From Adam S. Miller and his book ‘Original Grace’—An experiment in Restoration Thinking

While the Christian tradition views our collective fall into suffering, sickness and death—as a catastrophic loss and a just punishment, Latter-day Saints view our fall into the troubles of mortality as, ultimately, one of God’s greatest gifts. Our troubled mortal lives aren’t a punishment. Our suffering in mortality isn’t proof that God’s original plan was ruined. As Latter-day Saints tell the story, our mortality is God’s original plan. “If it were not for our transgression,” Eve exclaims in Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible, “We never would have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:11).

And where the Christian tradition views the afterlife simply in terms of heaven’s absolute rewards and hell’s blistering punishments, Latter-day Saints view the afterlife—in light of Doctrine and Covenants 76—as almost entirely composed of differing degrees of slavific glory that, in relation to traditional readings, effectively define “hell” out of existence. Despite the fact that the Book of Mormon alone uses the word hell almost sixty times, Latter-day Saints don’t ultimately believe in anything like Dante’s circles of hell, where God perpetually exacts his justified revenge on vile sinners.

The Restoration’s comprehensive revisions to these traditional stories about Eden and hell have the same effect: while preserving Christian cannon, they sharply undercut the logic that organizes a traditional Christian understanding of why we suffer in mortality. This logic has been supplanted by additional revelations that tell a different story about our suffering and, ultimately, a very different story about justice and grace.

Does sin cause suffering. Yes. Does God’s justice require suffering as punishment for sin? No.

Sin adds to our suffering because “wickedness never was happiness,” not because God insists that we suffer. God’s work is to relieve and redeem that suffering. He suffered for my sins so that I wouldn’t have to. If I still suffer for sin, this is because I insist on suffering. I insist on refusing God’s grace. I refuse to repent. “And surely every man must repent or suffer” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:4). Does suffering, in general, have a purpose? No. Suffering is just a fact of life. ~Adam S. Miller, Previously Published “Letters to a Young Mormon, An Early Resurrection” . . . .Original Grace “An Experiment in Restoration Thinking”(Deseret Book, BYU Maxwell Insitute, 2022,) p.28-31 (continued)

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