There is much we do not know about the pre-mortal life and the creation of the world - there is a reason for that…
READ TPJS 394:4
“Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach Him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer. When we understand the character of God, and how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us about it. When we are ready to come to Him, He is ready to come to us.”
…God has given us these questions to see if we will seek after Him to obtain the knowledge that He waits our initiative to give us.
READ Abraham 3:1-15
What is Abraham seeing and why is the Lord showing Him these things?
God is showing Abraham a map of the heavens from the orientation of the face of the earth – looking out into space.
It is like He is saying: “Abraham, you see that brightest of all stars or planets in the sky, we call it Kolob, and if you were to fly in that direction, you would come near unto me, for my throne and the planet upon which I live is in that direction from where you are standing on your earth…albeit, it’s much further away than that star is from you…”
He is also teaching him about the difference between mortal time and “time” in the eternities when one is “outside” of mortal time.
God is teaching Abraham His “ways” and “paths” through the heavens, from earth to His throne, so that Abraham can visit Him when he is taught how to find the portal on earth and pass the angels that stand as sentinels on either end.
READ Abraham 3:16-19
“If there be two spirits, then one shall be more intelligent than the other;” what are the implications of this statement?
All people/spirits/entities are unique.
All have a different amount of intelligence (and different strengths or gifts).
While started at the same place or level of intelligence (see Alma 13:3-5), some have gained more intelligence than others through their keeping of God’s commandments or their more precise alignment with eternal law (see D&C 130:18-21); this is a completely individual journey so each person is at a different place in their spiritual progression as everyone else (until they receive a fullness and become the same – precisely like Christ, see LoF 7:9).
READ D&C 93:28-29
What does it mean that spirits have no beginning?
Intelligence cannot be created - it exists; you have always existed, in one form or another (see also TPJS p 353 - “the intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end… God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself. Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle”).
There is a difference between a “father” who provides a body and assists in development and a “creator” - spirits are organized not created out of nothing.
What is the implication of existing as “you” before you were born?
You are an inherently immortal being – a being of light.
This life does not define you - your biology, your circumstances and upbringing - you are an eternal creature raised in the halls of heaven.
As you have a veil of forgetfulness drawn across your mind and you’ve been born into a mortal body or “avatar” which influences and constrains both your perception of reality and the capabilities you have on this earth – you are not who you think you are.
What differences exist between that “you” and you today?
You don’t know who you are (you are “lost”).
The effects of the fall are at work - sin and death, plus the temptations of Satan (which existed before, to some degree).
You were a being of light, by virtue of your inherent being/nature (i.e. intelligence) and added upon in a “first place” (see Alma 13:3-5) from obedience to commandments (see D&C 130:18-21) but are here on earth experiencing a telestial world to give you an opportunity to gain more light by fighting against greater opposition.
READ Abraham 3:21
What is implied by the statement “I rule…over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning”?
He rules or teaches by way of the fact that He has more light and glory or power than all other intelligences or entities Abraham has seen since the beginning of the world.
He (Christ) does not necessarily rule over the intelligences Abraham has not seen.
“From the beginning” means before the beginning of the creation of this world, but it does not include any prior eternity (because Christ had not always had a fullness of God’s glory and intelligence – see D&C 93:12-14) and may not include all intelligences organized by other Gods.
There may be other intelligences who have already progressed to be even more glorious than Christ is now (see TPJS 390-393).
Gods continue to grow or progress in glory, which is intelligence, light and truth.
READ Abraham 3:22-23
How is the word “ruler” defined in these verses?
It does not necessarily mean “rulers” as the world uses the term – i.e. kings or someone with political power.
These “rulers” may not have even “presided” as priests.
At the least they were prophets (with a “lower case p”) – meaning they received the second comforter, knew the Lord and were trusted to deliver His messages (as opposed to “ruling” in a church).
A ruler is a tool used to measure something else; it provides a standard against which to measure; in this case a “ruler” is a teacher or prophet – a revealer of truth or things as they really are, were and will be, against which truth all can be judged.
It is the truth of the teachings that provides the “ruler” or standard of measurement, not the alignment of the messenger to that truth; in other words, the teacher or prophet isn’t what is to be revered as the “ruler”, their message is.
Does this foreordination guarantee salvation and the successful completion of the assigned mission?
No - it is possible to fall from grace with god (see D&C 20:32).
