There are at least three different views that Mormons have of God’s relation to the universe and its physical laws. How we approach what is possible for God and how we go about determining responses to a number of issues depends on the prior view of God’s relation to the universe. The three primary views (there are others) of God’s relation the universe are these: (1) God ‘s creative will is logically and explanatorily prior to the universe or any other reality; (2) God is subsequent to the universe and arose to godhood within the confines of its laws and physical constraints; (3) God is with the universe and there is a co-dependence relation between them. Exactly what the co-dependence relation is between God and the universe in the third option is variously explained as God being the mind of the universe or the basis for order in the universe.
A great deal turns on which of these views is adopted. Those who argue what is possible for God based on the laws of physics assume the second view – god is a being who became God by following the physical and moral laws of the universe in which god exists. Such arguments make no sense if one assumes the view that God is prior to physical and moral laws. Such arguments have only limited application if one adopts the third view that God is with the universe.
The first option I believe is accepted by many Latter-day Saints rather naively. The problem is that it seems to require creation ex nihilo which is rejected by any sound view of Joseph Smith’s revelations and Nauvoo discourses. If God is the source of all laws physical and moral, then arguing that God cannot exceed the speed of light makes no sense. Arguing that the laws of entropy or gravity apply to God makes no sense. Of course one could still hold that God, in the human nature of one of the persons of the Trinity, voluntarily assumed a human form and physical body. Such a physical body would seem to be bound by laws of entropy and physics – except there is that slight problem of the body reorganizing itself and floating above the ground and passing through walls and that sort of stuff. Just how God could be equated with such an embodied person (or part of a person) is a big question. I think that this view is incoherent from the get go.
The view that God became divine only after an eternity of attempting to get it right entails that God is subject to physical and moral laws essential to become God. I suppose that God is something like a very adept scientist with lots of resources on this view. However, such a God is clearly at the mercy of natural laws. If it is physically impossible for death to be reversed, then it seems very difficult to explain how God could pull off anything like the resurrection on this view. If there is going to be a big crunch of the universe, God cannot deal with it because gravity is the ultimate law on such a view. One would hope that the big crunch comes much later rather than sooner on such a view. Further, God is stuck within whatever pocket universe we’re in. God is the God of merely the local pocket universe rather than the multi-verse – at least given any present plausible view of the multiverse. Further, if God has a body and is stuck to light speed, then he cannot really visit us very often from Kolob – certainly not within our lifetime.
The final view is that God is with the universe. This view requires something like process philosophy where God is the emergent concomitant of the universe – or perhaps the ideal pole of the physical reality of the universe. God is eternally divine and just as eternal as the universe itself (speaking in the sense of a universe that truly is all that there is). God is the co-source of natural laws on such a view. The natural laws are an expression of the order that God draws from the universe as he lures it with his love and persuasive power to bend to his will over eons of time. Given such a view, God’s power in the universe is concurrent power – the natural order expresses itself because God’s power urges it to do so (put crudely). God cannot have just any universe that he wants, but he can insure that the natural laws reflect his persuasive influence. The view that I have adopted differs from process thought in asserting that God can suspend the natural laws because they require his concurrence to manifest their inherent natural tendencies.
Because I adopt the third view, I don’t accept the arguments from physics that define what is possible for God – at least not at face value. God is not subject to the big crunch; but God cannot have just any universe with any natural laws that he wants either. He is limited by the inherent potentialities of the natural order on such a view. The universe reflects his persuasive love in its order; but it also reflects a natural tendency to disorder and chaos. I believe that the third view is much more adequate to the Mormon scriptures and requirements of faith. But of course it requires rejecting a certain reading of the King Follett Discourse as well. Happily, it’s a reading that I reject anyway.