Sequential Creation

God created the earth in stages. That’s how He described the process to Abraham and to Moses. Here is His description of the process, as given in Genesis 1, Moses 2, and Abraham 4:

Stage (Day)Task(s)Scripture References
1Create light
Divide light from darkness
Genesis 1:3-5
Moses 2:3-5
Abraham 4:3-5
2Create an expanse or firmament (the atmosphere)
Divide waters on the ground from water in the sky
Genesis 1:6-8
Moses 2:6-8
Abraham 4:6-8
3Divide water from dry land
Create plants
Genesis 1:9-13
Moses 2:9-13
Abraham 4:9-13
4Create sun, moon, and starsGenesis 1:14-19
Moses 2:14-19
Abraham 4:14-19
5Create animalsGenesis 1:20-25
Moses 2:20-25
Abraham 4:20-25
6Create humansGenesis 1:26-31
Moses 2:26-31
Abraham 4:26-31

Throughout the process, God regularly reviews the results to ensure that they are “good,” before proceeding to the next stage.

The process reminds me of the Allegory of the Olive Tree, in which a farmer introduces periodic changes to his olive grove, allows the changes to play out, then returns and inspects the outcome before taking the next step. (See Jacob 5.)

Here are some lessons I have learned from these descriptions of the creative process:

  1. You can’t create something complex all at once. You have to divide the work into phases.
  2. Sequence matters. You need light before you can have life. You need land before you can introduce some kinds of plants and animals. As Elder Vaiangina Sikahema learned from a home teacher, “If you choose to live your life out of sequence, you will find life more difficult and chaotic” (“A House of Sequential Order,” General Conference, October 2021).
  3. You need to inspect the results of each phase before moving onto the next one. It won’t do to blindly follow a project plan, checking each box, without ensuring that the prior step has yielded the expected result.
  4. Living things (especially people) need time to adapt to change. When you introduce a change, wait for it to assimilate before pronouncing judgment.

That last lesson has specific implications for delegation. When you give an assignment, it is important to follow up, but it is also important not to follow up too quickly. Give the person a chance to fulfill the task before asking them to report back on their progress. As Neal A. Maxwell observed, “Too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising” (“Patience,” Brigham Young University Devotional Address, 27 November 1979).

Today, as I make plans in each of my roles, I will strive to follow God’s pattern of creation. I will subdivide the work, inspect results regularly, and give the people involved time and space to do their part.

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