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RS/MP Lesson #3: “Jesus Christ, Our Chosen Leader and Savior” (Gospel Principles Manual)

Posted by NathanG on February 7, 2010

My reaction when reading this lesson for the first time was “why?”  Why do we use this material to introduce Jesus Christ?  Why is it important for us to know these things about Christ?  Do I view the premortal life of Christ differently from those who lived before Christ was born and only had his first coming to look forward to, as opposed to me looking back at his first coming, and forward to the second coming? 

 

Lesson 2 is “Our Heavenly Family” and deals with the introduction of premortal life and the introduction of the plan of salvation.  It naturally follows to talk about Christ’s premortal existence.  Lessons 11 and 12 will then deal with the life of Christ and the atonement.  Lessons 43-46 will deal with the second coming, millennium, and final judgment.   Most of the other lessons deal with principles and ordinances of the gospel, but should also turn our thoughts to Christ.

A couple revisions to note from the prior version.

  • “Heavenly parents” changed to “Heavenly Father” multiple times.

 

  • “Two of our brothers offered to help.  Our oldest brother, Jesus Christ, who was then called Jehovah, said, ‘Here am I, send me’” is now “Jesus Christ, who was called Jehovah, said, ‘Here am I, send me’”

Is this changed because it is wrong to teach or just a distracting concept?  There was a prominent church in my mission that would teach its members we believe in a different Jesus Christ than they do.  The members of this church would always say Christ is not the devil’s brother.

  • Regarding Satan, the phrase “He wanted to be our God” is replaced with “Under his proposal, our purpose in coming to earth would have been frustrated.”

 

  • Regarding the war in heaven “The Savior’s followers ‘overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony’ (Revelation 12:11)” is added.

 

There are other changes, but most seem to rework the wording rather than change content.

The manual begins with this fantastic question?

“Why did we need to leave Heavenly Father’s presence?”

To get beyond the reflex answer of, “So we could progress and be like our Heavenly Father” we might consider some additional questions.  Why do we believe that we needed to leave Heavenly Father’s presence?  Was there any alternative to leaving his presence?  Were we being forced to leave his presence?  Were we being enticed to leave his presence?   Was it necessary to leave his presence in order to keep our first estate?

The lesson material then goes through a standard discussion of the council in Heaven, selection of Jesus Christ over Lucifer, and the War in Heaven.  There are not many scriptures that teach specifically about these events and there are very few details about what our premortal life is like.  Here are a few questions I came up with.

Both Moses and Abraham teach about the selection of Christ as our Savior.  In Moses we read, “But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.”  If Christ was chosen from the beginning, why was there ever a choice between Jehovah and Lucifer?  In the Moses narrative, Lucifer seems to make and unsolicited request to be the savior, but in Abraham, God asks “Whom shall I send?”  Some possible explanations (some more plausible than others).

  • The plan was always to send Jehovah as the Savior, but Lucifer forced God to ask the question when he volunteered to be the Savior.
  • The plan was to send a savior, but there was uncertainty that the chosen one would volunteer, so the question is asked.  After Lucifer answers and the consequences of his offer are realized, Jehovah appropriately offers to be the Savior.   (But unfortunately Jehovah answers first in the Abraham narrative, and this doesn’t likely work.)
  • The atonement had to be a willing sacrifice on the part of the savior.  There could be no compulsion in the process.  The question had to be asked, even though the correct selection was known “from the beginning.”
  • The question was for the multitude of spirits to witness.  The results of this council would aid many in keeping their first estate. 

 

Satan came and said “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.”  God said regarding Satan, “Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down”

Could Satan have realistically redeemed all mankind?  How would he have done it?  What would redemption mean under Satan’s plan?  Would there be “glory added upon [our] heads forever and ever” for keeping the second estate?  How would the agency of man have been destroyed?  What is agency?  Is it more important to speak of moral agency?  How could Satan force us all to do his will?  What does it mean that we would not be able to choose?    How did Satan convince 1/3 of the hosts of heaven to follow this idea?

If you were going to destroy agency and redeem all people, what would you do?  (This question is more to decide what we think agency is rather than figuring out how Satan would have really done it.)  If I were trying to destroy agency, redeem all people, and take God’s power from him, I would have sent people to earth without giving any laws.  No laws, no consequences, no sin, no need for repentance.  Everyone could live as they please, never having to make the important choice of proving choosing life through the mediator as opposed to choosing death.  Nobody is lost.  Redemption should be easy.  God ceases to be God if he gives no law (2 Nephi 2).  Of course, the fatal flaw in this plan is there would be no creation and all things must have vanished away.  I’ve heard other ideas.  What do they teach you about agency.  Pick your favorite theory.

