In homage to Numbers 12, Oliver learns in Section 28 that he, like Aaron, doesn’t receive revelations the same way as Joseph and Moses, but he is given broad discretion in teaching the things Joseph brings forth. After disagreeing about the nature of Adam’s death, a handful of members unite in prayer and receive Section 29, which gives them a lot more than they asked for.
1 Corinthians 7:6
3 Nephi 27:1-2
2 Nephi 9:25
I think you were a little loose with your definition of what it means to be righteous. You said that being righteous doesn’t mean that you don’t sin anymore, only that you are willing to keep repenting. If you look in Webster’s 1828 dictionary, you will see that a righteous person is “Just; accordant to the divine law. Applied to persons, it denotes one who is holy in heart, and observant of the divine commands in practice; as a righteous man.”
If you look at the definition of sin, you will see ” The VOLUNTARY departure of a moral agent from a KNOWN rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any VOLUNTARY transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. sin is either a positive act in which a KNOWN divine law is violated, or it is the VOLUNTARY neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. sin comprehends not action only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God’s commands or law.”
There is additional information in the definition, but it is all consistent with intentional disobedience. I am not sure how you can reconcile righteousness with sin. It is possible for righteous people to repent, because that indicates both sorrow for past actions and the willingness to change. Both of these are a natural consequence of greater knowledge, which will continue to come line upon line, precept upon precept as a person learns to listen to and live according to the Spirit of God.
Do you believe then that Nephi was not righteous?
2 Nephi 4
18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groans because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
By his own admission he voluntarily chose to be angry, voluntarily chose to give way to temptations, and voluntarily had evil thoughts in his heart. He doesn’t blame anyone but himself for his sins, because he chose to yield to sin. This is roughly 30 years after they had left Jerusalem. This can’t be the first time he has decided to repent in his life. Even after the visions and angelic visitations, he has continued to sin, although he now seems to focus more on his motivations than his actions.
We don’t suddenly become immune to sin after receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We must endure to the end, repenting of the sins we will commit throughout our life. This doesn’t mean we’re killing people or committing adultery, but even an unkind word spoken in a moment of frustration is sin. If righteous people never sin, then Christ is the only righteous person that will ever exist. Instead, the righteous repent of their sins and strive to do better. The unrighteous don’t give a rip and keep doing the same thing without a second thought.
I guess we see things differently. Encompassed and beset means surrounded, like a city under siege. As a man who has seen angels and the Savior his awareness of the vast difference between Christ’s righteousness and his own state would be much clearer than ours is. Do you ever grieve because of your memory of past actions? Asking why he should yield to sin or give way to temptation tells us he is tempted, not that he actually acts on those temptations. It can just as easily be read to say he should not yield because then the evil one would have place in his heart to destroy his peace. (And I don’t believe that anger itself is a sin, it is a mechanism to warn you just like the alarm on your home is a warning to yourself and others that your space and property have been violated. The sin comes as a result of what we do with the anger.)
Why is he angry because of his enemy? That sounds like a rhetorical question. Some parents are upset when their kids say “I hate you, Mom.” Some don’t really mind. Do words and actions hurt because they hit a personal insecurity or emotional trigger? For someone who is introspective, that question might really be asking WHY AM I ANGRY WHEN MY ENEMY DOES THE THING THEY ALWAYS DO TO ME? What can I do differently? It is my problem or theirs?
Based on your description of Nephi, it would seem that he has not undergone the mighty change of heart described in Mosiah 5:2 where they say they have “no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” Either that, or he needs a talk with Enos who said his guilt was swept away because God told him his sins were forgiven and he knew that God could not lie. I know this is an oversimplification, but in general I don’t think we can call anyone except Jesus Christ “righteous”. However, if he declares someone to be righteous that should be sufficient basis for us to do so as well. My objection to the original point is the idea that sin and righteousness can co-exist in the same heart. I still think that is a false idea.
I think we’re arguing about degrees. Let’s do a thought experiment, but first let’s talk about disposition:
DISPOSITION: Inclination; propensity; the temper or frame of mind, as directed to particular objects.
Notice that Mosiah 5:2 does not say “they no longer do evil, but good continually,” but rather “they no longer have the inclination to do evil, but they have the propensity to do good.” A natural man is going to default to doing evil, even if he also does some good. A righteous person will default to doing good, even if he also can’t resist temptation from time to time.
Let’s apply this to the thought experiment:
A person repents of all her sins and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. She no longer has the disposition to sin, but she is still tempted by Satan daily to sin. Let’s say she has gone a long time without sinning. Then she is communicating with an obnoxious podcaster who really pushes her buttons. She gets angry and in a moment of frustration says an unkind word about his limited mental abilities.
