What is the one law?

July 27, 2006    By: Jacob J @ 4:56 pm   Category: Scriptures

There’s this scripture I’ve wondered about that I want to get your take on.

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated-
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. ( D&C 130:20-21)

This scripture is commonly used to suggest that every blessing has its own law. For example, I’ve heard it used many times in connection with Mal 3:8-11 and the blessings of tithing or D&C 89:18-21 and the blessings of keeping the Word of Wisdom.

However, this interpretation has the problem that it ignores what the verses actually say. Notice, they do not say that each blessing is associated with its own law. They say that there is “a law” upon which “all blessings” are predicated. In other words, every blessing is predicated upon one single law, which was decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world. When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that [one] law upon which it (and every blessing for that matter) is predicated.

So, my question to you is: what is the one law?

Before opening it up for suggestions, let me address one answer preemptively. Given the common saying that “obedience is the first law of heaven,” someone will surely argue that the one law is obedience. This answer has a couple of problems. First, verse 21 reads in a strange way if you plug it in: “And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to [the law of obedience] upon which it is predicated.” Obedience to the law of obedience? That poses a bit of a problem. Second, there seems to be nothing inherently virtuous about obedience. Over at BCC, Ronan recently commented that “Obedience is the first law of heaven (and Auschwitz).” That makes the point rather well. Obedience is only good if we are obeying the right thing, and in this case, that right thing appears to be the one law upon which all blessings are predicated. So, if you want to say obedience, be sure to tell me where I’m going wrong here.

[Associated radio.blog song: The Clash – I fought the law]


  1. I take it as differentiating the universe being ordered by law versus a universe without law. Once you have that foundational distinction, the multiplicity of laws is able to be built upon the foundational truth that the universe is governed by law. (This feeds back into the section that states ‘where there is no law there is no existence’.)

    Comment by XON — July 27, 2006 @ 5:25 pm

  2. Jacob,

    I believe if you read the scripture carefully, it is referring to both the “one law” (a sort of meta-law or principle for all blessings) and a particular law (“that law”) for each and every blessing, upon which that blessing is predicated.

    Now of course the relationship between laws and blessings can be one-to-many, i.e. obedience to a certain law may lead to multiple blessings. What the scripture is saying is that there is a meta-law or meta-principle that states that the Lord generally does not dispense blessings without obedience to some law.

    I say “generally” because there are other scriptures that say that certain blessings are given to all, pretty much indiscriminately, in this world at least (cf. Matt 5:45 re “rain on the just and unjust”)

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 27, 2006 @ 5:34 pm

  3. Maybe what we have here is a punctuation problem, given Joseph’s habit of using dashes instead of periods and starting sentences with “And” for no particular reason. Rewritten, the two verses would, in fact, be two separate sentences expressing separate ideas. Like this:

    20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated.
    21 When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

    That might eliminate some of the confusion. It makes it more clear that the term “law” in the first verse and the term “that law” in the second verse are not really referring to the same thing.

    Comment by Dave — July 27, 2006 @ 5:59 pm

  4. The law is the Law of the Harvest, the Law of Love.

    Comment by Blake — July 27, 2006 @ 6:15 pm

  5. None of you know me (its obvious that many of you know each other), but I have enjoyed reading the comments made on this site the last few months. It’s hard to find people locally who like to talk about these kind of things. I appreciate the thoughts along with the faith. I do feel a little intimidated by many of you and your obvious education in fields of philosophy and religion. But hey, I thought I’d throw something out here. I’m 51 yrs. old, have been in the church all my life and had some pretty extensive experience in many levels of church priesthood leadership. After all that, everything seems to boil down to a simple principle. Choose the Right. If there is a meta-law this would be mine. Without opposition of right and wrong there would be no existence, we are here to learn to choose good over evil, and after listening to many peoples stories of happiness, joy, and sin, the life we are creating for ourselves seems to boil down to the simple law of choose the right. Of course its not that simple, rarely do we choose between good and evil, but rather, good and not-so-good. The extent that we learn to choose the best, is what determines the blessings we are able to receive. When I was a kid my dad taught me the plan of salvation by saying “God created us, put us on this earth, and then asked ‘now what do you want?'” The law seems to be: we get what we choose.

    Comment by Hal — July 27, 2006 @ 6:19 pm

  6. What about the law of the harvest, you reap what you sow? Makes sense to me. :)

    Comment by Doc — July 27, 2006 @ 6:42 pm

  7. doh, Blake beat me to the punch. I guess great minds think alike.

    Comment by Doc — July 27, 2006 @ 6:43 pm

  8. The scripture itself implies that the law of the harvest, or the law of restoration, in the form spoken of, is not a natural law, but rather an ordinate law, i.e. according to the decree of God.

    There is little in the law of nature that keeps sinners from prospering by degrees. We see it around us all the time. The Old Testament prophets note it with regularity. It is only the judgments of God that restore justice to the world in the long run, keeping sinners from running roughshod over the righteous, by punishing them for their evil deeds. The testimony of the scriptures is clear – justice comes by judgment, and not by nature alone.

    (cf. 1 Chr 16:14, 2 Chr 19:6, Ps 94:15, 103:6, 111:7, Eccl 12:14, Isa 1:27 and dozens of others)

    See also here:

    Scriptures referring to judgment

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 27, 2006 @ 7:39 pm

  9. Welcome Hal. Glad you came out of the shadows. I don’t know anyone here outside of arguing with them at the Thang, so don’t feel like an outsider.

    Comment by Jacob — July 27, 2006 @ 7:52 pm

  10. I agree with Mark that the Law of the Harvest isn’t a good fit for this verse. I’m not sure what Blake means by the Law of Love. Perhaps he could clarify.

    Could we replace the term “a law” in the first verse with the term “a body of law”? That would make the “one law” that Jacob refers to a synonym for “God’s law”. Dave’s comment #3 is right on by my reading.

    Comment by Bradley Ross — July 27, 2006 @ 8:38 pm

  11. Obedience to a principle will bring a desired outcome, but not necessarily a blessing from God. It is only through faith that we can be blessed from God. Christ was only capable of healing those with some degree of faith. Even with the law of tithing; people can pay their tithing, but if it is done without faith they will not receive the blessing of heaven. In the context of tithing, the author of the book “Drawing on the Powers of Heaven” discussed how we may follow a principle, such as the law of tithing, but lack the faith to receive blessings from God. This passage hit me a few years ago as I thought about the relationship between my works and my faith. Just as faith without works are dead, so are works without faith. I would suggest that this one law would be faith in God.

    Comment by JP — July 27, 2006 @ 9:10 pm

  12. What I mean by the “Law of Love” is the Law of the Harvest — I maintain that these two laws entail each other. I discuss it at some length in my book in ch. 6. The Law of Love entails that one who loves (as God does) honors every choice and gives to each what they truly desire (see Alma 41). However, that is also the Law of the Harvest — that we are judged as we judge, we receive what we send out, and we are judged according to the desires of our hearts (see Alma 41 again).

    Now I suggest that this Law of Love is in fact a “natural law” in the sense that it is an eternal feature of the universe and not even God could make it otherwise. It cannot be escaped. WE are an eternal feature in the universe. Not even God can make wickedness happiness; nor could He make it so that we find joy in hatred and rejection. So I suggest that Mark is not quite accurate when he says that the Law of Love is ordained — as if God could make hateful conduct into loving conduct. Love is what it is; and not even God can change it. Indeed, God’s very nature as a divine being is dependent on the eternal fixity of the nature of love. I also suggest that judgment does follow by nature — the blessings of love naturally follow from being loving; and the curses of hatred naturally follow such hatred. God doesn’t need to judge us, for we naturally receive the blessings (or condemnations) that flow from our conduct. And thus we are our own judges.

    Comment by Blake — July 27, 2006 @ 9:32 pm

  13. Mark: There is little in the law of nature that keeps sinners from prospering by degrees. We see it around us all the time. (#8)

    I agree with Blake that the law of the harvest is a natural law, but your observation above is obviously correct as well. I think the BofM addresses this conflict with the idea of the “space granted” which we live in now. The function of this “time granted unto man” is specifically to keep the natural law of the harvest from taking effect immediately. Instead, we are given time to repent so that we can be prepared for the judgment, at which time the law of the harvest hits with full force again. In the mean time, we need something to teach us the eventual consequences of our actions and this is the basis of Alma 42:16-22 and remorse of conscience.

    Comment by Jacob — July 27, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

  14. Blake,

    I do not mean to imply that the what much of what you describe is ordinate law. I mean to imply that the blessings that are contingent upon obedience to ordinate laws, come as a result of divine judgment and reward, and not as a result of a law of nature. The “one law” meta-principle here is described as an ordinate law in verse 20, not a law of nature.

    The rule is like this:

    Any action -> natural consequences (whether we consider them blessings or otherwise), no effort required on anyones part, absolutely inevitable.
    This is natural law.

