The Compassionate Empathy Model of the Atonement

I recently read a blog article entitled, Theories on the Atonement of Christ – An Overview and didn’t see my particular theory among the list. (What a surprise!) So, I thought maybe it was time to publish an article explaining my understanding of how the atonement of Jesus Christ actually works to get us sinners off the hook, despite the justice of God which requires that the sinner be punished for his own sins.

On the 22nd of October, 2007, on another blog, I posted a comment which explained a little about this theory. The article I responded to was titled, BH Roberts: Atonement in Harmony with Inexorable Law and I wasn’t completely in agreement with Roberts’ views of the atonement, and more especially of his idea of “inexorable law,” so I felt inspired to post a comment. Here is what I said:

It seems to me that the obstacle that people seem to be having with this topic is the definition of eternal law. Roberts calls it “inexorable.” From the comments, it almost seems like certain people think that eternal law is some written text in heaven, like we have here on earth. D&C 88: 7-13 pretty clearly shows what the eternal law is and also shows that that law is alive. It’s a living thing. Living things are capable of compassion and mercy and this is why the atonement of Christ works, despite the fact that one man cannot justifiably pay the penalty of another. When we repent, Christ shows his suffering and death, and makes his plea to the Father and the entire created Universe, which are demanding that the law be executed. As soon as the tremendous suffering of Christ is manifested to the ensemble, discerned by the Spirit, all creation’s bowels are filled with compassion and they change their minds. The sin of the person is then forgiven. Christ illustrated this principle in 3 Ne. 17: 4-7 when he was about to leave but looked around and saw that they desired that he stay. His bowels were filled with compassion and he stayed instead of leaving. This is what happens on a Universal scale concerning sin and forgiveness. The magnitude of suffering of the Christ had to be such that not a single living thing in the Universe would not be moved to compassion and change its mind concerning the inflicted penalty.

Another illustration is this: John 8: 10-11. There must be someone who accuses someone else of wrongdoing, otherwise, the law’s penalty cannot be executed. Christ’s atonement effectively takes away every accuser (for the penitent,) leaving the sinner free to go.

After my comment, the blog owner (Eric Nielson) responded with the following question:

If I understand right, you are forwarding an empathy model, that satisfies the law from the persepective of all possible accusers?

I answered his question with this:

I guess you can call it that. In any court, there must be a judge, the accused and the accuser(s). There may also be lawyers present, representing the accused and/or the accusers. In our heavenly “court case,” those who repent get a lawyer, Jesus, who essentially says, “Hey, look at me. I did no wrong, yet I suffered severely in this manner. [Shows his suffering and death.] Do not accuse this man (or woman.) Let my suffering suffice for the penalty required by the law.” The accusers, upon gazing upon his suffering and discerning the intensity of it by the Spirit, are moved to compassion. The Father (the judge) calls forth the accusers and no one shows. No one makes an accusation. There is no case. The Father then releases the [un-]accused into the custody of Jesus, who then passes a judgment on us (he becomes our Judge) and assigns us one of the three degrees of glory.

On the other hand, the unrepentant show up for their case and Jesus doesn’t own them, he doesn’t represent them. They are on their own. The Father calls for the accusations against them and the Universe accuses and shows the evidence, which the accused cannot deny. The penalty is inflicted: expulsion from the kingdoms of glory (inner light) into outer darkness. (There is only one penalty for disobeying the laws of the Universe, the second death.)

In this way, the Father gets to show both justice and mercy by using the death and suffering of his Son to manifest the mercy.

Unfortunately, of the two people who responded to these comments, one said he needed time to digest this model and come to any conclusion and the other flatly said he didn’t buy it.

Also on the 22nd of October (same blog, different article), I posted another comment about this model. The article I responded to was entitled, The Efficacy of Vicarious Atonement. Here is what I wrote:

J. Stapley asked, “What about the atonement gave Christ the ability to heal the penitent?”

My understanding is that the laws of the Universe demand the second death as the penalty for the breaking of any of those laws. It was the suffering (and death and resurrection) of Christ that allows everything to happen. When we are penitent, Christ’s suffering is, essentially, shown to the created Universe and the Father, along with Christ’s plea, “Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.”

