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MYSTERIES OF CREATION

 

Mysteries of Creation

by
Ogden Kraut

December 1989

I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease. (Moses 1:4)

One of the greatest queries on the minds of the Saints is to understand the nature, the principle of the foundation of our existence. (Brigham Young, JD 6:275)

Every world that has been created, has been created upon the same principle. They may vary in their varieties, yet the eternity is one; it is one eternal round. These are things that scarcely belong to the best of this congregation. There are items of doctrine, and principles, in the bosom of eternity that the best of the Latter-day Saints are unworthy to receive. If the visions of their minds were opened to look into the vast creations, and gaze upon the Power, and Glory, and Goodness, and Exaltation of the Gods, they would exclaim: “Wo is me, I am undone. I am of unclean lips.” (The Teachings of President Brigham Young, Vol 3, pp. 353-354)

[3]                                PREFACE

Learning the mysteries of creation involves a never-ending search into the unknown. But as man learns precept upon precept, he will grow in wisdom and understanding with a greater respect for his Creator and all creation. The Prophet Joseph Smith recognized the power of Creator:

He that can mark the power of Omnipotence, inscribed upon the heavens, can also see God’s own handwriting in the sacred volume; and he who reads it oftenest will like it best, and he who is acquainted with it, will know the hand wherever he can see it; and when once discovered, it will not only receive an acknowledgment, but an obedience to all its heavenly precepts. (TPJS, p. 56)

It is written that the things of God can be understood only by the spirit of God, but regrettably most of mankind have acquired only the spirit of the world, so heavenly things are often misunderstood.

To increase the difficulty in obtaining a clear concept of God’s work and the mission of Christ, there seem to be conflicting statements throughout the scriptures. Many views and interpretations have been attributed to the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Misunderstanding the scriptures led mankind into the “Dark Ages”, from which we have never apparently recovered, for in this dispensation the Lord said, “darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people.” (D & C 112:23)

Without the additional benefit of revelation, the scriptures are confusing and misunderstood, and incorrect interpretations usually result. Nevertheless, mankind looks [4] with awe into the great vault of the universe and wonders at creation and the Creator. The wonder of how it was created, why it was created, and who created it, does not escape the mind of mortal man. Astronomers, cosmologists, scientists, and most of mankind have speculated on this subject ever since the beginning of time.

Only a very few have ever gained the remotest understanding of their creation–and they were God’s prophets. And yet, even they have gleaned only a meager understanding of the mysteries of the universe, and from their words unfortunately came many conflicting statements concerning the creation.

There are numerous and obvious doctrinal differences between the LDS religion and other world religions, but pertaining to the subject of creation there are many disagreements just among the Mormons. This book will attempt to identify and clarify some of these problems and contradictions, such as: Who created the heavens and the earth–the Father or Jesus? Or did they do it together? Were many immortals involved in the creation? Who was the God of the Old Testament–the Father or the Son? How long did it take to create the earth? Who is the Only Begotten? Can spirits create anything physical? What was the fall? What is the destiny of man?

As Brigham Young stated, “these are things that scarcely belong to the best of this congregation” and also, “It is a mystery to the wisest there is upon the earth.” But Joseph Smith said, “He who reads it oftenest will like it best.” This subject is somewhat like a great jigsaw puzzle, which must be fitted together one small piece at a time before the whole picture can be seen–and apparently some of the important pieces are missing!

So this brief effort does not attempt to answer all these questions completely, but merely to provide further knowledge and insight into forming a better understanding of the earth’s creation. Each chapter of this book is a [5] stepping stone, or another piece to the puzzle, and hopefully by the last chapter, a more clear picture will be visible and there will be a few less mysteries of creation!

[7]                               Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

Winston Churchill once described a confusing problem as being a mystery shrouded by an enigma wrapped around a question. This definition could also apply to many factors connected with the creation of the earth.

In this vast program of the Gods we mortals can only “see through a glass darkly.” Many of the mysteries in this realm must remain as mysteries for now. Only comparatively few sermons, scriptures and scientific facts have shed much light on the subject of creation. But this is no reason for us to avoid learning what we can about it.

In some instances, the scientists come closer to the truth than most of the modern Christian ministers. Some of these mysteries can be understood better by reason, logic and common sense than by literal statements from ancient Bible writers.

Brigham Young, in speaking about the creation, mentioned how little we really know:

The capacity of mankind in attaining to geometrical knowledge and the fine arts is great; all nations and people understand more or less of the knowledge pertaining to the arts and sciences. But when they leave those principles that are comprehended in the studies pursued by the natural man, and undertake to define their own persons, their own being, and to understand the propriety and wisdom of the creation, and bring forth to themselves or to others those principles that pertain to future knowledge, they are in the dark; there is a veil over them. The [8] veil of the covering that is over the nations of the earth has beclouded their understandings, so that they are in thick darkness. This our experience teaches us–that when any uninspired person or persons (who pretend to) step beyond organized nature, which is visible to the natural eyes, there is a mystery–the hidden mystery–the deep and unsearchable mystery of creation. (JD 6:284)

Brigham said that fortunately the Latter-Day Saints have a little more light and knowledge about the mysteries of creation:

The Latter-day Saints have some knowledge respecting their future lives and destiny; the Lord has revealed this knowledge. We know the design of our Father in heaven in creating the earth and in peopling it, and bringing forth the myriads of organizations which dwell upon it. (JD 14:229)

He also said that comprehending these mysteries is one of the grand expectations of good men:

I expect, if I am faithful, with yourselves, that I shall see the time, with yourselves, that we shall know how to prepare to organize an earth like this–know how to people that earth, how to redeem it, how to sanctify it, and how to glorify it, with those who live upon it who hearken to our counsels. (JD 6:274-75)

Many volumes have been written just on the areas of creation and astronomy that are known, but only a portion of those principles and facts are necessary for man to understand pertaining to his salvation.

The human body, as studied by medical science, has encompassed thousands of years and thousands of men. [9] Their in-depth studies have involved all the intricate phases of the body’s construction, its reactions to chemicals, and how it can be repaired. Their conclusions have filled thousands of books; yet none of these professionals have written much, if anything, on the eternal destiny of the body. So, too, with the scientific work of the astronomers. In years of research and the labors of many lifetimes, their studies have produced few comments or words of wisdom concerning the purpose or destiny of this earth.

Astronomy is the study of heavenly bodies, and anatomy the study of human bodies. But scientists and doctors in neither area have revealed much on the eternal destiny of these heavenly or human bodies.

Joseph Smith and Brigham Young often expounded important truths connected with the creation that were not found in the Bible. This is typical of inspired prophets. Moses and Abraham also saw and knew more about the creation than they recorded. Apparently we cannot understand these things unless we see them in like manner. However, Brigham Young tries to give us just a glimpse–

Now I wish to ask you if you have any conception or idea as to the creation of the world? “Oh yes,” you reply, “A great many of us have a tolerable idea of it, but still there are mysteries we do not understand; there are some things in the Bible about the creation that seem to be dark; we have learned some things in this Kingdom we do not understand, and that do not correspond with the reading of the Bible.” Let me open the eyes of your understanding.

There has never been a time when the creations of worlds commenced; they are from eternity to eternity in their creations and redemption. After they are organized they experience the good and the evil; the light and the dark; the bitter and the sweet, as you and I do. [10] There never was a time when there were not worlds in existence as this world is, and they pass through similar changes in abiding their creation preparatory to exaltation. Worlds have always been in progress, and eternally will be. (Teachings of B.Y., 3:393, Collier)

Creation is more than just making a world. Besides forming oceans, mountains, rain and atmosphere, it is the placing of a huge sun to give light and warmth. It is a garden-creation to be filled with plants and animals, especially designed as a place for man to live. It is an earth on which man is to have “dominion”, to grow and learn and have increase in his posterity.

But if this great architectural masterpiece was made expressly for man, why did God subject him to so much cold, hunger, sickness, and pain? Why must man be forced to endure so much trouble, poverty, war, and death in its most horrible forms? Then, as if that is not enough, why did He create a devil, with billions of evil imps to add to the misery of man?

It has been revealed that this little world, stuck out in space, is more than a scientific miracle. Even though it is plagued with sorrows and adversities, it is all for the good and everlasting welfare of mankind. When man finally learns the reasons for all these creations and conditions, he will rejoice and exclaim that it is truly a “marvelous work and a wonder.”

This little globe, resting among the stars, has a surprising and pre-determined future. It exceeds man’s meager understanding in this world, for God’s special work is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man. Only much later will man learn that his destiny is centered in God, and the destiny of God is centered in him!

[11]                         Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered. (Moses 1:8)

[12]                              Chapter 2

WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE

Complexities of our Universe, Galaxies, and Solar System

The vast complexity of the universe extends far beyond the shallow confines of our mortal minds. We have only scratched the surface of knowledge pertaining to this world, not to mention the rest of creation. Our sun is only a speck among the endless galaxies that compose our universe, as clearly described below:

But, great and glorious as the Sun is, and seemingly so much greater than every other object in the sky, it is really only a tiny fragment, a mere speak, in the magnificent starry empire of which it is a part. It is less to the material universe at large than a globule to our globe. With all its retinue of ponderous orbs, it is only one of innumerable hosts of such suns and systems. There are myriads of stars in space immeasurably greater than it. (The Gospel in the Stars, Joseph A. Seiss, pp. 9-10)

Is it any wonder that Moses–after being shown just “the world upon which he was created… and the ends thereof”–said, “Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.” (Moses 1:8, 10)

This book is dealing mostly with the creation of just our earth, but to better understand the magnitude and power involved in its creation, it is important to know a little about the entire universe and our earth’s relationship to it.

[13]         Mortal man stands in awe of the wonders of the universe. Its beauties, balances, and perfections are beyond the grasp of man’s finite mind. But it is not just with the natural eye that some of these wonders can be seen. Through the microscope many more astounding perfections can be appreciated, and through the telescope one can observe the expanse of sun, moon, and stars as they revolve in perfect harmony. Pertaining to just our earth, the balances in nature on the land, under the sea, and in the heavens, provide evidence of how all things are kept under the utmost control.

The organization of every living thing is another wonder that baffles men of science. The natural machinery of every physical body–with its plumbing, electrical, sensory, heating and cooling, massive library, photographic and energy system–is beyond comprehension. Then, in addition, how these pieces of machinery can repair themselves, are all wonders indeed!

Going further, the construction of our planet earth staggers the imagination. Such a masterpiece is beyond our comprehension. The exact tilt of this sphere to cause our seasons; the needed percent of oxygen for so many breathing things; the proper distance to the sun and moon to give us the right temperature, tides, etc.; and just the right size and circuitry of the earth for the proper weight, densities and environment–these are just a few of the magnificent wonders of our little planet. They are a constant display of ingenious mathematical, chemical, and constructional engineering.

We live in a day when interplanetary exploration is becoming commonplace. We now have space craft that can travel through our solar system photographing other planets as they pass by them. To the scientists, the universe is a frontier of great adventure, as the West was for Daniel Boone. To the philosopher, it is beauty; to the poet, it is exotic verse; but to the religionist, the universe is a revelation on the purpose of life and the creations of the heavens.

[14]         Man builds a house by design, planning, mathematics, and proper architectural structure. But this is just minor intelligence at work when compared to the complexity and perfection of the earth and the universe. To further portray the vastness of galaxies in the universe, Dr. Wernher Von Braun, the space scientist, explained:

I cannot believe that the Power which created life and order, confined all sensible organisms to this comparatively tiny planet. Our sun is one of 100 billion stars in our galaxy. Our galaxy is one of billions of galaxies populating the universe. It would be the height of presumption to think that we are the only living things in that enormous immensity. (Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe, p. 84)

Before we proceed further, let’s consider a brief definition of three of the terms that are mentioned in this chapter–going from the largest to the smallest:

Universe –              The totality of all the things that exist.

Galaxy –                                Any of innumerable large groupings of stars, typically containing millions to hundreds of billions of stars. (Our galaxy is the “Milky Way.”)

Solar System – The sun and all the heavenly bodies that revolve around it.                                           (There are about a dozen larger planets in our solar system.)

Many new discoveries reveal principles of astronomy never known before, such as the gyroscopic action of all of the solar system. Dr. Melvin Cook, noted scientist, explained how the planets seemingly “hang” out in space:

I had the assignment of reviewing a scientific article on gravitation in which was shown that all terrestrial periodicities are in accurate correlation, each relating with precision to the universal gravitational constant G. These include [15] the rotations of the earth around the sun, the axial rotation of the earth, all the gyroscopic and other periodicities of the earth even including the secondary wobbles of the earth. These same sorts of periodic motions are evidently similarly correlated in all the planets and between all the planets as far as they are now known, and the correlations in periodic motions extend, I think, to all heavenly bodies not only of the solar system but into the much greater system (our galaxy), into the clusters of galaxies, and throughout the whole universe even to the first and foremost creation–Kolob. (Creation and Eternalism, <pamphlet>, p. 12)

We know that our solar system is only a very small part of a huge “Island Galaxy”, of which we are a little “Milky Way.” Our Milky Way appears to be a great cloud, which is actually a composite of billions of stars, or suns. Estimates, by a series of plottings, reveal that our little system is composed of nearly 200 billion stars. If we were to travel at the speed of light, it would take us just a “scant” 100 billion years to travel across this “tiny” galaxy. We begin to realize the size of space when we know there are billions more of such galaxies out there, and some much larger than our own.

There are many other stars, or suns, much bigger than ours. For instance Rigel, the brightest star in Orion, emits 13,000 times more light than our sun. Betelguese is another star which would fill all the space between our earth and our sun. Some are larger than that by nearly five times:

It is interesting to compare these enormous creations to the smallest creation–the atom (a marvel of engineering by design)–and conclude that their constructions are basically the same. From the smallest to the greatest creations in the universe, construction is based upon the same principles. But certainly none of them came about just “by chance.”

[16]         The scientist Paley described the impossibility of a “chance” creation of our solar system by comparing it to a man walking in the forest and finding a watch in operating condition with the correct time. By this simple discovery, he knew that some person of intelligence had created that watch and that it had not been formed by some accidental formation in the forest. The watch was evidence of intelligence displayed through the intricate creation and placement of wheels, cogs, hands, casing and glass cover. He said the wonders of the universe are far more complex and display much more intelligence than a functional watch found “by chance” in a forest.

And another scientist used a similar parallel in describing the impossibility of the earth’s existence by chance, comparing it to a huge volcano exploding and its molten lava accidently pouring out a new automobile with gas in the tank and the engine running!

Great Men of Science and Religion Agree

Both scientists and religionists continue to ponder over the method of creation and speculate as to its origin, but most admit that a Super Intelligence had to be the organizer and controller of such perfection.

In 1540 Nicholas Copernicus proved, against all previous conceptions, that the earth rotated around the sun. He recognized the handiwork of God in the universe:

Among the many and varied literary and artistic studies upon which the natural talent of man is nourished, I think that those above all should be embraced and pursued with the greatest zeal which have to do with things that are very beautiful and very worthy of knowledge. Such studies are those which deal with the Godlike circular movements of the world, the course of the stars, their magnitudes, distances, risings and settings, and the causes of the [17] other celestial phenomena; and which finally explicate the whole form. For what could be more beautiful than the heavens which contain all beautiful things? * * *

For the divine psalmist surely did not say gratuitously that he took pleasure in the workings of God and rejoiced in the works of his hands, unless by means of these things as by some sort of vehicle we are transported to the contemplation of the highest good. (“Revolutions of Celestial Spheres”, The World’s Great Thinkers, 4:43-44)

About 100 years later, another scientist, Blaise Pascal, also gave God the credit for creating the world. As a philosopher, he wrote arguments for the Christian faith that superceded the best theologians:

Let man contemplate the whole of nature in her full and grand majesty, and turn his vision from the low objects which surround him. Let him gaze on that brilliant light, set like an eternal lamp to illumine the universe; yet the earth appeared to him a point in comparison with the vast circle described by the sun; and let him wonder at the fact that this vast circle is itself but a very fine point in comparison with that described by the stars in their revolution round the firmament. * * * The whole visible world is only an imperceptible atom in the ample bosom of nature. No idea approaches it. In short, it is the greatest sensible mark of the almighty power of God, that imagination loses itself in that thought. (World’s Great Thinkers, 1:199)

One of the greatest minds of our time, Dr. Albert Einstein, recognized the existence of a Great Creator:

The harmony of natural law . . . reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared [18] with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an insignificant reflection. (The World As I See It, Einstein, p. 267)

Dr. Einstein once visited Elder B. H. Roberts in his Church office in Salt Lake City. During their conversation, Elder Roberts was called out of his office for a few minutes. When he returned, Einstein was looking through Roberts’ library and was thumbing through the book Wonders of the Universe by Orson Pratt. “Who is this fellow Pratt?” Einstein inquired. Roberts told him a little about Orson’s life and works, and Einstein replied, “There were not a half dozen men on earth at that time who understood the principles this man was writing about.”

It should be noted here that Pratt’s book Wonders of the Universe has been used as a text at the Royal Academy of Science in England. It is a study on the principles of astronomy, and he attributes the existence of all these heavenly orbs to a Great Creator:

When you study all these things, you are learning lessons concerning God. He it is who has thus organized all these materials of nature, has given them their properties, endowed them with their elasticities, placed them in certain proportions; or, as one of the inspired writers says, “He has weighed the mountains in a balance.” Everything is adjusted in the best possible manner to carry on his operations throughout the great universe which he has constructed. (Wonders of the Universe, p. 206)

Astronomers and scientists may understand the composition, size, and courses of many of the planets and stars, but most of them do not comprehend the origin, the power and the purpose of these creations. With all their worldly learning, men cannot even begin to comprehend the wonders of the universe without revelation from God. Fortunately, He has given further light and knowledge to [19] His prophets, such as Abraham, Job, Isaiah, Moses, and David. Thousands of years ago they were better informed about the mysteries of creation than the scientists of today. But unfortunately, only a small part of this knowledge has been recorded.

Abraham, according to Brigham Young, could tell us more in five minutes about astronomy than was known by all the scientists in the world. For example:

And it is given unto thee <Abraham> to know the set time of all the stars that are set to give light, until thou come near unto the throne of God. Thus, I, Abraham, talked with the Lord, face to face, as one man talketh with another; and he 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 3:10-12)

The importance of Abraham’s account of creation is emphasized by Dr. Frank Salisbury:

Upon more careful study of the book of Abraham, it became increasingly apparent to me why the book was restored to mankind. There is valuable historical information in the first two chapters, and chapter 3 is a marvelous view of the insight held by some of the ancients into the workings of the universe, the realities of the God who created it, and his special abode in it. The creation story itself proves to be a unique and marvelous view of creation. It is probably the greatest insight available to man today into the nature of God’s creative power. Creation is portrayed not as an act of magic but as the [20] application of a supreme intelligence–truly a divine engineering. There was planning and preparation. Councils were held. Nothing like this is apparent from the Genesis or the Moses accounts. And nothing could be more important for modern man to understand. (The Creation, Salisbury, p. 83)

Job also must have understood a great deal of the universe:

Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are! And thou sayest, How doth God know? Can he judge through the dark cloud? Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven. (Job 22:12-14)

What did Job mean by speaking of the “circuit of heaven?” Undoubtedly, it was the circuits of the stars and planets, as they revolve in the heavens. For example, we know that–

The earth orbits the sun at 66,500 miles per hour while the sun and its system is circling the core of our galaxy, the Milky Way, at approximately 600,000 miles per hour–making one complete revolution in 200 million years. The Milky Way is, in turn, believed to be orbiting a supercluster of 2,500 nearby galaxies at something over one million miles per hour while simultaneously moving outward through space at an estimated speed of over 300,000 miles per hour. (The Footstool of God, by Rodney Turner, pp. 3-4)

Dr. Turner also explained:

Although the stars comprising a given galaxy appear to the astronomer to be in aimless, random motion, they are, nevertheless, under the ultimate control of an overruling Providence. [21] Invisible hands direct this stellar traffic down the trackless highways of galactic space. These bodies, with their planetary systems, constitute wheels within wheels of time and motion. (Ibid., p. 3)

Isaiah talked about the “circle of the earth” over 2,000 years before Columbus set sail–and the history books teach that Columbus discovered that the earth was round: “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; . . .” (Isa. 40:22)

Moses was instructed by the Lord God and shown many of His creations nearly 4,000 years ago:

And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, . . . And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease…. And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; . . . (Moses 1:3,4,8)

David also spoke of his knowledge of and reverence for the Great Creator:

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. (Ps. 33:6)

The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. (Ps. 97:6)

He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. (Ps. 147:4)

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Ps. 8:3-4)

[22] With such an understanding of the earth, the sun and the stars, David concluded, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Ps. 14:1)

Like the plants, fowl, fish, and other animal life, the earth has life in itself and is obedient to the commands of its Creator. Brigham Young said:

And there is a spirit in the Earth. I am inclined at this stage of my remarks to expose my ignorance. I am not aware that any of the philosophers, or astronomers, have told you that the earth is a living creature and breathes as much as you and I do. * * * It is the life in the earth that forces the internal waters to the summits of some of the highest mountains which often gush out foaming lakes and springs. (Teachings of B.Y. 3:241)

Helaman stated that the earth is more obedient to God than is man:

O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth. For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God. Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake. * * * Yea, and if he say unto the earth–Move–it is moved. (Hela. 12:7-9, 13)

A few other examples showing obedience of the elements of the earth are Moses parting the Red Sea (Ex. 14:21-22} and smiting the rock and getting water from it (Ex. 17:5-6); Jesus walking on the water (Matt. 14:24-26) and calming the storm at sea (Mark 4:37-39; Luke 8:23-25).

[23]         Prophets in this last dispensation also had some knowledge of the wonders of the universe and attributed its creation to a Supreme Being. In fact, the Prophet Joseph Smith may have been way ahead of his time by knowing and understanding things about the universe that science has just been slowly grasping. For instance, the theory of relativity, discovered by Dr. Einstein, could have been familiar to the Prophet Joseph. Professor Melvin A. Cook explained:

In the peculiar geometry of relativity any straight line circles the universe. A revelation to Joseph Smith presented the same concept: “For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left… therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.” (D & C 3:2) This is equivalent to saying that a straight four vector is a circle, a sensible statement in relativity. (Creation and Eternalism, Cook, p. 23)

Other interesting information was also revealed by the Prophet Joseph:

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. Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand? Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power. (D & C 88:45-47)

*

But this life is not all, the voice of reason, the language of inspiration, and the Spirit of the living God, our Creator, teaches us, as we hold the record of truth in our hands, that this is not [24] the case, that this is not so; for, the heavens declare the glory of a God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork; and a moment’s reflection is sufficient to teach every man of common intelligence, that all these are not the mere productions of chance, nor could they be supported by any power less than an Almighty hand; and He that can mark the power of Omnipotence, inscribed upon the heavens, can also see God’s own handwriting in the sacred volume: . . . (DHC 2: 14)

Orson Pratt spent a great deal of his life in the study of astronomy, and became a professor and lecturer on the subject. During one of his discourses in 1875, he read from parts of Section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants which dealt with the field of science, and after reading them he commented:

I have read these sayings from a revelation given a little over forty-two years ago, to that youth, called Joseph Smith, a farmer’s boy. Do they sound like the ravings of a madman? Do they sound like something that was invented or composed by the wisdom of man, or do they sound like truth? Joseph Smith was not a learned man, he had to work for his living when he was a lad; and when God called him and gave these revelations through him, he had not studied any more than the generality of the young men who now sit in the congregation, and probably not near as much. Yet these words were given to him, and they contain information and knowledge far beyond that which you will find recorded in the writings of the learned–information, expressed so simply that a common mind can, in some degree, grasp it, and yet so sublime and so great that when we come to investigate its depths, it requires greater powers and greater understanding than what man naturally possesses. (Wonders of the Universe, O. Pratt, p. 197)

[25]         Because of his vast knowledge on the subject of science and creation, Orson Pratt probably had a greater appreciation of the universe:

. . . what rational being can look upward into the blue vault of heaven, and behold the sun in its effulgent glory; the moon, shining with a silvery brightness, exhibiting its ever varying changes; the stars bespangling the vast concave of nocturnal sky, twinkling, as it were, with joy, and lighting up the dark, unfathomable abyss of an unknown immensity; what rational being, we again inquire, can behold this august and sublime scenery without feeling the most intense desire to unlock the heavenly archives, and read from the great book of creation, the grand science of the origin of worlds, the laws by which they are governed, and their eternal destinies? Kings upon their thrones and the humblest shepherds in the field, have alike participated in this sublime emotion. The poet enraptured with the magnificent glories of the heavens, has poured forth his sublimest effusions in the most melting harmonious strains of glowing eloquence. While the man of God, with loftier views and higher aspirations, has soured aloft from nature’s Author, and, overpowered with the infinite greatness and resplendent glories which surround him on every side, he bows in humble adoration before the Great Eternal and exclaims, “What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him?” (Masterful Discourses of Orson Pratt, comp. by N. B. Lundwall, p. 293)

Brigham Young was also well acquainted with the complexities of creation:

. . . there is an eternity of elements, and an eternity of space and there is no space without a kingdom; neither is there any kingdom without a [26] space. Were the best mathematician to multiply figures from the time he first commenced to learn at five or ten years of age, until he is one hundred years old, or until he has exhausted the capacity of figures known to man, he can then tell no more about the number of the creations of God in comparison than a mere child who knows nothing whatever of figures. There is no beginning, no end; there is no bounds, no time, when the elements will cease to be organized into bodies with all the variety you have a faint specimen of on this Earth. (Tchgs. of B.Y., 3:345-346, Collier)

Both ancient and latter-day prophets probably understood, also, the concept of seeing into the past, present and future. Dr. Melvin A. Cook makes an interesting observation:

Another transcendent concept of modern revelation is the interesting and largely incomprehensible concept that time can flow in reverse. This is implicit in the description in D & C 130:7 that all things in the past (as well as the present and future) are continually before the Lord. O. E. Overseth, in an article in the October, 1969, Scientific American discussed the possibility of the reverse flow of time showing that scientists are beginning to think along these lines. (Creation and Eternalism, Cook, p. 24)

Thus, it is evident that both science and religion have generally agreed that the universe with its galaxies and solar systems did not come into existence by chance–that there was and is a Great Creator for each heaven and earth. But there is still much speculation as to how it was constructed, and some of these differing conclusions will be considered in the following chapter.

