Alma 42, Book of Mormon, justice, Atonement of Christ, Mormon Studies


In Alma 42, Alma teaches his son Corianton about the atonement in a statement laden with legal vocabulary. Terms such as law, judged, just, justice, injustice, punishment, probationary, and penitent dominate the message, in company with such concepts as the execution of the law, the infliction of punishment, and punishment being affixed to violation of law. By all appearances, Alma sets forth what theologians call a juridical view of atonement (one concerned with the administration of justice). The problem as Alma states it is that “all mankind were fallen” and because of disobedience were “in the grasp of justice” and “cut off” from God’s presence. The solution, Alma says, is that “God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also” (Alma 42:14–15). On their face, Alma’s statements seem typical of classical juridical conceptualizations of the atonement.

Original Publication Citation

Ellison, M.D., "Beyond Justice: Reading Alma 42 in the Context of Atonement Theories." Give Ear to My Words: Text and Context of Alma 36-42, Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2019.

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Book Chapter

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Religious Studies Center




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor