Alma 32:17-25

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Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 31-35 > Chapter 32 > Verses 32:17-25
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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Chapter 32. The relationship of Verses 32:17-25 to the rest of Chapter 32 is discussed at Chapter 32.

Story. Verses 32:17-25 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 32:17-25 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 32:17: If thou wilt. This exact phrase shows up many times in LDS scripture. It seems that this phrase is used "appropriately" when by a subject to a superior authority. For example, Ammon uses this phrase in Alma 22:3 when he is addressing the king. However, in Alma 18:21 King Lamoni indicates his humility by effectively subjecting himself to Ammon by using this conditional phrase to Ammon who is one of his subjects (cf. Alma 20:23-24 where the king subjects himself to Ammon with this phrase and Ammon uses this phrase in his response to the king). Note also how Alma recounts an angel using this phrase on him in Mosiah 27:16 and Alma 36:9, 11. Perhaps the most interesting use of the phrase, for the purposes of interpreting this verse, is Korihor's use of this phrase in Alma 30:43. It seems there that Korihor is effectively reversing the appropriate subjection of a human creature before the Creator, or a representative of the Creator. Whereas it is appropriate for God to try or prove his creatures, when a creature attempts to try or prove God, such an action is described using phraseology of "tempting God." This kind of reversal of positioning between Creator and creature seems to interact richly with the theme of humility begun in this chapter with the Zoramite poor being put into subjection by the Zoramite priests (cf. Alma 32:5), who are described perhaps quite ironically using the rather egalitarian word "brethren" in verse 4.
  • Alma 32:17: Yea. The first word of the verse seems a bit strange since it seems that Alma is, rather than affirming what has been said in the previous verse, taking up a position contrary to the one he has been advocating. But perhaps this is not so strange since he has been describing his position in a negative way, underscored by the word "without." The word "yea" calls attention to this negative description affirmatively, deepening the sense of contrast with the ensuing description of sign-seekers. In fact, the play of negation and affirmation is quite rich in this verse. In the last verse, the believer (without positive knowledge) was described negatively, drawn out in contrast to the negative position of the knower. But at the heart of this negative affirmation was a double negative: the affirming, positive word was obviously at some distance from would-be-knower, who was thereby marked as a negative. That is, the negative description of the one who affirms her belief is grounded in the undeniable negativity of would-be-knower, she who seeks a sign and is for that very reason cut off (negatively) from positive knowledge. Because of the play of the word, only the believer can affirm anything. If this verse opens with a blatant affirmation ("yea"), it goes on quickly to present the would-be-knower again as pretentiously negative: the would-be-knower seeks "a surety" but can never have it, even by "a sign from heaven." That is, if it appears that the would-be-knower is positive in some sense (asking for a positive sign), the absence of the sign ironically dispossesses the would-be-knower, and hence negates the positivity of knowledge. Only the believer can affirm, and that positively. And yet—and this point cannot be missed—the affirmation of the believer is necessarily founded on a profound negation: the believer must negate herself (her stubbornness) and her knowledge (any compelling sign) in order to affirm her faith. In the end, the whole movement of positivity and negativity in these two verses is profoundly paradoxical, but based on a paradox familiar to any reader of the words of Christ: one must lose one's life (negativity) in order to find it (affirmation), but if one seek's one's life (positivity) one will inevitably lose it (negativity).
After the play of the positive and negative are introduced, Alma concretizes what has been, to this point, perhaps abstract. Rather than speaking simply in terms of differences, and hence of concepts, he now turns to the concrete situation by describing "many who do say." The hypothetical air that has prevailed to this point suddenly collapses, and Alma sets before his hearers the "actual" words of many "actual" people. That the first two words of the "quotation" are "If thou," and that the speaker of the quotation uses the plural first person ("we"), suggests that Alma is doing one of two things: either he is (1) drawing on an actual concrete example from his own past preaching experiences, one (or many) in which a whole crowd rejected him specifically, his message specifically (perhaps even his only just past preaching to the rich Zoramites); or he is (2) phrasing this concrete example in terms of the actual situation in which he now stands, the Zoramite poor being the "we" and Alma being the "thou." Either one of these ways of reading the text is rich: on the one hand, we find Alma hoping that the Zoramite poor will be other than what he has yet experienced in preaching, and his passion therefore enriches the encounter; or on the other hand, we find Alma trying to place the Zoramites into an uncomfortable role, one he is precisely condemning, in order to help them to see where they might be standing. Again, both of these possibilities are quite rich: if, on the one hand, Alma is drawing on the past, and that past is the preaching to the Zoramite rich, he is being quite brave, since the Zoramite rich are apparently still standing behind him while he delivers this sermon (and whether or not he meant this, they probably understood it this way); and if, on the other hand, Alma is casting the Zoramite poor in the role he is presenting, he offers a kind of pre-judgment before they have spoken the word clearly enough to be judged, giving them thereby the opportunity to change things before the evidence has to come in. However it is read, this concretizing of the abstract is fascinating and rich.
