Principle, the Foundation of All Law

  To analyze or rationally discuss a subject first requires an adequate definition of that subject, upon which all parties can agree. Only then is it possible to think about the subject clearly or to discuss it dispassionately.

“As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent, it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles.”–George Washington, in a letter to James Madison

  Principle is “the cause, source or origin of any thing; that from which a thing proceeds, as the principle of motion, the principles of action. Principle is an element; constituent part; primordial substance: Principle is an operative cause: The soul of man is an active principle.”–Webster’s American Dictionary
  Principle is “cause, in the widest sense; that by which anything is in any way ultimately determined or regulated. An original faculty or endowment of the mind: as, the principle of observation and comparison. A truth which is evident and general; a truth comprehending many subordinate truths; a law on which others are founded, or from which others are derived: as, the principles of morality, of equity, of government, etc.; hence, a right rule of conduct; in general, equity; uprightness: as, a man of principle.”–Century Dictionary
  Principle is “a basic truth, law, or assumption, a rule or standard, especially of good, the collective of moral or ethical standards or judgments, a fixed or predetermined policy or mode of action, a basic or essential quality or element determining intrinsic nature or characteristic behavior.”–American Heritage Dictionary

“Principle is the absolute, universal, unchangeable, undeviating immutable foundation upon which all universes are based and established.”–Edna Lister

  Principle is the absolute, universal, unchangeable, undeviating immutable foundation upon which all universes are based and established. The Emanations are ultimate principles, direct outpourings of Wisdom, Love, and the Logos of Power from the Godhead. Every Emanation is the Three—Wisdom, Love, and the Logos—as One, but is named for the aspect predominating. As the framework of the universe, absolute principle contains all that is at the Source, and it governs, regulates, and controls the universe through its being and action.
  Many principles are absolute: An absolute principle is ultimate truth, an unalterable and permanent fact. The Emanations are the absolute principles of being, and of the universe. Wisdom manifests as omniscient Mind, law, a thinking, planning, and knowing intelligence. Love manifests as omnipresent Substance, faith, and every nourishing and sustaining expression. The Logos manifests as omnipotent Power, Selflessness, Joy, Equilibrium, and every unifying expression.
  Abstract principles are rooted in an Emanation (Wisdom, Love, or the Logos), lowered one degree in its rate of vibration; for example, Love becomes Substance when the Godhead exerts it, and relative love or faith when we express it. One principle hinges on another and using one without involving the others is virtually impossible.
  We class principles as either being or doing, and many principles form laws of being and laws of doing. Being is all that God is as potential Wisdom, Love and Power; doing implies action and is kinetic thinking, sustaining and activity, derived from being. Principles thus become laws of being and laws of doing.
  Every law of being embodies the foundation of a soul virtue and leads the soul toward an ideal state of being that we are destined to become. Every absolute principle begets many abstract laws of being, which we then further subdivide into laws of doing (expression) that simplify abstract principles for us to understand and apply to govern our lives.

“Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”–Mark 12:28-31

  Jesus the Christ reestablished the first principles of living in accord with God’s Law (as first given through Moses) in this passage from the Gospel of Mark; they are the primary laws of being and doing as they apply to humankind. We form laws of doing to temper abstract principle to suit individual intelligence and consciousness, to control and govern soul unfoldment, behavior and relationships, according to our present degree of understanding and development. The abstract principles of doing or expression are equilibrium, harmony, and balance.
  The laws of doing apply to visible, material things and living souls, and deal with personal expression and action. The laws of doing include every instance in the Bible where God commands us Thou shalt (248 times) or Thou shalt not (365 times). Every law of doing directs the soul to the right choice for action. You can apply this rule to discover many more unrecorded laws.

Edna Lister on Principle

God is both personality and principle: Personality, which is the Father of Wisdom who plans and the Mother of Love who sustains all that they create; principle as both spiritual substance, which becomes, and divine law, which directs and controls.–Edna Lister, March 12, 1938

When principle and God are to be defended, speak wisely, withal sweetly, firmly and finally.–Edna Lister, September 28, 1938

Be firm in all principle.–Edna Lister, November 8, 1940

From the absolute Emanations to the Supreme Trinity, the rate of vibration is continuously lowered. For example, substance must condense. Each succeeding absolute Emanation lowers into an absolute and abstract principle. Each abstract principle becomes the first rank in a new and original series of primary laws of being.
  From absolute and abstract principles, God forms relative laws of being and doing to govern and control all soul unfoldment, all expression and behavior in human relationships. His laws of being divide one absolute principle into many relative and secondary laws of being and laws of doing, which simplify fundamental absolute principles for our understanding and application to govern our lives.
  All primary laws deal with government and control. Primary abstract laws are as unchangeable and undeviating as the absolute principles from which they stem, and are the controlling and governing Power of God in action as fundamental principle. Primary laws of being regulate all potential power acting as kinetic energy and all substance for physical creation.
  Among the original series of abstract laws are the laws of expansion and contraction, which contain the protective mechanism for regulating Power exercised as energy, turning energy on and off. As we must be able to turn heat on and off, which is protective, God must also regulate energy as an active phase of potential Power.
  From abstract laws we form relative laws in both metaphysics (relative principle) and psychology (relative personality). Secondary relative laws temper abstract principle to suit the individual’s intelligence and consciousness. Relative laws deal with expression, doing and action. They apply to visible, material things and living souls. Relative laws of doing are concrete and relative (relative means related to the same form). A beginner cannot comprehend abstract philosophy easily. So you modify relative laws from absolute and abstract laws to suit the times and states of individual consciousness, intelligence, civilizations, nations or phases of growth. Relative laws of doing may not set aside primary laws of being or fundamental abstract principles.
  You never set aside fundamental abstract principles or laws. You may modify or dilute law enough to point neophytes in the right direction without fear to receive all the law they can accept. Yet, you may not set aside any part of law to suit any limited idea of what principle means. To modify law does not mean stating law in a way that satisfies a selfish desire, or to gain your own way in the world.
  As you study, you grow to meet full comprehension of exactly what principle means. Every relative law must conform exactly to its highest original fundamental abstract principle. You never have any excuse for daring to set aside fundamental abstract principle or law when forming statements of truth.
  Metaphysics is the study of the first principles of things, including such concepts as being, essence, cause, identity, etc. Metaphysicians modify principle into livable laws and statements of truth suitable for finite consciousness.
  You may progress only by obeying law, not only the great universal principles but minor everyday laws, especially those governing your attitudes toward others.–Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941

Be neither soft nor overly hard, yet be firm in law and dealings of principle.–Edna Lister, April 1, 1941

You never gain by compromising your convictions and principles.–Edna Lister, November 30, 1941

Principle is the ladder, law forms each rung, and we step to the next higher rung as we accept a law.–Edna Lister, June 4, 1945

Principle is the absolute framework of the universe.–Edna Lister, Six Creative Laws, the Keys of the Kingdom, September 1, 1945

Law is a modification of Wisdom, which plans, Love, which sustains, principle, which controls and limits the transformation of the Emanations to meet our present capacity and ability.
  Your word, to stand, must be based on God as principle. You speak as a creator, and God is the principle of the Logos or Word, the third Emanation. The Word is Mind and you are speaking as the white Light of the Christ. The Logos concept in God’s Mind becomes the idea in your mind. Thought becomes logic, judgment and discrimination, which are of the Father-God principle. Pondering, dreaming about and thinking about the idea is of the Mother God principle that sustains and nourishes. Speaking the idea is the Son principle of Power.–Edna Lister, November 6, 1946

The Trinity of Wisdom holds the principles of being, from which God formed everything below. The Trinity of Love holds the principles of doing. The third Trinity is Power, which reveals the principles of personality.–Edna Lister, May 26, 1947

