Divine Love: Merited or Unconditional?

Theo1689

Well-known member
Ever since I read it, I've been amazed by a talk by Russell. Nelson:

"While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional.:"​
-- Russell M. Nelson, "Divine Love", February 2003​
"While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional. The word does not appear in the scriptures."​
-- ibid.​

Nelson also quotes Joseph F. Smith:

"President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) expressed a similar thought: “This is how I look at the requirements which God has made upon his people collectively and individually, and I do believe that I have no claim upon God or upon my brethren for blessing, favor, confidence or love, unless, by my works, I prove that I am worthy thereof, and I never expect to receive blessings that I do not merit.” "

And this is what is amazing to me... "Blessings" are things given to people WITHOUT merit. Nobody ever says (with any sincerity), "I worked for two weeks and my boss blessed me with my wages." Blessings are something you identify when you are given them freely: "Our son Brad blessed the elderly lady next door by mowing her lawn for her."

And what's worse, the LDS actually have, "Count Your Blessings" in their hymnal!:

"When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done."​
-- Johnson Oatman, Jr.

Why would you be "surprised" by your blessings, if you "merited" them?!

I honestly believe they take this position because Smith was a "negative barometer". If the Christian church teaches is, then the LDS church must teach the opposite, just because.



Yet elsewhere we read:

"Yes, I know God loves you and me first, even before we know who God is. His love is infinite. His love is unconditional."​
-- Jenny Darinal Meeta Sathiaraj, Tirupur Branch, Coimbatore India District (Link)​

"I cried myself to sleep many nights. I sang Primary songs to myself and wept for freedom. “I’m unlovable,” I told myself. I turned to the scriptures. Love. Love. Unconditional love. I turned my heart to prayer."​
-- His Grace: Unconditional Love (Link) (from the LDS website)​

Apparently "Unconditional Love" is a song LDS sing in Primary?

"The greatest example of love available to all of us is, of course, found in the scripture from John: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” (John 3:16.) By the greatest of all acts of love and by this supreme sacrifice, God set the pattern. He demonstrated to us that His love was unconditional and sufficient to encircle every person."
-- Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "We Serve That Which We Love, Apr. 1981​


So which is it?
Is God's love merited or unconditional?
Mormons seem confused on this point.
 
Ever since I read it, I've been amazed by a talk by Russell. Nelson:

"While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional.:"​
-- Russell M. Nelson, "Divine Love", February 2003​
"While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional. The word does not appear in the scriptures."​
-- ibid.​


So which is it?
Is God's love merited or unconditional?
Mormons seem confused on this point.
Chuckle, talk about LDS taking scripture out of context, well Theo, you are the best at it and yet mock others who you claim do it here on the forum...

Pres. Nelson in full context, notice the difference between Theo's take and the lither context he obvious left out..

Divine Love Is Also Conditional. President Nelson​

While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional. The word does not appear in the scriptures. On the other hand, many verses affirm that the higher levels of love the Father and the Son feel for each of us—and certain divine blessings stemming from that love—are conditional. Before citing examples, it is well to recognize various forms of conditional expression in the scriptures.

Conditional Forms​

Several forms of conditional expression may be found in the scriptures:

  • If … [certain conditions exist], then … [certain consequences follow].” (The indicators if and then may be written or implied.)
  • Inasmuch as … [certain conditions exist], … [certain consequences follow].”
  • Except … cannot …”
  • Prove … , if … ” For example, a verse pertaining to our creation reveals a prime purpose for our sojourn here in mortality: “We will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” Life here is a period of mortal probation. Our thoughts and actions determine whether our mortal probation can merit heavenly approbation.

