Personal Note: I am unable to provide a complete outline for Lesson 3. I will be out of town and another individual will be teaching my Gospel Doctrine class on Sunday, January 18. I have assembled a few random notes, thoughts, and other ideas on the creation. I hope those studying this lesson will find these useful. A complete outline will again be available for Lesson 4.
Was The Creation A Chance Happening?
Consider these thoughts from Carl Sagan's book Cosmos (I believe Sagan was an atheist):
I would ask the question, what is the likelihood that this amazingly complex planet, and the universe it is part of, just happen into existence?
Bruce R. McConkie on the process of the creation:
"Our analysis properly begins with the frank recital that our knowledge about the Creation is limited. We do not know the how and why and when of all things. Our finite limitations are such that we could not comprehend them if they were revealed to us in all their glory, fulness, and perfection. What has been revealed to us is that portion of the Lord's eternal word which we must believe and understand if we are to envision the truth about the Fall and Atonement and thus become heirs of salvation. This is all we are obligated to know in our day."
In previous lessons we have discussed the eternal plan of the Father, the Council in Heaven, the calling and foreordination of a savior, and the foreordination of spirits to missions in mortality. The next big step in carrying out the plan of the Father was the creation of the earth (and other worlds) for his spirit children.
WHY DO WE NEED A EARTHLY/MORTAL EXPERIENCE?
The account of the physical creation: Genesis 1 & Moses 2.
We do not know the details and time frame which the creation occurred in. I think these accounts are useful in providing the order of creation and testifying to the hand of God in its creation. The process is so complex that science is only just beginning to understand some of the principles involved.
Joseph Fielding Smith stated: "Under the direction of the Father, Jesus Christ created this earth. No doubt others helped him, but it was Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, who, under the direction of his Father, came down and organized matter and made this planet, so that it might be inhabited by the children of God." (Doctrines of Salvation 1:74)
Notes From My Scripture Journal.
Over the years I have kept a scripture journal. As I read the scriptures, I record my own thoughts and observations. I recommend this as a productive way of studying the scriptures. Following are a few excerpts from my notes on the creation and Genesis:
Genesis 1:1: We live in a modern society which places great credibility in science. Science does not provide for the action of Deity in the creation of the world or the universe. Science tries to explain that the creation was an accident.
The first verse of the whole Bible takes issue with science. That is, that God is the creator of the universe and this world. The Bible does not go into detail as to how that happened. God is a God of order and laws. We may presume that the creation was done in a systematic manner. Thus, science gathers information on the creation and observes that it is done in compliance with natural laws, not by some hocus pocus. But science cannot see the hand of God. (10/93)
Genesis 1:2-10: In these nine verse we receive the entire geologic creation of the world. It is important to note that Moses was extremely (to say the least) brief in his description of the creation. These scriptures give us little more detail than the order of creation. Again we note that the hand of God was involved here. There are no other accounts of the creation other than folklore. There is no scientific record about the creation other than evidence found within the earth itself. Thus, I think it is safe to say that the whole story of the creation of the earth is yet to be revealed. When that occurs, many of the differences between science and the Bible will be reconciled and many mysteries will be resolved. (10/93)
Genesis 1:26-27: It says in these verses that we were created in the image of God. It is important to note here that God is not a personage after our image, but that we are created in His image. Our physical being appears much like His. We are the Divine offspring of a Heavenly Father, and thus we are imbued with the seeds of Godhood. I think it is significant that in the first chapter of all available recorded scripture that we find this great principle, that we may become like Heavenly Father. This principle is really the plan of all eternity. And yet it is quietly clothed in the simple phrase "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." (11-1-93)
Genesis 1:28: I think this verse continues the theme of becoming like Heavenly Father. Here man is commanded to multiply and replenish the earth, to subdue it, and have dominion. Is not this life a training ground, a microcosm, of our eternal purpose? If we are faithful, we will have eternal increase in posterity and we will have dominion not just over a piece of earth, but over universes. Until tonight, I have never considered the fact that the true purpose of our eternal existence is alluded to in the first chapter of all scripture. (11-1- 93)
Genesis 1:31: In this verse the Lord concludes the six days of creation. It is interesting to note the process of creation. Man was the last to be created. The process was a step by step procedure for preparing this planet as a testing place for man. Man was not created until the groundwork had been laid. So it is in preparing for eternity. It is a step by step, day by day, process. I think we often try to do too much, or we worry about all that needs to be done. But our preparation for eternity is a step by step, line upon line process. We have to accept each step along the way and master it before we attempt to move along. Otherwise we will thwart the end result of which we want to achieve. Adam could not have been placed on this earth and survived until each of the components were in place. (11-2-93)
Genesis 2:23-24: The provision of a woman, or a wife, for Adam, once again foreshadows the potential eternal destiny of man. Man was not put on this earth like the animals, to simply populate the earth and roam in herds. There is no marriage or moral structure in the animal world, in spite of the fact that the Lord created them. The groundwork for the eternal companionship of man and woman was laid out in the earliest days of man's creation. (11-2-93)
Was Adam created or born?
The Lord spoke to Adam and made the following statement::
"That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;" (Moses 6:59)
Brigham Young: "I believe the declaration made in these two scriptures is literally true. God has made His children like Himself to stand erect, and has endowed them with intelligence and power and dominion over all His works, and given them the same attributes which He Himself possesses. He created man, as we create our children; for there is no other process of creation in heaven, on the earth, in the earth, or under the earth, or in all the eternities, that is, that were, or that ever will be.... There exist fixed laws and regulations by which the elements are fashioned to fulfill their destiny in all the varied kingdoms and orders of creation, and this process of creation is from everlasting to everlasting." (JD 11:122)
Joseph Fielding Smith: "It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth, and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declares that Adam was 'the first man of all men' (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race. It was shown to the brother of Jared that all men were created in the beginning after the image of God; and whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusions: Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our heavenly Father.
"True it is that the body of man enters upon its career as a tiny germ embryo, which becomes an infant, quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is, and the child, after
being born, develops into a man. There is nothing in this, however, to indicate that the original man, the first of our race, began life as anything less than a man, or less than the human germ
or embryo that becomes a man." (Messages of the First Presidency 4:205)
What about Eve? Bruce R. McConkie: "She was placed on earth in the same manner as was Adam, the Mosaic account of the Lord creating her from Adam's rib being merely figurative. (Moses 3:20-25.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p242)