Lesson 3 - Moses 1:27-42; 2-3
How much information would you give if a preschool child asked, “How does an airplane stay in the air?” or, “How does a TV work?” Typically, we might answer in broad generalities with few details because we would try to suit the answer to our perception of the child’s limited understanding. What does that have to do with today’s lesson? Well, as we review the scriptures concerning the Creation, we will see that the Lord has revealed only the portion of truth that is suited to our mortal understanding and the level of detail that we need to know to gain salvation on this earth.
Moses’ vision of the Creation. Moses 1:27-42.
Moses was the author of the Creation account found in Genesis (Moses 1:40; 2:1). Moses 1:40-41 tells us his reason for writing the account. Moses was commanded to write it by God, so that even when some of the material had been taken from the Genesis account, another prophet could restore the knowledge that had been given to Moses by his Heavenly Father.
Moses 1:27-39 teaches us that God’s power is essentially immeasurable and incomprehensible to man’s understanding. Innumerable worlds have been created—some that have “passed away” and some that “now stand”. But while more worlds have been created than we can comprehend, God assured Moses that He knows them all. He impressed upon Moses that there was no end to his works and then gave us scriptural assurance that man is important to our Creator. He sums up His purpose for being in simply saying that, “…this is work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” The fact that we are the central focus of his life and that our progression is his work, when coupled with the knowledge that He knows each of us individually, should assure us that God loves us as our Father. In spite of the vast numbers of his creations, Father does know you as an individual. [As our local High Priests Group Leader said not long ago about this point…(paraphrased)…”…With millions…billions of worlds in many universes, yes, God does care about what you watch on TV.”]
When you read and compare the Creation accounts found in Genesis, the Book of Moses, and the Book of Abraham, it is obvious that each differs in certain respects from the others. This is because Moses and Abraham recorded what they saw in visions concerning the organization of this earth. Each of them chose to include slightly differing details. The Old Testament account of the Creation found in Genesis was originally the record of Moses, but later, some of his personal account was lost. The Book of Moses in The Pearl of Great Price restores the fullness of his original account.
Moses learned that God created all things. Moses 2:1-25; 3:1-4.
Because it is important for us to know who created this earth for us, the following scriptures answer that question: Moses 1:32; 2:1; John 1:1-3, 14; Hebrews 1:1-2; Mosiah 3:8; D&C 14:9.
Revelations about the purpose of the Creation include the following: Moses 1:39; Abraham 3:24-25; 1 Nephi 17:36; 2 Nephi 2:11-15.
The creation was necessary to provide a place where Heavenly Father’s spirit children could possess a physical body and then be tested to see if they would willingly obey the Father’s commandments even when they were not in the direct presence of the Father. The earth then, is the place of testing for mortals who kept their first estate but who must prove their worthiness here to merit eternal life rather than immortality. The faithful who use their agency properly, prove obedient to the commandments, and develop Christ-like natures will receive the blessing of eternal life. Note: The purposes and importance of the Creation are only explained in latter-day revelation.
Mortality, or this earth life, prepares us for eternal life by:
· Allowing us to receive physical bodies
· Giving us the opportunity to exercise free agency and thereby, learn to use it properly
· Letting us gain knowledge from experience and being taught by others
· Forming family units that may continue on into the eternities if we so chose and live worthily
· Receiving the priesthood ordinances necessary for salvation and exaltation
· Allowing us to make covenants that edify and inspire us to achieve our full potential
As God reviewed the Creation, he spoke about the results thereof:
Moses 2:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31; and 3:2 all show that God judged his creative work to be “good”. We may profit by reviewing this creation around us and noting those elements that we individually consider “good”. Some items in our environment are beautiful, some functional, some impressive, and some are such that we regularly ignore them. Much of our appreciation (or lack thereof) for this earth and its features and benefits is not so much a function of the earth’s characteristics as it is a reflection of our attitudes and values.
Abraham 3:24; 4:1. Here the scriptures teach that the earth was not created from nothing, but rather was organized from existing matter. 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 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).
Moses learned that men and women are created in the image of God. Moses 2:26-31; 3:7, 15-25.
Moses 2:26-27 teaches that man, both male and female, were created in God’s image.
The First Presidency said: “All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity” (Improvement Era, Nov. 1909, 78).
The knowledge that we are indeed created in the image of God should affect the way we live our lives and the relationships we create with others.
Moses 7:30 teaches us something about God’s individual care for each of us—that He is just, merciful, and kind in his dealings with us while we endure testing here on this earth.
Moses 2:26 says that man was to be given dominion over the creations on this earth. If we take this responsibility seriously as stewards, we will show respect for the earth and we will care for His creations just as if we could see Him here watching how we care for the earth, the fowls, the fishes, and every living creature found on the earth, in the air, or in the seas.
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Length of the Creation
Some decades ago, the Council of the Twelve Apostles was asked to settle the controversy about the time required for the Creation and the length of a “day” in the Creation. Some members of the Church took the position that a day was a 24-hour period; some believed that a day was an indeterminate period of time designated by accomplishment of events rather than a particular duration of set time measurements; and others were of the opinion that a day in the Creation was the same as stated in Peter 3:8 where Peter said that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years” (See also Abraham 3:4). The decision of the Quorum was that the Lord had not revealed the length of the Creation—therefore, a Latter-day Saint may chose to believe any of those definitions since no “doctrine” has been given which binds faithful saints to accept one definition over another. *Also see Old Testament Student Manual - Institute/Church Educational System (CES) - Religion 301, 3rd ed., pgs. 28-29 "How Old is the Earth?"
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