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THE BOOK OF ALMA
Alma's final advice to Corianton
Alma explains why God must send people to hell. (Otherwise God wouldn't be God.)
Version - Chapter 30: Alma Counsels His Sons
|42:1 And now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind,
which ye cannot understand -- which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose
that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery. ||
(42:1) I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind.|
Alma continues his speech to his son, Corianton, whom he perceives is worried about how a good God would
torment people forever after they die.
|42:2 Now behold, my son, I will explain this thing unto thee. For behold, after
the Lord God sent our first parents forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground, from whence
they were taken -- yea, he drew out the man, and he placed at the east end of the garden of Eden, cherubim, and
a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the tree of life -- ||
|42:3 Now, we see that the man had become as God, knowing good and evil; and lest he should put forth
his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, the Lord God placed cherubim and the
flaming sword, that he should not partake of the fruit -- ||
|42:4 And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a
time to repent and serve God. ||
|42:5 For behold,
if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and
partaken of the tree of life, he
would have lived forever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; yea, and also the word
of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated. ||
(42:5) If Adam had ... partaken of the tree of life, he would have lived forever.|
However he knew, one thing was clear: a lesson was coming. Alma takes his time, but I'll sum it up.
Sinning is good, because it opens up the chance of redemption. God planned for Adam and Eve to sin,
so he could later save them and the rest of mankind.
|42:6 But behold, it was appointed
unto man to die -- therefore, as they were cut off from the tree of
life they should be cut off from the face of the earth -- and man became lost forever, yea, they became fallen man. ||
|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. ||
|42:8 Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that
would destroy the great plan of happiness. ||
|42:9 Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual
death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that
mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death. ||
(42:9) The fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death.|
After the fall, man had lost touch with God, but his soul was still alive, yet he had a spiritual death. So it became clear that
mankind had to be reclaimed from the spiritual death. Or else.
|42:10 Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state
became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state. ||
|42:11 And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside) as soon
as they were dead their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord.
(42:10-13) If so, God would cease to be God. |
Men had become carnal, sensual and devilish, so they had to use this time to repent. Otherwise
they could not recieve mercy. If they did happen to recieve mercy without repentance, then it would
"destroy the work of justice". But don't worry, because the work of justice can't be destroyed,
because then God would cease to be God.
This line, "Then God would cease to be God," is a new
favorite of Alma's. You'll see it again, don't worry.
|42:12 And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had brought upon
himself because of his own disobedience;
|42:13 Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on
conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for
these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of
justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.
|42:14 And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the
justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence. ||
|42:15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made;
therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the
demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also. ||
(42:16) Repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment.|
Okay, so men need redemption, and they can't be redeemed unless there is a punishment, and so that
explains heaven and hell.
(42:17) How could a man repent except he should sin?
A man also can't repent unless he's sinned first. And a person can't sin without a law. And there
can't be any laws without punishments. So we need a bunch of punishments first, and then we can
figure out some laws, and then we can find out who has sinned, and then they can repent, and
then they can get mercy, and then they can go to heaven. QED.
|42:16 Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal
as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the
life of the soul.
|42:17 Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin
if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?
|42:18 Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience
unto man. ||
|42:19 Now, if there was no law given -- if a man murdered he should die -- would he be
afraid he would die if he should murder? ||
|42:20 And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin. ||
|42:21 And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they
would have no claim upon the creature? ||
|42:22 But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance
mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the
punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.
(42:22) And God would cease to be God.|
Without laws, murderers won't be afraid that they will die, and men won't realize they have sinned. Justice and mercy wouldn't exist,
and neither would God.
|42:23 But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the
atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth
back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their
works, according to the law and justice. ||
(42:23-24) None but the truly penitent are saved. |
But of course, (according to Alma) God exists, and so does mercy, and so everyone who repents is
good to go. Phew! But watch out, because only the "truly penitent" are saved.
|42:24 For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own;
and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.
|42:25 What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God
would cease to be God. ||
(42:25) If so, God would cease to be God. |
Here Alma poses a good question. He asks if mercy robs justice. This is often a problem that
people pose with redemption through faith instead of through works. Should a mass murderer
go to heaven if he repents right before excecution?
Yes, apparently. Or else God would cease to be God.
|42:26 And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the
foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their
destruction and misery.
|42:27 Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake
of the waters of life freely;
and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto
him according to his deeds. ||
(42:27-28) Behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God. |
So, whoever does good deeds and repents of their sins will go to heaven, and the rest will go to hell.
Sounds pretty straightforward.
|42:28 If he has desired to do evil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done
unto him, according to the restoration of God.
|42:29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your
sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance. ||
|42:30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse
yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of
God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust
in humility. ||
(42:30-31) Declare the word with truth and soberness.|
Alma tells his son to stop making excuses for himself, and to go be humble, and to go preach the
word to the people. Also, stay sober, son.
|42:31 And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my
son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance,
that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words.
Behold [42:2, 3(2), 5,
6, 8, 24, 28]
Yea [42:2, 4, 5, 6,
(42:2) Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned
every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Genesis 3:23-24
(42:6) And as it is appointed unto men once to die Hebrews 9:27
(42:27) Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17
- The Annotated Book of Mormon
- Alma 42