Does she cease to be righteous because of that one verbal slip? 99.9% righteous, but 0.1% human. How would she go about reclaiming her righteous status? What if her disposition is to immediately apologize for her unkind words and beg forgiveness from God and the podcaster? What if instead she refuses to apologize and insists she is already righteous and therefore has no need to repent? The righteous repent, and the unrighteous don’t repent.
Let’s apply this to Joseph Smith. Throughout the Doctrine and Covenants he is admonished by the Lord to repent of his sins. D&C 82 was received in 1832, after the fullness of the priesthood was restored and people were undoubtedly able to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost:
2 Nevertheless, there are those among you who have sinned exceedingly; yea, even all of you have sinned; but verily I say unto you, beware from henceforth, and refrain from sin, lest sore judgments fall upon your heads.
All of you have sinned. Not a single one of these Melchizedek Priesthood holders is without sin. The Lord reiterates this in D&C 84:
61 For I will forgive you of your sins with this commandment—that you remain steadfast in your minds in solemnity and the spirit of prayer, in bearing testimony to all the world of those things which are communicated unto you.
If these men repented of their sins once and never sinned again upon receiving the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, why would the Lord talk about forgiving their sins in the future?
The Lord told Joseph in D&C 90:
1 Thus saith the Lord, verily, verily I say unto you my son, thy sins are forgiven thee, according to thy petition, for thy prayers and the prayers of thy brethren have come up into my ears.
This was in 1833…why does Joseph still have sins that the Lord is forgiving? It’s not just Joseph:
6 And again, verily I say unto thy brethren, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, their sins are forgiven them also, and they are accounted as equal with thee in holding the keys of this last kingdom;
And again in 1836, D&C 110:
5 Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.
Throughout the first half of his ministry, Joseph is repeatedly commanded to repent and repeatedly told his sins have been forgiven. This wasn’t a one-and-done event for him. Nor for Sidney, Oliver, or any of the others.
Though our hearts are changed, there is still weakness in the flesh that we have to resist. That’s why a man can fall from grace – our disposition has changed but we are still surrounded by temptations. One moment of weakness is all it takes to sin again. But the real test is whether we recognize it and get back on the path, or continue to choose sin over repentance.
This is certainly not a hill I am going to die on. I just don’t believe that righteousness is a matter of degrees at all. Based on works, Jesus Christ is the only person who has a right to that description. As I mentioned before, I will take God at his word insofar as He declares a person’s righteousness. However, not even Jesus presumed to make final judgment on a person during his mortal ministry. If righteousness applies to being just, then the Golden Rule would be a beginning lesson on how to practice righteousness. The problem we have is that we are blind to our own hypocrisy. You are either clean, or you are unclean; you are either just, or you are unjust; you are either righteous, or you are unrighteous. Based on the scriptures you have shared about sin, I would generalize to say none are righteous – unless and until God declares them to be so.
I can see how a person can do works of righteousness, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the captive prisoners, etc. and yet still commit sin. Somehow I don’t think that Nephi would have presumed to call himself righteous. He would probably be less likely to say that than any of us because he has a knowledge of what real righteousness is.
My original objection is based on the idea that “a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.” (Moroni 7:11) It just rings false that a person who is righteous would also continue to sin.
I would encourage you to test your beliefs against the scriptures. If righteousness is not a matter of degrees at all, how do you reconcile that with:
Jacob 3:5 – the Lamanites are more righteous than the Nephites
Helaman 6:1 – their righteousness did exceed that of the Nephites
Helaman 7:4 – they are more righteous than you
3 Nephi 7:7 – the more righteous part of the people had become wicked
and most importantly, 3 Nephi 9:13 which has God himself say “all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me and repent of your sins?”
None of those scriptures say the people are righteous. In most cases they are telling the people to stop justifying their own sins because they think they aren’t as bad as another group. The only standard we should have for our behavior is the Savior, in which case we will always come up short, take our fallen selves to HIm, and then He can clothe us with His righteousness.
I think the key to unlocking your differing opinions is in 1 Sam. 16:7 ” But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” We judge people by their outer works as good or evil or righteous or unrighteous all the time based on what we see with our fleshy eyes. Ultimately (as Michael Heiser says often) all we can do is remain loyal to God and turn our heart over to Him. But because of the flesh it is impossible to live sin free. Otherwise what’s the point of a Saviour? God wants our heart and he will clothe us in his robes of righteousness (a celestial body) if we do all that we can which is to turn back to him when we sin and try to do the work He would do if He was present while pointing all people back to Him.
Thank you for adding to the discussion. One thing I have had to “repent” of in recent years is the idea that prophets in the scriptures were in some way superior to the rest of us fallen humanity. Wherever the idea came from, I thought that I had to wrap God’s perfection into the example of how the prophets behaved instead of seeing that God was working with imperfect them just as He works with imperfect me. In doing so, I get much more out of the scriptures than I used to.
