Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Forming of the Earth – Part II

Continuing from the last post, to better understand the scope and power of this Deity we call God, or Elohim, that is the Head God or Father of the gods, we need to turn to Moses, who was instructed by the Lord to write down many things told him of events prior to his life—starting with Genesis. In a record called the Book of Moses, taken from papyri as described earlier, Moses wrote:

". . . And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things.  Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.  And by the word of my power, have I created them...And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.  But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you.  For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power.  And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them . . . the heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.  And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.  For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
The magnitude of this revelation is just today beginning to unfold.  Modern astronomers have discovered within our own Milky Way system 200 to 400 billion stars—suns like our own sun—to say nothing of the billions of galaxies that comprise the known universe.  God, of course, is the author of all these creations:  ". . . by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God."                 
Left: The Milky Way (a translation of the Latin Via Lactea, and the Greek Galaxia meaning “milk”) is a hazy band of white light across the night sky formed by billions of stars in the disc of our galaxy; Right: One small angle of the clumpy universe filled with billions upon billion of stars

Looking at the millions of stars crowded into the core of the Milky Way Galaxy, we are talking about only one galaxy out of the billions in the observable Universe. And as one attempts to penetrate the depths of the universe and comprehend the vast number of God’s creations which indeed "surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion," can he help but experience the vanishing of time and the concept of age as the prophets must have envisioned when the windows of eternity were opened to their view. As Moses wrote:
"And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the numbers of thy creations . . ."
When looking out over the heavens as they were unfolded to them, the writers of the Ancient Hebrew text did not speak of "beginnings" or "ends"; they declared that in eternity there shall be time no longer.  But this is a concept difficult for our finite human mind to comprehend, for all things have a beginning and an end to our way of thinking, yet to the Lord, all things are in the present.  He lives in a realm where:
"...all things are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord.”             
For man to understand, God speaks to us according to our finite minds and limited understanding so that we may comprehend even a portion of His works.  But this is not the language of heaven, only of earth.
"Speaking unto you that you may naturally understand; but unto myself my works have no end, neither beginning; but it is given unto you that ye may understand..."                                    
From a natural or temporal standpoint, one is obviously justified in discussing an earth and its heaven from the viewpoint of age, providing there is objective arguments and evidence at hand to make such a discussion worthwhile. As a result, age will have significance to us as it pertains to each separate creation within the universe—that period between the organization and preparation of an earth and its heavens for a designated group of God's children to pass through mortality and their eventual exaltation or damnation.
Since there are various heavens, we have a greater understanding of the universe when we realize that the Lord speaks of the heavens or heaven of a particular earth as distinguished from the universe as a whole. 
"... and as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works…”
This obviously pertains to the heavenly bodies close enough to a given earth to be visible, discernible, and important to its inhabitants—or that bear directly on the life processes of a given earth, such as the sun, the moon, and the planets relative to the earth upon which we reside.  The universe, then, is not the heaven of this earth but rather a vast realm, almost a continuum in space and time.  It is a system that is being added to, changed, and remodeled continuously.
Hubble Shots of the Universe. No wonder Abraham, after seeing some of God’s countless creations, humbly acknowledged that in comparison, “man is nothing.”
It is somewhat arrogant, perhaps, that man tries to understand the width and breadth of the Universe that God formed, that in actuality, has no beginning and will have no end. However, understanding is a worthwhile goal and one we need to spend more interest upon, but not as the scientist who rejects the Creator of all things, but as a child of God who has been placed here for our development and growth in preparation for an eternal future none of us can fully comprehend, but one God has prepared for us to inherit.
The point of all this in relation to the Book of Mormon is that “In the beginning…” God formed this world for our use, and upon this world has unfolded approximately six thousand years of history, all of it recorded, with some areas recorded in different volumes than others. The Book of Mormon is about the people who inhabited the Western Hemisphere of this world from about 2100 B.C. to about 400 A.D. What all this is leading up to is the location of that area of the Western Hemisphere where the Jaredites, Nephites, Mulekites and Lamanites dwelt and lived out their lives.
To better understand that, we need to start “At the beginning…” which is what these few posts are all about before getting into the actual location of that Land of Promise.
(See the nexct post, “Insertion into the Solar System,” which covers how our Earth came to be in the area it now occupies)

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