Saturday, December 3, 2016

Understanding Abraham and the Creation – Part V

Continuing with Abraham’s account of the creation and the principles behind it so we can better understand how the Earth was changed during the crucifixion and why it was not merely a cosmetic event as most Theorists claim, but a change that was extremely complex and performed in a specific and exact manner.
In Abraham 4:6-8, the Gods called the expanse “Heaven.”  The term heaven can have several meanings.  First, it is the place where God dwells.  Second, it is the space above the earth, in this case, the expanse between the earth and the clouds.  The phrase “fowls of the heaven” is repeated in scripture rather frequently.  It is the space between earth and the clouds where the birds fly, “By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation” (Psalm 104:12; Jeremiah  7:33; 15:3; 16:4; Revelations 19:17). Third, the term heaven can be applied to spirit paradise. LDS members know this is not the final habitation of man, and as such, usually do not use the term heaven to describe it.  For the rest of Christianity, however, heaven or hell is the place you go after you die. In this context, it means spirit paradise or spirit prison. The distinction is important because if a Christian asks you if you believe a Baptist can go to heaven without being baptized as a Mormon, it depends on whether you are talking about spirit paradise or the celestial kingdom of God.
• Abraham 4:10, And the Gods pronounced the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, pronounced they, Great Waters; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed. The waters were indeed Great Waters before the continents were divided. This super ocean would have covered well over half of the planet’s surface.
    According to Parley P. Pratt regarding this scripture: “From this we learn a marvelous fact, which very few have ever realized or believed in this benighted age: we learn that the waters, which are now divided into oceans, seas, and lakes, were then all gathered into one vast ocean, and consequently, that the land which is now torn asunder, and divided into continents and islands almost innumerable, was then one vast continent or body, not separated as it now is (A Voice of Warning, New York City: Eastern States Mission p189).
    In Genesis we learn: “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear, and it was so. And the water which was under the heaven gathered together unto one place; And God called the dry land earth and the gathering together of the waters called He seas” (Genesis 1:9-10, emphasis added). Thus, gathering together unto one place suggests that the waters were, in fact, in one place at the organization of the Earth. In fact, the waters are obligated to remain in the place and within the borders to which they were ordered.
Take as an example the Red Sea. A grain of sand, the weakest thing possible, curbs the violence of the ocean. For what would prevent the Red Sea from invading the whole of Egypt, which lies lower, and uniting itself to the other sea which bathes its shores, were it not fettered by the fiat of the Creator? And we can tell that Egypt is lower because experience has convinced us of it every time that an attempt has been made to join the sea of Egypt to the Indian Ocean, of which the Red Sea is a part. Thus we have renounced this enterprise, as also have the Egyptian Sesostris, who conceived the idea, and Darius the Mede who afterwards wished to carry it out.
    To say that the waters were gathered in one place indicates that previously they were scattered in many places at the organization, and not necessarily upon the Earth, but within the expanse as well. The mountains, intersected by deep ravines, accumulated water in their valleys, when from every direction the waters betook themselves to the one gathering place. What vast plains, in their extent resembling wide seas, what valleys, what cavities hollowed in many different ways, at that time full of water, must have been emptied by the command of the Gods! But we must not therefore say, that if the water covered the face of the earth, all the basins which have since received the sea were originally full. Where can the gathering of the waters have come from if the basins were already full? These basins, we reply, were only prepared at the moment when the water had to unite in a single mass. At that time the sea which is beyond Gadeira and the vast ocean, so dreaded by navigators, which surrounds the isle of Britain and western Spain, did not exist. But, all of a sudden at need, the Gods created this vast space, and the mass of waters flowed in.
Having gathered the waters together unto one place and caused the earth to come up and become dry [Abraham 4:9-13; Moses 2:9-13), thus in the beginning of the organization of the Earth, the waters were in one place, “in the north countries.” This dry land, or single continent if you will, would eventually be divided in Peleg’s time. Then, as now, the time will come when “the oceans will be driven back into the north countries and the islands (continents) shall become one land again at the time of the Second Coming” (D&C 133:23).
    So we can see that in the beginning of time, when the Earth was first organized, all the waters were gathered in one place, and that place was in the north countries.
