2: "In the Beginning God Created the Heaven and the Earth" (Genesis 1–2; Moses 2–3; Abraham 4–5)
Did you know that the books in the Old Testament have Hebrew names that are different from what we see in the King James Version of the Bible? Which, once you think about it, is a no-brainer considering all the translations the Bible has been through. But these other names for the Old Testament books reveal something so profound about God and our mission on earth that we just have to talk about it. In fact, we invited our friend and Hebrew scholar Donald Parry to really dig into this week’s lesson in Genesis 1–2, Moses 2–3, and Abraham 4–5 to find out more about what has been lost in the English translation of the Bible.
Don’s book about Isaiah: Understanding Isaiah
Don’s book about Temple symbols: 175 Temple Symbols and Their Meanings
“Sunday on Monday” Bonus episode with Don: Bonus: Temple Symbols and Their Meanings with Donald Parry
“Our latitude and longitude can be determined in the original Hebrew with far greater accuracy than in the English version” (Joseph Smith, "History, 1838–1856, volume D-1 [1 August 1842–1 July 1843]," p. 1523, The Joseph Smith Papers).
“My soul delights in reading the word of the Lord in the original” (Joseph Smith, "Journal, 1835–1836," p. 157, The Joseph Smith Papers).
Quote from Joseph’s Hebrew teacher:
“He has so far accomplished a knowledge of it, that he is able to translate to my entire satisfaction” (Joshua Seixas, "Certificate from Joshua Seixas, 30 March 1836," p. , The Joseph Smith Papers).
Hebrew: (Note, all transliterations included in these show notes are based on Accordance 11.2.5)
Satan = To block process, to steer away from, to change ones pathway
Atonement – kaphar
Hebrew title for Genesis: Bereshit: “In the beginning”
Article by Steven D. Ricks: “Liturgy and Cosmogony: The Ritual Use of Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East”
President Nelson’s talk: “The Atonement”
“Before we can comprehend the Atonement of Christ, however, we must first understand the Fall of Adam. And before we can understand the Fall of Adam, we must first understand the Creation. These three crucial components of the plan of salvation relate to each other.
“The Creation culminated with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were created in the image of God, with bodies of flesh and bone. . . The creation of Adam and Eve was a paradisiacal creation, one that required a significant change before they could fulfill the commandment to have children and thus provide earthly bodies for premortal spirit sons and daughters of God.
“That brings us to the Fall. . . The Fall of Adam (and Eve) constituted the mortal creation and brought about the required changes in their bodies, including the circulation of blood and other modifications as well.
“That brings us to the Atonement. . . The Atonement of Jesus Christ became the immortal creation.
“The purposes of the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement all converge on the sacred work done in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”(President Russell M. Nelson, “The Atonement,” general conference, Oct 1996).
“Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, ‘Whatever the details of the creation process, we know that it was not accidental but that it was directed by God the Father and implemented by Jesus Christ’ (“Why Marriage, Why Family,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 51). While there’s a lot we don’t know about exactly how the world was created, ponder what you learn about the Creation from what God has revealed in Genesis 1:1–25; Moses 2:1–25; and Abraham 4:1–25 (Come, Follow Me Manual, Old Testament 2022, “Genesis 1–2; Moses 2–3; Abraham 4–5”).
Scriptures: Abraham 4:18
Other parallel texts:
“The physical Creation itself was staged through ordered periods of time. In Genesis and Moses, those periods are called days. But in the book of Abraham, each period is referred to as a time. Whether termed a day, a time, or an age, each phase was a period between two identifiable events—a division of eternity” (President Russel M. Nelson, “The Creation,” general conference, April 2000).
Plural form of God–Elohim
Strength or power–el
President Spencer Kimball address about Peter: “Appendix: Peter, My Brother”
To stop, to cease–shavat or shabbat (See footnote 2B in Genesis 2)
James E. Talmage “Garden of Eden was the first sanctuary on earth” In the House of the Lord
Alonzo Gaskill: “East”
“In the more extended application of the term, the Garden in Eden was the first sanctuary of earth, for therein did the Lord first speak unto man and make known Divine law” (James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord, Chapter 11).
Man, Mankind or humankind–adam
Who is like God–michael
Ground or earth—adamah
Don’s paper on Eve: How is EVE a help?
Five uniqueness of Eve:
- Verb for how God formed Eve is different than verb used for Adam. Genesis 2:7,19, 22 Yatzer–He formed, verb used for describing how Adam was formed, denotes forming like a potter. Banah–He built (root letters, bet, nun and hey). Verb describing how Eve was form, finer material. Cross reference: Same verbed used for Sara and Rachel “building” their children Genesis 16:2, Genesis 30:3.
- Eve made from more fine material than the dust. Genesis 2:23. “The story of the rib, of course, is figurative,” (President Spencer W. Kimball, “The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,” March 1976).
- Adam went into deep sleep when God created Eve, he does not participate. Genesis 2:21.
- Creation not “Good” without Eve. Genesis 2:18. Tov–good.
- Eve’s part to “help” is not subordinate. The word “Help” in the Hebrew bible is used twice to describe Eve, and about a dozen times to describe God. Genesis 2:20.
Okay, how cool is this? Did you know that the names of the books in the King James version of the Old Testament are different from the names in the Hebrew Bible? Now what is so cool is that the Hebrew titles, in a way, tell the story of the Old Testament. Why is this important and why Hebrew? Well, today we are going to talk about that and we're going to jump headfirst into Genesis chapters 1-2, Moses chapters 2-3, and Abraham chapters 4-5. Here we go.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the Come Follow Me lesson for the week, and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Okay, if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast, so follow the link in our description. It's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come Follow Me study for Old Testament this year, just like my friend, Tangi Schmid, who leaves, honestly, the best comments and she asks such good questions on Facebook. So Hi, Tangi.
Okay, now, here is my absolute favorite thing about our study group. Each week, we're joined by two of my friends, so it's always going to be just a little bit different. So, today we have two really great guests. I could not be more excited about this, as we begin our study of Genesis. We have Sharon Staples, who we all know and love; she's an original. Hi, Sharon.
Sharon Staples 1:18
Hi Tammy. Hi, everyone.
And Sharon, how excited are we about this next guest!
I can hardly sit down, I need to stand up and jump and jump. Exciting, I'm excited.
I know. Cuz it's Don Parry. Hi, Don.
Don Parry 1:29
Hi. It's such a privilege to be here with you. Thank you very much.
For those of you who have been with us since the Book of Mormon year, you know, I quote him often. And I use almost all of the books that he's ever written, especially this year, we're going to use his <Insights Into Isaiah>. So I highly recommend you get that book, because we're going to use it when we get to Isaiah. And if you're not familiar with who Don Parry is, he is a professor of the Hebrew Bible in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young University.
And I said he's the author of many books. And last year, he joined us for a bonus episode about temple symbols and their meanings. I'm gonna leave the link to this bonus episode in our show notes so you can go back and listen to that and um, get his book, because the book on temple symbols is powerful. Okay, you guys, ready to do this?
Don Parry 2:12
Sharon Staples 2:13
Okay, well, if you want to know more about my guests, you can find their bios in our show notes, which are found at LDS living.com/sundayonmonday. Okay, this is it. You guys, for many of us, the study of the Old Testament will be new, but I can assure you that like me, it will probably become your favorite book of Scripture to study. So friends, grab your scriptures, your notebooks, and marking pens and pencils. And let's dig in.
So, to start us out with studying the Old Testament, I wanted to just talk a little bit about how Sharon and I got into Hebrew. So Sharon, let's tell that story. And then we're going to ask Don about how he got into Hebrew.
