Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Creation (Genesis 1-2, Moses 2-3, Abraham 4-5)

Creation Accounts Are Initiation Ceremonies

First, the qualifiers:

We have a fragmentary scriptural account - not everything has been included or retained from what might have been included initially.

From reading the text, it is difficult to understand what is literal from what is figurative or symbolic.

We don’t know how much Adam and Eve knew and understood prior to the Fall (i.e. what does “innocent” mean?).

The creation accounts were not given to us as a scientific dissertation by God regarding how He created the universe; while He could have done that, He did not – implying that what we have received from Him in scripture is for a different purpose.

 

How many accounts of the creation do we have?

Four.

Genesis, Moses, Abraham, the Temple Endowment.

Do they differ?

Yes.

Which one is “right”?

They are all “right”.

Each account can be viewed as a separate revelation - they highlight different teachings.

Why is this the case?

They are not a literal, scientific account of the creation.

They are all initiation or ordinance ceremonies; they are all Temple ceremonies or dramatic presentations.  They are  ritualized explanations of the origin of human life (this is true of all of the ancient accounts we know of including those from the Egyptians, Babylonians, Israelites, Hopis, etc).

God says to Moses “write the words which I shall speak” (see Moses 2:1) – God is dictating a ritual.  From what Moses saw (including every particle of the earth at a sub-atomic level), he could have tried to have written a scientific thesis but did not (or at least we don’t have it) – but it wasn’t the message that God wanted to give Moses for his book. 

Quantum physics only describes the unfolding of the universe, it does NOT tell us why or even how the universe was created – that is for God to reveal because that is what really gives meaning and context to our lives.

What differences in perception exist between western and eastern mindsets regarding the scriptures?

Western: scriptures are a history of objectively and chronologically recorded facts.

Eastern/Hebrew: scripture is an attempt to preserve significant truths in meaningful or memorable ways whether or not details are objective facts.

What are these rituals or ceremonies designed or intended teach us?

How we got here? (by a deliberate, planned act of God).

Why are we here? (to gain light through experience/choice and to find our way back to God).

Why are the conditions here difficult? (in order to gain knowledge of good and evil there must be an environment where agency/choices and sacrifice/suffering matter).

How must we live while we are here? (obedient/in alignment with the way God lives/is – the eternal laws of light; submissive to God and serving/loving/sacrificing to each other - Saviors on Mount Zion – perfectly following the example of Christ, the prototype of the saved being).

Where are we going after this life? (back to God’s presence).

What are these ceremonies NOT designed to teach us?

The literal, scientific particulars about HOW the Elohim created the world and universe.

It is not that God doesn’t want us to know these things, but that these creation revelations were not intended to teach them.  Moses inquired and was shown every particle of the world (see Moses 1), so God is willing to give us a scientific (quantum) understanding but Moses did not write a scientific paper to us as a result of his new found knowledge.

 

 

Scientific Understanding of the Creation

READ Moses 1:27-35

Will God reveal the literal, scientific account of the creation to us?

Yes – He gave Moses and Enoch a comprehensive view of the science at a sub-atomic level (Moses 1:27,32,35; Moses 7:30).

But the intent for a vision and knowledge such as this is different from the insights gained from an initiation or ordinance (it’s about “marveling and wondering” - Moses 1:8; or comprehending all things).

What must we do to receive this level of comprehensive scientific knowledge?

Ask (Moses 1:30).

Seek – including studying as much and as many scientific theory/knowledge as you can find; and always being open to more and willing to change thinking as its proven wrong or incomplete.

Believe that you can receive revelations and knowledge such as this – God wants to make these things known unto us so that we can be sharper tools in His hand (because we understand the science upon which His miracles are accomplished); for instance, would Moses’ faith in parting the Red Sea (which happened after this vision) have been increased if he understood the science behind how it would be done vs blind faith in God’s greatness and mercy?  Particularly if he (Moses) was responsible for initiating the miracle with his words and intent.

A fullness of knowledge like Moses received won’t just come from seeking after the scientific knowledge from other mortals (because they don’t know it all or correctly) – it will come in the form of a vision with angelic or divine guidance because 1) we cannot understand all things as mortals - we don’t have the capability (Moses 1:4-6,35,37) so we must be filled with the glory and light of God to comprehend these things and 2) we need a guide or tutor to help us understand what we are seeing when shown it.

 

 

Why We Should Understand the Creation

Why study the creation?

We can’t successfully understand the scope and need for the Atonement of Christ without also teaching the Fall.

We can’t understand the Fall without the context of the Creation.

What is the creation?

It is the “transplantation” of man onto this world.

And subsequent to that, the organization of that world and the universe to enable sustained mortal life.

What is the purpose of the creation?

To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man via the creation of a probationary state where choices can be made to follow God while in a mortal state outside the presence and memory of God, that allows us to sacrifice, suffer and die as a consequence of these choices, as well as to inflict these things on others (Moses 1:39).

 

 

The Creation

READ Genesis 1; Moses 2-3; Abraham 4

Was the earth created out of nothing?

No - it was organized from “materials” (Abraham 3:24 and Abraham 4:1).

“The word ‘create’ came from the [Hebrew] 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” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 350–51).

What do we learn from these scriptural accounts/creation ceremonies about how the Earth was created?

It was a three-step process.

First, a Spirit Creation (Moses 3:5) – everything is first created as spirits: man, animals, plants, etc.

Second, a Physical-Spiritual Creation – the six creative periods.  A physical, tangible creation, but no blood, death, reproduction, or sin. 

Third, a Mortal, Temporal, Fallen World – resulting from the Fall of Man.  A physical, tangible world with blood, death, reproduction, and sin.  Man, the first to fall, became mortal and the other forms of life became mortal after man.

