“Moses 2:1–31,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual (2017)
“Moses 2:1–31,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual
President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) said: “The account of the creation of the earth as given in Genesis, and the Book of Moses, and as given in the temple, is the creation of the physical earth, and of physical animals and plants” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie , 1:75).
Jesus Christ created the heaven and the earth under the Father’s direction (see Moses 1:31–33; 2:1). Others were privileged to assist Him in the Creation, including Michael, or Adam. President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “It is true that Adam helped to form this earth. He labored with our Savior Jesus Christ. I have a strong view or conviction that there were others also who assisted them. Perhaps Noah and Enoch; and why not Joseph Smith, and those who were appointed to be rulers before the earth was formed?” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:74–75).
Elder John A. Widtsoe (1872–1952) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “The earth came into being by the will and power of God. … Chance is ruled out. Latter-day Saints believe that the earth and the heavens and the manifold operations within the universe are products of intelligent action, of the mind of God” (Evidences and Reconciliations, arr. G. Homer Durham, 3 vols. in 1 , 150).
Lectures on Faith states:
“When a man works by faith he works by mental exertion instead of physical force. It is by words, instead of exerting his physical powers, with which every being works when he works by faith. God said, ‘Let there be light: and there was light.’ … And the Saviour says: ‘If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, say to this mountain, “Remove,” and it will remove; or say to that sycamore tree, “Be ye plucked up, and planted in the midst of the sea,” and it shall obey you.’ Faith, then, works by words; and with these its mightiest works have been, and will be, performed. …
“… The whole visible creation, as it now exists, is the effect of faith. It was faith by which it was framed, and it is by the power of faith that it continues in its organized form, and by which the planets move round their orbits and sparkle forth their glory” (Lectures on Faith , 72–73; see also Matthew 17:20; Jacob 4:6, 9).
President John Taylor (1808–87) explained that God “caused light to shine upon [the earth] before the sun appeared in the firmament [see Moses 2:3–4, 14–19]; for God is light, and in him there is no darkness. He is the light of the sun and the power thereof by which it was made; he is also the light of the moon and the power by which it was made; he is the light of the stars and the power by which they are made” (“A Funeral Sermon,” Deseret News, Mar. 21, 1877, 98; see also Revelation 21:23–25; D&C 88:7–13).
President Brigham Young (1801–77), discussing the six days of creation, said that six days “is a mere term, but it matters not whether it took six days, six months, six years, or six thousand years. The creation occupied certain periods of time. We are not authorized to say what the duration of these days was, whether Moses penned these words as we have them, or whether the translators of the Bible have given the words their intended meaning. However, God created the world. God brought forth material out of which he formed this little terra firma upon which we roam. How long had this material been in existence? Forever and forever, in some shape, in some condition” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 100; see also Alma 40:8)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that a day in the Creation accounts “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. …
“There is no revealed recitation specifying that each of the ‘six days’ involved in the Creation was of the same duration” (“Christ and the Creation,” Ensign, June 1982, 11).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “‘The waters’ were ‘divided’ between the surface of the earth and the atmospheric heavens that surround it. A ‘firmament’ or an ‘expanse’ called ‘Heaven’ was created to divide ‘the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse.’ Thus, as the creative events unfold, provision seems to be made for clouds and rain and storms to give life to that which will yet grow and dwell upon the earth. (See Moses 2:6–8; Abr. 4:6–8.)” (“Christ and the Creation,” 11).
President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “No lesson is more manifest in nature than that all living things do as the Lord commanded in the Creation. They reproduce ‘after their own kind.’ (See Moses 2:12, 24.) They follow the pattern of their parentage. … A bird will not become an animal nor a fish. A mammal will not beget reptiles, nor ‘do men gather … figs of thistles’ (Matthew 7:16)” (“The Pattern of Our Parentage,” Ensign, Nov. 1984, 67).
Modern revelation declares that Heavenly Father “has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (D&C 130:22). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts Genesis 1:26 and Moses 2:26 literally. As children of our Heavenly Father, our physical bodies and our spirit bodies are in His image.
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have affirmed: “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. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).
An analysis of the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:28 can help us better understand God’s instructions to the man and woman when He said, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” The word translated “fruitful” in this verse is parah (paw-raw) in Hebrew and means “to increase, bear, or bring fruit.” The word translated “multiply” is rabah (raw-baw) and means “to become many.” The Hebrew word male (maw-lay) is here translated “replenish” and means “to fill, or be full.” The Lord is telling men and women to bring forth children (multiply, be fruitful).
In 1942 the First Presidency taught: “The Lord has told us that it is the duty of every husband and wife to obey the command given to Adam to multiply and replenish the earth, so that the legions of choice spirits waiting for their tabernacles of flesh may come here and move forward under God’s great design to become perfect souls, for without these fleshly tabernacles they cannot progress to their God-planned destiny. Thus, every husband and wife should become a father and mother in Israel to children born under the holy, eternal covenant” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1942, 12). The Church has also counseled, “Faithful members whose circumstances do not allow them to receive the blessings of eternal marriage and parenthood in this life will receive all promised blessings in the eternities, provided they keep the covenants they have made with God” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church , 1.3.3).
President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote that to have “dominion” means to have responsibility (see The Way to Perfection, 6th ed. , 221). To have dominion over all living things is a sacred responsibility and should not be misused (see D&C 49:19–21; 59:17–20; 104:13–18; 121:39–46).
Elder Sterling W. Sill (1903–94) of the Seventy taught: “One of the most inspiring messages in all sacred scripture is the story of the sixth day of creation when God made man in his own image. He also endowed him with a set of his own attributes. Then, as the very climax of creation, God gave man dominion over everything upon the earth, including himself. The dictionary says that ‘dominion’ means control or the power to govern. The most important part of the dominion given to man was self-dominion” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1963, 77–78).