Abraham 5:2 we will rest on the seventh time from all our work
Spencer W. Kimball
Moses came down from the quaking, smoking Mount Sinai and brought to the wandering children of Israel the Ten Commandments, fundamental rules for the conduct of life. These commandments were, however, not new. They had been known to Adam and his posterity, who had been commanded to live them from the beginning, and were merely reiterated by the Lord to Moses. And the commandments even antedated earth life and were part of the test for mortals established in the council in heaven.
The first of the Ten Commandments requires that men worship the Lord; the fourth designates a Sabbath day especially for such worship:
Thou shalt have no other gods before me...
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Ex. 20:3, 8-11.)
To many, Sabbath-breaking is a matter of little moment, but to our Heavenly Father it is disobedience to one of the principal commandments. It is evidence of man's failure to meet the individual test set for each of us before the creation of the world, "to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them." (Abraham 3:25.)
…The solemn command brought down from the thundering of Mount Sinai was "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." That commandment has never been rescinded nor modified. (Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 267)
Abraham 5:3 they counseled among themselves to form the heavens and the earth
The term “Council in Heaven” never appears in the scriptures. The closest rendering is D&C 121:32, “the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was.” We think of the Council in Heaven in terms of the development of the Plan of Salvation and the Father’s decision to honor Jehovah’s plan over Lucifer’s (Abr. 3:23-28). Well apparently the counseling didn’t stop there. Four times in the first few verses the Gods “counseled” among themselves. One of the mysteries of Abraham’s version is that the Creation was a group effort, that Elohim counseled with other Gods before this world was—both about the plan of salvation and also about the creation of this earth.
“In the broad and general sense, God the Eternal Father is the creator of all things. He is God the First, the Creator (see Teachings, p. 190). Under his direction the Savior has created worlds without number (see D&C 76:24; Moses 1:33; 7:30). In the book of Abraham we learn that the Savior was not alone in this labor, but that he was aided by the noble and great spirits who were destined to come to this earth. In the King Follett discourse, the Prophet explained that in the beginning “the head God brought forth the Gods” or “the head of the Gods called together the Gods” (Teachings, p. 348). The reference to “God” in the Genesis text is a translation of the Hebrew word Elohim. El is the Hebrew word for “God,” while the addition of im makes it plural. Thus the first sentence in the Old Testament should read, “In the beginning, Gods created the heavens and the earth.” The only justification for the rendering of Elohim as “God” instead of “Gods” is theological. The concept of “Gods” simply doesn’t fit the theological mindset of either Jewish or Christian translators. This tradition went unchallenged until Joseph Smith dared suggest that the language of the Hebrew text ought to be read as it was rendered. (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Joseph Smith: The Choice Seer [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], chap. 10)
Although this matter of the Council or Conference is not so fully exhibited in the Old Testament Scriptures as in this revelation to Abraham, yet it is definitely stated in the Book of Genesis that God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;" and again, after Adam had taken of the forbidden fruit the Lord said, "Behold, the man has become as one of us;" and the inference is direct that in all that related to the work of the creation of the world, there was a consultation; and though God spake as it is recorded in the Bible, yet it is evident He counseled with others. The Scriptures tell us there are "Gods many and Lords many. But to us there is but one God, the Father." (1 Cor. 8:5) And for this reason, though there were others engaged in the creation of the worlds, it is given to us in the Bible in the shape that it is; for the fulness of these truths is only revealed to highly favored persons for certain reasons known to God. (Mediation and Atonement [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1882], 92 - 93)
Abraham 5:7 the Gods formed man from the dust… and took his spirit… and put it into him
The duality of man is that he is composed of body and spirit. Current scientific thought rejects the spiritual component. While any scientist can tell the difference between a living body and a corpse, they don’t quite get the difference. To science, all human reason, thought, and action is the product of the arrangement of neurons in the brain. If only we could understand the how the brain works, we could explain and predict every behavior.
Renowned scientist, Stephen Hawking, has made a living on teaching people to worship science as their god. Consider his thoughts on the subject:
“Do people have free will?...
“Recent experiments in neuroscience support the view that it is our physical brain, following the known laws of science, that determines our actions, and not some agency that exists outside those laws. For example, a study of patients undergoing awake brain surgery found that by electrically stimulating the appropriate regions of the brain, one could create in the patient the desire to move the hand, arm, or foot, or to move the lips and talk. It is hard to imagine how free will can operate if our behavior is determined by physical law, so it seems that we are not more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion.” (The Grand Design, S Hawking and L Mlodinow, [New York: Bantam Books, 2010], 31-32)
According to Hawking, man is nothing more than a “biological machine.” He condescendingly presumes that electrical stimulation of the neurons controlling movement proves the absence of the human spirit. He has single handedly rejected the notion of free will and the spirit which exercises it!
