This is the third scriptural rendition of the creation. Genesis is the first. The second, Moses 2-4, was written in the summer of 1830 when Joseph Smith started “retranslating” the Bible. The third version comes from Abraham 4-5.
Why do we need three versions? What do we get from the Abraham version that is unique? Why would Abraham have included it in his writings?
First, we need three versions by the law of witnesses. Most crucial doctrines are repeated at least three times in the scriptures. When the Lord says every word must be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses, He includes his own. In our day, no other doctrine takes precedence over the creation. Without it, we are left with the Big Bang Theory and Evolution. Without it, we lose where we came from and why we’re here. Without it, we begin to believe in a godless world.
“I am glad… that we have several accounts of the First Vision, the ministry of Christ, the Atonement, the plan of salvation, the signs of the last days, and the conditions during the millennium. None of the various accounts exhaust the subject; each contributes to its advancement line upon line, even though important elements may be repeated. We need not regard them as competing or as being at odds with each other, but rather, as enhancing our understanding of the whole.
“Thus, accounts of the Creation could be infinite in their variety because the subject is complex and because individual needs and specific emphases are different. An elaboration of some of the contributions of each of the four accounts (Temple version is the fourth) enables us to better appreciate each.” (Keith Meservy, “Four Accounts of the Creation,” Ensign, Jan. 1986, 51-52)
What do we get from Abraham’s version that is unique? Several things. First, the record is bold enough to declare that “the Gods” created the heavens and the earth. This would have been blasphemy for Christianity of 1835, to allow for more than one God. Second, the Gods “organized and formed” the earth rather than created it ex nihilo, out of nothing. Third, the Gods “watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed” and “the Gods said: We will do everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they shall be very obedient” (Abr. 4:18, 31). This demonstrates how God controls the elements. He commands, and they obey (Hel. 12:7-8). From chapter 5 we learn that the Gods counseled in the beginning, that the spirit of man is placed into the physical body, and that the creation took place according to the time of Kolob; “for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning” (Abr. 5:13).
Why would Abraham have included the creation in his writings? Through the Urim and Thummim, Abraham was given a vision of the pre-earth life and the council in heaven. Nowhere in scripture are these concepts more clearly taught. This doctrine frames the entire creation story. Finally, we know the greatest of all questions, “Why did God make the earth?” “What’s it all for?” It gives us a reason for the creation—that we may “prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” (Abr. 3:25).
“The fourth and fifth chapters of the book of Abraham record a vision of the Creation that parallels the account given in Genesis yet differs from it in certain important ways. Here, too, the account of Abraham preserved in the Pearl of Great Price goes beyond the Bible but receives support from sources that Joseph Smith could not possibly have known. Again, for example, the Arab Muslim antiquarian al-Tabari preserves reports that Abraham was granted a vision of the Creation. And while it seems quite natural to us—thanks to the book of Abraham—to know of the council in heaven at which the creation of man was planned, that knowledge is not found in the Bible. It is found, though, in several ancient documents, all of which were first published in this century.” (Daniel C. Peterson, “News from Antiquity,” Ensign, Jan. 1994, 20)
Abraham 4:1 Let us go down
In Genesis, the Creation is represented as the work of one Personage—God. In Abraham, the “Gods” do all the work. The plural form, “Let us go down” begs the question, who was involved in the Creation? In the temple, we learn that Elohim directed the creation of all things, first the spiritual, second the physical. Under his direction, Jehovah and Michael were sent down to oversee the physical creation.
While some might argue that Michael (Adam) could not be a god before he came to earth as a mortal, we would remind the reader that Jehovah did the same thing. He was the God of the Old Testament and the babe in Bethlehem. So the Gods involved in the Abraham rendition of the Creation are Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael.
“Michael was directly involved in the preparation of the physical world in which he and his posterity would undergo a mortal probation. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve wrote: ‘Christ and Mary, Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, and a host of mighty men and equally glorious women comprised that group of ‘the noble and great ones,’ to whom the Lord Jesus said: ‘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.’ (Abr. 3:22–24; emphasis added.) This we know: Christ, under the Father, is the Creator; Michael, his companion and associate, presided over much of the creative work; and with them, as Abraham saw, were many of the noble and great ones.’ The Prophet Joseph Smith thus taught that ‘the Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the Creation, before the world was formed, as in Gen. 1:26, 27, 28.’” (Robert L. Millet, “The Man Adam,” Ensign, Jan. 1994, 10)
Abraham 4:1 the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth
“One of the interesting elements of the account of the Creation as it is given in chapters 4 and 5 of Abraham is the use in chapter 4 of the verb to organize, by which we are given to understand that the Gods formed the heavens and the earth out of preexisting materials. (See Abr. 4:1, 12, 14–16, 25, 27.) This flies in the face of centuries of Christian tradition, which insists that God created the universe ex nihilo (i.e., “from nothing”). Once again, however, the book of Abraham finds support in current scholarship. The doctrine of ex nihilo creation simply cannot be found in Genesis or anywhere else in the Bible. Ancient Jewish writings teach that God created the universe by giving form to formless matter. It was not until the second century after Christ that Christian thinkers began, under the influence of Greek philosophy, to teach creation ex nihilo, and the doctrine only gradually gained wide acceptance.” (Daniel C. Peterson, “News from Antiquity,” Ensign, Jan. 1994, 20)
“During the Nauvoo period, [Joseph Smith] continued to speak about the Creation in terms of organization. William Clayton, the Prophet’s private secretary, reported Joseph Smith as saying in 1841, ‘This earth was organized or formed out of other planets which were broke up and remodeled and made into the one on which we live.” In the famed King Follett discourse, delivered at general conference in April 1844, Joseph Smith presented an extensive treatise on creation as organization. He told the Saints that the word create comes from the Hebrew word baurau [bara], which means to organize, and that ‘God had materials to organize the world out of chaos … [which] may be organized and reorganized but not destroyed.’
“Although these teachings were new for his time, Joseph Smith’s ideas received little attention from his non-LDS contemporaries. Members of other sects in the nineteenth century accepted the idea of ex nihilo creation without reservation. Consequently, Christians dismissed any alternative as irrelevant. Most accepted the Westminster Confession of Faith, which stated that God made the world ‘of nothing.’ To the people of his day, steeped in such traditions, Joseph Smith’s ideas on creation must have seemed implausible.” (Donald Q. Cannon, Larry E. Dahl, and John W. Welch, “The Restoration of Major Doctrines through Joseph Smith: The Godhead, Mankind, and the Creation,” Ensign, Jan. 1989, 32–33)
George Q. Cannon
Another step has been made in advance… which is astonishing; I refer to the doctrine of the eternal duration of matter. When first this was made known it was ridiculed everywhere by religious people, who viewed it as a principle, the teachings of which detracted from the dignity and glory of God. The popular idea was that this earth was created out of nothing. This was the almost universal belief among Christians. Joseph Smith said it was not true. He advocated the doctrine that matter always had an existence, that it was eternal as God Himself was eternal; that it was indestructible; that it never had a beginning, and therefore could have no end. God revealed this truth to him. (Journal of Discourses, 24:61)
Abraham 4:2 darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters
The darkness of the deep is contrasted to the Spirit upon the waters. We imagine the massive sphere of earth just organized, but how organized was it? Many planets exist as spheres of gas or ice. The “gas giants” may be a fair representation of “darkness reigning upon the face of the deep.” Perhaps the deep refers to the sea of gases surrounding the core. “A gas giant (sometimes also known as a jovian planet after the planet Jupiter, or giant planet) is a large planet that is not primarily composed of rock or other solid matter. There are four gas giants in the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_giant)
The chaos at the surface of a gas planet is likened to the darkness and chaos of hell. “Matter unorganized” is what we would expect if there was no God in the universe to improve upon it. Without the power of the Spirit of the Gods to counteract it, the earth would remain an uninhabitable, poisonous planet. What would the Gods need to make the planet habitable? Water is the great key to survival. Perhaps the Spirit is brooding upon the waters because the simple water molecule must be put to work. Organizing it into great bodies of waters, separating it from the other gases in the atmosphere, and organizing the water cycle of the earth is something that only God could do. To imagine that it all happened by accident is to ascribe way too much power to the Big Bang. The hydrological cycle of our earth is so well tuned and refined as to be one of the many evidences of a divine force in the Universe.
