Ep33-Soteriology in LDS Thought (Pt 2)- The Problems of Theism & The Love of God Ch 5







Show Notes:

Atonement, Justice, and Mercy

Ransom Theory and BoM: “The term is particularly appropriate because the Book of Mormon views us as belonging to the devil and in bondage to him as his servants unless we are redeemed. (Alma 12:11). What Christ did somehow metaphorically pays the price owed to the devil to free us from bondage—although it quickly leads to nonsense if the metaphor is pushed too far.”

“no one can complain of injustice if God gives them what they truly desire to receive. Nothing could be fairer and more just than giving everyone what they choose. Alma explains:
The meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.
Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
For that which ye do send out shall return to you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all. (Alma 41:13–15)”

“Thus, the rule of justice is to return to all persons what they send out, allowing them to reap what they sow. The judgment according to works will be based on that principle of justice.”

About 'allowing a space of time for repentance' This implies that leaving God's presence was a sin. Which we don't believe. Some people die right after or when they sin. They were not granted a space. Unless this refers to what I said about being born is a sin. I thought it was more like 'this life is to see if 'If we are cut off from God's immediate presence, will we freely choose to be in relationship with him and divine relationships with one another' This view seems to require a story that is something like we all rebelled and chose to leave God's presence from the pre-mortal life and came to Earth in rebellion, but instead of punishing us immediately for that he has given us time to see if he can persuade us to come back to him.

“Alma concludes his discourse on the Atonement in Alma 42 by reminding his son Corianton that the law of restoration is perfectly just and also perfectly merciful because it gives each of us precisely what we choose”

“The very purpose of atonement is to make it possible for us to have faith to repent, for it gives us the “means” to inspire such faith.
How does the fact that Christ was sacrificed and shed his blood make it possible for us to have faith unto repentance? ”

“Throughout the Book of Mormon, but particularly for Alma and Amulek, the basic problem from which we suffer is a hard heart—a condition of being self-enclosed and isolated, a refusal to be open to God and others. The solution to this problem is repentance. However, before we repent, we must have a soft heart. Having a soft heart is a condition of being able to repent, and we are precluded from repenting if we have a hard heart.”

...“However, when a heart is softened, it is the Lord or God who softens our hearts through his compassion and love for us.”

...“the entire purpose of the Atonement is to bring about a response from both Christ and from us that softens us to generate healing compassion”

“The sacrifice of Christ thus creates atonement by: (1) “bring[ing] about the bowels of mercy,” or creating a space for compassion and openness to one another that reconciles our alienation; and (2) creating a way for us to have faith to repent.”

“We choose to harden our hearts, but we require the action of God to soften them. That is not to say that God softens our hearts unilaterally. It is a joint movement that results from our glancing toward or seeing Christ’s sacrifice and being moved and softened by it to receive the spirit that brings about a change of heart.”

“In other words, healing our alienation is a matter of relationship that involves both alienated parties to the relationship. We are enabled or empowered to repent by God because he has invited us into a relationship by sharing his life with us in a sense so complete that he has given his life for and to us. We see him sacrificed and we are moved with compassion to be open to him so that we can turn away from whatever sins we have loved more than him and turn back to him. However, Christ is also enabled by his sufferings to enter into a healing relationship because he shares our human condition, sufferings, and limitations”

Why does the Godhead need to experience “ alienation, isolation, and being alone” and suffering?

“The only way for Christ (or the Father) to know experientially how to succor us and have the bowels of compassion moved with mercy toward us is literally to become mortal and experience suffering first-hand. Thus, the Atonement or reconciliation of our alienated being can be accomplished only by God himself coming down among humanity as a mortal and experiencing mortality with us.”


“The purpose of the Atonement is to open a way for us to choose to give up the hardened exterior facade of the ego that we seek to protect and instead heal the broken relationship.”

“In the moment that we open to receive the Spirit, a process of deification or theosis begins. God begins to remake us in his image because he lives a shared life within us.”

“Union with Christ is at the heart of at-one-ment. It is shared and indwelling life. Salvation from death and hell is a sheer gift that has been offered as a matter of grace before we do anything to repent and move toward God. That is why the Book of Mormon repeatedly refers to the episode of Moses’s placing a serpent on a pole to save Israel from poisonous serpents. This story is told four times in the Book of Mormon and always as an example of the Atonement”

Explain the metaphor...

Infinite Atonement

“the Atonement is infinite in the sense that Christ’s atonement is endless or unlimited both in duration through time and in magnitude of pain for all sins. Alma 34:12 states that the Atonement must be infinite because one person cannot justly be punished for another’s sins:”

“Now, if a man murdereth, behold, will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay. But the law requireth the life of him who hath murdered; therefore there is nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice to the sins of the world” (emphasis mine).

“ This view of an infinite atonement is inconsistent with the Calvinist notion that the Atonement is limited in scope because it is effective only for the elect few who are predestined to salvation by grace. However, the scope of the infinite atonement is universal; it extends to all living creatures and salvation is potentially universal for those who will freely choose to accept the gospel message. The Atonement is infinite because only a capacity to endure pains for an endless duration and for all people for all times can suffice—and only an infinite atonement can effect the resurrection that brings us back into God’s presence to be judged by our works. Thus, he commands all to repent to satisfy the demands of the law (2 Ne. 9:23–24). The Atonement is infinite because it is not limited in duration, magnitude, or effect.”

“The judgment returns to us what we choose, so that if we choose to return to God’s embrace, that choice is honored; and if we choose to remain alienated and separated in our ego-bound existence, that choice is also honored.”

“Because the unrepentant are aware of “their nakedness” and their guilt with perfect knowledge when they stand before the holy God, “they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them” (2 Ne. 9:16). They will not voluntarily enter into a healed relationship with him because they are unclean and cannot stand the guilt of being in relationship with a perfect and holy being. Standing before the holy God in judgment, they cannot hide. It is as if they stand there naked and exposed for what they are.”

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