Thursday, December 28, 2006

Agency of Man

Agency = ability to choose
Agency is the ability to perform work. Work is not just toil. Work is effort and toil which results in a desired outcome. God tells us to "work out our salvation." Agency then becomes our ability to act or make choices in a way that will bring about our eventual salvation, exaltation and eternal life (Luke 2: 40,52)(D&C 93: 13).

Agents = creation with ability to act
God has two classes of creation. He has that which is acted upon, and that which can act. God is the supreme being with the infininte ability to act in the universe. Man is created in the image of God and given the god-like ability to have dominion, stewardship, and act upon God's other creations.

Choices = right and wrong, good and bad, law and consequence
Agency requires that there is a right and wrong. Lehi teaches that if there is no God then there is no ultimate good or bad, right or wrong, sin or righteousness. But because happiness and misery exist, that proves that there is a God. Lehi teaches that "men are that they might have joy." Or in other words, the purpose of this life is to be happy(posess love). God is the possessor and granter of infinite happiness(pure love). Therefore, if we follow God's will we are promised an increase in love and happiness (charity = pure love of Christ). If we follow Satan then we are told we will be come miserable. The scriptures tell us that Satan "seeketh to make all men miserable like unto himself."

Vailed Memory = no memory of our happiness with God in heaven
It is my opinion that the vail over our memory which prevents us from recalling our former life in heaven with God is what most made coming to Earth most scary. Satan wanted to take away our agency. I suppose he proposed a plan in which no vail was placed over our memory. However, without the vail, we could not be happy on Earth because we would remember what it was like in Heaven with God. Without the vail, we could not choose, because we would never feel happiness. Anything we did or experienced on Earth would be misery in comparison to the love we felt in the presence of God. Satan was cast out of Heaven and has no vail over his memory and consequently miserable.

Enticement = both options are desireable
Lehi says that we are not free to choose and "could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other"(2 Ne. 2: 16). God wants to "prove" us to see if we will sacrifice what feels good now for eternal happiness later. Anyone who endures a college education understands the principle of sacrifice now brings greater dividends later. Also, some parents say, "I'm not going to encourage my kids to go to church, I respect their agency." If they are not enticed to do the right, then they are not free, because they will be left alone to face the enticements of the devil.

Mediums of Enticement:
Holy Ghost = still small voice of God, the spirit of revelation.
Light of Christ = conscience, superego, knowledge of good and evil.
Natural Man = id, physical appetites and tendencies.
Satan = temptations to do evil.

Mediator = brings man back to God to be judged
If it wasn't for the atonement of Jesus Christ, because of the Fall of Adam, man could do nothing to result in his salvation. He would have become forever unclean and be shut out from the presence of God. The sacrifice of Christ overcomes all the effects of the Fall, overcomes physical and spiritual death, and brings us back into the presence of God to be rewarded according to our actions, thoughts, and desires. Had the atonement not been performed, Nephi says we would all be shut out from the presence of God to become angels unto the devil (2 Ne. 9: 9).

Time = learn from our own experience to do good
Lehi says that if Adam and Eve were to have immediately partaken of the tree of life that they would have lived forever in their sins. Therefore an angel of God was placed to guard the tree. Therefore, they were granted a space of time to repent of their mistakes, through the atonement of Christ, they could purify and sanctify themselves and begin to follow and obey the commandments of God, and lay up in store treasure in heaven. Nephi says that we are in a probationary and preparatory state, a state to prepare to meet God. Today is the day to perform our work. We are warned not to "procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late" (Hel. 13: 38).

Judgement = reward for correct choices
The scriptures say that we will receive the reward for our choices. If we choose God then we are promised happiness, love, and an eternal reward. If we harken unto Satan, then we will reap the rewards of death and hell. The scriptures remind us that "he rewardeth you no good thing." We do not have to wait until the final judgement for our reward. King Benjamin says that through our obedience we are immediately rewarded. The scriptures teach that we are justified by faith and become sactified by the reception of the Holy Ghost. We are given the ability to return to and partake of the Tree of Life and grow in light, power, and knowledge in this life. Our light will "grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day" (D&C 50: 24).

Lehi's sermon on agency in the Book of Mormon: 2 Ne. 2: 13-14, 16, 26

No comments: