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What does figuratively mean in the following quote from Spencer W. Kimball, “The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood,”Ensign, Mar. 1976, 70—

“And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them. [The story of the rib, of course, is figurative.]“

If woman was not created from Adam’s rib, then from what?
Doyle, from Grangeville, Idaho

Dear Doyle,
Where could we possibly get the notion that Adam and Eve were put together like a complicated toy set, and in that construction were engineered to reproduce their own kind. If that were the case, then all of creation–all plants and animals–would have had to have been manufactured in the same way. Such a notion is preposterous. We know from the scriptures that the spirits of all humanity are literal children of God–Jesus Christ being the first born in the spirit and the only begotten in the flesh. As a matter of fact, Father is the most frequent term used in the Bible to denote God. Brigham Young explained the concept very clearly, He said—

“Though we have it in history that our Father Adam was made of the dust of this earth and that he knew nothing about his God previous to being made here, yet it is not so; and when we learn the truth we shall see and understand that he helped to make this world and was the chief manager in that operation.

“He was the person who brought the animals and the seeds from other planets to this world and brought a wife with him and stayed here. You may read and believe what you please as to what is found written in the Bible. Adam was made from the dust of an earth, but not from the dust of this earth. He was made as you and I are made, and no person was ever made upon any other principle” Journal of Discourses, 3:, p.319.

So Adam and Eve were born on another earth, and they gathered the plants and animals that they wanted to populate this world, and brought them here. Adam and Eve were the first inhabitants of this earth, and since they brought all other life with them, they predated all living things. As we read in the Book of Moses 3:7—

And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also.

The statement, from the dust of the ground, does not go into any detail of the manner Adam was created from the dust of the ground of the earth in which he was born. But the truth is, according to Brigham Young, that through the process of growth in the womb his body was comprised of the elements of that earth. The Lord chose to use this aphorism for the birth of Adam and the aphorism of the rib for Eve, until we were ready to hear from the prophets further actual details.

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