Chapter 4 – Adam & Eve and The Fall

April 27, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 9:01 am   Category: Plan of Salvation

Click here for previous posts in this series and why I’m writing this children’s book.

During the last period of creation, God created human bodies for our spirits to inhabit, and we recognize our first parents as Adam and Eve. They were two of Heavenly Father’s very valiant spirit children and they were married and lived in a beautiful place called the Garden of Eden. When they received their bodies, the veil was placed over their minds and they forgot their pre-earth life. Even though they were grown-ups, they were like children and didn’t know much about right or wrong choices. Heavenly Father and Jesus came to the Garden to teach them and gave them two commandments. The first was that they should have children and begin a family. The second was that they should eat fruit from any plant except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was their choice what to eat, but God warned them that they would die if they ate from that tree. This was the first decision they would be accountable for. In their childlike and innocent state, they hadn’t learned how to be parents yet. They had no knowledge, so they were taught a little at a time, just like children are.

One day Lucifer approached Eve and told her it would be good to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He lied and said she wouldn’t die, and that the fruit would give her knowledge and she would be like God, knowing good and evil. When Eve realized the tree would give her wisdom, she ate the fruit and gave it to Adam. He wanted to stay with Eve, His wife, so he also ate it.

We don’t know how God’s plan for Adam and Eve would have happened, but He was not happy with Satan for tempting them and speeding up the process to their fall (Satan intervened where He knew He shouldn’t have). When they ate the fruit and transgressed, their bodies changed, they lost their glory, and realized they were naked. Christ made them coats of skins to remind them of their glory and to cover them, and Adam and Eve could no longer be in God’s presence, so they left the Garden. This was the way they became mortal, receiving bodies that would age and eventually die, and became able to bear children.

The Fall was necessary for mankind to come to earth, yet God could not have made Adam and Eve leave His presence in the Garden. They had to choose to leave, and the choice to transgress God’s word concerning the forbidden fruit resulted in them entering the Telestial world, out of God’s presence. The purpose of coming to this earth is to progress by learning from our own choices, and choosing good for its own sake. Without the veil, we would always choose God’s will. But with the veil, we experience sorrow and loss with our wrong choices, and thus appreciate and love good for its own sake, not just because God wants us to choose good. The Fall allowed Adam and Eve and all of us to pass through life with the veil over our minds, that we could exercise faith and come back to Christ because we love God more than anything the world has to offer. As we live by faith, God teaches us more and we become more like Him.

After being cast out of the Garden, Adam and Eve prayed and spoke with the Lord. He commanded them to offer sacrifice of the firstlings of their flock (Alma 12:29, Moses 2:5-11). Later an angel came and asked Adam why he offered sacrifice, and he answered that he didn’t know except that the Lord had told him to. The angel explained that the sacrifice represented the Son of God, who is full of grace and truth. They were supposed to sacrifice the first born lamb to remind them of the sacrifice Jesus would later make to heal us from sin and redeem our bodies from death.

I really look forward to your critiques of this chapter!

17 Comments »

  1. God created human bodies for our spirits to inhabit
    I picture a scene from I-Robot with all these physical bodies hanging around waiting for spirit to inhabit them. Weren’t our physical bodies created here – through the procreation of man?

    Comment by Hal — April 27, 2009 @ 9:38 am

  2. We don’t know how God’s plan for Adam and Eve would have happened,
    God’s plan for Adam and Eve DID happen.

    Comment by Hal — April 27, 2009 @ 10:34 am

  3. “Without the veil, we would always choose God’s will.”

    Not so, say the 1/3 host of heaven who followed Lucifer. Or for Adam and Eve, who chose (in innocence) to disobey despite being in the presence of God in His Garden.

    “They had to choose to leave” did they really know the consequences of their choice, that they would have to leave the garden if they ate the fruit? God said that in the day they ate or the fruit, they would “surely die”, not “have to leave the Garden of Eden”. When they didn’t “die”, they may have come to understand the separation from God as a sort of death, but I dont’ think that leaving the Garden was an understood consequence for their transgression. Were Adam and Eve even aware that there was a boundary to the Garden? Did they see some part of creation that was not paradisaical? I’m guessing no, because they had no concept of opposites (no joy because no pain, no happiness because no sadness, etc.).

    Comment by SteveS — April 27, 2009 @ 11:06 am

  4. On the last paragraph, I’d change,

    After being cast out of the Garden, Adam and Eve prayed and spoke with the Lord.

    -to-

    After being cast out of the Garden, Adam and Eve were still able to communicate with the Lord through prayer.

    Probably not a big deal though.

    Comment by Mike M — April 27, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

  5. SteveS, you are correct that without the veil we could still choose wrong actions. I’ll modify that line. On “they had to choose to leave” I think there are very important theological considerations for that position even if Adam and Eve didn’t understand the consequences fully. The choice to partake of the fruit was more about them acting as agents than about their understanding the consequences before making a choice.

    Hal, we really don’t know how things would have played out if Lucifer hadn’t intervened. Feel free to speculate on if our bodies were already here, I think they could have been, or it could have been done in a Battlestar Galactica finale way. Your guess is probably as good as Jacob J’s.

    Comment by Kent (MC) — April 27, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

  6. I don’t know what it is, but something bugs me about the phrase “choosing good for its own sake.”

    If it was me, I’d probably write along these lines:

    “One of the purposes of coming to this earth is to learn to obey God because we love Him and have faith in Him, even if we can’t see Him. We also make our own decisions so that we can learn from our mistakes and become more like God when we obey Him.”

    Comment by sparsile — April 27, 2009 @ 8:26 pm

  7. If it was really important for Adam and Eve to choose to leave I don’t know why the decision would need to be made in the garden where they purportedly had no frame of reference from which to make the decision. If they decided to go with God’s plan before entering the garden, why is that not enough?

    Comment by Jacob J — April 27, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

  8. Two comments:
    1. It seems long in comparison with the other chapters, but maybe that’s just me.
    2. I guess I would sort of go Lehi’s Dream on this. You know “Adam and Eve Represent…” “The Tree Represents…” I think telling the story flat can lead toward later creationist confusion.

    Comment by Matt W. — April 27, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

  9. Even though they were grown-ups, they were like children and didn’t know much about right or wrong choices.
    [My comment: That made me think of how much like children were they really? I mean, IQ and maturity wise. Were they like 8 year olds? How much does intelligence and the ability to discern good from evil relate? When eating the apple, did they gain 70 IQ points? Sorry, to get a little OT, but that does make me wonder...]

    Heavenly Father and Jesus came to the Garden to teach them and gave them two commandments. The first was that they should have children and begin a family.
    [and here's the big question... Did he give them a commandment that they could not at that time fulfill, or were their bodies mature enough that prior to eating the fruit, they could have had children.]

    We don’t know how God’s plan for Adam and Eve would have happened, but He was not happy with Satan for tempting them and speeding up the process to their fall (Satan intervened where He knew He shouldn’t have).
    [And this begs the question whether God was "acting" here. If Eve was suppose to eat the fruit, so that the Plan of Salvation may begin, was he really "not happy" with this? What would had made Him happy and still achieve His goals? Satan seems to believe he's only doing what he's done before on other worlds... was he really intervening where he shouldn't have? ]

    When they ate the fruit and transgressed, their bodies changed, they lost their glory, and realized they were naked.
    [I was under the impression that the Fruit from the Tree of Life maintained their Higher Level bodies and that it was the absence of that fruit, which caused their bodies to descend to the lower level.] [They were naked and married: not a problem. It became a problem when God comes back to the garden, but since God's their parent, was it really an issue? Or was it Satan who made it an issue when he reminds them they are naked?]

    …so they left the Garden.
    [They were kicked out. Gen3:23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden]

    The purpose of coming to this earth is to progress by learning from our own choices, and choosing good for its own sake.
    [The only purpose I can discern, was in order for us to gain a physical body. That seems to be the most important reason. Especially since those who die before the age of accountability can get a "free ride" to the Celestial Kingdom. Or those who would had accepted the gospel if given the chance, etc., etc. The learning process may be tied into learning how to manipulate matter with the mind through control of a physical body.]

    Without the veil, we would always choose God’s will.
    [Someone already touched on this with the 1/3rd leaving heaven.]

    The Fall allowed Adam and Eve and all of us to pass through life with the veil over our minds, that we could exercise faith and come back to Christ because we love God more than anything the world has to offer.
    [I'm not an English major or anything, but something seems grammatically incorrect here.]

    Comment by SpeakingUp — April 27, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

  10. Kent #5,
    Feel free to speculate on if our bodies were already here, I think they could have been, or it could have been done in a Battlestar Galactica finale way. Your guess is probably as good as Jacob J’s.
    I don’t know what this is talking about. Is there somewhere I can go to read up on this idea that our physical bodies were “already here” or that they were created somewhere else and just waiting for us? Maybe I missed that seminary class. Or, are you talking about Adam and Eve’s bodies?

    Comment by Hal — April 28, 2009 @ 8:06 am

  11. Great feedback! Thanks everyone!

    sparsile, I like your idea. I’ll use it.

    Jacob J, Here’s the issue as I see it with Adam and Eve having to choose to leave God’s presence: If they were just thrown down into “life” with the veil and no knowledge of God (instead of the intermediate Garden stage), then how could they have any frame of reference to desire to return to his presence or know who to accept as a legitimate emissary of God? Humanity needed an “institutional memory” of the golden age to return to as I see it. I also see a potential discussion for agency in this path, but it isn’t as compelling as are the practical considerations.

