There is a lot of TV programming this month that seem to have a "biblical bent". There is Lord of the Rings and "Bible: The mini series". My husband and I watched the first episode, the buzz word is "And so it begins...."
I am really excited to watch a program about the Bible, but I know I will cringe at the "traditional" interpretations of some of the standard narratives, such as the creation narrative and its hero's Adam and Eve. Have you ever thought about a way to explain the creation and subsequent lives of Adam and Eve to one who reads the Bible, but not with understanding? As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we are truly blessed with an abundance, yea even an over abundance of information that helps us to gain a better understanding of God’s word. We have at our literal fingertips, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and also included are bonus books; The Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. The prophet Joseph Smith took it upon himself to review the Bible and “translate” some of the Old and the New Testament’s of the Bible.
Members of this church are so blessed to have the living Prophet of God presiding in this dispensation of time, a time where much knowledge is being made known. We benefit from 12 Apostles and also other apostles who make up The Seventy, just like the primitive church organization during the time of Jesus. We have Temples which are patterned after the ancient Temples in the Bible, but the ordinances performed there are tailored for this dispensation.
When I was a kid, attending church every Sunday, for years and years; there was a definite curriculum that was taught, the Old Testament one year; the New Testament and the Epistles the next year. The Book of Revelations was considered a sacred and difficult text, and usually our Pastor would have a seminar to teach this book
I have to say that the “Creation Narrative” and Adam and Eve were my childhood favorites. Don’t you love the way some narratives in the scriptures have been made “child proof”, a lot more sugar, and a down play of doctrine. But it seems, and maybe only to me that outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the “child proofing” is still there. Lately I am always irritated to hear of countless debates as to whether Adam and Eve were real people, did they look like “monkeys”? And the most debated of all is the “7 day theory of creation”. I have also found that because of the “fall”, Eve seems to be held up as “a willful wife”, and Adam a henpecked husband who because of a “bad choice”, “we” are all doomed to this dreary life instead of the good life in the garden. Seriously, I have heard those sermons and I can’t believe that anyone would believe it without checking the facts. Those facts and truths are in the Scriptures.
My first calling “assignment” as a teacher, was to “teach” the “investigators class” or the The Gospel and Principles class. You know, I was just barely out of the baptismal pool at this point. I remember the lesson about the Creation and Adam and Eve; piece of cake I thought. Surely everyone knows this story, so the lesson will be a breeze. Not so, we got seriously bogged down with the instructions God gave Adam and Eve concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I remember the entire class literally “shut down” because we could not grasp the concept of obeying God’s commandment and also exercising our agency in that choice to transgress.
So I am inspired to study this “narrative “fresh”, and I notice immediately, the words are “jumping” off the page.
“In the beginning, Genesis 1 literally starts in the middle of the story. I think this narrative starts in the New Testament (which seems appropriate), in John 1:1; I like the Joseph Smith Translation:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.
2 And the same was in the beginning with God.
This so fresh, Joseph seems to clarify what “the beginning” is. Scientists like to say that everything came into being with a “big bang”; maybe physiologically and geologically, that may be so, but everything started with the Gospel or truth of Christ, or in other words, the good news. So the question is why would he have to preach the gospel in the beginning, and who was it that he preached to?
There was a council in Heaven:
Moses 4:1 And I, the Lord God spoke unto Moses saying: That Satan whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine own Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning and he (Satan) came before me, saying “Behold, here am I send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one should shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
2: But behold my Beloved Son, which was my beloved and chosen from the beginning (John 1:2) said unto me “Father thy will be done, and the glory be yours forever.
Moses 1:39 For behold this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and the eternal life of man.
This is the beginning, this is the gospel preached to us in the beginning. There was a grand council, there was a proposal:
Abraham 3:22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones:
23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said; These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me Abraham; thou are one of them, thou was chosen before thou was born.
24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him; We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell.
Here is the tipping point; the one like unto God is Jehovah/Jesus. At this point the war in heaven has begun, the arguments have been made, and sides have been chosen. Satan was cast out of Heaven and a third of the intelligences were cast out with him.
Abraham 3:27 And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I send me, and another answered and said, “Here am I, send me.” And the Lord said: I will send the first.
28: And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate and at that day, many followed after him.
Isaiah 14: 12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning, how art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations?
Here are some key points:
- Who are the noble and great ones? Abraham is a noble and great one,
- Mary and Joseph, King David, Ruth and Boaz, Adam and Eve, they were all valiant spirits.
“We will take of these materials and we will make an earth” What type of materials? We can compare this to a board meeting; everyone has sworn their allegiance to Heavenly Father and Jesus, now the plan can be presented.
Moses 1: 27 And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God.
28 And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.
29 And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.
This is the beginning: the covenant of obedience
Abraham 3:25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
The reward and the punishment
Abraham 3:26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began
3: But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Savior.
Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Wow this is just the tip, but what I have learned and can say for sure is that all scripture is true and it is literal, and it is allegorical; it is logical and emotional. I really believe that every single thing we need to know about Heavenly Father's plan to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man "is in there". It has already begun in the pre- beginning with the gospel preached to us by the Savior, it began with his life on earth,with him preaching his doctrine of faith, repentance and baptism. It is the same from age to age.