The Pearl of Great Price, translated by prophet Joseph Smith partly from some Egyptian papyri and partly through direct revelation while working on a translation of the Bible, says much about creation.
The first book in the collection is the Book of Moses. It begins with Moses being caught up onto a high mountain and transfigured before God, so that he is able to speak with God face to face. “… and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence” (Moses 1:2).
Moses learns that God has created so many worlds that they can’t be numbered by man, but are all known to God. He learns that as one of these worlds is passing away, another is being created, and that all of the worlds were and are created by God through “the Word of His Power,” Jesus Christ.
And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten (Moses 1:33).
And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.
And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:37-39).
This final verse is one of the most profound in scripture, for it tells us why God has created the universe and us in it. Immortality is ours in the resurrection, a gift without qualification given to men and women through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The latter, “eternal life,” means not salvation, but exaltation into the highest realm of heaven, where God Himself dwells.
This information given to Moses tells us something abou life on other planets. First, that it exists; second, that it exists plentifully; and third, that it exists for the children of God, who may be found throughout the vast universe, people like us, worshiping Jesus Christ.
The Creation of this Earth
The Lord God tells Moses that He will only show him this earth, because no one can view all of God’s creations and remain in the flesh. The Lord then presents an account of the creation of this earth very similar to the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament. There are variations, however.
When God speaks of the creation of the earth, He uses the “we” form, because He created the world with His Son:
And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and it was so (Moses 2:26).
This seems to differ from the Genesis account, which sounds like God is creating heaven and earth by Himself. But the same report is in Genesis. Because most Christians believe in trinity, three beings in one essence, they don’t view God the Father and Jesus Christ as two separate people, but in Genesis it says,
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… (Genesis 1:26).
In Genesis a very vague allusion is made to the fact that the earth was created spiritually before it was created physically:
And every plant of the earth before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground (Genesis 2:5).
This is more clear in the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price:
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air (Moses 3:5, emphasis added).
Mormon doctrine teaches of a pre-mortal existence, where God created everything, including the earth and all of us, spiritually. We lived with God as His spirit children in this realm, and thus, He knows us infinitely and intimately as more than mortal beings.
More About Pre-Mortal Life
After the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price is the Book of Abraham. Abraham is instructed by God of spiritual matters and the workings of the cosmos, which he in turn is commanded to teach the Egyptians. Abraham learns something about “foreordination,” the choosing of God’s worthy children in the pre-mortal realm to be His leaders on earth. Foreordination is not the same as predestination. The Lord does everything to protect our free agency. Predestination would guarantee our performance and leave us without choice. Foreordination allows for desire and worthiness to qualify us on earth for the Lord’s service. If we fail, God will raise up others in our place to do His will.
And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all (Abraham 3:19).
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born (Abraham 3:22, 23).
God then taught Abraham that the world was not created ex nihilo, from nothing, but was organized from existing materials in chaos or entropy.
And there stood one among them that was like unto God (Jesus Christ), and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them (Abraham 3:24, 25).
And therein lies the purpose of creation. The Lord has created for us this earth, organized from existing material, as a place where we can learn faith and prove ourselves through our works, desires, and choices, that He can give us immortality and eternal life. The earth is a place to grow to become more like Him, so that we can dwell with Him forever.