Sunday, October 14, 2007

I'm a Premortal Sinner

I believe that we sinned and repented in the premortal existence. I hadn't ever considered it until a college professor brought it up. It makes a lot of sense to me, so I believe it. This is one of those doctrines that probably can't make any difference in our mortal life, so feel free to disagree with me on this one. :)

Here's the case for premortal sin.

In Abraham we read about the noble and great ones. People can't become noble and great without making great choices. Great choices are only possible in a context where there are really bad choices. This is Lehi's law of opposites.

If there was a possibility to mess up, you can bet that I took advantage of it. And yet here I am as a mortal writing this blog. How could that have happened? The reason I was able to sin and then repent in the premortal realm was because the atonement of Jesus Christ stretches backwards in time. It certainly covers the people who lived before the birth of Jesus in the flesh. I believe it stretches further back still. I think that is the meaning of the "preparatory redemption" spoken of in Alma 13:3.

Was there sin in the premortal life? There was enough sin that 1/3 part of the hosts of heaven became perdition. That's a lot of sin. Could that sin have been just one giant mistake--a blemish on an otherwise perfect record? Possibly, but it doesn't seem likely to me. A fall of hundreds of feet is usually preceded by a slip of lots of inches. I think Lucifer's ultimate fall must have been preceded by eons of prideful thoughts and actions. Can one go instantly from submissive son to plotting usurper? I doubt it.

Others have blogged on this issue before. Check out J. Stapley and Kim Siever.


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  • I agree that in the pre-mortal life we had opportunities to commit sin. But with bodies and without a great deal of spritual maturity, our opportunities were limited. Correspondinly, so were our opportunities for spiritual growth. This is a reason why it was necessary to experience this fallen world, with its plentiful opportunities for sin, and therefore spiritual growth.

    But that raises the question: Is it possible to sin without being influenced by Satan to do so? If we sinned before Lucifer fell, then what tempted us?

    If we did not sin before our mortal life, then your question about how spirits became noble and great is a good one. Perhaps the Lord was just commenting on their future noble and great decisions, rather than those of the past?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/15/2007 5:05 AM  

  • Make that "without bodies" not "with bodies" in #1.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/15/2007 5:06 AM  

  • We certainly were capable of making choices in the premortal life. But, as Mike says, the range of options was limited. Part of the reason the range was limited was that we enjoyed the presence of Deity.

    This is the whole purpose of the veil of forgetfulness that was drawn over our minds as we came to mortality: so that we could live by faith and freely choose good or evil on a completely level playing field. We can only become God-like if we freely choose it.

    In the premortal existence the playing field was not level because of our knowledge and limited capacities. Disobedience required outright rebellion.

    Did we rebel in ways that had less serious consequences and then repent? It seems logical to conclude that we did do this at least to some degree. However, since the Lord has revealed so little about our life in that sphere, I doubt that it's important to my eternal progres for me to know this at present.

    By Blogger Scott Hinrichs, at 10/15/2007 8:51 AM  

  • You've both argued that we had limited capacities for choice and growth, but I don't buy that 100%. Going in favor of your argument is the fact that we needed to come to earth and we've been taught that we can progress more quickly here than in any other sphere.

    On the flip side, there was enough opportunity for growth that at least two of us, Jesus and the Holy Ghost, were able to achieve a status as gods even without a body. Given that children who die before the age of 8 are headed to the Celestial kingdom, it seems apparent that the majority of our test for godhood was passed in the premortal realm.

    By Blogger Bradley Ross, at 10/15/2007 8:59 AM  

  • Those are good points. It will be interesting when the curtain is drawn aside and we see all things as they are were, are, and will be.

    By Blogger Scott Hinrichs, at 10/15/2007 3:27 PM  

  • Thanks for the nod.

    By Blogger Kim Siever, at 10/16/2007 5:54 PM  

  • What about the fact that no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God? How could we all be sinning and remain in the presence of God?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/25/2012 10:40 PM  

  • Good question. I can only guess that we weren't continually in his presence.

    By Blogger Bradley Ross, at 6/26/2012 1:23 PM  

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