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The Infinite Creation


Where Science Meets Religion by Trent Dee Stephens, PhD, for the Come Follow Me lesson October 30–November 5: Hebrews 1–6


Hebrews 1:1-4, 10-12, “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 his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they… And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”


This week’s science lesson is taken from my book: The Infinite Creation: Unifying Science and Latter-day Saint Theology (Cedar Fort Publishing, Springville, Ut, 2020), chapter 3, “Who Were the Gods of Creation?”


We read about God or the Gods who created the earth in Genesis, Moses, and Abraham:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth…And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:”1


“…by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest.”2


“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 wast born. And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell…”3


“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… And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light.”4


“And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. 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.”5


Who were those “Gods” who created the earth? In addition to the Savior being the power by which the earth, and other worlds, were formed, other spirits were called and set apart to assist the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the formation of the earth. They were the “us” and “our” spoken of in Genesis 1:26 and throughout the Abrahamic account. They were the “noble and great ones” spoken of in Abraham 3:22. The Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith said,

“It is true that Adam helped to form this earth. He labored with our Savior Jesus Christ. I have a strong view or conviction that there were others also who assisted them. Perhaps Noah and Enoch; and why not Joseph Smith, and those who were appointed to be rulers before the earth was formed?”6

Were there other noble and great ones involved in the creation? On the 3rd of October 1918, one day before the opening of the 89th Semiannual General Conference of the Church, President Joseph F. Smith received a vision in Salt Lake City, Utah, “…concerning the Savior’s visit to the spirits of the dead while his body was in the tomb.”7 President Smith saw that, “…from among the righteous, he [Christ] organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.”8 “And [those so organized] continue thenceforth their labor as had been promised by the Lord, and be partakers of all blessings which were held in reserve for them that love him.”9 Those who continued the preaching to the dead were those who had lived on earth,


“…Including [those involved in] the building of the temples and the performance of ordinances therein for the redemption of the dead, were also in the spirit world. I observed that they were also among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God.”10


Thus, as recorded by the Prophet Joseph F. Smith, those who were “among the noble and great ones” included those involved “the building of the temples and the performance of ordinances therein for the redemption of the dead.” Thus, those of us who have labored in God’s temples for the redemption of the dead are counted “among the noble and great ones.” Therefore, when Christ said, “We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell…”11 He was speaking to “many of the noble and great ones,”12 i.e. those of us who have labored in the temples.


At least some of us, if not all of us ordinary people, therefore, were helping do some very extraordinary things during the creation of the earth. Why shouldn’t we have been doing extraordinary things? We are, after all, children of God.

Alma taught:

“…I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people…being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works…”13


In reference to this scripture in Alma, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught in the April 1974 General Conference,

“All those who receive the Melchizedek Priesthood in this life were, as Alma teaches, [were] ‘called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God,’ because they were among the noble and great in that premortal sphere.”14


According to the revelation received by President Joseph F. Smith, the noble and great ones include all those who work in the temples, not just the Melchizedek Priesthood holders. Women also work in the temples, performing their own sacred ordinances, through the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated that the noble and great ones in the pre-existence included faithful women,

“This we know: Christ, under the Father, is the Creator; Michael, His companion and associate, presided over much of the creative work; and with them, as Abraham saw, were many of the noble and great ones. Can we do other than conclude that Mary and Eve and Sarah and myriads of our faithful sisters were numbered among them? Certainly these sisters labored as diligently then, and fought as valiantly in the war in heaven, as did the brethren, even as they in like manner stand firm today, in mortality, in the cause of truth and righteousness”15

Speaking at the 1998 General Women’s Conference, Carol B. Thomas, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency stated,

“It was my father who taught me about the premortal life. He explained that long ago you and I were born as daughters in our Heavenly Father’s family. We made sacred decisions there that have influenced what we are doing now. When I was younger, my grandfather gave me a blessing. He blessed me that I would ‘continue my ministry here that I had so nobly performed there.’ Now, if I had a ministry in the premortal existence, then so did you. It is not by chance that you were born now, in this season of the world’s history. Each one of you was a valiant and noble woman in your premortal life.”

“Abraham said, ‘Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these … were many of the noble and great ones.’ Do you know that he was talking about you? You are each noble and great, born to live at this time on the earth.”16


Speaking to the youth of the Church in the 1976 New Era, Elder LeGrand Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said,

“If the veil could be parted and you could see who you were then, then have a recollection and vision of what awaits you—what the Lord had in mind for you noble and great ones who have come forth in this day and time—I do not think any of you would want to wile away your time. You would want to make sure that you are using those gifts and talents that God has endowed you with for the honor and glory of his name and the blessing of his children.”17


In his 1998 book, Perfection Pending, then Elder Russell M. Nelson stated,

“If my fondest wish could be granted, it would be that we could know who we really are, and that we know we come from premortal realms where we were numbered ‘among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God.”18

We know, then that, as noble and great premortal spirits, we were called by our elder brother Jesus Christ to assist him and Adam in creating the world. What were we doing when they were making the earth and all things on the face thereof? What was our role in the creation? We are not told, either in the scriptures or by science. In ensuing chapters I will propose some possible activities in which we may have been involved as part of the creation.


In his address, Alma suggested that all premortal male spirits who kept their first estate and were not cast out of God’s presence for rebellion were foreordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. It was subsequently the “hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds” that kept them from being so ordained during their earth life. We should not forget, however, that this second estate includes the post-mortal spirit world and that we can perform vicarious ordinations in the temples for our deceased brethren. To quote Alma:

“And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren. Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son…”19

The Psalmist stated, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.”20 This statement suggests that all the children of God are gods. During His life, the Savior made reference to this scripture in a discussion with the Jews who were bent on stoning Him:

“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone 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?”21

Christ, here, is stating that all those “unto whom the word of God” has come, “are gods.” Because he was speaking to the Jews, he was telling them that they were all gods. By extension, we might conclude, with the Psalmist, that all the children of God are gods.

I will proceed with my discussion of the Infinite Creation under the assumption that “in the first place…[we] were [all] on the same standing” and, therefore, we all, every premortal spirit who would come to earth, had a part in creating the earth and all things thereon. We, as the children of God, were all the gods of creation. Of course, we were not all equal even as intelligences and we each had our own talents and abilities, but perhaps we were all equal in one aspect of the creation – the creation, or organization, of our own mortal bodies.

My next “Who is Adam” talk will be on Thursday November 9th. We will meet in the Relief Society room in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at fourth and Fredregill at 6 pm.


Trent Dee Stephens, PhD

trentdeestephens.com



References

1. Genesis 1:1, 26

2. Moses 2:1

3. Abraham 3:22-24

4. Abraham 4:1,3

5. Moses 1:32-33

6. Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, edited by Bruce R. McConkie, Deseret Book, SLC, 3 vols., 1954, 1:74–75

7. introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 138

8. Doctrine and Covenants 138:30

9. Doctrine and Covenants 138:52

10. Doctrine and Covenants 138: 54-55

11. Abraham 3:24

12. Abraham 3:22

13. Alma 13:1, 3; continuing through verse 11

14. McConkie, Bruce R., God Foreordains His Prophets and His People, General Conference, April 1974

15. Kimball, Spencer W., Woman, p. 59, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1979

16. Thomas, Carol B., Understanding Our True Identity, Ensign, May 1998

17. Richards, LeGrand, A Constructive Life, New Era, June 1976

18. Nelson, Russell M., Perfection Pending, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1998

19. Alma 13:4-5

20. Psalm 82:6

21. John 10:31-36



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