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 created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air; — Pearl of Great Price, Moses 3:5
There were seven periods in which the earth was created. I say periods, because that is the terminology used by the prophet, Abraham, in the Pearl of Great Price. This makes so much more sense then seven days, although, with God, nothing is impossible.
Elder Russell M. Nelson, one of fifteen living apostles of Jesus Christ, explained the seven periods:
In Period Two, the waters were divided between the surface of the earth and its atmospheric heavens. Provision was made for clouds and rain to give life to all that would later dwell upon the earth. (Genesis 1:6–8 ?? Moses 2:6–8 ?? Abraham 4:6–8)
Period Four was a time of further development. Lights in the expanse of the heaven were organized so there could be seasons and other means of measuring time. During this period, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the earth were placed in proper relationship to one another. (Genesis 1:14–19 ?? Moses 2:14–19 ?? Abraham 4:14–19) The sun, with its vast stores of hydrogen, was to serve as a giant furnace to provide light and heat for the earth and life upon it. (See Henry Eyring, “World of Evidence, World of Faith,” in Of Heaven and Earth: Reconciling Scientific Thought with LDS Theology, ed. and comp. David L. Clark (1998), 59
In Period Five, fish, fowl, and “every living creature” were added. (Abraham 4:20–21) They were made fruitful and able to multiply—in the sea and on the earth—each after its own kind. (Genesis 1:20–23 ?? Moses 2:20–23 ?? Abraham 4:22–23)
In the Sixth Period, creation of life continued. The beasts of the earth were made after their kind, cattle after their kind, and everything which “creepeth upon the earth”—again, after its own kind. (Genesis 1:24–31 ?? Moses 2:24–31 ?? Abraham 4:24–31) Then the Gods counseled together and said: “Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness. …
“So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.” (Abraham 4:26–27) Thus, Adam and Eve were formed. (Note that the Lord called the first man and woman “Adam” (Genesis 5:2 ?? Moses 6:9)) And they were blessed to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28 ?? Moses 2:28 ?? Abraham 4:28)
And so the world was created. Then man and woman, Adam and Eve, were created and the Lord God’s creation was finished. But what was the purpose of the Lord’s creation?
Elder Nelson goes on to tell us:
This earth is but one of many creations over which God presides. “Worlds without number have I created,” He said. “And I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.” (Moses 1:33 ?? D&C 76:23–24) Grand as it is, planet Earth is part of something even grander—that great plan of God. Simply summarized, the earth was created that families might be. Scripture explains that a husband and wife “shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation.” (D&C 49:16)
But the Plan of Salvation would be stalled if Adam and Eve remained in the Garden of Eden. For in the Garden they could not multiply and replenish the earth. And so the Fall was brought about and the full measure of the earth’s creation and heaven’s purpose could now be met.