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The Eternal Nature of Freedom

By Charles Brown

As we consider the principle of freedom, how far back should we go? When did it begin to exist as a precept or principle? A study of world history will give various examples of the idea.   Would it not have root in eternity?  Is it grounded in the philosophies of man or eternal truth?

For freedom to exist, at least three things must be present. Opposition or choices, Creation and Individuals capable of experiencing it. If none of these exist then freedom cannot. The fact is they all exist naturally. Are these things from God? That is the real question. Does God exist as a natural being in eternity or is he something men have invented to fill gaps in the theories of natural creation and their biblical interpretations?
Read here for an explanation.

Those familiar with world history will tell you about the many societies that had wonderful moments of freedom and then lost it. The founders knew of those other societies. Their intent was to correct the mistakes of those governments so that freedom might endure.  I think they understood the eternal nature of freedom and the opposition that would always arise and seek to subdue it.

I recently read the book "The Miracle of Freedom, The Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World".  With the idea of tipping points I thought of two other events, tipping points in theology that demonstrate the nature of freedom. They are the war in heaven and the Garden of Eden.

In the book of Genesis we find considerations of life, creation and freedom.  In the book of Revelation we find a conflict mentioned between good and evil and the possibility that freedom is God's plan for mankind.  How can there be a war in heaven?

While some theological differences exist in Christianity as to what the scriptures mean regarding the Garden of Eden, many points exist that bring about the value of freedom.

One consideration of freedom is the spiritual beginning from before the earth was ever populated. This would be the time when as the Jesus was foreordained to be our Savior.  

Another being, known as Lucifer also sought prominence in the pre-mortal world.  He was called a "son of the morning", and held some influence among the beings in the pre-mortal world. Who were the spiritual beings that existed at this time? Many instances in the Old Testament and New Testament indicate that we lived as spiritual beings before we were born on earth.

What was this war about?  Why didn't perfect peace exist in the presence of God? How did the foreordination of Jesus Christ come about?

If a war took place in heaven and Satan was the leader of the evil coalition, who were the good beings led by Michael, the archangel?  What was this war about?  If Satan was free in the pre-mortal realm to organize followers, (at least a third of the hosts of heaven) and fight a war, then opportunity for good and evil existed at that time.  What does evil seek to do?  Think of evil as every selfish thought, motive and act to inflict suffering and injury on others. It infringes on the rights of others.

The logical philosophy is that without evil there can be no good. In the same manner without opposition or the possibility of bondage there is no freedom. Without hate there is no love. Simple logic and self evident truth is that without opposites there are no choices to be made and therefore no freedom or liberty.

"So fundamental in man's eternal progress is his inherent right to choose, that the Lord would defend it even at the price of war. Without freedom of thought, freedom of choice, freedom of action within lawful bounds, man cannot progress.

The Lord recognized this, and also the fact that it would take man thousands of years to make the earth habitable for self-governing individuals. Throughout the ages advanced souls have yearned for a society in which liberty and justice prevail. Men have sought for it, fought for it, have died for it. Ancient freemen prized it, slaves longed for it, the Magna Charta demanded it, the Constitution of the United States declared it." David O. McKay

Without law there is no sin, without sin there is no evil.  Laws and order must exist or chaos would be the state of affairs. Without eternal law there could be no eternal justice. Sin is the action of evil.  Evil seeks control over others and eliminates freedom in the process.  

God is a being of order and eternal laws?  This mortality must be a necessary step for freedom and learning if it now exists as such a place and it certainly does?  We must accept the fact that God wants us here living in a state of mortality as a logical conclusion to any theological or philosophical reasoning. It is the manifestation of his character and creations.

The scripture indicates that Satan sought to elevate himself above God.  How could he even conceive such an idea?   Christian philosophers have often taught that pride is associated with such a mindset.  Where did Satan get this ability for such pride if he was a creation of God?  

The Christian philosophers also tell us that something called free will is the answer to the problem of evil. Where does free will come from?   Theologians tell us that a person's will is somehow infused in him during his creation out of nothingness and that this mysterious addition to man's personality now allows him to separate himself from the goodness his creator?  In reality this cannot be so.  If the creator is the first cause of man's physical existence and the cause of his free will then God would be responsible for any evil actions of the creature under this doctrine.

The only way to escape such an illogical conclusion is to understand that unless the will has always existed in some form such as eternal spiritual intelligence, its first cause and only cause is God.   