The manual states “Because our Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior, Satan became angry and rebelled.  There was war in heaven.”  Without explicitly saying so, there is an implied chronology:  the plan is presented, the Father chooses Jehovah over Lucifer, Satan rebels and there is war, Satan and his followers are beaten and cast down (to earth? Or somerwhere else first), and the earth is created. 

This order follows the Abraham text fairly well, which is more detailed on events of the premortal life than the Moses narrative.  But when did the war in heaven begin?  It’s hard to know because the war in heaven is only briefly described in Revelation, which isn’t really detailing the premortal life, but rather describes the beginnings of the conflict between good and evil which continues today. 

Some possibilities:

  • The war in heaven began after Jehovah was chosen and Lucifer rebelled and leads 1/3 of the hosts of heaven in rebellion, ultimately to be cast out into the earth and overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of testimony. 
  • The war in heaven began small when Lucifer decided that there may be a way for him to be the savior and redeem mankind and get the honor.  He immediately begins a subtle rebellion against God, ultimately convincing 1/3 of the hosts of heaven that he had a way to ensure nobody would be lost.  The climax of this war comes in the grand council when God declares Jehovah is chosen and Lucifer is rejected.
  • Lucifer had an ill-conceived, but well intentioned plan to be the savior and save all mankind, convinced many that he would provide a guaranteed return to the Father.  When Jehovah is selected over Lucifer, he rebels, leading many of those whom he has convinced to follow him in war against the Father, ultimately to lose and be cast to earth.

The first is probably the standard answer, but how does Satan lead 1/3 of the hosts of heaven against God, having already been rejected of God.  That baffles me, which is why I wonder if the war began earlier than the grand council.

We talk about how we know we kept our first estate because we are here on earth today with a physical body.  In Abraham it says “And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.”  How did Satan not keep his first estate?  What entails keeping the first estate?  Is it following Christ over Satan?  Is it accepting God’s choice of Jehovah as our Savior?  Is it simply accepting the plan that would send us away from the presence of God?

Details of the premortal life are quite lacking.  Perhaps some of the things above point out where detail is lacking.  The point, however, is what we can learn.  Here are some things I am confident about by reviewing the lesson material.

  • God’s plan for us was complete from the beginning and was well prepared to deal with the results of our inevitable disobedience.
  • Jesus Christ was chosen by the Father from the beginning and we chose to follow him in the premortal life.
  • Jesus Christ offered himself as a willing sacrifice for our sins and came to earth and fulfilled the plan.  He sets the perfect example of obedience to the Father.
  • A war ensued in Heaven which continues today.  Just as Satan was overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the power of testimony, even so Satan’s battle for our own will only be thwarted by the Master we chose to follow in the premortal life.

24 Responses to “RS/MP Lesson #3: “Jesus Christ, Our Chosen Leader and Savior” (Gospel Principles Manual)”

  1. joespencer said

    [Nathan, I hope I don’t offend, but I changed the title of the lesson notes here so that there is some consistency, and so that it is more likely to be found through Google searches. Good stuff here!]

  2. NathanG said

    No problem.

  3. Robert C. said

    Nathan, I’m scheduled to teach this lesson next week, so thanks for posting this. I’ll likely make several rather rambly comments this week to help me prepare, so don’t feel obliged to respond to all of my probably-lengthy musings (or even to read them!).

    To start, I’m quite fascinated by your question regarding the differences between the Abraham 3 and Moses 4 accounts of Satan’s fall. In Abraham, it seems the thematic context is in regard to agency and proving one’s obedience. So, what is important is that “the first” was chosen and “the second was angry” (Abr 3:28). We read a couple of verses prior that “they who keep their first estate shall be added upon” (v. 26), which echoes the language of the prior verse, “if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” So there is a kind of kenosis of wills at work in Abraham 3, and what is important is that Satan’s exercise of will does not conform to this model. Rather, Satan pits his own will against God’s, not agreeing to this “slave-like” mentality of subjecting oneself to others’ desires, we might say.

    In contrast, Moses 4 offers a preamble to Satan’s role as the deceiver in the Garden story. Satan lies to Eve in verse 10, claiming that she will not die if she partakes of the forbidden fruit. So, when Satan is described in verses 1-4, I think his promise to “redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost” (v. 1) is suspect. It is the nature of liars, in fact, to over-promise and under-deliver. As you hinted at in your post, this promise to guarantee a redemption of all mankind seems impossible and self-contradictory, yet Satan is not interested in fulfilling his promises. Rather, he simply wants to entice others to give him power with his promises.

