I’m guessing most of us think we’ve got this one. After all, right there in the Bible Dictionary it tells us “the Resurrection consists in the uniting of a spirit body with a body of flesh and bones, never again to be divided,” an idea that comes from the Book of Mormon.
If this had been all that was ever been revealed on the principle of resurrection, I would have to come to the conclusion that resurrected bodies were incapable of dying. But, thinking about it, it seems a little strange that there could exist supremely powerful beings - ones possessing all the keys of the universe - able to form whole worlds, yet who cannot do something as simple as die, if they wanted to...even if, by laying down their lives, they could provide the opportunity of advancement for billions and billions.
Perhaps we all have that friend who thinks that when Christ said “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do" he was implying that the Father, also, had been the redeemer of a world. What are the chances of that? I WONDER. What are the chances that the once-mortal man, on an earth like ours, who had gone on to merit a celestial body in the resurrection of his world, would end up being the one in billions who happened to be the redeemer of that world and was now our Father in Heaven? Not likely, nor is it an accurate interpretation of what was meant, according to President Brigham Young.
Adam and Eve were just as much saviors of this world as Jesus Christ in that they laid down their lives voluntarily for the salvation of mankind. What kind of bodies did they have when they entered the Garden? The prophet Brigham Young told us plainly but we, as a church, rejected that piece of the puzzle and are left with nothing in its place.
The prophet and president of the Church proclaimed this a matter of fact to the entire world. Folks even in HIS day didn't want to believe it. Orson Pratt, one of the Twelve Apostles, didn't want to believe it. It's just one of those stones in the pile - the ones rejected by the builders. But that doesn't make it any less foundational to our understanding of things as they really are.
Can resurrected beings die? Adam did. If you search the world literature you'll find Adam archetypes that teach basically the same thing. For instance, take Odin of the Norse tradition. He, as a god, hanged himself from the "world tree", wounded himself with his spear, and fasted from food and drink for nine days and nights (could that be in reference to Adam's 9 centuries of mortality?) in order to "discover the runes" (ie. gain experience and wisdom). Then there's Osiris, the god who died by being cut into pieces by Seth (the Satan figure) and who then posthumously begot Horus (the Christ figure). Wouldn't it be sad to think that ancient Egyptians understood more about Adam than Latter-day Saints?
What makes this discussion even more relevant is how it might pertain to the prophecy of the two witnesses spoken of in Revelations 11. I really believe it could be referring to Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Some have said so, and they suppose everything written in chapter 11 has already come to pass during Joseph and Hyrum's lifetime. Huh? I believe the scriptures are a little more literal than that. I would be *so* excited if it were them - but what would make it sublime is if they were to fulfill that prophecy in the future (which I believe is indicated) as resurrected beings - with fire proceeding from their mouths to devour their enemies and power "to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." Who says they can't lay down their lives, have their bodies lie at the head of the streets for three and a half days and then rise again? Joseph, himself, received the revelation about those who belonged to Christ, that "all things [would be] theirs whether life or death" (D&C 76:58-59).
Is the Bible Dictionary wrong? Not necessarily. It sounds to me like the first step in obtaining the keys to be able to lay down one's life is to first be resurrected into a body that is, by nature, no longer subject to death. If Jesus is correct when he said "strait is the gate, and narrow the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it"...chances are, most folk won't ever need worry about having to lay down their lives in the same way our Father Adam and Mother Eve did.
What say ye?