The greatness of the suffering of the innocent Christ was of such magnitude that all creation, the whole Universe, cannot help but say, “Okay. It is enough. Do not apply the rule of justice. Allow mercy to be extended to the individual in question. Christ hath suffered and paid the penalty for him.” The penitent then can receive forgiveness from Christ, which is merely a communication of the knowledge that the Father and all the Universe no longer holds that individual guilty. In other words, he is justified. Once he realizes he is forgiven and justified, the burden of sin is lifted, as the penalty will not be applied to him.

We came into this created Universe (2 Ne. 2: 14) from outer darkness (the uncreated Universe, i.e. the “compound in one” – 2 Ne. 2: 11) and we remain here by obedience to the laws of this Universe. The breaking of any of the laws requires expulsion from the Universe back to where we were brought from. Christ’s suffering allows us to overcome the breaking of any of these laws through our repentance and the forgiveness of our sins, allowing us to remain in the Universe in a resurrected body as inheritors of one of the three kingdoms of glory. The only ones who will “return again to their own place” (D&C 88: 32) from whence we all came will be the filthy still, which are those who refuse to repent, even after a thousand years of anguish and suffering, which suffering and anguish is to merely help these people to repent, so that they can remain in the Universe, and not to punish them.

The Resurrection also plays into this, but that is a topic for another discussion.

There was no response to this comment. Taken altogether, either people didn’t read these comments, or they read them and either didn’t care about them (or thought they were too preposterous to comment and correct my erroneous conclusions) or they didn’t understand them. I’m thinking a combination of all three scenarios is probable. So, I am left to wonder, are the above three comments sufficient to explain this model?

Also, I suppose I ought to name this “theory,” right? I think Eric hit the nail on the head when he said it was an empathy model. The dictionary defines empathy as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this.” So, empathy fits as a description, but there is also the element of compassion. When the suffering of Jesus is observed and experienced vicariously, it generates compassion in those who view it. Therefore, I have labeled this “theory” the Compassionate Empathy Model of the Atonement.

Some of the key scriptures to this model are Alma 34: 15 (“to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice”) and Alma 42: 15 (“to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice.”) The term “bowels of mercy” refers to compassion. First it is Jesus that has compassion towards us, insomuch that he both goes through the Atonement for us and then becomes our Mediator at the day of judgment (for those who repent.) Secondly, it is the Father (and all the Universe) who is filled with compassion towards Jesus when Jesus shows him his suffering and pleads our cause before him. (See D&C 45: 3-5.) He then grants Jesus’ request that we be spared.

Just as Amulek explained, the atonement of Jesus Christ “overpowers” justice. It doesn’t rob it (Alma 42: 25) or destroy it (Alma 42: 13), it “overpowers” it and “appeases” its demands. What this means, in even plainer language than the scriptures themselves, is that justice stops making its demands when the atonement is presented. The accusers who are making the demands of justice are suddenly, upon seeing the suffering of Christ, presented with such an intense scene of suffering (even infinite suffering that is perceived by the power of the Spirit) that they are overcome with compassion towards Jesus and in this state of compassion and mercy, when Jesus requests that the sinners be spared, they can’t help but consent to Jesus’ demands of mercy!

The key to the mystery of the atonement, therefore, is that it is able to stop justice from making demands, long enough for Christ to make his own demands of mercy. You will find the word “demands” almost always linked to justice and whenever justice is spoken of alone, it is always with the assumption of it making demands.