[27]                              Chapter 3

THE BIRTH OF THE EARTH

Something Out of Nothing?

How was our solar system created? Both scientists and religionists have expressed several different views; however, the scientists have probably made more accurate conclusions than most of the modern religionists. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained why:

You ask the learned doctors; why they say the world was made out of nothing; and they will answer, “Doesn’t the Bible say He created the world?” And they infer, from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence, we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos–chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time he had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and re-organized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end. (TPJS, pp. 350-352; DHC 6:309)

The Apostle Orson Pratt, who was both scientist and religionist, declared:

There is not a hint in all the Bible that God created this or any other world out of nothing. The work of creation was to take the materials that existed from all eternity, that never were [28] created or made out of nothing, to take these self-existent materials and organize them into a world. This is called creation. (O. Pratt, JD 16:315)

President Brigham Young also agreed:

If I were a sectarian, I would say, according to their philosophy, as I have heard many of them say hundreds of times, “God created all things out of nothing; in six days he created the world out of nothing.” You may be assured the Latter-day Saints do not believe any such thing. They believe God brought forth material out of which he formed this little terra firma upon which we roam. How long had this material been in existence? Forever and forever, in some shape, in some conditions. We need not refer at all to those who were with God, and who assisted him in this work. (JD 18:232)

Astronomers and cosmologists speculate, and most agree, that some super dense primordial matter exploded with incredible force, flinging these fragments into space, which eventually cooled and formed these huge bodies that we observe. This formation of planets caused them to be “born” in a rather speedy fashion which has been called the “big bang” theory. Certainly this is more reasonable (from information gathered) than the idea that planets were formed by a gradual shifting of space sand or that they were “created” out of nothing.

Although most of the ministers of the world believe that the world was created out of nothing, scientists and reason itself dictate that it must be otherwise. Dr. John A. Widtsoe, a noted LDS scientist, explains:

. . . the earth was made from materials found in the universe, which, by the intelligent power of God, were collected and organized into the earth. The earth was not made from nothing, nor [29] by the fiat of God, except as his will and words determined that the work should be undertaken. (Rational Theology, Widtsoe, p. 49)

The Apostle Parley Pratt also expressed similar views:

Intermingled with this space there exist all the varieties of the elements, properties, or things which intelligence takes cognizance; which elements or things taken altogether compose what is called the Universe.

The elements of all these properties or things are eternal, uncreated, self-existing. Not one particle can be added to them by creative power. Neither can one particle be diminished or annihilated. (Key to Theology, Pratt, pp. 49-50)

These expressions are ideologies that probably stemmed from the Prophet Joseph Smith who had previously taught that “In the translation `without form and void’, it should be read empty and desolate. The word created should be formed, or organized.” (TPJS, p. 181) This hypothesis coincides with the old Hebrew ideas of creation:

CREATION: The bringing into existence of the world by the act of God. The etymological meaning of the verb, however, is “to cut out and put into shape,” and thus presupposes the use of material. Whatever may be the nature of the traditions in Genesis and however strong may be the presumption that they suggest the existence of an original substance which was reshaped in accordance with the Deity’s purposes.

“For the genesis of anything,” he (Philo) says, “many things must combine: cause, material, instrument, purpose. God is the cause of the cosmos, while the four elements are the material. [30] Nothing suggests that he regarded this material as other than uncreated. It was there when God arranged the new order of things.

It was not matter, but form, that God praised as good, and acknowledged thus as His creative work. (Jewish Enc. 4:336)

Hence, the planets and suns were “organized”, or brought together, rather than suddenly popping into existence, as many modern preachers would have us believe.

So how were the elements actually brought together to form the earth and other planets in our solar system? How was the earth “born”?

“Big Bang” Theory

It is reasonable to conclude, then, that the earth and sun were wisely organized, planned and brought into their orbits and attitudes by an All-Wise Creator. His method of “creating” them, however, leaves some question.

The formation of this earth might have been a “gathering” of the elements or it could have been a fragment that came from a larger body of matter. Some astronomers contend that there was a superdense primordial piece of matter that exploded with an incredible force, flinging matter which eventually cooled and formed many of the heavenly planets which we observe rotating around sun.

This formation or creation of planets is reason to believe that they were “born” in a sudden expulsion which has come to be called the “big bang” theory. The earth was formed and placed in space through the fireworks of a supernova. Speaking of this fragment creation, B.H. Roberts wrote:

[31]                         The Prophet Joseph Smith is credited with having said that our planet was made up of the fragments of a planet which previously existed. * * * Then came the mighty convulsions which, for some cause or other, and doubtless for some wise purpose, disrupted that planet; and when from its fragments a new world–our present planet–was brought into existence, it was made the abode of man, as described in the second account of the creation in Genesis, which begins by placing man upon the earth and then the inferior animals. (Contributor 10:265-266)

So the idea that our planet was “born” from another larger one, and probably the result of some type of explosion, seems to be the most logical and accepted explanation among the LDS authorities.

The Time, Place and Reason

The Prophet’s brother, William Smith, wrote to W.W. Phelps and mentioned that our part of the solar system was determined to have a particular age, as established by Abraham and Joseph in Egypt. The Prophet Joseph translated something that established this age:

. . . and that eternity, agreeably to the records found in the catacombs of Egypt, has been going on in this system, (not this world) almost two thousand five hundred and fifty-five millions of years…. (Times and Seasons 5:758)

Thus, the age of this solar system was determined anciently to be 2-1/2 billion years old. Some of the leading scientists of today, coincidentally, have made similar observations of up to four billion years. This determination is based upon its organization, not its origin, because the elements of this earth are eternal in nature, and therefore did not have a beginning. As previously mentioned, something cannot be created out of nothing.

[32]         Orson Pratt made the observation that–

When I speak of the beginning, I have reference to the beginning of the earth, in its present organization; I do not have reference to the beginning of duration, for it had no beginning. (JD 21:323)

And again–

As the elements of all worlds were not created, but are eternal, and as they have always been the tabernacle or dwelling place of God, they must have eternally been acted upon by His Spirit; consequently they must have passed through an endless series of operations without beginning. Instead of seeking to trace our evidences of a beginning to the elements, we shall at once pronounce them eternal ….(The Seer, pp. 248-49)

B.H. Roberts gave some additional information on the time and method involved in the earth’s creation:

The theory set forth in this paper that before Adam was placed upon this earth to people it with his offspring, the matter of which it is composed existed in another planet, which by some mighty convulsions was broken up, and from its ruins was formed our present earth, at once affords a means of harmonizing those facts established by the researches of men and the facts of revelation. If scientists shall claim that myriads of years or of centuries must have been necessary to form the earth’s crust, it may be allowed by the believers in revelation, for there is nothing that would contradict that idea in the revelations of God on the subject. (Contributor 10:266)

[33]         Brigham Young also added some insight as to the place of this earth’s creation:

When the earth was framed and brought into existence and man was placed upon it, it was near the throne of our Father in heaven. But when man fell, the earth fell into space, and took up its abode in this planetary system, and the sun became our light. * * * This is the glory the earth came from, and when it is glorified, it will return again unto the presence of the Father, and it will dwell there, and these intelligent beings that I am looking at, if they live worthy of it, will dwell upon this earth. * * * We shall not be idle. We shall go on from one step to another, reaching forth into the eternities until we become like the Gods, and shall be able to frame for ourselves, by the behest and command of the Almighty. All those who are counted worthy to be exalted and to become Gods, even the sons of God, will go forth and have earths and worlds like those who framed this and millions on millions of others. (JD 17:143)

And John Taylor agreed when he said the earth, “had fled and fallen from where it was organized near the planet Kolob.” (The Mormon, Aug. 29, 1857)

And as to why the earth was created, one concise answer is given by Nephi in the Book of Mormon:

The Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it. (I Nephi 17:36)

So by now we should have a better understanding of how, when, where and why this earth was created. Now the question arises, “Who created it?”

[34]                         And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth. (Abraham 4:1)

[35]                              Chapter 4

WHO IS THE CREATOR?

Everyone thinks he knows who created heaven and earth, but it really isn’t that easy to understand after reading the scriptures. There are many contradictions that present a multitude of problems, the main issue being: Was it God or Jesus Christ that created the earth?

God as the Creator

In the first verse of the first chapter of the first book of the Bible it reads, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) This passage of scripture is one of the simplest and most direct statements of the Bible! It should leave little doubt as to its meaning. Nearly every verse in the first chapter of Genesis begins with, “And God created,” “And God made,” “And God said.”

Other passages throughout the Bible verify this statement:

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. (Ps. 19:1)

God . . . the heavens are thine, the earth also is thine; as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou has founded them. (Ps. 89:11)

O my God . . . of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. (Ps. 102:25)

Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?” (Isa. 40:28)

[36]                         Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens;… (Isa. 48:12-13)

And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. (Heb. 1:10)

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things ….(I Cor. 8:5-6)

The Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price also convey the doctrine that the Father is the Creator of heaven and earth:

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. (Alma 22:9-11)

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. (Moses 2:10)

And on the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested on the seventh day from all my work, and all things which I had made were finished, and I, God, saw that they were good. (Moses 3:2)

[37]         From the Doctrine and Covenants, the following passage indicates that the Father created the mansions of heaven:

For he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father. (D & C 72:4)

There are other quotations which indicate that the Savior created the mansions, but the Father created the house or Kingdom. (See John 14:2; D & C 106:8; 98:18)

Joseph Smith was very clear in expressing who created the earth:

The head God organized the heavens and the earth. I defy all the world to refute me. (TPJS, p. 372)

Brigham Young also emphasized the fact that God the Father was the Creator of this earth:

He is our Heavenly Father; He is also our God, and the Maker and upholder of all things in heaven and on earth. He sends forth His counsels and extends His providences to all living. He is the Supreme Controller of the universe. * * * He is the Father of all, is above all, through all, and in you all; He knoweth all things pertaining to this earth, and He knows all things pertaining to millions of earths like this. (JD 11:41)

No element that we see, no part of the earth, no part or portion of the starry heavens, or of the deep above or below, but what is God’s creation. He organized it. Do we realize this, that every element that now is in existence, that we have any knowledge of, that we can conceive of, is organized by our Father in heaven, and is his property? It is His in time and in eternity. [38] The earth and its fulness are his, and the heavens are his; the height, the depth, the length, and the breadth, all are his. (JD 8:340)

You and I have only one God to whom we are accountable, so we will let the rest alone, and search after the one we have to do with; let us seek diligently after him, the very being who commenced this creation. (Conf. Rept., Oct. 8, 1854, p. 32)

More information from Brigham Young on the identity of the Creator is in following chapters, especially No. 18.

Heber C. Kimball supported the claim that God the Father helped to organize this earth:

Every man that comes into this world is an independent being, upon the same principle that our Father and our God is independent, only he is independent to a greater degree, being further advanced in perfection. He came here, and helped to organize this earth; and having had an experience in organizing earths before he came here, He was capable, and had every principle necessary to create this earth and fill it with inhabitants. (JD 4:334)

Orson Pratt also indicated that the Father is the Creator:

As our Father and God begat us, sons and daughters, so will we rise immortal, males and females, and beget children, and, in our turn, form and create worlds <not the Son>, and send forth our spirit children to inherit those worlds, the same as we were sent here and thus will the works of God continue …. (JD 14:242)

[39]         Also, from “A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and the Twelve,” it states:

The scriptures plainly and repeatedly affirm that God is the Creator of the earth and the heavens and all things that in them are. In the sense so expressed, the Creator is an Organizer. God created the earth as an organized sphere; but He certainly did not create, in the sense of bringing into primal existence, the ultimate elements of the materials of which the earth consists, for “the elements are eternal.” <D & C 93:33> (Articles of Faith, Talmage, p. 466)

These are very simple statements. They are easy to understand and convey the fact that God the Father is the Creator. However, as brought out in Chapter 8, “Jehovah”, the LDS Church’s concept of the identity and roles of the Creator, Jehovah, and Jesus Christ began to change in the late 1880’s. So for the past hundred years it has been taught by Church leaders that Jesus Christ was the Creator of this earth. And there are some confusing and conflicting scriptures that seemingly indicate this is the case. This information will be considered in the next section.

Jesus Christ as the Creator

To begin with, there appears to be a contradiction in Paul’s statements when he wrote:

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (I Cor. 8:6)

God . . . hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. (Heb. 1:2)

[40]                         And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. (Eph. 3:9)

And similar quotations from the Book of Mormon add to the confusion, such as:

Yea, I know that ye know that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem; from whence we came; for it is expedient that it should be among them; for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him. (2 Nephi 9:5)

And also that ye might know of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven, and of earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and that ye might know of the sign of his coming, to the intent that ye might believe on his name. (Helaman 14:12)

Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are …. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name. (3 Nephi 9:15)

Because of these and other similar scriptures, many of the Mormon writers have taken the position that Jesus Christ is the Creator. For example, Bruce R. McConkie said:

As far as man is concerned, all things center in Christ. He is the Firstborn of the Father. By obedience and devotion to the truth, he attained that pinnacle of intelligence which ranked him as [41] a God, as the Lord Omnipotent, while yet in his pre-existent state. As such he became, under the Father, the Creator of this earth and of worlds without number; and he was then chosen to work out the infinite and eternal atonement, to come to this particular earth as the literal Son of the Father, and to put the whole plan of redemption, salvation, and exaltation in operation. (Mormon Doctrine, p. 129)

We are blessed with the knowledge that ours is not the only inhabited earth. Rather, Christ acting under the direction of the Father is the Creator of worlds without number. (Mormon Doctrine, p. 212)

Apostle James E. Talmage also accepted the idea that Christ was the Creator:

As heretofore shown in another connection, the Father operated in the work of creation through the Son, who thus became the executive through whom the will, commandment, or word of the Father was put into effect. * * * The part taken by Jesus Christ in the creation, a part so prominent as to justify our calling Him the Creator, is set forth in many scriptures. (Jesus the Christ, p. 33)

Joseph Fielding Smith was of the same opinion:

We are informed that there are many earths or worlds which have been created, and were created by the Son for the Father. This was, of course, before he was born a babe in Bethlehem. (Doctrines of Salvation 2:47)

The Lord is not restricted in giving invitations to other creations to visit this earth, so you need not be surprised if some visitors from other worlds do visit this one.

[42]                         If you will read the second chapter in the book of Moses, you will find that Christ was instrumental in the creation of many worlds. Reason would teach us that he would have power to retain them. (Answers to Gospel Questions 3:211)

Elder Mark E. Petersen had the ultimate concept of Christ as the Creator when he said:

May I make this crystal clear: Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Savior, created all things under the direction of his Father, including life, and he did so according to a preconceived plan. He was the Creator of heaven and earth. This is the position we Latter-day Saints must take with respect to Jesus Christ. If we truly believe in him, we must believe his doctrine, and this is the doctrine of Christ. Are we willing to believe it? Are we willing to be Christians within the framework of this definition? * * *

Astronomers tell us that the heavens themselves are so great that even this larger system, made up of nineteen organizations like our Milky Way, is just tucked away in one corner of the heavens.

And realize how vast then, Creation is, and know that it was all made by Jesus Christ, who died on the cross, . . .

That is the way in which we Latter-day Saints must regard Jesus Christ–not alone as the Babe of Bethlehem, not alone as the great Sacrificial Lamb who wrought out the Atonement on the cross, but also as Creator of heaven and earth. (“Christ, the Creator”, BYU Speech, Dec. 13, 1977, pp. 4, 8)

According to Elder Petersen, then, Jesus created this world as well as other worlds without number–and that [43] included all life. That would leave little else for the Father to do! It also means that Jesus was already an exalted God and Creator.

But this viewpoint presents some real problems. If Jesus organized physical worlds without number and was the Savior of them also, it means that He had to go down and be crucified on each earth in order to redeem it–or else none of those numberless worlds had an atonement or redemption in effect until Jesus came down to this earth to be crucified. Furthermore, if He created “all things . . . including life” then either Jesus is God the Father or else God the Father created nothing–the Son alone created everything. If Jesus created all life, then He created Himself, and there is no end to the misconstruing of that interpretation and theory. How could the Son do something he was supposed to learn from His Father if the Father had never created an earth? Can a man become a God and never create an earth or any of the children upon it?

Misinterpreting this one verse from Moses 1:33 has led to great misunderstandings: “And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.” However, just two verses before it states, “And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things.” Clarification of this verse is in Chapter 9, “The Only Begotten.”

The Power of the Holy Spirit

God once said, “For by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal.” (D & C 29:31)

Parley P. Pratt stated that it is this power that is the “controlling element” in all of these great events:

[44]                         The purest, most refined and subtle of all these substances, and the one least understood, or even recognized, by the less informed among mankind, is that substance called the Holy Spirit.

This is the great, positive, controlling element of all other elements. It is omnipresent by reason of its infinitude, and it pervades all things.

It is the agent or executive, by which God organizes and puts in motion all worlds, and which, by the mandate of the Almighty, or any of his commissioned servants performs all the mighty wonders, signs and miracles ever manifested in the name of the Lord, the dividing of the sea, the removing of a mountain, the raising of the dead, or the healing of the sick. (Key to Theology, P.P. Pratt, p. 46)

Parley Pratt’s brother, Orson, also explained:

All these universal laws that appear so prominently before us from day to day are nothing more than the operations of that all-wise Spirit which we are told is ’round about and in all things,’ and which acts according to certain laws prescribed by the Almighty . . . Take away this Spirit, and you would immediately see some things going up, others down; some moving horizontally; one portion of the earth would divide from the other; one part would be flying here and another there. (JD 2:340)

This concept is also advocated by many LDS theologians of today, such as Professor Hyrum Andrus:

The earth was not created merely by the action of natural forces such as those that are generally known to man, but by the power of the Holy Spirit–the divine intelligence substance that, under the direction of the Almighty, is “the [45] agent or executive, by which God organizes and puts in motion all worlds.” (God, Man and the Universe, Andrus, p. 302)

After considering these differing viewpoints as to the identity of the Creator, it seems most logical and truthful to conclude that it was God, the Father. He is responsible for the spiritual and physical creation of the elements composing our earth. Jesus and all mankind were created both spiritually and physically by God.

However, after God created the earthly elements, Jesus began the work in the Pre-Existence of organizing (creating) the world (mankind) into their places and stations according to the Gospel plan of salvation. As organizer of the world, he was called their Creator.

So, in a sense, both God and Jesus Christ are creators (organizers); but God the Father is the Creator of our heaven and earth–through the Holy Spirit.

Throughout many of the following chapters, additional verification of this conclusion will be provided.

[46]                         All planets and stars have different rotations and distances, causing a change in their times and seasons.

God hath set his hand and seal to change the times and seasons, . . . (D & C 121:12)

[47]                              Chapter 5

TIMES AND SEASONS

God’s Time versus Man’s Time

Another scriptural problem pertaining to the earth’s creation is the length of time it took. This is probably the biggest difference between science and religion, and even religionists disagree among themselves.

The Bible says God created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. The determination of the length of a day is inconclusive. Although it may seemingly be a matter of little significance, yet it is important in understanding the timetable used by the Lord in His work of creating our world. The Lord has said:

. . . our judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.

He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever. 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. (D & C 88:40-44)

[48]         Thus, the time set by the Lord is different from the time recognized by man. Man measures time according to the rotations of the earth around the sun. However, God does not. The Prophet Joseph explained why there is a difference:

In answer to the question–Is not the reckoning of God’s time, angel’s time, prophet’s time, and man’s time, according to the planet on which they reside? I answer, Yes. (D & C 130:4-5)

The Apostle Orson Pratt said that some words were translated differently in some of the scriptures. So the difference in the “reckoning” of time between man and God is difficult to understand.

The book of Abraham, translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith, also contains an account of the creation and the fall of man; but the word translated “day” in Genesis is translated in the Book of Abraham “time”–“in the time that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” In the next sentence the same book says, speaking of time–“The reckoning of time was not yet given to men,” that is, the Lord had reckoned previous to that period by the diurnal rotations of Kolob, and that, without doubt, was the day referred to in which our first parents should die, if they ate of the forbidden fruit. (JD 16:317)

One Day Equals 1,000 Years

When a garden was planted in Eden, Adam was informed that “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:16-17)

[49]         Shortly thereafter, however, Adam proceeded to have his dinner from the tree of knowledge–yet he lived on this earth for nearly a thousand years! Was someone just pulling his leg, or were they using a different clock?

Joseph Fielding Smith, in agreement with Orson Pratt, explained the difference:

When this earth was created, it was not according to our present time, but it was created according to Kolob’s time, for the Lord has said it was created on celestial time which is Kolob’s time. Then he revealed to Abraham that Adam was subject to Kolob’s time before his transgression. (Doc. of Sal. 1:79)

And Abraham recorded:

And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it; And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.

And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob. (Abraham 3:2-4)

Thus, Abraham understood the difference between these time “zones”, and he wrote, “Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord’s time, which was after the [50] time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning.” (Abraham 5:13) Thus, after Adam left the Garden, he began a different time table. God’s time ended with Adam’s fall and man’s time began.

It appears, then, that if Adam were told he would die in the day he ate of the tree of knowledge, and he lived for about a thousand years, then one day of man’s time must be a thousand years of Kolob’s (or God’s) time. The scriptures bear this out:

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. (Ps. 90:4)

But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)

In concluding this subject, the translation of Facsimile 2, Figure 1, in the Book of Abraham clearly states the correct time table:

The measurement according to celestial time, which celestial time signifies one day to a cubit. One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth, which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh. (P of GP, p. 35)

* * *

The creation of this world was according to a plan and was organized in specific time periods. However, Brigham Young said that the exact length of time to create the earth is relatively insignificant for man to know. His comment was:

[51]                         It is said in this book (the Bible) that God made the earth in six days. This is a mere term, but it matters not whether it took six days, six months, six years, or six thousand years. The creation occupied certain periods of time. We are not authorized to say what the duration of these days was, whether Moses penned these words as we have them, or whether the translators of the Bible have given their words their intended meaning. However, God created the world. (JD 18:231)

Within our solar system, there are many different sizes of planets, and some took longer to organize than others. However, the actual time of their creation is not any more important than the different amounts of time that it takes us to build our homes here.

[52]                              Chapter 6

TWO CREATIONS: SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL

From the writings of Moses comes information that there are many earths likes this one and also many heavens:

And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: the heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. (Moses 1:37-38)

The Lord also indicated to Moses that there was a separate heaven to each earth:

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. (Moses 2:1)

Many Bible scholars believe there is a contradiction between the first two chapters in Genesis that relate the story of the creation. They believe that there was an erroneous combination of a single story. The Mormons, however, see the reason for this difference and believe there were two separate creations.

The organization of vegetables, animals, and man during the third, fifth and sixth days of creation is followed by another account in a reverse order–man, vegetables, and animals. The first account narrates the seven days of creation, but in the second account no days are mentioned.

[53]         An interesting, but highly questionable, viewpoint has been expressed by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science Church, who said the first chapter was written by God–the second by the devil.

William Jennings Bryan was trapped by the lawyer Clarence Darrow at the famous “Monkey Trial” on the difference of both these creation stories. Bryan was asked if he believed every word of the Bible, and he said he did. Darrow asked him to explain the difference in those two stories of creation, which he couldn’t do.

The difficulty in trying to interpret these two chapters in Genesis has led some churches to doubt the validity of one or the other. For example, Leo Peters writing in the Grand Rapids Press, November 19, 1988, stated:

It’s official! Christian Reformed Church now says: 1st Chapter of Bible Is False! June 22, 1988, was a day of infamy for the Christian Reformed Church. On that day the CRC’s Synod by a vote of 101 to 60 officially enacted into CRC Law the doctrine that God’s creation account in Genesis 1, the 1st chapter of the Bible, is historically FALSE. Synod did not use the word FALSE, but simply ruled that the CRC will now officially teach that the 1st chapter of the Bible is not historically true, which means that it is FALSE. Thus, Genesis 1 is simply a lie, and God is the liar. (p. C-4)

Joseph Smith, in his Inspired Version of the Bible, makes these passages much clearer:

For I, the Lord God, created all things of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth; . . .

Nevertheless, all things were before created, but spiritually were they created and made, according to my word. (Gen. 2:5,9)

[54]         B.H. Roberts clarified this even further:

What is most perplexing about the Bible narrative of this work of creation is that two accounts are given of it; and apparently there is an irreconcilable difference between them. In the first chapter of Genesis is a statement of the creation in respect to this earth and the heavens connected with it, from the time it was without form and void until it was a fit dwelling place for man; or, to put it in other words, the account seems to reach from highly attenuated nebulae to the solid earth clothed with its wealth of vegetable and animal life, with man placed upon it as the crowning excellence of the Creator’s work. * * *

Is it not strange that after reading of the creation of man in the first chapter that we should be told in the second that there was not a man to till the ground? (Contributor 10:263)

Roberts then quoted from the Book of Moses for the answer:

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. (Moses 3:5)

Roberts continued:

In these articles, however, what turns out to be an account of the spiritual creation of the earth has been spoken of and treated as the [55] natural or actual creation. It has been treated so purposely, because I believe the natural in the order of its creation and development corresponded with the creation and development of the spiritual. Furthermore, I believe the account in the first chapter of Genesis could be safely accepted as the announcement of the general plan of creation, not only of our planet but of all worlds; . . . (Contributor 10:264-265)

In the first creation it appears that Jesus and others actually took part in some form of “creation” or organization, as observed by Dr. Hyrum Andrus:

There can be no question that the account written by Abraham deals exclusively with organization of the physical earth, for he first beheld the intelligences, or spirits, that had been organized at an earlier time in the spirit creation. He then beheld the creation of the physical earth and was shown that certain of the noble and great spirits participated in the creation. (God, Man and the Universe, Andrus, p. 306)

There seems to be a continual revolutionary process from spiritual to temporal and then from temporal to spiritual. The Lord revealed:

. . . that the first shall be last, and that the last shall be first in all things whatsoever I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my Spirit. For by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal–First spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, first temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work. (D & C 29:30-32)

Throughout the study of the world’s beginnings, we see many parallels between the earth and man and their [56] creation and eternal destiny. Both man and earth had a spiritual and physical creation, or birth; then came a baptism by water, and lastly a type of death before a final resurrection.