“The Earth, a "water planet", contains some 0.07% water by mass or 0.4% by volume. Left to itself in space, this water would create a sphere 2400 km in diameter, big, but smaller than numerous icy bodies in the Solar System… It is interesting to note that the first scientific reasoning on water balance of our globe came from the realms of celestial orbits: it can be traced to Copernicus (1543), who as well as being a keen astronomer, had also a good grasp of hydrology, contemplating in the opening chapters of his revolutionary book, how the Earth forms a single sphere with water and concluding that there is little water in comparison with land, even though more water perhaps appears on the surface.” (http://www.u24u.com/What_s_New/Solar_System/Planets/EARTH/water_on_earth.html)
Abraham 4:3 (the Gods) said: Let there be light
We should follow the example of the Gods. We should say the same thing. We should say, “Let there be light.” “Let there be light in the world; Let there be light in our nation; Let there be light in our community; Let there be light in our families; Let there be light in our countenances.”
N. Eldon Tanner
In modern revelation, the Lord has declared: “And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel.” (D&C 45:28.)
We are encouraged to remain faithful through a promise of increased light and knowledge, for He said:
“That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” (D&C 50:24.)
“And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.” (D&C 88:67.)
…How glorious and how desirable! Who would not want to strive for such a blessing? Every individual has the right to and can have the Light of Christ in his life as an abiding influence. But he must earn that privilege and blessing. Each of us must so live as to be worthy for the blessings of the Lord to attend us. This means we must know and understand and keep his commandments. Through the saving principles of the gospel, we can use the light in our lives to dispel the darkness in the world and to thwart the plans of that Prince of Darkness, even Satan, who has vowed to destroy mankind and the glorious plan of life and salvation authored by God and his Son Jesus Christ. (“The Light of the Gospel,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, 49–51)
Abraham 4:4 (the Gods) comprehended the light
No other account of the creation includes this phrase, “the Gods comprehended the light.” To comprehend light is a divine characteristic. We need to learn how to do the same thing. We must learn how to comprehend the light, to fully appreciate the truth, to understand God. In the days of the Master, the people couldn’t comprehend it, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isa. 9:2). Unfortunately the people couldn’t comprehend the light, “the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:5)
…he who came unto his own was not comprehended.
The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not; nevertheless, the day shall come when you shall comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him (DC 88:48-50)
“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend” (Mosiah 4:9).
“If our eyes are single to God’s glory, our ‘whole bodies shall be filled with light, and … that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things’ (D&C 88:67).
“By hearkening to the voice of the Spirit, which ‘giveth light to every man that cometh into the world’ (D&C 84:46), we receive more light (see D&C 50:24) until we come ‘unto God, even the Father’ (D&C 84:47).
“Thus, the glory of God is his intelligence, meaning, in other words, his truth and light, which are his knowledge and comprehension, his power and divinity. These are elements of God’s very being that his children are to seek if they are to be like him.” (Richard D. Draper, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Apr. 1995, 61)
Neal A. Maxwell
Jesus plumbed the depths and scaled the heights in order to comprehend all things. (See D&C 88:6.) Jesus, therefore, is not only a fully atoning but He is also a fully comprehending Savior! (Ensign, May 1990, 35)
Abraham 4:5 this was the first, or the beginning, of that which they called day and night
This was the first creative period, not necessarily a “day” according to our time. This was phase 1 or step 1. There is no reason to assume that this first period consisted of only 24 hours. The sun and moon weren’t organized with respect to the earth until the 4th creative period (v. 14-19). The sun and the moon were created to give order to the seasons, days, and years. Prior to that, the scripture says that the Gods were operating on Kolob’s time, “for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning” (Abr. 5:13). We know that a day in Kolob’s time is 1000 of our years (Abr. 3:3-4). That’s plenty of time to gather the materials.
How long did it take the Gods to create the earth? We don’t know and it doesn’t matter. It could have been 6000 years. It could have been less. What if the Gods created ten other planets in that first creative period and let them sit there for 10 million years before they proceeded to the next phase of creation? Would that destroy your testimony?
Atheists and scientists love to mock the idea of a 6-day creation. Well, let them have their fun. “Fools mock but they shall mourn” (Ether 12:26). At least we know who created the earth. We don’t have to make up elaborate theories that mock the intelligence by claiming that a cosmic explosion produced a universe as marvelous and orderly as ours—that somehow amidst the expanding chaos, a planet formed with all the particular characteristics needed to sustain life. Really? If we went out into space and blew up large pieces of matter, what are the chances that they would be spherically shaped and start orbiting around each other in an orderly manner? It takes more faith to believe such a story than it does to believe in an all-powerful Being that designed this earth for his children!
