“With this doctrinal foundation laid, we can talk in a little more depth about what really happened during the creation.”
Yeah, go ahead.
As a reminder, you said:
“… The Hebrew word “Elohim” is closer to the English word ‘god’ than the English word ‘God.'”
And then I added:
“… [‘Elohim’] is not only more similar to the English ‘god’ rather than ‘God,’ but… it is actually plural, therefore meaning ‘gods.'”
Well, who was creating this earth anyway? To answer this question, let’s begin by looking at the full Hebrew version of our beloved Genesis 1:1:
Hebrew: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָֽרֶץ
Hebrew romanization: Bereisheet bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’aretz
English: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Some rabbis would teach that the first letter in the whole verse, the letter ב “be-“ of “bereisheet” (literally, the preposition “in/at” as found in the adverbial phrase “in/at the beginning”), is fundamental to understanding the Torah—that there is deep significance to the first letter being ב bet (the “t” is pronounced when the letter is read in isolation). This is because ב bet is a pictograph and symbol meaning “house” or “home,” therefore implying that our world that God was creating in Genesis 1:1 is the house of God.
But we have to discard these teachings in order to dig up a great clue as to the identity of “the gods” who created this world. This clue can be found if we accept a surprising fact: the letter ב bet was an unauthorized addition to the original first verse of the Torah. Lest you think that this idea is actually an unauthorized one itself, know that it comes from The Zohar, a group of books that Wikipedia calls “the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought….” The Zohar teaches that the first phrase that should be read in the account of the creation in Hebrew should not be Bereisheet bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’aretz, but Reisheet bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’aretz (noticeably missing the “be-” from the first word).
To actually understand the full implications of this mere change of spelling, let’s take a look at the meaning of the new first word of our Hebrew verse: ראש rosh-/reish-. Though commonly translated as “beginning,” this word has a more literal translation as the word “head,” which would be synonymous with “beginning” if it is assumed that a reference to time is intended by this phrase. But there is no explicit reference to time with which to make such an assumption, and once we remove the preposition ב bet “in/at” from our verse, the previous adverbial phrase of “At the head of [time]” (“In the beginning”) ceases to modify the verb ברא bara “to organize” (not “to create,” remember?) and instead becomes an adjectival phrase modifying the noun אלהים Elohim “the gods”!
That was a mouthful, so let me boil it down for you: the Hebrew no longer literally translates to “At the head of [time] the gods organized…,” but instead “The head of the gods organized….” And herein lies the answer (or a step to the final answer) to our original question: “Who was creating this earth anyway?” Answer: someone identified in scripture as the “head of the gods.”
So there you have it, when incorrect changes to the scriptures are removed, and the true meaning of the scriptures is restored, revelation occurs before our eyes. Genesis 1:1 now makes three very deep admissions:
- There are multiple beings designated as “gods;”
- There is a being among them designated as the “head” of these beings;
- There is no indication that the organization of our world took place at the beginning of all time.
It becomes difficult to tread in these deep waters without the aid of direct revelation from Heaven itself. After all, if unauthorized changes to scripture led us away from the truth in the first place, we ought to be very careful to try and not interpolate our own unauthorized changes as well. It becomes expedient, then, that we seek further revelation from Heaven on the subject. Luckily for you, I am a believer of modern revelation and am aware of many such revelations that have come through God’s authorized servants in our day that would help us better understand the three “deep admissions” above.
A lot of what has been revealed on this subject has come to us through Joseph Smith, the first prophet of this dispensation (Do you know what a dispensation is? If not, it’s a topic for another time, I’m sure), but somewhat has been added to his revelations by his successors in the years since his martyrdom. For instance, the prophet Lorenzo Snow wrote a famous couplet of poetry that may expand your thinking on the subject a little (think of a family with a “head” while you read this):
“As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may become.”
Curiosity piqued? I will give you another hint of where I am going with this, also from modern revelation: there is an interesting verse of scripture that we have from God that is found in the book of The Doctrine and Covenants (modern scripture composed of new revelations [new relative to the books of The New Testament, that is]), which reads:
“This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent…” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:24).
In The New Testament, there is a similar verse found in the book of John whose only difference is the word “life” instead of “lives.” This change is crucial. The implication of the version restored by Joseph Smith (quoted above) is that those who go on to the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven (the highest degree of glory in Heaven, remember?) will go on to become like our Heavenly Father—in a very literal sense to become an heir with Christ of the Father’s lifestyle and authority. That means that those who inherit this glory will go on to inherit ‘eternal lives,’ a continuation of what we now recognize as the human family—parents begetting children who themselves become parents who beget children, and so on. The difference is that this pattern will take place on an eternal scale, but only by those who prove themselves capable (we’ve already written at length about the test of this life).
The fact is that the seed of an oak tree does not produce a cow, neither a chicken’s egg, a dog; a man begets a man, and a god begets a god. We are the children of God—man is a god in embryo—we’ve simply forgotten that we are the same race as that being who organized our world. In other words, a god begets a man that becomes a god, but we’ve forgotten that we’re part of this chain. As I wrote in my last letter, Adam and Eve also had forgotten everything, and they are the pattern for this test of mortality that you and I are currently taking. The forgetting is necessary, but just as an absence of evidence cannot be held as evidence for anything, let alone that something does not exist, we must realize and awaken to the fact that, although forgotten, God is in actuality a living being who we are more closely tied to than we know. Said Joseph Smith:
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man….”
So it is then that our Father in Heaven has children who grow up to become like Him, just as we do—just as we are doing. Would it not be true to call them also “gods” (“deep admissions” point 2)? We are not grown up to that full stature (yet), but if we are not His first creation—if there is no scriptural indication of a beginning of all time (point 3)—then surely others of His children have so matured to become like Him in all ways. He sat at the head of His family (point 1), the “gods,” and counseled with them about the next world He was to organize and, after the premortal Christ was chosen as Savior, got to work.
That is what really happened during the creation.