To paraphrase a German-speaking apostle, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. I personally don’t see people like Nephi referring to themselves as righteous, so there is no inconsistency with them mourning over their tendency to sin. The danger I see is when we call ourselves righteous and then excuse our own sin as no big deal because we think sin and righteousness can co-exist.
Great discussion on the timeline of events regarding the war in Heaven. The scriptures paint a picture of a war that began after God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden. Satan rebelled then. When it talks of the third part, I wonder about the Watchers and the Sons of God placed over the table of nations. Was Satan still in Heaven, influencing those other Divine Beings? Were they all part of his rebellion? Was it the Morley Farm when Satan was finally thrown out of Heaven?
Also, great point on the usage of ‘before’. It adds to my contention that the phrase “before the world” used by God in addressing Cain has nothing to do with a timeline of events, but of being in view of, in front of, etc. There is no verb that follows that usage of ‘before’.
Also, in listening to Dr. Heiser, he contends that Christians ought to be open to the idea of there being a pre-existence even though many reject it as a heresy. I think the JST provides us with the right timeline for understanding what sort of pre-existence our spirits may have had.
God creates man on the 6th day of creation. Then there is the 7th day of rest. After that, in the next chapter (probably the 8th day) God creates man’s body from the dust of the earth. The JST explains that there is a spiritual creation that precedes the physical creation. So our spirits existed from the 6th day of creation until we come to a physical body. That’s some amount of time in a pre-existence. There’s no telling how long the 7th day, the day of rest, lasted. It could be similar in duration to the millennial 7th day of rest. But that’s speculation.
As always, I enjoyed the podcast.
Credit where credit is due: it was your analysis of “before the world” that sensitized me to the two different ways before is used, so when I saw it in D&C 29 it fit the pattern.
I enjoyed the way you explained it. It is interesting how God answers the question about Adam and how God describes the transgression. I think LDS scholars have difficulty with the usage of ‘before’ in this passage because the Biblical account, and the JST account, do not describe Satan as being before Adam. Satan tempts Eve. Yet in D&C 29 God only speaks of Adam.
How do you interpret the way God describes everything as being Adam? I’m wondering if this is a case of God considering Adam and Eve as a singular entity. God uses the third person male singular throughout the passage in D&C 29.
Back to “before” for a moment:
JST Genesis 3:
1 And I, the LORD God, spake unto Moses, saying, That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning;
2 And he came before me, saying, Behold I; send me. I will be thy Son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost; and surely I will do it. Wherefore, give me thine honor.
I think this usage is clearly in the same manner as D&C 29 and God’s dealing with Cain. Not sure how many would stake out the position that Satan existed before God even though God clearly says Satan came before Him. =)
To the passage:
JST Genesis 3:
17 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest me, and commanded that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree; and I did eat.
23 And unto Adam, I, the LORD God, said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed shall be the ground for thy sake. In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
Adam did not hearken unto the voice of Satan. It doesn’t say Adam was tempted of Satan. Adam hearkened unto the voice of Eve. If Adam was tempted, it was by Eve.
40 Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook of the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation.
Here he’s describing the tempting by Satan.
JST Genesis 3:
7 And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, for he had drawn away many after him and he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God; wherefore, he sought to destroy the world.
19 And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
I can see why LDS scholars might find it hard to reconcile how in D&C 29 God describes Adam being tempted by Satan but in JST Genesis 3, it is Eve who is tempted by Satan.
But there’s also another issue with the JST Genesis account:
JST Genesis 2:
18 And I, the LORD God, took the man and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it.
19 And I, the LORD God, commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat;
20 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it;
21 Nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but remember that I forbid it;
22 For in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
23 And I, the LORD God, said unto mine Only Begotten, that it was not good that the man should be alone;
24 Wherefore, I will make an help meet for him.
28 And I, the LORD God, caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and I took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in the stead thereof; and the rib, which I, the LORD God, had taken from man, made I a woman and brought her unto the man.
29 And Adam said, This I know now is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.
Notice how God gives Adam the commandment to not partake of the fruit BEFORE God creates Eve from Adam’s rib? There’s no account given of God giving that commandment to Eve, yet Eve knows all about it:
JST Genesis 3:
9 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which thou beholdest in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it; neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
The commandment given to Adam applied to Eve as well and she knew about it. I think in D&C 29, God is using the word “Adam” in the pre-separation sense, including both Adam and Eve as a single unit. God doesn’t seem to see a huge difference between the two of them in D&C 29. Interestingly, it appears God may have slipped into this usage (considering the two as one unit) back here:
JST Genesis 3:
28 And I, the LORD God, said unto mine Only Begotten, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and partake also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever,
29 Therefore, I, the LORD God, will send him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken.
30 For as I, the LORD God, liveth, even so my words cannot return void, for as they go forth out of my mouth, they must be fulfilled.