Abraham 4:6-8 the Gods called the expanse, Heaven
The term heaven can have several meanings. First, it is the place where God dwells. Second, it is the space above the earth, in this case, the expanse between the earth and the clouds. The phrase “fowls of the heaven” is repeated in scripture rather frequently. It is the space between earth and the clouds where the birds fly, “By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation” (Psalm 104:12; Jer. 7:33; 15:3; 16:4; Rev. 19:17). Third, the term heaven can be applied to spirit paradise. Mormons know this is not the final habitation of man, and as such, usually don’t use the term heaven to describe it. For the rest of Christianity, however, heaven or hell is the place you go after you die. In this context, it means spirit paradise or spirit prison. The distinction is important because if a Christian asks you if you believe a Baptist can go to heaven without being baptized as a Mormon, it depends on whether you are talking about spirit paradise or the celestial kingdom of God.
Abraham 4:10 the gathering together of the waters, pronounced they, Great Waters
The waters were indeed Great Waters before the continents were divided. This super ocean would have covered well over half of the planet’s surface.
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.)
Abraham 4:11 Let us prepare the earth to bring forth grass
The earth was not prepared to bring forth weeds, noxious briars, and sticker bushes. That all came after the Fall. The idea was to have grass, herbs, and fruit trees.
Interestingly, the Gods prepared the earth to bring forth grass. Well, that should make sense to anyone who has planted anything. You don’t just stick a seed in the earth and hope something pops up.
“Topsoil is the upper surface of the Earth's crust, and usually is no deeper than approximately 8 inches (20 centimeters). The Earth's topsoil mixes rich humus with minerals and composted material, resulting in a nutritious substrate for plants and trees. It may one of the Earth's most vital resources, because it represents a delicate nutritional balance that provides food for many of the animals on Earth, either directly in the form of plant material or indirectly in the form of products from animals that eat plants.” (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-topsoil.htm)
Of course, part of the Big Bang Theory includes a massive explosion that covers planets in 8 inches of topsoil for the grass and trees. It is kind of like dipping strawberries in chocolate only it happens by accident when the universe explodes into existence.
Abraham 4:12 whose seed could only bring forth the same in itself, after his kind
Who talks about the evolution of plants? With all the variety of plants in this beautiful world, it would take a lot of creative evolution to come up with everything we enjoy. Actually, the DNA of plants has limits placed upon it by God so that their seeds reproduce the same kind of plant. Grass DNA and Maple tree DNA don’t mix to form giant stalks of grass or tree trunks covered in grass. If there was no restriction placed on the reproductive possibilities, the entire plant kingdom would be chaos.
Different kinds of plants weren’t invented for this earth. They already existed. The Gods didn’t need evolution to make all the different kinds of plantlife, they just needed the seeds.
Though we have it in history that our father Adam was made of the dust of this earth, and that he knew nothing about his God previous to being made here, yet it is not so; and when we learn the truth we shall see and understand that he helped to make this world, and was the chief manager in that operation.
He was the person who brought the animals and the seeds from other planets to this world. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 3: 319)
Abraham 4:14-16 the Gods organized the lights in the expanse of the heaven
If our solar system is the product of a Big Bang, what are the chances that the sun and the moon would appear about the same size in the sky? Hugh Nibley wrote:
“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)
What is it that keeps all the planets in our solar system orbiting the sun without careening out into space? Why are all the planets nearly on the same plane in the solar system instead of random axes? Shouldn’t their orbits be more random like electrons around a nucleus?
What about the galaxies in the universe? Why do they have a more or less flat plane around which all things orbit?
It would appear that some force is organizing those celestial orbs? Is there any other explanation? Can the chaos of a Big Bang produce such order?
