Genesis 1–2; Moses 2–3; Abraham 4–5

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 23–25


Introduction

The scriptures contain three accounts of the Creation (see Genesis 1–2; Moses 2–3; Abraham 4–5; there is also an account given in the temple). In this section we will use the account in Moses 2–3 and refer to Genesis 1–2 and Abraham 4–5 as needed.

The plan of happiness was given by a loving Heavenly Father to help His children receive immortality and gain eternal life. The Creation of an earth, where His spirit children could be sent to gain a physical body, be tested and tried, and develop divine attributes, was essential to this plan. The scriptures give enough details about the Creation to help us understand Jesus Christ’s role in the Creation and the Creation’s divine purpose.

The scriptural account of the Creation does not provide details of how or when the earth was created but it does testify of why it was created and who the Creator was (see Moses 1:31–32, 39). The Lord has promised that the day will come when the specific details concerning the Creation of this earth will be revealed (see D&C 76:5–10; 101:32–34).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

video icon Old Testament Video presentation 5, “The Creation” (7:06), can be used in teaching Genesis 1–2; Moses 2–3; Abraham 4–5 (see Old Testament Video Guide for teaching suggestions).

Genesis 1:1; Moses 2:1; Abraham 4:1. The purpose of the scriptural accounts of the Creation is not to answer such questions as how the earth was created, how long ago the Creation occurred, or how long the process of creation took. Their purpose is to answer the more important questions of why the earth was created and who created it. (20–25 minutes)

Display a picture or use an artist’s conception of the universe (see the following diagram; also p. 229) or of a starry sky. Discuss with students the relationship between our earth and the known universe and the immensity of these creations.

Bring a puzzle that has about 200 pieces to class. Ask students to consider how simple and small the puzzle is when compared to the entire universe. Invite a student to try and assemble the puzzle by shaking the contents of the box and letting the pieces fall to the floor. Encourage the student to try again, this time trying harder to let the pieces fit together by themselves. Ask: If something as simple as this puzzle cannot simply fall into place, what does that tell us about something as immense as this earth or universe? Discuss what the experiment teaches about the need for a Creator in assembling the elements.

Have students read Moses 2:1 and Abraham 4:1 and look for what these verses teach about the Creation. Encourage students to quickly look at how many times the word God appears in Moses 2–4 and Abraham 4–5 where the Creation is discussed. Ask why they think that word was given so much emphasis.

To help emphasize the important truth that Jehovah—Jesus Christ—is the Creator, consider doing one or more of the following activities:

  • Sing “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (Children’s Songbook, 228) and discuss its message.

  • Have students think of, bring to class, or draw something that reminds them there is a God and that He loves them. Invite them to share these with the class.

  • Read Alma 30:43–44 and Moses 6:63 and discuss how everything in nature testifies of Jesus Christ as Creator and of His mission as our Redeemer.

Genesis 1–2; Moses 2–3; Abraham 3–4. The Creation was accomplished according to Heavenly Father’s plan. (30–35 minutes)

To help students understand the order of the periods of the Creation, have them do activity A for Genesis 1; Moses 2 in their student study guides (p. 12). Discuss the order of the Creation and invite students to share what impressed them during the activity.

Have students read Moses 2:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31. Ask the following questions:

  • What was the Lord’s evaluation of each part of the Creation as it was finished?

  • What does it mean to you that the Creation was good? Why?

  • How do you feel knowing that mankind was Heavenly Father’s and Jesus Christ’s crowning creation?

Hold up a copy of the Bible. Ask students if it is more important to understand the physical properties of the book (such as its binding, paper, and type style) or its message and meaning to our lives. Explain that although the construction, printing, and history of the Bible may be interesting, the message and meaning of its contents are much more important. Ask if the same is true with the Creation of the earth.

Write the following questions on the board:

•How?

•How long?

•Who?

•For what purpose?

Tell students that the questions on the board concern the Creation of the earth. Ask:

  • How would you rank them as regards your salvation? Why?

  • Read Moses 1:39. What is the divine purpose for creating this earth?

Explain that although there is much that we do not know about the creation of this earth (see D&C 101:32–33), the scriptural accounts of the Creation do give us answers to some of the most important questions.

Read the following statement by Elder Mark E. Petersen, who was an Apostle:

“Do we appreciate what this earth really means to us? Do we see why it was made? Do we understand its purpose? Do we see that there was nothing accidental or spontaneous about its origin? Do we see that its creation was literally and truly, completely and exclusively, an act of God?” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 86; or Ensign, May 1983, 64).

Invite students to answer these questions, and discuss their responses.

scripture mastery icon Genesis 1:26–27 (Scripture Mastery). We are literally sons and daughters of Heavenly Father and are created in His image. (15–20 minutes)

Invite several students to share some ways they are like their parents, especially characteristics they received or learned from their parents (such as physical traits, habits, mannerisms, values, and spiritual gifts). Ask:

  • How common is it for children to grow to be like their parents?

