I heartily recommend Elder Tad Callister’s book ‘The Infinite Atonement’ – it will help you to a deeper understanding of the atonement than you have ever had before. To whet your appetite here are some notes I took when I read the book and some of the key scripture references and quotes used by Elder Callister.
- INFINITE IN THE DIVINENESS OF THE CHOSEN ONE
The atonement is infinite in the divineness of the one who was sacrificed. He is an infinite being with infinite characteristics.
- Alma 26:35 – he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things.
- Psalm 147:5 – his understanding is infinite.
- Mosiah 5:3 – infinite goodness
- Mosiah 28:4 – Infinite mercy
- Alma 34:14 – the son of God infinite and eternal
- INFINITE IN POWER
The atonement has the power to resurrect the dead, the power to conquer spiritual death and the power to exalt ordinary people.
- John 17:2 – power over all flesh
- D&C 19:3 – the power to destroy Satan
- Alma 12:15 – the power to save every man
- D&C 93:17 – received all power
- Revelation 5:12 – slain to receive power
- Alma 7:12 – he will take upon him death that he may loose the bands of death
- INFINITE IN TIME
The Saviour’s atonement was effective for those who died before him.
- Headnote to Alma 39
- Ether 3:13 (2200 BC) ye are redeemed from the fall
- Mosiah 3;13 – even as though he had already come among them
- Mosiah 3:18 – salvation was, and is and is to come
- D&C 82;10 The Lord had covenanted to perform his sacrifice
The atonement stretches back to sins we committed in the premortal existence
- Alma 3;13 – in the first place being left to choose good and evil – so agency
- Abraham 3:22-23 – some had progressed more than others
- Joseph Fielding Smith – the picture is complete. Man could sin before his mortal birth.
Orson Pratt: We see no impropriety in Jesus offering himself as an acceptable offering and sacrifice before the Father to atone for the sins of his brethren, not only in the second, but also in the first estate.
- D&C 93:38 – we began our second estate innocent because of the atonement.
The atonement covers postmortal spirits
- D&C 138:58 – The redeeming powers of the Saviour stretch forward to reach the spirits of the dead.
- INFINITE IN COVERAGE
Bruce R. McConkie: “When the prophets speak of an infinite atonement, they mean just that. Its effects cover all men, the earth itself and all forms of life thereon, and reach out into the endless expanses of eternity….Now our Lord’s jurisdiction and power extend far beyond the limits of this one small earth on which we de\well. He is under the Father, the creator of worlds without number (Moses 1:33). And through the power of his atonement the inhabitants of these worlds, the revelation says, ‘are begotten sons and daughters unto God’ (DC 76:24), which means that the atonement of Christ, being literally and truly infinite, applies to an infinite number of earths.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 64-5
- D&C 76:24, 42, 43 Saviour saved all the people from the worlds made by him
Elder Russell M Nelson:
The mercy of the atonement extends not only to an infinite number of people, but also to an infinite number of worlds created by him.
5. INFINITE IN DEPTH
Includes even those who don’t repent
Brigham Young – He had paid the full debt whether you receive the gift or not.
Voluntarily took upon him not only sins but depression, sorrow, loneliness, hurts etc.
- Isaiah 63;9
- Alma 7:11
6. INFINITE IN SUFFERING
D&C 19:18 – both body and spirit
Elder Orson F Whitney:
Our little finite afflictions are but as a drop in the ocean compared with the infinite and unspeakable agony borne by him for our sakes.
- Hebrews 2:9 – tasted death for every man
- Mosiah 15:10-11 – saw each of us
Elder Merrill J Bateman –
The Savior’s atonement in the garden and on the cross is intimate as well as infinite. Infinite in that it spans the eternities. Intimate in that the Savior felt each person’s pains, sufferings and sicknesses.
7. INFINITE IN LOVE
The motivation behind the atonement was love
- D&C 133:53
- 1 Nephi 19:9