As Brigham Young stated, “All things were created first spiritual, and then temporal. Everything in the spirit world was presented as we see it now, and this temporal earth was presented there.” (JD 18:243) Even Jesus Christ had a spiritual creation before He was born as a mortal. Orson Pratt elaborated:

All men, male and female, that ever have lived, or that ever will live on this earth, had a pre-existence before the formation of this earth commenced; and during our pre-existence in the heavens, the earth was undergoing this formation. (JD 16:318)

It must be realized that these spirits were not just born and left to go their own way, but they were organized according to God’s plan. Abraham clearly describes:

Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art One of them; thou wast chosen before thou was born. (Abraham 3:22-23)

And from Brigham Young–

Our spirits are born of our Parents in heaven, divine, heavenly, angelic. Shall these spirits condescend to love an earthly object, to [57] worship it? If they do, they become inferior to their calling and station before God. The body is framed for the tabernacle or house in which the spirit has to dwell. This tabernacle is formed expressly to hold its spirit and shield it. * * *

Here is matter we see organized in ourselves. We look upon each other, and we are matter organized. Look upon the brute creation, the vegetable creation, and both are matter organized. (JD 9:139-40)

The creation of innumerable earths like this one is beyond the scope of man’s capability to understand. Yet this process of creating earths is an important part of being a God. As Moses recorded–

And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity? And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there …. (Moses 7:29-30)

And Joseph Fielding Smith went even further:

We are not the only people that the Lord has created. We have brothers and sisters on other earths. They look like us because they, too, are the children of God and were created in his image, for they are also his offspring. His great work is to create earths and people them with his children who are called upon to pass through the mortal probation like unto this we are now in …. (Doc. of Sal. 1:62)

In conclusion, this earth first was created spiritually. Then, it experienced a temporal or physical creation. And in the future it will experience a composition of both–when the earth will exist in an immortal condition.

[58]                              Chapter 7

NAMES, TITLES AND OFFICES

The names and titles used in scripture to describe Deity are multitude. Some names are actually titles that signify a particular office, work, mission, authority, etc. For this reason, it has resulted in much confusion and controversy, causing many to misunderstand the proper identity and position of the God and Christ of this earth.

Some of these titles–Elohim, Jehovah, God, Christ, and Only Begotten–are especially confusing because they do not necessarily apply to one particular person. Since more than one person can hold a particular title and since one person can hold more than one title at a time, it is important to define and know the meaning and powers relating to these titles and offices.

In addition, each of these names, titles, and offices can apply literally or figuratively; they may apply to the spiritual realm or to the temporal; they may pertain to a particular time span or to a special work or calling. A person may even go through the course of his existence in the Gospel plan of salvation and hold many of these titles and offices.

When God or Christ assumes a certain name or title, it has been principally to clarify the specific role He is functioning in at that time. But unfortunately it has created only more confusion, even resulting in apparent contradictions in the scriptures. By taking these names of Deity literally or assuming that a certain name or title refers to one particular person every time it is used, some passages of scripture just don’t make any sense.

[59]         What can be done? Simply seek to understand the function of the person acting under that title. Rather than assuming that a certain title and person are always synonymous, as our modern Christian friends are doing, we must discern how, when and why a title of Deity applies to a certain person.

So the key to clarifying these terminologies is to understand when and why a particular title should be used. Attributing the wrong title to an individual or assigning the right title at the wrong time is easily and frequently done.

There must be a reason for such a multitude of names and titles. It is up to us to learn what those titles mean because it is an essential part of the gospel plan. Once we understand the proper use of these names, titles and offices, it is easier to understand the plan of salvation and the Author of it.

Names of God and Christ

Throughout the scriptures both God and Jesus Christ are given many different names. When God spoke to Moses, He introduced Himself by saying:

Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless? (Moses 1:3)

Then later God said:

Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also. (Moses 7:35)

Even before the birth of Jesus, he was called the “Lamb” slain from before the foundations of the earth. [60] The lamb was used to denote many things in the sacrifices of the Israelites, and these were also applicable to Jesus. About 600 years before the birth of Jesus, the Prophet Isaiah gave him several names:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6)

The different names and titles were given to clarify the nature, the work, and the function of God and Christ. Some recent scholars have explained this further:

The names by which He revealed Himself in the OT period were, as has been noted, descriptive largely of the divine activities and functions. It was mentioned further that there was an elaboration of functions ….

From the foregoing, it seems clear that in OT usage, the names describe functions or activities of God, although intrinsic and even metaphysical implications are not wholly absent. More significant still, they represent stages in a progressive self-disclosure of the Deity, a revelation which utilized situations (esp. crucial ones) as vehicles. (Zondervan Pict. Enc. of the Bible 2:764)

Jesus came and took upon Him the name, or title, of Christ, meaning “anointed.” Jesus was the “anointed” of the Father to the calling of becoming the Savior or Redeemer. Two dictionary meanings are–

Christ means “anointed”, from chrio, “to anoint.” Under the Old Testament dispensation, high priests, kings, and prophets were appointed to their office by the pouring of the sacred oil upon their heads. The rite was performed by the [61] recognized officer of Jehovah, and was an outward testimony that their appointment proceeded direct from God himself, as the source of all authority, and as being under the ancient covenant, in a peculiar way, the governor of his people. (Cassell’s Bible Dictionary, p. 257)

Jesus also came to fulfill the title of Messiah. This is a title which also means the promised or anointed one in the Aramaic language. Aramaic was the spoken language of Palestine in the time of Jesus. “The Messiah” is, however, not an Old Testament expression, but occurs for the first time in apocalyptic literature. In the Old Testament the earliest use of the word is with Yhwh as a title of the ruling sovereign Meshiah Yhwh (God’s anointed one). (The Jewish Encyclopedia 8:505)

This term, Messiah, applied often to the Priests because they were representing God in the capacity of performing His ordinances, by His authority and according to His will. Isaiah was the first to use such a title for the promised king of Israel. (See Isa. 9:1-6) Similarly Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel followed with that promised and ideal ruler. At the birth of Jesus, He was also called “Immanuel” being interpreted “God with us”, which is a deeper and more spiritual context to the Messianic title.

The names that God has applied to Himself are clearly identifiable with His activities and His work. Similarly, a man who goes fishing is called a fisherman; one who raises crops on a farm is a farmer; a photographer takes photographs, etc. God uses names to identify Himself for the better understanding of man. Throughout the many centuries of man on the earth, he has had a miserable time getting to understand the true God of heaven. Names familiar to man were used by God so that His children would be able to understand the God they should worship.

[62]         The many names of God are “disclosures” and “revelatory” statements for man. They reflect the true character of God. In some instances they depict the authority (Deut. 18:20; Matt. 21:9; etc.), while in other scriptures they explain more of His dignity and glory. (Isa. 48:9)

There were two basic names of God in the Hebrew scriptures–Elohim and Jehovah (or Yahweh). These terms were often combined with others in order to emphasize the attributes and character of God, such as:

The Living God                                                    The Most High

The Lord                                                                               The God of Hosts

I Am                                                                                       The Infinite

The Holy One of Israel                       The Father

The Governor of All Things               The Eternal

Perfection                                                              Omnipotent

The Unknown God                                              Almighty

The First                                                                                Holy One

King of Kings                                                        The Lawgiver

The Great Spirit                                    Lord of Lords

The Rock                                                                              The Ruler

Alpha and Omega                                               The Living God

The Way                                                                               The Word

The Creator                                                          Jehovah

Jesus, the Christ, also has gone by many titles–probably more have been used in referring to Him than to God, the Father:

Adonai                                                   Advocate                                                              Almighty

Amen                                                                     Author of Salvation                            Apostle

Beginning                                                              Beloved Son                                         Branch

Bread of Life                                        Bridegroom                                           Carpenter’s Son

Chosen One                                          Christ Child                                           Counselor

Creator                                                  Deliverer                                                                Desire of Ages

Door                                                                       Brother                                                  Elias

Exemplar                                                              Expiation                                                              Father

First                                                        First Born                                              Galilean

[63]

God                                                                        Good Shepherd                                    High Priest

Holy One                                                               Messiah                                                 Husband

Immanual                                                             Incarnate                                                              Intercessor

Just One                                                 Jesus                                                       Judge

King of Jews                                         King                                                                        King of Kings

Light                                                       Lamb                                                                     Lawgiver

Lord                                                                       Lion                                                                        Logos

Lord of Lords                                       Lord God                                                               Lord of Hosts

Lord of Sabbath                  Lord of Sabaoth                  Lord of Harvest

Manna                                                   Lord of Vineyard                 Lord Omnipotent

Messenger                                                             Master                                                   Mediator

Most High                                                             Messiah                                                 Morning Star

Our Lord                                                                Nazarene                                                               Only Begotten

Prophet                                                  Potentate                                                               Prince of Peace

Quetzalcoatl                                         Propitiation                                           Purifier

Redeemer                                                              Rabbi                                                     Reconciliatore

Resurrection                                         Refiner                                                   Restorer

Ruler                                                      Risen Lord                                            Rock

Servant                                                  Savior                                                    Second Adam

Son Ahman                                                          Shiloh                                                     Son

Son of Joseph                                       Son of David                                        Son of God

Son of Righteousness         Son of Man                                          Son of Mary

Stem of Jesse                                        Son of the Father                 Son of the Living God

Testator                                                 Stone of Israel

The Word                                                              True Vine                                                              The Way

But God does not particularly care what name wish to call Him, but rather how we worship Him. John the Apostle said:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: <not spirit only> and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

[64] What’s in a Name?

The use of different names is not uncommon in our own time. For example, most of the Hollywood stars have a stage name and a given name, as well as the name of the character they are portraying. When they are an actor, they use one name, but when they are among family and friends they are often known by another.

Most women have a maiden name and then assume a married name–the difference being determined by her station–single or married.

Anciently, many had their names changed under the command of God: Abram became Abraham; Sarai became Sarah; Jacob was changed to Israel; Simon Barjona became Peter. Jesus was called “The Christ”, which meant King. He was also called “Counsellor” and “Advocate” on certain occasions which indicated He was functioning with the law. His position and name changed when he acted in a manner to be called “The Great Physician.”

Also Michael became Adam because he was functioning in the role of an Adam, or first man. He performed another mission and held another office in two different times and situations.

Lucifer also was once known as “The Light Bearer”; but when he fell, he took on the name of Satan, or “Prince of Darkness.”

When Jesus Christ applied the name of “The Father” to Himself, it was in the sense of an adoptive parent. He was acting as a father in assuming the care, protection, and paternal nature of the father. This comes only to those who believe in Him and place their trust in Him as a child to a father. Paul says, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” (Gal. 3:26) In this manner we are all adopted into the family of God, becoming subject to the laws and principles of the Father. The Apostle John describes it best by saying:

[65]                         He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:11-13)

However, it should be noted that Jesus nowhere implied that He was actually the Father. He is assuming the spiritual relationship which he will have with those who accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He always gives the literal generation of God’s children to His Father, such as when He said, “I go to My Father, and your Father.” (John 20:17) Paul said:

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;… (Romans 8:14-17)

By the same principle, men can take upon them another form of adoption. Christ spoke to those who were disobedient to God, about their parentage by saying, “You are of your father the devil.” (John 8:44)

Speaking as the Father and speaking for the Father are two different postures. Jesus often spoke for the Father, quoted the Father and acted for the Father. In all of this, He was acting in the position of the Father. Bruce McConkie wrote:

He is the Father by what has aptly been termed divine investiture of authority. That is, since he is one with the Father in all of the attributes of perfection, and since he exercises [66] the power and authority of the Father, it follows that everything he says or does is and would be exactly and precisely what the Father would say and do under the same circumstances.

Accordingly, the Father puts his own name on the Son and authorizes him to speak in the first person as though he were the Father. This is similar to the situation in which Christ puts his name on an angel so that the designated heavenly ministrant can speak in the first person as though he were Christ himself. (Rev. 1:1; 19:9-10; 22:8-14) Thus it is that our Lord can begin a revelation by saying, “Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ,” and shortly thereafter speak of “mine Only Begotten” (D & C 29:1, 41-46), such latter expression being made by Christ, but under that divine investiture of authority which permits him to speak as though he were the Father. (D & C 93:3-5; Mosiah 15:1-5) (Mormon Doctrine, McConkie, p. 130)

A prophet may speak for God, saying, “Thus saith the Lord,” and those who disobey that word are acting against the word of God, and are thus rejecting God. Yet that prophet has not received his exaltation as a God. God was manifest through him, just as He was through Jesus Christ.

Jesus often took upon Himself the position and title of the Father, of Jehovah, and even of God. He could do this with propriety and rightfully so because He acted under the direction and in close harmony with the Father, as though He had taken over that particular office or title. Joseph Musser wrote:

“God” is a title, an office–a principle; and yet the being who occupies this office of God is an exalted man. The office of “God” has always existed and always will exist. It, the office, is without “beginning of days or end of years.” [67] Those now occupying the office of “God,” whether to this or other planets, are not, in their organized capacities, without “beginning of days or end of years.” Their creation as organized entities had a beginning, and their existence in their mortal state will have an end. “Christ,” “Redeemer,” “Savior,” “Messiah,” etc., are also offices and titles. The office of “Christ” is co-existent with that of “God.” One is the complement of the other; the two work conjointly, and each is necessary to the other.

With the office of “God” and “Christ” is associated the office of “Holy Ghost.” This trinity, properly organized, presides over the earth. Each inhabited planet or group of planets has such a Presidency. (Michael, Our Father and Our God, p. 85)

There is a difference between a man and the position he holds in public office. Someone may be called a “mayor”, but he is only such while working in that capacity. He may also be called a “father” because he is the head of a family, or an “elder” in a church, or a “director” of a business. So it is with the positions and titles used by God and Christ. Understanding these offices and titles is necessary in order to unfold some of the mysteries of conflicting scriptures on the creation and in other areas.

The two major titles of Jehovah and Only Begotten will be discussed in more detail in the following two chapters.

[68]                              Chapter 8

JEHOVAH

This chapter will show the evolution of the nebulous title and position of Jehovah in both Christian circles and within the LDS Church. It will be evident that many Biblical spokesmen had different perceptions of God, just as Mormon authorities have. It is just as difficult to harmonize these Biblical writers as it is Mormon authors. The word Jehovah has become a slippery and inconsistent term, too often used in generalities. In the first 50 years of Mormon history, it had a different meaning than it has had in the past 100 years. The interesting development of this part of the Gospel will be traced in the next few pages.

Biblical Concepts of Jehovah

Two of the most common names for God in the Old Testament, according to the more recent Christian scholars are El (or Elohim) and Jehovah. Yet seldom is it rendered Jehovah in the English text. Melvin R. Brooks notes:

The word Jehovah appears only four times in our King James Version of the Bible. However, whenever the word Lord appears in capital letters, LORD, the Hebrew text gives Jehovah. (See. Gen. 16:2; Deut. 10:17; Joshua 7:10, etc.) (LDS Reference Enc., Brooks, p. 211)

But it is important to note that in the original Hebrew there are no vowels, and thus a different pronunciation is often given. The Jewish scholars have written this explanation:

[69]                         JEHOVAH: A mispronunciation introduced by Christian theologians, but almost entirely disregarded by the Jews of the Hebrew “YHWH”, the ineffable name of God. This pronunciation is grammatically impossible; it arose through pronouncing the vowels of the “Kere” with the consonants of the “ketib”, being substituted with one exception wherever YHWH occurs in the Biblical and liturgical books. (Jewish Enc. 7:87)

Besides the name Jehovah, the Hebrews would also add other letters or words to further describe their God. For instance:

  1. In Genesis 22 Abraham named the place where he sacrificed the ram, “Yahweh yir’eh–the Lord provides.”

  1. Moses erected an altar and called it “Yahweh nissi–the Lord is my banner.”

  1. Gideon erected an altar in Ophrah calling it “Yahweh salom–the Lord is peace.”

  1. Jeremiah spoke of “Yahweh sidqena–the Lord is our righteousness.” (Jer. 22:16)

  1. David used the name “Yahweb baoi–the Lord of Hosts.”

And in other places He was the “God of Israel,” the “Lord of Israel,” and the “Ancient of Days.”

This difference is translated, “Lord” in the Old Testament, YHWH was considered too sacred to pronounce, so “Adonai” (my Lord) was substituted in the readings. The consonants of YHWH were changed to form the word Jehovah, “a form first attested at the start of the 12th century A.D.” (Illus. Bible Dic. 1:571)

[70]         These titles became so interplayed with the Father and the Son that Jesus even took the title of “Father” on several occasions:

The term <Lord> was completely natural to Him, and as the divine Son He employed it frequently (Matt. 7:21; 10:32; Luke 2:49; 11:13; John 12:49). It is noteworthy that His first recorded words (Luke 2:49) indicate His awareness of being about His Father’s affairs, and that His last discourse on earth centered upon “the promise of my Father” (Luke 24:49).

While our Lord claimed that God was Father to Him in a unique sense (see John 5:18), yet that fatherhood was something to be shared (Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13). * * *

The name Kupios (“Lord”) occurs with great frequency in the N.T., It seems to gather together within itself the combined meaning of the Heb. name Adonai, of which it is the verbal equivalent, and Yahweh or Jehovah. The name is applied to both Father and Son, and at times is the chief signification for Jesus Christ. In the gospels it appears as the direct equivalent of Adonai (Mark 1:3), and as a close correlate to the name Theos (John 20:28). In the post-resurrection narratives, esp., it appears as a direct name for Jesus Christ (Luke 24:34; John 20:18; 21:20) (Zondervan Enc. of the Bible 2:764)

YHWH is used only rarely as Jehovah in the Bible. So when the word Lord appears in the English translation of the Bible, it is the word YHWH in the Hebrew.

When the New Testament was written, they also applied the word Lord to Christ. This gave the inference that the “Lord” of the Old Testament was the same “Lord” of the New Testament. In other words, they thought Jesus was the Jehovah of the Old Testament. However, there are enough scriptures to denote otherwise. For example, Luke wrote:

[71]                         The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him …. (Acts 3:13)

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. (Acts 5:30)

Paul the Apostle clarifies it further by saying:

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by the Son …. (Heb. 1:1-2)

And notice who spoke to Moses:

And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?

And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all. (Moses 1:3, 6)

So it was God the Father that spoke to Moses and revealed:

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. (Moses 2:27)

And I, God, saw everything that I had made, and, behold, all things which I had made were very good …. (Moses 2:31)

[72]         Here the Father is admitting that He created man and everything was pronounced good. These scriptures, then, indicate that (1) the Father was the Creator; (2) He was the one who spoke to Moses giving him the law and commandments; and so (3) He was the Jehovah of the Old Testament.

When the brother of Jared prayed for the Lord to touch the stones so they would shine in the darkness, he saw the finger of Jesus, and then he saw His whole form, which was the body of His spirit. Jesus then said, “Never have I showed myself unto man ….” (Ether 3:15) We may ask, then, who was it that appeared to those ancient prophets prior to this time? It must have been God the Father, the Jehovah of the Old Testament.

We see that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Old Testament spake in the New Testament through His Son. In both testaments it was the same God who was speaking and revealing His will to man.

If Jesus were the Jehovah of the Old Testament, then the Israelites were worshipping Him. But while Christ was on earth, He never required His disciples to worship Him, but rather to worship the Father. Why would Jesus be the God of the Old Testament but not of the New Testament? But if the Father was the God of the Old Testament, then it stands to reason why Jesus referred to Him about 170 times and directed all to worship Him in the New Testament.

Boyd Kirkland summarized this idea very well:

The New Testament likewise does not mention any god superior to Jehovah. Its overall message seems to be that the God of the Old Testament sent Jesus as his son into the world to redeem it. For example, Peter tells the Israelites: “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of [73] Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his son Jesus, whom he delivered up” (Acts 3:13)

Evidence suggests that Jesus himself accepted Jewish monotheism, and considered Jehovah to be his father. The New Testament contains no evidence that he ever taught his disciples of a God superior to Jehovah, the God of Israel. In light of Jesus’ desire to bear witness of the Father, and to advocate his true worship (John 4:23; 17:3), it would seem peculiar that he did not instruct the Jews to worship a God superior to Jehovah if he considered himself to be, in fact, Jehovah. On the contrary, he consistently advocated the worship of the God of Israel by citing the Old Testament commandment: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God (Jehovah thy Elohim), and him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4:10; cf. Deut. 10:20) (“Elohim and Jehovah in Mormonism and the Bible”, Dialogue, Spring 1986, 19:1, p. 84)

Early Mormon Concepts of Jehovah

It is interesting to learn that the LDS Church has made two major transitions in their understanding of the Godhead, i.e., they discarded the belief in Michael as God, and they began to believe that Jesus was the Jehovah. These changes occurred at about the same time–around the turn of the century–when so many other changes were taking place in the doctrines of the Church.

Brigham Young understood that the God of the Old Testament was not Jesus Christ:

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob . . . is our Father. He is our God and Father of Jesus Christ…. He is the father of our spirits…. (Utah Hist. Quar., Aug. 4, 1867, 29:68)

[74]                         . . . the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is He? . . . At one time he says, “I am that I AM.” At another time . . .” I am the Lord your God . . . the Jehovah of the Old Testament, who is called the Ancient of Days . . .” (Manuscript Addresses of B.Y., April 25, 1855)

John Taylor also showed that Jesus and Jehovah were two separate entities:

Jesus bore the sins of the world . . . in submission to the eternal fiat of Jehovah . . . (Med. and Atone., p. 150)

As the son of Man, He endured all that it was possible for flesh and blood to endure; as the Son of God He triumphed over all, and forever ascended to the right hand of God, to further carry out the designs of Jehovah pertaining to the world and to the human family. (Ibid., p. 151)

In an extensive study on this subject, Boyd Kirkland made some interesting observations regarding the Hebrew terms, Elohim and Jehovah:

Most Latter-day Saints do not realize how often the names Elohim and Jehovah appear in the Old Testament because they have been translated from Hebrew into English. Elohim occurs 2,570 times and is closely related to El, which occurs some 238 times. Jehovah is by far the most frequently used Hebrew name for God in the Old Testament, occurring some 6,823 times. King James translators translated Elohim and El as “God” and Jehovah as “LORD,” (all caps) and used “Lord” for the Hebrew Adonai, which Hebrew Biblical editors often substituted for Jehovah in the prophetic books out of respect for the divine name. (“Elohim and Jehovah in Mormonism and the Bible”, Dialogue, Spring 1986, 19:1, p. 79)

[75]         Although the words for EIohim and Jehovah appeared so frequently in the Old Testament, they do not indicate two different Gods, or even a Father-Son Godhood. They may be referring to God as Elohim, or as Jehovah, and sometimes the term appears as Jehovah-Elohim, Lord God.

During the history of Israel, the Northern Kingdom of Israel would usually use the name of El, or Elohim, while the Southern Kingdom preferred using Jehovah. The modern Christians use the titles of God or Lord interchangeably, applying them to the same person.

However, the English name of Jehovah appears only a few times in the King James Bible, while the name Elohim does not appear at all. The word Jehovah was included in the Book of Mormon only twice, and Elohim does not appear there either.

The English word Jehovah appeared for the first time in latter-day scripture in the first two chapters of the Book of Abraham in 1835, and then in a 1836 revelation included in the Doctrine and Covenants. A few years later Joseph Smith used the word Jehovah extensively in his sermons and writings to denote the Father. In 1842 he petitioned the Saints to “plead the justice of our cause; trusting in the arm of Jehovah, the Eloheim, who sits enthroned in the heavens…. (DHC 5:94) And again later he wrote:

O Thou, who seest and knowest the hearts of all men–Thou eternal omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Jehovah–God–Thou Eloheim, that sittest, as saith the Psalmist, “enthroned in heaven,” look down upon Thy servant Joseph at this time; and let faith on the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ, to a greater degree than Thy servant ever yet has enjoyed…. (DHC 5:127)

The Prophet Joseph used the term Jehovah numerous times, but nowhere did he apply it to Jesus.

[76]         Some of Joseph Smith’s disciples had the same understanding of Jehovah. For example, in 1835 Parley P. Pratt wrote a pamphlet in which he referred to “the Great Jehovah, His Son Jesus Christ, the holy angels or the holy apostles….” (“A Short Account of a Shameful Outrage,” Apr. 7, 1835, p. 8) Again later he wrote, “The Methodist God can neither be Jehovah nor Jesus Christ; for Jehovah showed his face to Moses.” (“Mormonism Unveiled: Zions’s Watchman Unmasked,” 1838, p. 43)

In an 1841 article in the Times and Seasons, the following was written:

The Lord (Jehovah) hast spoken through Isaiah saying, behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth; evidently referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God chosen or elected by the Father…. (T & S 2:524)

The Prophet Joseph added this quotation to the History of the Church (4:256) saying:

The Millennial Star (No. 9, Vol. 1) contains the following communication, which I have read several times. It is one of the sweetest pieces that has been written in these last days. I therefore insert it entire.

All three–Mill. Star, Times and Seasons, and the History of the Church–carried this same article, printed under the eyes of the Prophet, wherein he concurred with this concept of Jehovah being the God who spoke to Isaiah and who was the God of Jesus Christ. And again from the Times and Seasons:

We believe in God the Father, who is the Great Jehovah and head of all things, and that Christ is the Son of God, co-eternal with the Father. (T & S 3:578)

[77]         When the Saints dedicated the Kirtland Temple in 1836, they prayed to the “Holy Father” and continuously interchanged His name with “Jehovah,” “Lord God Almighty”, and the “Mighty God of Jacob.” (See D. & C. 109:4, 10, 14, 34, 42, 47, 56, 68, & 77.) They considered the Father to be Jehovah.

Then in Section 110, some of the passages seem contradictory at first, but upon closer examination, the conflict disappears:

We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.

His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father. (D & C 110:2-4)

Notice that it says His voice was AS “the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah,” indicating that His voice had the powerful sound of rushing water and the sound of Jehovah–not that it was the actual voice of water or of Jehovah.

