The title of this post comes from a talk given by Dallin H. Oaks, which you can read here.
I chose to talk about this today simply because I believe that it is the core argument of several religious debates/discussions which I am sure many of you have had. Basically the question that I pose is “If God exists (and I believe He does), does He have any laws or rules that He requires us to live by? If so, what are they?” Furthermore I will discuss how God’s laws are an expression of His love, not an enforcement of anger or vengeance.
My parents gave me a 12:00am curfew. If I wasn’t home before midnight, I was grounded the following weekend. Pretty basic law, right? I often showed up somewhere within the 60 seconds after 11:59 and before 12:00, but nonetheless I always showed up on time. Often I thought to myself, so what if I am 1,2,5 minutes late? Is being out at 12:03 that much more dangerous than being out at 11:59? Foolishly I tried to find ways to “bend” my parents’ laws, but without fail my Dad would stay up under the clock, watching and waiting for my eventual arrival, eager to point out how I should not push it to the edge, and that if I showed up a minute later, I would be grounded. I think I have come to understand my father’s example.
To me, God does have laws like my father did. They don’t involve midnight curfews, they involve things of a much more eternal nature. Think along the lines of “Thou shalt not kill”. To my knowledge, this law is still in effect. It really is quite simple, don’t kill people! This is one of a whole host of laws that God has set for our mortal time here on earth. There are the 10 commandments of the Old Testament (and more aside from those), as well as further laws introduced by Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Baptism, for example, is one of God’s laws. Christ said “Except a man be born of water….he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God”. I will likely discuss baptism in a future post.
God gives us laws because He loves us. My Dad wanted me home before midnight not to restrict me, but to keep me safe. In the same way, God loves us so He gives us laws that will bless us and bring us happiness. If we don’t kill people, we will be happy. If we love others, we will be happy. If we don’t lie, steal, cheat, blaspheme, and engage in immoral behavior, we will be confident, optimistic, faithful, true, and blessed. God’s laws are given for our benefit. God’s laws are not flexible or subjective. If I have to come home before midnight, so does everyone else. He won’t change the curfew just because of circumstance. All have to be clean. What he does understand, though, is that not all people have the law given to them. Most people understand that killing is bad, but what if some child in the world has been taught from a child to hurt and kill their neighbors? Is it their fault that they are performing unrighteous acts? In these circumstances, God understands one’s understanding of law. However, in the end, all will be judged by the same universal, irrevocable laws.
I believe that God’s rewards for our obeying His laws and His punishments for disobeying them are signs of His love for us, and that if we are unsure about what His laws are we can seek His help in prayer and through revelation find answers. We can also LIVE a certain law, and if it produces happiness, peace, love, and joy to others, then it must be good.
What do you believe about God’s law? Comment below, and share this blog with others.