31 So I drove out the man, and I placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.
Who is “the man” here? God uses the third person male singular pronoun in this passage, just like in D&C 29. Yet Eve is still in the picture, she also has become like God, knowing good and evil:
JST Genesis 3:
12 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they had been naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
I think it’s clear God drove both Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Eve wasn’t allowed back in with the chance to partake of the tree of life while only Adam was prevented from going in. The best way I can reconcile these passages is that God considers Adam and Eve to be a singular unit and can refer to them both together by “Adam” and even “the man”. Adam’s (together) transgression would include both Eve hearkening unto the serpent and Adam (singular) hearkening unto Eve.
A few more scriptures on the transgression:
JST Romans 5
13 (For, before the law, sin was in the world: yet sin is not imputed to those who have no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. For I say that through the offence, death reigned over all.
15 But the offence is not as the free gift, for the gift aboundeth. For, if through the offence of one, many be dead, much more the grace of God and the gift by grace hath abounded by one man, Jesus Christ, unto many.
16 And not as by one that sinned is the gift: for the judgment is by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
It’s all about Adam here, “one man’s offence”. Or is it?
JST 1 Timothy 2
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
The transgression was the woman’s, Eve’s. Correct?
2 Nephi 2
18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.
19 And after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to till the earth.
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.
Well, the devil speaks to Eve, they both partake of the fruit and are both driven out, yet the transgression is “Adam’s” – is that plural Adam or singular Adam?
11 For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.
There’s enough here that I think God can view Adam and Eve as a complete, singular unit and call them “Adam” as well as viewing them as unique individuals, calling them by “Adam” and “Eve” and giving each different consequences for the entire transgression. How do you see it?
There definitely is a lot to learn still about the stages of existence that occurred chronologically before this specific earth was created, and you’re right there are two different usages in scripture for the phrase “before the world”, however I would disagree on your interpretation in Moses 5:24 “For from this time forth thou shalt be the father of his lies; thou shalt be called Perdition; for thou wast also before the world.”
Cain slew able in secret and not “before the world” in the sense of being known to the whole world. Now I will grant that this is probably a play on words on this phrase because he thought he could do something secretly but now it will be known before the world. However, the main meaning in this verse has to be in the sense of chronologically before the physical world was created because of the past tense verb “wast”, and like I said he didn’t do anything openly but in secret. Remember we were spiritually created first and had to spiritually fall first in order to enter into a fleshy fallen world of the terrestrial kingdom/physical hell.
Furthermore section 76 defines a son of perdition as:
31 Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power—
32 They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;
33 For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity;
34 Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—
35 Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.
36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels—
37 And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power;
38 Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath.
39 For all the rest shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, through the triumph and the glory of the Lamb, who was slain, who was in the bosom of the Father before the worlds were made.
So perhaps some sons of perdition will have forgiveness in two worlds or more to come. But if they are declared as such they either just qualified or did qualify in a previous world. Interesting things to ponder and it does show the infinite mercy of God that He seems to leave open a possibility that even a son of perdition could some day be redeemed if they repent.
Thanks for your comment. I don’t agree that you can view the passage as having to do with a chronological order involving a pre-existent choice Cain made. Again, man was given agency in the Garden of Eden, so when would Cain have had a chance to be called Perdition before the world was created?
Take the entire passage into account, not just one verse or phrase:
JST Genesis 5
5 And she again conceived and bare his brother Abel. And Abel hearkened unto the voice of the LORD. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
6 And Cain loved Satan more than God. And Satan commanded him, saying, Make an offering unto the LORD. And in process of time, it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
7 And Abel, he also brought, of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof; and the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.
8 Now Satan knew this, and it pleased him. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? Why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted; and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door; and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire; and thou shalt rule over him, for from this time forth thou shalt be the father of his lies.
10 Thou shalt be called Perdition, for thou wast also before the world; and it shall be said in time to come that these abominations were had from Cain, for he rejected the greater counsel which was had from God; and this is a cursing which I will put upon thee, except thou repent.
11 And Cain was wroth and listened not any more to the voice of the LORD, neither to Abel his brother, who walked in holiness before the LORD.
There is absolutely nothing in this entire passage that has to do with any pre-existence or choices made before anyone was born. It’s wresting the scripture to take a single phrase “for thou wast also before the world” and change the meaning to say it is talking about Cain being called Perdition prior to the world coming into existence. It’s totally out of context.
Again, if Cain had made his choice before he was born, then God is a liar in verse 9: “if thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted; and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door; and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up”. If Cain had already made the decision before he was born, God knows this so there would be no way for Cain to be accepted. But Cain hadn’t made his fatal decision yet. He hadn’t killed Able yet. He was wroth and loved Satan more than God, but Cain still had time to repent. This was not a sin made in the pre-existence, in the presence and full knowledge of God. This was in real time what Cain was going through. God can see the future, but to Cain it was still to come.