Sharon Staples 2:50
Okay, I'll make it brief. About seven years ago, for some reason I decided I need -well, that wasn't seven years ago, it was when I was a child - I always wanted to learn Hebrew, and I never did until seven years ago. And so you had been teaching the Gospel Doctrine class. And every once in a while, you'd bring in a Hebrew word. And I thought, Tammy and I need to take a Hebrew class together. So I asked you if you would, and you said, Sure. So we went to the Jewish Community Center, and took maybe six weeks of trying to learn it and it didn't click. Then after a while, we went to Habad Lubavitch, which is the Jewish learning center in Sugarhouse. And we took a Hebrew class learning, just learning the alphabet, which took us six weeks,
Uh, took me a year. It took me a year to learn the alphabet.
Sharon Staples 3:33
Well, the class was six weeks; it took us a year to learn it. And then we hooked up with your friend and mine, Mandy Green. And she taught us and she said, "I've reached my end that I can teach you." So then we hooked up with Dr. Carly Anderson, and she has been teaching us now. And it has been one of the most exciting, wonderful, frustrating experiences of my life, to learn this complicated, beautiful language.
Oh, I will Amen that, for sure. In fact, when you asked me to take Hebrew, I looked around because I wasn't sure you were really talking to me. I always wanted to be friends with you. I was new in the ward and I was like, Really? Me? Yeah, okay. Yeah, I'd love to and I was in the thick of kids, little kids. My life was chaotic at the time, and I just thought, Maybe, maybe I just need something. And it turned out to be quite a saving grace, like it saved my soul, learning Hebrew.
Sharon Staples 4:26
Well, and look where we are today - learning from one of the, THE professionals in this language and the Old Testament. So, look where it's led us. What a beautiful thing.
It really is a beautiful thing, and I'm so grateful for it, especially when I've gone back now and studied the Old Testament. For those of you listening who are new, we use Hebrew a lot. We talk about it in almost every episode; there's some connection to Hebrew. And so my question now: Don, tell us a little bit about why Hebrew for you and what periods of Hebrew do you research? Talk to us about that.
Don Parry 4:56
I began, my interest in Hebrew started when I was in high school. I read an Ensign magazine dedicated to the Holy Land. And it super-piqued my interest in Hebrew, and the Holy Land, and in the Old Testament. Then in high school, I learned that Joseph Smith, our Prophet and Seer, learned Hebrew with other members of the School of the Prophets. I was fascinated. Why would the Prophet learn Hebrew when he's so busy restoring the church, restoring doctrines, restoring the temple blessings? And that really intrigued me and I studied; I began looking at why Joseph Smith studied; I found some quotes by him on how important Hebrew is.
In high school I wrote a paper - looking back, as a research paper - and looking back, it was probably really weird. It was on the Hebrew word Chahat, which means, it's a Jewish way of killing animals now in a kosher and humane way. And I look back and I think, why did I write that on this Hebrew word in high school? My teachers probably thought I was super weird. Why is he writing on this topic? Step-by-step, I became interested in Hebrew. I would like to share a couple of quotes by the Prophet Joseph Smith, regarding his study of Hebrew.
"Our latitude and longitude can be determined in the original Hebrew with far greater accuracy than in the English version. There is a grand distinction between the actual meanings of the prophets and the present translation."
Sharon Staples 6:47
I never heard that before. Thank you for sharing that one.
Don Parry 6:50
I'm going to share another one. And this quote, actually, is a demonstration of exactly how I feel about the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament.
Joseph Smith: "My soul delights in reading the word of the Lord in the original." Now, a lot of people have asked me, Did Joseph Smith really know Hebrew? Was he proficient? And the only thing I can say is that his Biblical Hebrew teacher said this, he said, Joseph had "so far accomplished a knowledge of it, the vocal Hebrew, that he is able to translate to my entire satisfaction."
Sharon Staples 7:37
Sharon Staples 7:40
How do we get, how do we get his secret to do that?
Yeah, no kidding.
Don Parry 7:44
Wow, I know.
No one's ever going to say that of me at any point, I don't think.
Sharon Staples 7:50
Don Parry 7:50
I've had to study it in formal studies, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for years and years. And the Prophet seemed to pick it up much more quickly.
Sharon Staples 8:03
Yeah. Well, it lends me to this question, then, like, Does everyone have to study Hebrew in order to learn from the Old Testament? How would you answer that Don?
Don Parry 8:12
No, absolutely not. The Old Testament, study in English. I'm just thankful when people study it. I'm thankful when they read the text, and they study the text, and they search the Old Testament scriptures. I'm grateful. Of course, we can learn much more by studying the Hebrew.
I compare it to studying Shakespeare in the English versus the translation of Shakespeare. If you can imagine studying Shakespeare in a foreign language and hearing some of his famous sayings like "To be or not to be, that is the question." Or another famous saying, "This, above all, to thine own self be true." I think you'd miss some of Shakespeare's cultural language. But when you study it in the original language, you're actually learning more about the person who's talking, and their culture, and their environment.
Well, so then I want to know from both of you, the answer to this question: When you do know the Hebrew meaning of a word, how has that affected the way you studied your scriptures? Or the Old Testament?
Sharon Staples 9:28
For me, it has given me the depth of understanding of why they use that word, instead of another word. And so if you look at the word 'Satan', and you break that down in Hebrew, it makes sense for him to have that name, given that it means 'to block process, to go, to steer one away from'. And to know that, that that's what he does gives him more prominence in my life of understanding him, and what he's all about, instead of just, 'and Satan did this and Satan did that and Satan did this.' So if I know what Satan means in Hebrew, 'to veer away from, to block the process of, to change one's pathway.' And to know that, enhances my understanding of him.
Don Parry 10:14
Very well said, beautiful,
Sharon Staples 10:29
Thank you. Thank you.
Don Parry 10:30
Very well said,
What about you, Don?
Don Parry 10:33
I'll give you a couple of examples. The word Atonement, kaffaar, or kapahr, or kapar, and then piel. It's found in the call, verbal form, and also the piel. Those root letters are found over 100 times in the Hebrew Bible, or in the Old Testament. And just studying that term opens up the Jesus Christ-focused scriptures. And there are other words like Savior and Redeemer, Gaal and Yasha', and other terms that that helped me to understand Jesus Christ and His Divine mission.
Beautifully said. Both of you, thank you so much.
Don Parry 11:21
What about you, Tammy? You tell us.
Well, I think for me, it has just opened up a whole world. I just love Hebrew so much. Because it, like you both said, it just takes the word and the meaning and it, it gives you even more; and you just go, What? Now that makes so much more sense. And we're going to talk about one of those words in the next couple segments, which is my favorite word that I learned, which was Elohim. And it, I mean, it makes me emotional, because it just it, it strengthened my testimony about my Heavenly Parents. And I'm so grateful that that one word, that for years I thought was the equivalent of God's first name like, you know, Zeke, Steve, or Joseph, like, that was His first name for my whole life. And when I learned what it meant, I was like, Ah, oh, my gosh, I love Hebrew. So I can't wait to talk about that. So that's what it does for me.
Sharon Staples 12:15
The other thing it does for me is it strengthens my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. For some reason, studying Hebrew takes me to the Book of Mormon. I think, My gosh, this book is really true. Even though there may not be a Hebrew word in it, but understanding enough - a few words - says to me, Oh, my gosh, the Book of Mormon is true. For some reason, then,
Don Parry 12:41
Thank you for that testimony, because I'm the same. And over the years I have identified, or others, other scholars have identified 30 categories of Hebrew-like expressions in the Book of Mormon. I'd like to add one other value of learning Hebrew. Through my experience, I found out that the Holy Ghost can reveal to me new truths through studying the Hebrew, which I might not have learned,
Sharon Staples 13:12
Right. Oh, I agree.
Sharon Staples 13:15
That's so true.,Don. Thank you for sharing that.
Yeah, Amen. So if you're hearing this and you're feeling like, Well, I don't have time for Hebrew, that's okay. You don't have to take a Hebrew class, because here's what we know: the Spirit will guide you in the ways that you can best learn. And also because we're here to do some of the work for you and share what we've learned.
