For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass
(2 Ne. 2: 11)
In my last post in this mini-series I described the three primary models of eternity that have been debated here and at other blogs recently. Model 1 is the what I call the My Turn on Earth (MToE) model with no progression between kingdoms, Model 2 was the MToE model with progression between kingdoms, and Model 3 is the Multiple Mortal Probations (MMP) or Heber C. Kimball model.
I want to clarify that all three of these models agree on what I call the “Basic Model” from modern and ancient scripture. (See this chart). All agree that there was a pre-mortal existence, a veil, earth life, a post-mortal spirit world, a judgment and resurrection, and assignments to various degrees of glory. The differences arise in assumption about the details of the pre-mortal and post-mortal existences. So I consider the “MToE” model an unsupportable extension of the “Basic Model”. When I attack the MToE models I am only attacking what I see as untenable assumptions attached to the “Basic Model”.
In the first post of this mini-series I claimed that Model 1 is untenable based on what we know about God and the scriptures. In the second post I explained why Model 2 is a dangerous model that offers little or no incentive to repent in this life and thus encourages procrastination. In this post I will explain why I think Model 2 as commonly understood is untenable to begin with.
The common assumption in Models 1 and 2 can be summed up by a recent quote from Don over at Nine Moons:
Give me 1,000 years with Christ and all the returning prophets, with no Satan, and I’ll be ready to be exalted…
This is precisely the problem with Model 2. It assumes that after this life everyone will get perfect, immortal, resurrected bodies and will live in places that are glorious beyond all description and there will be few or no obstacles to becoming Christ-like and thus exalted.
My contention is that with no obstacles there can be no spiritual progression.
This is the message that both the scriptures and my intuition tell me: That becoming Christ-like requires tremendous barriers and obstacles rather than no barriers and obstacles. Consider weight lifting as an analogy: If Christ were the strongest man to have ever lived on earth then the way we become like him is to practice lifting heavier and heavier weights. He acts as our trainer along the way, but we must do the weight lifting just as he did (see also my atonement parable related to this). In Model 2 the assumption is that we will no longer have any serious “heavy lifting” to do after resurrection. For instance, Don’s logic would be something like “give me a thousand years of lifting a couple of feathers daily and I’ll become incredibly strong”. I don’t think so. Just as lifting only a couple of nearly weightless feathers would cause muscles to atrophy, living with no spiritual obstacles would cause spiritual atrophy.
What sorts of things allow us to become more Christ-like here? Things like:
- Overcoming our physical passions and appetites
- Refusing to compromise on our promises to God for worldly acceptance or praise
- Refusing to love our money and stuff more than the poor and needy
- Loving and serving those who we don’t know
- Forgiving those who hate us and want to injure us
The list could go on and on but you get the picture. It is doing those sorts of things that molds our characters here. Yet where will those things be in Model 2? As I understand Model 2 we will all be immortals (regardless of the kingdom) living in a gloriously beautiful place where there is no sickness and no death; where everyone has repented and knows the Plan of Salvation (retaining all of their eternal memories including memories of their judgment); where all will be glorious and beautiful; where no one will have addictions any more; where there will be no money and plenty for all so greed will be no problem; where no one will hurt or injure others, etc. Where is the opposition in that model? How could we possibly hope to become Christ-like when everyone is beautiful and repentant and healthy and lovable? Christ himself said that even the wicked love their friends. It is in having charity for our enemies and the sick and afflicted and the ugly and the mean and unlovable that characters are molded.
If our goal is to become like Christ after this life, the scripture seem to indicate that it will require future opposition even greater than we have heretofore experienced:
And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. (D&C 122: 7 (5-9))
Model 2 fails because it allows for essentially no such opposition in the future and thus I think it is not only procrastination-inducing, but also untenable as a model for spiritual progression. As such it, along with Model 1, should be rejected.
[Asociated radio.blog song: Fishbone - Every Day Sunshine]