Now, what is interesting about these three steps is that time as we experience it on earth now is not called out in the narrative (other than the unfortunate use of the word “day” in some accounts); so the question of “when did time begin” is unclear.  What is more clear is the difference in energy/matter/frequency of the spiritual vs the physical/spiritual vs the temporal physical worlds – they seem to be a descending level of frequency, light/energy and matter refinement. 

Who created the Earth?

The Elohim - Christ and those who were with Him (Abraham 3:24) (the noble and great who were doing the “proving” of the rest of us); it was done through the power of the Priesthood, under the direction of the Father.

It is interesting that Stephen Hawking proved that the Initial Singularity is not in time or space but outside both – in other words, it was transcendent to space and time; the Gods created the universe via intention (word, see Moses 2:5) which set in motion the whole of creation that was to follow – but God sits outside of it – outside of time and space as we experience it here.

Was the earth created in seven days or seven thousand years?

The “periods” do not represent a set number of days or years but are symbolic of completeness (seven).

The various periods don’t even need to be the same length of time – some could be millions of years and others could be done in minutes.

Based on the speed of light and the distance of the farther observable stars, the universe is estimated to be 13.7 billion years old.

When God says “in the beginning”, what is being referred to?

The beginning of the world and its universe.

The beginning of energy and matter.

The beginning of time and space.

It describes the Initial Singularity from science’s big bang theory; what is interesting about this theory is while scientists believe they understand how the universe has unfolded from the first unit of time (a Plank unit or 10 to the minus 43 seconds), no one can tell what happened or existed before that moment using any of the scientific equations modern science knows of.  That doesn’t mean that there was nothing there – it just means we have no way of figuring it out using the tools of modern science. 

The nature of cosmic background radiation means that the “universe was once so dense that it was a single, continuous body in thermal equilibrium, one that can be characterized by a single temperature” (David Schramm, University of Chicago), which means that it started at a single point – it had a “beginning”.

And since it had a beginning in a single point, “certainly there was something that set it off.  Certainly, if you are religious, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis” (Robert Wilson, co-discoverer of cosmic background radiation).

What does it mean that the earth was “without form and void” (Genesis 1:2 and Moses 2:2)?

In the very beginning of the creation, right after the big bang, there was only energy/information – nothing material existed yet.

It is also interesting that all of the accounts put the creation of the heavens before the creation of the earth – “the earth” in this case seems to refer to the physical creation itself – as a whole, not the specific planet upon which we now live.

“Nahmanides, in the year 1250, described the process with uncanny accuracy: the initial creation produced an entity so thin it had no substance to it… As the universe expanded from the size of that initial minuscule space, the primordial substanceless substance changed into matter as we know it” (Gerald Schroeder, “The Science of God”).  We would call that “substanceless substance” energy.

What does “let there be light” refer to?

None of the accounts name the sun at this point in the narrative – the light is the initial energy of the big bang, as light is energy.

Why does it talk about the “face of the water” if the earth hasn’t been created yet?

Matter came into existence a few moments later as the superposition of the wavicles (when observed by God) went from energy probabilities to super hot and dense matter.

That initial matter was liquid (quark-gluon plasma), which is why the account uses words like “water” and the “deep”. 

It is possible that Moses was trying to describe something he saw using a non-scientific vocabulary that today we have more precise words to describe, in addition to having the theoretical knowledge to fill in some of the blanks.

What does it mean that God “separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse”? (see Genesis 1:7)

After the liquid matter formed, there was a rapid expansion (called “inflation”) where quark plasma produced slight variations that eventually led to areas of space that were of higher and lower densities.

“Separating the waters” is a phrase which describes this differentiation in matter.

What does it mean that the light was divided from the darkness?

In liquid universe, it doesn’t likely refer to what we think of as “day” and “night” on earth – at least not yet.

As the matter in space continued to expand and cool, protons and neutrons began to form and atomic nuclei came into being; free electrons were then captured by atomic nuclei creating complete atoms and at this moment the opaque liquid universe immediately became transparent and the light of the cosmic background radiation became visible – separating it from the darkness.

What does it mean that the waters were gathered together into one place and then the dry land appeared?

It’s not referring to a universal or single ocean on the earth – there are many oceans.

The first massive stars coalesced from the cooling material and ignited – creating the “firmament” or stars in the heavens.

These burned out quickly and exploded, sending rich dust clouds into space and enabling new stars and life-sustaining planets like our earth to be formed – the “dry land” appeared after the “waters” or liquid matter was gathered together to form the original stars which then went supernova and spread all over the universe in dust clouds of “dry” matter.

What does all of this imply about evolution and the rest of the periods/days of creation?

It gives me pause – it shows me that God uses natural processes (He abides by eternal laws) in His creations.  It implies that Moses was actually shown the scientific creation of the universe and described it as it was dictated to him by God.  It tells me that God wanted me to have the narrative because it described what really happened but in a way that focuses me on what is most important to me – that I am part of His work and glory, that He has a work for me to do, and that I can know all of these things for myself if I can get out of my own way and come unto Him to receive it.

Bottom line is that I have a lot of things which I’ve “put a pin in” for later – I’ve decided to not let them derail me from seeking after God and I have faith that God will make them known unto me when the time is right; but seeing the science of the big bang reflected in the scriptural creation ritual narrative helps me to relax a bit over these things that are amazing (and actually now a proof for the existence of God to me) but are not my primary focus today.

 

READ Moses 2:27-28 and Abraham 4:26-27, 5:12-13

What do we know about the creation of mankind on the Earth?

Created male and female - in Gods’ image.

The Gods are male and female.

Physical bodies were formed and organized from the elements.

What were the conditions of life in the Garden of Eden?

No death for Man or animals (2 Ne 2:22).

No children (2 Ne 2:23).

No sin, until the transgression (ditto).

Lived in Gods presence.

Innocence.

No progression.

No pain.

No challenging work.

