A Creation Pattern in 3 Nephi: Matter Organized

A Creation Pattern in 3 Nephi: Matter Organized May 15, 2018

Have you ever considered the pattern of creation followed in 3 Nephi during the Savior’s ministry to the people?  As I thought about the chaos and darkness, then subsequent light, the notion that it followed a creation patterned dawned on me.

First, the earth cleaved.

Chaos and Destruction: Matter Organized

Kilauea Lava Fields PC: Debbie Tanner

As if mourning the God of Creation’s crucifixion, horrific storms wreaked havoc on the Americas. 3 Nephi 8 and 3 Nephi 9 catalog the disasters the enabled Mormon to categorically state “[F]or behold, the whole face of the land was changed.”

When the people heard the Savior’s voice from heaven, Jesus declared His role as Creator.

“Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.”

The upheaval that maimed and changed the face of the land lasted for three hours.  But its impacts continued during the three days of darkness. Finally, on the fourth day, this creation completed its designs.

And it came to pass that thus did the three days pass away. And it was in the morning, and the darkness dispersed from off the face of the land, and the earth did cease to tremble, and the rocks did cease to rend, and the dreadful groanings did cease, and all the tumultuous noises did pass away.

And the earth did cleave together again, that it stood; and the mourning, and the weeping, and the wailing of the people who were spared alive did cease; and their mourning was turned into joy, and their lamentations into the praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord Jesus Christ, their Redeemer.

Disaster and mourning turned to morning and praise when the earth cleaved together and stood.

Cleave Unto Him

I usually think of cleave’s divisive definition. But its paradoxically opposite definition applies so beautifully to this creation pattern.

Cleave: “Split or sever (something), make a way through (something) forcefully, as if by splitting it apart”  versus “stick fast to, become very strongly involved with or emotionally attached to (someone), to remain faithful (to).”

Moses commanded the House of Israel,

Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

Mom and two boys walk across lava fields
Kilauea Lava Rift Zone PC: Debbie Tanner

This cleaving, gluing relationship to God features prominently throughout the Old and New Testaments.  That relationship carries over to cleaving to spouse and other relationships (for good or ill.)  There’s warnings about not cleaving to wicked or cursed things so pestilences and diseases won’t cleave to you.  People cleave—to God, to each other, to things, to situational illness.

However, what interested me is that upon inspection, I only found two other references to objects that cleave.

When triumphant Messiah returns to Jerusalem, He steps on the Mount of Olives and it cleaves in two. Several references point to this unique event.

But this reference in 3 Nephi is the only reference to mention earth and cleave (glued together).

The other object that cleaves together is Light (intelligence is light and truth.)

For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things. …

in the perfect example of this cleaving definition

He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.

Cleave and Stand

Mother and son watching volcanic steam rise from the scarred earth
Kilauea Rift Zone PC: Debbie Tanner

Just prior to the temple veil cleaving in twain at the death of the Son of God, He prayed to the Father that the Father, Himself, and we would cleave together and be one.

As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

In glorious creation, the earth cleaved together and stood. Through the Savior’s atoning grace, we can, too.

[M]y disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved.

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