If Alma is describing, in his quoting those "who do say," those who are "brought to know the word, or even compelled to know," it is wonderfully ironic that they begin by saying "If thou wilt...." Those who are compelled, apparently against their wills, can only place themselves in that position by underscoring the will of the believer: "If the believer will," she can show a sign, while the would-be-knower can only depend upon the believer. If this again summons the interplay of the positive and negative, it enriches it as well, adding to it the question of will. Curiously, the would-be-knower specifically affirms the will of the believer (of her will-to-believe?), and thereby negates her own will. And this play of wills perhaps introduces into Alma's discourse a kind of play between determinism and freedom, which might, all over again, be called the contrast between the historical, scientific, or temporal and the religious, ethical, or spiritual. In the movement of faith, one freely gives oneself to the other (religiously, ethically, spiritually), while in the movement of knowledge, one's activity is determined from the start (historically, scientifically, temporally). All of this is confirmed all the more ironically in the last few words of Alma's "quotation": "then we shall believe." The faith or belief that the would-be-knower is to achieve beyond knowledge (a knowledge brought about by the sign) is in itself determined: "shall," not "will." That is, if belief is, for the believer, an act of will (a giving over or negating of one's will in the most profound affirmation of one's will), for the would-be-knower, belief is—and can only be—a determined, historical, scientific, temporal occurrence, something that "shall" happen.
Of course, all of these comments do not yet even begin to think about the meaning of the demand for a sign specifically, which is perhaps the richest part of this verse. It is significant that, from the very beginning, the question of signs is raised in terms of the concrete encounter, one Alma and the Zoramites are presently engaged in. In abstract terms, the "sign" is never mentioned, but only now that the concrete is the scene of further thinking. But the significance of this can perhaps only be worked out in retrospect, after the most important question has been asked: what is a sign? Of course a full answer to this question would require something of a tour through much of twentieth century philosophy, but perhaps a few words can here be said that will open up the meaning of the present passage. The word itself, "sign," comes from an Indo-European root meaning "to cut," suggesting that the sign introduces a kind of split or division into the thing it stands for (being cut off, to some degree, from the thing it stands for). The sign inevitably directs the beholder to some actual thing, though this direction is based at the same time on a profound misdirection: the sign, by drawing attention to itself (emphasized here by the word "show"), reorders the thing it signifies according to its own logic. That is, inasmuch as the thing appears in the sign, it appears according to the ramifications of the sign: because the thing becomes a signified, it has been organized according to the logic of the signifier. At the very least, a sign is a doubling of the thing in question, a doubling that amounts to a reordering of the thing, and this reordering is entirely dependent on the internal nature of the signifier.
What makes a sign so peculiar, however, is the "internal nature of the signifier." A signifier, as has been pointed out time and again in the twentieth century, derives its meaning only in relation to other signifiers. That is, the logic according to which the thing signified is to be reordered is the logic of the differences between so many signifiers, so many signs, all of which are already present to the beholder. In other words, to see a sign is to subject the thing the sign signifies to the broader sign system (presuppositions, etc.) of the beholder. In terms of the present verse, to demand "a sign from heaven" is to subject the word—or God Himself—to the sign system of the demander, that is, necessarily to reduce the word to the contemporary philosophy or theology, one that is apparently fixated on the visible ("show"). In fact it is precisely here that we might make a transition from these abstract comments to the particularities of the verse. The (hypothetical?) crowd Alma here quotes is obviously very visual by nature: knowledge comes by seeing, by being shown so many signs. Over against that, of course, Alma presents those who would hear, who would believe. But in demanding a sign, this quoted crowd essentially demands a reordering or reorganization of the audible in terms of the visible, of belief in terms of knowledge. What Alma begins to point out here—and what he makes absolutely clear with the next verse—is that to make such a demand is not to do things backwards, but to try to mix two things that are very different from one another by nature. The world of visible signs is being privileged beyond its capacity, and it is—in the demand for a sign—being given to overthrow completely the audible world of the spoken word.