Okay, well then, let's do this. We're going to jump headfirst into the Old Testament. And I could not be more excited about the content and the guests who are here. As you know, we're going to talk about some Hebrew, so make sure you have stuff to mark your Scriptures with and we're going to begin with Genesis chapter 1 in the next segment.
Segment 2 13:47
So I mentioned at the very beginning of this whole podcast that the titles in the Hebrew Bible, they're a little bit different from the titles in the King James Version, because they help to tell the story, and I thought this was really cool when I learned it. For instance, the title for us in our Old Testament, Book of Genesis is Genesis, but in the Hebrew Bible, it's actually Bereshith. And bereshith means 'in the beginning', which you're kind of like, so does Genesis. But it's a little bit different because each chapter has a different name for it. And we're gonna put those titles in our show notes. So you can actually go through and put underneath the titles Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, what it's called in Hebrew. And I just think it's really neat because we have Genesis, which is bereshith and I, from what I understand, Don, the chapters are named after almost the first word of that chapter. Is that correct?
Don Parry 14:40
That's correct, except when you get to The Prophets, then the prophets and Ruth and Isaiah and Ezekiel, but you're absolutely right.
And then those names in our list will will have what their names mean in Hebrew, and so that's really powerful. So make sure you use that list.
Don Parry 14:56
Oh, I love it. I'm looking forward to that.
Oh, I'll make sure I'll send you a copy, Don. So let's do this. Don, teach us then, about the Creation. And you're going to talk to us about what the Prophet President Nelson has to say about the Creation and the Fall and all of that. So let's just jump in and go.
Don Parry 15:14
Thank you so much. As we all know, the Creation story has been a point of contention over not just decades, but centuries. So sad, sad. And it doesn't need to be that way because the Creation story and the Garden of Eden story are ancient temple texts. That means they were texts used as part of ceremonies. We have an article by my colleague, Steven Ricks, who is a professor of Hebrew here at BYU. He wrote an article called "Liturgy and Cosmogony, the Ritual Use of Creation". It was published 20, 25 years ago, and he shows that during the Second Temple period, the Jews used the Creation story in a temple setting.
And as we all know, we have a temple text, we recall the Creation story in our temple. It's very important to us, and the Garden of Eden narrative, both, of course, are true accounts. They're not myths, we won't use the word myths. These are true accounts revealed from God, but if we look at the creation narrative as a temple text, it just opens it up in new ways.
I love that you just taught us that, because what that tells me is, we didn't come up with this. It's not a thing that we decided to put in the temples. It was actually restored by Joseph Smith, to put back in the temples. Like, it's always been in the temples. I think that's so cool.
Don Parry 16:54
Well said, thank you. So I want to quote from President Russell M. Nelson. He gave this amazing talk in October Conference 1996, called "The Atonement", but he clarifies aspects of the creation account that we'll read in a few minutes. And I want to give two or three quotes. First,
"Before we can comprehend the atonement of Christ, we must first understand the fall of Adam. And before we can understand the fall of Adam, we must first understand the creation. These three crucial components of the Plan of Salvation relate to each other."
So that's at the beginning of this talk. And then I'm going to jump down to where he talks about the creation because he tells us things that just open up the creation accounts.
"The Creation culminated with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; they were created in the image of God with bodies of flesh and bones."
I'm going to skip just a little bit, a couple sentences.
"The creation of Adam and Eve was a paradisiacal creation, one that required a significant change before they could fulfill the commandment to have children, and thus provide earthly bodies for premortal spirits, and spirit sons and daughters of God."
I need to pause for a second. This creation account is paradise, it is Garden of Eden. It's not a telestial; everyone reads this and they try to compare it to celestial methods of understanding. And we know the word presentism or nowism., It's where we take the present or present earth and we try to understand the creation account, Genesis 1, through scientific methods and so on. But this is an account of the the creation of Paradise and Adam and Eve before they have blood in their bodies.
Mm hmm. That's important to know; that's super important for us to know.
Don Parry 19:14
Thank you. It's vital.
Don, I love that you just pointed that out about the creation because how cool was it when I found this in the Come Follow Me manual, it says, "The Scriptures do not contain all the details of the process of the creation. Rather, they testify that the Lord purposefully carried out the creation of the earth and life upon it." And so I like how you said that we don't really know how it was done. And even the the manual says that, but we just know it testifies of the Lord and that's the message of the creation.
Don Parry 19:42
And I'm so thankful for a prophet. Now I'm going to read just a little bit more so we can understand more about this. So, that brings us to the Fall. This is President Nelson,
"The fall of Adam and Eve constituted the mortal creation and brought about the required changes in their bodies, including the circulation of blood, and other modifications as well." See how important this is to understand Genesis 1 versus The Fall. And then he says, "That brings us to the atonement. The Atonement of Jesus Christ became the immortal creation."
And then I'm going to jump down and conclude with this,
"The purposes of the creation, the Fall, and the Atonement, all converge on the sacred work done in temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
Now notice, he said, he's saying this in 1999; he's using the full name of the church, that's important. And so we have, we have the Creation account, it's a temple text. Genesis 1 is about the paradise or the terrestrial creation, which we don't know much about. How can Adam and Eve live without blood in their bodies yet? The blood comes at The Fall.
At The Fall. And so it's so important for us to recognize and understand that everything was created spiritually, first. And that's one of the things it's trying to teach us. And, and I didn't really know that growing up; everything was created spiritually before it became physical. And so that's part of what we're learning in this creation text in Genesis, Moses and Abraham. Is that correct?
Don Parry 21:32
That's absolutely correct. Well said, thank you.
Awesome. Sharon, do you have anything?
Sharon Staples 21:38
Well, just not only that, but it's all symbolical. Meaning, we can't take it literally, we can't take it word for word, because there are five different versions of the Creation. We have the King James Version, we have the Joseph Smith translation, we have Moses, we have Abraham, we have the temple. So, those are five different approaches to looking at the creation. So for me, I have to look at, what does all of that combined mean for me? How can I incorporate the principles of the Creation, the Fall, the Atonement in my life, regardless of whether he said, she said, they did, they did. And, and all that is important to to understand what President Nelson has just said, when he explains it all to us.
How does that apply to your life?
Sharon Staples 22:31
Well, first of all, obedience. The number one thing, Adam and Eve, obey me; that's obedience. In fact, in the Book of Abraham, He says, And we created this and created that, until they obeyed. So, for me, it's obedience; and then it's repentance; and then it's forgiveness; and then it's the Atonement. If I can, if I can internalize those four principles in my life, because of the premortal creation, and the mortal creation, and the understanding of of how God established all of that for us, then then I have a sense of my being part of that. I am part of that creation.
You fit into that scenario.
Sharon Staples 23:21
It's meaningful to me. Because I need to learn to obey, I need to learn to repent, I need to learn to forgive, I need to learn to internalize the blessed Atonement in my life. So, having Brother Parry explain that to me, then I just think, Okay, this is what I need to take out of that, in addition to knowing that the Garden of Eden was a Temple, and that we can learn all of that in our temples. So thank you, Brother Parry. That was very helpful.
Oh, I love that. That was a great discussion. So we have this spiritual creation. And we have all of these different words about how it was created. And so what we're going to do is, in the next segment, we're going to talk about the difference of the Genesis, Moses, Abraham accounts. And then my favorite word that I talked about earlier, that I learned in Hebrew that changed everything for me.
Segment 3 24:11
Okay, so we are going to jump into the creation. And we're going to compare Genesis 1, to Moses 2, to Abraham 4. This is where we get these three creation accounts. And Don is going to walk us through this which I'm so grateful for. Can you kind of talk to us a little bit about why do we have so many accounts of the creation? Why do we need parallel accounts? Why isn't one good enough? What do you, what would you say to that Don?