    Matt, How can you call yourself a good Latter-day Saint and not believe in the book of Genesis?!? Just joking, of course. Can I really deconstruct the story that much? I’m not sure it will matter that much to my kids, but I definitely do want to avoid the fundamentalist worldview. My main problem is that I’m not really sure what everything really “represents” in the story of Adam and Eve, so I have very limited options in how I describe it if I do it through different lenses.

    Comment by Kent (MC) — April 29, 2009 @ 8:27 am

  12. SpeakingUp, I certainly don’t assume to have the “correct” answers to all of your questions. I have my ideas, but your guesses are probably as good as mine on most of them. The one question I will take a stab at is about Satan intervening. He really wasn’t trying to “help out” by getting Eve to eat the fruit, he was intervening without God’s consent. Maybe Adam and Eve needed more time in the Garden to learn a few more things before they could choose with more knowledge. We just don’t know what God’s plan was, but the fact that Satan was cursed for intervening would be kind of strange if he was really acting as one of God’s agents.

    Also, being naked wouldn’t be shameful (who would have taught them to be ashamed except Satan, no more Victorian body issues please), losing glory would be what was shameful to them.

    One more thing, coming to this earth to receive a body is the main thing (I completely agree). However, life in “this world” doesn’t end with death since the spirit world is very similar with the veil still keeping us separated from God. I suppose I could soften up that statement.

    I’ll look at the grammar of that last example again.

    Comment by Kent (MC) — April 29, 2009 @ 8:38 am

  13. Hal, there are lots of people who think that humanity already existed when God intervened and placed Adam and Eve on the planet (or put spirit children into new-born children). What would the difference be between the parents of Adam and Adam himself? No clue. Language? Anyone can guess at how it “really happened”. Were the Neanderthals morally accountable? Who can say?

    Comment by Kent (MC) — April 29, 2009 @ 8:39 am

  14. Well you asked for it! Here it goes:

    **God created human bodies for our spirits to inhabit… (perhaps… created bodies for THEIR spirits, meaning Adam and Eve, to inhabit)

    I believe that the bodies that our spirits are to inhabit are not created per say, but that God instituted the divine design through which they are created, meaning through the procreative/reproductive powers of women and men. I would probably leave that explanation out of a children’s book, but would not put ideas in children’s minds that there are bodies for everyone already created somewhere.

    **Heavenly Father and Jesus came to the Garden to teach them and gave them two commandments…

    Just be aware that this is a specific of a current view and understanding of the saints of the Temple Endowment (past views of the saints differ from this view). Usually, it is taught that “God” gave these commandments. I make this comment, not because I dislike the idea, but because it cannot be subtatiated with scripture (except the ambiguous Abraham that states “the Gods”).

    **When Eve realized the tree would give her wisdom, she ate the fruit and gave it to Adam.

    What I believe she realized is that eating of the fruit was the only way through which she and Adam would be able to become like God. But I am fine with your description for a children’s book.

    **We don’t know how God’s plan for Adam and Eve would have happened, but He was not happy with Satan for tempting them and speeding up the process to their fall (Satan intervened where He knew He shouldn’t have).

    Wow, too much speculation! Especially the statement that God was not happy with Satan “speeding up the process.” (perhaps another interpolation of current Temple Endowment views due to the way it is presented there). This whole paragraph seem to imply God inteded his plan to go a different way… which is contrary to what we teach in the Church today. We teach that this is the plan. And whitout too many specifics, in the Temple we learn this was done before. It is my opinon that the paragraph needs to be rewritten to reflect actual teachings of the Church.

    **When they ate the fruit and transgressed, their bodies changed, they lost their glory, and realized they were naked.

    I disagree with your use of “glory” which will become a pillar of your narrative. They lost their innocence and their eyes were open, but I am not sure about this glory thing. I don’t think Adam and Eve were crowned with the Glory of God per say and that they lost it by eating of the fruit. I agree their bodies changed and became mortal, and their eyes were opened and became aware of the difference between good and evil. But you seem to equate “glory” with immortality, which I disagree with.

    (The scriptures repeatedly teach that it is the pure that can bear God’s glory, and that is why Adam and Eve could speak to God face to face before the fall. See D&C 136:37 – Therefore, marvel not at these things, for ye are not yet pure; ye can not yet bear my glory… etc)

    **Christ made them coats of skins to remind them of their glory

    Nope. To remind them of their covenants, which you don’t talk about in the current narrative, so I would live that out and say to protect their bodies from the physical dangers of the new world, meaning the Telestial Kindgom.

