|Creation and evolution||WhyProphets.com|
The Atonement of Christ
The Fall -good or bad?
Racism and pre-Adamites
World history from 4000 BC
Groups such as the Australian aborigines have apparently been in the same place since long before Adam and Eve (circa 4000 BC). What they say can give us an insight into the reality of the fall of Adam, how Adam was the first man, how death began with Adam, and why the atonement matters.
Some of this page is just theory. Some things have not yet been revealed by the Lord.
As far as death before Adam is concerned, this page may look similar to the suggestion made elsewhere (e.g. on Eyring-L) that before Adam, creatures did not have spirits. (Death means the separation of spirit and body, so no spirit implies no death in the scriptural sense). My understanding is slightly different. As far as I can see, creatures before Adam did have spirits, but these were in contact with the spirit world. (The reasoning is similar - no understanding, and no separation from God, so no life or death as we know it). I believe that this approach is more in harmony with the scriptures. And, significantly, it is also more in harmony with statements by Joseph Fielding Smith and others.
Why the atonement matters
"Atonement" is an old English word - it literally means "at one"-ment. In other words, becoming one with God. When Adam fell, mankind was separated from God. Jesus came to bring us back. However, it was more than that. There would be no point in mortality if we were just going to end up where we started.
Why did God allow us to fall in the first place? And how does Adam's fall cause you and me to fall (after all, you or I did not eat any forbidden fruit)? The simple answer lies in an understanding of the tree of knowledge - the fruit of which caused the fall.
In the garden, there were two trees: the tree of life, which enabled man to live with God, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Before the fall, we were one with God, but did not have knowledge. Now we have knowledge, but we are not one with God. The atonement is all about making us one with God again, but this time with knowledge.
Let us start at the beginning, with the plan of God.
|What is eternal life?|
"This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the... eternal life of man."
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
2 Nephi 9:39
"Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal."
To see how this relates to life before the fall, it may help to study the topic of "spiritual" bodies.
Resurrected bodies are spiritual
Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, vol.2, p.284-285:
"NATURE OF RESURRECTED BODIES
"SPIRITUAL BODIES IN THE RESURRECTION. In the resurrection from the dead, the bodies which were laid down natural bodies shall come forth spiritual bodies. That is to say, in mortality the life of the body is in the blood, but the body when raised to immortality shall be quickened by the spirit and not the blood. Hence, it becomes spiritual, but it will be composed of flesh and bones, just as the body of Jesus was, who is the prototype.
"TANGIBLE NATURE OF SPIRITUAL BODIES. These modern blind teachers of the blind who deny the literal resurrection have a very false understanding of what is meant by a spiritual body. They have based their conclusion on the statement that Paul makes that the body is raised a spiritual body and that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. They cannot conceive in their minds of a body raised from the dead, being composed of flesh and bones, quickened by spirit and not by blood.
"When Paul spoke of the spiritual body, he had no reference at all to the spirit body, and there they have made their mistake. They have confused the spiritual body, or, in other words, the body quickened by the spirit, with the body of the spirit alone. They think that those who believe in the resurrection of the literal body believe that it shall be raised again, quickened by blood, which is not the case. . . .
"After the resurrection from the dead our bodies will be spiritual bodies, but they will be bodies that are tangible, bodies that have been purified, but they will nevertheless be bodies of flesh and bones. They will not be blood bodies. They will no longer be quickened by blood but quickened by the spirit which is eternal, and they shall become immortal and shall never die."
What does it mean to be quickened by the spirit?
It simply means guided by the spirit
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.162 CONVERSION
"A convert is one who has put off the natural man, yielded to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and become "a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord." Such a person has become "as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." (Mosiah 3:19.) He has become a new creature of the Holy Ghost: the old creature has been converted or changed into a new one. He has been born again: where once he was spiritually dead, he has been regenerated to a state of spiritual life. (Mosiah 27:24-29.) In real conversion, which is essential to salvation (Matt. 18:3), the convert not only changes his beliefs, casting off the false traditions of the past and accepting the beauties of revealed religion, but he changes his whole way of life, and the nature and structure of his very being is quickened and changed by the power of the Holy Ghost."
Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.149 - 150
"Thus, as Paul so ably teaches, 'God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us even when we were dead, in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.' That is to say, even when we were dead spiritually; even when we lived after the manner of the world, and were carnal, sensual, and devilish; even when we lived in the bondage of sin -- yet God saved us because of his grace. Because of his love, his mercy, and his condescension, he redeemed us spiritually; because of his grace, he has raised us from spiritual death to spiritual life through the gospel. We have been born again and are alive to the things of the Spirit. We have become clean by the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost, and we shall stand spotless before the Lord at the last day. Thus we shall sit down with Christ and the holy angels in the kingdom of God. And all of this comes by the grace of God. It is by his grace that we are saved. There is no other way. And all this God hath done 'that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.' "
Spirit and blood
Several prophets and apostles have stated that a resurrected being does not have blood in their veins. They are eternally quickened by the spirit, and hence there is no need for blood in the resurrection. It may also be true that Adam and Eve - while in the limited geography of the garden of Eden - did not have blood. Or perhaps the blood was there, but its purpose was different so it was not called blood? These little details are not important. The important thing is that we can be quickened by the spirit while we still have blood.
There are different levels of being quickened by the spirit
Doctrine and Covenants 88:28-32
"They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened. Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness. And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness. And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness. And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received."
It seems fair to say then that even those who choose to follow Satan are, in the resurrection, quickened by a spirit - the spirit of Satan. We can be quickened by good spirits or bad spirits. We can choose. This is important when we consider life before the fall. The creatures were spiritual, but that does not mean they always follow God. Even Adam and Eve followed Satan at one point.
The highest level of being quickened is to endure the presence of God
Doctrine and Covenants 67:11-12
"For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God neither after the carnal mind."
Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p.591 - 592
"How much spiritual progress we have made in the Church since the day of this revelation may be measured in terms of the number of the elders of Israel for whom the veil has been rent and who have seen the face of Him whose we are."
Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, p.130
"To discern beings or things in the spirit world, a person in the flesh must be quickened by spiritual element, the veil must be withdrawn, or the organs of sight, or of hearing, must be transformed, so as to be adapted to the spiritual sphere. This state is called vision, trance, second sight, clairvoyance, etc."
This fact will become more significant later on in this page.
|What the scriptures say about life before Adam|
A spiritual creation first
"... in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth,..."
Moses 3:5 (after describing the creation of the earth, plants, and animals)
"And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. ... for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air."
Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, p.76:
"SPIRITUAL OR PHYSICAL, AND SPIRIT CREATIONS. The account of creation in Genesis was not a spirit creation, but it was in a particular sense, a spiritual creation. This, of course, needs some explanation. The account in Genesis, chapters one and two, is the account of the creation of the physical earth. The account of the placing of all life upon the earth, up and until the fall of Adam, is an account, in a sense, of the spiritual creation of all of these, but it was also a physical creation. When the Lord said he would create Adam, he had no reference to the creation of his spirit for that had taken place ages and ages before when he was in the world of spirits and known as Michael.
"Adam's body was created from the dust of the earth, but at that time it was a spiritual earth, Adam had a spiritual body until mortality came upon him through the violation of the law under which he was living, but he also had a physical body of flesh and bones.
"NATURE OF A SPIRITUAL BODY. Now what is a spiritual body? It is one that is quickened by spirit and not by blood. Our Father in heaven and our Savior and all those who have passed through the resurrection have physical bodies of flesh and bones, but their bodies are quickened by spirit and not by blood, hence they are spiritual bodies and not blood bodies. The immortal body is quickened by spirit, but the mortal body is quickened by blood. The Lord said to Noah, that blood is the life of the body in this mortal sphere. ...
"Now I repeat, the account in Genesis one and two, is the account of the physical creation of the earth and all upon it, but the creation was not subject to mortal law until after the fall. It was, therefore, a spiritual creation and so remained until the fall when it became temporal, or mortal."
This is the key to understanding about "death"
In the Bible, especially in the writings of Paul, "natural" or "of the flesh" means sinful. "Spiritual" means controlled by the spirit. This distinction is important if we are to understand the following points.
So we see that mankind was create "spiritually" before 4000 BC. This meant that mankind had physical bodies, but they were controlled by the spirit. I believe this is the key to the whole matter.
Remember too that even President Smith, the prophet who gave the clearest anti-evolution statements, noted that Adam had been here for at least a thousand years before the fall. Animals had been here for at least 2000 years. (President Smith taught that each "day" of creation was 1000 years. The fall did not occur until after day 7. Adam was created on day 6. Animals on day 5.) By comparing President Smith and later church statements, we can see that there may have been even millions of years between God's 1000 year visits.
|Death before Adam|
No death of any kind in the garden of Eden
God planted the tree of life in the garden, so that, near to it, everything would live forever both spiritually and physically. Why? Because the garden was designed to provide a place for the fall (after all, God knew what was going to happen). Since Adam and Eve were going to fall, it was important that they did not die until they had learned how to overcome the fall. Hence the special condition of having their physical lives extended.
