"Two of the three scriptural accounts of the Creation are found in the Pearl of Great Price-one in the book of Moses, and the other in the book of Abraham. These two accounts include many unique and important insights into the creation process that supplement and clarify the report in Genesis." (The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse by Verse Commentary, RD Draper, SK Brown, MD Rhodes, [SLC: Deseret Book, 2005], 177)
The Moses version, in particular emphasizes that this earth was created by the Only Begotten of the Father. It further emphasizes that the creation process itself is this: the Lord commands, the elements respond immediately to His commands, for "it was done as I spake" (Moses 2:5,11). The book of Moses also reinforces the dual nature of all living things-both spiritual and physical-that the soul of man and beast is composed of a spirit body and a physical body.
These are crucial, valuable clarifications worthy of careful attention. Nonetheless, Moses chapters 2 and 3 are very similar to Genesis 1 and 2. While, there are some key additions in the Moses translation that we will discuss, the commentaries for the Moses version and the Genesis version are very similar.
Four versions of the creation account
Something as important as the creation of heaven and earth cannot be recorded in scriptures just once. The concept that in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established applies to the important doctrines of the scriptures. The important things appear at least twice. In the case of the creation account, there are four versions: Genesis, Moses, Abraham, and the temple. The first three accounts agree as to the sequence and content. These revealed versions teach us about the process, timing, and participants of the Creation story.
From Moses and Abraham, we learn that the process of creation occurs as God commands. He commands, the elements obey and organize into whatever structure is commanded. This theme is reinforced over and over again, "this I did by the word of my power, and it was done as I spake." (Moses 2:5). "And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed." (Abr. 4:18)
For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.
Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake.
And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley.
Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake;
Yea, by the power of his voice, do the foundations rock, even to the very center.
Yea, and if he say unto the earth-Move-it is moved.
Yea, if he say unto the earth-Thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours-it is done; (Hel. 12:8-14)
From Abraham and the temple, we learn who was involved in the creation process. "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" (Abr. 4:1). From the temple, we learn that the "gods" referred to are Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael. God the Father directed His Only Begotten to create this earth according to the scripture, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:1-3) Elohim told Moses, "I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God: by mine only Begotten I created these things." (Moses 2:1)
Abraham teaches us that the creation did not take six 24-hour periods. His record describes indefinite periods of time for each of the six creative periods, "this was the first or the beginning, of that which they called day and night... and this was the second time that they called night and day" (Abr. 4:5, 8). God doesn't refer to these periods as days but as time periods, "On the seventh time we will end our work... we will rest on the seventh time" (Abr 5:2).
The Temple sequence is a bit different. Most notably, the sun and moon are created before the vegetation is created. This seems intuitive since plants require sunlight for life and photosynthesis. Furthermore, the process of producing the grass, herbs, and trees was done by "placing seeds of all kinds in the earth." Secondly, the concept of a spiritual creation preceding the temporal is emphasized in this account, "For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth" (Moses 3:5). Lastly, the only project of the sixth day, according to the temple, is the creation of man. This rendering emphasizes mankind as the climax and purpose of God's great work.
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
Conceived as part and parcel of the creation of the whole universe, Genesis, Abraham, and Moses spoke in poetry that in places seemed only poetry. But conceived as a special creation of our earth, in and of our galaxy, as the account of it tells, the poetry becomes a divinely beautiful anthem, enshrouded in heavenly symphony, glorious beyond measure, speaking with the authority and majesty of the Creator himself. (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Behold the Lamb of God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 37)
Gordon B. Hinckley
Read again those marvelous accounts in Genesis, Moses, and the book of Abraham, and ponder the great order and planning that preceded our coming to earth for our mortal testing.
While here, we have learning to gain, work to do, service to give. We are here with a marvelous inheritance, a divine endowment. How different this world would be if every person realized that all of his actions have eternal consequences. How much more satisfying our years may be if in our accumulation of knowledge, in our relationships with others, in our business affairs, in our courtship and marriage, and in our family rearing, we recognize that we form each day the stuff of which eternity is made. Brothers and sisters, life is forever. Live each day as if you were going to live eternally, for you surely shall. ("Pillars of Truth," Ensign, Jan. 1994, 4)
Moses 2:1 the Lord spake unto Moses... write the words which I speak
Moses lived about 1500 BC, perhaps 2500 years after the creation story. If a historical record of the creation had been handed down from the days of Adam, it would have been subject to centuries of errors of transcription or translation. It is significant, therefore, that Moses receives this story directly from the Lord. The creation account comes from Moses as he received it directly from the Lord. This is the record of the creation that the Lord wants us to have. If He wanted us to know more, He would have given us more. If He wanted us to know less, He would have given us less. Therefore, creative interpretations and grandiose interpolations of the creation story are not justified. This is the story of how the earth came to be. We don't have to make it more complicated than that.
Moses 2:1 by mine Only Begotten I created these things
Elder Melvin J. Ballard
In other words, that Jesus Christ, under the direction of His Father, was the organizer and builder of this world; that out of the elements that existed in space, He, the great Master, compounded, produced and materialized this substantial world upon which you and I live; that we are indebted to Him, and to our Father in heaven, for this life that we are enjoying, the bodies that we have, the beautiful world that we inhabit. We sometimes wonder where our heaven will be, that is, the people of the world wonder. We Latter-day Saints have no reason to doubt where our heaven will be, for the Lord has made known to us, that this splendid world that has been provided for us will ultimately be redeemed, having obeyed the laws of its being, and become celestialized, the home of celestial beings; so that if we shall ever come into heaven, or heavenly conditions, it will be, ultimately, upon this redeemed world. Jesus Christ has been the organizer and the builder of it, possessed with power to do all that. (Conference Report, April 1914, Overflow Meeting, 48)
Gordon B. Hinckley
When I think of the Savior, I think of the words of Matthew, Mark, and Luke but particularly the words of John:
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. In him was life; and the life was the light of men (John 1:1-4).
Here is something spoken of more than a babe in a manger; here is declared the Creator of all that is good and beautiful. I have looked at majestic mountains rising against a blue sky and thought of Jesus, the Creator of heaven and earth. I have stood on a spit of sand in the Pacific and watched the dawn rise like thunder-a ball of gold surrounded by clouds of pink and white and purple-and thought of Jesus, the Word by whom all things were made and without whom was not anything made that was made. I have seen a beautiful child-many of them-bright-eyed, innocent, clean, and trusting, and marveled at the majesty and miracle of creation. What then shall you do with Jesus that is called Christ?
This earth is his creation. When we make it ugly, we offend him. ("God So Loved the World," New Era, Apr. 1983, 48)
Mark E. Petersen
The special creation of this earth was a vital part of the plan of salvation. It had a particular purpose. It was no afterthought. Neither was it an accident of any proportion, nor a spontaneous development of any kind.