    Compliance with ordinate law -> ordinate reward (blessing)
    Violation of ordinate law -> ordinate condemnation

    Now ordinate law, to be effective, must be aligned with natural law. I have commented quite a bit on this at T&S and The Spinozist lately. i.e. I completely agree God cannot establish his kingdom upon a law of hate.

    However, everything about ordinate law, over and above natural law, is authored, promulgated, enforced, and executed, by some form of freely willing activity, ultimately the divine action of God, teaching us of his laws, and blessing and condemning us, over and above the consequences of natural law, but indeed leveraging the same.

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 27, 2006 @ 10:03 pm

  15. Dave (#3), Making the two verses into separate ideas seems like a pretty huge stretch given that the verse 21 is practically a restatement of verse 20. However, even if I grant you your revised version of the scripture, aren’t you still left trying to explain verse 20 which says there is a law upon which all blessings are predicated?

    Bradley (#10), Upon what grounds do you suggest changing “a law” to “a body of law” other than that you don’t like the meaning of the verse as it actually appears?

    Comment by Jacob — July 27, 2006 @ 10:08 pm

  16. Mark (#14)

    This is a very interesting argument you make that the “irrevocably decreed in heaven” portion of the scripture excludes the possibility that it is refering to a natural law. If it was decreed then it is not a natural law. I like it.

    I might point out that this does not automatically exclude JP’s suggestion that the law refers to the necessity of faith preceeding a blessing from God.

    Comment by Jacob — July 27, 2006 @ 10:14 pm

  17. Geoff, Nice choice on the associated radio.blog song. I suppose the Dead Kennedy’s version in which “I fought the law and I won” wouldn’t work, sadly. Can’t argue with the Clash, though.

    Comment by Jacob — July 27, 2006 @ 10:31 pm

  18. Jacob,

    The way I read the scripture is as if the following leglislation was passed in the council in heaven:

    Whereas, it is inconsistent with the divine economy to continually dispense blessings on the heads of those who are not complying even with the natural principles of the same, and that blessing the disobedient is in the large, of little benefit for the salvation of their souls, and a furthermore a significant drain on the divine exchequer,

    I. Be it resolved, that henceforth and forever, all blessings shall only be granted on condition of obedience to some law duly established by this body.

    II. In pursuance thereof, we establish the following laws, with the corresponding pro forma blessings. Special dispensations may be granted upon condition of general righteousness and obedience, but a lasting blessing of the specified type may only be granted on condition of obedience to the terms and conditions for that particular blessing.

    (Specific laws and corresponding blessings follow)

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 27, 2006 @ 10:32 pm

  19. Jacob, I’d agree the verses are related. I think the blessings referred to in verse 21 are the same blessings referred to in verse 22. Here’s what I think it is trying to say in more exact language:

    For every blessing y in the set Y of all blessings, y is a function of (or results from) some subset x of the set X of all possible actions, so y=f(x) for all y in Y.

    That’s “the law” from verse 20. The function f that relates a subset of actions to a particular blessing is “that law upon which it [the particular blessing] is predicated” from verse 21. It sounds like a different function for every blessing. Of course, expressed so starkly, it also becomes clear that the verses are saying you can’t have everything, since the actions x you choose might map onto a blessing y but, on some other attribute we consider a blessing, map onto a complete lack thereof. So the verses aren’t saying we can get every blessing, only that the ones we do get are related in some way to our actions (or whatever else you think the function operates on).

    Comment by Dave — July 27, 2006 @ 10:53 pm

  20. I think a lot of folks have made good points here. It seems to me that the law referred to in vs. 20 is indeed a meta-law that encompasses specific laws upon which specific blessings are predicated. I am pretty much in Blake’s camp in thinking that nearly every law is grounded in the beginningless Law of the Harvest. I get the sense that Mark takes the idea of ordained laws, or laws with beginnings, too far for my tastes. Further, I would not read too far into the word “decreed” in verse 20. Joseph was no trained philosopher or metaphysician after all. Plus, this is the same Joseph who later preached that everything that has a beginning will also have an end. I think that the meta-Law discussed in vs. 20 has no beginning and cannot have an end either.

    Comment by Geoff J — July 27, 2006 @ 11:52 pm

  21. I am sorry for joining this so late. One thought I did not catch expressed yet.

    Perhaps the law is that God can not just bless people for the heck of it. Would that make him a respector of persons? So if God wants to bless somebody, then they have to do something that merits such a thing. Otherwise why bless me, and not that poor chap over there?