    I also think this exercise in taking up Moses 4 and Abraham 3 together is fruitful when we think about putting their respective theological teachings together. That is, if Abraham 3 is about God’s main interest in establishing a kingdom of followers who are willing to accommodate others’ righteous wills (starting with God’s righteous will), then there is a kind of perpetuation of glory that can occur (Abr 3:26). However, Satan’s desire to “deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will” (Moses 4:4) results in a destroyed world (4:6). A kingdom of glory cannot be built upon lies and deception, and disregard for the righteous will of others. Rather, what is needed for a mutually-edifying kingdom/community to be possible, is honest communication, regard for others, and a willingness to support others’ righteous desires (where righteous here might simply be understood as a kind of honesty that is implicitly defined in contrast to Satan’s role as Deceiver…).

  4. DarthBill said

    When I read the lesson for this week, I was taken by Rev 12 which is referrenced. Vs 1-6 are usually explained in LDS circles as the apostasy. Well, it goes from there to the “war in heaven” and if there is a timeline…it doesn’t follow that this is pre-earth.

    In verse 10 it states “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
    Is that referring to pre-earth? Did Satan accuse brethren before he was cast in that timeline?

    In verse 11 it states “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. ” It is that last phrase that caught me. If this is pre-earth, what significance is death at that point? What testimony is being used?

    I just never read the whole chapter in this context, and I’m not sure about how it all works. I know that you might not get a clear time-line from Revelation, but the characters are such that it wants me to read it that way, and it isn’t the typical interpretation that we get when read in isolation.

    • Darrell said

      I reread that passage and then consulted Institute manuals – I’m convinced
      those verses 7-9 are meant as a back story. Verse 10 brings you back to present which is John telling story of the apostasy. When you get to 11 it seems clear to me that this why the original apostles were willing to seal their testimony with blood, knowing that this was the way to conquer Satan. In other words, they loved the Lord so much they would rather die than betray him.

      It is interesting to me that at Armageddon, that the two witnesses will seal their testimony of Christ with their deaths and at that point, when Christ comes and they are raised up, Satan will be conquered for 1,000 years. While the original apostles couldn’t stop the apostasy, these 2 witnesses will part of the events causing Christ to come, thus bringing us back from the Apostasy. Like the imagery….if not the position of the events which is not chronological. (Meaning placement of Ch 11 before Ch 12 in Revelations…)

  5. kirkcaudle said

    Nathan, this is truly a great outline for the lesson. I love how you brought up questions and then proceeded to give a few different answers to chose from. I have never thought about the “war in heaven” happening before the council. But you raise an excellent question if the common interpretation is held, why would the 1/3 follow (and fight on the side of) Satan if they had already lost? Hmmm.

    Robert, nice expansion on the differences between the Abraham and Moses narratives. I am teaching this lesson also, this gives some great ideas.

    Darth, ditto as above with Revelation.

    It took me a while to get around to reading this thread, but I’m glad I did!

  6. chelsea said

    I’m teaching this lesson on Sunday in RS…. I’ll be using several of your points and questions! Thankyou for posting this!

  7. Hiedi said

    Darthbill,

    re: In verse 11 it states “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. ” It is that last phrase that caught me. If this is pre-earth, what significance is death at that point?

    I wonder if that “death” may refer to the spirit children of Heavenly Father leaving his presence (a type of spiritual death) rather than referring to the physical death of the body.

    • DarthBill said

      That kind of death would only be if they were somehow dragged out with the others. Would that even be possible? Was it a war of words then and others might be convinced to leave?

      Not like I know anything about this. It just seemed an odd turn of phrase. In the end, it might be. John might just be using a phrase to highlight how earnest it was.

  8. Robert C. said

    Darthbill and Heidi,

    I think this passage in Revelation is quite fascinating. I read over David Aune’s Word Biblical Commentary explanation of this verse, and he takes this passage as largely an attempt by John to reinterpret/appropriate the Greek myth of Apollo slaying Pytho after Leto giving birth to Apollo in the wilderness. I think there is much merit to this reading, and if nothing else, it offers a good reason to read Revelation as a typological/mythological book, with rich meaning and significance, but not in a way that can be easily or neatly mapped up with any particular literal history of the pre-earth life, or of the apostasy, or of the last days—though I do think that this can and should be read as a prophetic revelation about all three time periods.

