God's Eternal Laws and the Creation

"Then let there be good teachers in the schoolrooms; and have beautiful gardens, and take the little folks out and show them the beautiful flowers, and teach them in their childhood the names and properties of every flower and plant, teaching them to understand which are astringent, which cathartic; this is useful for coloring, that is celebrated for its combination of beautiful colors, &c. Teach them lessons of beauty and usefulness while they are young, instead of letting them play in the dirt, making mud balls, and drawing the mud in their hats, and soiling their dresses, and cultivate their mental powers from childhood up. When they are old enough, place within their reach the advantages and benefits of a scientific education. Let them study the formation of the earth, the organization of the human system, and other sciences; such a system of mental culture and discipline in early years is of incalculable benefit to its possessor in mature years. Take, for instance, the young ladies now before me, as well as the young men, and form a class in geology, in chemistry or mineralogy; and do not confine their studies to theory only, but let them put in practice what they learn from books, by defining the nature of the soil, the composition or decomposition of a rock, how the earth was formed, its probable age, and so forth. All these are problems which science attempts to solve, although some of the views of our great scholars are undoubtedly very speculative. In the study of the sciences I have named, our young folks will learn how it is that, in traveling in our mountains, we frequently see seashells—shells of the oyster, clam, &c. Ask our boys and girls now to explain these things, and they are not able to do so; but establish classes for the study of the sciences, and they will become acquainted with the various facts they furnish in regard to the condition of the earth. It is the duty of the Latter-day Saints, according to the revelations, to give their children the best education that can be procured, both from the books of the world and the revelations of the Lord. If our young men will study the sciences, they will stop riding fast horses through the streets, and other folly and nonsense which they are now guilty of, and they will become useful and honorable members of the community."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 17:36
"Our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science in any particular. You may take geology, for instance, and it is true science; not that I would say for a moment that all the conclusions and deductions of its professors are true, but its leading principles are; they are facts—they are eternal; and to assert that the Lord made this earth out of nothing is preposterous and impossible [see Abraham 3:24; D&C 131:7]. God never made something out of nothing; it is not in the economy or law by which the worlds were, are, or will exist. There is an eternity before us, and it is full of matter; and if we but understand enough of the Lord and his ways we would say that he took of this matter and organized this earth from it. How long it has been organized it is not for me to say, and I do not care anything about it. . . . If we understood the process of creation there would be no mystery about it, it would be all reasonable and plain, for there is no mystery except to the ignorant. This we know by what we have learned naturally since we have had a being on the earth."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young
"Man's machinery makes things alike; God's machinery gives to things which appear alike a pleasing difference. . . . Endless variety is stamped upon the works of God's hands. There are no two productions of nature, whether animal, vegetable or mineral, that are exactly alike and all are crowned with a degree of polish and perfection that cannot be obtained by ignorant man in his most exquisite mechanical productions."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 9:370
“[T]he word create came from the word baurau, which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos – chaotic matter, which is element and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time He had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning and can have no end.”
Church Leaders
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Presidents of the Church
History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B.H. Roberts, 2d ed, rev., 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1971), 6:308-09 (quoting Joseph Smith sermon April 7, 1844).
“Everything that God gives us is lawful and right; and it is proper that we should enjoy His gifts and blessings whenever and wherever He is disposed to bestow; but if we should seize upon those same blessings and enjoyments without law, without revelation, without commandment, those blessings and enjoyments would prove cursings and vexations in the end, and we should have to lie down in sorrow and wailings of everlasting regret.”
Church Leaders
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Presidents of the Church
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 256.
"This does not mean that this earth shall pass away and another take its place, and the heaven thereof shall pass away, and another heaven take its place, but that the earth and its heaven shall, after passing away through death, be renewed again in immortality. This earth is living and must die, but since it keeps the law it shall be restored through the resurrection by which it shall become celestialized and the abode of celestial beings. The next verse of this revelation explains this as follows: 'For all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; And not one hair, neither more, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand.' So we see that the Lord intends to save, not only the earth and the heavens, not only man who dwells upon the earth, but all things which he has created. The animals, the fishes of the sea, the fowls of the air, as well as man, are to be re-created, or renewed, through the resurrection, for they too are living souls."
Church Leaders
Joseph Fielding Smith
Presidents of the Church
Conference Report, October 1928, p. 100
"The scriptures plainly and repeatedly affirm that God is the Creator of the earth and the heavens and all things that in them are. In the sense so expressed, the Creator is an Organizer. God created the earth as an organized sphere; but He certainly did not create, in the sense of bringing into primal existence, the ultimate elements of the materials of which the earth consists, for 'the elements are eternal' ( Doc. & Cov. 93:33 ).