Don Parry 24:36
Each parallel text adds more to our knowledge; each is a blessing to us. And just to remind our listeners, there are a lot of parallel texts in the Bible. We have Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We have the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles - have a lot of exact language - parallel texts. We have two Ten Commandment texts: Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. Psalm 18 is the same chapter as 2nd Samuel 22. And they're almost identical. But there are some differences. I mean, I could list, Isaiah 36, 37, 39 is also found in the Book of Kings.
Well, I'm glad you brought that up, because it's not unique to us. We didn't create this. I mean, it again, it testifies of Joseph Smith, how he is having these parallel creations that give us more added value and insight to the creation. And so it's totally worth it, then. Let's jump into some of these things. And let's talk about, what are some of the differences between the creations of Genesis, Moses, and Abraham? I think this would be really cool.
Don Parry 25:44
Let me point out just a handful of differences. In Genesis, so Genesis 1, it uses the word 'God', a singular form God. In Moses 2, it also uses a singular form God, but it uses 1st person. So for example, in Genesis, chapter 1 verse 3, it said, "And God said", and in the Moses account, it's "and I, God said". And throughout Moses, it's "and I, God", "and I", "and "I", so it's 1st person. In the Abraham account, it uses the plural form in English, "gods". So the gods did this, and the gods did that. Very, very interesting and very instructive.
Yeah. One of the differences I noticed too, is the word "created" in Genesis 1. "In the beginning God created", and we know that that means, the word in Hebrew is Bara'. And it, what is so cool, is, I remember learning in seminary, someone taught me that the word 'created' in Hebrew means organized, but I couldn't find that definition anywhere in the Hebrew Dictionary. And then I was studying Abraham chapter 4, and that's the word they use instead of created. They use the word organize. And I was like, oh, maybe that's where they have the definition of Bara', is from Abraham chapter 4. So I thought that was unique; instead of created, He says organized. That makes a lot more sense to me, that God took elements and put them together to create the world. He didn't create something out of nothing. What is that called - Ex Nilo?
Don Parry 27:25
Ex nihilo, thank you. Yeah, he didn't just create something out of nothing. He took things that already existed, matter that was already there, organized it, and created this earth. So that was a significant thing that I noticed that was different.
Don Parry 27:37
And that's very, very significant. And I'm thankful that you brought that up, in light of' 'to create', verse 1. In verse 2 of the King James Version, it says the earth was without form and void. And that also supports the idea of ex nihilo creation. But the Book of Abraham says, the earth after it was formed was empty and desolate. Empty and desolate are better translations of the Hebrew words that are found, they're: 'Tohu wa-bohu'. And so this is an important change, too.
And I wanted to point out something very interesting in Abraham, that's found many times, and it's this little expression "and it came to pass". "And it came to pass" seems very innocent, but it's actually a temporal modifier. It's showing that 'and some time has gone by'. And I think we'll talk about the word 'day', and it's the first day and the second day. But this shows that some time has gone by; it's a very important Hebrewism that's found in the Abraham 4 account.
Oh, I like that.
Sharon Staples 28:52
And I noticed that and I hope you're going to comment on it, Brother Parry, on the difference between 'day' and 'time'. I think that's, that's huge in understanding the creation and how things were brought about. And also, not only did He organize, or did they organize, but they formed. They put into order, they organized, and formed the heavens and the earth. So they put into celestial order. I've inserted celestial because there's a difference there between the firmament, and shamayim - the heavens, and whatever. So I think those are significant as well.
Don Parry 29:29
Let me comment on 'day' right now, since we're talking about it. As you know, some some commentators have said a day is 24 hours. Others have said a day is 1000 years. And they're right. A day according to Earth's time is 24 hours and the Lord's time is 1000 years. But 'day' here does not have to mean either one of those. If you look at what Abraham says, I think it uses the word 'time' instead of 'day'. So in the Hebrew, day can be an indeterminant time; it doesn't have to be 24 hours and it doesn't have to be 1000 years.
And I wanted to give this expression from President Russell M. Nelson that shows he's really on top of this. So I'm going to read just a short paragraph, and the last phrase, you'll just, I think, be astounded in a positive way.
"The physical creation itself was staged through ordered periods of time. In Genesis and Moses, those periods are called days. But in the Book of Abraham, each period is referred to as a time, whether termed a day, a time, or an age. Every phase was a period between two identifiable events." And then he says, "a division of eternity."
Sharon Staples 30:59
Oh that's cool. A division of eternity.
Don Parry 31:02
I think that says it best. I want to give a couple more differences between Abraham's account. Instead of 'firmament', he uses the word 'expanse', and that fits better with the Hebrew word 'raqia', as we know it right now from the lexicon. So an expanse instead of the word that verse 7 of Genesis 1: "God made". Abraham says, And God, "And the gods ordered the expanse".
Hmm. That's in verse, Genesis 7 and 8. Okay.
Don Parry 31:37
Yes. So, and then you probably already recognized that in in Abraham it's, some scholars have called it a blueprint to the creation, because it's, it's all this planning. The gods planned and it's like they're at a Grand Council in Heaven.
Well, I, I have to just go into, you just talked about the gods and a Grand Council in heaven. So let's go to the word God, because this is my word. This is what I've loved, what you've said about it, Don. When I learn I'm like, I gotta study this. So in Genesis chapter 1, verse 1, it says, "In the beginning, God created the heaven in the earth". Highlight God. And in Hebrew, the word for God is Elohim. And I knew that growing up, and like I said, I thought it was His first name, Elohim Johnson, or whatever. (laughter)
So, I just loved when I learned that actually, Elohim is a plural form of the name God, which is El. And sometimes it's used interchangeably throughout the Old Testament, it can be singular, it can be plural. But for me, when I learned that Elohim is plural for God, then it totally corroborates Abraham chapter 4, which says "the Gods created the heavens and the earth." And so Don, what are some things you found out about this name?
Don Parry 32:54
Well, we don't know exactly what the root means. But some scholars have suggested the root means strength or power; That's in a dictionary that I use a lot.
So that's El; El would mean strength or power?
Don Parry 33:09
Yes, El, from that root. And I love that because God is a God of strength and power. Now to help our listeners better understand the plural 'Im', I M, I'm going to give you three or four other words that we use a lot in our church that end in im: cherubim, Seraphim; Isaiah 6: urim and thummim. So those are some other words, those are all plurals. That may help help everyone know.
Yep. And so how powerful that we have this name Elohim. And it just broadens this this name. It includes the Son, it includes the Holy Ghost, it includes what you said, like this whole Godhead of people or of gods, I should say, that are creating and part of this creation process. And most importantly, for me, it can include a female presence, like Heavenly Mother. So cool.
Don Parry 34:08
So let me ask you and Sharon, What if you have a masculine plural ending, 'im', what what can that constitute - what people? Always masculine?
Sharon Staples 34:20
Oh, see male or female. So female is the 'ot', but usually, from my understanding, in Biblical Hebrew that if you have 500 women and one man, you use the male identification of that group, it's an im, instead of an ot, which is the female. So I'm alert to anything in these chapters, with a Hebrew meaning that may end in Ot, which means just the women were doing this. "And the women gathered that the well", or the women did this or, and all the women, whatever. So noticing, for me, that there is a distinction in the Hebrew language of when when females are involved, and when males are involved. However, if you have 35 males and 34 females, it's going to take the male pronoun ending or the gender ending of im.
So what I'm thinking to myself is, gosh, we may have been there, but we were left out because we weren't very many, you know. We as women, were, may have been there. We may have participated in this event, but because there were more men than there were women, only the men got reported. So I have a, you know, that in the back of my mind as I read Hebrew words. I don't know if that makes any sense or not.
Don Parry 35:44
But let me say, it's not teaching us that you were not there. It's it's masculine plural, which means it can be both genders.
Sharon Staples 35:53
Don Parry 35:53
That's what I'm trying to say.
Sharon Staples 35:55
Right. Okay. Yeah. Appreciate that clarification.