    Now, as to the significance of verse 11 in particular, I think this might productively be read as a poetic conflation of spiritual death and temporal death. Spiritual death, for Mormons, is a very important and necessary part of the plan of salvation. Moreover, we often praise Eve for have the courage to partake of the fruit. Now, on the one hand we might say that she did this only after being deceived by the serpent that she would not taste of death. On the other hand, she is the first one to acknowledge that it is better to traverse the path of mortal life, including spiritual and temporal death. Without spiritual death, it seems we would have remained in the Garden, not knowing the different between good and evil, or bitter and sweet. In this sense, spiritual death is good and it was right not to have (overly) feared it. Analogously, physical death is not to be feared in this life, else we risk a second spiritual death.

    Perhaps?

    • Hiedi said

      I read the Apollo-slaying-Pytho story and it’s still a bit hard for me to see how it relates to this verse (not saying it doesn’t, just that I may not understand it enough to get it).

      And about Eve, I’ve always thought that when she and Adam were cast out of the garden it entailed a spiritual death because they had to leave the Father’s presence, but that it must also have initiated a change in their physical bodies which brought about the consequence of physical death as well, whereas their bodies would not have aged and experienced physical death had they remained in the garden. So when I think of the war in heaven, and that those in battle (be it a war of words, as Darthbill suggested, or another type of battle) “loved not their lives unto the death” it may mean that they knew, as Eve knew,”that it is better to traverse the path of mortal life, including spiritual and temporal death” in order to further individual progression, than to forfeit all future growth. Because they believed this they were not overly afraid of either type of death we’ve discussed, and were willing to accept the plan that required such death.

      Also, it does seem that the verse may be a “poetic conflation of spiritual and temporal death.” That seems very possible.

  9. Nathan G:

    I liked your questions about Satan’s possible plan and the meaning of Agency, and wanted to take this opportunity to include my answers:

    Could Satan have realistically redeemed all mankind? No. But he could try to convince them that he could. And he was fairly successful at it.

    How would he have done it? I would suppose he told them they could be redeemed regardless of what they did. They could be free to do whatever they wanted, and would not be held accountable for their actions.

    What would redemption mean under Satan’s plan? At best, I would say a terrestrial glory. That’s the glory where Adam and Eve were initially placed. It’s a neutral glory. The Celestial is for the righteous. The Telestial is for the wicked. There was no opposition in Eden, so Eden was neither the top nor the bottom. Satan’s plan at best could produce mediocrity. In reality, his plan could probably only produce the Telestial (and only if he found some way to “redeem” us; otherwise, that would be an impossibility).

    Would there be “glory added upon [our] heads forever and ever” for keeping the second estate? No. That’s only available through the Father’s plan. Satan might convince some that he could do it, but he really couldn’t.

    How would the agency of man have been destroyed? Two ways: 1) If Agency means your power or instrumentality (see the dictionary’s primary definition), then if none would be lost regardless of what we did, then we have no instrumentality in our salvation. We become meaningless, completely powerless to make a difference in our own salvation. 2) If Agency is our legal ability to represent ourselves as our own Agent (see the 5 doctrinal usages of Agent in LDS scripture where men are always referred to as “agents unto themselves”), then he would destroy our ability to legally represent ourselves as an agent and to be held accountable for our actions according to the law of agency (the agent follows the principal’s will; the principal is bound be the agent’s actions). We would do whatever we please, but the law could not hold us accountable, since we did not legally represent ourselves. We would not be legally bound by our actions.

    What is agency? My answer is somewhat spelled out above. I believe what we typically use in the church today is a simplification of the idea of “free agency” which comes from Protestantism and philosophy, and defines a certain type of Agency without defining what Agency itself actually is. The Lord through Joseph Smith said Agency, not Free Agency. The term Free Agency was available back then, but He did not use it. That’s why I’ve tried to understand the concepts of Agents and Agency as the dictionary defined them. During the time of Joseph Smith, the church didn’t constantly define those terms like we do today. Apparently their meaning was clear back then, and was in line with the everyday meaning (found in the dictionary).

    Is it more important to speak of moral agency? No. Moral Agency is the type of Agency we exercise. We are Agents unto ourselves and the realm in which we use our agency is a moral realm. Moral refers to things both good and evil (see 1828 dictionary). Whenever we do anything that is either good or evil we have exercised a moral agency. That is the type of agency that matter in so far as the plan is concerned.