It is not the same as pre-destination.
Again, it is the message, not the messenger, that is important.
READ Abraham 3:24-25
What does “we” (not I) will prove “them” imply?
That those who created the earth with Christ (the noble and great ones) did so to prove another group of spirits.
While the noble and great have already been proven – and then condescended to come to earth to help us - everyone is at risk here (you could argue they are more at risk because they have more to lose than we do).
We (the non-noble and great ones) are here to be proved to see if we will follow the Lord’s commandments at all hazards, so that we might also have an opportunity to progress and become exalted as they are now - if we are also faithful (see D&C 132:29, 37).
READ Abraham 3:27-28 and Moses 4:1-3
What insight does the account in Moses give us that is not as obvious in Abraham?
Satan came to God with an alternate plan (Moses 4).
It wasn’t a case of “picking teams” followed by “poor sportsmanship” (Abraham 3).
What is at the heart of Satan’s plan?
Satan wanted the Father’s honor and power.
Rebellion against the Father - this is a coup.
Destroy the agency of man.
Redeem ALL mankind, but only so that their “glory” as redeemed souls in service to Satan means that he would have an army of gods who owe allegiance to him for “making” them gods unjustly.
The implication here is that there might be “dark gods” as well as gods of light. Satan would not have had the power to go contrary to the eternal law of light and “make” people gods of light – so his salvation must have been something different.
Why would this plan be attractive to anyone (but Satan?)
Risk - all redeemed vs a (low…) percentage (particularly if you define salvation as being precisely as Christ is now and nothing else, see LoF 7:9).
Fear – playing on the fears that many had that they would not be among the percentage that would be saved.
Charisma - Satan was “in authority” before God, meaning that he was a being of light and glory much greater than the vast majority of God’s children – plus he clearly had leadership skills or he would never had convinced one third of the hosts of heaven to follow him.
Subtly - Lucifer “became Satan the father of lies” but did this just happen suddenly? He most likely started to deceive people in heaven because his concern was not for saving people but was for God’s throne; saving people was a way to gain their allegiance.
Faux love – Satan could feign love for God’s children by “advocating” to save all of them, while painting God as a cold and merciless being, as He must uphold justice in its strictest standard or He would cease to be god.
Why did the “morning stars” sing together, and “all the sons of God shout with joy” when the foundations of the earth were laid? (see Job 38:4-7)
Joy in the opportunity to grow in light - only in a mortality can you qualify for more glory by being tried and tested in a probation outside of God’s presence where suffering and death can occur and the consequences of your decisions are very real (“live ammo”) because actual opposition exists and people can actually be harmed.
Joy in gratitude for the sacrifice of a Son of God - because the only way a probation like this can be conducted is if a “Son of God” is ready and willing to come down to the creation, risking everything they have achieved thus far (condescension), to live a perfect life and then suffer an atonement and submit to death so that they can attain to the resurrection and save the whole of that creation – and become a “Father” to a select few who will actually rise up and take full advantage of the opportunity being offered through that Son’s sacrifice.
What are the conditions that must exist for agency to be in play?
Laws - D&C 132:4-11.
Opposition - 2 Nephi 2:11.
Knowledge of good and evil - Helaman 14:30-31.
Power to choose - 2 Nephi 2:16,27.
How do you destroy agency?
Eliminate just one of the four conditions – laws, opposition, knowledge, or power to choose.
Separate agency from accountability and consequences becomes conceptual instead of real.
Why is a veil of forgetfulness and inability to see the spirit world given to us?
To make it a fair test - otherwise the memory of our pre-mortal glory and the focus on eternal treasures would dwarf the allure of this world's “bounty”.
In this state of forgetfulness, whatever choice is made represents the true heart and mind of the one who makes it.
READ D&C 93:30
Why is agency such a cornerstone of God’s plan - that He will honor it despite the terrible things that many of us do with it?
There is NO EXISTENCE without it - think about why that might be the case.
The Savior’s role is to “dry the eyes” or put right all of the wrongs that are committed here by all those who use their agency to harm others or themselves.
Who was Jehovah?
A “firstborn” of all of the spirit children of the Father.
The “preeminent one” who was like unto God among all of the spirits in our current eternity.
What was His response to the Father’s question?
