Thursday, August 23, 2012

God's Commandments are the Source of Agency

2 Nephi 2:22 "And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."

Some people are confused at exactly what Lehi is trying to say here. Some have misunderstood Lehi's words as saying that the Fall of Adam was not only necessary but good. Lehi is not saying we should be thankful for sin?

No. What Lehi is saying is that the Fall was necessary, but the Fall wouldn't have been possible without the commandments of God. Because without the commandments, Adam and Eve would have remained in their innocent state forever. If there were no commandments, then their would have been no law, no right and wrong, no choice and no agency. And without the commandments of God, there would have been no command to have children, no happiness and no joy. Therefore, it's the word of God that we should be thankful for and not sin.

2 Ne. 10:23 "Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life."

Again, it's not access to "everlasting death" that should "cheer" our hearts. The Book of Mormon is not teaching that we should rejoice over sin and death. What the Book of Mormon is teaching is that we should rejoice over the commandments of God together with the Atonement of Christ. Death is the default setting. Without the commandments of God and the Atonenent, the Nephites watched their brethren the Lamanites become savages. Without the laws of God only the law of the jungle, appetites, passions and fear rule. But it's only through the commandments of God and Christ's Atonenent that we are made free. It is because of God that man can feel hungry but choose to fast, feel offended yet choose to forgive, feel fear, but choose understanding and love.

Some read 2 Nephi 2:22 and think Lehi is saying God gave contrary commandments and that Adam initially couldn't have obeyed Gods first commandments without breaking the second commandment. However, Nephi says God giveth no commandments without a way to obey them. So, Lehi is not saying the commandments of God were contrary. Despite Adam's feeling like the situation forced him into transgression. It's Satan who tells us there is no other way.

Instead, Lehi is explainining Adam's good intention was to also partake "that man may be", after Eve had already partaken of the fruit "to have knowledge". However, like Nephi and Laban, I think it would have been a better way for Adam if he had waited for God to have given His permission first; assuming some commandments are time and situation specific.

1 comment:

Haley Wilson said...

I love the clarification. I feel so blessed that we have the gift of agency. It has been my personal opinion that God allowed Adam and Eve to make the choice to partake of the fruit because in order to understand they had to transgress in some way. They had to deliberately choose to go against the commandments of God in order to understand what it meant to be obedient and disobedient. Could the Lord had done things another way, perhaps, but I think He did it that way for a reason. Who am I to understand the mysteries of God?