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The Parable of the Mediator (and why I don't like it)


consiglieri

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Jesus isn't either. He's the one who pays the 'wages of sin' that we've earned, and then enters into a new Covenant with us. We already lost out on our inheritance with the Father. As we obey the Covenant, we are adopted by him, and receive what Christ promised , and inherit all through him what he rightfully earned through Justice as a Perfect Son. If we do not hold up to the terms of the Covenant, we do not receive what Christ offers.

Christ's Covenant has far more leeway and room for mistakes and repentance than the overarching Eternal Law, which is the Law by which Christ merits his blessings, and by which he helps lift us up to be able to live by as an (eventually) Exalted Being.

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I was surprised that another member said that he had never understood that to be referring to God himself, but rather to the abstract principle of Justice.

That is my understanding as well. Viewed in that way, there is no reason to conclude that the parable puts the Lord in a bad light.

It is my opinion that the concept of justice/mercy was not created by God, but, like intelligences, is co-eternal with God. Justice must be answered; it cannot be canceled, because things that are eternal can neither be created nor destroyed.

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Could someone explain to me why God is so tightly bound to Justice? Why is He not able to give mercy?

Edited because I didn't explain myself well.

Scottie, it's very simple to understand but the doctrine has to be laid out line by line (and I supported by scriptures and quotes) which is why I won't do it in a reply box. The answers are in the scriptures and the words of Joseph Smith and the whole justice and mercy business makes perfect sense. Nothing about this is arbitrary.

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Yesterday the instructor had a class member read the entirety of the well-known parable by Boyd K. Packer about the Atonement, which I have quoted below.

There are several things about this parable that I really don't like, and when the instructor asked for comments, I raised my hand and said so.

I said for starters, I think the parable paints God in a particularly bad light, and the words attributed to him sound more like what a certain other character might say to Faust when the debt comes due.

I think you do not like the parable because maybe you never read or heard it in the context it was given so you make assumptions which are not correct. As already stated the parable does not describe our Father in Heaven, but the law of Justice. Surely a lawyer such as yourself would understand this. When we stand at the bar of God, it is not God who is the prosecutor... it is Lucifer or Satan, the adversary, the accuser of the brethren. God is the Judge who has committed all judgment to Christ the Son of God. In fact the atonement was God the Father's idea, which was adopted by His beloved Son (yes our elder brother) who was the perfect prototype, the example of what we should be and also is the one through whom it becomes possible for us to become as God the Father is.

In fact the scriptures state:

(Alma 32:15) "And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also."
This is not some ambiguous statement of the modal form of the trinity. In fact the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of God the Father. It is His will that Christ suffered for our sins, and the will of the Son was swallowed up in the will of the Father. That is why Christ said "Father not my will, but thy will be done." The Father is not some vengeful God who delights in the destruction of His children, He is a tender parent who must be just and merciful or He would cease to be God.
The instructor asked me what specifically I meant, so I borrowed somebody's manual and read the highlighted portion below.

I was surprised that another member said that he had never understood that to be referring to God himself, but rather to the abstract principle of Justice.

Add my name to that list, I never perceived that Elder Packer was referring to God Himself, but rather to the abstract principle of Justice.

At the end of the class, the instructor stated the usual conclusion to this parable, which is that the Mediator says that now he requires of the debtor to keep his commandments in order to remain out of prison. "It will not be easy, but it will be possible."

I observed that this seems strange, because the one thing we know within the terms of the parable is that what is required by the Mediator must be something different than what was required by the Creditor which could not be paid in the first place, and which started all the trouble.

And yet, if we conclude that the Mediator requires the exact same thing the Debtor could not pay the Creditor in the first place (i.e., keeping the commandments), the parable only sets the Debtor up for renewed failure.