What commandments were given to man in the Garden of Eden?

Multiply and replenish the earth (Moses 2:28).

Do not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Abraham 5:12-13).

 

 

The Heavens Are for Signs

READ Abraham 4:14 and Jeremiah 31:35-36

Why does the Lord use heavenly signs?

Men cannot change the heavenly signs, as they have changed the scriptures.

God uses alignments or intersections of heavenly bodies to mark important points in time to provide markers - not so much for timing but to provide markers for significant events, especially when tied to the Holy Days in God’s Biblical calendar.

For example, the fact that the true Feast of Trumpets in 2017 occurred on September 23 (not the 20-22, as celebrated), on the same day that the sun was in the constellation Virgo (the woman), with the moon at the foot of the constellation and three “stars” or planets as a crown, with a fourth, Jupiter the “King” planet or the one representing God the Father in her “womb” where it had been for the previous 9-10 months, means that this instance of a rare occurrence of heavenly signs together (as there have been other occurrences), is one to take note of – because it takes place on a Holy Day.

How does the Lord use the sun, moon and stars/planets as markers?

The sun and the moon are God’s “two faithful witnesses” (see Psalms 89:37).

The “male” sun is the marker for the seasons; it moves north and south on the horizon, when it dawns and sets – its most northerly dawn happens on the Summer Solstice and its most southerly dawn occurs on the Winter Solstice; the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes mark the middle point, which is why many ancient peoples set up two standing stones for the sun to shine through exactly on those two equinox days on the horizon, so they knew exactly where they were in the year; the Zuni’s used Zuni Mesa for the same purpose.

The “female” moon with its phases is the marker for months and days.

The stars or constellations are tied to years.

Conjunctions of relevant planets (the “coming together” of two planets in the sky from our perspective of those on the earth) creates greater light and speaks to “creation” events; i.e. the coming together of Jupiter the “king planet” with Venus the “virgin planet” for the conception and birth of Christ is what likely formed the “new star” the Wise Men saw.

Eclipses of the sun and moon curtail or lessen or block light and speak to “judgement” events; “black suns” or total solar eclipses and “red” or “blood moons” which are total lunar eclipses, or “new moons” which mark the first day of the new month.

Other alignments like solar system alignments which lead to earthquakes, tidal waves and significant weather events or changes, and planetary alignments like the grand sign of the coming of the Son of Man are a transfer of light and energy, and are tied to either re/creation or judgement.

Additional intersections like massive heavenly bodies entering our solar system (changing orbit paths or relationships) or comets entering our solar system speak to disruption and change and are markers of both re/creation or judgement.

The Lord’s monthly calendar adheres completely to the phases of the moon; every first day of the month is a new moon (no light) and every 15th day of the month is a full moon; we no longer use this calendar, to our condemnation.

 

READ Exodus 31:13, 17 and Exodus 12:14

What are the Lord’s Holy Days?

They are tied symbolically to a marriage-like relationship with the Bridegroom; we are the bride and Christ is the groom.

They are a part of true worship as they help us remember His redemptive mission for us on each Holy Day (see Moroni 4:3 and 5:2); we fall into idolatry (worshiping something or someone other than the Lord) when we don’t remember and honor the Lord via performances and ordinances He has commanded us to remember (see Mosiah 13:29-30).

They are marked by the heavens in connection with life giving agricultural events (Spring – planting, Fall – harvest, etc) on His calendar and occur on the actual day of the event; Christmas and Easter, for instance, were modified, renamed and moved.

God said they are a sign between He and us through our generations.

They are ordinances on God’s Holy Calendar to be observed forever.

The four Spring Holy Days mark past fulfilled events in His redemptive mission (i.e. Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost).

The remaining three Autumn Holy Days mark future important events tied to His Second Coming in glory (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles).

The Holy Days will be observed again (correctly and universally) in the Millennium (see Zechariah 14:16-20).

What do each of the seven annual Holy Days represent? (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles)

Passover/Peasach = atonement; liberty; sacrifice the lamb and paint the cross of the doors to the home to protect the first born from the destroying angel; Christ is crucified; the Lamb’s blood provides a release from bondage; the bride is purchased.

Feast of Unleavened Bread/Hag HaMatzah = burial; separation; Israel fled Egypt immediately; the days Christ was in the grave; put away sin (yeast is the symbol).

Offering of First Fruits/Bikkurim = resurrection; rebirth; offer up the first fruits of the season for gratitude (grain; the bread of life or the firstborn); Christ’s resurrection day.

Feast of Pentecost/Shavuot = receipt of the Spirit; betrothal contract; outpouring of the Holy Spirit; God gives His law and covenant at Sinai; day of Pentecost for the New Testament saints and at the dedication of the Kirtland temple; the first trump; engagement and gift or endowment for the bride – promise of eternal life and “earnest” of that inheritance.

Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah = repentance; return; trumpeting for the return of the King; repent for the day of the Coming of the King is near; the last trump; the king is washed and anointed to be king; the marriage or wedding day (first day of the 7th month); (see Matthew 25:6; D&C 133:10, 17-18; D&C 45:57; JST Matthew 7:25; JST Matthew 25:10-11).

Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur = atonement/Judgement; sealing; High Priest makes atonement for Israel in the Holy of Holies; the king’s judgment is sealed; the Great Trump is sounded – no more repentance; holiest solemn fast day; blood of the offering is spilled and the scapegoat is released (10th day of the 7th month).

Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot = kingship; joyous enthronement of the King and Queen; celebrate your marriage to the bridegroom – you are the bride; at-one-ment with Christ; tied to fall harvest of grapes; takes place in the Millennium; celebrate the marriage feast or wedding supper or party for 8 days.

What are the three types of Sabbath Days?

7th day of the week = day of rest (from labor).

7th Sabbatical or Shemitah year = release (from bondage and debts).

