The Creation: An Introduction to Our Relationship to God

By Michael A. Goodman

Michael A. Goodman, “The Creation: An Introduction to Our Relationship to God,” Religious Educator 8, no. 3 (2007): 15–29.

The Creation: An Introduction to Our Relationship to God

Michael A. Goodman

Michael A. Goodman (GoodmanMA@ldschurch.org) was a part-time instructor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University when this was written.

Notwithstanding Moses's experience at the burning bush, he was still young in his understanding of the God of Israel at the beginning of his mission.

Courtesy of Visual Resources Library, Copyright by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Teaching and learning about the Creation should be an awe-inspiring and spiritually edifying experience. It easily devolves, however, into much less. The Creation is a difficult matter to grasp. Elder Russell M. Nelson notes: “It is difficult for mortal minds to comprehend the majesty of the Creation. It is much easier for us to think about good things to eat or fun things to do. . . . The creation of man and woman was wondrous and great. So was the creation of the earth as their mortal dwelling place.”[1] If we don’t follow the Lord’s pattern for sharing the Creation as found in the scriptures, we risk missing the powerful influence that learning of the Creation can have in the lives of our students.

Each time the Lord shares a detailed account of the Creation (see Moses 2–3; Abraham 4–5) or shows a vision of His “creations” (see Moses 6), He accomplishes at least two purposes: (1) to introduce Himself and more fully teach us of His nature and (2) to help us better understand who we are in our relationship with Him. From the beginning, God and His prophets have followed this same pattern. Thus, the Lord’s inclusion of the account of the Creation throughout the scriptures serves, among other things, as a model of how we can help our students understand the majesty, power, and dominion of God and our relationship with Him. It is easy to get lost in the sequencing of events or the controversial aspects of the Creation or simply do a cursory overview so we can get to the Fall or the Flood. How much better to teach the Creation account as the Lord and His prophets have for millennia—as recorded in the scriptures.

The circumstances surrounding the scriptural accounts of the Creation give us clues about how we might more fully use the Creation account to help our students draw nearer to God. A vision, or description, of the Creation can be found once in the book of Genesis and three times in the Pearl of Great Price (see Moses 1–3, 6; Abraham 3–5). Though each Creation account adds to our understanding, one of the difficulties we face in teaching the Creation from Genesis is lack of context. Genesis begins with a third-person narrative of a sequence of creative events. We are not told who is speaking or who the audience is. Nowhere in our current Bible or on ancient manuscripts is the name Moses mentioned as the author, nor is Jehovah identified as the narrator of the Creation account.[2] This lack of context can easily be mirrored in our approach to teaching the Creation.

It is far better to begin with the context of the inspired version found in the book of Moses. The book of Moses begins with a first-person account of Jehovah speaking to one of His prophets, Moses. Moses’s experience begins with an introduction from Jehovah, including two dramatic visions of God’s creations. This led Moses to ask two simple questions: Why? and By what? (see Moses 1:30). In other words, Why was everything created? and How was it done? In answer to these questions, the Lord revealed more details.

The account in the book of Moses provides the context of when and where this revelation occurred. This context helps us understand why the revelation was given. Verse 1 tells us that Jehovah spoke with Moses on a high mountain, and verses 17 and 25 provide the rest of the needed context. We learn from verse 17 that this glorious revelation came to Moses after he received his call to redeem Israel at Sinai. Verse 25 tells us that Moses will “be made stronger than many waters,” a clear allusion to the parting of the Red Sea, a future event. In other words, Moses was in the midst of trying to redeem Israel at the time he received this revelation. An understanding of these circumstances helps us realize the difficult conditions in which Moses was called to labor. Though raised in the courts of Pharaoh by Pharaoh’s own daughter, Moses was forced to flee for his life as a result of killing an Egyptian taskmaster. Moses fled to Midian and began the life of a shepherd in exile (see Exodus 2:11–15). While living in these unsettling circumstances, he was called to deliver Israel.

