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laronius

Demands of Justice

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“[Jesus Christ] gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth” (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles”)

D&C 19:17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

Mosiah 2:38 Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever.

So if justice demands payment and Jesus has already suffered for the sins of all men/women thereby satisfying the demands of justice why does justice yet have hold on the unrepentant person? Isn't that like double payment, which seems contrary to the whole idea of justice?

 

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Do we even know what the demands of justice are? We say that Jesus suffered for our sins but do we even know what that entails? In D&C 19:20 the Lord states that the withdrawing of his Spirit is but to suffer as he did in the least degree. But beyond losing the Spirit (at least what we experience in this life) is generally just a hardening of the heart, a lack of feeling in general, not the great suffering we read about in Mosiah 2:38.

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26 minutes ago, laronius said:

 

49 minutes ago, laronius said:

Christ surely did suffer for our sins and satisfy the demands of Justice. But justice is only satisfied once the laws stop being broken.

In a world without Christ, the punishments would continue beyond the point of repentance. If I had a short fit of frustration with my wife, but quickly apologized, and made amends, I would still face eternal punishment.

Because Christ suffered for us, we can remove the eternal punishments of past transgressions and start fresh every time we repent.

So to answer your question:

51 minutes ago, laronius said:

why does justice yet have hold on the unrepentant person? Isn't that like double payment, which seems contrary to the whole idea of justice?

Christ’s mercy only covers mercy from sins which are not currently being committed. If you continue in sin, you are actively fighting against the power that is trying to save you.

Now, this power isn’t stronger than Christ’s power to forgive and have mercy, but leaving people free of the responsibility of their own sins is contrary to the plan of salvation, which is not about doing righteous things, but being a righteous person.

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18 minutes ago, Fether said:

Christ surely did suffer for our sins and satisfy the demands of Justice. But justice is only satisfied once the laws stop being broken.

If every sin is essentially already paid for (in a way we can't comprehend) what does justice care if it's our last sin or not? And why would it demand payment from us when our Savior has already paid every single penny of debt?

18 minutes ago, Fether said:

Christ’s mercy only covers mercy from sins which are not currently being committed. If you continue in sin, you are actively fighting against the power that is trying to save you.

I don't disagree with this point but if justice has already been satisfied then from what do we need mercy to protect us?

I hope I'm not coming off as playing devil's advocate nor am I questioning the truths taught in the Church. I'm just seeking understanding and that usually requires asking questions first. I have a testimony of the big picture, now I'm fleshing out the details.

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2 hours ago, laronius said:

If every sin is essentially already paid for (in a way we can't comprehend) what does justice care if it's our last sin or not? And why would it demand payment from us when our Savior has already paid every single penny of debt?

I don't disagree with this point but if justice has already been satisfied then from what do we need mercy to protect us?

I hope I'm not coming off as playing devil's advocate nor am I questioning the truths taught in the Church. I'm just seeking understanding and that usually requires asking questions first. I have a testimony of the big picture, now I'm fleshing out the details.

I will make an attempt to explain the laws of mercy and justice as I understand.  Before I begin I like the explanation from @Fether .  I would like to bring the principle of the gift of agency into the discussion as well because I believe it is important.  In the pre-existence the Father presented a plan for the salvation of his children.  Part of that plan requires that we learn from our experience - good from evil.  Then with that knowledge of good and evil we exercise our gift of agency and choose good or evil.  But there is a problem in that man must need to fall from the grace of G-d in order to experience and have knowledge of evil.  But we had to exercise our agency to fall.  Lucifer and those that followed him exercised their agency in rebellion against the plan and refused to participate - for whatever reason.

We are told that because of his rebellion he was cast out and fell from heaven and that the atonement of Christ does not cover his sin of rebellion.  I believe this is because he knew and understood his choice (gift of agency) so that the atonement is not in effect.  The atonement of Christ covers those sins we commit while in our fallen (probationary) state according to our covenant with G-d.  I believe that because Jesus is the proctor of that covenant he is the only being that has legal access to cover our sins.  Otherwise it makes no logical sense to me that any atonement could redeem our sins except the proctor that grants our agency and thus such a proctor would have responsibility because under the oversight of the proctor - sin was allowed.   Similar to a parent being legally reasonable for a child - especially if the parent was aware and knew what the child was up to. 

