The Pains of All Men

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And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam. (2 Ne 9:21)

I find this scripture interesting; particularly given the popular belief among some Christians (including some Latter-day Saints) that when we sin, we add to the pain and suffering of the Christ.

Jacob is saying that Jesus suffered the pains of all who belong to the family of Adam. Considering not everyone will repent of the sins s/he commits, one must assume that Jacob also means Jesus suffered for all sins.

In light of the recent post on the omniscience of God, and the ability for us to choose between righteousness and sin, I am left pondering how the suffering panned out. How could the Saviour suffer for our sins when they had yet to be committed and we still had the choice to avoid the sins for which He potentially suffered? Did He suffer for every possible sin? If God knows every possible decision we can make and every possible thread of our futures based on those decisions?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùas I asked in my previous post?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùperhaps then Jesus also could also suffer for every possible sin.

80 thoughts on “The Pains of All Men

  1. Why is it “coincidental” that it happened at a certain place and at a certain time? Would it be less “coincidental” if it happened 2 million years in the future on a distant planet? It still happens in one time and one place.

    (How an infinite thing can be done in a finite time and a finite space, I don’t know, but that’s just the beginning of the mysteries we have yet to understand.)

    By your criteria, we should consider the Atonement less “real and applicable” with each passing day, because we’re more removed from it in time. So how is it less real? (Do you reach a point in time where it has no longer has actually happened?) How is it less applicable? (Is there a point in time where God’s infinite, merciful power can longer apply to us?)

    It doesn’t make more sense for the infinite Atonement to be limited in scope than for the infinite Atonement to be infinite in scope.

  2. “would it be less ‘coincidental’ if it happened 2 million years ago?”

    It would SEEM that way. Notice I did not say it WAS coincidental, only that it SEEMS that way.

    “By your criteria, we should consider the Atonement less ‘real and applicable’ with each passing day.”

    Once again I only said that it SEEMS more real if it happened more recently than some incomprehensibly long time ago (or some incomprehensibly long time into the future.)

    I realize that my statement in no way disproves what you are saying, nor does it really make any point at all. It was just a thought. I understand your point.

  3. It does SEEM strange to me that Jesus was the savior for Heavenly Father for instance. Why? Because even if God could be exalted because Jesus (his future son) would pay for his mortal sins sometime in the future, how does this explain the fact that God was surely a resurected being long before he even created Jesus. Kind of a mind boggler.

  4. I don’t think someone could be exalted to Godhood BEFORE their sins are paid for and justice is fulfilled. It would be like having a credit card balance that has to wait to get paid later.

  5. Therefore, due to my thoughts on #53 and #54 I conclude that God must have had a different Savior that had already paid for his sins when he became a God. Therefore it would be reasonable to also conclude Jesus’ atonement is applicable only to the offspring of our particular Heavenly Father, and that the offspring of other future Gods will need their own Savior.

  6. However….if we consider that it is possible that God will continue to produce worlds and offspring for eternity, (even after our judgement day is wrapped up and our world has been celestialized and members of our human family have been exalted to Godhood), this means that there will indeed be an infinite amount of souls produced by our God. Looking at it this way it seems that infinite does not have to include EVERY soul who ever have or ever will exist. On an eternal perspective, no single entity can have a monopoly on infinity.

    Which brings us back to Rick’s question. Can Jesus’ atonement apply to future people even AFTER an obviously finite amount of people have already been “counted”, judged and exalted?

  7. Well, I could be off the wall here, but from what I have understood, Heavenly Father was the Saviour in His world, before He became the Father.

  8. Hmm, come to think of it I think I have heard of that too Mary. I’m not sure if it is off the wall of not either. Nevertheless, it stands to reason that others have been the Savior of other worlds in the past, since it seems that resurrection of an individual is also contingent on their Savior being resurrected first.

  9. So, then it’s REASONABLE to believe that Jesus’ atonement does not apply to every soul that ever has or ever will exist.

    But let’s say for instance, that the atonement COULD apply to our own God’s other worlds forever and ever. Then the number of souls involved could very well be infinite. But we still have to conclude that before Jesus was resurrected, NONE of our particular God’s offspring could be resurrected. That would mean that none of God’s offspring previous to the sacrifice and resurrection that occured on our planet could have ever been “counted” up, or exalted. However, clearly this is an event that we are told will occur in our future, and must surely must also occur in the future of souls who will exist after our “counting up” has occured.

    So it would seem we would have to be the very first “batch” Heavenly Father has sent out into probation. I do, as a matter of fact, find that a little coincidental if you will, though I KNOW that doesn’t disprove such a scenario and it could be that Jesus’ atonement could go on an on forever into the future….just can’ be applicable to far into the past though. Also, interesting thought here…what happens if the amount of time that has passed since the atonement occured becomes incomprehensible to mortal minds. Then will they just be told that it happenned a long long long time ago on a distant planet?

