What Manner of Man: 
A Weekly Program to Better Know the Savior

Week 2 – Pre-Earth Roles
By Linda and Richard Eyre

Note: Each week this column provides a short essay on one particular aspect or facet of the Lord’s personality and character.  It is intended that the reader focus on this facet while partaking of the sacrament this Sunday.  (Click here to read full introductory column .)

Christ has left us with glimmers of insight concerning his existence (and ours) prior to this earth.  Belief in this pre-earth life provides the basis for answers to questions that are otherwise unanswerable – the “whys” of justice and seeming inequality in this world.  It also helps us in coming to know Christ, because we realize that seeking him here on earth is more analogous to becoming reacquainted with a great and perfect friend than to making a new one.

The gospel teaches us that we have existed eternally as intelligences and that among those intelligences was one who was “greater than they all” (perhaps meaning “more intelligent than all other intelligences combined”).  We were all spiritually begotten by our Heavenly Father, “born” into a spiritual existence.  We were intelligences that became clad in spiritual bodies, with God as our true and literal father.  The firstborn into this spiritual life was the greatest intelligence among God’s spirit children, even Jesus Christ. 

When our wise Father proclaimed the privilege of a physical body on earth (and when we, knowing the growth we would gain, shouted for joy), the leading advocate of the Father’s plan of agency and the leading opponent of Satan’s plan of coercion was Jesus Christ.  He led and inspired us in that greatest of all eternal causes, the fight for agency, and we followed him as a wise child follows a great elder brother.

Inherent in the Father’s plan of agency was the need for an atonement – a ransom for our inevitable mistakes, a random that would allow us to return.  Jesus offered himself, not only to pay the price with his death, but to win that price with his life – to live with the perfection that would enable him to give his life rather than have it taken.

With the plan now prepared and complete (completed partially by the one-third who left in rebellion, providing the opposition that is necessary in all things), Jesus Christ, who was the leading advocate of the plan, became the key to the plan’s implementation: first, through the creation of this earth, and second, through his perfect life and atoning death.

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