The final point is that once we experience sin the dark desire to remain in sin will overtake us unless we repent in the same manner that Lucifer became an enemy of G-d because he sought the darkness of sin over the light of repentance.  Thus the atonement pays for and ends the transgression's effect on everybody - both those that transgress and those that are transgressed against.  But if we choose that darkness of sin - be it our sins or the sin of others that harmed us (which is why it is important that we forgive others their transgressions - even those transgressions against us).

To be honest I cannot imagine or understand that with the knowledge of evil and sin that anyone would not repent once they understand that it excludes them for the good that is the opposite of sin.  Never-the-less, Nephi does warn us not to become attached to sin and allow it to rob us our our liberty and bind us (bondage) for eternity.  Not because of the sins that we committed in ignorance while we experienced a vail of forgetfulness (which are redeemed by Christ) but that our hearts do not become centered upon the false joy (blinded by hate toward freedom and liberty of the light of truth) of those addicted to any particular sin.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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4 hours ago, laronius said:

If every sin is essentially already paid for (in a way we can't comprehend) what does justice care if it's our last sin or not? And why would it demand payment from us when our Savior has already paid every single penny of debt?

I don't disagree with this point but if justice has already been satisfied then from what do we need mercy to protect us?

I hope I'm not coming off as playing devil's advocate nor am I questioning the truths taught in the Church. I'm just seeking understanding and that usually requires asking questions first. I have a testimony of the big picture, now I'm fleshing out the details.

I do see where you are coming from.

honestly, the best answer is that it would thwart the whole plan of salvation if it worked that way.

It is easy to look at questions like this in light of the traditional Christian doctrines and dogmas mingled with our own. I see that happening in this question (and admittedly, I got caught up in it a little in my previous answer).

Purpose of Life:

Traditional Christianity: Be saved through Christ

Latter-day Saint: (1) get and keep a body, (2) Be saved through Christ, and (3) become like Christ

Desired destination:

Traditional Christianity: Heaven

Latter-day Saint: Which ever Heaven you want


The question you are asking would be a great question for a traditional Christian that believes that our actions effect our eventual salvation.

However...The Latter-day Saint church is not that.

I would argue that Christ did suffer for everyone’s sins. I would also argue that the first two purposes of life are covered entirely by Christ; and because of that we will all have access to some degree of glory. But as for the highest degree, that is saved for those that want it and are actively seeking to become Christ like. There may even be people in the highest degree that will suffer more for their unrepented sins than those who choose the terrestrial kingdom. Our destination has far more to do with what we want than what we did and “earned”.

Repentance doesn’t seem to be a qualifier for not going to hell, but rather a tool we use to show God which kingdom we wish to be in.

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@laronius the more I ponder this, the more I ask myself the very same question haha. I feel like I have answered a question that may be the underlining question, it’s a bigger and far more meaningful question ... but not the actual question . 

“Why do two people need to suffer if no repentance is made? Was justice not satisfied with the suffering of Christ?”

This question mostly comes from how the scriptures are worded and not how we understand it.
Why is it that I must suffer for a sin that has already been suffered for if I do not repent? Is it God that is punishing me at that point?

Like you said “What DOES justice demand?” Is it just a punishment like Christ experienced? Or is it a punishment that lasts as long and as deep as the sin that causes the punishment? If it is the latter, that would explain things a bit. Perhaps

justice isn’t satisfied until the sin is stopped? Hence why we will have to suffer for eternity, but Christ’s atonement allows for an end date of the sin. Perhaps now we only suffer until we have repented. That is why two must suffer. Christ and I suffer together until I stop the sin and become Christ like?

