Moses sees a vision of God's creations.
Moses learns that God created all things.
Moses learns that men and women are created in God's image.
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:
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
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 Lord said to Moses, "thou art my son; wherefore
look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all,
for my works are without end" (Moses 1:4).
As the the vision continued, "Moses cast his eyes
and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle
of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God. And
he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which
he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers
were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore"
Orson Pratt: "Before the Lord revealed to
him the history of its creation Moses beheld every particle of the earth,
and the account says there was not a particle that he did not behold, discerning
it by the Spirit of God. One of the revelations says, that whatsoever is
light is spirit, and there are degrees of this spiritual influence that
will affect the natural or mortal eye; then there are other degrees more
refined, perhaps, which do not affect the mortal eye, but will affect the
immortal eye, yet the Lord would be able to touch the eyes of a man like
unto Moses or any other man of God, so as to show him every particle of
the earth, inside and outside." (JD, 16:337)
A discussion about the creation of the universe, this world, and man, inevitably
will raise the issue of science versus religion in attempting to explain
this set of remarkable events. Using the temporal tools of this planet,
men have attempted to explain the creation through science. Some
have concluded that a random sequence of events occurred, eventually leading
to the creation of the world and the evolution of man. Other scientists
have observed the complexity of the universe and life and have concluded
that there was some sort of omnipotent power involved in its creation. The search for knowledge through the scientific process is tedious and
slow. Sometimes knowledge is gained in a random, even accidental
fashion. After 6,000 years of human existence, man has yet to perfect
the scientific tools that might provide a full knowledge of the creation.
True wisdom and knowledge can only be gained through
the Spirit of God. As Moses was blessed with this discerning spirit,
he was able to behold the earth in its most minute fashion and thus begin
to comprehend the greatness of the Lord's creation. Even with the
world's most powerful microscopes, men have only taken a peek at what Moses
beheld in the spirit. In speaking about gaining spiritual knowledge,
Joseph Smith said, "Could you gaze into heaven
five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever
was written on the subject" (TPJS, p156). Thus, if we
wish to fully understand the creation, we must prepare ourselves as did
Moses. All the scientific study, though worthwhile, can only give
us a drop in the bucket of the information that is available through the
source of all truth.
As Moses beheld the creations of God, he asked, "Why
these things are so, and by what thou madest them?" (Moses 1:30).
HOW DID THE LORD RESPOND?
How the world was created:
"And by the word of my power, have I created them,
which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth."
Elder James E. Talmage: "The Father operated
in the work of creation through the Son, who thus became the executive
through whom the will, commandment, or word of the Father was put into
effect. It is with incisive appropriateness therefore, that the Son, Jesus
Christ, is designated by the apostle John as the Word; or as declared by
the Father 'the word of my power.' The part taken by Jesus Christ in the
creation, a part so prominent as to justify our calling Him the Creator,
is set forth in many scriptures. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews
refers in this wise distinctively to the Father and the Son as separate
though associated Beings: 'God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners
spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last
days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things,
by whom also he made the worlds.' Paul is even more explicit in his letter
to the Colossians, wherein, speaking of Jesus the Son, he says: 'For by
him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth,
visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities,
or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before
all things, and by him all things consist.' And here let be repeated the
testimony of John, that by the Word, who was with God, and who was God
even in the beginning, all things were made; 'and without him was not anything
made that was made'." (Jesus the Christ, pp33-34)
Brother Kent P. Jackson wrote about the creation: "The
detailed process by which the Lord brought the universe and planet Earth
into existence is not known by man. It is not unlikely that the principles
of science as understood today will ever be able to explain the divine
powers and the divine actions that created these things" (Studies
In Scripture, 3:26-27). Even Moses was given a limited understanding
of the creation. Indeed, it is a complex process that cannot be known
by the finite mind.
Why the world was created:
"And worlds without number have I created; and
I also created them for mine own purpose" (Moses 1:33).
WHAT IS THE LORD'S PURPOSE?
"For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring
to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).
Brigham Young: "The whole object of the creation
of this world is to exalt the intelligences that are placed upon it, that
they may live, endure, and increase for ever and ever." (Discourses
of Brigham Young,
Wilford Woodruff: "The Lord Almighty never
created a world like this and peopled it for 6,000 years, as he has done,
without having some motive in view. That motive was, that we might come
here and exercise our agency. The probation we are called upon to pass
through, is intended to elevate us so that we can dwell in the presence
of God our Father." (JD, 25:9)
Joseph Smith: "Here, then, is eternal life—to
know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods
yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have
done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and
from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation
to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are
able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those
who sit enthroned in everlasting power." (TPJS, p346-347)
"And worlds without number have I created....
