First, three premises:
- To create something doesn’t mean to bring it into existence. It means to organize preexisting materials in a new way. (See Joseph Smith’s explanation of the Hebrew word bara’ (בָּרָא) as recorded by William Clayton, General Conference, April 1844.)
- The Creation isn’t an event that occurred in the past. It is ongoing. (See the first paragraph from “Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Families,” Old Testament 2022, Lesson 2.)
- God’s creative process involves giving instructions and then waiting to see if those instructions are obeyed. (See Genesis 1, Moses 2, Abraham 4, particularly Abraham 4:10, 12, 21, 25.)
In light of those premises, God creating us in His image can be interpreted as helping us become more like Him by giving us instructions (commandments) and then watching to see if we will obey. (See Abraham 3:24-25.)
That explanation accords with Helaman’s unflattering comparison of people with inanimate objects. “The dust of the earth moveth hither and thither,” he wrote, “to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God” (Helaman 12:8). Hills, mountains, and oceans, and even the earth itself, obey God’s commands, moving when He tells them to move. But people?
They do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.Helaman 12:6
As a snapshot in time, this description is incredibly depressing. God, who is superior to us in every way, tries to help us, and we refuse to be helped. Our stubbornness prevents Him from blessing us and helping us achieve our full potential.
But if we view that snapshot as one moment in a long process, and if we remember God’s “goodness and long-suffering toward us,” even though we are “unworthy creatures” (Mosiah 4:11), then perhaps we can view our own halting progress with more optimism.
The following text from this week’s Come, Follow Me lesson is incredibly hopeful, and it inspires me to be more patient with myself and with others:
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are Creators, and Their creative work with us is not finished. They can make light shine in dark moments in our lives. They can form solid ground in the midst of life’s stormy seas. They can command the elements, and if we obey Their word like the elements did, They can transform us into the beautiful creations we were meant to be.
Today, I will remember that God is still creating me and His other children. I will strive to submit more fully to His guidance. When I fail to do so, I will remember that He is patiently watching to see if I will repent and do better in the future. I will strive to emulate the “goodness and long-suffering” He shows toward me and toward all of His children.