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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

How is it done, that Adam condemns men to death and Christ’s atonement in the Garden atones for death.

Robert

 

Answer

 

Dear Robert,

It wasn’t that Adam condemned men to death, but that through the transgression of Adam death came into the world. That transgression came about in this manner. Essential to God’s plan for the development of the human family, His sons and daughters, was the concept that they should be free to choose whether they would obey their Heavenly Father or follow some other path of disobedience. So, in order for them to express their free agency God gave them two conflicting commandments. Thus they could obey only one and would have to transgress the other, which would cause them to exercise their agency by being required to make a choice between two alternatives. The two commandments were:

1) There was the fruit of a certain tree of which they were commanded not to partake; and they were instructed that if they did so they “would surely die.” The tree was called the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

2) They were given a commandment to have children and begin to populate the earth.

Eve succumbed to the temptations of Satan and ate some of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. At this time the earth on which they were living was a terrestrial world and they were not yet subject to physical death. Because Eve partook of the forbidden fruit her nature was changed to that of a telestial kingdom and she was now subject to physical death. Further, she was to be expelled from the Garden of Eden and remanded to the telestial world.

Adam, who wished to be always obedient to the Lord, was now faced with a dilemma. He could remain obedient to the commandment to not partake of the forbidden fruit and remain alone in the Garden of Eden, but in that case he could not be obedient to the other commandment to have children, as Eve was to be cast out of the Garden and live in a telestial world. Or he could be obedient to the commandment to have children, but in order to be able to do so he would have to eat some of the forbidden fruit, as did Eve, and thus be changed to the same state that she was in.

So Adam made a conscious decision to transgress the commandment to not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in order to obey the commandment to begin populating the earth. So, as a result of their disobedient action they were changed to a mortal state, being subject to physical death and being cast out from the presence of the Lord. They would now be able to have children, but they would live in a world of temptation. Thus, they and their posterity would all succumb to temptation to one degree or another, and thereby disqualify themselves from returning to the presence of God, since no unclean thing could ever enter His presence.

Our Father in Heaven is a God full of mercy and forgiveness, but by his very nature He is also a just God. If He were unjust He would consequently cease to be God. So God’s first born Son in the spirit world volunteered to accept the responsibility for all of the sins of all of our Father’s children and submit himself to the demands of an eternal justice by volunteering to be adequately punished of all of the sins of all of God’s children who were ever to live in mortality on any and all of God’s infinite worlds

To satisfy the demands of justice, that suffering would have be to infinite in its extension. God’s first-born son became the emissary of the Father and is known by many names. In the record of the Old Testament He is known as Jehovah. When he was born into mortality, sired by his Heavenly Father and the mortal virgin, Mary, he was given the name of the local equivalent of Jesus Christ. From his mother, Mary, he inherited the ability to die a mortal death, and from his Eternal Father he inherited the ability to overcome death, but that infinite suffering was his own. That suffering was intense beyond all recognition, understanding or explanation. But he successfully paid the infinite price and fulfilled all the demands of a divine justice that a price of suffering must be paid for any disobedience to the word of God. Now the Father could extend his mercy in forgiveness of sin without violating the demands of justice.

That great atonement consists of two aspects: Because the Savior, after being put to death, was able to resurrect himself, a like resurrection occurs with every living being that suffers mortal death. Hence the statement, As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. 15:22.

The second aspect relates to the Father’s forgiveness of the sins for which his Beloved Son paid that infinite price. This aspect of the great atonement is available only to those children of our Heavenly Father who recognize its source, and who yield obedience to all the requirements laid down by the Savior for the forgiveness of sins by the Father. Those requirements include:

1) accepting the Lord, Jesus Christ as the Savior of all mankind;

2) repenting of all the sins that are committed. Repenting of sin means that the sin is recognized and then overcome, so that the sinful act is no longer a part of the person’s character.

3) being baptized by immersion for the remission of sins by one having authority from God to do so. This baptism is an ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ, symbolic of the washing away of a person’s sins and of coming forth into a new life of obedience to the Savior.

4) receiving by the laying on of hands of those authorized to do so, the gift of the Holy Ghost,

5) living a life of obedience to all the commandments that the Savior has specified in order to return to the presence of God the Father.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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