All of this must be absolutely clear before the rhetoric Alma employs in the following verse can be engaged: the demand of the would-be-knowers is to allow the invisible to be subjected to the visible so that the invisible can be regarded visibly. But what all of this works out to in the end can only be thought through in verse 18.
  • Alma 32:17: Show unto us a sign. The word show presages the famous phrase in verse 21, "things which are not seen." In building to that positive example of faith, Alma is giving here a negative example of someone who positively asks for a sign. The seeing-before-believing demand seems to follow a pattern of pride described by Alma and numerous other prophets that entails being prideful and making demands of God before first humbling themselves (for example, in Alma 5:54 those who suppose that they are better than one another are first described and then contrasted with those they persecute that "humble themselves"). Diachronically, the sequential emphasis here may also be related to the ordering described in Moses 3:5 where the creation occurs spiritually before it occurs "naturally" and the Word of creation is spoken before anything is seen.
  • Alma 32:18. Alma begins this verse with explicit reference to himself: "Now I ask." This confirms a kind of identification between the "thou" of the quotation in the previous verse with Alma himself in some situation. That he goes in this same verse to say, "Behold, I say unto you," seems to confirm that the best reading of the quotation is that Alma is casting the Zoramite poor as the speakers in verse 17. That is, Alma prejudges them on purpose (notice that Alma seems himself to admit this in verse 24), in an attempt to bring them to the crisis of faith. Before looking, then, at the actual content of this verse, one must recognize that Alma has existentially placed the Zoramite poor in the situation of judgment, and they have been condemned: they are judged to be seeking after signs in some kind of attempt to derive faith (the audible) from knowledge (the visible). What is still more interesting about the situation is that Alma returns to the concrete here precisely by returning the use of rhetorical questions, something he had abandoned for the past half dozen verses. The meaning of this return is vital to understanding what Alma is trying to accomplish here.
In the first verses of the discourse, Alma uses rhetorical questions while making absolute references to the concrete situation of his preaching, apparently to introduce a kind of tension between the pretension of absolute knowledge on the one hand (the absolute appeal to reason implied in the rhetorical question) and sheer mystery of the concrete preaching situation (the mystery, that is, of the face-to-face encounter). Here he does this all over again, albeit in a rather short question: "Now I ask, is this faith?" But if with these six words Alma has returned to the tension between the concrete and the absolutely abstract, he does so in order finally to begin to answer the questions he is raising. When he uses rhetorical questions before, he allows them to remain unanswered, but now he answers this rhetorical question immediately: "Behold, I say unto you, Nay." Curiously, he answers the rhetorical question with the same double appeal, on the one hand to reason, and on the other hand to the concrete face-to-face encounter. This tension is maintained throughout the discourse, and it of course is closely tied with the tension already discussed at some length: between knowing and believing, between seeing and hearing.
Perhaps the strength of this is only quite visible when one takes Alma's rhetorical question and his rhetorical answer as a response to the petition of the would-be-knowers. But looking carefully at that will take some work. Alma has made of the Zoramite poor a group of would-be-knowers who are asking for a sign, and he responds with a rhetorical question, and then with a rhetorical answer. These two rhetorical moves accomplish something very specific in relation to the petition of the last verse: the concrete situation of the sign-asking is maintained in the "I" of "Now I ask" and in the "I" of "I say unto you," but the concrete is also transcended in the universal appeal to reason. This has the effect of rerouting the petition: Alma never responds directly to the petition by saying yes or no. They ask for a sign, and he does not really respond. Rather he distracts the petition by moving the discussion to another level. His question (and its answer, therefore) is, technically speaking, theoretical: "is this faith?" Here he seems to be picking up only on the last four words of the petition ("then we shall believe"). Essentially, then, Alma is questioning the very nature of their promise: the sign is, for the Zoramites, a pre-requisite to faith (belief), but Alma questions whether faith that comes after the witness of a sign is ultimately faith in any real sense. Not only does he question this, but his rhetorical answer confirms quite bluntly that it is not faith.
