24 May 2015

What is Important about Resurrection? - Alma 40

The "one-a-day" study plods on and I am to the chapter where Alma is telling his son Corianton about how the resurrection works from his perspective. Of course, I am now interjecting my thoughts on the subject from my perspective as well, so as Alma did, "...I give it as my opinion..." (Alma 40:20).

One has to recall that Alma lived before the coming of Jesus Christ, so his perspective on it is different than those of us that live after Jesus himself was resurrected. Alma uses the phrase "first resurrection" in this context to mean the resurrection of the people that happens somewhat immediately after Christ's resurrection and involved those who lived before Christ, like Alma himself.

Often, we, from our perspective, talk of the "first resurrection" as the one that is next in coming on the time-line, the resurrection of the repentant previous to judgement, which has not yet begun. I suppose we call it "first" because others will follow where the unrighteous are resurrected.

So, here is the same phrase used to talk about two separate happenings and occasions. I never really noticed this before, but Alma is talking about the earlier "first resurrection" at some length. It is a bit confusing.

Apparently, there was some confusion about resurrection in the times of Alma and Coriantion that the father felt the need to clarify to the son. We only get to read Alma's response to that confusion. He said that no resurrection happens until Christ has come. He also says that God reserves many of the particulars of the process to himself and that, for our part, we only need to know that resurrection comes for all and the timing of it doesn't matter too much and God hasn't revealed such. (Alma 40:1-10)

I think this is instructive about what we feel is important about many gospel subjects. We can dig about in the minutia of sentence structure in the record, "strain at a gnat" (Matthew 23:24) as it were, but we are better served to realize what is important and leave "the small stuff" to the Lord. Righteousness, the thing we will be judged by, is determined by how we live and spend our time, not particularly by knowing sometimes confusing scripture details we hope to reconcile one day.

To Alma explaining things to his errant son, some things just don't matter as much as others. We will be resurrected and judged for our obedience during mortal life - that matters.