“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles” states: “Under the direction of His Father, [Jesus Christ] was the creator of the earth. ‘All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made’ (John 1:3)” (Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 2). As students come to understand the eternal purposes of the earth’s creation, they can live with greater resolve to fulfill the measure of their own creation.
Display an object that someone made for you (perhaps as a gift). Share with the class your feelings for the object and for the person who made it. Then ask:
When has someone made something for you? What feelings do you have for the person who made it?
Invite students to compare and contrast Genesis 1:1; John 1:1–3; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:1–2; and Moses 2:1. Ask students to list on the board similarities and differences they notice between these passages. (Note: As students learn to compare and contrast scripture passages, doctrines and principles can come into sharper focus.) Then ask:
According to these scriptures, who created the earth? (Emphasize that Jehovah created the earth under the direction of the Father, or as Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “The entire Creation was planned by [Heavenly Father]” (“The Creation,” Ensign, May 2000, 84).
Give students time to read and compare Doctrine and Covenants 76:22–24; 104:14–17; and Moses 1:30–33 silently, looking for what else Jehovah created. If needed, point out that He created worlds without number and that “the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare” (D&C 104:17). Help students analyze this phrase by asking:
What does this phrase suggest about what the Savior would have to know when He created the earth? (He would need to know how many people would live on the earth and what their needs would be throughout the various periods of history.)
Explain to students that it is one thing to know who created the earth but another to know by what power the earth was created. Invite students to compare and cross-reference Mormon 9:16–17; Doctrine and Covenants 38:1–3; and Jacob 4:9 and identify how the earth was created. Invite students to explain in their own words what these passages mean. Then display the following statement:
“Jesus Christ created this world and everything in it. He also created many other worlds. He did so through the power of the priesthood, under the direction of our Heavenly Father” (Gospel Principles , 23).
Emphasize that in actuality, the scriptures give few details about how the earth was created, although we are promised that such details will one day be revealed (see D&C 101:32–34). Much more is taught in the scriptures about the purpose of the Creation.
Discuss the following questions as a class:
As you observe the world around you, what do the creations of God teach you about the Savior, about His priesthood, and about His stature in the premortal world?
How does understanding these truths influence your feelings toward and testimony of Jesus Christ?
How does understanding these truths influence the way you feel about the earth?
Before moving on, emphasize to students that whereas the Savior created the earth, Heavenly Father is the Father of our spirits and created the physical bodies of Adam and Eve.
Divide students into pairs and ask them to search Moses 1:27–33, 39; 1 Nephi 17:36; and Doctrine and Covenants 49:16–17. You may want to suggest that they mark words and phrases in these passages that help them formulate an answer to this question: “How would you explain to a friend why the earth was created?” Invite a few pairs to share their answers with the class. Students should see that Jehovah created the earth to provide a place where God’s children could live and progress toward eternal life. Ask:
What is meant by the phrase “measure of man” in Doctrine and Covenants 49:17? (If needed, see the commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 49:16–17 in the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual [(Church Educational System manual, 2001), 106].)
Invite students to read 2 Nephi 2:18–25 silently, and then ask:
How would conditions in the Garden of Eden have prevented Adam and Eve from progressing in Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation?
How did the Fall of Adam help the earth fulfill the purpose of its creation? (It enabled Adam and Eve to bear children.)
How can the consequences of the Fall, described in verse 23, help us progress in Heavenly Father’s plan?
Provide each student with a copy of the following statements by Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Julie B. Beck, former Relief Society general president. Give students sufficient time to read these statements and ponder the role of the Creation in God’s plan for the salvation of His children.
“Just as surely as salvation comes because of the Atonement, so also salvation comes because of the Fall. …
“And be it also remembered that the Fall was made possible because an infinite Creator … made the earth and man and all forms of life in such a state that they could fall. … All things were so created that they could fall or change, and thus was introduced the type and kind of existence needed to put into operation all of the terms and conditions of the Father’s eternal plan of salvation.
“This first temporal creation of all things … was paradisiacal in nature. In the primeval and Edenic day all forms of life lived in a higher and different state than now prevails. The coming fall would take them downward and forward and onward. Death and procreation had yet to enter the world” (Bruce R. McConkie, “Christ and the Creation,” Ensign, June 1982, 9).
“In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a theology of the family that is based on the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. The Creation of the earth provided a place where families could live. God created a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. It was part of Heavenly Father’s plan that Adam and Eve be sealed and form an eternal family.
“The Fall provided a way for the family to grow. Adam and Eve were family leaders who chose to have a mortal experience. The Fall made it possible for them to have sons and daughters.
“The Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally. It allows for families to have eternal growth and perfection. The plan of happiness, also called the plan of salvation, was a plan created for families. The rising generation need to understand that the main pillars of our theology are centered in the family” (Julie B. Beck, “Teaching the Doctrine of the Family,” Ensign, Mar. 2011, 12).
How do these statements help you understand the critical role of the Creation in God’s overall plan for the salvation of His children?
Why is it important to understand that the earth was created to help exalt individuals and families? (As students respond, write the following principle on the board: As we come to understand the purpose of the earth’s creation, we can develop a greater desire to fulfill the purpose of our creation.)
Explain to students that the sealing power of the priesthood makes it possible for husbands and wives and parents and children to be together after death. Without the sealing power that was restored through Elijah, God’s children could not receive the full blessings of exaltation and this purpose of the earth’s creation would not have been fulfilled, or as taught in the Doctrine and Covenants, the “earth would be utterly wasted” (D&C 2:3; see also Malachi 4:6).
Conclude the lesson by testifying of these important truths: (1) Jehovah created the earth under the direction of the Father; (2) He created the earth to provide a place where God’s children could live and progress toward eternal life; and (3) as we come to understand the purpose of the earth’s creation, we can develop a greater desire to fulfill the purpose of our creation.
Encourage students to ponder what they can do to express their gratitude for Jesus Christ’s creations. Encourage students to act upon any promptings of the Spirit they felt during the lesson.