Old Testament Lesson 3
It is critical that we teach the creation and the importance of the creation. We exclaim with the Prophet Jacob, “O how great the plan of our God!” (see 2 Nephi 9: 13) Yes, there actually is a plan-and the knowledge of that plan gives us comfort in troubled and confusing times.
Importance of Creation
Teaching the creation reminds us that we have been made stewards and that we have responsibility and accountability to our Maker. All the theories and false teachings of the world, whatever they may be that teach us otherwise, are designed to relieve one of his or her accountability to God.
Jesus Christ was the Creator of this earth (and worlds without number as well) and He said in the pre-earth life:
“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. And we will prove them herewith [in other words-through the creation of this very earth will come the proving of man], to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” (Abraham 3: 24, 25)
This earth would be created as a testing ground, a proving ground-where man would be separated by a veil of forgetfulness from Heavenly Parents, and where he would have to learn to exercise faith in and hope for things “which are not seen, which are true.” (see Alma 32:21)
The creation is the perfect plan for stewardship and accountability. “For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.” (D&C 104: 13)
Pattern of the Prophets Conversing with God Face to Face
The prophets throughout the ages have spoken with Jesus Christ face to face. This lesson brings this out by taking us through Moses’ experience with God. It is well to see that same pattern throughout the scriptures and also the invitation extended to us as faithful, lay members of the Church.
31 And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. (Moses 1: 31)
11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. (Exodus 33:11)
(Spoke with the Father and the Son) I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true. (Joseph Smith History 1: 25)
39 And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things. (Ether 12: 39)
4 And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations. (Moses 7:4)
11 Thus I, Abraham, talked with the Lord, face to face, as one man talketh with another; and he told me of the works which his hands had made. (Abraham 3: 11)
Mahonri Moriancumr (the Brother of Jared)
19 And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad. [Notice how Moroni accounts that “there were many” who could not be kept within the veil-surely we do not have record of all of them]
5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. (Isaiah 6: 5)
Nephi and Jacob
2 And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him.
A Lay Man: John Murdock
In 1833, in Kirtland, Ohio, John Murdock described a vision he had of the Savior, Jesus Christ: “I saw the form of a man, most lovely, the visage of his face was sound and fair as the sun. His hair a bright silver grey, curled in most majestic form, His eyes a keen penetrating blue, and the skin of his neck a most beautiful white and he was covered from the neck to the feet with a loose garment, pure white, whiter than any garment I have ever before seen. His countenance was most penetrating, and yet most lovely.” (Journal of John Murdock, typescript, p. 12, Archives and Manuscripts, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah).
The invitation is throughout the Doctrine and Covenants for us to seek the face of God. The promise is sure for all who will prepare themselves:
10 And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am-not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual. (D&C 67: 10)
And again the promise is repeated in Section 93:
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am. (D&C 93: 1)
And again here in Section 88 the promise is repeated:
67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.
It is significant that we are invited to the Temple to come back to creation, back to the Garden of Eden, where man spoke with God face to face. The invitation is clear.
Creation is an Ongoing Process
With the Hubble Telescope and the recently launched Kepler telescope in space, it is interesting to note the great interest in the search for other worlds which may possibly support life. Kepler’s mission is “A search for habitable planets.” From NASA’s website we read of very recent discoveries:
“NASA’s Kepler space telescope, designed to find Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of sun-like stars, has discovered its first five new exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system.
And the Lord told Moses:
But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. 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 1:35)
Hugh Nibley wrote: “The creation as process is emphasized by the frequent occurrence of the word creation in the plural, usually in proclaiming the greatness and majesty of God-‘millions of earths like this.would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations.’ Such passages clearly imply that creation is an ongoing drama.
“The idea of creation,” Dr. Nibley continues, “as an ongoing process involving many participants was, of course, offensive to the doctors with their monistic obsession. ‘It is a constant concern of the Midrash,’ writes E. Hahn. ‘why God needed six days and ten words for the creation when a single gesture would have sufficed.’ And so they effectively silenced the old teaching of creation as a process.” (Nibley, Hugh. Enoch the Prophet, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Volume 2, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1986, pp. 236-37.)
We Are to Be Creative
Creation is what God does. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf talked of the importance of creation in God’s eternal plan and in the plan of happiness for our own lives:
“Let me first pose a question: What do you suppose is the greatest kind of happiness possible? For me, the answer to this question is, God’s happiness.
“This leads to another question: What is our Heavenly Father’s happiness?
“This may be impossible to answer because His ways are not our ways. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [God’s] ways higher than [our] ways, and [His] thoughts [higher] than [our] thoughts.’
“Though we cannot understand ‘the meaning of all things,’ we do “know that [God] loveth his children” because He has said, ‘Behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.’
“Heavenly Father is able to accomplish these two great goals-the immortality and eternal life of man-because He is a God of creation and compassion. Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father’s perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we as His spirit children can and should emulate.
“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
“Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
“Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Happiness, Your Heritage,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 117-20)
Jesus Christ is the Creator
It is important for us to understand the Jesus Christ, who was the great Jehovah in the pre-mortal realms and in the Old Testament, was and is the creator of this earth and of worlds without number.
John the Beloved understood this doctrine:
1 IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joseph Smith understood this true doctrine:
23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father-
Moses understood this doctrine:
26 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.
And this doctrine was iterated again in The Family: A Proclamation to the World:
“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.”
All the doctrines of this lesson, including that of creation, the invitation to seek the face of God, the fact that Jesus Christ-Jehovah-is the creator of this earth and countless other worlds and that male and female were created in the likeness of Heavenly Parents-are all critical for us to understand and to teach.