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Before your gospel knowledge, what were your thoughts about creation? What do you think other people thought about it? What about all the people in the world, or better yet how about all the people who have ever lived in the world, what do you suppose, in their day and time, they thought about the creation. did they wonder how it all came about, the place where they dwelt, or did they wonder the reason for it all, and what it all means?
If we take a handful of modeling clay or play dough, we can massage it and manage it and make it into animals, shapes or figures. but have you in your creation, created life? It is our knowledge as Latter-day saints to know that while we can imagine and create a model of a living thing, only God can create life, earth and everything in it.
Now think about a little child asking you how plants grow. Would you go into a massive report of how plants develop and grow, or would you like most of us would consider the age and maturity of the child and give general concepts that fit their understanding, leaving the grand details until the child is old enough to understand. This is the same way the Lord has dealt with us concerning knowledge of the creation.
The Lord expects us to believe and understand the true doctrine of the Creation—the creation of this earth, of man, and of all forms of life; but has revealed only that portion of eternal truth that our mortal minds can understand and that we need to know to gain salvation.
What we need to know is in the book of Genesis in the Bible however, as we have learned, due to the misinterpretation and mistranslation of man much is missing. The books of Moses and Abraham, as we also know, have been given to us to fill in the gaps and clear up mistakes so that we can have the full knowledge we need to progress.
"Our analysis properly begins with the frank recital that our knowledge about the Creation is limited. We do not know the how and why and when of all things. Our finite limitations are such that we could not comprehend them if they were revealed to us in all their glory, fulness, and perfection. What has been revealed to us is that portion of the Lord's eternal word which we must believe and understand if we are to envision the truth about the Fall and Atonement and thus become heirs of salvation. This is all we are obligated to know in our day." (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, p179)
You have probably read the account of the creation before, perhaps many times. But as you read and study it now, ponder its real significance for you today. Ponder for a moment your own relationship to Adam and Eve, your ever so great grandparents. Have the ensuing Millennia made them seem unreal to you, like fictional characters in a novel? I hope they have not for they are real and they are alive...
Moses sees a vision of God’s creations
Orson Pratt: "Before the Lord revealed to him the history of its creation Moses beheld every particle of the earth, and the account says there was not a particle that he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God. One of the revelations says, that whatsoever is light is spirit, and there are degrees of this spiritual influence that will affect the natural or mortal eye; then there are other degrees more refined, perhaps, which do not affect the mortal eye, but will affect the immortal eye, yet the Lord would be able to touch the eyes of a man like unto Moses or any other man of God, so as to show him every particle of the earth, inside and outside." (Journal of Discourses, 16:337)
Who wrote the account of the Creation in Genesis? Moses 1:40; 2:1
And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak.
And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest.
In addition to his calling to free the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, Moses was given the assignment to write about the events that occurred from the Creation of the earth until the final days of his own mission. The first five books of the Bible contain the writings of Moses. However, some of the truths Moses recorded in those five books were removed from the Bible by wicked men who altered the biblical text 1 Nephi 13:24–28; Moses 1:23. By revelation, the Prophet Joseph Smith restored many truths that were lost 2 Nephi 3:6–15; Moses 1:41
Why did Moses write this account? Moses 1:40–41
And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak. And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe
We have accounts of the creation in Genesis, Moses and Abraham; how do the accounts of the Creation found in these differ from each other? Abraham and Moses saw in vision the organizing of this earth and then recorded their visions. Each included slightly different details. The account in Genesis was originally written by Moses, but some of the fulness of his account was lost. This fulness is restored in the book of Moses.
Modern scriptures given to the world through Joseph Smith contain two accounts of the creation. One account is found in the Book of Abraham, which was published in the spring of 1842 as the latter-day Seer's translation of a revelation on the subject given anciently to the patriarch Abraham. 1 In the Book of Abraham, the claim is also made that the ancient patriarch had in his possession records extending back to the time of Adam, giving "a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers."
