Moses Chapter 2 (June-October 1830) The Spirit Creation of the Earth
Moses 2 An Account of the Spirit Creation of the Earth
Moses 2:26-27 And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them.
In this chapter, we will consider Moses 2 and Genesis 1 concomitantly. Though there is some opinion to the contrary, I will make the case that these two chapters provide us with a description of the spirit creation of the earth. I have come to believe the evidence for this is compelling.
It is suggested that, prior to beginning a study of this chapter and its commentary, the student read carefully The Creation in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 3.
The creation is best understood when it is separated into three creative periods or epochs:
1. The first creative period is the spirit creation of all the earth. It includes the spirit births of all "living" things-plants, animals, humans. It also includes the spirit creation of all the so-called "inanimate" things of the earth. In a sense these inanimate things are also "born" in that the intelligences designated to inhabit the inanimate materials of the earth are embodied with spirit matter.
2. The second creative period is the preparatory physical creation of the earth and all things on the earth except for the family of Adam. This period likely required millions and even billions of years to complete. When the earth was finally completed-when it contained "enough and to spare" (D&C 104:17)-it was ready for the third creative epoch.
3. The third creative period was the final preparation of the earth wherein it was readied for habitation by the family of man. All modern life forms began to be placed upon the earth. This period also included the preparation of the Garden of Eden and the introduction of man to the earth. This period of creation was far shorter in years than the second preparatory creation.
Unless one acknowledges these three distinct creative periods, the scriptural accounts of the creation can be confusing. The first creative period, the spirit creation, is described in Genesis 1 and Moses 2. The second creative period is described only in Abraham 4. Neither the book of Genesis nor the book of Moses describes this period. The final or third creative period is described in Genesis 2, Moses 3, and Abraham 5.
God divides each of the three creative periods into separate periods of time that he calls "days." We are never told how long these days were. Neither do we learn whether or not they were equal in length.
The First Creative Period: The Spirit Creation of the Earth
The supposition that Moses 2 and Genesis 1 are accounts of the spirit creation of the earth is foundational and fundamental to this commentary. Not all students of the scriptures feel that there is an account of the spirit creation to be found in the scriptures. The two creation accounts in the book of Moses-(1) Moses 2 (corresponds to Genesis 1) and (2) Moses 3 (corresponds to Genesis 2)-as we have discussed, are accounts of two different creation events. Moses 2 and Genesis 1 provide an account of the spirit creation of the earth and Moses 3 and Genesis 2 provide the account of the final preparation of the earth and the commencement of the placement of modern life forms, including man, upon the earth. The student who first studies these two creation accounts in Moses-particularly if he or she fails to acknowledge that these accounts are describing two distinct creative periods-is often confused by the inconsistencies and even contradictions in the two accounts.
Some schools of biblical inquiry have explained away these differences in Moses's creation accounts (Genesis 1 and 2) by assuming that Moses found two different accounts of the creation among the myths of his people and included both of them in his history. Since these myths most likely came from different sources, they reason, there must have been some errors in one or both of them, and this accounts for their differences. We know this is not a valid explanation of the differences since Moses chapters 2 and 3 (two chapters which correlate most closely with Genesis 1 and 2) were both directly revealed to the prophet Joseph by the earth's very Creator.
Before we begin our study of the spirit creation, let us look at these contradictions and inconsistencies between Moses 2 (Genesis 1) and Moses 3 (Genesis 2):
1. The order of creation: In Moses 2 (Genesis 1) the order of creation is plants, animals, man and woman. In Moses 3 (Genesis 2) the order is different-man (Adam), plants, animals, and woman (Eve).
The order of creation is different simply because the two accounts relate the sequences of two entirely different creation processes. Moses 2 (Genesis 1) speaks of the creation of the spirit earth and the creation of the spirits of all men, women, plants, and animals whose spirits' births occurred concomitantly with the birth of the spirit earth. Moses 3 (Genesis 2) describes the "creation" of Adam-actually, his physical birth and his placement on the physical earth. This is obviously an entirely different event than the creation of all spirit men, women, plants and animals described in Moses 2. Moses 3 then continues with the account of the "creation" or placement on the earth of modern life forms-plants and animals-followed by the appearance of Eve.
