You might have figured that I was done with my discussions regarding modeling the gospel. After all, i have spent four post on the matter. However, I really have been avoiding discussing this further because I am not sure where I want to take this next subject.
As I have noted in the first discussion, the law plays an important role in the three “pillars” of the gospel. However, I wasn’t quite sure that I left the discussion complete. After all, what is this law? How does it affect the “pillars?” Why is it so important?
My studies of the law have lead me to three particular laws that fit very well in this model. Although there are many more laws mentioned in the gospel, such as the law of tithing and the law of baptism. I wish to look a three other laws that are often not as emphasized in the gospel. These laws are the law of justice, the law of mercy, and the law of agency.
The law of justice is simply put that for every misdeed (great or small), there is a punishment (I prefer the term consequence, too many years in social sciences perhaps). That consequence must be meted out to all who commit sin. It would not be fair to Joe if John is not punished for a misdeed to him. And it would not be fair to John if he were not punished. And in the gospel the law of justice mandates punishment.
The law of mercy is the Gospel’s law of justice. It is that through the Atonement of Christ all punishments are met, but not at the expense of the offender, but to the appeasement of the offended. This is often explained by the following example. Sally owes Suzy $100, but Sally doesn’t have the $100 so Sarah pays it for her. Sarah only asks that Sally follow her in a few things. Thus, Sally, Suzy, and Sarah are all happy. Thus, the law of justice is met by the law of mercy.
The law of agency is a compliment to both the law of justice and mercy. The law of agency simply states that we are free to choose whether we do good or bad in this life. Thus, without agency we would have no need to repay someone as we could not choose to sin. Further, we would not be able to accept the blessing of the law of mercy with out the law of agency because we could not choose to do right.
The dilemma in writing about this is how does it fit in the model? When I first thought about modeling it, I felt that maybe it would be best modeled by showing how each law influences the three pillars. As presented earlier, the law of the requires repayment thus, the law lends itself to the fall because the law of justice mandates that we be separated from God because of our unrighteousness. The law of mercy lends itself to the atonement because it is through the atonement that we return to our Heavenly Father. And as this great plan could not even exist without agency the law of agency lends itself to the creation. So, I originally modeled it like this:
However, I felt that this was lacking in it’s presentation of the true influence of how agency, mercy, and justice play in the great plan. So, I turned to this model feeling that it was a better representation:
This model shows that the influence of agency, justice, and mercy are continuing througout the entir model. It also shows how it influences works in our lives to lead us to Eternal Life. But it doesn’t seem to grasp that the these laws are eternal and that they are related to the creation, fall, or atonement, respectively.
However, as I type this, I think that there may be an even better way to represent the laws of agency, justice, and mercy and their fit into the great plan. So, finally, I have chosen to represent this through a combination of both of the above models. However, I will need to use a splash of color:
As you can see from this model the path for the law of agency is represented by green, the path for the law of justice is represented by brown, and the path for the law of mercy is represented by purple (to those of you into color symbolism, please do not assume any reason for color choice accept as author’s personal preference). From this color model we see how agency, mercy, and justice interplay in the Lord’s Great Plan of Happiness.