I think we just need to be careful how we're using the terms. If I may be a bit
presumptuous, there is a sense in which I would agree with you, if you're using
the term the way Kent P. Jackson does: [studies in Scripture, vol. 7:1]

The Creation
There is a tendency for people in our generation to discount the "special
creation" account of the origin of our heaven and earth as related in the Bible.
The modern trend is to accept a "naturalistic" or "mechanistic" view of the origin
of our solar system, including our earth and all things upon it. fn Such a view
proposes that these things came into existence by chance—by the strict operation
of "natural law" rather than by God's purposes being fulfilled as a result of his
wisdom and power. This mechanistic view looks upon natural law as eternal or
self-existent and as determining absolutely what happens to physical matter over a
given time. There is no allowance for a divine or supernatural power of any kind
over physical matter. fn Such a view leaves no room for a God who has all
knowledge and who thinks and plans (no divine purpose in the universe); fn for a
sovereign God who is all powerful fn and who is the author of natural law (a God
who has control or power directly over physical matter); fn or for miracles or
divine intervention (God cannot change or revoke natural law). fn This
"mechanistic" view also eliminates the spiritual realm in the universe wherein
spirit matter (with "intelligence") can influence or control physical or other
spirit matter. This assumes that the spirit matter does not exist; fn people,
animals, and plants do not have spirits; fn there is no such thing as a God with a
spirit; fn and there is no influence whatsoever from God to the spirits of people
fn or to anything else in the universe. fn Obviously this view also eliminates
revelation, so there can be no such thing as commandments from God. Such a view
relegates man (and other "living" creatures) to a position of being mere physical
machines with no agency or freedom to act by themselves. fn They can only be acted
upon, since all actions or events are determined completely by preceding physical
events and subsequent operation of natural law.

But that's not the way I was using the term, and I disagree with his choice of
several words, including "supernatural." In any case, I am using it the way Joseph
Fielding Smith did, e.g., in Man: His Origin and Destiny (484):

A miracle is not, as many believe, the setting aside or overruling natural laws.
Every miracle performed in Biblical days or now, is done on natural principles and
in obedience to natural law. The healing of the sick, the raising of the dead,
giving eyesight to the blind, whatever it may be that is done by the power of God,
is in accordance with natural law. Because we do not understand how it is done,
does not argue for the impossibility of it. Our Father in heaven knows many laws
that are hidden from us.

And the way James E. Talmage did in Jesus the Christ (81):

That Child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father, not in
violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof;
and, the offspring from that association of supreme sanctity, celestial Sireship,
and pure though mortal maternity, was of right to be called the 'Son of the

The problem arises out of the word "natural," and is a limitation of our language.
By natural are we referring to the corruptible telestial world, or are we
referring simply to the fact that there are higher laws which are "natural" but
which operate in *their* realms, and which we by their and our very nature cannot
comprehend? I'm using the term in its latter connotation.

Stephen Beecroft wrote:

> -Marc-
> > We LDS do *not* believe God is omnipotent in the sense the Romans
> > used this term -- we believe he's subject to "natural law,"
> Perhaps you believe so. I don't. God's word defines "natural law". He is
> the master, not the subject. That is why he is called the Lawgiver.
> Stephen
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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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