Friday, January 13, 2012

2 Nephi 2: 21-22

I was asked about the application of 2 Ne. 2: 21-22 to the fall and man's condition here, in contrast to what would have happened if Adam and Eve had awaited the command to partake of the fruit.

These verses state: "And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents. 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."

This explanation by Lehi to his son Jacob focuses on what happened. Adam did transgress. As a consequence he, and his posterity fell. Therefore we find ourselves in the present conditions.

Lehi is not focused on what would have happened if Adam had not transgressed, only what did happen because Adam did transgress. The reference to "all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created," is speaking about the condition prior to the transgression. The explanation does not focus on what would have happened if, instead of a transgression, Adam partook under a commandment to do so.

Adam needed to partake. Man needed to transition from the Garden. It was never intended for mankind to "remain in the same state in which they were after they were created...forever." This world was designed to be a place where mankind would come, experience mortality, and die. This is something done on other worlds, as well. It did not need to be done in transgression, for it is more often done by mankind on other worlds in obedience to a commandment to partake. During the Millennium there will be millions who live in such a world. But Adam was tempted, as was Eve, and together they partook in transgression of a commandment to not partake.

The resulting fall distinguishes this world, as I showed earlier and will not repeat again. We are in the worst place of all the Father's creations. (Moses 7: 36.) Here alone, in the worst place, among the worst people of that place, the Son of God came to die. This is the only people who would kill Him. (2 Ne. 10: 3.) The sacrifice of the Son was ordained before the foundation of the world. That is one of His names, "the Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World." (Rev. 13: 8.)

God was not surprised by Adam's transgression. He always anticipated it. The conditions necessary for Christ's sacrifice could only come about in that way. But foreknowledge does not remove other possibilities. There is ALWAYS choice, and the choice is real. It could be taken. If it could not be taken, then by definition there is no choice. Had the transgression not happened, there would have been a commandment, as in other worlds, to partake. Mortality would have happened, as it does on other worlds. (D&C 76: 24.)

Understanding what might have been is far less important than understanding what is. We are faced with a fallen world, into which the Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World came to rescue us. Adam did transgress. The repair for that will come through and from the Lamb.