Disclaimer: This blog is a way of expressing my personal opinions thoughts and anecdotes, as well as my personal understanding of the scriptures, and conference addresses. It is not meant as a statement of doctrine, and may not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, or doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

16 January 2014

#WeblogWednesday Gospel Doctrine ~ Lesson 3: The Creation [Thursday Edition]


  First of all, on my Pandora, a song came on titled "Autumn" by Ryan Stewart. Give it a listen if you can while studying some of the concepts listed herein. 

Disclaimer: This blog is a way of expressing my personal opinions thoughts and anecdotes, as well as my personal understanding of the scriptures, and conference addresses. It is not meant as a statement of doctrine, and may not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, or doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

2nd Disclaimer: The nature of this post may be difficult to study;  The start of the Creation discussion will start with Elder Russell M. Nelson's introduction.
I would potentially recommend reading the post through all of the way once, and then pick and choose which topics you may be interested in most after that.

3rd Disclaimer: Either way though. It's your life. 
Hope you enjoy it! (Your life, as well as this post)

One thing I have noticed as I have prepared Sunday school classes for the past year is that Apostles and Prophets teach great things. Of course I have known that before, but have seen much greater purpose and connections in what they address this year more than any other. As I look at some of the backgrounds of these great leaders and see the ways that they have learned and progressed in their lives, it provides greater context in what they say.

 They speak on many other topics and doctrines, most significantly how we can strengthen our faith and understanding of the role and mission of Jesus Christ. All of their messages contain this message, and they use different points of the gospel to address it.
I find it significant when they address the same theme on more than one occasion.

 Two Examples:

Elder Richard G. Scott

In 1955 he completed the equivalent of a doctorate in nuclear engineering at the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology in Tennessee. (Because of the classified nature of the work, a university degree couldn’t be given.) He also helped in the development of the first commercial, land-based nuclear power plant.


He understands complex processes and can break them down to make them understandable and workable. He speaks frequently of ways to strengthen the way in which we receive personal revelation.

Elder David A. Bednar:

"Elder Bednar was born on June 15, 1952, in Oakland, California. He served as a full-time missionary in Southern Germany and then attended Brigham Young University, where he received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. He also received a doctoral degree in organizational behavior from Purdue University."

He has, more than once, used portions of the verse 2 Nephi 2:26 which couples the power of the redeemer with the divine gift of agency. This in turn strengthens our ability to act in righteousness
 He utilizes this verse in the following ways:

This last one's pretty amazing, but it's close to an hour long, so settle in sometime in the upcoming weeks and TAKE NOTES.

So, Then: On to the discussion at hand!

Elder Bednar also gave us this amazing gem.

In focusing on our study of the Creation this week, I will provide a spotlight on none other that Elder Russell M. Nelson. He has spoken regarding the Creation on a number of occasions. 
Elder Nelson clearly loves to discuss the work and necessity of the Creation in the Plan of God. (Not surprisingly, as his professional career was as a world-renowned heart surgeon). He dealt with life, death and seeing the miracle of creation on a daily basis. His biography is also very good.  

In 1987 He discussed the essential role of Eve in the plan of God.

"From the rib of Adam, Eve was formed (see Gen. 2:22; Moses 3:22; Abr. 5:16). Interesting to me is the fact that animals fashioned by our Creator, such as dogs and cats, have thirteen pairs of ribs, but the human being has one less with only twelve. I presume another bone could have been used, but the rib, coming as it does from the side, seems to denote partnership. The rib signifies neither dominion nor subservience, but a lateral relationship as partners, to work and to live, side by side.

"Adam and Eve were joined together in marriage for time and for all eternity by the power of that everlasting priesthood (see Gen. 2:24–25; Moses 3:25; Abr. 5:18–19). Eve came as a partner, to build and to organize the bodies of mortal men. She was designed by Deity to cocreate and nurture life, that the great plan of the Father might achieve fruition. Eve “was the mother of all living” (Moses 4:26). She was the first of all women."