7x7 Jubilee Year = restoration (of covenant land to their rightful heirs).

Note: Sabbatical Years of Release are 2001, 2008, 2015, 2022, 2029; 2016 was a Jubilee Year of Restoration.

Case Study: What was the significance of the four Holy Day blood moons from 2014-2015? (for additional help read Adrian Larsen’s series of blog posts “Scripture Overhead” from 2015 on totheremnant.com)

This was the 8th tetrad of Blood Moons on Holy Days in history.

Blood moons are one of the signs foretold of the coming of the Son of Man (see D&C 45:39-42).

The first blood moon (April 15, 2014; first day of Passover): the blood moon appeared in the constellation Virgo (the virgin; drawn with a sheaf of wheat in her hand) with Mars and near Saturn; in this eclipse, the moon was in a direct line between  Saturn (civilization and social order) and Mars (war and destruction) but was much closer to Mars; the warning is that the world is headed for the loss of social order and coming widespread war and violence – that the world is ripening in iniquity and waxing old as a garment); the moon was touching the star Spica ( the ear of wheat) to remind us that in preparation for the coming destruction, the Lord will harvest or gather out the wheat from the tares (by angels, see D&C 77:11) and leave the tares to be burned (see D&C 86:7); Christ acts as a hen not a rooster (Virgo is female) when He speaks of gathering His people or “chicks” (see D&C 10:65); the “wheat” will then be gathered to build a holy city of a Terrestrial nature (the Moon); Mars reminds us the constellation Aries the Ram which Mars rules and the promise that the Gentiles will be trodden under foot and destroyed (see 3 Nephi 20:15-19).

The second blood moon (October 8, 2014; on the eve of Sukkot the Feast of Tabernacles): the blood moon appeared in the constellation Pisces, covering the planet Uranus; Pisces is a constellation portrayed as two fish connected by a band or “net” – one fish rises up above the ecliptic while the other remains on it; Uranus is the ruling planet of the constellation Aquarius and represents the “Father Sky” or Father of Heaven; Aquarius is a constellation displayed as a man pouring out a water pot; the warning is that at the end of the world, the angels will come and sort the “catch” that was made in the “gospel net” (see Matthew 13:47-49), severing the wicked from among the just; at the time of the blood moon, Uranus and the moon are positioned to sever the net or bands between the two fish, freeing the one to rise up to where the Father lives in the “sides of the north” (see 2 Nephi 24:13-14; 3 Nephi 20:37; D&C 113:9-10) while the lower fish remains on the ecliptic, forever circumnavigating, round after round (see D&C 132:21-25); so the message is that the bands are cut and the sorting has begun – this is the sifting of wheat and tares referred to in the message of the first blood moon; it is the Father Himself who has a hand in these events (see 3 Nephi 21:9; Joel 2:28-32; 1 Nephi 14:17) because the gathering of Israel is His work (see 3 Nephi 21:26-28) with the aid of His angels (see Moroni 7:29-31); the angels have started gathering those who will come!

The third blood moon (April 4, 2015 on the first day of Passover): like the first blood moon, this moon appeared in Virgo providing a “second witness” to the first message about the wheat and the tares, but this time the moon was placed between the stars Spica and Porrima; in this blood moon, Bootes the Plowman is the constellation directly above the blood moon, preparing the fertile ground (see Isaiah 28:23-24) for when the wheat and tares will be separated and the wheat will be planted in its prepared place; Spica means “ear of wheat”;  the Lord sits in judgement (Libra) over the wheat and tares; as Spica is the wheat then Porrima (named for the Roman goddess of prophesy) represent the tares but it is interesting that the star refers to prophesy – in this case the tares are those who follow the prophets who don’t prophesy because they have lost the fullness of the priesthood (see Isaiah 28:1-10; Deuteronomy 18:20; Jeremiah 14:14; D&C 124:27-28; D&C 84:23-27); lastly, there was a straight vertical alignment in the sky from the moon in Virgo to Arcturus (brightest star in the northern sky so it was used for navigation; part of Bootes), to Izar (the veil), to Princeps (the prince); to the left is Corona Borealis (the crown) – symbolizing a pathway laid out in a straight course before us if we will rise up and look to the heavenly light of the brightest star, and follow it through the “veil” to meet the “prince” who waits for us on the other side of the veil with a crown of righteousness – this blood moon sign is both a warning that the tares and wheat will be separated, that the tares follow men who call themselves prophets while the wheat are invited to rise up to rend the veil and meet the Lord

