How did Alma use a Chiasmus to focus on Christ’s Atonement? (Knowhy #323)

How did Alma use a Chiasmus to focus on Christ’s Atonement? (Knowhy #323)


In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma taught
the people of Gideon some important truths about the Saviors atoning sacrifice. To help make his point, Alma used a chiasm. This is a literary pattern where key words,
phrases, or ideas are repeated in reverse order. The center is typically the most important part. And at the center of Alma’s chiasm, he places emphasis on the truth that the Savior would suffer all of this “according to the flesh”. Alma described the Atonement in intensely
physical terms. His comprehensive list of things Christ would
take upon himself is comprised largely of physical suffering: pains, sicknesses, infirmities,
and death. But Alma also included the crucial, spiritual forms of suffering: temptations, sins, and transgressions. Alma’s use of chiasmus makes it clear that
Christ’s mortal nature the “flesh” was an essential part of His Atonement. It was His mortal nature that enabled Him
to suffer in Gethsemane, and to endure death at Golgotha. But Alma also taught that Christ’s mortal
experience itself His “going forth” and experiencing the “pains, afflictions,
and temptations” of mortality was a vital aspect of His atoning sacrifice. And now you know why

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