Edited by Fether

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

@laronius the more I ponder this, the more I ask myself the very same question haha. I feel like I have answered a question that may be the underlining question, it’s a bigger and far more meaningful question ... but not the actual question . 

“Why do two people need to suffer if no repentance is made? Was justice not satisfied with the suffering of Christ?”

This question mostly comes from how the scriptures are worded and not how we understand it.
Why is it that I must suffer for a sin that has already been suffered for if I do not repent? Is it God that is punishing me at that point?

Like you said “What DOES justice demand?” Is it just a punishment like Christ experienced? Or is it a punishment that lasts as long and as deep as the sin that causes the punishment? If it is the latter, that would explain things a bit. Perhaps

justice isn’t satisfied until the sin is stopped? Hence why we will have to suffer for eternity, but Christ’s atonement allows for an end date of the sin. Perhaps now we only suffer until we have repented. That is why two must suffer. Christ and I suffer together until I stop the sin and become Christ like?

Yes, yes, yes! Now I think you and I are seeing eye to eye here. It's not a question of veracity of doctrine. If that's what the scriptures teach then I believe it, even if don't fully understand it. But I want to understand if possible. So I question why is that the way it is or even what am I missing because I'm not able to reconcile certain points with my current understanding. 

I think it is noteworthy that, save for the sons of perdition who reject Christ and his atonement, hell is not a final destination for anyone. Everyone will eventually conform to a law and will then inherit that kingdoms glory. So at that point I think it's safe to say the demands of justice are satisfied. So perhaps Christ having "already" satisfied the demands of justice is predicated on the assurance of that future event but in the meanwhile justice remains in force to carry out it's part in the great plan of our Father.

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4 hours ago, Traveler said:

I believe that because Jesus is the proctor of that covenant he is the only being that has legal access to cover our sins.  Otherwise it makes no logical sense to me that any atonement could redeem our sins except the proctor that grants our agency and thus such a proctor would have responsibility because under the oversight of the proctor - sin was allowed.   Similar to a parent being legally reasonable for a child - especially if the parent was aware and knew what the child was up to.

 

The Traveler

I think this is an apt analogy. I have often thought that because God authored the plan then he could also set the conditions of redemption but your point of his having allowed sin would seem to imply a certain degree of liability thus enabling him to make intercession as the guarantor of the plan. I think that is a great point.

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12 hours ago, laronius said:

If every sin is essentially already paid for (in a way we can't comprehend) what does justice care if it's our last sin or not? And why would it demand payment from us when our Savior has already paid every single penny of debt?

I don't disagree with this point but if justice has already been satisfied then from what do we need mercy to protect us?

I hope I'm not coming off as playing devil's advocate nor am I questioning the truths taught in the Church. I'm just seeking understanding and that usually requires asking questions first. I have a testimony of the big picture, now I'm fleshing out the details.

Christ atoned only for the sins of those who exercise faith in him and sincerely repent. For those who do not come down in the depths of humility and repent, it is as though no atoning sacrifice has been made.

5 But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God. (Mosiah 16)

 

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1 hour ago, Jersey Boy said:

Christ atoned only for the sins of those who exercise faith in him and sincerely repent

That kind of sounds like Calvinism's "limited atonement" (the "L" in "TULIP"). Perhaps it is just my bias against Calvinism, but I tend to shy away from explanations that sound too much like Calvinism.

I don't have a good answer to the OP's question, but this

15 hours ago, laronius said:

So if justice demands payment and Jesus has already suffered for the sins of all men/women thereby satisfying the demands of justice why does justice yet have hold on the unrepentant person? Isn't that like double payment, which seems contrary to the whole idea of justice?

description of the problem seems rooted in a "debtor model/analogy" of the atonement. I wonder if a different model/analogy for atonement would provide a different understanding of how atonement works that avoids this "double endemnity" problem.

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Part of the problem is we are trying to use Mortal definitions and understandings to try to understand the Divine.

Mortal Justice is do X crime to Y time.  Once Y is done then you have "Paid your debt".   Divine Justice is do sin... suffer Eternally.  There will be no point were you ever "Paid your debt" to Divine Justice.