It was the result of deliberate, advance planning and purposeful creation. The Divine Architect devised it. The Almighty Creator made it and assigned to it a particular mission. ("Creator and Savior," Ensign, May 1983, 63)
Neal A. Maxwell
Elsewhere, we read: "And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten." (Moses 1:33.)
Why all this creating? Because the decreed and redemptive purpose of God the Father is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39.) This was the very purpose for this planet about which Isaiah spoke: "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited." (Isa. 45:18.)
This inhabited earth has thus become mankind's mortal "schoolhouse."
We rightly marvel and even worry over the earth's delicate ecological balances, the manner in which this planet is so tilted and orbited that it is inhabitable, with soil, seasons, and moisture. Moreover, Jesus, who formed this planet under the direction of the Father, likewise took as much care in planning the curriculum of this life's learning experiences as in planning the schoolhouse itself.
Thus, this act of creation was an act of divine love, fulfilling God's purpose to provide for all of us the needed experience of mortality. ("Our Acceptance of Christ," Ensign, June 1984, 70)
Moses 2:1 in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth
The word "created" should be "formed" or "organized."
God did not make the earth out of nothing, for it is contrary to a rational mind and reason that a something could be brought from a nothing. Also, it is contrary to the principle and means by which God does work. For instance, when God formed man, he made him of something-the dust of the earth-and he always took a something to affect a something else. . . . The earth was made out of something, for it is impossible for a something to be made out of nothing. (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 1)
...Now, I ask all who hear me, why the learned men who are preaching salvation, say that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing? The reason is, that they are unlearned in the things of God, and have not the gift of the Holy Ghost; they account it blasphemy in any one to contradict their idea. If you tell them that God made the world out of something, they will call you a fool. But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and he is within me, and comprehends more than all the world; and I will associate myself with him.
You ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made out of nothing, and they will answer, "Doesn't the Bible say He created the world?" And they infer, from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the 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, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time He had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and re-organized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning and can have no end. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. 6:308-9)
Heber J. Grant
We know by the inspiration of God to a prophet that God created the earth out of the elements that existed, and that element is eternal and indestructible.
When Joseph Smith first taught that doctrine they said he was a fool, because everybody professed to know that elements were not eternal, and that you could take some coal and burn it up and that was the end of it. Now they have found that the elements of that coal cannot be destroyed. You can take a silver cup, drop it into a certain acid, and it will dissolve and disappear. And yet it is there. You can take other ingredients and get that identical silver out again and mould it into another silver cup. Joseph Smith is now absolutely vindicated in saying that matter is eternal and indestructible. (Gospel Standards: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Heber J. Grant, compiled by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1981], 309.)
Moses 2:2 the earth was without form, and void
God took "matter unorganized" and organized it into a spherical orb. It is easy to imagine the earth at this stage as a round orb of disorganized elements, surface water, and various gases much like scientists' descriptions of other primitive planets. Henry Eyring noted, "Most cosmologists-scientists who study the structure and evolution of the universe-agree that the biblical account of creation, in imagining an initial void, is uncannily close to the truth." (Reflections of a Scientist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 74)
What words do the scriptures use to describe the earth at this point? It was "without form, and void." Joseph Smith suggests some other terms, "In the translation, 'without form and void' it should read, 'empty and desolate.'" (The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 60)
"To be void means that the earth was empty of life-unoccupied, or destitute. And in comparison with the finished product, the earth at that time was probably lacking in form and symmetry.
"In speaking of the state of the earth after it had been formed on the first day, Orson Pratt said: 'The earth when created, according to the accounts we have, was covered with a flood of waters; no dry land, in fact no land at all, appeared, but a flood of waters seemed to encompass it.' Both Abraham and Moses indicate that at this time the earth was inundated with water and that 'darkness reigned upon the face of the deep.'" (Hyrum L. Andrus, God, Man, and the Universe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968], 336)
Moses 2:2 my Spirit moved upon the face of the water
Orson F. Whitney
Moreover, in the symbolism of the scriptures this world is represented by water. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Here, at the very dawn of creation, are the two principles or elements-spirit and water-with which baptisms are performed-one creative, the other creatable; one representing heaven, the other, earth. Note the reference in Daniel 7 to beasts, representing earthly governments, coming up from the sea. Note the Savior's parable, likening the kingdom of heaven to a net cast into the sea; the sea symbolizing the world, the fishes, the souls drawn out of the world. Note also Revelation 13 where a beast representing anti-Christ, rises out of the sea: and (in Rev 17) where a woman, the Mother of Harlots, representing a great city reigning over the kings of the earth, is described as "sitting upon many waters"-the waters signifying "peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues." (Rev. 17:15)
Much of the body of this world-the physical frame of a spiritual creation-is water, even parts of it that seem solid. Science so affirms, and who can gainsay it? Walt Whitman, that eccentric poetic genius, speaks of "the slumbering and liquid trees." Thales, the founder of Greek philosophy, started out with the proposition: "All things are water." He ascribed to water the powers of creation, supposing that he had found in it the primal element, or great first cause. He omitted the real creative principle-the Spirit of God, which in the beginning "moved upon the face of the waters," or as Milton says, "dove-like sat brooding on the vast abyss." Thales being a physicist, took no account of the spiritual. Geology asserts that the earth was once submerged in water. The scriptures also declare it, and without reference to the deluge. "Let the dry land appear!"-the very words suggest baptism, birth, creation-the emergence of a primitive planet from the womb of the waters. Water, symbolically if not literally, represents the temporal part of creation, including the body or mortal part of man. (Gospel Themes [Salt Lake City: n.p., 1914], 67)
Moses 2:3 And I, God, said: Let there be light; and there was light
Later on, we read that God created the sun and the moon. He also made the stars to appear in the heavens. So this creation of light means something other than the creation of our sun. It means he placed the earth so as to be exposed to light. It also means He is the source of the light in the universe. It means He creates the suns or stars of all the galaxies. It means he is the supreme intelligence for "the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth." (D&C 93:36)
That this verse is not referring to the organization of our sun makes sense given other scriptures. Most don't understand that this earth was probably made nigh unto Kolob, then later placed in its current solar system. What evidence do we have for this? Consider the following, "In answer to the question-Is not the reckoning of God's time, angel's time, prophet's time, and man's time, according to the planet on which they reside? I answer, Yes." (D&C 130:4) To Abraham was given the knowledge that in the creation, before the Fall, the earth had not yet been appointed its current reckoning of time, "Now, I Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord's time, which was after the time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning." (Abr. 5:13)
