The Need for an Atonement – Scripture Chain

Click here for today’s assignment.

Yesterday, we learned about what happened at the Fall of Adam and Eve. Today we will look at a scripture chain that is an extension of the theme of the Fall – especially how it resulted in our need for an atonement.

Romans 5:12

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” – Romans 5:12

  • By Adam, sin entered into the world. It is important to note that this doesn’t mean that he committed a sin we must all pay for. “We believe that men will be punished for his own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression,” (See Articles of Faith 1:2). Instead, Paul teaches us that because of Adam, we are born into mortality – and are people who are capable of sinning. When Adam was in the garden, he was innocent. Now, we aren’t. This is how, by one man sin entered into the world.
  • Sin results in spiritual death.

Alma 42:9-10

“Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death.

Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature,…” – Alma 42:9-10

  • The soul is eternal. (See Doctrine and Covenants 93:29, 33.)
  • Even though the soul can never die, we keep hearing about how the fall brought on death. Alma clarifies that spiritual death means that we are cut off from the presence of the Lord.
  • Temporal death, physical death, is also a result of the fall.
  • Our natures became carnal, sensual, and devilish. In the scriptures, fallen man is often referred to as “natural man.”

Alma 41:11

“And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness. – Alma 41:11

  • I love this scripture!
  • When we are in our “natural” (fallen) state, we cannot be truly happy. This may not seem/sound true. In some ways, I think that our notion of happiness (or at least the world’s notion of happiness) may often be too connected with pleasure or chasing the appetite of the natural man. Of course, seeking to satiate our sensual appetites seems to be impossible. Often, this kind of unchecked passion leads us to bitterness and captivity (ie: addiction, disease, etc.)
  • The nature of God = the nature of Happiness.
  • As we learned earlier, the natural man is cut off from God. If we persist in our natural/fallen tendencies, then we cannot be happy because we are cut off from the nature of happiness.

2 Nephi 9:8-10

“O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.

And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.

O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.” – 2 Nephi 9:8-10

  • We can praise God: His mercy and grace. He prepared a way for us to overcome the effects of the fall. Remember: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man,” (Moses 1:39). God’s purpose – His work – His glory is our immortality and eternal life. A way needed to be prepared for us to escape from the effects of the Fall.
  • If our bodies couldn’t rise again, then our Spirits would have been subject to Satan. – This would frustrate God’s purposes.
  • If our Spirits became subject to Satan, we would have become like Satan – remaining forever in misery. – Again, this foils God’s plan.
  • Heavenly Father, understanding the calamitous effects of the fall, yet the necessity for us to experience mortality and a spiritual separation from him (in order for our progression), made a way possible for us to overcome spiritual and physical death: the atonement.
  • When we consider the terror and bitterness of death, the concept of the atonement becomes a source of hope.

***
I am a woman who has been affected by the Fall. First of all, my body is imperfect, and I don’t just say that because I don’t have flat abs. I’m sitting here, on my couch, and I have been for 3 1/2 weeks straight – healing from a hysterectomy. I needed to have the hysterectomy because of problems caused by endometriosis. My body gets sick. I’m getting older, and I feel it in my bones. It isn’t something I like to think about: but I know that one day, my body will be laid to rest…I will die.

Additionally, I sin. I’m not as charitable as I should be. I make rash judgments. I get short-tempered with my kids. I think bad thoughts, say things I shouldn’t say, and then even do things that I regret. Obviously, I sin, and these sins, one by one, push me further away from God. I don’t really like thinking about this, either.

The thing is: we have hope in the atonement of Christ. God knew we would need it, and, to perform His purpose, he has provided a Savior that we so desperately need.

***
As you studied these scriptures, what were some of the things you noticed in a need for an atonement?

Click here for tomorrow’s assignment.

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4 Comments

  1. Stephanie

     /  September 19, 2012

    While reading this lesson, I had another one of those ‘flashes of perspective’ moments. I imagined our Heavenly Father letting us come to this earth, knowing full well that we will forget Him, and act in ways that push us farther from Him. But He knew we needed this. So He lovingly provided a way for us to come back, only if we want it.

    I hope you’re recovering well from your surgery.

    Reply
    • Thanks Stephanie. Recovery is going well – slowly but surely.

      I love this insight. What he has done would be so difficult. I think it shows us the love and patience He has for us. It is also a good pattern for us as parents – to teach our children as well as we possibly can, but then, when the time is right, allow them to make their own choices. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

      Reply
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