Faith, Religion & Scripture, Notes & Essays by David Rodeback

Short Take: Agency and the Alternative, Part Two

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.

(Continued from February’s newsletter.)

We often assume that Lucifer’s alternative to our Father’s plan was to compel everyone to do good, so that all might be saved. But there are other ways to damage or destroy agency, which the Lord said was Lucifer’s aim (Moses 4:3).

One way is removing consequences by saving everyone, no matter what they do – saving the people in their sins (Alma 11:34-37). Brigham Young and Orson Pratt taught (Journal of Discourses 13:282; 21:287-89) that this was Lucifer’s meaning when he promised, “One soul shall not be lost” (Moses 4:1).

His argument would have been quite seductive: “You, Father, profess to love your children, but your plan will save only the elect few. Most mortals will be too weak to win the rewards you offer. My plan is more loving, more merciful, and more just: I will save them all, whatever they may do.”

In truth, nearly everyone will rise to greater eternal glory than Lucifer could offer. And God is raising divine children, not feckless rabble. But the ultimate answer to the destroyer’s arguments is Jesus Christ. He is the guarantee and embodiment of our possibilities. He is the perfect assurance that justice, which cannot be robbed, will nonetheless be tempered with divine, abundant mercy. In him is the power and the will to save each soul to the limit of that soul’s desire to be saved.