    I’m not sure even I agree with this. Just a thought.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — July 28, 2006 @ 8:55 am

  22. Geoff,

    Joseph Smith definitely implied what you say, in the “ring illustration” in the King Follett Discourse. However, he was making an analogy to teach a point about the eternality of spirit-intelligences. Certainly he did not believe that an immortal resurrected body must have an end simply because it had a beginning.

    I beleive the proper way to state the principle here is that anything that had a beginning, *might* have an end, i.e. such an end is a logical possibility, with no prejudice to the likelihood such a fate. For example Alma 11 says of the resurrected body “never to be divided” – the “to be” expresses an intent. It certainly seems a *logical* possibility that a resurrected body could be divided, though no doubt a much greater agency would be required than with any mortal body.

    In the case of an ordinate law however, the only way it could have an end is if the divine council decided that it should – it technically does not exist outside of their own will to administer it. However, as they decreed that it be irrevocable, making such a change would be a stain upon their honor, necessitating at a minimum that it be replaced with something better, something which is hard to imagine in this case.

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 28, 2006 @ 9:10 am

  23. I kind of get the feeling that “the law” is whatever is the current revelation is. That’s why modern – current – revelation is so vital in the church. My simple example is Polygamy. You were blessed for keeping that law, now you’re not. Another is you were blessed for gathering to Zion, now you’re blessed for staying put. Or even, you’re blessed for paying ward budget, now we don’t even have that opportunity.

    Modern revelation is really what makes us unique – and gives us the full gospel, no other church has it. That I think is “the law” we must observe to be blessed….whatever is current according to the prophets.

    Comment by don — July 28, 2006 @ 10:18 am

  24. Why not “the law of the gospel” (D&C 88:78)? I think this is the only comprehensive enough answer that explains other uses of the phrase “a law” which seems to refer to the Law of Moses (Mosiah 13:29-30) and a much more general notion of sin, justice/restoration, and mercy (Alma 42:22). This may be effectively what Blake is suggesting, but I’m more comforatable using a scriptural phrase (though “law of love” does seem implicit in Rom 13:8, Gal 5:14 and James 2:8).

    Comment by Robert C. — July 28, 2006 @ 10:37 am

  25. I thought I was the only one to see the obvious question that Jacob has asked here. I have asked this to a friend or two and they both said that it is the law of obedience. I think Jacob it correct, that does not fit. So – here is my answer.

    In the old testament we had the law of Moses. In the new testament we have what I have come to call the law of grace. I believe everything is tied to grace, without it, no law would ever be sufficient to get us get back to heaven. One of course could call it the law of love, so I suppose one could say that Blake said it first. This life is all about loving and forgiveness.

    Comment by CEF — July 28, 2006 @ 1:05 pm

  26. Mark,
    I don’t see how sinners prosper over the righteous in the end. In the larger scale of things that just isn’t true. “Wickedness never was happiness.”

    In fact, by ascribing such “punishment” to God rather than to a natural law it seems to me that you are suddenly knee deep in the problem of evil. God is powerful enough to have stopped the evil ever from having happened but allowed it leaving the righteous to suffer in this life, punished the evil-doers, and caused them their “pains of hell” as they suffer in the spirit world. Why not nip it all in the bud before suffering had to happen on either side?

    This is not my understanding of how things work. God doesn’t set up a system of rewards and punishments, giving us one candy bar for living telestial law, two for terrestrial, and three for Celestial. He does all he can to get every one of us the greatest attainment of glory we can attain. We need agency to do so, and we can do so by adherence to natural laws with the aid of the “Law of love” as Blake puts it. He is much better at articulating this than I.
    We also know that the Lord is bound by natural laws. The Law of the harvest is one I just don’t see any getting around in the end. Every action has a consequence, If God ceased to follow the actions that make him God, he would cease to be God.

    Comment by Doc — July 28, 2006 @ 1:19 pm

  27. Doc,

    I am talking about a hypothetical world, in which God does not lift a finger. And by “prosper” I do not mean “joy and happiness”, I simply mean prosper in the more ordinary, and admittedly often temporal sense, the law of the jungle, where the big dog wins most of the time, even if who the big dog is changes on a pretty regular basis.

    In addition I believe that indeed there are natural consequences for sin such that often God does not have to get involved in punishment per se, all he has to do is quit blessing and let the natural consequences of sin take their course.

