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The Fortunate Fall as a later invention.


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I’m a faithful church member.  I’m not a critic.  However I’ve come up with a criticism against the Book of Mormon  I haven’t heard before.  It concerns the doctrine of the fortunate fall.  Consider this a Devil’s Advocate critique.
 

As far as I can tell, the there is no mention or allusion to the fortunate fall in the large plate portion of the Book of Mormon. 
The doctrine is taught in 2 Nephi  chapter 2 which is in the small plates.  The small plates as we all know were translated after the large plates were finished.  Thus, can it be argued that the fortunate fall is a later invention of Joseph Smith?

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34 minutes ago, Rivers said:

I’m a faithful church member.  I’m not a critic.  However I’ve come up with a criticism against the Book of Mormon  I haven’t heard before.  It concerns the doctrine of the fortunate fall.  Consider this a Devil’s Advocate critique.
 

As far as I can tell, the there is no mention or allusion to the fortunate fall in the large plate portion of the Book of Mormon. 
The doctrine is taught in 2 Nephi  chapter 2 which is in the small plates.  The small plates as we all know were translated after the large plates were finished.  Thus, can it be argued that the fortunate fall is a later invention of Joseph Smith?

The small plates were also the more religious, more detailed ones, while the large ones were secular mostly and then the abridgement iirc.  Thus you have the allegory of the olive tree included by Jacob, Enos’ sharing a very personal prayer moment…the most personal sharing experience IMO until you get to Moroni.  Alma the Younger’s story was also from the heart, but it felt like he was an old hand at sharing it to me, lot of missionary work and church talks under his belt so to speak. Moroni…he said to us of the future possibly things he never said to another.  And some ‘well, I am still here, so might as well make myself useful’.

Edited by Calm
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54 minutes ago, Rivers said:

I’m a faithful church member.  I’m not a critic.  However I’ve come up with a criticism against the Book of Mormon  I haven’t heard before.  It concerns the doctrine of the fortunate fall.  Consider this a Devil’s Advocate critique.
 

As far as I can tell, the there is no mention or allusion to the fortunate fall in the large plate portion of the Book of Mormon. 
The doctrine is taught in 2 Nephi  chapter 2 which is in the small plates.  The small plates as we all know were translated after the large plates were finished.  Thus, can it be argued that the fortunate fall is a later invention of Joseph Smith?

Should the Book of Mormon be a fake, then this is absolutely true. But the answer give above is a good insight. 

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53 minutes ago, Rivers said:

I’m a faithful church member.  I’m not a critic.  However I’ve come up with a criticism against the Book of Mormon  I haven’t heard before.  It concerns the doctrine of the fortunate fall.  Consider this a Devil’s Advocate critique.
 

As far as I can tell, the there is no mention or allusion to the fortunate fall in the large plate portion of the Book of Mormon. 
The doctrine is taught in 2 Nephi  chapter 2 which is in the small plates.  The small plates as we all know were translated after the large plates were finished.  Thus, can it be argued that the fortunate fall is a later invention of Joseph Smith?

I think it would be helpful to define what you mean by "fortunate fall."  Are you familiar with Daniel Judd's general assessment here?

Quote

While much of traditional Christianity views the Fall of Adam and Eve as a necessary evil at best or an avoidable abomination at worst, there is evidence that some of the early Christian fathers, select members of the Christian clergy, and several ancient and modern scholars have embraced views more consistent with Latter-day Saint theology.  

St. Ambrose (AD 337–97), one of the most influential leaders of the early Catholic Church, wrote that the Fall of Adam and Eve “has brought more benefit to us than harm” and that “sin is more fruitful than innocence.” [6] Pope Gregory the Great (AD 540–604) stated, “And certainly, unless Adam had sinned, it would not have behooved our Redeemer to take on our flesh. Almighty God saw beforehand that from that evil because of which men were to die, He would bring about a good which would overcome evil.” [7]

The idea of a fortunate fall is also expressed in a portion of Catholic Liturgy called the “Exultet,” whose authorship is often attributed to St. Ambrose, and continues today in connection with the tradition of lighting of the paschal candle during the celebration of Easter. [8] The part of the Exultet that refers to the Fall reads as follows: “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” [9] One of the Latin phrases of interest in the Exultet is “felix-culpa,” which literally means “blessed fault,” “happy fault,” or “fortunate fall.” It is also significant to note that St. Ambrose’s description of the Fall included both the words happy and necessary. This liturgical passage was deemed to be so controversial in some circles that it was reported by one Catholic monk that his abbot (the leader of his monastery) “had [the phrase] removed from books at the abbey.” [10]

Thomas Aquinas, the noted thirteenth-century Catholic philosopher and theologian, also referred to the doctrine of the fortunate fall in his Summa Theologica as follows: “For God allows evils to happen in order to bring a greater good therefrom; hence it is written (Rom. 5:20): ‘Where sin abounded, grace did more abound.’ Hence, too, in the blessing of the Paschal candle, we say: ‘O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer!’” [11]

Judd also talks about this concept here: https://broadcast.lds.org/ldsradio/pdf/mormon-identity/mormon-identity-ep-19.pdf

Of course, a skeptic can say A) "Joseph Smith just made it up" if there is no precedent for the concept, or B) "Joseph Smith cribbed from other Christian writers" if there is a precedent.  Pretty much anything "can be argued" to have been "a later invention of Joseph Smith."  It's a heads-the-critics-win-tails-Joseph-loses type of situation.

See also here: Pre-1830 teachings of felix culpa (fortunate fall)

Most of this is repeated from Judd's piece.

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, Rivers said:

I’m a faithful church member.  I’m not a critic.  However I’ve come up with a criticism against the Book of Mormon  I haven’t heard before.  It concerns the doctrine of the fortunate fall.  Consider this a Devil’s Advocate critique.
 

As far as I can tell, the there is no mention or allusion to the fortunate fall in the large plate portion of the Book of Mormon. 
The doctrine is taught in 2 Nephi  chapter 2 which is in the small plates.  The small plates as we all know were translated after the large plates were finished.  Thus, can it be argued that the fortunate fall is a later invention of Joseph Smith?

I guess I would want to know why Joseph Smith would need to invent it in 2 Nephi vs sometime earlier?  You're basically saying "X wasn't alluded or mentioned in the large plates but it was mentioned in the small plates, therefore Joseph invented it.".  What makes this X (the fortunate fall) more significant than other Xs?

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4 hours ago, Rivers said:

I’m a faithful church member.  I’m not a critic.  However I’ve come up with a criticism against the Book of Mormon  I haven’t heard before.  It concerns the doctrine of the fortunate fall.  Consider this a Devil’s Advocate critique.
 

As far as I can tell, the there is no mention or allusion to the fortunate fall in the large plate portion of the Book of Mormon. 
The doctrine is taught in 2 Nephi  chapter 2 which is in the small plates.  The small plates as we all know were translated after the large plates were finished.  Thus, can it be argued that the fortunate fall is a later invention of Joseph Smith?

Can you show where in the Book of Mormon there is any description of an unfortunate fall?

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4 hours ago, smac97 said:

................................

Of course, a skeptic can say A) "Joseph Smith just made it up" if there is no precedent for the concept, or B) "Joseph Smith cribbed from other Christian writers" if there is a precedent.  Pretty much anything "can be argued" to have been "a later invention of Joseph Smith."  It's a heads-the-critics-win-tails-Joseph-loses type of situation.......................

Exactly.  What else is new?

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5 hours ago, halconero said:

What about Alma 12?

Alma 12:21-27,

Quote

[Antionah asked] "what does this scripture mean which saith
that god placed cherubims and a flameing swoard
on the east of the garden of eden
lest our first parents should enter
and partake of the fruit of the tree of life
and live forever
and thus we see that there was no possible chance
that they should live forever
now alma saith unto him
this is the thing which I was about to explain
now we see that adam did fall by partaking of the forbidden fruit
according to the word of god
and thus we see that by his fal that all mankind became a lost and a fallen people
and now behold i say unto you
that if it had been possible for adam
for to have partaken of the fruit of the tree of life at that time
that there would have been no death
and the word would have been void makeing god a liar

for he said
if thou eat thereof thou shalt surely die
and we see that death comes upon mankind
yea the death which has been spoken of by amulek
which is the temporal death
nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent
therefore this life became a probationary state
a time to prepare to meet god
a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us
which is after the resurrection of the dead
now if it had not been for the plan of redemption
which was laid from the foundation of the world

there could have been no resurrection of the dead
but there was a plan of redemption laid
which shall bring to pass the resurrection of the dead
of which has been spoken
and now behold if it were possible
that our first parents could have went forth
and partaken of the tree of life
they would have been forever miserable
having no preparatory state
and thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated
and the word of god would have been void taking none effect

but behold it was not so
but it was appointed unto man that they must die
and after death they must come to judgment

even that same judgment of which we have spoken which is the end"

 

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4 hours ago, Rivers said:

My critique has been discredited.  

Another very important element to consider is if 1 Nephi and 2 Nephi present the fall of man as something fortunate, even a great boon to mankind, why is it that only 5 chapters after 2 Nephi 2 that the most negative and pessimistic depiction of the fall, in all it’s horrific detail,  is presented in 2 Nephi 9?