So here we have Jesus Christ appearing as a glorified resurrected being in the Kirtland Temple, talking with the same power and authority as Jehovah (God, the Father). In 1820 God had introduced His Son, Jesus Christ, to Joseph Smith, and He said, “This is my Beloved Son, Hear Him.” (J.S. 2:17) The young Joseph was instructed to listen to Jesus Christ–not only on that particular occasion but throughout his earthly mission. At this time, the Resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ, was assigned by the Father to deal directly with the Prophet and leader of this dispensation–though Jesus may use different titles and function in various offices during that time.

[78]         Today, the Latter-Day Saints are told that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament. But after considering the information presented in the last few pages, how could that be? Brigham Young was referring to the God of the Old Testament when he said:

Have you faith, that if necessary, He would again shower manna from Heaven and send flocks of quails to allay your hunger and cause water to burst from the rock to quench your thirst as He did when the Children of Israel were passing through the Wilderness? Do you believe that He is the God whom Moses followed and by whom he was dictated? “Yes” says the whole House of Israel. Well, that is the very God that we, the Latter-day Saints, are serving. He is our Father. He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (and) He is the Father of our Spirits. (Doc. of the Priesthood 1:100, Collier)

Hence, the God of the Old Testament is the Father of our spirits. That could not be Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother. God the Father is the Jehovah who revealed Himself to the ancient prophets. And again from Brigham Young:

Who commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Who is that God? He is my Father . . . your Father. We are his offspring! (JD 6:236)

Brigham Young followed the teachings of Joseph Smith with implicit accuracy. Those teachings emphasized that Elohim and Jehovah are just different names for the same individual–our God. In 1867 Brigham said:

We obey the Lord, Him who is called Jehovah, the Great I Am, I am a man of war, Eloheim, etc. We are under many obligations to obey Him. (JD 12:99)

[79]         President Young and his associates were overwhelmingly convinced that Jehovah was God the Father, Creator of the earth, and God of the Old Testament.

For example, Orson Pratt, an avid scholar: of the Bible, had no doubt that the title Jehovah referred to God the Father:

“God is love,” says the Apostle John, “and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” If, then, this is one of the great attributes of Jehovah, if he is filled with love and compassion towards the children of men, if his son Jesus Christ so loved the world that he gave his life to redeem mankind from the effects of the fall, then, certainly, God the Eternal Father must be in possession of this passion. (JD 18:288)

Pratt had also written an article in which he said:

The work of creation was performed by a plurality of persons, as is evident from the description given by Moses. “In the beginning, the ALEHEEM created the heaven and the earth.” The translators of the English Bible have rendered the word “Aleheem”, in the singular, whereas, in the Hebrew, it is plural, and should be translated, “Gods” instead of “God.” * * * This word occurs in the first chapter of Genesis no less than thirty times, and in each place it is in the plural form, showing in the most positive manner that a plurality of persons were engaged throughout the whole process of creation. Again after the fall of man, “The Lord God (Jehovah Aleheem) said, Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” (Mill. Star 11:281-82)

From another article in the Millennial Star, Parley Pratt said:

[80]                         The eternal Jehovah has revealed Himself to man as enthroned in the heavens, while the earth is his footstool, and Jesus Christ as his Son seated at his right hand as a Mediator…. (Mill. Star 2:187)

Then in his book, Key to the Science of Theology, Parley Pratt wrote:

. . he <Abraham> conversed with angels, and was favored with a personal interview with the Great head and founder of the science, who became his guest, and, after eating and drinking with him, blessed him and his wife, promised him an heir in their old age, . . . (5th edition, p. 6)

This statement remained unchanged and was published in Pratt’s book for many years–as late as the 1891 fifth edition. However, in the 6th edition it was changed to read–

. . . he <Abraham> was favored with a personal interview with the Great Head and Founder of the science, who blessed him and his wife…. (10th edition, p. 16)

The reason for the change was because Jesus, as a spirit, could not be “eating and drinking” mortal food with Abraham. Either the “Great Head and Founder” who visited Abraham was God (a resurrected being) and was able to eat and drink with him, or it was Jesus who could not have dined with him. Even though the early editions of Pratt’s book had been read and approved by many church leaders, after 1891 it was concluded that Parley must have been in error, and so the change was made to be consistent with the Jehovah/Jesus doctrine that was just beginning to be promoted. Since they no longer believed that the Father was Jehovah, such statements had to be changed.

[81]         Wilford Woodruff also held to the doctrine of the Father being the God of the Old Testament. When he offered the dedicatory prayer of the Salt Lake Temple in 1893, he prayed to the “Father” as the “God of Israel” and “Ruler of Mankind.” He also prayed, “Thou Great Father of the spirits of all flesh” and “Thou God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (See Temples of the Most High, pp. 120 and 122). Since “Jehovah” was the God of the Old Testament, and Woodruff prayed to the “Father of the spirits of all flesh”, he must have believed that the Father was Jehovah.

Richards and Little wrote a Compendium of the Faith and Doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1882. This was a volume originally written by Richards in 1857 and published by Orson Pratt in England. Both editions contain a list of 45 “Names, Titles, and Characters Given to Jesus.” Interestingly, the name Jehovah is not on the list!

There is a different Jehovah (or God) for each world. Before the creation of this earth, there was a Council of Gods including the Jehovah, or God, on Michael’s world. It was He who was told by Elohim (representing the Council of Eloheim) to go down with Michael and create this world. The temple ceremony clearly portrays the voice of Elohim commanding Jehovah and Michael to “go down” and organize matter for an earth, and Jehovah answers, “We (meaning Jehovah and Michael) will go down.”

President Young explained to the School of the Prophets that “Elohim, Yahova & Michael, were Father, Son and Grandson. They made this earth and Michael became Adam.” (Joseph F. Smith Journal, June 17, 1871) Thus, that Yahova in the creation of this earth was in reality our “Grandfather” in heaven. These terms are applied to different persons in different councils, just as the term “God” has been.

[82]         In another sermon, Brigham stated that “this earth was organized by Elohim, Jehovah and Michael, who is Adam our common Father.” (L. John Nuttall Journal, Feb. 7, 1877) He expressed this same view again:

Michael is one of the grand mystical names in the works of creations, redemptions, and resurrections. Jehovah is the second and the higher name. Eloheim–signifying the Gods–is the first name of the celestial trinity.

Michael was a celestial, resurrected being, of another world. (Women of Mormondom, p. 179)

*

President John Taylor, in a poetic song, identified the Father as Jehovah:

As in the heavens they all agree,

The record’s given there by three, * * *

Jehovah, God the Father’s one

Another His Eternal Son,

The Spirit does with them agree,

The witnesses in heaven are three.

(Sacred Hymns and Spiritual Songs, p. 295, #262)

Edward Stevenson, (hymn composer) recorded in his diary in 1896 his views on the identity of Jehovah:

Certainly Heloheim and Jehovah stand before Adam, or else I am very much mistaken. Then 1st Heloheim, 2nd Jehovah, 3rd Michael-Adam, 4th Jesus Christ, Our Elder Brother, in the other world from whence our spirits come …. Then who is Jehovah? The only begotten Son of Heloheim on Jehovah’s world. (E. Stevenson Diary, March 3, 1896)

Like Joseph Smith, Brigham Young apparently did not see Jesus as being among the Gods mentioned in the temple ceremony. References as to exactly who Brigham Young did consider this Elohim and Jehovah to be, and [83] their relationship to Michael/Adam are sparse and ambiguous. However, both Brigham and Joseph had the same concept of a “head God” (who was superior to our “Father in Heaven”) as the one who directed the creation: “The head God called together the Gods and sat in the grand council to bring forth the world.” (TPJS, p. 348)

In describing the pattern that developed as Brigham Young referred to the Gods, Boyd Kirkland summarized:

Thus we see the flexibility with which Brigham Young used the divine names. To recap: (1) He never referred to Jesus as Jehovah. (2) He referred to God the father variously as Jehovah, Elohim, Michael, Adam, Ancient of Days, I Am, and other Old Testament epithets. (3) He also referred to Gods superior to God the Father as Elohim and Jehovah. (“The Development of the Mormon Jehovah Doctrine, 1830-1916”, B. Kirkland, p. 9)

In a meeting of the School of the Prophets in Salt Lake City, President Young was asked why some of the scriptures seemed to put Jesus Christ on an equal basis with the Father. He replied that “the writers of those scriptures wrote according to their best language and understanding.” (S.L. School of the Prophets Minute Book, June 9, 1873) This indicates that many of the writers of the scriptures were not fully informed on all things at all times. Some of the great prophets clashed on certain points, as in the case of Paul and Peter, on occasion. Thus, we cannot take every single scripture and assume that it is absolutely correct–especially since some of them don’t even agree. (See As It Is Translated Correctly, Kraut)

Although Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Sidney Rigdon, Lorenzo Snow, Wilford Woodruff, and others designated Jehovah to be the Heavenly Father, it was never a defen-[84]sive statement. It appears that no one actually believed that it ever had any reference to Jesus Christ.

Though there are some passages in the Book of Mormon that lead to differences of identification, it is still this same Book of Mormon that tells us that if we want to know the authenticity of that book, we should “ask God, the Eternal Father . . . and he <not Jesus> will manifest the truth of it unto you….” (Moroni 10:4)

Later Mormon Concepts of Jehovah

Up until the mid-1880’s, in over 250 references to Jehovah by many of the General Authorities, it never once referred to Jesus. The initial advocate of the Jesus-Jehovah concept seems to have been Franklin D. Richards. It is interesting to note that on April 4, 1885, he delivered a sermon at the annual conference in Logan, Utah, in which he said:

This is a time when we are called upon to bring our practical religion into use, to put on the whole armour of God, and to trust in Him. The Savior said he could call to His help more than twelve legions of angels; more than the Roman hosts; but he knowing the great purposes of Jehovah could go like a lamb to the slaughter. (JD 26:172)

Here he expresses his belief that God the Father is Jehovah, because he was saying that Jesus knew the will of Jehovah. He was thus supporting the doctrine that had been taught for 50 years previous.

Then a strange thing happened to his thinking. By August of that same year (1885), Richard delivered a sermon expressing his belief that Jesus Christ was Jehovah. The last volume of the Journal of Discourses also contains this sermon that was delivered only a few months after his other discourse:

[85]                         We learn that our Savior was born of a woman, and he was named Jesus the Christ. His name when He was a spiritual being, during the first half of the existence of the earth, before He was made flesh and blood, was Jehovah. He was in the beginning of the creation, and He had to do and has had to do continually with the creation and government of this heaven and this earth.

But up to this time that He came and dwelt in the flesh and was born of Mary, His Mother, He dwelt in the spirit life. He was the spirit Being that directed, governed and gave the law on Mount Sinai, where Moses was permitted to see Him in part. (JD 26:300)

This was in direct contradiction to the teachings of President Brigham Young, who said:

We begin with the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our spirits–who is he? . . . (He is) that great and wise and glorious being that the children of Israel were afraid of, whose countenance shone so that they could not look upon him . . . that man put his hands out before Moses in the cleft of a rock until his glory passed by and would not suffer Moses to see his face but his hind parts only . . . I tell you this is my belief about that personage who is called the Ancient of Days, the Prince, and so on. (Apr. 25, 1855, Unpublished Sermon, LDS Archives)

About the same time that Franklin D. Richards began to advocate the Jehovah-Christ doctrine, George Q. Cannon joined in that particular concept and taught it to his son, Abraham H. Cannon. He recorded in his journal:

He <George Q. Cannon> believes that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, and . . . Jesus, in speaking of Himself as the very eternal Father speaks as one of the Godhead, etc.” (A. H. Cannon Journal, June 23, 1889)

[86]         Although George Q. Cannon was a counselor to Wilford Woodruff in the First Presidency, they apparently held differing views as to the identity of Jehovah. Woodruff issued the following statement in 1893:

Thus shall our supplications, undisturbed by a thought of discord, unitedly mount into the ears of Jehovah and draw down the choice blessings of the God of Heaven. (Messages of the First Presidency 3:243)

In 1915 James E. Talmage continued along this line and made a major and convincing effort in promoting Jesus to Jehovah. This was the year that his book Jesus the Christ was published, in which he wrote:

Jesus Christ was and is Jehovah, the God of Adam and of Noah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel, the God at whose instance the prophets of the ages have spoken…. (Jesus the Christ, p. 4)

Jesus Christ was and is God the Creator, the God who revealed Himself to Adam, Enoch, and all the ante-diluvial patriarchs and prophets down to Noah; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God of Israel as a united people, and the God of Ephraim and Judah after the disruption of the Hebrew nation; the God who made Himself known to the prophets from Moses to Malachi; the God of the Old Testament record; and the God of the Nephites. We affirm that Jesus Christ was and is Jehovah, the Eternal One. (Jesus the Christ, p. 32)

Elohim, as understood and used in the restored Church of Jesus Christ, is the name-title of God the Eternal Father, whose firstborn Son in the spirit is Jehovah–the Only Begotten in the flesh, Jesus Christ. (Jesus the Christ, p. 38)

[87]         B.H. Roberts, in 1903, wrote a book entitled The Mormon Doctrine of Deity, wherein he expressed his view that the God of the Old Testament was the Father. (See page 22 especially.) But then in 1932 he wrote the book Rasha, the Jew, in which he refers to Jesus as Jehovah and the God of the Old Testament. Why did he change his belief?

Probably the reason for his change, as well as that of many others during that time period, was mainly because of the 1916 “A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and The Twelve”, called “The Father and the Son.” This article established the doctrine that Jesus is Jehovah and the Creator. (See Messages of the First Presidency 5:26-34.) Coincidentally, it was written in the style, and perhaps at the request, of James E. Talmage, who had already been advocating this doctrine in both his books–Articles of Faith (1899) and Jesus the Christ (1915). Of course whatever was sanctioned by the First Presidency received the acceptance from the rest of the Church membership. Roberts and others merely accepted this new conception of God as authorized and therefore indisputable.

From then on, numerous other writers took up this theme and promoted it as though it had always been the established doctrine of the Church. A few of their quotations follow:

Who was it that gave the law to Moses? We are told it was Jehovah. Well, was Jesus Jehovah? Yes, according to the scriptures, both ancient and modern, and that seems to be a stumbling block in the way of a few of our brethren. (Charles Penrose, Conf. Rept., April 1916, see pp. 15-19.)

Jesus Christ is Jehovah. (LDS Refer. Enc., Brooks, p. 211)

[88]                         Three great intelligent Beings were in Supreme authority in building the earth, namely, God, the Father, His son Jehovah, who became the Christ, and Michael, who became the first man, Adam. (John A. Widtsoe, Rational Theology, p. 46; 1915)

Christ is Jehovah; they are one and the same Person. (Mormon Doctrine, Bruce R. McConkie, p. 392)

The pre-earth Christ was Jehovah, the God of Israel, who revealed Himself to the Old Testament prophets. (God, Man and the Universe, Hyrum Andrus, p. 216)

As these changes in the understanding of Jehovah were beginning to create problems for the leaders of the Church, President Wilford Woodruff said at the General Conference in April 1895:

I want to say this to all Israel, Cease troubling yourselves about who God is, who Adam is, who Christ is, who Jehovah is. For heaven’s sake, let these things alone. . . . (Mill. Star 57:355)

But his advice to “let these things alone” was not heeded. The doctrine of Deity changed, and probably not without some major consequences. Prayers were being offered to a different God; answers probably came from a different God; and the eternal destiny of most of the Saints has taken a different course. If you wanted to petition the President of the United States, but sent the message to the King of Kenya, you would certainly not receive your desired result.

By believing that Jesus is the Jehovah of the Old Testament, it means that He was the Creator of the earth; whereas if one believes that the Father is the Creator and [89] the Jehovah of this earth, and we can become like Him, then we believe that we can be Creators. If we believe that Jesus the Son is the Creator, then no one on earth will be creators of an earth, for that would be the work of the firstborn son.

No wonder Jesus said, “This is life eternal to know thee the only true God ….” It is an important key to the mystery of the Godhead and creation.

[90]                              Chapter 9

THE ONLY BEGOTTEN

In a literal sense begotten refers to procreation and being the father or sire. However, the word has a much broader definition which should be kept in mind in reading the next two chapters:

to bring into being; produce. (Webster’s New World Dictionary)

Various forms of “beget” are frequent in the OT both in the literal sense and the metaphorical. * * * When understood prophetically of Christ, the word passes far beyond the adoptionist sense. In the NT, the literal sense is still common but the metaphorical use is greatly extended. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 4:15 an evangelist may be said to have “begotten” his converts to new spiritual life.

Christ, by contrast, is the “son” of God, to John, but this verb is not used in the NT to describe God’s relationship to Him. “Only Begotten” is a mistranslation in older VSS of “only”, “unique”, probably corresponding to Hebrew of which “beloved” is another NT tr. (Zondervan Pic. Enc. of the Bible 1:510)

The “Only Begotten” as a Title

Among the many titles given to Jesus was the “Only Begotten.” It is, in a spiritual sense, a misnomer because Jesus was not the only child begotten of the Father, since we are all begotten sons and daughters of the Father. So this term should be considered as another title or office. [91] To better understand the title of Only Begotten, another title must be comprehended in conjunction with it–that of the “Firstborn.” The firstborn child of the Father is the “eldest.” Therefore, upon him rests most of the authority, jurisdiction, and responsibility. Among the Hebrews the firstborn or eldest son often carried the position of the father or head of the house.

Because Jesus was referred to as the “Only Begotten”, it did not mean that He had no brothers or sisters–because He did. Rather it was a term indicating that there were no equals. It is a designation similar to that of the “Firstborn”, which Unger’s dictionary explains in the “figurative” sense:

The expression “firstborn” stands for that which is most excellent. Thus Jesus Christ is “the firstborn of every creature.” (Heb. 12:23) “The firstborn of the poor” (Isa. 14:30) means the poorest of the poor. (Ungers Bible Dictionary, p. 367)

So the term “begotten” may have different meanings to correspond to the context in which it is used, referring to specific authority, privileges, and responsibilities. Josephus, the noted Jewish historian, described the “Only Begotten” as the most beloved, the choicest, and the eldest. In the work of creation, the translation would be more fitting as “unique” because of such a vast enterprise being more distinctive than any other.

The title of “Only Begotten” sometimes refers to God, the Father–as he was a choice son of his father as Christ is to Him. There is no father that was not first a son, and no son without a father.

There are two positive statements in the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon indicating that the Father is an “Only Begotten.” It is interesting to compare these two passages with later editions, which were probably changed by those who supposed it was an error:

[92]                         . . . that I know that Jesus Christ shall come; yea, the Son of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. (1830 ed., Alma, p. 236)

. . . thus they become High Priests forever, after the order of the Son of the only begotten of the Father, which is without beginning of days or end of years, . . . (1830 ed., Alma, p. 259)

Now, in later editions, we read–

. . . that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. (Alma 5:48)

Thus they become high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, … (Alma 13:9)

What a difference in the meaning of these passages when the little word of is left out! Originally the scriptures said that Jesus was the Son of the Only Begotten–who had to be the Father. It doesn’t seem to be a slip of the tongue, or pen, because it is mentioned twice. Undoubtedly, our Father in heaven was a choice son to his Father, and probably obtained the title of “Only Begotten.” In any case, it is important to understand that this term “Only Begotten” can apply to more than one individual, even at the same time.

In this capacity and terminology, an Only Begotten becomes a creator of worlds without number. In this case, it does not apply to Jesus Christ as a creator, but rather to the Father, who was an Only Begotten of His Father, and through the power of this office he becomes a Creator. The day will come when Jesus will be crowned as a [93] God, become an Only Begotten in the full sense of the word, and receive the power to create a world. Thus, every world is created by an Only Begotten of his Father. He, in turn, becomes a father to all the children on that created earth.

More frequently, in our lives, the title of Only Begotten refers to Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother. Since He was not the only son begotten of His Father (we are all the begotten sons and daughters of God), this cannot be applied in a literal sense. Rather, it represented a position of honor–one that demanded respect and authority from all the other children. “The oldest son, if faithful, is the Saviour of the family.” (Unpub. Revel., p. 369) Brigham Young said that Jesus was the Firstborn Son and that Lucifer was the second son of our Father in Heaven:

When the Father appointed Jesus Christ the first born to come and redeem the earth, there was contention got up. The second brother, Lucifer, the Son of the morning, he wanted the honor to come and redeem the earth. But Christ was the appointed one. It was his right by appointment and birthright. (Wilford Woodruff Journals 4:45-46)

As the eldest brother, He acts in place of the Father when the Father is not present. When Jesus is called the Only Begotten, it is when He is functioning in that position and office of trust.

Both God and Jesus have instructed all men to pray unto the “Father” because we are His children. Jesus said, “Pray after this manner, `Our Father in heaven’.” Yet whenever the Father introduced Jesus, He called Him His “Only Begotten.” The entire human race was begotten of the Father, and that’s why we call him our Father in heaven.

[94]         Then what difference is there between Jesus Christ and the rest of mankind? Brigham Young again explains:

The Apostles and Prophets, when speaking of our relationship to God, say that we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone; God is our Father and Jesus Christ is our Elder Brother. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 25)

When the time came that his First-born, the Savior, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came himself and favored that Spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. The Savior was begotten by the Father and His Spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits, and that is all the organic difference between Jesus Christ and you and me. (Ibid., p. 50)

Father Adam’s oldest son (Jesus the Saviour) who is the heir of the family, is father Adam’s first begotten in the spirit world, who according to the flesh is the only begotten as it is written. (Tchgs. of B.Y., p. 118)

We often call the gospel the “Gospel of Jesus Christ,” as though He were the originator of it. But how can this be when the gospel is as old as the eternities and has been accepted and implemented by all the Gods? But the Firstborn of the Father (or Only Begotten) presented that plan in our Pre-Existent state, just the same as had been done for other worlds, and He offered to be the Redeemer according to the requirements of that gospel. Then the devil came forth and presented his plan (or “gospel”), claiming that he would save everyone, just as every devil had done for other worlds. And these two plans will continue to be presented for other worlds in the future.

[95]         So the devil coveted and eagerly sought to achieve this honored title of Only Begotten–not just in the Pre-Existence, but he is still trying to assume that position:

And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and rent upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me. (Moses 1:19)

Why did he want to be called the Only Begotten if it did not have more meaning than just the numerical position of birth? It was because the term represented an acting position of God the Father, and Satan wanted that position so he could be worshipped as God!

Here then is the meaning of the “Only Begotten”–a title and position so high that it was nearly identical to that of God.

The Difference Between Earths and Worlds

In order to comprehend the role of an “Only Begotten” as a Creator, it is important to clarify the difference between an earth and a world. This helps in understanding such confusing scriptures as:

And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. (Moses 1:33)

At first God said, “I created them”, and then “by the Son I created them.” It is plain to see that both the Father and the Son have assumed the title of “Creator”; but exactly what did each create?

To understand the role of the Only Begotten in the creation, it is necessary to recall the meaning of to “create worlds.” The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The word [96] created should be formed, or organized.” (TPJS, p. 181) Then follows the key: The word worlds can have two meanings: one is the world of organized physical matter; the other is a world of people. An example of this is when the disciples of Jesus came to him and asked, “… what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3) They did not mean the destruction of the physical world, or earth; they meant the end of human society.

The Prophet Joseph defines world in this way, too, by interpreting the parable of the wheat and the tares, and the end of the world:

But He, knowing all things, says, Not so. As much as to say, your views are not correct; the Church is in its infancy, and if you take this rash step you will destroy the wheat, or the Church, with the tares; therefore it is better to let them grow together until the harvest, or the end of the world, which means the destruction of the wicked …. (TPJS, p. 98)

And again–

Now men cannot have any possible grounds to say that this is figurative, or that it does not mean what it says: for He is now explaining what he had previously spoken in parables; and according to this language, the end of the world is the destruction of the wicked, the harvest and the end of the world have an allusion directly to the human family in the last days, instead of the earth, as many have imagined . . . . (TPJS, pp. 100-101)

In the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith there are 30 references to the “world” meaning mankind and only two where “world” referred to the earth. The world is consistently spoken of in connection with mankind rather than the physical earth; therefore, it seems that the scriptures should be interpreted in this light as well.

[97]         Another example from the scriptures comes from the writings of John:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

The world here refers to mankind, not the physical land and elements of the earth. Certainly the earth is not going to believe on the Only Begotten to be saved, but the world, or mankind, will do the believing.

The Only Begotten Son is the one who organizes mankind before they come to an earth. And it is the Only Begotten, or Firstborn Son, of every earth, without number, that is the organizer of all the children pertaining to it–so they might have redemption and be saved.

The “Only Begotten” Son does not necessarily mean Jesus Christ. It can apply to Jesus as the only begotten in the flesh by the Father; or, in the figurative or illustrative sense, it can apply to numerous sons–as every world has an “Only Begotten” who is its creator. That same world will have a chosen son who is the Only Begotten in the flesh.

Another viable interpretation of the Only Begotten is revealed in the Pearl of Great Price, where we learn more about this office by which “worlds without number” are created. Moses gives this account:

And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou has fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as well. (Moses 5:9)

[98]         Here, the Holy Ghost is claiming that office and power by which worlds are created. Parley P. Pratt stated that this holy spirit “is the agent or executive, by which God organizes and puts in motion all worlds ….” (Key to Theology, p. 46) Thus the Father may order the creation of worlds, His choice Son may help to organize them, but it is the Holy Ghost that is the power and the force that pulls them together. The Holy Ghost, in that instance, would be the “Only Begotten” of the Father.

By now we have seen how Jesus became an Only Begotten, the Holy Ghost is an Only Begotten, the Father Himself was an Only Begotten, and all mankind are begotten of the Father. Thus, the term “Only Begotten” is obviously a title referring to a particular position, not the name of just one individual.

