(by Dennis B. Horne)
We quote two prophets to open this discussion:
We remember when the Lord Jesus was in the hinder part of the ship and was sleeping on a pillow, and his disciples awakened him and said unto him, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. …
“And they … said [to themselves], What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:38–39, 41.)
Perhaps there is something else that we will learn as we perfect our bodies and our spirits in the times to come. You and I—what helpless creatures are we! Such limited power we have, and how little can we control the wind and the waves and the storms! We remember the numerous scriptures which, concentrated in a single line, were said by a former prophet, Lorenzo Snow: “As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.” This is a power available to us as we reach perfection and receive the experience and power to create, to organize, to control native elements. How limited we are now! We have no power to force the grass to grow, the plants to emerge, the seeds to develop.
“We have no such ordinance here,” said Brigham Young. “We organize according to men in the flesh. By combining the elements and planting the seed, we cause vegetables, trees, grains, etc. to come forth.” But we do not give them life. “We are organizing a kingdom here according to the pattern that the Lord has given for people in the flesh, but not for those who have received the resurrection, although it is a similitude.” (JD, 15:137.)
Millions of us have contributed toward the creation and the development of a spirit [brought a spirit from pre-existence to inhabit a physical body that is birthed and grows], but “the germ of this, God has placed within us. And when our spirits receive our bodies [are resurrected], and through our faithfulness we are worthy to be crowned [exalted], we will then receive authority to produce [give birth to] both spirit and body. But these keys we cannot receive in the flesh.” (JD, 15:137.). . . .
Let me mention one more thing. While we are in the mortal body we cannot “fashion kingdoms [or] organize matter, for [that is] beyond our capacity and calling, beyond this world. In the resurrection, men who have been faithful and diligent in all things in the flesh, [who] have kept their first and second estate, and [are] worthy to be crowned Gods, even the sons of God, will be ordained to organize matter. . . .” (JD, 15:137).
Elder Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple, 151:
“I heard President Kimball say on one occasion, as other Presidents of the Church have said, that, while he holds all of the keys that are held upon the earth, there are keys that he does not hold. There are keys that have not been given to him as President of the Church, because they are reserved to higher power and authority. For instance, he said that he does not hold the keys of the resurrection. The Lord holds them, but He has not delegated them—neither anciently, nor to modern prophets. President Kimball mentioned also the authority to command the elements, to walk on the water. The Lord has this power, but He has not given it to mortals, although there are times when righteous men have been inspired to command the forces of nature and have been obeyed.”
The two above quotations from the prophets teach about priesthood keys, or the keys of the Kingdom of God, that mortal men, even the prophets, do not hold because those keys have not been delegated to them. One of the keys mentioned is that of creation/organization or controlling the elements. For geologists and biologists and anthropologists and evolutionists, such things bring up some very hard questions to which they have no answers.
When this earth was created, it was done by virtue of the keys of creation and controlling matter. It was done by Jehovah and Michael and other great and noble spirits in the pre-mortal existence that worked by virtue of delegated keys of authority to command the elements and be obeyed. They had the keys (or ordinance) and when they spoke, matter organized itself as directed. They went and created, using the keys, and then returned and reported.
These spirits of pre-existent prophets were actively engaged in the process of creating the earth and placing life upon it—after all it was indeed created, as the ground we walk upon tells us—though how long it took we do not know. Those who question this doctrine need to attend the holy temple and pay attention to the presentation there given.
If the earth was created as the scientists have decreed, then there were no keys of creation involved, just the cosmic forces of nature in the universe. And for theistic creation and evolution, whatever those theories might be, they are worthless speculation. No modern mortal scientist has ever seen Jehovah and Michael and other great and noble spirits use the keys of creation to organize an earth so they cannot begin to say how it was done. Neither do the scriptures give the full picture, though some hints are available, as below from the scriptures:
Helaman 5:31, 33, “And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; . . . the third time the voice came, and did speak unto them marvelous words which cannot be uttered by man; and the walls did tremble again, and the earth shook as if it were about to divide asunder.”
Mosiah 27:11, 15, “and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood; . . . And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God? For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth?”
2 Nephi 2:14-15, “for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon. And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created,”
Jacob 4:6, “our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.”
Jacob 4:9, “For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?”
Moses 7: 13, “And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.
14 There also came up a land out of the depth of the sea, . . .”
Moses 7: 21, “and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven.”
Moses 7:31, “And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity;”
Moses 7:56, “And he heard a loud voice; and the heavens were veiled; and all the creations of God mourned; and the earth groaned; and the rocks were rent;”
These passages express speaking with power to the very moving of the earth itself; of having the earth, the very elements, obey the voice that speaks. In Jacob’s case, the elements obeyed his voice commands because of his great faith. In Jehovah’s case, they obeyed and eventually became an earth because He held the keys of the power of the creation of worlds—and He had already created numberless earths.
With Jacob 4:9 we must not mistake the intent of what is being said. God did not speak and man or the earth came into being out of nothing. That is called “creation ex nihilo” and is false doctrine. “The power of his word” is evidently a figurative expression as used in relation to man being created, for man came into being by other means; means most every parent is familiar with. I underlined President Kimball’s quotation of President Young taking about Gods giving birth to both spirits and physical tangible bodies. This is how Adam and Eve were created (in a physical but amortal paradisiacal state) and both of these prophets knew it and taught it to the Church.
If scientists have something to decree or theorize that is different and contradictory to these prophetic quotations and also the scriptural passages in which creators speak by the power of the keys, and they do, then scientists are simply wrong and teaching false concepts to latter-day saints.
The keys of God’s eternal priesthood functioned actively in the creation of this and all earths, and the life that is on them, and it was not the forces of nature in the universe taking billions of years.
How long, might one suppose, did it take the brother of Jared to move Mount Zerin? “For the brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove—and it was removed” (Ether 12:30). If Moroni could say (from the Jaredite record) that it was removed, it couldn’t have taken very long. How long did it take the trees and the waves to obey the command of Jacob? How long would it take a host of the noble and great spirits of pre-existence to create an earth? We do not know, but these slivers of insight help us understand that Jehovah and Michael did not sit passively by playing harps for billions of years while universal laws they put in motion in the universe created the earth and then began the start of life as a one-celled organism in a swamp. We are flabbergasted that some should believe or theorize that God created all things in such nonsensical ways when He has the Holy Spirit/light of Christ and priesthood and perfect faith at His command—and that He lives in the family unit as one of two heavenly parents.
D&C 88:7-13: “This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.
And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—
The alight which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the claw by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.”
As we see from the teachings of the prophets and the scriptures, God has unimaginable, incomprehensible forces at His command by which He can create and control all things—ALL THINGS. He is the author of the laws of the universe. He creates by reorganizing eternally-existing matter. Responsibility and keys are delegated. An agreed upon plan is put in motion. Active participation takes place and reports on progress are given. It is a great creative enterprise. Geologists and evolutionists know not what they speak of.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
On the first creative day the Gods organized the chaotic elements into an earth and sent it rolling on its course so that light and darkness were found upon its face. What part the various persons played in this, or how it was done, is beyond our present comprehension. But what a glorious enterprise it was!
On the second day the waters above and beneath the firmament or expanse of heaven were divided so that the aerial heavens were provided for the earth and for the various forms of life destined to find mortal existence upon its face. As we contemplate the organization and control of the elements involved in these creative acts, we marvel at what each person involved had to learn about what we call chemistry, physics, astronomy, and all of our highly esteemed sciences. How little we now know, compared to what those knew who were involved in the creation; and surely our eternal knowledge will be restored to us when we return to the Eternal Presence where all light and truth and glory are.