Lets set up the analogy of a Down Pour, but instead of Rain that is falling on us it is Suffering.  This is our state, to exist in the never ending down pour of suffering unless God acts to extend Mercy.

This was done through Christ.  He lived perfectly showing the standard, while hard, was not impossible.  Divine Justice had no claim on him, yet Christ suffered Divine Justice anyways to enact the Atonement.  Using the analogy the Atonement is a giant umbrella, created and held by Christ.  It is Infinite and Eternal because that is what it takes to Balance Infinite and Eternal Divine Judgement.

The only limit to the Atonement of Christ is our willingness to stand under its protection.  This is God respecting our Agency.  Some will exercise the Faith and Repentance to come under the umbrella in this life, some only after suffering in Hell, and some never (Sons of Perdition) 

As for Christ paying for our Sins and still having to pay it if we do not repent.. well in Math an Infinite Set minus an Infinite Set still leaves us with an Infinite Set (Math and Infinities are not intuitive)

 

Edited by estradling75

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The Atonement satisfied the demands of justice for ALL.  For EVERY sin.

The result is that Christ now owns all of our souls to do with as He wishes.

Those who refuse his payment will go to hell because they've essentially said, "I don't care if you paid for my sins.  I'm going to take the punishment anyway."  If you really feel that way.

Others go to the three degrees of glory because of what their desires are for. They can only progress so far beyond what they were at the moment of death.  And those who will only abide a Telestial Law, can only abide a Telestial Glory, and so forth.

Because of this Eternal limitation, we are all judged to inherit whatever glory we are capable of abiding.  And we will all be happy where we wind up.

Remember that without the Atonement, there was only a heaven/hell dichotomy.  It is only after the Atonement that we have gradations.  And there is an eternal principle at work here.

We tend to think of this as "the debt was paid, so everyone goes to heaven."  Wrong.

The debt was paid, so we now have the potential to grow as much as our fundamental nature would allow us.  Without the Atonement, our nature wouldn't matter because we are ALL fallen.  But with the Atonement, there is still the individual nature that we each had from the beginning.  And that will limit our eternal destiny.

Edited by Carborendum

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The best explanation, in my opinion, is Elder Packer's metaphor "The Mediator."

1) Law

2) Breaking Law

3) Atonement

4) Covenanted Path (Remember all will receive the covenant this life or the next)

5) Accept or Reject Covenant

6) Reward

I agree with @Carborendum that the Atonement covers "All" except for the "Sons of Perdition." This is why we have three degrees of glory. There is no payment twice, we simply accept the initial payment, and if not, then the original law is now upon us again.

We have earthly laws that highlight this, it's called probation. A person breaks the law and the demands of that law are upon the individual. At this moment, a person is free (so to speak) when on probation with reporting laws and meetings. As long as that person commits, agrees, and doesn't stray from his probationary terms the individual remains free. If the individual breaks the agreement, then the original law acts upon them. The original law receives her own, according to the laws given, and thus can ask no more. The debt is paid, and the mediator is received. The mediator can only mediate as long as we adhere to the given agreement, the moment the individual rejects the agreement, then the original law will be enacted and punishment received. There is no double payment.

This is why I like the term "Yoked." We are yoked with Christ, as long as we continue on his path. The moment we break that "yoke" is the moment we are no longer within the mediated path, and the original law will enact its due accounting.

Edited by Anddenex

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3 hours ago, Carborendum said:

The Atonement satisfied the demands of justice for ALL.  For EVERY sin.

The result is that Christ now owns all of our souls to do with as He wishes.

Those who refuse his payment will go to hell because they've essentially said, "I don't care if you paid for my sins.  I'm going to take the punishment anyway."  If you really feel that way.

