May 30, 2009

Becoming One With Christ: The Creation


Darkness filled the immensity of space as the spirit sons and daughters of God looked on with great anticipation. They had learned of the plan proposed by their Father that would allow them to become like unto Him, and now their abode where upon they each would dwell was being created by the hand of the Great Jehovah. His words came out, crisp and distinct and with great power “Let there be light!” and there was light. The once dark tapestry of space was now filled with a most brilliant light that filled the expanses and seemed to illuminate the very soul of mankind. Joy filled the hearts of all who beheld this moment for only by the power of his word the light that would bring life to all had came forth in great splendor and beauty.

Centuries later a similar obscurity seemed to fill the court of the women at the temple in Jerusalem as the throngs of men and women gathered to behold the lighting of the enormous four lamps during the Feast of Tabernacles. All looked on with great anticipation for the moment when the huge lamps would be lit and light would illuminate the sky. The four young boys gradually climbed the four ladders with torches in hand, each putting his small flame to the lamp. Time seemed to stand still as all who beheld the scene eagerly waited for this wonderus moment. Suddenly a burst of flame and light leapt from the great lamps and light filled the once dark court. The warm glow of light danced across the multitudes as the flames reflected off of the solid gold face of the temple. The crowd ignited in cheers, in singing and in dancing; this truly was a wonderful site to behold. As the joyful noise subsided Jesus climbed the stone stairway in front of the court of the women until he had reached the middle of the large round steps. He then turned to the people and raised his hand as if to summon them. The crowds looked on and fell to silence as all wondered what this simple man in a plain linen robe would say at such a glorious point of the Feast. With clarity in his voice the words came out with great power: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life!” The glow of the lamps had lit his face with light, but it seemed as if his very soul had radiated forth a light that could not be extinguished. Wonder filled the throng as they thought back to the words of the Torah, “Let there be light, and there was light!” Was this man truly the light of the world? (See Genesis 1:3 and John 8:12)


We learn from the scriptures and modern day prophets that it was by the hand of Jehovah, the Great I AM, the Lord Omnipotent that all things were created even from the foundation of the world. King Benjamin taught when speaking of the Lord: “And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary” (Mosiah 3:8). Very few events in the scriptures can even compare in magnitude with the creation of the world and the universe. It is one of the few events that is recorded with great detail three separate times and is mentioned in all of the standard works and by almost every major prophet of the scriptures. The temple ceremony itself uses the creation as a backdrop for the presentation of the endowment, giving us yet a fourth detailed account of this significant event in history. The understanding of the creation is a significant part of not only understanding who the Savior is, but also of our becoming one with Him. As we learn of the creation we learn of certain attributes that the Father and the Son possess, attributes that we too must learn to gain. We also gain a glimpse of the immense power of the Savior and of how this same power of creation can be applied to our own lives to better help us become true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the pre-mortal life a council was held where our loving Father created a plan that would allow each of us to be enabled to become like Him. Yet in order to gain the attributes He had, we each had to be tested and tried through the refining and sanctifying fiery furnace known as mortal life. With this in mind the Great Elohim had to create the stage on which our lives were to be played out. At this moment in time He could have created the world Himself; yet He chose not to do so. Instead He authorized and empowered one that was like unto Him to bring about this great work. One might ask why an all-powerful God would let another be the author of such a marvelous work? This single act of the Father defies all human understanding. Men always seek praise and power to gratify their pride, many great buildings, statues and monuments have been erected unto mortal men for this very purpose; yet the Great Father of all does the exact opposite. By entrusting this great work into the hands of His Firstborn, He taught us several important lessons about Himself, lessons that if learned will help us become more like Him and more like the Savior and Creator of the world.