Consider Moses’s situation. He was called to free Israel from one of the most powerful nations in the world. Pharaoh commanded a vast and mighty army. Moses was a shepherd. It hardly seemed possible for Moses to fulfill such a call in these circumstances. Moses needed to understand better what his resources were and, most importantly, just who “I Am” was (see Exodus 3:14). Notwithstanding Moses’s experience at the burning bush, he was still young in his understanding of the God of Israel at the beginning of his mission. The household of Pharaoh believed in a pantheon of largely specialized deities. This likely would have been part of Moses’s upbringing. It seems clear that the Lord uses the Creation account to more fully introduce Himself to Moses—to help Moses understand who he was in relation to God.

Later in the book of Moses, the Lord revealed Himself to Enoch. Once again a prophet is called to accomplish a great task: to call a very wicked people to repentance and establish Zion. Enoch clearly felt overwhelmed at his call: “Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?” (Moses 6:31). Once again, that prophet was prepared for his mission through a vision of the “spirits that God had created” (Moses 6:36). As with Moses, an account of the Lord’s creations helped Enoch more fully understand who the Lord was and who Enoch was (a son of God). Interestingly, as Enoch began his ministry among a people who seem to have lost their knowledge of God, the first thing he taught, after revealing the very existence of God, was the Creation. He taught them: “The heavens he made; the earth is his footstool; and the foundation thereof is his. Behold, he laid it, an host of men hath he brought in upon the face thereof” (Moses 6:44).

We see this pattern repeated in the book of Abraham. Abraham lived with his idolatrous father amid a people who had abandoned the true worship of God. Like the people Enoch was called to teach, Abraham’s audience had lost their understanding of who God was. Abraham attempted to call both his family and those around them back to God but had no success. Abraham was ultimately saved from being offered as a sacrifice to heathen gods and directed to flee. As Abraham journeyed through the land of Canaan toward Egypt, the Lord appeared to him and, in Abraham’s words, “told me of the works which his hands had made; and he said unto me: My son, my son (and his hand was stretched out), behold I will show you all these. And he put his hand upon mine eyes, and I saw those things which his hands had made, which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and I could not see the end thereof” (Abraham 3:11–12).

Once again, the Lord revealed Himself to His prophet and expanded that prophet’s understanding and readiness to accomplish a great task. The Lord told Abraham, “I show these things unto thee before ye go into Egypt, that ye may declare all these words” (Abraham 3:15). Once again, a prophet was to share what he learned about God through the Creation with the people he was sent to teach.

One last example of how the Lord’s servants have used the Creation is from the Book of Mormon. In this case, we don’t have a detailed description or vision of the Creation. We simply have the example of God’s servants using the Creation to introduce God to His children. Ammon and Aaron went to teach the Lamanites, a people who had lost most of their knowledge of the true and living God. When the time came for Ammon to teach Lamoni, the first thing Ammon did after establishing the reality of God was to teach Lamoni that God created all things. Ammon said:

Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit?

And he said, Yea.

And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth?

And he said: Yea. . . .

And Ammon said: Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning. (Alma 18:26–32)

Aaron, his brother, followed the same model when he taught Lamoni’s father:

And the king said: Is God that Great Spirit that brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem?

And Aaron said unto him: Yea, he is that Great Spirit, and he created all things both in heaven and in earth. Believest thou this?

And he said: Yea, I believe that the Great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should tell me concerning all these things, and I will believe thy words.

And it came to pass that when Aaron saw that the king would believe his words, he began from the creation of Adam, reading the scriptures unto the king—how God created man after his own image. (Alma 22:9–12)

Through coming to know the true and living God and their relationship with Him, the Lamanites were prepared to throw off the veil of unbelief under which they had lived for almost five hundred years.

Thus, God and His prophets have used the Creation account to help us better understand who He is and who we are in relationship with Him. To better understand how following the Lord’s pattern in teaching the Creation can help our students, let us examine the principles of this pattern as found in the scriptures as well as from the words of our modern prophets.

An Introduction to God

The Lectures on Faith teach that without a correct understanding of God’s character, perfections, and attributes, we cannot exercise faith in God unto salvation.[3] How can we obtain a correct understanding of God’s character? The Prophet Joseph indicated that the way to understand the nature of God is by going back to the beginning: the Creation.

