Alma Chapter 42 or Chapter 19 Continued in the 1830 Edition
[42:1] And now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand, which is concerning the justice of God, in the punishment of the sinner: for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.
[42:2] Now behold, my son, I will explain this thing unto thee: for behold, after the Lord God sent our first parents forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground, from whence he was taken; yea, he drew out the man, and he placed at the east end of the garden of Eden, Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the tree of life.
[42:3] Now we see that the man had become as God, knowing good and evil; and lest he should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever, that the Lord God placed Cherubims and the flaming sword, that he should not partake of the fruit;
[42:4] and thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man, to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God.
[42:5] For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partook of the tree of life, he would have lived forever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; yea, and also the word of God would have been void and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated.
[42:6] But behold, it was appointed unto man to die; therefore as they were cut off from the tree of life, therefore they should be cut off from the face of the earth; and man became lost forever; yea, they became fallen man.
[42:7] And now we see by this, that our first parents were cut off, both temporally and spiritually, from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.
[42:8] Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness;
[42:9] therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal; that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord; therefore it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death;
[42:10] therefore as they had become carnal, sensual and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare: it became a preparatory state.
[42:11] And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside,) as soon as they were dead, their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord.
[42:12] And now there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state which man had brought upon himself, because of his own disobedience;
[43:13] therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only, on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state; yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed: if so, God would cease to be God.
[43:14] And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.
[43:15] And now the plan of mercy could not be brought about, except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God. Also,
[42:16] now repentance could not come unto men, except there were a punishment, which also was as eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul.–
Alma introduces a doctrine that is new to the modern Christian world. While many Christians teach that Adam and Eve were actually evil, and that they destroyed mankind’s opportunity to live in an eternal paradise, Alma teaches to the contrary. The Fall of Adam was the plan. They were the first and we are like unto them. They and we are given an opportunity to repent and serve God. The coming of the Savior was the plan. The Savior would offer a redemption for our fall. Our mortal existence of trials and the exercise of free will was the plan. We must turn to the Redeemer to pay the price for our fall. Otherwise If we do not repent and serve God, misery is the outcome.
Justice and Mercy
[42:17] Now, how could a man repent, except he should sin? How could he sin, if there was no law? How could there be a law, save there was a punishment?
[42:18] Now there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man.
[42:19] Now if there was no law given, if a man murdered he should die, would he be afraid he should die if he should murder?
[42:20] And also, if there was no law given against sin, men would not be afraid to sin.
[42:21] And if there was no law given if men sinned, what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature?
[42:22] But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature, and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.
[42:23] But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works; according to the law and justice;
[42:24] for behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.
[42:25] What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.
[42:26] And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which was prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery;
There are two prominent Laws which God is bound by. The law of Justice is the first one. The law is given and must be obeyed. Failure to obey the law requires the law of justice to prevail. As we all fall due to sin, justice must be served. But God prepared a way to satisfy the demands of justice. And only the truly penitent can receive that gift. That is by the law of Mercy. Jesus Christ is the one who brought about the gift of mercy. By his sacrifice in the Garden and again on the Cross, he paid the price needed for the cleansing of our souls. Through this atonement, the truly penitent can be redeemed and made clean – thus satisfying the law of justice giving us the opportunity to partake of law of Mercy. If we do not receive of this mercy, we shall be cut off from God and the result is misery as we ourselves satisfy the law of justice.
[42:27] therefore, O my son, whosoever will come, may come, and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come, the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day, it shall be restored unto him, according to his deeds.
[42:28] If he hath desired to do evil, and hath not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God.
[42:29] And now my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.
[42:30] O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point, because of your sins, by denying the justice of God, but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long suffering, have full sway in your heart; but let it bring you down to the dust, in humility.
[42:31] And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, and the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them.– And may God grant unto you even according to my words.– Amen.
This loving invitation from a righteous father is a beautiful example of how all righteous parents feel when it comes to entreating their wayward children. We want you to partake of the gift of mercy. We beg of you – turn to the savior. Receive of his love. Turn from sin. Pray with all of your heart. Receive the Savior unto yourself. His arms are open wide and he wants you.