    So, I will just assert that it is also REASONABLE to beleive that the our Saviour’s atonement will apply to a quantifiable non-infinite amount of souls, and the term “infinite” is more of a reassurance to us that the amount of sins that hypothetically could be involved is simply not limited.

  10. Also in reference to the atonement being “eternal” I think that means the effect on those involved is binding and eternal. Nobody will approach us in 15 million light years and say “oh by the way, Jesus decided to rescind on the agreement so it’s time to pay up”.

    Also, it’s clearly an “eternal” principle as well

  11. “if we consider that it is possible that God will continue to produce worlds and offspring for eternity. . . this means that there will indeed be an infinite amount of souls produced by our God.”

    Except infinite means without beginning or end, so if Adam is the first of all men, then God’s offspring had a beginning and therefore cannot be infinite.

    “Also in reference to the atonement being “eternal” I think that means the effect on those involved is binding and eternal.”

    You may also be interested in these scriptures, nermalcat.

  12. Infinite may mean without beginning or end, or it may just mean without end.

    However, if it does mean without beginning, you must point to a beginning of all spirits, and you can’t necessarily do that. Adam’s designation as the first of all men may simply mean first of all men on our world. If Adam is the offspring of God, and God is the same kind of being as Adam, then Adam can’t be the first. So it makes more sense to interepret the “first of all men” phrase as meaning “first of all men on this world.”

  13. Nermal, I still don’t see the point of calling the atonement “coincidental” because it happened here.

    I also don’t agree with your assertion that the atonement “can’t be applicable too far into the past.”

    This issue is linked with the question of whether God experiences time as we do, which we’ve discussed vigorously on other threads: If God’s sameness “from eternity to eternity” is to be reconciled with the belief that he progressed to what he is now from some lesser state, then a possible explanation is that when he achieved the perfection he now possesses, he became free from the constraints of time, and all things are present before him. That way, he can see, and act, at all times in the present, past and future, as if they are all now. This not only allows him to know all things which are to come to pass, as Mormon says he can, but it also seems to provide a way for the Atonement to work infinitely into the past as well as infinitely into the future.

  14. “Infinite may mean without beginning or end, or it may just mean without end.”

    Infinity (and since both are derived from ‘infinitas’, infinite as well) means to be not bound by time or space. Something cannot have a beginning and also be infinite. To have a beginning is to be bound by time and/or space. and if it has a beginning, it must also have an end.

    “Adam’s designation as the first of all men may simply mean first of all men on our world.”

    And if so, then Christ is the saviour of all on our world (see 1 Cor 15:22).

  15. ltbugaf

    I can’t recall, it’s just something I understood from my younger years. I don’t remember if it was a teaching in church, at home or what have you. But I remember hearing it more than once. I am not saying it is correct or not. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me. Jesus Christ is my Saviour and that’s all I care about.

  16. Kim, the word infinite, like practically every other word in English, has more than one meaning. Your information on the word’s etymology is interesting enough, but it doesn’t mean that people can’t and don’t use the word legitimately to mean something that doesn’t precisely match up with the meaning you give here. For example, as a mathematical principle, the set of all whole numbers greater than 27 is a set of infinite size. That set has a starting point, but not a finishing point. You can try to tell the rest of the world not to use the word “infinite” in that sense, but you won’t succeed. Infinite can, and very frequently does, accurately refer to a thing that has a beginning but no end. The scriptural use of the word is not inconsistent with this interpretation.

    However, as I’ve said before, I think there’s a way of viewing the atonement as stretching infinitely into the past and the present. It presents some interesting questions and possible paradoxes. But they’re not the greatest of the unanswerable questions about God.

    Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:22 is, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” I suspect that Paul, in this verse of this epistle, is using the word “all” to refer only to the inhabitants of this world. But that doesn’t in any way disqualify Christ from being the savior of other worlds. He just says that Adam’s fall brought death on all people in this world, and Christ’s resurrection brought about the resurrection of all on this world. That doesn’t mean that it can’t also bring about the resurrection of others on other worlds.

  17. “For example, as a mathematical principle, the set of all whole numbers greater than 27 is a set of infinite size. That set has a starting point, but not a finishing point.”

    Except for the fact, that all number are greater than 27, depending on which direction you go in; so there is no starting point.

    “He just says that Adam’s fall brought death on all people in this world, and Christ’s resurrection brought about the resurrection of all on this world. That doesn’t mean that it can’t also bring about the resurrection of others on other worlds.”

    Right, I am just saying that if the suggestion in your previous comment is true (that Adam is the first man on this earth only), then this scripture supports the idea that Jesus is the saviour of this world only.

