Sunday, March 20, 2011

Opposition In All Things

2 Nephi 2

v. 10 And because of the intercession for aall, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be bjudged of him according to the truth and choliness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the dpunishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the eatonement

Because of the intercession for all men, Jesus Christ is uniquely qualified to judge us, "according to the truth and holiness which is in him."  When He took upon himself all of our sins and sorrows, He became the one person to understand us completely and uniquely.  He understands the circumstances that lead us to the choices we make. 

And let's be honest, the reason we sin is because we are trying to overcome some hurt inside us.  We're trying to fill some hole in our heart, and we mistakenly turn to the promises of the world to fill it.  The ways of the world will always fail us; turning to our Savior and letting Him heal us is the only true way to happiness.

This verse also introduces the doctrine of opposition.

v. 11 For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

This makes immediate sense when you think about it, and it changes the way you look at life.  Suddenly, trials and difficulties and even past mistakes are no longer "bad" things.  On the contrary, it is only by passing through unhappiness that we can experience happiness.  Have you ever noticed how people who have had extreme difficulties have a greater appreciation for life, how they are more compassionate, how they find joy in the smallest things?  They find joy that other people miss.

Understanding this principle helps me understand the fall of Adam and Eve better.  Often, we think of the garden of Eden as a wonderful paradise where everything was perfect and Adam and Eve lived in happiness.  Their every need was provided for them.  They didn't have to work.  They didn't have any sorrows.  They were completely innocent.

But understanding the principle of opposition, we know that the absence of sorrow doesn't mean happiness.  The absence of sorrow means the incomprehension of happiness.  The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil did not just give them knowledge, it gave them specific knowledge: the knowledge of opposites.  

The idea of living in the garden of Eden makes me cringe.  No knowledge.  No work.  No progress.  Spending my days endlessly picking fruit and petting pretty animals?  Good grief, every day would feel like an eternity.  

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