From Eden to Exaltation

The

Covenants of the Fathers

 

Bruce H. Porter

   I was only eleven years old, and even now remember the perfumed smell of the rich cedar smoke as it drifted through the small and seemingly circular room of the log hogan.  It was January, the Navajo reservation was cold and uninviting, yet, the warmth of the hogan was enticing after walking nearly a quarter of a mile from the truck.  In the semi darkness of the fire it seemed like a dream as I stood with the silent members of the Navajo family.  I watched in the heat of the haze filled room  as the local shaman or "medicine man"  squatted close to the open flame.  The colored sand slipped through his fingers, and as if by magic formed an intricate circular design on the earthen floor.  This sobering experience made a lasting impression in my mind as I was told when we left the home that the sand painting represented the world, light and darkness, male and female, and the creative forces used in their formation.  I will never forget the reverie like feeling as I stepped out of the "white man's" world into an alien environment filled with myth and ritual. 

Years later as an undergraduate, I began to realize that certain motifs continue to surface in the sea of cultural myth.[1]  The most common "myth" in all societies recapitulates elements of the cosmic creation (i.e., the Cosmogonic myth) 

and the formation of mankind by the gods.[2]   This Cosmogonic myth serves a single  ritual purpose, to connect the two realities of heaven and earth.  The process of bringing the visible and invisible worlds into a relationship with each other may be "accomplished through the metaphor, symbol, and allegory" of the creation.[3]  Knowing that the scriptures contain three accounts of the creation; (Genesis, Moses and Abraham, and not forgetting the fourth version in the Temple) I began to ask those terrible questions:  Why the creation of the earth and mankind?  What makes this concept so important to a people or culture?  Why does it show up so often?  What is the relationship between God, the cosmos and mankind? These questions are not original, the nostalgia for our beginning lies within every person, religion, or culture.  Myth, in a ritual setting, addresses the origins of humanity.  It describes the "Golden Age" without death and sin, followed by the introduction of mortality.  History is no more than a record of mankind's attempt to find and acquire the glorious pristine era of the past.

Barbara Sproul (non L.D.S.) in her informative and superb work, Primal Myths, begins her introduction with these insightful words:

The most profound human questions are the ones that give rise to creation myths: Who are we?  Why are we here? What is the purpose of our lives and our deaths?  How should we understand our place in the world, in time and space?  These are central questions of value and meaning . . . [4]

   These questions of Sproul are the queries of righteous men that generate dispensational visions and covenants from God.[5]  Revelations from the celestial realm to prophets on earth are given to assist mankind in understanding that `reality exists only in the realm of the sacred.'[6]  Only by learning what is "real" (only eternity is real) may we understand ourselves, and our potential in this world and worlds to come.[7]  The answers to these questions lie in the covenants and blessings that the first man, Adam, received from his creator in primordial time.  The Old Testament begins with the story of the creation.  The New Testament ends with the prophecy of a new heaven and earth.  This is not done out of an interest in history but because of "the theological message" the creation story conveys to Israel long after or before the actual event.  This religious message can only be transmitted through the ritual covenant process established by God in the beginning, and the redemption of mankind at the end.[8]  The story of the creation as contained in the Old Testament, according to Engnell, "has had from the beginning a cultic association."  This indicates that the text was used in some form of ritual.  Engnell concludes that a treatment of creation texts as pure literature, "with disregard of their possible ritual and cultic setting, may lead to the most fearful misinterpretations."[9]

   Mankind is composed of the body and the spirit, the mortal and immortal. He stands on the border of earth and heaven and binds the two together.  This threshold is crossed in Genesis 1:27-28 as God gives human beings the power to rule by the "exercise of reason" and agency in a world serviceable to their needs.[10]   Isaiah speaking of the creation of the Earth writes: "He did not create it a waste, but formed it for habitation" (Isa. 45:18).  This place=s man with divine commission to act in response to his relationship to God and the created environment.  These pristine covenants and blessings are enjoyed by the righteous and demanded by all people.  Even to professed nonbelievers, existence depends upon the consequences of cosmogonic myth, and a connection to deity.[11]  They (the nonbelievers) denounce the existence of God yet claim "inalienable rights" (as if they were the offspring of God).  Declaring that human beings are superior to all other creatures.  Wrongfully reserving to themselves the right, and obligation to control and exploit less intelligent forms of life and even the planet itself.[12] 

   The prophets have sought for and obtained the knowledge to answer the questions of Barbara Sproul:  Who are we?  Why are we here?  and  What our potential is after this life.   They have also received the covenants and authority to make the blessings given "in the beginning" last for eternity.[13]  Accordingly it is to the inspired words of the prophets we must turn in order to understand why the creation myth thrives in virtually all cultures.[14]  Abraham was one such prophet who continued to search for light and knowledge.  With revealed ordinances, truth and understanding, he became the grand archetype, and the "Father of the Faithful."

