In the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jesus Christ is at the center of the creation. However, the myth of so-called “Creationism” has crept into LDS theology. There has been much debate in the Church over the proven idea of evolution and the Protestant Creationist mythology. But what does the Bible say? Though the book of Genesis in the Old Testament begins with the story of the creation, it is limited in its information. To get the full story, we must look deeper into the Word of God.
Myth One: The one true God of the Bible created the earth, the universe, and all life from nothing around 6,000 years ago (some allow for a range of 6,000–10,000 years old)
Before we get to the topic at hand, it is important to know and understanding the creation for a number of reasons. Mainly, it should be understood that there was a purpose to the creation – it was to give glory to God, yet He did it for us. It is also important to know who and what we worship – not a ghost without body, parts or passions. In fact, Moses – the author of the Book of Genesis – warned us against gods that cannot see, hear, eat or smell (Deuteronomy 4: 27-29). We worship a true and ever lasing God that cares for us because He is our eternal parent and creator, an actual being that truly exists.
That being said, the Creationists are incorrect in thinking God did everything alone.
The first thing that should be understood is the fact that Jesus Christ is co-eternal with God the Father. According to the author of the Gospel of John, logos or “the Word” – Christ – was in the beginning with God, that he was with God the Father at that time and that he is also a God himself (John 1: 1-2). According to the author, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1: 3). In this sense, the Creationists are correct, God had a hand in the creation.
In addition, Christ and God the Father were also not alone. The Bible tells us we were there too. God told Jeremiah that he knew him before he was conceived (Jeremiah 1: 4-5). Before the prophet was born he was called, sanctified and ordained by God. Our God, Heavenly Father, is not just the God or our flesh, He is the God and the Father of our spirits (Acts 17: 28, Hebrews 12: 9). This is why we worship Him in spirit and in truth – he has a spirit just as we do (John 4: 23-24). When we die our bodies go back to the Earth (until the Resurrection) and our spirit bodies go back to God, our Heavenly Father (Ecclesiastes 12: 7). (This is a generalization, only the saved go back to God, the rest go to a place to await judgment.)
The Earth was not built from nothing.
When the time came, the creation would not be from nothing. We see this in the Book of Genesis itself. The Hebrew word translated as “created” in Genesis 1: 1 means ‘shaped, fashioned or created in divine activity.’ It is easily seen that “created” was a poor choice for the English rendition. In verse 2 we find that the Earth existed, it was just without form and void. Thus, the materials were there but unorganized. This verse also clearly points to the fact that there was both space and elements there, water being specifically mentioned (Genesis 1: 2).
Seeing that God is now in a specific place, the face of the deep, it becomes clear that with the materials found there, there was darkness. God then brought in light and decided the illumination from the darkness (Genesis 1: 3-5). In Latter-Day Saint theology all we know is that Christ orchestrated this through the will of God the Father. It is unclear if this light was the big bang, light brought in from outside the deep, something created to illuminate the deep or something else all together. Though there is scientific proof ancient light, perhaps leftover from the creation, scientist use as proof of the big bang. LDS theology is silent on the big bang theory. The little we actually know about the creation God has reveled, the rest is known only to the Lord. But we do know that God did not create everything from nothing, as Creationists suggest.
Jesus was the giver of physical life, just as God the Father was the creator of the spiritual.
The next key theological element we learn is that Jesus Christ is the giver of life, and that he commands that life. He first brings vegetation, then animals, then mankind into existence and gives them commandments (Genesis 1: 11-12, 20-27). The exact specifics of how are left out, as they are not important. What is important is that life is not random. We are not here by accident. God has a plan for us, we are here by his will and when we obey his will, we are blessed.
The Bible is very clear when it says “let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1: 26). As stated earlier, we existed in the preexistence (life before the Earth was formed). In the creation of mankind, we see that Christ did not do all of the work himself, but had helpers, likely the morning stars that sang together, all the Sons of God that shouted for joy (Job 38: 7). While it is true that “us” could be God the Father and Jesus Christ, this would mean that women were created after the male image of God. It would seem more likely that women would be created after the female image of God’s spirit creations or a Heavenly Mother not mentioned in the Bible directly.
The issue some take with this is that it could indicate that we are then gods. Being “Sons of God,” as the Bible says, this doesn’t seem to be an issue as the term “god” takes a new meaning. Not an object of worship, the term “god” here is used to describe our relationship with the Father of our Spirits. The scripture are clear that we are in fact gods – being the offspring of God (Acts 17: 28-29). The Lord has said, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (Psalms 82: 6). Christ declared this true when speaking to a crowd that became upset for Jesus claiming to be the Son of God, he reminded them that the scriptures declare us to be gods (John 10: 34).
It is the destiny of those who accept the grace of Jesus Christ to be joint heirs with Christ Jesus (Romans 8: 17, Galatians 4: 7). The end goal is to reach our full potential – to become all that God wants us to be, like our brother, our Lord and our Savior – even Jesus Christ. This does not mean that we will be at the same level as Christ. As man is [mortal], Christ once was, as Christ is [immortal sitting at the right hand of the Father] we may become. This is the point and purpose of the creation. Jesus Christ will always be our God in the truest sense as it was he that is our first parent – giving life to mankind, putting Adam in the Garden, etc; and it is Christ that is the author of our salvation. While He was, is and always will be perfect, we can only reach perfection through His saving grace.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” – 1 John 3:2-3
(The best example in the Bible explaining our relationship, as gods, to Christ and God the Father can be found in the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15: 11-32. Here, Christ in the brother than never sinned, we are the Prodigal Son and the father is God the Father. More will be spoken on this topic in later installments about Salvation.)
- The first myth of Creationism cannot be supported by the Bible as it does not match up with the Biblical text or the teaching of the Bible as a whole. We existed with God before the creation as the offspring (in some unknown manner) of God the Father.
- Matter and space existed before the creation, thus everything did not come from nothing. The Bible is unclear as to the actual time and way the Earth was formed. The Creation story is to illistrate man’s importance to the Lord, not to be seen as the definitive explanation of our origins.
- God has a plan for us, and that plan was the reason for the creation. Jesus Christ is the center point of that plan – we cannot fulfill God’s plan for us without Him. The creation was preformed by Jesus Christ under the direction of God the Father. God commands all things. To enact this plan we, under the direction of Jesus Christ, helped with the creation and shouted with joy at its completion.
- The point of the Creation story is to let us know the why, not the how of mankind’s origin.
Click here for part 2 of the creation myth.
Note: The ideas presented here on Creationism are a generic construct based on a wide variety of Protestant Creationist views. The point here is not to critique all Creationist theories, but rather to point out the lack of Biblical evidence for the model. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not take a side on this issue. This article does not reflect the ideas, teachings or doctrines of any Church or religion. This is an attempt by the author to find the Biblical truth (or lack there of) of the idea of Creationism for the author. It is shared here for those looking for the path of Biblical truth over theological rhetoric.