Adam & Eve: Probation Called Life: The Test
How is life a test? To quote another article,
The history of humanity begins at some unwritten time in a distant place. To be more specific would site the likes of science fiction causing the few who would entertain agreeing with my interpretation pause, and consider it contrived. My assertion, in short, is that we lived before we were born.1
God has a plan for all of humanity because life existed before mortality on Earth. The plan is for the human family to come to Earth, gain a physical body, subdue that body following the example set by Christ, and return to heaven wiser for the experience. That was the test, to see if humanity would do as the Lord commanded and return with honor.
The first people to come to Earth did not obey all the commands God gave, but did obey others. Because Adam and Eve faithfully followed the Law of Jehovah after leaving the Garden of Eden, they were instructed about Jesus Christ who did come to reconcile their transgression. After Adam & Eve: Probation Called Life: Out of Eden's Garden covered life leaving the Garden, this article explains asserts that no longer are the sins of the first humans condemning their offspring to eternal death. All humans endure the test of life by their merit after the grace of Christ is applied to all of their sins.
The Test Called Life
Elder Henry D. Taylor (R.I.P.) in an address instructed on the test of life when he submitted the following:
The prophet Abraham found favor in the sight of the Lord. He was given the assurance that he was a great and noble intelligence before coming to this earth. He learned that the earth was created as a place for the intelligences to dwell after their birth as mortal beings. Here they would be tested and tried to see if they would do all things that the Lord God would command them to do. Earth life would thus become a testing ground.
It was not intended that the earthly road would be smooth, nor would the path be easy. Satan, the father of lies and deceit, and his evil followers would be permitted to use their wiles and influence to blind men to the truth and try to lead them astray. But man was to be allowed his free agency, the right to choose. It was contemplated that God, through his prophets, would provide guidelines known as commandments, which, if followed, would bring joy and happiness. However, it would be man’s privilege and responsibility to make a choice between good and evil. He himself must make the decisions. This was all part of the gospel plan.2
Because of the Fall
The scriptures cannot be replaced when it comes to the explanation of the test called life. In The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, a conversation recorded specifically to answer the question of how life became a test took place. Taking some liberty with the words, I will add in inserts to direct the message of several prophets into the message of life being a test.
A missionary and prophet by the name of Alma and his companion, Amulek, endured a series of questions by a Lawyer name Zeezrom about the faith the two attempted to spread in the city Ammonihah in Ancient America. After Zeezrom asked his last question, another stood to inquire with earnest the meaning of the scriptures.
Antionah, who was a chief ruler among [the people of Ammonihah] came forth and [inquired of Alma] "What is this that thou hast said, that man should rise from the dead and be changed from this mortal to an immortal state, that the soul can never die?"
[Antionah further inquired] "What does the scripture mean, which saith that God placed cherubim and a flaming sword on the east of the garden of Eden, lest our first parents should enter and partake of the fruit of the tree of life, and live forever?" [To add ephasis to the point he stressed] And thus we see that there was no possible chance that they should live forever."
Antionah had valid questions caused by the preaching of these ministers who stood publicly declaring that God had a plan for mankind that involved Adam and Eve and this Jesus Christ of whom they taught to the people would make death temporary.
Alma [answered him saying] "This is the thing which I was about to explain. Now we see that Adam did fall by partaking of the forbidden fruit according to the word of God [causing] all mankind [to] became a lost and fallen people.
"[This next thing is very important so, pay attention]. if it had been possible for Adam to have partaken of the fruit of the tree of life at that time, there would have been no death [because the fruit of that tree sustains immortality], and the word would have been void, making God a liar, for he said: If thou eat thou shalt surely die. [Adapted from Alma 12:20-24]
Now the casual observer could postulate that no death would have been good following the partaking of the forbidden fruit. "The fruit of this tree was delicious and tempting to the senses. It was pleasurable but deadly. The price for knowledge to proceed with the Plan of Salvation was high. God placed the tree in the garden because it provided Adam and Eve with the choice to obey or disobey. Adam and Eve had to choose to participate in the plan because God could not instruct them to partake of the fruit." 3
Purpose of Life is Joy
Alma explained to Antionah and to those thinking that immortality would be a good thing for Adam and Eve after partaking of the fruit that it would not have been so. Alma continues his explanation.
[Pay attention, Antionah], If it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life [right after eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] they would have been forever miserable, having no preparatory state [to repent of sins being already immortal] and thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated, and the word of God would have been void, taking none effect.
But behold, it was not so; but it was appointed unto men that they must die; and after death, they must come to judgment, even that same judgment of which [my companion and I] have spoken, which is the end. [Alma 12:26-27]
What is the misery that Alma spoke would come to mankind? They would forever be out of the presence of God since no unclean thing can dwell with Him. Since Adam and Eve broke a commandment, they lost divinity and became corruptible. The glory and memory they had of being in God's presence would never be attainable for Adam and Eve, therefore, nor all of their descendants. Life would be nothing more than a perfect version of hell.
Another prophet, Lehi, while speaking to his sons on the same subject revealed that
The days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in [mortality, a temporary state]; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, [testing] and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents, [Adam and Eve].
[Now, this is important sons] if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created [perfect]; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
[Superficially that sounds great, but] they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. [Thankfully], all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. [There was one pupose for the fall of Adam and Eve] Adam fell that men, [all humanity] might be; and men, [all human beings] are, that they might have joy. [2 Nephi 2:22-25]
Why does humanity exist? God wants humankind to have joy, true joy, not the temporary gratification from sin. Sin feels good, which is why it is so easy to get people to commit it. Joy comes from obedience.
Alma goes on to say to Antionah,
Death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by [my missionary companion] Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead. [Alma 12:24]
Death is a benefit to mankind because it ends the testing period called probation so that through the atonement of Jesus Christ all can experience life without succumbing to permanent death or the sins of it. Adam did fall from divinity to provide an opportunity for the existence of humankind, who exist to have the Joy of God. In Adam & Eve: The Psychology of Mortality explores the emotional and psychological effects of such a life-changing event as leaving perfections for the imperfection of mortality.
© 2018 Rodric Anthony