This week’s lesson on the Atonement takes what is the most important part of what was studied last week and goes into much greater detail. As such, many of the potential issues were covered in last week’s blog post. However, there are a couple of areas that may be helpful to go over this week.
Gerald N. Lund wrote an article for the Ensign in 1990 that explains in detail why the atonement was necessary and how it works, calling the Fall of Adam “one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted doctrines in all of Christianity”: Gerald N. Lund, “The Fall of Man and His Redemption,” Ensign, Jan. 1990, 22.
Most Christians (not just Latter-day Saints) believe that everyone will be resurrected. However, there are some critics that claim such beliefs are unbiblical, and that only those who are saved will be resurrected. While the Book of Mormon speaks plainly of the resurrection being universal (see, for example, Alma 11:40–45 and Mormon 9:12–14), the Bible also speaks of it. Here are some examples:
- 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 – “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
- John 5:28-29 – “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
- Acts 24:15 – “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”
This doctrine was also clearly taught in the early Christian church:
- “If only a just judgment were the cause of the resurrection, it would of course follow that those who had done neither evil nor good, namely, very young children, would not rise again. However, we see that all persons are to rise again, including those who have died in infancy” (Athenagoras, 175 AD.)
- “By mentioning both the judgment seat and the distinction between good and bad works, he sets before us a judge who is to award both sentences. He has thereby affirmed that all will have to be present at the tribunal in their bodies.” (Tertullian, 207 AD.)
- “Since the entire man consists of the union of the two natures [body and soul], he must therefore appear in both natures. For it is right that a man should be judged in his entirety…Therefore, as he lived, he must also be judged.” (Tertullian, 210 AD.)
It is unfortunate but telling that our most important doctrines receive so much criticism from those who would have the world believe that we worship “a different Jesus.” Indeed, if our Jesus is different, it is because we believe in the uncorrupted concept of Jesus Christ found in the scriptures, and not in the creeds of man.