Materiality of Creation

“There is only so much property in the world. There are the elements that belong to this globe, and no more. . . . [A]ll our commercial transactions must be confined to this little earth and its wealth cannot be increased or diminished.”
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 13:304 (Nov. 13, 1870). 13:304 (Nov. 13, 1870).
"Our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science in any particular. You may take geology, for instance, and it is true science; not that I would say for a moment that all the conclusions and deductions of its professors are true, but its leading principles are; they are facts—they are eternal; and to assert that the Lord made this earth out of nothing is preposterous and impossible [see Abraham 3:24; D&C 131:7 ]. God never made something out of nothing; it is not in the economy or law by which the worlds were, are, or will exist. There is an eternity before us, and it is full of matter; and if we but understand enough of the Lord and his ways we would say that he took of this matter and organized this earth from it. How long it has been organized it is not for me to say, and I do not care anything about it. … If we understood the process of creation there would be no mystery about it, it would be all reasonable and plain, for there is no mystery except to the ignorant. This we know by what we have learned naturally since we have had a being on the earth."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young
“[T]he word create came from the word baurau, which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos – chaotic matter, which is element and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time He had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning and can have no end.”
Church Leaders
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Presidents of the Church
History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B.H. Roberts, 2d ed, rev., 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1971), 6:308-09 (quoting Joseph Smith sermon April 7, 1844).
"The scriptures plainly and repeatedly affirm that God is the Creator of the earth and the heavens and all things that in them are. In the sense so expressed, the Creator is an Organizer. God created the earth as an organized sphere; but He certainly did not create, in the sense of bringing into primal existence, the ultimate elements of the materials of which the earth consists, for 'the elements are eternal' ( Doc. & Cov. 93:33 ).
Church Leaders
Joseph F. Smith
Presidents of the Church
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith
"I marvel when I think of this world so rich in beauty, so perfect in function. This world was created by Jesus Christ under the direction of our Heavenly Father. Creation is one of the characteristics that defines God. He takes matter without form and molds it into stars, planets, and solar systems. 'Worlds without number have I created,' He tells us."
Church Leaders
Mary Ellen Smoot
General Authorities
"We Are Creators," May 2000
“We will go farther than geologists dare to go, and say that the materials of which the earth is composed are eternal, they will never have an end.”
Church Leaders
Orson Pratt
General Authorities
Journal of Discourses, 18:294, Nov. 12, 1876.
"All the organizations of worlds, of minerals, of vegetables, of animals, of men, of angels, of spirits, and of the spiritual personages of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Ghost, must, if organized at all, have been the result of the self combinations and unions of the preexistent, intelligent, powerful, and eternal particles of substance. These eternal Forces and Powers are the Great First Causes of all things and events that have had a beginning."
Church Leaders
Orson Pratt
General Authorities
"Great First Cause, or the Self-Moving Forces of the Universe," rpt., in The Essential Orson Pratt, foreword by David J. Whittaker (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1991), 196.
"I testify that the earth and all life upon it are of divine origin. The Creation did not happen by chance. It did not come ex nihilo (out of nothing). And human minds and hands able to build buildings or create computers are not accidental. It is God who made us and not we ourselves. We are His people! The Creation itself testifies of a Creator. We cannot disregard the divine in the Creation. Without our grateful awareness of God’s hand in the Creation, we would be just as oblivious to our provider as are goldfish swimming in a bowl."
Russell M. Nelson
General Authorities
“The Creation, The Creation,” Ensign (May 2000), 84.
"I testify that the earth and all life upon it are of divine origin. The Creation did not happen by chance. It did not come ex nihilo (out of nothing). And human minds and hands able to build buildings or create computers are not accidental. It is God who made us and not we ourselves. We are His people! The Creation itself testifies of a Creator. We cannot disregard the divine in the Creation. Without our grateful awareness of God’s hand in the Creation, we would be just as oblivious to our provider as are goldfish swimming in a bowl."
Church Leaders
Russell M. Nelson
General Authorities
“The Creation, The Creation,” Ensign (May 2000), 84.
And I, God, said: Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed should be in itself upon the earth, and it was so even as I spake.
Pearl of Great Price
11 2
Moses
Moses 2:11
And there stood one among them that was like unto God, 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;
Pearl of Great Price
24 3
Abraham
Abraham 3:24
"Latter-day Saints have, in addition to the biblical Genesis, two modern restorations of ancient scriptural accounts of the Creation in the Book of Moses and the book of Abraham. Related authoritative information also appears in the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the LDS temple ceremony. Drawing on this wealth of creation literature, Latter-day Saints understand that Jesus Christ, acting under the direction of God the Father, created this and other worlds to make possible the immortality and eternal life of human beings who already existed as spirit children of the Father. This understanding differs from both scientific and traditional Christian accounts in that it affirms God's purpose and role, while recognizing creation as organization of preexisting materials, and not as an ex nihilo event (creation from nothing). . . . A significant feature of this revealed account is that both the space and the materials for the earth explicitly existed before its creation."
Other Sources
F. Kent Nielsen and Stephen D. Ricks
Other Writings of Mormons
Daniel H Ludlow's Encyclopedia of Mormonism, page 340-343 "Creation, Creation Accounts."
"To make a world is to borrow, recycle, and repurpose the matter that, even if disorganized, is already out there mattering. All creation is reorganization."
Other Sources
Adam S. Miller
Other Writings of Mormons
"Recompense" in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 44, no. 2 (Summer 2011)
"[T]he thought that our Heavenly Father uses natural law in His creative processes inspires within me even greater reverence than I would have for a simple magician or conjurer who seems to produce watches out of nothing."
Other Sources
Paul Cox
Other Writings of Mormons
"Paley's Stone, Creationism, and Conservation,” in Stewardship and the Creation: LDS Perspectives on the Environment, eds. George B. Handley, Terry B. Ball, and Steven L. Peck (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center), 33–42.
"Within Mormonism, this vital primordial force is intelligence. Thus, the vitalistic tradition contains scriptures and teachings that elaborate on the nature of intelligence. It also includes teachings such as the eternal nature of matter and expands traditional Christian notions of spirit to nonhumans, including the earth itself, both of which join humans in possessing an eternal existence."
Other Sources
Jason M. Brown
Other Writings of Mormons
"Whither Mormon Environmental Theology?" in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 44, no. 2 (Summer 2011)
"In the New Testament God's commitment to be 'with us' and to fully share in the life of this world becomes most intimate in the flesh of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus does not ever dismiss or disparage bodies . . . instead he heals and feeds and exorcises and touches the bodies of others so that they can each live into the fullness of their potential."
Other Sources
Norman Wirzba
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
From Nature to Creation, 2