He said: “In the first place, I wish to go back to the beginning—to the morn of creation. There is the starting point for us to look to, in order to understand and be fully acquainted with the mind, purposes and decrees of the Great Elohim, who sits in yonder heavens as he did at the creation of this world. It is necessary for us to have an understanding of God himself in the beginning. If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we start wrong, we may go wrong, and it be a hard matter to get right.”[4]

When Jehovah introduced Himself to Moses in the “prologue to the creation”[5] (see Moses 1), He shared several crucial aspects of his nature. In verse 3, He teaches us that He is almighty and endless—or infinite in nature. He continues in verse 6, teaching that He is omniscient. All these attributes are tied together and made more meaningful through the knowledge gained in verse 4: He is our Father. These verses serve as the beginning of the Lord’s introduction of Himself to Moses in this record.

God is almighty. Recalling the context of Moses’s introduction, we realize that he had already been called to free Israel from Pharaoh, one of the most powerful men on earth at the time. Evidence of Pharaoh’s might abounded from his powerful armies to his pyramids. How was Moses supposed to oppose such power? He couldn’t—at least not on his own. The answer lies in the power of Him who called Moses. It is one thing for the Lord simply to tell Moses that He is almighty. How much greater the impact to show Moses? Pharaoh builds pyramids, but God creates worlds. Pharaoh can slay thousands, but God can and did create “all the children of men which are, and which were created” (Moses 1:8), including Pharaoh. Other than the Atonement itself, is there a more awe-inspiring display of God’s almighty power than the Creation? In this light, freeing Israel doesn’t look so unlikely after all. It is still an unfair fight, but now the scales are tipped decidedly in favor of Moses’s success.

It may seem unnecessary to convince our students that God is almighty, as most have been taught this since they were young. In practice, however, we all seem to need a reminder of this important truth just as much as Moses did. How many of us fail to heed the Lord’s counsel in our lives? Though it is doubtful that many would articulate the reason for our lack of obedience as disbelief that God has power to fulfill His promises, it nevertheless remains true that we at times trust in our own might (and mind) more than God’s. We believe that God has all power, but knowing our own imperfections, we doubt that He would exercise that power on our behalf. Obviously, cursory knowledge of God and His loving nature are not enough to move us to action.

Elder Richard G. Scott explains: “Sometimes, we foolishly recite facts about the Father and the Son, mechanically. . . . Yet they continue to love us perfectly, each one of us, individually. Yes, they are all-powerful and all-knowing; their works extend eternally, yet their love for each of us is personal, knowing, uncompromising, endless, perfect.”[6] We must come to know that God not only desires our salvation but also has the power and the love to bring it to pass.

Elder Loren C. Dunn teaches: “Faith is the ability to recognize the Lord as all-powerful and the giver of all blessings. As King Benjamin put it: ‘Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth ...’ (Mosiah 4:9).”[7] If God can create universes, He can help us with our day-to-day lives. As God had power to create us, He also has power to save us.

God is infinite and eternal. For God to create this temporal earth as well as the mortal inhabitants thereof, He must exist outside the boundaries and limitations of mortality. In other words, God must be infinite in nature. One definition of infinite is “having no boundaries or limits.”[8] The God we worship transcends the bounds of this mortal life and is truly “without beginning of days or end of years” (Moses 1:3).

The Lord taught this profound truth to Joseph Smith: “There is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them” (D&C 20:17). God’s infinite and eternal nature extends beyond creating to saving. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that “the work of redemption must be infinite and eternal; it must be done by an infinite being; God himself must atone for the sins of the world.”[9]

As God is infinite and eternal by nature, His creations also share in His infinite nature and have no end (see Moses 1:4–5, 29, 33, 35, 38; Abraham 3:12). This is true not only quantitatively (He continues to create) but also qualitatively (His creations have an infinite nature). We, as God’s children, though temporarily housed in mortal bodies, are immortal beings. The Lord shared this truth with Abraham (see Abraham 3:21–26). Our immortal, infinite nature acts as a homing device. It beckons us to connect with our infinite Source. This is especially true when stretched to the limits of our capabilities.

