I thought I would share some things I've been pondering on regarding the Creation story in the Book of Abraham (chapters 4-5). While much of the story is similar to the Creation stories in Genesis and the Book of Moses (Pearl of Great Price), there are some significant differences.
First, the BoA account not only mentions God, but the Gods as
being involved in the creation. This ties in perfectly with the
ancient Jewish (and early Christian) concept of the Divine Council. God
and his divine children (sometimes called angels) work
together to accomplish God's great work. Margaret Barker, an Old
Testament scholar and Methodist preacher, stated that Jesus was
considered by the early Christians to be the Messiah, the Angel of the
Lord's Presence. In LDS theology, many of God's children (including
some/many of us were involved in the Creation.
From this Creation
event, we learn some possible things about the divine council, and our
premortal existence. First, we see that the Gods go down together to
form the earth. In several ancient texts, such as the Ascension of
Isaiah, we see angels and Christ ascending up and descending down
through the various layers of heaven to get to/from the earth.
earth is described as "empty and desolate" and was dark. These are
descriptions of ancient Semitic stories of the Creation, where the Gods
create order out of Chaos. In this scenario, God even must fight the
water dragon, in order to keep Chaos (water and darkness) at bay.
brought under control, the Spirit was left to "brood over the waters."
The Spirit may have been the Light of Christ, which penetrates all of
space (see D&C 88, 93), as a controlling force. One thing to
consider is that instead of being a controlling force, the Spirit may
have been an influencing force. In such a scenario, the Spirit would not
force things to occur, but gently guide them to the final goal.
in commanding or pronouncing their divine will, the Gods were able to
command the light, earth and waters. However, when it comes to living
things, such as plants, after the command goes forth, we read, "and the
Gods saw that they were obeyed" ( 4:12) or in the case of animals, "and
the Gods saw they would obey" (4:25). In other words, the Gods did not
have full and absolute power over all their creation, or chose not to
impose their will over all of creation..
This suggests a few
things. First, the Gods had to await things to obey their command.
Second, some things (such as humans) would disobey along the way.
Third, this may have been a trial and error learning event for the
lesser or younger Gods.
Imagine the patience it would take for
Gods to form the earth, and then await billions of years for the
particles making up the Earth to cool down and become solid. Then, to
await the first life to form about 2.2 billion years ago. It would take
another 2.3 billion years of trying different life forms until mankind
is formed. During those billions of years, the Gods would find out how
to put DNA together to form creations that could adapt and survive in
varying ecosystems and disasters. Giant destructions would open the door
for new species to rule the earth. 250 million years ago, a destruction
would wipe out 90 percent of all life forms, opening the door for the
reign of the dinosaurs. A destruction 65 millions years ago would wipe
out dinosaurs, and open the door to mammals. The last Ice Age would
leave us with one species of human-like beings, removing the failed
versions from the genetic pool and prepare the earth for us today.
now that we are mortals and trying to learn to be creators, even as God
and the divine council, what can we learn from this? First, that God is
very patient. If it takes billions of years to accomplish his goals,
then he is willing to wait for it to naturally come to pass. If this is
so, then why are we so impatient with ourselves, our children and
others? We are all works in progress.
God avoids forcing his hand unless he has to. Instead, he guides,
influences, and leads by example. I find the more control we attempt to
force upon others, the more they tend to reject what we do. Control is
usually imposed because we either lack patience or there is an urgency
to get something done. Perhaps we create too many emergencies that
require control, rather than patiently working things through.
as with God and his divine council, we are in a constant struggle
against Chaos and entropy. There is opposition in all things (2 Nephi
2), which puts us directly in the path of Chaos. Our work here is to do
God's work, and that is to create Order out of Chaos.
It is a process that takes time. Children are not born as a finished
product. It takes a lifetime for each of us to begin to understand who
we are and why we are here. The key is to create order, even as God
does, a little at a time, and not increase the amount of chaos instead.
Interestingly, the over-use of control can actually increase chaos.
Doing nothing or little also increases entropy and chaos. In a universe
that tends to move towards entropy, only God and his divine children
have the ability to hold it at bay, and perhaps increase order in the
So, what do you get out of Abraham's Creation story?