Miracles and natural laws

Elder Talmage wrote, “Miracles cannot be in contravention of natural law, but are wroght through the operation of laws not universally or commonly recognized.” (Jesus the Christ, p. 148) In other words, what we commonly describe as a miracle such as the healing of the sick, the restoring the sight of the blind or even raising the dead, is done according to natural laws, which may only be known to God.

I accept Elder Talmage’s statement at face value. I believe there is always an explanation for miracles, even if it has not yet been revealed to us what is the real source of the miracle. For most people, it is sufficient to say, “It is a miracle. God understands how it works. That’s enough for me.” I live my life that way too, but I also make an effort to find out if there is some sort of explanation for the miracle. That’s not wrong, is it?

Can we apply this same logic to signs and wonders in the heavens from the Old Testament record and the signs that are foretold to transpire in the last days? For example, what about the miracle of the ‘pillar of fire and smoke’ that led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt in the time of Moses? Is there some explanation for this amazing sight recorded in Exodus 13:21? Isn’t it possible that God worked through some natural means to cause the pillar of fire and smoke?

What would happen if two planetary bodies came unusually close to each other? What if a large comet passed within several thousand miles of the earth? Could a pillar of fire and smoke be a description of the head and tail of the comet as seen through a darkened or cloud-filled sky? If you are like most people, you have not thought about this as it is not something that has happened in our lifetime. Comets we have seen have never come that close to the earth.

The closest measured comet since 1700 is comet Lexell at 1.4 million miles (1,403,632). By comparison, the moon is 238,900 miles and the sun is 92 million miles (92,955,810) away. There is nothing within our known written history that has recorded a celestial body coming close enough to the earth to cause disturbances or events like those that may have happened during the time of the Exodus. Or is there?

Have you ever heard the theory that the planet Venus used to be a part of the planet Jupiter? No? I’m not surprised. This is not something that is taught by our scientists today. In fact, it is an idea that was first proposed by Immanuel Velikovsky in the 1950’s and 1960’s. His work was denounced by scientists of his day, including Carl Sagan, but has gained more attention recently with the work of Dave Talbott, author of the Saturn Myth.

Why is this important? The Lord has said that he would return to the accompaniment of many catastrophic and cataclysmic changes in the heavens and the earth. I believe we are fast approaching that time, perhaps in my lifetime. I am very interested in understanding what the signs of his coming are that I should be looking for so that I may be prepared. I know, just live righteously and don’t worry about the signs of the times, right?

What do you think? Should we try to understand the signs of the times and the Last Days?

3 thoughts on “Miracles and natural laws”

  1. Tim,I enjoy reading your blog. And agree with much of what you say. Especially this subject, “Miracles and natural laws” I came across something I want your opinion on. Its called our galactic equinox. If modern science is correct, it sounds like it could cause some of the events prior to the second coming. I believe something like this or like you have talked about a comet or something like that will be how these miracles come to pass. That is why the world will be able to explain it away, and not recognize them as the signs of the times.

  2. Hi Melanie,I did some reading up on the galactic equinox. Most of what I read was conjecture and opinion, especially as it related to the 2012 end of the world scenario. I was unable to find scientific information that lends credence to the idea that the global equinox can cause cataclysmic disturbances on the earth.However, I am still of the opinion that we will experience world-wide cataclysmic events in the near future that will cause great destruction. It is prophesied in ancient and modern scripture. I have observed that many Latter-day Saints chalk it all up to miracles that can’t be understood. I think we can understand what is about to happen and that God wants us to understand and be prepared.I’m OK with the idea of saying that something is a miracle because we don’t have a clue how it was done, but I am also of the opinion that God uses natural means to bring about his purposes. Thus, I believe that the coming cataclysmic events will be driven by the close encounter of a passing comet or even an approaching planetary body.So whether the events prophesied to happen at the end of the world have something to do with the upcoming global equinox in 2012 is beyond my ability to conjecture. I am more interested in trying to understand what prophets said in our recorded history as they witnessed some of the same events that we are about to experience.They used a special language to convey the ideas of the images they saw like the pillar of fire and smoke. What did that really mean? How close was this pillar of fire? What would we call it today? These are questions I am interested in answering, at least for myself. We do not know how soon these events will occur but we do know that they will happen suddenly and quickly, when some are not prepared. Hopefully, we will be prepared as we have been forewarned for many years.Thanks for reading my blog and for adding your comments. As Joseph Smith said, the world will try to explain away the upcoming events, including the sign of the coming of the Son of Man as a comet or a planet. I think we will both be right – it will be a comet or planet but it will also herald the time of the coming of the Savior.

  3. Pingback: Thoughts on the End of the World – Latter-day Commentary – Last Days – Signs of the Times

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