Everything below was formed of the basic principles of being. There was no vibration, no personality or form, but there was activity in the River of Life, the Emanations that flow from the throne of God. Science recognizes two types of energy, potential and kinetic. The Christ principle is both potential Power and kinetic energy.
  Below, these primary principles and laws are secondary laws based in and upon truth. While you cannot change them, you may modify or dilute them to suit the needs of a race or civilization. Primal laws are based on principles such as love, joy, peace, goodness, etc. For civilization, ethics and all moral laws are based on truth. The Christ principle contains all below it within itself. God is both form and formless; we could not have form if God was without form.–Edna Lister, May 26, 1947

Never embarrass another but stand on principle always.–Edna Lister, June 27, 1947

Desire for the Father of Wisdom, devotion to the Mother of Love, and faith in the Son of all Power are the fundamental principles underlying ascension.–Edna Lister, November 14, 1947

Defend principle only by standing in love.–Edna Lister, August 10, 1949

God cannot clean up the mess man has made on earth for us because He cannot set aside the universal framework of principle and law, which endows us with freedom of choice.–Edna Lister, March 27, 1950.
  Half the Supreme Father manifests as principle, the other half as personality.–Edna Lister, March 27, 1950

Make a stand on principle and you leave no place where selfishness may begin.–Edna Lister, June 19, 1951

You will comprehend all laws and fundamental abstract principles if you attempt to understand how principles operate the universe.–Edna Lister, Be-Attitudes, July 24, 1951

We use five paths to truth: Psychological, metaphysical, scientific, philosophical and mystical. Psychology deals with the Mind of God operating through man, as man in all its modes of expression. Mysticism deals with God as personality, the personality of God as man.
  Philosophy deals with God as principle. Our principles of living are metaphysical, which describes that realm just beyond our fingertips. Every metaphysical statement is founded on a philosophical principle that is comprehensible to the finite mind. Principle is the absolute, undeviating, immutable, unchangeable foundation on which all universes are based and established.
  The abyss between God’s Mind and the mind of man is an immutable principle. God as personality bridges this abyss. Science is the structure of the bridge over the abyss.–Edna Lister, August 2, 1951

Wisdom, Love and Power are perfect principles of being and doing in the Selflessness of the Son.
  The fundamental principles of doing are equilibrium, harmony, action and expression, which are original primary laws under the absolute principles. Under the principles of doing are the absolute laws of Light, color, tone, number and form.
  Your body and its function depend entirely on the principles of doing, which you may understand under the categories of metaphysics and psychology.–Edna Lister, Atomic Energy and Creative Mind, September 30, 1952

Principle has never been dark or evil, nor has ever misused itself. It is from everlasting to everlasting, and you cannot move the foundation. Only a personality can misuse principle, i.e., evil must be expressed by and through personality. When a personality pours Light on principle, it becomes clean again.–Edna Lister, May 24, 1954

The principles of Light and Love can never be evil.
  Principle never changes, but when God becomes personality and form, things happen, which implies that God is expanding. July 19, 1954.

Light contains all the Godhead Emanations. Before God said, Let there be Light, all was void, the life sparks whirling to generate potential power for form. Light becomes the lesser principles of creation, which in descending order are, color, tone, number and form (name). Color is the first vibration of personalized action. This is the electronic atomic substance of which God forms an Oversoul. Tone is the second vibration of personalized action, containing the equilibrium, balance and harmony principles as substance principles of atomic action. For example, air explodes as it hits the vocal cords in speech. Number, the third vibration of personalized action, is the foundation of the molecular substance of all physical form. Form is the fourth vibration of personalized action. The spoken Word calls the five senses and cohesive Power into action, to fill form.–Edna Lister, December 16, 1954

Light governs seeing. Color governs hearing. Tone governs the sense of smell. Number governs feeling or sensation (touch). Name (form) governs the sense of taste.–Edna Lister, Enfolding Back to the Source, July 22, 1955

The three Emanations—Wisdom, Love and the Logos—are absolute; when they begin their activity as principle, they become relative. Absolute potential Power may fill a room, but when you use it by giving a treatment, by speaking the Word, this Power becomes relative as kinetic energy. When you speak the Word, you are saying, The Logos has come forth!–Edna Lister, September 10, 1955