“According to a recent study from the Harvard Observatory, the whole life of the universe has been one continual evocation of ‘Order from Chaos,’ in which the less organized matter takes the form of ever more organized particles and forces: from chaos, to hadrons, to photons, to leptons, to atoms and on to galaxies, stars, and, finally, to living organisms and intelligent life; how it all happened is a complete and total mystery.” (Donald W. Parry, ed., Temples of the Ancient World: Ritual and Symbolism [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1994], 545 - 546)
The Apocalypse of Abraham, a very early Jewish work and one that has most interesting stories of Abraham, matches remarkably our book of Abraham in many points. God is hailed as the one who brings order out of confusion whenever worlds are demolished, ever preparing and renewing worlds for the righteous. Codex Brucianus says, "Creation is organization." But God is, by definition, the one who brings order into the confusion of the universe, ever preparing and renewing worlds for the righteous… The matter is here, and when you create, you organize it. (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], 128 - 129)
Abraham 4:18 the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed
The scriptures not only tell us who created the universe, they tell us how it was done. Matter from decaying planets and random orbs are not brought to this solar system by a huge spaceship freighter. There are no cranes or heavy equipment. God has a much more impressive method of controlling the universe. He commands the elements to do something and they do it. The power of the priesthood controls the very elements. Somehow the spoken word of God requires the matter to move, to reshape, to organize, but it is the actual power of his voice which is the active force.
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;
And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun.
And behold, also, if he say unto the waters of the great deep—Be thou dried up—it is done.
Behold, if he say unto this mountain—Be thou raised up, and come over and fall upon that city, that it be buried up—behold it is done. (Hel. 12:8-17)
The Abraham version of creation reminds us of this important principle. How fast does this take place? The waters divided “even as they ordered” it (v. 7). The elements of the earth organized in preparation for the planting of seeds “even as they ordered” (v. 11). In this one verse only, we find the Gods waiting for their commands to be carried out, they “watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.” Most of the time, it was done “as they spake,” but when reorganizing the lights in the heavens, ordering the solar system, and placing the sun and moon in their perfect positions, apparently it takes a bit more time.
It must be terribly frustrating for God to see that although his commands are obeyed instantly everywhere in the universe, man continues to defy his commands. In heaven, his commands are obeyed; in creation, his commands are obeyed; on earth, the pride of man disobeys the God of the universe. Such a sobering thought reminds us how very merciful God is with us. He has the power to destroy anything that doesn’t obey his commands, and yet his arm is stretched out to his rebellious children, inviting them to be obedient as the dust of the earth! (Hel. 12:7)
Abraham 4:20 Let us prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly
Now how hard could it be to make ocean water? Just toss some salt into the deep and your done, right? We could try an experiment in preparing saltwater—take the saltwater aquarium. If you plan on growing corals in your reef aquarium, you find that the system you need is quite involved. For the beginner, the chemistry involved is a nightmare. Here are a few things you will need to worry about:
- Seawater is a more alkaline and needs to be kept above a pH of 8, preferably between 8.25 and 8.5.
- The salt content must be controlled at between 30 and 35 ppt (parts per thousand) of salt
- The salt composition must be tightly controlled with the correct amounts of the following: sodium, chloride, magnesium, sulfates, borates, bromide, fluoride, etc.
- Traces of heavy metals are normal for sea water and include zinc, iron, chromium, copper, aluminum, cobalt, etc.
- You will need nutrients of phosphates, nitrates, silicates, and bicarbonate
- You will need to supplement your aquarium with calcium, magnesium, iron, silicates, amino acids, and fatty acids
- You will need to remove toxins that accumulate: ammonia, nitrates, phosphates, hydrogen sulfide, and heavy metals. (http://reefkeeping.com)
Seawater analysis has been performed by marine biologists and chemists.
“The salinity of near-surface seawater in the tropics is approximately 35 parts per thousand (ppt), so 35 gram samples were dissolved in highly purified water, brought to one liter and analyzed. The elements sodium (Na), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), strontium (Sr) and boron (B) were determined with a Perkin Elmer Atomic Absorption Spectrometer. The anions chloride (Cl-) and sulfate (SO42-) were determined by ion chromatography, which would also detect Br- and F- if present. The concentrations of lithium (Li), silicon (Si), molybdenum (Mo), barium (Ba), vanadium (V), nickel (Ni), chromium (Cr), aluminum (Al), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), cobalt (Co), silver (Ag) and titanium (Ti) were measured by Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) spectroscopy.” (http://web.archive.org/web/20001215070800/http:/www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1999/mar/features/1/default.asp)
Owners of reef aquaria have to keep tight controls on their tanks to keep the salt composition correct and remove toxins. It requires regular attention to maintain homeostasis for the delicate reef animals. Now if the hobbyist can succeed and grow beautiful corals and fish in his tank, he has become the god of his little ocean. He has prepared the waters, he has maintained them, he has placed the fish in the tank, and he has fed them.