    I will recognize of course, as an adherent of natural law, that there is a natural counterpart of the law of the harvest, just that the natural law of the harvest is not sufficient to save us. That is a denial of the necessity of grace, and the role of the at-one-ment. Neither grace nor sacrifice nor atonement are natural, they are enormously unnatural – that is why the atonement requires suffering.

    Except God himself should suffer, no atonement could be made. No one suffers to achieve that which is natural, but rather to acheive that which is unnatural, to change the man of nature into the man of the Spirit, and no ordinary spirit, but the Spirit of God, according to his own will, and no dictate of nature, and yet fully compatible therewith.

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 28, 2006 @ 1:30 pm

  28. Good point Doc. I thought about dinging Mark on that comment about the wicked prospering but held off largely because I plan to post on the subject of prospering in the land again in a couple of days. Suffice it to say that it seems clear to me that a person who is wicked in many ways can still “prosper in the land” other ways by obedience to the specific natural laws that bring about the specific type of prosperity enjoyed.

    Now that is not to say that I totally disagree with Mark. Two parties can contractually agree that certain behaviors will result in certain consequences and all and that is a major part of what our covenants with God are about. I just think Mark seems to take that “ordinate law” notion too far and gives natural law too little credit at times.

    Comment by Geoff J — July 28, 2006 @ 1:31 pm

  29. The type of “prospering” I am referring to is by fraud, deceit, exploitation, and general grinding upon the faces of the poor. Nature cannot prevent such crimes, in fact nature doesn’t care at all.

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 28, 2006 @ 2:08 pm

  30. Thanks for all the great comments so far. You have given me some new things to think about.

    One idea expressed above that I like a lot is JP’s distinction between blessings and consequences (#11). The law of the harvest figures prominently in my personal theology, so I mean no disrespect to it, but I am not sure I see it as the law referred to in this scripture. The law of the harvest seems to be more about the ultimate consequences of our actions, not about the basis for obtaining blessings from God. It seems to me that we frequently receive blessings that we do not deserve (in the law of the harvest sense). I would hate to think when I am praying for God to heal me that I can only be healed if I deserve it in some sense.

    As JP mentioned, Jesus often stressed the necessity of having enough faith to be healed when people came to him requesting a blessing. This requirement of faith appears to me to fit the verses rather well. It is the kind of law that could reasonably be “decreed” rather than being inevitable. Also, it does appear that God portions out blessings based on our faith.

    Comment by Jacob — July 28, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

  31. Jacob,
    Could not having faith to enable healing be seen as a consequence of the law of the harvest? Our Faith unleashes the power of God, without it we cannot be helped. I guess I just have a hard time even seeing the faith requirement as decreed. God refuses to bless us unless we trust him enough? It seems to me that a natural law or true principle could be “decreed” in the counsel of heaven without necessarily needing to be legislated.

    Comment by Doc — July 29, 2006 @ 7:50 am

  32. Doc,

    Responding to your questions out of order: I think you’re right that something could be “decreed” without being legislated. Geoff also made a similar comment in #20. I agree that I could be reading too much into the word “decreed,” but the qualifier “irrevocably” does seem to imply that the decree could have been revokable but it was not. This is the most straightforward reading imo, but I am certainly open to others.

    There does seem to be a “policy” established that God only works miracles for us according to our faith:

    For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith. (2 Ne 27:23)

    A similar thing appears to be operating in general with respect to blessings we seek from God. Do you disagree (as your question: “God refuses to bless us unless we trust him enough?” seems to indicate)?

    I suppose that faith-to-be-healed could be viewed as related to the law of the harvest, but I’m not sure exactly how you see them linked. The law of the harvest says that we reap what we sow. Is the healing we “reap” somehow “sown” as seeds of faith? The two ideas seem different enough to me that I don’t view them as the same concept.

    Comment by Jacob — July 29, 2006 @ 10:11 am

  33. I just think of events such as the Lady with the issue of blood that reached out to touch Jesus to be healed, and was without his conscious bestowal. It was when he felt the virtue go out of him that he asked “who touched me?” Another episode I picture was Peter as he got out of the boat and walked a few steps out on the water and then as he began sinking came the question, “where is your faith?”

    It seems to me that faith could be metaphysically tied to the power of God and this was the principle Christ was trying to teach us. I don’t know this for a fact, it’s just an idea I’m mulling around in my head.

