Old Testament
Lesson 3
The Creation

Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will help us feel gratitude that God created all things for our benefit and that we are created in his image.

Scripture references for study:  Moses 1:27–42; Moses 2–3
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.

Lesson 3 Handout (PDF)

Moses Sees A Vision of God's Creations

As discussed in Lesson 1, the first chapter of the book of Moses is a record of a vision that Moses received approximately 3,000 years ago. This record was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith in June 1830. In this vision, the creator of this world, Jehovah, spoke to Moses.

The Creation

Elder Bruce R. McConkie:  "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." (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, p179)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).

"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" (Abraham 3:24).

As to the time frame involved in the creation, Elder McConkie says:  "As the work goes forward we see the fulfillment of that which God spake to Moses in the Ten Commandments: 'In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day' (Ex. 20:11). It is of the creative events that took place on each of these 'days' that we shall now speak.
    "But first, what is a day? It 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. One measuring rod is the time required for a celestial body to turn once on its axis. For instance, Abraham says that according to 'the Lord's time' a day is 'one thousand years' long. This is 'one revolution . . . of Kolob,' he says, and it is after the Lord's 'manner of reckoning' (Abr. 3:4).
    "There is no revealed recitation specifying that each of the 'six days' involved in the Creation was of the same duration. Our three accounts of the Creation are the Mosaic, the Abrahamic, and the one presented in the temples. Each of these items stems back to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Mosaic and Abrahamic accounts place the creative events on the same successive days. We shall follow these scriptural recitations in our analysis. The temple account, for reasons that are apparent to those familiar with its teachings, has a different division of events. It seems clear that the 'six days' are one continuing period and that there is no one place where the dividing lines between the successive events must of necessity be placed.
    "The Mosaic and the temple accounts set forth the temporal or physical creation, the actual organization of element or matter into tangible form. They are not accounts of the spirit creation. Abraham gives a blueprint as it were of the Creation. He tells the plans of the holy beings who wrought the creative work. After reciting the events of the 'six days' he says: 'And thus were their decisions at the time that they counseled among themselves to form the heavens and the earth' (Abr. 5:3).
    "Then he says they performed as they had planned, which means we can, by merely changing the verb tenses and without doing violence to the sense and meaning, also consider the Abrahamic account as one of the actual creation."
(Ibid., pp81-82)

Elder McConkie explains to us the necessity of understanding the creation:  "It is self-evident that we have received no useless and unneeded revelations. All that the Lord does has a purpose and serves a need. He expects us to treasure up his word, to ponder in our hearts its deep and hidden meanings, and to understand its full import. Those who have done so know that the revealed accounts of the Creation are designed to accomplish two great purposes. Their general purpose is to enable us to understand the nature of our mortal probation, a probation in which all men are being tried and tested 'to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them' (Abr. 3:25). Their specific purpose is to enable us to understand the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, which infinite and eternal Atonement is the very foundation upon which revealed religion rests." (Ibid., p85)

Several years ago I attended a father and son campout with our ward up near the foot of Mt. Rainier. On Saturday we had an informal climb up one of the canyons to the foot of one of the great glaciers stretching from the peak of the mountain. As one of the priesthood brethren and I sat and observed the greatness of the glacier and the magnificence of the mountain and its environment, this good brother commented on the creation. He said that he could not imagine that such magnificence and beauty happened by chance. Indeed, as we sat there with a cool breeze coming off the glacier, along with the wonderfully fresh smell of the mountain, I was also impressed and moved by the scene. It stood as a quiet testimony that there is a God in heaven who has created this planet as a place where we can continue our eternal progress.

Mt Rainier, Washington

The Creation of Man

After the creation of the earth, and after it had been filled with plants and animals, "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. And I, God, said: Let them have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 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 2:26-27).

Over the years I have kept a journal with personal thoughts and comments related to the scriptures. As to this part of the creation, I made the following entries on verses from Genesis:

The Lord said that man would have "dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Moses 2:26).

Gospel Doctrine Notebook

A study of the creation reminds us that the great plan of eternal salvation was laid out for us from the beginning. As Elder McConkie stated, an understanding of the creation helps us "understand the nature of our mortal probation" and enables "us to understand the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Record your thoughts on the creation and its purpose. What difference does this knowledge make in your life?

Resources Used In This Lesson

Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price by Hugh Nibley.

Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price by George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl.

Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

Discourses of Brigham Young edited by John A. Widtsoe.

Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith.

Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage.

Journal of Discourses (JD).

Man, His Origin and Destiny by Joseph Fielding Smith.

Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.

Our Search for Happiness by M. Russell Ballard.

Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie.

Studies In Scripture, Volumes 2 & 3, edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet.

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith.

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Changes last made on:  26 December 2017