First of all, the light of Christ is not mentioned at all in the bible. It is a concept strictly found in modern scripture. Even there, there are only three times were the term is used, the earliest use being in Alma 28:14. As NCT author Jacob J has dedicated much time to this topic, I felt I should do an independent study of it, and return and report.
Alma 28:14 notes only that we have reason for â€œjoy because of the light of Christ unto life.â€ This is contrasted with sorrow because of the â€œdeath and destructionâ€ caused by a great war where tens and thousands were slain, making the author (either Mormon or Alma) to reflect on the state of the souls of those who had been slain. Poignantly he notes the inequality of man, due to our choices, due to our sins and transgressions, and due also to the influence of Satan upon the world, which is a deterministic force compelling us on to misery. Realizing the power of this opposition, the Author feels, is a great call to diligence for men to go forth and â€œlabor in the vineyards of the lord.â€ This is the set up for the reference to the â€œlight of Christ unto life.â€ We must â€œlabor in the vineyardâ€ to give the â€œlight of Christ unto lifeâ€ or at least a knowledge of how to utilize it or increase it to man, so that he or she may â€œdwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happinessâ€.
The author continues on this theme of â€œthe great call of diligenceâ€ by wishing he were an Angel, and that he could go forth in an all powerful fashion and force the people to pay attention to the message of God, in order to eradicate evil from the world. He knows this is wrong however, to want such a thing, as men are given â€œaccording to their willsâ€ or â€œaccording to their desireâ€ destruction or salvation, death or life. (Recall that it is the light of Christ which leads unto life). Everyone is (and Iâ€™d add must be) exposed to both good and evil in their lives. Those who can not distinguish good from evil are blameless, but for the rest of us, who are not blameless, we will reap what we sow, again according to our â€œdesiresâ€: â€œgood or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscienceâ€
As used here, the light of Christ can not be clearly elucidated, however, some ideas stick out. The light of Christ can either be given, increased, or better utilized through the diligent labor of man. This does not preclude Jacob Jâ€™s atonement theory, but It does ad nuance to it. Also, I donâ€™t know if this is just me, but while going over this, I realized that thinking of â€œconscienceâ€ as the imp on my shoulder was impeding my understanding. Conscience, I believe, is merely information available to us regarding good and evil which informs our decisions. This also does not preclude Jacob Jâ€™s theory of the atonement. Lastly, I am not sure I can equate “light of Christ” exactly with conscience, but rather as a subset thereof, especially in light of the fact that someone can lack the ability to discern good from evil, and is thus blameless.
Was Alma 28-29 written by Mormon or Alma. In Alma 28, the tense changes from past tense to present tense around verse 11, is this where it would switch? Is there some reason we traditionally consider Alma 29 to be Almaâ€™s speech, or do we just follow the chapter heading?
Unrelated to the text at hand, If conscience is information regarding what is good and evil, is it related to the tree of knowledge of good and evil?