Jesus was the only begotten in the flesh, but not the only begotten son. He is a special and chosen son who gained the right and privilege of that title. Every world (or populated earth) must have its Savior, or Only Begotten, to be redeemed. Brigham Young said:

. . . the Oldest Son has always had the privilege of being Ordained, Appointed and Called to be the Heir of the family, if he does not rebel against the Father, and he is the Saviour of the family. Every world that has been created, has been created upon the same principle. (Teachings of Brigham Young 3:353)

And from Moses:

. .. and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, . . . (Moses 1:6)

So the oldest son is selected and ordained to receive the title and heirship of the family. As such, he is an “Only Begotten” or “Chosen” son.

[99]         When the Lord speaks of worlds, He usually means the earths with mankind upon them. “Worlds without number have I created,” He says, meaning earths filled with his children. He can be implying here that He organized physical earths and put His children upon them, and then “by the Son (Only Begotten) I created them” (the children pertaining to that earth). The Eldest Son organizes them by means of the Gospel plan.

In this way, then, both the Father and the Son rightfully bear the titles of “Only Begotten” and “Creator.” They both took part in the work of creating–each performing a certain work in the creation that the other did not do. Hopefully, this chapter has shed further light on the distinct role of each.

Worlds Without Number

From all these above statements, it is easy to see how confusion can result, and false premises can render false conclusions. For instance, Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

As far as man is concerned, all things center in Christ. He is the Firstborn of the Father. By obedience and devotion to the truth, he attained that pinnacle of intelligence which ranked him as a God, as the Lord Omnipotent, while yet in his pre-existent state. As such he became, under the Father, the Creator of this earth and of worlds without number; and he was then chosen to work out the infinite and eternal atonement, to come to this particular earth as the literal Son of the Father, and to put the whole plan of redemption, salvation, and exaltation in operation. (Mormon Doctrine, McConkie, p. 129)

From this it appears, then, that all these “worlds without number” had no Savior or Redeemer until Jesus “was THEN chosen to work out the infinite and eternal atonement, to come to THIS PARTICULAR EARTH …. ” [100] However, this is not what Brigham Young taught when he said, “… every earth has its redeemer, and every earth has its tempter.” (JD 14:7) So how could it be that Jesus had anything to do with creating or redeeming “worlds without number”?

We know that whatever the Son has done, and is doing, is under the direction, the will, and the power of the Father. But when Jesus has been appointed to do certain works, He is also assisted by others.

Acting as our Elder Brother, Jesus created or organized councils, a church, dispensations, and leaders of Priesthood. He, as the Only Begotten, was really organizing mankind to prepare them for their turn on earth and to receive the Gospel and be saved by His atonement. He declared, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” (John 17:18) But it was the Father who created us all as God told Moses: “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.” (Moses 2:27)

These terms or titles are ancient descriptions with very important meanings. They are illustrations to teach that a father is a son and sons become fathers. It is a doctrine of Mormonism that, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret.” (TPJS, p. 345) God was once a man, and as a son, he proved himself worthy to become a Father. And in those eternal worlds, there never was a Father without a Son or a Son without a Father. There are countless “Only Begotten” and “Firstborn” Sons, and by them were worlds without number created.

* * *

In summary, then, it seems reasonable to assume that God the Father created (organized) the earth and the tangible elements therein, and created the spirits to populate this earth. Then Jesus Christ, acting in the role and position of the “Only Begotten”, created (organized) that world or the population that inhabit this earth.

[101]                             Chapter 10

BEGOTTEN SONS AND DAUGHTERS

This chapter will show (1) that all are begotten sons and daughters of the Father, (2) that some become begotten of the Son, and (3) even a few become begotten of the devil. The difference between natural and adopted will also be discussed.

All Begotten of the Father

The origin of man is by birth–first a spiritual birth, then a physical one. All mankind are the begotten sons and daughters of a heavenly Father. This is taught in the scriptures and by the leading authorities of the Church. Talking about His spiritual offspring, God asked Job, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth . . . and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4,7)

Peter makes this implication in his writings:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us…. (I Peter 1:3)

Paul the Apostle understood this spiritual birth, and he also wrote about it:

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Heb. 12:9)

Joseph Smith also wrote in the Doctrine and Covenants:

[102]

That by him (the Only Begotten), and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. (D & C 76:24)

In 1909 the First Presidency of the Church issued a statement confirming this:

All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity…. Man as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal body to undergo an experience in mortality. (“The Origin of Man,” Jos. F. Smith, John R. Winder, Anthon H. Lund, The Improvement Era 13:78, 80, Nov. 1909)

George Q. Cannon explains that we are all literal descendants of God, as was Jesus:

My brethren and sisters, it is a glorious truth that has been taught to us, that we are literally the children of God, that we are his literal descendants, as Jesus was literally descended from Him, and that He is our Father as much as our earthly parent is our father, and we can go to Him with a feeling of nearness, knowing this, understanding it by the revelations which God has given to us. (JD 25:155)

Since all mankind are “begotten” of the Father, what difference is there between them and the “Only Begotten” Son of God? Brigham Young explains:

Jesus Christ, first-begotten of the Father, of all the rest of the children, and of all they possess, alone is the lawful heir. This is no mystery. (JD 6:307)

[103] The Apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, implied that Jesus was our Elder Brother in this huge family unit:

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom. 8:29)

And in these latter days, the Lord revealed:

I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn; . . . (D & C 93:21)

Some Become Begotten of the Son

There are also scriptures indicating another spiritual type of begetting for mankind–when they reach a point on this mortal earth that they are “born again.” In this birth, men are born again through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Under this canopy, Jesus becomes their Father. With this in mind, it is easier to understand such scriptures as:

Now Zeezrom saith again unto him <Amulek>: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last; and he shall come into the world to redeem his people….(Alma 11:38-40)

This seems like a drastically contradictory statement if we take it literally. It is an utter impossibility for anyone to be both a son and a father of that son. A man can be a son and then a father, but not the father of himself. The scripture must have a different meaning of this father/son relationship. From the Book of Mormon comes another meaning:

[104]

Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. <And then comes the interpretation–> In me shall all mankind have light, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall BECOME my sons and my daughters. (Ether 3:14)

Believing on the name of Jesus Christ begins a rebirth by obedience to the Gospel. In baptism they take upon them the name of Jesus Christ–just as a woman in marriage takes the name of her husband. A bride promises to honor and obey her husband when she marries him. An individual promises to honor and obey Christ when he is baptized. In that ordinance he is “born again” as a spiritual rebirth. They are spiritually born to Christ as though he were their Father–thus spiritually begotten to Christ.

This is clearly explained by King Benjamin:

And now, because of the covenant which ye have made, ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters, for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you: for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and daughters. (Mosiah 5:7)

Thus, all mortals on this earth are begotten sons and daughters of God the Father, but they become begotten of the Lord Jesus Christ only when their “hearts are changed through faith,” they “believe on my name”, and spiritually become His sons and daughters. In this way, Jesus becomes their father.

[105] And Even Some Begotten of the Devil

When Jesus told the Jews, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8:44), he was not speaking of them in a literal meaning. These wicked people were “begotten” by adoption through wickedness to the devil in the same way others are “begotten” to Christ through righteousness. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, Jesus said, “The good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.” (Matt. 13:38) This is explained also in another passage:

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (I John 3:8-10)

Natural and Adopted Sons and Daughters

Paul wrote some things “hard to understand”, and they had to be seriously studied–as in the following scripture containing some important insights:

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; . . . (Rom. 8:14, 16-17)

[106] Four concepts are presented in this passage: (1) we are the spiritual children of God; (2) we are also his sons if led by His spirit. (3) we are the heirs of God by virtue of being His children; and (4) Christ is our elder brother because we are joint-heirs with him.

John takes up this spiritual birth with Christ by adding:

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. (I John 5:1)

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; . . . (John 1:12)

The difference in the “born again” experience is also a difference in their moral life style. Christians are born to a new way of life. John also added:

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself <from sin>, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (I John 5:18)

The Prophet Joseph adds a little more to this by saying that “being born again, comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances.” (TPJS, p. 162)

Paul the Apostle must have reasoned much the same way because he said, “for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” (I Cor. 4:15)

Jesus Himself complied to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel and also received this spiritual birth with His Father: “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee.” (Heb. 5:5)

[107] Apparently being “born again” involves more than what the modern Christian ministers are preaching today.

By compliance to the law and ordinances of the Gospel, mankind are adopted into the relationship of spiritually born sons and daughters of God by promise. In a revelation to Emma Smith, the Lord said, “… for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom” (D & C 25:1). These are promised a future place in His “house” or kingdom. In this sense they are different from those who have not accepted the Gospel.

In a revelation to Hyrum Smith, the Lord said:

Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world. l am the same who came unto mine own and mine own received me not; But verily, verily, I say unto you, that as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name. Amen. (D & C 11:28-30)

Those who become “sons” in this sense are those who are to become “one” with Christ. Consider this revelation given through the Prophet Joseph in 1830:

I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one. (D & C 35:2)

And again–

I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not; but unto as many as received me gave I power to do many miracles, and to become the sons of God; and even unto them that believed on my name gave I power to obtain eternal life. (D & C 45:8)

[108] There are double meanings to some of the scriptures and this is one of them. The Prophet Abinadi gives another double meaning to a scripture, referring to Christ’s seed in an “adopted” or “figurative” sense:

And now I say unto you, who shall declare his <Christ’s> generation? Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin, he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed? Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord–I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God. For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed? Yea, and are not the prophets, every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that has not fallen into transgression, I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began? I say unto you that they are his seed.” (Mosiah 15:10-13)

James E. Talmage also notes how we can become the children of Jesus Christ, who then acts in the role of the Father:

If it be proper to speak of those who accept and abide in the Gospel as Christ’s sons and daughters–and upon this matter the scriptures are explicit and cannot be gainsaid nor denied–it is consistently proper to speak of Jesus Christ as the Father of the righteous, they having become His children and He having been made their Father through the second birth–the baptismal regeneration. (Art. of Faith, p. 471)

Those who truly become “begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D & C 76:24) are born into a special position–that of exaltation. For the Lord revealed:

[109]

And now, verily l say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn; And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn. (D & C 93:21-22)

These are they who receive this promise:

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, … (Rev. 3:12)

And John wrote:

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Rev. 14:1)

Of such we read, “Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God.” (D & C 76:58) This is an office which they shall attain. The Lord said:

Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. (D & C 132:20)

Jesus had been born a spirit; He had been born in the flesh; and then He was reborn through resurrection. It was then that He was told by His Father, “Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.” (Acts 13:33; see also Ps. 2:7.) The Father would not be able to carry on such a conversation with a newborn infant son.

John the Beloved referred to Jesus as being the “first begotten” of the resurrection:

[110]

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the deaf and the prince of the kings of the earth…. (Rev. 1:5)

This once again illustrates the broad definition of the term begotten.

Summary

From these scriptures and sayings of the prophets, the following premises are established:

  1. Jesus was begotten as a spirit before He came to earth as a mortal.

  1. We are all begotten as spirit sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father before we were born on earth.

  1. Jesus was the firstborn son of the Father in the spirit.

  1. Jesus was the only begotten son of the Father in the flesh.

  1. Jesus was spiritually begotten of the Father after His resurrection.

  1. Mankind can become Christ’s spiritually begotten “sons and daughters” on various levels:
  2. “born again” through faith–when they “believe on my name.” (Ether 3:14)
  3. “born again” through baptism–when they take upon them the name of Christ through covenant. (Mosiah 5:7)
  4. “born again” through ordinances (TPJS, p. 162)
  5. “receive me” (D & C 11:30) and “receive my Gospel” (D & C 25:1)
  6. “sinneth not” (I John 5:18)
  7. “one with Christ” (D & C 35:2)

[111]g.   members of the “Church of the Firstborn” (D & C 93:22)

  1. “They are gods, even sons of God” (D & C 76:58)

  1. We are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus because we are His brothers and sisters.

[112]                             Chapter 11

CONFINED TO THIS WORLD

Jesus told His disciples, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:20) So He is not far away. His mission and responsibilities rest with this world until His work is finished. Everything that God created “remaineth in the sphere in which I, God, created it, yea, even all things which I prepared for the use of man….” (Moses 3:9) Brigham Young commented on this:

Here the inquiry will naturally arise, when our spirits leave our bodies where do they go to? I will tell you. Will I locate them? Yes, if you wish me to. They do not pass out of the organization of this earth on which we live. * * *

But where is the spirit world? It is incorporated within this celestial system. Can you see it with your natural eyes? No. Can you see spirits in this room? No. Suppose the Lord should touch your eyes that you might see, could you then see the spirits? Yes, as plainly as you now see bodies, as did the servant of Elijah. * * *

When you lay down this tabernacle, where are you going? Into the spiritual world. Are you going into Abraham’s bosom. No, not anywhere nigh there, but into the spirit world. Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes, they do. Do they both inhabit one kingdom? Yes, they do. Do they go to the sun? No. Do they go beyond the boundaries of this organized earth? No, they do not. They are brought forth upon this earth, for the express purpose of inhabiting it to all eternity. Where else are you going? Nowhere else, only as you may be permitted. * * *

[113]

Is the spirit world here? It is not beyond the sun, but is on this earth that was organized for the people that have lived and that do and will live upon it. (JD 3:367, 368, 369, 372)

Joseph Smith also stated that “… there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it.” (D & C 130:5)

To summarize, then, here are four important items pertaining to all mankind and to this earth:

  1. All men born on this earth are confined to it.
  2. The angels are only those who belong to this earth.
  3. The spirit world is also confined to this earth.
  4. Since Jesus was also born on this earth, He, too, will be confined to it until His work is finished.

Brigham Young further clarified this:

A great many think that when they die, their spirits go to the sun, or to the moon or to some of the starry worlds; our spirits are brought forth in the spirit, in the spirit world to inhabit this Earth, to take tabernacles and dwell on this Earth; they belong to it, and will be on it, and round about it from this time hence forth and forever. Those who are made partakers of the bliss and happiness to receive crowns in the Celestial Kingdom will have this Earth for their possession. (Teachings of B.Y., 3:122)

This earth and its inhabitants are a special entity that will not be broken up until after men are made Gods and then create their own worlds. Even then they will have a special connection to this earth.

This may answer the question for many who thought the Ten Tribes were led away to some other twinkling star or world. However, they, too, are confined to this world [114] until after the earth has received its exalted place near the realm of God.

According to the prophets, every earth is assigned its own people. No men or angels are taken from one mortal earth to come to another. This also applies to the devil and to the Savior, as Brigham Young explained:

But the fact exists that the Father, the Divine Father, whom we serve the God of the Universe, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father of our spirits, provided this sacrifice and sent his Son to die for us; and it is also a great fact that the Son came to do the will of the Father, and he has paid the debt, in fulfillment of the Scripture which says, “He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Is it so on any other earth? On every earth. * * *

Sin is upon every earth that ever was created, and if it was not so, I would like some philosophers to let us know how people can be exalted to become sons of God, and enjoy a fulness of glory with the Redeemer. Consequently every earth has its Redeemer, and every earth has its tempter; and every earth, and the people thereof, in their turn and time, receive all that we receive, and pass through all the ordeals that we are passing through.

Is this easy to understand? It is perfectly easy to me; and my advice to those who have queries and doubts on this subject is, when they reason and philosophize upon it, not to plant their position in falsehood or argue hypothetically, but upon the facts as they exist, and they will come to the conclusion that unless God provides a Savior to pay this debt, it can never be paid. (JD 14:71-72)

[115] The Savior, Jesus Christ, has been a Redeemer only once. He was confined to this one earth. It is not in the plan for Him to go down again to be crucified on any other earth. According to Brigham Young, every earth has its own Savior, and He will not be required or destined to be a Savior on more than one earth.

Jesus is our Elder Brother and was born in spirit, just as we all were. His work began and was connected to only this world, and will not be affiliated with any other world until after this one has been exalted. Brigham continues:

All the spirits organized to come to this world will be upon this Earth, and round about it, and attached to it forever and forever without end. They <are> on it, in it, around about it, either in the body or out of the body. Good spirits and bad spirits are attached to this world until they receive their final destination. (Teachings of B.Y. 3:121-122)

At the beginning of this earth’s creation, the Father had produced all of the spirit children who were to come here. Those children were designated to be confined to this world. They were not to be sent to any other earth, nor would they have that ability until after their resurrection. Among all those spirit children was Jesus, our Elder Brother. He was a spirit child, just like all the rest of us. Whatever worlds without number were created before this one, Jesus had no part in them because He, like the rest of us, was confined to this world until after His resurrection and all mankind have been saved.

* * *

[116] At this point, then, the following conclusions can be drawn from the scriptures and prophets presented in this brief chapter:

  1. Jesus could not be the creator of physical or spiritual worlds without number because He was born spiritually and physically on this earth.

  1. When the Father created this earth and its heaven, He also created a particular posterity to inhabit it. The Firstborn among all that mankind was Jesus.

  1. Being born as a spirit, good or evil, meant that they would be confined to this earth.

  1. No other spirits, angels or men from any other planet would be commissioned to attend, inhabit or intercede with this planet.

  1. Only those beings who become Gods will be allowed to go to other earths–and those will be the ones that they create.

  1. Every earth that God has created, has its own devil and its own Redeemer.

  1. All the people, including their Redeemer, must pass through the trials, tribulations and difficulties that we do on this earth.

  1. Since Jesus was born spiritually and physically for this world, He could not be born or crucified on any other world.

  1. Jesus was the Redeemer for this world and not for any other. His atonement applied only to the people of this world.

  1. Jesus is not the literal Father of mankind.

[117]                             Chapter 12

THE PLURALITY OF GODS

Another problem in the creation account will be discussed in this chapter–whether it was one or two or more individuals who played a part in the creation of this earth. Some scriptures declare there are three Gods, while a few indicate there is only one God. From the Book of Mormon come these confusing statements:

. . . every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame . . . and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. (Alma 11:44)

. . . to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end. (Mormon 7:7)

And from the Bible there are similar passages, such as:

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (I John 5:7-8)

For centuries, these three Gods have been called the Trinity.

[118] Some scriptures say it was the Father who created the earth, while others support the idea that it was Jesus Christ. However, there are many passages clearly showing that there were two or more who participated in the earth’s creation, such as:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …. (Gen. 1:26)

And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth. (Abraham 4:1)

And the Gods also said: Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters. And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so, even as they ordered. And the Gods called the expanse, Heaven. (Abraham 4:6-8)

So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them. (Abraham 4:27)

Scholars search the Bible for clues to solve these apparent contradictions and have come up with various explanations. For example–

The Bible teaches that each person of the Trinity has a special function, both in the work of creation and in the work of redemption. The Father is the source of all things (I Cor. 8:6) “from whom are all things.” He is the One who planned and ordained redemption. (Enc. of Bible Difficulties, p. 357)

Although many scriptures indicate there is only one God, others imply there are three. In actuality, both ideas can be correct. Paul wrote:

[119]

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (I Cor. 8:5-6)

The Prophet Joseph Smith clarified further:

Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God anyhow–three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization. “Father, I pray not for the world, but I pray for them which thou has given me.” “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are.” All are to be crammed into one God, according to sectarianism. It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God–he would be a giant or a monster. I want to read the text to you myself–“I am agreed with the Father and the Father is agreed with me, and we are agreed as one.” The Greek shows that it should be agreed. “Father, I pray for them which Thou has given me out of the world, and not for those alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be agreed, as Thou, Father, are with me, and I with Thee, that they also may be agreed with us,” and all come to dwell in unity, and in all the glory and everlasting burnings of the Gods; and then we shall see as we are seen, and be as our God and he as His Father. I want to reason a little on this subject. I learned it by translating the papyrus which is now in my house. (TPJS, pp. 372-373)

About the same time, Joseph Smith also explained:

[120]

In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The word Eloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through–Gods. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take (that) view of the subject, it sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods. (TPJS, p. 372)

The Prophet Joseph also explained the roles these Gods played during the creation:

The head God called together the Gods and sat in grand council to bring forth the world. The grand councilors sat at the head in yonder heavens and contemplated the creation of the worlds which were created at the time …. In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. (DHC 6:307, 308)

Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council (TPJS, p. 365)

Parley P. Pratt also mentioned this great council concerned with creation:

A General Assembly, Quorum, or Grand Council of the Gods, with their President at their head, constitute the designing and creating power. (Key to Theology, p. 51)

Brigham Young and others said that the “oneness” theory of the Godhead really referred to their unity:

[121]

The Holy Ghost, we believe, is one of the characters that form the Trinity, or the Godhead. Not one person in three, nor three persons in one; but the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one in essence, as the hearts of three men who are united in all things. (JD 6:95)

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three separate personages, or three individuals, but they are one in purpose and agreement and unity, and serve as the Godhead for this world.

However, in the information below, Brigham Young is referring to a different Godhead who helped in the creation of this earth:

It is true that the earth was organized by three distinct characters, namely, Eloheim <more correctly, Elohim>, Yahovah, and Michael, these three forming a quorum, as in all heavenly bodies, and in organizing element, perfectly represented in the Deity, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. (Teaching of B.Y., Collier, 3:94)

So we can conclude that the earth was created by more than one person. It was a quorum, namely Elohim, Yahovah (or Jehovah), and Michael–and probably many others had a hand in it. Apparently only one was given the responsibility of being the overseer and principal Creator, and many others assisted in various capacities. Little is known as to what particular work each had, but it is of little importance to us at this time.

[122]                             Chapter 13

THE FATHER-SON RELATIONSHIP

God is usually referred to as our Father, but at times the scriptures say that Jesus is the Father. As mentioned in a previous chapter, Jesus does assume the role of a father in a spiritual sense at the time we accept Him through baptism and take His name upon us. However, He is not actually the father of our spirits or bodies, as He is our elder brother.

It is interesting that we never read that God, the Father, is the Son. An example is the oft quoted statement of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:1-3)

In this one short sentence, there seems to be a direct contradiction. “The Word was with God” indicates two personages, but “the Word was God” depicts only one. This rendering of scripture in the King James version could have been an error in translation, for the Prophet Joseph Smith made it much clearer in the Inspired Version of the Bible:

In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the son was of God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made which was made. (John 1:1-3, Insp. Version)

[123] It is no wonder there are so many religions and so many scriptural interpretations among the Christians. Fortunately, the Prophet makes it very clear that there are two distinct personages here.

Think and Act As One

Many scriptures testify that Jesus is the Savior and that He stands next to God, such as–

And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all. (Moses 1:6)

However, even LDS scriptures present some confusion. For example:

He that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father. (Ether 4:12)

Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for the Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior …. (D & C 76:1)

It is evident that these two beings think and act as one, making it difficult for us to distinguish between them on many occasions. In fact, the efforts of the Father and Son are so closely connected, that they both operate together:

The Father cannot operate without the Son, neither can the Son officiate and operate without the Father. They cannot divide their kingdom, and one go to the right and the other to [124] the left, like Abraham and Lot, when they divided their stock; no, they must live together; they must be one, and labor together, and all their efforts being for the salvation of the human family, must be one. If they made a division they would fall. (Brigham Young, JD 13:283)

The Father-Son relationship was a key to the identity of Jesus being the Christ. Even when He was a mortal, the proper identity of the Son was not known except to a few of His disciples, and that knowledge came to them by revelation.

The Christians of today accredit Jesus to be literally the Father and the Son–in one person. But Jesus did not assume to be literally the Father, for He said, “If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28) Jesus confirmed that the Father was a separate being and “greater” than He.

This is an acknowledgment that the Father was the God of Jesus and to us as well. There is only one God that we worship, as James said, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou does well …. ” (James 2:19)

Even though there is only one God for this world, as previously mentioned Jesus sometimes acted as both the Father and Son:

Jesus Christ applies to Himself both titles, “Son” and “Father.” Indeed, he specifically said to the brother of Jared: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son” (Ether 3:14). Jesus Christ is the son of Elohim both as spiritual and bodily offspring; that is to say, Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ and also of the body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in the flesh, and which body died on the cross and was afterward [125] taken up by the process of resurrection, and is now the immortalized tabernacle of the eternal spirit of our Lord and Savior. No extended explanation of the title “Son of God” as applied to Jesus Christ seems necessary. (Articles of Faith, Talmage, p. 467)

Jesus takes the part of a “Father” in the sense that the children of God are given to the care of Christ. He saves them, redeems them, and cares for them to the utmost, which is not unlike the work of a father or their Father in heaven. Christ made claim on many of them as His own. Consider his prayer to the Father just before the crucifixion:

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be filled. (John 17:6-12)

So often Jesus did not act For Himself, but for the Father who was God, filling the role as Father in his relationship with those who abided in the covenants of the [126] Gospel. Thus, those who accept the Gospel and are heirs of eternal life are given to the charge of the Son. He then acts in that capacity as “Father”, “Jehovah”, and “God.”

Most of the names and titles given to God were also used for Christ. Their power, authority, will, character and even their looks are almost identical. So many of the same titles can apply to and be used by both.

Acting in the Name of the Father

To the Jews, Jesus said, “I am come in my Father’s name.” (John 5:43) And again to impress upon them His calling it was written:

And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. (John 10:24-25)

Jesus acted through the Priesthood in the name of the Father, but men use the Priesthood in the name of Jesus. In all of the works of the Savior, he was a real representative of the Father–acting in His name, speaking His words, performing ordinances, healings and administrations according to the will of the Father. He was acting as the Father would act in the same situations.

Thus the father placed His name upon the Son; and Jesus Christ spoke and ministered in and through the Father’s name; and so far as power, authority, and Godship are concerned, His words and acts were and are those of the Father. (Articles of Faith, Talmage, p. 471)

[127] President John Taylor had written an explanation of the right of Christ to be a God or Father over all mankind:

The Savior thus becomes master of the situation–the debt is paid, the redemption made, the covenant fulfilled, justice satisfied, the will of God done, and all power is now given into the hands of the Son of God–the power of the resurrection, the power of the redemption, the power of salvation, the power to enact laws for the carrying out and accomplishment of this design. * * * The plan, the arrangement, the agreement, the covenant was made, entered into and accepted, before the foundation of the world; it was prefigured by sacrifices, and was carried out and consummated on the cross. Hence, being the Mediator between God and man, He becomes by right the dictator and director on earth and in heaven for the living and for the dead, for the past, the present, and the future, pertaining to man as associated with this earth or the heavens, in time or eternity, the captain of our salvation, the apostle and high priest of our profession, the Lord and Giver of life. (Mediation and Atonement, John Taylor, p. 171)

The Father needed the Son; the Son needed the Father. Together they made a covenant to save mankind.

