Short Take: Agency and the Alternative

Author's Note
My neighbor and I are writing short columns for our monthly ward (congregation) newsletter, focusing on the Old Testament and related scripture in 2014. Here’s one of my “short takes,” as previously published there.

Note: We know the Book of Moses, mentioned below, as part of The Pearl of Great Price, but it comes from the Joseph Smith Translation version of Genesis.

We’re taught of a premortal grand council (Joseph Smith used the term), where all of our Heavenly Father’s spirit children learned his plan and chose whether to press forward with Jehovah or to rebel with Lucifer. (See Job 38:7.) I could be wrong, but I cannot imagine so consequential a choice being required of us in the same meeting where we first heard of the plan. Agency itself, to say nothing of justice, required that we understand and ponder the plan and its implications before choosing our path irrevocably. So I imagine the grand council as the culmination of many meetings in which we listened, discussed, and asked countless questions. (This level of knowledge left ample room for faith in Christ, in part because his atoning sacrifice and resurrection were not yet accomplished.)

Some thought they knew better than God. This era of instruction provided time and opportunity for them to develop their arguments, preach their principles, and consolidate support among their spirit siblings. The war in heaven (Revelation 12:7-8) was a war between their ideas and God’s. When Lucifer formally offered his alternative in the grand council – save everyone, and he gets the glory (see Moses 4:1-4) – a significant fraction of spirits likely were already firmly in his camp and prepared to rebel with him.

(To be continued.)

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