Oh, gosh, especially when you said it makes it both genders. Because I mean, how much do we love that our Young Women point this out every week as they recite their Young Women's theme when they say every Sunday, "I am a beloved daughter of heavenly parents". I just think it's powerful that our young sweet girls get to realize that yeah, they're part of that 'im', just like you said. That's so cool. And the coolest thing is, is then we have our Heavenly Parents who are then the pattern for the sixth day of the creation. I mean, it's all right there, like we've been talking about.
So we didn't have time to go through each, day by day. So I highly recommend you go and read what was created on the days; it's fun to make a list or draw it. I do that with my students. Write the day and then draw a picture of what was created at that day so that you can have it in your mind. And in the next segment, we're going to talk about what the Lord had to say at the end of each one of those days of creation, and something pretty significant about one word that's attached to the sixth creation. And it is, it blew my mind. We'll talk about that next.
Segment 4 36:56
Alright, you two. I want you to think back to when you were a little child, or maybe even now as an adult, because I would love to hear this. And as an adult, if someone said to you, Hey, you did a good job. How does that make you feel?
Sharon Staples 37:14
Don Parry 37:15
Sharon Staples 37:16
Yeah. I feel valued. Yeah
Would it be different if they said it this way: Hey, you did a very good job.
Sharon Staples 37:26
Well, yes, yeah.
Don Parry 37:28
That's even better.
Sharon Staples 37:29
That's even better. That's right.
Right. It kind of, it does, it makes you feel even more valued, then. Right, Sharon?
Sharon Staples 37:34
Okay. So how fun is this? I want us to look in the creation in Genesis chapter 1. And I want you to take your highlighters and every time you see the words, "it was good", highlight it. You're going to find it in verse 4, verse 10, verse 12, verse 18, verse 21, and 25. And just circle, I've circled it in pink, because I love it, it makes me happy. And the Lord describes at the end of each creative day, that it was good - "God saw that it was good." You can even highlight "God saw that it was good."
And something that I recently learned is that the word 'good' in Hebrew can also mean 'beautiful'. So in Exodus chapter 2, verse 2 - just real quick - we read about Moses when he was a little baby, and it says that he was a "goodly child". But in Hebrew context, it actually means that he was a beautiful child. And if you cross-reference it to Hebrews chapter 11, verse 23, it also supports, in the Greek, that he was a handsome or beautiful child. So, how neat that God saw that it was beautiful, it was good, it was beautiful. And this is kind of fun, because every creative day God saw that it was good, except for one variation. Go to verse 31. There's a little bit of a difference here. After he creates Adam and Eve, it says,
31 "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." [Or it was very beautiful.] "And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."
Now, this is so cool, because that little insertion of the word 'very' right there, from what I understand in Hebrew, means 'it was finished or complete', like the job was done. Is that correct Don?
Don Parry 39:10
Absolutely. That is well-stated. Thank you.
Well, how would you, and when we talk about this, what is the Lord trying to tell us here when He says it was good verses it is very good. Anything else that you have to add to that?
Don Parry 39:23
It's just a wonderful summary of this text. And it's found in verse 31 as, as you said. It's, before it says 'very good', it says the 'Hinneh', and "behold". Behold is like 'and pay attention'. 'Tovah Od'. 'Very good'. And a little side note, I have on my wedding band, a phrase from Isaiah chapter 6. And it's "and here am I" [from hinneh] "Here am I, send me." And my sweet wife let me put it on my wedding band, and I love her for it. And it's in Hebrew, and I don't mean to get attention, but a lot of people say, Hey, what's on your wedding band? And then I can tell them it's an expression from Isaiah chapter 6, but it has that root 'Hinneh'.
Oh my gosh.
Sharon Staples 40:17
Behold, yeah, listen.
'Listen, you're not going to believe this'. Oh, I think that's awesome.
Sharon Staples 40:20
Yeah, that's great.
So, is there anything else in the creative process in Genesis 1 that stood out to either one of you that you'd like us to mark or or focus on before we move into Genesis chapter 2?
Sharon Staples 40:34
I have one thing. When when you say in in Genesis 1:31, and made 'were very good', in Abraham, it says, "And they shall be very obedient." Prior to that time it's just 'obedient'. And what that connotates to me is, it took time for them to be obedient; it took time for them to learn this law; it took time for the heavens to be separated from the earth, it took time. And and obedience for me and applying it to my life, is kind of a line upon line, precept upon precept of obeying this principle, then of trying to obey this principle, and then obeying this principle. So that obedience becomes a predominant character trait that I want to continue to develop.
In all my readings, the temple ordinances, whatever, whatever I'm doing, teaching or whatever, that I'm obedient to the doctrine and I'm obedient to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. So for me, having those words in Abraham, they don't necessarily change the meaning, for "it was very good", to "very obedient", it enhances it for me. It internalizes it for me; I want to become very obedient, not just obedient.
Don Parry 41:58
Thank you. Beautiful, beautiful.
Sharon Staples 42:01
I really like that. Because it makes me think, going back to what you taught us earlier, Don, about 'time', you read this creation and you're like, And then he made Adam and Eve, and then they were hanging out and the next thing you know they're eating fruit, and then it's all over. The Fall happens and here we are. And when you give this idea that maybe they're, they spent 'time', a significant amount of time being taught. It kind of makes me think back to Doctrine and Covenants section 138, verse 56 where it teaches us that before we were physically born, that we with many others received our first lessons in the world of spirits, preparing us to come forth at our specific time. And then it says to labor in the Lord's vineyard.
So I love how all this connects. And now I'm wondering if there's a connection there, like Adam and Eve are being taught everything they need to know to be obedient before they're going to be tempted. I think that's how Heavenly Father, He works with us that way. He taught us everything we needed.
Don Parry 42:53
Yeah. That's how He works with me, for sure.
Sharon Staples 42:55
Don Parry 42:56
I need a lot of time to learn how to be obedient.
Sharon Staples 43:00
That's what I'm saying, is it takes time for me to learn to obey these principles.
Well, and then it makes the struggle even more real, for Eve to have partaken of the fruit. It must have been a real, like, Wait a minute, we've just spent all this time learning to be obedient. And now we're faced with this; how do we do that now?
Sharon Staples 43:21
Don Parry 43:21
Huh. I'm just now processing all of this.
Sharon Staples 43:26
Well, that reminds me of President Spencer W. Kimball when he talks about Peter denying the Savior. President Spencer Kimball said, "it wasn't a prediction, it was a commandment."
I totally believe that
Sharon Staples 43:38
He told Peter
Don Parry 43:39
I like that.
Sharon Staples 43:39
you have to deny me three times or else you will be sacrificed and you will be crucified and where will my church be? It will be without my president. It will be without my priesthood holder. It will be with, the church will go nowhere. And that's why it was so difficult for Peter to deny Him because he loved the Savior so much. To have the Savior tell him, You have to deny Me, was contrary to everything.
And the way he told him: "thou shalt" the only other wording "thou shalt" is the Ten Commandments.
Sharon Staples 44:08
Thou shalt deny me and, and Peter said, Oh, don't ask me to do that. I won't do that. Father, don't ask me. He said he asked him three times. He didn't ask him, He commanded him. Anyway, to me, that's what comes to mind when we're talking about this.
Don Parry 44:22
Tammy, I'd like to add a couple of other thoughts before we leave Genesis chapter 1,
Don Parry 44:28
As scholars, we look at what's called a 'character zone'. Who's the main character in any given text in the Old Testament? And years ago I wrote a paper on 1st Samuel chapter 1 on Hannah and her character zone. And her character zone was greater than that of her husband Elkanah, her little baby Samuel who became a famous prophet, and Eli, the, the priest, and so on. And it took careful study. When you go to Genesis, the greatest character zone belongs to God Himself. And as I recall that the word Elohim, which is such a powerful word, occurs 36 times in Genesis 1 through, Genesis 1:1-2:4.
