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Mercy and justice

The Book of Mormon gives Latter-day Saints some important teachings about the mercy and justice of God.

We see at least two of mercy and possibly two types of justice. His mercy and justice apply to all who have 
had the commandments the law, or those without the law.

In LDS theology, Lucifer was denied having a body of flesh and bones when he rejected God's plan at a 
council in heaven.

According to 2 Nephi 2:18, Satan had become miserable forever, and now he was destined to seek the 
misery of all mankind. This misery would come upon all mankind through the fall of man - the physical and 
spiritual death which passed upon all mankind because of Adam's transgression (Alma 42:9).

When Adam and Eve fell, justice placed its demands on them - spiritual and physical death. We see that 
this same justice claims all who have had mortal bodies - believers, non-believers, and babies.

This first judgment (or punishment) came upon all mankind because of Adam's fall. The atonement was 
required to allow corruptible to put on incorruptibility (2 Nephi 9:6-7).

The fall caused all mankind to become carnal and devilish (lost and fallen). Without the atonement, they 
would have all remained in this fallen state and the devil would have all power over them (Mosiah 16:3-5).

According to Moroni 8:13,22, little children and those without the law are alive (saved in Christ) because 
of the atonement. If they were not saved, they would be consigned to a state of endless hell.

According to Moroni 8:8, little children inherit the curse of Adam, and this curse is taken from them in Christ. 
This explains why children die sometimes in infancy. After they die a physical death and spiritual death 
because of Adam's fall (Alma 42:9), the atonement of Christ pays for this penalty.

While the Book of Mormon says little children cannot be saved if they were capable of sinning, nevertheless 
Christ atones for the sin nature that they inherited from Adam (Mosiah 3:16).

According to Alma 42:14, all mankind including babies and those who have never heard the gospel are 
fallen and in the grasp of justice. This justice consigns them all to be forever cut off from His presence.

When men are in this fallen condition and without Christ's mercy to resurrect them, the Book of Mormon 
teaches that these individuals are not only subject to the devil, but that they become devils themselves ... 
to remain with Satan forever in a state of misery without a resurrected body. The atonement of Christ is 
said to be the mercy which prepares a way for their escape from the grasp of this awful monster 
(2 Nephi 9:9-10).

All believers and non-believers are in this condition without the mercy of God.

As Alma 41:11 explains, "all men are in a state of nature ... they are in a state contrary to the nature of 
happiness." This includes little children who die before the age of reason and those who have never 
heard of the gospel. When Adam and Eve sinned, they put the entire human race into this fallen state.

2 Nephi 9:25 says, "Where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim 
upon them".

In other words, all mankind is condemned because of Adam's transgression until the mercy of Jesus 
claims them through His atonement.

2 Nephi 9:26 says, "For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have 
not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the 
devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God 
who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.

What are the demands of His justice?

In simple terms, the demands of justice is that all are consigned to endless torment or punishment in 
the lake of fire.

The person who dies an enemy of God, being unrepentant, receives one type of mercy in that he is 
resurrected to appear before God for judgment. The other type of mercy has no claim on the unrepentant 
ones because they are consigned to endure a never-ending torment (Mosiah 2:38-39).

Infants or those who die without the law receive a type of mercy in that they too are resurrected to 
appear before God. According to Mosiah 8:22, these are not under condemnation brought about by 
the law.

According to Alma 42:1, the justice of God is evident in the punishment of the sinner. When you read 
the rest of this chapter, you realize that Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden when they 
disobeyed God and ate from the forbidden tree. They were cut off both temporarily and spiritually from 
the Lord's presence v. 7. They were punished for their sin (see also verse 17).

According to verses 16-18, the punishment was affixed in opposition to the plan of happiness. This is 
also repeated in 2 Nephi 2:10.

This is a little confusing since the LDS Church teaches that Adam and Eve did not have happiness before 
they disobeyed God. According to 2 Nephi 2:11, Adam and Eve neither had happiness nor misery, 
neither sense nor insensibility. But when we look at Moses (3:9), the trees in the Garden of Eden were 
made pleasant to the sight of Adam.

It is also odd for another reason. Because he did have the sense to name the animals and take care of 
God's garden. Eve also had the sense of pleasure when she looked at the forbidden fruit before she 
ate it.

According to Alma 42:14, "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". All mankind - believers, infants, 
and non-believers were lost because of the transgression of Adam and Eve (2 Nephi 2:21).

Like Adam and Eve were punished for their transgression and consigned to a state of misery, so too is 
all mankind punished for this Adamic transgression because we too are consigned to forever be cut off 
from the Lord's presence unless there is another way to fix this situation.

According to Jacob 6:10, the power of justice demands that all people go to be with the devil in the lake 
of fire were it not for the atonement of Christ. This hell is eternal and it involves eternal punishment 
(Jacob 7:18).

Therefore, all mankind is indirectly punished because of Adam's transgression. This would explain the 
Book of Mormon's teaching of the need for Christ's mercy.

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