And in verse 10: “and this is a cursing which I will put upon thee, except thou repent.” You cannot repent of openly and knowingly rebelling against God in His presence. That is why there is no redemption for those sons of god who rebel. If Cain had rebelled prior to being born, in the presence of God, having become Perdition, then there was no possibility for him to repent. Yet God says otherwise. I believe God.
This life, this time during which we live on earth, is our probation. It is not in some pre-existence where we have already made choices we are unaware of here on earth and our fate is already sealed. What’s the point of believing that? God doesn’t teach anything like that in the scriptures.
I think you’re oversimplifying the gospel in your interpretation. You assume that this is the one and only probation we get. So God isn’t a liar. While this is the only one we have any memory of and Cain could have repented in that life, but he chose not to. I think your reading your cultural biases into the passage to not see it for what it plainly says. Namely that Cain had qualified for perdition status before that mortal existence. I’m not sure how we here can claim to believe Joseph and other servants are coming back but not believe other people will have other opportunities in the flesh to grow and learn. The scriptures are clear that this life aka mortality is a time to prepare to meet God and that if we don’t do so we will be possessed by that same spirit that possesses us today. So if we live in a telestial manner we will end up in another telestial world.
I’m just sticking to the text as it appears in the scriptures. God gave man his agency in the Garden of Eden. Without agency, we couldn’t have chosen between good and evil. Hence, Cain did not make a choice to be Perdition prior to man getting agency.
I think there is still more to learn about the full chronology of events. I don’t see any scriptures to point to us repeating probation on different planets. We will sit on God’s Divine Council if we follow the simple gospel as revealed in the scriptures.
I think that the little season, after the millennium, is when all of God’s creations will live on earth and have the opportunity to choose between God and Satan. Right now, we are striving to be with God during the millennium. After that, we will be striving to be with God in His Kingdom as part of His Council. After that, I don’t have any information in the scriptures to speculate.
But the timeline as given in the scriptures has our spirits created on the 6th day, the physical body of Adam created after the 7th day of rest, then Adam being placed in the Garden of Eden and finally given his agency there. There is no opportunity for Cain to have existed with agency prior to the world having been created.
It’s not cultural, it’s textual.
I agree with most of what you said in general, however, to me the plain reading of the text is that Cain had been a son of perdition before coming to this current world.
Moses 1 says : 33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
34 And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.
So did those other adams on other worlds not have agency? No agency ever existed throughout all of creation until our adam was put in the garden?
Paul, that reading is only plain if you ignore the standard and documented English usage of the word before, and already believe in a multiple mortal probation doctrine that isn’t taught in the scriptures.
Moses 4:1-2 Satan which was from the beginning, came before God. before means in the presence of, not preceding in time.
Moses 6:41 Enoch bowed himself before the Lord and spoke before the Lord. before means in the presence of, not preceding in time.
Moses 7:4 I saw the Lord and he stood before my face and talked with me. before means in the presence of, not preceding in time.
Moses 8:30 “The end of all flesh is come before me.” before means in the presence of, not preceding in time.
1 Nephi 7:20 Laman and Lemuel bow down before Nephi. before means in the presence of, not preceding in time.
Mosiah 26:25 the wicked will stand before the Lord. before means in the presence of, not preceding in time.
You can follow that pattern of usage throughout the scriptures. Yet when we get to Cain was before the world, or Satan came before Adam, we’re supposed to suddenly use a completely different interpretation of before? How are we to know when to interpret before as meaning preceding? By what agrees with our tradition? Or we could follow the grammar rules documented in Webster’s 1828 dictionary. I’ve reviewed many of the uses in the scriptures (not all), and by golly, it’s consistent. Before followed by a noun means in the presence of, before followed by a phrase with a subject and verb means preceding in time.
Moses 1:10 it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength.
yet the very next verse is
Moses 1:11 I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.
You can see plenty of other examples where in order for before to mean precedes, it is followed by a phrase, not a noun.
Moses 3:5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew.
Let’s look at the Cain verses in Moses 5.
24 For from this time forth thou shalt be the father of his lies; thou shalt be called Perdition; for thou wast also before the world.
25 And it shall be said in time to come—That these abominations were had from Cain; for he rejected the greater counsel which was had from God; and this is a cursing which I will put upon thee, except thou repent.
26 And Cain was wroth, and listened not any more to the voice of the Lord, neither to Abel, his brother, who walked in holiness before the Lord.
27 And Adam and his wife mourned before the Lord, because of Cain and his brethren.
Your interpretation of before in verse 24 cannot be used in verses 26 and 27, even though the grammar is identical. Please tell me what rule you are using to discriminate between the usage in verse 24 and the usage in verses 26 and 27.