The description of the "creation" of plants and animals during this third creative period is incompletely understood. We know it refers to the beginning of the placement on the physical earth of modern life forms-including the family of Adam-in bodies of mortal material that would inhabit the earth together. Archaeologists have convincingly demonstrated that in the early or "prehistoric" age of the earth-the second creative period-there were many plant and animal life forms that have long since become extinct and have not been known to exist on the earth since man has been on the earth. It is possible, I suppose, that the Lord removed, by divine edict, the early life forms from the earth between the second and third creative periods. But it seems more likely they simply became extinct due to natural forces prior to the onset of the third creative period. The Lord, of course, may have orchestrated these extinctions.
During the third creative period in Moses 3 (Genesis 2), the modern life forms were initially placed on earth in a "paradisiacal" or immortal form. They would become mortal only after the fall of Adam and Eve. It is not clear whether the description of the third creative period applies to the world at large, or only to a localized area-the Garden of Eden. Eve's advent onto the physical earth, as mentioned, is described following the organizing of the paradisiacal plants and animals.
2. A scripture often quoted as referring to the spirit creation requires a bit of explanation, particularly when it is closely examined. The passage is Moses 3:5:
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air.
This verse of scripture is found at the transition between the first creative period (the spirit creation) and the two periods wherein the physical or "natural" earth is created. The phrases "in the earth," "it grew," and "flesh" all apply to the natural or physical earth and not the spirit earth. It is only when God's spirit creations are embodied with mortal physical matter that they are "flesh" and "naturally upon the face of the earth." Apparently on the spirit earth every environmental necessity was in place for animal and plant life to thrive, but there was no need for rain. Apparently rain is a feature only of the physical earth and is not needed on the spirit earth. As we shall learn, there was rain on the physical earth during the millions of years of the second creation epoch (the physical preparatory creation). Also, on the spirit earth, was there no need for anyone to "till the ground."
As part of the period of creation of the spirit earth-the first creative period-all of the human spirits were born to heavenly Parents and resided, at least initially, on the celestial planet. Whether or not these spirits actually resided on the spirit earth is not clear. It is clear, however, that during the long period of the preparatory creation of the earth-the second creative period-there were no humans belonging to the family of Adam in physical form. They may have resided there, however, in a spirit realm. This idea is not unprecedented since the post-mortal world of spirits is generally held to be located on this earth. It is therefore possible that the creation of spirit men and women, as part of the first creative period, occurred in the celestial realm ("heaven") and that they would be placed on the physical earth only at the moment of their physical or mortal births.
Recall that Moses did not record any details of the second creative epoch. After the onset of rain, during the second and third creation epochs, plant and animal life thrived on the earth.
3. Both Moses 2 and Moses 3 mention the creation of plants, animals, and man and woman, but only Moses 2 includes the creation of the sun and moon-see Moses 2:14-18 and the commentary for those verses.
Moses 3 only contains a partial creation account: It only recounts the events required to place modern life on the earth. In addition to Moses 2:14-18, the physical creation of the sun and moon is repeated in Abraham 4. Abraham 4, you will recall, gives an account of the preparatory physical creation or the second creation epoch. By the onset of the third creation epoch, at Moses 3:6, the physical sun and moon had already been created and apparently didn't need much "tuning up" for the arrival of the modern life forms on the earth.
4. Moses 3 begins by saying that "the heaven and the earth were finished, and all the host of them" (verse 1). The word host refers to the people (and perhaps the plants and animals) that inhabit the heaven and the earth. Though "the heaven and the earth were finished," Moses will continue on, in Moses chapter 3, to describe the creation of man, plants, animals, and woman. This "creation" is the beginning of the placement of men, plants, animals, and women on the earth-this "creation" is the commencement of their physical birth onto the physical earth. At the onset of the third creative period, the process of creation was not actually completed. The spirit earth had been created. The spirit sons and daughters had been born, and the spirit plants and animals had been born. Also, the physical earth was created and had been prepared for billions of years (the second creative period) for the arrival of the modern physical life forms upon the earth. The creation was really completed only after the final preparation of the physical earth and the arrival of the modern life forms. These modern life forms included plants, animals, and physical man.
5. When was woman created? Moses 2 describes woman's being created on the sixth day along with man. However, in Moses 3:7 Adam is created (experiences his physical birth); then several important events occur before Eve is created or born physically onto the earth.