Elder B. H. Roberts explains: “For the performance of extraordinary duties, for the accomplishment of high purposes, the soul, conscious of its own limitations, reaches out for help; deep calls to deep; the infinite in man seeks union with the infinite in God, and, on occasion, and when necessary for the achievement of God’s purposes, we have reason to believe that the Lord deigns to communicate his mind and will unto men.”[10]

Not only is God infinite in His being but also He is infinite in all of His other attributes as well. It is vital to understand that when it comes to His children, there are no limits to God’s knowledge, power, or attributes. This understanding allows us to develop true faith in Him. There is nothing we will ever need from God for which He will be found wanting.

President Ezra Taft Benson teaches that true faith is made up of this trust: “Faith in Jesus Christ consists of complete reliance on Him. As God, He has infinite power, intelligence, and love. There is no human problem beyond His capacity to solve. Because He descended below all things (see D&C 122:8), He knows how to help us rise above our daily difficulties.”[11]

Think of what knowing that God is infinite and eternal must have meant to Moses as he sought to redeem Israel from Egypt or to Abraham as he sought for the promised land. Think of what it can mean to our students as they try not only to survive but also to thrive in a world surfeited with evil. No wonder the Lord used the Creation to help both Abraham and Moses understand who they were! It will likewise help our students get to know God’s infinite nature, capacity, and desire to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life.

God is omniscient. After the Lord said that He was all-powerful and infinite, He said, “All things are present with me, for I know them all” (Moses 1:6). God knows all there is to know to save His children. He knows the nature of all things because He created all things.

Elder James E. Talmage likewise teaches that “God is Omniscient—By Him matter has been organized and energy directed. He is therefore the Creator of all things that are created; and ‘Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.’ His power and His wisdom are alike incomprehensible to man, for they are infinite. Being Himself eternal and perfect, His knowledge cannot be otherwise than infinite.”[12] The Creation account thus becomes an eloquent witness of God’s omniscience.

It was essential for Moses, Abraham, and Enoch to know that God knows all things. What if God were only guessing or hoping that Moses would succeed in the work God called him to do? How could Moses, or for that matter any of us, have faith in a God who might one day say, “Oops, I must have been mistaken.” This is true not only for our day-to-day needs but also for our eternal needs as well.

Elder Oscar W. McConkie, father of Bruce R. McConkie, once asked, “How can a man have faith enough to have salvation if he does not believe that God is all-powerful, or that he knows all things?”[13] As President Harold B. Lee explains, this knowledge is the beginning point of any relationship with God: “Now, if you will just keep that in mind [that God is all powerful and omniscient] you have a beginning point, you have a relationship with Him. We are His son, His daughter. He knows us. He knows the very things and the times before appointed, and the place where we would live, and the times in which we would live. So in Him only can we place full trust.”[14]

Like Moses, Enoch, and Abraham, we must know that God has all knowledge; only then can we exercise sufficient faith to do what is required of us. Elder Neal A. Maxwell explains:

At times, we are taken to the very edge of our faith; we teeter at the edge of our trust. Perhaps, even as Jesus did on the cross, we in our own small way may feel forgotten and forsaken. To go to the very edge is possible, of course, only when we believe in an omniscient and omnipotent God. When we understand that all things are present before His eyes and that He knows all things past, present, and future, then we can trust ourselves to Him as we clearly could not to a less than omniscient god who is off somewhere in the firmament doing further research. (D&C 38:2; Moses 1:6.) “The Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words.”[15]

Some sincere individuals question whether God can know all things. It has been suggested that God’s knowledge of all things is limited to His creations. Whether it is argued that God knows all things or just all things pertaining to His creations, the results are the same for us. We can have faith that He knows all things pertaining to our salvation and thus have explicit faith in Him. Though it may be impossible to understand how God knows all things, we have the testimony of scriptures and many of his Prophets.[16] Possibly the clearest statement on the subject comes from the Lectures on Faith: “Without the knowledge of all things God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures; for it is by reason of the knowledge which he has of all things, from the beginning to the end, that enables him to give that understanding to his creatures by which they are made partakers of eternal life; and if it were not for the idea existing in the minds of men that God has all knowledge it would be impossible for them to exercise faith in him.”[17]

How important it is for our students to understand this foundational truth. Elder Richard L. Evans says:

