocent before the Fall, in which they had choice, but not yet agency. For agency is the ability to do good, under the knowledge of good and evil. They used their choice to chose to be given agency, by succumbing to the Fall. But there also had to be an opposition to the Fall, for mankind to be given the opportunity to be reconciled with the Father. Only Jesus could do this. He is the perpetuation of the plan of God for man. It was God’s holy will to offer up His Son, to swallow up all sin via the bitter cup (literally). But he shank not, and drank the utter dregs, finishing His preparations for man, as was His father’s will.

Before the Fall, in Adam and Eve’s innocents, they could do no good, for they knew no evil. They had only choice, but no knowledge of consequences, because they had no sin nor law given.

God’s plan for the fall to take place, was one in which the atonement was also already in place, but God could not create Adam and Eve in a fallen state, because they had to be given life, and then laws given, to then choose for themselves the partaking of the fruit of The knowledge of good and evil. This way God could place them in a new world, without causing or creating sin, for God is not able to sin, as is Satan not capable of doing good.  For there needs to be an opposition in all things, thus the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as opposition for mankind, and Satan to God. 

See 2 Nephi 2:11 below.

11 It must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. (2 Nephi 2:11)

After Eve chose to trust in her feelings, and Adam in the Father, without fully understanding the import of their decision’s outcome, they both partook. 

God knew that they would eventually come to a point where they would realize they needed something more to help them grow, in which they would choose to, and need the Lord’s saving atonement, for it is not just that we repent to become like Jesus, but it is in the actual repentance process itself, that we become like Him. This is one reason we needed earth life and the fall, and why a redeemer was chosen and prepared from before the foundations of the earth.

The Fall, or Adam’s transgression, is a spiritual death, because Adam and Eve were separated from the presence of God and given agency to act for themselves and not to be acted upon. See 2 Nephi 2:26

They were also given the great power of procreation, so that they could keep the commandment to multiply, and replenish the earth and have joy in their posterity. See Genisis 1:28

In this new and fallen state, they experienced a bodily change as well, to have children. This is necessary because God gave them the commandment to multiply, and He always provides a way to obey Him.

If it were possible for them to have had children before the Fall, God would have had no purpose in the Earth. For in our mortal test period of probation, we needed death in both the separation from God spiritually, as well as our physical death, for us to be tried. Then after death, to be brought before God to be judged in our resurected bodies, to move forward to progress onward to become like Him. The atonement and fall provide for this purpose. This is one reason why the resurrection is so important.

 We need to be tried, reproved and repent, in order to grow up to become like Him, even as a child can grow up to be like their parents. God had to create Adam and Eve in innocence, and give them the commandments He did, for God is a God of righteousness, and cannot create a state of sin or Fall.

It is an eternal principle that to everything good there is a little bad, and to everything bad there is a little good. This is why out of all the trees in the garden of Eden (Eden being our Earth’s real mortal name), there was only one poisoned tree, which was a fig tree, a tree originally created by Christ Jesus, but then later wrought upon by the evil influences of Lucifer and his devils, to become unhealthy for mankind. Thus the Father commanded them not to partake of it, but knowing that they would.

  • The principle of perfection

Because it is not within Heavenly Father’s nature to do or introduce error, He had to say to them, do not eat, or you shall surely die, all of which is true. Yet, He also wanted us to have children an become like Him. In so doing, we would have to walk where He has walked, do as He has done, and follow the course He has followed. This is why we needed the fall, and a redeemer.

See Teachings of the Presidents of the Church- Joseph Smith, pg 41 below.

God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make Himself visible,—I say, if you were to see Him today, you would see Him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man. (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church – Joseph Smith, pg 41)

Everything has purpose and meaning, and God is over all His children. Now, speaking of God’s plan, the adversary is very much a part of it. We need opposition to permit, or rather give us permission to learn and grow. This need is stated in the earlier mentioned scripture in 2 Nephi 2:11, that there must be an opposition in all things.

Because the Lord took on all sins, and the source from which they spring, He also takes the ones from which they spring. Yes, somewhere, sometime, in the great eons of the eternal lives and onward, the ultimate prodigal son will, having been burned and purged clean in the lake of fire and brimstone in outer darkness, finally come to himself, and begin his long arduous trek home. For God is a perfect God, with perfect love, and a perfect plan, and He will not lose any of His children.

So, is there hope for the rest of us? Definitely!

Shane

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