Wednesday, January 2, 2019

More Comments from Readers Part IX

Here are some more comments received from our readers:
Comment #1: “My buddy tells me all the time that the Lord always works within laws as you've stated. I say fine - then explain to me clearly how Christ turned water into wine. There are conditions where miracles happened in the scriptures. Some of them were miraculous as in the case of Ahaz in Isaiah 38:8 – in which the sun reversed its descent by ten degrees on the dial. My point is there were events in the scriptures that are outside of the laws of nature. Those are called miracles to us. We not only do not understand them but they can't even happen in our understanding. In the case of Nephi and Lehi however nothing is mentioned in the Book of Mormon that the Lord altered any natural event in their journey to South America. You've documented a course that is logical and correct in every aspect. Everything lines up and we don't have to resort to miracles to make it work. But that does not mean that the Lord works exclusively within natural law. There are countless examples where He does not. Good comments Del - enjoy them every much” Ira T.
Response: Actually, we never suggested that the Lord worked within man’s laws. The points you make (and others can be cited) are not outside the laws of nature—we just don’t know how to do such things yet. They are outside our knowledge of them—however, they are not, as far as we know, events that do not happen in their own method, sequence, or happenings under normal conditions based on the Lord’s superior knowledge.
Left: USS Nautilus, attack submarine; Right: USS Sam Rayburn, ballistic submarine

As an example, a submarine carrying a hundred men or more could not have been envisioned in times past; let alone sail beneath the ocean without coming up for three months (and then only for food and supplies), or carry 20 or more missiles that could be fired when submerged. Such would have been impossible to a 17th century mariner, just as moving a mountain by a giant Earth Mover would have startled him. Of course, in Biblical days, moving a mountain was an absolutely impossible except by the Lord.
    In addition, turning water to wine could be done with a slight variation in ingredients as has been illustrated by several chemists on this very point—not that it has been done, but they can see how it could be done.

In addition, man has walked on the moon—several times, though at the beginning of the last century only science fiction was beginning to look at such possibilities, and not long before that such would have been beyond man’s capability. It is just a matter of perspective in what the Lord does that we cannot.
    As for stopping the light, there is a great explanation as to what is meant by altering the light of the sun and moon and not the orbs themselves, in the days of Joshua, which we have written about. Still, nothing is impossible for the Lord, but he seems to operate within a known concept, and though it might be unknown to us, they are still feasible within simple laws to him.
    Nuclear fission, nuclear energy, splitting the atom, etc., was unknown to man until this past century and unheard of by man much of the century before that. There was a time when a crossbow would end all war—it was believed that nothing could ever be a greater weapon. They are within the simple facts of life as the Lord knows them. I doubt the Wright Brothers in their wildest imagination ever envisioned man flying a supersonic jet fighter, or the Concord could fly at 1334 miles per hour and reach Paris from New York in 3½ hours (Concorde 2 could have made it in one hour flat flying at 4.5 times faster than the speed of sound). Those events before their time would have been seen like we see some of the Lord’s actions today.
    I see those types of things as very different than the things we refer to as not being done by the Lord. He seldom, if ever has demonstrated a tendency to do for man what man can do for himself—He may assist here or there, but he didn’t step in and wipe out Israel’s enemies the Midianites. He just stopped the ebbing of the light so Israel could continue to fulfill their assignment. He didn’t step in and pick up the Lehi Colony and set them down in the Land of Promise—he just showed Nephi how to build a ship that would carry them there.
    Could He have transported them—of course, but as indicated, there is no such evidence of anything like that ever happening outside of the process of visions and people finding themselves in areas they have never before been, but always to be returned to where they were. The point is, when the sun went backward, it was for a purpose of which people had to do something (fight a battle) it was not the Lord simply defeating the enemy for them.
    Whatever the principles are the Lord works within, they seem to not eliminate the work and effort of people having to accomplish for themselves what needs to be done--the Lord simply assists. This, then suggests that He will not operate outside of that principle. Can he? Yes. Will he. Apparently not.
Comment #2: “Does the land of Nephi stretch in a straight line from the east sea to the west (like it says in the Book of Mormon (Alma 50:8), or to the west sea as you claim.”
Response: There are usually multiple comments scattered through the scriptural record that give a full picture of things—which helps us understand any single issue where one verse may be ambiguous or elliptic. As an example, Mormon, in his insertion as he outlines the land controlled by the Lamanite king, i.e., the Land of Nephi, in which he states quite clearly, “And it came to pass that the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west…” (Alma 22:27). In this we find that the Land of Nephi ran from the East Sea to the West Sea.
Comment #3: “I read recently that Mormon was a Mayan. Is that true?” Barb J.
The Mayan ruins at Bonampak (Ake'e or Usiij Witz) in Chiapas, Mexico, have numerous large murals adorning its walls that depict Mayans in various stages of their lives. In all cases the Mayans are depicted with dark skin, which suggests Mormon would not have been a Mayan

