The idea of a War in Heaven is rooted in the biblical story of fallen angels (Genesis 6), a reinterpretation of Isaiah 12, and the apocalyptic writings of John (Revelation 12). Developed in the literature of post-biblical Judaism, the idea is more fully expanded in Christianity. Mormon scripture—the Book of Moses and the Doctrine and Covenants—transforms the War into a conflict of ideas about salvation: Satan attempting to prohibit agency and guarantee universal salvation; Christ allowing choice but providing atonement for sin. In Mormon thought, the War in Heaven has been used to convey moral messages about the correct use of agency, to tie Church history to future prophetic events of cosmic history, and, most interesting, to convey an allegory about the origins of inequality and the proper role of government. Significantly, this narrative of premortal ideological confrontation also becomes a tool for earthly, political debate.
BOYD J. PETERSEN