The fourth blood moon (September 27, 2015 on the first day of Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles): this blood moon was made even more special by being a “super moon” where the orbit of the moon was as close as it gets to the earth so it looked much bigger than usual (30% bigger and brighter); this final moon appeared in the eastern sky inside a triangle formed by three planets: Uranus (“Father of Heaven”), Neptune (“ God of living water”) and Vesta (“Goddess of hearth and home” – symbolized by sacred fire)); the moon had moved out of Pisces toward Aquarius and was located at the tail of the constellation Cetus the Sea Monster or Whale; there are several parts to the meaning of this blood moon. Part 1: Sukkot is the celebration of the harvest and it is the “wedding feast” from the New Testament, so the message is that the harvest is soon at hand followed by the great celebration where the Lord will slay a great sea monster or fish called the Leviathan (Cetus) and serve it to the righteous, using its skin as the tent under which the feast will be served (see Jacob 5:62-63, 67-69; Isaiah 27:1; Matthew 22:2-10); Part 2:  the moon on Cetus’ tail is reminiscent of Jonah in the belly of the whale on his way to warn the mightiest city in the world, Nineveh, to repent or be destroyed (which they later were); but also of interest is Christ’s statement about the “sign of Jonah” (see Luke 11:29-32) being a sign to the wicked of Jerusalem that their time of repentance was almost over (the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70AD) – this is again a “sign of Jonah” to our wicked generation; Jonah means “dove” in Hebrew, so the “sign of Jonah” is really the “sign of the dove” or the “sign of truth”; Part 3: Zodiacal ages are calculated as the heavens rotate at the Vernal or Spring Equinox through the 12 constellations over 25,800 years but each are different sizes so it’s hard to tell exactly when one ends and another begins;  we know that the Age of Pisces began around the time of Christ and ends with the rejection of the gospel by the Gentiles and the giving of it back to the House of Israel in the reverse order of what happened at the beginning of the Age so that the last are first and the first will be last (see 3 Nephi 16:7, 10; D&C 45:28-30; 1 Nephi 15:13-14); the second blood moon (2014) was clearly in Pisces but this fourth blood moon has moved out of Pisces and toward Aquarius – the next “Age” – this signals the fullness of the Gentiles coming in (see JSH 1:41; Joel 2:28-30) with their (our) accompanying destruction as we reach the fullness of iniquity (see Ether 2:9-11) and the Lord being ready to pour out His Spirit (Aquarius the Water Bearer) on Israel again (see JST Luke 21:25); Uranus and Aquarius both symbolize the Father of Heaven pouring out His spirit – the ancient interpretation was a dual outpouring of water and fire, which symbolize a flood (physical afflictions or natural disasters, although some wonder if it might be a “flood” of refugees of Israelite blood escaping from the war-torn Middle East into the Gentile West) and destruction by fire (spiritual warfare or man-made disasters like war, famine and pestilence); sadly for the Gentiles, their “watchmen” will not raise a warning (see Isaiah 56:10-12) because they have lost the High Priesthood and cannot see; but the Waterbearer or Father’s dual outpouring of water and fire also symbolizes cleansing through baptism by water and sanctification through the baptism of fire and Holy Spirit (see 3 Nephi 11:32-35); the invitation to the Wedding Feast is accepted when you come and are “born of water” so that God can fill or baptize you with fire and perform a mighty change upon you, dressing you in a wedding garment of light (see Matthew 22:2-14) so that you might abide the outpouring of fire both natural and man-made, both physical and spiritual, that is coming to destroy the wicked and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ and the celebration that will take place upon His return – but few will see this sign for what it is (see D&C 45:36-40).

 

For some additional reading, check out Michael O’Connell’s Finding God in Science

 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Creation (Genesis 1-2, Moses 2-3, Abraham 4-5) QUESTIONS

 Creation Accounts Are Initiation Ceremonies

 First, the qualifiers:

We have a fragmentary scriptural account - not everything has been included or retained from what might have been included initially.

From reading the text, it is difficult to understand what is literal from what is figurative or symbolic.

We don’t know how much Adam and Eve knew and understood prior to the Fall (i.e. what does “innocent” mean?).

The creation accounts were not given to us as a scientific dissertation by God regarding how He created the universe; while He could have done that, He did not – implying that what we have received from Him in scripture is for a different purpose.

 

How many accounts of the creation do we have?

Do they differ?

Which one is “right”?

Why is this the case?

What differences in perception exist between western and eastern mindsets regarding the scriptures?

What are these ceremonies designed or intended teach us?

What are these ceremonies NOT designed to teach us?

 

 

Scientific Understanding of the Creation

READ Moses 1:27-35

Will God reveal the literal, scientific account of the creation to us?

What must we do to receive this level of comprehensive scientific knowledge?

 

 

Why We Should Understand the Creation

Why study the creation?

What is the creation?

What is the purpose of the creation?

 

 

The Creation

READ Genesis 1; Moses 2-3; Abraham 4

Was the earth created out of nothing?

What do we learn from these scriptural accounts/creation ceremonies about how the Earth was created?

Who created the Earth?

Was the earth created in seven days or seven thousand years?

When God says “in the beginning”, what is being referred to?

What does it mean that the earth was “without form and void” (Genesis 1:2 and Moses 2:2)?

What does “let there be light” refer to?

Why does it talk about the “face of the water” if the earth hasn’t been created yet?

What does it mean that God “separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse”? (see Genesis 1:7)

What does it mean that the light was divided from the darkness?

What does it mean that the waters were gathered together into one place and then the dry land appeared?

What does all of this imply about evolution and the rest of the periods/days of creation?

 

READ Moses 2:27 and Abraham 4:26-27, 5:12-13

What do we know about the creation of mankind on the Earth?

What were the conditions of life in the Garden of Eden?

What commandments were given to man in the Garden of Eden?

 

 

The Heavens Are for Signs

READ Abraham 4:14 and Jeremiah 31:35-36

Why does the Lord use heavenly signs?

How does the Lord use the sun, moon and stars/planets as markers?

 

READ Exodus 31:13, 17 and Exodus 12:14

What are the Lord’s Holy Days?

What do each of the seven annual Holy Days represent? (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles)

What are the three types of Sabbath Days?

Case Study: What was the significance of the four Holy Day blood moons from 2014-2015? (for additional help read Adrian Larsen’s series of blog posts “Scripture Overhead” from 2015 on totheremnant.com)

 

For some additional reading, check out Michael O’Connell’s Finding God in Science

For some additional reading, check out Michael O’Connell’s Finding God in Scienceom 2014-2015? (for additional help read Adrian Larsen’s series of blog posts “Scripture Overhead” from 2015 on totheremnant.com)

Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Pre-Mortal Life (Moses 3-4, Abraham 3)

There is much we do not know about the pre-mortal life and the creation of the world - there is a reason for that…

READ TPJS 394:4

“Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach Him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer.  When we understand the character of God, and how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us about it.  When we are ready to come to Him, He is ready to come to us.”

…God has given us these questions to see if we will seek after Him to obtain the knowledge that He waits our initiative to give us.

 

READ Abraham 3:1-15

What is Abraham seeing and why is the Lord showing Him these things?

