As I was thumbing through by BYU Magazine (Summer 2013), I came across an article by David Rolph Seely, a professor of ancient scripture. In the article titled “Apprentices in the Master’s Workshop,” Seely states the following after quoting from the Book of Moses:
These passages remind us that creation as described in the Bible is not just an event but is a process that continues to this day. This was eloquently stated in a BYU devotional years ago by one of my good friends, Professor George S. Tate:
“Wasn’t the creation completed a very long time ago? Yes, in a sense it was . . . But in another sense, creation is ongoing, since its aim has not been fulfilled. If it is God’s work and [His] glory” to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (see Moses 1:39), creation is not complete until we have fulfilled the measure of our creation.”
While I strongly agree with the above statements by Seely and Tate, I find the article by Seely frustrating. He doesn’t really discuss the ramifications of his observation that the creation is a process. For example, if we are co-creators of the Earth with God, what are our real responsibilities? Shouldn’t we be respecting the Earth and its inhabitants? But this issue is never discussed.
After making the “process” declaration, his article degenerates into your standard Mormon discourse with little new information. Seely talks about some of our responsibilites:
Latter-day Saints are familiar with the gospel of doing: we do good works, we do our home teaching and visiting teaching, and we even call temple worship “temple work.” The scriptures are repete with commandments of doing or not doing. The Savior simply said, “Come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). By imitating the life of Jesus we learn obedience, compassion, love how to treat our fellows: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:50).
The above ways of being a co-creator are pretty sparse. Why can’t we get a strong endorsement for protecting the Earth? Why can’t we get a stronger endorsement for helping the poor. After all, over half the members of the Church will soon be living in developing countries. Don’t we have a strong obligation to our fellow church members and their neighbors? And by neighbors, I mean all our fellow travelers on this Earth.