“Here am I, send me… (to suffer endless and eternal punishment, all that a God can suffer, to redeem thy children and do thy work by enabling the immortality and eternal life of man)” (Abraham 3:27).
“Thy will be done and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2).
He had become the embodiment of the Word of God – He was one with God such that His word WAS the Father’s word; this was because of Christ’s total submission to the word of God over time (see D&C 93:12-14) which means His complete alignment with eternal law (see LoF 7:9).
Why did Christ accept the role of Redeemer?
He had reached a level of perfect love for all His spirit siblings.
His complete obedience to His Father’s will - as He shared the mind and will of God already.
Within this eternity, He was the only son qualified to go and do the work, as He had previously risen up to become a Son of God and could live a sinless life – meaning He could abide by the full Law of the Celestial Kingdom while tabernacled in a mortal body in a telestial world, which was required to perform the atonement and resurrection; He had to offer Himself in death, and that death had to be “unjust” due to His sinless life – because the wages of sin are death but He had never sinned, despite taking upon Himself the guilt and punishment for all sin.
READ Moses 4:4
What is Satan’s role here on earth?
To deceive and blind men.
Lead them away captive at his will.
Provide a counterpoint to God and His word – opposition in all things.
Notice that “force” is not on the list… he gets US to force EACH OTHER but cannot force us to sin (see D&C 121!); although he will try to entice us.
To conclude this post, I will share a story to reflect on – without my questions – but with a challenge to come up with your own and inquire of the Lord regarding His insights to the answers. To summarize the story, a king’s son has come down to earth to find a pearl which he is to return to its heavenly depository. But here below he becomes defiled with the things of the world until a letter is sent to him from Heaven, signed by all the Great and Mighty Ones, which recalls to him his true heritage and his purpose in coming to earth. Whereupon reading the letter, he casts off his earthly garments, recovers the pearl, and with it returns to the waiting arms of his loved ones in the royal courts on high and to the robe of glory that has been carefully kept for him in the Treasury.
READ: The Hymn of the Pearl, from the Acts of Thomas (translation by GRS Mead)
When a quite little child, I was dwelling in the House of my Father’s Kingdom, and in the wealth and the glories of my Up-bringers I was delighting; from the East, our home, my Parents forth-sent me with journey-provision. Indeed, from the wealth of our treasure, they bound up for me a load. Large was it, yet was it so light that all alone I could bear it.
Gold from the Land of Beth-Ellaya, silver from Gazak the Great, chalcedonies of India, iris-hued [opals?] from Kãshan. They girt me with adamant [also] that hath power to cut even iron. My Glorious Robe they took off me which in their love they had wrought me, and my Purple Mantle [also] which was woven to match with my stature.
And with me they [then] made a compact; in my heart wrote it, not to forget it: "If thou goest down into Egypt, and thence thou bring’st the one Pearl – "[the Pearl] that lies in the Sea, hard by the loud-breathing Serpent – [then] shalt thou put on thy Robe and thy Mantle that goeth upon it, and with thy Brother, our Second, shalt thou be Heir in our Kingdom."
I left the East and went down with two couriers [with me]; for the way was hard and dangerous, for I was young to tread it. I traversed the borders of Maish~ n, the mart of the Eastern merchants, and I reached the Land of Babel, and entered the walls of Sarbãg. Down further I went into Egypt; and from me parted my escorts.
Straightway I went to the Serpent; near to his lodging I settled, to take away my Pearl while he should sleep and should slumber. Lone was I there, yea, all lonely; to my fellow-lodgers a stranger. However, I saw there a noble, from out of the Dawn-land, my kinsman, a young man fair and well favored, Son of Grandees; he came and he joined me.
I made him my chosen companion, a comrade, for sharing my wares with. He warned me against the Egyptians, against mixing with the unclean ones. For I had clothed me as they were, that they might not guess I had come from afar to take off the Pearl, and so rouse the Serpent against me.
But from some occasion or other they learned I was not of their country. With their wiles they made my acquaintance; yea, they gave me their victuals to eat. I forgot that I was a King’s son, and became a slave to their king. I forgot all concerning the Pearl for which my Parents had sent me; and from the weight of their victuals, I sank down into a deep sleep.
