Lesson 9: Moses 3 (Genesis 2; Abraham 5)
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“Lesson 9: Moses 3 (Genesis 2; Abraham 5)” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 9,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 9

Moses 3 (Genesis 2; Abraham 5)


In Moses 3, the Lord revealed that after the six periods of creation were complete, He rested from His labors. He also revealed that He created all things spiritually before they were created physically upon the earth. Finally, the Lord taught about the relationship of Adam and Eve as husband and wife.

Suggestions for Teaching

Moses 3:1–3

The Lord rests on the seventh day

To prepare students to study Moses 3:1–3, ask the following questions:

  • Which day of the week do you enjoy more than any other?

  • What makes that day different from the others?

Explain that Moses 3 is a continuation of the account of the Creation. Invite a student to read Moses 3:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord did differently on the seventh day.

  • What did the Lord do on the seventh day that was different from what He did on the other six? (He rested from His labors and blessed and sanctified the seventh day.)

  • What does the word sanctify mean? (To make something sacred or holy.)

Explain that by resting from His labors and sanctifying the Sabbath day, the Lord established the pattern of Sabbath day observance.

  • What principle can we learn from these verses about Sabbath day observance? (Students may identify a principle such as the following: We can keep the Sabbath day holy as we rest from our labors and focus on sacred things. Consider writing this principle on the board.)

To help students understand this principle and feel its truth and importance, consider asking questions such as the following:

  • What are some ways we can focus on sacred things on the Sabbath? (Students might mention activities such as attending Church meetings, partaking of the sacrament, spending quiet time with family, studying the gospel, serving others, writing in their journals, or doing family history work.)

  • How do you feel you have been blessed by resting from your labors on the Sabbath day and focusing on sacred things?

You might invite students to ponder ways they can more fully sanctify the Sabbath day and then encourage them to act on at least one of the ways they have thought of.

Moses 3:4–17

The Lord reveals that He created all things spiritually before creating them physically upon the earth

Read or display the following statements. Ask students to think about whether each statement is true or false.

  1. We lived in heaven as spirit children of God before we were born on earth.

  2. Plants and animals were created spiritually in heaven before they were created physically on the earth.

  3. Some forms of life on the earth are not creations of God.

Invite a few students to read from Moses 3:4–7 aloud. Ask the class to look for words or phrases that indicate whether the statements above are true or false, and then invite them to report what they find.

To help students understand the statement in verse 5 that the Lord created all things spiritually before they were naturally on the earth, ask a student to read the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

McConkie, Bruce R.

“This earth, all men [and women], animals, fish, fowls, plants, all things—all lived first as spirit entities. Their home was heaven, and the earth was created to be the place where they could take upon themselves mortality” (“Christ and the Creation,” Ensign, June 1982, 86).

  • How would you summarize what you have learned from Moses 3:4–7 as a statement of doctrine? (Although students may use different words, they should identify a doctrine similar to the following: God created the spirits of all living things before they were created physically on the earth. You may want to suggest that students write this doctrine in their scriptures or in their class notebooks or scripture study journals.)

To help students understand this doctrine, review the three statements at the beginning of this teaching idea. Ask students whether each statement is true or false. (Statement 1 is true, statement 2 is true, and statement 3 is false.)

Summarize Moses 3:8–17 by explaining that after the Lord created Adam physically, He placed him in the Garden of Eden. He also planted two trees in Eden that were significant—the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Note: In the next lesson, students will study Moses 3:16–17 and learn more about these two trees.

Moses 3:18–25

The Lord teaches that Adam and Eve were husband and wife

Ask students if they have ever had the opportunity to explain their beliefs on marriage and family to someone who is not a member of the Church. You may want to invite a few students to share their experiences.

Point out that Moses 3 contains additional information about the creation of Adam and Eve that can help students understand and explain the Lord’s teachings on marriage and family.

Invite a student to read Moses 3:18 aloud. Before the student begins reading, explain that in Moses 3:18–21, the Lord discusses the time between the physical creation of Adam and the physical creation of Eve. Ask the class to look for what the Lord said about Adam during this time.

  • What did the Lord say about Adam before Eve had been placed on the earth?

  • Why do you think it was “not good that the man should be alone”? What would have happened to Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness if Adam had remained alone?

Ask a student to read Moses 3:20–23 aloud, and invite the class to look for what Heavenly Father did so that His plan of happiness could move forward. Ask students to report what they find.

You may want to explain that President Spencer W. Kimball taught that “the story of the rib, of course, is figurative” (“The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, 71). The rib symbolizes the side-by-side partnership of equality of Adam and Eve and all married couples.

  • What can we learn from the way the Lord described the physical creation of Eve?

After students respond to the question above, you may want to read the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Nelson, Russell M.

“The rib, coming as it does from the side, seems to denote partnership. The rib signifies … a lateral relationship as partners, to work and to live, side by side” (“Lessons from Eve,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 87).

Invite students to turn to Genesis 2:24–25. Explain that these verses correspond to Moses 3:24–25. (Genesis 2:24, rather than Moses 3:24, is designated as a scripture mastery passage so students will be prepared as missionaries to help others find this passage in their Bibles.)

Invite a student to read Genesis 2:24–25 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a doctrine we can learn from this account of Adam and Eve.

  • What doctrine can we learn from Genesis 2:24? (You may want to suggest that students write the following doctrine in their scriptures near verse 24: Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.)

  • Based on your understanding of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness, why do you think God has ordained that marriage be between a man and a woman?

You may want to ask a student to read the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for insights that help them understand why God has ordained that marriage be between a man and a woman.

Bednar, David A.

“Two compelling doctrinal reasons help us to understand why eternal marriage is essential to the Father’s plan.

“Reason 1: The natures of male and female spirits complete and perfect each other, and therefore men and women are intended to progress together toward exaltation.

“… For divine purposes, male and female spirits are different, distinctive, and complementary.

“… The unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females were needed to implement the plan of happiness. Alone, neither the man nor the woman could fulfill the purposes of his or her creation.

“… Because of their distinctive temperaments and capacities, males and females each bring to a marriage relationship unique perspectives and experiences. The man and the woman contribute differently but equally to a oneness and a unity that can be achieved in no other way. The man completes and perfects the woman and the woman completes and perfects the man as they learn from and mutually strengthen and bless each other. ‘Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 11:11; italics added).

“Reason 2: By divine design, both a man and a woman are needed to bring children into mortality and to provide the best setting for the rearing and nurturing of children. …

“A home with a loving and loyal husband and wife is the supreme setting in which children can be reared in love and righteousness and in which the spiritual and physical needs of children can be met. Just as the unique characteristics of both males and females contribute to the completeness of a marriage relationship, so those same characteristics are vital to the rearing, nurturing, and teaching of children” (“Marriage Is Essential to His Eternal Plan,” Ensign, June 2006, 82–84; see also “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).

What insights from Elder Bednar’s statement help you understand why God has ordained that marriage be between a man and a woman?

Ask students to scan Moses 3:18, 20 and identify a phrase the Lord used to refer to Eve. Ask students to report what they find.

You may want to explain that the term help meet refers to a companion in equal and full partnership.

  • Based on verses 18 and 20, what kind of relationship are husband and wife to have with each other? (Students may use different words, but they should identify a doctrine similar to the following: Husband and wife are to be equal partners. Write this doctrine on the board.)

  • In what ways can husbands and wives be equal partners?

You may want to invite students to share examples of married couples they know who demonstrate equal partnership in their marriages.

Ask students to consider opportunities they might have to explain their beliefs about marriage and family to others. Invite one or two students to share with the class what they would say. Conclude by adding your testimony of the truths that you have discussed today.

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Scripture Mastery—Genesis 2:24

To help students memorize Genesis 2:24, ask them to write this verse on a piece of paper. Invite them to carry it with them throughout the day and practice reciting it. Encourage them to recite this verse from memory to a family member or a friend and explain why it is important.

Commentary and Background Information

Moses 3:2–3. On the seventh day the Lord rested from His work

President Spencer W. Kimball clarified the meaning of the word rest as it is used in the scriptures:

“Sometimes we have thought of rest as being a place where we get on the chaise lounge [a reclining chair], or in our sneakers, or we get outside and lie on the grass, something where we are at rest. That isn’t the kind of rest that the Lord is speaking about. It is he who is the most dynamic, the one who works the hardest, puts in the longest hours, and lives the closest to his Heavenly Father who is rested—rested from His labors, but not put away from his work” (“The Privilege of Holding the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 1975, 80).

Moses 3:5. “I, the Lord God, created all things … spiritually”

President Joseph Fielding Smith explained:

“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 statements in Moses 3:5 and Genesis 2:5 are interpolations thrown into the account of the physical creation, explaining that all things were first created in the spirit existence in heaven before they were placed upon this earth” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:75–76).

Moses 3:7. “The first man”

In 1909 the First Presidency stated:

“It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declared that Adam was ‘the first man of all men’ (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race. It was shown to the brother of Jared that all men were created in the beginning after the image of God; whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion: Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our Heavenly Father.

“True it is that the body of man enters upon its career as a tiny germ embryo, which becomes an infant, quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is, and the child, after being born, develops into a man. There is nothing in this, however, to indicate that the original man, the first of our race, began life as anything less than a man, or less than the human germ or embryo that becomes a man” (in “The Origin of Man,” Ensign, Feb. 2002, 30).

President Spencer W. Kimball testified that all human beings are descended from Adam and Eve:

“Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the race. They were the first father and mother, and all the children of mortality are the offspring of this couple” (“The Lord’s Plan for Men and Women,” Ensign, Oct. 1975, 4).

Moses 3:18, 20. “An help meet for him”

The Hebrew word translated as help means succor or support, and the word translated as meet means suitable. Thus a husband and wife are to help, succor, and support one another as equal partners.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified that men and women are equal before the Lord:

“Men and women are equal in God’s eyes and in the eyes of the Church, but equal does not mean … that they are the same. The responsibilities and divine gifts of men and women differ in their nature but not in their importance or influence. Our Church doctrine places women equal to and yet different from men. God does not regard either gender as better or more important than the other” (“Let Us Think Straight” [Campus Education Week devotional, Aug. 20, 2013], 6;

Moses 3:24. A man should “cleave unto his wife”

The word cleave means to cling or stick tightly to something and implies unity. Adam and Eve were commanded to be “one flesh,” meaning they were to be unified mentally, socially, sexually, and spiritually. This oneness was a command with which they could not fully comply until after the Fall.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:

“Human intimacy is reserved for a married couple because it is the ultimate symbol of total union, a totality and a union ordained and defined by God. From the Garden of Eden onward, marriage was intended to mean the complete merger of a man and a woman—their hearts, hopes, lives, love, family, future, everything. Adam said of Eve that she was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, and that they were to be ‘one flesh’ in their life together [see Genesis 2:23–24]. This is a union of such completeness that we use the word seal to convey its eternal promise. The Prophet Joseph Smith once said we perhaps could render such a sacred bond as being ‘welded’ [see D&C 128:18] one to another.

“But such a total union, such an unyielding commitment between a man and a woman, can only come with the proximity and permanence afforded in a marriage covenant, with solemn promises and the pledge of all they possess—their very hearts and minds, all their days and all their dreams” (“Personal Purity,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 76).

True to the Faith states that when “you are married, you and your spouse should discuss your sacred responsibility to bring children into the world and nurture them in righteousness. …

“As you discuss this sacred matter, remember that sexual relations within marriage are divinely approved. While one purpose of these relations is to provide physical bodies for God’s children, another purpose is to express love for one another—to bind husband and wife together in loyalty, fidelity, consideration, and common purpose” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference [2004], 26).