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If the expression "original sin" has any definite signification it must be taken to mean the transgression of our parents in Eden. We were not participators in that offense. We are not inheritors of original sin, though we be subjects of the consequences. The millions who have been slaughtered or have otherwise met death because of the greatest war in history, and those other and more millions of helpless dependents who have endured such agonies as to make of death a blessed relief, are all involved in the frightful results of the precipitation of war by their respective rulers; yet who can doubt that when a just accounting is called, those who brought about the carnage and the suffering shall be made to answer, not the irresponsible victims? And to everyone who has suffered blamelessly, He who notes even the sparrow's fall shall give full meed of recompense.
Why waste time and effort in bewailing what Adam did? Better is it to face like men the actual conditions of our existence and to meet the requirements of righteous living. From the effects of Adam's transgression full redemption is assured through the atonement wrought by Jesus Christ our Lord. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Cor. 15:22.)
Christ Alone Cannot Save You
E believe that through the Atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."
In earlier articles of this series it has been shown that
mortality is divinely provided as a means of schooling and test, whereby the spirit offspring of God may develop their powers and demonstrate their characters. Every one of us has been advanced from the unembodied or preexistent state to our present condition, in which the individual spirit is temporarily united with a body of flesh and bones. Yet this promotion to the mortal state is regarded by many as a degradation; and we are prone to bewail the fallen condition of the race as an unmitigated calamity. The Scriptures make plain the glorious truth that man may rise far above the plane upon which he existed before his birth in the flesh. We have stooped that we may conquer; we have been permitted to descend only that we may attain greater heights.
The transgression of our parents in Eden was foreseen, and the Divine plan provided a means of redemption. The Eternal Father, who is verily the Father of our spirits, well understood the diverse natures and varied capacities of His unembodied children; and it was plain to Him, even from the beginning, that in the school of mortal life some would succeed while others would fail; some would be faithful and others false; some would choose the good, others the evil; some would seek the way of life while others would follow the road to destruction. He foresaw that His commandments would be disobeyed and His law violated; and that men, shut out from His presence and left to themselves would sink rather than rise, would retrograde rather than advance, and would be lost to the heavens. It was plain to Him that death would enter the world, and that the possession of bodies by His children would be of brief individual duration.
A Redeemer was chosen, and that even before the foundation of the world. He, the first-born among all the spirit children of God, was to come to earth, clothed with the
attributes of both Godhood and manhood, to teach men the saving principles of the eternal Gospel and so establish on earth the terms and conditions of salvation. In consummation of His mission, Christ gave up His life as a voluntary and vicarious sacrifice for the race. Through the Atonement wrought by Him the power of death has been overcome; for while all men must die, their resurrection is assured. The effect of Christ's Atonement upon the race is twofold:
1. The eventual resurrection of all men, whether righteous or wicked. This constitutes Redemption from the Fall, and, since the Fall came through individual transgression, in all justice relief therefrom must be made universal and unconditional.
2. The providing of a means whereby reparation may be made and forgiveness be obtained for individual sin. This constitutes Salvation, and is made available to all through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
Between redemption from the power of death and salvation in the Kingdom of Heaven there is a vital difference. Man alone cannot save himself; Christ alone cannot save him. The plan of salvation is cooperative. The Atonement effected by the Lord Jesus Christ has opened the way; it is left to every man to enter therein and be saved or to turn aside and forfeit salvation. God will force no man either into heaven or into hell.
Jacob, a Nephite prophet, has given us a masterly summary of the results of our Lord's Atonement, both as to the universal redemption from death, and the conditions upon which individual salvation may be obtained:
"For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come
unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord; Wherefore it must needs be an infinite atonement; save it should be an infinite atonement, this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. . . . And it shall come to pass, that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God. . . . And he suffereth this, that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day. And he commandeth all men. that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it." (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 9:6, 7, 15, 22-24).
THE NEED OF A REDEEMER
Man Cannot Exalt Himself
HE Scriptures inform us that, prior to his transgression in Eden, Adam held direct and personal communion with God; and that one of the immediate consequences of his fall, which was brought about through dis
obedience, was his forfeiture of that exalted association. He was shut out from the presence of God, and though he heard the Divine Voice he no longer was permitted to behold the Presence of the Lord. This banishment was to the man spiritual death; and its infliction brought into effect the predicted penalty, that in the day of his sin he would surely die. See Gen. 2:17; Pearl of Great Price, p. 14.
Through partaking of food unsuited to their condition and against which they had been specifically forewarned, the man and his wife became subject to physical degeneracy; and, eventually, as Satan the arch-tempter had foreseen, both the man and the woman had to suffer bodily death. Their offspring were directly affected by the hereditary enthralment, to which Abel fell a victim even during the life-time of his parents.
Death came into the world through sin; the imperfections and frailties incident to the mortal state are conducive to sin; and man is prone in an inexcusable degree to readily yield thereto. So general is sin operative in the world. that the wise comment of the ancient preacher stands unchallenged: "There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not." (Eccles. 7:20). And the admonitory precept given by John the Apostle has lost none of its inspired forcefulness with time: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8).
This sinful and fallen condition of mankind and the universal infliction of death are dominant elements of Satan's diabolical scheme to subdue the embodied spirits, whom he, as the rebellious son of the morning, had failed to draw to his standard in the conflict of primeval hosts. See Rev. 12:7-9; Isa. 14:12; also Doctrine & Covenants 29:36-38 and