“Before the world was/began” is used differently than before + something else including the phrase before the world which means out in the open. The Moses 5:24 is confusing becasue of wast. See for example 1 cor 2:7 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. Look at other translations such as leb “but we speak the hidden wisdom of God in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory”
1 Corinthians 2:7 is challenging, but that’s because it’s a bad translation of a nuanced Greek word. aion means a period of time or an age, yet was translated as world in this location by the KJV committee, and ages/ever/evermore in other places. If we believe the Bible as far is it has been translated correctly, then we shouldn’t use bad translations as the basis for our doctrine. We should throw out the outliers that can be shown to be bad translations. How is the plainest reading of the text the one that ignores the standard rules of grammar that are consistently used elsewhere in the Book of Moses, and instead relies on an acknowledged bad translation of the Greek in the Bible?
Let’s focus on “before the world” in Joseph’s revelations.
D&C 19:28 thou shalt pray vocally as well as in thy heart, yea, before the world as well as in secret
D&C 21:12 the first preacher of this church unto the church, and before the world, yea, before the Gentiles;
D&C 23:2 make known thy calling unto the church, and also before the world
D&C 24:10 Oliver shall continue in bearing my name before the world, and also to the church
D&C 30:4 you shall attend to the ministry in the church, and before the world, and in the region round about.
D&C 38:1 the same which looked upon…all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made;
D&C 42:89 it shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world
D&C 46:3 your public meetings, which are held before the world
D&C 49:17 according to his creation before the world was made.
D&C 76:13 even those things which were from the beginning before the world was,
D&C 76:39 who was in the bosom of the Father before the worlds were made.
D&C 84:73 they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world
D&C 93:7 I saw his glory, that he was in the beginning, before the world was;
D&C 121:32 in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all the other gods before this world was
D&C 124:18 in the spirit of meekness, confessing me before the world
D&C 124:38 those ordinances…which had been hid from before the world was.
Abraham 3:22 the intelligences that were organized before the world was;
3 Nephi 26:5 Christ, who was before the world began.
Moses 5:24 thou was also before the world.
What is the basis for breaking the consistent interpretive rules for only the last verse cited? Why is that one different that all the other uses?
Because I’m not breaking the rules. Wast = archaic version of the second person singular past tense of “to be”. To be in past tense + before the world means almost always means prior in time. Look you can debate grammar endlessly but to me the plain reading means what it says. The problem is apparently no one here is prepared to believe the plain meaning because they don’t think the implications of such a reading are true. Yet, you all espouse the belief the servants must return to mortality. I don’t get how those two beliefs go together. Search the scriptures and see what is true that’s all I do when I have a question.
1 Kings 17 – Elijah raises a person who died on this planet back to life on this planet.
2 Kings 4 – Elisha raises a person who died on this planet back to life on this planet.
2 Kings 13 – a person who died on this planet comes back to life on this planet.
Luke 7 – a widow’s son who died on this planet is raised back to life on this planet by Jesus.
Luke 8 – Jairus’ daughter who died on this planet is raised back to life on this planet by Jesus.
John 11 – Lazarus, who died on this planet, is raised back to life on this planet by Jesus.
Matthew 27 – many people who died on this planet are raised back to life on this planet after Jesus is raised back to life.
Acts 9 – a woman who died on this planet is raised back to life on this planet by Peter.
Acts 20 – a young man who died on this planet is raised back to life on this planet by Paul.
3 Nephi 19 – a man who died on this planet is raised back to life on this planet by Nephi.
I have given you ten scriptural witnesses that people who die on this planet can come back to life on this planet. (I didn’t even cheat and use Jesus since he didn’t stick around on the planet for long.) Is my belief that Joseph and the others will be returned to life on this planet non-scriptural? Jesus has promised that everyone on this planet will be raised back to life on this planet, so the only thing different about Joseph and the others is that they get a head start.
Now, please show me your two or three scriptural witnesses that people who died on one planet are raised to life on another planet.
My argument wasn’t necessarily about being born on another planet but rather about the method of rebirth. Which to my knowledge is only given with elijah coming back through a normal birth as John the baptist. You could also see verses such as 2 nephi 10:2 and 7: 2 For behold, the promises which we have obtained are promises unto us according to the flesh; wherefore, as it has been shown unto me that many of our children shall perish in the flesh because of unbelief, nevertheless, God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be restored, that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer.
7 But behold, thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance.
So my contention based on revealed scripture is that being restored in the flesh would be a new physical birth, just like Elijah was reborn physically as John the baptist.
As to being born on another world I think that is implied in God’s infinite mercy in verses such as D&C 29:29-30 29 And now, behold, I say unto you, never at any time have I declared from mine own mouth that they should return, for where I am they cannot come, for they have no power.
