Page images

The very name "Trinity" which is commonly current in the literature of Christian theology, connotes three distinct entities, and such we believe to be the scriptural signification and therefore expressive of the actual constitution of the Godhead. Three Personages are comprised, each designated by the exalted title "God", and each of whom has separately and individually revealed Himself to mankind; these are (1) God the Eternal Father, (2) God the Son, or Jesus Christ, and (3) God the Holy Ghost.

That the three are individually separate and distinct Personages is evidenced by such Scriptures as the following. As our Lord Jesus Christ emerged from the baptismal waters of Jordan, John, the officiating priest, recognized the visible sign of the Holy Ghost, while he saw before him the Christ with a tangible body of flesh and bones, and heard the voice of the Eternal Father saying: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:16, 17). The three Personages were there present, each manifesting Himself in a different manner to mortal sense, and plainly, each distinct from the others.

Again, in that last solemn interview with His apostles on the night of the betrayal, the Lord Jesus thus cheered with sublime assurance their sorrowful despair: "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me." (John 15:26.) Could the members of the Trinity be more definitely segregated? That the Comforter is the Holy Ghost is expressly set forth in the preceding chapter (John 14:26), and in that passage also the Father and the Son are as separately specified.

That the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ are individual Personages is clear from the very fact of the relationship expressed, for no being can be his own father

or his own son. The numerous Scriptures in which Christ is shown as praying to His Father abundantly testify of Their distinct personality; and, furthermore, amidst the indescribable glory of our Lord's transfiguration, from out of the cloud came the voice of the Father, avowing again: “This is my beloved Son."

The individual members of the Holy Trinity are united in purpose, plan, and method. To conceive of disagreement, differences, or dissension among them would be to regard them as lacking in the attributes of perfection that characterize Godhood. But that this unity involves any merging of personality is nowhere attested in Scripture, and the mind is incapable of apprehending such a union.

In the course of His soulful High-Priestly prayer, Christ supplicated the Father in behalf of the Apostles, asking "that they may be one" as He and the Father were one (John 17:11). Surely the Lord did not intimate that He would have the Apostles lose their individuality and become one person; and indeed, He had long before assured them that at a time which is even yet future they "shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28.)

Human knowledge concerning the attributes of God and the nature of the Godhead is such as has been revealed from the heavens. Divine revelation is the ultimate source of all we know of the being and personality of the Deity. Through revelation in ancient days God was made known to manto Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and the prophets. And in the present age, after mankind had in great measure come to reject the plain and simple truths of a personal God and His actual Son Jesus Christ, such as the Scriptures affirm, the Father and the Son have revealed Themselves


Joseph Smith has given us his solemn testimony that in the early spring of 1820, while engaged in solitary prayer, to which he had been impelled by scriptural admonition (James 1:5), he was visited by the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and that the Father, pointing to the Christ, spake, saying: "This is my beloved Son, hear Him."

In this wise was ushered in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, foretold by the Apostle of old (Eph. 1:10). In 1820 there was on earth one mortal who knew beyond all question that the human conception of Deity, as an incorporeal essence of something possessing neither form nor substance, is as devoid of truth in respect to both the Father and the Son as its statement in formulated creeds is incomprehensible.

Joseph Smith has proclaimed anew to the world the simple truth that the Eternal Father and His glorified Son Jesus Christ are in form and stature perfect Men; and that in Their physical likeness mankind has been created in the flesh.

[blocks in formation]

Are All to Suffer from it Eternally?

WE sin, and not for Adam's transgressions."

E believe that men will be punished for their own

Belief in original sin, with its dread incubus as a burden from which none can escape, has for ages cast its depressing shadow over the human heart and mind. Accepting as fact the account outlined in Genesis concerning the transgression of the parents of the race, every thoughtful reader must have wondered as to whether he is to suffer throughout

this life and beyond for a deed in which he had no part, and for which, according to his natural conception of justice and right, he was not even indirectly responsible. If he assumes an affirmative answer to his honest query, he must have stood aghast at the seeming injustice of it all.

The Scriptures proclaim in definite terms the fact of individual responsibility, and as an indispensable consequence, the Free Agency of Man. Freedom to choose or reject and accountability for the choice go hand in hand. The word of Divine revelation made the matter plain very early in the history of mankind. To evil-hearted Cain the Lord said: "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door." (Gen. 4:7.)

A knowledge of good and evil is essential to progress, and the school of experience in mortality has been provided for the acquirement of such knowledge. The Divine purpose was thus enunciated by an ancient Hebrew prophet:

"Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore man could not act for himself, save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.... Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediation of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:16 and 27.)

And a later prophet voiced the eternal truth as addressed. to his wayward fellows:

"And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free." (Book of Mormon, Helaman 14:30.)

But, many have asked how can man be regarded as free to choose right or wrong when he is predisposed to evil through the heritage of original sin bequeathed to him by Adam? Heredity at most is but tendency, not compulsion; and we have no warrant for doubt in the light of revealed truth concerning the inherent justice and mercy of God that every element of cause or inflicted tendency will be taken into righteous account in the judgment of each and every soul. The man who can intelligently ask or consider the question framed above shows his capability of distinguishing between good and evil, and can not consistently excuse himself for wilful wrongdoing.

Our first parents disobeyed the command of God by indulging in food unsuited to their condition; and, as a natural consequence, they suffered physical degeneracy, whereby bodily weakness, disease, and death came into the world. Their posterity have inherited the resultant ills, to all of which we now say flesh is heir; and it is true that these human imperfections came through disobedience, and are therefore the fruits of sin. But as to accountability for Adam's transgression, in all justice Adam alone must anThe present fallen status of mankind, as expressed in our mortal condition, was inaugurated by Adam and Eve; but Divine justice forbids that we be accounted sinners solely because our parents transgressed.


Though the privations, the vicissitudes, and the unrelenting toil enforced by the state of mortal existence be part of our heritage from Adam, we are enriched thereby; for in just such conditions do we find opportunity to develop the powers of soul that shall enable us to overcome evil, to choose the good, and to win salvation and exaltation in the mansions of our Father.

« PreviousContinue »