Another point regarding God having the greatest character zone in this text is the verb Bara'-to organize - is a verb only God can do. Never is that verb used with human, it's only God who can create. And I wanted to show you some, and God is the subject or the implied subject throughout. And He acts upon, let me just quickly run through some of the verbs that are found in in Genesis 1. So here's some of the verbs: God saw, said, make, created, blessed, rested, formed, breathed, planted, divided, called, and set. Those are all actions of God.
It's just an amazing, it's a God-centered text. And to have it at the beginning of the Bible so that everyone can see God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. And that will give all of us, just, it adds to our spiritual strength. Can I do this? Through God, through Christ? Can I do this? Yes, He's all-powerful. He created the heavens and the earth. So I can do these commandments that He has asked me to do, because He's all- powerful.
Oh, my gosh, I think that's incredible. I'm going to do that. Now. I'm going to go back through Genesis, and I'm going to underline all of the action words in there. That is awesome. Thank you so much, Don, for pointing that out. I hadn't even done that. I can't wait. Ah, so good. One of the words you said was 'rested'. This is such a fun word, in Genesis chapter 2 verse 2. Highlight that one, because in Hebrew, this is the Hebrew word for the Jewish Sabbath, or Shabbat. And I thought that was really neat. And you, down below in footnote b, it has it down there for 2b, and it means to stop or to cease. And it's from the verb, Shabbat, or Shabbat. So, in verse 2 where He rested, that's where we get 'Sabbath' from.
So I thought that was kind of cool, because what are we resting from? Or stopping from? Our labors, but certainly not our work? Am I right? Doesn't it seem like Sundays are way busier than any other day of the week? (laughs)
Don Parry 47:32
Yes, absolutely. They are for me.
Yeah, we work a lot harder on Sunday than we do. But we're to rest from our labors which are daily labors.
Sharon Staples 47:40
So I think it was for us, not for Him. He doesn't need to rest. He's all-powerful. He can keep, well, has kept going from before, now, and forever. So
Well, and we learned, we read a cool article that said, the whole purpose of Sabbath day is like you said, it's not for God. It's for us, who are creators throughout the week, to be reminded of who created us, and that's what that Sunday is for. So very cool. All right, great discussion. Okay, so we're moving right along. Then in the next segment, we're going to take a look at Eve and Adam and the connection to this idea of laboring, working, or building.
Segment 5 48:19
So Don and I talked before this recording about the things that we wanted to discuss, and I am so grateful, Don that one of the things you wanted to talk about was that the Garden of Eden is a temple text. And so you've mentioned that earlier about the creation. But now let's talk about it as far as the garden goes, and how that applies to us.
Don Parry 48:36
It's a very powerful scriptural text; it came from God. We recall the Garden of Eden narrative in our temples, that's important to us; it's part of our ceremony. It's a ritual text. And I want to start by showing you the Garden of Eden itself was a temple; not a temple with walls, not brick and stone. Elder James E. Talmage, wrote, "The Garden of Eden was the first sanctuary of earth." He wrote that in the House of the Lord. That's important to know. And if you reread the Garden of Eden narrative, you'll see it has a lot of temple symbolism in it. And I'll just maybe point out three or four items really fast. One is its 'eastward orientation'. East is a direction that is emphasized in the Garden of Eden at least twice: Genesis 2:14 and Genesis 3:24.
Well and something that I learned about why East is so important to us - I thought this was cool - is that traditionally it's associated with the presence of God or His influence. So to face East was to face God, was to face God; or to move eastward was to move toward Him or in the direction of God; or - this is kind of cool - that an attack from the East, it actually symbolized the receipt of the wrath of God. And I found that from Alonzo Gaskill, in his book, <Lost Language of Symbolism>, and I thought that was really neat.
Don Parry 50:12
And I remind you that the ancient Israelite temples had an eastward orientation. Exodus 27, verses 9-18. Here's another connection: the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, is found in the form of a menorah, or the lampstand fashioned into seven branches. It was an almond tree. That's in 1 Kings 7:49, and a lot of scholars say this was a symbol of the tree of life that was in the Garden of Eden.
Here, here are a couple more: cherubim. We talked about cherubs or cherubim, and in the Garden of Eden, that guarded the way back to the Tree of Life, Genesis 3:24. And cherubim are found throughout both the tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon, including the cherubs that guarded the Ark of the Covenant. So you have that connection.
Well can you tell us a little bit about the cherubim? Like what do we believe about that? Are they fat little chubby babies with wings on their backs? What are we talking about here?
Don Parry 51:23
The Hebrew word cherub, we don't know the etymology for this word. That's why we transliterated as cherubs, in, in the scriptures. I think, most English translations just say, cherubs, or the Hebrew form cherubim, but we know that they were guards. They're set to guard the sanctity of God, and God's presence. And we have a host of literature on that, a lot written by members of various faiths on that. So they're a form of angels.
Don Parry 51:57
Another connection, the idea of sacred clothing. God gave Adam and Eve sacred clothing. And in fact, in Genesis, it says He clothed them. God was so interested in their sacred clothing, that He clothed them. He didn't give them coats of skin and say, I'll be back in a minute, put this on. He clothed them. That's significant, also.
What verse is that in?
Don Parry 52:23
Oh, all right, Moses for 4:27-31. But let me give you where it is. It's, I think it's 3:21. I'm not supposed to go into chapter 3 am I?
No. But that's okay.
Don Parry 52:35
Okay. 3:21, [Exodus 3:21] God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skin and clothed them. Very important. And I remind you, Exodus 28, and Exodus 39 talk about the sacred vestments of the ancient priests. The high priests had eight pieces, sacred vestments, and the priests had four. So sacred clothing. And there are some other parallels, too.
Well, here, I just have this side question for you, Don, though. When we get to Genesis chapter 3, we're going to talk a lot more about verse 21. And is it fair or okay, is it safe to talk about the different way you can define 'coats of skins'? Can we talk about it being actually coats of glory or clothing? Because the word 'skins' and 'glory' are so similar in Hebrew? Or is that off? Are we not allowed?
Don Parry 53:27
No, we can. I think we have at least one textual witness that reads, "coats of light". So that's fair game. And if we don't have a textual witness, at least we have rabbinic witnesses that talk about it.
Okay, perfect. Oh, my gosh, that was good. Oh, go ahead. Anything else you wanted to say?
Don Parry 53:45
Yeah, I want to remind everyone in case they say, What? I don't know about temples without walls. And I want to remind you that there are three categories of temples, three groupings. And I'll just take a minute here, but temples built by God, and those include gardens like the Garden of Eden; and the Garden of Gethsemane, which was a temple; and mountains like Sinai in the Mount of Transfiguration, and Mount Shalem; and the temple in heaven, as described by John in Revelation. That's group one.
Group two is way overlooked by a lot of people, and that's temples built by women.
Okay, hold on. What? Like, I don't know anything about this. Okay, I'm so excited.
Don Parry 54:32
God is a temple and His mother, Mary built His temple. Jesus Christ, man and woman is a temple, you know, the phrases in First Corinthians 3 and so on. And Paul in Ephesians talks about Jesus and the saints and apostles being temples. And so temples by, built by women is a second category. And then the third category is the category that everyone thinks of, and those are temples or structures built by mortal builders, like the Salt Lake Temple, the Provo temple, then, and all the temples built by humans, and that are dedicated by God's prophet. So that's when people say temples, that comes to mind, and they don't think of these other categories of temples.
Everyone, write that down! Make sure you have that somewhere; we were just taught something incredible: three different types of temples. That is so cool. I couldn't write fast enough,
Sharon Staples 55:35
I couldn't, either.
