Selected Teachings on
Alma 42:12, 14
And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience . . . And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.
Dallin H. Oaks (Quorum of the Twelve)
According to eternal law, the consequences that follow from the justice of God are severe and permanent. When a commandment is broken, a commensurate penalty is imposed. This happens automatically. Punishments prescribed by the laws of man only follow the judge's action, but under the laws of God the consequences and penalties of sin are inherent in the act. "There is a law given, and a punishment affixed," the prophet Alma taught, and "justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment" (Alma 42:22). "And thus we see," Alma explained, "that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence" (v. 14). Abinadi taught that the Lord himself "cannot deny justice when it has its claim" (Mosiah 15:27). By itself, justice is uncompromising.
The justice of God holds each of us responsible for our own transgressions and automatically imposes the penalty. This reality should permeate our understanding, and it should influence all our teachings about the commandments of God and the effect of individual transgressions. ("Sins, Crimes, and Atonement," An Address given to CES religious educators, 7 February 1992, Temple Square Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah, pp. 1-2).
Boyd K. Packer (Quorum of the Twelve)
Natural and spiritual laws which govern life were instituted from before the foundation of the world [see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 308, 367]. They are eternal, as are the consequences for either obeying or disobeying them. They are not based on social or political considerations. They cannot be changed. No pressure, no protest, no legislation can alter them. ( "For Time and All Eternity," Ensign, Nov. 1993, p. 22)
Richard G. Scott (Quorum of the Twelve)
Every incorrect choice we make, every sin we commit is a violation of eternal law. That violation brings negative results we generally soon recognize. There are also other consequences of our acts of which we may not be conscious. They are nonetheless real. They can have a tremendous effect on the quality of our life here and most certainly will powerfully affect it hereafter. We can do nothing of ourselves to satisfy the demands of justice for a broken eternal law. Yet, unless the demands of justice are paid, each of us will suffer endless negative consequences. Only the life, teachings, and particularly the atonement of Jesus Christ can release us from this otherwise impossible predicament. Each of us has made mistakes, large or small, which if unresolved will keep us from the presence of God. ("Finding Forgiveness," Ensign, May 1995, p. 75)
But our Eternal Father defined truth and established what is right and wrong before the creation of this earth. He also fixed the consequences of obedience and disobedience to those truths. He defended our right to choose our path in life so that we would grow, develop, and be happy, but we do not have the right to choose the consequences of our acts. Those who willfully, consistently disobey His commandments will inevitably learn that truth. ("Healing Your Damaged Life," Ensign, Nov. 1992, p. 61)