Updated: Nov 29, 2020
In Ether 12:12, Moroni states something almost stunning: "For if there be no faith among the children of men, God can do no miracle among them."
Is that real? Do we believe in an omnipotent God who can be prevented by his faith-lacking children from performing miracles? How can that be and why?
First of all, if God is prevented from working miracles in the absence of faith, the one who has bound Him is Himself. I think that's necessary to my understanding of omnipotence. I can't put limits on God, but He can.
Second, if He has bound Himself in that way, it's for a good reason. A redemptive reason. And here's what comes to mind.
There's a profound power imbalance between us and God. And it's one that He wants to see resolved. He wants to share His power with us, provided that we can be trusted with it, which means becoming sanctified. And sanctification is something we have to choose and choose and choose again with righteous motivations. So God sent us to Earth, not really to become like Him, but to choose whether we wanted to.
The thing is, He wants us to. Wants it so badly that He commissioned his Only Begotten Son to endure unimaginable suffering so that we could. And He is omnipotent. So how can almighty He effectively give frail us space to choose, which necessitates choosing against His will, when His whole heart and His entire design is to exalt us?
Might He do that by binding Himself not to interfere? Not to perform miracles, except under certain conditions which include our exercise of faith?
This makes me wonder. The creation story tells us that God created the world in six days ... and on the seventh, He rested.
How long were those days? If we aren't bound to a 24-hour or even a 1,000 year interpretation, if scientific evidence is even a tiny bit correct, they were vast periods of time.
And during that seventh vast period of time, while God rested, what was man doing?
Could it be that we are in the seventh day? Is it possible that His commandment to us, to honour one day in seven and set it aside for Him is so that we can make use of this time in which He has bound Himself not to overwhelm our agency in His active longing for us, to give us space to reach after Him?
I believe that the day is fast approaching when we will see the power of God manifest in ways that have never been, since the creation of man. Then, all things will be clear and every knee will bow. But in the meantime... we get to choose whether we long for Him like He longs for us.