"From our study of Eve, we may learn five fundamental lessons of everlasting importance:

  1. She labored beside her companion (see Moses 5:1).
  2. She and Adam bore the responsibilities of parenthood (see Moses 5:2).
  3. She and her partner worshipped the Lord in prayer (see Moses 5:4).
  4. She and Adam heeded divine commandments of obedience and sacrifice (see Moses 5:5, 6).
  5. She and her husband taught the gospel to their children (see Moses 5:12).

In 1993
He starts a discussion that is carried out in multiple conferences.

[a theme that Elder Bruce R. McConkie also addresses (More on that next week).]

He discusses the Personages, Plans, and Purposes of God.
As well as the

He further elucidates: "Before we can comprehend the Atonement of Christ, however, we must first understand the Fall of Adam. And before we can understand the Fall of Adam, we must first understand the Creation. These three crucial components of the plan of salvation relate to each other."

In 1996               In October, 1996, Russell M. Nelson further discusses the three essential elements of the plan of salvation that we must obtain. He references Jacob 4:12 and speaks in depth on the three pillars of Eternity again, primarily focusing on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  

"The Creation required the Fall. The Fall required the Atonement. The Atonement enabled the purpose of the Creation to be accomplished. Eternal life, made possible by the Atonement, is the supreme purpose of the Creation. To phrase that statement in its negative form, if families were not sealed in holy temples, the whole earth would be utterly wasted.  
The purposes of the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement all converge on the sacred work done in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The earth was created and the Church was restored to make possible the sealing of wife to husband, children to parents, families to progenitors, worlds without end.

This is the great latter-day work of which we are a part. That is why we have missionaries; that is why we have temples—to bring the fullest blessings of the Atonement to faithful children of God. That is why we respond to our own calls from the Lord. When we comprehend His voluntary Atonement, any sense of sacrifice on our part becomes completely overshadowed by a profound sense of gratitude for the privilege of serving Him.

Elder Nelson's Apostolic Witness
"As one of the 'special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world,' I testify that He is the Son of the living God. Jesus is the Christ—our atoning Savior and Redeemer. This is His Church, restored to bless God’s children and to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord. I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Russell M. Nelson speaks of  the Creation again in 2000, focusing primarily on the events of the Creation

"I testify that the earth and all life upon it are of divine origin. The Creation did not happen by chance. It did not come ex nihilo (out of nothing). And human minds and hands able to build buildings or create computers are not accidental. It is God who made us and not we ourselves. We are His people! The Creation itself testifies of a Creator. We cannot disregard the divine in the Creation. Without our grateful awareness of God’s hand in the Creation, we would be just as oblivious to our provider as are goldfish swimming in a bowl. With deep gratitude, we echo the words of the Psalmist, who said, 'O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.'”

What can we learn from the creation?
"The Creation, great as it is, is not an end in itself but a means to an end. We come to the earth for a brief period of time, endure our tests and trials, and prepare to move onward and upward to a glorious homecoming. Our thoughts and deeds while here will surely be more purposeful if we understand God’s plan and are thankful for and obedient to His commandments. 
"As beneficiaries of the divine Creation, what shall we do? We should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations. And we are to love and care for one another. 
We are to be creators in our own right—builders of an individual faith in God, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith in His Church. We are to build families and be sealed in holy temples. We are to build the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth. We are to prepare for our own divine destiny—glory, immortality, and eternal lives.  These supernal blessings can all be ours, through our faithfulness."

Elder Sterling W. Still (Assistant to the Twelve) April 1954 had this to say:

"In a Sunday School class which I visited recently I heard a Sunday School teacher recount that thrilling story of creation, that 'God created man in his own image' (Gen. 1:27), and I found myself wishing that I might have been there to have witnessed this great beginning, and then it occurred to me, as it has occurred many times since, that the creation of man is not something that was finished and done with in the Garden of Eden. The creation of man is still going on, and in a very real sense each of us is a creator—that is, the attitudes, the enthusiasms, the faith, the determination to serve God, that are so important to our eternal exaltation, are being currently within us and in others.
It is more important to build a great character than to build a great skyscraper. We know that the worth of souls is great, but mostly we are not great for what we are, we are great or what we may become, and it is my hope and prayer in my own behalf that I may develop those qualities that will enable me to accomplish the duties of this assignment as is expected of me by my Father in heaven and those who preside over me in the Church." 