The Conditional Nature of Divine Love​

With scriptural patterns of conditional statements in mind, we note many verses that declare the conditional nature of divine love for us. Examples include:

  • If ye keep my commandments, [then] ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”
  • If you keep not my commandments, [then] the love of the Father shall not continue with you.”
  • If a man love me, [then] he will keep my words: and my Father will love him.”
  • “I love them that love me; and those that seek me … shall find me.”
  • “God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
  • The Lord “loveth those who will have him to be their God.”
  • “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

The Conditional Nature of Divine Blessings​

It is equally evident that certain blessings come from a loving Lord only if required conditions are met. Examples include:

  • If thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, … then I will lengthen thy days.”25
  • If thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments … ; then will I perform my word with thee.”
  • “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”27
  • “When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”28
  • “Unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.”29
The Lord declares: “All who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof. …

“And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.

“… The conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed … of him who is anointed, … are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead.”

Other laws are designed to bless us here in mortality. One such law is tithing: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse … and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord … , if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”Such a blessing is conditional. Those who fail to tithe have no promise.

Again, “all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised … that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.”

Why is divine love conditional? Because God loves us and wants us to be happy. “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.”

Divine Love and the Sinner
Does this mean the Lord does not love the sinner? Of course not. Divine love is infinite and universal. The Savior loves both saints and sinners. The Apostle John affirmed, “We love him, because he first loved us.” And Nephi, upon seeing in vision the Lord’s mortal ministry, declared: “The world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.” We know the expansiveness of the Redeemer’s love because He died that all who die might live again.

Theo, you have been scorched with the truth.... LOL

 
I felt God telling me to stop reading their scriptures, yet I struggled for the ability to accept them. But in the end I prayed about it and started reading my Bible!
 
Chuckle, talk about LDS taking scripture out of context, well Theo, you are the best at it and yet mock others who you claim do it here on the forum...

Pres. Nelson in full context, notice the difference between Theo's take and the lither context he obvious left out..

Divine Love Is Also Conditional. President Nelson​

While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional. The word does not appear in the scriptures. On the other hand, many verses affirm that the higher levels of love the Father and the Son feel for each of us—and certain divine blessings stemming from that love—are conditional. Before citing examples, it is well to recognize various forms of conditional expression in the scriptures.

Conditional Forms​

Several forms of conditional expression may be found in the scriptures:

  • If … [certain conditions exist], then … [certain consequences follow].” (The indicators if and then may be written or implied.)
  • Inasmuch as … [certain conditions exist], … [certain consequences follow].”
  • Except … cannot …”
  • Prove … , if … ” For example, a verse pertaining to our creation reveals a prime purpose for our sojourn here in mortality: “We will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” Life here is a period of mortal probation. Our thoughts and actions determine whether our mortal probation can merit heavenly approbation.

The Conditional Nature of Divine Love​

With scriptural patterns of conditional statements in mind, we note many verses that declare the conditional nature of divine love for us. Examples include:

  • If ye keep my commandments, [then] ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”
  • If you keep not my commandments, [then] the love of the Father shall not continue with you.”
  • If a man love me, [then] he will keep my words: and my Father will love him.”
  • “I love them that love me; and those that seek me … shall find me.”
  • “God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
  • The Lord “loveth those who will have him to be their God.”
  • “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

The Conditional Nature of Divine Blessings​

It is equally evident that certain blessings come from a loving Lord only if required conditions are met. Examples include:

  • If thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, … then I will lengthen thy days.”25
  • If thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments … ; then will I perform my word with thee.”
  • “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”27
  • “When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”28
  • “Unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.”29
The Lord declares: “All who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof. …

“And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.

“… The conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed … of him who is anointed, … are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead.”

Other laws are designed to bless us here in mortality. One such law is tithing: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse … and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord … , if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”Such a blessing is conditional. Those who fail to tithe have no promise.

Again, “all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised … that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.”

Why is divine love conditional? Because God loves us and wants us to be happy. “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.”

