Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Fall Up in 2 Nephi

2 Nephi 2
A strange chapter, a curious mix of truth and lies, but a little leaven leavens the whole lump as it is said.
Nephi prophesies. He states that the Spirit is the same yesterday, today and forever. I have no problem with this if I am to understand that he is speaking of God. But Mormon’s change their doctrine all the time. And if God doesn’t change why do we need ongoing prophecy after Christ? His word remains the same and it is perfectly clear. Some have claimed that their “prophets” just interpret scripture. Well then they aren’t exactly prophets are they? By that definition anyone is a prophet.
This is followed in the 5th verse by a seemingly strong presentation of the Gospel. That salvation is free. It is even claimed that by the law no man is justified, that by the law men are cut off. Redemption comes through the Messiah. Listen to the eight verse: wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits and mercy and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh and taketh it again by the power of the spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
Though I’m not sure he needed to die necessarily in order to raise the dead on the last day. As on the last day all will be raised but eternal life only given to those that believe. He rose that we might rise in him to life. The others rise to eternal death, the same death they now live in. But he is right about the ability of flesh to live in the presence of God, we can only do that by the merits of Christ. But what he gives here with his right he will take later on with the left. (I have finished this book.) In that way he is like most protestant churches out there today who do not have a firm grasp on the gospel, but want to make forgiveness a one time event, to be followed by an exemplary life of good works lest you lose your salvation.
In fact it doesn’t take long. The thirteenth verse begins the muddled confusion of Law and Gospel, and makes righteousness dependent on sin. “And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say that there is no sin, if ye shall say that there is no sin, ye shall say that there is no righteousness. And if there is no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no happiness nor righteousness there be no punishment of misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things neither to act nor to be acted upon, wherefore all things must have vanished away. “
Wow. If I am reading that right the existence of God is dependent on the existence of sin. God is the author of sin. And since when is sinning not fun. I have been happy in my sin since youth! I’m happier being forgiven of them. And the end result of sin is indeed misery. But quite often looking back on life I have found quite a bit of happiness in those times where I was sinning. This is just bizarre. But it sets up for the more bizarre. That is that man is dependent on sin, was created in order to sin.
Verse 22 and following. “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.”
I don’t know where to begin with this one. I am reminded of the Literary Satanists, the school of thought that thinks Satan is the hero in John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” But you are hard pressed from the pages of Genesis to find Adam and Eve unhappy in the Garden. They seem to be very happy. Nor is it plausible that they were not able to have children before they sinned. God had told them to be fruitful and multiply, and he told them not to eat of the tree of Good and Evil. God is not a sadistic jerk that likes to put people in a bind like that. 1 Cor. 10:13 (ESV) “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. “ They did not have to break one of God’s laws to fulfill another. God is not to blame for our sin. This is just Satanic. As in it is of Satan through and through.
God created the world and it was good. Man was good. All his needs were met, and his happiness insured with the helpmeet Eve. Who could be happier than those who are without sin, born righteous, who have the pleasure of conversing with God face to face as they tend his garden and take care of his animals. To this day very few things bring more pleasure than what God created us for, procreation, gardening, and taking care of animals. I think you can find evidence aplenty in the world today. The truth of this has led to the absurdities of modern life. Environmentalism for all I can tell is the manifestation of the joy man gets for taking care of God’s creation. In my opinion it often goes too far, and borders on worship of the creation. But that is another story. I love being in the outdoors, gardening, and generally taking care of creation. The hardest men I know are absolutely soft when it comes to their pets. I abhor the fact that we make it a greater penalty to abuse a pitbul then to kill human life. Yet I think fundamentally people are on to something when they see the abuse of an animal as something inhumane and worthy of punishment. It is built into us to take care of the animals. It is to protect animals from the inhumane death by starvation, that hunters manage herds of elk, deer, etc. And I don’t think I need to explain the joy involved in procreation when it is done in the proper context of marriage. So why is it Adam and Eve had no joy in the garden? Because they did not know sin? This is like saying I need to know what bad cooking is to enjoy good cooking. Really I don’t need to know what stale bread tastes like to enjoy fresh bread. The fact is now that we have tasted sin, we have no idea what righteousness tastes like. Sin has made righteousness impossible for us. But I will tackle that issue with tomorrows post on verse 26.

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