The Father's creations contrary to popular theology are not mysteriously produced out of nothingness.  The Fathers power is to bring life and experience in a never ending circle of creation to individual eternally existing intelligence. This spark of life is the light and energy that exists in each of us. It is not created out of nothingness as age old religious myths would suggest.  

The boundlessness of space and materials are as infinite as common sense and self evident truth would tell us and that matter cannot be created nor destroyed, only changed. God has no need nor desire to limit us to creatures of adoration.

In the pre-mortal time when our spirits were begotten by God the Father, the necessity of experiential knowledge was explained to us. Satan brought forth a proposal.  His was to force all of God's spiritual offspring to comply with the necessary eternal laws, the natural laws that produce the harmony among eternal beings.  

While living in mortality we learn these laws by being free to accept them or reject them.  In any case as free beings we will violate them and commit sin during life on earth.  His proposal was to make salvation available by eliminating the opportunity to sin.  

This concept was rejected by the Father and war in heaven erupted. There would no sacrificial act, only Satan's tyrannical rule on earth. Think of the most evil tyrants in history.  They are after all rulers under his influence, still trying to implement his plan in the earth to the extent possible.

This is where his pride rooted in his own eternal personality also manifest itself.  If there was to be glory associated with our salvation he wanted it to be his.  It is this act or desire which is recorded in biblical scripture without any explanation as to how Satan thought he could be so glorified and exceed the Most High.

It was his desire to compete with Christ with his counterfeit salvation that wasn't even really possible according to eternal law. He still uses counterfeits to try and eliminate faith in Christ as the means to salvation.  He now seeks to eliminate freedom and inalienable, God given rights and cause mankind to be miserable.  He seeks to put us in bondage to evil rulers or addictions of any kind that rob mankind of individual power to make choices.

Classical theism has interpreted scriptures referring to Satan's pride as a stand alone event not related to any other events.  This assumption of scholars just doesn't give a full view of the situation. It does not take into account as prominent Christian  philosopher C.S. Lewis states, that the essence of pride is competition.  

The basis of the pre-mortal war was Satan's attempt to take the pre-mortal glory that was already Jesus' as the firstborn of the Father.  Satan thought he could rise above the Father and Jesus in offering salvation to the hosts of heaven by eliminating their freedom to choose.

Jesus on the other hand respecting the agency of individuals and the eternal laws and pattern by which the plan was organized, was willing to live on earth and lay down his life voluntarily and give all glory to the Father.  He did this for our sake to bring mercy and grace to satisfy, even overpower the demands of perfect eternal justice and eventually end the reign of sin that Satan would hold for a time.

As we move forward to the creation of the earth and its first inhabitants we see a setting where freedom is introduced again. Initially it is very limited. Adam and Eve only have one choice that would be in opposition to God. The one commandment we are aware of given to Adam and taught to Eve was to not partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that was in opposition to the Tree of Life.  

They transgressed this commandment which was suited to introduce one thing, the condition of mortality necessary for life and freedom to begin on the earth.   They did not die upon partaking but were given mortality, in their case almost a thousand years. They were promised a resurrection.  Their bodies in the garden, though immortal were corruptible as proven by the fall. The resurrection would bring them incorruptible bodies.

To choose the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was apparently the only element of freedom or choice available to them.  How could it be an evil choice if they did not yet know the difference between good and evil?

They couldn't steal, covet, lust or commit any of the typical sins as everything was theirs as well. So rather than view the situation for what it was, philosophers have said that Adam and Eve were prideful for listening to Satan and thinking they could be like God. How is wisdom a bad thing or to be good like God a prideful thing. They are such only when viewed in the flawed understanding of many theological scholars.

Much of pride today is evident in those that focus extremly on their bodies and its features, the clothes we put on them and how we display them.  Many erroneous assumptions arise because of how we view our bodies as better or worse than someone else's. Adam and Eve did not even know they were naked, so the idea of pride in their character seems unlikely. They were innocent and childlike in their demeanor.

The interesting aspect of this setting is that the fruit of the tree was in the midst or middle of the garden, close to them.   It was not in another orchard cordoned off by a barrier.  Nor was the fruit of good on one tree and evil on another tree in separate orchards.

You simply cannot have one without the other and that is what the tree represents.  Partaking made them like God, knowing good and evil and this was the intention of God in placing them there.

We know they were obedient to God until Satan came along. Again it is interesting that God who also communicated with them in the Garden allowed the most evil being in heaven and earth to come and visit them.  It doesn't seem like an ideal place for eternal habitation as some biblical philosophers have taught.  