The first lesson taught is that when we put our confidence in others and let them accomplish great things (instead of doing it ourselves) we empower that person to become. It is through the caring mother who allows her young daughter to figure out how to put on her own shoe by herself that gives that same daughter a confidence in herself to accomplish whatever she has set before her. We often feel that it is far quicker to do many of these tasks on our own instead of allowing our children to do them. Any mother who has attempted to let a young child help wash the dishes knows that often the result of broken dishes, water on the floor and soap everywhere is more likely to occur than clean dishes. Yet, this same child will learn a far more important lesson; that of trust and confidence from their loving mother. I will be eternally grateful for the example my own mother gave by following this simple yet powerful principle of the Gospel.

Frequently in the church we are called to positions where delegation can be used to help with the load of the call. Yet, it is said by many that it is easier just to do much of the work on your own, instead of using the power of delegation. They say that often the work may not be completed on time or in the manner that they desire, and that following up on others can seem to be more like babysitting those with whom you work, instead of being a leader. However, by doing so you take from those who work with you the power to become. Delegation is the power to help others become, it is the power the Lord has given us so that we may grow (He delegating power unto us), and it is the power we can give to others that they likewise can grow, learn and become (we delegating power unto others).

Perhaps one of the greatest examples of this power to enable others is given by Nephi when he breaks his bow while his family is in the wilderness. The large family had been through many afflictions while in the Arabian Desert; the breaking of Nephi’s steel bow and that of his brethren only added to the already great trials that they had been put through. I had the chance to go to the Holy Land where we drove through part of the Sinai Peninsula on our way to Egypt. As we drove through this barren and dry endless sea of sand in our air conditioned bus, with padded seats and plenty of water and food, the story of Nephi and his brothers traveling through much of this same area came to my mind. I thought of how we often are critical of his brothers for complaining to Nephi of the trials that beset them, yet as we drove through this harsh environment I thought of how many of us would do likewise. Thus, in this miserable setting Lehi the prophet of the Lord murmured with his sons because of the difficulty in gaining food because of the broken bows of his sons. Amidst the trials and turmoil Nephi puts his faith in the Lord and builds a bow of wood so that he might obtain food for his family (see 1 Nephi 16:23). Then Nephi taught us of how the Lord sees us, and of how he desires that we treat others; he went to his father and instead of scolding him for his murmuring (after all he was the prophet and leader of the family), Nephi goes to him and asks his father where he should go to find animals to hunt. He knew that going to him and seeking his council at a time like this would ennoble and empower his father to better fulfill his role as prophet and father. Nephi had learned this great lesson that was taught by the Father when with all his power and majesty, he bestowed power upon others so that they might become great like unto Himself. We too must learn to empower others if we desire to truly come unto Christ.

In this act of empowering His Son and others to create the earth, instead of doing so Himself, He showed that He had confidence in each of those who participated. Because Jehovah was the head of the work to be done, He showed each of us in the pre-mortal life that we could confide in Him and in His power. With only the power of His word He spoke and the very elements of the universe obeyed and formed into the most beautiful of creations known to man. He did this all without a physical body, requiring that the entire process be done through faith in the Father and through the power of only His word. As a child I loved to do things with my hands and enjoyed seeing what I could create out of raw materials. Yet, the Lord created far greater creations, all without the touch of a physical hand. “Let [us] praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created” (Psalms 148:5).

I have had many opportunities to visit some of the most beautiful places on earth. I have seen the graceful yet majestic falls of Niagara. The sheer size and grander of these falls is beyond all description. I have waded through the Amazon jungle and seen trees that seemed to reach to the very heavens. As we walked through the endless forest, I could see the work of the Lord on all sides. Birds with stunning colors that defy all works of art that man could ever produce. Insects that were so unique in shape and form that one could only wonder at how so much variety could be found in one place. I have been in the Glen Canyon in Colorado with its winding river and beautiful trees on all sides. I have seen the imposing Grand Canyon, the arches of Arches National Park, the geysers and grand mountains of Yellowstone. I have seen the immense size of Mt. St. Helens from the sky and have seen the lush green hillsides of Northern England. I have seen the sun rising off the coast of Florida with colors so vivid and alive that it takes your breath away. Yet this is just a small portion of the wonderful creations that the Lord has provided for us. It is only a small sample of His greatness and endless works. How great is our God who has provided such a regal and sublime earth and universe of which we can call home.