"But, behold, I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son."
But what about outside the garden?
If you look at all the statements that say "no death before Adam," you will find that either:
- They refer just to the limited geography of the garden of Eden,
- OR they refer to just "mankind" in the sense of the family of Adam (e.g. Adam and his descendants),
- OR they refer to spiritual death.
Spiritual beings are created in heaven
Remember that heaven is all around us, but we are not able to see it.
Before Adam, creatures were on the earth, but they were guided by the spirit, organized (created) from heaven, ad they had no knowledge of good and evil. They were, in effect, innocent puppets. They had no experience of right or wrong or free agency, and thus had only limited experience or appreciation of what was happening. To some extent, that may be the condition of many animals today, or of people when we choose to live without law. But that is a whole other topic.
What is it like to be a spiritual being? If we choose to be guided by the Holy Spirit, we can have his constant companionship. We are thus spiritual. But this is not quite like the creatures who lived before the fall. To be spiritual today is to be spiritual with our eyes open, fully appreciating what it means. To be spiritual before the fall was to be naive, ignorant, innocent.
Definition of terms: 'knowledge' and 'consciousness.'
At this point I had better be clear on some definitions.
I believe that knowledge, as in "the tree of knowledge," means consciousness in the sense that Julian Jaynes uses the term (see the book about the bicameral mind, below). It does not mean just possessing a memory of facts. It does not just mean having our eyes physically open and being able to react to stimuli. This kind of knowledge/consciousness means:
- The ability to mentally step back and see ourselves as if from a distance. Hence:
- The ability to stop before acting on an instruction, and think long enough, in an abstract sense, to gain new insights. Hence decide "do I want to?" or "what will happen?" So, we are able to enjoy, to suffer, to think logically, and so on.
- The ability to speculate about possible actions and results. So, we are responsible for our actions.
- Hence, it amounts to independent existence. We make our own decisions, and we are responsible for the results.
This is contrasted with the "no-knowledge" state where we just follow instincts, or instructions. Without knowledge/consciousness, we still make decisions, but only of the simplest kinds. If two instincts or instructions conflict, we try to follow them both, or if we cannot, we follow the most powerful one. Because our minds are so limited, we have very little control over our environment.
Can spiritual beings sin?
There can be no sin without knowledge. Also, there can be no sin in the presence of God. However, an ignorant (pre-fall) spiritual being could be in contact with a good spirit or a bad spirit. Blindly following an evil spirit and blindly following the spirit of God are both ways to be spiritual. (Though, by convention, we usually mean "good spirit" when we say "spiritual.") The real issue is one of knowledge. When we have knowledge and then choose to be spiritual, we can of course sin.
Sin implies knowledge. We have to understand the alternatives, and the likely consequences of each. Without knowledge, we can still make choices, but we cannot sin. For example, before the fall, Eve obeyed God, then Eve obeyed Satan. Adam made a choice to follow Eve. But in each case, Adam and Eve could only choose between the most obvious ideas that were in front of them. They were not capable of understanding any deeper meanings.
Can there be death among spiritual beings?
You or I can become spiritual by yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit. We can then still die, but since we are already in the presence of God (God the Holy Ghost) and since we will not die until the Lord wants us to die, death has no fear and little meaning to us.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Death in this world is the result of sin. Mortality is a probationary state when we are separated from God and tested. None of these things apply to a spiritual creature, before the fall of Adam. It is thus fair to say that before Adam, there was no death and no mortality - as we know them.
It follows that creatures before Adam could "die," but it would not be death as we know it.
Can there be death if there was never consciousness?
In conclusion, a person who is spiritual (guided by the spirit) but does not have the knowledge of good and evil, is not conscious in any meaningful way. He is also not self-conscious in any way. Although he is aware of events around him, he does not appreciate the significance of those events beyond his own biological needs. He may perhaps draw pictures on cave walls, pick up and use sticks as tools, and even plant food in the expectation that the food will grow. But why? There is no purpose beyond blindly following inner urges, whether physical or spiritual. Without (a) the knowledge of good and evil, and (b) freedom to choose, there is no purpose, no progression, no awareness. Life is nothing, and hence death is nothing.
