Beza the Mormon

If you are familiar with the Book of Mormon, you probably know its radical doctrine of the Fall:

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

II Nephi 2.25

So listen to Peter White talking about Beza:

Beza could even claim that ‘it was good that sin and death should enter into the world’ on the grounds that it was a necessary step before the benefits of the work of Christ. In that sense Adam’s Fall was ‘the best and the most profitable thing that could be done for us.’ [Beza, Quaestiones, I. 103-7]

Pretty wild stuff!

6 thoughts on “Beza the Mormon”

  1. I think that his opinion was unusual, to say the least, although I think some Church Fathers expressed the same idea. I’ll have to look into it. It certainly differs from what we are taught all the time!

  2. I noticed this today in a Leithart blog entry on Maximus the Confessor:

    “Maximus writes this section in a metaphysical idiom, but his argument helps fill out the importance of recognizing the eschatological aspiration that was inherent in Adam’s situation. If Adam was fulfilled, perfected from the outset, then we are almost inevitably left with a “fortunate fall” paradigm. If Adam were fully himself, all that he was going to be, from his first creation, but left that place of rest, then he needed the fall to attain his most precious possession. But Genesis 1-2 indicates that Adam was created sinless but immature, a child who had to grow until he was ready to receive the privilege of the tree of knowledge. He doesn’t fall from fulfilled humanness, or from perfected fellowship with God. He sins and becomes estranged in childhood, before he has reached his rest. The fall doesn’t initiate history, sequence, maturation; the fall makes the path of maturation more circuitous.”

    So it seems that one possible response to Beza would be that Adam had an eschatology that the fall disrupted, thus initiating the need for redemption. Certainly it was all known and predestined by God and therefore ultimately serves His good plan and His glory, but that adds some context and nuance to Beza’s seemingly stripped-down reasoning.

    My understanding of Irenaeus (whom I only have a very shallow knowledge of) is that he believed that there would be have been a history before the fall, so Leithart’s comments perhaps fit in that understanding.

    1. I agree Scott. This is a major theme from James Jordan – maturation. In fact, it’s what the Bible (and our lives) are all about – maturing, not staying as babes. That is a good refutation of Beza, and the Book of Mormon, are saying on this subject.

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