The grandeur of the universe has put me in awe of the makings of the Lord. As we study the vastness of our galaxy we learn that our star is just one of approximately 200 to 400 billion stars like unto it. There are also countless nebulas, commits, planets, and the like within our galaxy. The estimated span of our galaxy is about 100,000 light years across, which is actually farley small in comparison to many other galaxies. Yet our one galaxy is one of about 500 billion or more galaxies that dot our universe. Yet with the endless creations of the Lord, He not only knows each of His creations, but cares for them and can touch the life of each of us on an individual basis. He constantly is stretching forth His hand in great power to show forth His infinite mercy and eternal compassion upon the least of us. In his immeasurable wisdom and love He created a plan that would allow all to gain power like He has, and in time not only live with Him again, but become like Him.

This leads us to the second lesson that is taught by allowing the Savior to be the creator in the Father’s stead; it showed us through actual works of the greatest faith and power known to man. Only the Savior had such divine power and such grand attributes that He could actually perform the work the Father had prepared for Him. Seeing this incredible act of faith on the part of the Savior, gave us an assurance that we could rely upon Him and allow Him, like the master potter, to form our lives into what the Father would have us become. “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel” (Jeremiah 18:6). The awe and respect we gained at that time in seeing our Savior’s power gave us a hope that in time we could again rely upon that same faith and power which would be performed in our behalf in a garden that He himself had created; a garden that the Great Jehovah had personally cultivated and then sanctified by His own blood. Knowing of the creation and knowing of the role Christ played helps us with our own faith in relying upon Him and upon His merits. The creation gave us a gage on which we could see the true power of the Lord. Had the Father performed the creation on His own, we would not have had such a wonderful witness to the greatness of our Lord and Savior.

Through the study of the creation we learn of a power beyond all comprehension, a power that can command the very planets to continue in their course, or to heal the broken heart of any individual with faith. When the Father empowered the Savior to create the world and universe He taught us of the power of the Savior. By learning of the Lord’s power we gain in us a desire to partake of this same power. The creation teaches us that if the Lord had such great and marvelous power to create such grandeur, can he not create for us a new heart. As the prophet Ezikel said: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Isaiah, when speaking of the sheer power of the Creator said:

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

As we study the creation and as we study the people in the scriptures who experienced this change of heart by the hand of the Creator, we can learn of how to harness this great power. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). The Psalmest wrote “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10). This should be our constant cry unto the Great Creator that we may become new creatures in Christ the Lord.

The last lesson we learn from the Father empowering the Savior with the power of creation is the lesson of love. One only needs to view the grandeur of the mountains, ever rising to the sky, or to see the stunning colors of a New England autumn forest, with colors so vivid and vibrant that man has yet to capture the beauty with the eye of a camera, to gain an appreciation of the love of the Father. We learn from the account of the Fall that man was expulsed into the lone and dreary world. Yet, if this be a lone and dreary world with such magnificent beauty, than what is heaven like. When we think of punishment we most often think of cold prison walls and dark damp conditions, not beauty beyond measure and splendor to touch even the coldest of souls. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Matt 6:28-29). Great is our God who with punishment in His eye condemned us not to a dark, cold chamber of stone, but to a royal mansion far greater than any the world has ever built or seen with the human eye.

Christ the Great Creator of innumerable worlds has given us a great gift, a pearl of great price, in that He allowed us to know of the creation. As our knowledge and understanding increase of this singular event, we learn of attributes of the Father that we must gain. We learn of the Savior’s power and love and of the impact that it can have upon our daily and eternal lives. Through the creation we can have a new heart created within our souls, a heart that can praise our God forever more because of his “tender mercies” that he has shown towards us His children.

2 comments:

  1. Who painted the picture of jesus creating the world? I have been looking for this picture for years!!

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  2. Walter Rane is the artist. The title of the work is Jehovah Create the Earth.

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