What does it add to the narrative? Who, or what, is the foundation of your Christian faith? We’re freed from sin and death, and we begin to do whatever work God would have us do. 2 Ne 2:25 Adam fell that men might be. Jody Livingston. Book of Mormon: broken promises, false prophecies, historically inncorrect, poor grammar...how can you trust this? Great questions John. (2 Ne. And isn’t it curious that Lehi’s more metaphysical emendations don’t seem to ever get repeated by anyone else in the Nephite tradition, only a severely reductionist version (or inaccurate version) of Lehi’s ontology survives, if it survives at all. . But what if we looked at Lehi’s omissions as important? This is confirmed by the much more readily acknowledge fact that, in the Book of Mormon (as in our common discourse), there’s an inextricable entanglement between sin and death. And why the emphasis on “forever”? Again it’s interesting that it isn’t an individual (God) who acts on them, but another force, “the law” that does the acting (although Alma 42:26 intimates that it is God who is the controlling force). I’ve take two different rounds of antibiotics and both times I recovered, only to immediately relapse. Nephi’s Warning to the Gentiles (2 Nephi 26-30) Rather, Clark argues, “good and evil” refers to a legal judgment or the position to declare what is good and what is bad: Judgment in the OT is ultimately a matter for God. Great comments here – thank you! Does a true prophet of God preach racism? “I can judge between thee and God . 2 Nephi 2:20. (266). Christ effects the (future) resurrection through His own (past) resurrection. Again, Lehi tries to disconnect these two phenomena: acting for oneself and knowing good from evil (for a particular reason as yet unidentified) but I don’t see how he can successfully do so (or why he wants to). But again, that doesn’t mean I don’t agree the influence of God’s atonement applies to people in every age. For Lehi, one of the results of the redemption of Christ is to make us free. First, my thanks for the post and subsequent discussion. One question that keeps coming to me is why Lehi (or the text) chooses to utilize the Genesis account in the manner he does. Not at all.). Bracketing for a moment any discussion of possible underlying Hebrew (only focusing on English), notice how Lehi changes the phrase from “good and evil” to “good from evil.”  It is significant that this construction that does not appear in the KJV Bible (leaving only the serpent’s language unmodified). This connection is great, in part because it’s not just theological (although it certainly is that) but also because of its literary quality. 3)  I would like to know more about the context of your search for the phrase “good and evil.”  My own searches show that the phrase “good from evil” occur very frequently in the context of the larger phrase “distinguishing good from evil” or “discern good from evil” in addition to “know good from evil.”  So to recap, here is what we have:   The KJV Bible never uses the English construction “know good from evil” but it does use the construction “good and evil.”  It would seem that 17th to 19th century English texts often use the construction “distinguish good from evil” or “discern good from evil” and “know good from evil.”  The Book of Mormon uses both constructions “good and evil” and “good from evil.”  Based on this alone, what does this tell us, if anything? How significant is it that Lehi doesn’t talk about the Fall being reversed or overcome? More than 1/2 the witnesses denounced their testimonies! “to act for themselves and not to be acted upon” — I hear in “not to be acted upon” the idea of “not to be acted upon by death.” The Fall would seem to have been aimed at making for the possibility of acting and not being acted on—such is suggested, anyway, in verse 16—but it failed. The fact, however, that the Nephites need to add adjectives to death (the first and second, spiritual and temporal, death of the body, or use the phrase death of the spirit even though the spirit cannot die) indicates to me that they mean something different. The chapters where its use is most concentrated are 2 Nephi 2 (4 times), Alma 30 (7 times) and Alma 42 (6 times). It think the time is ripe to consider omissions in the Book of Mormon to interpret the narrative. Here are some others, although likely not as germane to the present conversation. We know Lehi is drawing upon the Garden story but I’m intrigued by the portions that Lehi omits. Notwithstanding the difficulty, I understand that we need to keep on digging. He discusses good and evil in three passages: v5 “men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil“; v18 “Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”; v26 “And because that they are redeemed from the fall, they have become free forever, knowing good from evil.”  This seems to be significant. Jacob chooses to speak of death of the body and death of the spirit (2 Ne. What relationship does the sermon of 2 Nephi 2 bear to scripture generally—whether in terms of its immediate setting, its reliance on other scriptural texts, or its influence on other scriptural texts? One particularly important textual influence may be in how Samuel the Lamanite employs Lehi’s words. If you're a Christian & feel you're speaking a different language, learn about the differences here. Thursday, February 27, 2020. Presumably Adam and Eve experience joy in eating and drinking in the Garden. How is being brought out from under death’s sway a kind—apparently the most important kind—of freedom? The Genesis text assumes that man acts for himself. In other words, “Corianton, you have been worried about the justice of God in condemning the sinner, but you have misunderstood. I this it’s difficult to pull apart who Samuel is referring to, and I wonder if he is intentionally weaving together the words of multiple individuals: Lehi: “They have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day” (2 Nephi 2:26). Now, I can anticipate someone saying that Alma and Lehi are saying the same thing. 