It is interesting to look at the overall mission of the Son and notice how and when He acts as a Father to mankind:

  1. In the pre-mortal state, Lucifer caused a rebellion and disorganized all mankind. It was the work of Jesus, in the Pre-Existence, to reorganize them again, assisted by a few faithful followers, such as Moses, Abraham, and others.

[128]

  1. Then, after men came to this earth, they became disorganized again. The Son with His few faithful followers once more sought to organize mankind according to the Gospel plan.

  1. After this life, men will be given one more chance to receive and obey the Gospel. Once more, Jesus Christ and a few faithful followers will teach and lead their brothers and sisters. When the last soul is redeemed, the Savior will be crowned, and every faithful man who assisted in this work will receive his crown, “every one in his order” according to his faithfulness and labor for God.

Becoming a Creator

It is comforting to know that we are all the sons of God spiritually, and were born to our Father in heaven and knew Him just as well as we know our mortal fathers. Brigham Young so testified:

I want to tell you, each and every one of you, that you are well acquainted with God our Heavenly Father, or the great Elohim. You are all well acquainted with him, for there is not a soul of you but what has lived in his house and dwelt with him year after year; and yet you are seeking to become acquainted with him, when the fact is, you have merely forgotten what you did know. (JD 4:216)

Every man who earns a crown for exaltation, including Christ, must pass through mortality in order to become a God. And only a God can create a world. Christ, who served so often in the role of Father, has still not yet been able to be a Creator because no one but resurrected, glorified beings have that power. Jesus could not become a Creator in his pre-mortal state any more than any other man. This was confirmed again by Brigham Young:

[129]

All the difference between Jesus Christ and any other man that ever lived on the earth, from the days of Adam until now, is simply this, the Father, after He had once been in the flesh, and lived as we live, obtained His exaltation, attained to thrones, gained the ascendancy over principalities and powers, and had the knowledge and power to create–to bring forth and organize the elements upon natural principles. This He did after His ascension, or His glory, or His eternity, and was actually classed with the Gods, with the beings who create, with those who kept the celestial law while in the flesh, and again obtained their bodies. Then He was prepared to commence the work of creation, as the Scriptures teach. * * *

When the time came that His first-born, the Savior, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favored that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. The Savior was begotten by the Father of His spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits, and that is all the organic difference there is between Jesus Christ and you and me. And a difference there is between our Father and us consists in that He has gained His exaltation, and has obtained eternal lives. (JD 4:217, 218)

So Christ led the way for mankind to follow. He is the first and foremost of all God’s children–the eldest son who, while the Father was “away”, acted in His stead and assumed the role of Father to his younger brother and sisters.

Let it not be forgotten, however, that He is essentially greater than any and all others, by reason (1) of His seniority as the oldest or firstborn; (2) of His unique status in the flesh as the offspring of a mortal mother and of an immortal, [130] or resurrected and glorified, father; (3) of His selection and foreordination as the one and only Redeemer and Savior of the race; and (4) of His transcendent sinlessness. (Articles of Faith, Talmage, p. 473)

So it is natural that Jesus should be the first to obtain His crown and the other righteous sons and daughters of God after Him. Brigham Young explained:

When it is wound up, the text is preached, in all its division, pertaining to the redemption of the world, and the final consummation of all things, then the Savior will present the work to the Father saying, “Father, I have finished the work thou gavest me to do;” and the Son will give it up to the Father, and then be subject to Him, and then he will be crowned, and that is the time you and I will be crowned also. (JD 3:96)

The Son will give His stewardship to the Father and then receive His inheritance. Jesus cannot be exalted as a God until this act has been performed–nor can He be a Creator until this crown has been given and he receives “all glory.”

When Jesus said to the Father, “I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4), it meant He had finished the work assigned Him in three main spheres: (1) the Pre-Existence, (2) mortality, and (3) the Spirit World after mortality.

Since Christ was with the Father from the beginning of this world, He was able to learn from the Father for millions of years. In many ways, they were more like a perfect set of twins than a father and son. Yet, in spite of their similarities and unity, Jesus could not have created the earth, as clearly explained below:

[131]

Christ–he who was to be born to Mary–never having before been mortal, could not create mortal bodies. Neither can a pre-mortal unembodied spirit create an earth upon which his brother spirits can go and take mortal bodies and receive the experiences of mortality. The official creator of this earth claims to have been the creator of many earths. It is beyond human conception, contrary to all reason and teachings of scripture, to hold that Jesus, the son of Mary, before being born in mortality, organized not only many earths, but also an earth for himself to be born on. True, in the councils of heaven, presided over by His Father, he doubtless took an active part in bringing his spiritual brothers and sisters in harmony with the Father’s design to build an earth as their future habitation. He, no doubt, agreed to the plans in many ways assisted, in accordance with his capacity to assist, in bringing the earth into existence. But the earth was built, under the direction of Elohim and Jehovah, the main builders being Michael and his brethren, all of whom had gone through mortality, had received a resurrection, and had qualified as Gods. (Joseph Musser, Michael, Our Father and Our God, pp. 90-91)

So even though there were numerous things that Jesus could and did do, He still had certain limitations–and creating a physical earth was one of them. Creating planets and suns is a force so great that it is necessary to have “all power” and glory, and we have learned that it was not until after His resurrection that Jesus said, “all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). After His resurrection and all wickedness on this earth has been overcome, He receives “all glory” and wilt then be qualified to create a world or worlds without number. At this time, the Son will not just act for or as the Father–but He will be a Father Himself and the Creator of earths.

[132]                             Chapter 14

GODS AND SONS OF GOD

“Gods Many and Lords Many”

Generally speaking, today’s Christian believes there is only one God in all the universe. Yet many passages of scripture infer that there are others. Surely this must be one of the mysteries of creation, because in the first chapter of the Bible it reads, “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness.” (Gen. 1:26)

Then after the tree of good and evil was planted in the garden, one of the greatest promises in the Bible was given when the serpent said, “God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4-5) There was truth to that because after they ate of that tree, “the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil….” (Gen. 3:22)

Two important principles were revealed in this part of Genesis: (1) that there was more than one God in the creation and (2) that man could learn good and evil and become as Gods.

The Prophet Joseph Smith knew “from God” that there is a “plurality of Gods”, and he proved this for others by going into the Hebrew definitions:

Some say I do not interpret the Scripture the same as they do. They say it means the heathen’s gods. Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many; and that makes a plurality of Gods, in spite of the whims of all men. Without a revelation, I am not going to give them the [133] knowledge of the God of heaven. You know and I testify that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods. I have it from God, and get over it if you can. I have a witness of the Holy Ghost, and a testimony that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods in the text. I will show from the Hebrew Bible that I am correct, and the first word shows a plurality of Gods; and I want the apostates and learned men to come here and prove to the contrary, if they can. An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew. Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits, rendered by King James’ translators, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” I want to analyze the word Berosheit. Rosh, the head; Sheit, a grammatical termination; the Baith was not originally put there when the inspired man wrote it, but it has been since added by an old Jew. Baurau signifies to bring forth; Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God, in the singular number; and by adding the word heim, it renders it Gods. It read first, “In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods,” or, as others have translated it, “The head of the Gods called the Gods together.”I want to show a little learning as well as other fools.

The head God organized the heavens and the earth. I defy all the world to refute me. In the beginning the heads of the gods organized the heavens and the earth. Now the learned priests and the people rage, and the heathen imagine a vain thing. If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads, “Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits”–“The head one of the gods said, Let us make a man in our own image.” I once asked a learned Jew, “If the Hebrew language compels us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural? He replied, “That is the rule with few exceptions; but in this case it would ruin the Bible.” He acknowledged I was right….

[134]

In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The word Eloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through–Gods. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take <that> view of the subject, it sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods. All I want is to get the simple, naked truth, and the whole truth. (TPJS, pp. 371-372)

*

So I will go to the old Bible and turn commentator today.

I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible–Berosheit. I want to analyze the word. Baith–in, by, through, and everything else. Rosh–the head. Sheit–grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.” That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council. * * *

The head God called together the Gods and sat in grand council to bring forth the world. The grand councilors sat at the head in yonder heavens and contemplated the creation of the worlds which were created at the time. * * *

I should not have introduced this testimony, were it not to back up the word rosh–the head, the Father of the Gods. I should not have brought it up, only to show that I am right.

[135]

In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. When we begin to learn this way, we begin to learn the only true God, and what kind of a being we have got to worship. Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer. (TPJS, pp. 348, 349, 350)

And coinciding with Joseph Smith, there are Biblical references indicating a plurality of Gods:

The Lord your God is God of Gods, and Lord of Lords. (Deut. 10:17)

The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; . . . (Josh. 22:22)

God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the Gods. (Ps. 82:1)

I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. (Ps. 82:6-7)

O give thanks unto the God of Gods! * * * O give thanks to the Lord of Lords! (Ps. 137:2,3)

The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of Gods, and a Lord of Kings, and a revealer of secrets …. (Dan. 2:47)

And shall speak marvelous things against the God of Gods. (Dan. 11:36)

The Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. (Rev. 17:14)

Jesus quoted from such scriptures to prove the existence of plural Gods. On one occasion the Jews took up stones to stone Jesus, and He said:

Many good works have I shewed you from the Father; for which of those works do ye stone [136] me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are Gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (John 10:32-36)

Jesus was called a God simply because He spoke and acted as God would speak and act. That’s what makes Gods out of men, for when we speak of God, we are talking of someone in a high and holy calling. Jewish scholars define God as another word for “Ruler” and “Lawgiver”, and certainly Jesus qualified in those areas.

Other men, although only mortals, also were sometimes designated as Gods. But how do men acquire such a title? Just as Jesus did!

When men are called prophets, it is because they are speaking for God. Are they always prophets? The Prophet Joseph answered, “I told them that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such.” (DHC 5:265) Man can also acquire “Godliness”, but only when he is acting in that manner.

Moses held the keys of his dispensation–so he often acted and spoke for God, and as God, for the children of Israel. For example, God said to Moses:

Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God. (Moses 1:25)

And thou <Moses> shalt speak unto him <Aaron>, and put words in his mouth; and I will [137] be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people; and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. (Ex. 4:15-16)

The Prophet Joseph Smith commented on this incident:

The scriptures are a mixture of very strange doctrines to the Christian world, who are blindly led by the blind. I will refer to another scripture. “Now”, says God, when He visited Moses in the bush. (Moses was a stammering sort of a boy like me.) God said, “Thou shalt be a God unto the children of Israel.” God said, “Thou shalt be a God unto Aaron, and he shall be thy spokesman.” I believe those Gods that God reveals as Gods to be sons of God, and all can cry, “Abba, Father!” Sons of God who exalt themselves to be Gods, even from before the foundation of the world, and are the only Gods I have a reverence for. (DHC 6:478)

Noah was a God to the people in his era, and because they disobeyed his counsel, they were sent to the bottom of the sea, just as Pharaoh and his army were. Rebellion against Noah was rebellion against God.

When a prophet receives the word of God, he then conveys that word and says, “Thus saith the Lord”–thus speaking as God to the people. In our day, Joseph Smith was a spokesman for God, and he clearly told the people–

God made Aaron to be the mouthpiece for the children of Israel, and He will make me be God to you in His stead, and the Elders to be mouth for me; and if you don’t like it, you must lump it. (TPJS, p. 363)

[138] The Prophet Joseph indicated that before this earth was created there were three personages called Gods, who were to come down upon this earth:

Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham’s record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the witness or Testator. (TPJS, p. 190)

There are several important points of doctrine in this one sentence: (1) these three personages were called Gods; (2) they all had a dispensation on earth; (3) the first dispensation was the Creator’s; (4) the second God was the Redeemer; and (5) the last God was the witness.

An important key to learning the identity of this witness called a God was given by the Prophet himself. He explained that in the last days, the Gospel would be committed to a witness with the keys of the Priesthood. (Read all of TPJS pp. 364-365.) Joseph was that witness in the last days, with the last dispensation. He was a witness of the Father and the Son–of the Creator and the Redeemer.

So then Joseph Smith was “God the third” or “the witness”, and yet he was a mortal man and had to suffer all the trials of this world. To become exalted as a God with the fullness of glory, Joseph had to prove himself worthy of that crown in mortality, even though he had been called a God and chosen to this high office and calling before he even came here:

Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council. (TPJS, p. 365)

[139] Jesus was also on that Council and was called a God; and similar to Joseph Smith, He also had to come down and suffer all things in order to receive His exaltation and receive a fullness of glory. Even though Jesus was called a God before the creation of this earth, He had to become mortal before receiving His exaltation. Again we see that titles and offices often have more meaning than appear on the surface.

Some spirits before the creation of this earth were called Gods; mortals on earth can be called Gods; being heirs with God and joint heirs with Jesus qualify men as Gods; and when men are crowned in the Celestial Kingdom and “inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths . . . which glory shall be a fullness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end;…” (D & C 132:19-20)

We may assume, then, that the term God can apply to pre-mortal spirits, mortal men, and/or resurrected, exalted beings. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph Smith, and many others were referred to as Gods on the basis of their calling, office and appointment. Because of such an appointment, they spoke and acted for God as Gods.

Brigham Young understood Joseph’s important position as a God to the people:

If I ever pass into the heavenly courts, it will be by the consent of the Prophet Joseph. If you ever pass through the gates into the Holy City, you will do so upon his certificate that you are worthy to pass. Can you pass without his inspection? No; neither can any person in this dispensation, which is the dispensation of the fulness of times. In this generation, and in all the generations that are to come, every one will have to undergo the scrutiny of this Prophet. (JD 8:224)

[140] Joseph, like Moses, was that kind of “God.” President Young further stated:

Some have said that I was very presumptuous to say that Brother Brigham was my god and savior–Brother Joseph was his god–the one that gave Joseph the Keys of the Kingdom was his god, which was Peter. Jesus Christ was his god(,) and the God and Father of Jesus Christ was Adam. (Tchgs. of Pres. B.Y., 3:95)

Sons of God

Godship and Godhood are the natural evolution of righteous men, for since they are the children of God, they may grow in maturity and knowledge to be like their Father. Orson Pratt explained:

Every kind of being begets its own like, and when fully matured and grown up, the offspring become like the parent. So the offspring of the Almighty, who begot us, will grow up and become literally Gods, or the sons of God. Here is another doctrine wherein we differ from the world, perhaps not so much differ either, for they do sometimes believe in that passage of scripture which speaks of Gods. “If they call them Gods unto whom the word of God comes,” says Jesus, or words to that effect, “why then do you find fault with me because I make myself the Son of God?” If those prophets and inspired men, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, and others to whom the word of God came, were Gods in embryo, why do you find fault with the Only begotten of the Father, so far as the flesh is concerned, because he makes himself the Son of God? We, then, shall become Gods, or the sons of God. (JD 14:242)

[141] Joseph Smith gave additional information on the heirs or sons of God:

How consoling to the mourners when they are called to part with a husband, wife, father, mother, child, or dear relative, to know that, although the earthly tabernacle is laid down and dissolved, they shall rise again to dwell in everlasting burnings in immortal glory, not to sorrow, suffer, or die any more; but they shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. (TPJS, p. 347)

Brigham Young explained that the power of creating worlds is not given to men until they become exalted as Gods:

Now if you believe what you have heard me say you will believe there is (sic) lords many, and gods many; and you will believe that unto us, the inhabitants of this Earth there is but one God with whom we have to do; and according to the tenor of the Bible, we believe there are many(,) very many who have entered into Power, Glory, Might, and Dominion, and are gathering around them Thrones, and have power to organize elements, and make worlds, and bring into existence intelligent beings in all their variety, who if they are faithful and obedient to their calling and creation will in their turn be exalted in Eternal Kingdoms of the Gods. Do you believe that? (Tchgs. of Pres. B.Y. 3:352)

[142]

The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like Himself, when we have been proved in our present capacity, and been faithful with all things He puts into our possession. We are created, we are born for the express purpose of growing up from the low estate of manhood, to become Gods like unto our Father in heaven. That is the truth about it, just as it is. The Lord has organized mankind for the express purpose of increasing in that intelligence and truth, which is with God, until he is capable of creating worlds on worlds, and becoming Gods, even the sons of God. (JD 3:93)

John Taylor renders a beautiful and correct interpretation of John the Beloved’s great revelation:

John says: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” (Rev. 14:1)

Their “Father’s name,” bless me! that is GOD! Well done for Mormonism; one hundred and forty four thousand GODS, among the tribes of Israel, and, two living Gods and the Holy Ghost, for this world! Such knowledge is too wonderful for men, unless they possess the spirit of Gods. It unravels the little mysteries, which, like a fog, hide the serene atmosphere of heaven, and looks from world to world, from system to system, from universe to universe, and from eternity to eternity, where, in each, and all, there is a presidency of Gods, and Gods many, and lords many; and from time to time, or from eternity to eternity, Jesus Christ shall bring in another world regulated and saved as this will be when he delivers it up to the Father; and God becomes all in all. As John the Revelator said: “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his ser-[143]vants shall serve him. And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” (Rev. 22:3, 4)

“His name in their foreheads,” undoubtedly means “God” on the front of their crowns; for, when all things are created new, in the celestial kingdom, the servants of God, the innumerable multitude, are crowned, and are perfect men and women in the Lord, one in glory, one in knowledge, and one in image: they are like Christ, and he is like God: then, O, then, they are all “living Gods,” having passed from death unto life, and possessing the power of eternal lives! (Times & Seasons 6:806-807, Feb. 15, 1845)

The most revealing statement concerning Gods becoming Creators was given in a discourse by President Brigham Young:

It is supposed by this people <the Latter-day Saints> that we have all the ordinances in our possession for life and salvation, and exaltation, and that we are administering in these ordinances. This is not the case. We are in possession of all the ordinances that can be administered in the flesh; but there are other ordinances and administrations that must be administered beyond this world. I know you would ask what they are. I will mention one. We have not, neither can we receive here, the ordinance and the keys of the resurrection. * * *

We hold the authority to dispose of, alter and change the elements; but we have not received authority to organize native element to even make a spear of grass grow.

Another item: We have not the power in the flesh to create and bring forth or produce a spirit; but we have the power to produce a temporal body. The germ of this, God has placed within us. And when our spirits receive our [144] bodies, and through our faithfulness we are worthy to be crowned, we will then receive authority to produce both spirit and body. But the keys we cannot receive in the flesh. Herein, brethren, you can perceive that we have not finished, and cannot finish our work, while we live here, no more than Jesus did while he was in the flesh.

We cannot receive, while in the flesh, the keys to form and fashion kingdoms and to organize matter, for they are beyond our capacity and calling, beyond this world. In the resurrection, men who have been faithful and diligent in all things in the flesh, have kept their first and second estate, and worthy to be crowned Gods, even the sons of God, will be ordained to organize matter. (JD 15:137)

This makes it clear that Jesus could not have organized this earth or any other earth in His pre-mortal state. He had to come into mortality, receive a glorified resurrection, and then obtain the keys, authority and power to organize matter for an earth. The fullness of glory and power to organize a world is received only after resurrection. It is then that men become Gods with a fullness of glory.

[145]                             Chapter 15

THE FULLNESS OF GLORY

The purpose of this chapter is to show that Jesus Christ did not “receive a fullness at first”, but will receive the fullness of His glory after His resurrection, at the time when all wickedness on this earth is overcome. Therefore, He cannot be as the Gods until after this time.

It is interesting to note that everything on this earth seems to symbolize or represent things in heaven. The true principles of science, chemistry, mathematics and other fields of learning, are used by the Father. Even the family, marriage and children are a part of the work of the Father. Many things that happen on this world are typified by what happened in the pre-mortal life of man. The beginnings of both the spirit world and the physical world were very similar.

For example, in the beginning of this mortal world, Adam had two sons–one very honorable and righteous and the other disobedient and wicked. So it was in the pre-mortal life: God began with two sons–one righteous and one unrighteous.

The Pre-Existent spirits of the Father became disorganized and the unrighteous son of God rebelled and was cast down to earth that had just been created. Then Jesus was given the power, authority and calling to reorganize mankind. Jesus was selected to become the Savior, Redeemer and Organizer (Creator) of the world (mankind). So He accepted the authority and calling to prepare all the sons and daughters of the Father to receive the Gospel in the flesh.

[146] Although Jesus was an obedient Son and was given overwhelming responsibility in the premortal life, He was still required to come to earth and experience joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, inherent in mortality. As Paul said, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Heb. 5:8-9) He still had to grow and learn and prove worthy of that honor.

It was necessary for Him to obey the laws of the Gospel in order to fulfill the laws of all righteousness: even baptism–though He was without sin. The Prophet Joseph Smith states, “. . . for no man can enter the kingdom without obeying this ordinance (baptism): for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Surely, then, if it became John and Jesus Christ, the Savior, to fulfil all righteousness to be baptized–so surely, then, it will become every other person that seeks the kingdom of heaven to go and do likewise….” (TPJS, p. 266)

So, too, was it necessary for Christ to obey the laws pertaining to the Priesthood. The Prophet explains:

If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God, he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord. (TPJS, p. 308)

John, the beloved apostle, testified that Jesus had to go through life, acting in obedience to the laws, until He could finally receive a fullness of those promises of power and glory:

And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; and he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness; And thus he was called the [147] Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first. And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son. And I, John bear record that he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.

And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John. I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness. For if you keep my commandments, you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father…. (D & C 93:12-20)

Three times John’s testimony was that Jesus “received not of the fulness at the first” but afterwards received it; and it will be pointed out by Brigham Young that He did not receive a “fullness of the glory of the Father” until after He was resurrected. Christ, Himself, made the following statement (after His resurrection) when he appeared to His eleven disciples:

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given onto me in heaven and in earth. (Matt. 28:18)

And in order for any man to receive of that fullness, he must follow that same narrow path through mortality. Joseph Smith describes this pathway:

Here then, is eternal life–to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves; and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done [148] before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit in enthroned in everlasting power. * * *

. . . they shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. * * *

When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel–you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world: it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave. (TPJS, pp. 346, 347, 348)

Even Christ had to obey all the laws and adhere to this timetable before He could make claim to “all power in heaven and earth.” Although Jesus was called “God” (see Mosiah 15:1, 2 Nephi 11:7 & 26:12; Helaman 8:22-23; etc.), He still had to follow through life step by step to obtain His crown with a fullness of that Godhood.

Even Jesus had to pass through a life of sorrow and suffering, and experience the tribulations of mortality, or how else could he really understand the experiences that mankind go through? As the 122nd Section of the Doctrine and Covenants says (after listing all kinds of adversities), “The Son of Man hath descended below them all.” (122:8) As Alma said–

[149]

. . . and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. (Alma 7:12)

Brigham Young said it would be foolish to petition a God who never had any experience with the adverse difficulties of our mortal life. How else could He understand hunger without feeling the pangs in the stomach? How could He know about cold and hot, joy and sorrow without possessing mortal senses and having human emotions? Joseph Smith said that it was necessary that “men have to suffer that they may come upon Mount Zion and be exalted above the heavens.” (DHC 5:556)

And, not only does the Savior have to experience these things and obey these laws, but He has to comply with certain ordinances in order to receive a fullness of power and glory. The Prophet Joseph referred to the importance of ordinances:

The question is frequently asked, “Can we not be saved without going through with all those ordinances? I would answer, No, not the fulness of salvation . . . and any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law, too. (TPJS, p. 331)

Jesus had to go through life choosing, obeying, and acting upon free agency the same as we do. Paul said, “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Heb. 2:18) Also, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15) Although he had supreme understanding, he also had equal temptations. Knowing as He did of the Gospel plan, He still could have refused and failed. Said Brigham Young:

[150]

Jesus suffered himself to be crowned with thorns and crucified; but suppose he had said, “I will not make this great sacrifice; I am the Almighty; I will dash my enemies to pieces, and I will not die for the world,” what would have been the result? Jesus would have become a son of perdition; he would have lost every power and right to the kingdom he was about to redeem–would have become no better than the son of the morning who contended against him, and would have contended against righteousness from that time, and against whoever the Lord would then appoint to destroy sin and death, and him that had the power of it. (JD 8:118)

Just like everyone else, Jesus had to prove obedience to the Father in order to obtain the fullness of all things and all power. Bruce R. McConkie admits that–

In this life he received not of the fulness at the first, but went from grace to grace until, in the final triumph of the resurrection, he gained the fulness of all things; and all power was given him both in heaven and on earth. (Mormon Doctrine, p. 129)

Brigham Young better explained when this time was that Jesus would receive a fullness of glory:

The Saviour has not finished his work, and cannot receive the fulness of his glory until the influences and power of the wicked are overcome and brought into subjection. When the wicked inhabitants of the earth, the beasts of the field, fowls of the air, fish of the sea, all mineral substances, and all else pertaining to this earth, are overcome, then he will take the kingdom, present it to the Father, and say, “Here is the work you gave me to do–you made the appointment–I have wrought faithfully, and here are my [151] brethren and sisters who have wrought with me. We have wrought faithfully together; we have overcome the flesh, hell, and the Devil. I have overcome, and they have followed in my footsteps, and here are all thou hast given me; I have lost none, except the son of perdition. (JD 8:118)

Jesus could not have become a God, or have spirit children or create temporal earths until He had proven Himself worthy of exaltation by obeying all the laws connected with exaltation. Brigham Young describes receiving these crowns and the power and glory that follow:

Our spirits, thousands of years ago, were first begotten; and at the consummation of all things, when the Saviour has finished his work and presented it to the Father, he will be crowned.

None of you will receive your crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives before he receives his. He will be crowned first, and then we shall be crowned, every one in his order; for the work is finished, and the spirit is complete in its organization with the tabernacle. The world is the first to be redeemed, and the people last to be crowned upon it. (JD 6:282)

*

When they receive their crowns, their dominions, they then will be prepared to frame earths like unto ours and to people them in the same manner as we have been brought forth by our parents, by our Father and our God. (JD 18:259)

*

[152]

And when our spirits receive our bodies, and through our faithfulness we are worthy to be crowned, we will then receive authority to produce both spirit and body. (JD 15:137)

Jesus had to come down to earth, passing through all that we do, to earn His rightful place as Redeemer of the world. He will not received His crown of exaltation until He has earned it. He cannot be a Creator of spirits, tabernacles, or the elements of an earth until He has received His resurrected body and has become as the Gods.