And then Alma moves into a rather abstract discussion. After his "Nay," any concretizing rhetorical elements disappear for the remainder of the verse and for the whole of the following verse. In order to ground his rhetorical question and its rhetorical answer, Alma moves into the realm of reason—of definition. It is this claim that ultimately deserves the most attention here. The claim: "if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it." Alma seems here to revert to a rather common way of thinking about the relation between belief and knowledge: the latter is a stronger version of the former. That is, it sounds here as if Alma is putting belief and knowledge on a continuum, suggesting that they are fundamentally related. This stands in opposition to the tenor of the discourse to this point, because faith has been fundamentally opposed to knowledge throughout. Two questions, then: first, why does Alma recast the nature of belief here? and second, what is it he is ultimately saying here about belief/faith?
In answer to this first question, one might suggest that he is conceding the Zoramite belief, something everyone would agree with, in a kind of Socratic move (Socrates always agreed with the presuppositions of those he spoke with, but he would help them to see how their presuppositions conflicted one with another according to the strict laws of logic). That is, though Alma himself understands faith to be something fundamentally different from knowledge, he recognizes that the Zoramites (or most people) do not so think, and so he meets up with their thinking here to argue from their point of view. Really, a better way to approach this problem is to seek to answer the second question first, because it is not clear really what Alma is saying about faith/belief here, and it will only be possible to think about the first question once that is clear. Hence, we turn to the second question.
  • Alma 32:18: Is this faith? In answering his own rhetorical question, Alma does not dispute the claim of the sign-seeker that he will "know of a surety." Instead, Alma simply disputes that this is faith, leaving open the possibility (but only a possiblity) that knowledge "of a surety" can indeed be gained this way. In fact, Alma goes on in verse 19 to discuss the damning effect knowledge obtained this way can have, a move on Alma's part which seems to further suggest that seeing a sign can indeed lead to knowledge. This strongly suggests that the goal of the subsequent discussion is not about obtaining knowledge per se, but the manner in which this knowledge is gained. It seems that knowledge, even perfect knowledge, is not beneficial unless obtained by faith.
  • Alma 32:19: More cursed is he that knoweth the will of God and doeth it not. A similar idea seems to be taught in several other scriptural passages. For example, 2 Ne 9:27 says about him to whom the law is given, and in this sense "knows" the will of God, "awful is his state." D&C 82:3 teaches that where "much is given much is required" (this seems to be a quotation of, or at least related to, Luke 12:48). James 4:17 defines sin using a similar notion of knowledge: "to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." Finally, D&C 41:5 teaches that "He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you"—interestingly, the "cast out" phrasing used here is also a prominent phrase used in Alma 32.
  • Alma 32:19: Only hath cause to believe. The word "only" might seem a bit strange here since "only" as used here seems to mean a weaker condition, and yet having a "cause" to believe seems to be a strong condition. However, if "cause" is understood in a way that is weaker than sufficient causation, then this makes sense. That is, if having a "cause to believe" means having "motivation" to believe (see Webster's 1828 dictionary, definition 3), then we can understand this as emphasizing that having a "cause to believe" does not imply that one actually believes. In other words, this phrase seems to preserve room to choose between believing or not.
  • Alma 32:19: Knoweth the will of God and doeth it not. Later, Alma will talk about obtaining perfect knowledge by what seems to be a growing process of faith. But here, Alma seems to be suggesting (this ambiguity is highlighted in verse 20) that knowledge is potentially undesirable because it can have damning effects. The tension between these alternately negative and positive views of knowledge seems to be predicated on whether or not faith accompanies(/precedes) knowledge or not. It seems that for knowledge to be a desirable thing, the knower must not be at risk of failing to do God's word. This suggests, then, that the increase in faith described by Alma later should somehow be related to a decreasing risk of failing to do God's will. Alma later mentions a "desire to believe" (verse 27)—perhaps this kind of desire should be thought in relation to the damning effect of knowledge, or vice versa.
