Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lucifer's Plan of Salvation

I realize that there are some things we are not meant to understand, and perhaps just such a topic is Satan’s plan. Maybe we don’t have more details because we still have much to learn about God’s plan. The only reason I can give for seeking a deeper understanding of Satan’s plan is simply to give greater insight into the only plan that really matters. Hopefully the following thoughts can help accomplish this goal.

It is often taught and assumed in the church that Lucifer’s proposed plan in the pre-existence to take away our agency meant that he would force us to do what’s right so we could all make it back to heaven. Before we examine the scriptures, think for a moment of Lucifer’s character as we know it today. Is it within his character to want all men to do and be good? I think not. Why then would that be what he proposed in the pre-earth life? Frankly, it doesn’t make sense. Our purpose here is to show that perhaps there is another way in which Satan could have taken away our agency without forcing us to do good.

Moses 4:1-2
"Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me— Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever."
President John Taylor
"From these remarks made by the well beloved Son, we should naturally infer that in the discussion of this subject the Father had made known His will and developed His plan and design pertaining to these matters, and all that His well beloved Son wanted to do was to carry out the will of His Father, as it would appear had been before expressed."

So the Plan was known before Lucifer and Christ presented themselves; and it would appear that perhaps the greatest danger in Satan’s plan was that it was not the way God wanted it.  It was contrary to His will. The obvious difference was that Satan wanted to be the one to do it in place of Christ who had already been chosen.  What is not so clearly stated is an implied distinction between the two plans: that Satan’s would save everyone and God’s would not.  Since this is not clearly explained, we can assume that this is not the emphasis in the passage, but rather on the person who would carry out the actual atonement and the one who would receive the glory and honor.

As a result of his plan, Satan was cast out for the following three reasons, somehow inherent in his plan, but not explained in detail:

Moses 4:3-4
"Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice."

Of these three reasons, we only see two explained in the previous verses. Satan rebelled against God by proposing a plan contrary to God’s will and he sought God’s power and honor. We are left to question how exactly Satan's plan would "destroy the agency of man." This is where we make many assumptions based on perhaps a faulty or too simplistic idea of agency.  2 Nephi 2 discusses agency in great detail explaining that in order to have a choice, there must be something to choose between--opposites such as right and wrong.  For true agency, a law must exist in order to determine which choice is right and which is wrong.   If the law is to have any meaning, there must be consequences--good and bad or else there is no purpose to the law or the choice.   For Satan to destroy our agency, all he would need to do is take away any one of these components: choice, opposites, law, or consequences. Why do we automatically assume that he sought to take away our choice?

In the above verse we see that Lucifer became "the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men." Wouldn’t it make sense if his plan tried to deceive us in some way?  It makes sense that his plan could have been that there would be no law and thus no way to sin. This would mean no punishment; very enticing if agency is not understood. Those who were deceived did not understand that there must be opposites, as Lehi explains in 2 Nephi, and that righteousness would not exist either and therefore eternal glory could not be attained by Satan's plan (so his claim that not one soul would be lost was actually incomplete since not one soul would be saved either). This makes his motives completely selfish because no one would be happy, but he would be in power. This sounds like the Satan we know about today. Not one that wanted to compel everyone to do good.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
"When the Eternal Father announced his plan of salvation...there was a war in heaven. Lucifer sought to dethrone God,...and to save all men without reference to their works He sought to deny men their agency so they could not sin. He offered a mortal life of carnality and sensuality, of evil and crime and murder following which all men would be saved. His offer was a philosophical impossibility. There must needs be an opposition in all things. Unless there are opposites, there is nothing.

"Lucifer and his lieutenants preached...a gospel of fear and hate and lasciviousness and compulsion. They sought salvation without keeping the commandments, without overcoming the world, without choosing between opposites." - Millenial Messiah, p. 666

So it basically sounds like Lucifer's plan could have been to make it so that there was no law from which to be punished, not necessarily that we would be forced to do right. Christ is the author of righteousness because he championed righteousness in the premortal existence; Satan is the author of sin, not because he was the first to sin, but because he championed sin in the pre-existence (from a quote by Robert J. Matthews). Satan promoted sin even in the pre-existence. This rings true with his character today. Just as we will be the same type of person when we cross to the other side of the veil, I don't think that Satan once wanted us to do good and then, when cast out, wanted to do evil. He was evil in the pre-existence (along with 1/3 of everyone up there) and led the rebellion that got himself and that third cast out.

It would appear from the scripture in Moses clear at the top of this post, that Satan’s overall goal was to take over God’s place. In essence, he wanted God to cease to be God.

2 Nephi 2:13
"And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God..."

Very clever of him, I must say. I wonder what would have happened had he been able to convince more of us?