8 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.
9 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.

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On 12/7/2021 at 10:38 AM, teddyaware said:

Another very important element to consider is if 1 Nephi and 2 Nephi present the fall of man as something fortunate, even a great boon to mankind, why is it that only 5 chapters after 2 Nephi 2 that the most negative and pessimistic depiction of the fall, in all it’s horrific detail,  is presented in 2 Nephi 9?

8 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.
9 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.

One could speculate that Jacob was having a bad day, or that he was setting the value of the atonement over against the wiley plan of Satan -- just as Lehi had presented the stark dualism of the Two Ways in II Nephi 2.

Joseph has often been accused of engaging in developmental theology, but the BofM contains nearly everything characteristic of modern LDS theology, as I demonstrated in my "Book of Mormon Theologies: A Thumbnail Sketch," Sept 2012, updated 2021, online at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WileB3WVoNm0DlVrLUBRMdwKsrlWLElj/view?usp=sharing

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On 12/6/2021 at 9:53 PM, halconero said:

What about Alma 12?

"Wherefore, he gave commandments unto men, they having first transgressed the first commandments
as to things which were temporal, and becoming as gods, knowing good from evil, placing themselves
in a state to act, or being placed in a state to act according to their wills and pleasures, whether to do
evil or to do good
."

What *commandments* did they transgress to become as gods?

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On 12/7/2021 at 12:38 PM, teddyaware said:

Another very important element to consider is if 1 Nephi and 2 Nephi present the fall of man as something fortunate, even a great boon to mankind, why is it that only 5 chapters after 2 Nephi 2 that the most negative and pessimistic depiction of the fall, in all it’s horrific detail,  is presented in 2 Nephi 9?

I would say that these passages are as horrific or more so than 2 Nephi 9.

"This is the thing which I was about to explain. Now we see that Adam did fall by the partaking
of the forbidden fruit, according to the word of God; and thus we see, that by his fall, all mankind
became a lost and fallen people" - Alma 12:22.

"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, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it
became a preparatory state" - Alma 42:9-10.

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever
and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and
becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord" - Mosiah 3:19.

"And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds,
tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state,
to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters" - Mosiah 27:25.

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37 minutes ago, theplains said:

I would say that these passages are as horrific or more so than 2 Nephi 9.

"This is the thing which I was about to explain. Now we see that Adam did fall by the partaking
of the forbidden fruit, according to the word of God; and thus we see, that by his fall, all mankind
became a lost and fallen people" - Alma 12:22.

"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, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it
became a preparatory state" - Alma 42:9-10.

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever
and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and
becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord" - Mosiah 3:19.

"And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds,
tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state,
to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters" - Mosiah 27:25.

There’s something especially unsettling when one comes to the realization that fall of man from God is so unimaginably far and so unfathomably deep that, as a consequence, all mankind would unavoidably become devils, fit only to dwell in hell with Satan if it weren’t for the merciful, counteracting intervention of God through the infinite and eternal suffering of the Son of God.

In reality, there is no such thing as a “fortunate fall” because the fall is the most catastrophic and totally destructive force that mankind could ever encounter, as everything that’s evil and bad and nothing at all that’s good comes out of it. The only thing that transforms the fallen mortal experience into a net positive is the atoning sacrifice of Christ’s incomprehensible spiritual suffering, a most terrible price to pay in order to neutralize the utterly destructive effects of the fall.

Personally,I find it impossible to speak of a ‘fortunate fall’ because the price that was paid to redeem man form the fallen state was far too great to speak of the fall in such casual terms. If we could stone for our own sins, then it might be acceptable to speak of a fortunate fall; but since all mankind would have been utterly lost forever in hell without a sacrifice of infinite and eternal suffering made by God himself, I believe it’s much more appropriate to speak of the “fortunate atonement.”

Edited by teddyaware
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On 12/6/2021 at 8:54 PM, Rivers said:

I’m a faithful church member.  I’m not a critic.  However I’ve come up with a criticism against the Book of Mormon  I haven’t heard before.  It concerns the doctrine of the fortunate fall.  Consider this a Devil’s Advocate critique.
 

As far as I can tell, the there is no mention or allusion to the fortunate fall in the large plate portion of the Book of Mormon. 
The doctrine is taught in 2 Nephi  chapter 2 which is in the small plates.  The small plates as we all know were translated after the large plates were finished.  Thus, can it be argued that the fortunate fall is a later invention of Joseph Smith?