Christ appearing to Moses

Elder Merrill J. Bateman (Presidency of the Seventy) October 2005

"The Atonement was an intimate, personal experience in which Jesus came to know how to help each of us.
"The Pearl of Great Price teaches that Moses was shown all the inhabitants of the earth, which were 'numberless as the sand upon the sea shore' ( Moses 1:28). If Moses beheld every soul, then it seems reasonable that the Creator of the universe has the power to become intimately acquainted with each of us. He learned about your weaknesses and mine. He experienced your pains and sufferings. He experienced mine. I testify that He knows us. He understands the way in which we deal with temptations. He knows our weaknesses. But more than that, more than just knowing us, He knows how to help us if we come to Him in faith."

A Good discussion from an astronomy teacher

In discussing  this particular lesson, certain challenges can be presented as to the how's, where's, and when's of the creation process. Many of these questions may not be addressed, certainly not in fulness, but the truths of the events are maintained. 

A story regarding the creation may illustrate. While getting my A.A. at a community college, I took an Astronomy class as a required science credit. The teacher was a younger guy in his mid-20's and fairly Atheistic in his viewpoints privately. We got on the subject of how the Moon was created and organized. When discussing this and how it came to be, he discussed multiple viewpoints objectively.
Not a real-time picture. It would have been Black and White. It was eons ago. 

After discussing his various viewpoints, he asked the class what they thought, and if they had anything to add. What other theories had they heard? 

One lady in the class raised her hand and said simply "God did it". 

[I must commend this young lady on her faith presented. I do hope, however, that people of faith are able to inquire more, continuing to seek and grow. Science can provide wonderful enhancements of understanding to attach to the essential element of faith.]

 I very much enjoyed the teachers response. After all, this wasn't a Gospel discussion, it was a heavily involved math and science class. He continued the discussion with her and asked her how God created it. She replied simply again, "He just created it." (based on the Genesis story, etc). The teacher was still very calm in his approach and said that "God must have a way of doing things. Creating, organizing, all of that. What I am presenting here could just simply be the way in which he did it, could you agree with that?" I don't recall her response, but I loved that he didn't automatically reject her thesis, but instead attempted to give it more strength. I wish more people could do that when discussing different sides of an idea, especially when it comes to science and religion. While he was primarily agnostic verging on atheistic, he recognized that God would still need a plan of what He was doing. 
Sometimes with faith we put ourselves in the same trapped argument that the Big Bang does. It couldn't have just "happened". It was not Ex Nihilo. There was a process involved, a plan laid out and diagrammed, first spiritually, and then temporally. Can we comprehend all of the steps involved? Not right now, probably not. There were keys involved and actions taken. 
Elder Nelson and Elder McConkie both broach this subject as a crucial understanding of the Atonement and Mission of Jesus Christ. It was not done haphazardly, but part of the overarching plan of our Creator.

Some discussion often arises on the six creative periods of the creation mentioned in Moses 2:5:

President Brigham Young, discussing the six days of creation, said that six days “is a mere term, but it matters not whether it took six days, six months, six years, or six thousand years. The creation occupied certain periods of time. We are not authorized to say what the duration of these days was, whether Moses penned these words as we have them, or whether the translators of the Bible have given the words their intended meaning. However, God created the world. God brought forth material out of which he formed this little terra firma upon which we roam. How long had this material been in existence? Forever and forever, in some shape, in some condition” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1971], 100; see also Alma 40:8)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that a day, in the Creation accounts, “is a specified time period; it is an age, an eon, a division of eternity; it is the time between two identifiable events. And each day, of whatever length, has the duration needed for its purposes. . . .
“There is no revealed recitation specifying that each of the ‘six days’ involved in the Creation was of the same duration” (“Christ and the Creation,” Ensign, June 1982, 11).