"Apparently the earth was not organized in relation to the sun at this time, and the way the Gods caused the light to be divided from the darkness was to make the newly formed orb rotate according to Kolob's schedule of time. This was the system which the Gods used for reckoning time in the creation." (Hyrum L. Andrus, God, Man, and the Universe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968], 337)
When the earth was framed and brought into existence and man was placed upon it, it was near the throne of our Father in heaven. And when man fell-though that was designed in the economy, there was nothing about it mysterious or unknown to the Gods, they understood it all, it was all planned-but when man fell, the earth fell into space, and took up its abode in this planetary system, and the sun became our light. When the Lord said-"Let there be light," there was light, for the earth was brought near the sun that it might reflect upon it so as to give us light by day, and the moon to give us light by night. This is the glory the earth came from, and when it is glorified it will return again unto the presence of the Father, and it will dwell there, and these intelligent beings that I am looking at, if they live worthy of it, will dwell upon this earth. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 17: 143)
Orson F. Whitney
When man wants light he must strike a match, or press a button, or turn a switch, or rub two pieces of wood together as do the Indians, in order to create a flame. But when God wants light, He has only to say, Let there be light, and there is light. Nay, He would not have to do even so much as that, for God Himself is Light, dwells in the midst of light, in the midst of eternal burnings, and He would only have to appear, and darkness would flee away. (Conference Report, April 1914, Second Day-Morning Session, 40)
Moses 2:4 And I, God, saw the light; and that light was good
Light was good then, and it is still good today. To say that light is good is an understatement. Light becomes a metaphor for goodness, truth, and right. Light is a descriptor of God's glory and intelligence (D&C 93:36-37). Light dispels darkness and forsakes the evil one. As Alma stated, "whatsoever is light, is good" (Alma 32:35)
"Light is the foundation of good. In few, if any, ancient or modern cultures has 'light' become symbolic of evil, 'dark' of good. Instead, light tends to be identified with the good, the valuable, the blessed, the sacred. But it is more than a symbol or a ritual. The scriptures teach that the light of Christ is given to every man that comes into the world, but that it enlightens 'through the world' all those that hearken (D&C 84:46). Light edifies, lifts, and 'that which does not edify is not of God and is darkness' (D&C 50:23)." (Truman G. Madsen, The Radiant Life [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 26)
Sterling W. Sill
I think I can partially comprehend how God felt when he said that the light was good. With all of the wonders of our world, including its beauties and its opportunities, yet we do not live on an independent earth. For example, if the rays of God's great sun were turned off for just a very few hours, no life could exist upon our planet.
And a great feeling of security, wealth, and good cheer always comes into my heart as I see the rays of God's great sun begin to send their beams across the world. In some of the sun's functions its rays are bringing to us many millions of tons of food each day, along with the vast quantities of warmth, light, energy, vitamins, growth, health, and the strength necessary to supply the needs of our daily activities. Then, by contrast, I sometimes think of that dreadful day of possible doom when the sun may be darkened and the moon shall withhold her light. (Matt. 24:29.) (That Ye Might Have Life [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 32)
Moses 2:5, 11 this I did by the word of my power and it was done as I spake
It used to be common in Mormon circles to explain that the creation of the earth probably took 6000 years. After all, the argument goes, a day in the Lord's time is equal to 1000 years of earth's time. The reason to argue for a greater length of time is that atheists and disbelievers thought the idea of the Creation taking only six 24-hour periods was ridiculous. Miracles are always ludicrous to the skeptics, but the question is a fair one, "how long did it really take?" The answer is, we don't know. (See discussion for Moses 2:8 below)
The Book of Abraham uses the word time instead of day in describing the six creative periods. On the one hand, it may have taken 6000 years. On the other hand, if the world was created as God spake the words, it wouldn't take that long. Consider how the elements respond to God's command:
I, God, divided the light from the darkness
...and it was done as I spake
Let the earth bring forth grass
...and it was so even as I spake. (Moses 2:4-11, emphasis added)
How long would it take to create the earth if every command was obeyed as the very words were spoken? It reminds us that God controls all the elements. The dust of the earth immediately conforms to his command with perfection. The animal world obeys his commands. All plant life grows in the sphere he created. The insects follow his natural laws. The only disobedient entity in the physical universe is man.
O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.
For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.
Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake.
And by the power of his voice they are broken up...
Yea, and if he say unto the earth-Move-it is moved. (Hel. 12:7-13)
The elements apparently don't take very long to obey. In Moses, the record states, "it was done as I spake." In Abraham, the record says, "the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed" (Abr 4:18), but it doesn't leave the impression that they watched for long.
Moses 2:5 the evening and the morning were the first day
The Biblical Jews reckoned the start of the next day by sunset. Midnight as the start of the new day came much later. Why did the Jews reckon time this way? Because that is the way God reckoned time in the creation. "The evening and the morning were the first day." Well, that means the first day started in "the evening." There is a beautiful symbolism in this time scheme.
"That means that the symbolic meridian of the full daily cycle occurs at sunrise, which is both the midpoint of the entire cycle and also the division between light and darkness...
"The coming of light to darkness at the meridian of the first day of creation suggests that even those events bear record of Christ. (See Moses 6:63.) That is, on the first day God created light, and Christ is the Light of the world (see John 8:12, John 12:46), the Firstborn of creation (see Col. 1:15). Further, the light came to the darkness at the meridian of that first 'day' of creation, just as the light of Jesus would come into the dark world (see John 3:19) in the meridian of time.
"A clear example of the rising sun representing Christ is the prophecy that unto the righteous 'shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.' (Mal. 4:2.) This reference to the sun so clearly meant Christ that the phrase 'Son of righteousness' is interchangeable with it." (John P. Pratt, "Passover-Was It Symbolic of His Coming?" Ensign, Jan. 1994, 41)
Moses 2:6-7 Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water
What is a firmament? The Abraham version uses a different word, "expanse." Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, "The Hebrew word rakeed from Raka, to spread out as the curtains of a tent or pavillion, simply signifies an expanse of space, and consequently, the circumambient space or expansion, separating the clouds which are in the higher regions of it, from the seas, etc., which are below it. This we call the atmosphere." (Man, His Origin and Destiny [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 473)
Originally, earth's disorganized surface of water and gas had no form. God created the atmosphere by separating the waters, creating the clouds above and the surface water below. The firmament is the expanse between. The Moses account reveals that much more water stayed below the firmament. Below the firmament, he called them "great waters." (Moses 2:7, emphasis added) How much water was above the firmament? It is interesting to learn how much water is contained in the clouds and atmosphere.
"One estimate of the volume of water in the atmosphere at any one time is about 3,100 cubic miles (mi3) or 12,900 cubic kilometers (km3). That may sound like a lot, but it is only about 0.001 percent of the total Earth's water volume of about 332,500,000 mi3 (1,385,000,000 km3)... If all of the water in the atmosphere rained down at once, it would only cover the ground to a depth of 2.5 centimeters, about 1 inch." (http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycleatmosphere.html)
"Another important element of the atmosphere also formed during this period-the ozone layer... This layer filtered out the harmful ultraviolet light, preventing further dissociation of water and allowing life to flourish, since ultraviolet light is lethal to most organisms (Shu, 1982, 492).