  • Alma 32:19: Or only hath cause to believe. This phrase seems to suggest the possibility of having cause to believe but not believing. This seems similar to the idea expressed by the word "sometimes" in verse 13: there, those who are compelled to be humble only sometimes repent; here, those that have cause to believe only sometimes believe. The word "cause" then seems analogous to the way the word "compelled" is used above, but seems to have softer connotations here. That is, having a cause to believe is not the same as being forced to believe, but it opens the possibility of belief—or even more, the call to belief.
  • Alma 32:21: Perfect knowledge. The word-pair "perfect knowledge" only occurs in a few other instances in LDS scripture. Two occurrences seem particularly relevant to Alma's sermon here: Jacob 4:12 where Jacob is describing the atonement of Christ, and Ether 3:20 where the Brother of Jared's theophany is described. The interplay between the terms faith and knowledge in Ether 3 seems rather complex and should be considered carefully in order to understand better what Alma is getting at here (it seems likely that Alma would have been familiar with Jacob's words and the Brother of Jared's theophany; whether or not the Zoramite poor would have been familiar with these records is more speculative).
  • Alma 32:21: Faith, hope, and perfect knowledge. The phrase "if ye have faith ye hope" could be read as implying that hope is a necessary ingredient of faith. That is, if I am predisposed not to believe in something (i.e. I have no hope that something is true), then I will not be able to develop faith. The contrapositive logic for this reading is as follows: If F implies H, then not H implies not F.
Another way to read the phrase "if ye have faith ye hope" suggests something quite different. It could be that Alma is suggesting that hope follows faith: If I have faith, then hope follows. On this view, faith effectively precedes hope (rather than hope preceding faith as suggested above). See also Alma 25:16 where hope is spoken of as being retained "through faith."
In context, however, the term hope seems to be used to elaborate on the previous phrase that faith is not to have a perfect knowledge. Thus, regardless of whether hope is viewed as a prerequirement or a consequence of faith, the important thing is that faith entails only hope, not a perfect knowledge. Although hope is being contrasted here with perfect knowledge, note that Ether 12:4 discusses the "sure and steadfast" effects of hope. In fact, the contrast between hope and perfect knowledge being used here seems to presuppose a relationship between hope and knowledge that makes a contrasting comparison possible and meaningful. That is, comparing hope (or, indirectly, faith) and perfect knowledge should not be viewed as comparing apples and oranges, but perhaps more like comparing small apples to big apples in the sense that hope is something that points toward or can grow into perfect knowledge.
  • Alma 32:21: Which are true. In verse 21 Alma tells us that when we have faith we "hope for things which are not seen, which are true." What should we make of this last phrase "which are true"?
There are different ways that we could make sense of this.
1) Alma may be referring to what we might otherwise call true faith. It may be that he is distinguishing this concept of faith from what we might call misplaced faith. Under this interpretation the fact that Alma doesn't feel it necessary to call this "true faith," the fact that he simply calls this "faith" suggests that in Alma's view "misplaced faith" isn't properly faith at all. If we follow that thought to it's logical conclusion then someone who professes faith in something they honestly believe is true only has faith if they are right. Note that this is different than we typically use the word in English today. In the way the word is used in English today, someone might say "I grew up with faith in the religion my parents had taught me. It wasn't until I went to college that I realized that many of the things I had had faith in were wrong."
2) Alma may be simply saying that when someone has faith they hope that something they don't see is true. The distinguishing feature between this interpretation and the first is that in the first interpretation "which are true" is taken as a universal claim about what is the case whereas in this second interpretation it is a statement simply about what the person who has hope believes. Under this second interpretation the point of the phrase "which are true" is simply to distinguish a hope in a belief--which is to say a hope that something is true--from other types of hope.
Those who would argue in favor of this second interpretation point out that interpreting "which are true" in the context of the person with hope is no different than the way we all interpret "which are not seen." If we all interpreted "which are not seen" as a universal claim about what is the case it would suggest Alma is telling us that someone cannot have faith in something that someone else has seen. But that leads us to the clearly false conclusion that I cannot have faith in Jesus Christ because Joseph Smith saw him. This interpretation suggests that both phrases "which are not seen" and "which are true" have to be understood relative to the person with hope.