    **Without the veil, we would always choose God’s will.

    I also disagree with agency not being possible without the veil.

    **But with the veil, we experience sorrow and loss with our wrong choices, and thus appreciate and love good for its own sake, not just because God wants us to choose good.

    I really dislike the construction of this paragraph. It seems to imply that it is because of the veil that we make mistakes and suffer the consequences. I don’t think children will ever understand what you are trying to say with: thus appreciate and love good for its own sake… what does that mean anyway? I really think the whole paragraph should be reconstructed from top to bottom. ;)

    **The Fall allowed Adam and Eve and all of us to pass through life with the veil over our minds, that we could exercise faith and come back to Christ because we love God more than anything the world has to offer. As we live by faith, God teaches us more and we become more like Him.

    This section is very good, much better than the confusing previous section in the same paragraph. This should stay.

    Very well done!!!

    Comment by Manuel — April 29, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

  15. Manuel, I really appreciate your feedback! I can definitely tighten up the first paragraphs using some of your suggestions.

    I’m interested in your interpretation of Satan’s role in the Fall. Do you believe that it was God’s plan for Satan to persuade Eve to eat the fruit? Why would God curse him if he were fulfilling a role there? Is this more an issue with how you view God’s omniscience? I’d like to understand your interpretation better here.

    I’m glad that you brought up the issue of glory/garments since nobody else did. This concept is not really in the scriptures but is a common interpretation by many Jewish and Christian scholars throughout the millenia. The concept of a loss of glory (and regaining it) is an important part of my chapter on the atonement, which is why I bring it out in this chapter (even if the idea isn’t straight out of scripture, it isn’t contradicted by scripture).

    I really am glad you are explicit about the problems with the second to last paragraph. I really need to rework it.

    Comment by Kent (MC) — April 30, 2009 @ 8:23 am

  16. I see your point about the glory.

    About my view of the role of Lucifer in the Fall of Adam and Eve, I think it has been a long debated issue among Christian schools of thought, and I could hardly take on a debate of this magnitude but here it goes.

    Traditionally, it is said that all good comes from God and all evil comes from Satan. They are the basic representation of the polarity of the classic cosmic battle (good vs evil).

    Some people are inclined to believe that if a person does something good, it is necessarily because that person was influenced by God somehow, and vice versa, that if a person does a bad thing, then that person must have yielded to the temptations of the devil. I disagree that this is the only way decisions are made, or that this is necessarily the case in every case.

    I believe mankind is capable of the sole initiative and generation of both good and bad actions, as well as being influenced by both good and bad. In that context, I like your speculation that maybe if Satan hadn’t tempted Eve, then Adam and Eve could have had later the initiative of their own to break a commandment given by God.

    Nevertheless, I think we are more specific in our teachings today than it allows for that thought. I think we specifically teach that the way things happened was not Plan B, and in my judgment of the Temple Endowment, I think even Lucifer seems a bit startled that he is being cursed for doing that same thing that he has done before (in other worlds if you may).

    When a textual teaching is adapted into a theatrical representation, there are aspects of the representation that need to be added that are not necessarily specified in the text. Such is my interpretation of the dialogue with elevated tones of voice seen in the representation, so as to display an “upset” God.

    With regards to His omniscience, I think you are right. I think in my mind I see a God that is putting all the elements together for disaster and then getting upset when the most likely outcome happens. Therefore, yes, I do believe God inteded Lucifer to play an active role in the fall of Adam and Eve.

    The meaning of his cursing is outside the scope of my understading. The language of the curse strongly reflects the old traditions of the serpent having to move on his belly and having to eat dust…etc etc. I don’t know what it means, and I don’t know why it is there; furthermore, I do not know how the curse could actually affect Lucifer, a being without a physical body. I have heard attempts to explain it, but they are all strongly speculative.

    My views can possibly be debated for ages, but my thought is this: if it is strongly debatable, for the sake of a children’s book, I would try to leave it as neutral as possible. Meaning I wouldn’t try to lead the thoughts of the children in either way.

    I think the way you are narrating it right now is not neutral, but it implies strongly that God didn’t want Lucifer to be part of the fall of Adam and Eve (which you can counterdebate with scriptures stating that there needs be opposition in all things). I do think God made it possible for Lucifer to be there in the first place.

    In these cases, I rather opt for teaching children a neutral state and let their experiences in life and their own reasoning work the way toward whatever side of the debate they would like to take.

    I admire you tackling this subject for children though! So many fundamental doctrines are contained in the event!

    Comment by Manuel — April 30, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

  17. Great stab at that passage, Manuel. I’m interested to know if anyone else has a take on why God cursed Satan for fulfilling a role there (or was God actually frustrated by Satan’s preemptive action).

    Comment by Kent (MC) — April 30, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

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