The other account of the creation in modern scriptures is found in the Book of Moses. It consists of Joseph Smith's inspired revision of the story of the creation in Genesis. 3 The Prophet made his initial revision of this account in 1830. But he made additional revisions thereafter; 4 and evidence indicates that he intended to make further revisions of the account written by Moses, for he did not consider the text of the creation as it is now published in the Book of Moses to be without some deficiencies. 5 This account was not published until 1851, several years after the Prophet's death. Had Joseph Smith published his revision of the account of creation written by Moses, before doing so he undoubtedly would have made even further revisions than those now contained in the Book of Moses.
In addition to the two accounts of the creation referred to above, there are some authoritative statements made by Joseph Smith which add clarity to the story of the creation as given in both ancient and modern scripture. (Basic Concepts in The Creation Story)
Moses learns that God created all things Moses 2:1–25; 3:1–14
Who created the earth? God the Father of all men, instituted the creation of this world through his son Jesus Christ as a place for men to come to mortality and progress toward their eternal destiny. Numerous scriptures indicate that Jehovah, the pre-mortal Jesus Christ was actually given the responsibility for carrying out the work of the Creation and the ability to delegate to others in the formation.
"...by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest" Moses 2:1
"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who created the heavens and the earth" D&C 14:9
And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. Moses 1:32
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1–3
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Hebrews 1:1–2
And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary Mosiah 3:8
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "Under the direction of the Father, Jesus Christ created this earth. No doubt others helped him, but it was Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, who, under the direction of his Father, came down and organized matter and made this planet, so that it might be inhabited by the children of God." (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:74)
Elder James E. Talmage: "The Father operated in the work of creation through the Son, who thus became the executive through whom the will, commandment, or word of the Father was put into effect. It is with incisive appropriateness therefore, that the Son, Jesus Christ, is designated by the apostle John as the Word; or as declared by the Father 'the word of my power.' The part taken by Jesus Christ in the creation, a part so prominent as to justify our calling Him the Creator, is set forth in many scriptures. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews refers in this wise distinctively to the Father and the Son as separate though associated Beings: 'God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.' Paul is even more explicit in his letter to the Colossians, wherein, speaking of Jesus the Son, he says: 'For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.' And here let be repeated the testimony of John, that by the Word, who was with God, and who was God even in the beginning, all things were made; 'and without him was not anything made that was made'." (Jesus the Christ, pp33-34)
Length of the Creation
The length of time required for the Creation is not known. The term day in the scriptural account of the Creation does not represent a 24-hour period. The Hebrew word yom can be translated as “day,” “time,” or “period.” The Apostle Peter said that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years” (2 Peter 3:8; see also Abraham 3:4).
What has God revealed about the purpose of the Creation? Moses 1:39; Abraham 3:24–25; 1 Nephi 17:36; 2 Nephi 2:11–15
The purpose of the Creation is to provide a place where Heavenly Father’s spirit children can come to obtain a physical body and be tested or proven to see if they will obey him when they are away from his presence. Those who are faithful will receive eternal life. Not many people who read the bible understand this doctrine. Though an account of the creation is included in the book of Genesis, the purposes and importance of the Creation are explained only in latter-day revelation.
Brigham Young: "The whole object of the creation of this world is to exalt the intelligences that are placed upon it, that they may live, endure, and increase for ever and ever." (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp57)
Wilford Woodruff: "The Lord Almighty never created a world like this and peopled it for 6,000 years, as he has done, without having some motive in view. That motive was, that we might come here and exercise our agency. The probation we are called upon to pass through, is intended to elevate us so that we can dwell in the presence of God our Father." (Journal of Discourses, 25:9)
Joseph Smith: "Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p346-347)
In what ways does earth life prepare us for eternal life? We receive physical bodies, learn to use our agency, gain knowledge, have families, receive ordinances, and make covenants...
What did God say about the results of the Creation? Moses 2:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31; 3:2 Eight times in the brief account of the Creation, God declared that his work was good.
