Ep85-Ways of Being in the World-Fire on the Horizon-Ch 11




Show Notes:

Ways of Being in the World

Being separated from God is a miserable existence because “wickedness never was happiness. . . . [T]hey 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 41:10–11). The lesson of choice is accountability: “and thus they stand or fall; for behold, they are their own judges, whether to do good or evil” (v. 7). The bottom line for Alma is that God is just because everyone will get exactly what they freely choose in life. If they desired evil then evil will be restored to them, and if they desired good then good will be restored to them in the judgment (v. 14). No one can complain if God gives them exactly what they desire. The universal truth is that we receive what we give: “For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored” (v. 15).

there are simply ways of being that have natural consequences. There are irrevocable laws upon which all blessings are predicated, and we cannot have the blessings unless we are obedient to these laws (D&C 130:20). Those who choose “to be without God in the world” are in the gall of bitterness because “they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness” (Alma 41:11).

All of God’s commandments hinge on the simple command to love God with all of our hearts and to love others as ourselves. All of the commandments are implicitly contained in this law of love (Matt. 22:36–40). There is only one law and one commandment: love. The commandments are merely ways of teaching us how persons who love one another act toward one another.

We have now reached the apex of the story: man has become as God by knowing good and evil and having a choice between them. Thus, we are free to follow our own wills. The very purpose of mortality is found in this fact— God did not restore us to His presence immediately so that we could have “a time to repent” (v. 4). The very purpose of life is thus repentance. It is to learn from our experience, and this learning takes place when we repent and do not repeat the same mistakes again. Repentance is the opportunity to make a different choice.

Strange as this might undoubtedly sound, God really does not want everyone to be in His kingdom absolutely and unconditionally! Rather, He wants those in His kingdom to be persons who freely choose to be there. However, now we confront another problem: because we left by our own free choice, justice requires that we be forever cut off from God’s presence (Alma 42:12–13). Why does justice require us to remain cut off?

God stands with His arms open and ready to receive us, always ready to embrace us with His love; but if our hearts are hardened against him we will run the other way because we judge ourselves as evil and not worthy of His presence: “and thus they stand or fall; for behold, they are their own judges, whether to do good or evil” (Alma 41:7).

At the center of the meaning of human existence is this essential fact: authentic relationships must be freely chosen if they are to be at all.

This life becomes a time to choose whether we will seek an authentic relationship with God or if we will continue on our own way without Him.

...there are two fundamental ways of being in the world. The first way of being is to be a cause— to act for ourselves by being a first cause undetermined by things outside of ourselves.

...once having entered the realm of effect, once having chosen to give our power to things outside of ourselves, we are in captivity and unable to free ourselves from the deterministic chain of causation

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