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Atonement Theory


Lamanite

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It seems obvious to me that Christ satisfied the the demands of justice and mercy. It seems obvious that he substituted himself for any penalty we may incur as a result of sin. It seems obvious that he can succor us in an infinite number of ways as a result of his atonement.

It seems obvious that the atonement is both infinite and eternal. So why do some individuals place a time restriction on repentance? As a hypothetical case, could someone kill another and decide at some point in time (eons later) that he is contrite and repentant. And lets assume that the individual that was murdered extends his forgiveness and the hand of fellowship to this person. This repentant person wants to apply the atonement to his life and become something greater, he wants to be exalted.

It seems that the forgiveness would be quicker than instantaneous and the healing process would begin, with the end result being exaltation.

Thoughts?

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Lamanite

To me this

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A couple of thoughts...

It seems obvious to me that Christ satisfied the the demands of justice and mercy. There are no demands of mercy. There are rights of mercy. It seems obvious that he substituted himself for any penalty we may incur as a result of sin. It seems obvious that he can succor us in an infinite number of ways as a result of his atonement.

It seems obvious that the atonement is both infinite and eternal. So why do some individuals place a time restriction on repentance? Great question. Joseph Smith didn't. As a hypothetical case, could someone kill another and decide at some point in time (eons later) that he is contrite and repentant. And lets assume that the individual that was murdered extends his forgiveness and the hand of fellowship to this person. This repentant person wants to apply the atonement to his life and become something greater, he wants to be exalted. A person can be forgiven without being exalted. Salvation is about attaining forgiveness. Exaltation is about becoming godly. The second state requires action, not just contrition. IOW, a person could be forgiven and then continue to progress toward exaltation.

It seems that the forgiveness would be quicker than instantaneous and the healing process would begin, with the end result being exaltation. Forgiveness is required for both the offender and the offended if either hope to see exaltation but that doesn't mean it is ALL that is required.

Thoughts?

Big UP!

Lamanite

To me this

MnG

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A couple of thoughts...

MnG

I agree with your corrections. I especially agree with the distinction between forgiveness and exaltation. I believe true conversion is "to do" and "to become." This idea of "becoming" could require many months and a hundred threads.

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Lamanite

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I believe true conversion is "to do" and "to become." This idea of "becoming" could require many months and a hundred threads.

This "becoming" is the key element. We strive to become like Christ, like Father.

How does one become anything? By doing the things that goal requires. One becomes a thief by theft, a liar by lying. One becomes godly by doing the things that God would do: charity, service, blessing, obeying, loving.

That's why I could never buy the Evangelical position of do nothing salvation. Doing nothing will not change me, it will not allow me to become like Christ.

Lehi

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This "becoming" is the key element. We strive to become like Christ, like Father.

How does one become anything? By doing the things that goal requires. One becomes a thief by theft, a liar by lying. One becomes godly by doing the things that God would do: charity, service, blessing, obeying, loving.

That's why I could never buy the Evangelical position of do nothing salvation. Doing nothing will not change me, it will not allow me to become like Christ.

Lehi

I'm not sure the goal of salvation is to become like Christ. I believe the goal of salvation is absolution through Christ whose love then works in us, changing our hearts, and making us more godly. Works are a manifestation of that change.

Becoming like Christ is the goal of exaltation. Something most modern Christian religions reject, statements by the ECFs notwithstanding.

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I agree that becoming Godlike requires Godlike behavior. But speaking from an experimental perspective, I am capable of those behaviors because of the Atonement.

Ultimately, every knee will bend, but there will be some whose soul still stands in rigid defiance. Thus, it seems that when our actions are an extension of our conversion and our ever deepening discipleship, will we truly know what it's like to "become."

Happily, the arms of his love and mercy are extended to all and for always. (at least that's how I view it.)

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Lamanite

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This repentant person wants to apply the atonement to his life and become something greater, he wants to be exalted.

I think this would lead to consideration of the ability to advance from kingdom to kingdom after the resurrection. I'm not sure what can be done if we haven't adopted in this life the attitude described by Alma 34:33, since that is the attitude that would need to be carried into or adopted in the spirit world, and then carried into or adopted in the resurrection.

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I think this would lead to consideration of the ability to advance from kingdom to kingdom after the resurrection. I'm not sure what can be done if we haven't adopted in this life the attitude described by Alma 34:33, since that is the attitude that would need to be carried into or adopted in the spirit world, and then carried into or adopted in the resurrection.

I like "kingdom to kingdom" progression. I think a couple of prophets have had similar beliefs. I've heard LoAP talk about it before. Maybe he will join us.

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Lamanite

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A couple of thoughts...

MnG

Just curious if you take issue with the use of the word "demand", as used in Alma 42

15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself aatoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of bmercy, to appease the demands of cjustice, that God might be a dperfect, just God, and a emerciful God also.

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Lamanite

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Just curious if you take issue with the use of the word "demand", as used in Alma 42

15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself aatoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of bmercy, to appease the demands of cjustice, that God might be a dperfect, just God, and a emerciful God also.

