Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Genesis and the Creation.

I now teach the Old Testament at Institute.

And gosh the week is going by fast.  It's almost time to teach again!

The book of Genesis is not complete.  It definitely isn't the same when it was written.  Things are missing from it.  Which is exactly what Satan intended.  A Book of Mormon prophet, Nephi, wrote extensively about this.  He tells us that Satan has always desired to have certain truths taken out of the scriptures, to make us stumble and be all confused-like.  Terribly rude of him.

Go ahead, read 1 Nephi 13:26-29.
He says that people have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious ... And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. ...[and] because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.

Chapter 1 of the book of Moses is a great example of writings that were lost from the Old Testament.  Read Moses 1:40-41.  It's pretty clear that Satan didn't want the world to have certain information contained in this chapter, because it is vital to our correct understanding of the Old Testament.

(In fact, if you read Moses (and Abraham) while reading Genesis ... boom, your understanding will double.)

We then looked through chapter 1 of Moses, to see what special truths we could find; key truths that are no longer in the book of Genesis, or may not be so clear.
  • Jesus Christ, under the direction of the Father, organised this earth as well as countless others (v.32-33).
  • Satan, the adversary, has opposed the Lord’s work from before the creation of the earth.
  • God’s power is greater than Satan's (v.20-21).  Take that.
  • The work of God is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man (v.39).
To me, these important truths are not just fundamental in understanding the Old Testament, but fundamental in understanding Jesus Christ.  The primary purpose of the Old Testament is to witness of Christ!  If we can truly understand the God of the Old Testament (who was the pre-mortal Jesus Christ), then we can better understand Christ's teachings in other scripture, as well as key doctrines like temple ordinances, covenants, and the atonement.

Have you ever considered the purpose of the Old Testament?
We should be looking for the message of Christ throughout our studies of the Old Testament.

A memorable line .. In the beginning.
It wasn't really the beginning, but whatever.  Literary licence.

There are actually three scriptural accounts of the creation of the earth and its inhabitants - Genesis 1-3; Moses 1-3; and Abraham 4-5 (which also tells us about the planning session in heaven).  I decided to look to all these accounts for a greater picture as to what happened.

For completeness, we reviewed the physical creation of the earth according to Moses chapter 2, which is the same as recorded in Genesis.  Here is a summary of what happened on each day, according to Genesis:

Day Seven is an important one to note.  The Lord didn't just rest on the seventh day, He sanctified it (see Moses 3:1-3).  Which means the day was made holy.  The Sabbath should be made holy in our lives, each and every week.  It should be treated differently; set aside as time for us and our families to remember God.

There are other important things to note from what we read about the creation:
  • the Lord was pleased with the creation.  Especially so after man was placed on the earth.
  • the pre-mortal Christ was intimately involved in the creation of the earth.
  • the earth was not organised by chance. It was created deliberately, with a purpose.

Of course, the crowning event of the creation was the creation of man (Man = both male and female, thank you very much).
Before we look at that ... have you ever noted that there “is no account of the creation of man or other forms of life when they were created as spirits.  There is just the simple statement that they were so created before the physical creation”?  The interpolation, or sudden references to the spirit creation in Genesis 2:4-5 and Moses 3:5, is all we read about it.

But what powerful knowledge this is.  “Man, animals and plants were not created in the spirit at the time of the creation of the earth, but long before.”
“When the Lord said he would create Adam, he had no reference to the creation of his spirit for that had taken place ages and ages before when he was in the world of spirits and known as Michael.”
“Adam’s body was created from the dust of the earth, but at that time it was a spiritual earth.  Adam had a spiritual body until mortality came upon him through the violation of the law under which he was living, but he also had a physical body of flesh and bones.” [1]

Just something to think about .. I'll talk more about the spiritual creation next time.

In Genesis 1:26-27, we read:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish 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.
So God created man in his own image
, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Do you quite comprehend what God meant when He said “in our image”?

President Brigham Young said: "Man is made in the image of his make, ...he is His exact image, having eye for eye, forehead for forehead, eyebrows for eyebrows, mouth for mouth, chin for chin, ears for ears, precisely like our Father in heaven."  [2]
And the Church published this statement, as doctrine: All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity.  [3]

The Family Proclamation is a document you should be very familiar with.
If you are not, you need to be.  It is filled with truths relevant for you and your family.

It says:  “All human beings – male and female – are created in the image of God.  Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.  …In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realise his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life.” [4]

Surely you have had experiences when you have felt close to Heavenly Father, or felt an ounce of your divine nature.  But what could possible cause us to forget that we are sons and daughters of God?
“There is something of divinity within each of you.  You have such tremendous potential with that quality as a part of your inherited nature.  Every one of you was endowed by your Father in Heaven with a tremendous capacity to do good in the world.  Train your minds and your hands that you may be equipped to serve well in the society of which you are a part.  Cultivate the art of being kind, of being thoughtful, of being helpful.  Refine within you the quality of mercy which comes as a part of the divine attributes you have inherited.” [5] 
Think, then, of what abilities you and I have inherited from our heavenly parents.
Think about what we are capable of, what we can be entitled to.  Our great potential.

Perhaps knowing you are a son or daughter of God, with divine potential, will affect the decisions you make and the way you live.

Genesis (and Moses) also refer to the relationship of Adam and Eve; how they should work together.

Eve was given to Adam as an eternal companion (read Genesis 2:18-25; Moses 3:18-25).
“When Eve was given to Adam, the union was an eternal one. There was no death in the world, for the fall of man came later (see 2 Nephi 2:25-26), and when the seeds of death were sown and man was banished from the presence of the Lord, the union previously formed was not severed.” [6]

And within that partnership – an eternal marriage – they were commanded to “be fruitful and multiply”.  This seems to have been the first commandment recorded.

The student manual says this:
Knowing that the primary work of God is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39) and knowing that without a physical body man could not have a fulness of joy (see D&C 93:33-35) and knowing that coming to earth to prove oneself is a prerequisite to eternal progression (Abraham 3:25), one could safely say that bringing children into the world is one of the high priorities in the Lord's plan.
Let no one ever think that the command came to have children without marriage.  No such suggestion could ever have foundation.

In the context of today’s shocking decline of morals and standards, note this:
And that’s the way the Lord organised it. This wasn’t an experiment. He knew what he was doing.

Have you ever considered Adam and Eve to be your role model, especially where standards and our roles in the family are concerned?

[1] Doctrines of Salvation, p61
[2] In Ludlow, Latter-day Prophets Speak, p.278 as cited in Old Testament Student Manual, third edition
[3] In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 4:203 as cited in Old Testament Student Manual, third edition
[4] “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102
[5] Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Light within You”, Ensign, May 1995, 99
[6] Doctrines of Salvation, p168

1 comment:

  1. You are thorough! I am teaching seminary {Old Testament} but we are in Nehemiah. I would have loved to utilize your thoughts on these lessons!


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