The other night I was reading from the scriptures and I found a passage that didn’t make sense to me. Here are the verses:
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (1 Pet 3:18-20)
6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Pet 4:6)
When I read this, I marveled because I know that Jesus spent about three years preaching repentance during his mortal ministry and even though he performed a bunch of amazing miracles he was only able to convince a relatively small number of people to repent and follow him.
By contrast, his ministry among the dead was limited to the very short time between the crucifixion and his resurrection–only a few days. I sat there wondering how Peter could be correct that Jesus was able in those few days to preach to all the spirits in prison which included a vast multitude of people going all the way back to those who were disobedient in the days of Noah.
It was at this point that my understanding was opened and I realized my arrogance in assuming that I could apply human experience and logic to what happens in the spirit world. After all, the Book of Mormon clearly teaches us that “all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men” (Alma 40:8). Further, I knew from my study of General Relativity that in a block universe such as ours, time is twisted up with space so that my perception of time is fundamentally flawed and incorrect. Since God lives outside of time, I realized that it was foolishness to apply my limited human experience to these scriptures.
The eyes of my understanding were opened and I realized that if Peter said Jesus preached to all the spirits in prison in a few days then that’s the way it was. Who am I to question and “make sense” of that which has been revealed and given to me in the canonized revelations of the Bible?
So for a change I exercised a bit of humility, I accepted that this story probably can’t make sense in this mortal sphere but that some day it will make sense when I can reason using God’s logic with an understanding of God’s time. I went to sleep, happy to know that for once I could just accept things the way they really are.