Think what it would be worth to students, to young people who are torn between conflicting theories and teachings that change from time to time, with the many disagreements there are even among the experts, to be encouraged to search, to seek for truth, to know that the Lord God, whose infinite intelligence embraces the whole universe, is the source of all truth, and to know that there is no point or purpose in losing faith because of conflicting theories, because time and patience and research and revelation will sometime see them all resolved. After all, eternity is a long time, and there is infinitely much that men do not know. Why be disturbed about the little that we think we know. Many theories once thought to be true have since been set aside, and others will be.[18]

God is our Father. We learn one truth regarding the nature of God through the Creation account more clearly than almost anything else: God is our Father. After telling Moses that He is almighty, infinite, and omniscient, God gave Moses this stunningly simple yet important revelation: “Behold, thou art my son” (Moses 1:4). Throughout the Creation accounts, we are assured that God is our Father and that His work is our exaltation. In the books of Moses and Abraham, God continually refers to Moses and Abraham as “my son” (see Moses 1:4, 6–7, 40; Abraham 1:17; 3:12). He is our Father, and we are His children. This final piece of revealed knowledge is the capstone that makes all else we know about Him life-altering. Without our having the knowledge that God is our Father, God’s almighty, infinite, and omniscient nature would not necessarily be helpful or comforting. What if an almighty God didn’t like us? What if His whole purpose and existence were not to lead us to exaltation? What if He did like us but was busy doing other things? How good it is to know that “God has no distracting hobbies off somewhere in the universe.”[19]

The Lord informed Moses that, as our Father, God’s sole work is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Everything else is a lower priority.[20]As Elder Dennis E. Simmons explains: “He has already achieved godhood. Now His only objective is to help us—to enable us to return to Him and be like Him and live His kind of life eternally.”[21] He loves us and will do everything possible to help us become like Him and return home to live with Him.[22] This knowledge, combined with the other attributes of God already discovered or deepened through the Creation account, should give us the courage and strength to do all that God requires of us.

President Marion G. Romney says, “Having such knowledge, one is assured that God, although infinite and eternal, the framer of heavens and the earth and all things that in them are, being the possessor of all power, all wisdom, and all understanding, being more intelligent than all other beings, is, nevertheless an individual—an understanding, kind, and loving parent ready to hear and minister to the needs of his children—that he is not merely some unthinkable, unknowable, indefinable, far-off, distant force.”[23]

An Introduction to Ourselves

Through more fully comprehending the nature of God, we are better able to understand our own nature. We must comprehend our own nature if we are to live up to the potential within us. President Boyd K. Packer teaches that “we all live far below our privileges.”[24] Part of the challenge is that at times we lack a correct understanding of our nature. By studying the Creation account, we come to understand our true nature more fully. This helps us live worthy and true to our full potential. Three aspects of our nature that the Creation accounts illuminate are that we are God’s children, that we have a dual nature, and that we have a work to accomplish in this life.

We are God’s children. The corresponding doctrine to God being our Father is that we are His children. In the beginning, the Lord said to Adam, “Behold, thou art my son” (Moses 1:4). The Lord also declared to Enoch: “Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons” (Moses 6:68). God refers to Moses, or Moses refers to himself, as a son of God seven times in the book of Moses. Finally, in the book of Abraham, the Lord also refers to Abraham as “my son” (Abraham 3:12).

President Marion G. Romney teaches that this is

the most important knowledge available to mortals. Such knowledge is beyond the ken of the uninspired mind. Neither logic, science, philosophy, nor any other field of worldly learning has ever been, or ever will be, able to find it out. . . . Fortunately for us, as has already been shown, it has been so revealed repeatedly from Adam until today. The aspirations, desires, and motivations of one who accepts, believes, and by the power of the Holy Spirit obtains a witness to the truth that he is a begotten son or daughter unto God differs from the aspirations of him who believes otherwise, as the growing vine differs from the severed branch.[25]

Once we gain a basic knowledge of our divine heritage, we must deepen our understanding of what this actually means in our daily life. How often have most members of the Church sung the words to the children’s hymn “I Am a Child of God” without really drinking deeply of the meaning? President Gordon B. Hinckley asks us if we really understand the significance of this doctrine: “I challenge every one of you who can hear me to rise to the divinity within you. Do we really realize what it means to be a child of God, to have within us something of the divine nature? . . . We can either subdue the divine nature and hide it so that it finds no expression in our lives, or we can bring it to the front and let it shine through all that we do.”[26] Very few places in the scriptures provide a better opportunity to emphasize and deepen an understanding of our divine heritage than the Creation accounts. In each one, God consistently emphasizes that we are His children and that the entire purpose of the Creation is our exaltation.

