Over at The Back Yard Professor (a fantastic sIte), Kerry Shirts was kind enough to give me a plug.
On that posting Ranger Dave also wrote some very kind words. He inquired about my view regarding the creative periods, and the fact that I believe we are currently in the sixth period, waiting for the seventh. But, I realized that that idea is in my book, Mormon Mysticism, but not on a post, so I am posting that short chapter here. I have omitted the footnotes, but you can find them here in my html version [link ]
Many truths of creation are taught in the temple and in scripture, yet many of those teachings are misunderstood among Latter-day Saints.
Jewish mysticism teaches us that the creation is still in progress. But, what does that mean?
Some Mormons walk around with a vague understanding of the creation that goes something like this, with some variations:
God planned the creation (spiritual creation). Then God created the earth through Christ, in six creative periods. Man was created during the sixth period, which ended creation. Somewhere in this sixth period Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. God rested upon the seventh period. And now here we are.
Superficially this sounds alright, but it is fraught with many logical problems. Besides that, this outline is in conflict with scripture, the temple, and Jewish theological tradition.
Words have meaning. We are taught that the heavens and the earth were created in six days. These days are creative periods, not twenty-four hour days. Trying to determine the age of the earth is beyond the space available to use here, but it most likely is billions of years old. Some will reject this proposal, so, for our purposes here, let’s use a lower number (because our point is still made with a fraction of the billions of years). We won’t even use millions of years. Let’s use a thousand years for each creative period. The creative periods must be close to being equal periods, otherwise the description of days becomes non-sense. If one period is a million years, and another period is an hour the description of “days” has no meaning.
One problem is; if Adam was created in the sixth period, and was expelled from the garden during the sixth period, then the thousand years of rest happened (seventh period), then the mortality of the rest of us begin (when Adam left the garden), how do we reconcile that with the life-span of Adam (Adam was less than a thousand years old)? It does not work.
Starting in Abraham chapter three, verse 22, God shows Abraham the pre-existence with the spirits. Abraham is then shown the spiritual creation and the planning of the physical creation, as ordered by God. The above spans from Abraham 3:22 through 5:5. This process was seven periods long, in the likeness (or pattern) of what was going to take place in the physical creation. At the end of these seven periods there was still no physical creation, as the scripture states there was no “rain upon the earth” because there was no earth yet, and God had not yet “formed a man.”
Then in the remainder of the Book of Abraham Adam’s spirit is placed into a body, and then he is introduced into the Garden of Eden.
Which means we have a more detailed description of the spiritual creation and planning. This is a pattern that the physical creation would follow. Then when describing the physical creation the description is truncated, we just jump to the point where Adam is in the garden. And we see that Adam and all the children of Adam will be created before the end of the sixth (physical) creative period.
“[And] thus we will finish the heavens and the earth, and all the hosts of them…” before the seventh period of rest begins. The “hosts” of heaven are the children of God that come to earth.
In other words, all the children of God that are going to come to this earth (Adam included), will come during the sixth creative period.
These seven creative periods should not be confused with the seven thousand years of the temporal existence of the earth (that starts with Adam leaving the garden at about 4,000 B.C.).
We now live in the sixth creative period. When all the spirit children of God that are coming to this earth (and most likely many earths in this eternity, since the creation described is of heaven and earth or perhaps earths) have processed through mortality, been resurrected, and have entered kingdoms of glory, then the sixth period will come to an end. And then there will be a seventh period of rest.
You live in the sixth period of creation, and the creation is continuing.