  18. “Except for the fact, that all number are greater than 27, depending on which direction you go in; so there is no starting point.”

    I’m sorry, but as near as I can tell, that statement makes no sense at all. I’m really not trying to be disrespectful; I just have no clue what you mean by “all number are greater than 27, depending on which direction you go in.” Clearly, lots of numbers are less than 27, no matter which direction you go in. Fourteen, for example, is always less. In fact, there doesn’t even need to be a “direction.” One can name the numbers greater than 27 in a completely directionless, random way, forever. But there will always be a lower limit. The limit never disappears. There’s always something that’s excluded from the set, (in fact, there’s an infinite number of numbers excluded from the set) and yet it’s still an infinite set.

    “I am just saying that if the suggestion in your previous comment is true (that Adam is the first man on this earth only), then this scripture supports the idea that Jesus is the saviour of this world only.”

    No it doesn’t. That’s a nonsequitur. Saying Adam is the first of all men only on this world does not indicate in any way that Christ is the savior of all men only on this world. Paul isn’t making an absolute parallel of the scope of Adam’s fall with the scope of Christ’s resurrection. He’s just saying that all men on earth became subject to death because of Adam’s fall, and all men on earth were saved from death by Christ’s resurrection. That second half of the statement doesn’t place an outer limit on the effects of Christ’s resurrection, and it doesn’t support the idea that Jesus is the savior of this world only.

  19. “Clearly, lots of numbers are less than 27, no matter which direction you go in. Fourteen, for example, is always less.”

    Fourteen is only less than 27 if you are quantifying items; 14 oranges are less than 27 oranges. But as numbers, neither is less than the other; if you consider both directions.

    “But there will always be a lower limit.”

    Numbers go in the reverse direction indefinitely as well; there is no “lower” limit.

    “That’s a nonsequitur. ”

    It’s only a non sequitur if you are using separate definitions for each occurrence of “all” in that verse. I see no reason why, however, that “all” in reference to Adam means all humans on earth while that in reference to Jesus means every being that has existed/exists/will exist through all eternity.

  20. ltbugaf, I do understand what you are trying to say in response to my coincidence comments. I guess the only point that I was trying to make was that if you want to choose a pet theory here and there is no authoritative answer as to who is right, then I just think my theory seems more plausible. But I’m not saying your theory is impossible either.

    I still don’t see how you are more comfortable with the idea that previous Gods could be redeemed, resurrected and exalted BEFORE any savior had fulfilled justice or been resurrected. Do you really favor this concept, or you just having fun arguing that it’s possible?

  21. Just want to add in reference to the “coincedence” issue, I just thought it seemed kind of wild that, of all the trillions of light years we could have been born in and all the trillions of planets we could have ended up on, we were lucky enough to end up on earth, only about 2000 years after the one and only infinite atonement. Not saying that undermines your theory itbugaf. Not saying that it necessarily has any significance at all, but c’mon, that seems pretty amazing doesn’t it?

    “when he acheived the perfection he now posesses, he became free from the constraints of time”

    Yes, but God was NOT freed from the constraints of time before achieving perfection, and how can he achieve that perfection, (the prerequisite to the freedom from the constraints of time) without having an already existing Saviour? It is indeed a paradox. The paradox may not disprove you theory, but I see no reason to accept such a convoluted concept if there are other plausable options to choose from.

  22. Oh and IF our Heavenly Father actually was the saviour of his previous world, as Mary mentioned, wouldn’t that also be pretty wild? I mean of all the other people who made it to Godhood in that “batch” souls, we just happened to be the ones spiritually born to the same one who had also been a savior? I mean obviously that must be an extremely rare scenerio in the universe right? This naturally leads me to be a little skeptical (even though I KNOW the seeming coincidence here disproves nothing). Just SEEMS weird is all…

    As for the definition of infinity, interestingly my dictionary here includes “very great or many”. So it would seem we could argue semantics, but it’s probably impossible to know exactly what the prophets meant when they used the word that was later translated into the English word “infinite”. Thus, since we can’t really establish the exact definition of the word here, it seems kind of meaninless to debate over WHAT the word is referring to (ie number of people vs amount of time).

    However, if we are to believe God ensured that the BOM was translated in a manner that would sufficiently inform us of what we need to know, I can only assume that once again, the term infinite is simply a reassurance to us that it does not really matter how many sins are commited by how many people. In other words, “infinite” in this case, refers to the POWER of the atonement to redeem being boundless, but not necessarily the amount of souls involved or the amount of time involved.

  23. “Fourteen is only less than 27 if you are quantifying items…But as numbers, neither is less than the other; if you consider both directions.”

