Jim Cobabe wrote:

> I think it is not doctrinal to assert that Heavenly Father is "subject
> to natural law" in the same sense that we are.  To put it thus
> incorrectly reverses the attribution of cause.

Ah, there's a crucial difference there: "that we are." I would agree with your
modified statement, but then that's not quite what I wrote originally. We don't
know what it means to say that God is subject to "natural" law because we are only
beginning to understand the laws that govern our realm, let alone any realm that
transcends ours. But the statement itself, without the qualification, is from
Joseph Smith.

> God decreed the laws of the universe, and sustains them by the word of
> His power--the laws are subordinate to Him.  They are becase He is.  He
> acts in a manner consistent with the laws of His own decree, not because
> He is "subject" to natural law, but because "natural" laws are _His_
> laws.

Hmm, I'll have to think about that one. I'm not sure I'd agree with your statement
as it's written. I think he's subject to a natural law that is higher than the
ones we're subject to. But he's still subject to *some* kind of natural law. A
parallel is our unique claim that spirit is "refined matter." That means it's
matter, but it's not what Paul would call "corruptible", but rather
"incorruptible." What does that mean? We don't really know yet.

> He is the ultimate source--not a subject.

This is where you can fall into a word trap if you're not careful. St. Anselm is
best known for what's known in philosophy as the ontological argument for the
existence of God. But Anselm believed in creatio ex nihilo and that God was the
"prime mover". His argument was that for our world to have come into being, there
had to be a being behind its creation. But we don't believe in this -- we
certainly believe God created the world, I'm not disputing that, but we don't
believe God is the "ultimate cause" in the philosophical sense. We believe that
God was once as we are, which implies all kinds of things. Those implications,
which many early brethren speculated about, are exactly that: speculations. But
it's clear that we do not share the Roman church's philosophical foundations with
respect to the nature of God.

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give lustre, and many more people
see than weigh.” – Lord Chesterfield

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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