Jesus will obtain His crown for a fullness of glory in the same manner as the Father obtained His:

What did Jesus do? Why, I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of his Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all his children. It is plain beyond disputation, and you thus learn some of the first principles of the Gospel, about which so much hath been said. (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pp. 348-349)

To be a Creator requires the full power and glory of the office of a God. It is not the granting of a special favor or authority, nor an earned privilege of all spiritual beings. It requires a man who has entered mortality, experienced and overcome the affirmities and difficulties of life, and then gained a celestial resurrection after proving himself faithful in all things. Then the powers and rights of creation are bestowed upon him. Christ, our Elder [153] Brother, had not been a resurrected being prior to his birth on this world; and, He could not have been a creator before His resurrection.

Christ was a spirit before His birth. Such spirits are limited in their progress and thus long to come to earth to obtain a mortal body and eventually inherit one of the three degrees of glory. In the highest degree one can receive the fullness of glory and exaltation, thus enabling him to be a creator of earths.

A spirit cannot beget mortal children, for only “like begets like.” As spirits, they cannot be Gods over such an earth for they have no children to put on it. They cannot organize or create an earth or else all mankind would have been able to have that chance in the Pre-Existence and would not be required to come down into mortality.

Only those who reach the Celestial Kingdom and the fullness of glory receive the authority and powers of a God who can create a world such as ours.

[154]                             Chapter 16

“CREATING” PLANTS AND ANIMALS

Once the world was built and ready for habitation, the problem arose of how to put plants and animal upon it. Some ministers preach that these things came about by some form of spontaneous combustion or magical creation from nothing. But God operates on very genuine and scientific principles–the same that man is learning to use. President Brigham Young declared:

But it is hard to get the people to believe that God is a scientific character, that He lives by science or strict law, that by this He is, and by law He was made what He is; and will remain to all eternity because of His faithful adherence to law. * * * He is their Author. Our Spirits are His; He begot them. We are His children; He set the machine in motion to produce our tabernacles;… (JD 13:306)

The laws of propagation are no exception. All living things must come forth by these reproductive laws and principles–each after its own kind. Every plant, insect, bird, animal and human follow these eternal laws of reproduction. The Prophet Joseph Smith declared:

God has made certain decrees which are fixed and immovable; . . . for instance, the oak of the forest, the fruit of the tree, the herb of the field, all bear a sign that seed hath been planted there; for it is a decree of the Lord that every tree, plant, and herb bearing seed should bring forth of its kind, and cannot come forth after any other law or principle. (TPJS, p. 198)

[155] In a footnote, Joseph Fielding Smith commented on this statement by the Prophet:

This very positive statement by the Prophet, that every tree, plant, and herb, and evidently every other creature, cannot produce except after its kind, is in harmony not only with the scriptures, but also with all known facts in the world. (TPJS, p. 198)

John Taylor agreed:

The animal and vegetable creations are governed by certain laws, and are composed of certain elements peculiar to themselves. This applies to man, to beasts, fowls, fish, and creeping things, to the insects and to all animated nature; each one possessing its own distinct features; each requiring a specific sustenance, each having an organism and faculties governed by proscribed laws to perpetuate its own kind. (Mediation and Atonement, p. 164)

Plant Life

So there is ample proof that all the plants found on the earth were the product of seed of its own kind. Then how did that seed first come upon the earth? Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball both answered this question:

They (Adam and Eve) came here, organized the raw material, and arranged in their order the herbs of the field, the trees, the apple, the peach, the plum, the pear, and every other fruit that is desirable and good for man; the seed was brought from another sphere, and planted in this earth. (Brigham Young, JD 1:50)

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Shall I say that the seeds of vegetables were planted here by the Characters that framed and built this earth? –that the seeds of every plant composing the vegetable kingdom were brought from another world? This would be news to many of you. Who brought them here? It matters little to us whether it was John, James, William, Adam, or Bartholomew who brought them; but it was some Being who had power to frame this earth with its seas, valley, mountains, and rivers and cause it to teem with vegetable and animal life. * * * Mankind are here because they are offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species, and they are commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. (Brigham Young, Des. News, Dec. 27, 1913)

*

Did you find the seed? No, you did not; the Lord found it; when He came here He brought it with Him, and He told His sons to sow it, and let it increase. (Heber C. Kimball, JD 2:160)

They were also instructed to plant every kind of vegetable, likewise the forest and the fruit trees, and they actually brought from heaven every variety of fruit, of the seeds of vegetables, the seeds of flowers, and planted them in this earth on which we dwell. And I will say more, the spot chosen for the garden of Eden was Jackson County, in the State of Missouri, where Independence now stands. * * * Father Adam was instructed to multiply and replenish the earth, to make it beautiful and glorious, to make it, in short, like unto the garden from which the seeds were brought to plant the garden of Eden. (Heber C. Kimball, JD 10:235)

[157] B.H. Roberts also mentions that the seeds for this earth were brought from an older earth:

We are informed that the Lord God made every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb before it grew upon some older earth, and the seeds thereof or the plants themselves were brought to our earth and made to grow, so likewise man and his help-meet were brought from some older world to our own, to people it with their children. (Contributor 10:265)

Brigham Young explained the eternal nature of the fruits and their seeds:

Then, can you by any process of reasoning or argument, tell whether it was an apple that bore the first seed of an apple, or an apple seed that made the first apple? Or, whether it was the seed of a squash that made the first squash, or a squash that bore the first squash seed? Such abtruse questions belong to the philosophy of the world; in reality there never was and never will be a time when there was not both the apple and the apple seed. (Teachings of B.Y., Collier, p. 345)

Animal Life

So the earth was made beautiful with all its varied kinds of vegetation. But animals must be brought here, too. How were they created? What was their origin on this earth? They must follow the same laws and principles pertaining to their species that the plants do in theirs. They reproduce their own kind. But there must be some here on earth in order to produce more. The following quotations show that they also were brought here from some other world.

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A royal planter now descends from yonder world of older date, and bearing in his hand the choice seeds of the older Paradise, he plants them in the virgin soil of our new born earth. They grow and flourish there, and, bearing seed, replant themselves, and thus clothe the naked earth with scenes of beauty and the air with fragrant incense. Ripening fruits and herbs at length abound. When lo! from yonder world is transferred every species of animal life. Male and female, they come, with blessings on their heads, and a voice is heard again, “Be Fruitful and multiply.” Earth, its mineral, vegetable and animal wealth, its Paradise prepared, down comes from yonder world on high a son of God, with His beloved spouse. And thus a colony from heaven, it may be from the sun, is transplanted on our soil. (Parley P. Pratt, Key to Theology, 5th ed., pp. 49-50)

*

After the earth was made, then there was a garden spot selected, and the Lord commanded some of his associates to go and plant it, and to cause all kinds of vegetation to grow, and fruits of every description. Some suppose the Lord commanded all these things to come out of the earth. Yes, he did, after the seeds were put in the earth; and he blessed the earth, and the vegetation that was in the earth. When all these things were done, the garden was beautified, and made pure and clean and holy and sanctified; and then the next thing was to bring forth the animal creation; but the animals were not brought there until the vegetation was planted and grown. (Heber C. Kimball, JD 8:243)

[159] Only a God Could Bring Plants and Animals Here

Here then is the secret to the mystery behind the story of the Genesis creation. All the varieties of vegetation and animal life were brought here–they were not suddenly “created” out of nothing. Someone brought them here from another world.

And it has already been shown that a resurrected glorified being, a God, is the only one with the power and ability to perform such a task, as a spirit cannot manipulate, control or create physical and tangible matter. Nor can a spirit create a physical body. If this were possible, then the devil would be able to create a body for himself and his hosts, and then perhaps a mortal world of his own.

In the scriptures, the Lord explains that a spirit cannot hold anything physical. Jesus said, “Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39) If He were just a spirit at that time, they would not have been able to touch or feel Him. A spirit cannot make any contact with something physical.

For instance, the Lord gave a key to this limitation of spirits. If a spirit would make an appearance to a person, the Lord said, “If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands, he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything….” (D & C 129:8)

Realizing that spirits cannot touch or hold anything of a physical nature, is a key in understanding the type of Being who brought the plants and animals from another world to this one.

[160]                             Chapter 17

“CREATING” MORTAL MAN

A Variety of Theories

There are various organizations throughout the world who have delved with particular interest and enthusiasm into the various theories of creation. Two of these are called “Creation Research Society” and “Bible Science Association.” Henry M. Morris, president of the former, has some interesting views on the mystery of man’s creation:

His creative acts consisted of calling the physical universe into existence, of calling animal life into existence, and of calling human life in His own image, into existence.

The reason why He took six days instead of only the twinkling of an eye to do this was in order for His work week of six days to serve as a pattern for man’s work week of six days.

Real creation obviously requires creation with an “appearance of age.” Thus, Adam was made as a full-grown man. (Evolution and the Modern Christian, pp. 58, 650, 62)

So, according to Morris, Adam was the only man who never had a boyhood, and genealogically speaking he never had a father either. Hopefully, this chapter will shed a little more light on the subject so more accurate conclusions can be drawn.

Many different theories and ideas have been presented as to how mankind originated on this earth, such as–

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  1. He was scooped up like an adobe brick or pile of dirt.
  2. He was built like a robot out of nothing.
  3. He came from some “bug” that creeped out of the swamp, gradually growing legs and arms and evolving into a man.
  4. He evolved from monkeys, as Darwin’s theory promotes. (Our schools teach something like this.)
  5. He was a spontaneous miracle at the command of God.

And, of course, there are also the stories of the stork and swallowing a watermelon seed, etc.

But, in actuality, we know from scripture and revelation that God put mortal man on this earth, and this was done by immortal parents through the process of generation.

Propagation and Generation

In the previous chapter, information was presented showing how the flora and fauna (plants and animals) were transplanted to this earth. This procedure seems reasonable and logical. However, the question of how God established His mortal children on this new creation of the earth is still a great mystery to many. Fortunately, many of these questions have been clarified in LDS theology.

To begin with–“The statement that man was made from the dust of the earth is merely figurative” (Rational Theology, Widtsoe, p. 50), and “The story of the rib, of course, is figurative.” (Ensign, 3/76, p. 71) But figurative of what? Maybe they didn’t really know, for Spencer W. Kimball admitted:

We don’t know exactly how their coming into this world happened, and when we’re able to understand it, the Lord will tell us. (Ensign, 3/76, p. 72)

[162] President Brigham Young stepped boldly into this arena and said:

When you tell me that father Adam was made as we make adobies from the earth, you tell me what I deem an idle tale. When you tell me that the beasts of the field were produced in that manner, you are speaking idle words devoid of meaning. There is no such thing in all the eternities where the Gods dwell. Mankind are here because they are the offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species, and they were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. (JD 7:285)

*

The first people of the Earth was (sic) no more made of the dust, than we are–I would not make out that Moses lied, by no means. But we are made of dust as much as Adam was. So are our cattle. They are formed or created from the elements all of which are necessary to produce animal or vegetable life–as the dust of the Earth will produce grass and cattle will eat grass and increase. (Tchgs. of B.Y. 3:369, Collier)

But let’s start at the beginning. According to Brigham Young, the first responsibility as a God is to have spirit children. Then power is given to create the elements to provide a mortal earth for these spirit children.

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 (1) propagating their species in spirit; and that is the first of their operations with regard to organizing a [163] world. Power is then given to them to (2) organize the elements, and then (3) commence the organization of tabernacles. (JD 6:275)

So first there needs to be vegetation and animal life to sustain these mortal children. Wouldn’t God and man both use the same principles of generation in providing for their children? In the days before supermarkets, malls, and convenience stores, if a young man and his wife decided to have a family, they needed a garden and some animals in order to sustain these children. So the young man simply brought some seed and seedlings to start a little garden near his house, and before long there was enough growth and vegetation to fill the whole garden. He also brought a few pairs of the animals and soon had an abundant supply of birds and animals. The same principles of generation apply in both mortality and immortality.

Now once a place is prepared on earth, Brigham Young explains how the mortal children get here:

. . . they (Adam and Eve) will go into the garden, and continue to eat and drink of the fruits of the corporeal world, until this grosser matter is diffused sufficiently through their celestial bodies to enable them, according to the established laws, to produce mortal tabernacles for their spiritual children. (JD 6:275)

Heber C. Kimball explained that the same Being created both our spiritual and physical bodies:

Now, brethren, you have got a spirit in you, and that spirit was created and organized–was born and begotten by our Father and our God before we ever took these bodies; and these bodies were formed by him, and through him, and of him, just as much as the spirit was; for I will tell you, he commenced and brought forth spirits; and then, when he completed that work, he [164] commenced and brought forth tabernacles for those spirits to dwell in. I came through him, both spirit and body. (JD 6:31)

But let’s discuss more about God’s transition from an immortal to a mortal. Since resurrected bodies produce only spirit children, then something must occur to enable the creation of a physical mortal body from a resurrected immortal one.

First, it is necessary to understand the difference between immortal and mortal bodies. Both have flesh and both have bones, but mortals have blood and immortals do not. The Prophet Joseph said that “When our flesh is quickened by the Spirit, there will be no blood in this tabernacle.” (TPJS, p. 367) Paul, the Apostle, was in agreement with this when he said, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50). And Joseph said, “Flesh and blood cannot go there; but flesh and bones, quickened by the Spirit of God, can. (TPJS, p. 326)

While blood represents mortality, another substance flows in the veins of immortal beings. This was taught by Brigham Young, for he explained that such a transformation occurred during the death and resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ.

The blood he spilled upon Mount Calvary he did not receive again into his veins. That was poured out, and when he was resurrected, another element took the place of the blood. It will be so with every person who receives a resurrection; the blood will not be resurrected with the body, being designed only to sustain the life of the present organization. When that is dissolved, and we again obtain our bodies by the power of the resurrection, that which we now call the life of the body, and which is formed from the food we eat and the water we drink will be supplanted by another element; for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. (JD 7:163)

[165] The method of creating blood in a resurrected body so that it could produce mortal children was a mystery until Brigham Young explained:

God is the father of all the spirits of all the people of this world–he is the father of the bodies also of the first inhabitants of the Earth, also the father of the body of Jesus Christ. * * * Though He is God and had lived and died and been resurrected on some other planet–and obtained his exaltation, and begat the Spirits of children enough <to> people this world, he came down–and brought some of the animal and vegetable productions of some other world so that they might grow and increase here–He by eating the mortal fruits of the Earth, produced mortal children or commenced the increase of men on the Earth which is the bodies for the Spirits to live in. (Teachings of B.Y., Collier, 3:369)

Here then is one of the great secrets of the eternities and the Gods. Only prophets could understand and explain this mystery, for science may never be able to comprehend it. God becomes the Father of His children–both spiritual and temporal. It is reasonable that God would want to act as Father to His children throughout both immortality and mortality. He apparently said to His wife that He would “make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26) Obviously He did.

Bishop Heber Bennion wrote that “If a man is not to become the God of his own posterity, what will he be the God of?” (Supplement to Gospel Problems, p. 9)

Orson Pratt also said:

Our first parents were not mortal when they were placed on this earth, but they were as immortal as those who are resurrected in the presence of God. Death came into the world by [166] their transgression, they produced mortality; hence this will be a complete restoration, of which I am speaking. (JD 16:324)

The learned B. H. Roberts, in writing for the Liahona, or Elders Journal, stated positively:

A spiritual fluid or substance circulated in their veins instead of blood. Consequently, they had not power to beget children with tabernacles of flesh, such as human beings possess. The fall caused a change in their bodies, which, while it rendered them mortal, at the same time gave them power to create mortal bodies of flesh, blood and bone for their offspring. This is a very brief explanation of a very important subject. (Liahona 6:33)

Brigham Young taught that God once had blood, then was resurrected to immortality without blood:

Man is the offspring of God. Who can fully realize this? Our Heavenly Father orders all things that pertain to this earth and to multitudes of worlds of which we are ignorant. We are as much the children of this great Being as we are the children of our mortal progenitors. We are flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone, and the same fluid that circulates in his veins as it does in ours. (JD 9:283)

Understanding the nature of blood, in relation to man’s immortality, is necessary to comprehend the doctrine that Brigham Young was teaching:

The “forbidden tree”, says Brigham, contained in its fruit the elements of death, or the elements of mortality. By eating of it, blood was again infused into the tabernacles of beings who had become immortal. The basis of mortal gener-[167]ation is blood. Without blood no mortal can be born. Even could immortals have been conceived on earth, the trees of life had made but the paradise of a few; but mortal world was the object of creation then. (Women of Mormondom, Tullidge, p. 199)

Mortal food was considered the “tree of good and evil,” but what would have been the result if he would have again partaken of the “tree of life”, which is the celestial food of resurrected beings?

. . . and now, lest he put forth his hand, and partake also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever; therefore, I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden of Eden. (Gen. 3:28-29, Insp. Vers.)

If an immortal being eats mortal food, it would be a transgression of a law similar to breaking the Word of Wisdom. There would be a penalty affixed and it would require an atonement or a compensation to rectify it. This is the work of God’s Beloved Son to atone for this “fall” or transgression of that immortal Being. God steps down to mortality, and the Son provides the redemption from that fall. God’s sacrifice was to temporarily “fall” to a lower sphere and condition in order to provide mortality for His children. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was to be crucified in order to provide redemption, resurrection and immortality for his brothers and sisters.

Edward Tullidge explains more about this “fall”:

The fail is simple. Our immortal parents came down to fall; came down to transgress the laws of immortality; came down to give birth to mortal tabernacles for a world of spirits. * * * Eve, then, came down to be the mother of a world. Glorious Mother, capable of dying at the very beginning to give life to her offspring, that [168] through mortality the eternal life of the Gods might be given her sons and daughters. (Women of Mormondom, pp. 197-198)

The work and wonder of the Gods is creating. They organize worlds and propagate children for them. They build a garden paradise on the world by bringing plants and animals to it; then they begin the work of providing mortal bodies for those spirit children. By bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, the Gods themselves become more exalted, and Their kingdoms grow in size and glory.

[169]                             Chapter 18

“ADAM–WHICH IS MANY”

We are told very little in the scriptures about an archangel called Michael. However, what little is mentioned gives us an indication that he has a very important part to play in man’s salvation.

Daniel was told that Michael was his “prince”, and he wrote about the end of the world saying:

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was . . . (Dan. 12:1)

Ancient of Days

As mentioned before, some noted Bible scholars recognize the Ancient of Days to be God the Father. This recognition is based upon Daniel’s description of such supreme power and authority belonging to the Ancient of Days. One such scholar wrote:

In vision Daniel witnessed the enactment of a drama of magnificent splendor as the Mighty God, to whom the title of the Ancient of Days is given, presents to His Son, Jesus Christ, a Kingdom so that all people, nations and languages may serve Him.

“. . . the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.” (Dan. 7:9)

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Continuing to recount the happenings of the awe-inspiring scene he saw, the prophet speaks of the thousand times ten thousands who minister unto Him–the heavenly hosts who do His bidding. He then sees the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven and presenting Himself before the Ancient of Days to receive His Kingdom: “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Dan. 7:14)

The Ancient of Days is now taking His seat in judgment, and aspects of His wrath are beginning to manifest themselves on the earth. Soon His Son Jesus Christ will return in the clouds of heaven and in righteousness He will judge and make war against all evil. (Destiny Magazine, Dec. 1953, Vol. 24, No. 12)

The Prophet Joseph Smith explained why Adam was called the Ancient of Days:

Commencing with Adam, who was the first man, who is spoken of in Daniel as being the “Ancient of Days,” or in other words, the first and oldest of all, the great, grand progenitor of whom it is said in another place he is Michael, because he was the first and father of all, not only by progeny, but the first to hold the spiritual blessings, to whom was made known the plan of ordinances for the salvation of his posterity unto the end, and to whom Christ was first revealed, and through who in Christ has been revealed from heaven, and will continue to be revealed from henceforth. (TPJS, p. 167)

[171] An Adam for Every World

We learn that Michael came down to earth and became Adam. Here again names (titles) are applicable to a time or condition, rather than to an individual person. The name of Adam has a special meaning–directed to a position, office or mission. Furthermore, there are many Adams. The scriptures say that “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” (Gen. 5:2) And again, “the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.” (Moses 1:34)

Dr. Frank Salisbury commented on this:

Because of the syntax, this statement is a little confusing. Is Adam the first of all men on all worlds created by God? Are there many Adams? Or are there many men? Perhaps a logical explanation, considering the verses before and after, which discuss the many worlds created by God, is that each of these worlds has an Adam who is the first man for that world, and that there are many worlds and hence many Adams. (The Creation, p. 66)

Since there is a Lamb slain on every earth to atone for a “fall”, it follows that there must be an Adam to make that fall. Since sorrow and temptation are necessary for man’s exaltation, there must also be a “tempter” or devil. The true story of this world and every world is simply this–every world has an Adam, a Christ and a Devil. They are necessary offices or positions for each world. As Brigham Young explained, “… every earth has its redeemer, and every earth has its tempter.” (JD 14:71)

Brigham Young also explained the definition of the word Adam:

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The name that was given to Adam was more ancient than he was–it was the name of a man long before him who enjoyed the Priesthood. The name “Adam” was given him because he was the first man. Adam . . . signifies (the) first man and Eve signifies (the) first woman. (Doctrine of the Priesthood, “Pres. B.Y.’s Doctrine on Deity”, Collier, 2:103)

Further explanation by Brigham Young describes the mission or work of an Adam and an Eve:

Have they (the Gods) to go to that earth? Yes, an Adam will have to go there, and he cannot go without Eve; he must have Eve to commence the work of generation, and they will go into the garden, and continue to eat and drink of the fruits of the corporeal world, until this grosser matter is diffused sufficiently through their celestial bodies to enable them, according to the established laws, to produce mortal tabernacles for their spiritual children. This is a key for you. (JD 6:275)

Adam and Eve are the names of the fathers and mothers of worlds. . . . These were father and mother of a world of spirits who had been born to them in heaven. (Women of Mormondom, p. 180)

Adam and Eve are the parents of all pertaining to the flesh, and I would not say that they are not also the parents of our spirits. (JD 7:290)

This is certainly a different concept from what the sectarian ministers of the world are teaching; but they all seem to agree that Adam was immortal before he came to earth. The law was in force that if he partook of the forbidden fruit, he would die. In other words, if he did not [173] partake of it, he would not die–he was immortal. The key to the identity of Adam is in that scripture. Immortal beings are usually resurrected beings, and any immortal being who generates children is a God. Brigham Young expounded this doctrine:

Adam was an immortal being when he came to this earth. He had lived on an earth similar to ours. He had received the Priesthood and the keys thereof, and had been faithful in all things, and had gained resurrection, and his exaltation, and was crowned with glory, immortality and eternal lives, and was numbered with the Gods, for such he was through his faithfulness.

And he had begotten all of the spirits that were to come to this earth. (Brigham Young as quoted in the L. John Nuttall Journal, 1:18)

Adam was as conversant with his father who placed him upon this earth as we are conversant with our earthly parents. The father frequently came to visit his son Adam and talked with him; and the children of Adam were more or less acquainted with their Grandfather and their children were more or less acquainted with their Great-Grandfather. (JD 9:148)

An Eve for Every World

Therefore, Michael becomes Adam to fulfill a special mission to set the stage for His children on earth. What about Eve? Brigham said, “she was called Eve, because she was the first woman upon the earth.” (Des. News 6/18/1873) He further commented on the women in the Church who would become Eves:

Before me I see a house full of Eves. What a crowd of reflections the word Eve is calculated to bring up! Eve was the name or title conferred [174] upon our first mother, because she was actually to be the mother of all the human beings who should live upon this earth. I am looking upon a congregation designed to be just such beings. (Mill. Star 31:267)

Consequently, every faithful woman who gains the highest resurrection in the celestial kingdom will first bear spirit children; then she will come to an earth and charge her system with blood to bear mortal tabernacles. She is rightfully called “the Mother of all living.” This grand promise to women is nearly overwhelming to consider:

I ask this question of you, mother Eves, every one of you. If you are not sanctified and prepared, you ought to be sanctifying and preparing yourselves for the blessings in store for you when it will be said of you, this is Eve. Why? Because you are the mother of all living. You might as well prepare first as last. If you wish to be Eves and mothers of human families, you ought to bear the burden. (Brigham Young, JD 12:97)

*

Many of the sisters grieve because they are not blessed with offspring. You will see the time when you will have millions of children around you. If you are faithful to your covenants, you will become mothers of nations. You will become Eves to earths like this; and when you have assisted in peopling one earth, there are millions of earths still in the course of creation. And when they have endured a thousand million times longer than this earth, it is only as it were the beginning of your creations. Be faithful, and if you are not blessed with children in this time, you will hereafter. But I would not dare tell you all I know about these matters. (Brigham Young, JD 8:208)

[175] What a monumental work for those who become an Adam and an Eve!

The First Dispensation

The fall of Adam (Michael) and the redemption of Christ were meant to work together. Paul says:

The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam <Christ> was made a quickening spirit. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. (I Cor. 15: 45, 47)

Adam’s fall was from heavenly to earthly, and Christ’s sacrifice was restoring from earthly to heavenly.

