“All Things unto Me Are Spiritual”

Doctrine and Covenants 29:31–35

31 For by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal—
32 First spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, first temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work—
33 Speaking unto you that you may naturally understand; but unto myself my works have no end, neither beginning; but it is given unto you that ye may understand, because ye have asked it of me and are agreed.
34 Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.
35 Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.

Elder Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjödahl wrote:

“. . . All things, both temporal and spiritual, are created. There is a pre-existence.

“. . . The first creation was spiritual, the second temporal. The temporal will again become spiritual, and the first will become the last, as the last is the first, or, in other words, the spiritual existence is both first and last.

“. . . However, the expression ‘first’ and ‘last’ are only employed for the sake of human understanding. From the divine point of view there is neither beginning nor end. God’s works are as eternal as He is. This is beyond human understanding, except in so far as the poetic imagination offers an explanation:

“‘Nature is but a name for an effect
Whose cause is God. He feeds the secret fire
By which the mighty process is maintained.
[All things] are under one. One Spirit, His
Who wore the platted thorns with bleeding brows,
Rules Universal nature.’—Cowper.

“. . . Note that this revelation [D&C 29] was given in answer to united prayer by the Elders in the house of the Prophet.

“. . . Man makes a distinction between temporal and spiritual laws, and some are very much concerned about keeping the two separate. To the Lord everything is both spiritual and temporal, and the laws He gives are consequently spiritual, because they concern spiritual beings. When He commanded Adam to eat bread in the sweat of his brow, or Moses to strike the rock that the people might drink, or the Prophet Joseph to erect the Nauvoo House, or the Saints in Utah to build fences and roads, such laws were for their spiritual welfare, as well as physical. To obey such laws, when given, is a spiritual duty. One who performs his daily labor ‘as to the Lord, and not to men’ [Ephesians 6:7] derives spiritual benefit from whatever his duties are.”

(The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, rev. ed. [1951], 156.)

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