Some other good addresses and quotes regarding the Creation are as follows:

 [Found primarily here, on the Scripture Citation Index -- Remember, there's an app for that!]

April 1953 - Pres. J. Reuben Clark Jr. "Untitled" 

"Now, what is that 'word of my power,' which does these mighty works in the universe? I want to read to you what Brother Brigham said about that. He said: 'If anybody wants to know what the Priesthood of the Son of God is, it is the law by which the worlds are, were, and will continue for ever and ever. It is that system which brings worlds into existence and peoples them, gives them their revolutions, their days, weeks, months, years, their seasons and times, and by which they are rolled up as a scroll, as it were, and go into a higher state of existence.'
That is, these measureless creations have been formed by the power of the Holy Priesthood of the Order of the Son of God. This Priesthood we, you and I, and all who stand in like places, possess, not in its fullness, as to the exercise of its power, but we do have the Priesthood. How great and how multiple are its powers, which we do in fact possess, some of you, all of you, have witnessed at one time or another in your lives."

October 1944 - Joseph L. Wirthlin (2nd Counselor in Presiding Bishopric) "Untitled"

"The power of God is manifested by and through the priesthood. It was through the power of God that worlds were created, providing a tangible evidence of God's power. The power of God is evidenced and keenly felt in righteous words, honest deeds, sincere emotions, and clean thoughts of men. The power of God is creative, both in a spiritual and temporal sense, for all things were created, first, spiritually and then temporally. By his power the earth was formed; by his power light and darkness were separated; by his power the land and water were separated; by his power the vegetation, fowls of the air, the fish of the sea, and all earthly creatures were brought into being; but the most important of all these was the creation of man in the exact image of his Creator. The finite mind cannot comprehend or understand the full significance of the creation nor of the principles and the powers involved therein, but we do know that the creation was a great and stupendous work accomplished by actual, spiritual, mental, and, who knows but what some physical effort was necessary on the part of our Heavenly Father. There must have been an element of work, of effort, in it, or else why the declaration found recorded in Genesis 2:2, 'And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made' (Gen. 2:2), an indication of the necessity for rest after such a tremendous accomplishment."  

He continues, discussing the necessity of Adam's role in the world [a lesson still applicable today]:

"When Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden to enjoy its beauty, comforts, and food already produced, the Lord enjoined him merely to prune the garden and keep it in good condition; but soon thereafter the fall came as foreordained, and Adam was cast from the garden. He found himself in the lone and dreary world, far different from the orderly Garden of Eden. The voice of the Creator declared to him that if he were to eat, in fact to exist, it would depend upon his efforts whereby in the sweat of his brow and the toil of his hands should he eat his bread (Gen. 3:19), pointing out, too, that noxious weeds and thistles would stand in his way, creating the necessity for more work and effort. With Adam leaving the garden there came into being the most important project among men, namely, that of agriculture which produces food and raiment for man, the first two physical requisites, and moreover affords more actual work than any other industry. But Adam was not left unqualified to meet this new condition, for his Eternal Father had bestowed upon him the mental and physical potentialities to create by his labors all the necessities of life. So man from the beginning possessed the potential power of creating his requirements through work. The words "create" and "work" are synonymous. Hence, the power of God is work, by which I mean the conscious exercise of spiritual, mental or physical effort and activity." 

April 1961 - LeGrand Richards "Prove me now herewith"

April 1962 - Spencer W. Kimball "Spiritual Communication"

October 1969 - "Man...The Jewel of God " Pres. David O. Mckay


I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy preparing it. There is a wealth of information, and can be quite exhaustive to the individual. Or inexhaustible if referring to the amount of information available.



1 comment:

  1. Does anyone know the artist for the portrait of God revealing Himself to Moses?