Many people who oppose evolution ask the question, “Why would a God, who can perform great miracles, use a very slow and laborious way to create man?” The short answer to that question is because God does his work through natural laws, and scientists are learning that evolution seems to be one of the natural laws used in the creation of physical life.
Let us obtain the long answer by looking at the short answer (given above) in more detail. We know through science that physical matter is controlled by the laws of nature. Scientific research is based on the principle that the laws of nature are consistent.
From the Pearl of Great Price, we have the following statement that in creating the earth God organized the elements.
And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth. (Abraham 4:1)
God did not create the earth from nothing. He organized the earth from preexisting but unorganized matter. The fact that God organized the matter instead of creating the matter implies there were laws controlling the matter and that God followed those laws. This leads us to the following question. When God used unorganized matter in creating the earth, in what way was the matter unorganized? The scriptures don’t answer that question, and we are left to our speculation about it. One possibility is there were molecules of the elements present, implying that on the molecular/atomic level the matter was organized, but on a macro level, the molecules were not organized into stars, planets, moons, mountains, etc. Another possibility is that individual molecules did not exist and that the unorganized matter was actually energy. In this case, in creating the earth, God transformed energy into molecules of matter. Whatever happened, the important question is, did God create universal laws that would organize the matter, or did He use preexisting laws to organize the matter? To help us answer this question, let us read from the Doctrine and Covenants about those who are exalted in the Celestial Kingdom.
They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory; (D&C 76:55-56)
Those who are exalted will receive the fullness and glory of our Heavenly Father, and He will give all things to those persons. Latter-day Saints believe this includes the power of creation. Let’s assume for sake of discussion that you become exalted and receive the power of creation from our Father in Heaven. In order to use that power, will you have to create laws of nature that will govern the unorganized matter that you use to organize a world? No, of course not. Those laws are universal and were in effect before you were born into mortality. As an exalted being, you will learn to evoke and control those laws and use them to fulfill your purposes.
So it is with our Father in Heaven. When God organized preexisting matter, He was, I believe, obedient to the laws that govern that matter. His works, especially miracles, do not contravene natural laws. He may, though, evoke higher laws that override the laws that normally are in control of the matter.
To summarize, the scriptures give the *why* of God’s creations; why He created the world and the universe. The scriptures don’t, however, give the *how* of the creation. We must turn to science to learn how God created the physical earth and the universe. Science tells us that evolution was one of the key laws involved with the creation of the physical world. God was obedient to those laws.