Church Leaders
Joseph F. Smith
Presidents of the Church
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith
"I love nature. She says to everybody: 'If ye love me, keep my commandments.' She gives me a little seed, and I plant it. If I obey her laws, she will repay me a hundredfold for that one seed, but if I keep not her commandments she will take the seed from me and let it die. A contributing factor to happiness is to be able to enjoy the gifts of nature. The poorest man living can enjoy these, for such blessings are free. Everybody can take pleasure in a glorious sunset. You would have to pay a great sum for a painting by a skilled artist. Only the wealthy can afford it, but almost any evening we can look at a brilliant western sky, and each one of us can say, 'That's mine!'"
Church Leaders
David O. McKay
Presidents of the Church
Secrets of a Happy Life, p. 136-137
"The author of the letter to the Hebrews [the Apostle Paul] continues: 'Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear' (Heb. 11:3). Faith is here described as believing or having the conviction that the world was created by the word of God. Witnesses cannot be produced to prove this fact, but faith gives the knowledge that what we see in the wonders of the earth and in all nature was created by God. . . . I have a positive conviction that God is a reality—that he lives. He is our Heavenly Father, and we are his spiritual children. He created the heaven and the earth and all things upon the earth and is the author of the eternal laws by which the universe is governed. These laws are discovered bit by bit as man continues his search, but they have existed always and will remain unchanged forever."
Church Leaders
Howard W. Hunter
Presidents of the Church
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter
"If, in common with men, animals and plants were created spiritually, it may not be an idle speculation that the lower forms of life will advance, in their respective fields, as man advances in his. However, a statement in the above quotation must not be overlooked, 'It remaineth in the sphere in which I, God, created it.' This would preclude any notion that by endless development a plant may become an animal, or that one of the lower classes of animals become a high animal, or a man. Is not this the place where, perhaps, the evolution of science has failed? All things advance, but each order of creation within its own sphere. There is no jumping from order to order. The limits of these orders are yet to be found."
Church Leaders
John A. Widtsoe
General Authorities
The Improvement Era, April 1904, pg. 408.
“The earth did not come by chance nor by accident. It is the result of a creation that is based on purpose, on agency, on choice. It accords with laws which were in force long before the plan was every [sic] laid down. All of it has order; all of it was planned for us. The beauty and precision of the universe, the endless variety of plant and animal life­—all testify of a plan and a creator.”
Church Leaders
Boyd K. Packer
General Authorities
The Earth Shall Teach Thee, 12.
"This concern with man's developing a more harmonious relationship with nature by abiding by its physical laws is timely and legitimate. When we interrupt or destroy the larger ecology of man's relationship to God and to his fellowmen, we are violating transcendental laws that are as immutable and as inevitable as those breached laws of nature for which we are now beginning to pay a terrible price. (Later installments will be even more severe.) That we do not fully understand these transcendental spiritual laws neither excuses us from learning of them, nor excuses us from their harsh consequences when we violate them."
Church Leaders
Neal A. Maxwell
General Authorities
For the Power Is in Them (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1970), 10.
"While LDS theology stresses the spiritual creation preceding the physical creation, it does not explain how the physical creation took place other than the fact that the creation and all natural processes are governed by eternal laws."
Other Sources
Craig Galli
Other Writings of Mormons
"Study Guide: LDS Perspectives on Environmental Stewardship," Section B, pg 6
"[T]he thought that our Heavenly Father uses natural law in His creative processes inspires within me even greater reverence than I would have for a simple magician or conjurer who seems to produce watches out of nothing."
Other Sources
Paul Cox
Other Writings of Mormons
Paley's Stone, Creationism, and Conservation,” in Stewardship and the Creation: LDS Perspectives on the Environment, eds. George B. Handley, Terry B. Ball, and Steven L. Peck (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center), 33–42.
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Old Testament
Genesis
Genesis 8:22
And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons; And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.
Doctrine and Covenants
D&C
D&C 88:42–43
I say unto you, that the man that doeth this, the same cometh out in open rebellion against God; therefore he listeth to obey the evil spirit, and becometh an enemy to all righteousness; therefore, the Lord has no place in him, for he dwelleth not in unholy temples.
Book of Mormon
Mosiah
Mosiah 2:37
And now behold, if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life they would have been forever miserable, having no preparatory state; and thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated, and the word of God would have been void, taking none effect.
Alma
Alma 12:26
And now behold, if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life they would have been forever miserable, having no preparatory state; and thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated, and the word of God would have been void, taking none effect.
Book of Mormon
Alma
Alma 12:26
And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.
Book of Mormon
Alma
Alma 11:37