Oh, my gosh, Don. Thank you for sharing that. So right there, you just taught us that the Garden of Eden is a Temple. Of course it is. Incredible things happened in that garden. And what I love, is now I'm just thinking this too, like, God and Christ lived there among them. Like, They came to visit, they were able to talk with them before the Fall. That's that's exactly what we believe about our temples today, that They will come and They will visit. This is so cool. And They'll visit all of these temples. Oh, They visit women, you better believe They do. Wow. That is really personal; that's emotional for me. I love that you just taught us that.
So, let's just dive in, then, to the garden. And let's specifically talk about Eve and Adam, and what their words mean in Hebrew. Is there any significance, and why are these names given to the first man and the first woman? That's my real question to you, Don.
Don Parry 56:27
Absolutely. The the word Adam, as you know, the man Adam, was none other than Michael. And Michael's a very special and powerful Hebrew name. It's a Theophoric name. It has the name 'El' in it. There are a lot of theophoric names in the Old Testament. But Adam means 'man', or 'mankind', or 'humankind'. So theophoric, it's a god compound name. That's the name that has the name of God in it, plus has verb or adjective. So Michael, the 'el' ending is the same form or same etymology as Elohim. And I'll give you some other el names: Elijah, el is at the beginning; Elisha; Daniel, the el's at the end; Nathaniel. All of these, Gabriel, Gabrielle, all of these names have a special meaning. So Michael's name means "who is like God"? 'Mi cha el'.
So we know that Michael is Adam. But Adam, also, the Hebrew word means 'man' or 'mankind'. So in that sense, Adam is a type and shadow. Adam really existed, absolutely. Elder Holland testified of that in one of his talks, Adam and Eve were real people. But Adam is a type of all, all of us are like Adam and Eve. We all live, be born, we all fall, we all need to repent, we all need the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Sharon Staples 58:13
In addition to that, may I add - isn't, isn't Adam from Adamah, also, which means 'the ground' or 'the earth'? And Adam came from the dust of the earth, and is connected and connected to the earth. So we are all - because Adam represents all of us, Eve represents all of us - connected to the earth and the dust of the earth.
Don Parry 58:36
Yes. Thank you. And let me ask you two: so adamah, what form is that? Is it masculine or feminine?
Sharon Staples 58:46
With the 'ah' on the end.
Don Parry 58:48
Yes. And we have this notion of Mother Earth. And it's a very strong notion. The word, so, you said it exact. Very well-said Sharon, and thank you.
Sharon Staples 59:02
Thank you, thank YOU.
And what about Eve?
Don Parry 59:06
Eve is a word that means 'life' in Hebrew. And and we learn that she's the mother of all living. 'Eve' itself does not mean mother of all living, but it signifies mother of all living. She's a symbol of the mother of all living. But 'Eve' herself, the name means 'life', hugely significant, because she brings, she's the one that brings life. And if we get to talk about Eve as a help, that that's found in this chapter, we might say, How was Eve a help? Alright, she's a help, that's mentioned twice. Why or how was Eve a help? It's because she, through her her righteous choices made it possible for all of us to live.
Sharon Staples 59:58
Sharon Staples 1:00:00
Exactly. Thank you.
Okay, well, then here's what we're gonna do: in the last segment, segment 6, which I'm so excited about, Don is going to talk to us about the role and the importance of Eve. And next week, we're going to actually have Melinda Brown on, and she wrote an incredible book, and she's going to specifically talk to us about Adam and Eve and the word 'helpmeet' and how that plays through the choices they made in the garden. So I'm so excited to have her on. But what I'm thrilled about with Don is that he - and I read his writings on this - he has five uniquenesses to Eve that are found in Genesis chapter 2. And so we're going to talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 6 1:00:36
Okay, so I'm still reeling from the three temples. And so I just have to start out by saying, let's talk about the Second Temple, women, and Eve being the first temple inside this Garden Temple. Don, I am so excited for you to talk to us about the five uniquenesses of Eve in Genesis chapter 2. So here we go, everyone prior to Genesis 2, grab stuff to write with, and let's do this.
Don Parry 1:01:04
Thank you. This is a privilege to talk about Eve, and she has been overlooked by different authors and commentators. Many years ago, maybe in the 1990s, I presented a 20 page paper on Eve, to a group of biblical scholars from different faiths. And I answered the question, How was Eve a help? We learned that she's a help but how was she? And in the meantime, I came up with some uniquenesses of Eve. So I'd like to just run through those - it'll be very brief.
First one is, in the Hebrew, when it talks about God forming man from the dust of the ground, Genesis 2:7, and when He formed animals from the dust of the ground-Genesis 2:19, He uses a Hebrew word 'yatsar', and yatsar is a verb that denotes a potter, maybe someone who's taking clay and forming. But in this case, God is forming man and the animals. But when it comes to Eve, He uses a special unique verb. It's 'banah, 'beth nun, hey', in the Hebrew. And Banah means to build; this is found in Genesis 2:22, and it reads something like this: 'the Lord God, Jehovah,- Elohim - built the rib from which he took the man, for the woman. Banah, if you do a search of 'build' in the, in the scriptures, you'll find that it's used to build palaces, and build temples, and other sacred buildings.
So when Eve was made, she was built, which recalls the building of temples and altars and fine buildings. And when Adam was built or, I'm sorry, when he was formed, it's more like, as one of my neighbors said, like an Adobe. He was made like an adobe house, (laughter) but Eve is built of the finest materials.
And what we need to know is that in Genesis chapter 2, verse 7, it teaches us that God formed man, which is a completely different verb than the verb used for creating woman. I love this.
Don Parry 1:03:26
Now, this verb 'to build' is also found with regard to Sarah, Genesis 16:2, and Rachel, Genesis 30 verse 3, where they're building children, it's a special verb. It's a special verb and I think we should pay better attention to the text. That's number one.
I just need to sit with that for a minute. Because that was, that was incredible. Okay, thank you. That was so good. All right. Whoah. Second on, go.
Don Parry 1:04:02
Okay, the second one, man is made from the Adamah, which Sharon mentioned earlier. But Eve was made made from a more developed component, and it's the rib, or it's called side, a rib or side. And not only did the rib consist of bone, but it had flesh on it. Now we're talking some symbolism here. President Kimball said that the rib was symbolic. So we have to remember that. But how do we know it was flesh and bones? In Genesis 2:23, we have this statement. Now.
23 This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: shall she be called woman, Isha because she was taken out of man - ish. So, what I'm saying here is, is she is made of more fine material than the dust. And we've all heard this idea of she was made from his side, not from his feet, not from his head. There's some great symbolism here. But this word for sela' - rib or side - also goes back to the temple because of the 31 occurrences of this word in the Hebrew Bible. Three times it refers to humans. And most of the other times it talks about the construction of the tabernacle, Moses, a Temple, Solomon's temple, and Ezekiel's temple. So there's another connection there.
Okay, I love that again, when you said that it, it goes with the temple word, it just, again confirms that that a woman is this form of a temple made of finer material than the dust. Gosh!
Don Parry 1:05:53
Don, this is incredible. Okay, that's number two. What's the third?
Don Parry 1:05:57
K, number three is the deep sleep.
Are you having a hard time writing fast, Sharon? I can't write fast enough.
Sharon Staples 1:06:03
I cannot. I'm just putting down words.
I know. Right? Okay, carry on. Sorry, Don.
Don Parry 1:06:10
It's a special Hebrew word. And its 'Adam went into deep sleep'.
Okay, that's in verse 21?
Don Parry 1:06:18
Yeah, verse 21, when while God created Eve. Now this is very important. So Adam's not awake, there's a reason for this. Adam does not assist in her creation; he's not a spectator. God, nowhere, says, Adam, what's your opinion about how I should do this? God is doing this. And this is exceptional, because nowhere in the text, including the naming of the creatures, does the man sleep. So I think this is important that Adam's not a participant.
I'd never considered that before. It's solely an experience between her and Elohim.
