The Word and the Seed : The Theological Use of Biblical Creation in Alma 32
Journal of Book of Mormon Studies
Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship
Alma 32 is a learned text on the topic of faith. The account incorporates creation imagery from the opening chapters of Genesis. Alma's sermon follows a theological pattern in the Hebrew Bible where creation is used to encourage audiences to exercise faith in the present by considering the primordial past. Alma compares the "word of God" unto a seed, telling his audience that they are to be involved with "planting." Thus, Alma's sermon combines the two distinct creation views in the Genesis narratives, for God speaks the divine word in order to create in Genesis 1, and he plants seeds and trees to create his garden paradise in Genesis 2-3. By invoking the miracle of creation in the past into a present context of seed growth and recreation, Alma encourages his readers to fulfill the measure of their own creation by experimenting upon the divine word. Obtaining the type of faith Alma describes is therefore the very purpose of human existence, and it has been from the beginning.