1 And now, my beloved brethren, I have read these things that ye might know concerning the a covenants of the Lord that he has covenanted with all the house of Israel—. Lehi Blessing His Posterity. The purpose of the law of Moses and its function among the Nephites are also explained by Nephi (2 Nephi 25:24–25). As you point out,  we cannot help but do so. If that is what Samuel is doing he may drawing upon Lehi: and men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil; and the law is given unto men. It doesn’t form a perfect chiastic structure but it is repetitive in nature: for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge [of good and evil] and he hath made you free [to act for yourselves]. Sternberg discusses the importance of the Narrator’s Reticence and Omissions. Alma is saying that Adam and Eve placed themselves in a state to act by partaking of the forbidden fruit, knowing good from evil1. Alma 12 contains no trace of Lehi’s ontology of opposites as a necessary stage for agency to occur. Lehi seems to reject all of that for reasons that continue to remain a mystery. We say that death entered the world through the eating of the fruit in Eden, and we also say that sin had its beginning in the same event. If what I’ve said about the preceding line isn’t amiss, then we might render this line as follows: “and because death has been conquered they have become free forever.” How is death what enslaves us? It’s not Lehi alone who works through this sort of series of steps. That trumps death and frees us all from the power of sin. Unlike J, Lehi doesn’t seem to take “good and evil” to mean a legal judgment or declaration, and therefore does not seem associate good and evil with man making his own moral judgments. wherefore I can judge between him and thee.” (Moses 1:15, 18). Like you, I want to say that the free in Lehi means free from the captivity of the devil (captivity in verse 27 corresponds well with the idea of free). But let me see if I can’t answer the rest of your questions. What does it mean to be redeemed from the Fall? What is the definition of good that is required for this logic to follow? . For Lehi, the Garden is not a place where Adam and Eve can have joy, requiring man to transgress the commandments to experience joy (an unprecedented and theologically bewildering move that I might point out has absolutely no logical relationship to the felix culpa tradition). Man would determine himself what was good and what was not—a divine prerogative. God commands Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish. According to Randall Spackman, this verse seems to imply that Jerusalem was destroyed the very next year after Lehi left. Why does he choose to highlight certain portions, omit certain portions, or add his own ideas to the narrative?”, This is a great question, but it also assumes that Lehi is intentionally omitting certain portions of the text because he doesn’t agree with them or wants to rework them in some fashion. I’ll also ignore much of what leads up to this point in 2 Nephi 2, since verse 26 marks a shift from Lehi’s long narrative of the Fall to his relatively short—but nonetheless remarkable—analysis of the atonement. 2) Same question as before. It would disconnect these phrases from Abinadi’s statement: “I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.” (Mosiah 15:1, see also Mosiah 13:34; Mosiah 17:8). If we take the imagery in a relatively literal fashion, it’d seem to indicate that the Fall remains a real force, but that “the children of men” are no longer its slaves. Or will I reject the message, ignore the promise of that event, and so die spiritually? Unless we’re inclined to some kind of penal-substitutionary model of atonement (for my own part, I’m not, and I don’t think scripture even remotely commits us to such a model), there’s no need for atonement to be anything more than this. And as we discussed earlier, others have posited that the Book of Moses represents an earlier source and that Lehi’s account may be derivative. As I mentioned in a previous comment, the Book of Moses contains doctrinal markers that if possessed by Lehi, would mean we should get a much different teaching. John, I appreciated your observations there that the knowledge spoken of by Samuel may refer to “knowledge of their redeemer” rather than a knowledge coming from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. There are several versions of Smith's first vision; which one do you believe? The history of exegesis on this point is a history of Mormon interpreters trying to find some way, any way, to reconcile these difficulties (arguing God didn’t really punish or God didn’t really give commandments, the forbidden fruit wasn’t really forbidden, etc). The biblical temple and Mormon temples have virtually nothing in common; find out why. So I’m happy to concede that there are two sorts of death. 1 And now, Jacob, I speak unto you: Thou art my a firstborn in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free. All the rules of how to pray and what to say leaves no room for a conversation with the Lord! Joe, thanks for taking the time to explain your reading of Book of Mormon atonement theology. 