 ELEMENTS OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

   In the opening lines of the Book of Abraham the patriarch reveals the desires of his heart and those blessings and covenants which are most sacred and significant to him.  The prophet indicates that these "rights" were given to the first man in primordial time.  Thus coming from God, the blessings that originate "in the beginning" will assist in understanding our purpose in creation, and our relation with an Eternal Father.[15]  This testament and testimony of Abraham involves the priesthood and the endowment from on high which the patriarch receives and records for the benefit of his posterity (Abr. 2:31).  It reads:

And finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.  It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea even from the beginning, or before the foundations of the earth to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, on the first man, who is Adam, our first father, through the fathers unto me.  I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of  God unto the fathers concerning the seed (Abr. 1:2-4).

   In this preface to Abraham's endowment, statements are made that indicate he is seeking  for himself  "the blessings of the fathers."  Equally important he desires the authority to "administer" those same blessings to others. This endowed gift does not come to an individual by linage alone nor are they simply spontaneous.  These favors, writes Rowley "must be renewed by each generation of those that inherit it."[16]   By his "righteousness" and his desire to "possess a greater knowledge," Abraham receives this authority in his ordination to the priesthood as he becomes a "high priest."   This will allow him to secure these ordinances and covenant blessings of the priesthood, and as a patriarch entitle him to endow the same blessings and ordinances to his family.  These "blessings" included, in Abraham's words, becoming a "father of many nations" a "prince of peace" and a "rightful heir."  Abraham reveals that these covenants actually existed prior to him, and were in fact provided originally for his father and progenitor Adam, the first grand patriarch.[17]  The primordial nature of this blessing should be kept in mind with any discussion of the "Abrahamic Covenant" in order to appreciate the scriptural perception of God's relationship with mankind.  Understanding that Abraham's blessing did not originate with him, we should be able to trace this covenant pattern to generations earlier than himself.[18]   A knowledge of the covenants God made with our initial progenitor and subsequent patriarchs should give an enlightened discernment about our Father in Heaven's purposes, works and dealings, with His children who are created in His image and likeness.  Before the covenant elements of Adam are discussed let us review the Abrahamic Covenant and those blessings we should be so familiar with.

   LaSor states in his Old Testament Survey that "the call and blessing of Abraham represents a radical new development."[19]  To those familiar with modern revelation and scripture realize that the blessings referred to did not originate with Abraham, but are given to Adam and Eve at the time of their creation.  LaSor also feels (a little more close to the mark) that with this blessing of Abraham "God acts in history to begin a series of events that will heal the breach that sin has placed between Him and His world."[20]  The covenant blessing not only heals the "breach of sin" through repentance and obedience, but may also exalt mankind to the status of Heavenly Parent.

   There are three principal components that emerge from scripture in the covenant pattern of Abraham.  They are:  first, seed or posterity;  second, land or inheritance; and third, priesthood or dominion.[21]   The three ingredients are seen in the blessing of Abraham below.[22]

. . .and the Lord appeared unto me, and said unto me:  Arise, and take Lot with thee; for I have purposed to take thee away out of Haran, and to make of thee a minister to bear my name in a strange land which I will give unto thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession, when they hearken to my voice . . . My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee.   And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations; And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), For I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of thy body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal (Abr. 2:6-11).

   These verses clearly indicate that the three blessings of seed, inheritance, and priesthood  are the fundamental features in the covenant promises that God  made with Abraham.  Verse eleven reveals that "all the families of the earth will be blessed" by virtue of the priesthood, which priesthood the posterity of Abraham shall bear.  The record explains the blessings that will be conferred upon the families of the earth are in the ordinances of the Gospel, or the blessings of salvation, and eternal life.  We can conclude from this text of Abraham that the phrase "shall all the families of the earth be blessed" has direct reference to the priesthood and ordinances.  These ordinances Abraham and his posterity received and shall bear to all the families of the earth.[23]  As that phrase appears elsewhere in scripture we may assume and safely interpret that it has reference to the priesthood as in the circumstance of Gen. 12:3.

   These same blessings or covenant elements are seen not only in the history of Abraham as told in the Pearl of Great Price but also in the Old Testament.  Each component of this pattern will briefly be discussed as they relate to the Patriarch Abraham.

SEED or POSTERITY

   In Genesis we read of the Lord's promise to Abraham to make of him a "great nation" (Gen. 12:2).  Chapter  Fifteen of the same book reveals Abraham's concern with the fulfillment of the previous prophecy as he declares to God that "to me thou hast given no seed" (vs. 3).  The Lord responds by asking him to look "toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him (Abram) so shall thy seed be" (Gen. 15:5; see also Abr. 3:14, Gen. 12:16; and 17:6).  This promise of seed and posterity is clearly seen at the time that Abram receives his new name.

And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.  And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, as for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.  Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.  And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, (Gen. 17:2-6;  see also Abr. 3:14).

   

   Becoming the seed of Abraham by adoption is a concept all are familiar with and it need not be discussed here.24  It must be remembered that to the faithful, those elected to serve--the literal or adopted seed--belong the blessings of father Abraham.25 Herein lies one of the integral elements of the covenant and blessing that God made with Abraham and his righteous descendants, that of becoming a "father of many nations" (See Gen. 22:17; 26:4,24; 28:3; 35:11).26

LAND or INHERITANCE

   Subsequent to the guarantee of descendants an intrinsic question and blessing must follow:  Where will they live?  To Abraham the Lord states: "unto thy seed will I give this land" (Gen. 12:7), then again "In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates" (Gen.15:18).  The promise of an inheritance is readily recognized in the texts that deal with the blessings of Abraham.  This birthright blessing given by God and established in a covenant process and procedure can be seen in Genesis 17:

"And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.  And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God" (Gen. 17:7-8).

   In a legitimate sense, to receive an inheritance a person must be or become the recognized legatee of the individual bestowing the endowment or gift.  This can only be done by abiding by the covenants of the relationship established by the benefactor.27  Obedient to the gospel requirements and having all things "confirmed unto Adam, by an holy ordinance" (Moses 5:58-59) the Lord declares "Behold, thou (Adam) art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons" (Moses 6:68).  The endowed inheritance is given to Abraham by God, who becomes his legal benefactor.  This is seen in the Lord's comment that He (the Lord) will "be a God unto thee" and to Abraham's posterity "I will be their God" (Gen. 17:8).  This promise from deity establishes divine right or sanction for an individual or family to live in a designated area as a legal recipient.28  In this way Abraham became what he had desired, a "rightful heir".  The Lord told Abraham that he must lose his identity insomuch that he was to leave his country and  his "kindred" and go into a land where he would be a stranger (Abr. 2:3).29  At the same time the Lord commands Abraham to depart from his familiar way of life, there was an assurance of a more blessed restoration of that which he was to relinquish (Abr 2:6).  The promise of a new family, a new country or land, and even a great name constitutes an identity as a new nation.30 Clearly this can be seen in the promise that "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing" (Gen. 12:1,2). 31

   These two blessings of posterity and land inheritance lie at the heart and foundation of every culture as they begin the process of creating a "new" people, nation and identity.  Like Abraham, these elements exist in virtually every new life style or existence that humanity enters into by command and sanction of God.

PRIESTHOOD or DOMINION

   Abraham's desire to become a "father of many nations" and a "rightful heir" is apparent within the scriptural contexts that have been discussed.  His desire to become a "prince of peace" portrays priesthood or dominion as the third element of the covenant formula.