"The proper mixture of gases in the atmosphere is critically important for sustaining life on earth. For example, although carbon dioxide and water make up only a very small part of the atmosphere, without the greenhouse effect produced by them, the average temperature of the earth would be -40˚ C (Emiliani, 1988, 157). It seems clear that God, at various stages of the creative process, arranged for modifications in the earth's atmosphere to ultimately provide one suited to the animal and plant life now found here." (The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse by Verse Commentary, RD Draper, SK Brown, MD Rhodes, [SLC: Deseret Book, 2005], 198)
Moses 2:8 And I, God, called the firmament Heaven
From the above we learn, that the heavens were created by the Lord, and that the heavens were created at, or about the same time as the earth, and that the firmament is called heaven... Now, a word on this firmament; Where is it? "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." (Gen. 1:20) We find out, then, from the foregoing, that the firmament is called heaven, viz., the heaven associated with this earth; and that the firmament is the place where the birds fly, and the rain falls from heaven; and the scriptures say, that Jesus will come in the clouds of heaven. Matthew 24:30. Mark 13:26. But there are other heavens: for God created this heaven, and this earth; and his throne existed before this world rolled into existence... We [may also] speak of heaven, as a place of reward for the righteous. (The Government of God [Liverpool: S. W. Richards, 1852], 38-40)
Moses 2:8 the evening and the morning were the second day
Did God create our world in six 24-hour periods? That might be a bit hard to believe.
"[There are] three basic theories about the age of the world. All three theories depend on how the word day, as used in the creation account, is interpreted.
"The first theory says that the word day is understood as it is used currently and therefore means a period of 24 hours. According to this theory, the earth was created in one week, or 168 hours. Thus the earth would be approximately six thousand years old... Very few people, either members of the Church or members of other religions, hold to this theory, since the evidence for longer processes involved in the Creation is substantial.
"A second theory argues that Abraham was told through the Urim and Thummim that one revolution of Kolob, the star nearest to the throne of God, took one thousand earth years (see Abraham 3:2-4). In other words, one could say that one day of the Lord's time equals one thousand earth years. Other scriptures support this theory, too (see Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8; Facsimile No. 2 from the book of Abraham, figures 1, 4). If the word day in Genesis was used in this sense, then the earth would be approximately thirteen thousand years old (seven days of a thousand years each for the Creation plus the nearly six thousand years since Adam's fall). Some see D&C 77:12 as additional scriptural support for this theory.
"Although the majority of geologists, astronomers, and other scientists believe that even this long period is not adequate to explain the physical evidence found in the earth, there are a small number of reputable scholars who disagree. These claim that the geologic clocks are misinterpreted and that tremendous catastrophes in the earth's history speeded up the processes that normally may take thousands of years. They cite evidence supporting the idea that thirteen thousand years is not an unrealistic time period..." (Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis - 2 Samuel, [CES: 1981], p. 28)
Joseph Fielding Smith
When this earth was created, it was not according to our present time, but it was created according to Kolob's time, for the Lord has said it was created on celestial time which is Kolob's time. Then he revealed to Abraham that Adam was subject to Kolob's time before his transgression. "Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord's time, which was after the time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning." (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 1: 79)
"A third theory says that the word day refers to a period of an undetermined length of time, thus suggesting an era. The word is still used in that sense in such phrases as 'in the day of the dinosaurs.' The Hebrew word for day used in the creation account can be translated as day in the literal sense, but it can also be used in the sense of an indeterminate length of time (see Genesis 40:4, where day is translated as 'a season'; Judges 11:4 where a form of day Is translated as 'in the process of time'; see also Holladay, Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, pp 130-31). Abraham says that the Gods called the creation periods days (see Abraham 4:5, 8).
"If this last meaning was the sense in which Moses used the word day, then the apparent conflict between the scriptures and much of the evidence seen by science as supporting a very old age for the earth is easily resolved. Each era or day of creation could have lasted for millions or even hundreds of millions of our years, and uniformitarianism could be accepted without any problem. (For an excellent discussion of this approach see Henry Eyring, 'The Gospel and the Age of the Earth,' [Improvement Era, July 1965, pp. 608-9, 626, 628]. Also, most college textbooks in the natural sciences discuss the traditional dating of the earth.)
"While it is interesting to note these various theories, official the Church has not taken a stand on the age of the earth... an attempt to establish any theory as the official position of the Church is not justifiable." (Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis - 2 Samuel, [CES: 1981], p. 28-29)
In the "fourth time," we read, "the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed." (Abraham 4:19, 18.) That important word "until" tells us... that they took all the time that was necessary, no matter how long it might have been, measuring the period in terms not of a terminal date but in terms of the requirements of the task... how long do you think that took? Again, the record is deliberately vague. (Old Testament and Related Studies, edited by John W. Welch, Gary P. Gillum, and Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1986], 74)
Hence when we go back to the history of the creation, we find that the Lord was not in such a great hurry as many suppose, but that he took indefinite periods of long duration to construct this world, and to gather together the elements by the laws of gravitation to lay the foundation and form the nucleus thereof, and when he saw that all things were ready and properly prepared, he then placed the man in the Garden of Eden to rule over all animals, fish and fowls, and to have dominion over the whole face of the earth. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 15: 264 - 265)
Moses 2:9 let there be dry land; and it was so
Parley P. Pratt
From this we learn a marvelous fact, which very few have ever realized or believed in this benighted age: we learn that the waters, which are now divided into oceans, seas, and lakes, were then all gathered into one vast ocean, and consequently, that the land which is now torn asunder, and divided into continents and islands almost innumerable, was then one vast continent or body, not separated as it now is. (A Voice of Warning [New York City: Eastern States Mission [189-?], 88.)
Orson F. Whitney
"Let the dry land appear!"-the very words suggest baptism, birth, creation-the emergence of a primitive planet from the womb of the waters. Water, symbolically if not literally, represents the temporal part of creation, including the body or mortal part of man.
Is not baptism, therefore, in its two-fold character and significance, suggestive of the soul's passing out from this watery world, into the spirit world, and thence, by resurrection, into eternal glory? It is only a suggestion, but it seems to emphasize, for me, the reason why the doorway to the Church and Kingdom of God is a double doorway, a dual birth, a baptism of Water and of the Spirit? (Gospel Themes [Salt Lake City: n.p., 1914], 67)
Moses 2:12 the earth brought forth grass, every herb yielding seed after his kind...