3 hours ago, Anddenex said:

 

We have earthly laws that highlight this, it's called probation. A person breaks the law and the demands of that law are upon the individual. At this moment, a person is free (so to speak) when on probation with reporting laws and meetings. As long as that person commits, agrees, and doesn't stray from his probationary terms the individual remains free. If the individual breaks the agreement, then the original law acts upon them. The original law receives her own, according to the laws given, and thus can ask no more. The debt is paid, and the mediator is received. The mediator can only mediate as long as we adhere to the given agreement, the moment the individual rejects the agreement, then the original law will be enacted and punishment received. There is no double payment.

 

So is what you both are saying is that if someone rejects the atonement then justice will reject Christ's payment for their sins? If not then why in hell (literally speaking 😀) is justice still exacting it's demands on the unrepentant sinner if it has already accepted Christ's payment on their behalf?

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1 minute ago, laronius said:

So is what you both are saying is that if someone rejects the atonement then justice will reject Christ's payment for their sins? If not then why in hell (literally speaking 😀) is justice still exacting it's demands on the unrepentant sinner if it has already accepted Christ's payment on their behalf?

Your wording suggests that Justice is an animate being of some sort. It is not. It is a debt that must be paid, a hole that must be filled if progress is to continue. Christ pays that debt for all who will accept his payment. My understanding is that Christ's atonement for sin is of no effect for those who will not accept it.

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1 hour ago, laronius said:

So is what you both are saying is that if someone rejects the atonement then justice will reject Christ's payment for their sins? If not then why in hell (literally speaking 😀) is justice still exacting it's demands on the unrepentant sinner if it has already accepted Christ's payment on their behalf?

I answered that question already.

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1 hour ago, laronius said:

So is what you both are saying is that if someone rejects the atonement then justice will reject Christ's payment for their sins? If not then why in hell (literally speaking 😀) is justice still exacting it's demands on the unrepentant sinner if it has already accepted Christ's payment on their behalf?

So is what you both are saying is that if someone rejects the atonement then justice will reject Christ's payment for their sins?

That is an interesting way of phrasing the question, and in the manner you have phrased it I would say to a degree the answer is correct. Only the Sons of Perdition receive the full measure of justice, which mercy can't rob, but I'm not sure "reject" Christ's atonement would be an accurate wording for justice. Christ's Atonement satisfies the demands of justice and mercy. The one receiving the Atonement either rejects or accepts the Atonement. Justice acts upon the individual (when law is broken), while mercy is received by acting for ourselves.

As all are saved, this would mean that to some degree the Atonement satisfies the demands of justice to a degree, even for the unrepentant sinner. Telestial glory and Terrestrial glory are glories by which to some degree a "sinner" did not repent.

If not then why in hell (literally speaking 😀) is justice still exacting it's demands on the unrepentant sinner if it has already accepted Christ's payment on their behalf?

This again is why I like Elder Packer's metaphor of "The Mediator". We enter into an agreement with Christ (Covenant), by which the demands of justice can be satisfied. The satisfied demands of justice are only good if we maintain our covenant with our Mediator. If we break that covenant, we are left unto ourselves and the original law is now once again placed upon us.

Again to a degree the demands of justice are satisfied, Immortality is a free gift to all (except sons of perdition), and even the Telestial kingdom (Immortality, but does not overcome spiritual death) is a gift that satisfies to some degree justice's demands.

The demands of justice are only satisfied if we maintain covenant with our Mediator. I also would point to the Lord's words, paraphrased, "I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive."

I also like the parable of the workers in the field and how all are paid a penny no matter the time they started. The agreement is given, the conditions are set, and if a worker would have left before the day was done would they have received a penny? No. Is the payment ready to be given? Yes, and only if they work the agreed upon time.

The payment (which satisfies justice) is according to covenant, the conditions of that covenant are faith and repentance.

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In my view:  We generally understand that the plan of salvation was primarily an instructional/rehabilitative exercise; it is becoming increasingly singular to me that we so often distill the Atonement down into terms of crime and punishment.

To me, “Justice” isn’t just some abstract notion of behaviorally-linked credits and debits that attaches to a particular perpetrator and which officious third parties with a positive balance can breeze in and arbitrarily declare “paid in full”.  “Justice”, in its fullest sense, has to do with the perpetrator’s reconciliation to the aggrieved parties, and to the God who healed the perpetrator’s victims and offers to heal the perpetrator himself.