30 But remember that all my judgments are not given unto men; and as the words have gone forth out of my mouth even so shall they be fulfilled,
Early in the section it talks about the new heaven and new earth. So if this earth is destined to become a celestial kingdom all those who are unworthy of such a kingdom must go somewhere else. And if God is infinitely merciful there will be some who will want to someday repent and the scriptures teach that only in a mortal probation is true agency and repentance possible. Thus, if this earth is no longer a place of mortal probation as it will have been crowned with glory they must of necessity go to another world sometime in the future.
How do you reconcile your unique interpretation of “restore” with these scriptures? Once again, I’m not aware of a scriptural basis for your rebirth idea. (Elijah is a special case since he never died, so he wasn’t being restored to life because he never lost his life.)
2 Kings 8:1 Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the Lord hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years.
2 Kings 8:4 5 And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land.
43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt.
44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.
Mosiah 15:24 And these are those who have part in the first resurrection; and these are they that have died before Christ came, in their ignorance, not having salvation declared unto them. And thus the Lord bringeth about the restoration of these; and they have a part in the first resurrection, or have eternal life, being redeemed by the Lord.
Replying to your comments below to MD: if we agree the little season after the millennium has God ruling on earth and Satan unleashed then it is a binary choice. Either choose God or the devil. We have no need for lesser degrees at that point. Those who choose Satan have no salvation, there is no redemption to reject God in His presence and with full knowledge of it.
Throughout your responses you steadfastly ignore the scriptures that lay out the timeline of events. I get it, the scriptures paint a different picture than what you believe about multiple probations. There’s no way to get around what God says about when and where He gave man agency.
Finally, the grammar is important, as well as the full passage. You are focusing on “wast” to place it in the past. But look before that, God uses the future tense. You can often see a past tense following a future tense that leaves you in the present, not the past. God tells Cain how he will come to be known in the future, because before that future event, even in the present time, Cain was in view of, or presented before, the world.
Reading it in context and in conformity with the timeline God lays out of when and where He gave man agency allows it to all make sense. You can’t agree with God about when He gave man agency because you have Cain choosing evil prior to the world existing.
“restore in the flesh” only occurs in 2 nephi 10 and is a novel phrase although it shares meaning with “in the flesh”. I’m not sure how I’m ignoring timelines as I never said anything about them. And I only believe what the scriptures say whatever that is. I never believed in multiple probations until God led me to that understanding by inquiring how the servants will come back. What is the mechanism of coming back to complete a mission? And how does that relate to the atonement and resurrection etc. But first I had to believe they are coming back. When I did that I asked God how it worked. He led me to the scriptures to my current understanding. If I’ve learned anything from studying the oracles, it’s that they have the answers to any question if you’re will to accept the answer no matter what preexisting beliefs you have.
As to timelines, yes, God gave man on this planet agency in the garden. The book of Moses also states it is a record of this earth. It never says this was the first and only granting of agency in all of the eternities.
As to wast, how had Cain done anything qualifying as perdition status in that present time, that makes no sense at all. The future thing he would do is murder his brother thus qualifying him still of that status he had previously obtained.
Read the scriptures with an open mind and ask to be led to the truth. All people will receive the truth when they are ready. I’m not going to say more on this topic for now because ultimately only God can convince of the truth not my words. Read his words and ask to be led to it.
The ambiguity begins with the Hebrew. ha-adam is sometimes translated as “the man” but other times translated as “Adam”, even in the JST. adam is also translated as human and mankind. Consequently, whenever I see the name Adam I also try read it as “human” or “humanity”, which includes males and females. Sometimes it doesn’t fit, such as when it calls out both Adam and Eve, but other times human/humanity might be a better translation.
I think one clue is found in Genesis 2:24-25. Man shall cleave unto his wife and be one flesh, and they were both naked and were not ashamed. However, upon partaking of the fruit, they recognize their nakedness and cover themselves up. I think the fig leaves were to “hide” from each other. It is only when they hear the voice of the Lord (after they have made their covering) that they try to hide from him. I think this is indicative of their loss of unity, their alienation from one another, they’re now not quite in sync like they were before. Which implies that before the fall, you could consider them as one entity, totally united and faithful to one another as if they were still one body.
I think that is how God uses the word adam. In our scriptures it gets the capital A which makes us think of one specific male, but as you have pointed out, the Lord seems to blur the lines between Adam and Eve, almost considering them as one entity before their fall.
Since we’re on the topic, here’s something else I notice. Eve alienates herself from Adam by making her decision without consulting with Adam. Adam alienates himself from God by hearkening to Eve’s voice instead of hearkening to what the Lord had already told him. In both cases they act without consulting with the person they should have. I wonder what would have happened if Adam had consulted with God first, saying “What do you want me to do now? She’s partaken of the fruit and I haven’t. I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” It’s a moot point now, but I suspect that is what should have happened. Perhaps that’s what Lehi is referring to in 2 Nephi 2:22.