All this that now was befalling, my Parents perceived and were anxious. It was then proclaimed in our Kingdom, that all should speed to our Gate – Kings and Chieftains of Parthia, and of the East all the Princes. And this is the counsel they came to: I should not be left down in Egypt. And for me they wrote out a letter; and to it each Noble his name set:
"From Us – King of Kings, thy Father, and thy Mother, Queen of the Dawn-land, and from Our Second, thy Brother – to thee, Son, down in Egypt, our greeting! Up an arise from thy sleep, give ear to the words of our letter! Remember that thou art a King’s son; see whom thou hast served in thy slavedom. Bethink thyself of the Pearl for which thou didst journey to Egypt.
Remember thy Glorious Robe, thy Splendid Mantle remember, to put on and wear as adornment, when thy Name may be read in the Book of the Heroes, and with Our Successor, thy Brother, thou mayest be Heir in Our Kingdom." My letter was [surely] a letter the King had sealed up with His right hand, against the Children of Babel, the wicked, the tyrannical Daimons of Sarbãg.
It flew in the form of the Eagle, of all the winged tribes the king-bird; it flew and alighted beside me, and turned into speech altogether. At its voice and the sound of its winging, I waked and arose from my deep sleep. Unto me I took it and kissed it; I loosed its seal and I read it. E’en as it stood in my heart writ, the words of my letter were written.
I remembered that I was a King’s son, and my rank did long for its nature. I bethought me again of the Pearl, for which I was sent down to Egypt. And I began [then] to charm him, the terrible loud-breathing Serpent. I lulled him to sleep and to slumber, chanting o’er him the Name of my Father, the Name of our Second, [my brother], and [Name] of my Mother, the East-Queen.
And [thereon] I snatched up the Pearl and turned to the House of my Father. Their filthy and unclean garments I stripped off and left in their country. To the way that I came I betook me, to the Light of our Home, to the Dawn-land. On the road I found [there] before me, my letter that had aroused me – as with its voice it had roused me, so now with its light it did lead me –
On fabric of silk, in letter of red [?], with shining appearance before me [?], encouraging me with its guidance, with its love it was drawing me onward. I went forth; through Sarbãg I passed; I left B~ bel-land on my left hand; and I reached unto Maishan the Great, the meeting-place of the merchants, that lieth hard by the sea-shore.
My Glorious Robe that I’d stripped off, and my Mantle with which it was covered, down from the heights of Hyrcania, thither my Parents did send me, by the hands of their Treasure-dispensers who trustworthy were with it trusted. Without my recalling its fashion, – in the House of my Father, my childhood, had left it,-- At once, as soon as I saw it, the Glory looked like my own self.
I saw it in all of me and saw me all in [all of] it, – that we were twain in distinction, and yet again one in one likeness. I saw, too, the Treasurers also, who unto me had down-brought it, were twain [and yet] of one likeness; for one Sign of the King was upon them – who through them restored me the Glory, the Pledge of my Kingship [?].
The Glorious Robe all-bespangled with sparkling splendor of colors: with gold and also with beryls, chalcedonies, iris-hued [Opals?], with sards of varying colors. To match its grandeur [?], moreover, it had been completed: with adamantine jewels all of its seams were off-fastened. [Moreover] the King of Kings’ image was depicted entirely all o’er it; and as with sapphires above was it wrought in a motley of color.
I saw that moreover all o’er it the motions of gnosis abounding; I saw it further was making ready as though for to speak. I heard the sound of its music which it whispered as it descended [?]: "Behold him the active in deeds! For whom I was reared with my Father; I too have felt in myself how that with his works waxed my stature."
And [now] with its Kingly motions was it pouring itself out towards me, and made haste in the hands of its Givers, that I might [take and] receive it. And me, too, my love urged forward to run for to meet it, to take it. And I stretched myself forth to receive it; with its beauty of color I decked me, and my Mantle of sparkling colors I wrapped entirely all o’er me.
I clothed me therewith, and ascended to the Gate of Greeting and Homage. I bowed my head and did homage to the glory of Him who had sent it, whose commands I [now] had accomplished, and who had, too, done what He’d promised. [And there] at the Gate of His House-sons I mingled myself with His Princes; for He had received me with gladness, and I was with Him in His Kingdom;
To whom the whole of His Servants with sweet-sounding voices sing praises. He had promised that with him to the Court of the King of Kings I should speed and taking with me my Pearl should with him be seen by our King.
What questions would you ask about this story? What insights have you gained from reflecting deeply and inquiring of the Lord?