God has made certain decrees which are fixed and immovable; for instance-God set the sun, the moon and the stars in the heavens, and gave them their laws conditions and bounds, which they cannot pass, except by his commandments; they all move in perfect harmony in their sphere and order, and are as lights, wonders, and signs unto us. The sea also has its bounds which it cannot pass. God has set many signs on the earth, as well as in the heavens; for instance, the oak of the forest, the fruit of the tree, the herb of the field-all bear a sign that seed hath been planted there; for it is a decree of the Lord that every tree, plant, and herb bearing seed should bring forth of its kind, and cannot come forth after any other law or principle. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Man, His Origin and Destiny [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 168)
Joseph Fielding Smith
With this (i.e. the above Joseph Smith quote) the Book of Abraham fully agrees and states this fact in very positive terms as follows:
And the Gods said: Let us prepare the earth to bring forth grass; the herb yielding seed; the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed in itself yieldeth its own likeness upon the earth; and it was so, even as they ordered.
And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth grass from its own seed, and the herb to bring forth herb from its own seed, yielding seed after his kind; and the earth to bring forth the tree from its own seed, yielding fruit, whose seed could only bring forth the same in itself, after his kind; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed... (Abr. 4:11-12)
This revelation was given long before the scientific discovery of the complicated atom with its electrons, protons and neutrons. It was far in advance of scientific discovery, yet how true this has proved to be! All of the laws of nature are the laws of God whether they apply to the universe as a whole or in any of its parts. It is true of the electron as well as the atom or the combination of atoms in any of their structures. They are all subject to and controlled by law. These laws are eternal. No man can change a law of nature. If he tries he is not justified. Every plant from the lowly fungus to the mighty sequoia is subject to divine law. The course of animals as well as plants is fixed. Nature bears ample evidence that the law decreed to all living things, that they shall produce after their own kind is a divine law and wherein at any time this law has been violated the violators have not been justified.
Commenting on this eternal law, Byron Nelson, in his excellent work, After Its Kind, has commented as follows after quoting Genesis 1:24-25:
"The Bible is not a textbook of science. In the first chapter of Genesis, however, because it is a matter of the greatest religious importance, the Bible speaks clearly and finally on a matter of biology. After its kind is the statement of a biological principle that no human observation has ever known to fail. The most ancient human records engraved on stone or painted on the walls of caves bear witness to the fact that horses have ever been horses, dogs have ever been dogs, pigeons have ever been pigeons, elephants have ever been elephants. The most desperate and subtle efforts of man in modern times have been unable to alter this divine decree.
"The Bible teaches that from the beginning there have been a number of types of living things, man included, which were so created as to remain true to their peculiar type throughout all generations. These types or kinds may be fittingly described as species. But here a word of caution is necessary. Among biologists there has never been any agreement as to what a species is. It has been generally considered that any particular form of plant or animal that possesses marked characteristics of its own and breeds true to form is a species. For example, the fox-terrier is called a species, because it is able to produce offspring like itself. The dachshund, the collie, the police-dog are called species, because they are able to produce their own particular forms. In this way the human race has been divided into several species according to the shape of the head, the color of the skin, the slant of the eye. But such species are not what the Bible means by the word, "Kind." The Bible does not mean to say that every distinct form of plant or animal men see about them came from the hand of the Creator in just the form in which it is beheld. It is not the several types of dogs; fox-terrier, dachshund, that were created to remain the same forever, but the one natural species, dog. The 'kinds' of Genesis refer not to the 'systematic' species identified by men, but to those natural species of which the world is full, which have power to vary within themselves in such a way that the members of the species are not all exactly alike, but which, nevertheless, cannot go out of the bounds that the Creator set."
Professor William Bateson, president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 1914-1927, has given a definition stating that a species is a group of organisms with marked characteristics in common and freely interbreeding. It is not denied by anti-evolutionists, that within a family, or species of animals or plants according to this definition we will find numerous varieties. For instance there are many varieties of roses which have been cultivated. Some are white, some pink, some yellow and others of varied hues. Some have many petals, some but a few, but the fact remains they are all roses. There is no question that the common cabbage which we obtain in grocery stores, is akin to brussel sprouts and other similar plants, but they are of the same plant family. Field corn, sweet corn, popcorn are varieties that have been cultivated, but nevertheless they are still corn and will "interbreed." Corn and carrots do not mix, neither do squash and turnips. There are various breeds of dogs, but they do not breed with cats. The cat family, composed of the domestic animal and the wild varieties, may mix. The horse and the ass are not of the same family and while man has been able to obtain from them the mule, the mule is rudely and humorously spoken of as being "without pride of ancestry and hope of posterity." The Lord decreed that they should not mix.
This determining factor is a sufficient answer to organic evolution. (Man, His Origin and Destiny [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 168-172)
Moses 2:14 let them be for signs
The night of Christ's birth was heralded in the New World by a day and a night and a day with no darkness (3 Ne. 1:19). On both hemispheres, a new star appeared in the heavens (Matt. 2:2; 3 Ne. 1:21). At his death, there was 3 hours of darkness in the Old World and 3 days of darkness in the New (Lu 23:44; 3 Ne. 8:19-23). At his Second Coming, the sun shall be darkened, the moon turned to blood, and the stars shall fall from the heavens (D&C 29:14). These are some of the signs which the Lord had in mind from the very creation of our solar system.
"In both Christ's first and second comings, celestial objects serve as signs. These signs are universal, and all will behold them regardless of where one is located upon the globe. All of earth's inhabitants will witness the darkening of the sun, all will see the moon turn blood red, and everyone will view the stars as they fall from heaven. These and other grand signs and wonders in the heavens will cause mortals to pause and to consider God's greatness and excellence. For those who are attuned to the Spirit, these signs will be grand revelations and will prepare them for Christ's coming." (Donald W. Parry and Jay A. Parry, Understanding the Signs of the Times [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 366 - 367)
Moses 2:14 let them be... for seasons, and for days, and for years
Why are seasons, days, and years mentioned and not months or weeks? The scripture is describing the way God set the sun and the earth in relation to each other. The seasons are determined by the way the spinning orb rotates on its axis from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer, giving us the four seasons. The days are determined by the rate of the earth's rotation about its axis in 24 hours. The years are determined by the rate at which the earth rotates around the sun.
Months are determine by the lunar cycle and weeks are set by God in similitude of the 7 creative periods.
Moses 2:16 the greater light was the sun
"The sun's enormity and grandeur are of great interest to me--solar research has been the central focus of my career as an astrophysicist... Hardly a day has gone by during these past forty years that I have not puzzled over the unsolved mysteries of the sun. While waiting for the sunrise and reflecting over the past years, I am still filled with awe by the beauty and majesty of this heavenly object. I am awed that this star of dwarfish proportions, compared to other stars, so effectively delivers light and heat to a small planet ninety-three million miles away. I am awed by the complexities associated with that delivery. The energy in the sun's rays that I will soon enjoy started its journey several million years ago from the extremely hot, dense core of the sun. At that time the energy was mainly in the form of x-rays gradually diffusing toward the sun's surface. In their outward diffusion the x-rays gradually softened, and by the time they reached the surface, they had been converted into the warm, gentle rays of light and heat so familiar to us. By current estimates this slow, tortuous journey from the center of the sun took about fifteen million years. Yet scarcely more than eight minutes is required for the journey from the sun's surface to the earth.
