Everybody knows the story of the fall. We know that if Adam and Eve had partaken of the fruit of the tree of life, they would have been miserable forever, for they would have lived forever in their sins.
Alma 12:26 And now behold, if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life they would have been forever miserable, having no preparatory state;
It was by disobedience that man was cut off from the tree of life. If it had not been disobedience they they would have surely died, as the Lord stated, but they would not have been cut off from his presence.
We all know that Christ brought about the redemption from the fall through his atonement.
But what we seem to fail to put together is that Christ’s redemption is a redemption. It allows us to be forgiven and return to the presence of God, clean once again, and having proven ourselves in our mortality.
But Christ’s redemption is NOT a change in the conditions on which we can dwell in God’s presence. It is not a change in the rules for dwelling in a terrestrial Eden, nor for dwelling in God’s presence in a celestial world. It allows redemption from sin, not a change in the conditions that we must learn to live by.
But we will not come to the garden and the tree where God will come and teach us from time to time, in preparation for the celestial world, until we are prepared to live by the rules of such a place. And we will not enter the presence of God for eternity until we are prepared to live by the rules there either.
The atonement does nothing to change the fact that god cannot tolerate sin with the least degree of allowance. It does nothing to change the fact that no unclean thing can dwell in his presence. Instead it give man an opportunity to have faith, repent, and become clean through the blood of the lamb.
The atonement provides redemption which allows a man to find heaven.
But it does not change the rules of living in heaven.
In essence, there is simply no point in overcoming the effects of the fall if we do not overcome the disobedience that brought it about. There is no point in repainting the walls of your house while your child is in the midst of drawing on them with a permanent marker. And there is at least that much common sense in the atonement. We are never clean through the atonement of that which we are in the habit of doing wrong. We may be clean of moral transgression, but still be guilty of a bad temper. We may be paying a full tithe, but still be guilty of watching shows that we ought not.
We must therefore press forward diligently in this life that we may obtain the prize. We must cut off our sins and cast them from us. We will find we cannot stay in Eden living lesser lives than Adam and Eve, and we cannot find heaven while looking on our sins with the least degree of allowance.
Therefore let us run diligently that we may obtain the prize. Let us not run faster than we have strength. But let’s stop kidding ourselves that we don’t have the strength to turn off the television, the movie, the music, or the website when they present sleaze, immorality, profanity, or innuendo or teach that such things are normal rather than being offensive to god.
If Christ were to give us the fruit of the tree of life before we had fully repented and become clean every wit, we already know what the result would be: we would be miserable forever, for we would live forever in our sins.