Are humans only a biological machine? Well, someone has to turn the machine on! That is what God is doing when he puts his spirit into Adam—he is turning on the biological machine. What is the difference between the living human and the corpse? It has to be more than the beating heart, because doctors can keep you alive even though they have stopped the heart to perform surgery.
Russell M. Nelson
The spirit provides the body with animation and personality. “All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure.” (D&C 131:7)
“The spirit of man [is] in the likeness of his person.” (D&C 77:2) Jesus so explained, as the brother of Jared viewed the Lord’s premortal body:
Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.
… This body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh. (Ether 3:15-16)
Development of the spirit is of eternal consequence. The attributes by which we shall be judged one day are those of the spirit. These include the virtues of integrity, compassion, love, and more. Your spirit, by being housed in your body, is able to develop and express these attributes in ways that are vital to your eternal progression.
Spirit and body, when joined together, become a living soul of supernal worth. Indeed, we are children of God—physically and spiritually. (Ensign, Nov. 1998, 86)
Abraham 5:12 Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat
If you tell a child they can eat anything in the house but the cookies, what are they going to eat? Adam and Eve had the entire garden to browse and enjoy. They didn’t need more food. It was always available for them. But of course, Satan always wants us to do the one thing that God has told us to avoid.
Abraham 5:13 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it
“The Lord gave Adam and Eve four commandments in the Garden of Eden. They were to multiply and replenish the earth (see Gen. 1:28; Moses 2:28; Abr. 4:28). They were to govern the earth wisely (have dominion over it) (see Moses 2:28; Abr. 4:26). They were not to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and if they did they would experience serious consequences (see Gen. 2:17; Moses 3:17; Abr. 5:13). And they were to remain with each other (see Gen. 2:24; Moses 3:24; Abr. 5:18). In the case of two of these commandments—to multiply and replenish the earth and to refrain from partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil—Adam and Eve had to choose which they were to obey. Procreation was not possible for them in their immortal state (see 2 Ne. 2:22–25), yet Heavenly Father would not rob them of their agency by making the choice for them. President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: ‘The Lord said to Adam that if he wished to remain as he was in the garden, then he was not to eat the fruit, but if he desired to eat it and partake of death he was at liberty to do so.’ In essence the Lord told Adam that there were two directions to go, each with its unique consequences—and that Adam was to choose which one.” (Robert J. Woodford, “ ‘In the Beginning’: A Latter-day Perspective,” Ensign, Jan. 1998, 18)
Russell M. Nelson
That leads us to the fall of Adam. To bring the plan of happiness to fruition, God issued to Adam and Eve the first commandment ever given to mankind. It was a commandment to beget children. A law was explained to them. Should they eat from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:17), their bodies would change; mortality and eventual death would come upon them. But partaking of that fruit was prerequisite to their parenthood.
While I do not fully understand all the biochemistry involved, I do know that their physical bodies did change; blood began to circulate in their bodies. Adam and Eve thereby became mortal. Happily for us, they could also beget children and fulfill the purposes for which the world was created. Happily for them, “the Lord said unto Adam [and Eve]: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden” (Moses 6:53). We and all mankind are forever blessed because of Eve’s great courage and wisdom. By partaking of the fruit first, she did what needed to be done. Adam was wise enough to do likewise. Accordingly, we could speak of the fall of Adam in terms of a mortal creation, because “Adam fell that men might be” (2 Ne. 2:25). (“Constancy amid Change,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 34)
Abraham 5:13 in the time that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die
God told Adam, “of the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil, thou shalt not eat… for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) So goes the Genesis account of God’s commandment. “You eat this, you die,” seems to be the message. Yet, the same Genesis account says Adam didn’t die in the day that he ate the fruit, but lived another 930 years (Gen. 5:5). On the surface, it appears that the perfect Bible has a glaring mistake in its first few chapters. Is God a liar? Is He like a bad parent who threatens consequences but never follows through with the punishment?
Latter-day Saints have an answer to this conundrum. We thank Joseph Smith and specifically, the record of Abraham, for explaining that God doesn’t lie. According to Kolob’s time, a day is a thousand years, so Adam did die in the day he ate the fruit, 930 years is still the same day. But he also suffered an immediate spiritual death. When Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden, they lost the privilege of being in the presence of God. “Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead.” (D&C 29:41)
Orson F. Whitney
Abraham, where the patriarch, who was deeply learned in astronomy, and taught that science to the Egyptians, tells of a mighty governing planet nearest to the throne of God—a planet named Kolob, revolving once in a thousand years. (Abr. 3:1Abr. 3.) It is evident that such a day figured in the warning given to Adam: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17Gen. 2:17) for Adam, having eaten of the forbidden fruit, lived on to the age of 930 years. In the Book of Abraham (5:13), it is explained that the day in question was "after the time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning." (Gospel Themes [Salt Lake City: n.p., 1914], 93)
Abraham 5:13 Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord’s time, which was after the time of Kolob
“President Joseph Fielding Smith stated that in this verse the Lord ‘revealed to Abraham that Adam was subject to Kolob’s time before his transgression.’ According to President Brigham Young, Abraham 5:13 also means that before the Fall of Adam, the earth was near the very throne of God. But when the Fall occurred, the earth literally fell or moved from the physical presence of God to its present position in our solar system. When all the effects of the Fall of Adam are finally overcome, the earth will literally move back into the presence of God. Here are President Young’s words:
‘When the earth was framed and brought into existence and man was placed upon it, it was near the throne of our Father in heaven. … But when man fell, the earth fell into space, and took up its abode in this planetary system. … This is the glory the earth came from, and when it is glorified it will return again unto the presence of the Father, and it will dwell there, and these intelligent beings that I am looking at, if they live worthy of it, will dwell upon this earth.’” (Andrew Skinner, “The Book of Abraham: A Most Remarkable Book,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 22)
“The fact that the earth was in the presence of God, near unto Kolob, at the time of the creation finds scriptural support in the Book of Abraham. In giving the injunction to Adam not to partake of the forbidden fruit in the garden, the Gods cautioned, ‘In the time that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.’ Abraham then observed: ‘Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord's time, which was after the time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning.’ If the Gods had not then appointed unto this earth its present reckoning of time, it follows that until after the fall occurred the earth was on a different time schedule—the time schedule of Kolob. In other words, until after the fall the earth was not rotating around the sun in our solar system. As before indicated, it was not then placed under its present temporal law. Instead, it was in the presence of God; and while there, it was identified with Kolob in such a way as to be governed by that mighty sphere's system of time.” (Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1967], 143)
Abraham 5:16 of the rib which the Gods had taken from man, formed they a woman
A rib has enough DNA material in the bone marrow to clone another human. But God wasn’t trying to clone Adam, He was trying to make something quite different. Making a woman would have required deleting the Y chromosome and adding another X chromosome. It would also have required changing up the rest of the DNA code so that their offspring didn’t all have the same genes. The science involved is rather remarkable. God must be an amazing genetic engineer.
While some might say that God taking a rib from Adam is just figurative and never really happened, others might argue that the rib story makes more sense from a scientific standpoint. While it seems the Gods started de novo with Adam, Eve seems to be at least partly genetically engineered.
Russell M. Nelson
Interesting to me is the fact that animals fashioned by our Creator, such as dogs and cats, have thirteen pairs of ribs, but the human being has one less with only twelve. I presume another bone could have been used, but the rib, coming as it does from the side, seems to denote partnership. The rib signifies neither dominion nor subservience, but a lateral relationship as partners, to work and to live, side by side.
Adam and Eve were joined together in marriage for time and for all eternity by the power of that everlasting priesthood (see Gen. 2:24–25; Moses 3:25; Abr. 5:18–19). Eve came as a partner, to build and to organize the bodies of mortal men. She was designed by Deity to cocreate and nurture life, that the great plan of the Father might achieve fruition. Eve “was the mother of all living” (Moses 4:26). She was the first of all women. (“Lessons from Eve,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 87)
Abraham 5:17-19 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother
See commentary for Moses 3:23-24.
Abraham 5:20-21 Adam names the animals
These verses are repositioned in the Abraham account. In Genesis chapter 2, Adam names all the animals before God makes Eve. The sequence in Abraham is more palatable because Adam likely needed some help in naming so many new creatures. If a man was solely in charge of naming animals, they would probably be named, “spiky thing,” “furry thing,” “red thing,” or like Dr. Seuss, “thing one” and “thing two.” Names more creative than these suggest a woman’s touch.