"We have learned a great deal about the sun, and we continue to learn at an accelerated pace; several volumes are required to document and explain this knowledge. Yet, much of what we observe about the sun still defies comprehension and gives rise to some sense of defeat. Many of the mysteries have only grown deeper and more baffling as we have learned more about them. In most respects the sun remains our teacher, and we are subdued by the knowledge that none of us fully comprehends the sun's complexity. Nevertheless, in trying to understand the sun we have learned much about the universe in which we live." (R. Grant Athay, "And God Said, Let There Be Lights in the Firmament of the Heaven," BYU Studies, vol. 30 (1990), No. 4-Fall 1990, 39-40)
Vaughn J. Featherstone
"Also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made." (D&C 88:7.) The sun is 93 million miles from the earth. Imagine the energy that the sun perpetually produces. It takes the light from the sun a little less than eight and a half minutes to get to the earth. What power there is in the sun no mortal can possibly comprehend. Christ's power is not only in the light of the sun-it is also the power by which it was made. What knowledge must one have to create a sphere as large as the sun and put power into it, not for an hour or a day or one giant explosion, but for time unknown. What creative abilities did this Jesus have who could control the energy of the sun so it would be consistent from day to day, year to year, even millennium to millennium and beyond. As President Harold B. Lee stated, "The sun ripens the smallest bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else to do." We honor and glorify inventors of laser instruments, spacecrafts, heat-seeking missiles, atomic power facilities, television, and a multitude of other inventions. What are they compared to the sun, the earth, the moon, and the stars? (The Incomparable Christ: Our Master and Model [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 35 - 36)
Sterling W. Sill
This wonderful sunshine that comes from God contains the many mysterious elements necessary for life. In addition to lighting up our lives, this wonder of sunshine is what gets into our watermelons to make them grow and gives them color. It vitalizes our vegetables and makes the fruits so delicious to our taste. It is interesting to remember that we do not live on an independent earth. If this colorful light of the sun's rays were turned off for just a few hours, no life would remain upon our earth.
The sun's rays themselves perform great miracles. They come through the frigid pitch-blackness of outer space without giving off their light or heat or color until they reach our atmosphere. Then the sunshine unloads its warmth and distributes its store of vitamins and health to sustain and energize our lives. (Principles, Promises, and Powers [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], 89)
Moses 2:16 the lesser light was the moon
"The Moon is the second brightest object in Earth's sky, after the Sun, and has accordingly been an object of wonder and speculation for people since earliest times... Telescopes have revealed a wealth of lunar detail since their invention in the 17th century, and spacecraft have contributed further knowledge since the 1950s. Earth's Moon is now known to be a slightly egg-shaped ball composed mostly of rock and metal. It has no liquid water, virtually no atmosphere, and is lifeless. The Moon shines by reflecting the light of the Sun. Although the Moon appears bright to the eye, it reflects on average only 12 percent of the light that falls on it...
"The diameter of the Moon is about 3,480 km (about 2,160 mi), or about one-fourth that of Earth. The Moon's mass is only 1.2 percent of Earth's mass... The Moon rotates once on its axis in the same period of time that it circles Earth, accounting for the fact that virtually the same portion of the Moon (the 'near side') is always turned toward Earth.
"As the Moon orbits Earth in a counterclockwise direction, Earth itself rotates counterclockwise (from west to east) on its axis and revolves around the Sun in a counterclockwise orbit. All of these motions combined determine when and how the Moon appears in the sky to an observer on Earth... By a cosmic coincidence (or rather by Divine design), the apparent sizes of the disk of the Moon and the disk of the Sun are approximately the same (within about 0.5 of a degree) when seen from Earth... The Moon orbits the Earth because of the force of Earth's gravity. However, the Moon also exerts a gravitational force on the Earth. Evidence for the Moon's gravitational influence can be seen in the ocean tides." (http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761573665/Moon.html)
Here we get what is perhaps the most striking instance of "anthrocentric cosmology." An astronomer (I think at Notre Dame) recently calculated the probability of a planet in the solar system having a moon (just one moon, at that) that subtended exactly the same arc in the sky as does the sun from the surface of the same planet. The chances are astronomically remote, so remote, indeed, that there seems to be something deliberate about what is otherwise a stunning coincidence. From no other point of view in all the universe will the sun and the moon have exactly the same size. (Old Testament and Related Studies, edited by John W. Welch, Gary P. Gillum, and Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1986], 75.)
Moses 2:16 the stars also were made
Obviously, at the time God made our earth, the stars had already been created. That is why the temple version states that at this time He caused the stars to appear in the heavens, or as the next verse indicates, God "set them in the firmament."
"A study by Yale astronomer Pieter van Dokkum just took the estimated number of stars in the universe-100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 100 sextillion-and tripled it. And you thought nothing good ever happens on Wednesdays.
Van Dokkum's study in the journal Nature focuses on red dwarfs, a class of small, cool stars. They're so small and cool, in fact, that up to now astronomers haven't been able to spot them in galaxies outside our own. That's a serious holdup when you're trying to account for all the stars there are... And besides tripling the number of stars in the universe (isn't that enough??) and infuriating some astronomers, van Dokkum's find has some serious secondary implications. More stars, of course, means the opportunity for more planets." (posted December 1st, 2010 4:41 PM) (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2010/12/01/the-estimated-number-of-stars-in-the-universe-just-tripled/)
Charles W. Penrose
It is not to be understood that they were for the first time brought into being, but that they were disclosed to this globe, and their influence was brought to bear upon it by the clearing away of the dense mists that had surrounded this planet. ("The Age and Destiny of the Earth." Fn by Charles W. Penrose, Improvement Era, 1909, Vol. Xii. April, 1909. No. 6.)
We can see lots of stars, and we can see out 15, maybe 20 billion light years with new telescopes and all the marvelous things, but they say we see less than one percent of what's really there. (Teachings of the Book of Mormon--Semester 1: Transcripts of Lectures Presented to an Honors Book of Mormon Class at Brigham Young University, 1988--1990 [Provo: FARMS] 87.)
Moses 2:20 Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life
The phrase "moving creature that hath life" is pretty general. But the word fish would be inaccurate because it would exclude so many oceanic creatures. The variety of sea life in the worlds' oceans is truly astounding.
"Marine scientists reported Tuesday that they have discovered 106 new species of fish and hundreds more new species of plants and other animals in the past year, raising the number of life forms found in the world's oceans to about 230,000...
"Those in charge of the Census of Marine Life, now four years into a planned 10-year count, say the rate of discovery shows no sign of slowing, even in European and other waters heavily studied in the past...