Makes sense to me. It explains why it seems like God is referring to them both at times. How do you apply the Hebrew root to more modern revelations, as in the Book of Mormon and the D&C? I suspect God is just continuing with the current translation and applying the same ambiguity to His language. Thus if the Bible had Adam being used as a single person and a group or mankind in general, God continued that usage in giving His word to Joseph Smith. Our task is to study and search the scriptures to understand these details and apply it appropriately to the various passages.
My personal belief is that God uses the KJV English in both the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants specifically so that we can compare them to the Bible, which allows us to look underneath to the underlying Hebrew and Greek. When I have taken the insights from the Greek and Hebrew of the Bible and applied them back to the BoM and D&C usages, it works quite well. As I listen to and read Bible scholars who painstakingly study every nuance of the Greek and Hebrew texts, I’m amazed at the ability of those old languages to embed so much information into a few words, and how poorly English is able to convey all that information and meaning. It shouldn’t really surprise me: there a things in Italian that I just cannot express properly in English, and any translation only tells half the story. I’m a big believer than we should apply the best knowledge of Greek and Hebrew to the BoM and D&C.
I should probably let this topic alone, but… what makes you think that Adam was not there when Eve partook of the fruit? She knew about the commandment because Adam told her, right? And he really emphasized that she shouldn’t even touch the fruit, something God had not said, making her dependent on him for knowledge of the garden rules. But another commandment he was supposed to keep was to be with her. It seems he was there because she “gave also unto her husband with her” (Gen. 3:6). Keep in mind they were both innocent. They didn’t know that someone would lie to them to get them punished.
Have you ever seen a couple kids who were sent to bed send a younger one out of the room on some little excuse just to see if they can really do it without getting in trouble? (a drink of water, a good night kiss, etc.) The plain text doesn’t say that she had to go hunting around the garden with a half-eaten piece of fruit so he could share her punishment. It could be that he was there all along and could easily have said something. When he saw that Eve didn’t drop dead, he figured he could try the forbidden fruit as well.
That’s not how it’s portrayed in the temple movie! 😉 Reading your comment made me realize I still had that version in my mind. The written record doesn’t have Eve going and finding Adam to get him to partake. If Adam is present, he doesn’t try to correct the serpent or stop Eve, which is either odd or critical. This just got a little more fuzzy for me.
So the usage may be consistent in D&C 29, where “Adam” refers to the combined unit of Adam and Eve, thus the Devil being before “Adam”, is the Devil being in the presence of both Adam and Eve, but he speaks to Eve and beguiles her. That makes some sense since D&C 29 never mentions Eve, yet it must be referring to them both since both of them were cast out of the garden.
JST Genesis 7:
39The LORD said unto Enoch, Behold, these thy brethren, they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their intelligence in the day that I created them.
40And in the garden of Eden gave I unto man his agency; and unto thy brethren have I said, and also gave commandment, that they should love one another and that they should choose me their Father.
This is the passage you are ignoring if you believe Cain had agency to choose between good and evil prior to this world.
I can only speak for myself, but when I sought to understand what truths I learned from my LDS indoctrination, I felt confident that I had a good grasp on the plan of salvation, the pre-existence, the war we all fought in, etc. But when I went to the scriptures and sought out to validate that indoctrination I was shocked to discover that God lays out a totally different sequence of events. By seeking out God’s word and being willing to believe it I had to shed all the LDS indoctrination, especially about the pre-existence. I now follow what God has given us in the scriptures. It is amazingly consistent.
Is there a difference between the words world and earth? The creation accounts appear to refer to the planet as the earth, never the world. Websters is no help here as it thinks the world is also the planet. The phrase before the world is likely got nothing to do with before the creation. The phrase worlds without end ( it just popped into my head there) also probably has nothing to do with planets or earths. What does the word world mean then? It’s very late here ( nearly 3 30 am) so I haven’t the time to search for world in the scriptures ahead of the new podcast that’s coming in a few hours. Maybe it’s to do with the kingdom of men…or something. Anyway I hope the difference between world and earth can help out with the discussion here.
I don’t know if this applies in the context you are looking for, but the JST Matt. 13:39-44 seems to use “world” in the context of the wicked. “The harvest is the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked. The reapers are the angels, or the messengers sent of heaven. As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world, or the destruction of the wicked. For in that day, before the Son of Man shall come, he shall send forth his angels and messengers of heaven, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them out among the wicked; and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. For the wicked shall be burned with fire.”
That usage seems consistent with a couple other verses from the JST. “And again, I say unto you, go ye into the world, and care not for the world; for the world will hate you, and will persecute you, and will turn you our of their synagogues.” (JST Matt. 6:25) And, “Go ye into the world, saying unto all, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come nigh unto you. . . . For the world cannot receive that which ye, yourselves, are not able to bear; wherefore ye shall not give your pearls unto them, lest they turn again and rend you. (JST Matt. 7:9,11)
And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law.
That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…
That just popped into my head too. Its appears its not the planet but the people on it