Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Real Power of Grace

If there truly are things that are so deeply ingrained genetically / physiologically as to make it impossible to overcome them in this life, those things are covered in the Atonement through God's grace. Being "punished for own sins, not Adam's transgression" covers the unchosen effects of Adam's transgression on all his posterity - or it would have no real power.

I don't know for sure if there are genetic tendencies that are so strong that they truly cannot be overcome by a particular individual, but I suspect there are such constraints for nearly all of us - if not all. Isn't that the whole point of grace - forgiveness of those things that are outside of our control that otherwise, according to a strict Law of Moses application, would condemn us?


Anonymous said...

Oh, Ray.What a useful corrective to the despair that i often feel at my family's seeming inability to transcend our past.Yet, I also have a testimony of specific issues in our family life that grace alone has made surmountable.Amazing grace.

Gwennaƫlle said...

I don't know. I may be presomptuous but I have the feeling that we have pretty much identified most cases where accountability is truly involved or not from a medical point of view.
My issue with thinking that some things are genetical is that it can be (and has been) used as an excuse for everything.
Beside my point of view about overcoming the natural man is not about overcoming a perfect natural man but the actual flaws we are filled with and to me this include those flaws that we consider genetical.
And when I am talking about overcoming I am not talking about overcoming for example the effect of Leukemia through the gospel (I am not stupid) what I meant is that the expectation may be lower according to what we have been loaded with but it does not take away or responsability to overcome whatever we have been given.
Then it is up to us to show some love and to understand that we have not been given all the same things or the same amount of things and that sometimes some have been given flaws not just for them but for our own progression too.
But saying that some things are genetical and will be covered in the Atonement sounds to me like an excuse.
This is only my point of view and I may not have understood what you really meant. If it is so I apologize :)

Papa D said...

Thanks, anon.

Gwen, I agree that we are responsible to try to change our "nature" and develop godlike characteristics. That's been the focus of my Saturday posts for the last two years - to talk about specific things we need to do to repent (change and grow).

What I'm saying here is that I believe there might be some things with which we will struggle all our lives - that will constitute for us what Paul called the "thorn of my flesh" and what Nephi described as "the sins that so easily do beset me". At the core, all I'm saying is that there probably are some things (or at least one thing) for each of us that will keep us from being perfect in this life (complete, whole, fully developed) - and that the atonement / grace covers those things.

I'm NOT saying we don't need to try to change those things about ourselves - just that if we strive our whole lives to do so and don't succeed fully, it won't be held against us in the end.

I hope that makes more sense to you.

Molly said...

I just love this thought. We often think of the Atonement as forgiveness for our sins, and it is, but it's more. As you said, the Atonement is there to make up for all sorts of failings. I think of my grandfather, who was so wonderful, and sweet, and kind. When he was on Prozac. However, Prozac didn't exist for much of his life. Vitamin P (as we call it in my family) made him the man he should have been, and I think the Atonement must make up for his mood deficiencies.

Gwennaƫlle said...

mmmmmmmmmmmmm I think we aggree it is just that we don't have the same way to express things.
I like my way to express it because it is mine and because it is the best. Just kidding.

I spent a week with my grand-mother hearing about her son and how it is not his fault that he is violent because HER father and then HIS father were both violent. Therefore it must be genetical or something of the kind.
I am not saying that he does not carry it in his genes I am saying that it is not an excuse. And I am not saying this to you actually but to my grand-mother. would you mind being my grand-mother for a few minutes?
Seriously she drove me mad everytime she talked about him because it is all that she could say. and she said this because she knows I don't want to see him. At least her ex-husband was more subtle on the matter and tried to apologize acknowldging his own responsibility in his son behavior. But it does not change the problem that I don't want to see him and that genes may be an explanation for his strong temper but not for beating up women (surprisingly he never tries to beat up men?!?!?!)

Anyway, I was just doing my own little therapy here, understanding why I reacted to your post ;)

Papa D said...

Great example, Molly.

I think we agree, Gwen. Grace and the Atonement too often are used as an excuse not to try - to say, in essence, "Eat, drink and be merry - cause you've been saved already." That's not my belief at all.

It's not that we have an excuse to say, "That's just who I am, so I don't need to try to change." It's that we have a reason for hope that even though we DO try our failure to reach perfection (completion, wholeness, full development) will not be held against us - and that we don't have to feel debilitating guilt over our imperfection.