The notion of the priesthood is not so readily apparent in the Old Testament.  However, it does exist within the context of Abrahamic Covenant passages.  As seen in the quotation of Abraham Chapter Two, it is by virtue of the priesthood that "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" with the gospel of salvation and the ordinances of eternal life.32  These ordinances are administered to mankind by the righteous posterity of Abraham (literal or adopted).  All families of the earth are eventually blessed with the saving and exalting ordinances within the Temple.  This "sealing" of families back to Adam and then to God through the Patriarchal lines and orders must be done if the creation of the earth is not to be "utterly wasted at His coming".  This priesthood and it's ministry, is promised to continue in Abraham and in his righteous seed through generations yet to come.  This third ingredient of the Abrahamic Covenant is confirmed in inspired Latter-day scripture; and with this revealed knowledge, the priesthood covenant becomes discernible in the traditional texts.

 

   Abraham desired to become a "prince of peace," to take upon himself the title and responsibility given to the Great High Priest Melchizedek.  In the Book of Mormon Melchizedek is "called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father" (Alma 13:18).  The prophet Joseph Smith in his translation of the Bible reveals again that Melchizedek was "ordained a high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch," and that because he was a priest of this order "he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of Peace" (J.S.T. Gen. 14:27, 33, 36).  The hebrew word `melech' means "king," and `tzadik' is "righteousness," hence, in construct form Melchizedek or "King-of-righteousness, became a title and label of identification.  Both of these terms, `prince of peace' and `king of righteousness,'  within scriptural context, are intimately connected with the priesthood.33  To become a "prince of peace" as Melchizedek and Jesus Christ are called, constitutes a blessing that Abraham sought for, and received from his fathers, even Melchizedek (J.S.T. Gen. 14:40, see also D.&C. 84:14).34

   Abraham received the promise that not only would he be fruitful, but that "kings" would come from him, and from Sarai "kings of people shall be of her" (Gen. 17:6, 16).35  To Israel (the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) the restoration of this covenant was to be achieved at Sinai.  Here the Lord covenants to make them, if faithful and obedient, a "kingdom of Priests, and an holy nation" (Ex. 19:6). 

 

   Contained within the scope of kingship is dominion, the authority to rule the area over which the king and queen will be the responsible sovereigns.  Commanded to "walk through the land in the length of it and the breadth of it" (Gen. 13:14-16) the Lord charged Abraham to examine and inspect his responsibility.  The custom of the new king traveling throughout his domain or kingdom is a familiar motif in the coronation ceremonies of the Ancient Near East.36

 

The authority of the king to reign is literally inherent, as he traditionally represents the Son of God on earth.  He becomes the priest/king, and passing through the ordinances of "the first born," sits upon the throne by divine sanction.37  The king as mediator, and "persona" of the Son of God, is responsible for the physical and the spiritual well-being of all subjects that live within the boundaries of the kingdom.38  Abraham and his posterity receive promises to become  kings and priests, not only in a temporal and earthly sense, but unto God.  To be a "prophet, priest and king" is the role of a "patriarch" and the corresponding priesthood.39  He is to rule as a king over his posterity in righteousness, caring for their temporal needs.  As the "high priest" he must administer to their spiritual needs, and confirm the blessings and ordinances of salvation and exaltation.40  The prophetic office of patriarch fulfills the need of continued guidance and revelation in the changing environment of his posterity.  The right of "kingship" (i.e. an endowment of power and authority) is invested in Abraham and his posterity by virtue of the priesthood they hold. The ordinances in which they participate, make them heirs of all that God hath, thus each person becoming a "firstborn" and son or daughter unto God.  This Priesthood (patriarchal) had been passed down to Abraham, "from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth to the present time" (Abr. 1:3).41  These covenants are the "rights of the firstborn," (spiritual and physical firstborn) and were given to the first man who is Adam, our first father. Describing the Patriarchal priesthood the Lord states:

 

The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made.  This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage (D.C. 107:40-41).

  

 

   Abraham entered into this order and received the authority to administer the blessings of this priesthood to his posterity.42   Joseph Smith states that this patriarchal priesthood is to be received and understood within the temple.43 The covenant blessings of this order can be received only by a couple entering into "this order of the priesthood, meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage" (D.&C. 131:2).44  To have posterity without number in the order of the patriarchal priesthood as a rightful heir, are the promised blessings to the faithful "begotten sons and daughters unto God."

