Saturday, March 08, 2008

Consider: A Scriptural Juxtaposition

A friend recently pointed me to these two scriptures. Do you have thoughts about how they relate?
2 Nephi 2:5
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.

Alma 29:5

Yea, and I know that good and evil have come before all men; he that knoweth not good from evil is blameless; but he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires, whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscience.
I'm just beginning to wonder, but what I'm wondering is if there's significance in the difference between "men" (or "all men") of 2 Nephi 2:5 and the "he" that shows up in the second half of Alma 29:5. So maybe we as men (as in the human race) have, generally, been instructed sufficiently to know good from evil. (Perhaps via the commandments, maybe? Prophetic revelation and instruction throughout time?) And, too, we've been confronted with good and evil (see TV). But it is he (the individual, an individual) who knows the difference between good and evil that will have according to his desires. Only those of us who have actually internalized the lessons of right and wrong, of commandments, etc., will get what it is we want, whether that be ultimately good or bad.

Too, if there are those of us who, for whatever reason, missed the lessons that "all men" received--the general lessons of good from evil, the lessons of the prophets and the commandments--and, as individuals, are truly ignorant of the specific iterations of difference between good and evil, then we will be blameless. (Note: That's really not appropriately a "we" sort of statement. Twenty-seven years of regular church attendance, daily scripture study, being prayerfully parented and righteously roommated means that a lot of the right v. wrong stuff I, like "men" in general, have learned. I'm trying to be on board.)

Or something? Other thoughts? Counter thoughts? Asides?


kt said...

I think you are right =)

Steve said...

I also think you're right, specifically about the bit with people who know right from wrong getting what they want. That argument suggests that if we know right from wrong, then we can use what we're getting from life as a mirror for our desires, a meter to help tell us how we're doing at purifying our hearts.