Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Lion and the Robin

September 08th, 2015 by G.

In the grove in the evening, the lion heard a great racket from a father Robin and his brood and went to investigate.

“Friend Robin,” the lion said, “why do you make a fuss?”

“Look at this nest, O Lion. All my work on it is ruined.” The nest was a ring of thorns the robin had woven to keep the young away from the edge. But in the middle of the ring at the bottom of the nest there was little. The pine needles and other such stuff the robin put here had mostly fallen away.

“Do not fret, friend Robin,” the lion said. “As I walked here, I saw several empty nests. I will lead you to one. Then it will be as if your mistake never happened.”

“O Lion,” the robin replied, “what a piteous state would be mine if all my work for my brood were meaningless. I cannot bear that they go to another nest as if all my day’s work had never happened.”

“Then you will have your brood sleep in this nest?” the lion asked.

“No,” said the robin, “they would fall. It is not fair to them to suffer for my mistakes.”

“And you see no way for the nest to be repaired?” the lion asked.

“Oh no,” said the robin, “it was a bad idea from the start.”

Then the king of beasts took the ring of thorns and placed it on his own head. “Let your brood nest in my mane, walled in by you’ve the ring you made.”

Someone must bear the consequences.

Comments (7)
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September 08th, 2015 11:30:01

September 8, 2015

Didn’t see that ending coming.

Well done.

September 8, 2015

I very often think of spiritual laws, much like physical laws. Something has to balance the equations or make up the difference. If there are spiritual forces, we need to have other forces that either balance out the forces, or we need to remember we have some acceleration. That is the same reason God can’t merely waive the consequences of sin… there is actual spiritual work that needs to be done to “bear the consequences”.

September 8, 2015

The spiritual law in question here is that a choice that doesn’t have any consequences isn’t a meaningful choice. For repentance to be possible (i.e., for we and our loved ones to not suffer the consequences of our meaningful choices), someone else mus bear the consequences. Agency=atonement.


Bruce Charlton
September 9, 2015

It is a memorable fable – however, I don’t think I get it.

One (neglected?) consequence of error, sin, is having to live-through and endure slowness, delay, lack of progression, suffering and lack of happiness.

Justice is an abstraction based on a reality – the reality of justice between a loving Father and his children is very different from the abstractions of any legal system.

September 9, 2015

@BC, this parable isn’t about the bad things that sin causes, not directly, so it probably doesn’t capture what you’re looking for. To the extent it mirrors the consequence of sin, the fracas and worry about the defective nest fits the bill, whereas the bird’s acceptance that his nest concept just doesn’t work and his acceptance of the lion’s solution would constitute repentance after which it would not be necessary for him to suffer the consequences.
The abstraction here isn’t justice, its the idea that an agent needs their choices to have meaningful consequences in order to flourish as an agent.

September 10, 2015

On the one hand, I agree 100% with G. that there are consequences to sin. Jesus bearing those consequences is absolutely necessary to redemption. Redemption is not a waiver.

But on the other hand, I also think that Bruce makes an essential point: eternal justice is not necessarily the same thing as “justice” in our legalistic models that we use to try to explain the atonement. So we may not understand what the “consequences of sin” are as well as we think we do. I don’t see these two principles as in conflict.

I won’t pretend to understand eternal justice, but I think I am beginning to understand, thanks to the Book of Mormon, primarily, that it has a lot more to do with the idea of restoration, of the law of the harvest, than it does with the abstract idea of justice being offended by sin. That notion (that justice requires punishment for sin, not as a natural consequence, but to satisfy some sense of vengeance or debt) seems almost to invite the idea that God can just waive justice, because it creates a picture of justice that seems kind of arbitrary and vindictive. Eternal justice seems to me to instead focus on restoring good for good and evil for evil, on reconciling relationships, rather than on satisfying a legalistic sense of “justice” by demanding punishment. God may be able to waive his own demands for punishment (if indeed he makes such demands) but I don’t think he can return evil for good, or good for evil, and still be just.

The Lion and the Robin
September 27, 2015

[…] it is his own) for the necessity of the atonement about a lion and a robin. I really like it, and you should read it. It […]

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