Believers in the Big Bang have failed to explain how such a chaotic start could produce such a perfect chemical environment. The likelihood of a coral reef developing by chance in the oceans of the earth is about the same as a saltwater fish tank miraculously appearing in your living room. The successful tank is proof positive of a higher power controlling all the elements and making life possible. That anyone could believe differently is astounding.
Abraham 4:24-25 the Gods prepared the earth… and the Gods organized the earth to bring forth the beasts
Any big project requires preparation and organization. The creation process is the quintessential project of preparation and organization. While a bird may prepare a nest and a squirrel might organize his collection of acorns, these activities are more often associated with highly intelligent forms of life, with God as the most intelligent (Abr. 3:19).
Since all things were created spiritually before they were created physically (Moses 3:5), we see that creation is a two step process. In a way, the preparation and organization phases reflect the same idea, the spiritual preparation precedes the literal organization. If we are asked to teach a lesson, we must prepare spiritually and then organize our thoughts and write them down. If we expect to have a rewarding temple experience, we better prepare spiritually before planning the trip. If we hope to have useful Family Home Evenings, we must both prepare and organize them. In the church, the success of every organization depends upon the spiritual preparation of its leadership. If the Presidency doesn’t prepare to receive spiritual guidance, they will not be able to organize their quorum or group according to the Lord’s will. Likewise, as parents, if we wish to create a Garden of Eden-like paradise in our homes, we must apply regular spiritual preparation and organization.
Thomas S. Monson
In a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Ohio, December 27, 1832, the Master counseled, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” (D&C 88:119)
Where could any of us locate a more suitable blueprint whereby we could wisely and properly build a house to personally occupy throughout eternity? Such a house would meet the building code outlined in Matthew—even a house built “upon a rock,” (Matt. 7:24) a house capable of withstanding the rains of adversity, the floods of opposition, and the winds of doubt everywhere present in our challenging world. (“Building Your Eternal Home,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 2)
Abraham 4:26 the Gods took counsel among themselves
Harold B. Lee
Understanding this principle in the plan of the government of God, we are given a glimpse of the council meeting of Gods, as briefly recorded in revelations to ancient prophets.
Under the Father's instruction and by Jehovah's direction, the earth and all pertaining thereto was organized and formed. They "ordered," they "watched over" and "prepared" the earth. They took "counsel among themselves" as to the bringing of all manner of life to the earth and all things, including man, and prepared it for the carrying out of the plan, which we could well liken to a blueprint, by which the children of God could be tutored and trained in all that was necessary for the divine purpose of bringing to pass, "to the glory of God," the opportunity of every soul to gain "immortality and eternal life." (Conference Report, October 1970, 115)
Spencer W. Kimball
Before this earth was created the Lord made a blueprint, as any great contractor will do before constructing. He drew up the plans, wrote the specifications, and presented them. He outlined it and we were associated with him. This was probably when, according to the scientist, this earth was just a nebulous mass in space. Our Father called us all together as explained in the scripture, and plans were perfected now for forming an earth. In his own words: "And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: 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.) That assemblage included us all. The gods would make land, water, and atmosphere and then the animal kingdom, and give dominion over it all to man. That was the plan. He gave it all to man that man might grow and develop and perfect himself and become godlike. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7.) And that wasn't by accident, either, nor by chance. God was the Master-worker, and he created us and brought us into existence. The Psalmist in addressing the Lord said, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour." (Psalm 8:4-5.)
Man is the masterpiece-in all the creations of God nothing even approaches him. The animals were given instincts. They can seize food, escape from enemies, hide from danger, sleep and rest, but they have practically none of the faculties given to this god-man, to this god in embryo. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 30)
Abraham 4:26 Let us go down and form man in our image
God said unto His Only Begotten, let us do so and so; let us divide the light from the darkness; let us separate the waters and cause the
dry land to appear; let there be lights in the firmament in the midst of the heavens to give light to the earth; let us create animals to walk upon the earth, and creeping things, and fowls to fly in the air and fish to swim in the waters,& c.; and let us make man in our own image and after our likeness—that is the Father addressing the Son, taking counsel together. This rendering of this first chapter of Genesis is sustained by the writings of the Apostle Paul, when he says: “For of Him”—speaking of the Only Begotten—“and through Him, and for Him, are all things.” Again, it is written in the New Testament concerning the Savior, that He is “the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person.” So that when the Father said unto His Son in the beginning, let us make man in our image and after our likeness, it conveys to us the idea that man was organized in the same form and general appearance of both the Father and the Son. This especially in relation to the man himself; for you will remark the wording of the text which we have read—“in the image of God created He him”—referring to Adam—“male and female created He them.” (Journal of Discourses, 26:213-4)
Abraham 4:27 in the image of the Gods… male and female to form they them
For the purposes of this chapter, we have defined the term Gods as referring to Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael. This verse demands an exception to that general rule. If Adam and Eve were made in the image of the Gods, “male and female,” then there must have been female Gods in whose image Eve could be made.
