Come Follow Me: Genesis 3-4; Moses 4-5 The Fall of Adam and Eve
…"You asked Me for something from the garden, to be comforted
therewith, and I have given you these three tokens as a consolation to
you; that you trust in Me and in My covenant with you.|
2 For I will come and save you; and kings shall bring me when in the flesh, gold, incense and myrrh; gold as a token of My kingdom; incense as a token of My divinity; and myrrh as a token of My suffering and of My death.
3 But, O Adam, put these by you in the cave; the gold that it may shed light over you by night; the incense, that you smell its sweet savor; and the myrrh, to comfort you in your sorrow." (Ch 28-31).
Later, the Lord explains to Adam that Satan “has
deprived you of the Godhead, and of an exalted state like Me, and has
not kept his word to you; but has, after all, become your enemy” (ch
Where did all these children come from?
Here we learn that Adam and Eve had many children prior to the birth of Cain and Abel. Except for a few commandments given in the Garden, Adam and Eve are now on their own. They do not have a fullness of the Gospel yet. They are now “shut out from his (God’s) presence” (vs. 4). They are in a fallen state.
Let's now discuss a couple facts. First, there was death before the Fall of Adam and Eve. Second, there were humans before Adam and Eve.
To expand on these facts, we can see that science and history show they are true. So, how do we understand them in light of the story in Genesis and Moses? In establishing a theory that fits both scripture and science, I suggest the following.
God used evolution to develop the world over billions of years. This included proto-humans and early humans. Adam and Eve were taken out of the presence of other humans into the Garden, where they were alone. Having forgotten everything, they would not be aware of other peoples that preceded them. After the Fall, Adam and Eve were brought out of the Garden and back into world. Here, they would experience death, as did everything that existed previous to them. This would include other humans. So, what would separate Adam and Eve from other humans or pre-Adamites?
In the Book of Moses, Adam would receive the fullness of the gospel and be given a covenant, which the rest of the world did not have. This covenant would make them the first peoples with the covenant, and as with the Abrahamic covenant, the world would be blessed through them. We see this happen many times in scripture: Abraham's land of promise already has people in it. Moses takes Israel to a land already populated. Lehi and Nephi would receive a promised land that already had others living there. There is a pattern that can also be applied to Adam and Eve: they are the first parents through the Priesthood and covenant (see Abraham 1).
The fullness of the gospel
In verse 6 of Mose 5, we find something interesting. “After many days,” or decades after they were cast out of the Garden, an angel comes to Adam and asks him “why are you offering sacrifice?” Adam has no idea. He’s been doing this since before his children were born, and now he has grandchildren having children. As in the Garden, Adam tries to obey simply because he was commanded.
The angel explains the fullness of the Gospel to Adam and Eve. They are sacrificing animals as a “similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.” What is “full of grace and truth”? The Father? The Only Begotten? The sacrifice? I would suggest that all three are full of grace and truth.
Christ would become the great sacrifice of all. Through him, mankind would be saved. In the Conflict of Adam and Eve Against Satan, Satan attempts to kill Adam and Eve by dropping a boulder down a mountain on top of them. God saves them by causing the boulder to turn into a cave over them. They are trapped inside for three days, as a symbol of God also being in the sepulcher for three days. In another story, Satan slays Adam as he offers sacrifice on the altar. God raises Adam from death, and tells him that His Only Begotten will be sacrificed in like manner for all mankind.
Adam and Eve prophesy
Clearly, Adam learned about the atonement of God. In Moses 5:9, Adam and Eve are filled with the Holy Ghost and prophesy.
One can see that their perspective on life had not changed much since the Garden. Now, Adam focused on how the atonement affects him: “because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God” (vs. 10). He sees the joy he will receive in the resurrection and in this life, because of hope in Christ’s atonement. The Fall, though difficult, was a good thing, because it allowed for the atonement to save Adam.
Eve sees things from her perspective as a mother: “Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (vs. 11). She sees how the atonement will affect both Adam and her, as well as their posterity.
While much of Christianity condemns Adam and Eve for the Fall, LDS have the perspective that it was necessary. They could not have had children/seed while in their innocent state. They could not have left that state without first falling from God’s presence. With the Fall, the Atonement, which was planned before the creation of the world, could be put in effect for all.
