Chapter 22: The Creation
Chapter 22: The Creation
The Pearl of Great Price expands on biblical information about the creation of the world. Moses 2–3 and Abraham 4–5 augment the account found in Genesis 1–2. The Moses account came from Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the book of Genesis, while Abraham’s account came by revelation via ancient Egyptian papyri. In the pages that follow, the texts of these three accounts are shown in side-by-side comparisons, making it easy to identify distinctive features. I have also put unique words and phrases in bold. Keep in mind that the Abraham account is the oldest of the three.
Moses is credited with writing the first five books of Genesis, but obviously, Moses was not alive “in the beginning” when the events of the Creation took place. He could have been a premortal observer or participant, but since his premortal experiences would have been veiled at birth, it is safe to say that Moses did not write from personal experience. Rather, he received the information from preserved documents—“A book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam” (Moses 6:5)—or by revelation—“For it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration” (Moses 6:5).
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the preserved documents and revelations in the Old and New Testaments. The only caveat to our faith is stated in the eighth article of faith: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith 1:8; italics added). Joseph Smith explained: “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 327). He also said: “From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled” (Ibid, 9–10). Chapter one of Moses is new revelation. Chapters two through eight contain the corrections and additions revealed to Joseph Smith that restore a more complete Genesis account.
Although the three Creation accounts became scripture through different processes, I believe they came from one original source—Adam. The scriptures confirm that he kept a record: “Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam” (Moses 6:8). I believe Adam was one of “the Gods” who helped create the earth (see Abraham 4). I believe he wrote what he observed and personally experienced or that God re-revealed to him so it would be available to his posterity.
Adam’s account tells of his singular opportunity to participate with God our Eternal Father and Jesus Christ in the creation of planet Earth, on which he would live as the father of the human race. “The Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man” (Moses 3:7). (It would add clarity if Genesis began with the introduction: “The experiences of Adam as he participated in the creation of the earth.”)
As you will note from the side-by-side comparisons, the Moses and Abraham accounts have introductions; Genesis does not. The Moses introduction reads: “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak” (Moses 2:1). The Abraham account begins: “The Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down” (Abraham 4:1). These few words provide three essential bits of information:
· God reveals things to His prophets and commands them to write what He speaks.
· The direction of Earth from God’s home is down.
· More than one God created the earth as evidence by the use of the pronouns us and they.
The Genesis account has been miraculously preserved from generation to generation, and it is apparent from the side-by-side comparisons how much precious information and doctrine has been preserved. Today, these famous biblical words are revered by Christians the world over.
On Christmas Eve in 1968, Apollo 8 circled the moon. On television people around the world watched and listened as the three astronauts—Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman—spoke in staticky voices.
Bill Anders began:
We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”
Jim Lovell continued:
“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
Frank Borman concluded:
“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.” And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas—and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth (The Apollo 8 Flight Journal, NASA History Division, Retrieved 4 May 2015, [Flight time 086:06:40 to 086:08:39]).
With these testimonials as backdrop, here are the three accounts of days one through five of the creation of the earth.
(c) Marilynne Todd Linford, 2017
(c) Marilynne Todd Linford, 2017