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Lamanite

If you go back and reread my comments earlier in the thread, you'll notice that I don't take exception to the term "demands" but to "demands of mercy". There are demands of justice. There are rights of mercy. I can find no occurence of the phrase "demands of mercy" in the standard works.

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I like "kingdom to kingdom" progression. I think a couple of prophets have had similar beliefs.

While I am sure kingdom to kingdom progression is appealing, I do not think the scriptures warrant such a belief. Also I have never read any statement of the prophets or apostles that suggested such a dubious concept. Especially in light of the following:

(D&C 76:109-112) "But behold, and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore; And heard the voice of the Lord saying: These all shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sits upon the throne forever and ever; For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared; And they shall be servants of the Most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end."
Also in connection with exaltation the following:
(D&C 132:15-17) "Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world. Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever."
Also the following:
(D&C 131:1-4) "IN the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase."
From the above quotes it seems rather doubtful if the doctrine of kingdom to kingdom progression is correct. Even though it does not specifically state it as in the other two instances, the Terrestrial seems to have other limitations imposed on them as well:
(D&C 76:75-79) "These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness. These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father. Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun. These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God."
So even this seems to preclude post-resurrection advancement.
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If you go back and reread my comments earlier in the thread, you'll notice that I don't take exception to the term "demands" but to "demands of mercy". There are demands of justice. There are rights of mercy. I can find no occurence of the phrase "demands of mercy" in the standard works.

I'm definitely not laying a trap or trying to pigeon hole you.

For me, the demands vs. rights discussion always seems like a distinction without a difference. Could you tell me about the significant differences between the two as used in conjunction with mercy and justice? (I'm not being a weisenheimer either.)

This is why I started this thread...I don't know this stuff.

Big UP!

Lamanite

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While I am sure kingdom to kingdom progression is appealing, I do not think the scriptures warrant such a belief. Also I have never read any statement of the prophets or apostles that suggested such a dubious concept. Especially in light of the following:Also in connection with exaltation the following:Also the following:From the above quotes it seems rather doubtful if the doctrine of kingdom to kingdom progression is correct. Even though it does not specifically state it as in the other two instances, the Terrestrial seems to have other limitations imposed on them as well:So even this seems to preclude post-resurrection advancement.

Hi Lightbearer,

I appreciate the scriptures you shared. I'm always amazed at how well versed you are. And although I like the scriptures, I interpret them to support my current paradigm, as it seems is the case with you.

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Lamanite

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I'm definitely not laying a trap or trying to pigeon hole you.

For me, the demands vs. rights discussion always seems like a distinction without a difference. Could you tell me about the significant differences between the two as used in conjunction with mercy and justice? (I'm not being a weisenheimer either.)

This is why I started this thread...I don't know this stuff.

Big UP!

Lamanite

Let me ask a question that may add some clarity.

Can one make a demand to that over which they have no rights?

The demand is a petition based on legal grounds. Every person who has been offended has the right to demand justice for his offender.

But what if someone else has already met all just demands? He has a right that the accused does not. He has the right to bestow mercy, an underserved kindness, called grace. Having satisfied the demands of justice, He also has a right the accuser does not. He can absolve the offender entirely. The accuser can forgive (and forgive he must) but he cannot absolve. That right belongs solely to the One who satisfied the law.

There is only One Being with the rights of mercy. All of us however have the ability to demand justice, even Satan, who is also known as "the accuser of his brethren".

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?

For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens.

Christ acquired the rights of mercy precisely because He refused to demand justice. To the very men who would clamor for His crucifixion, He said "I will not accuse you. Moses is your accuser." Moses, the law-giver, is their accuser because they choose to be judged under the law of justice rather than on the merits of Him who is mighty to save and willingly extends mercy.

Christ tried to teach the principle of refusing to claim justice for our enemies. He said "Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy." Joseph Smith taught the same principle - it's excerpted but adequate in Teachings. If you read that file I sent to you, the quotes are there.

Back to the question.

Can one make a demand to that over which they have no rights?

Of course they can. But in a spiritual sense, the demand for justice against a person who is relying on the merits of Christ is a frivolous lawsuit. The only person it injures is the claimant.

edit: None can demand mercy. We have no right to it. We can plead for it, but we can't demand it.

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I think one thing that might stifle someone's eternal progress toward exaltation is not receiving the ordinances required for exaltation before it's too late to receive them.

For example, I believe our Lord has told us that all eternal marriages must be solemnized before the resurrection, so if we're not married and sealed to a spouse before then we may be out of luck.

And btw, I believe we'll all be told how important it is to receive those ordinances before it becomes too late, so those who don't receive them will have chosen to not receive them despite being told how important it was for them to receive them, if they wanted the blessings.

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The demand is a petition based on legal grounds. Everyone person who has been offended has the right to demand justice for his offender.

This seems like a uniquely human idea.

Big UP!

Lamanite

P.S.- I'm not being cute. I also think you know that I really do believe in the atonement. I'm just trying to flesh this out. If the ultimate answer is "I don't know but it works", that will be fine

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I believe our Lord has told us that all eternal marriages must be solemnized before the resurrection, so if we're not married and sealed to a spouse before then we may be out of luck.