This is simple to explain. The creation of "male and female" on the sixth day in Moses 2 was the spirit creation or spirit birth of the Father's children. Eve's arrival on the physical earth, described in Moses 3 (the third creative epoch), occurred later and was therefore an entirely separate event. This "creation" of Eve does not refer to her creation or birth in the spirit. Rather, like the "creation" of Adam in Moses 3, it simply refers to her being born onto the physical earth.
6. There are two different Creators directing the work of the creation in Moses 2 and 3. Throughout Moses 2, "God" (the Father) is the Creator. The Father personally directed, and of course, participated in, the spirit creation. Following the birth of his spirit family, the Father selected the Firstborn, Jehovah, to direct the physical creation. Hence, in Moses 3, beginning with verse 4, "the Lord God" (Jehovah) speaks as the Creator instead.
1 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
verse 1 "write the words which I speak" Moses is commanded to write the very words the Lord speaks. This means that what we will read is not Moses's personal interpretation of what he saw, but is exactly what the Lord told him to write down. Keep in mind that Moses is speaking with Jehovah or Jesus Christ who is speaking as though he were the Father by the principle of divine investiture of authority.
"I created these things" Though it was Jehovah who spoke to the prophet Moses and spoke of his creating the earth, we learn that the Father himself was the Creator of the spirit earth. And here in Moses 2, we read a description of the spirit creation. Following the spirit birth and training of the Firstborn, the Father will assign him the primary role of Creator. Jehovah or Jesus Christ, then, was the Creator of the physical earth.
"in the beginning" This phrase is an incipit title of the book of Genesis. For the meaning of the phrase "incipit title" see the commentary for Moses 1:1. Our title for the book-Genesis-comes from the Septuagint Greek word meaning "origin, source, beginning; production, generation, coming into being; creation."
The three available scriptural accounts of the creation (Genesis 1-2, Moses 2-3, and Abraham 4-5) all agree that "in the beginning" God (or the Gods) created the heavens and the earth. But is this the account of the beginning of the entire universe? Apparently it is not. Here the Lord says, "Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth" (italics added, see also Moses 1:35). God told both Abraham and Moses that his creations were innumerable to man, and that this earth is not the first of his creations. Thus, the scriptural accounts describe the creation only of "this earth" and "this heaven"-perhaps our solar system.
When the scriptures speak of "in the beginning," we must remind ourselves that there never was an absolute "beginning." Thus, any such designation is arbitrary and usually refers to the start of the round of creation to which we belong. Obviously there was a finite time when our round of creation began.
"I created the heaven, and the earth" What is the "heaven" and what are the "heavens"? The heaven seems to be the atmosphere of our earth. The term heavens seems to represent all of the proximate organized bodies of our cosmos-the other planets and the moons (Moses 1:37).
There exists in the Church a general notion that the earth's creation-from the beginning of the spirit creation (spirit births) up until the fall of Adam (during the third creative period)-occurred with the earth in the immediate vicinity of Kolob and not in its present solar system. This belief includes the idea that the earth took its place in our current solar system following the fall of Adam (see, for example, Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price, 200-01). The creation account might be expected to include an account of the creation or preparation of our own sun and the planets and moons in our solar system. While the creation account in Moses 2 (the account of the spirit creation) does include the account of the creation of the sun and moon, it is not possible to determine from Moses 2 or 3 the location of the earth at the time.
verses 2-5 The first day: The spirit earth is born. A globe covered by water is formed and begins rotating; it is encompassed with the light of day and the darkness of night. Keep in mind that the birth of the spirit earth is also the spirit birth of all those intelligences that will inhabit the so-called "inanimate" things of the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and I caused darkness to come up upon the face of the deep; and my Spirit moved upon the face of the water; for I am God.
Genesis 1:2 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.
verse 2 "the earth was without form, and void" At the outset of the spirit creation the spirit matter that was to become the spirit earth, within its watery womb, was "without form, and void." Joseph Smith also taught that it was "empty and desolate," that is, devoid of any surface life such as plants or animals (Ehat & Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith, Extracts from William Clayton's Private Book, 5 January 1841, 60).
"I caused darkness to come" For some reason it was necessary to create an unnatural state of darkness which temporarily encompassed the earth's watery womb. This statement implies that prior to this point there was light. This may have been the light given off by Kolob or other stars in the universe. The process of organizing the existing materials into the sun and other heavenly bodies of the solar system in which the earth then resided apparently resulted in a local darkness for a period of time.
