Latter-day Saints typically see the Atonement of Christ as comprising the suffering in Gethsemane as well as the crucifixion. I’ve been wondering if there’s some kind of duality implied by the contrasting details in these two halves. Consider the following chart, giving some details from Jesus Christ’s suffering in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Golgotha:
|Introverted/Psychic Emotional Suffering||Extroverted/Physical Violent Torture|
|Primary instrument = liquid (bleeding)||Primary instrument = solid (cross)|
|Inside of a garden||On top of a hill|
|Cyclical narrative||Linear narrative|
Is it a coincidence that the circumstances of Gethsemane are stereotypically feminine, and the circumstances at Golgotha are essentially masculine? Surely, a Freudian could analyze this to an unnecessary and irreverent depth, but is there perhaps some value to be gained from seeing the atonement of Christ in two complementary but distinctly different halves?
We could see this as evidence that the Atonement truly is infinite and eternal, a universal offering on behalf of all humanity. What could be more inclusive than an Atonement where the Savior felt in full every kind of pain, and did so in situations that reflect the fundamental natures of both genders? Indeed, as per Alma 7:11-13, a Latter-day Saint understanding of the Atonement would require the Savior’s Atonement to have such a holistic quality.
It’s reasonable to say that most of Western history has been formed by patriarchal priorities. As such, looking at this chart, is it any wonder that civilization tends to focus on the cross more than on the garden? What does it say of Latter-day Saint theology that it has restored the knowledge that the suffering in the garden was not just an intense prayer, but an integral part of the Atonement, completely equal in profundity and importance?
There are surely holes in this idea, compromising its usefulness as a lens for doctrinal study. For example, I don’t think seeing the agony in Gethsemane as primarily emotional and spiritual negates its unfathomably physical dimension, as per D&C 19:15-18, but others might disagree. Is this interpretation enlightening, or patronizing, or both? I’m not campaigning for it, but I wonder if there’s any value to be had from it. If anyone is aware of previous scholarship or authoritative statements on this idea, please share.