God is showing Abraham a map of the heavens from the orientation of the face of the earth – looking out into space.

It is like He is saying: “Abraham, you see that brightest of all stars or planets in the sky, we call it Kolob, and if you were to fly in that direction, you would come near unto me, for my throne and the planet upon which I live is in that direction from where you are standing on your earth…albeit, it’s much further away than that star is from you…”

He is also teaching him about the difference between mortal time and “time” in the eternities when one is “outside” of mortal time.

God is teaching Abraham His “ways” and “paths” through the heavens, from earth to His throne, so that Abraham can visit Him when he is taught how to find the portal on earth and pass the angels that stand as sentinels on either end.

 

READ Abraham 3:16-19

“If there be two spirits, then one shall be more intelligent than the other;” what are the implications of this statement?

All people/spirits/entities are unique.

All have a different amount of intelligence (and different strengths or gifts).

While started at the same place or level of intelligence (see Alma 13:3-5), some have gained more intelligence than others through their keeping of God’s commandments or their more precise alignment with eternal law (see D&C 130:18-21); this is a completely individual journey so each person is at a different place in their spiritual progression as everyone else (until they receive a fullness and become the same – precisely like Christ, see LoF 7:9).

 

READ D&C 93:28-29

What does it mean that spirits have no beginning?

Intelligence cannot be created - it exists; you have always existed, in one form or another (see also TPJS p 353 - “the intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end… God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all.  God himself could not create himself.  Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle”).

There is a difference between a “father” who provides a body and assists in development and a “creator” - spirits are organized not created out of nothing. 

What is the implication of existing as “you” before you were born?

You are an inherently immortal being – a being of light.

This life does not define you - your biology, your circumstances and upbringing - you are an eternal creature raised in the halls of heaven.

As you have a veil of forgetfulness drawn across your mind and you’ve been born into a mortal body or “avatar” which influences and constrains both your perception of reality and the capabilities you have on this earth – you are not who you think you are.

What differences exist between that “you” and you today?

You don’t know who you are (you are “lost”).

The effects of the fall are at work - sin and death, plus the temptations of Satan (which existed before, to some degree).

You were a being of light, by virtue of your inherent being/nature (i.e. intelligence) and added upon in a “first place” (see Alma 13:3-5) from obedience to commandments (see D&C 130:18-21) but are here on earth experiencing a telestial world to give you an opportunity to gain more light by fighting against greater opposition. 

 

READ Abraham 3:21

What is implied by the statement “I rule…over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning”?

He rules or teaches by way of the fact that He has more light and glory or power than all other intelligences or entities Abraham has seen since the beginning of the world.

He (Christ) does not necessarily rule over the intelligences Abraham has not seen.

“From the beginning” means before the beginning of the creation of this world, but it does not include any prior eternity (because Christ had not always had a fullness of God’s glory and intelligence – see D&C 93:12-14) and may not include all intelligences organized by other Gods.

There may be other intelligences who have already progressed to be even more glorious than Christ is now (see TPJS 390-393).

Gods continue to grow or progress in glory, which is intelligence, light and truth.

 

READ Abraham 3:22-23

How is the word “ruler” defined in these verses?

It does not necessarily mean “rulers” as the world uses the term – i.e. kings or someone with political power.

These “rulers” may not have even “presided” as priests.

At the least they were prophets (with a “lower case p”) – meaning they received the second comforter, knew the Lord and were trusted to deliver His messages (as opposed to “ruling” in a church).

A ruler is a tool used to measure something else; it provides a standard against which to measure; in this case a “ruler” is a teacher or prophet – a revealer of truth or things as they really are, were and will be, against which truth all can be judged.

It is the truth of the teachings that provides the “ruler” or standard of measurement, not the alignment of the messenger to that truth; in other words, the teacher or prophet isn’t what is to be revered as the “ruler”, their message is.

Does this foreordination guarantee salvation and the successful completion of the assigned mission?

No - it is possible to fall from grace with god (see D&C 20:32).

It is not the same as pre-destination.

Again, it is the message, not the messenger, that is important. 

 

READ Abraham 3:24-25

What does “we” (not I) will prove “them” imply?

That those who created the earth with Christ (the noble and great ones) did so to prove another group of spirits.

While the noble and great have already been proven – and then condescended to come to earth to help us - everyone is at risk here (you could argue they are more at risk because they have more to lose than we do).

We (the non-noble and great ones) are here to be proved to see if we will follow the Lord’s commandments at all hazards, so that we might also have an opportunity to progress and become exalted as they are now - if we are also faithful (see D&C 132:29, 37).

 

READ Abraham 3:27-28 and Moses 4:1-3

What insight does the account in Moses give us that is not as obvious in Abraham?

Satan came to God with an alternate plan (Moses 4).

It wasn’t a case of “picking teams” followed by “poor sportsmanship” (Abraham 3).

What is at the heart of Satan’s plan?

Satan wanted the Father’s honor and power.

Rebellion against the Father - this is a coup.

Destroy the agency of man.

Redeem ALL mankind, but only so that their “glory” as redeemed souls in service to Satan means that he would have an army of gods who owe allegiance to him for “making” them gods unjustly.

The implication here is that there might be “dark gods” as well as gods of light.  Satan would not have had the power to go contrary to the eternal law of light and “make” people gods of light – so his salvation must have been something different. 

Why would this plan be attractive to anyone (but Satan?)

Risk - all redeemed vs a (low…) percentage (particularly if you define salvation as being precisely as Christ is now and nothing else, see LoF 7:9).

Fear – playing on the fears that many had that they would not be among the percentage that would be saved.

Charisma - Satan was “in authority” before God, meaning that he was a being of light and glory much greater than the vast majority of God’s children – plus he clearly had leadership skills or he would never had convinced one third of the hosts of heaven to follow him. 