Don Parry 1:07:03
And it says in Genesis 1:27, that "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" And there's that that connection. I like that so much, Don. K,
So the next one, number four is the idea of 'good'. In Hebrew, it's the word Tov, and just a little side note - Tov is a name of a common name in Israel, of a first name or a surname of a lot of Israelis. So in Genesis 2, chapter 18, it says it is not good that man should be alone. Now remember, these words are set in the context of a series of seven formulaic expressions that Tammy already mentioned. Where good is utilized, God saw that it is good. So this is important that we now say, without; Eve's absence from the creation was not good.
Umm. Wow! That's so cool. Not good without her. I mean, I'm applying, I'm applying that 'not good' to everything, like meetings that we have at church, it is not good if there's not a woman sitting in that committee, you know. I mean, we have to be a part of it. I just said, that's, again, it finds place for her. So cool. Okay, number five.
Don Parry 1:08:28
Okay, number five, I'm just going to touch on because I understand your presenter next week is going to talk about help. But this is in Genesis 2, which is part of our reading for today,
Yep, we're good.
Don Parry 1:08:40
And this idea that Eve is called a 'help'. This is overlooked, and and some commentators through the centuries have not done well with this. Some have suggested that Eve was a 'helper', as if she's subordinate. But if you look at the word help in the Hebrew Bible, there are only two that are called Help. Eve is called Help twice. And then God, about a dozen times - and I've got several scriptural references here - God, about a dozen times is called 'The help'. So if Eve is subordinate, then God is, and we know that God is not subordinate. So that's the incorrect reading of the text. Eve is a help, God is a help.
And if you read each of these passages in context, it'll show that God sustains or maintains the life of His human creations. He's a help because He protects His creative works, including the male and female, from mortal destruction. Now I'm looking at several of these passages at once: from the sword, from savage enemies, from death, and from the grave. He preserves them during periods of trouble. He keeps them alive during famines, and so He's a help in all these ways, and we can learn about Eve as a help. So God is a help in so many ways.
Now let's go back and look at Eve as a help. She's called a help because she's a life- giver. She's a life force. She's the progenitor of all living who saved men - humankind - from mortal destruction and extinction. Now to prove that she's a help, when you jump to after the Fall, Genesis chapter 4, it then says she has her first child. So she's starting the human race. It's astounding to see Eve as a help. And it tells me so much about her eternal role and how much we have to be thankful for her.
Sharon Staples 1:10:56
Beautiful. So beautiful.
Oh my gosh. So if I understand you correctly, then you've said that the word 'help' is only used in the Old Testament a handful of times.
Don Parry 1:11:08
And so it's used twice to describe Eve.
Don Parry 1:11:11
and then about a dozen times to describe God. And that's the only time you're going to find that word 'help' in the Old Testament. Okay, I just want to make sure we uderstand that.
Don Parry 1:11:18
As the word Ezer. As the word ezer.
Yeah, Ezer. Yeah.
Don Parry 1:11:22
And I'm not the only one to who's noticed this. Other scholars have pointed this out.
Oh, Don, well, and I just have so much to say about when you talked about how God is a help for us, all the things that He does, and that, again, I just love how you taught us that the character zone, and the character zone of the Old Testament is God. It is it is Jehovah, and Yaweh, and, and what do you think, can I just ask you that, too? I mean, who, in your opinion, the God of the Old Testament is Jesus Christ, correct?
Don Parry 1:11:56
Yes. And it's not my opinion. We have the, we have statements by President Monson, President Hinckley, President Nelson, all who said, Jehovah is Jesus Christ.
That that's, really changes a lot of people's paradigms when they study the Old Testament. Yes, it's Jesus Christ speaking and not Elohim or God.
Don Parry 1:12:19
Yes. In fact, everywhere it says, 'LORD', all caps, L O R D, all caps, the Hebrew behind it is Jehovah or Yahweh, as you know.
Don Parry 1:12:30
And that that divine name appears over 5000 times in the in the Bible. I don't remember the exact number, but that's how often Jehovah, Jesus Christ speaks.
Wow. Ah, it's gonna be such a good study this year.
Oh, my goodness.
Don Parry 1:12:49
So, so yes, yes. Jehovah is, has the greatest character zone in the entire Old Testament.
Yep. He is the main character. Absolutely. In fact, on my computer, I have a little sticky note for this year as I study Old Testament as a reminder, and it says "Find Jesus". And I challenge everybody who's studying Old Testament with us this year to do the same thing. As you're reading the scriptures and as you're studying and preparing, find Jesus in the story, because I, just like how you said, He is the main character. He's the character zone of the Old Testament. So well, thank you, Don. Thanks for joining us today. And Sharon, wow.
Sharon Staples 1:13:28
It's just amazing. Just amazing.
Okay, so here's what we do at the end of our podcast, Don, is we ask our guests to just take a minute and share what their takeaway was, something that they learned today or that they really learned. Sharon and I have two pages filled with takeaways, so narrow it down Sharon. How are we going to do? Here we go.
Sharon Staples 1:13:47
My takeaway is to think outside the box, to think outside just the King James version of Genesis, to study outside the box. Study the Hebrew interpretations of the Old Testament. I just need to be more broad-minded, and not black and white, but to be understanding of other interpretations. And then through the spirit of the Holy Ghost determine for me and my house, what is true. That's kind of what I took away.
Sharon Staples 1:14:27
And a, and a huge sense of gratitude to Don Parry. And I'm very grateful. So thank you.
Don Parry 1:14:34
Any takeaway from you, Don?
Don Parry 1:14:38
When I read President Russell M Nelson's talk on the Atonement in preparation for this moment, I'm still amazed at his insights into the Creation and the Fall; how they all converge on our temples, and how we reenact these - the Adam and Eve narrative and the creation story in our temple, and how vital these are to the plan of salvation. But the most important point is Jesus Christ, who was the creator. Jesus Christ is the Great Atoner and because of Him, we will get to live and return back to our Father in Heaven's presence. And glory to our Heavenly Father.
Sharon Staples 1:15:31
Amen. Amen to both of you. Great takeaways. Thank you.
Sharon Staples 1:15:36
And yours, Tammy?
My takeaway was, as I was sitting here, thinking, and we talked about the time that Adam and Eve had to learn to be very obedient, and how God gives us time to do that. It made me think about my first experience in the temple. I was so overwhelmed, and I can remember the sweet temple matron saying to me, Listen, honey, it's your first time, just go feel the spirit. That's all you need to do. And every time I go to the temple, those words ring in my brain, because I'm still at the phase where I'm just trying to feel the spirit.
And I feel that way, as we study the Old Testament this year. For many of us, it's our first time reading the Old Testament. And so just feel the Spirit as you read these words, and find Jesus throughout this. And today was such a great example of how we can take beautiful words and learn more, and I just loved learning about the three temples, Don. That was so profound, and it was neat to think of a woman as a temple. So, what a great day. Thank you, friends, this was great,
Thank you, Tammy, thank you for bringing us together, Thank you so much, bye-bye.
Thanks for your time, Don. I appreciate it.
Don Parry 1:16:38
Good being here, bye.
Okay, so for those of you who are new, at the very end of each episode, I ask what your big takeaway was from this episode. So go on Facebook and Instagram and join our groups so that you can then share what your takeaway was. And then every week at the end of the week, we post a call on Saturday asking for what your big takeaway was. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you've learned today. I love reading them, it's my favorite part of Sunday. And then on Monday, I usually share a fun takeaway that someone shared on Facebook and Instagram.
You can get to both of our links by going to our show notes for this episode at LDSliving.com/sundayOnMonday, and it's not a bad idea to go there anyway, because that's where we have the links to all the references that we used today, as well as a complete transcript of this entire discussion. So go check it out.
The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our really incredibly fabulous study group participants were Don Parry and Sharon Staples. And you can find more information about these friends at LDSliving.com/sundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by Erika Free and me; it is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios, and our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom.
Thanks for being here; we'll see you next week. And you'd better remember, that the Creation of you was Very Good. You are Very beautiful. And you're God's Favorite.