    Numbers are expressed as points on a “number line.” The line extends infinitely in both directions, yes. But “greater than” means extending only in one direction from a given point. The infinite set of whole numbers greater than 27 NEVER includes 27, 26, 25, 24, and so on, because those numbers are on the “other side” of the limit of 27. If you don’t accept that definitional limit of “greater than,” then you can’t meaningfully discuss addition, subtraction, or negativity and positivity of numbers. You also can’t have a zero.

    So when you’re discussing a set of numbers that is “greater than” any given number, you aren’t considering “both directions.” You’re considering only those numbers that extend in the positive direction, away from the given number. The set of whole numbers greater than 27 is an infinitely large set; it has no end. But it does have a lower limit: It excludes every number extending in the negative direction (usually shown as left on a graphic representation of a number line) from 27.

    Fourteen is ALWAYS less than 27, because it is always further in negative direction of the number line than 27.

    “It’s only a non sequitur if you are using separate definitions for each occurrence of “all” in that verse.”

    Wrong. The definition can be exactly the same in both occurrences in 1 Cor. 15:22. Let’s render it this way: “Because of Adam’s fall, everyone on earth is subject to death, but because of Christ’s resurrection, everyone on earth is freed from death.” Now, does that statement limit Christ’s resurrection to ONLY those on earth? No. It’s like saying, “Everyone on my block is a Mormon.” That doesn’t mean that everyone who’s a Mormon lives on my block. Everyone on Earth is freed from death by Christ’s resurrection. That doesn’t mean that everyone who’s freed by Christ’s resurrection lives on Earth.

  24. Nermal, no, I’m not really comfortable with the idea of Gods being redeemed by someone who comes after them. My thinking on the history of God and how he became what he is, is really a blank. And it probably should be so, given that we have virtually nothing revealed to us on that topic. Intuitively, I think Christ’s atonement probably applies to all the children of our Heavenly Father everywhere. As to what or who else may exist in the universe, I don’t know. As I said, it’s possible to raise, as you have, some seeming paradoxes and difficulties as you expand the outer limits of how far the atonement could reach. I don’t know how to address them.

  25. “‘greater than’ means extending only in one direction from a given point.”

    Exactly my point. And using the above examples, 14 extends in only one direction from 27 on a number line, and in order to get to it you need to add 13 to 27 in the left direction.

    “Fourteen is ALWAYS less than 27”

    Fourteen is only less if you are quantifying objects, or if you define moving in the negative direction as being less (despite the fact that you have to add to get to ‘lower’ number in that direction).

    “The definition can be exactly the same in both occurrences in 1 Cor. 15:22.”

    Which is precisely my point, and which is why I said that your comment “Adam’s designation as the first of all men may simply mean first of all men on our world” must also be applied to Jesus. If this supposition is true, then it must also be true that Jesus’ resurrection was for “all men on our world”.

  26. Yes, Kim. You do have to “define moving in the negative direction as being lower.” Otherwise, “lower” has no meaning at all. I’m not sure what you mean when you say that one has to add to get to a ‘lower’ number, unless you mean that adding a negative number is the same as subtracting.

    You seem to be denying that a number further in the negative direction of the “number line” is “less than” a number that is further in the positive direction. If you deny this, then there can be no meaningful definition at all of “lower” or “less than” or “higher” or “greater than.”

    As to the second part, did you not even read what I already wrote above? Yes—Jesus’ resurrection was for “all men on our world.” But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t also for someone else.

  27. “…14 extends in only one direction from 27 on a number line, and in order to get to it you need to add 13 to 27 in the left direction.”

    “Add…in the left direction” is meaningless. Adding in the negative direction isn’t adding, it’s subtracting—unless you mean adding a negative number, which is the same thing. Either way, it doesn’t alter the fact that a number to the left of 27 is, by the very mathematical definition of “less,” less than 27.

  28. …If you prefer, Kim, we could restate the set as “all whole numbers TO THE RIGHT of 27.” Or will you argue that left is just another form of right, the way you’re arguing that moving down in numeric value is just like moving up?

  29. Jeffrey Gilliam, in comment #1, seems very concerned that Christ’s body and nervous system could endure only so much suffering and no more, because, as a biological entity, his body had limits. I think there are two points to make in response to this:

    1. Anguish of body is not necessarily the same as anguish of spirit. Christ’s anguish resulted in bodily phenomena, such as blood coming through his pores. But the anguish he suffered was not mere physical agony. It was something more. Not quite the same as physical anguish, not quite the same as mental anguish. It was suffering of spirit. It’s something I don’t fully grasp, but it seems to be outside the bounds of physical limitations.

    2. Christ’s body was not the same as other men’s. No ordinary human being could fast for 40 days and 40 nights without dying. No ordinary human would have to CHOOSE to render up his spirit as Christ did. Since this is the case, we can’t assume that his capacity for physical suffering was the same as that of an ordinary man.

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