We know that some kind religion and religious observation has been part of man’s existence from the very beginning of man’s history. How did man first come up the idea that there was a God? There have been many scholarly books written about the “evolution” of God or the “history” of God. Knowing that I approach this subject rather timidly because it is only a blog post, but I have been thinking about this and have some thoughts that I hope add to the discussion.
Although there is much archeological evidence about the beginnings of man on the earth, the first written information of the history of man is the book of Genesis by Moses. Since Moses wasn’t alive during the time period of the book of Genesis, it is fair to ask how Moses knew of the those events before he was born. Again there is much discussion on this subject. He undoubtedly had access to some kind of record of the historical events he wrote about after the creation and Fall of Adam and Eve, but how did he know about the creation which happened before man came upon the face of the earth? The following statement is from the website creationstudies.org.
“This section, [meaning Genesis 1-4] describing the initial Creation and the work of the six days, has no human name attached to it, for the obvious reason that no man was present at the time to record what happened. It must either have been written directly by God Himself and then given to Adam, or else given by revelation to Adam, who then recorded it. http://www.creationstudies.org/Education/wrote_genesis.html“
Moses, as the writer of the book of Moses, either had access to Adam’s record or the Lord revealed it to him, anew. Either way, it if clear that the only way for mankind to learn of the existence of God is for God to reveal himself. Man did not create or invent God. God created man. Much has been said about the “evolution” of God as if God were in a process of change, but scriptures teach us that God is from “everlasting to everlasting.” He is the same, “yesterday, today and forever.” At various and sundry times through the ages, it is man who has removed himself from God.
“LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God (Psalms 90:1-2)
We know that God communicated with Adam in the Garden of Eden. He also communicated to Adam after he left the Garden. In the last post I discussed the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. It sheds great clarity on this subject.
“And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence. And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord. And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters. (Moses 4:4-, 12)
God, in his infinite mercy, continued to communicate to Adam and Eve. They knew and worshipped God. He gave them commandments for right living and he was obedient to those commandments. They taught their children about God because they had personal experience with Him. Joseph Smith discusses this topic in his book Lectures on Faith.”
[We have discussed] the way by which mankind were first made acquainted with the existence of a God; that it was by a manifestation of God to man, and that God continued, after man’s transgression, to manifest himself to him and to his posterity; and, notwithstanding they were separated from his immediate presence that they could not see his face, they continued to hear his voice. Adam, thus being made acquainted with God, communicated the knowledge which he had unto his posterity; and it was through this means that the thought was first suggested to their minds that there was a God, which laid the foundation for the exercise of their faith, through which they could obtain a knowledge of his character and also of his glory. (Lectures on Faith, #2)
Adam communicates a knowledge of God to his posterity
As the above quotes states, “Adam, thus acquainted with God, communicated the knowledge which he had to his posterity.” The idea of God is first presented to each of us by another human being, usually our parents, but, certainly not always. It is by human testimony that we have the first thoughts presented to us that there is a God. Joseph continues:
“From this we can see that the whole human family in the early age of their existence, in all their different branches, had this knowledge disseminated among them; so that the existence of God became an object of faith in the early age of the world. And the evidences which these men had of the existence of a God, was the testimony of their fathers in the first instance. Let this class mark particularly, that the testimony which these men had of the existence of a God, was the testimony of man; for previous to the time that any of Adam’s posterity had obtained a manifestation of God to themselves, Adam, their common father, had testified unto them of the existence of God, and of his eternal power and Godhead.” (Lectures on Faith, #2)
All through the ages faith comes by hearing the word of God
Paul teaches the same thing when he says that faith comes by hearing the word of God.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?And how shall they preach, except they be sent? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:14-17)
If the faith of others could be dependent on my communication of my faith, how great is my responsibility to communicate that faith to others, to let my light shine. I have been in the presence of great men and women of faith who have communicated their faith to me in ways that have burned into my heart. I had no doubt that they knew.