Sunday, April 13, 2014

Abraham 3:24-26 -- On Testing, Change, and Beauty

"And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.
And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him."
Abraham 3:24-28

This is interesting stuff.  We have access to many versions of the creation story, and they all add different things to our understanding.  This particular one helps us understand several things.  That more than one person was involved in the creation of the Earth is clear by the "we," but even clearer in later chapters.  The idea of our lives as a "proving ground" for mortality is clear.  Of particular interest is the reference to this life as our "second estate" and this perspective of the "war in heaven" referred to in Revelation 12:7.
I had a roommate in college at one point who believed that she was a "fence-sitter" in that war, and thus that she didn't have much of a chance in the Gospel, with God's foreknowledge of her probable failure.  And maybe we all think similar things when we are down on ourselves... worried that we aren't as good as other people: that we are less strong, less valiant, less responsible.  But we all have the ability to make it.  First of all, God's knowledge of us isn't forcing us into anything.  He just knows us that well... knows everything that well.  Even we can start to predict how our best friends or family will react in certain ways, and since God's knowledge of everyone, and the earth itself, is perfect, he can predict *everything.*  His knowledge definitely doesn't remove our choice... that is something that he protects and cherishes.  He wants us to be individuals, not automatons.  Further, *none* of us were fence-sitters during the war in heaven.  We weren't part of the many who followed after Satan... or we wouldn't be here (see Jude 1:6 for what happened to the people who didn't keep their first estate).  Only the people who kept the first estate, or passed the first test, if you will, made it to the second stage.  And we are here.  Which means we all made it, and agreed with God's plan, and helped make it a reality.  So, that should be kind of a relief, right?  We're already way more than halfway through the test, and we know we aced the first part. :)  We all have it within us to ace the second part as well, and keep our second estate.
Today, let's remember that life is a test.  It is designed to help us learn and grow and become.  And it is open book.  The scriptures are laid before us, and we are *invited* to use them to solve our problems.  Our teacher and Lord and Father, God, is also available to go to for advice and help *anytime* we need it.  Let's take advantage of our many resources.  Let's stop resenting it and start learning it... and become the amazing people that we can be, not because we just instantly are those people, but because *through* the test we change and refine ourselves... chipping off the rough spots, polishing up the goodness, and becoming more and more beautiful until we shine like the sun.  Today, let's live and learn and never give up on the opportunity we have to improve and grow into perfection.

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