Subtly - Lucifer “became Satan the father of lies” but did this just happen suddenly?  He most likely started to deceive people in heaven because his concern was not for saving people but was for God’s throne; saving people was a way to gain their allegiance.

Faux love – Satan could feign love for God’s children by “advocating” to save all of them, while painting God as a cold and merciless being, as He must uphold justice in its strictest standard or He would cease to be god.

Why did the “morning stars” sing together, and “all the sons of God shout with joy” when the foundations of the earth were laid? (see Job 38:4-7)

Joy in the opportunity to grow in light - only in a mortality can you qualify for more glory by being tried and tested in a probation outside of God’s presence where suffering and death can occur and the consequences of your decisions are very real (“live ammo”) because actual opposition exists and people can actually be harmed.

Joy in gratitude for the sacrifice of a Son of God - because the only way a probation like this can be conducted is if a “Son of God” is ready and willing to come down to the creation, risking everything they have achieved thus far (condescension), to live a perfect life and then suffer an atonement and submit to death so that they can attain to the resurrection and save the whole of that creation – and become a “Father” to a select few who will actually rise up and take full advantage of the opportunity being offered through that Son’s sacrifice.

What are the conditions that must exist for agency to be in play?

Laws - D&C 132:4-11.

Opposition - 2 Nephi 2:11.

Knowledge of good and evil - Helaman 14:30-31.

Power to choose - 2 Nephi 2:16,27.

How do you destroy agency?

Eliminate just one of the four conditions – laws, opposition, knowledge, or power to choose.

Separate agency from accountability and consequences becomes conceptual instead of real. 

Why is a veil of forgetfulness and inability to see the spirit world given to us?

To make it a fair test - otherwise the memory of our pre-mortal glory and the focus on eternal treasures would dwarf the allure of this world's “bounty”.

In this state of forgetfulness, whatever choice is made represents the true heart and mind of the one who makes it.

 

READ D&C 93:30

Why is agency such a cornerstone of God’s plan - that He will honor it despite the terrible things that many of us do with it?

There is NO EXISTENCE without it - think about why that might be the case.

The Savior’s role is to “dry the eyes” or put right all of the wrongs that are committed here by all those who use their agency to harm others or themselves.

Who was Jehovah?

A “firstborn” of all of the spirit children of the Father.

The “preeminent one” who was like unto God among all of the spirits in our current eternity.

What was His response to the Father’s question?

“Here am I, send me… (to suffer endless and eternal punishment, all that a God can suffer, to redeem thy children and do thy work by enabling the immortality and eternal life of man)” (Abraham 3:27).

“Thy will be done and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2).

He had become the embodiment of the Word of God – He was one with God such that His word WAS the Father’s word; this was because of Christ’s total submission to the word of God over time (see D&C 93:12-14) which means His complete alignment with eternal law (see LoF 7:9).

Why did Christ accept the role of Redeemer?

He had reached a level of perfect love for all His spirit siblings.

His complete obedience to His Father’s will - as He shared the mind and will of God already.

Within this eternity, He was the only son qualified to go and do the work, as He had previously risen up to become a Son of God and could live a sinless life – meaning He could abide by the full Law of the Celestial Kingdom while tabernacled in a mortal body in a telestial world, which was required to perform the atonement and resurrection; He had to offer Himself in death, and that death had to be “unjust” due to His sinless life – because the wages of sin are death but He had never sinned, despite taking upon Himself the guilt and punishment for all sin.

 

READ Moses 4:4

What is Satan’s role here on earth?

To deceive and blind men.

Lead them away captive at his will.

Provide a counterpoint to God and His word – opposition in all things.

Notice that “force” is not on the list… he gets US to force EACH OTHER but cannot force us to sin (see D&C 121!); although he will try to entice us.

 

To conclude this post, I will share a story to reflect on – without my questions – but with a challenge to come up with your own and inquire of the Lord regarding His insights to the answers.  To summarize the story, a king’s son has come down to earth to find a pearl which he is to return to its heavenly depository.  But here below he becomes defiled with the things of the world until a letter is sent to him from Heaven, signed by all the Great and Mighty Ones, which recalls to him his true heritage and his purpose in coming to earth. Whereupon reading the letter, he casts off his earthly garments, recovers the pearl, and with it returns to the waiting arms of his loved ones in the royal courts on high and to the robe of glory that has been carefully kept for him in the Treasury.

READ: The Hymn of the Pearl, from the Acts of Thomas (translation by GRS Mead)

I.

When a quite little child, I was dwelling in the House of my Father’s Kingdom, and in the wealth and the glories of my Up-bringers I was delighting; from the East, our home, my Parents forth-sent me with journey-provision. Indeed, from the wealth of our treasure, they bound up for me a load. Large was it, yet was it so light that all alone I could bear it.

 

II.

Gold from the Land of Beth-Ellaya, silver from Gazak the Great, chalcedonies of India, iris-hued [opals?] from Kãshan. They girt me with adamant [also] that hath power to cut even iron. My Glorious Robe they took off me which in their love they had wrought me, and my Purple Mantle [also] which was woven to match with my stature.

 

III.

And with me they [then] made a compact; in my heart wrote it, not to forget it: "If thou goest down into Egypt, and thence thou bring’st the one Pearl – "[the Pearl] that lies in the Sea, hard by the loud-breathing Serpent – [then] shalt thou put on thy Robe and thy Mantle that goeth upon it, and with thy Brother, our Second, shalt thou be Heir in our Kingdom."

 

IV.

I left the East and went down with two couriers [with me]; for the way was hard and dangerous, for I was young to tread it. I traversed the borders of Maish~ n, the mart of the Eastern merchants, and I reached the Land of Babel, and entered the walls of Sarbãg. Down further I went into Egypt; and from me parted my escorts.

 

V.

