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BRENT - I have heard many members of the church hypothesize that when they are responsible for creation, they will make all sorts of new creatures. The scriptures teach us that our existence is eternal, and we are taught that God organized more than created in a literal sense.
Did god design the creatures for creation, and for that matter chose man to be in his image, or is this an eternal rule?
Man looks like we do, ants look like ants, deer look like deer, etc.
JOEL - God created everything spiritually(man and creatures) before he created them physically for this earth:
"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." (Moses 3).
We are different from the animals however in that our intelligences existed forever in the eternal past:
"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; (Abraham 3:22)
"Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;(D&C 93:29, 33)
Noone is certain how it happened, but God somehow created or organized our spirits out of this eternal matter called intelligence.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said.
"Some of our writers have endeavored to explain what an intelligence is, but to do so is futile, for we have never been given any insight into this matter beyond what the Lord has fragmentarily revealed. (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Progress of Man 1964)
Notice however, that the above scriptures only mention man as an intelligence in the beginning with God, not animals.
The eternal intelligence we have is what makes us different from the animals.
Victor H. Ludlow said:
"Man's ability to communicate through the ages and to reason and make moral choices distinguishes him from the animals on earth. The righteous application and expansion of his intelligence will draw him and others nearer to God. Indeed, his unique and superior intelligence is what has defined him from eternity:"
(Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel by Victor L. Ludlow)
Joseph Smith taught that the,
"mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal [co-eternal] with God. . . . The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. The elements are eternal. In the translation [concerning creation] . . . the word 'created' should be 'formed,' or 'organized.' " (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)
Along with creating the spirits of man God also organized matter to create spirits for all animals and plant life before they appeared physically on the earth.
However, because animals have no eternal intelligences like man, God was able to design and create them anyway he wanted, and therefore I suppose it will be possible for future gods to create any type of animal they see fit for the benefit of their human creations. Personally I plan on creating a cow that naturally gives out chocolate milk. :-)
Because man's intelligence has always existed and his spirit and body were created in the image of God, and God was created in the image of His God, etc, into the eternal past; future creations of man will always look like we do now. So I guess you could say that, in regards to the creation of man, it wasn't God's choice but is an eternal rule.