4) Whether Adam and Eve together in the Garden in their prelapsarian state could have had children or not is still an unresolved tension. Yet, this interpretation has problems that have never been satisfactorily resolved. But then, 2000+ years later, others could be analyzing that talk and asking, “Why did Elder Smith avoid certain sections of 2 Nephi 2? We can decide that the resurrection talk is sheer nonsense, and we can remain oriented to death. Immortality is not necessarily equated with righteousness. Clark notes that in the Old Testament, judgment is always a matter for God and man may judge good and evil only as an agent of God, but never independent of God. Is this to say that unless Adam can resurrect, he would never desire to save a child in his condemned state? He certainly rejects any notion that God would give conflicting commandments or that he would require man to break one commandment to obey another. But the Messiah’s triumph over death gives us the best of both worlds: we continue in the tension of opposition, but we do so free—if we desire—from death. Some scriptures are primary, and others are secondary in importance. It would seem at least these are the options. How you can know and trust what God has to say in His word, A Collection of News Items and Prophetic Utterances from and about Mormonism. You shared your observation that with Lehi knowledge never makes you free. Yes, Lehi goes further than Alma in his talk about opposition. So Alma turns to (among other sources – I’ve also written on his use of Abinadi) Lehi. Posted in Mormon Dilemmas, tagged 2 Nephi 2:25, Book of Mormon, Doctrines of Salvation 1:114, evil and good coexist, false gospel, false prophet Joseph Smith, Isaiah 5:20, Witchcraft, yin yang on 05/28/2014| (Helman 15:6-7, 11). So that’ll have to be clarified for me. Isn’t the ability to discern between good and evil a result of the fall (“men are sufficiently instructed”)? If that is the case, then they really cannot act for themselves in the true sense that they are moral agents. This, too, I think, can be either explicit and conscious or implicit and unconscious, but I’ll leave that complicating point aside for the moment. Is Lehi saying something different from Eve, or are these two ways of looking at the same issue? 2 Nephi 2:25 “So… do you understand what the tree and the candy bars mean?” our teacher asked us. Why would you place your salvation into the hands of a false prophet? Well, my complete inability to communicate this clearly may make perfectly obvious that there’s a good deal of theological work on the Book of Mormon presupposed in everything I’m saying. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Is there something in particular to be learned from that? This juxtaposition has made me wonder if the phrase in 2 Nephi 2 actually refers to the Second Coming. Clark writes: The basic dialectic in the pre-J tradition is the connection of life and knowledge, although for J this element becomes less important. (Helaman 14:30). We’re trapped in sin due to our being trapped in mortality. My comments presume a different understanding of the text. I know for Lehi’s narrative to make sense he has to convince us that Adam and Eve could do no good in the Garden. Suppose that Lehi omits Genesis 3:7 and 22 deliberately in order to craft a new kind of narrative. I think we were all a little lost, but hey, were young and most of us just wanted to eat the candy. Not only is Lehi alone in framing things in terms of opposition, but I see it that Lehi alone makes sure that Adam and Eve can act for themselves before they fall. Historical evidence proves Lehi & Nephi didn't exist! That’s a complicated philosophical and theological story that would require me to start providing bibliographies, etc. I hope that my friends in the seminar will add to this glaring weakness and share some insights they have been holding back all seminar waiting for the discussion of this vital verse. Unlike Laban, Adam did not accept the decision from God as sufficient reason to preclude him from making a contrary decision. They don’t seem to resolve any particular theological concern. Here’s what he claimed came from God’s lips to his mind…, Alma 41:10; “Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Perhaps to say, “I have not only referred to your previous prophets, but also our common ancestor.”. What does that signify? To Alma, it is never a question of whether or not God personally intervenes or directs lives; his conversion experience is the quintessential example of God’s direct involvement in our lives. Sin and death are related, in my reading, because the Nephites use death analogically as a species of separation or cutting off. Or in other words, it may be doubtful that Lehi interprets “good and evil” in the way Clark suggests was the intent of J. Even if the wicked wish not to be resurrected and wish to “become extinct both soul and body” and wish not be “brought to stand in the presence of God, to be judged” they must resurrect. Mormon Salvation vs. Biblical Salvation. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator 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. 5)  fulness of time vs. fulness of times. 2 Nephi 1:28. 1) Which death do you have in mind? Paul stated that the law was to bring the people to Christ (Gal. Likewise the point regarding opposition. 2:3, 26; 11:7). Discuss these teachings as to why they are included in Nephi's account, what major messages can be gained from these teachings, and what they mean for the House of Israel, of which Nephi and his family were a part. One could conceive the redemption as reversing both 1 and 2. Mortality, our death-bound-ness, gets us sinning. 2 Nephi 25:10 Immediately After My Father Lehi Left Jerusalem: Nephi commented that the destruction of Jerusalem "should come upon [the Jews], immediately after my father left Jerusalem" (2 Nephi 25:10). What I want to know is why they can’t be entirely disentangled. -I did a little searching on the phrase “good from evil.” Doing a Google Book search between 1600-1800 yields hundreds of results for the phrase “good from evil” (there are also a few dozen “evil from good.”) This makes me wonder how much we can depend on the usage being significant, although your point that the phrase appears throughout the Book of Mormon is also important. Not sure why, but I feel compelled to keep asking why that is the case. Consequently, I’ll add to the discussion, if I can, just by doing a bit of theological work on the text itself, ignoring all the complications of subsequent work on these ideas by Alma, Samuel, and others. It could be that Alma senses his statement isn’t entirely accurate and tries to correct it by rephrasing himself to say “or being placed in a state to act.”, I see. 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