The War in Heaven

This week we had a family home evening lesson about birthdays as we’re entering birthday season in our household (Eric’s birthday was yesterday, his dad’s birthday is on Friday, Sam’s birthday is on Monday and Daniel’s will be in April).  The lesson pointed out that part of having a birthday is that we’re celebrating the decision we made in the pre-existence to come to earth and get a body.  It made me think of something that I learned in one of my religion classes that made me think differently about the whole war in heaven.  One of my religion professors (I can’t remember which one any more, I think it was Brother Bott) pointed out to our class a couple things that I’d never thought of before.  One was that when we talk about the War in Heaven we often talk about Jesus’ plan vs Satan’s plan.  But my teacher pointed out that the plan that Jesus was promoting wasn’t His plan, it was Heavenly Father’s plan – Jesus was just promoting what Heavenly Father had asked us to do.  The other thing he pointed out is that when we were choosing sides in the War in Heaven, it wasn’t a vote.  Even if every single one of Heavenly Father’s children had chosen Satan’s plan we still wouldn’t have done that plan.  Because Satan’s plan couldn’t work.  The only way for us to get back to Heavenly Father’s presence was for us to come here to earth and make choices that would return us to live with Him again.  Choosing Satan’s plan would be like us saying – we should all get to become awesome Michael Phelps-esque swimmers, but we don’t want to have to practice or eat right or do any of those things, we just want to show up at the Olympics.  Even if we all voted that it was a good plan, none of us would arrive at the Olympics as amazing swimmers.  It’s a nice idea, but it wouldn’t work because we wouldn’t have put in the work to become those amazing swimmers.  It’s the same way with Satan’s plan.  He was saying, “We should all become like Heavenly Father, but we shouldn’t have to do the kinds of things He did to get to where he is, we should just all go, get bodies and that’s all we really need to be like Heavenly Father.”  It’s a nice idea, but it wouldn’t work.  We needed the experiences we would have here to learn and grow and become like Heavenly Father – we were missing a lot more than just bodies.

Somehow before that I’d always thought of it as a democracy.  The war was that we wanted it one way, they wanted it another way and we were fighting so that our plan would win.  But as we learned this I realized that Satan’s plan was no plan at all.  What we were fighting for was just for the opportunity to come here and get bodies and have this experience.  I’m sure that even if only one spirit had wanted this opportunity Heavenly Father would have provided it for them, but we were fighting for our brothers and sisters to come and do the same.  The war wasn’t to see who would get the most votes, it was to see who would stand up for the right and come to the earth.  Brother Bott also pointed out that in the scriptures it says that “a third part” of the hosts of heaven followed Satan, and not as we usually think of it 1/3 of the hosts of heaven.  He hypothesized that maybe rather than actually 33.3333% of the hosts of heaven it was that we were split into three factions – those who chose Heavenly Father’s plan, those who chose Satan’s plan, and those who were on the fence.  The war was for those who hadn’t made up their mind to get them to one side or the other.  An interesting thought.  I don’t know that it changes my concept of the war in heaven as much, but it is interesting to think that either way it wasn’t a vote of 2:1 that gave us the opportunity to come to this earth and gain bodies, but choosing the only side that could give us that opportunity.

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