The blessings of posterity, land and priesthood are the inherent blessings and rights/rites of kingship.  To receive an "endowment of power" from on high in effect is a coronation ceremony.  Not necessarily to make one a king or queen here on the earth but a king and queen, priest and priestess to God.  Adam and Eve, being the earliest to receive this endowment from deity become the primal patriarchal parents, the first king and priest, queen and priestess unto God on earth, the great and grand parents of all mankind.45

 

Adam and Eve are the example and archetype for all their offspring.46  That which they did we must do, what they received we also must receive.  The covenants that Adam and Eve entered into with God must be the same for us. Abraham declares that the covenants and blessings he sought for and received were the same given to the first man.  In this context Abraham becomes the man Adam as all must do looking for the endowment of divine kingship and exaltation.47  The coronation ceremonies through out the world are patterned after the first sovereigns given the responsibility to multiply, subdue and have dominion over the earth.48  Engnell describes Adam in "royal categories" these are: 1) divine - because he is created in the image of God and lives because of the "breath of God," an immortal being.  2) The "enthroning" - of Adam as the ruler of the cosmos, given dominion over all creation.  3) Adam the Gardener in paradise  as he is to "dress and keep" he is the responsible for the welfare of the kingdom, or world.  4) Receives the royal robe, the covering and clothing given by God.  5) Partner in creation - to give names to the animals.  6) Adam the hieros gamos -participates in the sacred marriage and becomes the father of the race.  He is the first man who must fight with the dragon, partaking of the tree of knowledge, and losing immortality.49

PRE-FALL BLESSINGS OF ADAM AND EVE

   Chapter Two of the Book of Moses, records the creation of mankind and how they were made in God's "image" and "likeness."   Created like God, in looks and in substance.50  They were formed, God said "in mine own image...male and female created I them" (Moses 2:26-27).  Before proceeding further we must review a few points of the creation so far as the man and woman are concerned.  The Hebrew word for our English translation "help meet" comes from &$#1, 9'3, meaning a `helper meet for him.'  The root ($#1) `neged' means to be `in front of' or `counterpart' and connected with the preposition as it stands in scripture (&$#1,) `kenegdo' means `corresponding to him, equal to and adequate to himself.'51  In short, it is to be worthy of each other and be a "helper meet,"  one who will `match' and not to be unequal (in a greater or lesser degree) to the spouse.52  Before the fall, this verse establishes an anthropology of equality and "grounds a relationship of mutuality between the sexes."53  Consequently the creation of man cannot be complete until the introduction of the woman.  Thus man cannot be called  "man" until he has a wife.54  "It is not good that man should be alone" (Gen. 2:18), so to make it "good" God created man in the image of his own body, "male and female, created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam" (Moses 6:9).  Being created in the divine image then "characterizes and defines" humanity as a whole and not an individual sex within the offspring of God.55  To be human means to be made in the "image of God" male and female, thus both sexes "must be characterized equally by the image."56   Speaking of this equitable female counterpart Adam declares:  "This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh" (Moses 4:23-24).57  The word "cleave" has two meanings in modern English, consolidation or separation.  However, in the Hebrew (8"$) `cleave' has the meaning of connecting together, like "bone to skin" or a "physical proximity retained" "joined together" not to be separated.58  In language that we are familiar, "cleave" means the same as "sealed."59  Thus a man shall leave his father and mother and be "sealed" to a wife.   Only within the framework of eternal marriage, Adam and Eve sealed together (equal in the covenant blessings) can the creation of mankind be complete.  Thus he "called their name Adam."  Within Jewish tradition exists a belief that God intended human beings to live in marital union, and that a human being could be considered in "the image of God" only when united as a procreative couple.60   Sequentially the Jewish marriage commemorates the first human marriage solemnized in the Garden of Eden.61   

   The male and female offspring of God, in a sinless and innocent state are blessed with characteristics that will make them most like their Father.  This distinguishes humans as unique, as they bear the divine image and stand only slightly below God (Ps. 8:6).62  Genesis 1:27, 28; (Moses 2:27, 28) ends creation and begins humanity, establishing the purpose of God's works and words.  Verse 28 places mankind at the top of created order and makes them "partners of God" in His work of creation, "to carry on and complete the process His creation began."63   The following verse, according to Cohen, establishes Adam and Eve as the primal king and queen, expounding that this passage is "replete with the imagery of enthronement."64

And I, God, blessed them, and said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth  (Moses 2:28).