The other atonement theories miss the mark, so to speak, in that they try to complicate the matter more than it really is. The Ransom Theory (purporting that the atonement of Christ was a ransom paid by God to the devil) doesn’t work because the devil isn’t owed anything. The Satisfaction or Commerical Theory (that the atonement of Christ was a debt paid to God on behalf of sinners) doesn’t work because King Benjamin (in Mosiah 2: 23-24) busts it wide open with his statement that we will forever be in God’s debt, even with the atonement. The Penal-Substitution Theory (that Christ paid the penalty for our sins by suffering and dying) doesn’t work because justice demands that we sinners be expelled from the kingdom (meaning that we suffer the second death, or are cast into outer darkness) and it is impossible to substitute the demands of justice for something else and still remain just. Amulek shattered this theory with these words:

Amulek said, “And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it. For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made. For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice. Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. 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 can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world. (Alma 34: 8-12)

Amulek makes it very plain that a) one man can’t atone for the sins of another, b) penal-substitution is unjust, c) that just laws demand (or as he puts it, “require”) that the one who breaks the law must suffer the penalty. Those who buy into the Penal-Substitution Theory are doing so by saying that infinite and eternal suffering, like Christ’s, can make penal-substitution just, or, in other words, that infinite and eternal penal-substitution works, whereas finite penal substitution doesn’t. This is akin to saying that the laws of physics only work here on this planet, but “over there” the same laws don’t apply. The Penal-Substitution Theory, then, relies on magic and the thought that “we don’t understand how it works, but somehow it works on an infinite level.” But Amulek emphatically and purposely explains that penal-substitution is unjust, so that we understand that the atonement of Jesus Christ doesn’t work according to penal-substitution! Those who espouse this theory, miss this point entirely.

The Moral Example Theory (that Christ’s death was merely to motivate us to greater righteousness) doesn’t work because even with greater righteousness, we still have our sins that must be paid (by us) when justice gets around to demanding that the penalty be inflicted (the second death.) The Government Theory doesn’t work because God does indeed exact strict judgment (the second death) to all those who do not repent, so the atonement was not just a token or demonstration of God’s displeasure at man’s sin, as this theory holds.

There is one other theory mentioned on the theory list: Blake Ostler’s Compassion Theory of the Atonement. Unfortunately, this theory is not explained so I do not know how it explains the atonement. In fact, I don’t even know who Blake Ostler is. If there is anyone out there who is familiar with him and his model, you can tell me how it compares with my own Compassionate Empathy Model of the Atonement.

Now, I think I’ve sufficiently explained the model. What are your thoughts?

Next Jesus Christ article: How the atonement of Jesus Christ solves the “victim” problem

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Deep Waters: Lehi’s model of the universe

I thought that I would do something new with this post. I will quote scriptures, ask questions about them and give answers according to my understanding. Hopefully, you will be able to follow my logic. 2 Nephi 2: 5-14 is my scriptural text. (I am publishing this article as a result of three comments I posted on another blog, which were met with confusion and disbelief. You may read the comments here: 1, 2 & 3.)

1) And the law is given unto men. (2 Ne. 2: 5)

1) QWhat law? A-The law that is given unto men (not necessarily the one that is received by them.) QGiven by whom? A-“The law which the Holy One hath given.” (See 2 Ne. 2: 10.)

2) And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. (2 Ne. 2: 5)

2) QWhat does Lehi mean by “flesh?” A-He means mortality, or any mortal creation. QWhat does Lehi mean by “justified?” A-He means guiltless. QFrom what are men cut off? A-From the presence of the Lord (see v. 8), from that which is good (see v. 5), from things pertaining to righteousness (see Alma 12: 16, etc.)

3) Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever. (2 Ne. 2: 5)

3) QWhat is the temporal law? A-The laws of physics given by God to all mortal creations, which ultimately lead to the physical death of all flesh. QWhat is the spiritual law? A-The spiritual laws of God, which ultimately lead to the spiritual death of all flesh. QWhat does it mean to be cut off by the temporal law? A-To die a physical death (separation of the spirit body from the physical body), which, if not overcome, results in us becoming devils and being cast into outer darkness. (See 2 Ne. 9: 9.) QWhat does it mean to “perish from that which is good” by the spiritual law? A-To become devils and be expelled into outer darkness (separation from the presence of God.) In other words, the end result of both the temporal and spiritual law, if not overcome, is the second death: expulsion into outer darkness.

4) Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. (2 Ne. 2: 6)

4) QWhat does “redemption cometh in…the Holy Messiah” mean? A-It means the resurrection from the dead, which is free and requires nothing of us to receive it. (It is unconditional.) QWhat does “redemption cometh…through the Holy Messiah” mean? A-It means forgiveness of sin, which is given on condition of repentance. QHow is the Holy Messiah full of grace? A-He is full of grace in that he forgives sin. QHow is the Holy Messiah full of truth? A-He is full of truth in that he causes the resurrection to happen. QWho is the Holy Messiah? A-He is Jesus Christ.

5) Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. (2 Ne. 2: 7)

5) QWhat are “the ends of the law?” Why does Lehi say “ends” plural and not “end” singular? A-The expression “ends of the law” refers to the bounds (D&C 88: 38 ) or limits of the law, the law itself proceeding “forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space” (D&C 88: 12) and being in the shape of a sphere (D&C 93: 30). There is not one “end” of the law, only “ends” because every point from the center of the sphere to the perimeter in any direction is one of the infinite “ends of the law.” The law, being the power of God, governs, gives light and gives life to the entire created universe which resides within its bounds, or “ends,” God himself being “in the midst of all things” (D&C 88:13) or, in other words, residing in the center of the sphere (the most holy place or the holy of holies.) QWhat does Lehi mean by “answer the ends of the law?” A-He means the answer or solution to the problem at hand, namely, that no flesh is justified by the law, therefore, all flesh must inevitably be expelled from, or placed outside of, the law (the sphere), in other words, they must be removed to “the ends of the law.” At the ends of the law is where the lake of fire and brimstone is located, and beyond that is outer darkness. As the sphere is a sphere of light, outside of that sphere is darkness, hence the name, “outer darkness,” in contrast or opposition to the sphere of inner light. The question is, essentially, “What can be done for all these creatures that they may not have to return (D&C 88: 32) to the lake of fire and brimstone and outer darkness from whence they originally came? How can they remain in the kingdom of light (glory) which God has created?” The answer is the atonement of Jesus Christ. QWhat happens to those who do not “have a broken heart and a contrite spirit,” unto whom the ends of the law cannot be answered? A-They return to the lake of fire and brimstone, to be delivered to the darkness which exists outside of the sphere of light. This is known as the second death.

6) Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. (2 Ne. 2: 8 )

7) Wherefore, he is the first fruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved. (2 Ne. 2: 9)

8 ) And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. (2 Ne. 2: 10)

9) Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement—for it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. (2 Ne. 2: 10-11)

9) QWhat are “the ends of the atonement?” A-The bounds or limits of the atonement, the scope of which exactly conforms to the bounds and limits of the law, the course of the Lord being “one eternal round” and thus a sphere, like the law. QWhat does Lehi mean by “answer the ends of the atonement?” A-He means the answer or solution to the problem at hand, namely, how to answer the question, “What is to be done to those unrepentant souls who are not claimed by the atonement?” Lehi explains that “the ends of the law” will “answer the ends of the atonement.” In other words, these people will be delivered to the ends of the law (the lake of fire and brimstone) and beyond it to outer darkness. QWhat is the punishment that is affixed to the ends of the law? A-The casting of these souls into the lake of fire and brimstone and outer darkness. QWhat is the happiness that is affixed that is opposite to the punishment that is affixed to the ends of the law? A-It is the innermost location of the light sphere, the most holy place or the holy of holies, where God resides in the midst of his creations (the created universe.) It is the central location of the light sphere, being opposite in all ways to the outermost location, (the ends and outer darkness.) QDoes removing the comma after “for it must needs be” change the meaning of the phrase, “for it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things”? A-Yes. QWhat is a plainer translation of the phrase with the comma? A-“Because it needs to be this way, so that there is an opposition in all things.” QWhat is a plainer translation of the phrase without the comma? A-“Because there needs to be an opposition in all things.” QWhat is the difference between the two phrases, with comma and without comma? A-The phrase with the comma is explaining that the law necessarily is set up so that there is an opposition in all things, in other words, that the law itself is creating the necessary opposition in all things, whereas the phrase without the comma is explaining that an opposition in all things is necessary. (This is where most LDS stumble in the correct interpretation of this scripture. They read it as if there were no comma and thus miss the true meaning of Lehi’s words.)