This is confirmed by the experience of countless mystics
There are a number of traditions that aim to become one with the spirits - to become spiritual. A central teaching of all mystics is that death means nothing - to an enlightened person, death does not matter any more than walking through a door within the same house. It is a non-event.
Mysticism, and shamanism in particular, are discussed below.
In this page I have identified a symbolic interpretation of some things, accepted the discoveries of science, and referred to non-Mormon mystics as evidence. Some people may think that this is on the way to rejecting the authority of the living prophets. Not so! I am simply trying to show that all truth is in harmony. The prophet is still the prophet. The resurrection is still literal, Adam is still our common ancestor, and it is still a fact that unless we obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel we cannot be saved. If in doubt, ignore me, and listen to Gordon B. Hinckley. He puts it all more bluntly, simply, and powerfully than I do.
|Science confirms the scriptures|
Evidence for mankind existing spiritually before Adam
If this theory is correct, it follows that people (and animals) could have existed, lived and "died" before Adam, but they would not have had free will as we know it. They would not have experienced life as we know it. They would have lived life in a kind of innocent dream.
The evidence at present seems to support this view. After Adam (after about 4000 BC), the story of humanity is one of constant action - development, progress, change. But before Adam, the archeologists find evidence of almost stagnation - thousands or millions of years with no apparent progress, technological or otherwise. It seems that human-like creatures lived and died for millions of years without really doing very much other than existing. As Hugh Nibley wrote (in "Before Adam"), before Adam we had all the parts ready for a play, but there was no plot.
Is there any memory of this spiritual, dream-like state? A time when humans were simply another part of creation and entirely subject to the gods? Many (perhaps all?) so-called "primitive" cultures teach that mankind is closely linked to the earth - we are just a part of it, intimately associated with all forms of nature. Many cultures have creation myths involving rebellion from the supreme deity, a time when humans decided (or became able) to think for themselves. The idea is that once, long ago, we lived in harmony with nature, but now we do not.
The "dream time"
Some of today's cultures have apparently existed almost unchanged since well before 4000 BC. The best known are the Australian aborigines, who have supposedly existed as a distinct group for 50 000 years. What do they remember about the time before Adam? There are no written records, but they speak of a time before the creation of the world, called the Alcheringa, the time of the Dreaming. The exact dates of course have been lost, but the idea is very clear: mankind originally lived in a kind of dream-state. Aboriginal religious experience is designed to reunite the individual with this primeval dream-like state.
- There was little or no distinction between people and animals. People wandered about aimlessly. Everyone was contented and happy.
- Originally there was no death, yet according to other stories, at the same time people and animals were killed.
- No-one can remember how or when the dream-time ended, but it did end.
See "The Dream Time," by Roberts and Mountford (Art Australia, 1989).
I am not an anthropologist, and I realise that broad generalizations are prone to error. But it does seem that there is plenty of evidence to support the idea that mankind did not wake up until relatively recently.
According to studies of comparative religion, the oldest religion of all is shamanism. This is a universal - all the ancient cultures practiced it. And what is shamanism all about?
- It is not an organized religion (with a hierarchy, scriptures, many different roles, etc.). This kind of complexity requires the knowledge that only came after the fall.
- The shaman is the person in each group who tries to be in closer touch with the spirits.
- It is important to realise that ALL people in primitive society considered that spirits controlled everything. But only the shaman made it his business to try to understand them, and visit them in their own world. Journeys into the spirit world are central to shamanism.
- The concept of life and death are merged. Shamanism involves a ritual death, and rebirth as a spiritual body, after which physical death is meaningless - it holds no fear, as the shaman is already in daily contact with the spirit world.
- The people in these times felt they were at one with nature. They did not have power over nature as we do today. They had no control over their lives, any more than did the plants or the animals. They relied on the plants and animals being there. They could not plan ahead. For example, if there was a drought, they had to just sit it out and hope it ended. They did not have the ability to consciously assess their problems, take responsibility, and solve them.
It seems to me that shamanism is a memory of how creatures experienced religion before the fall:
- Everyone was in contact with the spirits, and led by spirits (both good and bad).
- But nobody understood why. They did not have the knowledge of good and evil.
The shaman was the person who tried hardest to understand what was happening. He may have been successful in the sense of direct experience, but he never achieved the knowledge of good and evil. His people were never able to be independent. Everything happened at the whim of the spirits, and they could not do anything about it.