For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of
my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto
man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know
them." (Moses 1:33,35)
Moses was told by the Lord that his creations were innumerable. Carl Sagan, in his book Cosmos, attempts to give us a some perspective about the
immensity of the universe. "The dimensions
of the Cosmos are so large that using familiar units of distance, such
as meters or miles, chosen for their utility on Earth, would make little
sense. Instead, we measure distance with the speed of light. In one second a beam of light travels 186,000 miles, nearly 300,000 kilometers
or seven times around the earth. In eight minutes it will travel
from the Sun to Earth. We can say that the Sun is eight light-minutes
away. In a year, it crosses nearly ten trillion kilometers, about
six trillion miles of intervening space. That unit of length, the
distance light goes in a year, is called a light year. It measures
not time, but distances--enourmous distances....
"There are some hundred
billion galaxies, each with, on the average, a hundred billion stars. In all the galaxies, there are perhaps as many planets as stars...ten billion
trillion." (Cosmos, pp5-7)
The creations of the Lord are grand and incomprehensible by human standards. Mr. Sagan only begins to give us a look at the greatness and immensity
of the universe. "The works of God encompass
many other worlds, and of these Moses would not receive knowledge.
"We, perhaps, cannot conceive
the immensity of God's works; indeed, His 'works and words' have no end.
The worlds which He has by His Son created, cannot be numbered by men.
There are worlds that endure forever, serving the Lord. There are others
that had not fulfilled the measure of their creation and at the word of
God passed away. But truly, in the heavens above, in the stars He has established,
God has raised a memorial of His greatness to all generations."
(Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price, p94)
Though the creations of God are immense, the Lord told Moses, "But
only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto
you" (Moses 1:35). It would be fascinating to know more
about the great creations throughout the universe and their part in the
gospel plan. Apparently, this is not necessary for us to fulfill
our purpose on this earth. The scriptures remain virtually silent
on the other creations of God. Our focus should be on the scriptures
and revelations the Lord has given us and not on the mysteries which have
not yet been revealed.
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)
As Elder McConkie states, we have limited knowledge about the creation. Most of what we have is contained in Genesis and the books of Moses and
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the
earth" (Genesis 1:1).
"...by mine Only Begotten I created these things;
yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou
standest" (Moses 2:1).
"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the living
God, who created the heavens and the earth" (D&C 14:9).
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "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)
"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).
"And then 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" (Abraham 4:1).
It is important to note from Abraham's writings that the creations of God
were not created or formed out of nothing, they were organized from pre-existent
Joseph Smith: "The word create came from
the [Hebrew] 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." (TPJS, pp350-351)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Truly Christ is
the Creator of the future abode of the spirit children of the Father. But
he does not work alone. The Creation is an organized venture; each of the
other noble and great spirits plays his part. And the earth is created
from matter that already exists. Truly the elements are eternal, and to
create is to organize." (quoted in Studies In Scripture, 2:81)
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.
"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).
- Elder M. Russell Ballard: "Families on earth
are an extension of the family of God. According to the LDS concept of the
family, every person is a child of heavenly parents as well as mortal parents.
Each individual was created spiritually and physically in the image of God and
Christ (Moses 2:27; 3:5). The First Presidency has declared, 'All men and
women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are
literally the sons and daughters of Deity' (Messages of the First Presidency,
4:203). Everyone, before coming to this earth, lived with Heavenly Father and
Heavenly Mother, and each was loved and taught by them as a member of their
eternal family." (Our Search for Happiness, p70)
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:
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."
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.
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 that which we want to achieve. Adam could not have been placed
on this earth and survived until each of the components were in place.
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.
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).
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Lesson Manual: "We need to respect the earth
and care for God’s creations."
Brother Hugh Nibley wrote: "To have dominion
is the Latin word to be a dominus. The domus is the 'house.' The dominus
is the lord who is the master of the house and is responsible for all the
creatures in the house. Just as the hlafweard, the 'loaf ward' is the one
to see to it that all family, all connections, all members of the estate,
all dependents are properly fed and cared for. The same with the dominus.
He has charge of the domus. As the dominus, that's his obligation. We think
of it as a license to exterminate. You are made lord of everything. You
are given dominion and made responsible." (Ancient Documents
and the Pearl of Great Price, Lecture 19)
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.
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
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
26 December 2017