Before we can understand the blessings of the Atonement in our lives we need to more fully understand the Fall and the consequences of it.
When Adam fell, three different types of deaths were introduced.
This is addressed in the Doctrine and Covenants section 29:41-42
42 But, behold, I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.
Notice the first death is spiritual, and the last death is spiritual. In between those is the death that is temporal.
First, we need to understand what the temporal death is. It is simply the ability that we have to die physically, or as some call it physical death. The Atonement covers that for everyone. We are all given the gift of resurrection, regardless of how we live or what we do. The Atonement is a “get out of physical death free card.” Everyone will be resurrected and therefore the Atonement is a wonderful gift even if that was all that was offered or it stopped there, but it is much more infinite that that.
Now, let’s talk about the two spiritual deaths. The first spiritual death that the scriptures refer to actually occurred because of the transgression, or disobedience, of Adam and Eve in the garden. It introduced an imperfect fallen individual who was unable to reside or live in the presence of the Father. This resulted in a “casting out” or cutting off from continual sociality with our Father because of imperfection. Our birthright as spirit children of Heavenly parents was that of sociality with the Father, but our earthly birth parents Adam and Eve made that position impossible.
The Atonement covers that spiritual death unconditionally. In essence it is a “get out of spiritual death free card” for this death as well. This is the reason that children are born innocent... just like Adam and Eve were. The Atonement reestablishes our literal birthright inheritance of innocence, which was taken from us by the choice of our first earthly parents. For this reason there is no need for baptism of children.
Because of the gift of the Atonement, each of us is given our own opportunity to “fall”, which is completed by the time we are 8 year old, and continues each time we choose to be disobedient. It is because of the Atonement that we are then given another opportunity to be free from the last death, which is spiritual. This opportunity is in the form of faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost helping us to make right choices through out the rest of our lives.
This second death occurs by choice. We choose to sin and separate ourselves from God, therefore just as we choose to sin, we also choose to apply the gift of the Atonement in our lives for this spiritual death. This coverage is conditional. It requires work and effort on our part if we are to claim the blessings of it.
This concept was taught throughout the Old Testament... which will be explored in my next post!