Was the earth created out of nothing? Abraham 3:24; 4:1
The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “The word create came from the [Hebrew] 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” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 350–51)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Truly Christ is the Creator of the future abode of the spirit children of the Father. But he does not work alone. The Creation is an organized venture; each of the other noble and great spirits plays his part. And the earth is created from matter that already exists. Truly the elements are eternal, and to create is to organize." (Studies In Scripture, 2:81)
Scriptural Account of Creation: The scriptural story of the creation of the earth is simple and direct. Since the elements are eternal, the story of the creation is concerned with but one series of actions affecting the elements of the earth during their eternal existence. According to the scriptures, that series of events commenced about 13,000 years ago; and during seven creative periods of 1,000 years each by man's present measurement of time, the earth was formed and life was placed upon it. 1 On the first day of creation, elements were brought together to form the earth as an empty and desolate sphere. Each day's activities thereafter, until the conclusion of the sixth day, were designed to prepare the earth for life. Then, after the earth had been finished and sanctified at the beginning of the seventh day, life was formed in a physical-spiritual state and placed upon the earth in a paradisiacal-celestial condition of glory. This, essentially, is the scriptural story of the creation. (The Seven Days of Creation)
Moses learns that men and women are created in God’s image Moses 2:26–31; 3:7, 15–25
"Man is made in the image of his maker...he is His exact image, having eye for eye, forehead for forehead, eyebrows for eyebrows, nose for nose , cheekbones for cheekbones, mouth for mouth, chin for chin, ears for ears, precisely like our Father in heaven." (Ludlow, Latter-day Prophets Speak p 228)
"All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother and are literally the sons and daughters of deity." (Clark, Messages of the First Presidency)
In whose image are we created? Moses 2:26–27
"Families on earth are an extension of the family of God. According to the LDS concept of the family, every person is a child of heavenly parents as well as mortal parents. Each individual was created spiritually and physically in the image of God and Christ (Moses 2:27; 3:5). The First Presidency has declared, 'All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity' (Messages of the First Presidency, 4:203). Everyone, before coming to this earth, lived with Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, and each was loved and taught by them as a member of their eternal family." ( Elder M. Russell Ballard Our Search for Happiness, p70)
How can the knowledge that we are created in the image of God bless our lives? How should it affect our relationships with other people?
What do Enoch’s words in Moses 7:30 teach about God’s individual care for each of us? And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;
What do you think the Lord meant when he told us to have dominion over his creations on this earth? Moses 2:26
And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and it was so. And I, God, said: Let them have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
To have “dominion” means to have responsibility, to have dominion over all living things is a sacred responsibility and should not be misused.
Brother Hugh Nibley wrote: "To have dominion is the Latin word to be a dominus. The domus is the 'house.' The dominus is the lord who is the master of the house and is responsible for all the creatures in the house. Just as the hlafweard, the 'loaf ward' is the one to see to it that all family, all connections, all members of the estate, all dependents are properly fed and cared for. The same with the dominus. He has charge of the domus. As the dominus, that's his obligation. We think of it as a license to exterminate. You are made lord of everything. You are given dominion and made responsible." (Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, Lecture 19)
Elder Sterling W. Sill, an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught: “One of the most inspiring messages in all sacred scripture is the story of the sixth day of creation when God made man in his own image. He also endowed him with a set of his own attributes. Then, as the very climax of creation, God gave man dominion over everything upon the earth, including himself. The dictionary says that ‘dominion’ means control or the power to govern. The most important part of the dominion given to man was self-dominion” (Conference Report, Oct. 1963, 77–78).
The Creation is an integral part of Heavenly Father's plan of salvation. It gives each of us the opportunity to come to the earth, where we receive a physical body and exercise our agency. In the premortal Council of the Gods, the following declaration was made: "We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them" (Abraham 3:24-25).
The knowledge that we are created in the image of God greatly blesses our lives giving us a firm foundation to grasp that we may endure faithfully. Read, ponder and pray concerning the scriptural accounts of the creation. Pray for understanding and recognize that we are children of God, that we are all brothers and sisters, that a loving God created this earth and all things on it for our benefit and growth, and that we are expected to use the creations of God profitably and thank him continually for all he has done.
Doctrines of the Gospel Manual
Pearl of Great Price Student Manual
Pearl of Great Price Teacher Manual
Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, Lecture 19
Elder M. Russell Ballard Our Search for Happiness, p70
Clark, Messages of the First Presidency
Ludlow, Latter-day Prophets Speak p 228
The Seven Days of Creation
Studies In Scripture, 2:81
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Journal of Discourses
Discourses of Brigham Young, pp57
Basic Concepts in The Creation Story
Jesus The Christ
Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie