Week One: Moses 1, Abraham 3
Art history is a passion of mine. When I view a work of art, it can be useful to utilize many different perspectives. Often, I look at a painting or sculpture from the side, from the other side, from the top, and from the bottom. Each time, I will see something different.
In Genesis 1, Abraham 4, and Moses 2, the Lord gave us three different accounts of the creation. Each one shows us a different perspective or view for us to understand the creation. I ask myself:
- What can I learn from these differences?
- How do they help me gain a greater understanding of the creation?
In my scriptures I have underlined the words in each account that are unique to that account. May I share a few differences in the first five verses of Genesis, Abraham, and Moses. As you continue to carefully read these scriptures, I am sure that you will find additional insights.
All of Christianity is familiar with the Genesis account. “In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth”[i] is a strong declarative statement of a simple truth. The Hebrew word for “created” in this verse means shaped, fashioned, and is always a divine activity.[ii]
God says, “Let there be light and there was light.”[iii] The light is first because the light of Christ is the power by which all else is made.
President John Taylor explained that God “caused light to shine upon [the earth] before the sun appeared in the firmament; 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.”[iv] The light of Christ needed to be first in order for the rest of creation to happen.
Symbolically, just as the earth was in darkness before the light of Christ, so are we in darkness until we acknowledge his light in our hearts.
The Apostle Paul wrote about this in his letter to the Corinthians: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”[v]
After the light appears, “God saw the light, that it was good and God divided the light from the darkness and God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.[vi]
Ask yourself: Why do we need both darkness and light to complete a day?
Also, next time you are in the temple, ponder about the temple account and why the order is different. Everything in the temple points us to Christ. How can the difference in order help us to focus on Christ and His mission on this earth?
In Abraham 4, we are introduced to the plurality of Gods who helped form the earth. We read the phrases, “Let us go down…and they, that is the Gods,organized and formed the earth.”[vii] In Abraham’s account, we are taught that others were privileged to assist Jehovah in the organization and formation of this world, and they were considered Gods as well.
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?”[viii]
The Lord speaks to Moses clearly explaining that this is the creation account for this earth upon which Moses stands, reminding Moses that “worlds without number have I created.”[ix] Moses also learns that the Almighty God created these things “by mine only Begotten”[x] who is full of grace and truth.
After the Light is brought forth out of the darkness, the Lord says: “This I did by the word of my power and it was done as I spake.”[xi]
Notice the phrase – “by the word of my power and it was done as I spake.”
John begins his gospel by talking about the word: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God;…All things were made by him and without him was not any thing made that was made; In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”[xii]
The psalmist also wrote about the power of the Word in creation: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth…. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.”[xiii]
Joseph Smith wrote in the Lectures on Faith: “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….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.”[xiv]
These accounts strengthen my faith in my Lord Jesus Christ by bringing me understanding that Jesus Christ is the light of this world, that the Gods (plural) organized and formed this earth, and that through the power of word of the Lord the heavens were made.
Remember to find joy in the Lord and sparkle forth in His glory.
[i] Genesis 1:1
[ii] See Footnote 1c.
[iii] Genesis 1:3
[iv] John Taylor, “A Funeral Sermon,” Deseret News, March 21, 1877, p. 98.
[v] 2 Corinthians 4:6
[vi] Genesis 1:4-5
[vii] Abraham 4:1 (italics added)
[viii] Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:74-75.
[ix] Moses 1:33
[x] Moses 2:1
[xi] Moses 2:5
[xii] John 1:1, 3, 5
[xiii] Psalms 33:6, 8-9
[xiv] Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, 1985, pp. 72-73.