A deep and abiding testimony that we are children of God will help us and our students live up to the “infinite capacities to grow spiritually and become more like Him.”[27] It is a knowledge that protects as well as directs. Our spiritual security increases as we come to sense more deeply our identity as a child of God.

Sheri L. Dew teaches that “the more clearly we understand our divine destiny, the more immune we become to Satan.”[28] This is evident in how Moses was able to overcome Satan’s attack in the first chapter of the book of Moses (see Moses 1:12–23). One other benefit that comes to us as a result of understanding our divine parentage is we treat those around us differently. How we treat each other is determined by who we think we are.[29] As Elder Maxwell teaches, “We learn who other mortals really are—our spiritual brothers and sisters, not functions, rivals, or enemies.”[30]

We are dual beings. In Moses 3, we learn that we were created spiritually before we were created physically (see Moses 3:1–9). Each of us lived with our heavenly parents as spirit beings before we were born on this earth.[31] This means that in addition to having a physical, mortal body, we each have an eternal spirit. Even more elemental than this, before our birth as spirit children of heavenly parents, we existed coeternally with God as intelligences.[32] Truly, we are much more than mere mortals. Our birth into mortality is simply the clothing of our immortal spirits with a physical, mortal body. This truth, beautifully taught through the scriptural Creation accounts as well as through the words of our modern prophets, is vitally important for a correct understanding of our true nature. Sadly, far too few of us recognize this important truth.[33]

Our dual nature, spiritual as well as physical, connects us to God. President David O. McKay teaches that “at some period of his life everyone is possessed with an irresistible desire to know his relationship to the Infinite. He realizes that he is not just a physical object that is to be tossed for a short time from bank to bank, only to be submerged finally in the everflowing stream of life. There is something within him which urges him to rise above himself, to control his environment, to master the body and all things physical and live in a higher and more beautiful world.”[34] This truth helps us understand why “we sometimes feel out of harmony or in conflict” in this physical world we currently inhabit.[35] As has been said, we are not physical beings trying to have a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a temporary mortal experience.

We have a work to do. Each time God related the Creation account to Enoch, Abraham, and Moses, it was in connection with a mission or a work they were required to accomplish. Enoch was to create Zion, Abraham was to establish a covenant with God that would be passed on to all God’s children, and Moses was to redeem Israel from Egypt. A closer look at each of these “missions” reveals that they are all simply subsets of God’s ultimate work, the eternal exaltation of His children. God’s work and glory is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Through coming to know more clearly the nature of God as well as our own nature, we are better prepared to assist in this glorious work.

It should come as no surprise that our work is to become partners with our Heavenly Father in our own as well as in our brothers’ and sisters’ exaltation. If our goal is to become like Him, we must “think what he thinks, to feel what he feels, to have the power he possesses, to comprehend the truths he understands, and to do what he does.”[36] As Elder Maxwell notes, “For us, the goal is clearly to make God’s work our own.”[37]

This partnership is nothing new. Elder John A. Widtsoe teaches that we entered this partnership in our premortal life: “In . . . the day of the great council, we made a certain agreement with the Almighty. The Lord proposed a plan, conceived by him. We accepted it. Since the plan is intended for all men, we became parties to the salvation of every person under that plan. We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviours for ourselves but measurably, saviours for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father’s work, and the Saviour’s work, but also our work.”[38]

Conclusion

Elder McConkie teaches that the truths about God and the plan of salvation are not gained by the wisdom of men. They are had by us “because God has spoken in this day, and has given these truths again, by the same direct revelation that he gave them in times of old.”[39]