  • Alma 32:22: His word. Up to this point in this chapter, the word word has occurred with the definite article the modifying it (vv. 1, 6, 14, 16). However, here, just before Alma begins a discussion of how the word of God is delivered unto man ("by angels" in v. 23), Alma adds the possessive modifier his to the word word describing God's word as "his word." This possessive modifier of God's word ("his word") seems to mark a change in Alma's discussion of the word of God, a change which seems to set up a contrast with the phrase "my words" in verses 26-27. This seems to be a step on Alma's part toward a discussion about what ultimately amounts to bridging the gap between man (the Zoramite poor in particular) and God's word. Despite Alma's explanation, Alma 33:1 indicates that the Zoramite poor did not fully understand how Alma's words apply to the bridging this distance between them and God's word (cf. "how they should plant the seed . . . or in what manner they should begin to exercise their faith").
  • Alma 32:23: His word by angels. Compare the discussion in 2 Ne 32:3 where angels "speak the words of Christ." If Alma was familiar with Nephi's writings, this might have bearing on how we read Alma's words here. Here it seems that Alma is functioning as a de facto angel by delivering God's word to the Zoramite poor. On the other hand, Alma's conversion seems to have been effected by a being that was a angelic in the sense of being different from ordinary mortals (at least this seems the common reading of Alma's conversion experience).

Unanswered questions[edit]

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I don't quite understand verse 20 of this chapter. Alma asks in verse 19 how much more cursed is he who has a perfect knowledge than he who has only faith and not a perfect knowledge. Then, in verse 20, it seems to say that "it is on the one hand even as it is on the other". This implies (at least in an English expression) that the two punishments must be equal, like two hands are equal. It concludes by saying "it shall be unto every man according to his work." I would have finished that clause by saying "belief" or "knowledge", but not "work". Perhaps the expression "on the one hand even as it is on the other" has a different meaning in its original as opposed to its translation. Anyone have any insight on this point? I think I'm just completely misunderstanding the entire verse.

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  • Alma 32:17: Know of a surety. How would seeing a sign help us "know of a surety"? Know what? Didn't Laman and Lemuel see signs from heaven? If so, what did they know of a surety? Can anything be known "of a surety"? Can knowing "of a surety" be reconciled with being "lowly in heart" (v. 8) and being humble and learning wisdom (v. 12)? If something is known "of a surety" how can learning take place? Is the learning of wisdom described in verse 12 a one time event, a finite process, an eternally recurring process, or something else entirely?
  • Alma 32:18: Faith and belief. Alma seems to implicitly link faith and belief in this verse, and it seems he expects his listeners to already have some sort of understanding of this link. How would the Zoramite poor have understood this link before Alma launches into his metaphor of the word as a seed where belief and faith play such a vital role? Is the phrase "ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive" in mind (see 1 Ne 15:11; cf. Enos 1:15; Mosiah 4:21; Alma 22:16)? Are there other important teachings on belief and faith that they likely would have been familiar with? If they confused the relationship between faith, belief and knowledge, can we reverse engineer how this understanding might've become corrupted?
  • Alma 32:19: More cursed. What does "cursed" mean? What does Alma's use of the term "curse" elsewhere help us understand about this verse (see esp. Alma 3:6-7, 9, 14-15, 18-19)? How might this be related to the curses talked about in the creation narrative (cf. Gen 3:14, 17), or the curse pronounced up on Cain (Gen 4:11)?
  • Alma 32:20: One hand even as it is on the other. What does this phrase mean? Is it related to any know expression in Hebrew or Egyptian? (Cf. 1 Ne 14:7.)
  • Alma 32:20: Now of this thing ye must judge. What does this phrase mean? What is it referring to? faith requiring the absence of knowledge? the relative cursedness of not doing God's will in terms of knowing or merely believing something?
  • Alma 32:21: Perfect knowledge of things. Is it ever possible to have a perfect knowledge without qualification? Will there ever be a time that we will not need to have faith anymore? (In the Lectures on Faith, God is described as working by faith—does this have any bearing on how we should understand this verse?)
  • Alma 32:21: If ye have faith ye hope. Does this mean that if you do not hope, then by definition you do not have faith? In other words, is this an if-then statement, where we can apply formal logic to conclude that one without hope for things which are not seen but true does not have faith? If so, what does faith mean? How does it differ from hope?
  • Alma 32:25: That ye all of you have": What purpose does the "ye" serve in this verse?

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Verse 21[edit]

Notes[edit]

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