So much in this chapter, much of it great expounding on principles I already had basics on, but the extra detail or explanation made the view just open up.
In particular, I appreciated the explanation of how God’s foreknowledge doesn’t consitute a loss of agency on our part- His knowledge of what we will do doesn’t mean He wants it or is making it happen. I also loved Talmage’s long analogy about inorganic and organic life, and how something inorganic cannot become alive- just as we cannot reach a higher kingdom without help. I also thought his comment that we can’t take the analogy too far (we can eat vegetable matter and it becomes part of us… but don’t take that to mean that’s how we become like God) was pretty funny.
There are a couple of things I’m still pondering: the idea that Adam and Eve erred in “indulgence in food unsuited to their nature and condition”. I’d not thought of it that way, and think it’s a useful way to think about the decisions we make. If we know that we all have divine nature, when we make choices, are the things we’re doing suited to our nature and condition, or are they taking us away from who we are?
The other thing was this: “What other man has been without sin, and therefore wholly exempt from the dominion of Satan, and to whom death, the wage of sin, is not naturally due? Had Jesus Christ met death as other men have done- the result of the power that Satan has gained over them through their sins- ” . Is this saying that the reason that Christ had power over death was because He was sinless? I thought it was because of his being the literal Son of God. Or is it a little of both? Or does it connect with the Adam and Eve thought above- that He didn’t partake in things contrary to His nature, so He was able to maintain it? He didn’t take hurtful things into His body that would bring Him closer to death? I have a call in to my dad about this, we’ll see what he adds.
Oh, and I also really liked this: “In the judgment with which we shall be judged, all the conditions and circumstances of our lives shall be considered. The inborn tendencies due to heredity, the effect of environment whether conducive to good or evil, the whole teachings of youth, or the absence of good instruction- these and all other contributory elements must be taken into account in the rendering of a just verdict as to the soul’s guilt or innocence.” I thought that tied in nicely with the article Brandy posted and the related comment.