"the face of the deep" Apparently the spirit creation or organization of the earth took place with the earth covered with water analogous to a watery maternal womb. Orson Pratt wrote:
There is also a similarity in the process of creation between the earth and its inhabitants. The earth when created, according to the accounts we have, was covered with a flood of waters . . . by and by emerging from the waters. This was the birth of creation, the same as we are born here into this world, from one element into another. After having been brought forth from the element of water, the process of creation, or the further development of the earth continued (JD, 16:314).
"And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" The Hebrew word in Genesis translated as "moved," m'rahepet, is better translated as "brooding and fertilizing" This seems clearly to be describing the life-giving and life-sustaining power of the light of Christ that makes possible all life, not only on this earth but throughout all of God's creations. That light is somehow necessary to enable the intelligence to live in combination with its spirit embodiment. The light of Christ "proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space. It is also "the light which is in all things, which given life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed" (D&C 88:11-13). If the reader does not feel he or she is "up to speed" in the concept of the light of Christ, please see The Concept of Light in Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 1, chapter 15. We will see in the following verse that this light of Christ is also somehow necessary to generate the electromagnetic energy we call light-the light of the sun and stars.
3 And I, God, said: Let there be light; and there was light.
Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
verse 3 Apparently the earth was allowed to emerge from its dark watery womb and the Lord's "light" or creative power shown upon the earth. This allowed the light of the surrounding heavenly bodies to play upon the earth.
4 And I, God, saw the light; and that light was good. And I, God, divided the light from the darkness.
Genesis 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And I, God, called the light Day; and the darkness, I called Night; and this I did by the word of my power, and it was done as I spake; and the evening and the morning were the first day.
Genesis 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
verses 4-5 The spherical earth was caused to begin rotating which created a day/night cycle with each rotation. If the earth's creation did not take place in this solar system, but somewhere near the great star Kolob, the light that shown on the newborn spirit earth perhaps came from Kolob or one or more of its neighboring stellar companions.
verses 6-8 The second day: The waters are divided and the "firmament" or atmosphere is created.
6 And again, I, God, said: Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water, and it was so, even as I spake; and I said: Let it divide the waters from the waters; and it was done;
Genesis 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And I, God, made the firmament and divided the waters, yea, the great waters under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so even as I spake.
Genesis 1:7 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.
verses 6-7 "And I, God, said: Let there be a firmament" The firmament is the sky, or, more broadly, the atmosphere surrounding the earth. Sometime after her birth, on the "second day," the illuminated and rotating earth was surrounded by a gaseous spirit atmosphere. This is the atmosphere of the spirit earth where spirit fowl fly.
"in the midst of the water" "Let it divide the waters from the waters" This atmosphere was apparently placed between two layers of water. Thus there were waters below the firmament and waters above the firmament.
There has grown up a feeling among some in the Church that water did not exist on the spirit earth. This belief is incorrect. This belief probably stems from the fact the baptism by immersion in water can only occur on a physical earth and not in a spirit environment. There obviously was water on the spirit earth, as we know that the Lord created spirits of a host of aquatic creatures, obviously intended to inhabit the waters of the spirit earth (Moses 2:20-22). These "waters" involved in the spirit creation were probably spirit waters-that is, intelligences embodied with the spirit version of water.
It is the ordinance of baptism, not water, that is limited to the physical earth. Birth into mortality is associated with physical water, and the ordinance of baptism, which is symbolic of that birth, must also involve physical water (Moses 6:59-60).
What are these two layers of water spoken of-the waters below and the waters above? The waters below will become the spirit oceans and lakes in which the aquatic creatures live. The waters above the firmament or spirit atmosphere are apparently the embryonic waters from which the spirit earth had been delivered. These are referred to only briefly, as they likely ceased to exist soon after the earth was born or delivered from these waters.
As the reader will note in the following verse, the firmament or spirit atmosphere is also call "Heaven." Later on, the Lord will call it "the open firmament of heaven (verse 20)."
8 And I, God, called the firmament Heaven; and the evening and the morning were the second day.
Genesis 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
verses 9-13 The third day: Dry land appears and spirit plant life begins to flourish. The land is surrounded by one ocean of water. Spirit plants such as grass, herbs, and fruit trees begin to grow on the land.
9 And I, God, said: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and it was so; and I, God, said: Let there be dry land; and it was so.