Abraham 4:11, Let us prepare the earth to bring forth grass. Interestingly, the Gods prepared the earth to bring forth grass, not just to bring forth the grass. That is, like anyone planting, the ground or soil has to be prepared, tilled, fed, watered, etc., before it is ready for planting. Thus, the Gods prepared the topsoil for planting. This “topsoil” is the upper surface of the Earth's crust, and usually is no deeper than approximately 8 inches. The Earth's topsoil mixes rich humus with minerals and composted material, resulting in a nutritious substrate for plants and trees. It may be one of the Earth's most vital resources, because it represents a delicate nutritional balance that provides food for many of the animals on Earth, either directly in the form of plant material or indirectly in the form of products from animals that eat plants.
The way topsoil forms means that there is a wide range of combinations in terms of the percentages of sand, silt, clay, and humus it holds, with a specific makeup referred to as texture. This is not necessarily bad, because different organisms and plants often have acidity or alkaline preferences and have varying nutrient and water needs. In general, however, experts usually say that the “best” kind is the “loamy” type, which in layman’s terms means that it has a good balance of all components. True loams technically are mostly sand and silt at up to 52% and 50%, respectively, having 7 – 27% clay. They usually fall between 5.5 and 7.5 on the pH scale.
     This brings to mind, and we need to understand, that God has made certain decrees which are fixed and immovable; for instance, God set the sun, the moon and the stars in the heavens, and gave them their laws conditions and bounds, which they cannot pass, except by his commandments; they all move in perfect harmony in their sphere and order, and are as lights, wonders, and signs unto us. The sea also has its bounds which it cannot pass. God has set many signs on the earth, as well as in the heavens; for instance, the oak of the forest, the fruit of the tree, the herb of the field—all bear a sign that seed hath been planted there; for it is a decree of the Lord that every tree, plant, and herb bearing seed should bring forth of its kind, and cannot come forth after any other law or principle. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Man, His Origin and Destiny, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1954, p168).
    Joseph Fielding Smith added on this subject, “The Book of Abraham fully agrees and states this fact in very positive terms as follows:
And the Gods said: Let us prepare the earth to bring forth grass; the herb yielding seed; the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed in itself yieldeth its own likeness upon the earth; and it was so, even as they ordered. And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth grass from its own seed, and the herb to bring forth herb from its own seed, yielding seed after his kind; and the earth to bring forth the tree from its own seed, yielding fruit, whose seed could only bring forth the same in itself, after his kind; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed” (Abraham 4:11-12).
     This revelation was given long before the scientific discovery of the complicated atom with its electrons, protons and neutrons was known. It was far in advance of scientific discovery, yet how true this has proven to be! All of the laws of nature are the laws of God whether they apply to the universe as a whole or in any of its parts. It is true of the electron as well as the atom or the combination of atoms in any of their structures. They are all subject to and controlled by law. These laws are eternal. No man can change a law of nature. If he tries he is not justified. Every plant from the lowly fungus to the mighty sequoia is subject to divine law. The course of animals as well as plants is fixed. Nature bears ample evidence that the law decreed to all living things, that they shall produce after their own kind is a divine law and wherein at any time this law has been violated the violators have not been justified. Commenting on this eternal law, Byron Nelson, in his excellent work, After Its Kind, has commented as follows after quoting Genesis 1:24-25: "The Bible is not a textbook of science. In the first chapter of Genesis, however, because it is a matter of the greatest religious importance, the Bible speaks clearly and finally on a matter of biology.
After its kind is the statement of a biological principle that no human observation has ever known to fail. The most ancient human records engraved on stone or painted on the walls of caves bear witness to the fact that horses have ever been horses, dogs have ever been dogs, pigeons have ever been pigeons, elephants have ever been elephants. The most desperate and subtle efforts of man in modern times have been unable to alter this divine decree.
(See the next post, “Understanding Abraham and the Creation – Part VI,” for more information regarding Abraham’s account of the creation and the principles behind it so we can better understand how the Earth was changed during the crucifixion and why it was not merely a cosmetic event, but a change that was extremely complex and performed in a specific and exact manner)

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