The revelations of God’s creative work, both in Genesis and more particularly in the Pearl of Great Price, make it possible for us to come to know God and His plan in ways that lead us to greatly marvel and wonder. If we are to “grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created [us]” (Mosiah 4:12), what better material to study than His revealed accounts of the Creation? Though we have much to choose from when we study and teach the Creation, we will be wise if we follow the example of the Lord and His prophets in how they have used the Creation in the scriptures. Each time the Lord has shared an account of the Creation through vision or word, it has been in the context of more fully introducing Himself to His prophets and preparing them for a great work. Through these accounts, we come to see God in all of His majesty, power, and dominion. It can and should truly be an awe-inspiring and spiritually life-changing experience.

Notes

[1]. Russell M. Nelson, in Conference Report, April 2000, 105; or Ensign, May 2000, 84.

[2]. See E. Douglas Clark, “A Prologue to Genesis,” BYU Studies, November 2006, 132–33.

[3]. See Joseph Smith, comp., Lectures on Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 39.

[4]. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 343.

[5]. E. Douglas Clark, “A Prologue to Genesis,” BYU Studies, November 2006, 131.

[6]. Richard G. Scott, “To Help a Loved One in Need,” Ensign, May 1988, 61.

[7]. Loren C. Dunn, “Building Bridges to Faith,” Ensign, May 1981, 25.

[8]. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed., s.v. “infinite”; see also Richard C. Edgley, in Conference Report, April 2002, 66; or “For Thy Good,” Ensign, May 2002, 65.

[9]. Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 111.

[10]. B. H. Roberts, Defense of the Faith and the Saints (Provo, UT: Maasai, 2002), 525.

[11]. Ezra Taft Benson, “Jesus Christ: Our Savior and Redeemer,” Ensign, November 1983, 6.

[12]. James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 39.

[13]. Oscar W. McConkie, in Conference Report, October 1952, 57.

[14]. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2000), 47.

[15]. Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1980), 36–37.

[16]. See Joseph Fielding McConkie, Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel Questions (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1998), 112. See the list of scriptures.

[17]. Smith, Lectures on Faith, 4:11.

[18]. Richard L. Evans, in Conference Report, April 1965, 135.

[19]. Neal A. Maxwell, in Conference Report, October 2003, 106; or “How Choice a Seer!” Ensign, November 2003, 100.

[20]. See Dallin H. Oaks, in Conference Report, April 2001, 109; or Ensign, May 2001, 84.

[21]. Dennis E. Simmons, in Conference Report, April 2004, 74; or “But If Not ...” Ensign, May 2004, 73.

[22]. Margaret D. Nadauld, “Turning Hearts to the Family,” Ensign, May 1998, 89.

[23]. Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, October 1964, 50.

[24]. Cited in Donald L. Staheli, in Conference Report, April 1998, 107; or “Obedience—Life’s Great Challenge,” Ensign, May 1998, 81.

[25]. Marion G. Romney, “Man—A Child of God,” Ensign, July 1973, 11.

[26]. Gordon B. Hinckley, in Conference Report, October 2002, 109; or “Each a Better Person,” Ensign, November 2002, 99.

[27]. Alexander B. Morrison, in Conference Report, October 2000, 12; or “Come and See,” Ensign, November 2000, 12.

[28]. Sheri L. Dew, No Doubt About It (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 2001), 47.

[29]. See Charles Didier, “Spiritual Security,” Ensign, May 1987, 25.

[30]. Neal A. Maxwell, in Conference Report, October 2003, 106; or “How Choice a Seer!” Ensign, November 2003, 100.

[31]. See Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde J. Williams (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), 22.

[32]. See Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 343.

[33]. See David O. McKay, in Conference Report, April 1967, 6.

[34]. David O. McKay, in Conference Report, October 1928, 37.

[35]. D. Todd Christofferson, in Conference Report, October 2002, 76; or “That They May Be One in Us,” Ensign, November 2002, 71.

[36]. Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1972), 6:762.

[37]. Neal A. Maxwell, If Thou Endure It Well (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), 101.

[38]. “The Worth of Souls,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, October 1934, 189.

[39]. Bruce R. McConkie, in Conference Report, April 1953, 75.