"The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind"
This was the title of a book published in 1990 by Princeton University psychologist Julian Jaynes. One prominent reviewer summed it up like so: "When Julian Jaynes...speculates that until late in the second millennium B.C. men had no consciousness but were automatically obeying the voices of gods, we are astounded but compelled to follow this remarkable thesis through all the corroborative evidence..." The idea is that, until a few thousand years ago, people were unable to think for themselves, but blindly followed the voices of the gods.
By "consciousness," we mean the ability to look at ourselves as if from outside. We can step back and examine our motives and decisions. Instead of processing instructions in a mechanical way, we can stop, look at ourselves, and imagine other options or possibilities. We have much greater freedom of choice In other words, we gain the knowledge of good and evil.
N.B. The one weakness in Professor Jaynes' book is: Where do the voices come from?
The book teaches that before we are conscious, one half of our brain gives instructions, and the other half obeys, without questioning. So, the obedient half hears voices and blindly follows them. The book assumes that this explains religious experience. But it does not, because religious experience (revelation) can include information that we could not know without God telling us.
There are two kinds of voices: voices of people, and feelings. Both can come from inside. And both can come from outside. For example, schizophrenics sometimes hear people's voices. Does that mean that NO other people really exist? No. We just need to distinguish between information from inside and information from outside. We can decide that God exists in the same way that we can decide that other people exist: we receive information that we could not know of in any other way.
Since Jayne's book, various others have provided alternative explanations, or approached consciousness from a different direction. For example, some see it in terms of a battle between the brain stem and the higher brain functions. So far, no one theory has been accepted as dominant. But for the purposes of this page, the important facts are:
- At some time in the past, mankind made a great advance in the ability to think (and thus to rebel or to behave as individuals).
- This may have been as recent as just a few thousand years ago.
|The Fall of Adam|
When did man begin to "exist"?
2 Nephi 2:25 "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy"
Adam was alive before the fall. So was Eve. Yet men did not "exist" before the fall. How can this be?
When Adam was in the garden of Eden, he existed (he was physically present), but he did not exist (he did not know good from evil - he was not conscious - he was not independent). "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." (Doctrine and Covenants 93:30)
This is confirmed in Alma 42:7:
"And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will."
Before Adam ate of the tree of knowledge, mankind was not able to act for itself. Each person existed "spiritually" - that is, guided by the spirits (call it instinct if you like) - but did not have consciousness, or free will. Hence they did not have an independent existence in the scriptural sense.
By "death" we often mean spiritual death
"Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death--that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual."
"Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook of the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation. Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death, even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say: Depart, ye cursed."
Romans 5:12,14-15, 21:
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned ... Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. ... That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
How do we inherit the conditions of the fall? Did everything change at precisely 4000 BC?
The great change was when Eve was able to think for herself. From then on, her descendants, and also those who were taught this new gospel, could do the same. This created the origin of human history as we know it - and all the great revolutions in human development - all the social and technological advances that have appeared since 4000 BC. The evidence (and common sense) tells us that this did not happen overnight, but it did happen.
Freedom and knowledge
All this is really about freedom. There is no freedom unless we can make conscious choices.
Before the fall, living things did not consciously examine their motives, but simply followed their instincts or made unconscious decisions. That is how robots work. It seems that animals still live that way. The great tragedy is that we all live that way sometimes - we choose to let others control our lives, or we blindly go through life without ever deciding where we want to go.
If we want to progress, we need to wake up!
|The great choice: knowledge or mysticism|
When discussing spiritual things, the great choice is between Jesus and the mystics. Between knowledge and emptiness. Between action and inaction. The Book of Mormon has some profound things to say on this subject.
2 Nephi chapter 2
In my opinion, the greatest philosophical treatise in the whole of history is 2 Nephi chapter 2. It answers all the major questions: free will, why there is evil in thew world, religious issues like mysticism and the purpose of life, and so on. And all on just a couple of pages! Plato does not even come close.
2 Nephi 2:11-14
"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. 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. 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.
[This is the great message of the mystics: everything is one. Nothing really matters. They wish to return to the state of ignorance before the fall.]
"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. 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.
[This is one of the major problems with the theory of reincarnation. We begin as part of God, and we end as part of God. What is the point?]
"And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. 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.
[This is one of the major problems with mysticism. Without individual existence, there is NO existence.]
"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."
So that is the fall of Adam. It is all about the tree of knowledge. And knowledge implies power, freedom, independent existence.
Now let us have a look at the atonement.
the bottom line
2 Nephi 2:14
"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."