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Premortal Life

Biblical Framework

The Father of All Spirits
God the Father is the father of all spirits, including the spirits of everyone who has been born or ever will be born on earth (Hebrews 12:9). All men and women are the spirit offspring of God (Acts 17:29), chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-4). Before Jeremiah was born, the Lord knew him, sanctified him, and ordained him a prophet (Jeremiah 1:5).

Sons of God
It is recorded in the Old Testament that the “sons of God”, Satan among them, presented themselves to the Lord in a time and place not of this earth (Job 1:6 and 2:1). Later it is recorded that the “sons of God shouted for joy” when the corner stone (of creation) was laid (Job 38:7). It is recorded in the New Testament that all men should be “blameless and harmless, the sons of God” (Philippians 2:15, 1 John 3:1-2).

Implicit in the questions recorded in Job 38:4-7 is the presence of the sons of God before the creation of the earth. They “shouted for joy” when the corner stone of creation was laid. All this celebration occurred before earth and Adam were made. It was the celebration of a plan, a design, a purpose.

Lucifer Rebels
Isaiah wrote how Lucifer attempted to exalt himself above God and how he (Lucifer) will be punished for this (Isaiah 14:13-15). John the revelator told of how Lucifer was able to draw to his side one-third of the stars of heaven (spirit children of God) and organize them to destroy the child (Jesus), who will be delivered through a revered woman (Mary) (Revelation 12:1-4).

Michael Leads
Michael the Archangel led the fight against Lucifer (Revelation 12:7). Lucifer and his followers were defeated and cast down to earth as bodiless spirits (Revelation 12:8-9). Following the victory a loud voice proclaimed that Christ had prevailed and that the accuser (Lucifer) was cast out (Revelation 12:10-11).

The Father Laments
God the Father lamented the loss of his spirit child, Lucifer, and of the spirit children Lucifer led into rebellion (Isaiah 14:12).

Jesus Wars
Lucifer and the other rebellious spirit children of the Father who are cast down to earth retain their knowledge of the premortal existence and suffer the more for it (Matthew 8:28-29, Mark 1:23-25, 3:11-12, 5:7-8, and Luke 4:33-34, 41, and 8:28) . With this retained knowledge, they identify Jesus as the only begotten Son of God (the only spirit offspring of the Father who is also the mortal offspring of the Father, through Mary) before Jesus wishes to proclaim this publicly. Jesus is quick to silence these spirits as they seek to disrupt his mission on earth (Mark 1:34).

Mormon Doctrinal Clarifications

Spirit Children
Every person born in the flesh on earth was first born in the premortal realm as a spirit offspring of God the Father. In this realm, all spirit children of the Father are endowed with unique talents and capabilities. Each has a specific purpose to fulfill. To fulfill this purpose and continue to progress eternally, each must choose freely to leave the premortal realm, take on a physical body, and live in mortality, with all its joys, sorrows, forgetting, and death. Those in the premortal realm who choose not to enter mortality must remain in the premortal realm, where they can progress no further in their bodiless state.

Life a Test
Life on earth is a test. It is here that men and women struggle to discover their purpose, to fulfill it as far as they are able, and to grow strong in the struggle. People experience mortality, progress in knowledge and understanding, and gain a testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ, who was the first-born spirit offspring of Heavenly Father. An essential part of this test requires men and women to proceed in mortality without memory of their premortal existence. This is so that they may choose good or evil for themselves without any predisposition or clear knowledge of their premortal state. It also means they enter the game not clearly knowing the rules, the players, or the consequences of winning or losing.

Life a Choice
Because Heavenly Father knows the challenges men and women will face on earth, he gives them the ability to recognize eternal truths when they hear them in mortality. He provided a savior, Jesus Christ, through whose atoning sacrifice all mankind can obtain forgiveness for sins and overcome physical and spiritual death. Heavenly Father presented this plan of salvation in the premortal realm, and in that realm, he made clear the challenges and rewards of undertaking life on earth. All men and women who are born on earth made a free and informed choice to enter mortality.

War in Heaven
There was a war in the premortal realm, and all the spirit children of Heavenly Father fought in this war, some on Heavenly Father’s side, some on the side of Satan. Most of the hosts of heaven rejoiced in the plan of salvation, including moral agency (free will) and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Lucifer, also a spirit child of Heavenly Father, rose up in rebellion against the plan of salvation and led away one-third of God’s spirit children. Michael the Archangel led the loyal spirit children in the ensuing fight against Lucifer. Lucifer and his minions were cast down to earth, where they continue to fight as bodiless spirits.
The war is not over.

See chapter 1 in The Biblical Roots of Mormonism for a more comprehensive explanation, scriptural references and commentary on the Premortal Existence

See the Sword SeriesTM paper Premortal Life for a summary

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