Maybe a later insight or revelation by way of the Book of Moses, and maybe this attitude was lost in the apostasies that followed Moses.

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8 hours ago, teddyaware said:

In reality, there is no such thing as a “fortunate fall” because the fall is the most catastrophic and totally destructive force that mankind could ever encounter, as everything that’s evil and bad and nothing at all that’s good comes out of it. The only thing that transforms the fallen mortal experience into a net positive is the atoning sacrifice of Christ’s incomprehensible spiritual suffering, a most terrible price to pay in order to neutralize the utterly destructive effects of the fall.

If one accepts the Book of Mormon as scripture and Lehi as a prophet of God, the fall of Adam was not "fortunate" but rather necessary.
 

Quote

2 Nephi Chapter 2:

22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

25 Adam fell that men might be; and men care, that they might have joy

Because of the fall, we have to deal with who, what, and what kind of person we really are. And because of that a Savior was needed.

 

Glenn

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32 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

If one accepts the Book of Mormon as scripture and Lehi as a prophet of God, the fall of Adam was not "fortunate" but rather necessary.
 

Because of the fall, we have to deal with who, what, and what kind of person we really are. And because of that a Savior was needed.

 

Glenn

Of course! Just because I don’t particularly like the expression”fortunate fall” (because an infinite and eternal sacrifice of divine suffering was required on order to to transform the fall into a benefit), that doesn’t mean I don’t believe the fall is absolutely necessary for us to be able to progress spiritually.

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11 hours ago, teddyaware said:

There’s something especially unsettling when one comes to the realization that fall of man from God is so unimaginably far and so unfathomably deep that, as a consequence, all mankind would unavoidably become devils, fit only to dwell in hell with Satan if it weren’t for the merciful, counteracting intervention of God through the infinite and eternal suffering of the Son of God.

In reality, there is no such thing as a “fortunate fall” because the fall is the most catastrophic and totally destructive force that mankind could ever encounter, as everything that’s evil and bad and nothing at all that’s good comes out of it. The only thing that transforms the fallen mortal experience into a net positive is the atoning sacrifice of Christ’s incomprehensible spiritual suffering, a most terrible price to pay in order to neutralize the utterly destructive effects of the fall.

Personally,I find it impossible to speak of a ‘fortunate fall’ because the price that was paid to redeem man form the fallen state was far too great to speak of the fall in such casual terms. If we could stone for our own sins, then it might be acceptable to speak of a fortunate fall; but since all mankind would have been utterly lost forever in hell without a sacrifice of infinite and eternal suffering made by God himself, I believe it’s much more appropriate to speak of the “fortunate atonement.”

Both you and Jim ( @theplains) miss the point in two major ways.  1. Of course the consequences of the Fall are horrible, but that was already the plan before the foundation of the world,  and everyone agreed to it (except for the one-third that followed Satan).  We all knew that we could only be saved by grace, and that our elder Brother would take that burden upon Himself.  What was truly horrible and unthinkable was the possibility of His failure in that endeavor.  2. The Creation and Garden scenes are not historical narrative and are not to be taken literally:  They constitute liturgical drama within a temple-setting which entail the same oaths and covenants which we make today in the very same temple-setting.

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Regarding the Book of Mormon teaching of the Fall, see Bruce M. Pritchett on "Lehi's Theology of the Fall in its Preexilic Context".  The abstract is here:

Quote

Some authors have claimed that Lehi’s teachings on the fall of Adam are so similar to teachings prevalent in nineteenth-century America that they must be the source for 2 Nephi 2. However, this paper demonstrates that the bulk of well-recognized scholarly authority attributes teachings very similar to those in 2 Nephi 2 to preexilic and exilic biblical writers such as Hosea and Ezekiel. Thus, Lehi’s teachings are more consistent with a preexilic/exilic Israelite context than with a nineteenth-century American context.

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jbms/vol3/iss2/4/

And there is the Discourse on Abbaton, copied by Timothy from the existing document at the library in Jerusalem about 380-385 A.D.  The Archbishop seeking information on the origin of Satan and why death and suffering exists in the world, in his words, he was wishing to learn concerning this fearful and terrifying being who God made, an who pursueth every soul until it yieldeth up it's spirit. Hugh Nibley first pointed out the existence of this text to the Saints in his Ensign series on Enoch.  It is rather cool, and manages to put the existence of death and suffering into overall positive context by referring back the Grand Council in heaven, and choices made there.  This account makes it clear that the Fall from the Garden was part of the plan from the start.  Worth a read.  The poster has pointed out occasional parallels to LDS scripture, Moses and Abraham.

http://www.bhporter.com/Abbaton.htm

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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