Jeffrey R. Holland
It takes both male and female to make the complete image of God. (Jeffrey R. Holland and Patricia T. Holland, On Earth As It Is in Heaven [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 71)
You will remark the wording of the text which we have read—“in the image of God created He him”—referring to Adam—“male and female created He them.” You will perceive a difference in the language in regard to the creation of females.
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. It needs only a common understanding of the organism of man and of all living creatures, and the functions of this organism to show the primary object of the Creator, and that is the multiplication of the species, the fulfillment of the commandment given, to multiply and replenish the earth, given to both man and beast. (Journal of Discourses, 26:214)
Abraham 4:28 we will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth
Dallin H. Oaks
To the first man and woman on earth, the Lord said, “Be fruitful, and multiply” (Moses 2:28; see also Gen. 1:28; Abr. 4:28). This commandment was first in sequence and first in importance. It was essential that God’s spirit children have mortal birth and an opportunity to progress toward eternal life. Consequently, all things related to procreation are prime targets for the adversary’s efforts to thwart the plan of God.
When Adam and Eve received the first commandment, they were in a transitional state, no longer in the spirit world but with physical bodies not yet subject to death and not yet capable of procreation. They could not fulfill the Father’s first commandment without transgressing the barrier between the bliss of the Garden of Eden and the terrible trials and wonderful opportunities of mortal life. (Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 72)
Abraham 4:29 every herb bearing seed… and… the fruit of the tree… shall be for their meat
Adam and Eve had a diet of rice and beans, not chicken, steak, and pork chops. They were, in fact, the world’s first vegetarians. Prior to the Fall, there was no death in the animal world. Adam wouldn’t even think of killing a cow and eating it. That must have seemed barbaric. Besides, why go to all the work when you can eat all the watermelon you want?
Amidst an endless supply of bananas and oranges, there was little daily concern for food. After the Fall, everything changed. Bread was only available after a day’s worth of brow sweat. It was a work or starve proposition. Animal meat not only became an option, it became a prized commodity. One slaughtered ox and you were good for a few days at least.
This has significance for the Law of Animal Sacrifice. Animals useful for food became precious. Offering one to God was a real sacrifice. If it wasn’t, then the entire concept of making a personal sacrifice for God would have been lost.
Abraham 4:31 the Gods said: We will do everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they shall be very obedient
James E. Faust
The earth itself… was formed out of matter and in the beginning was empty, desolate, and dark. Then came order as God commanded that the light should be divided from the darkness. God’s command was obeyed, and the earth had its first day, followed by its first night. Then God ordered the creation of the atmosphere. He organized the sun, the moon, and the stars to shine in their appropriate times and seasons. After a series of commands and obedience to commands, the earth not only became habitable but beautiful.
Brother Jake Garn, former U.S. senator, traveled into space with a team of American astronauts a few years ago. Recalling the view they had of the enormity of the heavens from the space shuttle Discovery, he commented that to orbit the earth is to recognize that we are all children of God and that the earth operates in obedience to God’s laws. He spoke also of the magnificent beauty of the earth from space and that it is absolutely breathtaking.
This earth on which we dwell is an individual planet occupying a unique place in space. But it is also part of our solar system, an orderly system with eight other planets, asteroids, comets, and other celestial bodies that orbit the sun. Just as the earth is a planet in its own right, so each of us is an individual in our own sphere of habitation. We are individuals, but we live in families and communities where order provides a system of harmony that hinges on obedience to principles. Just as order gave life and beauty to the earth when it was dark and void, so it does to us. Obedience helps us develop the full potential our Heavenly Father desires for us in becoming celestial beings worthy someday to live in His presence. (Conference Report, April 1999, 47)