    How could Satan force us all to do his will? N/A. This comes from our misunderstanding of Agency.

    What does it mean that we would not be able to choose? N/A. See above. Under my view Satan would say that we could still choose. The real choice that his plan takes away is the choice to be instrumental in our own salvation. We cannot choose life or death, liberty or captivity as Lehi says in 2 Nephi 2.

    How did Satan convince 1/3 of the hosts of heaven to follow this idea? He offered a better plan than “I’ll force you to be good”. He may have said that if the Father’s plan can save those who are unaccountable (like little children), why not just keep everyone unaccountable, and we can all be saved? I think the idea of freedom of choice and unconditional salvation is more appealing than being forced. It’s the old, something for nothing, have your cake and eat it too, idea. It appeals to a lot of people.

    If you were going to destroy agency and redeem all people, what would you do? See above examples. (And I do like your example that you provided as well.) In my view, there are laws and consequences that God must live by (otherwise He would cease to be God). I think that we would have seen through any plan where Satan said he could change eternal law/consequence. But he might convince us that if we were unaccountable (like little children), then the laws would not apply, or might apply less than otherwise. What if we were prevented from ever understanding good and evil? Could we remain unaccountable? I think Satan could convince us that we could remain unaccountable under his plan easier than he could convince us that he could suspend eternal laws.

    • Hiedi said

      Matthew:

      Now that is something that makes sense. I’ve always wondered how so many might be duped into thinking they could be saved by being forced to do good, but your explanations of how Satan might have beguiled everyone seems much more plausible. Thanks for the interesting ideas!

    • Ryan said

      Amen brotha! Job well done!

    • Ryan said

      In MORMON DOCTRINE under Agency it says, “Four great principles must be in force if there is to be agency: 1. Laws must exist, laws ordained by an Omnipotent power, laws which can be obeyed or disobeyed…”

      No laws = No agency = No God

  10. KirkCaudle said

    Matthew, greats thoughts.

  11. Ryan said

    Nathan,

    Nice job on expanding this discussion. I find this very interesting and you guys are tearing it up! Keep up the great work!

  12. David said

    I our preisthood class last week, someone said that not all of the 2/3rd that chose to follow Christ will come to earth. I’ve been looking everywhere for a place that contradicts this teaching but I don’t see anything clear either for or against. Has anyone ever heard this? If so, where and how can I get a quote on it. Thanks!

  13. Robert Matthews said

    Something you might find interesting in all of the talk about being ‘forced’ to obey…

    My Dad gave a talk at BYU in 1984 titled “Why a Savior Is Necessary, and Why Only Jesus Christ Could Qualify” in which he said the following:

    “I think we often miss the real issue of the contention in the spirit world that eventually led to the War in Heaven. We talk about it as though Lucifer was going to force everybody to obey. He said, “I will save them all,” and we interpret that as meaning that he was going to have forced obedience.

    It has seemed strange to me that a third of all the spirits that could have been born into this world would have favored a plan that would cause them to have forced obedience. Most of us do not like to be forced. As I see it, the real issue was not so much one of force as it was that Lucifer said he would guarantee their salvation. He promised salvation without excellence, without effort, without hard work, without individual responsibility. That is the lie he promulgated in the pre-earth councils.

    That so-called shortcut to salvation captivated many gullible and lazy spirits. They wanted something for nothing. We have certain aspects of that in our life today where something is offered for nothing (a free lunch we sometimes call it), with certain kinds of subsidies that promise to guarantee the reward without the effort. On that basis, Lucifer led away many spirits, but individual progress does not come that way.”

  14. NathanG said

    David, I would ask the person who made the comment to offer something to justify the comment. I have not heard anything along those lines. There have been very interesting speculations in the past about conditions in the premortal life. These were by in large efforts to understand restrictions on the priesthood. They were held and taught by prominent members of the church. When I read them, I can’t fathom how anybody came to that conclusion. I share this not to debate their words, but to once again show how very little we really know about the premortal life. If you are given a source, please share.

    Robert Matthews: Thanks for the excerpt. I think the concept of forced obedience is really hard to justify and we need to look at other ways Lucifer was trying to deceive people, as your father has. I might add, we don’t assume forced obedience because of Lucifer’s comments, it is assumed because God says Satan tried to destroy agency. Of course we have a lot of discusssion on how we should regard agency on chapter 4’s post as well as Matthew Andreason’s comment above.