Divine Love and the Sinner
Does this mean the Lord does not love the sinner? Of course not. Divine love is infinite and universal. The Savior loves both saints and sinners. The Apostle John affirmed, “We love him, because he first loved us.” And Nephi, upon seeing in vision the Lord’s mortal ministry, declared: “The world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.” We know the expansiveness of the Redeemer’s love because He died that all who die might live again.

Theo, you have been scorched with the truth.... LOL

"Lither"? What is that supposed to mean?

This just proves that your church loves to talk out of both sides of its mouth. Sad.
 
"Lither"? What is that supposed to mean?

This just proves that your church loves to talk out of both sides of its mouth. Sad.
Theo, you have been scorched with the truth.... LOL

Interesting you did not comment on his whooper....
 
Theo, you have been scorched with the truth.... LOL

Interesting you did not comment on his whooper....

So you falsely accuse me of having a "whooper" (whatever that is), but when challenged for clarification, you refuse to identify what this imaginary "whooper" was.

So it didn't exist.
Why do you play these EDIT games?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
So you falsely accuse me of having a "whooper" (whatever that is), but when challenged for clarification, you refuse to identify what this imaginary "whooper" was.

So it didn't exist.
Why do you play these stupid games?
Clarify, thx you... it's whopper... chuckle.
 
So you falsely accuse me of having a "whooper" (whatever that is), but when challenged for clarification, you refuse to identify what this imaginary "whooper" was.

So it didn't exist.
Why do you play these EDIT games?
Well, a "whooper" is a type of swan...
 
It's hard enough to explain the Gospel Truths to you,

I understand the Mormon version of "gospel" just fine, but utterly reject it as a pack of lies. Who is the father of lies, dberrie?
so I won't even begin with what I meant by whoppers.
In other words, Theo didn't really make any...did he? Seems to me, if he truly had made a "whopper" about your church, you would practically break your keyboard in pieces, in your haste to show him his "whopper."

But could you at least tell me what you mean by "lither"?
 
So you falsely accuse me of having a "whooper" (whatever that is), but when challenged for clarification, you refuse to identify what this imaginary "whooper" was.

So it didn't exist.
Why do you play these EDIT games?
Chuckle. :unsure: :p :p:unsure:
 
I understand the Mormon version of "gospel" just fine, but utterly reject it as a pack of lies. Who is the father of lies, dberrie?

I said the Christian gospel, not the mormon version... are you paying attention to what you read?


In other words, Theo didn't really make any...did he? Seems to me, if he truly had made a "whopper" about your church, you would practically break your keyboard in pieces, in your haste to show him his "whopper."

You failed to do the comparison, if you had they you would have seen Theo's huge blunder... but if you want, go back and do the comparisons.

But could you at least tell me what you mean by "lither"?
liter means nothing... wrong word, typo.
 
I said the Christian gospel, not the mormon version... are you paying attention to what you read?

Oh, goody, you admit that our Gospel is Christian....thanks! That means the LDS version is NOT.
You failed to do the comparison, if you had they you would have seen Theo's huge blunder... but if you want, go back and do the comparisons.

I did. I still don't see any "whopper." Theo affirmed that in your church, divine "love" is conditional, citing Mormon sources. What you posted in more detail affirms that. So, where is the "whopper"?
liter means nothing... wrong word, typo.
It was "lither" not "liter." But thanks.

I note this that you quoted: "“And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God."

Isn't polygamy part of the "new and everlasting covenant" in your church?
 
Oh, goody, you admit that our Gospel is Christian....thanks! That means the LDS version is NOT.


I did. I still don't see any "whopper." Theo affirmed that in your church, divine "love" is conditional, citing Mormon sources. What you posted in more detail affirms that. So, where is the "whopper"?

It was "lither" not "liter." But thanks.

I note this that you quoted: "“And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God."

Isn't polygamy part of the "new and everlasting covenant" in your church?
Yep, and we still practice it in our Temple Marriages. But Caesar (Government) will now allow it anymore....who is to stop us from doing it as a ordinance in our Temples... you? or who?
 
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