Everything about the setting was designed for Adam to make a choice that would result in leaving the garden, entering a mortality and learning from experience.  Not only about the harvest of life through labor but in all of his posterity facing off against evil in some fashion.

They did not and could not understand the concept of death since none had died before them.  They were innocent in many ways. They could not have a concept of procreation. They did not even know they were naked before they partook. If by chance they could procreate before the fall their descendants would eventually over run the planet as immortals if they too were capable of procreation.

It is an obvious conclusion that they did not understand this aspect of their existence until they fell. So further life after their kind was not possible in the garden setting.  They could not fulfill the Fathers commandment to multiply without gaining certain knowledge.

Just as there is no good without evil so too there is no immortality without mortality. Since this was the case, their partaking of the fruit was not an act of pride or even a sin as many Bible scholars and philosophers have postulated even though it opened the door to sin.

The whole garden setting was designed for one thing.  For Adam and Eve to make a choice together that would introduce death and opposition so that mankind could gain experiential knowledge. Eve made the first choice to partake. Adam had to decide whether to follow or not.  He did so because it was the right choice and had to happen in order for procreation to result.

The price of freedom is mortality.  The price of mortality is a divine sacrifice by a perfect redeemer.   A key element of the garden setting is that God did not force mortality upon them. He gave them a choice with a consequence, with the method of overcoming death and sin already in place by Jesus' future sacrifice and resurrection.  He suffered and died so we could be free.

By choosing from the wide panorama of opposites and experiencing the bitter and the sweet, love and hate, pain and pleasure and others we would learn. God himself stated that they had become as they, plural were, knowing good from evil. It is noteworthy that they did not state that Adam had become like Satan for his choice.  From this we again see that the choice was not based on pride as Christian philosophers have often proposed.

It was and is God's intention for us to become like him through experience of our own and through his grace, mercy and the power of the atonement of his Son.  The body Adam possessed in the Garden of Eden was corruptible. Through the resurrection mankind will receive an incorruptible body. Through repentance and forgiveness mankind can perfect their character.  All of these gifts represent the fullness of God's love and are dependent on our freedom to choose.

We were sent here to earth to learn and in so doing to continue to do battle against them as these evil spirits seek to extend their tyrannical tendencies during the time they have. Satan thought he was thwarting God's plan in the garden when he was actually helping to implement it.

Those that think Adam was to remain in the garden forever forsake the mission of the Savior.  Satan was the contingency to make sure he partook. Jesus wasn't the contingency in case he did.   Jesus was the plan from the beginning.

The assumption that wanting to be like the ultimate good, or following our exemplar is prideful has been taken to an extreme that just isn't true.  If Jesus said come follow me then we should follow him and be like him in every way that we can.  Peace would surely follow us in this earth if that were the case.

God has no selfish interest with any of his possessions and no limits in granting them. He is the freest of all beings and invites us to be so as well. Satan's pride and idea of dominion was his downfall and seeking to be glorified in it.  

Adam and Eve weighed the simple choices they had and chose the path of opposition, life and expanded freedom in becoming like God through a choice he gave them.   This was a gift of God as he placed them where they could make the choice and did not force it on them.

Now if Jesus was ordained before the foundation of the world to be the Savior, Adam's fall was a necessary event.  Correct theology should teach that they were foreordained to usher in mortality for the whole human race.  Marriage was established to bring life and preserve freedom.  Adam and Eve were and are exemplars of this relationship.

They were given God's law and they constituted the first Christians and government of the planet.   Their choice gave all of us an opportunity to have freedom. Hardship brought learning but God immediately made them coats of skins and covered their nakedness and taught them about their Savior and his salvation. They were in fact the world's first Christians.

We see Cain seek to exercise dominion over his brother and murder him. Many followed in his way.  When any seek dominion by force we can see the evil nature of Satan's influence.  While this battle on earth will eventually be won by Jesus Christ and those on his side, there are very real consequences driven by eternal perfect justice to those that oppose him or fail to recognize him when given the opportunity to do so.  

As the fall brought sin, God gave us a moral law to guide us in life.  As a simple example, pilots often remark how free they feel when flying.  The fact is in order to do so they are bound by more laws than I could explain here.  They willingly comply with these laws lest they endanger themselves and their passengers.

The moral code God has given us is for our happiness and well being in this fallen state.  It is our choice to follow or not. Jesus died that we might be free. Free from the consequences of our sin and errors if we will choose him. Eternally free in the everlasting truth that is his righteousness if we accept his offering.  Faith in him is the power to be free to overcome evil by being free not to choose it.

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