  • Read Genesis 1:26–27. In whose image were we created?

  • What characteristics and qualities have we received from Him?

  • How does knowing we were created in the image of our Heavenly Father help us know we can grow to become like Him?

In 1909 the First Presidency stated:

“All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity” (in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [1965–75], 4:203).

In 1995 the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declared:

“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

Ask students how knowing they were created in the image of their Heavenly Father helps increase their feelings of self-worth. Have them look for other scriptures that teach we are children of God and are created in His image. Encourage them to use the footnotes for Genesis 1:26–27 and the Topical Guide. Create a list of the scriptures they find and encourage them to write some of those references next to the scripture mastery verses. Invite students to choose some verses from their list and tell how they would use them to help a friend learn more about Heavenly Father.

Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said:

“When we look to see the evidence of creation all around us, from a grain of sand to the majestic planets, we begin to realize that we are the greatest of all God’s creations; we are created in his image” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 66–67; or Ensign, May 1988, 58).

Genesis 2:1–3. God ordained one day in seven for us to rest from our labors and worship Him. (10–15 minutes)

Ask students:

  • What day of the week do you enjoy more than any other?

  • What makes that day different from the others?

  • Read Moses 2:31. How did Jehovah describe what He created when He finished it?

  • Read Moses 3:1–3. What do the scriptures say occurred at the end of the Creation?

  • How did the Lord treat the seventh day differently from the other six days of the Creation?

  • How does the Lord expect us to follow His example?

Explain that the Lord emphasized the importance of the Sabbath day again on Mount Sinai. Have students read Exodus 20:8–11; 31:13, 16–17 to learn why we should keep the Sabbath day holy and sacred. Discuss their findings and write them on the board.

Ask students what is meant by the Sabbath being a sign and a covenant with the Lord (see Exodus 31:13, 16). Ask what happens when we ignore or neglect our covenants with the Lord.

Have students read Isaiah 58:13–14 and Doctrine and Covenants 59:9–21 and look for the blessings that we can receive by obeying the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. Encourage students to better live that commandment so they can receive the great blessings the Lord has promised to His covenant people.

Genesis 2:15–17; Moses 3:15–17. Agency is essential to the story of Adam and Eve and to our eternal progression in Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. (15–20 minutes)

Write Freedom is not free on the board. Ask students:

  • What do you think that phrase means?

  • Why isn’t freedom free?

  • What does the term free mean as used in that statement? (Without cost.)

Invite students to give examples of the cost of freedom. Read the following statement by Elder Boyd K. Packer:

“The phrase ‘free agency’ does not appear in scripture. The only agency spoken of there is moral agency, ‘which,’ the Lord said, ‘I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment’ (D&C 101:78; italics added)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 92; or Ensign, May 1992, 67).

Ask students why they think the scriptures never say that agency is free. Help them understand that while the gift of agency gives us the freedom to choose (see 2 Nephi 2:27), we will be held accountable for each choice we make (see D&C 101:78). We cannot make choices and also be free from the responsibility and consequences of those choices (unless we are not accountable because of age or mental capacity.) Explain that Genesis 2 and Moses 3 tell how the Lord ensured that Adam and Eve would have agency. Duplicate the following chart, leaving the “To Partake” and “Not to Partake” boxes empty. Let your students fill in the boxes as they study this event.

Have students read Moses 3:9, 15–17 and find what God said to Adam about partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Have students read 2 Nephi 2:15–16. Ask:

  • Why was it necessary for Adam and Eve to have a choice?

  • Read 2 Nephi 2:22–23. What would have happened if Adam and Eve had not partaken of the forbidden fruit?

  • Read 2 Nephi 2:24–29. What difference did their choice to partake of the fruit make for us?

To illustrate what Adam and Eve’s choice meant for us, place a bowl of ordinary fruit on a table. Place one piece of another kind of special fruit next to the bowl of ordinary fruit. Invite a student to stand next to the table of fruit, and place a boundary line completely around the table and the student. Tell the student: “You may eat as much as you want from the bowl of ordinary fruit as long as you stay inside the boundary line. You can only eat the piece of special fruit outside the line, but once you cross the line, you cannot reenter. But if you take the special fruit back to your seat to eat, I will give the entire class a treat next time we meet.”

Review the situation: The student can stay within the limited area and eat as much as desired from the bowl of ordinary fruit, or the student can take the special fruit, leave the area, and earn a reward for the entire class. Ask:

  • In what ways is agency present in this situation?

  • How does this situation compare to Adam and Eve’s?

Help students understand that Adam, in exercising his agency, acted in our behalf in bringing about the Fall, making mortality possible “that men might be” (2 Nephi 2:25); and Jesus acted in our behalf in bringing about the Atonement, making resurrection and forgiveness possible (see 1 Corinthians 15:22).