Beyond the Law

LAWS DEFINE THE PATH TO GOD, yet the ideal of divine life in many religions is to live beyond all boundaries. Therefore, as much as the law is a teaching that liberates, it can also be a fetter. Paul, for example, contrasts the Mosaic Law, which educates but confines, with the liberating grace available through Jesus Christ. Fulfilling the obligations of the law cannot save, because they do not touch the deepest promptings of the mind, which are still engulfed in the endless conflict between good and evil. Laws, therefore, are at best of provisional value, a concession to sin. Moreover, in situations where earthly laws are flawed or abused, the conscience guides us to follow a higher law.

Beyond the law lies a higher relationship with the Absolute, where a person is free to do what he or she likes, confident that the promptings of the conscience are always in agreement with what God requires.

However, life in the spirit should not be misconstrued as a license to sin. Even in a state of complete freedom, there are still heavenly standards and principles. All the same, a truly enlightened person is one with those principles and hence does not feel constrained by them.


I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, say- ing, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

Jeremiah 31.33-34

One who is rich in the enlightenment will not indulge in any sinful action, since his conscience is guided by the intellect fully illumined with Truth.

Acarangasutra 1.174 (Jainism)

No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.

1 John 3.9

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ for all who believe...

While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.

Romans 3.19-22, 7.5-6

The man of superior virtue is not conscious of his virtue, and in this way he really possesses virtue. The man of inferior virtue never loses sight of his virtue,
 and in this way he loses his virtue... Therefore, only when Tao is lost does the doctrine of virtue arise. When virtue is lost, only then does the doctrine of humanity arise. When humanity is lost, only then does the doctrine of righteousness arise. When righteousness is lost, only then arise rules of propriety. Now, propriety is a superficial expression of loyalty and faithfulness, and the beginning of disorder.

Tao Te Ching 38 (Taoism)

People under delusion accumulate tainted merits but do not tread the Path.

They are under the impression that to accumulate merits and to tread the Path are one and the same thing.

Though their merits for alms-giving and offerings are infinite, They do not realize that the ultimate source of sin lies in the three poisons within their own mind.

Sutra of Hui Neng 6 (Buddhism)

Finite and transient are the fruits of sacrificial rites. The deluded, who regard them as the highest good, remain subject to birth and death... Considering religion to be observance of rituals and performance of acts of charity, the deluded remain ignorant of the highest good. Having enjoyed in heaven the reward of their good works, they enter again into the world of mortals. But wise, self-controlled, and tranquil souls, who are contented in spirit, and who practice austerity and meditation in solitude and silence, are freed from all impurity, and attain by the path of liberation to the immortal, the truly existing, the changeless Self.

Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.7-11 (Hinduism)

Subhuti, if you should conceive the idea that anyone in whom dawns the Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment declares that all manifest standards are ended and extinguished, do not countenance such thoughts.

Diamond Sutra 27 (Buddhism)

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything... The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

1 Corinthians 6.12-14

Teachings of Sun Myung Moon

True love transcends the law. True love has such a privilege. Since we know this, we should practice it. If we do, then we will enjoy the unlimited freedom of the Kingdom of Heaven. (116:249, January 1, 1982)

When the mind and body become one, the universe is like putty in our hands. Since we become a microcosm of the universe, we can understand everything. We will not need anyone to teach us. No one will need to teach us how to live, or lay out rules of ethics and morality. Do the sparrows and the animals need lessons in morality? Animals know how to protect themselves and physiologically group themselves in their own species. Why are human beings, the lords of creation, so ignorant in this regard? It is because of the Human Fall. Because of the Fall, struggle and conflict came into existence. (162:223, April 12, 1987)

Moral laws spring from the mind. Those who live with a good mindset and do not suffer from a guilty conscience have no fear in anything. Even if they are dragged before the cruelest tyrant, they can stand tall before him. (19:288, March 10, 1968)

Goodness is something the universe protects and raises. It holds freedom and peace within it, accompanied by life and authority. There is nothing in heaven and earth that can subjugate good- ness. When we are good, we are not afraid of anyone, even the president of a nation. No matter what laws are applied against us, we are not influenced. That is why secular laws cannot reach the standard of the conscience. Therefore, worldly laws cannot intrude upon the authority of goodness. (16:134, January 2, 1966)

Can you find anywhere in the world a constitution or law code that would condemn someone who sacrifices himself in service for others? Would a court of law convict him, declaring him a criminal? [No.] If such a law existed, it would be denounced as a bad law. Rather, the nation’s president would recognize and honor him. (105:93, September 30, 1979)

As Unification Church members, you may say, “I do not have any boundaries; I do not have to guard myself from anything; I am really free.” But this is not so. In our way of life there are certain bound- aries we are not allowed to cross—for example, the line of the Fall. If we cross that line, inevitably our internal nature and status is changed and we are transferred to a different owner [from God to Satan]. (90:9, December 5, 1976)

God does everything according to a rule. In the natural sciences, people solve the mysteries of the universe using the formulas of mathematics. Since that is so, wouldn’t there be formulas in the world of love? Were there no formulas, there would be no way to govern the people streaming into the Kingdom from every corner of the world. (170:256, November 22, 1987)