“And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediation of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil.” -2 Nephi 1:120 RAV, 2:27b OPV
I was talking to someone once about a sin they were trapped in. They stated that they were “born that way,” that God had made them with that sin (think lying, stealing, etc.) and so they didn’t need to repent of it. The idea was that if God is perfect, then His creations are perfect, and there is no sin in what they were “born to do.”
This idea led me to a number of questions:
- Why would God give us commandments if we’re born to sin?
- Why would God make us evil?
I came up with a few answers, and I really didn’t like any of them. For one, if God made us evil then commanded us not to be evil then logic would presume that he made us for Hell. Knowing that Elohim sent Christ to save us, that makes no sense. This led me to, what I believe, is the better solution: God made us perfect, we corrupted ourselves. Knowing we would do this, he prepared a way: Jesus Christ (John 3:15-16).
Who We Are
There are some attributes we have that are eternal. as we read in the Book of Melchizedek, “Thus are the five stages of man: Intelligence, Spirit, Flesh, Soul, and Resurrected Being; the final being all stages in one, forever complete” (Melchizedek 4:9). In the first stage, we were nothing but intelligence, yet we were eternal. Our first birth, or first estate was our creation by our Heavenly Parents. Those that kept this estate were born into the second, here on earth (Abraham 3:26).
The most prominent of our eternal principles, what makes us who we truly are, is altruism. If we are the children of a God or Gods that only give freely of Themselves, then wouldn’t we, by our eternal nature, do the same? Thus, as we abandon Ego and sin we cleans the world and bring heaven, the correcting light of Christ, to the Earth.
We are currently in the “Flesh” state. As such, we are fallen; slaves to Ego. Our perfect souls, and we know they are perfect because we are the children of God, were corrupted by mortality. The Spirit being corrupted by the Flesh (spiritual death) creates the need to be born again in Christ. When we say “born again” it is our soul that is being born. The Spirit is purified just as our Flesh will be purified and healed by Christ as we are Resurrected in the fifth and final stage. At that point we that are saved will be given bodies Celestial. Terrestrial, or Telestial (Doctrine and Covenants 76).
When people say, “I was born this way,” referring to their life choices, they are giving in to the natural man that we must all overcome. Yes, we were born slaves to Ego, and this is why we must be born again. Perfection put on corruption and now must put on incorruption (1 Corinthians 15:41-42, 50-54). We must return to our childlike nature, trusting in God, even when life seems frightening.
God Has Faith in Us
When someone asks: “Why did God make them that way?” we should reform the question. The true question should be, “Why is God putting them through that?’ It was because God has faith that they, with His divine help, will overcome. God has faith that we will overcome our own prejudices (Ego: the natural man within us) and love people as they are (Godly altruism). Therefore, we should reward God’s faith in us by loving one another regardless of what we see as flaws. By doing this, we become more Christlike.
If we have God’s love in our hearts, we will not see another’s shortcomings as flaws, but as opportunities and as the great faith the Lord has in that person. And, God has faith in us, knowing we can do this because we are God’s children, and being born again we are the children of Christ.
“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” -Abraham 3:25