God is both personality and principle. You must obey principle as law, but you worship personality.
  Only love of God makes you complete, worship of principle does not.–Edna Lister, December 16, 1957

One principle hinges on another and using one without involving the whole or parts of all the others is virtually impossible.–Edna Lister, February 8, 1959

Principle and law are different. Principle is that which governs, regulates and controls the universe as created by the Supreme Father. Law, on the other hand, is derived from principle to govern, regulate and control the action of creators (man, for example) and there are varying degrees of law.
  Those who accept personal responsibility have an advanced set of laws for their use to suit their degree and kind. Mosaic law was derived from principle to govern man on the outer. The law which mankind recognizes as its own comes from a deeper set of principles, which as yet remain undiscovered.–Edna Lister, March 12, 1959

Wisdom, Love and the Logos form all abstract foundation principles and primary laws, the first rank in any series of original laws, and break one principle into many laws to simplify how you may apply fundamental principles to govern your daily life. Primary laws of being control and govern all soul unfoldment, human behavior, relationships and expression, according to your present degree of understanding.
  Using metaphysical correspondences, you descend from primary into secondary law, from absolute and abstract to relative and concrete.
  Never set aside principle when you modify it into law, for every relative law must conform to the abstract principle behind it. Nor may you divorce law from its unchanging principle.
  Only personalities can misuse principle. Only interpretation of principle is open to debate that often leads to crystallization in opinion and prejudice.–Edna Lister, God as Personality and Principle, June 9, 1959

The principles of Light, color and tone reveal quality. The principles of number and name (form) reveal quantity.–Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering: What Is Symbolism? October 6, 1959

Knowledge of metaphysics gives you the background beyond physical science that enables you to make the fundamental abstract principles of "God as Being" understandable.–Edna Lister, How Can I Help Myself? May 31, 1960.

One (1) is the creative principle added to two (2), the transmutation principle to equal three (3), the expressive principle. The creative principle must forever multiply and increase. The transmutation principle must forever change its form. The law of becoming is transmutation or sublimation. The expressive principle must forever pour forth and press forward as the Spirit of the living God.–Edna Lister, Is it Right to Ask for Myself? June 14, 1960

The soul virtues we strive to perfect derive from great absolute principles.–Edna Lister, What Is Virtue? July 12, 1960

Light is the great principle that works as the lesser principles of color, tone, number, and name (spoken Word), which is form.–Edna Lister, August 3, 1961

Let there be Light is the first principle of all creation. Light contains all three Emanations as One. We worship God as the Light.
  Because we live and move and have our being in Wisdom, Love and the Logos, they attract us under the principle of magnetism. Magnetism rules the principles of attraction, repulsion, and cohesion.–Edna Lister, God as Principle Applied under Logic and Reason, November 5, 1963

Christ was the application of law as flesh, and by applying and becoming all the laws he taught, you express the Christ principle to live with him in eternal, infinite consciousness. The essential Way of the Christ is to ever come closer to him, and to be law made manifest.–Edna Lister, April 5, 1965

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of principle: Latin principium, from princeps, princip, "leader, emperor."


Reason is not measured by size or ht, but by principle.–Epictetus

Most men have sentiments, but not principles. The former are temporary sensations, the latter permanent and controlling impressions of goodness and virtue. The former are general and involuntary, and do not rise to the character of virtue. Everyone feels them. They flash up spontaneously in every heart. The latter are rules of action, and shape and control our conduct.–Albert Pike

There are ultimately only two possible adjustments to life; one is to suit our lives to principles; the other is to suit principles to our lives. If we do not live as we think, we soon begin to think as we live. The method of adjusting moral principles to the way men live is just a perversion of the order of things.–Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent, it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles.–George Washington, in a letter to James Madison


American Heritage Dictionary, 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. ISBN 9780544454453.

Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia. New York: The Century Co., 1896

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Edition 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

s.v. “Principle.” Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

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