"This is the second consecutive year in which scientists have reported findings since the project began in May 2000. The part of the census dealing with microbes, the smallest organisms is just starting.
"Once that part is done scientists believe they will find that the oceans extending across 70 percent of the earth's surface hold 20,000 species of fish and up to 1.98 million species of animals and plants, many of them small basic life-forms like worms and jellyfish...
"So far, scientist have described 15,182 marine fish species. The number of animals and plants is up to about 214,500, several hundred more than last year, but scientists say they do not have an exact number for that." (Scientist finding two new fish species a week: Census of Marine Life project issues 2004 report," posted 6:53 p.m. MT, Tues., Nov. 23, 20004, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6565772/5Benter%20URL%5D)
Moses 2:24 Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind
We are told that God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the fishes of the sea after their kind and the winged fowl of the air after its kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, after its kind...
Now, it seems to me that there is to be a very great lesson learned from this important chapter in the Bible. In the first place, I think that it answers perfectly the false doctrine of evolution. We are distinctly given to understand that every living creature was made after its kind. We are not to expect that a lion will grow into a horse, or that a cow will grow into an elephant, but we have reason to believe that a horse will always be a horse. You may be able to improve the horse, but it will still be a horse, and so with the other animals of God's creation.
And since man in the beginning was made in the image of God and after his likeness, and since he is still in the image of God and will so continue, we have no reason to conclude that there has ever been any change at all in the order of things as first instituted. (Conference Report, April 1918, Afternoon Session. 32 - 33)
Joseph Fielding Smith
The experiences on the part of man who has violated this commandment and crossbred animals of different families, has met with universal failure. Whenever animals have brought forth their offspring and these offspring have mated successfully with other animals, it has been invariably with those from the same family tree. The decree of the Lord has been violated by man, as in the case of the ass and the horse, but the result in such cases is for the posterity to come to an end. A divine law has been violated. This is one of the stumbling blocks that stands like a mountain that cannot be crossed in the way of the progress of the Darwinian theory. (Man, His Origin and Destiny [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 168)
Moses 2:25 I, God, saw that all these things were good
George Q. Cannon
Even the animals obey the laws of their creation, and there is no plant or creature, no element with which we are acquainted which disobeys or breaks the laws of its creation, which God has given for its government. Man alone of all the creations of our Father exhibits disobedience and fails to observe the laws which his Creator has given unto him. By obedience he can ascend from this condition of existence to dwell with his Father eternally in the heavens to become, in fact, a god; but he can by disobedience sink far below all created things. The earth is cursed because of man's disobedience. Even the animal creation suffers from it. But the day is coming when man's obedience will be the means of blessing the earth and all the animal and vegetable creations. (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 122)
Bruce R. McConkie
Animals, birds, fowls, fishes, plants, and all forms of life occupy an assigned sphere and play an eternal role in the great plan of creation, redemption, and salvation. They were all created as spirit entities in pre-existence. (Moses 3:1-9.) When first placed on earth in the Garden of Eden, they were immortal. The revealed record, speaking of the edenic day, specifies: "All things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end." (2 Ne. 2:22.) Such would have been the continuing condition had there been no fall of Adam, but Adam and all forms of life were subject to the fall and have been living on earth in their mortal states ever since. (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 38.)
Moses 2:26 I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten... Let us make man in our image
Notice how the Moses version clarifies to whom God is speaking. One might wonder, if there is a three-in-one God in the heavens, then who is he talking to when he says, "Let us make man in our image"? The Moses answers that question underscoring several important points: that the Only Begotten was present with the Father from the beginning, that the Only Begotten created the earth with the Father, that the Only Begotten's spirit form must have been in the same image as the Father's glorified body which must be in the same image as the man Adam.
Bruce R. McConkie
God did all these things by and through his Son. Then of the planned and proposed creation of mortal man, the inspired record says: "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." (Moses 2:26.) But when the plan becomes a reality and the proposal an accomplished fact, then the record personalizes the occurrence and centers it in the Supreme Head. "And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them." (Moses 2:27.) That is, God himself, personally, created man, although he continued to honor the Son in that the creature of his creating came forth in the image of both the Father and the Son, as necessarily must have been the case because they were in the image of each other.
In this connection, we find it worthy of note that Joseph Smith said: "Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham's record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the witness or Testator." (Teachings, p. 190) From this we learn that the work of the Father is creation (though he uses the Son and others in the creation of all things except man); the work of the Son is redemption (though he performs this infinite work by the power of the Father); and the work of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness of the Father and the Son, whose minister he is. (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 63)
Moses 2:26 Let us make man in our image, after our likeness
God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves. [He] who holds this world in its orbit and upholds all things by his power-if you were to see him today you would see him a man. For Adam was a man in fashion and image like unto him. Adam walked, talked, and communed with him as one man talks and communes with another. (Kent P. Jackson, Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 7)
Thomas S. Monson
This is a fundamental doctrine, a foundation scripture, an eternal truth. To have been created in the image of God brings to each of us a sense of profound humility, and a very real responsibility toward our birthright. (Be Your Best Self [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 89.)
Bruce R. McConkie
Thus Adam was created in the image and likeness of God in the same way that Seth was created in the image and likeness of Adam. Paul gave the same literal meaning to these words by explaining that as man "is the image and glory of God," so "the woman is the glory of the man" (1 Cor. 11:7).
So man is in form like God, and God is in form like man. Both have size and dimensions. Both have a body. God is not an ethereal nothingness that is in all things, nor is he merely the powers and laws by which all things are governed. (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 8)
Joseph F. Smith
God Himself is an exalted man, perfected, enthroned, and supreme. By His almighty power He organized the earth, and all that it contains, from spirit and element, which exist co-eternally with Himself... He made the tadpole and the ape, the lion and the elephant but He did not make them in His own image, nor endow them with Godlike reason and intelligence...
Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God. (Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75), 4: 206)
Moses 2:27 God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him
The idea of man being in the likeness of God is such an important concept, that it is repeated again in language that should be irrefutable. How could the meaning be construed to mean anything but what the scripture says? Yet, the unbelievers don't want to know God. One of their first steps is to mystify Him-make him unreal, unbelievable, unknowable. So the language of the scripture is taken figuratively instead of literally. What does this do? It undermines the true nature of God by saying, "you don't really have to believe this if you don't want to. We don't really believe it so why should you?"
Joseph Fielding Smith
The statement being so plainly declared, and frequently repeated so that we might be impressed with its importance, it seems very strange that the world insists that this scripture does not mean what it says, but rather that man is created in some other image. In other words, they would have us believe the image of God after which man was created is not in form of body and feature, but rather "to a similarity of congruence in mental and spiritual nature." (Sir Ambrose Fleming.) Or, as expressed by another learned man: "If we are made in the image of God, that image is in reason, not in body." (William Hays Ward.)