10) If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. (2 Ne. 2: 11)

10) QWhat does the phrase “if not so” mean? If what is not so? A-If the law was not so. In other words, if the law were not set up to create the opposition in all things (outer darkness-inner light) there would be no opposition in all things. Lehi is explaining that the opposition in all things was created by God. It does not exist naturally. QWhat are the opposite conditions that could not be brought to pass if the law did not create an opposition in all things? A-Righteousness-wickedness; holiness-misery; good-bad.

11) Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. (2 Ne. 2: 11)

11) QWhat does Lehi mean when he says, “Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one?” A-He means that if you take away the creative act of God, in creating the opposition in all things through the law, which is his light and power, the natural state of things is to be “a compound in one,” both spirit and element being joined together as if they were one single substance. This is the state of things as they existed prior to creation. This is the state of things as they exist now in outer darkness, which is outside of the kingdom of God, or the created universe (the sphere of light). This is the state that we were in before God brought us into existence, or better stated, into a state of awareness of our existence, before he split our “compound in one” substance into two opposite materials: spirit matter (that which acts) and element or physical matter (that which is acted upon). QWhat is “it” in the phrase “if it should be one body?” A-It is the compound in one substance. QWhy does Lehi refer to the “compound in one” substance as being “one body?” A-Two reasons: 1st, to contrast it to our own dual natures, as we have both a spirit body and a physical body and, 2nd, to contrast it to our current state of individuality. The compound in one substance literally was as one body, or a single mass of everything that is currently in the sphere of light, which is the kingdom of God. There was no individuality, nor even awareness of individuals, nor of anything else. Everything was the same as everything else, thus, without anything to contrast, it all was as a single body, all of it unaware that it even existed. QWhy does Lehi state that “it must needs remain as dead” when later on he says, “having no life neither death?” Is this a contradiction? A-There is no contradiction. Lehi is explaining that the one body compound in one substance was useless in its compound in one state. It was good for nothing. It served no purpose. It was as dead, meaning it was like a dead thing, totally incapable of usefulness as it was not even aware of its own existence. It was literally “in the dark” as to any possibilities for expansion and progression. It had nothing to contrast anything else with, as there was no light to contrast with its darkness, no separate individuals to contrast with its singular, combined substance. With such material, nothing can be accomplished, not life, not death, etc.

12) Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. (2 Ne. 2: 12)

13) Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God. (2 Ne. 2: 12)

12-13) QWhat is the meaning of Lehi’s words as written in verse 12? A-He is saying that if God had created the one body, compound in one substance, it would have been created for nothing, having no utility or serving no useful purpose, at all. Since God cannot create anything without giving it a purpose, a use, had he created such stuff, he would have ceased to be God. Lehi is attempting to explain that as God has not ceased to be God and as this stuff did exist prior to creation and still exists (as this is the material that God uses to expand his kingdom), then this substance is stuff in its natural, untouched or un-created state, that it is co-existent with God and co-eternal, but his complete opposite. (He has all power, it has no power, etc.)

14) And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. (2 Ne. 2: 13)

15) If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. (2 Ne. 2: 13)

16) And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. (2 Ne. 2: 13)

17) And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. (2 Ne. 2: 13)

18 ) And if these things are not there is no God. (2 Ne. 2: 13)

14) QWhy does Lehi begin with the phrase, “And if ye shall say there is no law?” A-Because the opposition in all things is created by the law. Everything hinges on the existence of the law. With the existence of the law, you can then have sin, righteousness, happiness, punishment and misery, in other words, the opposition in all things. If there is no opposition in all things, it means there is no law given by God and if there is no law given by God, then there is no God, as the law is his power.

19) And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

19) QWhat does Lehi mean when he says that “all things must have vanished away” if there is no God? A-He means that God is holding all of creation together, in its created state, by his own power. If God ever loses his power (his honor, see D&C 29: 36), all created things will revert back to their previous, uncreated, one body, compound in one state. In fact, if any of the gods and goddesses (god-dom) ever cease to be a god or goddess, the same result occurs everywhere. This is why Lucifer necessarily demanded the honor of God in his pre-mortal bid to conquer the universe, so that the universe would not revert to its previous state. (See
Deep Waters: What would have happened if Lucifer had won the vote?)

20) And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon. (2 Ne. 2: 14)

20) QLehi says that God created all things. Does that not include the compound in one substance? A-God created all things that are created and all things that are created have purpose. The compound in one substance has no purpose and is in the natural, un-created state. God did not create it. QWhat are the things to act and what are the things to be acted upon? A-When God split the compound in one substance into two materials, one was the fire or spirit, which was given the purpose (by God) to move on its own (that which acts) and the other was the brimstone, or physical element, which was given the purpose (by God) to be moved (that which is acted upon.) The physical element does not move on its own, it must be acted upon, or pushed around, by the spirit matter. This is why living things move around (because the spirit bodies move the physical bodies) but when the living things die, which means that the spirit bodies leave the physical bodies, the physical bodies just lay there, motionless, unless acted upon by other, authorized spirit matter. (Devils can possess living souls, with permission, or power granted, of the living souls, but once a person dies, devils are not authorized to possess the physical body of that dead individual. In other words, the free agent physical body won’t allow itself to be moved by devils, only by spirits whose authority it, the physical body, recognizes.) Both spirit and element are given agency (D&C 93: 31) by God from the get-go. The spirit moves of its own volition and the element moves not, or allows itself to be pushed around, of its own volition. As the Lord has said, “All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence (D&C 93: 30).” Both truth and intelligence (physical element and spirit matter) act for themselves, but truth (element) acts by allowing itself to be pushed around, or acted upon, while intelligence (spirit) acts by doing the pushing. The creation of the opposition in all things happens at the ends of the law, where the lake of fire (spirit) and brimstone (element) burns. If you could float just above the ends or boundary of the light sphere, so that your head pointed to the center of the light sphere and your feet pointed to the edge or ends of the sphere (the ends of the law), you being within the sphere, the ends of the law would appear to be a lake of fire and brimstone. This is the plasma bow shock that divides the outer darkness from the inner light. It is the lake of fire and brimstone that is where the compound in one substance is being converted, or split, into spirit (fire) and element (brimstone.) The flame of this lake “ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end” (2 Ne. 9: 16). The reason is that the lake is in the shape of a sphere, being at the ends of the law, and if you could follow it with your eye, although the sphere is inconceivably big, you would eventually see it curve upward. Also, as the creative act is continual, meaning that more compound in one substance is being split into spirit and element, the sphere is constantly expanding. (See Moses 1: 4, “my works are without end.”)

Final QuestionWhat does this tell us about our own natures? A-It shows us why God is so obsessed with getting everything resurrected with a physical body. The physical aspect is as much a part of our original, un-split, compound in one natures as is the spiritual aspect. We cannot feel complete without it. This is why only spirit and element, inseparably connected, can receive a fulness of joy (D&C 93: 33-34). This is one of the reasons why Satan is miserable forever. The lack of a physical body creates a void. This is why Jacob explained that we would all become devils if there were no resurrection (2 Ne. 9: 9). If there were no resurrection, there would be no hope of ever getting that missing part of us back. As hope is a part of faith, if we lose all hope, we lose all faith, and Satan then would obtain all power over us and we would become devils just like him, as he also has no hope nor faith. This is why the resurrection has so much emphasis in the scriptures.

Next Deep Waters article: Deep Waters: Creatio ex nihilo, creatio ex materia and creatio ex deo are all true doctrines

Previous Deep Waters article: Deep Waters: What would have happened if Lucifer had won the vote?

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