Response: “That was a question posed by Ted Dee Stoddard, in an article entitled: “Parallels between the Book of Mormon Nephites-Lamanites and the Maya Civilization,” which appeared on BMAF website. His answer included: Let us reason together. About 90 percent of all the entire New World archaeological ruins that date to the Nephite Book of Mormon time period are located in Mesoamerica. That Mesoamerican territory is unequivocally Maya territory, and that Maya territory, in my Mesoamerica Model for Book of Mormon geography, is in the land southward. And, from the Book of Mormon, we know that about two-thirds of the Nephite history took place in the land southward, which is strictly Maya territory throughout the history of Mesoamerica.”
    It is interesting that Mesoamericanists consider they have the only information available to mankind. Actually, there are far more ruins of the Nephite period located in Andean South America than in Mesoamerica. His figures are made up and not factual. 90% is an outright fallacious figure and statement and totally misleading. First of all, there is no way to claim these are Nephite than any other ruins in the Western Hemisphere. The fact that he thinks they are is his privilege, but his statement is completely without merit, and totally unscholarly.
    In fact, most of the ruins he refers to are hard-dated to the last century B.C. and into the A.D. period. Most archaeologists acknowledge that the Andean ruins pre-date those of Mesoamerica as we have shown many times in numerous articles in this blog.
    In another interesting point, Alan Miner in an article “Why Mesoamerica Fits Book of Mormon Geography” parrots the same thing: “At present, 90% of the significant culturally advanced archaeological sites form Book of Mormon times are located in Mesoamerica.” It would be interesting to know where these people get 90% and how they consider the ruins to which they refer are, without question, Book of Mormon sites.
    As to the point about Mormon being a Mayan, there is no evidence of any type that places Mormon in or even near Mesoamerica and the Mayan civilization. In fact, the Mayan Civilization is said to have begun around 2000 BC and ended in 1546 AD at the final Spanish conquest of the northern Yucatan. The last independent Mayan city, Nojpetén of the Maya Itza kingdom in northern Guatemala fell to the Spanish in 1697. None of these dates verify Mormon, who died around 385 AD following the battle at Cumorah, suggests he was Mayan, as the Nephite Nation fell then along with all its people other than Moroni.
Comment #4: “I ran across on one of your old blog articles that some reader stated there were six seas in the land of promise and named them. But I never saw your response to that” Sandy W.
Response: Our response, which appeared in a comments section not a full article, was: “At one time Mormon tells us all the surrounding seas of the Land of Promise, in which he wrote: “And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8). That does not leave any room for any other seas that would be peripheral to the Land of Promise as your two east seas and two west seas are.
    The only other sea that is mentioned is “where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20), and this is really not a named sea, therefore, not separate from the four seas mentioned in Helaman 3:8, but a part of a sea that cuts into the land (like a bay or gulf). In addition to that, the Waters of Ripliancum are mentioned in Ether, which some claim was a sea, but the statement does not suggest a separate sea—only that the word Ripliancum means “large, or to exceed all,” which if interpreted as a sea, then based on its location in the far north of the Land Northward would suggest it refers to the North Sea.

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