As with the Universe, I wonder if the beginning of the salvation plan could have had another solution. In that garden, where that special big bang of our history began, everything was compressed in a very dense situation. The decisions that Adam and Eve made in that reduced environment, shaped the fall in Eden and all the conditions of life and its subsequent expansion.
Its filaments extend here and we notice how its background radiation envelops everything.
Placing ourselves in that moment leads us to ask ourselves the question Why are things the way they are?
Just as mutations occur in organisms in their genes that produce general changes. In the garden there was a mutation in the human condition because of a moral decision.
The result of that ignition, where diverse forces participated, is our world described masterfully by Lehi when he advises his son Jacob.
«And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever. «( 2 Nephi 2: 5 )
The static garden
In the beginning we were created without sin, pure and innocent. In this way, without discerning good from evil, our condition was childish. Therefore there was no growth toward the divine or the opposite.
As Lehi says, in a static garden
«… Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation … « ( 12 )
One problem that arises when reading the Book of Mormon is that, the clarity and simplicity with which it was written, seems simplicity. And nothing is further from the truth. In this verse, he describes the situation of man on earth. A desperate situation.
We can ask ourselves, is there no other way of doing things? Why the fall, why so much complication?
We could have started everything from a knowledge of good and evil in the garden. Know the role of Lucifer. Know the consequences and have fallen from the start.
However, when we meditate a bit on that scene, we see that the two trees can not coexist. The one of the life and the one of the knowledge of the good and of the evil. If we lived in that assumption, there would be no redemption. We would always be fallen men, away from the presence of God.
And we could not be created from the beginning being mortal either. Since that would be to break the will of man by creating it and previously removed from God. And getting away from him should be a decision of Adam. A decision that would be inherited in their descendants. Because death would enter the world through him.
The dynamic garden
There was not an individual garden to see what each one would do. The benefit of the fall would be general. There would only be one plan for everyone, that was the agreement.
Before the zero moment of the plan of salvation, it was necessary to design it. How would you, dear reader? Have you ever thought about it? Can we imagine another way of doing things?
If we think well in that chosen garden and put ourselves in God’s place, we see that there are variations on the focus of the matter, but there is only one way to start the history of man. Some proposed variations will seem foolish. But remember the reader, that common sense begins after and not before the garden. We think with a logic embedded in the fall and its expansion. Before the fall all variations were options. In fact we know one of them, subject to the reverence due to the temple
Some variations on the fall in Eden
I propose below some variations on the situation in the garden of Eden.
The numbering at the beginning represents tree of knowledge / tree of life / given command.
The values, 0 would not eat, 1 be able to eat and in the third term value 2 you will not eat of the tree of life and value 1 not to eat of knowledge.
∞ 1/1/2 . If you are created with knowledge of good and evil, immortal and command not to eat of the tree of life.
They are condemned because they can not be redeemed from their sins because when they fall, they will live forever. There is no probationary period since immortality is not a period, it is a state. In this case both trees are unnecessary, because they do not represent free decisions for both.
⊥ 1/0/2 . If you are created with knowledge, lethal and do not eat from the tree of life.
It is starting from a fallen world without having sought it. As Lehi says « there would have been no object in his creation …» would be an interference in the free will that would have destroyed God’s plans. Neither trees are options, both are canceled. The command not to eat of the tree of life (2) would not change their situation. Eating any of the two trees would have no consequences, empty decisions.
∅ 1/1/2. If you are believed with knowledge and immortal and do not eat of the tree of life.
Then we would be in the same way, condemned. Well, there would be no redemption. No one could be redeemed or rescued from sin by someone who, upon falling, has access to immortality.
Ω 0/1/1. If you are believed without knowledge and immortal and do not eat tree of knowledge.
The central issue
This is the case. Now the commandment makes sense, because if it proves that of knowledge (1) you will certainly die. Before the option of remaining without knowledge and immortal was the tree of knowledge.
These two options were in the center of the garden … «I, the Lord God, planted the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and also the tree of knowledge of good and evil» ( Moses 3: 9 ).
This suggests that the gods wanted the affair to occupy a central place in the thoughts of the man in the garden.
The chosen variation
The possible combinations of these three factors, knowledge (0) life (1) and commandment (2) are very complex. If we apply a simple formula of variations with repetition VR n m = m n gives us a result of 27 possible combinations in the garden with the trees and the commandment. Include one more factor as Lucifer raises the variations to 256.
However, I sense that the elements in the fall of man are more numerous than what has been revealed to us. All this makes us think that just as there is life in the Universe, the configuration possibilities of the big bang are very, very narrow. The options for the plan of salvation were also.
The solution that the Father prepared for our redemption, we can understand to some extent by living in a world where apples fall to the ground. However, we do not perceive the complexity of the plan of salvation in its beginnings. We live in its expansion, in the selected and realized world. Our perception is limited to the visible. We are not surprised, to see an apple falling to the ground. But to fully understand that miracle requires someone like Isaac Newton and his work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica .
Just as we use the technology of our time without having to understand its constitution, in the same way, we live the plan of salvation without perceiving the complex gears of its formation.
The great wisdom of the plan and its extension only we perceive when we are humble to the point of admiring the glory of the grass of the field.
The visible plan
We certainly came here to get away from there. But it was not enough to get away from his presence it was necessary to fall from it. We can not mature in your house. It happens the same on earth and with animals. We not only need to get away from the nest, but also to fall to spread the wings. To access the knowledge of the flight, of prey hunting, of swimming in the ocean. In a way, you have to fall from the children’s house.
There is a similarity between the immortality of Adam in the garden and the safe life of the child in the family home. It is allowed to take from the fruit of the trees. But the child rushes from that infantile state to enter a fallen one, where his sustenance is not safe and the possibility of dying becomes real. In exchange, he acquires the knowledge and experience he could not eat in the trees of the family home. Understanding the clues that life gives us makes us understand its principle.
There are two serious and crucial moments in the history of man. Two moments in which the plan of salvation was in danger and hung by a thread. One is the fall of Adam, the other the atonement of Christ. In both the death was the objective. At first, in Eden, acquire it in your trees. In the olive trees of Gethsemane, overcome it. In both cases it happened in a garden. In both places there was a tree. In both was the decision of a man.
The man without feathers
As Lehi says, «by the temporal law they were cut off …» ( 2 Nephi 2: 5 ). When Adam falls, he does it in a dive. He does not yet have feathers and the Lord has to make him tunics of furs. So helpless he is. Without help, he is lost. He can not go back to Eden, he has been expelled. Testing the tree places it permanently at the crossroads of choosing each day of its life between good and evil.
Although » men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil» ( 5 ) that which they yearned for and which they finally have, it also supposes their perdition. Since their fallen bodies do not «obey» as before. There are fissures through which Satan enforces his dominion. Therefore, also «… by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.» ( 5 )
If we did not have an immortal soul, death would be the end of everything. It is not necessary plans. But the soul is eternal. Your states are too. We would again be spirits as before, but away from God, because our nature would continue to be fallen. We simply would not have bodies, but spiritually we would be dead by distance from the nest. In that state there is a king, and he enforces his command to a third of the children of God.
This situation, well thought of, is unfortunate, worthy of one of Poe’s stories.
The fallen man
The fall, we might say, is a legal procedure in the plan of salvation. A formalism if we want to call it that, without which, man could not reach his third state. The Father’s desire to give us his inheritance could not be done by force, but by right. According to the laws by which He Himself, he obtained his kingdom. And those laws regulate that the transmission of his inheritance or his increase of glory, must be done according to principles of justice. And it is those same principles that discard fallen man.
The universe and its «ecosystem» is not going to obey a fallen man, does not give any guarantee. It is a crossroads. It is as if they told Elohim how can you present Adam as an heir, a fallen man?
The Father devised this legal procedure, which solves the crossroads. A redeemer of the world. An Adam that reverses the process of death, to bring man back home. He is Christ, the Savior. He crushes the head of the serpent, a serpent that wounds the heel.
«Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit …» ( 2 Nephi 2: 7 )
The great achievement
He pays the price, but the condition for us is something that goes against the nature of the body that emerges from Eden. «a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.» ( 7 )
The great achievement of the plan of salvation, revealed to the Nephites centuries before Jesus Christ came to earth, as Jacob 4: 4 mentions «have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us «
That great achievement, as I say, is to change the nature of the state of man from a fallen state without hope to another of a different nature. As Lehi so aptly calls it, «And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation « ( 21 )
The probationary state is the possibility of tracing the course of our history.
The gift of free will
The only freedom we have is the one we get in Eden. All other liberties, civil, political, etc. They are temporary achievements, but they are not in our substance or nature. They can be lost depending on the circumstances.
However, free will in Eden is permanently interwoven in our soul. We can not lose it in this world, because we brought it from another. «men are free according to the flesh; and allthings are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; … « ( 27 )
The Universe and its assembly does not allow more «legal solutions» than this one. He made an exception with the son of Elohim and his sacrifice, was moved by his atonement. There are no exceptions. There is no other way.
In short, we can make many decisions in life. The variations of paths in Lehi’s dream are innumerable. But by reducing all the denominators we see that we arrive at the same one of our first state. We no longer choose between trees, but between Christ or Satan. Already the plans are not abstract. But they are led by one or the other.
The soft voice
Every human being in this world is in this situation. At some point in your journey you will become aware of the argument of the plan of salvation. Understand the laws and conditions. You will notice the background radiation «Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake» ( D & C 85: 6 )
This is a probative state for all. But knowing the plan can make a change.
«… this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state « ( Alma 42:10 )