    • Nathan E. Rasmussen said

      It’s commonplace in Mormon culture to presume that “said he would save us all” plus “would have destroyed the agency of man” implies forced obedience, or what I call the Robot Scenario. I, too, find it difficult to believe that this is really what Lucifer had in mind, for a couple of reasons.

      First, I am persuaded that involuntary salvation is a God-would-cease-to-be-God impossibility. We must choose before we can be chosen (i.e., elected); God will not make changes to our soul/character without the best possible permission to do so, namely our striving for those changes; and so we cannot be quickened by any law (even the telestial), until we undertake to be governed by it. And I believe Lucifer was smart enough to know this.

      Second, I believe the scriptures when they say he was a liar from the beginning. So I cannot take at face value his announcement in the beginning, “I will redeem all mankind.” I do not believe he had anything of the sort in mind.

      Third, I suspect that for all his cunning the Devil is not very creative; and specifically, I suspect that his plan now, and his plan since Eden was planted, is not much different from his plan before: To get us on our own, dissuade us from seeking the Divine when we need it most, persuade us that whatsoever we desire is right, establish a kingdom of pure coercion, and spend the rest of forever dominating as much of that kingdom as he can. The difference is that he would have had the capacities of a begotten son of God, and could have saved himself by works and retained his life indefinitely. And I believe that, given the chance, he would have refused or failed to atone for us, leaving us subject to both physical and spiritual death forever.

      Does this scenario square with the word of the Lord, that Satan would have destroyed our agency? I believe it does. He would not determine our actions, but there is more to agency than primitive indeterminacy. Agency also requires causation: If what I do makes one consequence more likely than another, I am an agent and can act for myself. If my desired consequence is no more likely after my efforts than before, I am only acted upon. So it is in this scenario: We lose agency, not by being deprived of our choice of actions, but for lack of any meaningful difference among those actions’ effects. Whatever we did, being unable to save ourselves by works, we would end up “shut out from the presence of our God.” Moreover, Lucifer having a body and we being without, we would necessarily be subject to him, becoming “devils, angels to a devil,” and thus (as he views it) aggrandizing him forever.

      Or, to put it another way, I buy the analysis of Lehi’s rhetoric in Lesson 4. We are “free forever … to act for ourselves” only because the Messiah redeems us. Redemption is necessary to our eternal agency, and the perfect character of Jehovah was necessary to redemption, wherefore ANY other plan destroys our agency, regardless of its exact machinations — robots or no.

  15. Robert C. said

    I like the idea that Brother (Robert?) Matthews expresses: if there is no measure of excellence or righteousness (“no law” in Lehi’s words), then it seems we would be left with a kind of nihilism (“no purpose in the end of its creation,” 2 Ne 2:12).

    However, I worry that this idea is easily misappropriated in a way that doesn’t recognize the importance and significance of grace. I don’t think the scriptures support a works-based view of salvation. Rather, we are saved by grace, but when we truly receive this grace, good works follow. This is what we read in Moses 4 and Abraham 3 in this lesson: Christ received the plan of agency that the Father instituted, whereas Satan kept trying to “steady the ark” by coming up with a new and better plan, which means he did not (graciously) receive the Father’s plan….

  16. Robert C. said

    As an addendum to the Apollo source for Rev 12, I tracked down a very interesting article—here’s a teaser quote:

    The plot of Rev 12:1-6 is similar to pagan myths that would have circulated in the Roman empire at the time of the writing of the Apocalypse. In Greek myth, the dragon Python tries to kill the infant sun-god Apollo, but Apollo’s mother Leto escapes to the island of Delos and gives birth there. Apollo later returns to kill the dragon. Parallels between Revelation 12 and the Leto myth include the mother’s flight through the air (Leto flies from the monster, assisted by the north wind), the aid of the elements (earth or Poseidon), and the intervention of God or Zeus. A similar Egyptian myth describes Set the dragon who pursues Isis and who is eventually killed by Isis’s son Horus.

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:4NKsK7kEsfcJ:www.luthersem.edu/Word%26World/Archives/15-2_Revelation/15-2_Schroeder.pdf+apollo+revelation+12&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgIKpFR2P4snjZJ5OMfpVnXlJ7PDdrIqd6hzE21rrqg2OhwqdBxaMMMyx47gsR7vDyTm_n76VROnktbNk62MSpUZ176TzaUyCmSDSfgUoccUJfvE5aGS_MbRaYZ6E2-yCYPPxo4&sig=AHIEtbQPwGqrcURY4GB0LOeua8GB3IT9Mg

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