Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Sacrament Meeting Talk Today about "The Creation"

Since I had to take my oldest daughter to Utah yesterday and return to Carson City in time to speak in church tomorrow (a round trip of just over 1,100 miles in a total of 28 hours), I didn't write my normal weekend New Year's Resolution Post.  Instead, I am posting the outline of my talk tomorrow about "The Creation".  (I joked that I was going to guarantee never being asked to speak in my new ward again by talking exclusively about evolution and procreation [making babies], but I decided not to do that.  My wife was pleased with that decision.)

I almost always write my talks in concept outline form, think about the outline up until I give the talk, jot down any specific thoughts that hit me while I'm sitting on the stand and then speak about each item in the outline in the talk itself.  Therefore, what I am posting now is the outline I will be using.  I'm not sure if I will be able to come back and edit to add whatever detail ends up making it into my actual talk, but I would love to hear what any of you would add as detail with regard to any or all of the outline items. 

"The Purpose (the Why) of Creation"

1) Intro disclaimer about Science and the "How" of creation - simply to emphasize that I will be talking about the "Why" of creation (the purpose)

2) Define "create" and "creation" - focusing on synonyms in our scriptures that are used in the various accounts ("form", "make", "organize", etc.) -- Discuss concept of "ex nihilo" creation (creating something out of nothing) and how the Mormon view of creation is radically different, in that it is much more about "changing" an existing something and turning it into something else -- explain it as a "creative process" rather than a one-time action -- emphasize the organization of the chaotic into something that was changed in such a way that "it was good".

3) Discuss the order of creation in our scriptures (first spiritual, then physical) and the importance of that order when it comes to the purpose of "The Creation".

4) Quote Moses 1:39 and discuss how God's work and glory are fulfilled through "The Creation" - how the Plan of Salvation is actualized only through multiple creative processes.

5) Quote the verses in Malachi and D&C 2 regarding the spirit of Elijah and explain the meaning of the earth (The Creation) being "wasted" without the creation of a sealing bond across time and all eternity.

6) Discuss the principles and ordinances of the Gospel as the parameters of creation's purpose: faith in the purpose of the creation (an at-one-ment) and repentance (transformative change) as the fulfillment of the purpose - with baptism as an outward symbol of that faith and desired repentance, the Holy Ghost as the guiding light toward the process of repentance and enduring to the end as the patience to continue throughout the divine creative process.  Compare that process to the creation of the world - as organizing something good out of former disorganization and even chaos.

7) Discuss the concept of being temples - and how that relates to allowing god to build / create us in such a way that it can be said of us that the kingdom of God is within / among us.

8) Explain Matthew 5:48 in terms of being an progressive creation and becoming a finished, completed, wholly developed "new creature in Christ". 

9) Reiterate Moses 1:39 and the stated purpose of creation - NOT to build an assembly line of robots but rather to take caterpillars and turn them into a myriad of uniquely beautiful butterflies.


Donna said...

Love the imagery of the last paragraph.

Papa D said...

I am able to provide an update, so here it is:

The other adult speaker today (a woman in her early 20's) talked eloquently about a lot of the "foundation" part of my talk (the basic purpose of the creation) - so I eliminated a lot of the original outline while she spoke and focused instead on the concept of being a partner with God in the creative process.

I spent most of the time talking about what "creation" and "create" mean within Mormon theology and how they refer to processes rather than events. I mentioned how ex nihilo creation posits someone making things out of nothing but how Mormonism teaches that God organizes and transforms something into something else that is radically different. I used the example of a chemist who takes one element and combines it with a totally different element to "create" a third, different element.

I talked about the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel and how they fit into the overall process of being involved actively in our own creation - and then framed the rest of my talk around seeing repentance more broadly and as more liberating than we tend to do. (I talked of creation throughout the rest of the talk as the process of repentance - meaning nothing more than progressive change and transformation.

Instead of the scriptures in my original outline, I read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and talked about how the characteristics of charity described in those verses apply to God and His process of creating children as future gods - and, more specifically, His process of creating a family of inter-connected (sealed) gods.

I then talked about how we need to emulate those characteristics of charity not only with regard to our own progression but as we buy into the principle that ALL of God's children are in the process of being transformed into gods - that we have to be much more patient and long-suffering (which can be translated as "long-allowing", also) and kind to everyone no matter where they are in the overall creative process. I ended with a brief explanation of the difference between sin and transgression and how grace plays into our understanding of what we can work to change and what has been forgiven already no matter if we can change it or not in this life.

Matthew said...

Not only do I love how you tied creation into repentance, as an ongoing re-creation, but this was a marvelous concept as well:

"that we have to be much more patient and long-suffering (which can be translated as "long-allowing", also) and kind to everyone no matter where they are in the overall creative process."

Anonymous said...

Sounds lovely. From your outline my only reaction was that the scriptures only discuss the physical creation (JFieldingS said that we have no written accounts of the spiritual creation.) I find that the lay membership is largely confused about the meaning of the different accounts in Genesis (and Moses) and then Abraham and the temple.

I'm fascinated by Joseph's comments to Wilford Woodruff when he returned to visit him in a dream/vision and he said that the family of man was all in confusion and would be restored to order through the temple. I wonder what that will look like when that work is all finished and the creation has been complete.

Anonymous said...

Ooh,ooh,new thought,yay. I'm a temple and I'm creating me. How lovely.Of course.

Thankyou also Bonnie for your comment-I always think I am alone in not understanding these differing accounts,which I am told it is very important to understand. I just let it go since no-one seems able to explain it to me when I have the courage to ask. The why is what is important.