- the Creation
- the Fall
- the Atonement
“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). We all know the rest of the that story…God spent the next 5 days creating the plants, animals, and lastly, man & woman. Adam and Eve lived in a place called Eden, but were unable to have children. There had to be a change wrought upon them to allow them to fulfill the purpose of this life. Eve then made one of the greatest decisions ever made–to partake of the forbidden fruit so that all of mankind could be born into this life. This was the Fall. It was a fall from the presence of God into a world filled with the desires of the natural man. The only way to redeem mankind from the fall was through an atoning sacrifice. There had to be One who could save us from sin–that was Jesus Christ. I think the Plan of Salvation is much more personal than we think though. Consider it this way:
- the Creation: I was created. I was first created as a spirit, then my physical body was created. As a child, I lived in a state of innocence.
- the Fall: At some point in my life, I sinned. That sin forced me to leave my state of innocence and enter the world of repentance and forgiveness. By the doctrine I believe, this transition happens for most people when they turn 8 years old…when they reach the age of accountability.
- the Atonement: I cannot Atone for my own sins, but I can allow the Atonement to take away my sins. However, I must take action…I have to consciously choose to follow Jesus Christ. I must allow myself to be saved by his blood.
It is by following these steps that the Plan of Salvation turns from something that occurred thousands of years ago into something that happens every day as I repent and seek forgiveness for my sins. By following these steps, the Plan of Salvation becomes something personal to me, something I must do in order to be redeemed from my fallen state. In order to make the Atonement effective in our lives, there are a several things we must do:
- Accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior
- Receive the Saving Ordinances
- Repent (continuously)
- Obey the commandments and strive to become like the Savior
The Plan of Salvation is discussed throughout the Bible and the Book of Mormon. It is also referred to as
- The Plan of the Great Creator
- The Plan of Redemption
- The Plan of the Eternal God
- The Plan of Restoration
- The Plan of Mercy
- The Plan of Happiness
- The Plan of Our God
The clearest, most succinct description of the Plan of Salvation is found in Moses 6:55-62.
55 And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good. 56 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment. 57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time. 58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying: 59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; 60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified; 61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment. 62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
What are the doctrines we learn from this relatively short passage?
- The Lord speaks to his children. (“And the Lord spake unto Adam”) He spoke to Adam, he spoke to Moses, he spoke to Lehi, he spoke to Joseph Smith, and he can speak to me. What do I need to do in order to place myself in a position to hear the Lord? What do I need to adjust to bring my life into harmony with his will?
- Children are conceived in sin. (“Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin”) This isn’t principle of original sin, rather, it teaches that children come into a world filled with evil and sin. Therefore are children “conceived in sin.” This principle is best taught by looking at D&C 93:38 “Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.” Moroni also deemed this principle of such importance, that he recorded an entire chapter (in an epistle from his father) regarding infant baptism. “Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin” (Moroni 8:8)
- Men have a tendency to sin. (“even so when they being to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts”) I wonder if this is similar to the Second Law of Thermodynamics which basically says that all things are breaking down and being less organized, to the point where only chaos will remain. I feel there is a tie to our heart “breaking down” to a less organized, chaotic state.
- There must be opposition in all things. (“they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good. And it is given unto them to know good from evil”) Lehi taught “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so…righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.” (2 Nephi 2:11).
- We are responsible for our own decisions. (“wherefore they are agents unto themselves”) No one can make us do anything. There are times when we give up our agency by making certain decisions. For example, violating the law is usually a decision we make that leads to bondage.
- God gave commandments. (“I have given unto you another law and commandment”)
- Parents are to teach the gospel to their children (“wherefore teach it unto your children”) See D&C 68:25
- All men must repent. (“all men, everywhere must repent or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God”)
- No unclean thing can dwell with God. (“for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence”)
- Transgression led to the fall. (“That by reason of transgression cometh the fall”)
- The fall led to death. (“which fall bringeth death”)
- We must be baptized in order to return to heaven. (“by the water ye keep the commandment”)
- The Atonement enables man to be clean from sin. (“be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin”)
- The reward is eternal life and immortal glory. (“enjoy…eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory”)
- God’s Plan of Salvation
- All About God
- God’s Simple Plan
- Jarom 1:2, Alma 24:14, Alma 42:6, & Moses 6:62
- 2 Nephi 9:6
- Jacob 6:8, Alma 12:26
- Alma 34:9
- Alma 41:2
- Alma 42:15
- Alma 42:8