Where there is no reconciliation—repentance—there is no justice; no matter how deeply a third party may have voluntarily suffered on the perpetrator’s behalf. 

Christ, to my mind, absolutely did suffer for the sins of everyone whether they accept His offering or not—if He didn’t, then a damned soul might legitimately argue that “the fix was in” from the beginning and that they never really had a chance at salvation (it’s the same reason Adam and Eve had to be created in a perfect state and then voluntarily fall; rather than being created as fallen creatures from the get-go).  But Christ’s suffering itself has no practical benefit for us unless or until it draws us to Him and we accept that suffering—“when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed”.  “It was done, and it was done for you,” Isaiah says—“so what are you gonna do about it?”

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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1 hour ago, Just_A_Guy said:

In my view:  We generally understand that the plan of salvation was primarily an instructional/rehabilitative exercise; it is becoming increasingly singular to me that we so often distill the Atonement down into terms of crime and punishment.

To me, “Justice” isn’t just some abstract notion of behaviorally-linked credits and debits that attaches to a particular perpetrator and which officious third parties with a positive balance can breeze in and arbitrarily declare “paid in full”.  “Justice”, in its fullest sense, has to do with the perpetrator’s reconciliation to the aggrieved parties, and to the God who healed the perpetrator’s victims and offers to heal the perpetrator himself.

Where there is no reconciliation—repentance—there is no justice; no matter how deeply a third party may have voluntarily suffered on the perpetrator’s behalf. 

Christ, to my mind, absolutely did suffer for the sins of everyone whether they accept His offering or not—if He didn’t, then a damned soul might legitimately argue that “the fix was in” from the beginning and that they never really had a chance at salvation (it’s the same reason Adam and Eve had to be created in a perfect state and then voluntarily fall; rather than being created as fallen creatures from the get-go).  But the suffering itself has no practical benefit for us unless or until we accept it—“when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed”.

I like this answer better than mine.

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2 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

.....

Christ, to my mind, absolutely did suffer for the sins of everyone whether they accept His offering or not—if He didn’t, then a damned soul might legitimately argue that “the fix was in” from the beginning and that they never really had a chance at salvation (it’s the same reason Adam and Eve had to be created in a perfect state and then voluntarily fall; rather than being created as fallen creatures from the get-go).  But Christ’s suffering itself has no practical benefit for us unless or until it draws us to Him and we accept that suffering—“when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed”.  “It was done, and it was done for you,” Isaiah says—“so what are you gonna do about it?”

I have attempted for many years to wrap my head around all this and I think there may be a couple of things missing from your explanation.  Not to argue; because I would be interested in your legal mind.  The first "thing" is that before anything was put into motion we all sat down in the pre-existence and went over every fine detail of the entire plan of salvation - including the atonement and the complete payment by Christ for all our sins during our probation.  

It appears to me that those that initially qualified for the "damned soul" category never got past the planning stage  and to the execution stage of the plan.   In essence we all (all that came to mortality) knew going into a mortal experience that regardless of what happened we would all have a "get out of jail free" card. 

The second "thing" we learn from the Garden Epoch in the symbolism of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The Tree has fruit from which we gain knowledge of good and evil.  I believe that the knowledge of evil is the experience of death (which is the wage of sin).  We all experience death (in two forms - the physical death which is the separation of the spirit body from the physical body and the separation of the soul, which is both the physical and spiritual body, from G-d).  So through the fall and the resultant deaths we acquire the knowledge of evil.  Then through the atonement of Christ and the resurrection we obtain the knowledge of good.

What is interesting to me is that there are levels of good or the experience of glory of good by stages.  The best has many explanations that I believe all mean the same things.  Thus that which is whole, holy, complete, perfect, knowledge of the truth (also known as intelligence of the light of truth) or free are all terms of the greatest stage of good.

