Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. If all of created matter could be plotted on a graph, Jesus Christ would be the point in the center where all creation merges into co-existance. This is because of His atoning sacrifice for the sins of men.
Why is it? I have often wondered why the sacrifice of one great Son of God is what saves me. Why is He the Way? John 14:6 states, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
If you were trying to convince a mountain to move where you want it to go, how would you do it? Would you get a hammer and start pushing? (Unfortunately, this is how people treat their family members), how exactly would one get this to happen? If you wanted to control the waves of the sea, how would you do that? Would you trick them into thinking that they should obey you for their own good? How would obeying you be for any thing or body's good? What is the point of being created in the first place? Why isn't there just one great black void of nothingness?
Like a womb, creation does need a void to start within. Isaiah 45:7 states, "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things."
What is worse than darkness, of course, is the evil that sometimes resides within darkness. Why is this allowed? Why does God create darkness.
Well, here are some very good questions that need answering. Let me restate them.
1) How is the atonement of Christ necessary for the eternal life of a creation?
2) How does Christ create and why does creation include darkness and evil within the darkness?
This is how the atonement works. God is a creator. He loves to create. It is His work and glory (Moses 1:39), He especially loves to create man. He loves to create man because man can reason for himself. A man who can reason for himself and wants to grow in his ability to reason has one of two ways of growing in his thinking about God. There is the way Satan thought, which was to steal God's power. And there is the way Jesus thought, which is to share God's power.
Moses 4:3 states, "Satan rebelled against me, and sought ...that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten" and Philippians 2:6 states, "[Christ], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:"
Now there is more to this reasoning than what I have pulled out, for example, Satan wanted all the glory for himself, and Jesus wanted all the glory for God. But I pulled out this point because it has to do with the importance of sharing in creation.
The problem with Satan, is he does not get sharing. There is no purpose in creating anything if you are not going to enjoy it. That is why Satan has yet to create anything, even though he has great knowledge. He has everything except the ability to understand the importance of sharing in creation.
If you study the ying and the yang, the principle of sharing along with creation is revealed. If you were to own all the world, what would you have unless you could share it with others? You would not have much. The urge to conquest and dominate must be balanced out by the joy of sharing. Sure, you could buy up every body's business, but who is going to make you your supplies anymore? If you own all the land, who is going to raise your grain?
That is why families are so important to God's plan. Sure there is a male leader who provides, but there is also a female partner who receives along with children who shares what the leader provides. (Both halves are equal before the Lord, and by the way, the whole purpose of male and female is to teach us about creation).
So we have Satan, who is just all too male, he doesn't get sharing, and then there is Jesus, who trusted in God's plan enough to do all the Father asked of Him in order to receive God's power. A couple other phrases for God's power include God's priesthood and God's love.
Satan's plan is void of love, because Satan does not want to share power. He wants it all to himself. And no amount of it will ever satisfy him. So he goes about destroying everything he gets his hands on and making a case to the children of men, trying to get them to deny God's great plan of happiness. I see examples of Satan's plan all over the place. People vie for the top of positions as if they were actually better than those who make a lesser income. There are competitive reality shows in which there is only one winner and the rest are losers. By the time a winner is chosen, there is no one left to share in the joy of the winner. And even then, the winner isn't all that great.
Compare that to God's plan, where if you win, that is great and shared among the whole family. If you lose, that grief and pain is also shared among the whole family.
Now we get to the atonement of Jesus Christ. You see, Jesus thought that God's ability to create was so magnificent, that He was willing to share (along with God) in the joys of all of God's creations. Now wait a minute, I am a creation of God, and I will tell you something, my life has not always been a picnic.
I have had my days where I have seriously contemplated God and His plan. I have legitimately spent time on my knees begging Him to un-create me, because the whole existing thing is too painful to be worth it. How can creation be wonderful if it is so hard? Why is it so hard?
Well, we know why this mortality is so hard sometimes; it is because we are learning. And I can hear the words God told Joseph Smith while in Liberty jail echo over and over again that all these things shall give thee experience, and be for thy good. (D&C 122:7, found on www.lds.org/scriptures).
Even if we are not learning from our own mistakes, there is a 99.9999% chance that someone else is going to make mistakes in how they treat us.
Every time you mistreat someone, you mistreat yourself. Because Jesus is in you and the person you hurt, if you have any love for Jesus you will see that you hurt someone and repent by knocking off the hurtful behavior, and even apologize to share in their hurt you have created.
I used to think that the atonement meant that there were no consequences for sin as long as you repent. I absolutely do not view it that way anymore. The fact is, there has to be consequences when we mess up or we would never learn. When I trip, I fall and get hurt. The fact that Jesus died on the cross for me has nothing to do with the fact that I am going to deal with the justice imposed by the law of gravity. Adam and Eve took of the fruit, and they were punished for it. We are all living in a fallen world because of it, (though it was God's plan for us to come here so we could learn and grow).
What the atonement really is, is the Lord putting His money where His mouth is. He is willing to suffer all the consequences of every mortal creation in order for us to learn from them. If I fall, He promises to fall with me in order to teach me how to walk. He already did. If I feel pain giving birth, He feels it with me. If I get tortured, bruised, or raped, He endures it with me. He is putting His life on the line through the atonement and saying 'look, your existence is worth it, it will be joyful and marvelous, and I will prove it by enduring everything with you, pain and all.'
And He did. He already did. He already suffered everything each of us has and will suffer in this life. Not so that we don't have to suffer, but so that we would have faith to endure our own personal crosses, and learn from them.
Now what about the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 19:7 which states:
16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink--
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
20 Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.
What the Lord is talking about here is the suffering of those who refuse to repent. These are people that refuse to learn from their experiences, mistakes, and pain. These are people who are against creation, and are against God. They do not want Christ's spirit to share them, they only want the spirit of the devil to control them. They are not grateful for the atonement that provides a way for us to make mistakes, feel pain from them, and thereby learn from them. Those who won't repent choose to stay stuck in their pain instead of turning to Christ to teach them the truth that will bring them to salvation and free them from the effects of sin. As long as we love God and keep His commandments, the Lord will teach us and we will humbly follow Him out of the darkness and into the light. That does not mean we won't experience darkness, it just means we won't stay in the darkness.
God gave us the plan of agency so we would choose happiness. I have noticed a pattern in my life. For every expansion of my understanding, I find beyond it a darkness that spawns questions. As I seek answers, my understanding increases, but the amount of questions I have also increases. I assume it will be this way until I receive an understanding of all things. That darkness is purposely there in order for my awareness to expand. Computer or robot programmers get this. Before you can get a computer to do many things, it must first learn to do few things. The ability to design learning computers that spawn their own intelligence is right underway in our current technology. So what designates a child of God from a robot that can learn for itself? It is the fact that God's spirit is in Me. He is sharing my life with me. He is sharing all of my experiences with me, good and bad, because on the whole my purpose for existing is worth it to Him.
Jesus Christ is the way because He endured all of our pain with us and His spirit is with us on a daily basis. When you get baptized, you also receive the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of God.
Doctrine and Covenants 84:45 describes Jesus' Spirit which is in all living creations, "For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ. " Colossians 1:20 agrees, "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."
So how does Jesus move a mountain? the answer is simple, through the atonement, He became the mountain, His spirit is the same spirit that is in the mountain, and in and through all things. Not only things, but also and especially, people. As we hearken to His spirit which has all the answers, we will find joy. Jesus Christ has proven that, and He is mighty to save us all if we will follow Him.