   This "blessing," and it is just that, not necessarily a commandment in this state, guarantees divine providence and an enduring relationship between God and the recipients of any age.65  The verse conveys sacred blessing and also denotes God's entry into an exclusive covenantal relationship" with the patriarchs and the promised posterity.66  This verse marks the blessing of righteous humanity "par excellence."67

   In this pre-fall condition "God blessed them" and "said unto them(.*%-! .%- 9/!*& .*%-! .<! +9"*&) not separately or individually, but together as one entity.  Each promised blessing in this sinless paradisiacal existence is given to the man and the woman together as they "share equally in the various aspects of the divine charge."68  Under the conditions of equal creation and equal responsibility the man and woman become, as Adam declares, "one flesh." Companionship and the sharing of work, "mutual attraction and commitment in a bond superseding all other human bonds" conveys the purpose of "the intended partnership" for which Adam was created male and female.69  This verse implies, and some scholars agree that the "motif of a divinely sponsored wedding is lurking in the background of Gen. 1:28."70  The verse quoted above (Gen. 1:28; Moses 2:28) constitutes a blessing and scriptural remanent of the ordinance of eternal marriage pronounced on the first couple.71  The heavenly blessing of Genesis 1:28 rests "upon the male and female who are like one," sealed together in righteousness.72

PRE-FALL BLESSINGS OF POSTERITY

   

   Adam and Eve were "blessed" with the health and power required to pro-create.  They are told that this power would be used to multiply and have posterity enough to fill the earth.  The capacity of procreation, along with dominion and inheritance, some what defines the purpose for which God's offspring consists of male and female.73   The resemblance between this covenant blessing and its relationship to the promise of posterity made to Abraham is obvious. Contained within them (the man and woman) lies  the power to beget, to bear offspring with "seed in themselves, after their own kind."  Procreation is a godly quality and blessing, and must beheld sacred.74  This power may be used to create a "divine" or "devilish" quality based on the correct or incorrect attitudes, circumstances and use.75  The Law of Chastity or Virtue is an eternal law given for our temporal and spiritual benefit and glory.  The power to multiply and fill the earth are endowed attributes and abilities which the children of an Eternal Father receive in order to perpetuate the glory of God.  "Which glory" the scripture states  "shall be a fullness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever" (D.& C. 132:19).  Scriptural and prophetic testimony support the centrality of procreation as a major theme of primeval history.  This blessing of power to have posterity, leads into the subsequent blessing of inheritance that "the earth might answer the end of its creation; and that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made" (D.& C. 49:16-17).76

PRE-FALL INHERITANCE

   Together Adam and Eve were "blessed" to subdue the earth, and to bring it under their subjection.  The Oxford English Dictionary (O.E.D.) lists five definitions of the word `subdue.'  All refer to the concept `to obtain control' of someone or something.  In regard to subduing the land, it is to `bring under cultivation' or make it `belong to' the one who will cultivate or subdue it.  The Hebrew word means to "render productive" which according to Cohen means the "subdued earth is a land that will serve it's master productively."77   The pattern of ancient and sacral kingship conveys the idea that a "primeval feature in this mythic-ritual pattern is that the king is gardener" in the primordial world or garden.78  Contained within this definition of "subdue" is the ability to create, and receive an inheritance of land for the promised posterity.79  In a pre-earth state the Gods counsel among themselves about the promised inheritance:  "We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these (spirit children) may dwell" (Abr. 3:24,26).  The earth exists as the created inheritance given from God to his progeny.  A place that we might prove ourselves within our stewardship and be found worthy of the similar but eternal gift of the earth in it's celestial glory.  Adam and Eve are told to "go to" and take care of their inheritance, to "dress and keep" the new world in which they had been placed.  The notion of "subdue" implies not only inheritance but also responsibility for the proper use and control of the newly endowed gift.  The blessings of a dependable and ordering life can only become a reality if "righteousness is practiced by the historical agent of the order, namely the king."80   Election to this position of stewardship and covenant blessing belong together.  Thus "loyalty to covenant was essential to the continuance of the election, and loyalty to the covenant required obedience to the will of God."81  In this new creation, Adam, the primeval king was the "only one with the ability to be at home in any part of the world."82  As the first father in this new world, Adam must also have the power and authority to administer to his posterity, the ordinances of salvation and eternal life.  This logically leads to the blessing of priesthood.

PRE-FALL PRIESTHOOD