Genesis 1:9 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.
verse 9 "Let there be dry land" On the "third day" the waters below the atmosphere-those "under the heaven"-were separated from the dry land. This resulted in a single body of water (the waters were gathered "unto one place") and a single land mass or continent.
10 And I, God, called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, called I the Sea; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good.
Genesis 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11 And I, God, said: Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed should be in itself upon the earth, and it was so even as I spake.
Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
verse 11 "and it was so even as I spake" Moses's account suggests that God placed plant species on the earth without any preparatory period (compare Abraham 4:11-12 and the commentary for these verses). This is, of course, because Moses is describing the spirit creation.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, every herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed should be in itself, after his kind; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good;
Genesis 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
verses 11-12 "after his kind" A careful consideration of this expression suggests God is not creating new life forms (see also verses 21, 24, 25). If a life form is created "after his kind" then each life form must have come from pre-existing life forms, or parents. This presents a problem since we know that spirit beings do not possess the power of procreation. "Only resurrected and glorified beings can become parents of spirit offspring" (James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 5:34). Therefore, resurrected, glorified parental stock had to be brought to the new spirit earth where, by a process of procreation and germination, they produced the host of spirit offspring that Moses describes. This is the real meaning of the phrase "and the earth brought forth." But where did the resurrected parental stock come from? We do not know. They might have come from the Father's home planet or from any number of other resurrected, celestialized planets.
"whose seed should be in itself" You will note that this peculiar expression is found in both verses 11 and 12. In Genesis 1:11-12, this expression is rendered, "whose seed is in itself" (verse 11) and "whose seed was in itself (verse 12). These expressions imply that the spirit plants on this spirit earth already contained the seeds of reproduction. They did not, of course, since spirit bodies are incapable of reproduction. Joseph Smith amended these expressions in Moses 1:11-12 and placed them in a form that implies that the seeds of reproduction would in the future be contained within the plant bodies-"whose seed should [at a future time] be in itself." We know that this will be when they receive a physical body in the physical creation that is yet to occur.
It is a readily observable law of nature that apple trees only produce apples and seeds that are capable of germinating into new apple trees. This law of procreating according to "kinds" or "his kind" is equally applicable to the animal kingdom. This law prevails not only in the physical world, but also among resurrected beings who produce spirit offspring.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Genesis 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
verses 14-19 The fourth day: The earth is assigned a future place among the stellar bodies. The physical sun, moon, and solar system are organized to eventually provide signs, seasons, days, and years for the spirit earth.
These verses describe the creation of the solar system in which our earth now resides. Again, it is possible the spiritual and physical creations of the earth took place while the earth was in orbit near Kolob and did not fall into our present solar system until after the fall of Adam. Our sun and moon and stars were created for our earth well in advance, in preparation for the earth's eventual arrival. Thus, Genesis 1:14-19; Moses 2:14-19; and Abraham 4:14-19 all describe the same thing-the physical creation of our present solar system, minus our earth.
14 And I, God, said: Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years;
Genesis 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
verse 14 "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven" God arranged the positions and motions of the various heavenly bodies to provide light, heat, and a means of keeping track of time. A day, of course, is the time for the earth to rotate on its axis; a month the time for the moon to orbit the earth; and a year the time for the earth to orbit the sun. Moreover the various seasons-winter, summer, spring, and fall-are the consequence of the tilt of the earth's axis with respect to its orbital plane, as well as the eccentricity of its orbit about the sun. All these aspects of the motion of the earth and moon had to be fine-tuned to produce the times and seasons we now have. D&C 88:42-45 describes this very process:
And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons; And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets. And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years-all these are one year with God, but not with man. The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.
"the firmament of the heaven" Here, obviously, the phrase "firmament of the heaven" refers to the cosmic realm of our present solar system.
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.
Genesis 1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And I, God, made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the greater light was the sun, and the lesser light was the moon; and the stars also were made even according to my word.
Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
verse 16 "to rule" The sun and moon "rule" the day and the night in the sense that they are the brightest objects in the day and night skies, respectively.
17 And I, God, set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
Genesis 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And the sun to rule over the day, and the moon to rule over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good;
Genesis 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
verse 18 "to divide the light from the darkness" God caused the earth to rotate on its axis, producing the variation of day and night, thus "dividing" the light from the darkness.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Genesis 1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
verses 20-23 The fifth day: We now return to the spirit earth, and aquatic and flying creatures appear. The oceans are filled with spirit aquatic creatures like whales and fish. Winged fowl fly in the atmosphere. The marine and aerial life forms are commanded to multiply.