The parable makes no such conclusion, (it does not set the debtor up for renewed failure), in fact quite the opposite:
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<SNIP>

The nature of the atonement as understood by Latter-day Saints explains that Christ sets the terms, which is a "broken heart and a contrite spirit" and the requirements are faith in Jesus Christ unto repentance, and this is also manifest in the form of a covenant relationship, which is baptism and also includes later covenants we make in the Temple. This covenant is the gate, and gets us on the path to eternal life, but we must walk the path and we must endure in faith to the end or we cannot be saved.

<SNIP>

:P;)

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Myself I had a bit of a problem with the premise of the parable.

When and how did I incur the massive debt? By agreeing to Gods plan ? Was it possible for me NOT to incur the debt ,remain in heaven with God, not rebel and not be thrust out?

If I am able to live for say 50 years and only sin 10 times, it is still a debt that I can not repay,no? Seems like a catch 22 scenario .

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Myself I had a bit of a problem with the premise of the parable.

When and how did I incur the massive debt? By agreeing to Gods plan ? Was it possible for me NOT to incur the debt ,remain in heaven with God, not rebel and not be thrust out?

If I am able to live for say 50 years and only sin 10 times, it is still a debt that I can not repay,no? Seems like a catch 22 scenario .

The Plan of Salvation allows you to pay the debt for sin yourself if you don't wish to accept the Atonement. This would be equated in the parable with the time spent in the prison---one just isn't sitting there doing nothing, except in reality one spends it in spirit prison either learning to repent or enduring the anguish and pain and harm you've imposed on others and yourself through your sins (not sure what else might be involved when it comes to restitution).

It's not a catch 22, the other option of paying it is simply something that is not that appealing to most people...at least in theory, they may prefer personal suffering to turning their lives over to Christ in reality.

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The Plan of Salvation allows you to pay the debt for sin yourself if you don't wish to accept the Atonement. This would be equated in the parable with the time spent in the prison---one just isn't sitting there doing nothing, except in reality one spends it in spirit prison either learning to repent or enduring the anguish and pain and harm you've imposed on others and yourself through your sins (not sure what else might be involved when it comes to restitution).

It's not a catch 22, the other option of paying it is simply something that is not that appealing to most people...at least in theory, they may prefer personal suffering to turning their lives over to Christ in reality.

Is it possible that there are several ways to meet the demands of justice? From D&C 88:

33 For what doth it profit a man if a gift (mercy) is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift (Christ).

34 And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same.

35 That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by (1) law, neither by (2) mercy, (3) justice, nor (4) judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.

So if one rejects "the gift", he can still be sanctified by the law but only if he is perfected by the law. If he seeks to abide in sin he can't be sanctified by the law, mercy, justice or judgment.

I'm not sure if I'm reading this correctly but it seems to me that one can either live perfectly (abide the law), repent and come unto Christ (receive mercy), pay the price for his own sins (satisfy justice), or be judged clean (not sure on this one).

The insitute manual says these verses refer to sons of perdition. Perhaps because all others will come unto Christ as every knee bows and every tongue confesses?

Just musing.

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Seems to me that the parable makes sense, but it's not a litteral account of God's dealings with us. The loan is in fact our agency, and the debt is out accountability. Because of the fall, we will always be short because as humnas, we are "leaky". That is, even when we make good moral choices that would go to paying off the debt(good works), we cannot hold onto that because we spend just to keep ourselves going. It's like a car that's always idle. Even when we do not activly move, we are still burning gas.

So we knew that the debt was hard to pay back, yet we chose because we understood it was the better way. I could liken this to somthing I want to do, but am afraid I won't get the chance. I want to travel, specifically by aircraft. Because I have nothing, I would require a loan in order to acheive my dream. However, I can't obtain a loan without collateral. That collateral is our right to dwell with God. When we come to earth we put on the line our salvation.

The parable, like many parables that are given, don't account for all instances. For example, what of a person who was never aware he or she was in debt in the first place? What about the size ofthe debt? Some people would require to pay back very little, while others would be so far gone that the mediator would have no choice but to declare moral bankruptcy. Man, if this was a real situation, then yeah, the mediator would pay out anywhere from $100 to over several thousand billion dollars of "spirit money" just to redeam some of these folks.

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