Someone commented a few Sundays ago that the atonement of Christ was for “all” of God’s creations, even those in other worlds as well as for every living creature’s suffering — (mammal, reptile,…) I have never read such a statement: Is there any revealed doctrine to back up this thought?
The subject that you ask about is a little involved, but let’s see if we can shed some light on it
We read in the Mormon scripture, the Doctrine and Covenants, that the Savior descended below all things.
He (Jesus Christ) that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth (D&C 88:6).
With respect to descending below all things, the statement does not refer to just the planet Earth. It so happens that this earth is the most wicked world in the universe, so the Savior came to this world to work out the great atonement because it WAS the most wicked of all worlds. We read in the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price the Savior’s statement to Enoch–
Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren (Moses 7:36).
Although we don’t know much about the other worlds peopled by our Father’s children, they know about us because it was on this earth that their Savior worked out the great universal atonement. According to the scriptures the Savior visited our Father’s children on all the worlds. We must conclude that the purpose of his visits to the other planets was to teach the gospel, the way of life and salvation, to all of our Father’s children on all the worlds where they were born into mortality. This concept is explained in a rather lengthy passage from the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 88.
42 And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons;
43 And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.
The reference here is to ALL the planets, not just those in our particular solar system. Very likely the earth is the only inhabited planet in our solar system.
46 Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?47 Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.
The word “these” in all these are kingdoms, refers to the word “planets” in verse 43. So in the following allegory (verses 51 to 61), the planets, or kingdoms, are represented by servants who are sent into the field to labor.
51 Behold, I will liken these kingdoms unto a man having a field, and he sent forth his servants into the field to dig in the field.
52 And he said unto the first: Go ye and labor in the field, and in the first hour I will come unto you, and ye shall behold the joy of my countenance.
53 And he said unto the second: Go ye also into the field, and in the second hour I will visit you with the joy of my countenance.
54 And also unto the third, saying: I will visit you;
55 And unto the fourth, and so on unto the twelfth.
56 And the lord of the field went unto the first in the first hour, and tarried with him all that hour, and he was made glad with the light of the countenance of his lord.
57 And then he withdrew from the first that he might visit the second also, and the third, and the fourth, and so on unto the twelfth.
58 And thus they all received the light of the countenance of their lord, every man in his hour, and in his time, and in his season–
59 Beginning at the first, and so on unto the last, and from the last unto the first, and from the first unto the last;
60 Every man in his own order, until his hour was finished, even according as his lord had commanded him, that his lord might be glorified in him, and he in his lord, that they all might be glorified.
61 Therefore, unto this parable I will liken all these kingdoms, and the inhabitants thereof–every kingdom in its hour, and in its time, and in its season, even according to the decree which God hath made.
So by this allegory the Lord explains that he visits all the kingdoms, or worlds.
There are a couple of scriptures that give us some notion about the understanding that those on other worlds have concerning our earth. In Doctrine and Covenants 38:11-12, we read
For all flesh is corrupted before me; and the powers of darkness prevail upon the earth, among the children of men, in the presence of all the hosts of heaven–
Which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned; and, behold, the enemy is combined.
Thus, the wickedness on this earth is painfully observed by all eternity! And the shock of this unspeakable wickedness is so great that those who observe it are speechless!! which causeth silence to reign!
The Savior’s great atoning sacrifice was infinite in its scope. In other words, He took upon Himself the sins of all our Father’s children that have ever lived or that will ever live in mortality on all the worlds in the universe over all the ages of time! Here are the supporting scriptures from the Book of Mormon–
Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement–save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more (2 Ne 9:7).
And after they [the Jews] have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind–and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, and look not forward any more for another Messiah, then, at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things. (2 Ne 25:16)
For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.
Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay.
But the law requireth the life of him who hath murdered; therefore there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world (Alma 34:10-12).
The above statement for all mankind, indicates that the infinite atonement is applicable to all the Father’s children, not just those on one earth. The concept may give more meaning to this scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants–
For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit–and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink–
Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men (D&C 19:16-19).
The universality of the Savior’s sacrifice, in that it applies to all living things, is not evident from the scriptures, but it has been commented on in some detail my modern day Prophets, particularly with respect to a universal resurrection.
“Question: Do animals have spirits? If so, will they obtain the resurrection, and if so, where will they go?
“Answer: The simple answer is that animals do have spirits and that through the redemption made by our Savior they will come forth in the resurrection to enjoy the blessing of immortal life” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 2, 48).
“Many among us have no difficulty envisioning that the Atonement is infinite and eternal and applies to all forms of life. They know that the revelations say in so many words that all forms of life both lived as spirit entities and will be resurrected-animals, fowls, fishes, all things are eternal in nature” (Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie , p.195).