20 And I, God, said: Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl which may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Genesis 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
verse 20 "Let the waters bring forth" Since these spirit life forms were produced from resurrected beings, this phrase actually means "Let resurrected celestial parental stock bring forth their spirit offspring."
21 And I, God, created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind; and I, God, saw that all things which I had created were good.
Genesis 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
verse 21 The term "great whales" probable refers to a multitude of large creatures of the sea.
22 And I, God, blessed them, saying: Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the sea; and let fowl multiply in the earth;
Genesis 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
verse 22 "fill the waters in the seas" Remember that it is resurrected, glorified parental stock of many species giving spirit birth to these flying and aquatic creatures.
Even today, more than 90 percent of all life on earth is found in the oceans.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Genesis 1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
verses 24-31 The sixth day: The creation of spirit animal life and the spirit family of man. Cattle, beasts and other animals appear on the land. Man is created in God's image, both male and female. They are commanded to multiply and to have dominion over all other earth life. God concludes his work, calling it all "good."
24 And I, God, said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind, and it was so;
Genesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And I, God, made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything which creepeth upon the earth after his kind; and I, God, saw that all these things were good.
Genesis 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
verses 24-25 "Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind" Again, we see the direct and simple bringing forth of spirit creatures upon the earth from resurrected, glorified stock as is possible during the spirit creation. No particular preparation is necessary. Contrast this verse with Abraham 4:24 which gives the account of the second creative period, the preparatory physical creation of the earth, preparatory to the eventual introduction of modern life forms upon the earth.
Just a reminder that spirit animals were not created "from scratch" by the Lord; rather they were born "after their kind" to resurrected celestial animal parents.
Joseph was taught by the Lord that spirit animals look just like their physical counterparts on the earth today: "That which is spiritual [was created] in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created" (D&C 77:2).
26 And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and it was so. And I, God, said: Let them have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
verse 26 "Let us make man in our image" This is a statement the Father made to the Son. The Father, of course, is directly involved in the birth of his spirit children. His Firstborn Son, Jehovah, had been born previously. It is true that we know nearly nothing about the divine birth process by which the intelligence of man was combined with a body of spirit matter. We would presume that it somehow involved the Father and a Heavenly Mother. We only know that the spirit family of man is the literal birth product of Heavenly Parents, and that our spirit bodies were in the very likeness and image of those Parents. What role, if any, the Son had in this process is simply unknown, but the scriptures suggest that he did have a role (see D&C 93:10 and its commentary).
27 And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
verses 26-27 Because we know that Moses 2 is the account of the spirit creation of the earth and all of its hosts, we must therefore conclude that these two verses do not given an account of the "creation" of Adam and Eve (their placement on the earth). Rather, these verses speak of the spirit creation, or spirit birth, of the entire human family.
The first operation of creating a world is to beget a spirit family. Brigham Young wrote:
After men have got their exaltations and their crowns-have become Gods, even the sons of God are made Kings of kings and Lords of lords, they have the power then of propagating their species in spirit; and that is the first of their operations with regard to organizing a world. Power is then given to them to organize the elements, and then commence the organization of tabernacles (JD, 6:275).
Brigham Young taught that the apostle Paul's declaration "we are the offspring of God" (Acts 17:28-29) referred to the spirit creation, or birth, of man described in Moses 2:26-27, also confirming that these verses describe the birth of the spirit offspring of the Father (JD, 11:122). Speaking of these same two verses (actually Genesis 1:26-27 which correlated with Moses 2:26-27), Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: "This [Genesis 1:26-27] was a spiritual creation, man was created in the image of God, male and female, first in the spirit, and told in that spiritual creation that they were expected to multiply and replenish the earth when they were placed upon it" (Organization of the Reorganized Church and the Question of Succession, 99).
28 And I, God, blessed them, and said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
verse 28 In this verse the Lord gives four vital commandments:
1. "Be fruitful, and multiply" This commandment was to be obeyed once the spirit offspring had received their physical or mortal bodies, and then only under the conditions of the sacred order of marriage. Those capable of bringing children into mortality through marriage and family, but refuse to do it for any reason, are guilty of disobedience of this important command.
