Moses 2:1-3:3

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Home > The Pearl of Great Price > Moses > Chapter 2 / Verses 2:1-3:3
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Relationship to Moses. The relationship of Chapter 2 to the rest of Moses is discussed at Moses.


Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 2 include:

Moses 2:1-3:3 is the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 1:1-2:3. This page is not intended, however, to address Genesis. It is intended only to address the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis. It is therefore suggested that readers consult the page that does address Genesis 1:1-2:3 before viewing this page. Contributors are likewise asked to respect this distinction. The idea is that a reader should be able to find content about an original passage from Genesis on the wiki page addressing that passage.

Verses 2:1-3:3 are the Joseph Smith Translation account of the Creation. The relationship of this account to the rest of the book of Moses is discussed at Moses, and its relationship to the rest of Genesis is discussed at Genesis.

This account can be outlined as follows:

A. The creation (Genesis 1 / Moses 2)
• Day 1: sun (2:1-5)
• Day 2: firmament (2:6-8)
• Day 3: dry land and plant life (2:9-13)
• Day 4: lights in sky: sun, moon, and stars (2:14-19)
• Day 5: fish and birds (2:20-23)
• Day 6: land animals and mankind (2:24-31)
• Day 7: rest (3:1-3)


This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Verse 2:2: Was darkness caused? In Moses 2:2 the phrase "darkness was upon the face of the deep" is replaced with the phrase "I caused darkness to come up upon the face of the deep."
  • Verse 2:9: "Let there be ..." Here God uses the same "let there be" phrase to create dry land as he does to create light (v 3), the firmament (v. 6), and the lights in the firmament (v. 14). This is different from the account in Gen 1:9 where God simply says "let the dry land appear," and the account in Abr 4:9 where God says "let the earth come up dry." This makes the declaration of verse 1, that "[God] created the heaven and the earth," more obviously and literally true. Furthermore, this account in Moses forms a starker contrast between heaven, earth, and light versus the waters and darkness—that is, God more explicitly creates heaven, earth and light whereas the waters and darkness seem to be there before God begins his act of creation.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

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Verse 1[edit]

  • "the Almighty God." Is it just coincidence or does this phrase appear in the scriptures only at the beginning of dispensations?
  • "this heaven." Why does this phrase appear nowhere else in the scriptures? Why was it reserved for this spot in the scriptures and what does it mean?
  • "the heaven." Why do the Old Testament and Pearl of Great Price employ both the singular "the heaven" and the plural "the heavens" a similar number of times, while the Book of Mormon almost exclusively prefers the plural?
  • Verse 2: Causing darkness. Why does God say "I caused darkness to come up upon the face of the deep" (emphasis added)? Notice in Gen 1:2 it simply says "darkness was upon the face of the deep", (emphasis in the original). Why might the Lord have needed to cause the earth to be darkened in the beginning?
  • Verse 2: Darkness before light. How might it be possible to cause darkness to come up (verse 2) before having issued the divine injunction "let there be light"(verse 3)?
  • Verse 12: All is good. At the end of verse 12, where Genesis says God saw that the creations of the day are good, Moses says God saw that "all things which I had made were good." This difference also occurs in the other places where Genesis says God saw the creation was good. What does Genesis's approach teach us? What does Moses's approach teach us?

Verse 26[edit]

  • "which." Why does this verse follow the somewhat frequent pattern in scriptures such as 2 Ne 31:4, of using the "which" pronoun, rather than "who" or "whom," to refer to the Lord? How does it treat God as a living entity rather than as an object?
  • "Let us." How do we know God isn't asking for permission when he says "Let us make man"? Would it be more accurate to equate the phrase "let us" with the contraction "let's"?


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Verses 29[edit]

  • No mention of flesh: Note that there is no mention of flesh (eating animals) here, in contrast to what God says to Noah after the flood in Gen 9:2-4.


Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.

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