Straightway I went to the Serpent; near to his lodging I settled, to take away my Pearl while he should sleep and should slumber. Lone was I there, yea, all lonely; to my fellow-lodgers a stranger. However, I saw there a noble, from out of the Dawn-land, my kinsman, a young man fair and well favored, Son of Grandees; he came and he joined me.

 

VI.

I made him my chosen companion, a comrade, for sharing my wares with. He warned me against the Egyptians, against mixing with the unclean ones. For I had clothed me as they were, that they might not guess I had come from afar to take off the Pearl, and so rouse the Serpent against me.

 

VII.

But from some occasion or other they learned I was not of their country. With their wiles they made my acquaintance; yea, they gave me their victuals to eat. I forgot that I was a King’s son, and became a slave to their king. I forgot all concerning the Pearl for which my Parents had sent me; and from the weight of their victuals, I sank down into a deep sleep.

 

VIII.

All this that now was befalling, my Parents perceived and were anxious. It was then proclaimed in our Kingdom, that all should speed to our Gate – Kings and Chieftains of Parthia, and of the East all the Princes. And this is the counsel they came to: I should not be left down in Egypt. And for me they wrote out a letter; and to it each Noble his name set:

 

IX.

"From Us – King of Kings, thy Father, and thy Mother, Queen of the Dawn-land, and from Our Second, thy Brother – to thee, Son, down in Egypt, our greeting! Up an arise from thy sleep, give ear to the words of our letter! Remember that thou art a King’s son; see whom thou hast served in thy slavedom. Bethink thyself of the Pearl for which thou didst journey to Egypt.

 

X.

Remember thy Glorious Robe, thy Splendid Mantle remember, to put on and wear as adornment, when thy Name may be read in the Book of the Heroes, and with Our Successor, thy Brother, thou mayest be Heir in Our Kingdom."  My letter was [surely] a letter the King had sealed up with His right hand, against the Children of Babel, the wicked, the tyrannical Daimons of Sarbãg.

 

XI.

It flew in the form of the Eagle, of all the winged tribes the king-bird; it flew and alighted beside me, and turned into speech altogether. At its voice and the sound of its winging, I waked and arose from my deep sleep. Unto me I took it and kissed it; I loosed its seal and I read it. E’en as it stood in my heart writ, the words of my letter were written.

 

XII.

I remembered that I was a King’s son, and my rank did long for its nature. I bethought me again of the Pearl, for which I was sent down to Egypt. And I began [then] to charm him, the terrible loud-breathing Serpent. I lulled him to sleep and to slumber, chanting o’er him the Name of my Father, the Name of our Second, [my brother], and [Name] of my Mother, the East-Queen.

 

XIII.

And [thereon] I snatched up the Pearl and turned to the House of my Father. Their filthy and unclean garments I stripped off and left in their country. To the way that I came I betook me, to the Light of our Home, to the Dawn-land. On the road I found [there] before me, my letter that had aroused me – as with its voice it had roused me, so now with its light it did lead me –

 

XIV.

On fabric of silk, in letter of red [?], with shining appearance before me [?], encouraging me with its guidance, with its love it was drawing me onward. I went forth; through Sarbãg I passed; I left B~ bel-land on my left hand; and I reached unto Maishan the Great, the meeting-place of the merchants, that lieth hard by the sea-shore.

 

XV.

My Glorious Robe that I’d stripped off, and my Mantle with which it was covered, down from the heights of Hyrcania, thither my Parents did send me, by the hands of their Treasure-dispensers who trustworthy were with it trusted. Without my recalling its fashion, – in the House of my Father, my childhood, had left it,-- At once, as soon as I saw it, the Glory looked like my own self.

 

XVI.

I saw it in all of me and saw me all in [all of] it, – that we were twain in distinction, and yet again one in one likeness. I saw, too, the Treasurers also, who unto me had down-brought it, were twain [and yet] of one likeness; for one Sign of the King was upon them – who through them restored me the Glory, the Pledge of my Kingship [?].

 

XVII.

The Glorious Robe all-bespangled with sparkling splendor of colors: with gold and also with beryls, chalcedonies, iris-hued [Opals?], with sards of varying colors. To match its grandeur [?], moreover, it had been completed: with adamantine jewels all of its seams were off-fastened. [Moreover] the King of Kings’ image was depicted entirely all o’er it; and as with sapphires above was it wrought in a motley of color.

 

XVIII.

I saw that moreover all o’er it the motions of gnosis abounding; I saw it further was making ready as though for to speak. I heard the sound of its music which it whispered as it descended [?]: "Behold him the active in deeds! For whom I was reared with my Father; I too have felt in myself how that with his works waxed my stature."

 

XIX.

And [now] with its Kingly motions was it pouring itself out towards me, and made haste in the hands of its Givers, that I might [take and] receive it. And me, too, my love urged forward to run for to meet it, to take it. And I stretched myself forth to receive it; with its beauty of color I decked me, and my Mantle of sparkling colors I wrapped entirely all o’er me.

 

XX.

I clothed me therewith, and ascended to the Gate of Greeting and Homage. I bowed my head and did homage to the glory of Him who had sent it, whose commands I [now] had accomplished, and who had, too, done what He’d promised. [And there] at the Gate of His House-sons I mingled myself with His Princes; for He had received me with gladness, and I was with Him in His Kingdom;

 

XXI.

To whom the whole of His Servants with sweet-sounding voices sing praises. He had promised that with him to the Court of the King of Kings I should speed and taking with me my Pearl should with him be seen by our King.

  

What questions would you ask about this story?  What insights have you gained from reflecting deeply and inquiring of the Lord?

The Creation (Genesis 1-2, Moses 2-3, Abraham 4-5)

Creation Accounts Are Initiation Ceremonies First, the qualifiers: We have a fragmentary scriptural account - not everything has been in...