It is certainly a very grave twisting of a simple, plainly stated meaning, to interpret the word of the Lord in such a fantastic way. (The Progress of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 14)
Gordon B. Hinckley
Could any language be more explicit? Does it demean God, as some would have us believe, that man was created in his express image? Rather, it should stir within the heart of every man and woman a greater appreciation for himself or herself as a son or daughter of God. (Faith: The Essence of True Religion [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 21)
Moses 2:27 male and female created I them
Gordon B. Hinckley
You ask whether men are more important than women. I am going to turn that question back to you. Would any of us be here, either men or women, without the other? The scripture states that God created man in His own image, male and female created He them. He commanded them together to multiply and replenish the earth. Each is a creation of the Almighty, mutually dependent and equally necessary for the continuation of the race. Every new generation in the history of mankind is a testimony of the necessity for both man and woman. ("Daughters of God," Ensign, Nov. 1991, 99)
Now, it is not said in so many words in the Scriptures, that we have a Mother in heaven as well as a Father. It is left for us to infer this from what we see and know of all living things in the earth including man. The male and female principle is united and both necessary to the accomplishment of the object of their being, and if this be not the case with our Father in heaven after whose image we are created, then it is an anomaly in nature. But to our minds the idea of a Father suggests that of a Mother: As one of our poets says:
"In the heavens are parents single?
No; the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me, I've a Mother there."
Hence when it is said that God created our first parents in His likeness-"in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them"-it is intimated in language sufficiently plain to my understanding that the male and female principle was present with the Gods as it is with man. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 26: 216 - 217)
Moses 2:28 Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth
The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102)
Boyd K. Packer
The commandment to multiply and replenish the earth has never been rescinded. It is essential to the plan of redemption and is the source of human happiness. Through the righteous exercise of this power, as through nothing else, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy, even godhood! The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness; it is the key-the very key. (Things of the Soul [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 106)
James E. Faust
All my life I have heard the argument that the earth is overpopulated. Much controversy surrounded a 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo, Egypt. No doubt the conference accomplished much that was worthwhile. But at the very center of the debate was the socially acceptable phrase "sustainable growth." This concept is becoming increasingly popular. How cleverly Satan masked his evil designs with that phrase.
Few voices in the developed nations cry out in the wilderness against this coined phrase, "sustainable growth." In Forbes magazine a thoughtful editorial asserts that people are an asset, not a liability. It forthrightly declares as preposterous the broadly accepted premise that curbing population growth is essential for economic development. This editorial then states convincingly, "Free people don't 'exhaust' resources. They create them."
An article in U.S. News & World Report entitled "10 Billion for Dinner, Please" states that the earth is capable of producing food for a population of at least eighty billion, eight times the ten billion expected to inhabit the earth by the year 2050. One study estimates that with improved scientific methods the earth could feed as many as one thousand billion people. Those who argue for sustainable growth lack vision and faith. The Lord said, "For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare." 17 That settles the issue for me. It should settle the issue for all of us. The Lord has spoken. ("Serving the Lord and Resisting the Devil," Ensign, Sept. 1995, 4-5)
N. Eldon Tanner
When parents understand the purpose of their existence, that they are literally the spiritual offspring of their Father in Heaven and that they have a responsibility to provide mortal bodies for others, then they rejoice in the miracle of birth as they realize they are copartners with God in the creation of each child who comes into that home. ("Celestial Marriages and Eternal Families," Ensign, May 1980, 17)
Gordon B. Hinckley
Of course we believe in children. The Lord has told us to multiply and replenish the earth that we might have joy in our posterity, and there is no greater joy than the joy that comes of happy children in good families. But he did not designate the number, nor has the Church. That is a sacred matter left to the couple and the Lord. ("News of the Church," Ensign, Apr. 1984, 75-76)
Moses 2:28 have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing
N. Eldon Tanner
This means that man-YOU-is the greatest of all God's creations, and everything was created for him, over which he will have full dominion. He is blessed with the ability to think, to know good from evil; and a spirit by which he can communicate with God, and a physical body with which he is able to do the daily things he wants to do. ("First Presidency Message YOU-The Greatest Miracle ," Ensign, February 1976)
John H. Vandenberg
God has given us powers to create, to have dominion, and to subdue all things. Because of these gifts, we need never fade, or dwindle, or diminish-but grow, and advance, and achieve forever. (Bishop John H. Vandenberg, January 7, 1964, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964, 2)
John H. Vandenberg
God directed man to subdue the earth, which means for him to understand it, to use it, to beautify it, to enjoy it, and to have dominion over every living thing thereon. The foremost act, then, should be an appreciation of life.
The earth holds millions of secrets in air, water, and earth. The Lord invites us to search and discover these precious truths. (Presiding Bishop John H. Vandenberg, December 8, 1964, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964, 3)
There is a forgotten teaching of the early Jews and Christians that the dominion that God gave to Adam in Eden over his other creatures was nothing less than the holy priesthood, the power to act in God's stead... Accordingly, Adam enjoys God's authority only insofar as he exercises it as God himself would, with perfect love and understanding. (Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints, edited by Don E. Norton and Shirley S. Ricks [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., FARMS, 1994], 43 - 44)
The dominion over the earth that God gave to humanity is part of the testing program that is a major purpose of our earthly existence. Our Father wishes to determine if we are able to use God-like powers righteously. It is a necessary test, given our divine potential. If we fail it, how can the Father trust us with creations of our own?
In a word, then, humanity's dominion is a call to stewardship, not a license to pillage.
A variation of the "I-can-do-as-I-please" school of thought is the notion that it doesn't matter how badly we treat the earth because Jesus will return soon anyway and make everything right. That, too, is a spurious and specious argument. (Visions of Zion [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 88)
Moses 2:31 all things which I had made were very good
Gordon B. Hinckley
I believe in beauty. The earth in its pristine beauty is an expression of the nature of its Creator. The language of the opening chapter of Genesis intrigues me. It states that "the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep" (Genesis 1:2). I suppose it presented anything but a picture of beauty.
"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). And so the Creation continued until "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). I interpret that to mean that it was beautiful, for "out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight" (Genesis 2:9).
I believe in the beauty of nature-the flowers, the fruit, the sky, the peaks and the plains from which they rise. I see and believe in the beauty of animals. Is there anything more regal than a magnificent horse-its coat brushed and clean, its head held high, its gait a symphony of motion?
I see and admire beauty in people. I am not so concerned with the look that comes of lotions and creams, of pastes and packs as seen in slick-paper magazines and on television. I am not concerned whether the skin be fair or dark. I have seen beautiful people in a hundred nations through which I have walked. Little children are beautiful everywhere. And so are the aged, whose wrinkled hands and faces speak of struggle and survival. . . .
I believe in beauty-the beauty of God's unspoiled creations, the beauty of his sons and daughters... (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 248-249)