2. "replenish the earth" The Hebrew word in Genesis translated as "replenish," male', means "to fill," without the implication of "refilling" which "replenish" suggests in modern English. This is an extension or expansion of the first commandment. We are not just to "multiply," that is, to have children, but to have as many as our circumstances will permit. This ensures that earth will be filled with the spirit inhabitants of heaven who are anxiously awaiting their turn to receive a physical body.
Some of those who refuse to raise up a family complain that we are already suffering from a "population explosion" that will surely exhaust the earth's capacity to sustain them all. The Lord has revealed that the earth's resources are more than sufficient to comfortably sustain all the human beings assigned to it: "I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork . . . For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves" (D&C 104:14, 17).
3. "subdue it [the earth]" This commandment applies to the spirits of men and women once they have been born onto the physical or mortal earth. Presumably the soil of the spirit earth did not need tilling or planting; there was no need for rain; in general the spirit earth did not need subduing. This purpose of this commandment is to render the physical earth usable and useful for the human race. This would include farming the soil and domesticating the animal life of the earth to bring forth the necessary resources for humanity's food and clothing. It would also include drilling and mining out the mineral resources from the earth's crust. It would also include building highways and railways for the transportation of people and resources. It might also include employing the earth's river systems for transportation and the generation of energy.
4. "have dominion . . . over every living thing" This commandment also refers to the physical, mortal earth and only applied to earth after the arrival of mortal men and women upon the earth. This is the Lord's command for man to take control of and maintain dominion or lordship over the physical earth's plant and animal life. This dominion must be a "righteous" and wise one. Perhaps "stewardship" best describes this dominion of man over the rest of creation. There should be no wanton or purposeless destruction of animal or plant life. The Lord has warned: "And wo be unto that man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need" (D&C 49:21). He has also cautioned that animal life is to be taken "only for meat, and to save your lives." Further, "the blood of every beast [killed otherwise] will I require at your hands" (JST Genesis 9:11). The antithesis of those who would wantonly abuse the earth's life forms is those who would elevate the plants and animals of the earth above the needs of the human race. Motivated by the dogmas of heathen religions or popular movements of the day, some have sought to deify non-human life forms, both in the name of "religion" or "the environment." These are also apostate doctrines.
29 And I, God, said unto man: Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in the which shall be the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
verse 29 Here the Father extends his promise that the earth will contain sufficient food for every mortal inhabitant who will ever live here. Again, we note the profound verse: "The earth is full, and there is enough and to spare" (D&C 104:17).
Notice the verb tense "shall be" which suggests that these foods will be used in the future after the human family's arrival on the physical or mortal earth.
"to you it shall be for meat" The Hebrew word translated as "meat" is 'oklah. This word is better translated as "food" or "eating." In King James English, "meat" has the broader sense of "food" rather than just "flesh" as it now does. Thus, God will tell Adam and Eve that plants will provide the food they will eat. Only after the fall do they eat animal flesh.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein I grant life, there shall be given every clean herb for meat; and it was so, even as I spake.
Genesis 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
verse 30 "every clean herb for meat" As in verse 29, here "meat" means "food."
The promise of sufficient fool is also extended to all animal life that will inhabit the mortal world. When modern life forms were initially placed on the physical earth, they apparently ate herbs and fruits. Some animals became carnivorous only after the fall of Adam and Eve. Then animals began to consume one another's flesh. "Animals, in the providence of the [earth's] creation have been intended [subsequent to the fall] as a prey upon one another. They preserve a safe balance for the benefit of man" (Joseph F. Smith, David O. McKay and Stephen L. Richards in a lead editorial in the Juvenile Instructor, April 1918). Apparently a vegetarian pattern of consumption will resume among carnivores during the Millennium.
31 And I, God, saw everything that I had made, and, behold, all things which I had made were very good; and the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
verse 31 "all things which I had made were very good" Are not all things which God has made good? The fact is that not everything made by God turns out to be good. Many of God's finest creations have turned against him, including one third of his spirit children. Even entire planets can sufficiently rebel and pass "out of existence through self-destruction" (Spencer W. Kimball, "Spiritual Communication," Improvement Era, June 1962, 426). This verse, then, teaches us a profound truth. This earth is good. This planet both "filleth the measure" of her creation and "transgresseth not the law" (D&C 88:25) and thus the vast majority of those intelligences who are combined with the elements of this earth are qualified for a celestial resurrection (D&C 88:18-20). We may certainly regard it a privilege to be associated with this earth now and forever as she progresses toward her final celestial glory.