Plan of Salvation
Adam and Eve seek to share the fullness of the gospel with their grown children. Sadly, many listen to Satan, who taught them to not believe in Christ’s atonement. But the Lord also called upon people through the Holy Ghost to repent and believe.
The plan of salvation is based upon 4 key points: Have Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance (vs. 15), Baptism for remission of sins, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost (6:51-61). Nephi and Jesus Christ called this the “doctrine of Christ” (2 Nephi 31, 3 Nephi 11).
It is that as we develop faith in Christ, we will desire to repent/change our lives. As we do this, we seek to be born again in Christ, which is done by immersion in water (also represented by the sacrament communion). Finally, we are changed by the Holy Ghost, which fills us from within with a greater infusion of spirituality and righteousness.
Because of transgression, whether Adam’s or our own, comes a fall from innocence and God’s presence. The fall brings death, both physical and spiritual death. And even as we had to be physically born into this earth by water, blood and spirit; so we will have to be born again. The water (baptism) opens the gate to the kingdom of heaven. Christ’s blood cleanses us in the atonement. The Holy Spirit purifies us and makes us holy (Moses 6:59).
In Christ’s blood, we are sanctified, or made clean. The Holy Spirit justifies us, or makes us just/holy. The water represents our portion of the covenant – keeping the commandments through faith on Christ (vs. 60).
This is not something we do just once. It is a cycle. As we develop faith and repent, Christ’s atoning blood cleanses us. We can be baptized or partake of the sacrament as a covenant that we will accept Jesus’ atonement and follow him through faith. The Holy Ghost then becomes our companion, justifying us and establishing us as righteous to the level we have become righteous.
As we seek to more closely follow Jesus, we feel the need to repent of additional things. He then cleanses us again, and we are endowed with spiritual power to live even a higher way of life in Christ. As Jesus prayed to the Father, that his disciples may be one, even as Jesus and God are one (John 17), and that as followers, we may become one with Jesus.
As LDS we believe that Christ fully paid for Adam’s original sin (vs. 54). We will all resurrect and all will stand again before God, because of Christ’s atonement (Alma 11-12). The wicked will be judged, and will not want to stand in His presence, and so will be sent elsewhere. But Christ’s atonement will have paid for Adam’s sin, so that none will forever have to suffer because of it.
Man of Holiness
In Moses 6:57, we find out that God is called, “Man of Holiness.” This explains Jesus’ title of Son of Man (of Holiness). It also explains better our relationship with God. We are made in “his image” (Genesis 1:26-27). It would not do for God to create us in his image, if we did not look like his image. We are his children, because he is our Father. Jesus taught us to call God, “Father” for a reason. The Savior understood our true nature and role as God’s spirit children. Jesus understood that, as Adam and Eve did, we would all fall from God’s grace and presence. And He understood that only through His great and infinite sacrifice could we be brought back into God’s presence and be like Him.
Because we all fall, we know good from evil. And because of our personal falling, we all become agents unto ourselves (vs. 56, see also 2 Nephi 2). Only in experiencing a fallen state, can we realize how much we need the atonement of Christ. King Benjamin stated that because of our fallen state, we are less than the dust (Mosiah 2-4), yet we are also sons of God, because Christ has redeemed us.
What is Literal and What is Legend?
Because of the revelations of Joseph Smith, we know that Adam and Eve are literal and historic beings.
However, beyond that fact, we can only assume which parts of the stories are literal and which parts are parable. We have at least 7 differing versions of the Creation within scripture, as I mentioned last week. There are differences among the Garden stories, as well. Was Eve deceived, or not? Did they sin or transgress a law they didn't fully understand? Was it the serpent that tempted Eve, or was it Satan? Was Eve literally formed from Adam's rib, or is it symbolic of the importance of man and woman being "of one flesh?"
What is most important regarding the story in the Garden is that man once had a relationship with God, that relationship was severed due to disobedience, and it requires a Savior to restore the relationship between God and mankind. Each of us goes through the innocence of childhood. Each of us experiences choices that cause us to sin. Each of us falls out of synch with parents, family, friends, and most importantly, with God. No animal sacrifice, such as Adam and Moses did, could restore the relationship. Those sacrifices placed mankind in a servant relation with deity, but not a family relationship. However, the animal sacrifices did point towards the great and last sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father. This sacrifice would break the bonds of physical and spiritual death - the two things separating us from God. Because of Christ, we will resurrect. Because of Jesus, we can be born again spiritually.