And so when we arrive at what is called the "final judgment" we have the power of agency to play that get out of jail free card for whatever end we choose.  And at that point, the damned soul that as the other possible you have referenced has nothing to argue for or against - because they are exactly what they have spent their entire effort throughout all their opportunities becoming.  This is what I think is why the scriptures tell us that every knee will bow and every tongue confess (thankfully) that Jesus is the Christ.

 

The Traveler

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On 3/22/2021 at 10:17 AM, MrShorty said:

That kind of sounds like Calvinism's "limited atonement" (the "L" in "TULIP"). Perhaps it is just my bias against Calvinism, but I tend to shy away from explanations that sound too much like Calvinism.

I don't have a good answer to the OP's question, but this

description of the problem seems rooted in a "debtor model/analogy" of the atonement. I wonder if a different model/analogy for atonement would provide a different understanding of how atonement works that avoids this "double endemnity" problem.

Because Christ’s atoning sacrifice of suffering for sin is infinite and eternal in scope and nature, he atoned for every sin that has ever been committed by every soul who has ever lived, is now living, and will yet live until there be time no more. But the immutable truth is that the mighty salvative blessings and benefits of Christ’s atoning sacrifice can only be accessed through living faith in him as Savior and Redeemer, followed by sincere repentance for sin. The only instances in which it will appear AS IF no redemption had made is in the case of those individuals who refuse to humble themselves before Almighty God, exercise faith in Christ and repent of their sins.

The only individuals who will ultimately be found in the category of those for whom it will be AS IF no redemption had been made will be the sons of perdition. All others will eventually choose to exercise faith in Christ unto repentance and thereby receive a remission of their sins. Doctrine and Covenants 138 make this last point very clearly.

One must be careful to not confuse the state of being so obstinately unrepentant that it seems AS IF no redemption has been made, with the fact that the Saviour did indeed suffer more than adequately for each and every sin that has ever been committed. The great tragedy of the sons of perdition lies in the fact that they refuse to accept a priceless gift of forgiveness, the cost of which has been paid in full by a loving Benefactor..

Edited by Jersey Boy

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On 3/22/2021 at 12:27 PM, Vort said:

Your wording suggests that Justice is an animate being of some sort. It is not. It is a debt that must be paid, a hole that must be filled if progress is to continue. Christ pays that debt for all who will accept his payment. My understanding is that Christ's atonement for sin is of no effect for those who will not accept it.

I approached the topic using the language the scriptures often use, often painting the idea of justice as an "animate being" as you state. In fact they even refer to it's demands as "his" in one place. But I believe this is only done to make the point that justice is independent in the sense that it can't simply be ignored or pushed aside and it was only in that context that I intended my remarks to be taken.

I appreciate everyone's remarks and I wish I could respond to them all but time does not allow right now. I understand the desire represented in some of the comments to not focus so much on the nitty gritty of the subject lest we lose sight of what the real message in all this is and believe me when I say that is not lost on me. But I still like to understand the nitty gritty when that knowledge is available. As I thought about this topic throughout this week I came to realize the issue isn't one of what is happening so much as it is when it happens or in other words when are the demands of justice satisfied. The most important answer to that question would be phrased in terms of repentance, change of heart, atonement and mercy. But there is also the element of order, as I talked about before, where Christ pays for sins to appease the demands of justice and yet until "repentance, change of heart, atonement, and mercy" have full sway in our hearts justice is still exacting it's demands, notwithstanding the fact that Christ has already appeased those demands. So as I thought more about this idea of order or timing it dawned on me that one of the incomprehensible aspects of the atonement of Jesus Christ is in fact timing. How could Jesus pay for sins that have not yet (as we view it) even been committed yet? The answer to this question is beyond our current comprehension except to recognize that all things are present before God in one eternal now. So with that being the case I think we could apply this same understanding to the demands of justice. While from our mortal perspective the demands of justice are still being demanded long after Christ has satisfied them, from God's perspective no such separation of time exists. And while I don't fully comprehend how that is I'm good with that.

Edited by laronius

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