Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2 Nephi 9:28 "When we are learned..."

O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

We often read this and assume that "When they are learned they think they are wise" applies to scholars or intellectuals who get a little too much book learning and then think they know better than God. After all, that's the interpretation taught in Sunday School and seminary so it must be right.

I wonder if we shouldn't do a better job applying this passage to ourselves. Do I ever find myself thinking that just because I went to all four years of seminary, or because I go to Sunday School each week, I am wise regarding the scriptures? Could this verse apply to learning from General Conference or the Ensign? Maybe the Handbook of Instructions?

Perhaps the Lord wants to counsel me, but I am so certain of the interpretation of whatever it is I'm studying that I miss His whispering Spirit. Perhaps this scripture applies to spiritual knowledge just as much as scholarly learning.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting we shouldn't pay attention to General Conference or read the Ensign

In short we should ask ourselves more often, "Do I set aside His counsel because I think I already know what He is telling me in spiritual matters?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

2 Nephi 9:5-6

Yea, I know that ye know that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem, from whence we came; for it is expedient that it should be among them; for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.
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

In this passage Jacob explains why the atonement is required, why the Lord must subject Himself to man in the flesh. I find it interesting that Jacob uses for the Lord not the title Redeemer or Savior or for that matter even the common Lord. Instead he refers to the Lord as the Creator. Can we learn anything from this?

In my mind the relationship between the fall and the atonement is clear: the one necessitated the other. Linking both to the creation I think helps us recognize that the fall is surely personal for the Lord. Yes, before the fall, the world was "very good", but more than that, it was the handiwork of the Lord. He created it. It was His own very good world. Surely He felt satisfaction, even a sense of pride, in His creation. ("Pride" here in the non-President Benson sense of the word.) I know I feel a definite sense of accomplishment when I make manage to get four wheels on a pinewood derby car that makes it all the way down the track. I can only imagine what Christ felt once the world was in orbit and full of all manner of beauty.

Even though He knew that the fall, thanks to His merciful plan, would be a positive thing in the long run, I'm certain He felt some sorrow for His creation. I imagine that this sadness helped motivate Him when He suffered for us. Surely knowing that His creation would be lost forever without the atonement gave added purpose to His suffering and motivation to help Him bear the agony.