Alma’s Words to his Son Corianton

Justice and Mercy

Alma 42:1

Alma addresses Corianton’s concern regarding the injustice that the wicked are rewarded with misery.

And now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand—which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.

Alma 42:2–3

When Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden, an angel prevented them from returning and eating of the fruit of the tree of life, which would have made them immortal.

Now behold, my son, I will explain this thing unto thee. For behold, after the Lord God sent our first parents forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground, from whence they were taken—yea, he drew out the man, and he placed at the east end of the garden of Eden, cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the tree of life—

Now, we see that the man had become as God, knowing good and evil; and lest he should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, the Lord God placed cherubim and the flaming sword, that he should not partake of the fruit—

Alma 42:4–5

Thus, Adam and Eve were cast out and put on probation; if they had eaten of the fruit they would have become immortal and had no chance to repent and prove themselves.

And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God. For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partaken of the tree of life, he would have lived forever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated.

Alma 42:6

Death became necessary to mark the end of the probation.

But behold, it was appointed unto man to die— therefore, as they were cut off from the tree of life they should be cut off from the face of the earth—and man became lost forever, yea, they became fallen man.

Alma 42:7–10

In this probationary state, Adam and Eve were withdrawn from God’s presence, since their fall had brought about both spiritual and physical death—life became a preparatory phase.

And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will. Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.

Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death.

Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state.

Alma 42:13–14

All mankind thus became fallen, and the probationary state allows the plan of redemption to come into effect.

Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.

And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.

Alma 42:11–12

Without the plan of redemption, mankind would be hopeless lost at the time of death.

And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside) as soon as they were dead their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord. And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience;

Alma 42:15–16

This plan is made possible by an atonement, executed by God himself—repentance is made possible with a penalty affixed.

And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.

Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul.

Alma 42:17–21

Repentance initiates the need for law and punishment.

Now, how could a man repent except he should sin?
how could he sin if there was no law?
how could there be a law save there was a punishment?
now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given,
which brought remorse of conscience unto man.

Now, if there was no law given—
if a man murdered he should die—
would he be afraid he would die if he should murder?
and also, if there was no law given against sin
men would not be afraid to sin.

And if there was no law given,
if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either,
for they would have no claim upon the creature?

Alma 42:22–23

The plan of God includes law, punishment, repentance, justice, and mercy.

But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God. But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent,

Alma 42:23

Mercy is a fruit of the atonement, which also brings about the resurrection of the dead, and brings mankind back into the presence of God.

And mercy cometh because of the atonement;

And the atonement bringeth to pass
the resurrection of the dead.

And the resurrection of the dead
bringeth back men into the presence of God.

And thus they are restored into his presence,
to be judged according to their works,
according to the law and justice.

Alma 42:24–26

Justice and mercy can coexist thanks to a mediator.

For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands,
and also mercy claimeth all which is her own;
And thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.

What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God. And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery.

Alma 42:27–28

All of mankind is invited to come and partake of the redemption of Christ.

Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds. If he has desired to do evil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God.