    Its funny, but on my reading irrevocable seems to indicate that it is a natural law because things cannot go any other way. Anyway, I enjoyed your post and it is certainly stimulating a lot of thoughts spinning around in my head. :)

    Comment by Doc — July 29, 2006 @ 11:42 am

  34. I understand all blessings to be that we receive from others, i.e. anything we do strictly of ourselves is not a blessing. All blessings are gifts.

    Now nature, strictly speaking, has no will of its own, so it cannot bless, nor condemn, except in the most abstract sense. Only intelligences (minds and wills) can bless or condemn others.

    So if we want to accomplish some task, all by ourselves, we certainly have to operate within the dictates of natural law, as it is impossible to do otherwise. But nature does not bless us, nor can it punish. Nature just does what it does, no matter what, completely oblivious to all moral considerations. Nature, strictly speaking, doesn’t care. Only intelligences care.

    So now if we talk about biological nature, such as the seeds of plants, the law of the harvest indeed operates according to the law of nature, except the seeds themselves are not strictly natural – they are the work of God, not some sort of random accident, form added to matter. In other words God has designed the seeds for a certain purpose, and when we culivate those seeds, the purpose thereof is manifest in the harvest.

    The neat thing about plant seeds, is once that intent has been made immanent in their own form and structure, they operate pretty much like clockwork, apparently no intelligence required (or at least I have a hard time of thinking of plants as having free will).

    I believe that to a very great degree, our bodies are designed in the same way, to manifest certain blessings and condemnations according to the intent and purpose of God in designing them the way they are, in a way that often operates without his direct interference. A very effective manifestation of divine economy, an autonomous system of internal discipline.

    However further blessings come only through the agency of his spirit, as we are blessed or condemned according to our obedience to the commandments and laws of heaven, according to covenant and circumstance. I understand such spiritual blessings require active intervention and participation on the Lord’s part, smiling upon us when we do right, turning away when we do not, and unleashing his anger when we injure others without a cause.

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 29, 2006 @ 11:48 am

  35. Regarding “a law” irrevocably decreed…

    It is difficult to briefly address what that scripture vaguely refers to, but there is one/two overarching concepts that encompass most of what is reality/truth, and what is packaging (some from God, some from men) to help us use this truth. Those two intertwined–and essentially the same concept–are “we agents unto ourselves” and “agency” (redundantly termed “free agency”). This “law” was never “decreed” for that implies a decree-er, a creator of the “law.” The law referred to in the scripture, and the Simese Twin concepts I just stated are simply the way things work in this reality (and I’m fairly confident this is the only reality).

    After all is said and done, by God and others trying to help us, we will become what we make ourselves–(after becoming “accountable”) We are in complete control of our righteousness, our character, our level of exaltation. This is not to say that the atonement wasn’t necessary to our exaltation–but it certainly was NOT Christ suffering for our individual sins.

    I will stop there. I am always too long-winded.

    Comment by Phil — July 29, 2006 @ 4:45 pm

  36. Phil, I am of the contrary opinion. I believe when the scripture says “decreed” or “ordained” or “created” that is to be taken literally. Otherwise we end up either with the God of the Philosophers, or a secon class divinity who merely shows us the way to the God of the Philosophers – Absolute Being. However there are plenty who held a position rather more atemporalist, Orson Pratt probably being the most well known example.

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 29, 2006 @ 8:50 pm

  37. Mark,
    (esp. #18, lol.)
    Could you come and teach our Gospel Doctrine class in Vernal?

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — July 30, 2006 @ 3:41 pm

  38. Bored,

    I am glad you thought number 18 was amusing. I thought so, though mostly due to anachronism rather than principle. Thanks for the compliment, but I think that is against the rules, like the fireside circuit in general. I would like to visit Vernal someday, the closest I have been is Duchesne, enroute to Moon Lake in the southern Uintas.

    Comment by Mark Butler — July 30, 2006 @ 6:55 pm

  39. I once heard Curtis Wright say that the “one law” is sacrifice–not sure how he arrived at that…

    Doesn’t the Law of God circumscribe all other laws into one whole?

    Comment by Jack — August 1, 2006 @ 7:49 pm

  40. Intersting Jack. I had a teacher who liked to stress the idea that the first principle (faith) was built by obedience to the first law (sacrifice). Lecture 6th in the Lectures on Faith also seems to build on that idea.

    Comment by Jacob — August 1, 2006 @ 8:27 pm

  41. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
    “This is the first and great commandment.”

    How can we obey the law if we do not love God first?

    Unless we first give ourselves over fully to God, we can not fully receive his blessings.

    Comment by Mary — May 12, 2007 @ 7:59 pm

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