Just a quick CFR my friend. I want to make sure we are working from the same text/scripture.

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Lamanite

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This seems like a uniquely human idea.

Actually, the lower law as revealed to Moses clearly outlines a law of just compensation. Exodus 21 is a good place to start.

If you are saying that God doesn't live by this law, I wholly agree. It is not the celestial law nor is it consistent with "His will" (the highest law).

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Let me ask a question that may add some clarity.

Can one make a demand to that over which they have no rights?

The demand is a petition based on legal grounds. Everyone person who has been offended has the right to demand justice for his offender.

But what if someone else has already met all just demands? He has a right that the accused does not. He has the right to bestow mercy, an underserved kindness, called grace. Having satisfied the demands of justice, He also has a right the accuser does not. He can absolve the offender entirely. The accuser can forgive (and forgive he must) but he cannot absolve. That right belongs solely to the One who satisfied the law.

There is only One Being with the rights of mercy. All of us however have the ability to demand justice, even Satan, who is also known as "the accuser of his brethren".

Christ acquired the rights of mercy precisely because He refused to demand justice. To the very men who would clamor for His crucifixion, He said "I will not accuse you. Moses is your accuser." Moses, the law-giver, is their accuser because they choose to be judged under the law of justice rather than on the merits of Him who is mighty to save and willingly extends mercy.

Christ tried to teach the principle of refusing to claim justice for our enemies. He said "Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy." Joseph Smith taught the same principle - it's excerpted but adequate in Teachings. If you read that file I sent to you, the quotes are there.

Back to the question.

Can one make a demand to that over which they have no rights?

Of course they can. But in a spiritual sense, the demand for justice against a person who is relying on the merits of Christ is a frivolous lawsuit. The only person it injures is the claimant.

Excellent piont, as usual, mercyngrace!

I especially like this part: the demand for justice against a person who is relying on the merits of Christ (and I would add, "and receives it") is a frivolous lawsuit. The only person it injures is the claimant (and I would add "because the claimant will receive justice for his/her sins because those are the terms he/she asked for, with each of us being judged based upon how we judge others.)

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Actually, the lower law as revealed to Moses clearly outlines a law of just compensation. Exodus 21 is a good place to start.

Hmmmmm

I have a hard time drawing a correlation between certain Mosaic laws and the laws of the Universe, (If one were to concede that there are universal laws like justice and mercy.)

If you are saying that God doesn't live by this law, I wholly agree. It is not the celestial law nor is it consistent with "His will" (the highest law).

Wouldn't this undo the satisfaction theory of atonement?

Big UP!

Lamanite

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Just a quick CFR my friend. I want to make sure we are working from the same text/scripture.

Big UP!

Lamanite

You're asking for a reference for my belief that our Lord has said eternal marriages must be solemnized before the resurrection?

Ugh, that would be me, since it is my belief.

If you're not familiar with anyone else who has ever said they believe that, nevermind. Maybe it is just me.

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Hmmmmm

I have a hard time drawing a correlation between certain Mosaic laws and the laws of the Universe, (If one were to concede that there are universal laws like justice and mercy.)

We are not mere humans, Lamanite. We are sons and daughters of God. As is the case with any parent, His teaching is progressive in nature, designed to help us mature until we fulfil the measure of our creation.

Strict justice (no unclean thing...) is where we begin that progression. It isn't where we end up.

Wouldn't this undo the satisfaction theory of atonement?

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Lamanite

No. Because we aren't really satisfying God. We are satisfying the demand of our accusers - Satan and those we've offended.

Further, God remains perfectly just by assuring that the demands of justice are satisfied THROUGH HIS SON.

*** edit: I forgot you told me you were reading Cur Deus Homo and I responded not thinking about what you meant by "Satisfaction Theory of Atonement". I don't believe God was attempting to satisfy Himself, no. Unless by that you mean that He is attempting to build dominion through priesthood principles, which are eternal, and that as His offspring progresses or matures spiritually, His honor increases and His work is fulfilled.

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We are not mere humans, Lamanite. We are sons and daughters of God. As is the case with any parent, His teaching is progressive in nature, designed to help us mature until we fulfil the measure of our creation.

Strict justice (no unclean thing...) is where we begin that progression. It isn't where we end up.

No. Because we aren't really satisfying God. We are satisfying the demand of our accusers - Satan and those we've offended.

Further, God remains perfectly just by assuring that the demands of just are satisfied THROUGH HIS SON.

*** edit: I forgot you told me you were reading Cur Deus Homo and I responded not thinking about what you meant by "Satisfaction Theory of Atonement". I don't believe God was attempting to satisfy Himself, no. Unless by that you mean that He is attempting to build dominion through priesthood principles, which are eternal, and that as His offspring progresses or matures spiritually, His honor increases and His work is fulfilled.

I really like where you are heading with this.

Regarding accusers: What if they just forgive us? I forgive them; they forgive me; God loves and forgives all of us. Hence, no need for satisfaction.

(this absolutely neglects all the other functions of the atonement. But can we tinker with this aspect for a minute?)

Big UP!

Lamanite

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