Not all sermons about Adam refer to the office or station, but sometimes refer to the person who filled that position. Consider the following from the Prophet Joseph Smith:

The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the first presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. (TPJS, p. 157)

Adam holds the keys of the dispensation of the fullness of times; i.e., the dispensation of all the times have been and will be revealed through him …. (TPJS, p. 167)

This, then, is the nature of the Priesthood; every man holding the Presidency of his dispensation, and one man holding the presidency of them all, even Adam; . . . (TPJS, p. 169)

He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men. . . . (DHC 3:387)

He had dominion given him over every living creature. (TPJS, p. 157)

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The keys (of Priesthood) have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam’s authority. (TPJS, p. 157)

Brigham Young learned the importance of role from Joseph Smith:

Our Father Adam is the man who stands at the gate and holds the keys of everlasting life and salvation to all his children who have or who ever will come upon the earth. * * * I could not find any man on the earth who could tell me this, although it is one of the simplest things in the world, until I met and talked with Joseph Smith. (Brigham Young, Des. News, 6/18/1873)

Brother Brigham could have been referring to information he learned from the Prophet Joseph such as–

Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham’s record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the Witness or Testator. (TPJS, p. 190)

In this statement there was a quorum of three personages, or three Gods, who took part in planning for this earth, and it refers to “their dispensation.” Each one of these Gods had a dispensation on the earth. In the beginning it was “God the first, the Creator,” who had the first dispensation. This had to be Adam. Then another dispensation came with “God the second, the Redeemer.” This was Jesus Christ. Finally came “God the third, the Witness or Testator.” The third member was Joseph Smith was “the witness or testator” of the Father and Son. [177] He saw the Father and the Son and bore that witness to the world as a prophet and testator. So here the Prophet Joseph makes a clear distinction between God the Creator (Adam) and God the Redeemer (Jesus).

Throughout his life, Brigham Young elaborated on the position of Adam and his role in the creation, such as–

Eloheim looks round upon the eternity of matter, and said to His associates, and those that He was pleased to call upon at that time for His counselors, with regard to the Elements, Worlds, Planets, Kingdoms and Thrones; said He, “Yahovah Michael, see that Eternal Matter on all sides, this way and that way; we have already created Worlds upon Worlds, shall we create another world? Yes, go and organize the elements yonder in space;” not empty space for there is no such thing, once in a while, earth quakes, and the extensive destruction of combustible matter by fire will come nigh making empty space for perhaps the millionth part of a second. “Yahovah Michael go and create a world, make it, organize it, form it; and then put upon it everything in all the variety that you have seen, that you have been in the habit of being associated with in other worlds, of beasts, birds, fowls, fish, and every insect, and creeping thing, and finally, <when> the whole eternity of element is full of life, bring it together and make of it living creatures.”

Yahovah Michael goes and does as he is told. What I am now going to tell you, will no doubt astonish the whole of you. When Yahovah Michael had organized the world, and brought from another kingdom the beasts, fish, fowl, and insects, and every tree, and plant with which we are acquainted, and thousands that we never saw, when He had filled the Earth with animal and vegetable life, Michael or Adam goes down to the new-made world, and there he stays. (Teachings of B.Y. 3:356)

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(Note: It is interesting that in this particular passage, Brigham Young refers to Yahovah Michael as being ONE person rather than TWO.)

*

When Father Adam came to assist in organizing the earth out of the crude material that was found, an earth was made upon which the children of men could live. After the earth was prepared, Father Adam came and stayed here, and there was a woman brought to him. * * * There is no doubt but that he left many companions. The great and glorious doctrine that pertains to this I have not time to dwell upon; neither should I at present if I had time. He understood this whole machinery or system before he came to this earth; and I hope my brethren and sisters will profit by what I have told them. (JD 16:167)

*

Though we have it in history that our father Adam was made of the dust of this earth, and that he knew nothing about his God previous to being made here, yet it is not so; and when we learn the truth, we shall see and understand that he helped to make this world, and was the chief manager in that operation.

He <Adam> was the person who brought the animals and the seeds from other planets to this world, and brought a wife with him and stayed here. You may read and believe what you please as to what is found written in the Bible. Adam was made from the dust of an earth, but not from the dust of this earth. He was made as you and I are made, and no person was ever made upon any other principle.

Do you not suppose that he was acquainted with his associates, who came and helped to [179] make this earth? Yes, they were just as familiar with each other as we are with our children and parents. (JD 3:319)

*

We say that Father Adam came here and helped to make an earth. Who is He? He is Michael, a great Prince, and it was said to him by Elohim, “Go ye and make an earth.” What is the great mystery about it? He came and formed the earth. * * * Adam came here and got it up in shape that would suit him to commence business. What is the great mystery about it? None that I have seen. The mystery in this, as with miracles, or anything else, is only to those who are ignorant. (Des. News 22:308)

The great secret behind the creation and its Creator was revealed through the mission and work of an Adam. As Brigham Young explained:

He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken–He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or nonprofessing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. (JD 1:50)

I tell you more, Adam is the Father of our spirits. He lived upon an earth; he did abide his creation, and did honor to his calling and Priesthood; and obeyed his Master or Lord, and probably many of his wives did the same, and they lived, and died upon an earth, and then were resurrected again to Immortality and Eternal Life. (Teachings of B.Y. 3:357-358)

[180] The conclusion of the work of Adam and Eve on this earth was not death, but they returned to the spirit world from whence they came–which was not the “dust of the earth.” So said Brigham Young:

. . . for when Adam and Eve got through with their work in this earth, they did not lay their bodies down in the dust, but returned to the spirit world from whence they come. (L. John Nuttall Journal 1:21)

This then, is the work of an exalted Being–to produce spirit children and then create an earth for them so they can experience mortality. Then He must step down or “fall” so He can produce mortal bodies for His spirit children. This was the role of Michael, who became Adam, and is the role of every righteous man who becomes a God–and then an Adam on other worlds.

[181]                             Chapter 19

ETERNAL DESTINY OF EARTH AND MAN

Parallels of Earth and Man

The earth, like man, was once in the presence of God, and is a living creation. Brigham Young said, “the earth is a living creature and breathes as much as you and I do.” (Tchgs. of B.Y. 3:241) Like man, the earth also had a spiritual creation or birth before it became temporal or physical.

Then this sphere “fell” from the presence of God, and it, too, must follow the Gospel plan of redemption. Because of its “fallen” condition, an atonement was required to redeem the earth. According to Parley P. Pratt, this atonement for the earth was made by Jesus Christ:

Christ offered himself a sacrifice for this earth, for men, for the animals, for fishes, and the creeping things. Christ died for the earth and for the elements; Christ died for all mankind upon its face. (JD 3:315-316)

Prior to this atonement, however, the earth experienced a baptism by water (at the time of Noah), and it will receive another baptism, of fire, some time in the future. Brigham Young explained:

This earth, in its present condition and situation, is not a fit habitation for the sanctified; but it abides the law of its creation, has been baptized with water, will be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and by-and-by will be prepared for the faithful to dwell upon. (JD 8:83)

[182] And from Orson Pratt–

Now, do you not see that there is a similarity in regard to God’s dealings with the earth and with the inhabitants who dwell upon its face? The earth has to undergo a change as well as our bodies. As our bodies may be burned at the stake and the ashes blown to the four winds of heaven, so will the earth be burned and pass away; and in the same manner as our bodies are renewed out of the elements which once entered into their composition, or at least a sufficient quantity thereof to make a new body, so will the earth have to be renewed again and resurrected, redeemed and made immortal from the elements of which it was formerly composed, so that those immortal beings who are brought forth from the grave will have an immortal earth to dwell upon. (JD 16:323)

End of the Earth and the World

Similarly the earth must die, as a living body, for the seeds of death have been sown within it. It, too, feels the grief from sin and sorrow in its fallen condition. Enoch wrote an interesting account of this:

And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face? And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth? (Moses 7:48-49)

[183] Orson Pratt gives the following information which answers these questions:

Read the key to John’s revelations, published in the Pearl of Great Price, and you will find that there is a very great work to be performed, after the seventh thousand years, called the Millennium, has commenced. You will find that the seven trumpets are to sound, preparatory to the beginning and finishing of his work in the morning of the seventh thousand years, just as the Lord performed a work in the seventh day of creation, when he planted the Garden of Eden and placed the man Adam therein. He performed quite a temporal work in the process of creation on the morning of the seventh day; and so he will perform a work at the beginning of the seventh thousand years, after the seventh millennium shall open; and the nature of the work, which will then be performed, was typified by that which God performed in the beginning. In the beginning of the seventh day or “time” of creation he placed man in the Garden of Eden, free from the curse, and, says the key to John’s revelations, in the morning of the seventh thousand years will he sanctify the earth, redeem man from the grave, and seal all things to the end of all things; . . . (JD 16:325)

It is at this time that “the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory,” as it states in the Tenth Article of Faith. It should be kept in mind, however, that this is not the same as the earth’s “baptism by fire” at which time the earth becomes as a “sea of glass.” This great change occurs after the Millennium, or seventh thousand years.

During the Millennium, the earth will exist in a terrestrial condition, as it was before the “fall” of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Then after its baptism by fire, it will be resurrected, purified, and celestialized and become [184] a “sea of glass.” Thus, there is a striking parallel between the events in the history of the earth and those in the life of a righteous man, which include his baptism by water, receiving the Holy Ghost, his baptism by fire, and his ultimate resurrection in the Celestial Kingdom.

An editorial in the Times and Seasons explained the progress of these events:

And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it fulfilleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law. Wherefore, it shall be sanctified; yes, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened, and the righteous shall inherit it for notwithstanding they die, they also shall rise again a spiritual body…. The earth, as part of the creation of God, has and will fulfill the measure of its creation. It has been baptized by water, it will be baptized by fire; it will be purified and become celestial, and be a fit place for celestial bodies to inhabit. It will become the residence of those who have abode a celestial law, and of none others; . . . (Times and Seasons 5:408)

The purification of the earth by fire will be a literal occurrence. The earth and everything that is upon it must experience a literal fire for the purging and cleansing necessary to prepare it for a celestial glory, as the following passages describe:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. * * * wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. (II Peter 3:10, 12)

[185]

And every corruptible thing, both of man, or of the beasts of the field, or of the fowls of the heavens, or of the fish of the sea, that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed; And also that of element shall melt with fervent heat; and all things shall be come new, that my knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth. (D & C 101:24-25)

Regarding the cleansing and resurrection of the earth, Orson Pratt says:

Now how does the Lord make this new earth? He makes it out of the materials of the old one. This very earth on which we dwell, whose elements are to be melted and sanctified with fervent heat, in order that the Saints may reign upon it . . .will be resurrected, the elements thereof will be brought together again, as they were in the beginning, and they will be sanctified and purified, and made holy and celestial, and become like a sea of glass…. (JD 16:323)

And this leads us to the next section.

The Sea of Glass

This expression, “the sea of glass”, was explained for us by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

  1. What is the sea of glass spoken of by John, 4th chapter, and 6th verse of the Revelation?
  2. It is the earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state. (D & C 77:1)

And also–

[186]

While at dinner, I remarked to my family and friends present, that when the earth was sanctified and became like a sea of glass, it would be one great urim and thummim, and the Saints could look in it and see as they are seen. * * *

. . . we learn that the place where God resides is a great urim and thummim, that the earth itself when sanctified and made an immortal sphere will be a urim and thummim to the inhabitants who dwell upon it, whereby all things pertaining to inferior kingdoms will be revealed to them, and to each of such inhabitants an individual urim and thummim will be given through which knowledge pertaining to kingdoms of a higher order will be revealed. (DHC 5:279)

And further knowledge was included later in the Doctrine and Covenants:

The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s. (D & C 130:8-9)

Brigham Young also commented on this future glorified condition of the earth:

If the people could fully understand this matter <baptism>, they would perceive that it is perfectly reasonable and has been the law to all worlds. And this world, so benighted at present, and so lightly esteemed by infidels, as observed by brother Clements, when it becomes celestialized, it will be like the sun, and be prepared for the habitation of the Saints, and be brought back [187] into the presence of the Father and the Son. It will not then be an opaque body as it now is, but it will be like the stars of the firmament, full of light and glory: it will be a body of light. John compared it, in its celestialized state, to a sea of glass. (JD 7:163)

*

We shall go and come; and when we are in the eternity, we shall be on this earth, which will be brought into the immediate presence of the Father and the Son. We shall inhabit different mansions, and worlds will continue to be made, formed, and organized, and messengers from this earth will be sent to others. This earth will become a celestial body–be like a sea of glass, or like a urim and thummim; and when you wish to know anything, you can look in this earth and see all the eternities of God. We shall make our home here, and go on our missions as we do now, but at greater than railroad speed. (JD 8:200)

It is interesting that even scientists have concluded that if this earth ever experienced extreme heat, it would become like glass. The industries that manufacture glass products tell us that there is so much silica, lime, potash and other products in the earth that if the earth was melted at an extreme temperature it would become a “ball of glass.” (See Science Digest Special, July 1967, p. 45)

A New Heaven and a New Earth

The promise has been given that the earth will return from its fallen place to again be placed in its former residence with God. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “This earth will be rolled back into the presence of God, and crowned with celestial glory.” (TPJS, p. 181) Brigham Young commented, “The earth will abide its creation, and [188] will be counted worthy of receiving the blessings designed for it, and will ultimately roll back into the presence of God who formed it….” (JD 8:8) And again, “This earthly ball, this little opake (sic) substance thrown off into space, is only a speck in the great universe; and when it is celestialized it will go back into the presence of God, where it was first framed.” (JD 9:317)

The Apostle Orson Hyde elaborated on this grand occasion by beautifully explaining–

What becomes of the earth then? Why, says the prophet, it shall “reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression therefor shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again.” If the earth falls, which way will it go, up or down? Tell me, ye wise men, ye philosophers. Will not the greatest and most powerful planet attract it whether it goes up or down? for the greater bodies attract the lesser. If the earth falls, and is not to rise again, it will be removed out of its present orbit. Where will it go to? God says He will gather all things into one; then He will gather the earth likewise, and all that is in it, in one. The gathering will be upon a larger scale in time to come; for by and by the stars of heaven will fall. Which way will they go? They will rally to a grand centre, and there will be one grand constellation of worlds. I pray that we may be there, and shine among those millions of worlds that will be stars in the Almighty’s crown.

The earth will have to be removed from its place, and reel to and fro like a drunkard. The fact is, it has got to leave the old track in which it has roamed in time passed, and beat a new track; and saith the Lord, “come up here.” What is He going to do with it? Why, take it where the sun will shine upon it continually, and [189] there shall be no more night there; and the hand of God will wipe away the tears from all faces. “Come up here, O earth! for I want the Saints who have passed through much tribulation to be glorified with you, and then I will give the earth to the meek. For I will take the curse from it, and rebuke the destroyer for your sakes, and bring all things in subjection to you, and you shall dwell in everlasting light.” Now it is half day and half night, but I tell you it is not going to be half and half, but there will be no night there. We have but one sun to shine upon us, but when the earth is taken out of this orbit, it will come in contact with the rays of other suns that illuminate other spheres; their rays will dazzle our earth, and make the glory of God rest upon it, so that there will be no more night there. (JD 1:129-130)

The Lord said, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5) The earth shall be exalted in the celestial presence of God, and so will righteous men.

According to President Brigham Young, this earth has probably descended into deeper levels of sin and wickedness than any of the others our God ever created. But, as a result of overcoming all this, its exaltation will be greater:

We are inhabitants of a world of sin and sorrow; pain and anguish, every ill that can be heaped upon intelligent beings in a probation we are heirs to. I suppose that God never organized an earth and peopled it that was ever reduced to a lower state of darkness, sin and ignorance than this. I suppose this is one of the lowest kingdoms that ever the Lord Almighty created, and on that account is capable of becoming exalted to be one of the highest kingdoms that has ever had an exaltation in all the eternities. (JD 10:175)

[190] So, like the earth, those men who can pass through the darkness, wickedness and temptations of this world and yet remain faithful, will be rewarded with a place among the highest mansions in God’s kingdoms. What a promise! What great destinies await those men of God!

Andromeda Galaxy: one of the most impressive constellations of stars (suns), depicting the gathering of celestial worlds.

[191]                             Chapter 20

CONCLUSION

In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 349)

The mysteries of creation are similar to the mysteries of the Gospel. They often become entwined with each other. Unfortunately, because of insufficient and conflicting information, many of the details remain unclear. In this book we have presented scriptures and sayings of the prophets to help resolve some of these mysteries. Hopefully, a few more pieces of this masterful puzzle have fit into place.

The following 24 points are presented here by way of summary and review:

  1. Our mortal minds cannot begin to comprehend the expanse and complexities of our universe, with its numberless galaxies, solar systems and worlds.

  1. Great men in both science and religion agree that a Supreme Being created each heaven and earth.

  1. The earth itself is alive and is obedient to the Creator.

  1. Since the word create came from a word mean to organize, our world was “created” (organized) from eternal elements–not upon the principle of “something out of nothing.”

[192]

  1. Many theories exist as to how this earth was “born”, but the most logical explanation is that it came from a larger planet, probably as a result of some type of explosion.

  1. Regarding the creation of this earth–

When? The age of the existence of our solar system is 2.5 to 4 billion years.

Where? The earth was organized near the planet Kolob.

Why? To provide a place for the spirit children of God to obtain a mortal body and experience mortality.

Who? God, the Father (the God of this world), not Jesus Christ, created this physical earth, through the power of the Holy Spirit. However, He did not act alone.

How long? Since God’s time and man’s time are not the same, it is difficult to determine exactly how long it took to create this earth. A key, however, is that one day for God equals about 1,000 years for man.

  1. This earth was first created spiritually and then temporally–and in the future, as an immortal sphere, it will be a combination of both.

  1. Many of the terms used in describing members of the Godhead are titles, not personal names–such as Elohim, Jehovah, God, Only Begotten, and Christ; various individuals can hold these titles and offices at the same time or at different times.

  1. During Biblical times and even up to the turn of the 20th century in the LDS Church, it was believed and taught that God the Father was the Jehovah of the Old Testament. Then in the late 1880’s the concept was introduced and accepted that Jesus Christ was really Jehovah and thus the Creator of the earth.

[193]

  1. The title “Only Begotten” can and does apply to God the Father as well as to Jesus Christ. Jesus was not the “only begotten” of the Father in a spiritual sense, as we are ALL begotten sons and daughters of God; however, He is literally the “only begotten” of the Father in the flesh.

  1. It is easier to understand the concept that this world was created by the Only Begotten, when it is understood that the earth refers to the physical elements comprising this sphere and world refers to all mankind on the earth. Thus, God the Father, acting as an “Only Begotten”, created the earth.

  1. All are begotten sons and daughters of God.

Some become begotten of the Son, through obedience to Gospel ordinances.

And a few even become begotten of the devil because of their own unrighteousness.

  1. All men, including Jesus, who are born on this earth are confined to it, until they become Gods themselves. Thus Jesus could not be the Creator of other worlds.

  1. The earth was actually created by a plurality, or quorum, of Gods–Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael, with Michael being the principal creator. Others, of course, assisted in some way.

  1. Both God and Jesus Christ can act in the role of the Father. They can, and often do, think and act as one. However, there were limitations to Jesus’s power until he had gone through mortality here and was resurrected.

  1. There are Gods many and Lords many; even Abraham, Noah, and Moses were referred to as Gods because of their particular appointments to speak and act for God.

[194]

  1. Jesus went from grace to grace and did not “receive a fullness at first”–but He will receive a fullness of glory through resurrection and after all wickedness on earth is overcome. To be a Creator requires all power and glory.

  1. Both plant and animal life were brought here from another world. Since they are physical in nature, they could not have been transported here by a spirit being–only by a resurrected and glorified one.

  1. There are many different theories on how mankind originated on this earth, but God has revealed that it could be accomplished in no other way than procreation and generation. Immortal and resurrected parents came to this earth from another sphere, partook of mortal food thus charging their bodies once more with blood and enabling them to provide mortal bodies for their spirit children.

  1. The work of an exalted being is to produce spirit children, create a physical earth for them, and then step down (or “fall”) in order to produce mortal bodies for His spirit children. Such is the role of Michael/Adam (The Ancient of Days) on our world, who with Eve became our first parents in mortality.

  1. Every world has an Adam and Eve, a Savior, and a devil.

  1. Since the earth is a “living creation”, its history parallels many of the experiences of man: a spiritual creation, a “fall” from the presence of God, physical birth, baptism by water, a necessary atonement, physical death, resurrection, and baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost.

  1. Because this world has descended into deeper levels of wickedness, both earth and righteous men can achieve a greater exaltation by overcoming so much.

[195]

  1. This earth will become sanctified and celestialized, will become like a sea of glass, and will return to its former residence with God.

When Jesus makes the statement, “I am the Father”, it is similar to the analogy of a certain man who owns a large farm. He is the manager and the “boss” of that property because he bought it, prepared it and planned for its operation. Then one day when he had other work to attend to, he called the oldest, best, and most qualified son to take his place and oversee the farm. This choice son assumes the place and role of his father. He goes to the other children on the farm and reports, “I am now the manager;” “I am the boss;” and “I have taken the place of our father.” From then on, he acts and speaks for and as his father.

Often when a son learns well from his father, he grows up and speaks and acts like him. He may even look and think like him. He may be considered to be the image of his father.

Throughout the ages every religion in the world gradually makes changes in its history, doctrines and organization. The Latter-day Saints are no exception. Before the turn of the century, the God of Mormonism was different from the one after that time. Their diversity rests upon the following points of doctrine. Formerly the Church leaders taught:

  1. The Father was the creator of this earth.
  2. The Father was the creator of other similar earths.
  3. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and gave the law to Moses.
  4. He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament.
  5. He is the Jehovah of the New Testament.
  6. Jesus does not receive a fullness of glory as a God until He has passed through mortality, is resurrected, and all wickedness in this world has been overcome.
  7. Adam was an immortal being from another world.

[196]

  1. Adam received dominion and presides over every living creature on this earth.
  2. Adam holds the keys of heaven, of all dispensations, presides over the spirits of all men, and even Christ is revealed through the authority of Adam.
  3. Michael was the name of our Father in heaven who became the Adam on this and many other earths.

At the turn of the century, the doctrines of Mormonism also took a turn. The following precepts began to be taught:

  1. Jesus is the Creator of this earth.
  2. Jesus created worlds without number.
  3. He was the God of the Old Testament.
  4. He was the God of the New Testament even before resurrection.
  5. He was the Jehovah of the Bible.
  6. We are all brothers to Adam.
  7. Jesus brought all life onto this earth.
  8. He is our Father.
  9. Jesus received all keys, authority and power as a God before coming to this earth as a mortal.
  10. Jesus held the keys to the universe before he was born.

If all these things are true about Jesus Christ, then not much is left for the Father. On close examination of these particular points, the present Mormon God is almost the same as that of the Catholics and Protestants. The modern Mormons and the modern Christians have in many instances placed Jesus above the Father. The reason seems to be because both have taken certain scriptures literally when they were originally intended to be figurative. For instance, the rib story of Adam and Eve was written for the children of Israel who were no more advanced spiritually than the Egyptians–they both worshipped cows!

The correct concept of the God of creation must be considered through the whole design of the plan of salva-[197]tion. Too many people haggle over the interpretation of a few controversial scriptures and miss the complete concept of the Gospel. This is similar to a contractor who spends his time contending over the size, composition, value and use of nails or concrete, but fails to look at the entire blueprint of the building.

It is certainly not the intent of this work to take away any rightful mission or honor that is due Christ; but by the same token, we don’t want to take away any tribute or reverence that is due the Father. Each must be respected and venerated in their rightful place and for their contribution to the creation and salvation of man.

Today in Mormonism there is a considerable discrepancy in the beliefs about the identity of the Creator. Knowledge of the true God of Mormonism will never be gained by listening to the teachings of all its leaders, because too many of them have taken opposite points of view. A description of the God of Mormonism varies with nearly every leader.

For these reasons an understanding of the true God can be comprehended only through an understanding of the plan of salvation and by seeking the spirit of God in order to understand the things of God.

By understanding the work of creation and the Creator, we can then comprehend the possible destiny of man, who can ultimately grow to become like the Father–to be a God. This grand objective should never pass from the view of the Latter-day Saints. As Orson Pratt exclaimed:

Oh, ye Saints of the latter days, do not forget the high destiny that awaits you. An eternity is before you, which has no end; a boundless space surrounds you, filled with an infinitude of worlds. The kingdoms, principalities, and heavenly powers that fill all the vast ex-[198]panse are yours; the heights and depths, the lengths and breadths, the riches, the honors, the wisdom and excellency, the knowledge and power, the glory of all things, and the fulness of all things, are yours for ever and ever. Blessed is he that overcometh, for he shall inherit all things. (The Seer, p. 300)

When we understand the grand creation of earths and the organization of worlds, we will feel the reverence and praise that David felt when he wrote:

Praise ye him, all his angels; praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon; praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord; for he commanded, and they were created. (Psalms 148:2-5)

Among the great prophets of this dispensation, Brigham Young stands in the forefront for the quantity and quality of inspired sermons. He has covered nearly every aspect of life and salvation, and in describing the ultimate future events of the faithful he did not fail. Said he–

We are of the earth, earthy; and our Father is heavenly and pure. But we will be glorified and purified, if we obey our brethren and the teachings which are given.

When you see celestial beings, you will see men and women, but you will see those beings clothed upon with robes of celestial purity. We cannot bear the presence of our Father now; and we are placed at a distance to prove whether we will honor these tabernacles, whether we will be obedient and prepare ourselves to live in the glory of the light, privileges, and blessings of celestial beings. We could not have the glory and [199] the light without first knowing the contrast. Do you comprehend that we could have no exaltation, without first learning by contrast?

When you are prepared to see our Father, you will see a being with whom you have long been acquainted, and He will receive you into His arms, and you will be ready to fall into His embrace and kiss Him, as you would your fathers and friends that have been dead for a score of years, you will be so glad and joyful. Would you not rejoice? When you are qualified and purified, so that you can endure the glory of eternity, so that you can see your Father, and your friends who have gone behind the vail, you will fail upon their necks and kiss them, as we do an earthly friend that has been long absent from us, and that we have been anxiously desiring to see. This is the people that are and will be permitted to enjoy the society of those happy and exalted beings. (JD 4:55)

The creation of this world is more than an architectural masterpiece. It was designed as a proving ground for man. With all the attendant cold, hunger, pain and misery, it is a natural setting for the growth and experience of man, who is an embryo of Gods! The potential destiny of man is beyond his own present comprehension. By faith and trust, by learning line upon line and precept upon precept, man will eventually acknowledge that this little piece of God’s workmanship is truly a “marvelous work and a wonder.” And, though it is so dark, so fallen and so wicked, it will be exalted to one of the highest places among the creations of God.

And those righteous men who become Gods will then have the power and responsibility of creating their own earths!